The Force in Scripture?
For those of you that follow my journal, you may have noticed that I mentioned this Bible Study I was doing for Knights of Awakening on the Force. I did two Bible Studies under "Christian Jedi Ministries" before I gave up on having the support network necessary to pull it off. So I may or may not be going a different direction, and under a new name, for my Christian explorations on KoA. But in the meantime...I have this study I did and no one to talk with about it. So, I thought to myself "Ally, why not ask Rosalyn and Br. John if I can facilitate the material on ToTJO where it will hopefully be appreciated?" ^^
And here I am today. I'll be using this thread throughout the whole time that I do this. I want to give time for people to think about and respond to each segment, so I'll post the next segment here about every 3-4 days. So that you can find the posts with the actual Bible Study, I'll mark them with the Ichthys picture above; so I ask that if you're going to quote those segments- please remove the Ichthys for others.
With that all out of the way, let's start ^^
The Jedi Compass tells us that the Force is meant to be interpreted by the individual. The rule was based on the fact that George Lucas wanted to inspire people to ask the question: Does God Exist? Although George Lucas identifies himself as a “Buddhist Methodist”, we are pretty sure he wasn’t explicitly asking people whether or not YHWH exists, but rather any supernatural being that could be akin to a god.
For those of us that identify as Christian Jedi, the answer seems fairly straight forward: Of course God exists!
But let me take that a step further: Is God actually the Force? Some of you may shift the answer and make the statement that the Holy Spirit is the Force, and since the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, this would make the Force God. It may seem clean cut, but I want you to challenge this answer as we go through this study.
The fiction leaves a lot of information open for us to begin interpreting the Force. The framework can be used to explain the human condition of struggling to find a balance of control and freedom. It can be used to express the condition of the nature of divine questions- the battle of good and evil, and the possibilities which exist within our esoteric development.
Let’s start with the foundation:
According to the fiction, the Force:
1) Has a will
2) Is divided into 2 sides- Light and Dark
3) Could be used to move objects
In the films it can be used to create force lightning, deceive a storm trooper, move objects from a lightsaber to an X-wing Starfighter. But what about the Bible? What kinds of things are in the Bible which are of supernatural origin? If the Force is God Himself, then what could be said of Satan’s power? Is it something different? If the Force is Satan’s power, then what is said of God’s power? Why are the two different, if God created all? Did God give Satan his own type of power? Or if the Force is God, does Satan use God for his folly? Or could it be that the Force is something else- something that can be used by all beings within our universe for varying purposes? An energy field that we breath from, and can be used to turn water into wine?
Whatever it is, another question comes to mind: How are we, as Christians, suppose to interact with it? Should we interact with it at all?
Throughout this study, I hope you'll be asking yourselves these questions. It is possible not all of them will be answered, I know I still haven’t found an answer to all of them. But I do know that because I’ve explored this topic, I understand how easy it is to convince ourselves that we are doing God’s work- but are in fact falling further into Satan’s clutches.
These next few days, take some time to write down your own questions, and contemplate why it is or might be important for you to know the answer to the question: What is the Force, according to the Bible?
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. (1977). [film] United States: George Lucas.
As for journals- if you find something particularly worth posting- of your thoughts or others- in there for your own documentation, by all means. ^^
But what about the Bible? What kinds of things are in the Bible which are of supernatural origin? If the Force is God Himself, then what could be said of Satan’s power? Is it something different? If the Force is Satan’s power, then what is said of God’s power? Why are the two different, if God created all? Did God give Satan his own type of power? Or if the Force is God, does Satan use God for his folly? Or could it be that the Force is something else- something that can be used by all beings within our universe for varying purposes? An energy field that we breath from, and can be used to turn water into wine?
How are we, as Christians, suppose to interact with it? Should we interact with it at all?
What is the Force, according to the Bible?
Thank you Alethea for your work on this and for sharing it with us. I apologise if the following is too abrupt, too stiff and unsympathetic, but I’m waaay oversimplifying for brevity. I’m not sure if this is the sort of response you were hoping for but here we go!
I come from a perspective that all of the major religious traditions have clear similarities running through their cores. The rituals, labels, ceremonies, histories, doctrines, dogmas and myths of different religions have massive differences but there are common themes. These are most obvious in the esoteric arms of the major religions: Sufism, Vedanta, Kabbalah and Christian Mysticism, but they still emerge through the exoteric teachings too. Through the work of many 20C religious philosophers this insight, and what it entails, has become known as The Perennial Philosophy.
Relevant to this discussion is the idea of each religion having one underlying, ubiquitous, uniting spiritual power which has certain common features: omnipotency, omnipresence, infinity, eternity, transcendence and creative power. Cyclicality is also a common, if not unilateral, feature. For the Jewish and Christian traditions this spiritual power is called God (YHWH). For Jedi it is called the Force. In my opinion these two labels share all of these attributes and therefore, in simplistic terms: God = The Force.
However, there is (at least) one key difference and that is the personality of God. The God of the old testament is a mixture of supra-personal, personal, non-personal aspects which become delineated in the new testament into God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Force is typically non-personal so has more in common with the Holy Spirit, than God, per se. Given the lack of Judao-Christian prophets in the last 2000 years it appears that God has become largely non-personal too. Even Muslims would agree there hasn’t been a prophet (someone in dialogue with the supra-personal aspect) since the 7C.
Satan is an intermittent player in the Bible and in Christian history, and the myths surrounding him have complicated what might be a relatively simple concept. He only achieved his current prominence some time after the Middle Ages – long after biblical times. Essentially what we are addressing here is the “problem of evil”, as first proposed by Epicurus.
Without going through all the arguments, the short conclusion is that there are two ways of formulating an answer: one which creates a paradox and one that doesn’t. The first answer is that the omnipotent spiritual power is solely benevolent. This creates the paradox described by the “problem of evil”. The second is that the omnipotent spiritual power is not solely benevolent, nor solely malelovent – it is neutral; this is how we see The Force.
Jews might be more likely to agree with Jedi, than Christians, but before the concept of Satan was established YHWH’s flooding, genocide, murder and eternal damning of unrepentant sinners left a concept of Satan rather redundant. It seems most likely to me that the omnipotent spiritual power in the universe is neutral and it is up to humans how we channel that power. That is our gift, and our curse.
“The problem of evil” strikes me as being the single biggest hurdle to combining Christianity and Jediism, and that difference understandably generates the entirely sensible questions that Alethea asks.
Lastly, I’m not keen on the concept of supernatural powers and events. Anything and everything that happens is natural. There are natural phenomena that we can explain, and plenty that we can’t. As we evolve spiritually, culturally and scientifically the ratio of these phenomena will shift increasingly in favour of those that we can explain and reproduce. The ‘god of the gaps’ will eventually disappear entirely. In the meantime, we use a tiny fraction of our current power for genuine good, so we should probably work on increasing that productivity before overly concerning ourselves with the ‘supernatural’.
As Christians you should interact with this spiritual power, and use it selflessly, carefully and for good. However, the problem of what is good, and what is bad can quickly become a thorny question . . . theunboundedspirit.com/short-story-the-taoist-farmer/
This is a great discussion topic, and I can't wait to see more
I don't consider myself to be either Christian or Jedi outside of any cultural definition - "I watch Star Wars and hang out with people who call themselves Jedi, so I am a Jedi" - I'd be ok with an anthropologist saying that of me. It seems fair. Same with Christianity. "I know you light the gospel candle before the others, so I am a Christian". But I think there is more to taking on these titles than these facts of being inside buildings with your body, or writing on forums, or performing certain rituals.
The question asked was "What is the Force, according to the Bible?", and I suppose due to my position as a Jedi skeptic I should also turn it on it's head and answer "What is the Bible, according to the Force?" as well.
From my perspective, the bible is quite a new thing in a universe that is 13.8 billion years old. But it speaks of things that are timeless. My understanding of force stuff is that it is also timeless. I think the christian understanding of the triune god is that it is also timeless.
The christian incarnational idea, with Jesus being man is one thing, and then the pentecostal idea of the spirit being in/with us all "after" Easter (Hurray!!!) So "we" are all Christ. Born to die. Born to rise again... that is another. It is time bound. It occurs "after". It is to do with us and our being god.
The Force thing manifests in living beings; and becomes more... "shiney" in some than others - Obi Wan, Luke etc. A "Long time ago". It has that timeless quality. It doesn't have the necessity of an Easter "event". It's always Easter. It's always Pentecost. It's set in a galaxy far far away, so it can happen everywhere if it happens there and it happens here.
For me, knowledge of "force stuff" comes through experience. I meet people and I see "force stuff" in their being. Some people I find give me a more easy access to this than others. I am left quite in awe by it, just as I am by nature, and by collective human endeavors. It is in all things in all times and in all places. It is in all books. It is inclusive. It is in the bad things and the good things. It is in the tough times and the good times. It has no rules.
For me, knowledge of "god stuff" comes through metaphor. I read bible stuff and I see god stuff in it. “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about!” Hurrah! Meaning "Be active and take joy in finding god in a form you never expected to find him in, in a place you never expected to find him!". But I find access to God stuff is actively controlled by churches who mostly seem to get in the way of things. They have a lot of rules.
The satan thing in the bible (the accuser, the adversary) "Get thee behind me!" said Jesus. So the incarnate god is separate from satan, from the cockups. I personally find that a profoundly uninspiring model as I am really not. It seems to me to create this weird false world where there are things undeserving of compassion (sinners who are unrepentant) and those who are deserving of compassion ("the church goers" "the devout"). I am also not a boy, which seems to be a big deal to a fair number of churches, because Jesus was a boy. It means the model is less inspiring.
The force model; even an incarnation full of light like Obi Wan can cock up and train Anikin Skywalker. I like that. A gem in the mud. Just like Christ crucified; but this time whole - and actually properly guilty, just like a real person often is - because the force is both darkness and light. Together. Good and bad No separation - and still utterly lovable and deeply deserving of compassion while being 100 percent responsible for the suffering of most of the galaxy. WHAT A JERK. But that's the crux. I know I am no Jedi for I haven't the compassion to let myself really just be whole, and I have only really met one Jedi who definitely plumbed the depth of compassion needed to hit the spot and show me that was your guys's way of things. It's what I want for my way. Prejudice free, judgement free. I think it is a very highly developed art, jediing of that kind. It doesn't lack discernment. It is just drenched in compassion. I very much enjoy hanging out with you all. You are all different. Jedi are all the species, all the genders, all the races, all the ethnicities, all the abilities, and all the types and varieties. All the classes, all the histories, all the cockups and the successes... everything. And it's all okay. All acceptable. I like that.
"Part One" (which I use loosely as an identifier, this was originally set up to be a week-by-week study..XD) of this set talks about the 10 Plagues. It may seem like a strange place to start, given most things begin in Genesis, but consider this: Prior to the story of the 10 plagues, God has really only talked with people and led them to go places or inspired speech (fathers whom blessed or cursed their children, for example). He hasn’t directed them to perform metaphysical miracles. But in Exodus, this changes. Moses becomes our first real story of a God-chosen miracle-worker. Though, I’m sure that the Egyptians saw him more as a Nightmare.
Before we go any further on this, however, I think we should establish a baseline for this story. It is simple to write off anything supernatural in the Bible as being fable. But there is some good evidence to suggest that-at the very least- the events known as the 10 plagues could have actually happened. While Scientists have offered an explanation that the plagues came from a shift in climate from a Volcanic eruption- the question of whether or not Moses was a fabrication in the story still remains a mystery. This leaves the rest up to personal belief. That said, it is my personal belief that this story is real. You are free to make your own determination, but for the sake of moving this forward, let's not get hung up on whether or not it's a true story. If you believe the story is true, then continue with that understanding. If, however, you believe it is false- then let's agree to operate on the concept that we are dealing with Bible World Physics as you would any other work of fiction.
To me, the story of the 10 Plagues is the foundation for the study of everything supernatural in the Bible. And so we begin at Exodus 6:28 (I'll post the NKJV for anyone that doesn't want to pull out their Bible to look it up)
EXODUS 6:28-7:2 And it came to pass, on the day the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I am the Lord. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.”
But Moses said before the Lord, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh heed me?”
So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land.
What do you think God meant when he said “I have made you a god to Pharaoh”?
Moses is saying “im a low class person by the rules of our society and its unthinkable that i could make demads of Pharoh”. Imagine a homeless person or an illegal immigrant walking into the White House to tell the President that hes being a jerk... its a cool fantasy but it would end in handcuffs.
My “academic” reaction is that Egytp was polytheistic and the word that got translated to “god” in our text basically could be understood as “a powerful being who could command some aspect of reality”.
Not the same as “G-d”is who is “the real God” in our story and who was willing to give Moses the power to do whatever he needed to do.. effectively making him a “god” compared to Pharoah and by Pharos standards.
So G-d was saying “dont worry, youre way more buff than him and youre as buff as anything that he understands”
My other thought is... Remember how G-d “hardens Pharos heart”? So G-d is interfering with Pharohs perceptions in different ways throughout the story.
Here G-d is saying “dont worry about that, I have taken over his perceptions and you are like a god to him” — and again id refer to the polytheistic meaning of “god” - i dont believe the scripture was meant to say that Moses would appear to be G-d but rather “a god”
So bascally G-d was using the Jedi mind trick to mess with Pharoah
Which is why i posted. I dont know if i will reply often in this thread but considering the title and the question i thought i had to share that last idea, lol.
Beware of unearned wisdom.
Also conjecture over what actually happened is pointless because the pharaohs aren't named, and "unbiased" history didn't really exist. If we accept the plagues happened, the only way to know the what and why are you take the Torah/Biblical account prima facie.
Also, wasn't Job penned before the Torah? Not that it's easy to read (I mean half of the Exodus is cultural norms that are lost on me)