Our Relationship with the Bible

In The Centre, the Bible is not an authority on which we lean or which we use to defend our beliefs and practices, for words are always limited and can never fully express truth. We do not use the scriptures blindly or unquestioningly.

At the same time, we recognise that the Bible is a record of how others before us have found the fullness of God in their personal experience. It tells of the preparation through the ages for the coming of Christ, of his life, death and resurrection, and of the experience of those in whom his spirit lived. The scriptures are a treasury of spiritual knowledge and insight which can provide light for our path.

When reading any passage of scripture, we recognise that the text is not only speaking about the past, but is speaking also about us and our experience now. It is a mirror in which we can learn to see ourselves clearly.

We interpret scripture on any one or more of four levels − the literal level, the metaphysical level, the esoteric level and the mystical level. The ancient rabbis likened these four levels to the four parts of a nut:

The literal level, the level of history and theology, is like the hard shell of a nut, which must be penetrated if we are to get to the kernel, the inner meaning. So for example, in the story of the journey of the Hebrews from Egypt to the land of Palestine, we find information about the history of the Jews, about the events and beliefs that have shaped their character as a nation, and we can attempt to place the story in the context of recorded history. This is the “shell” of the story. To find its true meaning we must look further.

The metaphysical or allegorical level is the pith of the nut. On this level, everything within the Bible − people, places, events − has a symbolic interpretation which relates to us. On this level, the journey of the Hebrews becomes the story of our own journey to freedom, and their experiences the reflection of ours. Egypt, for example, represents the bondage of our souls, and the pillar of cloud that went before the people by day is a symbol of the inner voice that guides us onward to liberty of spirit.

The esoteric level is the flesh of the nut, which provides spiritual nourishment. When we interpret the Bible from an esoteric point of view, it becomes a means to understanding the spiritual worlds and their influence upon our development. For example, occultly the exodus is the story of the creation of a race of people through whom, eventually, the Christ could incarnate.

The mystical level is the seed of the nut, and is the culmination of all the other levels. Mysticism is seeing the vision of the Christ and becoming one with him. The consciousness of the mystic is therefore in the spiritual worlds. The person who reads the Bible from the mystical point of view will find the Beloved in its pages. So, for example, the Christ is clearly to be seen in the events and experiences of the Hebrews as they journeyed. The water provided to satisfy their thirst and the bread, or manna, which they gathered daily speak of Christ who is the bread of life and the water of life.

For The Independent Church of Australia the Bible contains spiritual truth which can be revealed to us if we take the time to study it and to enter into the various levels of meaning.

The Prologue of St John
The Gospel of St John, the great mystical gospel, has a special place in The Centre. The prologue, chapter 1, verses 1-14, is read at each Cosmic Mass, and members are encouraged to read from this gospel daily.

In the beginning was the word,
and the word was with God,
and the word was God,
He was in the beginning with God;
all things were made through him,
and without him
was not anything made that was made.
In him was life,
and the life was was the life of every human being.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light that enlightens everyone
was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world was made through him,
yet the world knew him not.
He came to his own home,
and his own people received him not.
But to all who received him,
who believed in his name,
he gave power to become children of God,
who were born, not of blood
nor of the will of flesh
nor of the human will,
but of God.
And the word became flesh
and dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth;
we have beheld his glory,
glory as of the only son from the Father.

The teachings of The Centre can never be treated simply as intellectual exercises. While it is our responsibility to develop our thinking powers as fully as we can, we must also understand that truth is known through spiritual discernment. In approaching Centre teachings you are asked to be willing to be open to new thoughts and perceptions, to listen to the teachings, to think about them and above all to practise them. Only in this way will you come to recognise within self what is true.

Rev Mario Schoenmaker On the Bible
A deeper understanding of The Centre’s use of the Bible can be gained from these excepts from books on Biblical subjects by Rev Mario Schoenmaker:

Choosing Transformation: Reflections on the Christmas Story

by Rev Mario Schoenmaker (an excerpt)

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

Christmas night in ancient times, before the world even thought of Christmas, was a night sacred to the initiates, to those who knew the secrets of the universe. …

The Ultimate Vision: Studies on the Book of Revelation

by Rev Mario Schoenmaker (an excerpt)

Introduction to the Book of Revelation
There are many ways in which you can look at the book of Revelation, and each one may be valid. One of the reasons I find the book of Revelation so fascinating is that within it lies the technique by which one can become united within oneself and become the full expression of the son of God. …

Deliberations on St Mark

by Rev Mario Schoenmaker (an excerpt)

From Lecture 1 on Mark 1:40-45
And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, ‘If you will, you can make me clean’. Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘ I will; be clean’. …

The Book of Hebrews

by Rev Mario Schoenmaker (an excerpt)

Christ and Melchizedek
Abraham’s mission was to guide the Aryan people, in the early Post-Atlantean times, during their formative years. He was instructed into the mysteries pertaining to the work of Melchizedek. …

The Johannine Gospel: Its Relevancy to the Past and Future

by Rev Mario Schoenmaker (an excerpt)

Recognising a Light Being
If someone has light, how do you recognise that person? How do you know that that person is a light being? You cannot recognise it with your senses. …


Course on the Bible
Or home learning courses from The Institute of Metaphysics:

  • The Metaphysical Bible (MS4)
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