Reflections on the Idea of Equality

IV. “All Men are Created Equal”

In continuation of our reflections on the idea of equality, let us consider the saying: “All men are created equal”. It is probable that millions of people have heard this saying, and it is certainly the case that of those people many, including myself, are absolutely convinced about its truth. The statement might, of course, be appropriately rephrased as “All men and women are created equal”. But what does the saying really mean? How should it be understood? It is true, unfortunately, that too many people never really seriously think about what they hear and even what they hold to be true. Our various cultures do not seem to encourage reflection, especially on this kind of matters.

The saying, “All men are created equal”, has become popular in sociopolitical discussions because of its prominence in the American Declaration of Independence, a text written primarily by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the United States Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. The portion directly relevant to our reflection states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. The italics are my own addition. Thomas Jefferson, who was only 33 years old at the time, was obviously expressing the commonly held spiritual belief of his time, which was that human beings ought to be treated equally because they were created equal by God. As it is with many persons today, so it was with Thomas Jefferson; he did not necessarily practice what he preached. Thus, he owned slaves at the time he wrote the Declaration that “all men are created equal” and had slaves until the time of his death 50 years later!

In what sense are men and women created equal? As discussed in the earlier articles, people are quite obviously different and cannot on earth be made equal in many important respects, as became clear, for example, in the “Parable of the Egalitarian King”. For a start, let us consider the point at which a human being is created. A little reflection should convince us that the point of creation cannot be at birth or in the womb of a pregnant woman. This is because we know that there are already many differences among babies before and at birth. Some babies, indeed, may already in the womb carry significant physical and mental defects and blemishes, which make them unequal to other babies. This should also suggest to us that what is created is most unlikely to be the physical body. The reason is that the physical body could not have been created equal for every man and woman, since babies are, before and at birth, so obviously unequal. After many years of extensive research and reflection, I have come to the conclusion that it is only through new spiritual knowledge that we can come to a clear understanding and genuine conviction of the saying that “all men and women are created equal”. I have been fortunate to come across such knowledge in the unique and comprehensive knowledge of Creation entitled “In the Light of Truth”, The Grail Message. I will now proceed to explain how the saying should be understood, drawing upon my understanding of The Grail Message.

All men and women on earth started as unconscious spirit-germs (or spirit seeds) in the lowest part of the Spiritual Realm (which may also be called Paradise). Because of their state of unconsciousness and immaturity, the spirit-germs could not be active members of the community of Paradise although they carried within them a strong desire to do so. The urge to become conscious and to mature causes the spirit-germs to descend into the World of Matter (which includes our earth). On successful completion of the process, they return to Paradise as self-conscious mature spirits able to partake eternally in the activities of the Spiritual Realm. This process is very much like what we observe on earth. We know that if crop seeds are to develop their potentials as required on a farm, they have to be planted into the soil, where they germinate and from which they emerge, grow, and mature into useful crops. This is the case with maize, soybean, rice, wheat, etc. In an analogous manner, the World of Matter is like the soil into which the human spirit-germ (or spirit seed) is “planted” or incarnates. Through its various experiences on earth, the spirit seed is supposed to develop its potentials and to become a mature and self-conscious human spirit. It would then ascend progressively through the intervening parts of Creation into Paradise, where it would, because of the maturity it has attained, be able to participate in the activities of Paradise. By spirit, we mean the real core, the essence, of the human being; the physical body is simply the outermost cloak which the spirit needs to wear to be able to experience on earth. It has other cloaks besides the physical body and the term soul describes the human spirit after it has shed its physical body but is still in possession of some other cloaks.

It can be said that it is the spirit-germs or spirit seeds that are created. These created spirit-germs have the same talents, the same potentials, lying dormant in them and awaiting development during their journey through the various sections of the World of Matter (some of which are non-physical). Therefore, it is correct to say that human beings at their point of origin, at the point of their creation in the Spiritual Realm, were equal on account of their equal potentials and endowments. On their separate journeys through the different planes of the World of Matter the spirit seeds develop into self-conscious spirits which are able to exercise their Free Will. Through the exercise of their Free Will, they undergo different experiences and acquire different habits. In the process, they develop their talents to differing extents. Moreover, they do not all develop the same talents. Only those human spirits who succeed in activating and developing the talents inherent in them to a certain minimum level, and who use the talents aright can return to the Spiritual Realm as self-conscious and mature spirits. And all the human spirits that succeed in returning to the Spiritual Realm or Paradise may be considered equal in the sense of having attained the "crown of life" —- the possibility of self-conscious, eternal life. All such are pure, self-conscious spirits equally able to swing completely in the Will of God and may, therefore, claim equality. They are equal before God.

It must be emphasized that only those human spirits which have not soiled their own cloaks by wrong and evil deeds, bad and evil thoughts, wrong desires, propensities, and evil aspirations can ascend into the Spiritual Realm and thereby stand “before God”. It is important to understand aright the expression “Before God”. The human being can be said to be “before God” only when as a human spirit it arrives in the Spiritual Realm, in Paradise. The Spiritual Realm is the closest distance to God that human spirits can get; no human spirit can stand literally before God or see Him. The human spirit is only a creature in Creation and has a definite limit, which it is impossible for him to cross. Beyond the set limit, it would lose consciousness and become “vaporized”. Furthermore, the phrase “equal before God” should not be interpreted in this context as “equal from God’s standpoint” or “equal from the point of view of God”. On earth, human spirits in their physical cloaks are at different stages of maturity, and these are reflected in their actions and behaviors, words, and thinking. Consequently, the various cloaks of their spirits are soiled to different degrees. Since God knows completely these differences in maturity and the different extents to which human spirits have soiled their own cloaks, it can in fact be correctly said that “from God’s standpoint” human beings on earth are not equal.

On earth, which is neither the beginning nor the end of the journey of the human spirit, human beings have developed different talents and to different extents as well as different propensities and tendencies. What potentials each has developed and to what degree depend on the totality of the past experiences of each individual spirit, and these in turn depend on the manner in which each has exercised its Free Will. The pertinent experiences are not only those of the present earth-life, but include those of previous earth-lives (past incarnations) as well as those of the periods spent in the Beyond between earthly incarnations. Thus, human beings on earth are not equal; they are at different stages of inner maturity and they have different abilities.

Moreover, they carry different burdens of karma. The unequal states of inner maturity show in abilities, in disposition and character, and in people's volition and values.

Not all the spirit-germs which leave the Spiritual Realm in search of development succeed in returning there as mature self-conscious spirits. Those which remain immature, or have retrogressed after a period of development, cannot be considered the equals of those that are mature and are progressing rapidly on their return journey to Paradise. To summarize, it is true that all men are created equal. However, the act of creation did not take place on earth but in the Spiritual Realm. As spirit-germs, they were equal. By the time human spirits find themselves on earth, differences have arisen on account of the different degrees of progress they have made in their development from unconscious spirit-germs to self-conscious mature spirits. Some have developed their talents to a great extent, others only to a little extent. All those which succeed in returning to Paradise will again be equal. In the meantime, each of us must let love and compassion (which are natural attributes of the unsoiled human spirit) flower in us. As love and compassion awaken within us, envy, greed, and the feeling of superiority over others would automatically drop away, thus reducing our burden of weaknesses and sins. Then we would be able objectively and fruitfully to think and talk about equality and inequality. Then we would begin to understand the overriding and urgent necessity to strive for nobility in everything and to keep our thoughts pure. And by so doing, we will be able to return to our real home in the Spiritual Realm, which is the true goal of human existence, and where all are equal before God.

Stephen Lampe