Yeshua speaking to Nakdimon about “spiritual rebirth from above” was talking about true radical change, because more of the same – using the power of the state, of religion, of fear and manipulation and control to compel outer conformity, whether by actual law or social pressure, cannot produce true readiness and willingness, let alone ability, to enter the Kingdom of the Creator.
Nakdimon was one of the elite. He, however, did not disdain or outright reject Yeshua. His opening remark, “Rabbi, we know it is from God that you have come as a teacher; for no one can do these miracles you perform unless God is with him,” shows that he had been pondering the contradiction in the elitist line of saying Yeshua was a sorcerer or a demonically controlled charlatan. By this point, the popular Galilean rabbi had a reputation and a following and his teaching was known and reported regularly to the Jerusalem Sanhedrin. It centered on the coming of the Kingdom of God.
What if we just accept that we cannot overcome this “heart of darkness” we find thrusting itself forward? But the more we let it have its way, the easier evil becomes, and the less it bothers us as we go along giving in to it. If that’s just the way we are, why not use it?
Everything begins with a Creator. If we deny this essential starting point, we have already thrown away the road map for the journey. After that, we wander “lost” in an uncharted wilderness, having to discover everything for ourselves and to find our own meaning for everything. We become subject to all kinds of fancies and whims about “who, what, where, when, why, and how”. We create all our own answers to all the basic questions of existence. And we are tremendously proud that we can do this and have done it, like fully matured and emancipated adults.
The nitty-gritty of our struggle with the evil within is not resolved by abstract reasoning. It is faced every day in our decisions about how to treat family members, friends and acquaintances, business and work colleagues, schoolmates, strangers, and our planet. Most of these decisions are made casually, on automatic pilot so to speak. They are made in accordance with an (however unconsciously) internalized set of principles and criteria we have imbibed from our family of birth, our more extended community as we grow and mature, and the cultural influences we encounter and move in and through along our road to maturity.
If the old priesthoods and shamans were reprehensible in their manipulation of the poor masses they bamboozled, we are even more guilty because our manipulation and control is more occult, for we pretend to be enlightened and to no longer need to use such deception as we practice it even more powerfully via our technological prowess.
Socrates still makes people uncomfortable. The Oracle of Delphi named him the wisest man in the world. Asked why, Socrates replied that the only way that made any sense was because he understood that he really knew nothing. Knowing how little we know is the first step towards wisdom because it is the first step to teachability, correctability, and taking responsibility for finding out what we don’t know but pretend or delude ourselves that we do.
As long as the human race lives, we will not just “lie down and die” and meekly submit to “the inevitable”. We are not made that way. We are made to rise, to overcome, to create, to renew, to enhance. Our innermost soul tells us this even in the midst of the worst. Most often, our soul tells us without words, but nonetheless with great clarity through our drive to live, to repair, to make better.
Evil has a personal face, all the time. A natural process is not “evil” of itself, but can evil effects on the living creatures sometimes caught in its path. Since we do not control these processes, we call them “acts of God”.
But the Creator is not “evil” for creating a cosmos in which its elements and processes may bring pain and suffering on the beings inhabiting it. Those beings are also part of that cosmos, but the difference is that some of them are aware of how things proceed, what kinds of effects some actions can produce – both on themselves and on other creatures, and even on the non-living part of the cosmos. That is where the moral element enters.
Humans are creatures which bridge the physical and non-physical sides of reality. Unfortunately for we Westerners (and, via our invasion of every other culture, everyone else now too), we have cultivated and inculcated a way of seeing (or, more accurately, not seeing) without reference to the unseen. In other words, we have deliberately forsaken Insight, the very human and precious ability to See In. Thus, we have crippled our humanity.