Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On the Apostle Paul: A Friend to the Baha'is

Ned of The Masterkey has kindly given me permission to re-post from his email today. -gw

Saint Paul
Orient byzantin
VIe-début VIIe siècle.
Musée National du Moyen-Âge (Cluny), Cl. 13074
Uploaded on March 26, 2006 by Antiquité Tardive on flickr
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

The Apostle Paul ... is a very important topic and needs exploration and dialog. Paul is greatly misunderstood in today's Christian world; the early Christians that knew him well (such as the Valentinians from Alexandria tradition -- Valentinus, Ptolemy, Heracleon, Basilides, and others) were all swept aside as orthodoxy firmed its grip with dogmas in the 130's and thereafter. They understood Paul in his spiritual, non-literal sense, and traced their lineage through Theudas, who was with Paul. We Baha'is could have tremendous dialog with Christians once we develop a better understanding of Paul.

His messages and thought-streams strongly converge on the Baha'i point of view. One example is Abdu'l-Baha's description of the three natures of man (animal, human, divine; please see Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 465) which Paul echoes in his description of the sarkic (of the flesh-animal), psychic (soul-human), and pneumatic (spirit-divine). It is basically a description of the stages of the resurrection or planes that I discussed in my MasterKey blog on spiritual geography. That posting ends with a discussion of Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 10.

I have a large file of notes and ruminations on Paul and Baha'i and would like to share them (for purposes of exchange of ideas, primarily) with other interested Baha'is. Perhaps a "Paul Project" would be forthcoming. I agree completely with Joel Smith's sentiments. Joel once wrote that Paul is a friend to the Baha'is. But we need more synthesis of ideas and an exchange to move it forward.

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