Manual for Teachers 27. What is Death?
1. Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path – all this is taken as the Will of God. And who asks if a benign Creator wills this?
2. In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would be impossible to think of Him as loving. For who has decreed that all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair, can but be feared. He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps even today. Or even if he waits, the ending is still certain. Who loves such a god knows not of love, because he has denied that life is real. Death has become life’s symbol. His world is now a battleground, where contradiction reigns and opposites make endless war. Certainly, where there is death, true peace is impossible!
3. Death is the symbol of the fear of God. His Love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held up to obscure the sun. The grimness of the symbol of death is enough to show it cannot coexist with God. It holds an image of the Son of God in which he is “laid to rest” in devastations’s arms, where worms wait to greet him and will last yet a little while by his destruction. Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly. And so do all things live because of death. Devouring is nature’s “law of life.” Therefore, God must be insane, and fear alone is real.
4. The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. There is either a god of fear or One of Love. The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more. Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God. God did not make death because God did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.
5. The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But then God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident. Death is indeed the death of God, if He is Love. And now His Own creation must stand in fear of Him. He is not Father, but destroyer. He is not Creator, but avenger. Terrible are His Thoughts and fearful is His image. To look on His creation is to die.
Yet, God did not create the body, therefore the body is not real. What is not real cannot die, but will simply be laid aside when it is no longer needed. Where is the idea of death now?
6. “And the last to be overcome will be death.” Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions. And in death are all illusions born. What can be born of death and still have life? But what is born of God and still can die? The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love is real are but mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless. God IS, and in Him all created things must be eternal. Do you see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love? We all know these two contrasting ideas cannot both be the truth.
7. Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part. Do not believe in cruelty, or illness, nor let attack conceal the truth from you. What seems to die has simply been misperceived and carried to illusion. Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be carried back to the truth. Be steadfast only in this; do not be deceived by the “reality” of any changing form. Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution.
And what is the end of death? Nothing but this: the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. And the purely innocent do not die. Nothing but this is true. But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this either.
Question: What will you see without the fear of death? What will you feel and think if death holds no attraction for you? Very simply, you will remember your Father. The Creator of life, the Source of everything that lives, the Father of the universe and of the universe of universes, and of everything that lies even beyond them you will remember. And as this memory rises in your mind, peace must still surmount one final obstacle, after which salvation is complete, and the Son of God is entirely restored to sanity. For once you are sane, your illusory world based on fear does end. (ACIM Text, Chapter 19)
The final obstacle to peace is the fear of God. Peace will lightly brush this veil of darkness aside and run to meet Him, and to join with Him at last. This veil fades in the blazing light beyond it when the fear of death is gone. Fear yields to Love and the fear is gone. Love has called and you have answered. You Love Him.
Look upon Love and you will nevermore believe that you are at the mercy of things beyond you, forces you cannot control, and thoughts that come to you against your will. Even the thought of death cannot stand against your will for Love. For what attracts you from beyond the veil of the fear of God is also deep within you, unseparated from it and completely one forever and always and eternally. This is the place everyone must come to when he is ready.
Note: Brother, you need forgiveness of your brother, for you will share in madness or in Heaven together. And you and he will raise your eyes to Love together, or not at all. Will you hold his choices against him, or will you accept his gift to you? Is this giver of salvation your friend or enemy? Choose which he is, remembering that you will receive of him according to your choice. He has in him the power to forgive you as you have for him. Neither can give it to himself alone. To give it, is to receive it. Let him be what he IS. Behold your Friend, The Christ Who stands beside you. In his redemption lies your own. Free your brother here and now as Jesus freed you. Do not look upon him with condemnation of any kind. As you look upon him, you look upon yourself. Free him; free yourself. Be ye both free in the Loving Arms of God. THAT is “the better way.”
“There is no death. The Son of God is free.”
MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
27. WHAT IS DEATH?
1. Death is the central dream from which illusions stem. Yet is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? Is it not madness to think of life as having an opposite, especially when “eternal life” is understood as the Will of God?
2. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. It is considered “the way of nature,” and is not to be raised to question. Those who question its authenticity are looked at as “crazy” and the idea is laid aside as the ravings of a lunatic.
3. And so death is to be taken as the Will of God? And no one is to ask if a benign Creator wills this?
4. And God is feared because of this. How could a loving God have ordained death as the end of something as beautiful as life? And if you do not please Him, is your life in jeopardy that much sooner? And where there is death, is peace even possible? Does the idea of death not belie even the Thought of God?
5. Even the curious belief that there is a part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there can be no life. Death denies life. Spirit cannot go forward as the body “dies.” That is separation, not oneness, and is the antithesis of what the Course teaches.
6. But if there is reality in life, then death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. Opposites cannot both be true.
7. “And the last to be overcome will be death.” Of course, if illusions stem from death, then if there is no death, then perhaps there are no illusions? Then, all dreams of fear, all illusions must end with the end of the dream of death.
8. Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part. What seems to die has merely been misperceived and carried to an illusion of death. Now let the illusion be carried back to truth. Let not changing forms delude you or confuse you. All “forms” on this earth must change as this world of form is not real. Only what is true and real stays the same. If something “dies,” then it never was alive in the first place. Life, which is created by God, is ETERNAL.
9. Remember this: Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution. So what is the end of death? Nothing but this: the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever, innocence lasts forever, and neither sin nor death is real. Remember nothing but this.
Notes: Without the “distraction of death,” you will remember your Father.
The final obstacle to peace is the fear of God. Fear yields to Love.
Look upon the innocence of Love which is One forever.
Forgive your brother who is one with you.
There is no death; the Son of God is free.