jesus as the author of the course
Question #110: It was in this site that I read about "Jesus" saying or teaching this or that in the A Course in Miracles for the first time. Is his name mentioned in the Course at any point and if not, how did you start using his name that otherwise would be "the Christic voice," "the Christ," or something like that?
Answer: Jesus is mentioned in the Course; in the Manual for Teachers (M.23) and the Clarification of Terms (C.5). These more lengthy passages may completely answer your question. Also, in the Text there are several first person passages (notably T.1.II.3,4) which refer to Jesus, although his name is not mentioned. Helen Schucman knew the inner voice she heard was that of Jesus, just as we know the voice of a family member on the phone without asking: "Helen incidentally was well aware…that the Voice belonged to Jesus…" (Absence from Felicity, Kenneth Wapnick, p. 179).
It is important to remember, however, that in the dream Jesus is a symbol for one who has fully identified with the Christ, and that this identity is not exclusive to Jesus. On the other hand, the term Christ, as used in the Course, refers to the "totality of the Sonship" as defined in the Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick. Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, remains at one with the Father in Heaven, and is not present in the dream. It would, therefore, not be appropriate to refer to Christ as the messenger or "voice" of the Course.
Belief that Jesus is the voice who speaks in A Course in Miracles is not necessary to our work with it. Nor is it necessary to develop a relationship with him, but it is helpful. As a symbol in our dream, Jesus is with us to teach us to do as he did in accepting the Atonement: "Jesus has led the way…This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? Certainly there are. Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself?…Jesus has come to answer yours. In him you find God's Answer. Do you, then, teach with him, for he is with you; he is always here" (M.23.5:1,6:1,2,3,4,6,7,8). The Course is a very loving message that comes to us from the memory of God’s love reflected in the mind symbolized in the "person" of Jesus. The form this love takes is not important, it is only important that we hear the message and accept the love. Hearing Jesus speak the words of the Course to you as you study is a very helpful way, not only to relate to Jesus, but to accept the love the Course reflects.
Question #156: I am very new to A Course in Miracles, and have read the introduction several times in hopes of having this question answered: Who is authoring the book? Is it the Voice, the Holy Spirit, Christ? Helen states that it is the "Voice" who dictates the text. How is the Voice different from God if it's God's Voice? I'm just having problems when the text switches to first person. Mentally, whom do I address? As I'm reading and feeling inspired, my comprehension or absorption of what is being read gets detoured by my mind asking, very loudly, "Who is this?"
Answer: Helen Schucman identified the "voice" she heard as that of Jesus. There was no doubt in her mind about this as she scribed the Course. (See Question #110) Therefore, the first person statements in the Course do refer to Jesus. The voice is not the voice of God, however. Neither does Jesus state that he is speaking for God. According to the Course, God does not speak words to us in the dream, nor does He "hear our prayers." The "voice" is different from God because it is part of the dream. It is a reflection of truth, but it is not truth. As so clearly stated in the in the workbook "God is" (W.169.5:4), and in His Being knows only our truth, which is that we are His one Son, who never left Heaven.
The answer to your question lies in understanding the Course’s use of symbols. These symbols include "persons" such as Jesus, the Holy Spirit, as well as images, words, and the Course itself. All are symbols for that part of the mind of the Sonship that remembers God. They reflect the truth of who we are, and in somewhat different ways, they are the reminders of our truth, and the guides who will help us return to God. Specifically, the Course refers to the Holy Spirit as the "Voice for God," meaning -- the Voice that speaks for God, and as "God’s Voice." Clearly this is a metaphor, since God does not have a voice and, as noted earlier, does not speak to us in the dream. When the Course invites us to "ask" -- whether Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or God -- it is actually inviting us to turn to our own right mind for guidance. It uses symbols and metaphors, because we are so out of touch with the fact that we have a mind. In its wisdom, the Course has used all its symbols carefully and purposefully. It meets us on our level, using dualistic language for a teaching that reflects nondualism. It seems to imply that God is a person Who hears our prayers, answers us, even "weeps," yearning for our return. These are all metaphors used to help us understand that we are loved, not condemned for our seeming sin, as the ego would tell us. You may use whichever is most helpful for you.
It is helpful for us to use these images and symbols until we learn that we do indeed have a right mind, and can access it directly. By then we probably will have no need for any symbol and no need to "ask." We will have accepted the truth about ourselves as spirits, not bodies; innocent, not guilty. The right-minded loving response to any situation will flow through us. It is important, however, to be aware of any resistance, as apparently you have been in your study so far. Our goal in studying and practicing the Course is to learn that we do have a mind, that we do have a choice, that there is another way of looking at any situation in the dream, that our way is based on the belief that separation is real, and that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are here to teach us that there is no separation. Again, it does not matter to whom we address our asking, or what mental image we use. The important thing is that we ask, and not rely on our usual ego interpretation.
Question #479: Throughout A Course in Miracles, Jesus speaks to us in the first person. Yet in the clarification of terms, Jesus is spoken of in the third person. Who is the party speaking about Jesus?
Answer: This is merely a stylistic factor that has no bearing on the content of the teaching -- it occurs in the manual as well (M.23). It is not actually a second voice. Helen, the scribe, heard only one Voice throughout the dictation. But as the Course itself says, "Helpers are given you in many forms, although upon the altar they are one. Beyond each one there is a Thought of God, and this will never change. But they have names which differ for a time, for time needs symbols, being itself unreal" (C.5.1:3,4,5).
Question #940: I just started reading and studying A Course in Miracles and my question is: Do I understand correctly that Jesus dictated the book? I've had problems accepting Jesus, for the way I have been taught, and the importance given to the fact of his crucifixion to free us from all our sins. It just didn't sound right to me. Now I'm baffled watching me accept this wonderful opportunity to join this brother offering me a hand so openly to walk the walk to God.
Answer: Yes and no. In Kenneth Wapnick's book, “Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles,” he relates that the voice Helen heard dictate the Course identified itself as Jesus. Thus, Helen's experience in form was that she heard Jesus' voice dictating the Course. Like all of us, Helen had a split mind, part of which identified with the ego (wrong mind), while the other part held the shinning light of the memory of God's love (right mind). The nature of a split mind is such that one part of the mind dissociates from the other. So when the mind chooses to identify with the ego, it cannot recognize the right mind as part of itself.
It was too fearful for Helen, as it is for most of us, to identify fully with the right mind, shared by all the Sonship, which is the source of the Course's loving message of forgiveness. However, she was able to receive the message as long as she perceived its source as the symbolic figure of Jesus, who had been an important figure for her throughout her life. He is also a significant figure for the western world, Christian and non-Christian alike, and since one of the goals of the Course is to correct the distorted teachings of traditional Christianity, it is important that Jesus be the identified source of the Course. Although “Some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world” (C.5.5:7) and we must learn to forgive him our illusions of him (C.5.5:8) , his authority as “spokesperson” of the Course's loving message of forgiveness is readily recognized.
The authorship of the Course, therefore, can be seen as trinitarian: Helen's right mind, the right mind of the Sonship, and Jesus as the symbolic figure representing both. Its content, that the world is an illusion, the separation never happened, and God's innocent Son is at home with Him in Heaven, is beyond any form including the Course itself. Helen Schucman and William Thetford's joint decision to find a better way to relate to each other and to their colleagues reflected their choice to accept the content of the right mind. This decision found expression in the form of the Course.
Belief in the crucifixion of the historical Jesus is not a requirement for the study of the Course. In fact, the traditional Christian teaching that Jesus' crucifixion atoned for Adam and Eve's sin and reopened the gates of Heaven for everyone is presented in the Course as one of Christianity's mistaken beliefs in need of correction. Every basic principle of the Course refutes the teaching that Jesus died for our sins; e.g., there is no sin (T.26.VII.10:5) , no guilt (T.14.V.1:12) , no world (W.pI.132.6:2) , no death (T.3.VII.5:11) , no separation (T.8.V.2:8) . Jesus is not the savior of the world; rather, salvation is accepted when the mind that mistakenly chose to identify with the ego (wrong mind), chooses instead to identify with the memory of God's love (right mind), symbolized by the Holy Spirit and Jesus. Helen's fear of identifying fully with her right mind is everyone's fear. Thus, while we remain dissociated from our true selves, we need a symbolic figure such as Jesus, who dictates the Course and whose hand we hold in the process of learning we are one with him. Jesus himself encourages us to do so: “If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy” (W.pI.70.9:3,4). Remembering that Jesus is the name we give to one who represents the right mind of the Sonship, and comes to us from outside the dream in a form that we can relate to, will help keep him real to you without being baffled.
Question #1096(iii): If Jesus is really an illusion of ours, then who spoke to Helen?
Answer: This intriguing and important question about Helen and Jesus is discussed in depth in Kenneth's Absence from Felicity, Chapter 17, “Helen and Jesus: The Illusion and the Reality.” The importance of this theme led Kenneth to present two workshops that discuss it from different points of view. (See our publications: “Jesus: Symbol and Reality” and “Jesus: Fantasy or Truth?.”) We mention this only so that you will realize that your question deserves an answer that the limited space of this forum does not allow. Briefly, however. . . As long as you have the illusion that you are an individual, you will experience Jesus as an individual, too. The very fact that you perceive yourself as an individual (as we all perceive ourselves) means that you have made a decision to be apart from perfect Love. So if you decide to undo that separation, you will allow love back into your awareness, but only in a form that you can relate to as an individual, while you still think you are an individual. Jesus, thus, would be that form to you, as he was to Helen when she perceived herself as a separate individual. When you completely identify with your right mind, however, then your mind will not limit love to a specific form. In reality, love is always abstract and formless; it is a perfect Oneness that knows not of separation and individuality. In your right mind, you know that individuality is not real, and that you are not really an individual person. Your experience of love would change accordingly. In other words, as you undo the separation in your mind, you likewise undo your perception (misperception) of love as limited. In the end, which is really the beginning that never changed, there is only the perfect oneness of Love. In reality, thus, both Helen and Jesus were illusory. She had experiences on that level where she transcended both Helen and Jesus, which Kenneth relates in his book.
* The above is reproduced from the Foundation for A Course in Miracles' Question and Answer Service with the kind permission of Dr. Kenneth Wapnick and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles.