The Two Scripts
The idea of predestination is another belief on which Course students are divided. Some believe that every event and movement in life is already determined and others do not. The question then is why this split has occurred and what is the real teaching of the Course on the subject?
Predestination is a doctrine that has been around for many centuries and is usually associated with fundamentalist religion. The idea is that God knows everything so this would include every step you take and thought you think in life before it happens.
This is a frustrating doctrine for many as they think it robs them of free will. Why try if there is nothing you can do to change your destiny?
The question then is where do some students get the idea that every happening in life in this world is predetermined?
Actually, you can’t blame them if they focus on certain references to the exclusion of others. Here is one that makes them think life events are all predetermined:
“The time is set already. It appears to be quite arbitrary. Yet there is no step along the road that anyone takes but by chance. It has already been taken by him, although he has not yet embarked on it. For time but seems to go in one direction. We but undertake a journey that is over. Yet it seems to have a future still unknown to us. Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic. Yet there is a plan behind appearances that does not change. The script is written. When experience will come to end your doubting has been set. For we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by.” W-pI.158.3-4
And here is another passage that seems to support the idea:
“What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see His loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, He led you gently to eternal life. … Without defenses, you become a light which Heaven gratefully acknowledges to be its own. And it will lead you on in ways appointed for your happiness according to the ancient plan, begun when time was born.” W-pI.135.18&20
From these and other passages many students have come to a conclusion that goes something like this:
The separation along with this world has already come and gone. We are not really here, but in reality are living comfortably with God in heaven. Instead, we are just under the illusion we are here. When it says “the script is written” it means that everything has already happened and we are just reliving it here. We are either like an audience watching a film that has already been made or actors in it. The whole movie has already been created and we have no control over the next frame that will be played. We seem to have free will like the characters in the film, but, like those characters, the script is set and the next sequence is written in stone, impossible to change. We are not really here but are mere actors reading our scripts.
They believe that all events in life “are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good.” as noted in the quote. Many thus figure that God wrote the script and we are following it line by line until we awaken in heaven.
There are quite a number of flaws in this belief which is out of harmony with numerous teachings in ACIM. To see them we have to look at the whole picture instead of just a part.
The first thing to understand is that there are two scripts. One is orchestrated by the Holy Spirit in connection with the Father and the other is written by ourselves, or the ego.
The above quote does not make it clear which script it is referring to, but does include a hint. Here it is again: “Yet there is a plan behind appearances that does not change. The script is written.”
A plan “that does not change” indicates it is referring to eternal things or the script written by the Holy Spirit.
Here is clear statement that there is a script written with God’s approval:
“We merely take the part assigned long since, and fully recognized as perfectly fulfilled by Him Who wrote salvation’s script in His Creator’s Name, and in the Name of His Creator’s Son.” W-pI.169.9
When we then follow the script, we follow higher will through the Holy Spirit as noted here:
“When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do.” T-14.IV.6
The script of the Holy Spirit “are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge.” T-18.V.1
Then there is another script written by your ego self:
“Fear is a judgment never justified. Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly. … Your dark dreams are but the senseless, isolated scripts you write in sleep.” T-30.VII.3&6.
“You add an element into the script you write for every minute in the day, and all that happens now means something else. You take away another element, and every meaning shifts accordingly. What do your scripts reflect except your plans for what the day should be? And thus you judge disaster and success, advance, retreat, and gain and loss.” T-30.VII.1-2
So then, we have two scripts with a big difference. The script of the Holy Spirit is known, does not change and the end is sure. The Son will awaken and the fearful dream will be gone. There is a script to follow that will take us back home. We could agree here that the steps to awaken are preplanned, for the only thing subject to our will is the time we take to make the Journey. After all ACIM is a “required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary.” T-in.1
So that which is preplanned or predestined are the steps presented in A Course in Miracles. It is only a matter of time before each of us follows the same steps that will take us back home. That is the script that is written with God’s approval and it works as follows:
“Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you.” T-20.IV.8
The Course definitely tells us that God knows our true self and guides us without error when we yield to the Holy Spirit:
“Say to the Holy Spirit only, “Decide for me,” and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible. “ T-14.III.16
On the other hand, the script of the ego is changeable and unpredictable. Unlike the unchangeable script revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, the ego’s script, written in this dream state, reveals that “all that happens now means something else. You take away another element, and every meaning shifts accordingly.” T-30.VII.1-2
Our ego script is so bad that God ignores it:
“It is not God you have imprisoned in your plan to lose your Self. He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will.” W-pI.166.10
So then God not only doesn’t write a predestined script concerning our mundane dream life that we plan and write a script for, but “He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will.” After all, why would God write a script for something He sees as not even happening?
We are told to “value no plan of the ego before the plan of God. For you leave empty your place in His plan, which you must fill if you would join with me, by your decision to join in any plan but His.” T-15.IV.3
The idea that God would write a script for us covering every boring thing that occurs in this world runs contrary to the Course teaching that God did not create the dream world and does not even pay attention to it:
“Is it not strange that you believe to think you made the world you see is arrogance? God made it not. Of this you can be sure. What can He know of the ephemeral, the sinful and the guilty, the afraid, the suffering and lonely, and the mind that lives within a body that must die? You but accuse Him of insanity, to think He made a world where such things seem to have reality. He is not mad. Yet only madness makes a world like this.” W-pI.152.6
Yes “What can He know of the ephemeral” or what can He know about any scripts that involve the details of the dream for the Course speaks of “God Himself, to Whom all conflict, triumph and attack of any kind are all unknown.” T-23.I.4
The script from God is written to awaken us, but has nothing to do with the ingredients of the dream itself. After all, from God’s view this world never even happened:
“The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.” M-2.2
“Everything you made has never been, and is invisible because the Holy Spirit does not see it.” T-12.VIII.6
This world does seem real to us but God and the Holy Spirit do not even “see it.” Instead, the Holy Spirit seeks to guide us with a divine script that will lead to our awakening, and the script that deals with true reality contains a predetermined plan that has nothing to do with ordinary events in our illusion the ego made.
If it were true that every act of our life here was predetermined, then this would mean that we have no free will. If the supposed script says you are going to rise at 8 AM then there is no way you will be able to choose to sleep another 15 minutes. You have to get up at eight on the nose.
To the contrary, the Course makes it clear that we have free will.
“Free will is the attribute of the mind.” UR T(30) -30 T 1 B 37f
“Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at any time you choose, and only then will you realize that it was always there.” M-2.3.
“the ego is the denial of free will. It is never God Who coerces you, because He shares His Will with you.” T-8.II.3
The Son’s “free will was made for his own joy in creating the perfect.” T 2 A 12
Because we were created free like the Father, we had free will in heaven as well as here on earth. We are told that we mainly used our free will in heaven to create, as regular decisions were obvious because we all saw the truth clearly. When the right path is clearly seen then the decision becomes automatic, almost as if there is no decision.
However, there was the time that the Son came up with the “mad idea” that involved creating and entering a world of illusion and limitation. Even though this ran contrary to the will of the Father, and the Father could have prevented it, He did not because of free will.
Then, when the Son entered this world of separation and limitation, he found he had many choices to make because the truth was not obvious any more. Instead of following a predictable frame-by-frame script, he has found himself in a world of uncertainty where the exact future is not predictable. Students know for sure that we will one day awaken from the dream, but cannot exactly predict what will come next in the dream. The Course verifies this:
“The plans you make for safety all are laid within the future, where you cannot plan. No purpose has been given it as yet, and what will happen has as yet no cause. Who can predict effects without a cause?” T-26.VIII.5
So the future within the dream is something we “cannot plan.” The reason for this is that we cannot “predict effects without a cause.”
The Course tells us that this world is a mere effect and can create no real cause. Cause comes from the eternal world. This means that events in this world with no real cause behind them cannot be accurately predicted.
“This world is causeless, as is every dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No plans are possible, and no design exists that could be found and understood.” T-28.II.6
“Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you made can always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all.” T-5.V.6
“everything in time can change with time.” T-22.II.3
We have free will within the unpredictable dream, but the ultimate choice lies before us:
“It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognized. Rest in the Holy Spirit, and allow His gentle dreams to take the place of those you dreamed in terror and in fear of death.” T-27.VII.14
“Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly.” W-pI.132.5
The Course tells us that only a fearful and unpredictable script written by the ego is available for this world. For a reliable and predictable script, we must look beyond this world to the Holy Spirit. When we decide to follow His promptings then we are following a real script.
The Course tells us that neither God, the Son in his right mind or the Holy Spirit would concern themselves with a script dealing with the events of this world because such events are not recognized as real or even happening in reality. They only deal with reality or that which leads to it.
Think of this for a moment. If there were an accurate script, not written by the fallible ego, but by Divine Will, would not someone be able to read it? I have followed those who claim to see the future for numerous decades and haven’t found one yet that made a really good exact prediction that came true. I’d compare the accuracy of these various prophets to a stopped clock which is right twice a day, and this is being generous.
If there is some exact script written for this world, then someone should be able to produce a paragraph or two from next month’s newspaper, produce a winning lottery number or the exact path of the next hurricane. The fact is no one can do this because the ego writes the script for this world and the ego is far from perfect. The ego would like us to think it has the future under its control but alas, it does not.
“Fantasies change reality. That is their purpose. They cannot do so in reality, but they can do so in the mind that would have reality be different.” T-17.I.1
Based on cycles and past history we can roughly predict some things, but the ability to predict exact frames from the ego’s erratic script eludes us.
Wise students will leave the ego’s script behind and seek that of the Holy Spirit which provides sure and predetermined steps to lead us back home.
Copyright by J J Dewey
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