The World, the Ego and the Holy Spirit

The world began when "a tiny, mad idea" (T-27.VIII) crept into the mind of God's Son: 'What if something could exist apart from God?' In that moment, the world was made as a place where we could hide from our Creator. The ego came into being. The ego is our mistaken belief that we are still separate from God and from each other.

Thus, the world reflects what is within us: the two emotions of love and fear, the latter of which often manifests itself as hatred and attack. Nature shows us intricate designs which inspire us with their loveliness, as well as scenes of unspeakable cruelty and waste of life. The same sun which makes the drops of dew on a spider's web sparkle like diamonds causes relentless droughts leading to the deaths of millions.

Therefore, A Course in Miracles diverts sharply from the Christian thinking that God created the world. What started with the one thought of separation became more complex and divided in time. We can see that in our society, in which life appears to become more complicated with every new development and scientific discovery. However, there is only one error at the root of all this, and what we see are merely different forms of that single, original mistake. As the Course explains:

"You ... made but one substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was. That one error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time, and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it." (T-18.I.4:1-6)

We would have little cause for hope if we relied upon our ego to sort out all the problems which we encounter. The ego's existence is maintained by our belief that this world of separation is real, and will not present us with a solution that will ensure its fading away. Therefore, at the same time that the separation occurred, God gave us His answer: the Holy Spirit.

Much of the material in the Course is focused on showing us the insanity of the ego, contrasted with the love of the Holy Spirit. The Course makes it clear that in every moment, we choose between the two. And this choice is literally one between hell and Heaven.

The Course considers itself a very practical path. To understand this comment and relate it to the choice between the ego and the Holy Spirit, we first need to look at the concept of projection, then at forgiveness, and finally at what a miracle is.