The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 1

There is a purpose and a plan in the Universe. The law of thought. Religions. The soul. Theories concerning the destiny of the soul.

THE Universe is guided according to a purpose and a plan. There is a simple law by which the purpose is accomplished and according to which the plan is carried out. That law is universal: it reaches all entities without exception. Gods and the weakest beings are equally powerless against it. It rules this visible world of change, and it affects the worlds and spheres beyond. At present it can be understood by man only as it affects human beings, though it is possible that its operations in animate nature may be seen. It affects human beings according to the responsibility which can be charged to them; and it determines their duty, measured by their responsibility.

This is the law: Every thing existing on the physical plane is an exteriorization of a thought, which must be balanced through the one who issued the thought, and in accordance with that one’s responsibility, at the conjunction of time, condition, and place.

This law of thought is destiny. It has aspects which have been expressed by such terms as kismet, nemesis, karma, fate, fortune, foreordination, predestination, Providence, the Will of God, the law of cause and effect, the law of causation, retribution, punishment and reward, hell and heaven. The law of thought includes all that is in these terms, but it means more than all of them; it means, essentially, that thinking is the basic factor in shaping human destiny.

The law of thought is present everywhere and rules everywhere; and is the law to which all other human laws are subservient. There is no deviation from, no exception to, this universal law of thought. It adjusts the mutually interdependent thoughts and plans and acts of the billions of men and women who have died and lived and who will continue to live and die on this earth. Happenings beyond number, some apparently accounted for, some apparently inexplicable, are marshalled to fit into the limiting framework of time and place and causation; facts innumerable, near and far, apposite and contradictory, related and unrelated, are worked into one whole harmonious pattern. It is only by the operation of this law that people exist together on the earth. Not only physical acts and their results are thus ordered; the invisible world in which thoughts originate is likewise adjusted. All this adjustment and universal harmony out of selfish discord is brought about by the action of universal forces operating under the law.

The mechanical part of the operation of this law in the physical world may not be apparent. Yet, every stone, every plant, every animal, every human, and every event has a place in the great machinery for the working out of the law of thought, as destiny; each performs a function in the machine, whether as a gear, a gauge, a pin, or a transmission. However insignificant a part a man may seem to play, he starts the machinery of the law when he starts to think; and by his thinking he contributes to its continued operation. The machinery of the law is nature.

Nature is a machine composed of the totality of unintelligent units; units which are conscious as their function only. The nature machine is a machine composed of laws, through the worlds; it is perpetuated and operated by intelligent and immortal Ones, complete Triune Selves, who administer the laws from their individual university machines through which as unintelligent nature units they have passed; and as intelligent units in the Realm of Permanence (Fig. II-G, H), they have qualified as Governors, in The Government of the world.

The university machines are perfect physical bodies composed of balanced nature units; all units are related in and organized into the four systems of the perfect body and are coordinated as one entire and perfect whole mechanism; each unit is conscious as its function only, and each function in the university machine is a law of nature through the worlds.

Only the phenomena of the machinery are seen; the nature machine itself is not seen by mortal eyes; neither are the forces which work it. The Intelligences and complete Triune Selves who direct the operation cannot be seen by the human. Hence come the many theories about the creation of the human world, and about the nature and powers of gods and the origin and nature and destiny of the human. Such theories are furnished by various systems of religion.

Religions center about a God or gods. These deities are credited with universal powers to account for the operation of universal forces. Gods and forces alike, however, are subject to the Intelligences and the complete Triune Selves, who rule this world according to the law of thought. It is due to the operation of this law as destiny that events occur on the physical plane in the harmonious manner which makes certain the continuance of the law’s operation so that the plan of the Universe may be carried out and its purpose accomplished.

Religions have been substitutes for what a knowledge of the law of thought should be, and for what it eventually will be to man, when the human is able to stand more Light. Among such substitutes is a belief in a God who is supposed to be all-wise, all-powerful, ever-present; but whose alleged actions are arbitrary and capricious and show jealousy, vindictiveness, and cruelty. Such religions have held the minds of men in bondage. In this bondage they have received fragmentary and distorted information about the law of thought; what they received was all they could stand at the time. In every age one of the Gods was represented as a ruler, and as the giver of a law of justice; but his own acts did not seem just. A solution of this difficulty was sometimes found in an after death adjustment in a heaven or a hell; at other times the matter was left open. As the human becomes more enlightened he will find in the clear and precise understanding of the law of thought that which will satisfy his sense and reason; and he will accordingly outgrow the need for belief in the doctrine, or of fear and faith in the decrees of a personal God.

The rationality of the law of thought is in marked contrast to the various contradictory or irrational teachings concerning the origin and nature and destiny of that which has been called the soul; and it should dissipate the general ignorance that has existed concerning the soul. An error is commonly made in believing that the soul is something above or superior to that which is conscious in the human. The fact is that the conscious self in the body is of the doer of the Triune Self and that the “soul” is merely the form of the breath-form or “living soul,” which still belongs to nature but which must be advanced beyond nature by the Triune Self. In that sense only is it correct to speak of the need of “saving one’s soul.”

Concerning the origin of the soul, there are two principal theories: one is that the soul is an emanation from the Supreme Being or One, as the source of all creatures and from whom all come into existence and into whom all return; the other theory is that the soul comes from a previous existence—either down from a superior state or up from a lower. There is another belief, current mainly in the West, that each soul lives but one life on earth and is a special, fresh creation furnished by God to every human body brought into the world by a man and a woman.

As to the destiny of the soul after death, the theories are chiefly these: that the soul is annihilated; that it returns to the essence from which it came; that it goes back to the God by whom it was created; that it goes immediately either to heaven or hell; that before going to its final destination it enters a purgatory; that it sleeps or rests until it is resurrected on the Day of Judgment when it is examined and sent forthwith to hell or to paradise. Then there is also the belief that the soul returns to earth for experience necessary to its progress. Of these, the belief in annihilation is favored among materialists, while the beliefs in resurrection and in heaven and hell are held by most religions, both of the East and the West.

The religions which teach of emanation and reincarnation include not only the worship of a godhead, but the doctrine of the improvement of the conscious self in the body and the corresponding improvement of the nature-matter with which the embodied self comes into contact. The religions which are based upon a personal God are primarily for the purpose of glorifying the God, the improvement of the embodied doer being secondary and acquired as a reward for worshipping that God. The nature of a religion and of its God or gods is indicated unequivocally by the requirements of the worship; and by the symbols, hymns, rites, ornaments, vestments, and edifices that are used in its practice.

No teaching has been generally accepted which states that the individual is solely responsible for whatever happens to him. This is due to the fact that a vague sentiment of fear, arising from religious teachings, affects all persons who share the notions of the majority of their contemporaries concerning the origin and nature, the purpose and destiny, of the human.