In the Bible, the Last Judgment is depicted as a fearful event in which God sorts out the ‘good’ souls from the ‘bad’ souls. It’s a concept everyone fears, even those who do not consider themselves religious. You may tell yourself intellectually that there probably is no God and therefore no Last Judgment, but in our gut we are all uncertain about what happens after we die, however much we attempt to push that out of awareness. In the ego’s thought system, fear of inevitable punishment is never far away.
How very different then is the picture of the Last Judgment that Jesus paints in A Course in Miracles! Certainly, the Last Judgment will come to pass, but only in the sense that it will literally be the last judgment… by the sleeping Son of God. As Jesus says fairly early in the text: “The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God. Actually it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help. It is a final healing… The Last Judgment might be called a process of right evaluation. It simply means that everyone will finally come to understand what is worthy [valuable] and what is not.” (T-2.VIII.3:1) This refers to the distinction between duality (i.e., time, space, and perception) and nonduality (wherein only God=Love exists). The Last Judgment heralds the Second Coming of the Son of God [back to nonduality], which means the end of the cosmos, the end of time and space, and the end of all illusions of separation. With the Last Judgment, the Son of God realizes that “…what was not true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all.” (T-31.I:1).
The Last Judgment by the Son of God is therefore a declaration of liberation from illusions. It is the acceptance that we have been mistaken about our tiny, mad idea of wanting to separate from our Creator, making up a cosmos of time and space in which we could fantasize about individual power. It brings to mind this oft-quoted passage from the text: “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it? Hallucinations disappear when they are recognized for what they are. This is the healing and the remedy.” (T-20.VIII.7:3). The Last Judgment means that The Son of God acknowledges that perception is only about illusion, and that the assumption that we will be happier without God was a painful mistake (though not a sin, for sin is impossible). Also, the Last Judgment includes the joyful realization that there is something much, much more desirable, which is the Son’s birthright: eternal peace at Home with His Creator.
Carefully studying what A Course in Miracles says about the Last Judgment should erase any remaining fear of the concept. Still, although we might accept this intellectually, as long as we still believe we live and work and breathe in time and space, we are not as yet prepared to actually manifest it. Jesus knows this, and comforts us: “…We are not prepared as yet to welcome [this] with joy. As long as any mind remains possessed of evil dreams, the thought of hell is real. God’s teachers have the goal of wakening the minds of those asleep, and seeing there the vision of Christ’s face to take the place of what they dream. The thought of murder is replaced with blessing. Judgment is laid by, and given Him Whose function judgment is [i.e., the Holy Spirit]. And in His Final Judgment is restored the truth about the Holy Son of God. […] And all he sought before to crucify are resurrected with him, by his side, as he prepares with them to meet his God.” (M-28.6)
The above passage, by the way, has been taken by many an ACIM student to mean that they should ‘spread the word’ and convert as many souls as possible to the Course’s message. This is what Kenneth Wapnick has termed “making the error real”. Why? Because such an urge means that you see time and space as very real, and that moreover things could turn out disastrous if no-one takes any action. This is a focus on externals which does not work, since the ‘problem’ is internal, i.e., in the mind. These well-meaning people might re-read chapter 12 in the Manual for teachers, which reminds us that the number of teachers needed to save the world is one — namely, you. As Ken Wapnick explains: “It is not that you get the word out; you accept the Word in.” After all, there is no-one out there; we are all integral part of the one Son of God. So if you, as sleeping Son of God, change your mind in the holy instant — outside of time — this suffices. Salvation has come.
Although theoretically you and I could do this in an instant, almost all of us will experience this is as a very slow learning process. This is largely because of the seeming enormity of the consequence of this choice: After all, without judgment, the world is without a cause. To be more precise, my body and my individuality are now without a cause. As Jesus says: “With this holy sight, perception gives a silent blessing and then disappears, its goal accomplished and its mission done. […] Without a cause, and now without a function in Christ’s sight, it merely slips away into nothingness. […] Bodies are now useless, and will therefore fade away.” (W-pII.10.2:3;6) Oops, this means I (as a personality) will fade away into nothingness. Consider that for a minute. Swallow and take a deep breath. Am I really ready to judge, without hesitation, that this is where salvation lies? If you and I are honest, the answer is: “nope!” No wonder we need some slack. Judgment fuels the availability of time, which is indispensable as long as we want to perceive a special self.
An understandable but faulty defense that often surfaces is to disregard Jesus’ notion of the Last Judgment as unreachable: “So the Last Judgment is when the last sleeping son of God judges that only Love is valuable and desirable? Wow, that’s a loooong way off. Better forget about the whole notion and have another beer.” We should, however, never let the Course’s metaphysics get too far away from us. Time certainly seems linear to our brains, but time in truth is holographic, which means that the whole is contained in each part. Everything in time is happening now. Every loving thought reverberates now in every mind throughout the universe. Only one teacher is needed to save the world because there is only one mind, as there is only one Son. That is why Jesus repeatedly emphasizes that we should not focus on changing the world, as it is only an effect of the mind. The only thing we should ‘do’ is look at the darkness we have chosen — the original ontological judgment of thinking we’d be better off separate from God — evaluate its meager success, and then choose again.
The choice to end judgment therefore solves the authority problem, which Jesus states is really the only problem we have (T-11.in.2:3). Giving up judgment means gladly acknowledging that Jesus is right, and we have been wrong — about everything. It’s not that we have been sinful, but we have been much mistaken (T-10.V.6:1). Giving up judgment means that we are willing to step back, to allow the mind to be guided by Jesus and The Holy Spirit, trusting in the conviction that they alone know what will make us truly happy. As Jesus concludes in workbook essay 10: “You who believed that God’s Last Judgment would condemn the world to hell along with you, […] accept God’s Final Judgment: “You are still My Holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure. Therefore, awaken and return to Me. I am your Father and you are My Son.” (W-pII.10.3:1;5)
It may be a useful practice to keep that in mind whenever you feel yourself becoming upset, fearful, or depressed. The next time you notice you are not at peace anymore, for whatever reason, try to momentarily pause the movie of your life, take a bird’s eye point of view, and say something like: “Ah, there I go again judging this or that. I do this because this is the ego’s game of maintaining individual specialness. But how important is that? Does it really matter? What does matter in this world? It merely pictures my mind, which I apparently condemn. that’s not peace. Lack of peace means pain. I don’t want pain. Do I prefer to be right or happy? Stubbornly maintaining that I am right has never made me truly happy. Hmm, I could see peace instead of this, by stepping back and allowing the Holy Spirit to inform me, through intuition, what’s best for me to think or say or do. That’s not being meek, that’s being honest. Why shouldn’t I try it now?”
This is oftentimes a great recipe for quickly bringing the mind back to the state of inner peace. And should you not succeed today, you can at least be glad that you now realize what’s actually going on in the mind, and ready yourself for the next attempt. Ultimately no-one can fail in this, as the Last Judgment of the Son of God has already happened; we are merely reviewing what has gone by (W-pI.158.4:5). It is in our power to decide just how much time we will want to take before arriving at that moment again. As Jesus says: “Do not fear the Last Judgment, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego’s time is “borrowed” from your eternity” (T-9.IV.9). And, pointedly: “The purpose of time is solely to “give you time” to achieve this judgment [i..e, the Last Judgment].” (T-2.VIII.5). Again, it is in our power to use time for any purpose we choose. A good reason to be cheerful indeed!
See also “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com: