Edgar Cayce and the Association for Research and Enlightenment: An Interview with Harvey Human, Esther Griffith and Carol Sharp – Program 1

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Harvey Human, Esther Griffith, Carol Sharp; ©1979
Was Edgar Cayce getting his information directly from God? How accurate was the information he received?

Followers of Edgar Cayce and Association for Research and Enlightenment: What is the Source of Edgar Cayce’s Readings?

Program 1

Dr. John Ankerberg: The program today will focus on the clairvoyant Edgar Cayce. Do the Cayce “readings” agree or conflict with orthodox Christian belief? My guests are Harvey Human, President of the Electrodynamics Corporation and a trustee of the Association of Research and Enlightenment, the Foundation at Virginia Beach; Esther Griffith, a retired school teacher and a member of the ARE speaking team, and Carol Sharp, a member of the ARE study group. We’re glad that you folks are here.
First of all, Edgar Cayce is probably one of the best-known clairvoyants in the world. He came out of a basically poor background in Kentucky; he had a Presbyterian Fundamentalist background, but even when he was a young man, basically at age 21, he would lie down, put himself into a trance state or give himself over to a blinding flash of white light which would signify to him that he was ready to give a reading. A voice would speak out of him in this trance-like state that would tell people about their physical ailments or give them advice about life, and this was copied down meticulously by secretaries and has been compiled into about 14,000 readings that make up the basic materials of what you study in the study groups. Is that succinct enough?
Harvey Human: Basically right.
Ankerberg: Now, let’s talk about this ARE, Association for Research and Enlightenment. Is that the Foundation itself? Is that the name for the Edgar Cayce Foundation?
Human: No. There is an Edgar Cayce Foundation that has custody of the original readings. That’s a separate entity, although they work closely with the Association for Research and Enlightenment. The Association for Research and Enlightenment is the group that sponsors all the study groups; they sponsor field programs, lectures and symposiums and things like that, you see. Publications, they have a press: ARE Press publishes books.
Ankerberg: Now, when we talk about this material, it goes back to the fact of Cayce himself and that the group is trusting in the fact that the material gives accurate information. I mean, you folks are in the Movement, and you must have read the criticisms from both sides. What are the possible sources that this information could come from, especially in the area of medicine, where Cayce himself was not even an educated man. Didn’t you tell us he dropped out of the 7th grade?
Human: I’m glad you brought that up. You see, Edgar Cayce said that the mind is at work on many levels. In addition to the conscious mind there seem to be many levels of the unconscious that can know, can retrieve information and solve problems. Then he talked about another part of the mind referred to as a “super-conscious mind” or the “mind of the soul.” Now, when he went into trance – and the readings point this out very clearly – when he went into this, he subjugated his conscious mind to the subconscious and the super-conscious. And the readings specifically say that at the subconscious level he could commune or communicate with other subconscious minds. And when he gave the physical readings, he could tell from the subconscious mind of the individual who came to him for help what his ailments were.
Ankerberg: Sounds like Carl Gustav Jung’s “collective subconscious.”
Human: There is a difference between those two, of course. You explain that, Esther. I don’t want to talk too much here.
Esther Griffith: They are very similar. I think there is a little difference in the way they were put out. But, for instance, in the field of dreams, Edgar Cayce is closer to Carl Jung than any other psychologist.
Ankerberg: For our folks that aren’t up with this area here at all, how in the world can a person give himself over to his mind? It sounds like double talk. Either that’s you or it’s not you, it seems. Is there more than….
Human: There’s a subconscious level.
Carol Sharp: What do you do at night? You close your eyes and click off a switch and your conscious mind goes to sleep.
Ankerberg: But, the subconscious mind should have only what you have put in there…
Human: That’s right.
Ankerberg: …and Cayce came back with stuff that he didn’t put in there.
Sharp: That’s because he was able to reach out with his mind and contact other minds. I have read, and I believe it’s true, that each person’s subconscious mind knows the state of being of every cell within that person’s body.
Ankerberg: But didn’t they even go beyond that and say that Cayce came up with stuff that scientists and doctors didn’t even know at that time.
Human: Certainly.
Sharp: Yes.
Human: But the subconscious mind of the patient knew this. The doctors had no way of diagnosing that. He had the ability of learning from the subconscious mind of the person that came to him what was wrong, what was ailing him, and all kinds of things about him, you see.
Griffith: How do you explain many of the composers, writers, great scientists who were able to get ideas almost out of nowhere? For instance, Einstein used to say that he would work on a problem as long as he could work, exhaust every angle, and then he might doze off and he would wake up with the answer. He sort of plucked it out of nowhere. Sometimes people have been able to do this. They have even written whole compositions.
Ankerberg: Possibly a lot of people would say, if there are evil forces, demonic, could the demonic possibly be involved here? Did Cayce himself fear or think anything in that area?
Human: One thing he always did, he always said a prayer of protection. He never went into the unconscious state without a prayer of protection, asking the “Christ light” to surround him and protect him. Once you do that, whether it’s Cayce or anybody else, you’re safe from the demonic forces.
Griffith: I would like to add something to that. Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matt. 7:16] And the ARE is so involved in service that the Search for God study books that we use in study group, in every chapter: “service, service, service.” “As you treat others, so will you be treated.” And I think the fruits that the ARE has demonstrated over the years would indicate that, No, there could be nothing demonic involved.
Ankerberg: I read one book review – actually I read above five – but one writer said, concerning “By their fruits ye shall know them,” and he went back and quoted Cayce that Cayce himself repudiated, because of the trance-like states, he read his own teachings and those teachings brought him to a different view than what orthodox historic biblical Christianity had taught him in his Fundamentalist background.
Griffith: That’s probably true in some aspects.
Ankerberg: Alright. Now, in that sense, the Bible also says that Satan can come as an “angel of light.” [2 Cor. 11:14] If you put those two together: that Satan comes as an angel of light and that the doctrine that was espoused during his talking was different from orthodox historic Christianity, could it be possible that Cayce was deceived?
Griffith: I don’t think so personally. You say, “Could it be possible?” Anything can be possible. I very much doubt it.
Ankerberg: How would we discover whether he was deceived or not? If we were to….
Griffith: Again, by the fruits.
Human: Let me interject here: I think if you would read his readings, the trouble, as with most people, they read about Cayce in some books but never got into the raw material of the Cayce readings themselves. The consistency of the readings is so highly spiritual and so cohesive about this one thing, that there’s no doubt in my mind that it was never a demonic evil force came through. It is too consistent. You take those 14,000 readings; you never see any discrepancy from one reading… If he gave a reading to someone, and five years later he would say, “We’ve had this entity before.”
Ankerberg: The only thing, Harvey, is that I agree that they’re spiritual in tone, but the Bible also says, “test the spirits.” Which spirit is it? And the “measuring stick” in orthodox historic Christianity is the doctrine that Christ and the apostles gave to us. Does it jibe with that? And that’s what I’m saying, is that the doctrine that he gave when he was in this trance-like state does not coincide with what Jesus and the apostles taught.
Human: Go head, Esther.
Griffith: I came as a child from a Mennonite background. That’s about as orthodox as you can get! But it diverts very much from many other orthodox groups. Now, what Cayce has done has been to enlarge the view of God. He does not repudiate anything in the Bible. What he says may hurt one or two churches – I can’t think right now – but he just has a larger view. It’s just an enlargement.
Ankerberg: Esther, some folks say that Cayce doesn’t repudiate it; doesn’t say it’s wrong; he just changes it so that when we talk about Jesus Christ, we’re actually saying something different than orthodox historic Christianity. We say “sin” – it’s something different than the Bible; there is no real hell – it’s a state of mind; that the way of coming into contact with God and of having a relationship with Him is different than….
Griffith: That’s true.
Ankerberg: Well, if it’s true that that is not what he is saying, then we’ve got two different, separate things. And that’s what I guess I’m saying. Where do we go when we say this is biblical Christianity, and here’s Cayce out of this trance-like state reinterpreting that, and we’re supposed to believe Cayce.
Human: Basically, though, John, there may be a different way of expressing it, but I don’t think there’s anything Cayce ever said that was incompatible with what you find in the Scriptures.
Ankerberg: Let’s go back to something we were talking about before we got on the show here, and that was the sense of, “What is sin?” And, “Where did evil come in?” Talk a little bit about personality – what we are – and how does a person find a relationship with God? What is the ultimate? Where are we at now? And how does a person progress?
Human: Okay…
Ankerberg: Anybody can jump in.
Sharp: A person progresses by making right choices. By making choices that are loving choices and that would be in accord with the best understanding an individual can have of what the will of God would be.
Ankerberg: Okay. Where do we find the information of “What is loving?” and “What is the will of God?”
Human: Well, I think that’s in the Bible, John.
Ankerberg: Okay. I agree….
Griffith: Yes. Christ-like.
Human: Nothing different about Cayce with what’s in the Bible. What’s loving and what’s….
Sharp: It’s kind of amusing. Mr. Cayce, of course, indicated in the readings and awake that reading the Bible is very important. And someone asked him, “Well, which one?” You know? Which edition? King James or what? He said, “The one that you read, whichever one it is.”
Human: And “the one that you live.”
Sharp: “The one that you live.”
Human: That’s the important thing: “the one that you live.” He said, “Apply, apply, apply.” And the constant admonition that came through: not self, always others. And you can’t beat that for any religion.
Ankerberg: When you die, Harvey, will you go to be with the Lord?
Human: I don’t think I’ve progressed to the point of perfection, that I will stay with the Lord. I will go to the Lord. I certainly will be there. And I have no fears about that.
Ankerberg: What is perfection? What is this thing of perfection? Do you have to reach perfection before you can go to be with the Lord?
Human: No, no, no. The Lord is always with you. The Lord is always with you. But, He wants us to progress to the point where the Bible says, “Be ye perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect.” [Matt. 5:48] And we have to keep striving to become closer attuned. The model of the ARE, for example, is: “Manifest the love of God for God and man.” And that simply means the great commandment: “Love the Lord with all thy heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.” [Luke 10:27] That’s the model of the ARE.
Ankerberg: If a person doesn’t do that, what will happen when he dies?
Human: Well, I expect some people would think they go to hell.
Ankerberg: Is that true or not?
Human: No. Not in our view, and not in Cayce’s view.
Ankerberg: Is there a hell?
Human: There’s a hell only…. You make your own hell.
Ankerberg: State of mind?
Human: State of mind. And, on the other side, to those who believe in survival, someone once said, “Probably the best way to describe the immediate afterlife is there are certain levels of astral levels and the soul after death is drawn to that particular sub-level that is best suited to his spiritual nature: where he fits.” There is no punishment, but you learn to look at, “this is what I didn’t do on earth,” you see? I’ve got to do something about this, and I’ve got to improve and become closer attuned to follow the footsteps of Jesus.
Ankerberg: So a person, if he’s not perfect; if he does not follow the precepts of love, when he dies he goes to a certain level. Does he come back? Get another chance?
Human: We believe they do. Now, this is, as I indicated to you before the show, whether you believe or I believe in reincarnation doesn’t make me one whit better or worse than the guy who doesn’t believe. It’s simply a belief. But that is not really very relevant, you see.
Ankerberg: But, in your belief, even if the fellow doesn’t believe it, it still happens to him.
Human: Right.
Griffith: Yes.
Ankerberg: Okay. So, you know, he’d better believe it is what you’re saying, because eventually he’s got to deal with it. How does that differ from the Buddhist’s karma?
Human: There’s not a difference.
Ankerberg: Okay. In the sense of, how are the records kept on your life, how will you know when you live perfectly or good enough to make it to the highest level?
Sharp: The records are kept in your own subconscious mind.
Ankerberg: Okay. Do you know that right now? What level you’re at?
Sharp: No. Subconsciously….
Human: Someone once said, “The proof of how far you’ve gone spiritually is how patient you are.” And that’s a pretty good yardstick. How patient are you? When you’re driving down the street in your car and some guy makes a left hand turn ahead of you, or he’s not fast enough to get across that light, if you’re not patient, you can tell yourself, “Look, I’ve got a long way to go!” That’s a practical aspect of it.
Ankerberg: So in a sense, when you die, you’re going to find out.
Human: You’ll find out.
Ankerberg: Not until then.
Human: Well, in essence I think we all know. We all know when we’re doing something wrong, John. We all know that. We don’t have to wait to get on the other side.
Ankerberg: Yeah. But in the sense of, if you’ve done something wrong, then you assume that you won’t make it this time around.
Griffith: I think it has to do with the whole outlook of the entity, of the personality. You know, we came into this earth for a purpose. I believe we came to do certain things. And if we get sidetracked, if we do other things, if we work on our own desires and do as we want, I think we have lost in this lifetime. And we come to find our way back to God. We come to work on certain things. We have to have a balance in our life.
Ankerberg: The question, Esther, is for people who aren’t as wise as you are in these readings, and when they come and they say, “Okay, I’d like to arrive; I’d like to get as close to perfection as I can right now.”
Griffith: Follow Christ. Follow Christ in His steps. There is nothing that can lead you astray there. In fact, that’s the only way.
Ankerberg: Do you have to do it? Is it a “do-it-yourself” program?
Griffith: No, no. You follow. He is the way.
Human: But you have to do it.
Griffith: I have to do it. I have to do it through Christ. But you have to pray to God for help, and pray for…. This is a constant thing. We have to pray and read His Word and meditate, which is having Him speak to us.
Ankerberg: Would it be like this? If you came before God and God was to say, “Okay. Here’s my kingdom in back of me. Now, why should I let you in?” What would you say?
Griffith: Oh, well, I’m in in one level. You know, Jesus said, “In my house are many mansions.” [John 14:2] And they all are God’s. The whole sphere, the whole universe, is God’s. There are many levels and they are God’s.
Human: You see, our version is – and Cayce keeps saying this and there are many people who believe this – there’s always three interpretations to the Bible. One is the literal; one is the metaphysical; the other is the spiritual. Now, you see, we get all fouled up – the various denominations: orthodoxy versus liberal and so forth – because we think there’s only one way to interpret the Bible. Some people think it’s only the metaphysical; some only the spiritual. You have to take the whole thing. And we think that we have to look at the Bible in every respect. This may have another meaning to it, a spiritual level that we’re not quite consciously aware of yet. And I think we have to take that….
Ankerberg: Harvey, when you write your wife a letter, are there three levels of meaning to your words? Or do you want your wife to catch one basic sense?
Human: Don’t you think when I write my wife a letter, however, that she will read some things between the lines that I didn’t put down there?
Ankerberg: But the basic meaning will always be there. Right?
Human: The basic meaning, that’s true. But, John, if you would read some of the things in the Bible – now, I’m not a Bible student but I thoroughly believe in the Bible; it’s an inspired book – but if you really take the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse, there’s so many contradictions in there, it’s really confusing if you take it only on a literal sense.
Ankerberg: I don’t think so.
Human: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Ankerberg: Well, I think we have to disagree. I really feel that….
Human: Yeah. We’ll disagree on that one, John. That’s fine.
Ankerberg: Yeah. I think we can disagree because….
Human: Some place in the Bible it says….
Ankerberg: …I think you have a bigger problem when you take what actually was said, what the writers gave to us. They wrote it to real people in real situations. And when you go back and, you know, with all the textual criticism and with all of the impact of the research that we have today, in knowing the geography and the situations and the people it was written to and how to define those words, I don’t find it hard to come up with the correct meaning of the majority of the passages. In orthodox historic Christianity has simply said in the areas of doubt, we don’t say anything. Or we simply say that we do not have all knowledge on this topic. But that certainly does not apply to the major things that we hold concerning, say, the Person of Christ and who He is; how a person knows God; the terms of salvation and how a person has power from God to live over these things; as well as a real heaven and a real hell. Now, does that make any sense?
Human: Sure. Well, I agree with that, John.
Ankerberg: Let’s go on to the point of, if a person does not know for all practical purposes until he dies, if he does die and he finds out that he has not reached the highest state – he’s only at a certain level, okay – he comes back. Now, let me ask you a personal question: In your own life, are there any tip-offs that come from past experiences that help you in progressing? I mean, personally? This is a personal question.
Griffith: Yes. I think there are. For one thing, I think any problems that come to us, and then I think the “good” things that we bring, talents, these have all come from another life. For one thing, I went all the way through school. I never had a doubt that there was God. Never. And I think this is one of these things. And I’m saying that this has probably come from some other time when I have learned it. As a child, I never had a doubt.
Sharp: There are people who consciously remember past lives. I personally do not. I seem to not tune in very well.
Ankerberg: How about you, Harvey?
Human: No. I don’t think I’ve had any flashbacks of what I’ve been. But I feel very confident that the things that I’m doing today, I must have done some of those things in a last lifetime. I love to talk. I either was a preacher or I was something. Some of those things keep coming through. Those urges and abilities. Those keep coming through because our “soul” and “soul mind” are the things that keep coming through.
I was talking about Brahms a little while ago before we came on. At three years of age he played the piano and composed a symphony. Do you think that came because he was three years old and the genetic things from his parents? They were not even good musicians. Where? Previous lifetimes he was undoubtedly a musician, and now, the full-flowering of his talents, you see?
Suffering. How do you explain suffering? Here’s a child that comes born with a silver spoon in its mouth. Healthy; has all the advantages. Down the street you have a child born crippled, mentally retarded. If all of those come from the hand of God “fresh,” then why do we have these apparent injustices that we see? Unless we come into this time with certain blemishes and weaknesses from another life where we’ve killed somebody and we’re going to have a little suffering to do here because the law of “cause and effect” goes into play.
And there’s also the law of grace, of course. If we fulfill the law of love, all of those past karmic debts could be excused. That’s the grace.
Ankerberg: Thanks, folks, for being with us. I sure appreciate the fact that you would spend this time.
Human: Great to be here, John. Thank you.
Sharp: Enjoyed it.

Ankerberg: Let me just give you a few personal observations about what we talked about today. Is it going to be Edgar Cayce’s advice out of a trance, or Jesus Christ who claimed to be the Son of the living God? Did Jesus actually say that He was just a “pointer” to a path that you and I should try and follow? Or, is He more? In what sense is He the Savior? What about reincarnation? Is there a real hell? A real heaven?

Here’s some of the biblical data, and see what meaning you get out of this. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the judgment.” The Bible seems to say that you have this lifetime to make up your mind whether or not you will come to know Christ; whether you want God’s forgiveness or not. If you choose to reject it, that’s your prerogative.

But, there are serious consequences. There is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain. The Bible says in 1 John 5:12: “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” The Bible says that in Romans 6:23, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Ephesians says that “this gift” is by the “grace of God” and “you’re saved through faith.” [Eph. 2:8-9] You put your faith in what Christ did, not what you do. And it’s not of yourself. “It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 5:8-9 says, “God proved His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him,” not ourselves. There is salvation in none other than Christ. Investigate the Word of God.

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