Edgar Cayce and the Association for Research and Enlightenment: An Interview with Harvey Human, Esther Griffith and Carol Sharp – Program 2

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Harvey Human, Esther Griffith, Carol Sharp; ©1979
Did Cayce’s teachings agree with the Bible or with what the Church has historically taught? What did Cayce teach about Jesus? What did he believe about God?

Followers of Edgar Cayce and Association for Research and Enlightenment: Do Cayce’s Readings Conflict with Orthodox Christian Beliefs?

Program 2

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. Now, folks, first of all, I’d like to know a little bit about who Edgar Cayce is; why is he important?
Human: Edgar Cayce is considered one of the great clairvoyants of the 20th century. Cayce was able to put himself into a peculiar-type sleep state, and in that state he could see and diagnose the illness of a patient hundreds of miles away, and the patient, for the most part, was completely unknown to Cayce except by name and address. He described the room the patient was in; what the patient was doing at exactly that time; describe his appearance and his clothing. Furthermore, he could describe in exact medical terms every part of his body and then pinpoint the exact nature and seriousness of the disease. He would then prescribe a medical treatment that, if carefully followed, would result in a cure. There are literally thousands of these documented histories. These were called “physical readings,” and if those treatments that he suggested were followed meticulously, there would be dramatic results. He didn’t heal per se, but he gave medical prescriptions that people could take to doctors and doctors would then perform or carry out the treatment.
Ankerberg: Harvey, define what a clairvoyant is for our people.
Human: Yes. A clairvoyant is simply seeing something – this is quite common terminology – simply seeing something at a distance, beyond the physical senses, you see.
Ankerberg: Okay.
Human: We have perceptions far beyond these five physical senses. A clairvoyant is simply seeing something that’s not seen by physical eyes or felt or heard, you see.
Ankerberg: Okay. What was the background of Edgar Cayce?
Human: As a boy, he had these remarkable experiences of being able to see things. He had playmates that nobody else saw.
Ankerberg: What do you mean he had playmates nobody else saw?
Human: Invisible playmates. He could see people that nobody else could see. And he would play with them. And this is a remarkable kind of thing to happen to a young boy.
Ankerberg: Did he come from a rich family? Poor family?
Human: He came from a very poor family. He was born in 1877 in Kentucky, and dropped out as a seventh grade student. Couldn’t spell very well, and his father kept after him that he wasn’t doing his homework. And one day he had to stay after school because he couldn’t spell a particular word. And he got so sleepy, he kind of fell asleep just momentarily. And a voice came to him and he said, “I’ll help you.” And he got the idea from the source that came to him – whether it was an angel or what have you – that if he would sleep on that book, he would have no problem. He would know all the answers. And indeed he did and became the brightest boy in school, spelling and otherwise.
Ankerberg: When did he start giving these readings?
Human: At about age 20, 21.
Ankerberg: How did he get into it?
Human: One of the things that brought it about, he had an accident once. He was hit in the back of the head by a baseball. And immediately he said, “Put a poultice on the back of my head.” And I’ve forgotten now just what the poultice consisted of. And they followed that and he had a remarkable recovery. So from that other people would come to him and he would give readings. He would put himself to sleep, give readings and tell them what to do and if they followed those instructions, of course, he would be healed.
Ankerberg: Cayce came out of a Presbyterian fundamentalist background. Is that correct?
Human: Correct.
Ankerberg: And that, as you say, he wasn’t a real educated man when he would just talk with you naturally. He would put himself into this sleep or trance state and what would actually take place then? I’ve read that another voice would actually speak out of Cayce. Is that true?
Sharp: Occasionally.
Human: Not another voice…
Sharp: Occasionally that was true. Almost at all times during the readings it was – and this is personal opinion – Mr. Cayce’s unconscious mind which was causing his voice to come out, to speak. On a few occasions other voices did come through him and claimed to be other individuals, from one who claimed to be an angel to one who claimed to be a discarnate entity, a person no longer living.
Human: But every once in a while he would get the idea that, “Look, I shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t know what this power is that I’ve got.” He said, “I don’t want anything to do with it.” But it kept persisting. So finally he and his wife decided, “Look, this is my work to help other people.” And this is how it all began. And there were 14,000 readings given. Of those, nearly 9,000 were physical readings helping people who were sick.
Ankerberg: Now, we have 14,000 readings. Have they become compiled into some books?
Human: They are not, per se. Those readings, however, are all in the archives of the Edgar Cayce Foundation of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Now, from those readings then, there have been some 70 books written about those readings at various segments, the physical readings, all kinds of things that he came through with.
Ankerberg: In the movement, do people need to interpret those or are they self-interpreting?
Human: They’re pretty self-interpreting, yes. Pretty self-interpreting.
Ankerberg: Okay. Now, do those form the basis for what is called the study groups?
Human: That’s correct.
Ankerberg: Okay. And so when you get together in a study group, you meet in homes and what happens in the study groups?
Human: I’ll let Carol answer that, but let me just say this. The study group readings, he gave a series of readings to a study group that was formed with the part of the number, and he gave readings to that study group and answers to questions. You can tell them how those evolved.
Sharp: I think it’s interesting on this study group #1, Virginia Beach, Virginia, which was the first study group, they asked Mr. Cayce to teach them how to become psychic. This is how the first study group began.
Ankerberg: Would he teach them in the trance state or in natural state?
Sharp: They’re supposed to be done from the trance state.
Ankerberg: Okay. So he taught them actually when he would be into this trance.
Sharp: Yes, but what evolved were chapters in a book such as “Cooperation,” “Patience,” “Love,” “Know Thyself,” just practical, everyday things. At the end of the 12 or 13 years that study group #1 was working on book 1 of the Search for God books, some of them probably did develop some types of psychic abilities. But they had really forgotten about this and the desire to do this in the process of working with these books and with these concepts.
Human: I think another thing that’s interesting: one statement he made, he said, “You cannot become psychic unless you evolve spiritually.” That’s the secret. There’s no way you can teach people to become psychic because it is spiritual activity.
Ankerberg: Let’s talk a little bit about what Cayce taught about certain topics and so on. It seems like Cayce had one state of mind naturally, his Bible background and his Fundamentalist background. Did he come to repudiate that? Did he come to change his thoughts because of the readings he himself gave?
Human: Not at all. I think Esther can answer that very well.
Griffith: No, he did not. He taught a Sunday school class clear up almost until the time he died. The basis of his readings are Christ-oriented. There is no other way, he said. And he read the Bible through one year, one time, for every year of his life. He caught up by the time he was 20 to that age. So some of his readings have the language of more or less the King James Bible; those especially that deal with our spiritual nature. But this probably is because of his close association….
Ankerberg: When you say all of these things are seen in terms of “Christlikeness,” what did Cayce thing about Christ? We’ve got to differentiate between the natural state and the trance state. Let’s talk about the trance state, the readings, what the movement holds. What do they hold about Jesus Christ as in terms of who He is and so on? In other words, orthodox historic Christianity holds that Jesus Christ was both God and Man in One Person. Okay? Unique. And they worship Him as God. Now, did Cayce hold that?
Griffith: He held that Jesus was the Son of God and that He became the Christ. He became Christ.
Ankerberg: Okay. But to differentiate that, when we say He was the Son of God, are we sons of God like Jesus?
Griffith: We can become sons of God. I think we’re all children. We have one Father. The whole nation has one Father. But then there is a different maybe connotation. We choose to become sons of God.
Ankerberg: But do you think that’s the same thing that orthodox historic Christianity is saying?
Human: I think we’re talking about the same thing, John, and saying it different ways. We are indeed children of God because we were created in the image of God. And God is a Spirit and our souls were created in that spiritual image, not this physical image. So in that sense, we all have a part of God within us, you see.
Ankerberg: But is that what orthodox historic Christianity is saying, Harvey?
Human: No.
Griffith: No.
Human: No. I’m sure they’re not. But, you see, there are many roads to the mountain of God, so to speak. Some denominations go up one road; some the other road; some the other road. And we’re all trying to reach the same thing.
Ankerberg: The thing is, though, Harvey, that if you have a basketball hoop, if I throw the ball up in the air any old direction, it doesn’t always go through the hoop.
Human: This is true. This is true.
Ankerberg: And the thing is, like Bertrand Russell once said, “When you have thousands of different religious positions all saying different things, and then at the end you say, ‘But they all mean the same,’” he said, “One or the other could be right when they’re contradicting each other intellectually, but they both can’t be right at the same time when they’re saying different things.” I mean, it doesn’t make sense to say that orthodox historic Christianity says this, but they really mean the same thing that we’re saying even though we define it differently.”
Human: The thing that the Cayce readings bring out time and time again, it’s not really important what you believe, it’s what you do with what you believe. In other words, if you believe in patience and in love and in kindness, these are the things, he said, “Apply what you know.” He said, “Knowledge not used is sin.” That’s the basic philosophy as far as applying what we know. Not what we believe. We all have different beliefs. I think beliefs sometimes are divisive.
Ankerberg: The only thing is that we have to get back to an authority. And the thing is to say, “Just believe,” without checking out if there is something to believe in. Is there any evidence to put belief any place? I could believe in this table, but the question is, can that table do anything for me? And I think that’s a primary question. I guess that when you go to the universities, they’re not questioning the fact that you have the choice to believe in anything, and you can define “patience” in any way. But they want to know, “Why is it that we ought to believe this man, or this man, or anybody else when they say this is what love is; this is how to have patience”? For example, if Hitler were to define patience as saying that we would be a lot more patient if we could just eliminate five million Jews, and we want to help them get to their eternal reward a little quicker than everybody else. You know, if he defines it that way, who’s to say he’s right in how he defines the word “patient” or if he thinks that’s love?
Human: John, in the Cayce readings in all the commentaries that you read, “patience” is the kind of attribute of behavior that Jesus had. Let me read you just one reading.
Ankerberg: Okay.
Human: In one reading he says, “Love then, divine, as was manifested in Jesus of Nazareth must be the rule, yeah, the measuring stick, the rod by which ye shall judge thy motives, thy impulses, thy associations. For without Him there is nothing that can endure.” That’s how basic he is.
Ankerberg: Yes. And Christianity agrees that Jesus Christ is the measuring stick and He defines what love is.
Human: Right.
Ankerberg: But the thing that seems to be the rub is, in my readings of what Cayce himself said and what his son said about his dad, the thing that scared Cayce to death was that he came to a different understanding of who Jesus was than what he had been taught from his biblical background; namely, that Jesus not only was unique in the sense that He was an example of what love is, but more than that, He was unique not in what He just showed to us but in who He was. And that in no sense was He a Son of God in the sense that we are sons of God. He was uniquely the Son of God so that He could say in the garden to Mary, “I ascend to my Father and to your Father. I am going to talk to my God and your God.” [John 20:17] He would not say, “Our God.” Because why? He had a relationship that was different, uniquely different, than the ones we share. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have a relationship with Him, but His relationship was that He was very God with Father and Holy Spirit. And Christianity doesn’t want to be picky about things; it’s just the sense that it’s a question of truth. If Jesus Himself said that about Himself, if He told us that, if we are going to be Christians – followers of Christ – we either hold that and define it as He defined it, or if we hold something else then we can’t say we are followers of Christ. Does that make any sense?
Griffith: Let me say something. Mr. Cayce said that no matter what religion you came from, what denomination, if you were a Catholic, The Search for God did not make you a better Catholic, you should not have anything to do with it. If you were Presbyterian, the same way. If you were Buddhist, it should be something that would help you find God. Hopefully, you would get a much larger understanding and a much better understanding of God than you ever had. Personally, my understanding grows. I believe differently now than I did 20 years ago.
Ankerberg: Yes. Isn’t that kind of suspicious, though, to say that the one same thing can help you understand, say, a thousand different worldviews a little bit better? In other words, you see, Christianity comes into the sense of saying that Jesus Christ, like He Himself said – He’s the one that told us this – He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man will come to the Father but by me.” [John 14:6] The Church was built on the foundation of Christ. They were to worship Him and to serve Him. And that is absolutely the opposite of what Hinduism is saying or the Muslims are saying or Buddhists are saying. That doesn’t make any sense at all.
Griffith: Only as they seek God. Only as they seek God can this make them a better person. I think when we are talking about dogma, the Cayce readings do not put forth dogma of any kind. They are not that type of thing.
Human: As he would say in his readings, “Don’t make an ism out of this, or a cult.” Forget about that. Once you do that you’re lost because we’re not interested in that; we’re interested in living as close to the Wayshower which was Jesus Christ.
Ankerberg: And yet in spite of that, the thing is, He made statements about dogma and doctrine that relate to all the religions and to Christianity. What did Cayce believe about sin? What is sin and how do you get rid of it.
Griffith: The source of all sin is self. It is the self.
Ankerberg: How do you cure that?
Human: There is one force, which is God, and it’s a purposeful, positive, good force. Because God is love, isn’t it? That’s what the Bible says. So it’s a positive, good force.
Ankerberg: Is God personal or a force?
Human: He’s a force and He’s personal. He manifests in many different ways, many different ways. He’s a personal God to me; He’s a force; He’s love; He’s omnipotent; He’s everything. But, as we exercise our free will, we choose to do things and say things and act contrary to this one force, which is God, and then we create evil. Cayce says, “There is no ultimate evil per se,” but he says it’s a deviation from the law of love or from this one God force that we deliberately through our free will we choose to do otherwise and this is sin. Then we separate ourselves from God. We’re not doing the things that He wants us to do.
Ankerberg: How do you save a person, then, from that? What is salvation as far as Cayce is concerned?
Griffith: You don’t save a person. They have to do this; they have to want this through the Christ. This is the saving.
Ankerberg: Okay. Is Jesus and Christ the same person?
Griffith: Yes. Jesus became Christ. Yes.
Ankerberg: When you say Jesus became the Christ, what does that mean?
Griffith: Well, you know, Christ was a long time before Jesus came on earth. He was with God in the beginning; He was the Creator. John says, “In the beginning was the Word.” [John 1:1]
Ankerberg: Was Christ manifested in any other people before Jesus?
Griffith: He may have been.
Human: Could have been very well.
Ankerberg: Seems like in some of the readings Cayce said it was in Joshua and a few others. It sounds almost like reincarnation.
Human: Then you’ll open a can of worms, John, which I think we should not get into.
Ankerberg: But I think we have to, in the sense of, it defines what we’re talking about when we say “the Christ” and Jesus in the sense that, were there more than one incarnations?
Sharp: The readings say “Yes.”
Ankerberg: Okay. And Christianity says “only one.” That’s why Jesus is unique.
Griffith: He still is unique.
Ankerberg: But can you see the difference in the sense that historic Christianity is saying that God became Man and that God-Man is uniquely that same Person now. And there are no others like Him. Never have been; never are going to be. He is uniquely the Son of God. Does that make any sense?
Human: No question about that. We agree with that a hundred percent.
Ankerberg: Also, Christianity says that instead of you doing something, that that Son of God did something for you to get yourself out of that. Namely, He went to a cross and died there for real sin, evil, and that can be forgiven by a personal God; a substitutionary atonement that can be applied to a person’s life. Now, is that what Cayce is saying?
Human: You know, Cayce never definitively went into the dogma or the Creeds of the Christian churches. He concerned himself in most of his readings outside of the physical readings to become a better person. Now, talking about salvation, salvation, according to Cayce, is simply making will one with God. Then we’re saved. We have to save ourselves, as Esther says. Jesus is the Wayshower, but you can’t say, “I believe in Jesus” and say, “I can just do anything I want to.” It’s up to you to follow the footsteps: the spirit, the behavior, the motives of what Jesus is talking about.

Ankerberg: I think we’ve had some good conversation today, but I’d like to give you just a few personal thoughts. I think there are two systems at work here. The first is one that sees Jesus as a “Pointer” to a path that you follow. He is the Wayshower. He stands back and you do what He has told you to do. Orthodox historic Christianity says that Jesus is the Savior; He is the Provider. He is the one that actually gives you the help and lives in your life so that you can follow that path.

There’s also a difference in the talk of what happens concerning that path. In one, if you follow the rules, if you follow the directions carefully enough, you might gain acceptance. In orthodox historic Christianity Jesus grants you the acceptance, gives you the favor, the status with God, when you start. He empowers you to walk. And regardless of how you walk, the results are assured: He grants you eternal life and forgiveness and acceptance with Him.

Let me quote a few verses from Scripture. 2 Corinthians 5:21 seems to have a bearing on this. It says, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Paul can say, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it’s the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast.” [Eph 2:8-9] Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death [not reincarnation], but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It’s given to you when you accept Christ. Paul could say in Romans 5:8-9, “God has 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 [not by works], we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” This gives you great peace and assurance.

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