14. How Will The World End?
1. Can what has no beginning really end? The world will end in an illusion, as it began. Yet will its ending be an illusion of mercy. The illusion of forgiveness, complete, excluding no one, limitless and gentleness, will cover it, hiding all evil, concealing all sin, and ending guilt forever. So ends the world that guilt had made, for now it has no purpose, and it is gone. The father of illusions is the belief that they have a purpose; that they serve a need or gratify a want. Perceived as purposeless, they are no longer seen. Their uselessness is recognized, and they are gone. How but in this way are all illusions ended? They have been brought to truth, and truth saw them not. It merely overlooked the meaningless.
2. Until forgiveness is complete, the world does have a purpose. It becomes the home in which forgiveness is born, and where it grows and becomes stronger and more all-embracing. Here is it nourished, for here it is needed. A gentle Savior, born where sin was made, and guilt seemed real. Here is His home, for here there is need of Him indeed. He brings the ending of the world with Him. It is His call God’s teachers answer, turning to Him in silence to receive His Word. The world will end when all things in it have been rightly judged by His judgment. The world will end with the benediction of holiness upon it. When not one thought of sin remains, the world is over. It will not be destroyed nor attacked nor even touched. It will merely cease to seem to be.
3. Certainly this seems to be a long, long while away. “When not one thought of sin remains” appears to be a long-range goal indeed. But time stands still and waits on the goal of God’s teachers. Not one thought of sin will remain the instant any one of them accepts Atonement for himself. It is not easier to forgive one sin than to forgive all of them. The illusion of orders of difficulty is an obstacle the teacher of God must learn to pass by and leave behind. One sin perfectly forgiven by one teacher of God can make salvation complete. Can you understand this? No; it is meaningless to anyone here. Yet it is the final lesson in which unity is restored. It goes against all the thinking of the world, but so does Heaven.
4. The world will end when its thought system has been completely reversed. Until then, bits and pieces of its thinking will still seem sensible. The final lesson, which brings the ending of the world, cannot be grasped by those not yet prepared to leave the world and go beyond its tiny reach. What, then, is the function of the teacher of God in this concluding lesson? He need merely learn how to approach it; to be willing to go in its direction. He need merely trust that, if God’s Voice tells him it is a lesson he can learn, he can learn. He does not judge it either as hard or easy. His teacher points to it, and he trusts that He will show him how to learn it.
5. The world will end in joy, because it is a place of sorrow. When joy has come, the purpose of the world has gone. The world will end in peace because it is a place of war. When peace has come, what is the purpose of the world? The world will end in laughter because it is a place of tears. Where there is laughter, who can longer weep? And only complete forgiveness brings all this to bless the world. In blessing it departs, for it will not end as it began. To turn hell into heaven is the function of God’s teachers, for what they teach are lessons in which Heaven is reflected. And now sit down in true humility and realize that all God would have you do you can do. Do not be arrogant and say you cannot learn His Own curriculum. His Word says otherwise. His Will be done. It cannot be otherwise. And be you thankful it is so.
The world ends when we are through with it. When all its sorrows, losses, wars, and meanness no longer have any place in our inner Kingdom, the world ends for us. There is only gentleness and love, there is only goodwill and peace, there is only laughter and joy. Today in your personal devotional practice, meditate upon all we have learned. For what purpose do we study such a course as this? For what purpose do we come to our devotions every day and turn our minds and hearts toward God? For what purpose do we entertain such thoughts so alien to the world?
Jesus tells us to put all arrogance aside and to be truly humble in the realization that God has called us to learn and to teach a gospel that puts an end to the opposites and opposition of the world. God has called us to reflect Heaven in what we learn and teach. We are all too aware of how impossible this sounds. We are all too aware of our human deficiencies, our short tempers, our judgments and our summations, our flagging vitality, our ailing, aging bodies. We are all too aware of the closed minds and the attack/defense mechanisms that arouse anger and hostility toward those who learn and teach a gospel that seems so alien to the world no matter how true it rings in our minds and hearts. After we have spent our lives making a place in the world and letting it usurp our identity, after we have invested a personal fortune being educated by it, being weaponized by it, becoming accustomed to it – giving it up seems the sacrifice!
No matter how much we believe in the call of the Spirit, that which is not perceived with the flesh perceptions is that which seems unreal. Our good news is perceived as unwelcome news to those attuned to the world. And there is absolutely no condemnation for this. It is no more a sin to be taken in by the deception, as it is to become sickened and to die from it.
When the prodigal son demanded his inheritance from his father and took off to his own way in the world, the father did not despise his son – He did not prepare a dungeon or a torture chamber or a penal system in which to make His Son pay for his waywardness upon his return. The Father did not array an army or hire a posse or gather weapons to make war on the world His Son chose apart from Him. All that was false, greedy, diseased, and meanspirited about the world instructed the son in all he needed to learn about leaving the place he belonged, trying to find his identity in something and someone that was not true, or real, and held no place in His Father’s kingdom.
This is our gospel. We are not at war with the world. We are not the accusers, the judge, and the jurors of the world. As Jesus reminds us in today’s text, peace is impossible to those who look on war, but peace is inevitable to those who offer peace. It is not the world that makes peace impossible; it is the world we see that is impossible. We are not called to sacrifice ourselves for God or for the world, we are simply called to bring God’s Judgment to it, to offer it mercy and grace, to make it fit for the peace of God to come, to give up all thoughts that would oppose His love, His joy, His peace.
No matter who we are and no matter what we believe, when we begin to practice thinking the Thoughts of God, when we begin to practice grace and mercy, when we humble our egos, apologize for and turn our backs upon our wrongful ways, meanspirited reactions, and the ways we devise to defend our egotistical judgements and condemnations against others, we are practicing the Thoughts of God. While our separate Thoughts of God transform a tormented mind into a peaceful mind; when we share our Thoughts of God we turn hell into Heaven merely by being what we are called to be. Just as our mind is renewed bringing health and healing to our bodies, our relationships, and our circle of influence, so do our joined minds make it impossible for peace to be absent in the world. Just as Peace on earth and goodwill to all is what we bring to the Sonship and to God; peace on earth and goodwill to all is our welcome Home to His Kingdom. When I do my part and you do your part to share the Thoughts of God, we are teachers of God. We join with Christ, Who came in Peace, because He is Peace, and we bring an end to the world at war with God.
 A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 14. How will the world end? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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