Chapter 15



How “the artist” Georg Brandes banalizes The Bible


Earlier in this book we have tried to show the difference between an academic and an artistic way to read The Bible. We shall now demonstrate 2 examples of incorrectly reading The Bible, so our readers can compare the two. There are examples where also “the artist” has lost the ability to comprehend, especially if the artists have academic education. We see a frightening example of this in “The Legend of Jesus” by Georg Brandes. The other example we will look at is how a pious and believing, seriously persistent seeker of truth, an educated academic with an artistic aptitude, understands The Bible. Both examples show us the insufficiency that is present when the Light is lacking. In order to more easily compare them, we have taken the example of the temptation of Jesus and the view that both the artist and the pastor have on “the tempter”.

The Danish author and “artist”, Georg Brandes, received a lot of unearned attention with his book, The Legend of Jesus. I’m naming Brandes on purpose, because in his time he was seen as a “great artist”, and because as such he demonstrated a drastic example of how also artists can be unbelievably banal and exceedingly removed from the immediate contact with the inside of life, which is the spirit of life. It is sad and characteristic of the times that a man like Georg Brandes could captivate the youth of his time, and play a large and meaningful role in the development of the life of the spirit in northern Europe. This also shows how the men of the Norwegian Lutheran Church were so uninspired and therefore “unarmed”, so in spite of energetic attempts, they were unable to put Georg Brandes in his correct place.


(The numbers I am presenting refer to my comments).


Brandes writes, among other things about the tempter and the temptation, the following on pages 53 – 54 in The Legend of Jesus: “And now Jesus is lead out into the desert by the spirit to be tempted by the devil, a being who is introduced without being presented to our readers. 1. He seems to come from India, where he has tempted Buddha, but he appears in the story as if the reader knows who he is, which is a mistake by the evangelist. 2. Everything that you read is what Luke knows about him, which is what Jesus says (Luke 10: 18):I beheld Satan as a lightning fall from heaven”, “but it did not become light”. 3. There is no doubt that he has been an uncommonly dumb devil. The assumption is that who he has facing him is the almighty Son. 4. He wants to tempt Him with fairy tales, the most childish kind of attraction. 5. He is so dumb that he doesn’t even think that he will be refused. 6. It’s important to see that the Devil first presents himself after Jesus has fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, so He is very hungry. The number 40 and the words desert and fasting definitely belong together in the ancient time of the Israelites. Moses was 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Sinai, and neither ate bread or drank water during that time. (Exodus 24: 18 and 34:28). Elijah walked 40 days and 40 nights, fasting the whole time, to Horeb, the Mountain of God. (1 Kings 19:8). 7. After Jesus had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, the devil left Him, and the angels came and served Him. He could certainly have earned that after such a big difficulty. It doesn’t seem credible that there should be anything historic in these situations. (The italics were added by BDB).

Brandes is unconsciously talking about himself. Isn’t he the “dumb devil” he’s talking about? We will look a little closer at his way of reading The Bible.

1. The evangelist should have first “presented” the devil for his readers, so he didn’t suddenly come like lightening from heaven. In that case, you would have to think of the devil as an exclusive size, which could for example be imported from India. The truth is that “the devil” presents himself inside of our own nature. He comes “by himself”. He comes like a lightening impulse, and slams like lightening into our thoughts. The important thing is that we know ourselves well enough to understand what really is happening, when the spirit of God and the spirit of Satan “present themselves” inside of us. This is something that every living and true writer really knows from his own life, and that Georg Brandes should have known about, if he had been the great spirit that he and his period of time think that he is. Since Satan doesn’t know or understand the breathe of eternal life in us, Satan first “has to be presented” for us, so he can see his own picture.

2. Luke correctly assumes that he is writing for beings who are created with spirit in themselves, and who know the devil well enough that he doesn’t need to first emigrate from India or “to be imagined” for the reader. We clearly see here that it is Brandes who “makes a mistake” and “misses the mark”, and not the evangelist who knows what and whom he is writing about.

3. “Everything that you read is what Luke knows about the devil, which is what Jesus says in 10 – 18”, says Brandes in his foolishness. However, we find quite a bit in the words of Jesus, in Luke 10:18. First it tells about the 7 witnesses that Jesus had sent out to testify, who “came back with joy” and said: “Lord, even the evil spirits are obedient to your name”. (Luke 10:17). Then Jesus said to them: “I saw Satan fall down from heaven like lightening”. Here we see the Savior tell the whole connection with Satan in 9 simple words. It is the incorrect, lightening fast impulses that we humans sometimes experience that Jesus “saw”; and He sees correctly, therefore His testimony is true. I have often experienced the same thing in my life. I have often seen Satan go around in meetings in rubber soles, and I have heard him speak at funerals, and I have seen him parade in the middle of the street, like in a “funeral procession” in the bishop-like silk dress. I have also seen the devil come forward like Job relates in the Book of Job, the first chapter: “walking around between the people”.

(Goethe, the very great poetic genius, has written in his drama “Faust”, which is built on themes from the Book of Job. He documents that he understands the existence of “the devil”, the way he came to be, and how he works, in a fairly different way from Brandes, who did the devil the service of making people believe that he didn’t exist).

Yes, I have also met Satan in the parliament and in the daily press. Once I met Satan, while I was walking on a slippery street, named Karl Johan, in the middle of downtown Oslo, (Compare with my book, “The Papers the Devil Left Behind”, 1934) and I tricked him into giving me his secret folders. This was an important experience in my life, because then I understood why people hated the Jews. I also understood how the devil works when he always hides himself and then points out some “prugelknabe” (a German word for “guinea pig”) whenever Satan has been successful in seducing large and small nations, whole civilized countries, and worlds of culture. There have been “artists” and “seers” before my time who have seen “the devil” as a spiritual phenomenon. Look at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, where an ingenious artist made a stone sculpture of the devil. There are plenty of classical devil portraits both there and in all old good art. It is only our banal world that doesn’t acknowledge “the devil” as a real spiritual power.


------------------Picture of The Devil------------------


The devil is sitting up there in the church tower, just the way I know him, looking down in a scornful and mocking way at the uninhibited people, the Frenchmen. Just look at the way he is disdainful toward people, slandering and mocking them. You can believe that this “devil” is speaking in all the “churches” in today’s world. He is the father to the “Gestapo” both in Berlin and Moscow. Of course, Georg Brandes doesn’t know him, because he was among those who derailed the thinking in northern Europe.


-----------------------Picture of Brandes-----------------------


Brandes is only testifying about himself and not about the Savior of the world, Who is “only a legend” – yes, of course. If the Savior had been a living reality for Brandes, he also would have experienced that the devil had presented himself to him in the capital of Denmark. The opposite is also true – If Brandes had experienced the devil, as being born Danish, then Brandes wouldn’t have made a spectacle about discovering him in India. In that case, Brandes would have, just as we did, looked around for a savior who could have released mankind from its greatest enemy – our mental peril.

What Jesus says in Luke 10:18 about the devil also agrees with Paul’s way of thinking, when he says in 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. (Copied from the Bible.com Website).


Listen to this Hitler and Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt and Mussolini. Listen to this. It is the spiritual army of the lies of life in the heavens that is our common enemy. It isn’t blood, races, nations, classes and gender that we’re struggling against. It doesn’t matter to me if Brandes was a person, and maybe just as good a person as many others from Copenhagen, or if the books about Brandes are only a poor and uninspired “legend”. His books and speeches exist as an incorrect teaching about The Bible, about the Savior, and about the living conditions, chances and risks for people. The most important thing is the spiritual power as a living reality, because our life has a destiny and we must pay if we go astray. The people whom Satan strikes “like lightening” from heaven, are much less important for us, than the actual quality of the spirit.

4. Yes, unfortunately, when Satan comes down from heaven like lightening, it also illumines, like every other lightening bolt or light. But what kind of light is it? What kind of inspiration? What quality of light? Satan’s “light” and “illumination” has the same effect that the artificial lamplight has on night birds and flies. They buzz around helplessly because they can’t get oriented to the artificial light. This is exactly how the delusion of knowledge and disorientation has worked in the history of the world.

However, sunlight doesn’t work this way, either with flies or night birds. Flies sit calmly on the sunny wall and “absorb” the sun, just like trees, flowers, and people. Night birds don’t swarm around in the light, because they don’t tolerate it. They go and hide until it gets dark.

There’s a lot to learn from the night birds, and from the owls. They flee from the sun, because they can’t tolerate the sun. They are not capable of going past their own limitations. (See further explanation about this in the next chapter).

The light and illumination from Satan seems disturbing and destructive for humans because it is “artificial”. Just as sunshine is necessary for black soil, and all the trees and flowers, true illumination and orientation to life are necessary for man and woman, according to Grundtvig, whose comprehension of life was about the opposite of Brandes’. Therefore Grundtvig will always live in the Danish spiritual life, and Brandes, at best will be a myth about a “dumb devil”.

(Grundtvig was a Danish pastor, author, philosopher, historian, politician and hymnist. He was one of the most meaningful people in Danish history, and is especially remembered for the development of Danish identity in the 1800's. In Norway he is most known for writing hymns).


-------------------Gornitzka, His Majesty, the Devil---------------------


This is about how the devil looked, when I met him on Karl Johan’s St. in Oslo, after the last world war. This devil is drawn by my friend Gornitzka, who delighted himself and others by sharing how alive he also saw the devil in his lifetime. His many scientific “problems” lay actually like fog around his brain activity.

5. The fact that the devil Christ talks about isn’t dumb is shown when he attacks people on the three most dangerous and vulnerable points in the life of our conscience. If the poet Brandes had understood the “writing” about the golden calf, he would also have understood how “subtle and wise” the devil is when he puts out his traps.


“Awaken your soul and pray.

Get ready to fight today.

The devil lays the traps -

In danger you are wrapped,

Awaken your soul and pray”.


You common mortal, I have to ask you if you ever have realized that your uncontrolled fantasy is your unbelievably big chance and also a big risk at the same time? Isn’t the child playing with the doll innocent, beautiful and natural? Don’t we also like to play too? Don’t we also participate in the child’s fantasy? Can this also be dangerous? Yes, the child can easily learn to lie. One day maybe the little child has hurt himself on a chair or a table in the living room, and is crying. Maybe we jump in immediately with a little lie and say: “Shame on that nasty table that ‘hit the little boy’”. Then we comfort the child with a little lie. The child will not gladly see his own mistake and doesn’t find any comfort in it. The child comforts himself quickly with a little lie. Satan already appears in the child’s room when we grown ups “are with our children” and teach them uncontrolled and “unrestrained fantasy”. We still haven’t learned to find the boundaries between where fantasy can be experienced freely and where fantasies may not be tolerated. (More about this in the section about new ethics).

The time that the director of The Bank of Norway declared that the people needed to save, because the Norwegian crown had become “abnormal”, the director comforted both himself and all of the Norwegian people. The truth was that the director in The Bank of Norway had danced with the golden calf and played a devilish game with money and the people’s unlimited fantasy, which was known by the refined title of: official bank rate politics. The truth was that it was our people who had become irresponsible and “abnormal”. This was because Aaron, in the form of Gunnar Knudsen, professor and rector Bredo Morgenstierne at the university, together with Alf Whist, had taught the people to believe that they could get rich from losses due to the war. Yes! That was really how it was. Unfortunately I don’t have available the appeal from these gentlemen from 1914 – 1915 to buy stocks in the Norwegian branch of Lloyd’s of London, which had this as the intended aim. This invitation to buy stocks with “the state’s” and the university’s leading men at the forefront, was the signal for the great “employment time” in Norway from 1914 – 1918. It was like lightening from heaven that struck our people, that money could be made by profiting from the war. Everybody knows what happened. “The crash came”.


(Our readers should note the following – The Norwegian Lutheran Church didn’t identify “Aaron” with the opportunistic statesman during the period of war, 1914 –1918. Neither were Professor Morgenstierne and insurance man Alf Whist identified as “false prophets”.

For one thing, people didn’t know that The Bible had to do with human nature, see a later chapter on this, and for the other, that the politics of The Bank of Norway had anything to do with Christ and the Savior of the world, since “politics” and “religion” were two completely different areas of life that had nothing to do with each other. This lack of recognition, seeing how things go together, is what the devil moves on every time he “changes clothes”/allows the devil to function the way he does).


“The papers fell”. “The Norwegian krone became abnormal”. The money had to be “restored” (this is a word that means to stabilize). “The times went against the people”. Now we have to save, sacrifice, etc. Lots of Norwegian farmers and families went bankrupt and there were forced sales, as the natural “sacrifices” so that we again could reach the “the better times”. Now we ask: Aren’t all of these adventures the same kind of thing as when mamma hits “the nasty table” that should take the blame for the little boy not being thoughtful and careful? The Norwegian crown was just as normal and innocent as the table. However, the people and its leaders went into an old classic trap of the people or people’s snare, which Satan himself could have put up; or will you demand that a common mortal should believe that those at the head of The Bank of Norway are irresponsible spiritual children? Do you want to demand that the people would recognize Aaron in the form of old, simple, well-meaning Gunnar Knudsen? Do you want to think that the Norwegian business community and ship owners should think that a university rector and professor in social economy maybe could be very dangerous authors of fairy tales and demagogue? This would be especially difficult to believe after he had called himself an “empirical scientist”, i.e. an incorruptible gentleman who only bases things on the science of experience. Alf Whist was also well suited in this connection. Around that time many people in Norway began to play English whist (bridge), and Mr. Culbertson “conquered” Norway in the same dangerous way that Hitler did. He conquered the Norwegian people’s “free time” and guided the people’s attention and interest in a negative direction. English bridge and English discount politics are an expression for one and the same futile play with the fantasies of the people. Both things are entertainment for daytime thieves and daytime loafers. Everybody in Norway swallowed the bait, so there wasn’t any “dumb devil” who arranged for this right in the middle of the day in the 20th century. There was nary a scream or “warning” from “the Norwegian Church” (that had the key to wisdom and knowledge), according to The Bible.

As far as I was concerned, I tried to cry out all over the country – Be careful! The devil is loose! But there weren’t many who believed me. What I presented was so challenging and impertinent, so impudent and unpalatable that when a serious scientist wanted to write about my teachings in Aftenposten (a well-known national newspaper), he received the following answer: “As you know, we are very appreciative of your work in Aftenposten (The Evening Post), and we ask you to not be insulted because we are returning your article, but, for the moment, we consider Dybwad Brochmann to be one of the most dangerous men for our society”. The person mentioned above was the scientist and traveler to the South Pole, Carsten Borchgrevink. He shared this with me and then added: “You should be proud of this. It shows that they have a great deal of respect for you”. It wasn’t like I wanted respect for my person. I only wanted to warn the people and their science, business community, and the banking system that they were all heading in the wrong direction, and that the devil, who is the falsehood of life, seduced our little country. I have mentioned this here to illustrate how stupid it is to say that the tempter is dumb, when he appeals to the fantasy of human nature and asks us if it is really true that He is the Son of the Almighty and we are His children. If this is true, then we don’t need to have financial difficulties or be troubled about your daily bread. You can just go ahead and pretend that there is life in stone, and other symbols of wood or paper, then the money will reproduce by itself, and you can live sorrow free all the days of your life, and play bridge. The three temptations of Christ are made in such a sophisticated way that it is only the Savior, with His 100% alert consciousness, who can master them. Therefore Brandes doesn’t have any idea what he’s writing about. It is with the temptations of Jesus that we can see so clearly that it is only with omniscience and omnipotence that we are able to control the phenomena that are stuck so deep and demand such an intense view to be able to experience and control. If Brandes would have thought of those kinds of temptations, that he would decide were intelligent enough to really be serious temptations for the all powerful and the all knowing, he probably would have produced girls, wine, and song - just the type of thing the banal pastor often thinks is the greatest and most dangerous temptation for the Son of Man. If the story about Jesus and his temptations had been an adventure and a legend, then it would have been impossible to invent such deep going themes, such as if the most dangerous temptations, and those temptations that had the most effect on our future, consisted of people having a creative fantasy and not knowing what a chance and risk that is.

The world has a lot of myths and legends. We have lots of fables and adventures of all kinds, and many of these often pierce quite deeply. For example, H. C. Andersen gives very good descriptions of people in his adventures; and our Norwegian classics have achieved great things. Never before, has any person seen into the totality of the dangers and possibilities for human life, as the Savior, when He tells about the devil and the temptations.

If our statesmen and professors go on a spree with girls, wine and song, we can forgive them. However, when they dream and pretend there is life in “the stones”, so that “money has power”, so that loss of men and ships give an “enormous profit”, then we say in the name of Jesus: “Get away Satan, because people don’t live by bread alone, but of every word that comes out of the mouth of God”. It is the Word that is the most important food because we are spiritual beings. That is why I am taking action with today’s representatives. I have received the authority that the truth of Light gives me. I am not testifying about myself, but I am talking about we human beings in general and the spiritual “swine food” that is being served up today. I am teaching my readers to read The Bible with the same Light of mental research and inspiration with which I also read and learn, and with which The Bible is written.

6. The tempter will not tempt the Master with adventures; this has been a misunderstanding. But he will tempt the Son of Man in such a way that he convinces Him to have people let their fantasies go free and unrestrained, in such a way that Aaron couldn’t do. We can understand that this temptation was a big and important thing for Jesus Christ internally, because we see how He had to limit Himself and not speak freely or plainly on everything – for the moment. (John 16:25). Christ doesn’t speak freely about “the stones that give bread” in the way that we have earlier spoken in this book. For the moment the Savior uses parables so that we can see, but not see clearly, and so that we can hear, but not hear so that we can understand completely. (Matthew 13:17). When He speaks to us in comparisons, He appeals to our fantasy or our ability to see pictures and “to imagine” this or that. He sees the “power” and role of capitalism, and He sees the “picture” of the emperor on the taxed coin and points clearly to it (?) without speaking freely. He doesn’t give us “buckets of truth”, as an editor accused me of doing, and in His sacrament at the alter He gives in for our weakness for blood. There are certainly enough psychologists who would say: “And the Savior fell into temptation”. But He didn’t fall. He knew our slow development, and our hard hearts, and gave us plenty of time, while at the same time He showed us the holy spirit of truth that should guide us to understand everything that He had told us. In John 16:13, He gives us the whole truth, as much as He was able to for our time.

7. Brandes again accuses the devil for being dumb, yes, even so dumb that he didn’t even foresee that Christ could see through him. Here again Brandes clearly writes about things he doesn’t understand. He writes in such a dumb way that he doesn’t even foresee that others could see through his lack of knowledge. What I am saying is that Brandes is writing about himself, while he says he is writing about the devil.

8. There are so many others who write about what the 40 days and 40 nights symbolize, that I will omit it here. I don’t know if maybe the Savior’s age was 40 years, and if the 40 days in the desert aren’t a symbol for 40 years of living in the spiritual desert of this world? What I do know is that Jesus, both in word and deed, continually ties Himself and all of His work to the old Jewish traditions and prophecies. Continuously we hear that this or that happens or is challenged, “because the scriptures should be fulfilled”. When the Savior so often refers to the scriptures having to be fulfilled or are fulfilled, that is because people should orient themselves correctly, and recognize their own order of life and legality in the visions and prophecies of the prophets. It is on this same basis that Paul later explains the happenings on Golgotha for King Agrippa: “Nothing else has happened except what the prophets said would happen”. (Acts 26:22). (See other chapters about this).

Brandes also refers to Elijah who went out into the desert. (1 Kings 19). It was only a “one day’s journey” to the desert. But Brandes doesn’t try to read The Bible thoughtfully here either. An angel wakes him up and gives him a “cake” baked on warm stones. Was it the desert sun or was it the people’s fanatic poetry work that had warmed up the stones and baked the cake? Brandes doesn’t have a meaning on that. We won’t discuss that further now either, but will consider it later. What is most important in this connection is that Christ complements and fulfills the whole Jewish tradition and longing for a Messiah. This is why, in John 5:39, He says to the learned men of His time: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me”. (Copied from the Bible.com Website). Why are you looking in the scriptures, when you don’t understand that there is the truth about eternal life? It is on Me and My teachings for life that these scriptures witness and report, says the Savior. Brandes doesn’t think like this, because he doesn’t understand his own nature. If he did, he would have recognized his own internal life in The Bible. The epitome of thoughtlessness and lack of inspiration in his book is in the following: “It doesn’t seem believable that these destinies should be historical”.


(This doesn’t coincide with what Brandes says on page 65 in his book: “The morality that the evangelists let Jesus proclaim nowadays has only historical interest”).


I wonder if Brandes would have said the same thing when he read Henrik Ibsen’s dramas and works of poetry? Would he mean that “Brand”, “Nora”, “Peer Gynt” and “The Pretenders” don’t have destinies that have to do with the history of the Norwegian people? And wouldn't Ibsen's “Enemy of the people” tell us the truth about ourselves?

If we sat down and were prepared to read all of the hundred thousands of books in the libraries, that say they are objective historical renditions about factual events and destinies of the people, we could never find one single book that describes, illumines, and explains human nature and, the history and destinies of the people, so incorruptibly real and true, as The Bible’s very inspired works of poetry and stories, character descriptions, symbolical events, actions and destinies of life. Every fool who doubts this should just sit down and study the many different historical authors, and then be convinced. Why else should people always write about their own history over and over again?

When an event, a revolution, or a war has happened, and it is exactly written down by a number of historians, shouldn’t that be enough? The events and the various destinies had already happened and were carefully described, and not much more could be done with that. But what do we see? For every new generation, the history books need to be rewritten. Just look at H. G. Wells’ history of the world or at Friedell’s history of culture.

Weren’t both of these books published in thousands of copies before? This just shows that people grow and are continually widening their horizons and consciousness. We, and our life, are continually made new with a new Light over us. Even God “develops” and “changes tastes”, “ideals”, “morals”, and “wishes” according to how we grow. Earlier, no one could have written a history of the world like Wells or a history of culture like Friedell. All of the occurrences, happenings and destinies come continuously in new light. It is not only our future that “changes”, but also our “past” changes in relation to our own phase of development. How often haven’t I heard my friends say: “Think if Wells and Friedell had been on the same level with psychology or mass psychology when they wrote their great works”? There will be enough people who can succeed both Wells and Friedell.

Nothing has replaced The Bible yet. In spite of its advanced age, it is the most truthful history and the most real description of the actual reality there is. That’s why Jesus, as a speaker, poet, and writer can triumphantly say:If heaven and earth come to an end, I promise that my words will never perish”. My words will never be old, even though Wells and Friedell soon will be old fashioned.

Our readers surely realize that Georg Brandes will disappear into space in the same way that a kitten sneezes in space, but The Legend of Jesus becomes reality’s reality. When “the cloud” on the Mountain of Transfiguration disappeared, Jesus was there alone, even the prophets had left. Everything we see, describe and explain is as nothing compared to the Savior, Who knew everything ahead of time and didn’t need to ask anyone or learn from anyone, because He knew what was inside of us. Maybe we should repeat the unbelievably beautiful words from John when he finished his evangelism: “Jesus has also done much more. Should every thing be written, each thing by itself, then the whole world wouldn’t be big enough to hold all of the books that would need to be written”. This is an evangelist who understands what and whom he is writing about. He is talking about words that can move every mountain of the falsehoods of life and the deceptions that exist in all the libraries in the world.

Before we leave our guide in Bible reading, Georg Brandes, we will quote 3 more lines (on the top of page 60 in his book): “The whole passion history is so permeated with mythology that separating out any historical basis seems impossible”. We are quoting these lines from Brandes as typical of his way of thinking, in order that we can say something about what the “historical basis” really means.

For the moment, let us think that we will describe a person’s life and give the most possible complete picture of this person’s inner life, from the childhood years to adult life. Is it possible to do such a thing without including everything we know about the individual’s youth? For example, if the individual had written poetry and fairy tale books in his youth and in letters to relatives and friends talked all about his thoughts, youthful dreams, longings, etc., it would have been very helpful to include as much as possible of this in order to get a sense of the type and the personality we have in front of us. This is how we get the correct psychological picture of a person, otherwise a few photographs from various ages would have been enough, although from the photographs we don’t get enough historical basis. When we can look into the person’s letters and collections of poems, we can see into their spiritual and mental life, and start to find the basis for that person’s experiences, fortunes, actions, etc. Shouldn’t Georg Brandes be the first one to admit this? If a historical author was going to write about the Norwegian people’s history, fortunes, experiences, and way of living their lives, then this author preferably needs to know the character of the Norwegian people, their peculiarities and national traits, if his presentation of the “historical basis” would be meaningful and could be properly understood. He should preferably study “Per Gynt”, “Brand”, “The Pretenders”, “An Enemy of the People”, “A Doll’s House”, etc. in order to correctly understand the inner workings of the Norwegian mind. Only when all of these “myths”, “dramas”, “legends”, and “fairytales” are taken into consideration, can the person writing about Norwegian history be trusted. Only then will his “History of Norway” be interesting and understandable, and only then can the reader understand the Norwegian people’s distinctive history. So, now let’s use this same correct basis and view concerning The Bible, and use The Bible to reach a proper understanding of everything that makes up all of mankind’s distinctive natural history. How will we understand the total picture, if we don’t include mythology, theology, the history of religion, and the many different pictures of life that we have made during the passage of time? I really don’t know what Georg Brandes was thinking. How does he think he can understand the history of the passion of Jesus Christ, without also including the facts concerning Jewish tradition and survival, on which the Savior built all of His behavior, all of His practical life, guidance of life, and all of His work of salvation? The Jewish prophecies were available during the time of Christ. The Jews’ past, their Pentateuch, and their temple service were all available as a starting point. The Jewish picture of God, their picture of life, morality, understanding of people and understanding of the devil were all available. All of this is what made up “the substantial house” where the Savior went in. If Christ had built outside of Jewish mythology and theology, and not taken his beginning in “the Law and the prophets”, so all of His behavior would have “hung in the air” without roots in the historical reality and given facts. Since Christ saw the total deliverance of the Jews as the best imagery in the world, regarding understanding the human distinction, so He chose this imagery, this Jewish mythology, as a “theme” or as a beginning for all of His behavior from beginning to end. Since the Jewish picture of society was relatively speaking the best in the world at that time, and because the Jewish teaching about the divine order of life, its legalities and its system, were the closest there was to reality, therefore Christ couldn’t find a better area of working than the Jewish social life and picture of life when He wanted to demonstrate for the whole world the truth, the way, and the life. This is why His entire historical appearance, including the story on Golgotha, was a “fulfillment”, “became a part of” the Jewish tradition regarding “the Law and the prophets”. If Christ now, 2000 years later, could have found anything better, I cannot say, but it is possible. At the time of Christ, the Jews’ spiritual life was far ahead of that of other peoples’. They combined the material reality with the spiritual reality in a much more correct and appropriate way than all of the other people we have read about. This is why the passion history of Jesus is a story about how human nature reacts to the truth about itself.

All of human nature, with all of its different types, had a meeting on Golgotha. Christ called on all of them and gave each of them a chance to take their place, where they will, according to their mentality. He doesn’t add anything or remove anything, not even with Judas, which we understand took a lot of self-restraint. (John 13:21). He lets the main representatives of his enemies, theology (with Caiaphas and the councilmen), the state heathenism (with Pilate and his wife), gnosticism (with Herod and his crew), place themselves on humanity ’s huge theater stage of world history so that all the people and all the generations for all times shall see them and hear them and recognize them, as long as they have something to “see”, “hear”, and “recognize” with. He also lets ordinary people, the private types and personalities, come along and play their roles, as well as: the zealous, convinced and yet not trustworthy Peter, the loveable and intelligent John, the world-wise and “sensible” Judas, the doubting Thomas, the impulsive and simple female believer, the curious and seeking Zacchaeus, the raw and brutal “state” policemen, the enthusiastic mass of people who are as easy to change as the shifting sand, etc. There is an unending list. All of the light and dark sides of human nature, all possible representatives have a chance to demonstrate their possibilities and probabilities. Christ hasn’t written their roles or given them a “textbook”, like some theater directors do at our theaters, so the actors can study their roles, lines, and actions. It is the dynamic spiritual powers that have taken over the prompter’s box, where they whisper to all the performers, so that all subsequent families can find themselves and become wise.

And now to turn back to Ibsen’s famous dramas – what is the reason with these dramas if it isn’t that we Norwegian men and women shall identify and find again our own distinctive character and distinctive mental personality, every time Ibsen’s views and legends play at our theaters? It is the whole history of the world, all of mankind’s distinctive personality that is demonstrated on Golgotha, short, concise, and to the point. All the excess is removed, but no detail is missing that would make the picture complete. It is the history of mankind, events, happenings, and experiences that are the basis for the big drama on Golgotha. Christ knows them in and out with 100% accuracy and lets all of them run their course, “so that the scriptures should be shown to be correct”, and because the new scriptures, the Evangels, could not be passed by. If it should take 1000 years or 2000 years or more, we get to decide ourselves, but sooner or later all human understanding had to stop at Golgotha, and look at themselves and their relationship to the truth about their nature and the history of their nature. It could cost what it would, but there was no other way for “the substantial house” to be robbed and the stolen goods to be captured and returned to the true owner.

Lord Jesus, You were, are, and will always be the only Mental Savior of the world. Who else can we go to in order to hear and know the truth about the eternal human life, if we don’t come to You, since we learn and understand everything in the story of Your passion?


But what is left of Brandes? What is left of his “historical basis” other than an empty phrase that should trick an unknowing and thoughtless world? We certainly understand what Brandes means. He doesn’t understand the important role that mythology plays in reality. He looks at mythology as being unreal, something that has nothing to do with the history of Christ, and similarly has nothing to do with the history of mankind. Maybe he doesn’t know that the historical Christ entered into all the history of the world? Maybe he will accept the task of writing a history of the world for the last 2000 years without naming everything involved with what he calls The Legend about Jesus? Maybe Brandes will accept writing a history of the world without mentioning Christianity and the history of religion? We would just like to have some questions answered, because the whole quote from Georg Brandes is meaningless, and therefore leads into a misleading way to read The Bible.

The most basic part of the histories of all people is their mythological and religious writing. You can never write a true history of the world if you don’t include theology and the culture of myths as the “historical basis”. It is not possible for any scientist to describe for us the origin, creation, growth, and development of humanity, if he doesn’t look at how distinctively humanity separates itself from the animals and from all other creations. Because of this, our fate, our possibilities, chances, risks, our behavior and actions, conditions for living and living with others are so much richer, fuller, more special, and with more variety than all other created beings.

The above material should be enough to show that Georg Brandes as a reader and interpreter of The Bible belongs to the most banal that is known. When his book The Legend about Jesus was taken seriously by the people of his time, this only shows how those of his time had worked themselves away from reality, and lost sight and sense for the distinctiveness of human life. The fact that the Church couldn’t disarm Brandes and document his foolishness, so all the world could see it, just shows the insufficiency of the Church in the struggle against the big falsehoods of life and banal misunderstandings. Of course, there were many who tried to put Brandes in his place, but when they didn’t succeed completely in knocking him out of the struggle for truth and spiritual liberation, it was because the Light over our true natures was missing. People “did believe” that Brandes and science were wrong, but the degree of certainty was missing that was needed to knock a sprouting mistaken consciousness back down to the earth.

It’s not enough with pious will and correct faith. We are capable of very little with our own strength. It is the Light that gives us power and ability. (Please see Luke 13:24, John 6:44, 6:65, and 7:34). The Church is lacking the belief in the Light, since it believes that religious faith is enough. The story about Brandes and the youth in northern Europe is good proof that religious faith is not sufficient. It is the duty of the holy spirit of truth to illuminate us in a constantly more correct faith.



Chapter 16