OK, most believers have to admit that when they came across this scripture in Matthew they got a friend or two together and tried it out:
Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
I did, you did, we all did; and nothing happened.
Maybe you wished for money, or something noble like a loved one to get healed; or just something simple like making a chair float in the air (that would be mine). Either way… nothing happened.
Was there more to the formula than we thought? Or, maybe that “friend” of ours really wasn’t a believer? Did we not have enough faith? What gives!
There are some long-winded theological arguments to explain away this promise in Scripture, but we can boil them all down to the following:
God only does it when he feels like it.
I have heard many a Christian explain away that although it is not in the text, God only answers prayer if and when he darn well pleases to. In fact, they even go so far as to state that he only answers those miracles that he was about to do anyway; this is called praying in (or accordance to) his will.
You would think that such a large disclaimer would have made it into the text.
The other explanations you can get are just as silly. A little bit ago, several people quote this verse to me; professing their superior faith to mine. I pointed out that there was well-more than two of them in the room together, and suggested that they “show me” it in action. They said that they “could do it if they really wanted to“, but that they “did not want to“. I then told them that I could turn invisible when I really want to, but that I did not feel like doing it in front of them either.
One then said that they could do it if they wanted to, but that the bible says not to put the Lord to the test. So basically, we are told that it is against your faith to exercise your faith.
Up until recently this, and many other scriptures, bothered me greatly. The disclaimers revealed a weak, missing, or even worse — dead God, or it reveals a dead church.
There is hope though! For you see, this verse does not mean what we think it means; it may be better to even say that it has been misinterpreted greatly.
It is not that “if the two of you agree“; it is if the two agree, or when the two become one. This verse seemed cryptic to the translators, and so they paraphrased it the only way they could make sense of it — as fundamentalist Christians. However, if you look at the verse as a Gnostic Christian it makes perfect sense in its original form.
During that day-in-age the popular belief, especially in the Gnostic circle, was that the human consisted of 2; the lower self and the higher self. You could equate it to our concept of flesh and spirit.
So when the 2 become 1is the point where the believer (initiate) unites with his higher-self, transcends all, and becomes one. He becomes divine-human, a Christ, a Buddha, a god-man. It is in this state where anything that he wills will become granted to him. The verse is not saying that if two Christians simple get together and make a wish it will come true. It is pointing out that when you become perfected, hit nirvana, become the Christ — then wondrous miracles follow.
Nowadays we think of man in the form of Trinity; a being of body, mind, and spirit; so this dualistic view escapes us a bit. This triune theory was already becoming popular back when this verse was written as well; some people believed in the 2 and others in the 3, and that is why in the next verse it goes on to talk about “the two” or “the three“.
The author is not saying “sometimes it takes 2, and other times it requires 3”, he is saying that if you believe the human to be composed of 2 then the 2 need to be 1, and if you believe in the human trinity of 3 — the 3 need to become one; whatever floats your boat. Which is pretty open-minded of the guy. Fundamentalists would have had a council meeting on if 2 or 3 was the right answer, voted on it, and the losers would get burned at the stake for being heretics.
Read their history, they killed people over less.
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