Job’s Friends: The Mental, Astral, and Physical Bodies, and the Root of Suffering

by Joshua Tilghman on January 15, 2013

Job Bible Story 6 300x180 Job’s Friends: The Mental, Astral, and Physical Bodies, and the Root of SufferingIn the last post we began a series on Job. We discussed who Satan was, how Job’s children represented qualities within himself, and the fact that Job was doing everything he could (religiously) to make atonement for his natural shortcomings. And although Job was perfect according to the religious rites and customs of his day, these acts, while noble, are never good enough to reach the divine because they come from the lower nature.

Today we are going to address the concept of suffering further. Why do the seemingly innocent suffer? How could God even allow such a thing? As we’ll soon see, the answer is provided through an esoteric understanding of the roles of Job’s friends.

At this point in our story (the end of chapter 2), Job has lost everything. You probably remember what happens next from Sunday school; God gives Satan permission to harm Job physically. Satan inflicts an incredible amount of misery and pain on Job, but before Job’s 3 friends arrive, his wife steps in and tells him:

“…Doest thou still retain thy integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9).

Can you believe this downer? Some wife, huh? Imagine if you were sick with cancer and your wife (or husband) said, “Hey, why don’t you just curse God and then die?”

I always found it odd that after Job completes his spiritual evolution and is restored (with wealth, health, and new children), his wife is still there. Are we really to believe this literally happened? No. Job’s wife simply represents the lower nature that we must remain married to as long as we are manifested in a physical body. The lower nature doesn’t understand the spirit or the purpose of suffering, and it never will. That’s why it’s important to bring the lower nature into subjugation to the spirit.

We learn more about this process through the friends of Job. Let’s begin with this scripture:

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came everyone from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; for they had made an appointment together to come mourn with him and to comfort him” (Job 2:11).

These three men represent the lower bodies that serve a purpose in the grand scheme of the spiritual evolution of man. They are:

1)      The mental body

2)      The astral body

3)      The Physical body

The mental body makes it possible for us to experience thoughts and the intellect. Its form is abstract and is probably geometrical in nature. It is more subtle than the other two.

The astral body allows us to experience emotions. This includes desires and instincts. People who claim to perceive the astral body say it resembles the physical body but is much more subtle.

The physical body is composed of two parts: the atoms, molecules and cells which you can see and touch, and the ethereal body, which serves as a template for atoms and molecules to arrange themselves by. As a side note, perhaps this explains one of the biggest medical mysteries of all time: Phantom limb pain. Sometimes patients who have a limb amputated still feel pain. It is said that the trauma caused by the amputation never quite resolves, still residing in the ethereal limb.

Now let’s look at the 2nd part of the scripture we discussed above again:

“…for they had made an appointment together to come mourn with him and to comfort him” (Job 2:11).

This is symbolic of these three bodies—mental, astral, and physical—that must come together into a coherent whole to give the human experience on the physical plane. We must go through many rounds of birth and rebirth (See my post about reincarnation taught in the Bible) before these bodies can express the self-awareness and moral conscience needed to begin a spiritual evolution, invoking an awakening into the higher mental planes and beyond. Self-awareness is developed through the experiences gained through these bodies in each incarnation.

Our next scripture points out that these bodies start out as primitive vehicles that do not posses self-awareness. This is implied in the next Bible verse before Job’s friends reach him:

“And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him [Job] not…” (Job 2:12).

Now who is the “him” that Job’s friends knew not? It is Job himself, who represents the spirit or divine spark in man. As we’ll see, the self-awareness and moral conscience needed for Job’s spiritual evolution will be developed and expressed through these bodies near the end of Job’s narrative.

Continuing with the story of Job we read:

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and spoke not a word to him… (Job 2:13).

Again, “they spoke not a word to him” represents these bodies’ unconscious nature. But notice how long the period of silence lasted: seven days. Are we to take this literally, that Job’s friends sat seven days and nights with him and no one spoke a word? Of course not! We have yet another example of numerology: the number seven represents the beginning and ending of a cycle, a completion. This completion is expressed as the “alpha and the omega,” just like the Christ.  What comes next in the scriptures is the beginning of Job’s awakening to the Christ nature within. This awakening will begin to be expressed in the lower mind, but it cannot come to completion there.

Now let’s look at the last half of Job 2:13. “…for they saw that his grief was very great.”


Job (and all the rest of us as well) suffers because as an incarnated spirit—that which is perfect—is being expressed through the very limited mental, astral, and physical bodies; these bodies by their very nature incur suffering through the karma they produce. Thus the perfect is subject to the imperfect.

In chapter three, Job, the divine spark limited in the incarnation, begins to plead this condition of suffering. He states:

“Let the day perish wherein I was born…Let that day be darkness; let God not regard it from above…Because it shut up not the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid the sorrow from mine eyes” (Job 3:4-10).

Job, through the developing faculties of the lower self, realizes how much suffering life on the physical plane can produce. In fact, it seems to be full of suffering. King Solomon echoes these same sentiments in Ecclesiastes.

“…vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh…” (Ecc. 1: 2-4).

This is also what is meant by the concept of being born into sin. Sin is ignorance. This ignorance induces karma. Sin in and of itself is not necessarily something evil, unless you see ignorance itself as that which is evil.

But suffering also plays its part in the grand scheme of the divine plan, for Paul states:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28).

So the end result of spirit being crucified on the plan of matter is meant to be glorious.

So how can we, like Job, avert being trapped by the ego and have our awareness remain in the lower mind? It’s no secret that the physical body and the mind, with its all its thoughts and the subsequent emotions, are very hard to tame and master. However, with the taming and mastering of the body, mind, and emotions, comes great reward.

This is why daily meditation is so important. By this very holy act, you are bringing the mind, emotions, and body under the subjugation of spirit and this process helps the self evolve to the perfected man, or the Christ within.

Salvation is a process that takes place by entering the kingdom within you. It is not the byproduct of belief (habitual thought) and subsequent obedience to this thought. Consider that God told Adam he would die the day he ate of the fruit of the tree. This really isn’t speaking of perishing physically. It is talking of a spiritual death. Every incarnation that goes by where do not seek to resurrect the Christ within us means we must go through another round of death and rebirth in limited, lower self awareness, with endless amounts of pain and suffering in a myriad of forms.

In our next post in this series, we’ll see how the entire discourse between Job and his friends relate to the entire process of Job’s, and therefore our, spiritual evolution. Just for fun, I might do a post on the Behemoth and Leviathan mentioned in Job since it may also help us to understand our spiritual evolution.

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