Dividing the Waters

Ain Soph – The Unknown God

Chapter 7

Fred Mayers

Chapter I, v. 6, 7, 8. We have seen that verse 1 was just a preliminary summary of the subject matter of Genesis. Verse 2 stated that the present material universe was non-existent. There was as yet nothing but the “potentialities” lying latent in the “deep-that eternal boundless “ocean” which we described as “Spirit-Matter” from which all spirit and all matter was to be brought forth and given “being” and form.” Over that vast abyss, Love: the Spirit of God, was “brooding.” Verse 3 told us of the calling into existence of “Light” -active, creative Intelligence. Verse 4 told how this “Light” which, to God, was “good,” was “separated” from the darkness of Chaos to be an illuminating, distinguishing, selective and organising power for carrying out His sovereign creative work. It was the first manifestation of the Godhead; and Verse 5, God characterised it as “Day One.” So far, the story is far indeed from anything of the nature of a “fairy tale” or old Hebraic “Myth.” On the contrary, we cannot but feel that, although it is expressed in a very simple form and with words which, for the most part, have simple uses in the ordinary speech of a somewhat primitive people, it is none the less, beneath the surface, perfectly harmonious with true philosophy and scientific thought. It out-lines vast processes in a few words. It gives broad lines of thought which we can apply to all the problems of the Universe and Life, and we shall find as we proceed that a principle, once stated, is working universally, on every plane of thought or being.

The story now goes on to describe in broad outline the stages and order followed in creation.

Chapter 1, v. 6. “Let there be a “firmament” in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

We have just said that the “Divine Intelligence” which is symbolised universally by “Light” or “Day” is a selective, separating, and organising activity. Its first task was to differentiate between spiritual potentialities and material potentialities latent in the Universal “Chaos.” God now ordains that “there shall be a ‘firmament’ in the midst of the ‘waters’.” The Hebrew word is “rakia.” The root of the word is “rak” which means anything which expands, extends, dilates, etc. In Arabic, the root denotes something volatile, which spreads out like the scent of a flower, or an odour. The meaning of this ancient root is still preserved in our expression: “to reek of,” and in the Scotch word “reek”- “smoke.” “Rak” is allied to the root “R-ch” (“rouch”-spirit or breath), but is rather harder and more materialistic. (It has the hard “K” instead of the soft “Ch.”) The word “Rakia” denotes something “stretching out,” an “expanse.” It is spiritual in its nature (and therefore, in Verse 8 called “Heaven”), but it linked both with the spiritual and the material. It is said to be “in the midst of the waters, and to divide the waters from the waters.”

We can, perhaps. best arrive at some understanding of the real nature and purpose of this “Firmament” if we remember that the constitution of “man” is in close correspondence with the constitution of the Cosmos, and in ourselves we may find the clue we need. The Cosmos has been called the Macro-cosmos, and man the Microcosmos. Now, is there anything within ourselves-any portion of our being, which seems to correspond with what is told us of the Firmament? Is there anything which holds a midway position between our physical being and our spiritual being-which is a link between the two -and which is acted upon and has activities in both? The writer believes that there is just such a plane of being in that fixed, permanent, centre of our human consciousness which we call the “Ego,” the “I,” which lives, feels, thinks, and initiates all our activities. It is this centre of consciousness which receives all impressions, which come to us from any and every source; from our bodies, from outside impacts, and from all the spiritual realms. Through the faculty of thinking it deals with all these impressions; it analyses them, forms ideas and opinions upon them and then reacts upon them, thus becoming the formative, shaping force of all our being. No Intelligence, Divine or human, could work in anything which was absolutely incapable of receiving “impressions” or incapable of any kind of reaction. We are so accustomed to think of “consciousness” only as we experience it in ourselves, that it is not easy at first to realise that there are infinite degrees of consciousness. There is no such thing as absolute unconsciousness in anything in the Universe. The more we think the matter out, the more we see that we are compelled to postulate some form or degree of consciousness universally. Of course, there is an infinite difference between the consciousness of a block of granite and human, fully developed, self-consciousness; still more between so-called “dead” mineral matter and the Divine Consciousness which never loses touch even with the tiniest atom in Nature, which knows when “a sparrow falls to the ground” or a human hair turns grey. We really only know in part the reach of our own consciousness. If a tiny thorn pierces our skin -no matter where-our consciousness is on the spot. It knows instantly the exact spot, and exactly what has taken place-and what to do about it. There are ways and means of inhibiting consciousness-anaesthetics, or hypnotism, for instance, but that is only partial and temporary. It is merely a shifting of the activity of the consciousness, which itself is never destroyed. If I fall asleep I cease to hear a clock strike, but my consciousness is quite busy in the land of dreams. Even in the deepest sleep. when not a dream is stirring nor a sense active, I am not so entirely unconscious that I cannot be awakened. So that, even in our-selves, we experience varying degrees of consciousness. Even in “death” we are only unconscious as far as the physical world is concerned, and not always in that. This conscious “I” is the one permanent part of our being. We cannot. however, consider the vague consciousness of “Chaos as constituting a complete correspondence with the conscious “I” of man. The “Ego” is a specially-developed conscious “being” in which consciousness can rise to the state of “self-consciousness.” Only God and man possess that. There is nothing in the universe which can say “I am,” except Divine and human Consciousness.

As regards the “dividing” of the waters from the waters. an analogy on the physical plane may roughly illustrate what takes place: Suppose we put water which contains something in solution, “hard” chalky water, for instance, into a vessel and boil it the pure water rises as it is heated and finally evaporates in the form of steam; but the matter contained in the water, which will not evaporate. sinks and gradually forms a solid deposit in the bottom of the vessel. Precisely analogous to the action of heat on water is the action of the Divine Intelligence in the firmament. It separates the spiritual from the material. -It also uses the firmament as the “link” between the two states, so that higher spiritual influences may be brought down into the material realm, and the material itself be raised by spiritual qualities. In human life it brings to birth the “Spiritual Man” in mortal humanity, uplifting it into heavenly places by bringing down to us from the founts of Life and Light, the power that can transform even the lower being of man into harmony-with the Divine. It is from the higher spiritual realms alone that can be formed in us that “likeness of God” which makes us at last truly and completely “Man.” The firmament is in a sense the foundation of the heavens.

The tendency of the lower potentialities of Spirit-Matter to fall was entirely negative; all the positive activity worked upwards. It requires living force to “lift,” but inert matter will fall of itself. This reveals a great principle of all Divine activity. Redemption from sin is accomplished by building up the higher life and manhood. Sin is then left behind and, as it always contains the seeds of its own destruction, it perishes.

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