God Made the Beast of the Earth

Ain Soph – The Unknown God

Chapter 12

Fred Mayers

Genesis I, V. 24 and 25.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

The reader who has followed carefully what has been said thus far, will-we hope-have begun to realise something of the nature and order of the Creative “idea.”

Firstly we had the broad, simple statement that it included the “heavens” and the “earth.” Next, that all things that were to be, lay latent as mere “potentialities within potentialities” in the “vasty deep” of infinite and eternal “spirit-matter,” i.e., in the spiritual “waters” which held in solution, as it were, all the Divine purposes and their fulfilment. We saw that the first “manifestation” of God was the bringing into activity of Divine “intelligence”-the inward “Light” of the Spirit-as the first essential of all “Creation.” We saw how this Divine Intelligence made a “separation” within the “waters”-dividing “between the ‘waters’ and the ‘waters’ “-making, on one hand, “waters” which were to be raised, step by step, to form the F “Heavens,” “shamaim” = the “glorified waters,” and on the other hand, “waters” which should descend, stage by. stage, till they reached a state of final “condensation,” “concretion,” “realisation,” which is described as “aretz” “earth.” Then we saw how everything is first conceived and, as it were, “born” in the “heavens” of spirit for realisation on lower planes. We saw that this process insures a complete and perfect “correspondence” of all Divine activities with one another on every plane of being; a Divine Unity running throughout the whole Universe; the whole Universe reflecting the Thought and Will of God ;- and the very movements of the stars becoming reflected in the minds of men, in their souls, in their activities, and in their destinies. We also saw measurable “time” produced from measureless Eternity, and measurable “space” from measureless Infinity. We saw in broad outline the processes of the evolution of the physical earth, of vegetation, and of all the conditions necessary for the existence of “animated beings” -all mapped out and planned in the great spiritual “Conception” which is what we mean by “Creation.

Our last chapter dealt with the creation of the life principle and of the “group-souls” of all animated beings below the human plane.

It is interesting to see how every step in the story is obviously “leading up” to, and necessary to something which is to follow, and yet never becomes fully intelligible until a later stage of the story is reached. One sometimes feels that the writer is concealing the “denouement” of it all with the skill of a writer of modern detective fiction. Now and again he seems to step aside from what one would imagine would be the direct sequence of the story. We know that all Creation had to be produced from the primal “waters,” but once already (verse 11), and now again (verse 24) we see that the created “earth” is made to produce some phase of the plan. Verse 24, English Revised Version, reads: “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and beast of the earth after its kind; and it was so.” In that translation, a casual reading might well give the impression that the “earth” was to “bring forth” what had already been brought forth; that the writer of the original was repeating unnecessarily and in a rather confusing way, much that had already been said. Modern critical commentators offer the explanation that the writer was -’collating” various fragments of different “creation stories,” some of which make living beings to originate in water, and others giving them an origin on earth, and so on. We need not trouble ourselves with any such “explanations.” Their only purpose-if they have any-is to discredit the inspiration of the Book. If we take the trouble to study it carefully and give a more adequate translation of the text for modern readers-(and a very moderate knowledge of the hieroglyphic basis of the original language will suffice for that) -we shall find that most -of the difficulties disappear.

Verse 24 really follows quite logically on what had immediately preceded, and carries the plan on for another stage. We have seen already that “living soul” which is the formative force, and essence of animated nature, was called forth from the spirit realms. Now we learn that the earth has a part to play in developing that “living soul” in accordance with the needs of life on the physical plane. The “souls-of-life” were not to exist only in super-physical realms. The physical plane of existence was also absolutely necessary for the working out of the Divine scheme, though the reason for this will not become fully intelligible until we reach a later stage of the story.

In the meantime we have just this statement that the earth had a part to play in developing the “animal Soul.” Perhaps we may be able to form an idea of what that means if we recall what was said in Chapter IX respecting animal “instinct,” and in Chapter XI about the “group souls.” We mentioned the fact that all animals act in accordance with the impulses they receive from their “group soul” and that they cannot pass outside the limits of their particular “kind or species. But observation of animals and their activities, over any considerable period of time, will show that continual development goes on in the group-soul that they are subject to, and that this development is brought about by changes in the conditions of their physical environment. A very simple illustrative example will explain this -The present writer’s recollections go back to the time when, in some districts, railways were still sufficient of a novelty for people to come out “to see the train go by.” To the animals in the fields in those days ‘the noisy rattle of the train, as it passed, was a source of alarm. It filled the animal “soul” with terror; horses, catfie and sheep would stampede to the farthest limits of their enclosures. A few years later one observed that only the young animals showed fear and ran away. Some of the older ones would come near the railway fence and watch the train with an air of wondering, mystified curiosity-and nothing more. What the noisy monster might be, they could not understand, but the animal “soul” was no longer fearful of it, as it had learned that the monster was harmless. Again, after a short period, one saw that even the young colts and calves were quite as undisturbed as their elders when a train roared past. With the advent of the automobile, the same thing happened again. How often in our early motoring days have we had to pull up, and even silence our engine, to allow a horse-drawn vehicle or some led animals to pass. Sometimes a horse would be visibly trembling with fear of the unknown thing on the road. Now, it is very seldom indeed that any animal shies at any passing car- even the most noisy and repulsive military machines.

Another example may be mentioned-the case of the Kruger Park animal sanctuary-in South Africa. There, where every animal is protected by law from any molestation, where no shooting or hunting is permitted, and every animal is perfectly free to roam about at its pleasure and live its natural life, human beings can safely walk or drive, or motor, or picnic. They are never attacked, though lions and other animals will wander across the roads and sometimes come to look at their visitors. The writer has a photograph in which a lion, a lioness and some cubs are shown quietly lying in a group, very interestedly watching an air plane that has landed near them. A superficial observer might imagine that these phenomena are explainable on the assumption that the animals “get used” to the new things or conditions; but that explanation is not quite correct and omits to take account of many important facts. To “get used” to anything means to have repeated individual experiences; to be able to retain them in memory and recall them, and to be able to deduce from them the appropriate lessons. To do that is possible to men but not to animals. As we have said before, the instinctive animal mind is not capable of deductive reasoning, and “memory” is a faculty of “soul.” An animal’s experiences are purely sense impressions which have no permanency in the physical being of the animal. But the animal “group soul” which is the common possession of the species-because it is “soul,” has memory, and can gather up into itself the experiences of the group; it can then do for the individual animals that it inhabits, what the individual human being, having an individual soul of his own, can do for himself. In this way, earth-life and conditions cause “reactions” in the animal soul-world, which develop it to meet the varying needs and circumstances of life in the physical plane.

But there is something more to say: When the “life-souls” were created we were told that a Divine “blessing” was given to them, and that they were ordained to “be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the ‘earth’ and the waters in the ‘seas.” (Not the primal universal “waters.”) To do that, a physical existence, in physical environments was a necessity. Spirit knows -no bounds or limits, its nature is universal. Therefore, “life soul” as long as it exists only in spiritual realms, cannot be fruitful or multiply. It is only when it becomes the in-dweller of beings with separate, independent, individual, bodies that it can be fruitful or multiply. The same exactly is true of Thought. “Thought” is spirit and, as Spirit, is always universal, and therefore cannot be multiplied; but any thought may be taken up by a mind here and there, or by millions of minds of individual thinkers. It is one and the same thought, -however many minds think it. Its multiplication and fruitfulness can only be in the minds that think it. We may say more on this subject when we come to consider the creation of man.

Before leaving verse 24 it is necessary to give an explanation of three words in the Hebrew original which the English translation does not adequately express. They are the words rendered by: “cattle” (“behemah”); “creeping thing” (“remesh”); and “beast of the earth” (“chaitho-aretz”). The word “behemah” is rather loosely translated in different places; sometimes by “cattle,” sometimes by “beasts of the earth,” sometimes by “wild beasts” of the woods, or earth, or field, etc. -For some extraordinary reason all the translators use a plural word to render it by. “Behemah” is singular. It has a plural: “Behemoth,” which is invariably rendered in the singular in English! Some commentators tell us it means “a hippopotamus.” Others tell us that the meaning of the word is unknown. (That is obvious from the general confusion respecting it!) Then again, although they translate “behemah” by “beast of the earth” they also translate “chaitho-aretz” by the same expression, although the two original words differ entirely. So under the circumstances we must do the best we can to discover its real meaning for ourselves.

The dictionary gives “B.H.M.” as “a root unused in Hebrew.” “Behem,” however, being a bisyllable word, cannot be correctly called a “root” at all. The real root is “H.M.” which is understood to mean noise or “multitude,” or the “noisy commotion of a crowd.” That meaning could easily and naturally arise from the sign values of the letters “H,” denoting “life,” ‘activity,” “energy,” “emphasis,” etc.; and “M” final, which we have before explained as denoting “plurality,” “universality,” “many,” etc. The “B” prefixed, as we know already, is the “internal” sign, equivalent to the English word “in.” Then to complete the word “behemah” we have the “H” final. This letter at the end of a word has several uses. Grammatically it is the sign of the feminine gender; for example, “ish” man; “ishah” = woman. It also means a “tendency,” a “direction,” “to,” “towards,” etc. Its use then is just the same as that of the affix “ward” or “wards” in some English words, as for instance: “Homeward the ploughman wends his weary way,” etc. Thus the word “behemah,” we can see, is a compound of four ideas :-

(1) “B” the idea of something “internal.”

(2) “H” = “life” or “activity.”

(3) “M” = something which is “general” or “universal”; and

(4) “H” final = “tendency” or “direction” in which or toward which, something works or moves.

When we read the word with these ideas in mind there appears to be no reason whatever why we should consider it the name of any animal or animals at all. It has obviously much more to do with “animation” than with “animals.” It is concerned with “life” itself in general and (in this particular verse) also with earth-life. We may, perhaps, make the verse more generally intelligible if we paraphrase it somewhat as follows.

“And Elohim said, the Earth shall bring forth, or develop soul-life after its own nature (i.e., the earth’s) ‘in the universal life movement,’ and an upward, progressing, earthly life, in accord with its own nature ; and it was so.

In case any reader should get an impression that the present writer, in concentrating his attention on the deeper meanings of the original text, undervalues or depreciates unduly the simple English version, he wishes to make it clear that his purpose is simply to show that that version is only adequate (and indeed was only intended) to give an outward, literal and material sense to the original. It does not always succeed in doing that. As a translation it is childlike, and quite uncritical in its simplicity, but so also-to all outward appearance, was the original. It had to be, in order to mean anything to the primitive-minded people to whom, in the first place, it was given. At -the same time there will always be found, between the simple version and the deeper meaning, some spiritual correspondence of ideas which prevents them from being contradictory or destructive, one or the other. The great significance of the whole matter is that the original Hebrew text is found to contain within itself both the most simple and the most profound. It is inconceivable that that could have been possible apart from Divine inspiration and control.

Coming now to verse 25, a casual reading again suggests unnecessary repetition. But here again we notice that one or two words are changed-and we shall find that these little changes grow in significance as we study them. The verse in the English Revised Version reads: “And God made the beast of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and -everything that creepeth upon the ground after its kind, and God saw that it was good.”

We will give a few notes on the words of the verse. Firstly.- “and.” The “vav” as a conjunction is used in Hebrew in a much less precise way than “and” is used in English. This is only to be expected in a language that was actually in course of formation in and by the Book we are studying. (Just as the Italian language was in the poetry of Dante.) As a language grows older it acquires newer words and more precise forms of expression for subtleties of meaning, and composition becomes more lucid. Where the old Hebrew language is content with “and,” English idiom requires various different words in accordance with the nature of the relationship between the words or sentences to be conjoined, as for instance : “so,” “then,” “therefore,” “also,” or even “but.” Hebrew leaves that kind of differentiation to the intuition of the reader. “God” is “Elohim,” of course. In verse 24 we were told that the “earth” should “bring forth” soul-life after its kind. Here we are told that Elohim “makes” that “life of earth.” There is no contradiction in the two statements. It quite clearly means that “earth” was to be the medium through which Elohim works for carrying out certain parts of the Divine purposes.

– “beast of the earth.” This is again the word “chaith-h’aretz,” “life-of-the-earth” or “earth-life.” The translator of the English version could not get away from the idea that the text was dealing with specific “animals” and so the best he could do was to use the generic word “beast.”

– “cattle.” This is the word “behemah” again, which we explained as the universal life-movement within animated nature.

– “everything that creepeth” “cal-remesh” – literally ‘all movement or progress (upward).”

– “upon the ground.” Here we come to the most interesting -and important word in the verse: “ha-adamah.” This word is always rendered “ground” throughout the English Bible, thus distinguishing it clearly from the word “earth”; yet at the same time, no commentator-so far as the present writer is aware ever considers the two words as anything but merely synonyms of one another. This is a very serious mistake indeed. It could only arise from two causes: first, ignorance of the hieroglyphic basis of the Hebrew language, i.e., the sign value of the letters; and secondly, their inability to grasp the idea that the text could have anything but a purely materialistic significance. It is a mistake that makes it impossible for any ordinary reader to understand some of the most important passages-not only of Genesis-but also of many other parts of the Bible. Far from “adamah” being a synonym of “earth” or “soil,” it is always used of something which is being contrasted with “earth.” The word “aretz”- “earth” can be applied, quite correctly, to the physical earth, or td “land” (as distinct from water); or to a particular “land” (a country); or to the “soil” of the earth, etc., but he word “adamah” cannot be applied to anything of a physical nature at all. It has to do with an entirely spiritual conception. It is perfectly obvious, in the first place, that the word derives directly from the word “Adam.” The opposite idea, held by many commentators, that “adam” is derived from “adamah” is quite untenable; all compound words must be based on simple words, and all simple words must be based on monosyllabic roots, or be themselves a monosyllabic root. The word “adamah” is the word “adam” with the addition of the ‘H” final, which we explained in connection with the word “hehemah” as a “tendency” or a “movement towards something.” The word “adam” itself has the root “d-m,” which denotes “assimilation” or “likeness.” This same root “M” vocalised by the vowel “a,” is the Hebrew word for “blood”- “dam.” In Hebrew thought “blood” and “likeness” are always -associated ideas; “blood” was to the Hebrew mind the symbol of “kinship.” In Goethe’s “Faust,” Mephistopheles insists on his pact with Faust being signed with blood. “Blood,” he says ironically, “is a very peculiar fluid.” He was right, and his remark is worth consideration. The use of the plural word “bloods” in Hebrew was equivalent to saying in English: “of a different blood,” or a different “race,” “nature,” “kind,” etc. It inferred that their ideas and customs differed; and that they thought in different ways.

In the word “Adam” the sign a is prefixed to the root “D-M.” The “A” sign as has been explained before, denotes -the “starting point” of anything; “potentiality,” “cause,” etc., -so that etymologically the word means “potential likeness” or potential assimilation.” (If we read the word as a verb the a” would be the sign of the first person singular and the word would mean: “I assimilate” or “I become like” someone or something.) There will, of course, be more to say of this word when we are dealing with the creation of Adam. For the present it is sufficient to note that, whatever “Adam” may prove -to be, “Adamah” is something from which “Adam” is produced, or something which leads up to Adam.

We think it will be clear from the above notes that, between saying: “creeping”-or “moving on the earth” and “all that moveth the ground” (Adamah), there is a very important difference. The reader will notice that we have just omitted the word “upon,” which is in the English versions. That word is not in the original and there is no warrant for it. On the contrary, it destroys the real meaning of the Hebrew, which says: “All that moveth the Adamah,” i.e., everything which moveth “man”-wards.

God calls everything which does that: “good.” The word “adamah,” therefore, gives us the clue to the ultimate purpose of the creative scheme. Everything thus far planned was preparatory to, and leading up to, the Creation of “Adam.” The – “adamah” was the spiritual counterpart of “earth.” As the earth was created to be the “foundation” on which man would come into existence as a physical being, and in which his spiritual life and being – were to be developed, so the “adamah” was the spiritual “ground ,’ ‘-the forces and qualities out of which “Adam” (Humanity, or the Human Kingdom) was to be formed-and finally developed into the “likeness” of Elohim.

This will become clearer as we proceed.

Back to Chapters ListForward to Chapter 13

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved