Let there be Light

Ain Soph – The Unknown God

Chapter 6

Fred Mayers

Genesis I, v.3.

“And God said: Let there be light; and there was light.” (English R.V.)

We have here the first desire or purpose which God ever gave expression to. It was for “Light.”

As regards the word “said,” which has caused so much discussion at times-so materialistic have been the thoughts of people, and so narrow the “literalism” of their understanding of the Scriptures that they could actually ask such questions as: “To whom did God speak?”; “With what voice did he speak?”; “What language did He speak?,” etc., etc. It seems incredible that any human being to-day could ask questions revealing such a lack of Spiritual perception. Yet the writer has come into personal contact with many such people, who yet were in other respects quite intelligent men and women. It is bard to realise that there are still people in whose minds “God” is still the patriarchal, bearded, benevolent old gentleman pictured in childish imaginations. Even in the olden days when there was little of what we now call “learning,” or “knowledge,” and “thought” itself appeared in the form of picture images, the ideaswithin the “pictures” were spiritual An expression such as “God said,” or “God spoke,” or “God talked” with anyone would offer no difficulty to them. The phrases were just the simplest way they had of expressing the spiritual fact. They had inner experience of their own and they knew that God does speak to men, in a speech that needs no human words-and yet speaks “to every man in his own language.” And millions know to-day that God still “speaks,” and that men can still “hear” the still, soundless voice.

The Hebrew word for “said,” “amor,” like all the words we have been dealing with, holds quite wide meanings. It is very closely related to the word for “light,” “aor.” Both words start from the same root: “AR” or “ER,” which we have already explained as signifying the “primal element” of all things. The sign of “light,” “intelligence,” “action,” (O) is inserted in the root and it becomes “aor”- “light.” It is not limited to the idea of “physical” light, such as the light of the sun, or of a lamp, by any means. There is also mental light; when something is explained to us, and we understand, we say “I see.” When spiritual light opens on us, we know what the “light” which “lighteth every man” is. In the present case there is no question at all of physical light, as no physical source of light had yet been created or formed. It refers to “Intelligence” which is the Spiritual prototype of all “light.” Spiritually, “light” and “intelligence” are always Synonymous. When we make a “verb” of the word, it means to “enlighten”; to “bring to light”; to “make anything clear or manifest”; to explain”; to “elucidate”; to “make anything known.” These are the ideas conveyed in the word “said.” A little consideration will show that it covers any and every means that can be taken to express Will or Purpose. God makes known His will by the Simple fact that it instantly becomes realised. This is brought out in a very graphic way in the Hebrew text of this verse by the use of a very curious grammatical expedient, which has no counterpart in any other language: When the letter vav is used as a consonant (pronounced “va” or “wa”), it is a little word of itself with exactly the meaning of our conjunction “and.” It is then called the “conversive” sign because if it is prefixed to a verb in the “future tense,” it has the effect of converting the “future” into the “past”; or vice-versa, if prefixed to a ‘past tense” verb it converts the “past” into “future” without any change being made in the verb itself. In the present instance we have “ye-he” (which we can only render in English by “let there be” or “there shall be”) in the first place, followed by “va ye-he,” which we must translate: “and there was.” The verb in the Hebrew is the same in each case. The effect that this grammatical construction has on the reader is to give him the suggestion that, in the very act of the Creator expressing His will for “light” to be – “light” already was. “Light” in the meaning we have tried to make clear appears to have been the great dominant idea in ail the great ancient religions.

Let us turn aside from the direct line of our studies and pay a visit to one of the great temples of antiquity. The digression will bring us back to our subject, but the path we shall take will have a very definite signification for any readers who may be initiates of one great spiritual Brotherhood, at least.

Most of the great ancient religions – even far back beyond the records of history, were remarkable for their great temples. These temples were much more than places of worship for the people. They were great training colleges. They had large populations of priests and priestesses. The priesthood was the Supreme “caste.” It comprised practically the whole intelligentsia of the nation. The kings themselves were priests of the highest rank. Yet in one way the priesthood was very democratic. Any man might knock at the temple door and ask to be admitted to their community, and if he could prove himself worthy of admission, he was never refused. There were, of course, conditions to be complied with. He must come as a “free” man. He must apply for admission entirely of his own free will and accord; he must be of sufficiently mature age to understand what he is undertaking; he must be of good intelligence, high moral character, and sound judgement. If he satisfied his examiners on these points, whether he were highborn or low-born, rich or poor, mattered nothing; he was deemed a fit and proper candidate for initiation into the “mysteries.” He was warned that the trials he would have to undergo were not without danger, and once entered upon, they must be gone through to the end; there could be no turning back, and failure at any stage would be “fatal.” The word “fatal” was not a figure of speech in those days. He was told that fear or hesitancy on the one hand, or over-rashness on the other, would be equally fatal. If, after careful consideration, he felt any doubt of his courage or ability to proceed, he was still perfectly free to withdraw from the enterprise and return to the outer world. If he decided that he would accept all the risks and would proceed, he was allowed to do so and his “initiation” began-and it began in darkness-total darkness to him. He set out on his path not knowing whither or to what any step would lead him. But he was never alone. Every step he took was guided by an unseen Guide. They take a pace or two together and halt. A question comes to the candidate: “When you find yourself in difficulty or danger, to whom or to what do you turn for help?” The reply he gives is always the same as is given in many a familiar psalm: “The Lord is my refuge and strength.” And again the voice speaks to him: “I am glad to know that your faith is so well founded, with His help you may follow your guide in calm confidence, and we trust, in safety.” So his guide leads him on through the darkness, a long strange orbital path. There are many pauses, and many questions on the way. He very vaguely understands the meaning of it all. He is aware only that each pause and questioning results in something to help him on his way, just some suggestive word or some little tangible sign, all rather chaotic to him. Yet he is dimly conscious that influences and powers unknown are active about him, and that they are shaping something in his soul, fitting him for something. Then comes a moment when the voice that first addressed him from the distant darkness speaks again, this time quite close to him, and as if the speaker were reading his inmost thoughts, the questions is put to him: “What is your first and greatest wish just at this moment, and in your present circumstances?” He answers: “Light-to see and understand.” “It shall be given you.’,

We need not follow him any further at present. He had been led to feel and to express that very need which God Himself first felt and expressed-the need for “light.” And as with God, so with man, the feeling and expression of the desire was in itself the first manifestation of Intelligence.

We can now go on to the completion of this first section of the Creation story.

V. 4. And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

We have already seen the meaning of “darkness,” and how it covered and permeated the “vasty deep” in which lay latent the infinite “potentialities” of all that could ever be-that boundless and fathomless ocean of “Spirit-Matter” in which everything was confused, undifferentiated, indefinable, unintelligible nothingness-yet potentially everything.

Words are useless to give any “idea” of that “chaos”; there was nothing to give form to an idea. It was just the absolute negation of anything conceivable–the polar opposite of “being.” The awakening powers and attributes of the Eternal One first seek the means of transforming this “nothingness” into “being”; this confusion into order; this universal indifferentiation into infinitely individualised existences, possessing form and attributes. God had to find within Himself, in the powers of “Elohim” the needed means. He felt that the first necessity was “Light”- “Intelligence.” He “willed” Light, and the Divine Intelligence flashed into active being. As a man may look in upon himself and consider the capabilities and qualities of his own mental powers, so we are told, did God look in upon Himself and “considered carefully”-(that is the meaning of the Hebrew word which our English Version translates by saw’) the “Intelligence” He had Willed into being. He saw that it was “Good’ ‘-suited to carry out His purposes and powerful, for the task. So He set it in opposition to the “darkness, separated it absolutely from the darkness as a “Being of Light” to shine into the darkness. Thus the Divine Intelligence becomes, within chaos, a separative, selective, ordering Force. It draws forth from the “deep” all He needs (and as he requires it) for the “realisation” of His every purpose. Thus Universal “Intelligence” was the first manifestation of Divinity.

Going on to verse 5. God gives, as it were, a “name” to this Intelligence, characterising it as “day”-not “a” day, but the very essence, the spiritual nature of all that “day” means or implies, or suggests for us. The Hebrew word for “day” is IOM (yom). It means quite clearly “a manifestation of light universally.” To apply it to a “day” in the sense of a 24-hour period, even in the lowest, most material acceptation of the word, is not in agreement with the essential meaning of the word itself. It can only apply properly to the light hours of the period; the dark hours are not “day” but “night.” The use of the word for a period of 24 hours has, however, become so universal that it is not likely to be corrected now, but we must not on any account think of it in that sense in connection with the word in our text. We must think of it only as the antonym of “night.” It has nothing whatever to do with any period. Chaos was the universal “night” in which God was unmanifest, unknown. “Day” is the “Light” in which and through which He becomes manifest, knowable.

“And there was evening, and there was morning. Day one.” The word translated “evening,” “ereb,” means something which is “over”; finished; past. The word “morning,” “boker,” means something which “arises” or “commences.” It is frequently used in Hebrew as a synonym of “light” itself. We must note also that “evening” and “morning” do not in any way represent two different periods. As we have already said many times, we are dealing with universal spiritual processes in which time has no part. They are processes which are eternally at work, and like everything in the “sovereign work, “ “melacheth” of God, they are always progressive. As, and in proportion as, the Divine Intelligence shines forth, chaos and darkness pass away. “Evening” is the darkness which passes away, and “morning” is the arising of the Divine Light; they are just two coincident aspects of the same thing. The rising light destroys the darkness by its rising. It is just this flashing into existence of Divine Intelligence that constitutes, in itself, the first great manifestation of Divinity and it is this “manifestation” which God calls “Day one.” And “Day one” is an eternal day ; it has lasted and will last as long as God is working out His purposes.

Yet a great divine like Dr. Driver can tell us in his commentary on “Genesis” that if the word “day” does not mean a day of 24 hours he does not see what it can mean! How utterly blind the materialistic mind can be; and how little a very learned Christian scholar sometimes may understand the wonderful language of the Bible.

According to ancient Jewish Rabbinic tradition, Moses, before he died, selected eight men of high intelligence and character, and under an oath of absolute secrecy, communicated to them orally certain instructions for the reading and interpretation of his writings. He knew the deeper meanings hidden within his words; he also recognised clearly that the time was a long way distant when it would be wise, or even possible, to open up to mankind in general, these deeper truths. He also told them that, as any one of their number died, they should select the wisest and holiest man they could find to fill the gap in their number, and should pass on to him, orally, and under the same pledge of absolute secrecy, the instructions they had themselves received. This was to continue from generation to generation until such time as some Divine “revelation” should show them that the time had arrived for lifting the veil.

This secret “tradition,” we are told, was faithfully guarded by its custodians generation after generation. They considered it as a sacred divine commission to be held on behalf of the Hebrew people. The very possession of it they felt to be a divine honour which made their nation indeed a “chosen” people, specially destined to be the ministers of the Divine purposes for all mankind. It was their supreme pride and glory. Through all troubles, difficulties, and persecutions they held fast, and cherished their “secrets.

When Ptolomy II in the third century BC, for the enrichment of his great library, sent to the leaders of the Jewish nation a request-or command (one was much the same thing as the other in such cases) that they should give him a Greek translation of their sacred books, they complied without demur, giving him as faithful a translation as they could make of the “literal” meaning of the texts. What they did not do was to give even the slightest hint that there was anything deeper to give. They were probably quite right to act in that way, for the same reasons that led Moses to give any secret oral tradition at all.

After the destruction of Jerusalem and the final dispersion of the nation there was grave danger that the initiates of the secret tradition might be scattered and the tradition itself be lost. They, therefore, decided that the time had come to commit to writing some of the tradition, and this was done, but always in a very veiled manner. The writings would mean little or nothing to any ordinary reader unless he already possessed much spiritual perception. However, through the centuries of the Christian era, even up to the 18th century, a considerable amount of Kabbalist literature was produced, though it remained unknown to more than a small circle of scholars.

About the middle of the 18th century something happened in the world. It was the dawning of a new age of “illumination”-an age in which very much that had for thousands of years been buried in impenetrable darkness was brought to light. One of the earliest manifestations of the new age was the giving to the world of religious thought by Swedenborg of his “Science of Correspondences,” which opened up much of the Spiritual significance of the Bible. Soon afterwards a great French philologist and thinker, Fabre d’Olivet, commenced important work in a different direction. D’Olivet belonged to a French Protestant family. He tells us in the introductory notes to a translation in “prosodie rythmique” of Lord Byron’s poem, “Cain,” which he made, that much of his boyhood was spent in Aberdeen, and that he received part of his education there. He became deeply interested in the study of languages and their origin. He became a master of Greek and Latin and classical literature, but that did not go far enough back for his purpose, so he learned all that could be taught him of Hebrew from German Jewish Rabbis. Then he mastered Sanscrit and Chinese. Finally he decided to concentrate his studies on Hebrew and languages connected with Hebrew (as he thought that would be of most value to the Western World): Assyrian, Syriac, Samaritan, Arabic and Ethiopian. The result of his work was the publication in 1816 of a most remarkable book: “La Langue Hebraique Restitute.” The book is not very widely known even to the present day, but it will certainly, in due time, have great influence on Hebrew studies. In some side issues of the book, there are errors, which no information, at the time it was written, was available to correct. But the “Grammar” section is a marvellous, and unanswerably logical analysis of the construction of the language, and the “Dictionary of Hebrew Roots” is invaluable. The second volume of these work consists, firstly, of an analysis of the first ten chapters of Genesis, from the linguistic point of view. There is much valuable information in the “notes” to this section, but at the same time it is obvious that he is only very partially working out his own principles. He admits this freely in many places, saying it would be dangerous to reveal too much at the period he was writing in. When one recalls that he wrote in the period of the French Revolution, and held a Government appointment, his hesitation to say much that he might have said, becomes understandable. “My purpose,” he says, “is not to act as a commentator of Moses, but to put at the service of my readers the means by which they can read him and understand him themselves.” D’Olivet considered his mission to be only to lay foundations for others to build on.

About the very time that d’Olivet’s book was printed, Champollion and others were working hard to decipher an inscription on a stone dug up in Egypt in 1799. Finally they succeeded, and soon the vast literature of the Egyptian Hieroglyphic language came to life again. The same thing happened with the long-buried and forgotten remains and records of the Babylonian civilisation. A great campaign of exploration, excavation and study was commenced. Mystery after mystery, secret after secret was solved and unveiled. “Light” came from a thousand sources: from Egyptian tombs, from Palestinian and Mesopotamian excavations from the buried temples of Yucatan, from the caves and barrows of our stone-age ancestors. The “House of Light” (the Great Pyramid) gave up its secrets.

Was it mere “accident;” mere coincidence that all this should come like a torrent of illumination just when it did? May we not look upon it as the outward sign of the dawning of the day, foreseen by Moses, when the secrets of his tradition would be secrets no longer? The present writer believes that we may ; and this is his reason-and he hopes, justification-for writing this book. He would feel that his life had not been lived fruitlessly if, even to a small number of seekers for truth, he could bring a few rays of “Light” to bear on the most wonderful Book ever written.

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-scott mead 2016-10-29 21:18:30

is this an exact copy of the book? it seems you diluted the message. i had an original copy of ain soph years ago but lost it and really enjoyed the first person analysis of the language. please make a copy of the “un-crisped” version of the work. thanks

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