The Opening of the Eyes

Ain Soph – The Unknown God

Chapter 26

Fred Mayers

Genesis III, v. 7 and 8.

v.7: “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons.

v. 8: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” (English Revised Version.)

The first sentence of verse 7 does not contain any difficulty, pass on to the words: “and they knew that they were

The word “knew,” as we have explained before, always refers to knowledge acquired by first-hand experience, something that they had experienced within themselves. What that “something” was in the present case, was that they were “naked.” Translators and commentators have almost invariably taken that word in a very literal manner indeed, and in consequence of having done that, they have been obliged to distort the whole meaning of the rest of the verse beyond recognition.

In our chapter on “Na-hash” we postponed the explanation of the word (Gen. III, v. 1) translated “subtle”: “the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field.” That word gives us a suggestion that in a cunning, insidious ,evil way, Na-hash was very ‘wise,” yet we went on to describe it as a “blind, self-centred impulse.” We can now explain why we did that. The word in the Hebrew is “aroom.”* The root of the word is “ar.” This root denotes some blind, unreasoning impulse; a craving, a self-centred “hunger,” or “desire.” It also denotes “deprivation of light-or intelligence ; nakedness”-either in a literal or figurative sense; an “absolute lack” of something; a “desolation”; a “barren, bare place,” etc. Any Hebrew lexicon will supply ample confirmation of these meanings attaching to the root. In the word “aroom,” the root is extended by the “general” or “universal” sign (final “M”); so that “aroom” is a “blind inclination” or a “self-centred passion.” It is a new development of the “instinct” of “self-preservation”: a centralising of the new “Self-hood” (Ego) and Freedom of Will given to “Adam” to distinguish the “human” race. It is quite distinct from man’s Intellect or Will. It may be said to “reflect” the ideas formed by “Aish” (man as intellectual being) and to pass them on to “Aisha” (the Will) as “Desires.” It has no “light” or “intelligence” of its own, it is simply as we have described it, a “blind” inclination, a force, or a “passion of the Ego.

*The “a” in this case represents “ayin,” the “material sign.”

There is no application of the word “aroom” which could in any way suggest any kind of “wisdom.” It is not quite clear how the “wisdom” of serpents became quasi-proverbial. In Matthew X, v. 16: “Be ye therefore ‘wise as serpents,” the Greek word has the meaning of “sagacious,” “discreet,” “cautious.”

But what most concerns us here is that the word which was applied to “Na-hash” is exactly the same word as that which is translated “naked” when applied to Adam and Aisha when their eyes were opened to their ignorance and absolute -lack of intelligence. Even Delitzsch, who will- always give a materialistic meaning to a word, where it is possible, is obliged to admit here that, by the opening of their eyes, Adam and his Aisha became “aware that their inward light was extinct.” They were “naked” indeed, but it was something much more important than nakedness of body that was in question. When man first entered the state of life in physical bodies he would have no more idea of clothes than any other animal, for as far as his physical body is concerned he is an animal. It was the nakedness of his “human” qualities that he became aware of. He had been given faculties for the development of Thought, Reason and Will, yet immediately he acts on his own initiative he discovers that he has absolutely nothing in himself to replace the Omniscient Wisdom of Elohim, which had hitherto guided all his activities.

He acted on his own “impulse” and found that it was “blind” and “without intelligence.” As a “man” he was at the “zero”-point of human development. He had qualities far higher than any possessed by the animal world, but he had everything to learn in the use of them. As man he was far more helpless than the animals. “Instinct” provided them with everything they needed. Man, in order to be man, had to replace instinct by thought and reason, and he was a baby” in knowledge. An animal knows all it needs to know from the moment it is born. Man has to learn by long and often painful experience; “wisdom” is always learnt through suffering.

Let us keep in mind that the narrative is not the story of an “incident” that happened in a particular place and on a particular day to the first “pair” of human beings. It is the story of the age-long,- slow development of all “human” qualities.

The exercise of “free-will” in any human beings always begins in a state of blind ignorance and, therefore, complete lack of responsibility. (Cf. Acts XVII, v. 30: “the times of this ignorance God winked at.”)

It is absurd to build upon the narrative a theory which implies that “Adam,” in his first act as an individual, committed the one great original “Sin” that brought a “curse” upon his descendants for ever afterwards, and even upon the very earth on which they lived and toiled. The more closely we study the story the more plainly we shall see what a sadly wrong interpretation has been put upon it. It is really a perfectly natural account of what takes place in all men-and of what must necessarily have taken place in Adam.

It is quite true that there was a definite disobedience to a Divine “Command” – or “instruction” but . . .! We wonder if our readers happen to have come across an old legend of Buddha. It is many, many years since the present writer heard it, but it was somewhat to the following effect: – Buddha was one day asked by one of his disciples if there was anything in the world strong enough to oppose or disobey his Divine Will. He replied at once: “Yes! a baby. I will prove it to you.” Just then, a baby, carried by a woman m the crowd, began to cry. Buddha commanded it to stop crying, but the baby went on crying. Buddha repeated the command several times, each time in a louder voice, and the baby cried louder. Then Buddha, as if angry, shouted the command. Baby was frightened and screamed at the top of his voice. Then Buddha, turning to his disciple, said: “You see, I cannot make a baby do my Will. Baby is stronger than Buddha.”

That was a case of “disobedience” to a Divine command. But, did Buddha, or would any rational being, call it “sin”? It was merely a perfectly natural occurrence. And exactly similar was the case of “Adam.

The makers of our theologies, starting from the primal error of confusing “creation” with “realisation,” and assuming that “Adam” was not only “created” good, but that the creative plan was instantly, simultaneously realised; that “Adam,” in the full perfection of manhood – a fully self-conscious being, with highly-developed intelligence and flawless moral qualities, was put into a perfectly ordered world, in a perfectly formed human physical body; and then that the whole of this ideal perfection collapsed in a moment when Adam was “tempted” by a suggestion from some mysterious, subhuman enemy of God, who, having gained the co-operation of Adam, was successful in destroying the perfection of the Divine plan and bringing sin into the world and all our woe.”

That may be “theology,” but it is absolutely contradictory to the teachings of Genesis, and also to the abundant evidences of the real state of primitive man, which God has left for our investigation. The outstanding features of Genesis are the universal completeness of the plan that it unfolds from “Alpha” to “Omega,” and the sound common sense and logic apparent at every step of the narrative. The manner of the telling of the story is poetical and dramatic in the highest degree, but it is none the less scientific” also, and strictly in harmony with all that scientific research can substantiate. It carries internal evidence of its Divine inspiration in every detail, which becomes cumulatively convincing.

The real facts of the so-called “Fall” of man were that, in his earliest appearance in physical form, he was without any developed intelligence or any moral qualities and, therefore, without self-consciousness or moral responsibility.

God knew perfectly well what would happen. That was clear from the “symbolic telling” of Adam in advance what his entrance into the physical world would mean, and how the gaining of experience of “good” and “evil” involved necessarily and inevitably the passing out of his immortal spiritual state into a mortal transitory existence.

We have not to imagine that God “told” Adam this in human language: He rather “buried” the truth in the sleeping conscience” of Adam. He gave no arbitrary “command” but an inward, subconscious intuition. It was absolutely necessary to the realisation of “creation” that Adam should enter the physical state, become “fruitful and multiply” that he might become “many” in the likeness of God. For the same reason he had to develop the principle of “individualism” (a legitimate function of Na-hash).

Individual “free-will” was also necessary to his becoming a moral being God knew that in the development of every “human” quality, errors, misjudgements, deviations from what His Will and Omniscience would approve were bound to occur continually, and in countless Ways they could grow, as man’s self-consciousness and responsibility developed, into actual “sin.”

He knew also that every error and every sin alike would produce evil “consequences,” direct and indirect,- bringing pain, suffering, divisions, disharmony, strife, injustice and a thousand ills. These ills are always perfectly relevant consequences of the acts that produce them, not arbitrary “punishments” or “penalties” imposed on the wrongdoer. They serve two purposes: they gradually teach man “wisdom,” and they act as deterrents to wrongdoing. Ultimately, sin is self-destructive. “Evil shall slay the wicked.”

But God knew something more than all that:- He knew that the sufferings and sorrows of His creatures were the crucifixion of His own soul. They called forth in Him not “wrath” and “vengeance’ ‘-(those who know anything of the Divine Nature can never couple those hateful words with God) – but infinite pity and loving helpfulness. That is what we find in this story, and nothing else.

Let us go on a little farther with the narrative.

Verse 7: “ And they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

If the translators had not missed the meaning of the word “naked” they could not possibly have produced such a ridiculous travesty of the original as they have here. There is really nothing in the original about “figs” or “leaves,” or “sewing” or “aprons.” We will take the sentence word by word.

“They sewed”: Hebrew, “va-ithepherou.” This is the reflexive form of the verb “pharoth.” “to produce,” “to bring forth,” to give birth to.” The root of the word is “ph-r,” which denotes “fertility” or “productiveness.” as, for instance, in “phari,” “fruits.” It is impossible to justify the word “sewed” as a translation, even in a figurative sense.

“Fig-leaves: Hebrew, “aleh thaeneh.” “Aleh” cannot mean “leaves” because it is a singular word-(one could not speak of sewing one leaf together). It means a ‘covering,” a “shade,” “awning,- “ “protection overshadowing.” It may be of the leaves of a tree in the sense that they “cover up the bare trunk and branches and give the tree its seasonal “dress.” But there is no tree in question in this verse-and if there had been, it could hardly have been a fig tree. One commentator says rather naively: “Some kind of fig no longer ascertainable is meant by the fig tree of Paradise!”

The word “thanah” translated “fig” is just the word “ahnah” with the reciprocal or mutual sign “th” prefixed. “Ahnah” denotes “suffering.” In all the Semitic languages it is an expression of pain,- trouble, sighing, sobbing, etc. The prefix “th” gives the word the meaning of “mutual sorrow,” “sadness shared by others.” When the word “anah” becomes a verb, “ahnoh,” it means “to be plunged into sorrow,” and with the prefix “th” to “share or communicate some deep sorrow or trouble.”

Finally, there is the word translated “aprons”: “ha-goroth.” This is a very seldom used word, and where it is found, the translations are quite obviously guesses. In this case the translators wanted something that would fit in plausibly with “sewing together fig leaves.” One suggests “aprons,” another “loin clothes,” another “pilgrims coats,” etc. The expression “la-hem” “for themselves” does not help much to get at the meaning. The only real basis for interpreting the word is in the meaning of cognate or allied words. The singular form of “goroth: is “gahath,” and that word means “strife,” “contention,” “difference or of opinion, parting, etc. The meaning is emphasised by the prefix “H.” Another closely allied word is the proper name “Hagar” which means a “fugitive” or an outcast on account of some “contention.” That is the purport of the word.

In any case the general meaning of the whole verse is clear now:- When the eyes of “Adam” and his “Aisha” were opened they realised their ignorance and lack of guiding intelligence, and that knowledge covered them with mutual grief and confusion; they feel that they have cast themselves out from God, and know not what to do or -where to go.

Verse 8: “And (or “then”) they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”

It was really unnecessary for the translators of this passage to make it quite so “anthropomorphic.”

Voices do not “walk about,” and we can hardly think of the Omnipresent Spirit God in quite such a human role as strolling in a garden in the cool evening. However, the idea the writer wished to convey is perfectly simple to understand, and is certainly expressed in a very dramatic way. The only wanderer” in the “garden” was Adam himself, disillusioned, ignorant and lost. He is conscious of having made a breach between himself and God, and is afraid to meet Him.

God was not changed in any way; He was the same God He had always been; but He had taken on quite a different aspect in the mind of Adam. “The pure in heart shall see God,” said Jesus. That meant that the pure in heart see God aright; see Him as He really is-infinitely good and loving.

*In this connection one might refer to the meaning of the root “g-r” in modern European words as, for example, in the French word “egare” – to wander-go astray – err’.

What the impure in heart think they see of Him is always a distortion of the Truth.

Like the poor crystal-gazer in Rossetti’s ballad, upon whose crystal was engraved the warning: “None see here but the pure alone,” they can only “see the truth by contraries.” Verse 8 continued: “and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord amongst the trees of the garden.”

We wish to note here the expression: “amongst the trees.” The word “etz” (tree) is singular,- not plural, and one cannot say ‘amongst the tree.” “Etz,” however, as we have explained before, means much more than “tree,” it means “organic substance in general”; and “be-thoch” more correctly means “within.” Adam and his Aisha think to hide themselves within physical substance. In the purely spirit state there is always interpenetration of spirit and spirit. so that in that state Adam was always conscious of his connection with God; but when he enters the physical state, “breathes out his soul” into it, he loses his consciousness of the presence of God, and childishly thinks God loses consciousness of him. It is just – then that the voice of God is heard penetrating to the recesses of the “garden.” If Adam had lost consciousness of God, God had not lost consciousness of him. There was no escaping from the ever-present One. The one thing that never occurred to Adam as he sought to flee from God was that he was fleeing from Infinite Love and Pity. not from anger or vengeance. God was coming to him in his darkest hour to help him.

We would like to point out the deep poetic suggestiveness in the words translated “the cool of the day.” The Hebrew says: “l’rouch ha-iom.” We have mentioned before that the root “rch” denotes something “drawn out,” “extended.” Literally the word “rouch” means “breath,” wind, spirit; but applied to the evening of the day it seems to suggest another meaning. That suggestion is that the sun has set, night and darkness are “falling fast.” Between daylight and dark there is a short (very short in Bible lands)- “extension” of the day- “twilight” (so that “rouch ha-iom” is just the Twilight). Night was a new experience to Adam. As long as the Divine Light shone within him he knew nothing of darkness. Now that he has discovered that he is “void of light of his own,” something closes in upon him-blackness, like the falling shadow of Death.1

(1) “Autour de moi tombaient les ombres de l’enfer:’-Tannhauser.

Had he not been warned of death? He was like children who instinctively hate and fear darkness. And that was the moment God chose to call to him-not to increase his fear-quite the contrary of that; it was to let him know that he was not alone, and not forsaken. He had had his first lesson in the school where “wisdom” is learned. It was a painful lesson, but “wisdom” is born out of suffering. 2

(2) “The only language the deafened mind of man cares to understand is suffering.” (A message from Arunachala.) Paul Brunton.

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