The Serpent at Work

Ain Soph – The Unknown God

Chapter 25

Fred Mayers

Genesis III, v. 1 to 6.

v. 1: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made, And he- said unto the woman, Yea, bath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden.

v.2: “And the woman said unto the serpent: Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

v.3: “But of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not cat of it’ neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

v. 4: “And the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

v.5: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall he opened and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

v.6: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and she gave also to her husband with her and he did eat,” (English R.V.)

We need not waste any time discussing the “literalness” of the word “said,” or the dialogue between “Na-hash” and “Aisha,” We might just as well discuss whether “Brer Rabbit” ever really conversed with “Brer Fox” as related in the delightful old “Uncle Remus” stories. We understand stories of that kind perfectly well, and accept them for what they are. Such stories, when they are genuinely of ancient origin, can give us valuable light on the workings of thought in primitive men, and the way in which the old story-tellers succeeded in conveying valuable lessons to the minds of very simple folk.

If we approach the Genesis stories in the same way as we should approach similar stories in non-Biblical literature,- we shall soon see that “Bible Truth” does not consist in the “literalness” of the narratives in which it is presented, but in the very real and important facts of life which are revealed to us through them.

As we have so often stated, the Genesis story is the story of humanity as a whole, and also of every individual human being ever born into the world. The more we study it, the more certainly we shall see that we are reading about ourselves and about universal human experience.

Undoubtedly, the most terrible fact of all life and history, the most undeniable and universally acknowledged of all facts, is the presence of “sin” and “evil” in the world. We instinctively want to know how they could have originated in a universe which God had “created” good. The answer which is almost invariably given is that “something went wrong with God’s plans,” because some very clever and powerful “Evil Spirit” tempted man to disobey a command of God, and thus brought a Divine curse upon “Adam” and all his descendants; a curse which could only be removed by man’s co-operation in carrying out a new plan designed to replace the plan which had proved a failure.

This “new plan.” Theology calls the “plan of Salvation.” -The acceptance of this plan by an act of Faith is to restore man to the state of goodness and blessedness in which he was first made, and to restore also his immortal nature which had been destroyed by sin.

That may be taken as a rough outline of ordinary theological thought. The ideas involved in it have been so ingrained in our minds by long centuries of teaching that they are currently accepted, without question, by millions who fail to see that the whole conception is hopelessly in contradiction to other basic theological teachings.

Let us try to free our minds from pre-conceptions and consider the matter quite impartially. In the first place, Theology, quite correctly and logically, states that the eternal God, in order to be God at all, must be omniscient and omnipotent : He must know the “End” from the “Beginning.” The End is the End He Himself purposes. Being omniscient and omnipotent, and His purposes decided in advance, it is obvious that His plans and His working out of them could not admit of the possibility of failure. Neither could there be any outside “Power” to interfere with them. If He is “God” at all, He must be God alone. The idea of two Gods is an impossible one. Therefore, the Eternal One can have no co-existing rival to oppose Him, and be ever working to bring His plans into confusion and failure. Neither is- it conceivable that any creature created arid made by Him could be powerful enough to upset His plans, or bring about anything which He had not foreseen. Therefore, it is clear that whatever is or has been must have been foreseen and provided for. Nothing could happen except what was permitted for a purpose and for a necessary purpose. Obviously, therefore, there must be some factor or factors of the problem that Theology has failed to grasp. or has in some way misunderstood.

Readers who have followed our exposition carefully will have noticed the importance which we have attached, all through, to two particular matters. The first is the almost universal confusion by commentators of Genesis, of the idea of “Creation” with that of “making,” “forming,” or “realising.” That is the basic error which has led to most of their other misconceptions. The second is the principle which, as we have seen, underlies the whole process of “realising” the Creative idea; it is the principle of gradual “evolution”; of developing everything from the infinitely simple to the infinitely complex. from “chaos” to a perfectly ordered and organised Universe; from blankest ignorance to the highest forms of knowledge; from the complete absence of any “moral” qualities to their highest development. The “plan” which was created was perfect from its conception. The “realisation” has been the work of countless ages, and has still far to go. It has been in progress ever since the foundations of the Universe were laid in the infinite “void”; it will continue until the heavens and the earth have fulfilled their purpose and passed away, and “man,” en masse, ‘ and individually, has, reached his appointed goal the manifold “Likeness of God.

If we keep those things constantly in mind, they will be a perennial counterpoise to all the temptations to pessimism that afflict us in these days. “When ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be not troubled . . . . the end is not yet.” This story of the “Fall” will also take on a very different aspect from the one we have been accustomed to see it in.

Let us now return to our text and see where we stand at present-

(1) “Adam,” as we have seen, was the universal soul of humanity: a spiritual being. We have seen that he had gone through many phases of development. He had first found expression in infinite varieties of “animal souls” and in the evolution of their bodily forms. Then we see that he has to leave the “animal” realm and go on to the unfolding of higher qualities to constitute the “human” kingdom in which he will finally evolve to perfect manhood-the manhood of Christ.

(2) “Aish” is “Adam” considered as an “intelligent being.” a thinking, reasoning being.

(3) “Aisha” is the volitive faculty of Adam, his “Will” enabling him to express himself in his own way. Our English Bible translates “Aisha” by “woman.” That is not altogether wrong. In our Chapter XXII “The search for a helpmeet” we mentioned, incidentally, that one requirement was that the helpmeet should be a “stepping-stone” to “Adam’s” sex-differentiation in the physical realm of being. This is a convenient place to show how “Aisha” fulfilled that requirement,,, and how “she” becomes associated with the idea of “woman.

II we think over all the qualities and faculties that constitute the being of “Adam”-(they are all to be found in ourselves)-we shall find that the only two which directly correspond with the differences of the sexes are “Aish” and “Aisha”:- “Intelligence” and “Will.” All others are equally common to both sexes. “Intellect” and “Will” are universally recognised as Masculine and Feminine attributes respectively. That does not mean, however, that “Intelligence” is by any means the sole prerogative of man, or “Will” solely of woman. It is a law in nature that every being should share something with every other being. There must be some basis to justify the statement that “we are all members one of another.” If man possessed some quality that was entirely absent from woman, or woman some quality entirely lacking in man, mutual understanding between men and women would be impossible. We can only understand anything which we experience ourselves. For that reason there is in every man something of the woman nature, and in every woman, something of the man.

Taking humanity as a whole, however, “Intellect” is more prominent in men and “Will” in women, and we feel instinctively that this is as it should be. We feel that an “effeminate” man or a mannish” woman is contrary to the will of Nature. We naturally look to man for “thinking,” “creating.” “pioneering,” and so on, and to woman for “intuition,” “emotion,” “sympathy,” and so on, although we know that the respective spheres of each sex are often invaded by the other (and oft-times with conspicuous success).

(4) “Na-hash” is the activity of the “Self” principle. Its motive of activity is self-love. It is a centre of attraction, seeking to draw into itself all that the “self” desires. It is neither good nor evil in a moral sense. It is an impulse to preserve the self; to extend its reach and increase its powers and to bring to it all the satisfaction or pleasure it can. It is really a blind force.

-(2) “Aish” is the thinking principle which dictates the direction of the “Na-hash” activity. It is easy to see how this blind force may become very evil in its activities by leading to “selfishness,” “covetousness,” “envy,” “greed,” “injustice,” and all the evils that can arise from self-centred activity. It tends to separate man from man, and the human Will from the Divine Will. The only possible corrective to the evil potentialities of “Na-hash” must come from “Aish” and from the reflection of the thought of “Aish” in “Aisha”-the “Will.”

When “Aish” finds from “experience” (i.e., the eating of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil)-that this self-centred activity does not turn out as expected, that it defeats its own purpose and brings trouble, disappointment and disillusion, it begins to acquire a little “wisdom” which it brings to control the work of Na-hash. That is the beginning of moral action.

“Adam,” “Aish,” “Aisha” and “Na-hash” are the “dramatis persona” of the drama played out in Eden. They are not four, but one. “Adam” includes the others. So also does each one of us.

With this introduction we may try to see the meaning of the story. We will translate it a little more freely than the English Version to make it more intelligible: verse 1 “And he (Na-hash) said to the Aisha (Will): ‘did Elohim really say that you should not eat of every tree of the garden?”

We said in an earlier chapter that the word to “eat,” “achol,” had a double signification: to “consume” and to “consummate.” It means-both in a literal and a figurative sense-to take something into ourselves and make it part of ourselves, either for our substance or satisfaction, or for our completion or perfecting in some way.

We said also that the word “tree,” “etz,” denoted “substance” in general-both material and spiritual-especially organic substance, i.e., that which grows and develops. The “garden,” “gan,” we saw, was an enclosure, a sphere of activity in the realm of “time and space” into which Adam was put to work in his spiritual being. As for the “tree of knowledge of good and evil,” its very name tells us perfectly clearly what it is. It is the experience acquired in finding out for ourselves by the process o “trial and error” what is “good” and what is “evil.” When we have found out what “evil” is ; it is too late to undo the evil done in the process or to avoid the consequences.

While all the activities of “Adam” were directed by the Divine Will he could not go astray, or do wrong; but when he becomes conscious of having a Will of his own (in complete ignorance of his ignorance) he imagines his own Will to be as infallible as the Will that had hitherto guided him.

God had supremely important reasons for giving Adam a Will of his own and freedom to use it, and having done so He would have defeated his own purposes entirely by any interference with Adam’s freedom. All He could do was to “advise” and point out danger. The one thing God could not do was to “compel” Adam to do right. Adam was quite aware of the advice and warning which he had received in his “conscience”-(verse 2): “And the Aisha said to the Na-hash, From the fruits of the growth of the garden we may eat: (verse 3) but from the fruits of the ‘tree’ which is the inmost of the garden, Elohim said: Eat not any of it and do not touch it, lest ye certainly die.” But he wondered-Why! How was it possible that “knowledge” (experience) could be evil? Elohim knew everything and all Elohim did was always “good”!

Then doubts began to arise in Adam: Did Elohim really mean what He said? Had He, perhaps, some motive of His own behind the advice? Did He wish to keep Adam in a state of ignorance? Was He possibly “jealous” of Adam knowing too much? So, Adam might have wondered and dreamed.

Then Na-hash becomes active. The ideas floating about vaguely in the mind of Adam (Aish), become “desires” for the prohibited thing; the “desires” become uncontrollable, the power of “Aisha” is captured and the thing is “Willed.” The whole action moves in a circle, all within the being of “Adam.”

There is one very significant word in this third verse: the word translated “touch,” “thiggehoo.” (The initial “th” and the final “oo” form the pronoun “ye”). The verb is “gou” which really means “to breathe out,” to “expire,” “to cause one’s soul to pass into another existence,” “to enter into anything heart and soul.” It is something much beyond mere “touching” or “contacting.”

This word makes quite clear what it was that Elohim was warning Adam about. Adam, as we know, was put into the material realm to work in it, but he was to retain his spiritual nature; he was not to “materialise” himself in soul and spirit. He was not to breathe out his soul into the material substance of the “garden.”

Verse 4: “And the Na-hash said to the Aisha, Not, dying, shall ye utterly die.”

Verse 5: “but Elohim knows that in the day ye eat (of the “tree”), then your eyes will be opened and ye will be as Elohim, knowing good and evil.” It is quite clear from those verses that all that passes in the inner thoughts of Adam is taken in, so to speak, by the Na-hash principle to use for the purposes of the “Self.” The “Will,” Aisha, is captured by the suggestion in the words: “Ye shall be as Elohim.” It seemed to be so true and such an excellent justification for doing what the Na-hash in Adam desired. Was it not the very thing Elohim wanted all along that Adam should became “as” Himself- “in His own likeness”?

The statement made by Na-hash contradicting the words of Elohim: “Dying ye shall die indeed” shows how, when “Aish” (the intelligent part of (Adam) begins to “doubt” or feel uncertainty about the warning, the Na-hash principle turns the doubt into complete unbelief. Aish wishes the words might not be true; Na-hash declares they are not true. The words “dying ye shall die” in Hebrew,- “moth temuthun,” are very suggestive. The first word “moth” is the ordinary word for “dying, a passing from one state to another.” The second word has much more extensive meaning; it means “to die utterly” to the life he had hitherto enjoyed; to pass from the state of an immortal spirit into a mortal existence. Adam cannot comprehend such a change, hence his doubts. He believes that “knowledge” will “open his eyes. So far, he was right; but he little thought what they would be opened to!

Verse 6: “And the Aisha considered how good the ‘tree,-(the material realm) was for gaining experience ; how delightful the ‘garden’ was to look upon ; how desirable it was as a means of increasing intelligence, for building up knowledge and full understanding of things; and she took of the fruit of it, and ‘ate’ of it; and she gave also to Aish with her, and he ate.”

It will be noticed that the “temptation” is threefold: (1)

The “tree was good for food” – a suggestion that would appeal only to the lowest “animal” nature in Adam. (2) It was a “delight to the eyes”-a suggestion appealing to a “human’ quality, the aesthetic sense. (3) It was “to be desired to make one wise -a suggestion that appeals to the highest faculties of man-his spiritual nature. It was this that “beguiled the “Will” of Adam, because it appeared to be so “good.”

The word “l’hashecchil,” which is translated in the English Version “to make one wise,” we have paraphrased at more length above, in order to make its meaning clearer.

The verb “sh’col” means “to go on towards perfection,” “towards the full achievement of anything.” It is built on the root “chol,” which we have referred to several times before as denoting “completion”; “perfection”; “all”; “every.”

The only other word in the verse needing any explanation is the word “imme-ha,” “with her.” It is curious, because in the English it suggests the idea of a “companion,” “another being”: in the Hebrew it does not. It denotes only something in intimate connection with her-something in the same being. The meaning of the whole sentence is quite plain :-Adam

having in Na-hash “desired,” in Aisha “Willed” to enter into material experience, now, in Aish (his “Intelligent being”). “approves” what is done.

Man is always able (or at least always tries) to find some mental backing for what he does (especially if his conscience is not quite easy on the matter). If he cannot find any genuine justification-well!-he puts, up with self-deception. Sometimes, however, “Conscience mocks his futile efforts. Something hidden away deep down in human nature makes it impossible for man to silence,- or explain away, the voice of Conscience. That “something” is a surviving remnant of the original goodness of man. The doctrine of “original sin” is not to be found in Genesis.

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-Bob Cole 2011-11-26 20:12:12

Wandered across your site and have found your comments and ideas quite interesting.

In the Jungian world Aish, na-hash, and Aisha might be those parts that make up the Psyche–Adam. As a symbol for mankind’s soul he is both feminine and masculine–Anima and animus.

Through Aish comes the confrontation and understanding of Na-hash as does the understanding of the shadow self come from the conscious part of the psyche. Both foster the realization of the self as a whole. The serpent is not to be denied, or demeaned in value, for it represents the drive toward wholeness.

When these metaphors are applied to each of us, as part of our ever developing mythology, a whole new universe opens up.

Thanks for what you’re doing.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-11-27 9:57:20

    Bob – “When these metaphors are applied to each of us, as part of our ever developing mythology, a whole new universe opens up.”

    My findings exactly. And your site is very exciting. The titles of some of your books are so good, like The Dragon’s Treasure.

    Anyway thanks, from a fellow traveller.


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