The Turning Point

Ain Soph – The Unknown God

Chapter 8

Fred Mayers

Genesis 1, v.9 to 13.

In order to get a correct understanding of the narrative of the six Divine manifestations called “days.” we must never forget that “time” and chronological sequence, as we commonly think of them, do not enter into spiritual matters. We have merely a classification of processes that all work together, continually and simultaneously, throughout the whole Creation; and these processes were created in the Mind of God. They were mental conceptions of all that the realisation of His Divine purposes would involve. God saw everything that was to be. as a whole, from its beginnings to its end. The preliminary processes described in the first eight verses were all “Cosmic.” They had to do with the Universe in its entirety. But as the ultimate purpose of the Book related to man, from the 9th verse onwards, the narrative follows a course that leads specially and directly to man, in all the various elements of his being. Man had to be “realised” as a “physical” being, and in his physical body to find his full “individuality.” That meant that he must be given a physical environment, have a physical world to live and develop in. When the individualisation of Man was accomplished, he would no longer be a “Universal” being ; a “mass” humanity with one common Soul; he would become “many”; a countless number of separate individual personalities each with an “I,” each with body, mind, soul, and will of his own; each potentially a being in the likeness of God. So, from being a general idea in the Mind of God, man descends through a series of phases until he reaches the “Earth” stage. From that point of his development he becomes separate individuals, and commences the re-ascent from “Earth” to the “Heavens.” Let us keep this outline of the narrative in mind, as a guiding thread, to help us to understand the connection and signification of all that follows.

The section, verses 9 to 13, comprising the “third day.” describes very briefly indeed the steps for the making of a physical world in which human beings, incarnate in physical bodies, could dwell and develop the full status of “Men.” A long process-and still proceeding. It is followed, verses 14 to 19, by another section which concerns the realm of Creation outside the material sphere specially designed for man, yet having the greatest possible importance, both for the world and man. This section comprises the work of the fourth day.

Verses 20 to 23 return to developments following up the third day’s work. They describe the bringing into existence of living, animated beings from the “waters.” This was the work of the fifth day.

Into the sixth day’s work, verses 24 to 31, is compressed all the remaining “Sovereign work” of Creation. The subject matter of the first part of this section rather suggests that it might have been included in the third day’s work, but the inspired writer chose to limit the narrative of that “day” to the creation of non-sentient Nature, and to reserve the narrative of all sentient beings, from the lowest forms of organic, animal life to man, i.e., everything which has what the Hebrew text calls “nephesh chaiah”- “Soul of life” or “life soul,” for inclusion in the sixth day’s work.

In ancient times great symbolic importance was attached to numbers. The number “six” denoted “complete relationship” in anything. In geometry the same radius that produces any circle will divide that circle into six equal parts. Now the “circle” was always a symbol of what had no beginning or end, therefore, of Eternity. It also was the symbol of anything complete and perfect, a complete cycle or a complete work. The fact that the radius divided the circumference into six equal parts in perfect basic relationship to the whole circle. was obviously the reason for the complete creation being described as six manifestations of Divine Intelligence. It was the number of everything in “complete and perfect relationship.”

As an instance of the importance of the significance given to the number “six,” it may be mentioned that one of the old Kabbalist writers asserted that the Bible began with the number “six.” He pointed out that the first word “bereshith” (“In principle”) could equally be read as two words: “bara”- “shith.” “Bara” “He created” and “shith” = a “hexad.” It was literally quite true. But, of course, that interpretation could not be used for a “translation” of the text. It was purely a hieroglyphic suggestion.

v. 9. And God said: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear and it was so.”

The reader will by now be familiar with the meaning of the “waters,” and will understand that the “waters” below the “heavens” were the potentialities of the material Universe; but the Mosaic writer is concerning himself here, more directly, with the Earth than with the greater Universe beyond it, in order to lead up to the “human” story.

These “material” potentialities were to tend to concentrate and become “one gathering.” That is a more literally correct translation of the word “makom” than “one place,” but the idea of “place” is also involved, as the material Universe and all its contents would have of necessity to ,occupy a definite place” within the Infinity of space. “Space as a measurable conception thus comes into the picture.

The word translated “be gathered together” is in the Hebrew “ikkavoo.” It means to have a “strong tendency” towards some place, or state, or purpose. The lower “waters” were those from which God purposed to produce the material universe; they fulfilled His will by “tending” constantly towards a more and more material state, until they finally reached the state of solid “earth.” But God, as Nature shows us, never works by sudden transformations or “jumps.” Invariably He works by gradual, steady, development. Every stage of His work comes in strictly logical sequence from what has preceded, and leads logically to what is to follow, and there is always an unbroken connection between them all, from the highest “heaven” to the lowest “earth”-and vice versa. The result is that there is, in every phase of creation, something of the essence of every other phase. We shall see the importance of this shortly.

The first “material” manifestation of “Spirit-Matter” is Ether, which, besides being a “state” in itself, contains potentially all the states below it, and also retains something of the states above. The lower potentialities of Ether consolidate as they “descend” into the “atmospheric” state. The Air, so rarefied in its higher strata that physical human life is impossible in it, grows ever more dense as it nears the earth. It becomes capable of condensing into moisture. Most of us must at some time have watched that process. The writer well remembers one brilliant summer day when he was walking up the Valley of the Isere. As he went along he noticed a tiny cloud, like a toy balloon, form in mid-air in the centre of the Valley. In a very few minutes that cloud grew until it filled and blotted out the whole valley and the rain came down in torrents. Thus the Air stage passes into water, first water in an invisible gaseous state, then as visible vapour: then as water. In the formative stages of the earth, the “waters” held the solid elements of earth in solution. These elements gradually consolidated into solid earth, and solid earth in its turn formed nesting places for the waters of the “seas,” and continents for the dwelling places of men.

The name “Seas,” “iamin, is exactly the same as the word for “waters” with “y” or “ee” prefixed, making the word mean: manifested,” or “visible waters.” This little point, in itself, is quite sufficient to “take the ground from under the feet?’ of anyone who ever thought that the word “waters,” with which we have had so much to do, referred to water in the ordinary literal meaning.

The word translated “dry land” is “iabasha,” which means literally: “the “dryness.” This “dryness” God calls “earth” (“aretz”); it is the stopping point of materialisation.

Thus, in a sentence (13 words only) Genesis says all it needs to say about the formation of earth-as conceived in the Mind of God. It really contains much more “natural science” than the “man-in-the-street” or the “tent dweller” of Mosaic times would have been capable of understanding.

v. 10. “And God saw that it was good,” i.e., He approved His Creative plan. All that He was Creating “in principle” was good. The principles, of which we have here explained the material workings, apply equally to the spiritual, moral, mental and outward life of man. If, in our thinking, we “keep our feet on firm earth”; if we reason logically from facts and not from fancies; if we understand correctly the actual text of the inspired written “word,” we are not likely to go far astray in interpreting the spiritual message. But if we have a distorted understanding of the Book behind our thinking, we can get anywhere.

“Earth” was necessary, or God would not have created it. His plan was that “man’s” ascent to the realisation of Divine “Likeness” should begin from the bottom. The creative conception of “Man” began in the Highest, but its realisation had to begin in “Earth.” As St. Paul put it: “First that which is natural, afterwards that which is spiritual.

That Theology which, misreading God’s approval of his ideal “man” as “very good,” and assuming that, therefore “man” was “made” perfect and complete, and put into the “Earth” sphere in a ready-made state of perfection, from which he soon “fell,” is contrary to all that is revealed to us of the workings of God, in Nature, and also contradictory to all that we can learn of prehistoric humanity. Ancient man was indeed “of the earth earthy.” His very dwellings were caves and dugouts. His temples were subterranean. He had progressed quite a long way by the time he became a “lake dweller” and could build huts on piles driven into the lake bed. If our reading of God’s word leads us to think that His creative plan proved a failure in the case of “man,’ ‘- (the very purpose to which the whole plan led), then our understanding is sadly at fault in some way. We must read again and read deeper. God’s plan cannot fail. What God undertakes He will accomplish. “Hath He spoken, and shall he not do it?”

v.11. And God said: “Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth, and it was so.”

Having reached the extreme limit of materialisation, the earth was to begin its re-ascent towards the spiritual state. There is no such thing as standing still in God’s work. It is always in process of becoming “realised” on the one hand, or of becoming re-spiritualised on the other.

In v. 11, we are told of the first step towards states “higher” than the mineral state of matter. This first step is the evolution of organic vegetable life, which in its earliest stages was scarcely distinguishable from the merely chemical action which produces rust on the surface of metals; just a “film” upon the surface of matter; but that film is of a substance that has qualities not possessed by anything in the mineral world. As a matter of fact, these “vegetative qualities”: growth, and propagation, could never have appeared at all in a purely mineral world, had it not been for the fact, mentioned above, that from the highest heaven to the lowest form of matter there was an unbroken continuity of the primal “Spirit-matter” element. On its downward course, the Spiritual element ever decreases and the material element increases, but even in the grossest matter some spirit remains; it can never be entirely annihilated. On its upward course, the same principle is at work in reverse. However exalted may be the thought of God, it always has in it the potentiality of being “realised.” In other words, it never ceases to be “practical.” (Religion is nothing if it cannot find expression in life.) Only insanity can produce a thought lacking any relationship with the “practical,” and with the truth of Nature. The writer is not unacquainted with what has been “achieved” by certain “ultra-modernists,” “surrealists,” “super-men and other Luciferian “phenomena,” in their so-called “Art” and “Poetry,” or their religious, political and other idealisms, which scorn the very idea of keeping even one foot firmly planted on anything so vulgar as “earth.” Surely, for such individuals “Earth” was a mistake altogether! But God did not create earth” without supremely important reasons for doing so. He did not, however, intend Earth to be the end of Creation by any means. It was to be, not the end, but the foundation course for the “realisation” of His Creative ideal. We need “Michael,” the Archangel Regent of the heavenly “hosts,” i.e., the Divine Forces of Life, thought, and conduct, to keep us in paths of order and sanity.

Life on the earth began in very humble forms in every department, vegetable, animal and human. In the Vegetable Kingdom it began with primitive organisms of a vegetative nature, and developed through one form after another: lichens, mosses, grasses, herbs, shrubs, timber trees, fruit trees, and so on. Always from the simple to the more complex, and to forms of ever higher utility and value to man. But the passage from any one stage to a higher one did not involve the dying out of the lower. It still retained its place in Nature, and its particular kind of usefulness. Every development led to still higher developments, so that the variety and usefulness of the plant world continually multiplied and extended. Verses 11 and 12 only mention three distinct types, but they are mentioned in such a way as to make clear the course Nature was to follow. They speak of “grass,” “seed-bearing herbs,” and “fruit-producing trees”; but the actual words used in the Hebrew text convey a much wider and more general idea than we get from the English translations.

The word in the English R.V.: “Let the earth put forth” is, in the original, “Thadeshae,” which means “to cause to vegetate,” and the word for “grass” is “deshae,” i.e., the same root word used as a noun. “Deshae” means “vegetation” in general, and especially the simpler, the more prolific and universal forms, such as the ‘green grass” and the common growths of the countryside. The Hebrew of “herb-yielding seed” is: “mazeriah Zerah,” which simply means “seed seeding” plants, which may include cereals. In speaking of “fruit trees” producing fruits, the text adds: “according to its own nature” (“l’minou”). It also adds of the fruit: that “which has seed within it.” Both remarks are ,significant spiritually. The first, “according to its own nature,’ emphasises the important fact that all “fruit-the fruit not only from the orchard trees, but the fruit of thoughts, words, and deeds also, are always of the nature of what they grow on. “Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?”

The second: “which has seed within it,” emphasises the further fact that not only does every “tree” produce fruit according to its own nature, but the “fruit” also contains seed which can multiply trees of exactly the same nature as the “tree” it came from itself. We cannot “eat,” i.e., “consume,” “import into ourselves,” any qualities, good or bad, which are not potentially multipliers of their own “kind.”

In giving above, the Hebrew of words in verses 11 and 12, the writer wished to point out once again to the reader the peculiar way in which noun and verb are consistently formed of the same “root.” This is a distinguishing feature of the Mosaic writer’s “style.” To use “wireless” phraseology, it is his signature tune”; it seems to say: “This is Moses writing.” Modern Bible critics could hardly fail to have been quite aware of the peculiarity, which can be found on every page, but it has been convenient to them to ignore it in their efforts to prove “Genesis” to be just a “compilation” from old writings by -several authors.

In verse 12, there are no new words to explain. It simply states that the will of God in the “vegetable kingdom” of Nature was seen by Him to be ‘‘good.’’

It is rather an interesting fact that the word “Nature,” which we use so constantly, and which means so much to us, never occurs in the Bible, nor any equivalent of it. The -ancients conceived only the idea that God was working directly in everything. They did not understand that He created -universal “laws” or “forces” to carry out His will.

Verse 13 closes the section with the usual formula: “There was evening and there was morning: a third day.”

The spiritual significance of the section is not far to seek. We can see at once that “earth” corresponds with the outward, everyday life, and conduct of man; that the grass represents the countless things which spring up out of the “daily round,”

the ‘‘common task,’’ providing us with experience; that the “seeding herbs” represent the thoughts which are planted like seeds in our souls by our experiences; that the fruit trees and fruit stand for the Higher thoughts which nourish our soul life. We can trace out all the suggestions and correspondences, each one for himself, in our lives and experiences.

Back to Chapters ListForward to Chapter 9

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved