METAPHYSICAL BIBLE INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Fall semester 1975 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture given on September 22, 1975
Gen. 6:1-7, pp. 64-69 of transcript.
Fire and Water
Now we get back to the more specific part of the narrative, and from this point on, we are not dealing completely with symbolism and metaphysics. From now on, in the Old Testament, there is an inter-mixture of history, myth and pure metaphysical symbolism, and the boundary lines among the three are not clear-cut and defined.
For instance, we’re now coming into the allegory of the flood. Now that allegory is found in all scriptures of known religions prior to the Hebrew, the Babylonian, the Chaldean, the Zoroastrian; all of these ancient religions far preceding the Hebrew contain practically the same allegory, which means that there must be some kind of historical basis. We don’t know, but there must be some kind of point of reference which is on a historical level. It also has a purely metaphysical meaning, and there is a mythological element; and all these three can be intermingled and combined. So, beginning with this allegory, we never know, in the Old Testament, when we’re dealing with actual history or pure abstract symbolism or popular mythology. And it really doesn’t matter because the general truth idea runs pretty consistently through it all.
You don’t have to have it all tied up in a neat package. There are things in this flood allegory which I haven’t a clue as to the meaning of that part; for instance, why seven male and seven female of clean animals and only one male and one female of unclean animals? In a million years, I couldn’t tell you what that means, yet it must mean something, whatever clean animals are and whatever unclean animals are. And then a lot later in the Bible, Peter has a vision, has a dream of a net being lowered from heaven, and in this net are all the known types of animals. And he hears a voice saying, “Peter, take, kill, and eat.” And Peter says, “Oh, no, Lord, because I only eat the flesh of clean animals.” And then he is told that from now on, you don’t have to call any animal unclean, that all animals are clean, and then the net goes up. I don’t know what that means. But it’s there, and we pay attention to it; and if we ever need to know the meaning of it, it will be revealed.
Our allegory begins in Chapter Six and contains this sentence, another first, by the way. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” Here is the first time in the Bible the abstract or generic word “evil” is used as a mode of human conduct, or mode of thought in the individual man. Here the generic, harmless, completely harmless, word “evil” is given a connotation of something quite harmful, wickedness. You see, the word “evil” itself, is an abstraction, a generic word, and it’s neither fish nor fowl, nor good nor bad. It’s a polarity of what we call good, or the negative polarity of positive; it can’t do any harm, it’s just blah. But when that side of polarity is man’s mode of thought, or manner of behavior, apart from the other side of polarity, then it becomes what is used for the first time in our Bible: wickedness, dangerous, harm-causing mode of thought or behavior.
“The wickedness of man was great on the earth.” This statement has given rise to one of the dogmas of the orthodox church, which is unsuitable to truth-thinking, and that is the categorizing of actual people into the two categories of either wicked people or righteous people. This has done so much mischief in race consciousness throughout the ages and is still being perpetrated all over the world today in the name of true religion. And we have to get this straight in our own minds and see its metaphysical significance.
People, in Bible symbolism, means thoughts and feelings, within all persons. Your thought-people, your feeling-people are the people the Bible talks about. Earth stands for the individual consciousness and its manifestations, or the environment it is responsible for manifesting. Now the word “wicked” here, as applied to our thought and feeling-people, wicked refers to thoughts, feelings, attitudes, etc., which are false, negative, useless, and destructive, to the exclusion of the positive, constructive, true and harmonious. You see, it’s that separation. If you keep the polarity, then evil can’t do any harm. It’s neutralized into the one Presence and one Power; but when it is extracted and separated from its counterpart or polarity, it then becomes a destructive, degenerative, harm-causing thing. Righteous, then, refers to thoughts, feelings, attitudes which are true, positive, constructive and useful.
People, thought-men, feelings, women, attitudes, men and women combined, thought-men, feelings-women, attitudes, men and women, earth, the individual consciousness and the environment it is manifesting, including the physical organism of the body, that’s what earth means in the Bible. It has a very wide meaning: individual consciousness and the environment it is manifesting. Now, the very first environment which your individual consciousness manifests if the physical organism of your body, not the body, but the physical organism of your body, which is what you see. I hope you follow me on this, that your body is much more than the physical organism part showing. Of course in common usage, in common conversation, when you’re talking about the physical organism, you just call it the body. But for your more subtle thinking, remember that the physical organism is not your body, it is the most externalized part of your body, and it can change. But the Bible calls it earth. Wicked, as used here, no longer a generic word, you understand, now it is getting into specifics — false, negative, destructive concepts. Righteous — true, positive, constructive concepts. Now, this allegory is very mysterious, and the more I read it, the more mystery there is. I’ll bring out some of the mystery of it as we go along, but first let’s deal with what is known.
Almost every human being at one time or another, gets himself into a state wherein his negative modes of thought and mental states are numerically greater than the other. And since thoughts and feelings and states of mind multiply, they reproduce themselves, they join, like attracts like, and like begets like, so do modes of thought and states of mind, they attract. Thoughts attract their feelings in kind, and they have an offspring which takes their character.
So negativism, in our consciousness, reproduces itself, and so do positivism reproduce itself; however, a very mysterious, but observable fact is that the negative seems to reproduce more quickly than the positive. Sorry, I wish it were the other way around, but psychiatrists and metaphysicians and illumined people have observed this unfortunate fact. The negative emotions are much quicker than the positive ones, and negative thinking jumps to the foreground much quicker than positive thinking, you know this yourself. Does it take an effort for you to think negatively? It just booms like lightning, and there you are. But does positive thinking come to you lightning-quick automatically? You usually have to work on it, you have to make an effort; and there’s a reason for this, a spiritual reason for this.
This state of the earth described in this Sixth Chapter of Genesis, is describing the plight of the soul of any human being who has gotten into a negative state, where the negative factors are greater for the moment. He’s in danger of having them take over, and the actual planet earth at this time, everybody on that planet was wicked except one family. Get it? Only Noah and his family, out of that whole planet, were good, and how long would it have taken them to reproduce while everybody else on the earth was having babies a mile a minute. Get it? Now, if this were an actual, historical situation, use your imagination, use your phantasy. What would this earth planet have turned into in a rather short time? Hell. It would have turned into a planet completely dominated by wicked people, and so the Lord, the Law of highest good of man, said something’s got to change this, just like the Lord of our being will only allow us to get so far into negativeness and then something’s got to happen or we would go into so much useless and unnecessary suffering that it’s unimaginable.
So the Lord of our being, or God Jehovah, here, decides to do something to rectify this situation, and what He decides is the wicked have to go, they have to drown. The Lord of our being, when we are ready for it, when we need it, does the same thing for us. He decides, or I AM decides that this can’t go on, that this accumulating negativeness in me has got to be curtailed, and so there is the destruction of the wicked on the earth by a flood; and this is the first time that symbolism is brought into the Bible. It will occur again, most notably in the Red Sea; coming back together to drown the Egyptians.
Then the same teachings, same symbolism is converted into fire, both have the same meaning, water and fire. Mr. Fillmore said, “Our religion is a religion of water and fire.” They have the same meaning. Then we have fire and brimstone or Sodom and Gomorrah; and in the New Testament we have the water baptism, which is the same thing as these drownings, the water baptism of John the Baptist, then the baptism of fire or the Holy Spirit by Jesus; then in the Book of Revelations we have again the bottomless pit, the eternal fire, the lake of fire, etc.
All of these have the same meaning no matter how they are used, which is the eternal action of the purifying power of spirit. The eternal fire of God is the purifying activity of Spirit, the law which says nothing negative or erroneous can survive, can be permanent. All negativeness, all error, all falsities must be reduced to the basic substance from which it was formed in the first place. And the removing of it from accumulation, from specific preserved form, is called in Bible language either a drowning or a burning, or in the New Testament, a baptism either of fire or of water, but they all have the same meaning. The difference being, in the Old Testament, this cleansing and purifying is subconscious and unconscious. It is something done for us, whereas in the New Testament, where it becomes baptism, then it becomes something conscious; and it is something not so much done for us, but done by us.
In Unity we teach denial and affirmation. What do you think denial is? It’s the same thing as this flood and that burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, but now on a conscious, controlled level. I know what I’m doing, and I know it’s going to be done, because I’m doing this from my knowledge of Truth, but what did we do about getting rid of our accumulating negativeness before we came into Truth? Either the law of karma had to do it, which is a messy business in some cases; or, as we evolved into greater awareness but not yet consciously in Truth, yet for the sake of our potential, the Lord of our Being, which was beyond our conscious awareness but still part of us, did this on unconscious and subconscious levels. For instance, if this had not happened, it would mean that every time you got angry, in the whole history of your individuality, it would all add up to how angry you are now, but until you were able consciously to deny and free yourself from the poison of anger, the Lord of your Being had to do it for you on the unconscious or subconscious level part of which you had not conscious control. And this flood is talking about those times in our race history where this sort of thing was done for us, instead of by us.
Q. Would you give us the good, spiritual reasons for negativity being produced more rapidly?
A. I didn’t explain because I don’t know the explanation of why it happens, in fact nobody has explained this, not even Jesus. It’s just that it has been observed that it does happen. The nearest Jesus comes to it, He just says, “I saw Satan falling as lightning from heaven.” Which means negativeness seems to act as fast as lightning. Negativeness always works in a downward direction, a descending direction.
Transcribed by Bill Nelson on 02-12-2015