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 9, 1975
Gen. 1:1, pp. 11-14 of transcript.
In The Beginning
There are two things I want to give to you in this course. The first and the most obvious is information which you can use in your work. The second type of thing I want to help you with is not so easy to recognize, and it is food for thought or raw material for further cogitation, which will help you build consciousness. The story of creation, the allegory of creation is of that type, the way I teach it. I will give you very little, if any, information which you will be able to classify in your intellect and then use in your material; because I don’t think the allegory is about that sort of thing. What it is to me, and it’s the way I will teach it, is it’s something to absorb by osmosis. Whatever vitamins and whatever raw materials this type of thinking contains will filter through to the various organic centers of intelligence in your mentality and will nourish a type of growth which will make you a more cultured, cultivated, supple, flexible type of thinker, rather than put information into your subconscious. I’m sort of scattering some fertilizer, in a sense, from the mental realm, which may or may not produce the kind of results which I intend. But what I intend isn’t as important as your intentions.
Q. Do you have a preference as to which version of the Bible to use?
A. King James. Whenever I depart from King James I will try to remember to let you know. For instance, King James has one glaring error, in my opinion and in Mr. Fillmore’s opinion, and that is in the usage of the word Lord instead of Jehovah; because the Old Testament books really are not about the Lord of your being. They are about the Jehovah God-thought. Who is the Lord of your being? What is Unity’s name—Law, and the Jehovah of the Old Testament in no way is Christ, no way at all. He is Jehovah, the God-thought of the Jewish religion. He is King of nature; he is a spirit, but he is an earth-bound spirit, whose sole concern is nature on this planet and human conduct within the setting of nature; so the King James version is not by any means a perfect translation of Scripture, but it’s the most consistent in spite of its faults.
Now, we’re going to go into the allegory of Genesis, creation, and right from the beginning, we have a mystery, a paradox, which I’ve never heard mentioned by any teacher I’ve ever taken a Bible class under. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Period. It’s done; it’s finished; that’s it. Creation has been created in that first sentence. Let it sink in. There’s a period there, not a comma; it’s finished right there in that first sentence. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth; creation is finished, but what aspect of creation?
Look at your Bibles. Everything in creation but heaven and earth; and heaven and earth simply mean the realm of interior and the realm of exterior, in the sight of man. Now, I won’t budge from here until I’m sure you’ve all caught this point. I know it’s very subtle, but it’s subtleties we’re dealing with in interpretation; and we must all train our minds to latch onto subtleties and to become adept in using subtleties in our thinking.
The book of Genesis begins by establishing the finished creation, but not things contained within creation, but-the realm of creation; and the realm of creation is two-fold, interior and exterior realms only. Nothing in these realms, nothing specific, only all possibilities, all potential. But the finished creation, which is established in the very first sentence of Genesis is the creation of the two-fold realms, interior or exterior, visible and invisible, tangible and intangible. These two great realms of possibilities are the first thing created from them in the mind of the writer of Genesis. The God mentioned here is used only in the first chapter of Genesis and no further. But The God That Is In The Beginning, The God Which Creates, Is Himself Not Created. And right here the mind boggles; the creator was never created, because the creator came before creation. Therefore, God as creator could not have been created because if he was, then whodone it? To see how smart the little kinds in Sunday School are? They all come up with this. Every kid that’s ever taught creation by God, if he’s at all bright, he has to come up with that question to which there is no answer.
If God is creator, then who created God? When it comes to comprehending God, the mind of man can go thus far and no further. We aren’t built, yet, to go beyond that point. But we do have some words, in our human language, which are at least pointing toward this thing, which we cannot grasp in our present development of mentality and probably never will. The ultimateness of God; the pre-creation aspect of God, but we have words which point in that direction. And these words are part of this fertilizer I said I was going to throw out for you; words like “almighty” that doesn’t mean anything, that only points in a direction of thinking. The word, “be-ness” not “be-ing,” but be-ness doesn’t really mean anything. You have to feel that word with your intuition rather than define it with your intellect. A word like all-knowingness, now don’t confuse that word with the word know-it-all; it doesn’t mean know-it-all. It means all of that quality called knowingness, the ability to know, not what do you know, but the ability to know—all knowningness. Omnipresence is another word, infinity —oh, how we bandy that one about, the infinite, as though we know all about it and got it stuffed in our pocket, and nobody in the world can really explain or define this—infinity—the incognizable, which means not recognizable to human thinking, the ultimateness.
Now, all these words are pointing toward the kind of a God or the aspect of God referred to in that very opening sentence, the uncreated creator of creation. The mind boggles, I hope; if your mind isn’t boggling, you’re in trouble. Let it boggle; it doesn’t hurt your mind to boggle, it’s healthy, a type of massage, which we all need. Now, the Bible is going to start talking about this God, which can’t be talked about, just like I’m doing now. I’m talking about something that can’t be talked about, so I’d better leave it fast, and that’s what the writer of Genesis does. And so, we have this aspect of God, brought down to a lower level of cognizability, or talk aboutness now. In our translation it is simply called God; in the second chapter of Genesis it will be called Lord God in King James and Jehovah in the other versions. But here we have this word — Elohim, which is plural. The word Elohim is not singular; it is plural—let us make man in our image and after our likeness; and Elohim, which is the God-thought as creator, plural, means the emanations of God Almighty, unknowable, uncongnizable God, emanating onto a level which is cognizable, which is God as creator, plural, the created forces emanating from God Almighty into a concept—remember, this is not a thing, this is not a creature—this is a God-thought, a God-concept. This is the first concept that man can have of God that he can work with, that he can talk about, that he can enter into and utilize; and that is God, the thought of Cod as emanations of Creativity, as creator.
The word Elohim is used in the first chapter of Genesis, because that is what the writer is talking about, God, in the aspect of original creator. The creation allegory in the first chapter of Genesis is not talking about the creation of the cosmos in its allness, but the creation of that part of the cosmos which is our human environment, not the infinities beyond the infinities beyond the Milky Way, beyond the goo-goo-ga-ba—that has its own business to attend to. You and I are attending to our business right now, you see, and the Lord of our Being and the creator of our human family and the indwelling Father of each of us, while it is still all of the same one, part of the Almighty God, yet we’re dealing with that aspect of God which is our God, for this human family on this journey of evolutionary life wave in this little section of being. And that’s what we’re concerned about, never mind the creatures beyond the last galaxy in the—whatever it is. That’s not our bag right now. That certainly wasn’t the writer of Genesis’ bag; he was dealing with humanity on this planet and on this evolutionary life wave; and I’ll just throw in two cents here, and you take it for what it’s worth—of which we’re now in the final climactic stages—the golden age of Aquarius is upon us, dear ones, and we’d better get moving. We are and that’s great.
The writer of Genesis now begins to talk about the movements within the Elohim aspect of God, which results in something called creation. Listen to this, now. “In the beginning God created heaven and the earth.” This is the first creation, the realms of interiorality and exteriorality, the polarity which is to follow which will lead into what we call existence, not yet, we’re not talking about ex-istence yet. We’re talking about the creation of creativity, the creative idea, the creative principle, then later the creative movement; and then ex-istence, but not yet. Now, the earth, that is the realm of exteriorization, was without form, in other words, there are no forms contained yet, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Now these are all symbols; don’t think of material things, because then you’ll get off into fundamentalism, and you’ll get unhappy. Here’s a funny thing; the first creative act the writer of Genesis attributes to Elohim is the speaking of a sentence, “Let there be light.” And so, I’ve always been taught light was the first thing created by God, and it wasn’t, not by a long shot. We’ve already got heaven; we’ve got earth, we’ve got darkness, and we’ve got waters. So there were a lot of things involved in creation before that first quoted sentence was spoken. So you see what we are doing, folks, here? We’re tuning in on something which has already been going on, rather than being told how it all was started. Nothing starts to be something. That is foolishness; that is absolute foolishness. Any discussion or analysis of the creation allegory which is based on the assumption that this page is talking about nothing turning into something if the dog chases his tail.
Obviously much had already been going on and done before the writer of Genesis tunes in on it and begins his referring to it, so we’ve already got heaven and earth, we’ve got darkness before we have light, and we have waters before we have a firmament, and even after the firmament is created, we’re told then dry land was made, but what the heck’s the firmament/ In other words, the firmament has been created; let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide waters from the waters. New, in materialistic imagery, what would that be? Dry land. Five paragraphs later we read this, “And God said let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let dry land appear.” What was that firmament? God has created a firmament in the midst of the waters. Now, why, five paragraphs later, does the writer say, “And now, he creates dry land.” You see, it doesn’t hold up if you’re going materialistically.
Q. We talked about this last year in Bible history class and some of the customs or ideas that they had back in those days, for example, this firmament idea was a separation so that there was a space of air, according to what we learned last year, between the waters, in other words the whole thing was water, and it separated so that the firmament was separating our environment from the waters above us and the waters below us. That’s what we heard was the concept.
A. Yes, that’s what I call Lamsaism, which is not metaphysical, which is trying to justify with imagination by stretching and bending; but when you are dealing—see, I’m leading up to something—all of these things I’ve mentioned which look like they are blatant inconsistencies or contradictions are not that at all. They are all symbols, which have absolute metaphysical validity. Dry land doesn’t mean the same thing as a firmament when it is used as a metaphysical symbol. If you’re talking about geology, then you can’t say that firmament was created first and then dry land was created next, because it’s not even sensible. But when you’re dealing with metaphysical symbols, ancient symbols, which the illuminati of this day knew the language of, much better than we do today, they—could take these symbols and use them in a narrative, which to literalistic analysis would be contradictory and inconsistent, but the firmament is the faculty of faith or the quality of faith, not a faculty yet, a quality of faith. Dry land represents the quality called attention, and waters beneath and waters above and creeping things—all of these things which are symbols, and they can all be found either in our Metaphysical Bible Dictionary or in Mysteries of Genesis.
And all of these things which Elohim God begins to make and place within creation simply refer to various qualities or attributes which God, our creator, involves into our being, which will later constitute creativity in us, spiritual creativity. All of these things which are listed in the first chapter of Genesis, which have been the subject of unnecessary controversy for so many years, to the metaphysically alert person, to the instructed person, he sees these all as universal ancient symbols of qualities which are involved into that something which is creativity, which is our spiritual nature. If we had no spiritual nature, could we be created persons? No, we can’t. We are able to be created because God has involved all the necessary ingredients of creativity into us, and all those ingredients which constitute creativity, and are listed symbolically in the steps of this first chapter of Genesis. I’m not using notes now, I’ll use my memory. First thing is the division of the waters from the waters and heaven and earth, of course, even before anything else.
Here we have for the first time the number two, which is polarity or duality, positive-negative, left-right, yes-no, interior-exterior, visible-invisible. You’ve got to have this to fulfill creativity; if you had only oneness and it always stayed oneness, you could not have manifestation. What can you do with just a positive charge of electricity? Nothing… what can you do with just a negative charge? Nothing. What can a person accomplish who always says “yes” all the time? What does a person accomplish who knows how and when to say “yes” and how and when to say “no?” He becomes very creative. The same is true on every level of being, every level of consciousness. You need first heaven and earth; yes and no, positive and negative, interior and exterior. You gotta have this, or you cannot have any creative activity. You can only have idealism in the abstract, and who needs it? Can you bake a cake with it? All you and I can do with idealism in the abstract is to know it’s there and that it is the source of all needed good. Please take me seriously, folks, don’t tune me out.
I’m saying something which has come straight to me from Spirit. Absolutism, idealism in the abstract is good for only one thing, and that is for us to know that it is there and that it is the source of all needful good, that is God Almighty; but on that level, as that abstraction, absolutism, it’s of no value to us. It becomes of value to us only when it descends and is able then to manifest itself through: first dividing itself, polarity, heaven and earth, yes and no, positive and negative, interior and exterior, male and female. So don’t get uptight about this business of duality or polarity; we need it, but you do not speak of God Almighty in the sense of duality, or polarity because there is perfect oneness. One sat on the throne, the Lord our God is one; but we’re talking about Almighty God, the Absolute Source, from which comes polarity and duality, male and female, positive and negative; and that’s the realm of usability, of manifestation. But it is not the source of anything, it is a product of the source, so when you need more of good in your polarity world, where do you get it from—from the realm of polarity? Through the One Presence and the One Power, who will distribute it through the act of polarity or duality. Then we have light and darkness, and you must have both. You must have things that you know, and you’ve got to have things that you don’t know. You’ve got to, or you’ll fall apart. If you know everything you’ll go crazy; if you know nothing, you’ll go crazy. You’ve always got to have that which you do know and that which you still don’t know, light and darkness. And there is a division between these. It doesn’t say God created darkness, but again it says he divided the light from the darkness; so He had to create it, He created all, all there is; and then the firmament, now we’re still not talking about human nature, so the firmament, which means faith, does not mean faith as a human being faculty yet, but that quality of faith which will become a faculty later. I’m going to digress for a moment, folks. I’m really turned on right now.
All of the twelve powers of man are first of all divine ideas, like love; that’s a divine idea, first, but as a divine idea, so what? It’s an abstraction, but God has implanted that divine idea of love into each of us as a faculty of love, which means we can take the divine idea of it and give it polarity. He express it through our human nature because it is a faculty instilled in our spiritual nature, our Christ nature. All of these twelve powers first of all have to be divine ideas in the cosmic sense. Then they become faculties usable to man’s image and likeness, and you say, “I love and I understand and I feel and I think.” These are faculties, but we’re still talking about the divine idea or quality of faith, which is the yes-saying faculty or quality, the firmament. And then we have the waters above, which is the forth-coming superconscious and the forth-coming subconscious, and we call the firmament heaven, the firmament is faith and heaven is referring to the realm of the interior, so that faith is an inhabitant of the interior of our nature; let the dry land appear.
The dry land is the symbol of the quality which will later become the faculty of attention; the ability to gather mental energy and psychic energy into a focal point, which is in us. We recognize it and express it as attention; you give your attention to something; you know what you do; you visualize what you’re doing when you give your attention to something. Isn’t it like drawing dry land from waters. There’s the focal point, the dry land, and God called the dry land earth. The attention is for external use, even if you’re giving attention to something within yourself, it’s always for an external purpose eventually, isn’t it? Sure it is, because there’s something you want to accomplish.
Q. What do you think the waters below mean?
A. Subconscious. They’re the different levels of mental energy.
And God say it was good. Now, in the eleventh verse, God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass and the earth shall conceive after its kind, whose seed was in itself upon the earth, and it was so, and the earth brought forth…” and then the idea is repeated, with a slight variation. Now, here we have another divine idea; these are all divine ideas, which will later become incorporated in us, in man, but this is in the abstract yet. And here is the first abstract mention of the idea which is so important to human nature, which is, like attracts like, and like begets like; here it is for the first time.
This is a law of consciousness, and people forget it, and we shouldn’t. Keep it in mind. The Whole Secret Of Mind Action And The Power Of Positive Thinking Works Because It Is First Established As A Divine Idea; Like Attracts Like, Like Begets Like. Now, in last year’s class, when I mentioned this, one of the students got very excited and she said, “Oh, I don’t believe that. I believe opposites attract.” Well, who said they didn’t? Why did she have to get mad? Just because I said this says like attracts like and like begets like, does that mean opposites never attract? No one is saying that. Sometimes opposites do attract, don’t they? You’ve all fallen in love with the wrong guy; you all have girls. And all of us guys have fallen in love with the wrong girl. Opposites do attract, but not on a spiritual level; only on lower levels or deceptive levels. They don’t really attract in the sense that we’re talking about; they fascinate. They can allure, fascinate, beguile, but not the real, legitimate creative type of attraction. That kind of attraction is always like attracts like and like begets like.
Q. They say that truly opposites have to be alike in a sense, there has to be a similarity?
A. What is an opposite? The opposite contains everything that this contains. But we’re not meaning opposite in that sense. Because then you could say, well, the opposite sex attracts. But we’re using the word opposite, then, in a different connotation. Want we mean about opposite here is something that is not right, not suitable, not in harmony, in principle with. Because hate doesn’t attract love; hate attracts more hate; then love can overcome hate, and then it’s love attracts love. But always remember that these divine laws and these afforisms that I bring up, always the good and the true and the real and the constructive is in charge. God is always in charge, even when there seems to be glaring exceptions and lapses, that’s not so. That’s outer appearances; that’s illusion; that’s more of that fascination stuff. But like attracts like, like begets like.
Now, in the book Lessons in Truth, I’m showing off now because I’ve just started teaching that, in the chapter Bondage or Liberty, Which, in the annotation, the wonderful people who wrote then — fifteen years since I read them, and now I’m working with them again — they’re masterpieces — those annotations for Lessons in Truth and How I Used Truth — How I Used Truth is a lousy book, but the annotations are magnificent, the annotations for Christian Healing — these are the finest published material in the Unity movement. You may quote me. The only thing that comes near to them in quality and in usability are Mr. Fillmore’s books, which are in a class by themselves.
The divine ideas which will later be incorporated into human nature are mentioned as the greater light and the lesser light and the stars and the looming creatures, the various types of animal forms are mentioned. They’re all called good, good, very good. All these different things represent the various Divine Ideas which goes to make up goodness in human nature—your will, your understanding, the greater and lesser light—the organic life processes, the creeping things, the flying birds—these will later become manifested in you and me as part of our nature; and all of it constitutes that indefinable word that we call goodness, the good things about us, the fact that you live and grow, the fact that you can enjoy the things that you eat, that you see, that you contact with your senses, the fact that you’re able to do things, to accomplish things, all of this is part of the organic life which will evolve into higher and finer life expressions.
But all of it, all of that goes to make up you as you, is in its essence, in its essential quality is good. Even when you are doing something bad, it is something good doing something bad. Don’t tell me there’s no badness, because there’s too much of it; but in spite of badness, goodness is the real, true, the essential quality. I like to use the phrase “goodness is the ‘always-in-the-long-run’ thing” that will prevail. It really is. Sometimes this is hard to believe; you look around you, you read things or you hear about things, and you think it’s all flying to pieces, and then, just wait a little while, hold the faith, and you find the original is true.
The original pattern as described in Scriptures is true; it is good; God does mean it for good. Now that all the qualities as Divine Ideas are created, are entered into the creative process, the creative principle, now we begin to get down to brass tacks. We begin to get into more specifics. Remember, this is all coming from an illumined man’s mind. This is not divine revelation straight from all-knowingness; this is filtered through the consciousness of a very great person, who wrote the first chapter only of a book called Genesis.
“Let us,” you see, Elohim is plural, God as plural creative emanations, “let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness.” Here is the first mention of man as a divine idea, not yet an incorporeal creature, but as a divine idea. “And let them have dominion over everything that goes to constitute creativity. Let man have complete dominion over all that goes to make up that something called creativity. Of course that’s symbolized as fish. Who wants to have dominion over fish? But fish represent what? In Scripture, fish always means ideas. Let man have dominion over ideas; in other words, you can choose to think what you choose to think. If you want to have an idea of a purple cow flying in the air, who’s going to stop you? You have dominion over the ideas you choose. So that dominion over fish, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle and over the earth, over every creeping thing. This isn’t quite as easy as it appears, but it’s true; you and I as man, as human being, as creativity embodied, we actually do have dominion over all the organic processes of our existence. You don’t kid yourself that you don’t. Again, this same student objected last year. “I don’t have dominion over my heartbeat.” “Yes, you do, you little sweet thing. You don’t have conscious dominion over it anymore, because you don’t need it any more. You now have unconscious dominion, but at one time you had conscious dominion over it. But now you don’t need that.”
Q. This is about the first man. Remember we were talking about dominion over creativity. Isn’t he the perfect created man as the Christ man?
A, As an idea in God’s mind, and we are not in that consciousness. No we’re not. We have a great mystery here which I would give the world if I could explain it, but I can’t—how could we depart from it? Nobody knows this. There are countless theories—some of the theories are highly critical, you know, like Fundamentalism and some of them are very complimentary, saying that we’ve done the greatest thing in the world. I’ve done a lot of research on this. Now, my favorite explanation is the Theosophical one that Madame Blavatsky advocates. It’s my favorite, probably, because I spend so much time reading it and put so much effort into understanding it; and you know, once you invest so much of yourself into something, you kind of hate to give it up. That’s just like trying to talk an MD who has worked 23 years to get where he’s gotten, into spiritual healing. You can’t do it. Or try to talk a clever criminal lawyer into justice; you can’t do it.
Transcribed by Bill Nelson on 01-12-2015