NATURAL INNOCENCE AND THE BEGUILING SERPENT
Thus far, we have covered the 1st and 2nd chapters of Genesis, but they are by no means exhausted, for we have not as yet brought out near all that is hidden in this wonderful presentation of Creation, but have merely given the general trend of meaning underneath this allegory. An allegory is designed to convey a different meaning from what is directly expressed and this allegory is a means by which we learn the nature of God’s created man, the living soul, and the Universe, as a unity. We do not separate God and Nature as theology is wont to do, on the contrary, we unite them as Cause and Effect, and make plain and clear the eternal order and unity throughout the Cosmos. These two chapters, covering the ground of Creation and formation show all to be in that beginningless beginning which is God, First Cause, puts forth what is God or what God is, and what God does. The 6th day being the expression of what God is and the 7th day what God does. Heaven is the first half of Creation, or all that is spiritual. God’s Supreme Ideal, the permanent Being, contains in His Nature all faculties and powers, and these are not gifts which might have been withheld had First Cause “chosen” so to do. Because however, they are compelled by the nature of Principle, man the “Expression” has always had them, and they never can be taken from him, nor destroyed, altered or lost, but He must “bring out” what they contain, in the way of ability. These all belong to man by divine birthright. Man’s nature, although complete and perfect is composite, made up of differing natures. As this perfect being, he is given dominion over all that is in his own great nature. There is nothing outside of Man but God. Man is in God and everything is in man. God’s work is done, but not finished. The 7th day’s work is yet to follow. What Man is must have its days and the soul be made manifest. Then on the 7th day, there will be two kinds of work. One land from Man, and the ether from God, through Man.
TruthUnity note: “Man’s nature, although complete and perfect is composite, made up of differing natures” The author repeats this several times in the course. It is a very perceptive understanding of the complexity of mind. The author’s assessment is that humanh nature is perfect but “not finished.”
TruthUnity note: “Man’s nature, although complete and perfect is composite, made up of differing natures” The author repeats this several times in the course. It is a very perceptive understanding of the complexity of mind. The author’s assessment is that human nature is perfect but “not finished.” In the following paragraphs, the author will declare humanity ignorant, but good and primarily innocent.
The world is in the earth. The earth is in the Heaven, and the “Heaven” is in God. And yet there is not a discordant tone in this spiritual symphony, but perfect harmony throughout. We find in the world of “Representation,” endless variety of shapes. In “Representation” as the material Whole is re-presented all there is in the composite nature of Ideal Man. The mineral, vegetable, animal are all in him and not outside as it appears. The visible world of shapes is not a reality, but a canvas or blackboard lull of symbols, outwardly shapes, inwardly living souls. If there were no BEING, there could be no soul. Subjectively Adam is soul. Objectively he is shape. We are all Adam, but are to become more. The 1st chapter of Genesis shows us what we are spiritual, as permanent Being. The 2nd chapter shows us what we are naturally. Adam is the natural man which means that he is related to nature. What is nature? Mrs. G. “An orderly sequence of fixed facts or factors out from God, compelled by the nature of First Cause”. A simpler definition is, “A fixed drain reaching from First Cause to this visible shape—and not a missing link in it from start to finish.”
TruthUnity note: “What is nature? Mrs. G.” This indicates that a student has asked a question which is being answered by the author, who is identified as "Mrs. G.", presumably Ursula Gestefeld.
Adam is good. There is nothing wropg or bad about him, but his vision is limited, and he mistakes the symbol for the reality back of it. Paul said, “The natural man discerneth not the things of Spirit”. His eyas are holden that he cannot see the Truth of his Being.
Adam is primarily innocent, necessarily innocent, as we all are by nature, as personalities. We are ignorantly innocent of what we are in our real, true Being. We are also innocent of coming into existence. Primarily, we are innocent as the product of God and Nature, but this innocence or ignorance is all natura1, and because natural it is inevitable. It is the consequence of Re-production in Creation Then with whom shall we find fault or whom shall we reproach? Nobody.
Then we have the fall. These are some of the headlines of ths 3rd chapter. “The serpent deceiveth Eve.” (Note that it was Eve). “Man’s shameful fall” but there is nothing shameful about gaining knowledge, for it is time that man should know himself. “God arraigneth them” as if God were a being, and could upbraid “The serpent is cursed.” When we curse anything, we are done with it. “The promised seed” that which is hidden and is yet to appear, “The punishment of mankind”. It is the sin which punishes the sinner. We are punished by our sins and not for them. “Their first clothing” which proves to be coats of skin” -- “Their casting out of Paradise” that fools paradise” where all is bliss. The last verse of the 2nd chapter read thus, “And they were both naked, and not ashamed.” Adam and Eve awoke in a degree to their sense of lack of knowledge and were not ashamed. Knowledge plays an important part in the awakening of the soul. Had we any sense of shame when we awoke to the fact that we had no true knowledge of ourselves? No. “Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made.” Then where did this serpent come from? Thus far all we find in Creation is the work either of God or the Lord God. So, this beguiling serpent must be the work of either the one or the other. Who is responsible for him? God, or the Lord-God are back of everything thus far. Surely, we have been reading the Bible according to the letter. We have not dissected these statements, but have taken for granted everything that has been told us. If this serpent came forth from God, or the Lord God, it has a purpose and a rightful place in creation. The serpent said to the woman (but whoever heard of a serpent talking?) so this at once brands the statement as an allegory. Why did it not speak to the man? The rational nature cannot divine, while the intuitional can. “Hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden”? And the woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of all fruit of ail the trees of the garden” and the serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die.” While the Lord God said, “Ye shall surely die.” We must reconcile these statements with their seeming contradiction. Turning back to the 16th verse of the 2nd chapter, we note that the “Lord God” spake to the man, saying, “In the day that thou (Adam) eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” This was said to the man before the woman appears, or before Adam had found his help-meet. Hence it was to the woman that the subtile serpent speaks, and says, the direct opposite of what the “Lord God” said to the man, and both were right, free their differing viewpoints. It is simply a negative and positive statement of the same thing. Confucius taught the “Golden Rule” from one standpoint, and Jesus fcrom another. Confucius said: “Do not unto others as you would not have others do unto you,” while Jesus, speaking from the positive side, said, “Do unto others,” etc.
TruthUnity note: “Why did it not speak to the man? The rational nature cannot divine, while the intuitional can.” The garden allegory will address the relationship between Adam and Eve as much as it addresses the relationship between humanity and God.
At the beginning of existence, we know that we are, but we have yet to discolor what we are, why we are here, and what is to be our destination. This is a necessity that confronts the soul and the first thing we have to deal with is a “man.” What is “a man”? Adam. How came he to be without knowledge? Adam had not eaten of the tree that yields knowledge. Where is he to find this fruit that is “good for food”? Just where he is, for the tree of knowledge (brings) belongs in the garden of the soul. The existent soul is Adam. He is the infancy of the “Living soul”. This is followed by the child-hood. Then, by the youth then the young man afterward, the fully matured man. Because Individuality is back of the growth, “infancy” dies as the child appears, -“childhood” passes away as the “youth” comes forth. The youth disappears as early manhood approaches, and early manhood goes as mature manhood approaches. Infancy dies in its own day, etc., but could not, if it did not gain knowledge. Childhood comes to an end when the youth is here, but this causes no cessation of existence. There is in such case, death to ignorance and a resurrection to knowledge. An ascension out of darkness, and bondage into Light and Liberty. The infancy of the soul is Adam or “I am” and “I am” is to grow to become more and more to know more and more until like the leading character of the New Testament, we too can say, “I know whence I came, and whither I go.” “I knew that my redeemer lives.”
TruthUnity note: The author describes five stages of the human soul journey: infancy, childhood, youth, early adulthood, mature manhood. The passing from one stage the next is described in terms of death, resurrection and ascension. She will return to this framework in succeeding lessons. Richard Billings, who was raised in Christian Science, also spoke of these "mini-lifetimes" within one particular incarnation. This is an important perspective for those who have experienced significant and repeated new beginnings in a single lifetime. In the next paragraph the author will show that Adam in the garden was in an infant stage and needed “food to eat” (Knowledge of good and evil).
The serpent spake truly when he said, “ye shall not die.” Does an infant know anything about Good or evil? It is a matter of a little knowledge with this knowledge comes the power to make contrasts, and by so doing, we find, that good and evil (so-called) is simply a matter of a little knowledge on the ethical plane. There is a necessity for knowledge, and the destiny of the soul compels a “fall” into it. How far did Adam fall? Observe he fell into something, not from some great height. He came into the possession of something. The woman, Eve, saw that it was good for food, then she saw further than Adam. He only sees objects, or looks upon the situation. By the “man and woman” used in this connection, we do not mean personalities, but refer to the male and female natures in eacn one of us. Our male nature is the rational which looks at things, while our female nature sees farther than the world of shapes. She perceives, the spiritual entity back of shape, and sees that there is a “food” different from the material, and far more satisfying. The soul needs food. Our Self-consciousness (Greek: soul) needs to be nourished and fed, even more than our bodies and as Eve found “the tree is good for food” just a little knowledge at first, then add to it, more and more, then sift what you have, separating the wheat from the chaff. Knowledge is good food for the soul. It is from God, and as we know, All that is from God is good. How could it be otherwise, when God is the Absolute Good Itself? No matter where one is born, or how environed, whether in palace or slums, the tree is in Him, and he must eat of it, soon or late. Every tree bears fruit after its kind, and in this instance the kind of tree is cleariy stated. This fruit is from the tree of knowledge and is not an apple. We need to use our faculties and see that this tree means gaining knowledge, and not eating apples. This fall of the soul, into a little knowledge is the first step toward the fulfilling of its destiny. The untuitive nature of the woman, sees that to be able to contrast the two (good and evil) is good for the soul. When one becomes enlightened, so that he touches the “hem of the garment” of Truth, he realizes that he has learned through both good and evil, (so called). “The eyes of both were opened”. The tree of knowledge leads to wisdom, having wisdom, we deal with Principle. Looking at the world only, and seeing what we call unmitigated evil, we ask, how could God be so cruel to humanity? Could not the Great Deity over-rule this and prevent that? What a misconception of Deity. This view of God has made more atheists than anything else. All these undesirable conditions have been attributed to God when all the time, God had nothing to do with it. Ethical good and evil, are only contrasts to the soul, and at a certain stage of its growth, soul will learn no other way. These bring experiences which are salutary for the soul, but not good in the sense that God is good. Read from the 8th to 11th verses of the 3rd chapter of Genesis, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the evening, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord—God among the trees.” 9th Verse: “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him ‘Where art thou?’” 10th Verse: “And he said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” REPEAT: “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and was afraid, and I hid myself.’”
TruthUnity note: Adam the infant eats of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil and “falls” into limited knowledge, dies to his false, ignorant sense of self (infant stage) and ascends to his child stage (outside of Eden), taking a first step in his journey to becoming the “second Adam.”
“And the Lord God said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?’” Here is the first mention of fear? Adam said, “I was afraid.” From whence does fear come? From a little knowledge. What is the remedy for this?—More knowledge. The term evil is used for the first time in connection with knowledge. Then the remedy for evil must also be more knowledge. Note that Adam was sent out of the garden while Eve was not. Intuition is always within. Intuition grasps the Truth at once because it is quick to perceive. The rational nature has to “go out” and prove for itself what was Adam’s sin. Eating of the tree of knowledge, but could he help it? No; was he to blame? No. Was this a sin in the ethical sense? No, there was no motive back of it, no intention on the part of Adam. It was simply a natural necessity. This is what existence is for, but in the eating of the fruit or through limited knowledge he came to a wrong conclusion about things. I am Adam. I see this. As knowing little or nothing about myself, I am the natural man. “I Am” is the soul of Being, and I see this. I then begin to get knowledge, only a little at first, just the “tiny shoot out of the acorn” but good as far as it goes. I see this, and all these shapes out here, but what conclusions do I draw about what I see? “Aye there’s the rub” for here is where error comes in, and it is natural, and because of this, is not to be rebuked. Because of my sense about this shape, due to a “little” or “limited” knowledge, I the “infant soul” form a wrong conclusion. This is error because it is conclusion from sense evidence only. This is my original sin. “Original sin” as it is called, means the “natural, human sense” as the soul begins to get knowledge. There is no sin in the upper half of the circle. Sin is “missing the mark” or “falling short of our high calling” through ignorance or “not knowing”. Ideal man is “All-knowing” because it expresses Intelligence Itself. This God-Being is Heaven, and there can be no sin in Heaven or Harmony. Evil is a limited knowing. Ethical good and evil originate with the soul, but “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be whiter than snow.” The “Fall” of Adam is “original sin” and in that sense we are all sinners, for we all at first fell into a little knowledge, and are all Adam. Sense conclusions from this basis. If this shape is I and it is dust, then I must go back to dust. This false, ignorant sense of self must die, or come to an end, but Adam does not die. He lives on and becomes the second Adam. We see then in the light of the foregoing that the “fall” is necessary and prepares the way for the Ascension. We go down and down until we come to what is the death of Adam and then we gradually ascend to our Source, the second Adam or Christ.
TruthUnity note: Adam is expelled from the garden, but not Eve. This is a tremendous insight from a feminist perspective. Intuition grasps truth by inner revelation but reason requires going out to discover Truth through the senses. It could be said that the central message in these two courses is that following intuition instead of reason may lead to a struggle, but it will not get one expelled from the garden.