Chapter I: Spiritual Man
Genesis 1 Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 1:1-5. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
To understand the creation of the universe by God, we must know something of the character of God. Jesus said, "God is Spirit." The works of God, He said, were done in Him (Jesus) and through Him. "The Father abiding in me doeth his works." That God is an intelligent force always present and always active is the virtual conclusion of all philosophers, thus corroborating the statements of Jesus. God is eternally in His creation and never separate from it. Wherever there is evidence of creative action, there God is.
Explain God as Divine Mind. How does Divine Mind create?
God is mind, and He created through His word or idea, and this is the universal creative vehicle. It is plainly stated in this 1st chapter of Genesis that "God said." Jesus corroborated this creative power of the word or idea again and again. He said that His words were so powerful that if we let them abide in us we might ask whatsoever we would and it should be done to us.
God is a mind force carrying forward creation under mental law. That law may be known to anyone who will follow the example of Jesus. Jesus said, "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." This means that we should strive for the perfection that God is. We are the image and likeness of this great creative Mind, and being in a certain aspect of our mind just like it, we can through mental adjustment attain the same conscious unity that Jesus did.
God creates through the action of His mind, and all things rest on ideas. The idea back of the flower is beauty. The idea back of music is harmony. The idea back of day is light or the dispensation of intelligence.
This whole chapter is a statement of the creative ideas involved in the universe. It deals with involution. Evolution is the working out in manifestation of what mind has involved. Whatever mind commands to be brought forth will be brought forth by and through the law of evolution inherent in being. This applies to the great and the small. In mind there is but one.
What is the first step in the awakening of man to spiritual consciousness?
The first step in creation is the awakening of man to spiritual consciousness, the dawning of light in his mind, his perception of Truth through the quickening of his spirit. Light is wisdom; and the first day's work is the calling of light or wisdom into expression. Light represents intelligence, and darkness represents undeveloped capacity. Symbolically these are "day" and "night."
The word God in this instance stands for Elohim, which is God in His capacity as creative power, including within Himself all the potentalities of being. The "beginning" indicates the first concept of Divine Mind. "Created" means ideated. The "heavens" is the realm of ideas, and the "earth" represents ideas in expression. Heaven is the idea and earth the mental picture. A comparison is found in the activity of our own mind: we have an idea and then think out a plan before we bring it forth.
Did God create man and the earth as they appear today?
Ferrar Fenton, the well-known student of Hebrew and Greek, says that the first verse should read: "By periods God created that which produced the Suns; then that which produced the Earth. But the Earth was unorganized and empty; and darkness covered its convulsed surface; but the breath of God vibrated over its fluid face." From this we are to understand that God created not the earth as it appears but that which produced the earth. Elohim, Spirit, creates the spiritual idea, which is afterward made manifest through Jehovah God.
What is meant by "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters"? What, in terms of mind, is "darkness"? "Light"?
The earthly thought was not yet clear. Harmony of form had not yet come into expression. "The deep" represents the capacity of the earth idea to bring forth. "The face of the deep" represents its intelligence. Understanding has not yet come into expression, and there is no apparent action. "The Spirit of God" or divine intelligence moved upon "the face of the waters." "Waters" here represents unexpressed capacities, the mental element out of which all is produced. Man is conscious of unexpressed capacities within himself, but only as he moves upon mind substance with intelligence are his inherent spiritual qualities molded into
forms. "Light" is intelligence, a spiritual quality. It corresponds to understanding and should precede all activity. At the beginning of any of our creating we should declare for light. Our declarations of Truth are instantly fulfilled in Spirit.
James says in his Epistle, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." The Evangelist John speaks of "the true light . . . which lighteth every man, coming into the world."
All that emanates from God is good. In the process of bringing forth our ideas we need a certain degree of understanding in order properly to regulate our thoughts. The light must be divided from the darkness, as in Divine Mind the light was separated from the darkness.
"Day" represents the state of mind in which intelligence dominates. "Night" represents the realm of thoughts that are not yet illuminated by the Spirit of God.
Gen. 1:6-8. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
What is the central idea in the second day's creation?
The second step in creation is the development of faith or the "firmament." The "waters" represent the unestablished elements of the mind.
The second day's creation is the second movement of Divine Mind. The central idea in this day's creation
is the establishment of a firmament in the "midst of the waters" dividing the "waters from the waters." "Waters" represent unexpressed possibilities in mind. There must be a "firm" starting point or foundation established. This foundation or "firmament" is faith "moving upon" the unformed capacities of Spirit consciousness. The divine Logos--God as creative power--gives forth the edict "Let there be a firmament." The first step or "day" in creation involves "light" or understanding, and the second step, faith in the knowing quality of mind.
The word is instantly fulfilled in Spirit. "And God made the firmament." This does not refer to the visible realm of forms but to the mental image in Divine Mind, which deals only with ideas. In every mental state we have an "above" and a "below." Above the firmament are the unexpressed capacities ("waters") of the conscious mind resting in faith in Divine Mind. Below the firmament are the unexpressed capacities ("waters") of the subconscious mind.
Why is the word heaven capitalized in Genesis 1:8?
The word "Heaven" is capitalized in this passage because it relates directly to Divine Mind. Faith ("firmament") established in consciousness is a state of perfect harmony, therefore "Heaven." Another degree of mind unfoldment has been attained. "And there was evening and there was morning, a second day." "Evening" represents completion, and the "morning" following represents activity of ideas.
Gen. 1:9-13. And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit after their kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after their kind: and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
What is the third step in the creative process?
The third step in creation is the beginning of the formative activity of the mind called imagination. This gathers "the waters . . . together unto one place" so that the "dry land" appears. Then the imagination begins a great multiplication of forms and shapes in the mind.
The first day's creation reveals the light or inspiration of Spirit. The second day establishes faith in our possibilities to bring forth the invisible. The third day's creation or third movement of Divine Mind pictures the activity of ideas in mind. This is called expression. The formative power of mind is the imagination, whose work is here represented by the dry land. There is much unformed thought in mind ("the heavens") that must be separated from the formed.
Does Divine Mind deal directly with things or ideas? Explain.
In this proclamation "earth" is the mental image of formed thought and does not refer to the manifest world. God is Divine Mind and deals directly with ideas. "Seas" represents the unformed state of mind. We say that a man is "at sea" when he is in doubt in his mental processes. In other words he has not established his thoughts in line with the principle involved. The sea is capable of production, but must come under the dominion of the imagination.
Divine Mind images its ideas definitely and in
every detail. The idea precedes the fulfillment. "Let there be" represents the perfect confidence necessary to demonstration.
Ideas are productive and bring forth after their kind. They express themselves under the law of divine imagery. The seed is within the thought and is reproduced through thought activity until thought habits are formed. Thoughts become fixed in the earth or formed consciousness. In Divine Mind all is good.
How does man form his world?
Again a definite degree of mind unfoldment has been attained. Man, in forming his world, goes through the same mental process, working under divine law. Jesus said, "The seed is the word of God."
Gen. 1:14-19. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Explain the symbology of the development of the "two great lights."
The fourth step in creation is the development of the "two great lights," the will and the understanding, or the sun (the spiritual I AM) and the moon (the intellect). These are but reflectors of the true light; for God had said, "Let there be light: and there was light"--before the sun and the moon were created.
The "firmament of heaven" is the consciousness of Truth that has been formulated and established.
In the second day's creation a firmament was established in heaven (realm of divine ideas). This firmament divides the day (illumined consciousness) from the night (unillumined consciousness). Through faith the "lights" are established; that is, understanding begins to unfold. The "signs," "seasons," and "days and years" represent different stages of unfoldment. We gain understanding by degrees.
The "earth" represents the more external processes through which an idea passes, and corresponds to the activity of an idea in mind. In man the "earth" is the body consciousness, which in its real nature is a harmonious expression of ideas established in faith-substance. "And it was so"; that is, an idea from divine consciousness is instantly fulfilled.
The "greater light," in mind, is understanding and the "lesser light" is the will. The greater light rules "the day," that realm of consciousness which has been illumined by Spirit. The lesser light rules "the night," that is, the will; which has no illumination ("light" or "day") but whose office is to execute the demands of understanding. The will does not reason, but in its harmonious relation acts easily and naturally upon the inspiration of Spirit. Divine will expresses itself as the I AM in man.
The "stars" represent man's perceptive faculties, including his ability to perceive weight, size, color, sound, and the like. Through concentrating any of the faculties ("stars") at its focalizing point one may come into an understanding of its action.
Divine Mind first images the idea, then perceives its fulfillment. Man, acting in co-operation with Divine Mind, places himself under this same creative law and
thus brings his ideas into manifestation.
The idea is the directing and controlling power. Every idea has a specific function to perform. When our ideas are constructive and harmonious we see that they are good and realize that their power to rule is dominant in consciousness.
"Evening" stands for the fulfillment of an idea and marks another "day" or step or degree of unfoldment in consciousness.
Again referring to Fenton's translation of the 1st chapter of Genesis, "By periods God created that which produced the solar systems; then that which produced the earth," we see that God did not create the worlds directly; He created that which produced or evolved them. Then God said, "Let there be light." The Hebrew word for light is owr, meaning "luminosity" either literally or metaphysically. On the fourth day God said, "Let reflectors appear in the expanse of the heavens." Then God made two large "luminaries." The Hebrew word here used to express light is maowr, "a luminous body." The author of Genesis made a distinction between the source of light and how it was to be bodily manifested. But both were concepts in Divine Mind.
Our modern dynamos produce luminosity out of the ether equal to sunlight. The earth whirling on its axis generates electricity. Modern scientists are accepting analogy then, holding that bodies in motion generate energy that under certain conditions becomes luminous, and the conclusion is that the primal force that produces light existed before its manifestation through matter. This conclusion is in harmony with the symbolic story of creation as found in Genesis.
Modern critics have questioned the accuracy of Scripture on these points. Robert Ingersoll in his book "Some Mistakes of Moses" calls attention to the creation of light before the sources of light, the sun and the stars, were created, as evidence of the ignorance and inaccuracy of Moses. But scientific research and study of the original Hebrew reveals their harmony.
Gen. 1:20-23. And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth. And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
What qualities were developed on the fifth day? What kind of ideas are "creatures" and "sea-monsters"? Compare them with fishes and fowls.
The fifth step in creation is the bringing forth of sensation and discrimination. The "creatures" are thoughts. The "birds . . . in the open firmament of heaven" are ideas approaching spiritual understanding.
"Water" represents the unformed substance of life, always present as a fecundating element in which ideas ("living creatures") increase and multiply, just as the earth produces a crop when sown with seed. The "birds" represent the liberated thoughts or ideas of mind (heavens).
In connection with the body, "water" represents the fluids of the organism. The "sea-monsters" are life ideas that swarm in these fluids. Here is pictured Divine Mind creating the original body idea, as imaged
in the 20th verse. In the 2d chapter of Genesis we shall read of the manifestation of this idea. Idea, expression, and manifestation are the steps involved in bringing anything forth under divine law. The stamp of good is placed upon divine ideas and their activity in substance.
In the fifth day's creation ideas of discrimination and judgment are developed. The fishes and fowls represent ideas of life working in mind, but they must be properly related to the unformed (seas) and the formed (earth) worlds of mind. When an individual is well balanced in mind and body, there is an equalizing force flowing in the consciousness, and harmony is in evidence.
Another orderly degree of mind unfoldment is fulfilled. Another step in spiritual growth is worked out in consciousness when the individual enters into the quickening of his judgment and seeks to conform his ideas to those of Divine Mind.
Gen. 1:24-31. And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the ground after its kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
What is the sixth step in the creative process of which man is the grand culmination?
The sixth step in creation is the bringing forth of ideas after their kind. When man approaches the creative level in his thought, he is getting close to God in his consciousness, and then the realization that he is the very image and likeness of his Creator dawns on him. This is the consciousness in man of Christ.
Explain the cause of which sensation is the result.
On the sixth day of creation ideas of life are set into activity. [the thoughts and ideas from day 5 are set into activity by love and wisdom] that which has been created in the "Cattle" represent ideas of strength established in substance. "Creeping things" represent ideas of life that are more subtle in their expression, approaching closer to the realm of sense. They are the micro-organisms. The "beasts" stand for the free energies of life that relate themselves to sensation. Divine ideas are always instantly set into activity: "and it was so."
Underlying all these ideas related to sensation, which in their original purity are simply ideas of life functioning in substance, is the divine idea of life. When life is expressed in divine order it is pronounced good. What is termed "sense consciousness" in man is not to be condemned but lifted up to its rightful place.
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life." When the ideas of life are properly related to love and wisdom, man will find in them eternal satisfaction instead of sense pleasure.
In what sense is man the "image" of God?
Wisdom and love are the two qualities of Being that, communing together, declare, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." This is the mental image of man that in Truth we call the Christ. The Christ man has dominion over every idea emanating from Divine Mind.
The creation described in these six days or six "steps" or stages of God-Mind is wholly spiritual and should not be confounded with the manifestation that is described in the succeeding chapters. God is mind, and all His works are created in mind as perfect ideas.
This statement of man's creation, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," has always been a puzzle to people who read the Scriptures literally. The apparent man is so at variance with the description that they cannot reconcile them. Theologians began first to admit that the Garden of Eden story was an allegory, and now they are including the whole of Genesis.
But this is more than an allegory; it is a description of the ideal creation. In their calculations engineers often use mathematical symbols, like the letters x, y, and z, to represent quantities not yet given precise determination but carried along for development at the proper time. Involved in these symbols are ideas that are to be brought out in their proper order and made visible when the engineer's plans are objectified. So
man plans in his mind that which he proposes to build. First the idea, then the visible. This is the process through which all creation passes. God makes all things in His mind first, which is involution; then they are made into form and shape, and this is evolution.
In some such way then we can think of man as represented by an x in God's plan or calculations. God is carrying man along in His mind as an ideal quantity, the image-and-likeness man of His creation, and His divine plan is dependent for its success on the manifestation by man of this idea. The divine plan is furthered by the constant idealism that keeps man moving forward to higher and higher achievements. The image-and-likeness man pours into "mankind" a perpetual stream of ideas that the individual man arranges as thoughts and forms as substance and life. While this evolutionary process is going on there seem to be two men, one ideal and spiritual and the other intellectual and material, which are united at the consummation, the ideal man, Christ.
When the mind attains an understanding of certain creative facts, of man's creative powers, it has established a directive, intelligent center that harmonizes these two men (ideal and spiritual vs. intellectual and material). This directive center may be named the I AM. It is something more than the human I. Yet when this human I has made union with the image-and-likeness I, the true I AM comes into action, and this is the Christ Jesus, the Son of God, evolved and made visible in creation according to divine law.
God ideated two universal planes of consciousness, "the heavens and the earth." One is the realm of pure ideas, the other of thought forms. God does not create
the visible universe directly, as a man makes a concrete pavement, but He creates the ideas that are used by His intelligent "image and likeness" to make the universe. Thus God's creations are always spiritual. Man's creations are both material and spiritual, according to his understanding.
When is man the master of ideas and their expression?
Mental activity in Divine Mind represents two phases: first, conception of the idea; and secondly, expression of the idea. In every idea conceived in mind there is first the quickening spirit of life, followed by the increase of the idea in substance. Wisdom is the "male" or expressive side of Being, while love is the "female" or receptive side of Being. Wisdom is the father quality of God and love is the mother quality. In every idea there exist these two qualities of mind, which unite in order to increase and bring forth under divine law.
Divine Mind blessed the union of wisdom and love and pronounced on them the increase of Spirit. When wisdom and love are unified in the individual consciousness, man is a master of ideas and brings forth under the original creative law.
"Seed" represents fundamental ideas having within themselves reproductive capacity. Every idea is a seed that, sown in the substance of mind, becomes the real food on which man is nourished. Man has access to the seed ideas of Divine Mind, and through prayer and meditation he quickens and appropriates the substance of those ideas, which were originally planted in his I AM by the parent mind.
Provision is made for the sustenance of all the ideas emanating from Divine Mind. The primitive forms of life are fed on "herbs"; they have a sustaining
force that is food to them, even as the appropriation of divine ideas is food to man.
In what attitude of mind can man truly call his creation "very good?"
Divine Mind, being All-Good itself, sees only its own creation as good. As man co-operates more fully with Divine Mind, imaging only that which is good, he too beholds his production with the "single" eye, sees them only as good. The sixth step in creation is the concentration, in man, of all the ideas of Divine Mind. Man is given authority and dominion over all ideas. Thus is completed another step in mind unfoldment.
In the six mental steps or "mind movements," called days, Elohim God creates the spiritual universe and spiritual man. He then rests. He has created the ideas or patterns of the formed universe that is to follow.
In the next chapter we shall find Jehovah God executing what Elohim God created or ideated. In the Hebrew the name Jehovah means "I am." We identify Jehovah as the I AM, the spiritual man, the image and likeness of Elohim God. But Jehovah, spiritual man, must be made manifest, so He forms a man called Adam.
Preceding Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 9-13: Chapter I: Spiritual Man
Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 29-30: Chapter II: Manifest Man