Chapter III: The Fall of Man - (a)
Garden of Eden Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 3:1-5. Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
Metaphysically what does woman symbolize?
The serpent is sense consciousness. It may also be called desire, sensation, or the activity of life in external manifestation apart from the divine source of life. "Woman" represents love or feeling in the individual consciousness and symbolizes the soul. Desire for sensation or activity in the external first tempts the soul, the center of feeling and emotion. The temptation of sense is at first very subtle, entering the consciousness to stir up doubt and slyly asking the question "Why not?"
From the center of one's being the life-giving, ever-bearing tree of the Spirit of God spreads its branches into every department of mind and body. Its fruits are intelligence to the mind, substance to the body, and life to the entire being. The warning given by Jehovah God was that man should not eat of (appropriate) the fruit of this tree. In spiritual revelation we discern that man's cardinal mistake is to appropriate the pure essence of God in order to experience selfish sensuous pleasure.
The serpent is slyly suggesting to the soul that it indulge in the pleasures of sense and that the experience will result in a deeper understanding of God and His laws. The individual can always find arguments that to his own mind justify indulgence. This tendency may be described as sensation beguiling man from his Garden of Eden consciousness.
Gen. 3:6-7. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Woman, the intuitive or feeling side of man's nature, discerns that activity in ideas begets knowledge, but the knowledge gained is not necessarily of a divine nature. Love or feeling (woman) acting independently of wisdom (man) is not reliable.
The "eyes" are the perceptive faculty of mind, and unless the perception is established in Truth one sees or perceives duality. When one delights in knowledge that is less than Truth, one's capacity to receive inspiration direct from Divine Mind is lessened or lost. Both love (woman) and wisdom (man) become involved in a counterfeit knowledge through "eating" ideas inappropriate
to the divine nature.
In the Scriptures figs are representative of the "seed" of man. This seed is in its original essence mind energy, and when ideas are kept in contact with Divine Mind, the seed of man is the life stream in its original purity. Man's sin is the misappropriation of ideas, which leads to sensation. When man and woman are joined--that is, one in sin--they are unclothed of the garment of Truth or "naked."
How is the "holy marriage" consummated, and what are its fruits?
When wisdom and love, man and woman, are joined in the consciousness that God inspires all their thoughts and acts, the gross sensations of the flesh will be "lifted up," that is, glorified. "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself." This is the "holy marriage."
Gen. 3:8-12. And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. And Jehovah God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Jehovah spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden "in the cool of the day." What does this mean?
The "cool of the day" represents the relaxation or emptiness that follows sense expression. After the high tide of sensation has subsided, the voice of Jehovah God, commonly called conscience, is heard. Man is convinced that he has acted out of harmony with divine law. After experiencing sensation the picture
visualized by the conscious mind is impressed on the life stream and sets up a subconscious tendency. Consciousness would hide from facing this situation, taking refuge amongst the "trees of the garden" (other sensations), but this is not the way to redemption. Every idea is to be dealt with. All error is forgiven when Truth is brought to bear on it, and if this method is pursued, only constructive thought habits will be put into activity in the subconscious realm of mind.
Jehovah God walks continually in the garden (the body) calling unto Adam (life), and when man raises his thoughts and feelings Godward, he contacts the inspiration of Being and builds again the immortal consciousness.
The soul or "woman" is the feminine aspect of man. It is through the affections (love) that man becomes involved in sensation. When a desire of the soul (woman) presses for attention, man often gives way to his feelings instead of raising them, through wisdom, to conform to higher principles.
In Truth feeling must be disciplined and refined and desire for sense pleasure eliminated. When consciousness is purified through the knowledge of Truth and thought force is established in harmonious relation to divine ideas, the woman (feeling) will be joined with man (wisdom) and the holy marriage (generation of divine ideas) will again be consummated. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh," writes the author of Genesis, and Jesus verifies it in Matthew 19:5: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife;
and the two shall become one flesh." Indescribable joy is the heritage of those who submit their sex relations to God in prayer.
Gen. 3:13-14. And Jehovah God said unto the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
When and how may sensation be pronounced "good"?
Man, ever seeking an excuse for sin, puts the blame on God for endowing him with sensation. Sensation is itself a divine creation, and all God's creation was pronounced "good." This brings us to the root cause of the appetite that craves stimulants and goes to excess in seeking satisfaction. Through listening to the serpent of sense, man goes beyond the limit set by natural or divine law and becomes a glutton and drunkard of sensation. The remedy is for him to take up the problem from a spiritual standpoint in the knowledge that sensation is a mental quality that can be satisfied only by his cultivating the spiritual side of his nature.
What is represented by the "nakedness" of Adam?
When the desire for sensation leads man to dissipate the precious fruit of the tree of life in his earthly garden, the whole nervous system is depleted and loses its capacity to contact the higher life current and supermind wisdom. Then man feels a lack of something; he is "naked." Sensation is no longer a heavenly ecstasy but a fleshly vibration, and crawls on its "belly," eating "dust" all the days of its life.
Explain the meaning of Jehovah God's curse on the serpent.
We often wonder why God cursed the serpent since He created him for the very purpose of enabling man
to have sensation. The author of Genesis discerned that certain principles were in operation; that when the creative life which Jehovah God breathed into man's nostrils was taken away, there would be a fall from divine union and man would have to suffer certain conditions that would follow. So the curse was not imposed directly by Jehovah but as a result of man's breaking certain laws.
Gen. 3:15-19. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
What do the "seed" of the woman and the "seed" of the serpent represent?
The seed of the woman is from God; it is the spiritual life that comes from the fountainhead. The seed of the serpent is fallen sense consciousness, and there is enmity between the two. The effect, as set forth in the text describing the suffering common to most women, needs no metaphysical interpretation. The interpretation usually given is that the "seed" that bruised the head of the serpent was Jesus. But these verses were written long before the time of Jesus, so they must refer to certain principles. The heel represents the activity
of the will in the body. When one is willful the tendency is to force the heel into the ground. When you do that you are determined.
What is the "promise" of redemption? How is it fulfilled?
When you make up your mind that you are not going to be governed by your sensations, you plunge the whole man into spiritual consciousness, through which you are protected from sense. All through the account of the fall of man are found these promises of redemption, implications that man has within him a saving consciousness.
The story of Eve symbolizes the truth that instead of bringing forth ideas in the realm of supersubstance, the feminine is compelled to clothe its ideas with flesh and bring them forth in the earthly consciousness.
Having lost consciousness of God as its guiding light, the soul turns to its highest concept of wisdom, the intellect (husband).
The intellect, having lost contact with its inner light, is no longer possessed of the ability to ideate direct from God, and man is forced to cultivate the ground and toil physically. Jesus demonstrated man's spiritual ability when, direct from the ether as a substance base, He produced the fishes and loaves to feed more than five thousand persons.
Gen. 3:20. And the man called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
In what sense is Eve the "mother of all living"?
The name Eve means "elemental life," "life," "living.'' Eve represents the soul region of man and is the mother principle of God in expression through which life is evolved. The I AM (wisdom) puts feeling into what it thinks, and so Eve (feeling) becomes the "mother of all living." Back of feeling is the pure
life essence of God. Adam and Eve symbolize the I AM individualized in life and substance. They are the primal elemental forces of Being itself.
The Hebrew verb hoh, "to be being" luminous, absolute life, which forms the basis of the name Ihoh (Jehovah) is the basis also of the word Eve; however, due to a slight change in characters and a hardening of the vowels, it no longer represents absolute life, but the struggle of elementary existence. This indicates the struggle of the soul to regain its perfect state of existence in the Absolute, God.
Gen. 3:21. And Jehovah God made for Adam and for his wife coats of skins, and clothed them.
What is the "coat of skins," and by what is it supplanted?
Man originally was connected with the warm currents of spiritual life, but when these currents were broken by thoughts of separation, he required protection from external invading thoughts, hence the "coats of skins." This need is evidenced by the outer skin covering the sensitive nerves of our body and the danger of infection when this covering is broken. When spiritual thought becomes supreme in consciousness the "coat of skins" gives way to the manifestation of the spiritual body spoken of by Paul. Corruptible flesh is the manifestation of corrupt ideas in mind. "Be ye transformed [changed in form] by the renewing of your mind."
Gen. 3:22-24. And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever--therefore Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed
at the east of the garden of Eden the Cherubim, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Explain "good and evil" as opposite poles of being.
"Jehovah God" is Divine Mind identified as the Christ Mind or I AM man. "Good and evil," primarily representing the two poles of Being, are opposite but not adverse to each other. Man developed divine consciousness--came into an understanding of ideas in their relation to Being itself--and when he became involved so intensely in the feeling or negative side of his nature, he lost consciousness of the equilibrium of the Christ Mind. Will became independent of wisdom, and an unbalanced condition in both mind and body was set up. And "lest he put forth his hand [appropriating power of mind], and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever," using the forces of Being toward the expression of a consciousness adverse to the Christ Mind, omnipresent wisdom closed the door to the within until man should again enter into the "garden" by establishing the divine consciousness, Christ, the Way.
The "garden" symbolizes the spiritual body in which man dwells when he brings forth thoughts after the pattern of the original divine ideas. This "garden" is the substance of God. "Eden" is a state of perfect relations among the ideas of Being. The "garden of Eden" is the divine consciousness. Having developed a consciousness apart from his divine nature, man must "till the ground from whence he was taken"--that is, come into the realization of God as the substance of his being--and express ideas in harmony with Divine Mind. Wisdom and love are joined in God, and a perfect balance is struck in consciousness between knowing
and feeling when man spiritualizes his thoughts.
How does man unite with the inner word or sacred life?
The "east" is the within. "Cherubim" refers to protection of the sacred life. The inner spiritual life is protected from the outer, coaser consciousness. The "flame of a sword" is the divine idea or Word of God. Man unites with the inner Word or sacred life through the Christ Mind.
Preceding Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 43-49: Chapter III: The Fall of Man
Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 58-65: Genesis 4 Mysteries of Genesis