Chapter III: The Fall of Man - (b)
Cain and Abel Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 4:1-2. And the man knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man with the help of Jehovah. And again she bare his brother Abel, and Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
What in consciousness is represented by Abel? By Cain?
The story of Cain and Abel is an allegory of the movement of certain departments of the soul or consciousness. The name Cain means "possession." This refers directly to that part of human consciousness which strives to acquire and possess selfishly. Cain was a tiller of the soil, which shows that he is of the earthly domain. The name Abel means "breath," which places Abel in the air or spiritual realm. The two are brothers, that is, are closely related in the consciousness. Abel does not represent the high spiritual consciousness but the life energy that controls the animal functions: he was a sheep raiser. The Hindu metaphysics would call Abel the animal soul and Cain the physical body. Paul would call Abel the "creature" and Cain "the flesh."
Gen. 4:3-4a. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
How do we offer up sacrifices?
Making sacrifices unto Jehovah is symbolic of a refining
process that is constantly going on in consciousness. Jehovah is the one universal Mind, which is the receptacle of all ideas and receives all. When you have a thought of love and good will, you set free invisible emanations that are impregnated with these ideas. These ascend to a higher realm and form a part of your spiritual soul, at the same time relating you to Jehovah, who is the presiding oversoul of the race. This is the inner meaning of the offering of sacrifices to Jehovah.
Everything in nature is going through this refining process, and there is a constant ascension of substance to mind and of mind to Spirit. We are taught that a time will finally come when the whole universe will be resolved back into its original essence in God.
Gen. 4:4b-15. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee shall be its desire; but do thou rule over it. And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength; a fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto Jehovah, My
punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me. And Jehovah said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And Jehovah appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should smite him.
What action is indicated by Cain's slaying of Abel?
The thoughts of the mind are nearer to the Spirit than are the emanations of the body. Hence the offering of Abel (mind) was more acceptable to Jehovah than was that of Cain (body). The killing out of all human sympathy and love by the body selfishness is the slaying of Abel by Cain. When the body demands possession of all the resources of mind, it reduces existence to mere material living; it has slain Abel, whose blood of life then cries from the earthly consciousness (ground) to Jehovah for expression.
When the selfishness of the body has killed out the finer impulses of the mind and reduced all the higher aspirations to a material level of existence, there is no longer any pleasure in living. Without the mind the body is a mere machine with little sensation and makes no progress. Cain thus tills the ground, but it yields him no strength.
The body feels its degradation, and those who get into this degraded condition are usually miserable. Thus Cain's punishment is great. He fears the vengeance of the other faculties; fears that they may condemn the body (Cain) for its impotency. But Jehovah, divine law, has fixed a limit to this condemnation, and we are warned that we must not destroy the body, however great its sins. This mark set upon Cain to prevent his
being slain is man's consciousness of his divine origin. No matter how deep the body ego may be in transgressions, it still bears the stamp of God and can never be killed out entirely. We cannot kill life, for it is eternal; but we can allow the body ego (Cain) to kill the consciousness of life within the individual organism.
How may every man be said to be his brother's keeper?
Every man, by his example and word, is his brother's keeper. Jesus said, "Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." This does not nullify the innate freedom of your brother, but rather strengthens your ability to co-operate with the good and make it manifest in your life.
Gen. 4:16-24. And Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begat Mehujael; and Mehujael begat Methushael; and Methushael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe. And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain, was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives:
Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech:
For I have slain a man for wounding me,
And a young man for bruising me:
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
What action is represented by Cain's going out from the presence of Jehovah and dwelling in the land of Nod?
After he had killed Abel, Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah (the body consciousness lost its contact with its spiritual source) and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. After any positive action of the mind there is always an apparent negative reaction. Nod, a name meaning "wandering with uncertainty," suggests the seemingly unguided activity of man's subconsciousness during periods of sleep. The fundamental idea in the word Nod is that of uncertainty of mind, bewilderment.
The name Enoch means "founder," "centralizer." Metaphysically it denotes entrance into and instruction in a new state of thought or understanding.
The name Irad means "self-leading passion," "blind whirling." Irad represents a state in the physical or body consciousness and organism of man, the embodiment of the stubborn, foolish, destructive, devouring--yet transitory and fleeting--emotions and desires that are the result of the sense man's ignorant, confused thoughts and beliefs.
The name Mehujael means "manifestation of strength," "physical demonstration of power." Metaphysically Mehujael represents the belief of the outer man that strength and power are purely physical. This belief leads to error manifestations and demonstrations of power and strength that always lead to trouble of some kind; and the outer, personal man usually attributes to God the afflictions and griefs that are the result of his own error activities.
The name Methushael means "man of God." Metaphysically Methushael denotes the idea that man is a spiritual and perfect being, which is inherent even in the body consciousness of man (Cain and his descendants
represent the body or physical consciousness). Methushael also denotes the error thought of death, of the disintegration of the outer organism that unenlightened man thinks is desirable, inevitable, of God.
The name Lamech means "strength," "health," "power." Metaphysically Lamech represents the thought of strength and youth that is carnal and physical.
The name Adah means "beauty or comeliness," "adornment," "pleasure." Metaphysically Adah symbolizes a phase of the human soul, the love nature. Love even in limited personal consciousness and expression has its pleasing aspect ("pleasure"). The expression of it adorns one with a certain beauty of character and a grace and comeliness that are lacking in persons who are wanting in love.
The name Zillah means "deep," "darkness, gloom, or shadow," "screened," "veiled," "protected." Zillah represents the very great or dense obscurity of thought regarding his true spiritual nature and capabilities that exists in the soul of the individual who is still living wholly in the outer or sense consciousness. Lack of true and clear understanding at this phase of unfoldment is a protection to the individual in that it shields or screens him from experiences that he is not yet able to meet yet would have to face if it were possible for the full light of Truth to enter his consciousness at this time.
The name Jabal means "a stream," "a welling up," "abundance." Jabal represents the transitoriness of the outer, physical character of the man who dwells in the animal-strength consciousness. The negative aspects of the name--"wanderer," "passing away," "going out"--all
imply lack of permanence. The word cattle refers to animal strength. Stream means the "life flow."
The name Jubal means "principle of sound," "harmony," "melody." Jubal "was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe"; in other words, metaphysically he represents a principle of harmony, which might find expression in musical instruments. Thus Jubal symbolizes the natural rhythm, harmony, and joy of life that are experienced when the soul radiates grace, beauty of thought and character, and comeliness (Adah, mother of Jubal), and the body is healthy and strong.
The name Tubal-cain means "diffusion of Cain," "diffusion of worldly possessions," "flowing of centralized might." Cain represents the sense selfishness centered by an individual in his own physical being. Tubal-cain denotes a broadening out of the selfishness represented by Cain, or the same selfishness operating on a broader, more universal base. Tubal-cain is sometimes said to have been the inventor of the art of forging metals into cutting instruments.
The name Naamah means "amity," "social unity," "grace," "sweet or pleasant." Metaphysically Naamah represents the animal soul in pleasing, harmonious combination with youth even though the consciousness here is of the strength and youth of the outer man.
Gen. 4:25-26. And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For, said she, God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel; for Cain slew him. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enosh. Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.
What does the birth of Seth denote?
The third son of Adam and Eve, Seth, was born after the death of Abel. The name Seth means "compensation," "substituted"; but more particularly it carries the idea of settled, placed, set. The root idea is that of surrounding sympathetic forces which envelop a thing and define its limits. Some mystics have seen in the meaning of the name a reference to the law of destiny: that which predetermines a thing and settles the order of its occurrence.
While man is in a sense a creature of free will, yet in a larger sense he is a son of God, made in His image and likeness and destined to express and demonstrate spiritual perfection. There is in all the universe, including man, a balancing power of good, of protection, that causes readjustment and healing to supervene after every transgression of law or wandering away from that which is wholesome and true. This is set forth very clearly in Bible symbology and history. Every time man has wandered away, gone to some extreme, he has experienced a reaction and been led back to a saner standpoint. It is thus that he evolves and grows into a full consciousness of his perfect good. His growth in Christlikeness is greatly accelerated however when he comes into a knowledge of the Truth that makes him free, and begins to think and act consciously and voluntarily in harmony with it.
The spiritual idea killed out by the carnality of Cain (represented by his slaying of Abel) was reincarnated or reborn in another spiritual idea (identified with the personality of Seth), as compensation for the loss of the original concept.
What state of consciousness is represented by Enosh? When does man begin to "call upon Jehovah?"
"And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enosh. Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah." The name Enosh means "a miserable man," "mortal man." When man comes to the end of his personal resources and sees the nothingness of all his efforts in the outer, apart from Spirit, he begins to look for a higher ideal to express in his life. He calls on the name of Jehovah. It is the activity of the awakening spiritual ideas within him (Seth) that causes him first to realize the futility of his human efforts to better himself, and then to recognize the one Source of all true uplift and good.
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