Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Genesis Chapter 1
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 1:1-5
1:1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 1:2And 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 waters1:3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 1:4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 1:5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
April 11, 1926: Gen. 1:1-3
What is the one creative power in the universe? The word or the creative thought of Divine Mind is the one creative power. “God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” “God said, Let us make man in our image, after one likeness.”
Is there anything to indicate that this creative power is like a great man? In the original Hebrew, the Word Elohim is used. Elohim means God in absolute universality. Jesus said “God is Spirit.” Elohimn is the originating, universal Spirit. Jehovah (I am), who appears in the 2d chapter of Genesis, is Elohim’s expression, in and through [unreadable text] man and the universe as we know them, are [unreadable text] manifestation.
Does the description of the creation of man and the universe as given in the 1st chapter of Genesis, include the whole creative process? No. The 1st chapter of Genesis describes the spiritual or ideal creation. After Elohim had finished creating and has pronounced his work “very good,” in the 2d chapter of Genesis it is written, there was “no plant of the field” in the earth, “ and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain upon the earth: and there was not a man to till the ground.”
April 4, 1937: Gen. 1:1-5
What was the beginning of man? Man began as a perfect idea or image and likeness of God in Divine Mind. Acting on Divine Substance, the Father created man in the ideal.
Has man a part in the creative process of Divine Mind? If so, explain what it is.
Man’s work is to bring into manifestation in the world of form the ideally perfect creation of God. To express the ideal content of the Father-Mind in himself engages man’s efforts now as in the beginning.
Why has man been unable thus far to occupy completely the “place” prepared for him by the Father-Mind? Man has not known how to let the divine will be expressed completely in himself. Therefore, he cannot fully occupy the place prepared for him by Divine Mind.
Does the statement, “God divided the light from the darkness” apply in any way for man? It does in this respect: the natural man, by looking to externals rather than to the innate truth of his being, prevents his thoughts from being altogether enlightened, or his mind made clear. Partial understanding of effects is mixed in his thought with ignorance, intolerance, or error, forming a mental twilight. When he enters spiritual consciousness the light in him grows clear and is “divided” from the darkness.
July 5, 1942: Gen. 1:1-3
Where did order first exist? In Divine Mind. Creation was first chaos. “The earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
To what does the primeval darkness correspond? To man’s ignorance of his origin in Divine Mind. He feels that his beginnings are shrouded in darkness, that they are unknowable.
Of what are the words “the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” a figure? Of the first faint subconscious gleam of understanding in the mind of man. Understanding comes from above and descends first into the subconscious mind. It is the opening response to the command “Let there be light”.
Why was light the first necessity? Because the understanding and intelligence (light) must come before divine order can be established. When God saw that the light was good He “divided the light from the darkness”.
If God is Divine Mind, how was creation possible without a medium in which mind could work? God is also Divine substance. The substance of Mind is thought or ideas. The first creation was in the realm of ideas.
July 1, 1945: Gen. 1:1-3
As regards beginnings, do science and religion have common ground? They have, in that religion ascribes the original creation to God, the invisible power, and science traces specific beginnings back to minute units of energy, which also are invisible. Both place beginnings in the realm of invisible power.
In the created world, what was the first movement? That of the Spirit of God upon the waters. The mystery of motion is one with the mystery of live itself, and its first manifestation is in the negative medium, water.
What was the first thing that God pronounced good? Light, which represents intelligence or conscious knowing. Illumination precedes spiritual development.
How were “the heavens and the earth” created? They were first an image or idea in Divine Mind and afterward came into expression in the realm of the formed. At first “the earth was without form”.
In the Gospel according to John, what idea of creation is found? The idea that “in the beginning was the word.” God as the Word made articulate thought possible. From this point the evolution of thought began on earth.
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 1:10-12
1:10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 1:11And 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. 1:12And 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.
July 1, 1945: Genesis 1:10-12
What do “the dry land” and “the waters” represent in the story of creation? They represent the positive and negative poles of mind activity respectively, by means of which balance and equilibrium are maintained. The substance represented by the land and water that compose the earth remains constant.
Where does the law of increase apply? To all life on land or in the water, namely, all herbs and vegetable life as well as all the sentient life of the lower animals and of mankind.
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 1:26-31
1:26And 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.1:27And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 1:28And 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. 1:29And 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: 1:30and 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. 1:31And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
May 6, 1917: Genesis 1:26-27
The positive (masculine) element of Being, unites with the negative (feminine) element and brings forth Man. This is the creation of the mental image of man, not the manifest man.
May 4, 1919: Genesis 1:20-28
What is the character of God as described in this lesson? The character of God, as described in this lesson, is Mind.
What is the nature of “creation” as described in the first chapter of Genesis? The Father-Mother (“let us”) principle of God-Mind is thinking, or involving, Divine Ideas.
Explain “God” as Creator, referred to in the first chapters, and “Jehovah God,” as referred to in the second chapter of Genesis. “God” as Creator represents the creative power of the Word or Logos. All creation is first in Mind, as Ideas. “Jehovah God” is the law of mind action which is set up by the Word, and which brings forth in manifestation the Divine natural man.
April 11, 1926: Genesis 1:26-31
Explain the meaning of verse 26: “And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping ting that creepeth upon the earth.” The “fish of the sea” represent ideas of fecundity with unlimited capacity of increase in a limited environment. The “birds of the heavens” represent ideal in an unlimited field of action. “Cattle” represent physical ideas confined to a substance environment, and the “creeping things” represent the lowest thoughts of elemental life—germs, microbes, and so forth.
Is the word “day” as used in Genesis, a good translation of the original? The word “day” as used in Genesis should be translated “age”.
Spiritually interpreted, what are “the heavens and the earth”? “The heavens and the earth” are spiritual and ??? material planes, are states of minds. The heavens represent the ideals and the earth the concrete expressions ???.
April 3, 1932: Genesis 1:26-31
What relation does the 1st chapter of Genesis bear to what is called the evolution of man and the universe? The whole of the 1st chapter of Genesis is a supermental statement of the ideas upon which evolution is based. Mind projects its ideas into universal substance. Evolution is the manifestation of the ideas that mind has thus projected.
Explain the meaning of the 26th verse: “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 things that creepeth upon the earth.” The “fish of the sea” represent ideas of fecundity in an unlimited environment. The “birds of the heavens” represent ideals in an unlimited field of action. “Cattle” represent physical ideas confined to a substance environment, and the “creeping things” represent the lowest thoughts of elemental life—germs, microbes, and so forth. [unreadable text]
October 5, 1941: Genesis 1:26-28
What man did God create “in his image”? Ideal man. From the beginning ideal mans exists as a perfect idea in Divine Mind. Ideal man is a godlike creature imbued with wisdom, love, faith, and other qualities that bespeak his origin and nature.
What increase was contemplated in the commandment to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it”? The increase of wisdom, intelligence, understanding, faith, love, and all other ideal qualities through use or expression.
How can man realize his God-given dominion “over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”? By first realizing and then expressing the ideal man that is inherent in himself. His dominion is not one of brute strength or material might. It is the dominion of divine love and goodness which together conquest all things. Bound up with them is divine wisdom.
How is the rest of the ideal creation represented in the text of this lesson? The teeming ideas of man’s mind are represented by the “fish of the sea”. His ability to rise, through the exercise of reasoned thought and intelligence to a measure of self-control that permits him to rule his mental processes consciously, is represented by the “birds of the heavens”. His power to stand unmoved by adverse influences that tend to bind him is represented by the “cattle”.
What do the “creeping things” represent? They represent ideas that involve low degrees of expression of life and power.
July 5, 1942: Genesis 1:24-31
What does the divine order of creation suggest in the scientific realm? It suggests evolution and the law of adaption. After light and order were established in the earth plant life, to which light is a necessity, appeared. After plant life was provided as food for animals, animal life appeared. When all was read for him, man was placed in a garden that produced all he needed. The final, crowning act of Divine Mind was the creation of man’s “help mate (?)”, the soul, which evolved from man himself, not from the materials “dust of the ground”.
What followed the completion of the ideal creation? Divine mind placed the seal of its approval on its work. “And God blessed them.”
What is man’s work in the earth? He is to make the ideal creation of God manifest in form. Possessed of faith, reason, wisdom, love, and other divine qualities, his work is to express them in replenishing the earth and subduing it according to the ideal in Divine Mind.
Has he done his work perfectly? He has not yet expressed the ideal in its perfection, but he is working toward it. To evolve all that is involved in the ideal creation is an infinite task.
April 4, 1937: Genesis 1:26-31
Interpret the expressions “the fish of the sea”, “the birds of the heavens”, “the cattle”, and “the earth”. The fish of the sea represent the teeming ideas in mans’ mind; the birds of the heavens represent his aspiring thoughts; the cattle are the static ideas that he allows to remain unmoved in mind and impeded his progress, and the earth is the divine matrix that gives form to the ideal conception of man and brings him into being “after its kind”.
What help has man in bringing the ideal into perfect manifestation in himself? The I AM or central principle of divinity in man helps him to manifest the divine image and likeness man existing in the mind of God.
What are "the heavens" that God created? They are the realm of pure ideals.
Does man's conception of creation evolve with the development of his understanding? Man's conception of the creation evolves from a material and physical to a spiritual basis. One sees such an evolution when one compares the account of the creation given in todays lesson with the account in the last chapter of John's Gospel.
[the final question and answer is unreadable but it ends ...] the command "Let there be ..."
February 4, 1940: Genesis 1:27-31
What is meant by God’s creating man “in his own image”? God’s creation is in the realm of ideas, that is, in the ideal. In Divine Mind, man is first of all an idea, perfect as Divine Mind is perfect.
What is man’s work in respect to creation? His part is to bring into full expression the divine ideal. He does this through the power of word.
What word must man speak in order to manifest the divine man? The word of God or the true word is the only word that has power to bring the divine man into manifestation.
Is the principle of increase involved in the manifestation of the ideal man? This principle is an attribute of the word of God, and therefore all creation is governed buy it. Through it man has power to increase whatever he concentrates his thought upon. By concentrating it upon what is perfect he approximates more and more nearly the perfection that is his in the ideal.
Does all creation exist first in the ideal? Yes. That the plants were first created in the ideal is shown by the statement in the 1st chapter of Genesis that God had given them to man for food and by the further statement in the 2d chapter of Genesis, “And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up.” Similarly, everything in creation is first an idea and later a manifestation.
Sunday, March 26, 1944: Genesis 1:27-28
What is meant by the creation of man in the image and likeness of God? The ideal man was thus created in Divine Mind. He had still to be brought into expression in the world of form.
What did the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” necessarily include? It included the development of the mental powers and the exercise by us of dominion over the inner realm. We have not yet fully obeyed the commandment in this regard.
What steps should we take to become masters of ourselves, our environment, and our world? To gain this mastery we have only to develop and fully express the mental and soul powers that are innate in us.
To what phase of our development have we so far given most of our attention? To externals. We have done good work [unreadable text] medicine, chemistry, the arts, music and other ??? but we have not yet subdued the earth, not ??? our life or our environment ???.
July 1, 1945: Genesis 1:26, 27, 31
Was the first creation perfect? It contained in itself the potentiality of perfection, but it was only “very good” in the first manifestation. The joy of creative power is found in the possibility of perpetual improvement toward the perfection that is our rightful destiny. We are co-workers with God to this end.
Thank you, LuAnn Stevens, for transcribing these Unity Bible Lessons from the PDF documents!