CHAPTER IIAgnes M. Lawson
Jehovistic Account of Creation
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The Colorado College of Divine Science
There is a wealth of spiritual teaching regarding God and Man in this primitive account of creation. As soon as the principle of Omnipresence is definitely stated, as it must be, every student wants to know: “If God be all, how can evil, sickness and death be? Where do they come from?” The Oriental answers questions in narrative form, and the following two chapters contain a penetrating insight into the cause of evil. Adam is the representative of the human race. He is the prodigal leaving the Father’s house for an adventure he himself demands. He wants to know, he wants to experience. His first experiments are those of ignorance. It thus comes to have a universal significance and shows us each as in a mirror his own experience.
There is something in Adam that refuses to remain in abject obedience. Something more has been given him than the animals have received. Man does not refuse obedience, but he must know why he is to be obedient. This is the faculty that distinguishes him from the animals beneath him. Freedom of choice is his and however dangerous the faculty, and whatever we have suffered from it, none of us would eschew it. We give obedience when taken into the confidence of God, and our education consists in learning that none of God’s “commands” are arbitrary but that they are “The Way, the Truth and the Life.” On one hand man is related to the animals and of this he is conscious, on the other he is related to God who has breathed the breath of His own life into him, therefore man must understand God’s laws in order that he may consciously and intelligently co-operate with Him.
Two gifts that are new in creation are man’s–freedom of choice and intercourse with God, we do not need to go astray. However, when we do not come to Wisdom in making a decision, we “fall.” This story is not of mere historic interest. The choice of right or wrong judgment confronts each of us every hour; and every time our judgment is wrong we fall and out of Eden we must go.
In this account the Creator is not called God (Elohim) but “The Lord God” (Jehovah Elohim). This has given the Jehovistic to the primitive document, of which this passage forms the commencement. Where Lord is thus printed in the English Bible it stands for the Hebrew JHVH, the sacred name which was probably pronounced “Yahveh.” In later times the name was considered too sacred to be uttered; the title Adonai (i.e. My Lord) was substituted. Hebrew was originally written without vowel sounds and when these were added the artificial form was produced. The meaning is, “The Self Existent.” Yahveh was the proper name of the God of Israel rather than a title, and as such He was known by the other nations, who regarded Jehovah as the tribal God of the Hebrews.
The center of interest in this chapter is man on earth. God breathes into him a living soul. There was no tense system in ancient Hebrew, hence this passage reads: “The Lord God forms man out of the dust of the ground; and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, man is becoming a living soul.” The continuous unity of God and man is thus established. All truth is paradoxical. Man, an ideal of Infinite Mind is eternally a “Living Soul.” When it is actual to his consciousness, he expresses it.
Never was time it was not, end and beginning are dreams;
Birthless, and deathless, and changeless, remaineth the Spirit forever.
Death cannot touch it at all, dead though the house of it seem.”
It is God’s continuous “breathing” (this word in Hebrew means Breath, Wind and Spirit) that makes of man a living soul, i.e., a conscious one. We appropriate God’s consciousness of man and come to see ourselves as He sees us. It is this that gives man dominion, it is this process of becoming conscious that seems to be evolution. There is no evolution so far as God is concerned. His creation is finished, He is resting and pronouncing it “Good and very good.” Man never can be anything that he is not in this creation, but he must become aware of what he is here.
Man is placed in a garden of infinite possibilities for growth and advancement. Eden means “Delight.” As the water is the native element of the fish, as the air is that of the bird, so this garden is the native element of man, a “Living Soul.” Every tree that is pleasant for sight and good for food is in this garden. The beautiful is just as necessary to us as supply of our physical needs. One feeds our spiritual nature as the other feeds our physical nature. Trees give man shelter, shade and food; they are also a symbol of immortality. They are continuous food producers, and annually their youth is renewed. In the midst of this garden is the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of all the trees in the garden man may freely eat, save alone that of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die.” Duality is unknown to God and we go away from God when we think that we know something that He does not know. God is life; to go away from life is death. Good and evil are opposites, and they can never meet. Good is always good, absolute, positive; evil is negation. One is, the other is not; one is real, the other so unreal that God has never seen it.
The knowledge of evil brings death, evil is negation, so death is merely negation. It is the natural consequence of believing in another power than life. Man has not been asked to plant anything in this garden; all that is beautiful, all that is needful, is already there. He is only asked “to dress and keep it.” Man is endowed with all of his faculties, both physical and spiritual. His work is to KEEP THEM IN HIS CONSCIOUSNESS. He does not have to create or develop them; he has to know that he has them, and he has.
The animals are all brought before man to be named. “And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” Whatever we name animal, man or circumstance, that it is to us. To see good in anyone or anything is to make it our debtor, and it is compelled by the laws of the universe to be that to us. To pronounce people or conditions evil is to place them in such a position that there is no line whereby good can reach us from them; we have broken the line of communication. If we strike a chord in music, music is compelled to respond; if we strike discord, discord is the sound we hear. The universe is like a vast organ that is responsive to one who knows the keys. To strike this instrument harshly or mar it anywhere is to produce discord instead of music.
The Lord God finds no helpmeet for man among the animals, so He causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. We have here three states of consciousness, the simple consciousness of the animal, the self-consciousness of man (reason), and the intuitional. The reasoning mind is objective; “a deep sleep” is upon it when we rise into the spiritual mind. Tuition is to be taught from the outside, intuition is to be taught within. Out of the side of man woman is taken, reason is of the head, intuition is of the heart.
And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Someone has said that the intuitional mind is to the reasoning mind what algebra is to arithmetic. A long-drawn-out process is completed in a few strokes, bones reduced to bone. The sexes are compliments of each other; reason is the stronger in the man, while intuition is the stronger in the woman. Each, however, possesses both faculties, for each is complete, the image and likeness of the infinite whole; reason is the first faculty of which we are conscious, hence in this chapter man is created before the woman, for it is the order of our unfoldment.
The similarity of the English words “man,” “woman” (wife man), is also found in the Hebrew Ish, Ishshah. The ideal of one man and one woman is the perfect state and the eternal purpose of God in life. Because of man’s “hardness of heart” he has not risen into this perfect concept of marriage. Man and woman are one, and together they constitute humanity. “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” This is the state of unconscious innocence waiting to be clothed upon with the infinite wisdom of God.
Man receives everything that he is, everything that he has, direct from Infinity. To be “naked and not ashamed” is the meekness that inherits the earth. It is to be divested of self-righteousness and mortal thought. It is to be open for the Divine Mind and its ideas. It is to stand reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.
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