In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen. 1:1â€“2)
The Bible opens with these verses of affirmation that an intelligent, self-knowing group of formative agencies of cosmic evolutionary stature (Elohim) was responsible for the direction of the form-producing impulse which arose in precosmic space. Wherever the term â€œGodâ€ is used in Genesis the word in the original text is the Hebrew Elohim, meaning not a single Being, but an order of creative Intelligences. The terms â€œthe heavenâ€ and â€œthe earthâ€ refer to the separation of primordial substance (heavens) from the manifested universe (the Earth).
J. Ralston Skinner, in a passage quoted by H. P. Blavatsky in Vol. VII of her Collected Writings (p. 261), writes: â€œIt is made to be read â€˜Bâ€™rashith bÃ¢rÃ¢ Elohimâ€™. . . , â€œIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.â€ Skinner notes that Elohim is a plural noun, but the form of the verb â€œbÃ¢rÃ¢â€ (meaning â€œcreatedâ€ in Hebrew) is third person singular [in other words, the number of Deity(ies) in the subject and the verb does not match grammatically]. Skinner adds that Nachmanides called attention to the fact that the text might also be read as â€œBâ€™rash ithbÃ¢rÃ¢ Elohimâ€. . . , which translated means â€œIn the head (source or beginning) created itself (or developed) Gods, the heavens and the earth,â€ which is more grammatically correct.
The term â€œGodâ€ as used in these verses is thus not singular but plural in its implications. Although the original directive Intelligenceâ€”the precursor and Source of Universal Mindâ€”arose in a unitary state from its root in precosmic space, immediately as that agency became outward-turned, the rule of number obtained: One alone cannot manifest; three are essential to the production of any result. This is as true of cosmic manifestation as of microcosmic or human creation, whether intellectual or physical. No germinal essence is a unit, each at its simplest being a triplicity of potentials, namely the positive, the negative and their productive interaction. So also is the seed of a cosmos which, though a unit in Pralaya (period of quiescence, either planetary or universal), displays a number at the outset of Manvantara (period of activity or manifestation). The term God, therefore, as used in these verses is to be understood, as in Kabbalism, to refer to the group of intelligent, productive agencies inherent in and emanated from precosmic space, the Elohim. The first chapter of Genesis is, in consequence, called the Elohistic and the second the Yahwistic.
The question is sometimes asked, even by children: If God made all things, who made God? Esoteric philosophy answers, No one; for the Demiurgos (the supernal Power which built the universe) or active Logos is an emanation from the immutable Infinite, the Boundless, the Absolute, which cannot will, think or act until it has become partially manifest as finite. This it does by the projection of a ray which penetrates into infinite space, there to become the Architect of the resultant universe.
The kabbalistic perspective on Genesis-like cosmogony is expressed by J. F. C. Fuller as follows: â€œThere was a time when Heaven and Earth did not exist, but only an unlimited Space in which reigned absolute immobility. All the visible things and all that which possesses existence were born in that Space from a powerful principle, which existed by Itself, and from Itself developed Itself, and which made the heavens revolve and preserved the universal life; a principle as to which philosophy declares we know not the name.â€
The term â€œGod,â€ therefore, carries a number of implications. It includes physical nature; the evolutionary impulse imparted to it; the irresistible formative force which bestows the attribute of self-reproduction and the capacity to express it; the creative Intelligencesâ€”the Elohimâ€”which direct the manifestations and the operations of that force; the divine thought or ideation of the whole cosmos from its beginning to its end; and the sound of the creative â€œVoiceâ€ (Logos) by which that ideation is impressed upon precosmic substance. These, together with all seeds, beings, forces and laws, including those of expansion, alternation, cyclic progression and harmonious equipoise, constitute that totality of existence to which alone may be given with any measure of fitness the majestic and awe-inspiring title â€œGod.â€
If so vast a synthesis may be designated a Being, then that Being is so complex, so all-inclusive, as to be beyond the comprehension of the human mind and the possibility of restriction to any single form. The idea of God also includes everlasting law, everlasting will, everlasting life and everlasting mind.
In nonmanifestation God is quiescent, in manifestation objectively active. Behind both quiescence and activity exists That which is eternal and unchanging, the Absolute, self-existent All. The divine Creator referred to by various names in the worldâ€™s cosmogonies is the active expression of that eternal, incomprehensible One Alone.
The word â€œcreateâ€ also has its particular significance. The production of something previously nonexistent in any state is not to be understood or implied by this word. To emanate or make manifest more truly describes the process; for cosmos is inherent in Chaos (the primordial, pre-atomic condition in which matter existed before the first atoms and planes of nature were created [TG]), the difference being not of substance but of condition. Formlessness and darkness describe Chaos. Form and light describe cosmos. Both conditions are inherent in precosmic substans.
The verses of Genesis should therefore be translated as follows: â€œAt the dawn of the return of Manvantara, the group of creative Intelligences (Elohim) resumed activity, with the result that the seed of Cosmos inherent in Chaos commenced to unfold according to natural law.â€ This process is continuous throughout the period of manifestation, for the universe is a perpetual becoming, not a static condition of being. This applies equally to the primordial elements, to the substances derived from them, to the forms of nature and to their ensouling life. All grows or expands from less to more from the dawn of the first â€œdayâ€ of emanation to the evening of the last or seventh â€œday.â€
In Genesis 1:2 is presented the primordial trinity, namely Spirit (not an entity but formless and immaterial spiritual substance), space (waters) and motion. The essential triplicity of the creative agencies is perfectly described. â€œThe Spirit of Godâ€ is the masculine potency within the seed of cosmos preexistent in Chaos. â€œThe watersâ€ and â€œthe deepâ€ are symbols or hierograms for the feminine potency, and the movement of the former upon or within the latter is the third potency essential to manifestation. In terms of electricity, it is the current which passes between positive and negative poles. Thus in the first two verses of Genesis the creative necessities are symbolically introduced and creative activity is allegorically described.
Again a threefold agency is described here, but it is an agency differing from the first. Whereas the original triplicity is integral, comprising the whole of existence, its successor is productive only and is completed by a product. The latter trinity of Genesis consists first of ideationâ€”the thought of light; second of active productive powerâ€”speech; and third of the productâ€”Universal Mind, here called light. This light should be regarded as the divine Intelligence, the first emanation of the Supreme, that light which according to the Gospel of John is the life of humanity. It is not to be confused with the light of the sun, which is a focus or lens by which the rays of the primordial light become materialized and concentrated upon our solar system and produce all the correlations of forces. The criticism often made by those who read the Bible literally that light appeared three days before the sun is thus disposed of.
Progression from the germinal to the active state is thus indicated. The manifesting process has not only been initiated, but has also become effective. Light is described as the first product of the generative act, and this light is born of ideation and power, or thought and speech, the true parents of cosmos. Yet these three are not separate existences, but one; for speech is thought expressed in sound, and the product, light, was inherent in divine thought.
These masculine and feminine creative potencies, together with motion, preexisted within the germinal seed. The first activity to occur within that seed is ideation, or the arising of the concept of the eternal design. This process is followed by the expression of that archetype in terms of power or energy, the product being divine Intelligence symbolized as light. Thus six agencies are introduced in the first three verses. Two stages are also described, the precosmic and the primary cosmic, the preexistent and the first manifested existence.
The first-born light contains the potencies of its parents and grandparents, namely power, thought (the parents), and feminine and masculine potency endowed with motion (the grandparents). The first light, therefore, is itself a complete creative power, a synthesis of the total essentials for manifestation, the Cosmic Christos or Son by whom â€œall things were madeâ€ (John 1:3) . By light, self-existing as a unitary synthesis, the sevenfold creative agency is completed. The Adonai [Heb.â€”Lord or Yahweh, YHWH] is made manifest as Elohim.
The first light may therefore be defined as the active Verbum or Logos (the Word; a divine spiritual Entity; manifested Deity; the outward expression or effect of the ever-concealed Causeâ€”speech is the Logos of thought), the potent, creative agency whose arising from latency in the cosmic seed is the mark, the sign and the demonstration that Pralaya has given place to Manvantara. This first light is the highest manifested Deity, and to it alone, with all that is implied, may justly and truly be given the name â€œGod.â€
No personalization of That, which becomes Creator or Manifestor according to law, is either philosophically sound or spiritually reverent. Though the producer of life-imbued form, it is itself essentially formless, as its symbolâ€”â€lightâ€â€”accurately portrays. Even in action as a manifesting agency its symbol is speech, or the potency and activity of thought-sound, which again is formless.
A further definition of God as presented in these verses of Genesis might be that it is a single, a threefold and a sevenfold directive Agency, originally inherent in precosmic substans and now active throughout the whole field of creative activity. This activity is infallibly guided by numerical necessity. God as the first light is therefore not almighty, being subject to mathematical law, which is the absolute, if abstract, Monarch of the cosmos. The dual title â€œLogos-Lawâ€ best depicts the true parental Deity of which the present cosmos is the product or â€œSon.â€
External awareness is postulated here as an essential of cosmic formative procedure. The primordial Parent, having awakened from pralayic sleep, first becomes active in terms of light, for light and darkness respectively are symbols of spiritual activity and quiescence. In one interpretation, light in the allegorical language is descriptive of a condition of consciousness, a state of being in which Spirit predominates over matter. Darkness on the other hand symbolizes the dominance of matter over Spirit. The first phrase of this verse is therefore repetitive, and says that precosmic night or Pralaya had given place to cosmic day or Manvantara, but adds that the newly awakened creative Agency was now aware of that change and henceforth entered consciously upon its official activity.
The subsequent division of light from darkness described in the second phrase of the verse is the first biblical reference to alternation. The primary pair consists of precosmos and cosmos, allegorically called night and day, darkness and light, respectively. During the darkness no activity except absolute, and therefore incognizable, activity exists and only darknessâ€”to the finite mindâ€”is prevalent, alternation being confined to cosmos, for once cosmos appears alternation is inseparable from it. This is because a contrasting pairâ€”quiescence and activity or absolute and finite existenceâ€”has come into being. These two constitute the darkness and the light which are automatically divided from each other when cosmos appears.
The term â€œGod,â€ therefore, here also refers to essential, inescapable law under which duality must be prevalent whenever there is finiteness. From these first â€œparentsâ€ all successive and subordinate dualities arise, and continue in a descending scale down to the smallest living things. Thus alternation may truly be stated to be both the law of existence and the essential condition of awareness. The moment light exists, darkness is known as its inseparable opposite.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Gen. 1:5)
This verse repeats the above-mentioned law of alternation and affirms divine awareness of its operation; for naming and name in the allegorical language describe conscious, demiurgic activity by mind and will, thought and power, to produce individuality out of that which was formerly universal. A name is definitive and separative. Once anything is named it has individuality and is therefore separated from other individualities.
By naming the new cosmos, or the area in it, the Logos limits the universe and marks out an area in which creative activity is to be confined. This insulation also is achieved, or automatically occurs, by the combined operation of consciousness and sound. In this verse, therefore, the external limits of the universe-to-be are defined and marked out. Within those limits the precisely ordained frequencies of oscillation of the creative power must eventually rule.
As the genesis and propagation of the universal â€œeggâ€â€”symbol of all new creations, whether cosmic, universal or solarâ€”these frequencies are apportioned by numerical law. They are affirmed by Universal Mind as expressive of both the underlying character and the potential attainment of the new universe. The first sentence of the verse, therefore, describes these two processes.
The second sentence, referring to evening and morning, reintroduces the property of time, mentioned in the opening words of the chapter. Subdivisions of time are thus affirmed as being inseparable from the change from Chaos to cosmos. The words â€œin the beginningâ€ (bâ€™reshethâ€”at first, in principle) actually mean the beginning, or rather the reemergence of all things. Evening and morning of the first day refer to the opening and the close of the first creative epoch or â€œday.â€
The use of the word â€œfirstâ€ suggests a succession, thus introducing the subject of symbolical numbers. As indicated in Volume I of this work, numbers in the symbolical language carry meanings beyond their numerical significance. Each number has its own metaphysical meanings, one of which includes the living Intelligence which it also represents.
Every creative â€œday,â€ for example, has its Deity or number; for numbers in this connection are living Intelligences emanated from the One, meaning the finite but universal Intelligence which is the active, but not absolute, Parent of all. In terms of formative Intelligences, when the first of the seven has completed its day of activity, has produced its inevitable effects, it withdraws to give place to its sibling, who is the second in the succession.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. (Gen. 1:6)
In this verse the defining and insulating process is carried out in primordial substance, symbolized by waters, as earlier it has been carried out in primordial thought. The waters which were under the firmament, which represents the manifested visible universe, were divided from the waters which were above the firmament, meaning the invisible, superphysical planes of nature.
The term â€œfirmamentâ€ (literally a rarifying) here refers to the enveloping shell or membrane in which the fetal physical universe is enclosed, and which separates substance without from substance within.
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 the evening and the morning were the second day. (Gen. 1:7â€“8)
The first verse allegorically describes the establishment of the membrane by the action of creative thought and will expressed as sound. The further establishment (by means of naming) of the limits of the selected creative area is partly described here in the second verse. This may be likened to the natural process of the hardening into a shell or skin of the outer layer of an enclosing fetal membrane. In universal creative processes this shell is descriptively referred to as a â€œRing-pass-not,â€ the outermost edge or limits marked out by the Logos within which its System is to appear, and the frontiers to which awareness is limited. The verse shows that this is part of the activity of the second number or creative Intelligence, while its completion marks the successful fulfillment of that second numberâ€™s work or â€œday.â€
Numbered days and nights therefore have a dual significance. They refer to both the existence and activity of the creative Intelligence connoted by the number, and also to the condition of substance resulting from its completed work throughout the numbered â€œdayâ€ or creative epoch.