The basis for some of the proffered interpretations of the Bible given in this book is that Ageless Wisdom to which the Greeks gave the title Theosophia, derived from the two Greek words Theo and sophiaâ€”divine wisdom.
The first known literary use of this Greek word is found in the writings of the Neoplatonists in the second century of the Christian era, who employed it to connote the truths revealed to humanity by evolutionary elders at the dawn of human life on this planet. These truths have been added to, checked and rechecked down to the present day by an unbroken succession of Adept investigators. This term, Adept, refers to an initiate of the fifth degree in the greater Mysteries, a master in the science of esoteric philosophy, a perfected human, an exalted being who has attained complete mastery over the purely human nature and possesses knowledge and power commensurate with lofty evolutionary stature. Such fulfillment of human destiny is thus described by St. Paul: â€œTill we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christâ€ (Eph. 4:13) . Certain Adepts remain on Earth in physical bodies in order to assist humanity, and are presumably referred to by St. Paul as â€œjust men made perfectâ€ (Heb. 12:23) . The Lord Christ referred to a far more lofty destiny for humanity, saying: â€œYe therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfectâ€ (Matt. 5:48 [Revised Version of the Bible (RV)]).
The full fruits of the processes of Adept research and revelation have been preserved by the still living hierophants and initiates of the greater Mysteries. In their doctrinal aspect these Mysteries consist of a vast body of teaching which embraces every conceivable subject to which the human mind can be turned. The fundamental principles of religion, philosophy, art, science and politics are contained within this Wisdom of the Ages. From the time of the closing of the Neoplatonic and Gnostic schools to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, save for the few Alchemists, Kabbalists, Rosicrucians, esoterically instructed Masons and the Christian mystics, Theosophy was little known in the Western world. Before then it was studied in various forms by the Platonists, the Pythagoreans, the Egyptians and the Chaldeans, while in India and China it has been preserved down the ages in unbroken continuity. It is the wisdom of the Upanishads and the Vedas, the very heart of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam. By means of allegory and symbol it is revealed in the Christian scriptures, the literal reading of which has blinded many Christians to their deeper significance.
The study of comparative religion does in fact reveal the existence of certain doctrines which are common to all world faiths. Although differently presented in each, when collected and blended into a whole these teachings constitute a basic body of revealed Truth which can be studied independently of all religious systems. Each world religion reveals an arc of the circle of Eternal Wisdom. Theosophy, although as yet only partially revealed to humanity, is the full circle of Truth. Age by age, at the direction of Those who are the guardians of knowledge and its accompanying power, aspects of this all-inclusive body of ideas are revealed to humans through world religions and philosophies. The theme of this book is that certain power-bestowing aspects of Theosophia have always been partially concealed under a veil of allegory and symbol. This is because such knowledge can bestow theurgic, hypnotic and other powers susceptible of misuse. Rightly used, however, it can be of great value to humanity and since the present is an age when many are searching deeply for a philosophy of life which will support them when in danger, stress and need, the time has now arrived, I believe, when the outer layers of this veil may usefully, if but partially, be drawn aside. The interpretations of the scriptures which now begin are based upon these convictions. Here, then, is an attempt to lift the mysterious veil of the temple which one day for all people, we may hope, will be â€œrent in twain from the top to the bottomâ€ (Matt. 27:51) .
Since some of the concepts of the cosmogony of esoteric philosophy are included in the interpretations of the book of Genesis which now follow, a brief statement of them may prove helpful, especially to those contacting these ideas for the first time.
The concept of creation as the emergence and subsequent development of a universe and its contents is regarded in esoteric philosophy as being less the result of a single act of creation, followed by natural evolution, than a process of emanation guided by intelligent Forces under immutable law. The creation or emergence of universes from nothing is not an acceptable concept, the cosmos being regarded as emanating from an all-containing, sourceless Source, the Absolute.
For example, the first five verses of the book of Genesis describe the opening phases of the process of creation as follows:
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.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Thus originally there existed duality in unity, namely the â€œSpirit of Godâ€ as the masculine creative potency on the one hand and the â€œface of the deepâ€ as the feminine creative potency on the other. Primarily there was a dual principle, a positive and a negative, Spirit-matter. During the long creative â€œNight,â€ which in Sanskrit is called Pralaya (period of repose), there was darkness upon the face of the deep. The whole of boundless space was dark and quiescent. Then, it is stated, a change occurred. The â€œSpirit of God,â€ having emerged from Absolute Existence, moved upon the face of the waters. The â€œGreat Breathâ€ breathed upon the â€œGreat Deep,â€ whereupon emanation began to occur and manifestation (Manvantara) was initiated.
Thus, behind and beyond and within all is the eternal and infinite Parent from within which the temporary and the finite emerge, or are born. That boundless self-existence is variously referred to as the Absolute, the Changeless, the eternal All, the causeless Cause, the rootless Root. This is non-Being, negative Existence, no-Thing, Ain (as the Kabbalist says), an impersonal Unity without attributes conceivable by human beings.
In esoteric philosophy the term â€œGodâ€ in its highest meaning refers to a supreme, eternal and indefinable Reality. This Absolute is inconceivable, ineffable and unknowable. Its revealed existence is postulated in three terms: an absolute Existence, an absolute Consciousness and an absolute Bliss. Infinite consciousness is regarded as inherent in the Supreme Being as a dynamic force that manifests the potentialities held in its own infinitude, and calls into being forms out of its own formless depths. From That, the Absolute, emerged an active, creative power and intelligence to become formative Deity, the Demiurgos (the supernal Power which built the universeâ€”the third manifested Logos [TG]) of the universe-to-be. The illumined sages thus taught that the eternal One, which is potentially twofold (Spirit-matter), is subject to cyclic, rhythmic Motion, a primordial Third which is also eternal. Under certain conditions the relationship of the conjoined Spirit-matter changes from passive unity into active dualityâ€”distinct positive and negative potencies.
Thus, when â€œinteriorâ€ Motion causes previously unified, quiescent Spirit-Matter to become oppositely polarized or creatively active, then there is activity, light, â€œDayâ€; for these two (universal Spirit and universal Matter) produce a third, a â€œSon,â€ which becomes the presiding Deity, the Logos, the Architect of the resultant universe. A finite principle has now emerged from the Infinite. Universal Spirit-Matter-Motion have become focused into a Being who is beyond normal human comprehension. This is the One Alone, the â€œonly-begotten Sonâ€ (originally from a Greek Eucharistic hymn; when correctly translated, â€œalone begottenâ€ or emanated from a unified, single Source), being of â€œone substance with the Father,â€ which in this case is the Absolute, the Uncreated. By this â€œSon,â€ the Cosmic Christ, all worlds are fashioned, â€œHeâ€ being the Emanator, Architect, Sustainer and Regenerator of universes and all that they will ever contain.
This formative Logos is the first objective emanation of the Absolute. It is the principle of divine thought, now to be remade manifest in an individual sense, first as the Logos of the whole cosmos, secondly as the solar Deity of a single Solar System, and thirdly as the Logos of the soul of every human beingâ€”the dweller in the innermost. These Three are One, indivisible, an integral part of each other, a whole. In the beginning, when newly formed, the First, the One Alone, is purely spiritual and intellectual. Ultimately, as we have seen, It becomes manifested as both the presiding Power, Life and Intelligence transcendent beyond all that objectively exists and the indwelling and transforming Divine Life immanent within all nature, all beings and all things.
These, in outline, are some of the cosmogonical ideas to be found in esoteric philosophy. Further expositions of them will be found in the interpretations of the book of Genesis which follow.
In interpreting the Bible, beginning with Genesis, attention is drawn to a single important word which appears in the original Hebrew text. This word is tho and translated from the Hebrew means â€œsymbolic.â€ Especially note the following three commentaries on the presence of this word in the Hebrew text, and also the way in which it is translated in Genesis 2:4 in the Revised Version of the Bible [the King James Version also makes a similar omission].
These are the generations of the heaven and the earth when they were created.F. J. Mayers writes in his book The Unknown God:
In the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. . . (RV)
The first thing we notice when we compare the above version with the original Hebrew text, is that the latter contains a word which is not translated at all in the English. It was also ignored in the Latin translation. The translators apparently did not know what to do with it. The Hebrew Text reads: â€˜aelleh tho-ledoth.â€™ The little word â€˜tho,â€™ which translators have passed over, denotes â€˜symbolic.â€™ It may be applied to a book, a fable, a hieroglyph, a discourse, or anything else which is of a â€˜symbolicâ€™ nature. The translators of the â€˜Septuagintâ€™ did not ignore the word, but they â€˜by-passedâ€™ its real meaning . . . and translated it merely by the word â€˜bookâ€™; that avoided raising awkward questions. What the whole phrase really stated quite clearly was, that the â€˜generationsâ€™ or â€˜productionsâ€™ of the heavens and the earth . . . would be described in symbolic language. It is particularly illuminating that the writer of Genesis should himself tell us this in advance. He takes the ground from under the feet of those who are continually seeking to â€˜literalizeâ€™ and â€˜de-spiritualizeâ€™ the Bible . . . .
Fabre dâ€™Olivet, in The Hebraic Tongue Restored states: â€œThe root â€˜thoâ€™ contains every idea of sign, of symbol, of hieroglyphic character. . . .â€
Nayan Louise Redfield, the translator of The Hebraic Tongue Restored, writes in his Foreword:
He [Fabre dâ€™Olivet] asserts plainly and fearlessly that the Genesis of Moses was symbolically expressed and ought not to be taken in a purely literal sense. Saint Augustine recognized this, and Origen avers that â€œif one takes the history of the creation in the literal sense, it is absurd and contradictory.â€. . .
According to the Essenian tradition, every word in this Sepher of Moses [Genesis] contains three meaningsâ€”the positive or simple, the comparative or figurative, the superlative or hieratic. When one has penetrated to this last meaning, all things are disclosed through a radiant illumination and the soul of that one attains to heights which those bound to the narrow limits of the positive meaning and satisfied with the letter which killeth, never know.
The learned Maimonides says â€œEmploy you (sic) reason, and you will be able to discern what is said allegorically, figuratively and hyperbolically, and what is meant literally.â€