Bereʾšyt

adobe lodge 41WB RW Richards,

©Nov 5 2012

Bereʾšyt, or its English translation “In [the] beginning”, is a phrase every Freemason is, or should be, familiar with. He hears it as he is about to be brought from darkness for the first time in a Masonic Lodge. It is the first word in the VSL and it is part of the first 3 verses of first chapter (or book) of Genesis. These verses cover the first day of Creation and in service point the Masonic student to study these and the following verses more carefully. Yet, how many take the time to look at it in depth? Genesis is rife with inconsistencies and improbabilities such that it is obvious it cannot be a literal description as it is recorded. However, many do not choose to put the effort forth to attempt to decipher these words, much to their loss.

It is my contention that these verses do not describe the creation of the geographical or material world, but rather that of Man himself. Let us dissect these verses and look at them in more depth.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. The term “heaven and earth” may be seen to represent the spiritual and material planes. In his book, Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Charles Fillmore states that the term “Heaven and Earth” symbolizes two states of the mind. God idealized two universal planes of consciousness. One is the realm of pure ideals and the other is that of thought forms. God does not create the visible universe directly, as a man makes cement pavement, but He creates the ideas, which are used by His intelligent “image” and “likeness” to make the universe. Thus God’s crea­tions are always spiritual. Man’s crea­tions are both material and spiritual, ac­cording to his understanding.

It is important to know that heaven and earth, or spiritual and seemingly ma­terial planes, are states of mind primar­ily, and that we are in the midst of their expression. The creative process has been going on for eons, and a great mass of thought force and mind force has been evolved. Man’s body is the earthly side of an inner heaven, or mental realm. The “I” has fluctuated for ages between these two planes of con­sciousness. An incarnation in the body is followed by a vacation in the soul, and these two are gradually getting closer and closer together. The union of these is, or should be, the ultimate goal of each of us.

Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. This part of the passage symbolically describes the chaos that exists in Man’s mind. We are born with no set reasoning in place but must learn as we grow. This growth is derived from that part of Man we call the Soul which is Man’s consciousness, derived from the Spirit, and influenced by the impressions he receives from the outer or material world. Man is eternally one with the Father in His divine essence as the divine will, but when that will is sent forth to carry out the ideals of the Father, Wisdom, a condition is set up, a state of conscious­ness called the soul, and its outer court is called the body. The Spirit is I AM, the same in character as the Divine Mind. Man’s body is the physical form of expression of both the Spirit and Soul.

The difference between soul and spirit —also the difference between the Spirit of God and the indwelling Christ—is as follows. The soul touches both the inner realm of Spirit, from which it receives di­rect inspiration, and the external world, from which it receives impressions. The spirit is the divine center in man and is always in the Absolute; it does not become involved in effects but stands as the creative Cause of the absolute good.

Christ is the cosmic man demonstrated, developed and brought forth in every Man. The indwelling Christ is the spiritual nucleus within each in­dividual, about which all our thoughts must harmonize before we can bring into expression the divine consciousness. The term “darkness” brings to mind the chaos in our minds when we do not exercise reason, the sense of being lost when our thoughts do not harmonize in such a manner.

The term “deep” brings to mind the waters and a vision of chaos and danger therein. This is the state of Man’s mind and is indicative of what he must overcome to bring harmony to his soul.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Spirit and Mind are synonymous; therefore we know God—Spirit—as Mind, the one Mind, or Intelligence, of the universe. The source of all manifestation is in the mind.

Water in its different aspects represents weakness and negativeness, cleansing, mental potentiality, and in some cases life, or vital energy. Here it represents mental potentiality and instability. We live constantly in a sea of thought that is moved on by every impulse of the mind which, in turn, is affected by seas of outside influences. The majority of men try to sail the ocean of life without the sustaining power of Spirit, but eventually they al­ways go down in a troubled sea. Even those who have been taught Spiritual Overcoming are still filled with doubts and fears when storms arise, and instead of a real­ity they see an apparition. Those who will not learn their les­sons in easy ways will have to learn them in hard ways, and we should not be senti­mentally sympathetic with those who make severe corrections necessary. Weak, teary sympathy is just one of the ways in which we bring floods upon ourselves.

Water also represents the great mass of thoughts that conform to our environment. Every thought leaves its form in the consciousness, and all the weak, char­acterless words and expressions gather in the subconscious mind as water gath­ers in holes. When we get discouraged or disappointed and “give up,” the under­tow of life sweeps this flood of negative thought over us, and we are conscious of bodily weakness of some sort. Then, if we get scared, there is trouble ahead. When we know the Truth, and “brace up,” however, the waters are confined to their natural channels again and our strength is restored.

Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. It is at this point that the initiate receives his first instructions. The initiate is being guided to use his inner Spirit and his reasoning faculties to make his world a better place, to seek Light! Light is, and has been for eons, symbolically associated with Intelligence. This is the Creator’s gift to Man, the ability to search and reason, to be able to move beyond the point of the rest of His creations. It is incumbent upon us, as Masons and as Men, to not waste this gift. We are charged to seek the Truth and evaluate, to not allow others to think for us, but to use sound logic and reasoning to deduce the truths around us and to use our skills to show and help others to do the same.

This, in my humble opinion, is the lesson of these few brief words, quickly spoken and more quickly forgotten within the grand scheme of the event.

In closing I would direct your attention to the verses of Gen 1: 6-7 as they set the stage to another important part of the Mason’s lessons. I leave you with this challenge: seek out the relationships of these verses to another important symbol of the First degree.

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