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A Reflection On Genesis

Author: 
Dr. Shiv Talwar

The inner is foundation of the outer
The still is master of the restless
The Sage travels all day
Yet never leaves his inner treasure.

~~Lao Tzu

This article is a reflection on the underlying thought of the Abrahamic traditions with its origins in the Middle East. The original source is the Old Testament.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

 (Gen 1:1)

What does this verse mean?

In common usage, God is understood in terms of an anthropomorphic other worldly being creating the universe and having supremacy over it. In reality, it is a reference to That One which has no form, no genre, no attributes, and it neither acts nor enter into relations with another like we do because there is no other (Shah-Kazemi:4). Anthropomorphic references are used only to facilitate human understanding of a reality beyond human intellect. This imposition of a form on the formless is meant to be a provisional expedient. Human nature being what it is, the provisional expedient meant to be discarded with the growth of the intellect, becomes a lasting feature of our discourse.

That One becomes existence with its in-built intuitive power while God creates in His mind and then forms existence. This difference in discourse must be used as a filter to interpret the story of Genesis. We must keep in mind that:

“That which we designate as the Creator of the Universe is the Absolute”

Shankara (Shah-Kazemi: 8)

The Scriptures all over the world is composed to be interpreted metaphorically in many ways each true to the meaning of the particular expression. It is skilfully composed in such a way as to offer something to every reader. There is the most obvious meaning called the literal one and there are deeper symbolic meanings to be discovered by those not satisfied by the most obvious. The allegorical meanings are culture specific as they depend upon the linguistic  imagery prevalent in the locale and the period of the composition. The Bible is no exception.

There is a tradition of church fathers such as Origen (Wikipedia n.d., Origen) early as 184/185 – 253/254 AD seeking to discover the deeper meaning implied in the scripture. Later 354 –430 AD, Augustine (Wikipedia n.d., Augustine_of_Hippo)  expressed similar views: if a literal interpretation contradicts science and our God-given reason, the Biblical text should be interpreted metaphorically.

Here is Ibn Arabi’s thought on the style of expression in the Scriptures:

“It is well known that when the Scriptures speak of the Reality, they speak in a way that yields to the generality of men the immediately apparent meaning. The elite on the other hand, understand all the meanings inherent in that utterance, in whatever terms it is expressed”

Ibn Arabi (Shah-Kazemi:72)

Note the reference to the so called “elite” in Ibn Arabi’s quote above. Ibn Arabi seems to make it their responsibility to read between the lines to interpret the Scriptures to make sense of its expressions beyond the immediately apparent meaning meant for the others. There seems to be an implication that they would be throwing the baby out with the bath water if they dismiss the scripture instead of making the effort, of which they are capable of in terms of interpretation.

The most obvious literal meaning  in the beginning is temporal in nature as in the beginning of creation in the same way, as the earth is the planet on which we live and heaven, the abode of divine beings, God and his angels. In accordance with this interpretation, the first things God created were the heaven for His abode and that of his angels, and the earth for humans and other terrestrial beings. The word heaven brings to mind a realm of the everlasting blessedness for the righteous (Easton's Bible Dictionary n.d., heaven), where all are holy and happy. On the other hand Earth is just the opposite as a place for the unholy and unrighteous devoid of blessedness.

Scriptures are not written to be read only literally in the most obvious of the ways, although the obvious may also make some sense. Thus, the most obvious  meaning presented in the previous paragraph, although apparently sensible,  is reducing God to the level of a selfish being just like us.

‘Heaven and earth’ is a phrase used to indicate the whole universe. ‘God created heaven and earth’ may be considered to mean that God created the whole universe, everything and every being that can be said to exist. If you think about it, this interpretation is hugely meaningful. The same God, because there is only one, created all beings including Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and those of other religions. He also created those who do not profess any religion. The same God created all the prophets. Why then would he favour one over the other, and those approaching him through one prophet over those who do so through another? If he created us all, why would he favour those who approach him at all over those who do not? Wouldn’t he love us all his creation the same and wish us all well?

Although this interpretation makes a lot of sense, the choice of words indicates there it more to it than meets the eye.

Let us delve into the meaning of the words involved. Let us turn our attention to the heaven that God created in the beginning. Consider the following verses:

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

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 …”

(Gen 1:6-8)

It is traditional to think of the transcendent God as a distant being far removed away from us mortals on the ground. The ground being close to us just below our feet, we look up above our heads into distant space when we point to the transcendence of That One. We talk of God being in heaven and us on earth and sky dividing the heaven from the earth.  According to Genesis, the sky or the firmament is a God made separation dividing the created world from the uncreated divine world.

The heaven of the first verse of Genesis thus is the created firmament that divides the rest of the created world below it from the uncreated divine world above it, “God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.”

(Gen 1:6-1:9)

Figure 1 shows the universe of an earthlike planet surrounded by its firmament called heaven separating it from the transcendent spirit of God.

The divine world is totally imperceptible to the human senses. That is the reason why we refer to it as the transcendent, too far away in the distance for us to perceive it at all unlike everything else that we perceive with our senses.

Our world is the world of the gross. The divine world is that of the imperceptible. The world in between the gross and the imperceptible that divides the two is a big wide realm of the subtle that is neither gross nor imperceptible, neither imperceptible nor perceptible or both perceptible and imperceptible. This in-between universe of the subtle is vast and deep like an infinite expanse of ocean with endless depth.

Biblically, earth is used in two senses (Easton's Bible Dictionary n.d., earth): (1) in the sense of erets: the whole earth, the planet on which we live and (2) in the sense of adamah: dust, soil or ground particularly meant for cultivation of things. Adamah seems to associate earth with adham, man, Adam. Thus the first verse of Genesis seems to associate Adam, the first human being, with soil meant for cultivation of crops.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

(Gen 2.7)

This verse makes the role of earth crystal clear. The dust of the ground which we use for cultivation, the soil is the material cause of human existence. How can we formed of it? Soil is what gives rise to food. Food is the stuff that comprises our physical bodies. Although God may be the father, indirectly through food, the earth is our mother because it shapes our bodies. Metaphorically we are all born of it.

In general, all animate beings live by food. Thus, all living beings are born out of the ground through the stuff it grows.

God forms Adam of the produce (“dust”) of the ground. The body of Adam  gets formed from the produce and he becomes a living soul only when God breathes into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life.

Genesis is very clear in differentiating between a person and his/her body. The body is just physical; like all matter it is inanimate without any life. It is not conscious, it has no feelings, thought or will and therefore it cannot move, it cannot breathe, it cannot eat, it cannot grow and it cannot reproduce by itself. It is the spirit of God that causes it to live and when that spirit leaves, the body becomes lifeless and begins to decay just like food, of which it is made and decays in time.

Mind is also in the created domain like body and unlike the spirit of God. It touches the body on one side and the spirit of God on the other.

Isn’t then not spiritual ignorance that we identify our self with the inanimate body when indeed the spirit of God is the Self that animates us? We may have different bodies but our Self is the same. We are one in our Self that make our bodies tick. Won’t the grave global problems that humanity faces today will not vanish if we as human beings realize this truth and start living by it?

“My me is God: nor do I know my selfhood except in God.”

(Cathereine of Genoa)

Our bodies are made of food, it is the Spirit of God that animates us. How then are we different? It is something to us to contemplate.

Figure 2 showing Adam and his body made from dust (food) of the earth and the realm of mind (heaven) that separates the body from the spirit of God breathed into his nostrils.

What is sense perceptible is merely the surface of this expanse of endless depth which is subtle with partially perceptibility. When it comes to Adam, his body is made of the earth through its produce, his mind is the firmament which divides the body made with food from the self-existent breath (spirit) of God which when blown into Adam’s nostrils makes him a living soul.

The story of Adam is the story of the rest of world as well. There is the outer body of things which can be perceived by our senses, there is the spirit of God at the innermost core of all existence and there is an infinite number of subtle in-between things separating the outermost from the innermost. 

Let us now look at the plurality of the heavens and the earth when they were created:

 “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

(Gen 2:4-2.7)

In this verse, one can notice the plurality in relation to the heaven: “generations of the heavens” and singularity in relation to “the earth” while Gen 1:1 uses singular expressions for both the heaven and the earth. The use of both the singular and the plural for the heaven shows a plurality of realms within one heaven. Heaven is something which is so deep that various reaches of it may have their own particularities. It is significant in this connection to note that in Jewish notion, there are three heavenly realms (Easton's Bible Dictionary n.d., heaven): (1) that of the birds, (2) the starry heaven and (3) heaven of heavens. The realm of the birds is the closest to the earth.

The word ‘generations’ also applies to the earth. Although the word ‘earth’ is singular in itself, when we relate it to the word ‘generations’, it seems to imply different terrestrial bodies like the earth with their own particular realms of heaven surrounding them, Figure 3. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens surrounding it, He created many terrestrial bodies like the earth each one surrounded by their own layers of heaven surrounding them.

Figure 3 shows a universe of different earthlike bodies with their own particular heavenly. Each of the heavens separate its earth at its center from the transcendent spirit of God around it. Each heaven is shown as divided into three realms identified as the realm of the birds, starry realm and heaven of heavens with the first one closest to the earth.

Genesis seems to make a difference between creation and formation or making. Creation happens in ideas, in planning, and in intention. Formation or making, on the other hand is the process of implementation of the ideas in causing things to materialise. Before man became a living soul, he was created in the divine mind as an image of the divine. Before every plant of the field was in the ground, they were created in the divine mind. Although rain was intended, it was  not caused to hit the ground, because there was no material ground and no man to till the ground.

Having created everything in the divine mind in the six days of creation, God rests for a day and then gets back to work materialising the creation. He forms the earth and causes mist to rise from the earth and which fall back on it as rain watering the ground for food to make Adam’s body.

Now let us come to the phrase ‘in the beginning’. Its obvious meaning is temporal in the beginning of the world. Meister Eckhart (c.1260-c.1328), a German preacher of Dominican order, mystic and now regarded as an influential spiritual master, points out another meaning very relevant to the context. According to him, ‘in the beginning’ means in principle.

What is a principle? A principle is an invisible or partially visible likeness or form of far reaching generality that underlies visible existence. By this definition, spirit of God is the first principle. It is all-inclusive. It underlies all that exists.

It is to be noted that the all-inclusive principle is a total mystery. It is infinitely subtle and therefore unseen and un-seeable. What is un-seeable is the most general principle.

As subtlety reduces, a principle begins to lose its generality or inclusiveness. Creation is the expression of the first principle of the Spirit out of two principles: the principle of the heaven and that of the earth. These principles are visible with different degrees of perceptibility and thus are not all-inclusive as their underlying principle.

The principle of heaven is the active principle of inner existence, interiority of things (Colledge: 90-91, 101-107) or the mind in case of the animate. The principle of earth is the principle of exteriority of things, or the body. Exteriority is an expression of the interiority. The subtle interiority is the likeness of non-existence and the gross exteriority is the likeness of existence.

The outermost is the principle of earth with full solidity and visibility. Then there is an immensely deep inner existence with partial perceptibility. Finally there is the totally imperceptible mystery of the Spirit of God sitting at the core of everything without which nothing at all can exist.

We will conclude this chapter by considering the verses of Genesis that paint the picture of what existed at the time of materialisation of creation:

“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.”

(Gen 1:2-1:5)

Let us focus on the terms ‘God’ and ‘the Spirit of God’ used above.  God is totally a spiritual being, not lending itself to perception by any means whatsoever. The term spirit in the phrase ‘Spirit of God’ underscores the total mystery or the infinite subtlety of the spiritual reality called God in this context.

“Whatever we say God is, He is not; what we do not say of Him, He is more truly than what we say He is”

Meister Eckhart (Shah-Kazemi: 132)

“He who supposes that he has knowledge of the positive attributes of the Self has supposed wrongly. For such an attribute would define Him, but His essence has no definition.”

Ibn Arabi (Shah-Kazemi: 73)

Matter and spirit are opposite to each other. While matter is sense perceptible or can be so with the use of scientific instrumentation extending within the reach of the senses of perception, spirit is not and cannot be sense perceptible. Matter is visible or lends itself to a degree of visibility, spirit on the other hand is totally unseen and remains so. Matter is concrete or has a degree of concreteness while the spirit is totally void with no concreteness whatsoever.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters implies a scenario of the existence of nothing concrete. All was in a state of fluidity or lack of definition, a void. The only non-void existence was that of the void called the Spirit of God. The earth that materialised in a concrete form after its formation was also a formless void.

It is noted that the only reference to divinity before creation is to the Spirit of God, and there is no relational reference to the Father or the Son. When nothing existed except the Absolute Spirit, there were no relations. The Spirit of God started to manifest as the Father and the Son only after relations appear on the face of the earth. In essence God the Father, God the Son and the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit are different references to the same uncreated principle underlying the whole existence. Here is the thought of Meister Eckhart expressing the unity of the three divine persons:

“For anyone who can grasp distinctions without number and quantity, a hundred could be as one. Even if there were a hundred Persons in the Godhead, a man who could distinguish without number and quantity would perceive them only as one God. … [He] knows that three Persons are one God.”

Meister Eckhart (Shah-Kazemi:136)

“la ilaha illa'llah”: “There is no divinity except the (one) Divinity”

(Shah-Kazemi:69)

“… I AM THAT I AM …”

(Exo 3:14)

“In respect of His Self, God possesses the Unity of the One, but in respect of His Names, He possesses the Unity of the many.”

Ibn Arabi (Shah-Kazemi:76)

Darkness is the reference to imperceptibility of the void of the undifferentiated.  Light on the other hand is a reference as the perceptibility of the differentiated. Spirit of God is totally unseen and thus a perpetually unknowable dark secret. The differentiated is on the contrary is an open secret, perceptible or light.

Isn’t it paradoxical that the perceptible existence is underlain by the imperceptible “non-existence”, materiality by immateriality, light by darkness, something by “nothing”, multiplicity by oneness or “none-ness” depending upon whether you talk of the spirit as one or “none”. One can say that if something is founded on or underlain by “none-ness”, that “none-ness” can also be said to exist.

“And the earth was without form”: the differentiated was not formed yet and therefore, invisible. All that existed was the totally invisible Spirit of God.

 “God divided the light from the darkness”: is the description of the process of creation. The process of creation is described as the separation of the light, that which is visible, from darkness, that which is a total secret - the Spirit of God.  In other words, creation is the process of the Spirit of God manifesting itself as the perceptible universe and everything it contains without diminishing itself.

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” is a reference to the cyclical nature of the process of creation. Day follows night and night follows day; the manifestation of the Spirit of God in the form of the universe follows the dissolution of the universe back into the Spirit of God just as day follows night and vice versa.

Morning and evening are times of twilight implying the appearance of the realms of unclear partial visibility of the subtle in contrast to the night of total invisibility or darkness of the undifferentiated and day or clear visibility of the differentiated.

Genesis shows that that which separates human body from the animating spirit of God breathed into it, is the mind just like the sky separates the earth from the transcendent God above. In that direction, various realms of the principle of heaven that separates the eternal and unchanging Spirit of God from the temporal and the ever changing principle of earth are in fact various faculties of the mind with their own forms of consciousness. Light is the metaphor used to indicate consciousness, the capacity of knowing which enables differentiation, to help human bodies navigate life:

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.”

(Gen 1:14-15)

Let us look at how Genesis describes the various forms of consciousness of the different realms of mind, “lights in the firmament of the heaven”. Genesis describes the faculties of the mind in two different ways: (1) in terms of the essence of various life forms, and (2) by using the metaphor of the serpent, Eve and Adam.

We learn about the consciousness of the faculties of the human mind by comparing it to the consciousness of the numerous primordial and developed life forms of the water and the earth:

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

(Gen 1:20-25)

Consciousness of the faculty of human mind closest to the body is compared with the consciousness of numerous primordial life forms of the waters and the earth and the consciousness of the first two faculties then with that of the developed life forms.

This faculty of the mind closest to the body is charged with the responsibility of interfacing with the physical body and therefore it shares in the physicality of all life forms with any kind of body. All forms of life must have this interfacing faculty. Humans are no exception to its requirement.

What is the capacity of this interfacing faculty? It is the power of perception through some form of sensing and power of action through some form of active capacity comprising a particular life form. The use of this faculty is to serve the needs of survival of the body. There is no point of sensing if there is no capacity to respond to what is sensed. We refer to this faculty as the sensory faculty although it performs twin functions of sensing and responding with the sole purpose of survival of the body.

What are the aspects of existence about which developed animals are conscious and primordial life forms are not? One such difference is especially worthy of note and it concerns the ability of being conscious of the other. Primordial life forms are aware of their own bodies only. They are not aware of the other at all, because they do not need the other for any reason whatsoever. They even reproduce by themselves. Developed life forms have feelings of the other as well of awareness of their own bodies. Genesis thus teaches us that the second faculty of human mind is the faculty that enables us to feel the existence of the other.

To learn about the next heavenly realm, the heaven of heavens, as the third faculty of human mind, let us pay attention to the following verses:

 “And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And 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 fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

(Gen 1:26-30)

  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. Human beings comprise a special life form because of it.

Just like God has dominion over all he created, He offered humans dominion over all life forms and over the earth itself: “let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”.

God is the creator. He is the sustainer of what he creates. He must renew His creation so that it remains sustainable. Being the supreme, He has supreme dominion over all He creates. Dominion means authority, territory, domain, province, power, control, responsibility and protectorate. As the Governor of his creation, He has authority as well as responsibility for its protection, sustenance and renewal. Having made humans in his image, God offers to share with them His dominion.

A question arises. What did He mean in offering His dominion to humans?  Did He mean to offer it in the sense of authority, power and control only when He Himself took responsibility, sustenance and protectorate in His own share? There is no authority without responsibility; even God is not exempt from this law of His. He offers humankind dominion over the entire creation in the full sense of the word including both responsibility and authority. Humankind has the authority to use God’s creation for sustenance while it assumes the responsibility for looking after, protecting and sustaining the creation.

Genesis uses the word ‘earth’ to mean the planet on which we live and also the principle of materiality of which our bodies are comprised. Again in the full sense of the word ‘earth’ He offers humankind dominion over the planet on which we live as well as the body in which we live. If we discharge our responsibility, we have the authority to exercise full control over the planet as well the body.

What then is the third faculty of human mind? It is related to the capacity to share in the divine dominion over the divine creation. It is the divine consciousness that enables us to discharge this responsibility. We may call it intellect, enlightened intellect, wisdom, intuition or by any other name—it is the human capacity to be in the likeness of the Absolute Divinity.

Thus we have a faculty of our minds that makes us behave in a creaturely way, another faculty that make us behave in the fashion of an animal, and yet another one which can make us divine in our behaviour. In other words, we have in our minds a built in capacity of creaturely consciousness, animal consciousness and also of divine consciousness.

We noted that Genesis describes the faculties of the mind in two different ways. We have looked at one description in Genesis of the faculties of the human mind. Let us now look at the other.

 “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

(Gen_3:1-6)

In these verses, we see two levels of consciousness: (1) that of the serpent which entices and tempts, and (2) of the woman who yields to temptation and has the power of tempting others. The former is the creaturely sensory faculty with the power to perceive and the latter the developed animal’s awareness of the other and the effects of this awareness.

We have seen that every perception demands a response. If the thing perceived is good, it tempts: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise”.

What is the responsibility that goes with the authority in dominion over the earth? It is to stay away from temptation and to be careful with our likes; as they cause temptation. The possibility of not getting what we like causes anxiety and fear. We are also instructed to be careful of our dislikes; dislikes are just the flip sides of the likes. Any possibility of getting what we dislike causes anxiety and fear as well. Do not be afraid of the serpent; understand and control your fears. Remember that being in the image of God, you are not limited, why should there be then any fear or any particular need or any particular dislike? Why should there be any sense of limitation? Being in His image, we are as limitless as God Himself who has created us so with unlimited choices and possibilities in the Garden of Eden.

What is wrong with temptation and its likes? Temptation leads to greed, gluttony, appetites, lack of discernment and irresponsible consumption that destroy rather than support life. They work subconsciously, taking over our lives and robbing us of our intellect, energy and capacity to discern, causing stress which kills us slowly but surely.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

(Gen 2:16-17)

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:”

(Gen 3:4)

When you yield to temptation, it is the social thing to tempt others for company. Then, “she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.“

(Gen 3:12-13)

Eating of the forbidden fruit was neither the fault of the woman nor of the husband. It was neither the fault of the serpent who beguiled the woman or of that of God for giving the woman to the man. Along with the conscious awareness of the other, comes the tendency of passing the buck and transferring the responsibility of your actions on the shoulders of the other.

Let us examine who this woman is:

 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

(Gen 2:22)

Woman here is not a person but the metaphor for the consciousness of humanity subject to temptation of likes and dislikes.  God made humans to take dominion along with responsibility and control and not just control. Control alone, without responsibility leads to exploitation without discernment.

The consciousness to take responsibility with authority is the realm of the mind farthest from the body and closest to the immanent Spirit of God. The sensory faculty, the realm of the mind and closest to the body tempts the next realm of the mind which in turn tempts the one farthest from the body and closest to God.

Genesis thus presents human consciousness as a dysfunctional hierarchy of three levels: (1) one that tempts, (2) one that gets tempted, and (3) the one that should assume its responsibility but yet gets tempted. The Kingdom of God is established in the being of a human being only when (1) is ordered to (2), (2) to (3) and (3) to the spirit of God. Then (3) can discharge its responsibility of dominion over “the fish in the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth

References

Colledge, Edmund and McGinn, Bernard. 1981. Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

n.d. Easton's Bible Dictionary. Accessed April 14, 2016. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary.

Shah-Kazemi, Reza. 2006. Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Meister Eckhart. World Wisdom Inc.

n.d. Wikipedia. Accessed December 17, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.