The Creation of Animals and Man.
nd 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 saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the, morning were the sixth dag." Gen. i. 26-28, 31.
The passage I have read announces the work of the sixth day. As I have limited myself to a single lecture upon the record of each day, it will be quite impossible to take up each symbol, or even each verse, separately, as each in itself would be more than sufficient to occupy the time to the limit of your patience. Let it simply be stated that as the fishes and fowls created on the fifth day represent the first living affections for natural truth and for spiritual perception, the nobler animals of the sixth day represent the spiritual affections for embodying these truths in life, in the practical forms of gentleness, usefulness, courage, and other truly human qualities. Our thought in this lecture will be chiefly confined to the noblest human qualities, the gift of which is described as the creation of man in the image of God. You will observe that although it is said in the twenty-sixth verse, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, yet in the next verse, wherein it is said that God made man, He only made him in His image, and not yet in His likeness. This is really the work of the seventh day, as we shall see in the next lecture. For it reads, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
Of course, the same principle of interpretation applies to the work of this day as to that of all the preceding days. We must still look within to the mental processes of the mind, and not to the outward and physical creation of the body. The body is not the real man, any more than the clothes he wears are the real body. The real man is an immortal spirit, destined to live forever in a world where all things are spiritual like himself. His immortal interests centre in that other world. His body is material, fitted for the uses of the spirit in a material world, and is only designed for his temporary occupancy, and to be the instrument through which he comes to conscious rapport as it were with nature and natural things. The body of itself can neither hear, nor see, nor taste, nor feel. Much less can it think, and reason, and love, and hope of itself. It is the spirit that does all these things through the body. But neither can the spirit do anything in the sphere of nature without the body. It is only by and through the exquisite organization of the body that the spirit can come into conscious relations with natural things. Take the spirit from the body, and although its organization remains, it is as unconscious as the unorganized rock, or the dust unto which it returns. Strip the body from the spirit and the spirit is no longer in the sphere of nature, nor can it affect, or be affected by, material substances.
Because the spirit is the real man it is in the human form, with all the organs far more complete and perfect, and all the senses and faculties far more exquisite than the body, because composed of spiritual substances, which are purer by a discrete degree than any sublimation of matter.
I am quite aware that it is difficult to receive this proposition at first sight, for habits of thought are like all other habits, exceedingly difficult to acquire, and far more difficult to give up or change. We fall unconsciously into the habit of thought that prevails around us; and the prevailing thought of our day, as each one of you may verify by simply looking within himself, is a denial or doubt of the existence of a spiritual world as a substantial reality, or the existence of man as man in that world.
Most persons admit in words that there is a spiritual world into which people go when they die, but very few, in fact, really believe it. Let me demonstrate this to your consciousness by leading you into your own secret thoughts. Will you consent to accompany me there for a moment and bring back a true report of what you find ? I am not in these lectures, as you have no doubt discovered, attempting to force dogmas upon you by the authority of miracles or of great names. Happily, the yoke of mental as well as of bodily slavery is being removed from the people of our day, and they are beginning to exercise their freedom. But the habits acquired in a state of bondage, whether mental or physical, will not be thrown off at once. They will only be outgrown, and that gradually. And as true freedom can only exist in conformity to true law, many disorders must be expected to take place during the transition state. The slave, suddenly emancipated from physical bondage, is very liable to mistake license for liberty, and to despise all law that would hold him in restraint for his good. And so the mind that throws off the yoke of mere authority which it has discovered to be usurped and irrational, is in great danger of rejecting, without sufficient consideration, everything that bears the slightest semblance of that from which it has escaped. Is not this true in all history? And is it not equally true in the inmost consciousness of every one of you? I know it is. Hence it is that when men become satisfied that what has been taught to them as the veritable truth of God, their belief being demanded on His authority, is not, and cannot be true, the tendency is to reject, or neglect, if not openly to deny, all that claims to come from Him. Thus, when geology, astronomy, and other sciences demonstrate the common interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis to be wholly erroneous, the impulse is to reject the record itself as false. It is only by the exercise of the truly rational faculties that the mind can escape this tendency and avoid falling into the abyss of cold, blank negation, sinking into the mere plane of nature, a human animal without the conscious feeling of relationship to the heavenly Father, or the aspirations for a fitness for an eternal home in that Fathers house of many mansions.
I have said that taking our beliefs from the common thought of the day, as we almost unconsciously do, while there are but few who openly deny a spiritual world, in which men live after death, yet very few do, in fact, believe it. This may seem like a startling assertion. And it was for the purpose of demonstrating its truth that I invited you in all kindness to accompany me into your own inmost thoughts, and bravely face whatever witness you may find there, for I do not propose to introduce any others. Now be true to yourselves and for a moment analyze your secret thoughts; when you think of people do you not think chiefly of their bodies ? When you think of man and woman, do you not think almost exclusively of their physical form, rather than of higher and spiritual characteristics? When you read that God made man, do you not at once refer the statement to the creation of his body? And when you read of His taking a rib from the man and making it into a woman, do you ever think of anything beyond the formation of her body? And when you think of the soul or spirit, is not the idea so exceedingly vague and indefinite as to be a mere word without definite thought in it ? Do you not think of the spirit as some vital principle analogous to electricity, that somehow acts upon the brain and nerves and thus sets the machine in motion ? Is not that your secret thought, imbibed from the common thought of the age and the Church upon that subject? Do you ever think of the spirit as being the real man or woman, with a most perfect organization, and fitted for activities in a spiritual world as the body is in the natural world?
That this merely sensuous thought has taken the supreme place in the mind of the Church is clear from the fact that she has provided in her theology for a merely sensuous resurrection to take place at the end of the world. Because she practically denied that the real man was a spirit with all that constitutes him man, and only retained the vague idea that the soul was some vital principle without organization or form or functions, she could not clearly conceive of its living as a man after death. But as the Word as well as the aspirations of the mind itself pointed to a future and immortal life, and as such a life without the human form and functions was clearly irrational, she fell back upon the theory that God, by an effort of omnipotence, would, at the end of the world, resurrect or raise up out of their graves and sepulchres and tombs all the bodies of all the men and women that ever lived, and that when these bodies were ready, the souls, or animating principles, that had vitalized them when they lived thousands of years before would return, and entering these resurrected bodies, would again animate them, and that then they would live forever. This sensuous idea is by no means new in the world. It is the necessary theory of all ages and people that have lost the perception of spiritual things, and cannot elevate the thought above the sphere of nature. Thus, the Egyptians in the days of their spiritual decline seem to have lost their former knowledge of an immediate resurrection and a spiritual world, to have forgotten the origin of their custom of embalming, which probably was emblematic of eternal life, and to have associated it in their minds with a physical resurrection.
It is good for men to cherish even this sensuous belief of a mere sensuous resurrection when they have lost, or have not the capacity to receive, a more spiritual and rational faith; for it still enables them to have some conception, however vague, of a future life, which lifts them immeasurably above the cold negation that places man—who is destined to immortality—among the beasts that perish.
It is not in the purview of this lecture to discuss the doctrine of the resurrection; and I have merely referred to the common belief of it to call your attention to your own thought of what man really is, that you may the better comprehend what we understand by Gods creating him male and female in His image, as it is recorded in our text. The subject is one of the greatest importance at the present time, for the reason that it will soon be impossible for persons of reflection to retain any belief in the resurrection of material bodies. Some have been dissolved for thousands of years, and the substances which composed them have passed through a thousand vegetable, animal, and human forms, in their ever-changing mutations. A few years ago our country rocked beneath the tread of contending armies. A hundred battle-fields absorbed the life-blood of thousands of our fellow-men. Thousands of their bodies were laid in trenches on these bloody fields. The clangor of arms had scarcely ceased before vegetation grew rank upon these fields, organizing into vegetable forms the substances which had composed the bodies of our friends. What was the substance of their bodies thus becomes the substance of the vegetation that grows from them. The various animals feeding upon this vegetation transmute the substance of these bodies into animal-flesh. We in our turn consume the same substance in the meat we buy in the market, and they become for the time a part of our bodies. So the process will go on from age to age, until every particle of matter that ever entered into the composition of a human body will have entered again into the structure of other bodies, vegetable, animal, or human. This being so, it will in time be seen and acknowledged, and then the idea of the resurrection of the material bodies of the dead will be given up; and if there is no more rational and spiritual faith to take its place when the sun becomes dark and the moon ceases to shine and the stars fall from heaven, there will be an everlasting night; darkness covering the earth and gross darkness the people.
That the spirit is the real man, organized in all respects as the body is, but with infinitely greater perfection, may be seen, not with the natural eye, but with the eye of reason, in the very organism of the body. This ought to be seen clearly by the anatomist and physiologist, who have studied the human organization. But it can be seen, less clearly perhaps, even by those who have only the common knowledge on these subjects. The human body, which seems to the eye a simple, unitary machine, is, in fact, compounded of many human forms, ascending from grosser to the more refined, until the last even of the material forms eludes the knife of the dissector.
You have all seen either a human skeleton or the picture of one. It is the human form in a very coarse image, and is composed of hard, gross matter. But that human form can neither move nor feel nor think. It is too far removed from spiritual substances for the use of spiritual forces.
Over and united to this grossest and most imperfect form is another more perfect one, composed of the muscular system. This system may be separated from the bony skeleton, and if held up to view it will approach much nearer to the human form than the first. This form, although designed to act upon the skeleton, and cause its movements, still cannot move or feel or think of itself, and is still too far removed from the spirit for its use.
Again, in the systems of arteries and veins you have still more perfect human forms, and of finer substances, that go far towards filling out the deficiencies and angularities of the bony skeleton and the muscular system. But they are still too gross for the uses of the spirit.
Now, if you take the brain and nervous system you find it composed of still finer materials, and if, in thought if not in fact, you abstract from it all the other systems, still the human form will be complete and perfect, for this permeates and fills every minutest part of all the others, and is a perfect organization, and the nearest approach that matter can make towards spirit.
The human form, therefore, as we see it, is in fact a series of such forms, each clothing and supporting the lower forms, and successively moulding the body more nearly to the perfect human form. The skeleton, composed of solid matter, shows this form the least. The comparatively coarse muscular system shows it more, but only in the measure that it recedes from the solidity of the bones. The arterial and venous systems show the human form still more perfectly as they recede still farther, and when we come to the most complex, highly organized, and most fully vitalized of all the parts, the brain and nerves, they are capable of presenting the perfection of the human form.
But the nervous system, although inconceivably finer and more highly organized than those below it, is still material, and incapable of acting of itself, is, in fact, out the instrument through and by which the mind or spirit acts upon the lower systems, and through them holds intercourse with the external world of matter.
If you ask me for a sensuous proof of the existence of this spirit, to present it to the test of the natural senses, I frankly say to you, I cannot furnish the evidence. For if I should make the attempt, and succeed to your entire satisfaction, convincing you that you actually saw, and heard, and conversed with a spirit with your natural senses, the very success would be conclusive proof that we were mistaken. For the natural senses cannot by any possible sublimation come into this relation with the spiritual. The worlds of matter and spirit are separated by a discrete degree, and influx is not from the natural to the spiritual, but the reverse. This is clearly indicated in the order seen in the various systems of the body. Action therein does not begin with the bony structure and so proceed to the finer. But it begins with the highly organized brain and nervous system, and flows downward through those less and still less perfectly organized till it reaches the system which is least so. We do not know from revelation how this complicated thing, the human body, was first produced, for revelation does not teach us natural science. It was not given for that purpose, and would have prevented all the progress and growth of the reasoning faculties if it had been. But we do know that the body is now, like everything else, a growth,—the effect of a producing cause. It was I think demonstrated in a former lecture that the natural world, including our bodies, was a world of effects, the causes of which were in the spiritual world. And I assumed, without an attempt at proof, that there was a Divine, Spiritual Being who was and is the first cause of all things, in whom alone is life; that all created things are but recipients of life from Him, the infinite source of all life; and that this life is received and manifested according to the various forms and organizations of the recipients.
If this is indeed a world of effects, the causes of which are in the spiritual world, then the body has the human form, because the spirit which animates and fills and perfects it is pre-eminently in the human form, and has all the organs and members of the body, but composed of spiritual substances, as the body is of natural. Such a spirit, when separated from this material body, will be a man or a woman far more complete and perfect both in form and function than is the body.
This spiritual body is immortal not because it has life in itself any more than the body has, but because it is a form gifted not for a few years but forever with the power of receiving life. All life is from the Lord, who alone is life, and all things that live do so by reason of the influx of this life into their varied forms. Like the heat and light of the sun, this life is a perpetual emanation from its infinite fountain. The reason why vegetables and animals and men are not immortal in this world is not because the life that animates fails, but because the material forms which receive the life are gifted by the Lord with that power only for a time.
The sun of the natural world is the symbol and representative of the Lord in the spiritual world. Its heat and light and their influx into natural things are the correspondents and representatives of the love and wisdom, or the life from the Lord, and their influx into spiritual things. It is known, for instance, that vegetation needs for its growth the influx of the suns heat and light into its varied forms, and that, while the heat and light are unfailing in their source in the sun, and are given out with a Divine impartiality to all, each plant receives and uses them according to its peculiar form. The same natural elements flowing into one form distil the fragrance of the rose, and into another the poison of the nightshade, the difference being not in the light and heat, but in the recipient forms into which they flow.
If this be true, and every botanist will confirm its truth, then it is plain that if the substances which compose the rose were gifted with a constant and unfailing power to receive the life from heaven and the heat and light from the sun, the rose would be an immortal bloom, for the sources of its life are unfailing. The rose is mortal, and fades because, like all material things, the substances which compose it are enabled only for a time to receive the gift of life. Mans body is mortal for the same reason. When the forms of its exquisite organization so change that it can no longer serve as a recipient of life, it, like the rose, goes to decay. But mans spiritual body, which is the real man, organized with infinite perfection, so as to coincide with and act upon the brain and nervous system of the body, as that does upon the systems below it, is immortal because it is composed of living, spiritual substances gifted with the power of forever receiving and clothing the life from God. Because the source of life is eternal, and the spiritual body is gifted with this enduring power, man as to his spirit is immortal, and will live forever in a spiritual world when the material body no longer serves the uses of his spirit in this natural world. And he will live there a man, far more highly organized than he is here.
It is of this spirit, this real, this immortal man, his eternal interests and his eternal destiny, and not of his mortal body and his transient interests in the natural world, that revelation treats. But in order that man could enjoy the highest happiness and approach forever the infinite source of his being, it was necessary that in affection and thought he should be rational and free. Without this he might have been a perfectly moving machine, or a cunning animal, but he would not have been man, capable of the happiness that might result from his conscious conjunction and co-operation with the love and wisdom of his Divine Creator. But this freedom to progress and enjoy involved the possibility to retrograde and suffer. And having so retrograded and brought upon himself the consequences of a perversion of his faculties or forms until he could no longer receive the orderly inflow of life from its source, he sunk into ignorance and misery. And the record in Genesis which we have been considering, instead of being the history of the first formation of a single man, or pair, as to the body, is a Divine history of the development of mans spiritual faculties, and also of the process of recovery, or regeneration, or creation anew into the lost image of his Heavenly Father; the bringing of him back to that orderly state in which he can be in accord with the laws of Divine order and be happy forever. This is not a work that was once performed six thousand years ago, but it is the process through all time, and applicable to us and to all people.
Through the symbols of the five preceding days we have, in as many lectures, traced this process of regeneration, rising step by step, until the understanding has become enlightened with heavenly truths, and the will or affections purified to be the recipients of the Lords love or good. It is in this state only that man is truly man. And while the Lord has been working to this end through all the previous days or states, it was not until those several steps had been successively reached and passed that a true man could be made. The statement concerning his creation relates to a Divine work more important than the formation of mans material body. It tells of the attainment of that regenerate state in which he possesses in a high degree those spiritual excellencies to which the preceding steps of mental and moral development have contributed.
There are various ideas of what constitutes a man. In one view, the lowest and most sensuous, he is a man by reason of his form alone. In a rude state of society he is considered truly a man by reason of his superior physical power and courage. In our laws he is considered a man when he is twenty-one years of age. And so the standard and measure of manhood changes with the different aspects in which he is viewed. But throughout the Divine Word the term is only used approvingly to designate moral and spiritual excellence. Hence the Lord, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, of the apostasy of the Church, says, I beheld, and lo, there was no man. And so, too, it is declared in the same prophet, in speaking of Jerusalem, or the Church, that if a man could be found therein she should be pardoned, or delivered. In these and other instances that might be referred to, it is evident that by man is meant interior excellence, and not the mere human being.
To produce this excellence is the creation of man, and when it is completed he is made in the image and likeness of God. To the careless reader the terms image and likeness seem to mean the same thing, and the expression is mere tautology. It would be so in a book of human composition written in ignorance of the science of correspondences. But there are no such defects in the language of the Divine Word. No doubt every reader of the Bible has been struck with the frequency with which terms that seem to mean the same thing are used together. In a previous lecture a number of such apparent tautologies were quoted, and it was then seen that in every instance one term of the couplet has reference to things of the will and the other to things of the understanding, or one to the celestial and the other to the spiritual degree in man.
Man is made in the image of God when from the knowledge of truths in the understanding he does the good which these truths make manifest to him that he ought to do. These truths teach him the duties which he owes to himself, his neighbor, his country, the Church, and to the Lord, and he does them because he sees that it is his duty to do so. And because the Lord is the giver or doer of good to all His creatures, man becomes an image or reflection of the Lord when he does in his finite degree what the Lord does in His infinite measure. When he has progressed so far in the regenerate life as to do good from an intellectual perception of the order and harmony of the Divine Providence, which he sees has universal good for its end, he is a spiritual man and is in the image of God. To this state the sixth day brings him. But it is only the image and not yet the likeness.
Man, as we have seen, has three degrees of life which may be successively developed, and he will be actuated by different motives in each degree. In his natural state or degree, as we all know from our necessary experience, we act wholly from natural, and although not always consciously, yet, in fact, from selfish motives. In this state we struggle for subsistence, for worldly possessions, for eminence and distinction among our fellows in whatever calling or pursuit we may be engaged. And this is perfectly legitimate and right if the rights of others are not infringed, as it is the spur that drives us on to all material improvement. But all can see that the motives that impel us are in their very nature selfish. The servant in the kitchen, the laborer at his toil, the mechanic in his shop, the farmer in his field, the merchant in his store, the banker in his office, the lawyer at the bar, the judge on the bench, the legislator in his hall, and the executive in his function, may each act honestly in the performance of his duty, simply because he sees it to be for his personal or pecuniary interest to do so. It is so evidently the interest of all to be honest, that the man or woman is morally insane who does not see it. But it is seen at once that while the temporal good of society may be advanced by this outward manifestation of honesty, the individual may be making no progress at all towards an interior spiritual excellence or elevation of character, while he is only outwardly honest from these selfish motives. Indeed, he may be inducing on himself all the time the permanent character of a great criminal. He may covet and desire the property of another until he would be willing to appropriate it to himself, if he could do so with absolute certainty that he would never be detected, and thus lose more than he would gain by the transaction. But every such thought or feeling cherished makes the man or the woman in permanent character as surely a thief as would the outward act of stealing, and it acts far more insidiously. The same is true of all other conceivable crimes.
But the Providence of God is such that, while men in this state work in their respective spheres only for themselves, yet they work at the same time unwillingly for the good of others. For instance, a company, for their self-interest so far as their motive is concerned, build a manufactory of some kind, as a nail-mill or salt-furnace. Their ruling incentive is to make money for their own benefit. And I do not suppose it is stating the case too strongly to say that this company, if they could sell a less costly and slightly inferior article at the same price as a superior one, and could thereby secure larger dividends without loss of credit, would be almost certain to do so. But happily the ring of inexorable necessity, or Providence if you will, so encircles them that in order to find a permanent market for the nails or the salt a good article must be produced. But if the disposition exists to throw on the public an inferior article, those who indulge it are in the eternal verities of spiritual life simply cheats, although for the sake of their pecuniary interests they do in fact furnish goods of the very best quality, and in this way the community is greatly benefited. This is but a faint picture of the natural degree of mans life. Hence the strifes, and envies, and rivalries, and hatreds that render necessary the restraints of law and the terror of its penalties to prevent society from manifesting in its outward form, as it does eternally the image and likeness of hell.
It is plain that man in this state has neither the image nor the likeness of God; for God does not work from these motives, nor does He cherish these feelings. Unless we can be raised out of this state we must be forever in conflict with His Providence, and forever slaves, doing unwillingly, and therefore repulsive, work.
But when man has become regenerated to the spiritual degree, he then acts from different motives. His outward conduct may not be changed at all, for he may have acted uprightly in his several relations from the most selfish motives. But he will now do the same things not wholly for his own self-interest, but because he sees and acknowledges that justice and right demand it, and that the interests of others will be promoted thereby. And while he is not in this state prepared to forget and ignore self, yet he is prepared to love others just as well as he does himself,that is, he will not engage in anything that he desires shall, or that he believes will, injure others to his benefit, or that will not, in his best judgment, promote the good of others as well as his own. And if a company of such men should build a mill or furnace, the single motive of self-interest would not be the controlling one. Doubtless they would, as in prudence they should, aim to make it remunerative. For it is the duty of every one to provide for himself and those dependent on him, that he may have the means to advance the interests of the Church and society that surround him. These are not selfish motives. And the company I have supposed will add to these motives the further one that by so employing their means they can furnish employment for many persons whom they could not otherwise benefit, and in this way be doing works of charity in a much higher degree than if they should give all their means to support the poor in idleness. They would also, as a part of their motive, have in view the mental culture and spiritual improvement of those they expected to employ, and would aim so to deal with and treat them that they might be led to better lives and to the Church and heaven. They would also have a view to the improvement of their country, which is the neighbor in a larger sense, and which every good man ought to love, and does love more than those who are simply near him, because the welfare of all is involved in the welfare of the country. Because the spiritual man acts from these higher motives he is the image of God, and is therefore a man. But as it required the processes of all the preceding days to bring him into this state, and as his regeneration has been a Divine work in which the man himself has only co-operated, it is said that God on this day made man in His image.
The Lords purpose is, as announced, to make him in His likeness also; for God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. To be made in the image of God is to be regenerated in the spiritual degree of life so as to be in that state that in all things man shall regard his neighbor as himself and act in obedience to the demands of the truth. To attain to the Lords likeness he must live a good life in heavenly freedom, that is from love for God and His ways. God is love; and from love nothing but good to others can emanate. What God does, therefore, is done from pure love, without a taint of selfishness. And to be like Him, or in His likeness, a man or angel must act from a like impulse. And this man cannot do until he comes into the celestial degree of life. In this state he will not act from selfish motives as the natural man, nor from mere obedience to truth, but because he is moved to eternal activity in promoting the welfare of others by the unerring attraction of love. He will be like God. That state will be the Sabbath, an eternal rest,not a rest from useful and beneficent activities, for angels, as the very name means, are the Lords messengers of mercy,but rest from that painful labor of overcoming evils which made life a struggle and a conflict.
We learn, therefore, in the creations of this sixth day how there are formed in man the genuine affections of good and useful life represented by the animals, and, finally, those noblest, peculiarly human faculties of rationality and freedom. These are the faculties which are called man. To them is given the dominion of all the subordinate affections, and the fruits of all the growths of intelligence. These are what make man to be man, and cause him to be in the image and likeness of his Maker. Each step in the formation of a truly human character the Lord saw and pronounced good, but of the work of this sixth day it is said, God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.