There is an important truth about the divinity of man veiled in the first and last words of the first five books of the Bible. Known as the Pentateuch and the Torah, the first five books are the bedrock and foundation of scripture, so it makes sense that a powerful statement about the divinity of man would lie in this cornerstone.
The statement which we are about to dissect is so powerful that the casual reader of the Bible will dismiss it. It is only when man has arrived at a certain level of spiritual maturity that he or she really pursues the mystery of divinity, and Jewish mysticism hints that it is only by looking into the soul of the Torah that deep truths about the divinity of man can be acknowledged. Just as the most profound truths about us lie in our soul, so do the most profound truths of scripture lie in the soul of the torah. The soul of the torah is its most hidden nature. Today we will look into the hidden nature of both ourselves and the Torah.
The first few words of the Torah are “In the beginning God…”
The last word of the Torah is “Israel.”
So the Torah begins with “In the beginning God” and ends with “Israel.” This was no accident or mere coincidence. So what does it mean?
Would you call it a stretch if I said the Torah can be summed up with “In the beginning…Israel.” Many Jewish mystics believe this is appropriate.
Esoterically, Israel is a symbol for mankind. So the Torah begins with God and ends with mankind. Ultimately, this means that the Torah itself is making the bold statement that divinity resides in man.
For me, one of the greatest mysteries of the Torah is its explanation of God. I don’t believe we can truly understand what the soul of the Torah is revealing about our own divinity without first understanding more about what or who God is. The Torah states that God is ONE. It also states that he is a plurality of masculine and feminine. And finally, since God is omnipresent, he has to literally BE the entire universe, which makes him a collective.
How can we make sense of this? How could God be one, a plurality, and a collective all at the same time?
God as ONE
God is ONE because everything in the universe is part of the universal mind of God. It is all consciousness. Consciousness is the fundamental component of existence, I AM that I AM. Consciousness is not contingent upon anything. It simply IS. Everything in the entire universe possesses consciousness. This is the underlying connection between everything and God. God is ONE because consciousness is ONE.
God is Plural
God is a plurality of negative and positive, masculine and feminine, Ying and Yang because consciousness manifests through polar opposites. Duality, or experience, would be impossible without polar opposites. This is the ability of consciousness to take on form.
God as a collective
God is one spirit or consciousness, but this one spirit is also the collective consciousness of the universe in many manifested forms. This is why the word Elohim is plural. Elohim refers to the collective consciousness of advanced beings, and it is also why God uses phrases such as “man has become as one of us, to know good and evil.” It is also interesting to note that the Hebrew word for one used to describe God’s oneness in Deuteronomy is echad. Echad means united.
By the way, isn’t it interesting that the above descriptions of God from the Torah automatically resolve the trinity vs. Oneness debateJ The next time you see an argument about whether God is ONE or a trinity, explain that a panoramic view of God can incorporate both!
Now that we have established a little more about who God is, we can understand more about why the Torah begins with God and ends with man.
In some ancient Indian philosophies it is believed that the human body is the only proper vessel for expanding consciousness at a certain but very critical juncture in the grand scale of consciousness evolution. I believe that ancient Jewish mystics taught the same thing. Does this exclude consciousness in other life-forms of the universe? Perhaps consciousness graduates from the human kingdom and then continues to evolve further in another galaxy through another vessel with a new set of rules? Whatever the case, it seems that the human vessel is of cosmic importance, and the Torah makes this clear.
I want to take a brief moment and quote Lee Bladon, an expert on theosophy.
“Consciousness develops by moving our awareness towards our soul or higher self…In order to progress, we must free ourselves from the automated patterns of our subconscious (by continually “watching” our consciousness) and identify more with our superconscious (by meditating and “living in the now”). We must also dedicate our development towards the service of humanity, and not do it for personal gain.”
I have bolded the last sentence in Mr. Bladon’s quote because it reveals the same information as the Torah. We have already pointed out that the Torah begins with God and ends with mankind. Ultimately, this means that God is in man. But this truth is veiled from man because of the predominance of his lower nature or ego, which is self-oriented instead of other-oriented. Man needs his ego to survive in the physical world, but when it is predominate in his beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions, it causes an unbalance in the human soul. When man learns to balance the ego through a fuller expression of his higher self or soul, it is said that a portion of Elohim is manifested on earth through man. That is one of the real reasons why the Torah begins with God and ends Israel. Mankind is one giant step in the evolution of consciousness that God manifest his potential through.
If Elohim is a collective, how will the consciousness of man ever attain this status? Ultimately, I don’t believe the soul can in a human body. It is probably through the vessels of other advanced beings that man’s soul will ultimately go on to grow in ways that we cannot even now imagine. But remember I said that the ancient Indian philosophies believe that the human body is a necessary vessel for a critical juncture point in the evolution of consciousness? Possibly it is because man begins to learn the importance of the collective mentality. And this is where Torah—and more importantly, the universal law within it—become so important.
As man’s ethical character evolves he learns to express his higher self in accordance to the Law of Love. Through this gradual process in duality he learns to become other-oriented, slowly gaining knowledge and experience into the collective consciousness of mankind. As man’s consciousness expands, so does his journey to higher and higher expressions of God.
The story of Israel in the Torah, beginning with Abraham and ending with Moses’ death and Joshua’s subsequent leadership, is about the process of birthing the Israelite. The true Israelite is the man / women who has balanced the masculine and feminine energies of duality within his or herself and also expresses those energies through balanced lifestyle.
How does one lead a balanced lifestyle?
It is through the observance of Torah that man journeys toward God and towards being other-oriented. The torah represents a moral code that helps bridle the ego or lower nature in man, directing it in such a way that balances man’s ego nature with his other-oriented higher nature. It is through the observance of Torah that man learns to express divine attributes of God here in the physical world creating a true loving community with fellowman. The Torah is only one discipline of many religious systems which facilitate this process. In other words, the observance of Torah isn’t the only way one realizes his higher nature. The mystic understands that within the soul of the Torah lies universal and cosmic laws that can be followed to advance the moral nature of man, such as the Ten Commandments.
But even the master Jesus said the entire Torah can be summarized in two commands. Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. This is essentially because he understood the soul of the Torah: that the law begins with God and ends with man!
So it is the development of the moral and rational nature of man that the process of self-realization and being other-oriented unfolds. The 613 commandments contained in the Torah are very beneficial for developing man’s moral character because they force man to deny his ego. It is a disciplined life that checks the thoughts and emotions of man from being focused on himself and refines his will so that it begins to match up with God’s. The torah laws were developed over many centuries for this very purpose. Other cultures developed other disciplines which seek to accomplish the same thing, which is man’s gradual disassociation from his ego to express his higher nature.
Man still needs his ego to survive, especially in duality. But in each incarnation it should take more and more of a back seat. As we develop spiritually, we no longer desire power, money, fame, and materialism, and I believe that one day in the cosmic evolution process, the ego will become useless and the soul will discard it completely. How do we know this? Because of what God told Zechariah the prophet:
“…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit…” (Zechariah 4:6).
Power and might are things of the ego. But God’s spirit is of love, and man was meant to be an expression of the God on earth through the higher nature of the soul. This view is egoless, because the higher thoughts and emotions of man bridge the gap between the self and other.
This also doesn’t mean we won’t express free will in the higher realms. It just means our expression of free will won’t be based on the necessities physical existence.
Therefore it is important for us to meditate, live in the now, and love our fellowman. All three are the path to enlightenment.