By Dr. Eli Lasch
The fifth and the first half of the sixth day follow exactly the accepted scheme of evolution. Having disengaged itself from rootedness life started moving: The first to be created were “the animals of the sea”, then the dinosaurs – the Torah designates them as “the big Taninim” usually translated as “crocodiles” – then the birds appeared and finally did the mammals. How did the author van der Post[i] characterize evolution: the laboratory of nature on the way to the carrier of consciousness, to man. As already shown previously, and in contrast to Darwinism, evolution in the Torah is however not caused by a successive transition from one species to another – each one was created directly by God and each at its proper time, and we are back at the idea of a time line underlying it all. This is also the answer to the most confounding question – how did intelligence arise? Animals, however advanced they may be, are lacking what makes man to become what he is: self-consciousness – awareness of time, the ability to speak and the skill of writing are probably all a part of it. Now time was ripe for the next step, for the transition from consciousness to self-consciousness, from animal to man: a quantum leap!
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea …” “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”[iii]
At this point, we first have to ask ourselves what it means to be human; especially we should be concerned with the question regarding the difference between man and animal. Among all the living beings on Earth, only man has got self-consciousness and an awareness of time, only man knows the difference between past and future.
One more difference is the one between consciousness and self-consciousness emerging at the same time as the awareness of time. Certainly, nowadays, no-one would deny the animals a consciousness, and there exists enough evidence that even plants have got some kind of consciousness, though they don’t have a brain, as far as we can see. Today, we go already one step further and speak of a cellular consciousness, of the fact that cells exchange information. In plants and animals, even telepathic abilities have meanwhile been discovered.[iv]
But all of them are lacking the concept “I”, the possibility to differentiate between oneself and the different components of the own body. It’s interesting that this ability appears to develop simultaneously with the awareness of time in the age of three to four years. Up to this time, the child says: “Peter wants, Lena wants” when talking about him/herself. Only in this age, the child will start saying: I want, MY body. Not that he/she couldn’t distinguish before between HIM/HERself and the environment. Animals and plants can do this, too. But this is the moment, when the child breaks away from the animal kingdom and goes on his/her way to become a human being. And this is the way we find ourselves on up till now. Here arises also the first and most basic question.. Who and what am I. Who is the one who says: this is me, this is my body, or spirit or soul?
This is the way from group consciousness – telepathy is probably a part of it – to individual consciousness with all its loneliness, that can only be breached by love and compassion. This is also the reason why these qualities are specific to man; for man needs them to survive. Without them, we would destroy ourselves – and we are well on the way.
We can neither rate nor judge, whether the development to individuality or self-consciousness is positive or negative. But there is no doubt that it is necessary for our advancement. Without self-consciousness, there would probably be neither imagination nor creativity, and without the awareness of time, there exists neither the motivation nor the possibility to create anything new, in other words to create the “future”. That’s why both of them appear at the same time: This way they enable us to become human beings and to develop our own future. That’s exactly what the animals are lacking.
When we said that man must create his world anew, time and again, this was a realistic statement and not a symbolic one; for basically we don’t have the slightest idea how the universe really looks like. The only thing we know (or think we know) is the information received through our senses and processed by our brain. Even telepathy and channelling are nothing but the reception and processing of information. Descartes already said: “I think, therefore I am.” In Order to understand all the rest, all those phenomena which we can neither perceive with our senses nor process with our brain, we have to develop models – and we then use these models to try and understand our world. At the same time we know very well that our senses, especially our eyes, are deceiving us. A typical example is the rotation of the sun: We know that the sun doesn’t rotate around the earth – it rotates around its own axis and it is our planet which does the same, it too rotates around its axis as well as around the sun. But our eyes tell us that the opposite is true, and we keep on talking till this day of sun-RISE and sun-SET and that the sun comes from behind the clouds. We can stand as long as we want at the shore of the sea trying to see the sunset in a different way, but it won’t work.
Meanwhile Einstein has proved with his theory of relativity that the same phenomenon is valid for the whole universe: everything can only be perceived relative to something else.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this paragraph. The sentence begins by the words: “Let us make man.” This sentence raises a series of questions that used to confuse the reader of the Holy Scriptures since time immemorial. What is meant by these words? Since when does God need to consult someone? With whom did He cooperate? One of the many legends gives the following answer: God approached the prototype of man saying: “You and Me, the two of us together, will create MAN. I cannot do it alone.” Man, the co-creator of himself?
Looking back we realize that the whole treatise of ours has been dealing exactly with this question, and the answer thus arises from the preceding considerations. What we called the principle of life or the female aspect of God created man – in co-operation with the male aspect, the information. Man, the final creation of the “head in the house” – Breshit. The Kabbalah even goes one step further, speaking of “Father” and “Mother” without specifying. The principle of life was only able to provide the form; that’s why it couldn’t advance beyond the animals, while the male principle, information by itself, would have remained a thought, a phantasm.
To put it in kabbalistic terms: the male principle would be Kether and the female Malkhut. As we have already explained, the first one is reflected eternally in the potential and the second one in the animal.
This also explains the fact that the Torah used two different terms describing the creation of man. First comes the word tzelem, translated as “likeness”[v]; but in other passages of the Torah it means “idol”: an illusion, a form without life. We could also say: the information, the spirit of God. This fits exactly with the concept of the blueprint discussed above. Accordingly, tzelem would be the human blueprint – or the blueprint of God? The second term, Dmut, means “shape” or “figure” something that has taken the form of the tzelem, of the blueprint: the manifestation of the principle that gives life and form, the female aspect of God, the kabbalistic Din.
Man originated thus from the combination of two principles: the divine spirit and the principle of life, manifesting itself in the animal body. Combining the principle of life with the word aretz or “earth”, Nachmanides says that the earth is able to bring forth animals, but not human beings. To accomplish this the divine spirit is needed. So we have got, or rather we are, an animal body ensouled by the divine spirit, whether we like it or not. Every doctor or scientist will agree at least to the first part of this statement. But we shouldn’t forget that one part is as divine as the other, they only stem from different aspects of the Divine; that’s why they have got another kind of consciousness.
[i] van der Post, L., author, South Africa (1906-1991), personal communication
[ii] Genesis 1, 26
[iii] Idem, idem 27
[iv] Tompkins, P., Bird, C., The Secret Life of Plants, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1973
[v] the first time by Mendelssohn
[vi] Leviticus 17, 10-11 und 19-26
[vii] „zelem“ ist auch das Wort für „Götze“. Götzen haben eine äußere Form und nichts anderes.
[viii] Adam = der Urmensch
[ix] Zukav, G., The Dancing Wu-Li Masters, opus cit.
[x] Stapp, H., S Matrix Interpretation of Quantum Theory, Physical Review D3, 1971
[xi] Sohar, new edition (Hebrew and Aramaic), Jerusalem 1967, translation by the author, Breshit, p.28
[xii] Genesis 1, 28
[xiii] Genesis 9, 3
[xiv] Idem 1, 29
[xv] Psalm 90, 4
[xvi] In Hebrew „akharit hajamim“ or „the other days“