“Man” and “Woman”

The driving motivation for the writing of The Soul Comes First was a reading of the Book of Revelation as just what John said it was: a visit to the Holy Mind in which the angels revealed their relationship to and experience of Christ. The difficulty of the writing is that the insights are like the M.C. Escher drawing of hands drawing each other. Genesis makes sense only if you’ve read Revelation, which makes sense only if you’ve read Acts, which depends upon the Gospels, the chain continuing to a dependency on Genesis.

We have to grok it all at once. I’m afraid that I didn’t succeed very well with that problem.

But the insights continue to trickle in.

Genesis 2:7 says [NIV]:

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

This has been interpreted literally as meaning that Adam was the first instance of the species homo sapiens sapiens. There are those that take a different tack: that Adam and Eve were the sole human survivors of a geological catastrophe such as a major volcanic eruption. But the continuity of the archaeological record undermines all of these interpretations.

Revelation 4 starts where Genesis starts [NIV Gen 1:2]:

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

This is the scene that John encounters: the “Spirit of God” being the corporate body of the angels united under the guidance of Unconditional Love. In John’s vision, there are twenty-four of the former – described as “elders” – gathered around the “one on the throne.” We should understand the latter to be Unconditional Love, which is warded by fearsome beasts that prevent the approach of the elders.

So this is the initial state of Heaven before the investiture of God in the Earth. What comes next in Revelation is the sequence of that investiture: a scroll with seven seals is opened, and selfishness is given dominion over the Earth. Then from among the twelve princes of heaven, twelve thousand are sent from each down to Earth. These are the masculine angels that generate change; the feminine angels are held in reserve until a measure of safety is created.

Paleontology tells us that it took approximately a billion years before that safety was attained. Finally, in homo sapiens sapiens, God recognized a species with the potential to express love.

Genesis 2 starts with God’s reflection on that process. The species “man” was created from the dust of the ground, rising up only through an enormous commitment of intention and attention to the manifestation of the potential for life to receive love. If done too early, the gift would have been wasted: it would have been corrupted by selfishness. So love was held in reserve when the 144,000 were sent down from heaven, and remained aloof for a billion years.

God having spawned homo sapiens sapiens as an animal with the potential to elaborate love, Unconditional Love then breathed itself into one such animal, Adam, making him Man. Love was joined to biology, making it possible for us to escape the brutal practices of natural selection as described by Darwin. Recognizing that Adam should not be alone, Unconditional Love then sought for a mate to share the stewardship of spreading love throughout the world. Thus was one female animal imbued with love, creating Eve – the first Woman.

This is what we celebrate when we call them “First Man” and “First Woman” – not the material superfluity of their physical forms, but the transformation that comes with becoming imbued with Unconditional Love.

How did this make Adam a “living being”? Because one of the forms of selfishness is death. Through the link with Unconditional Love, Adam was freed from that captivity. He acted with fearless generosity. It was in seeking to become God’s equal that our thralldom to selfishness was reimposed.

In reflecting on all the evil we have committed since, I have called it “the great working out through the flesh of our dependency on sin.” Each generation becomes a little stronger, and with Jesus to light our way as an exemplar, eventually love will have its way with us.

Magnificent, She

In the Garden, God warns Adam [NIV Gen. 2:17]

[Y]ou must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.

After the serpent seduces Eve, God comes into the garden and asks [NIV Gen. 3:9]:

“Where are you?”

What heartbreak there is in these words, that the stewards of its creation should hide from Love!

Why do we hide? Is it because we perceive the dependency of flesh upon sin, and so feel shame? Is it because, if we were to fully understand, we would see the burden that God meant for us to shoulder in healing the world of sin? Is it because, knowing of evil, we are infected with thoughts that, when empowered by love, grow into weeds that choke our souls?

These are the reasons that I experience.

And given that we must hide, how do we hide? What is the mechanism of our shelter? Genesis says that Adam and Eve hid “among the trees of the garden,” but that is only figurative. No, the only means to hide from love is, as God foretold, to take refuge in death.

In healing Peter’s betrayal, the resurrected Christ asks him three times “Do you love me?” [John 21:15] This is the grace of God: to redeem with mercy, to celebrate the strength that comes with the lessons learned from mistakes made in frailty.

And so, as it was Eve that submitted first to Death, it is to WOMAN that Gabriel speaks. To a virgin, betrothed to be married, the angel announces that the child of God will come through her into the world, preceding the tidings with these words [NIV Luke 1:30]:

Do not be afraid, Mary.

For what did the Law say about a conception that Joseph, her husband to be, could interpret only as a sign of infidelity?


And yet, pierced to the core with the promises made for the salvation of her people, Mary offers herself, body and soul [Luke 1:38]:

Here am I.

O woman, O grace, O life restored! Oh, magnificent surrender to Love!

You were indeed the Christmas Eve.