The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth
THE SECOND DAY OF CREATION
The awakening of the things good and true that were implanted and stored away during childhood, and the dawning of the light of God upon the mind, brings the consciousness that there are in the mind states of knowledge that are from heaven and states of knowledge that are from the world. That which brings this consciousness is the rational perception of the duality of the mind. This perception at first is far from being clear; it is in fact very dim, but it enables a man to realize that he has, lying above what is natural in himself, a higher mind, or self, which demands, for its satisfaction, growth and culture, something the world cannot supply.
This dawning internal rational perception is what is meant by these words: "And God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters." It is a rational perception, but it is in the formative state. It is not, at that time, lifted up and clearly discriminated and intellectually distinguished from the general perceptions of the mind. It is, at first, in the midst of the waters.
But growth is the law of the Divine life in man's life; therefore this rational perception grows and expands. This growth is largely dependent upon instruction - upon instruction suited and accommodated to the mind's state of reception. What a wide field for reflection this law, as it respects the growth of this rational perception, opens to the church!
May it not be true that one, and perhaps the most fruitful cause, of the Church's loss of so many of its own young people, is due to the Church's attempt to teach them theology? The mind is a spiritual organism created in distinct planes; and may it not be possible that the church has made the fatal mistake of forcing a degree of instruction upon its young people that they are wholly unprepared to receive? There is nothing more sacred than a young life, just opening to the realization of something deeper than the world is able to give; and the attempt to feed that budding life with instruction drawn from Swedenborg's "Divine Love and Wisdom" or "Earths in the Universe," or Burnham's "Discrete Degrees," is only to confuse and swamp it.
It might prove useful to us, as a church, if we would study more seriously and wisely the New-Church psychology, for it would save us from these mistakes.
Rational perceptions are formed slowly; and instruction must be suited to the mind in which they are growing. Simple doctrine, drawn from the letter of the Word, and presented affirmatively and affectionately, and always with reference to the sacred religious life that is awakening in the young people, never fails to interest and hold them. The deeper things of the spiritual sense of the Word - of the philosophy of doctrine - must wait. Their time will come; and the church must wait until her young people are capable of receiving them rationally.
While the expanse is in the midst of the waters, the simple Bible story, illustrated in its relation to the awakening religious nature, is all that is needed. If the church deals thus wisely with the opening, budding minds of its voung people, there will come the opening of a deeper rational perception in them. The expanse will divide between the waters in the waters. The faculty of classification will be developed. Things will be distinguished from each other.
Let the church watch this development, and adapt its instruction accordingly. This is the real argument for the graded lesson in the Sunday school. As the waters, the knowedges that are in the mind, begin to be classified, by rational thinking, guided by true and suitable instruction, the church, in her capacity as teacher, can adapt the truth to the new and higher plane of reception that is forming. The simpler lessons of the spiritual sense may then be given; but always shown to be in the very letter of the Bible. Then, too, simple doctrine may be taught, but always from the letter of the Lord's Word, and not in any abstract way.
This will divide between the waters in the waters. Knowledge that could only come from heaven, through the Lord's Word, will be distinguished from knowledge that comes from the world and that belongs to the world. It is all a gradual unfoldment of the mind.
And so, there comes a time when the waters, which were divided, attain perfect classification - a time when truth, derived by revelation, and truth derived through the exerercise of the natural mind, is clearly distinguished, the one from the other.
This is what is meant by these words: "And God made the expanse, and divided between the waters which were above the expanse and the waters which were under the expanse." Until this discrimination is made, it is not clearly seen that there is an internal man and that the things that are in the internal man are goods and truths that are from the Lord alone. Waters above the expanse! What do they mean other than the truths that come from the Lord? The rational faculty of perception does not originate spiritual truth. The Divine and spiritual truths, with which the internal mind is imbued, are above reason. The rational degree is an intermediate degree. The things that are proper to the natural mind, such as the knowledge belonging to the sensuous plane, and the scientifics that are learned in the schools, are below, under the reason ; and there is a side of the rational that looks down upon, orders and subordinates them. They are from the world and are not matters of revelation. They serve to teach man how to preserve his body, how to form and cultivate his natural mind, how to become a civic and moral man, and a useful member of civil society. They are all under the expanse. But the waters which are above the expanse! They are not on a level with nature. They are truths that have come through the channel of the spiritual world, the Word of God, and the church. They are above the reason but not contrary to reason; for as there is a side to I he rational degree of the mind that opens down to the stored states of the natural mind, so there is a side to it that opens up to the stored states of good and truth in the internal mind.
When the rational perception has attained to this degree of development, it calls for distinct doctrinal instruction and guidance. Here is the place for the doctrinal class - here opens the opportunity to use the church writings as hooks of instruction.
But in doing this, the church must not play the role of t he theological seminary. The church is to prepare men for useful living, and her instruction must have the making of good lives as its end. The world has very little interest in and use for a doctrinal gymnast: and it has less for a church that resolves itself into a theological gymnasium.
This is not meant as a disparagement of those who make a deep study of the church writings, that is largely a matter of inclination and taste. What I am advocating is the religious life, guided by the Lord's Word, as opened and explained in the doctrines of the church.
That this may be realized, the church in her teaching capacity, must put men in the possession of the light that can enable them to distinguish between spiritual good and natural good; between life lived from regard to self and life lived from regard to God; between truth from heaven, through revelation, and truth from the world. This is the mission of the church. Regeneration - the new life - that must be her aim. For this the Word, the Doctrines, yea all the means of grace, exist.
from Thomas King, Allegories of Genesis, 1922