The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth
THE THIRD DAY OF CREATION
The rational perception that there is involved in man two minds, an external mind for this world and an internal mind for the spiritual world, puts us in a position to see that all spiritual knowledge, the truth and good of heaven, inflow from the Lord through the internal mind into the external and are stored up in the memory for use in our coming regeneration.
The memory is therefore a most important department of the mind. It must be formed and stored with truths, learned from without, before there can be any distinct reasoning or deep thinking. Children are inspired by the Lord, through their guardian angels, with the love of knowing facts, and they are gifted with the mental organ of memory, in which they may be implanted and stored up. The will and the memory are active long before the understanding is in any degree developed. The will to learn, the love of knowing, must come in order that one may learn, and there must be a receptacle of the knowledge that is acquired, and this is the memory, capacious to receive and retentive to retain what is learned.
The memory is therefore the "one place" into which the waters under the heavens are gathered. For think - the waters under the heavens are the truths acquired by study and instruction - the truths that are stored up after they are learned. During this period there is afforded to parents and teachers the golden opportunity of implanting in children's minds the knowledge of the letter of the Lord's Word. There is nothing more important than this. Parents and teachers should not do the least thing to disturb a child's implicit belief in the letter of the Bible stories. They should be taught to the child mind in the form the Lord has put them. And not only should the Bible stories be taught in the form we find them in the letter of the Word, but certain portions of the Word should be committed to memory, such as the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Blessings, the Ten Commandments, and many of the shorter Psalms and the sayings of the Lord in the Gospels. The doing of this is the gathering of the waters into one place.
Rational thinking about these things will come later, and then doctrine about them can be taught. When this state arrives, there will form in the mind a plane for the reception of the Divine seed, from which will spring up and grow the life of heaven. This plane, or soil, is what is meant by the appearance of the dry land or earth.
The beginnings of the spiritual life - how interesting they are! God said: "Let the earth bring forth." Up to this point, God has done every thing, but now the earth, which has risen out of the waters, is called upon to bring forth. Childhood is a period of preparation for the spiritual life. This is what makes child life so sacred. Hut when the memory is stored with truths, and the understanding of them in their relation to life has been formed, man is then capable of co-operating with the Lord. He <an hear, understand and obey the Divine commands. He has come into his own responsible life. He is, spiritually, of age, and can act as of himself. He can receive and become conscious of God's operation in his soul, and is able to co-operate with the regenerative endeavor of the Divine Spirit. Thus God says: "Let the earth bring forth."
What is brought forth at first is very tender and feeble. It is called, in this story, "the tender grass." Self-compulsion is the first conscious step man takes in his effort to co-operate with the Lord's endeavor to regenerate him. The natural man is born into the love of evil; and his natural inclination is to those things which were habits of life in his parents. This is not the old doctrine of original sin, for no one is born into sin. It is the doctrine of heredity - the fact that we inherit from parents and ancestors the love of self and the world. These two evil loves are the very life of our natural mind. This evil life must be forsaken; we must act against and reject it if we would come into the life that makes heaven. This is what our Lord meant when He said: "Except a man hate his father and mother, yea, his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." And self-compulsion, self-imposed obedience to the Ten Commandments, is the first step. The spiritual life that comes as the result of this self-compulsion is what is meant by the "tender grass."
The church must learn to deal gently and patiently with this state. There is much of self in it, and its motive is very external, but it is something, it is a beginning. How thankful we should be that the tender grass has no seed in itself. It appears in the beginning, serves its use, passes away and makes room for something higher.
This higher form of spiritual living is represented by the "herb yielding seed." A higher motive for life comes and a more spiritual thinking and doing follows. The habit of obedience is formed. The truth is delightful. We love it, and do it because of our love for it. A new life center is formed. The love of the Lord and the neighbor becomes our very life. We have lost our life for the Lord's sake, and have found His life and made it our life. The natural man is being put under the reign of the Lord's truth. The herb yielding seed has sprung up, and is growing in the soul.
But something more than the herb comes in this day of man's spiritual creation. The tree bearing fruit makes its appearance. There comes the perception that all truth, all good, is from the Lord. This is the tree of the third day. How patiently the Lord waits for us to come into this state! He lets us, in the beginning, think that we are thinking the truth and doing good from ourselves, because He knows that at first we cannot act otherwise. And so He leads us on step by step, like the loving and kind Father that He is, until the tender grass and herb states are lived through, and then He causes this tree this perception, that all truth is from Him, that all good flows in from Him, to grow up in the mind. What a revelation it is to us! How the very thought of it humiliates self! How it exalts God! It brings a new state of life with it. It bears fruit. This was not so of the tender grass, nor of the herb. But of the tree it is said: "And the tree bearing fruit after its kind, whose seed was in itself after its kind." The fruit the tree bears is the fruit of repentance. For we are told in the writings of the church that this third state is one of repentance. In this state a man sees the evils that are in his natural mind - evils of heredity and evils that he has acquired by the wrong acts of his life. It is the state of self-revelation.
Repentance follows - a repentance that is deep and sincere. For in this state a man not only sees his evils, but he acknowledges them, makes himself guilty before God, confesses them to the Lord, implores forgiveness of them, and then desists from them and enters upon a new life. And when they rise up he turns from them and seeks Divine aid in being withheld from them. This is the fruit the tree bears. In this way the Lord introduces us into the spiritual life, and communicates to us the inward joy of heaven in a peace that passes all understanding, that is unspeakable and full of glory.
from Thomas King, Allegories of Genesis, 1922