Bible, Collection of Parables About the History of the Soul: Persons, Peoples, Animals etc, Are Symbols – To Materialize the Symbols Is to Commit Idolatry

“The Bible, in short, may be defined as a collection of parables setting forth the history of the Soul from its first descent into matter, to its final return to its original condition of pure spirit. And as the Soul undergoes the same process whether it be one or many — a person, a church, a race, or even the universe at large — the narrative that sets forth, or the parable that represents the history of one, does so equally of all. And the same terms, which are three in number, comprise the entire process.

These are Generation, Degeneration, and Regeneration, and these, therefore, as applied to the Soul, are the subject of the Bible, as we shall presently show, and not the physical history of any person or people whatever, though described in terms derived from persons and people. And to take such persons, people, or other symbol from their proper place as symbols, and, ignoring their true signification, to pay to them the honour due only to that signification is, in biblical language, to commit idolatry. For, in so doing, we materialise spiritual mysteries, and accord to the Form the regard due only to the Substance. Whenever we understand the things of Sense where the things of Spirit are alone implied, and so conceal the true features of Divinity with false and spurious presentations, we commit what the Bible regards as the most abhorrent of sins, and make ourselves idolaters, and, at the same time, identify ourselves with that materialistic school which is fast overspreading the world with the avowed object of eradicating the very idea of God and the Soul.

For “Idolatry is Materialism, the common and original sin of men, which replaces Spirit by Appearance, Substance by Illusion, and leads both the moral and intellectual Being into error, so that they substitute the nether for the upper, and the depth for the height. It is that false fruit which attracts the outer senses, the bait of the serpent in the beginning of the world” (Clothed With the Sun, Part I, Nº. v.); and this alike for the race and for each individual who has ever lived, for all are liable to its attraction.

We ought then to know, for the right understanding of the mystical scriptures, that in their esoteric, or interior and real, sense, they deal, not with material things, but with spiritual realities; and that neither is Adam an actual man, but denotes rather the lower personality or intellectual force in every human being; nor is Eve an actual woman. But denotes the feminine element in every human being, namely, the Soul or moral conscience; and she is therefore called the “Mother of the Living” or spiritually alive, namely, those in whom the Soul has attained self-consciousness.

Nor is Eden an actual place, but a condition of innocence prior to a fall from a height attained. Nor is the Tree of Life in its midst an actual tree, but God standing in the midst of the Universe as its life. Nor is man made all at once in the image of God, but only after long ages of development, beginning in the lowest forms of vegetable life, and passing upward through many forms, till he reaches the human form; and even then he is not made in the image of God, is not truly man in the Bible and mystic sense. For in this sense it takes something more than the man physical, more than the man intellectual, more, even, than the man moral, to be a man.

To be made in the image of God he must attain his spiritual majority, through his development of the consciousness of his spiritual nature. He must be soul as well as body; Eve as well as Adam; as on the physical, so on the spiritual plane, he requires the woman to make him man, and the mystic woman is his Soul. Prior to her advent, he is man materialistic and rudimentary merely, human in form only, and an animal in all else.

But she comes at length, manifested as alone the Soul can be, when his lower self is wrapped in deep slumber, and he awakes to find himself wholly man, in the image of God, male and female, in that he represents the two aspects, masculine and feminine, of Deity, the divine power and the divine love, and also the Seven Spirits through whom God creates all things. Thus constituted he is indeed Man, for he is a manifestation of God, by whose spirit, working within him, he has been created. And thus created has been and will be every man who ever lived or will live.” [Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, chapter Vegetarianism and the Bible, pp. 216-218; emphasis added)