THEOSOPHY, Vol. 64, No. 12, October, 1976
(Pages 361-364; Size: 12K)

GOOD AND EVIL(1)

ARCHAIC philosophy, recognizing neither Good nor Evil as a fundamental or independent power, but starting from the Absolute ALL (Universal Perfection eternally), traced both through the course of natural evolution to pure Light condensing gradually into form, hence becoming Matter or Evil. It was left with the early and ignorant Christian fathers to degrade the philosophical and highly scientific emblem (the Dragon) into the absurd superstition called the "Devil." They took it from the later Zoroastrians, who saw devils or the Evil in the Hindu Devas, and the word Evil thus became by a double transmutation D'Evil in every tongue (Diabolos, Diable, Diavolo, Teufel).

There is no Devil, no Evil, outside mankind to produce a Devil. Evil is a necessity in, and one of the supporters of the manifested universe. It is a necessity for progress and evolution, as night is necessary for the production of Day, and Death for that of Life -- that man may live for ever.

Satan represents metaphysically simply the reverse or the polar opposite of everything in nature. He is the "adversary," allegorically, the "murderer," and the great Enemy of all, because there is nothing in the whole universe that has not two sides -- the reverses of the same medal. But in that case, light, goodness, beauty, etc., may be called Satan with as much propriety as the Devil, since they are the adversaries of darkness, badness, and ugliness.

When the Church, therefore, curses Satan, it curses the cosmic reflection of God; it anathematizes God made manifest in matter or in the objective; it maledicts God, or the ever-incomprehensible WISDOM, revealing itself as Light and Shadow, good and evil in nature, in the only manner comprehensible to the limited intellect of MAN.

This is the true philosophical and metaphysical interpretation of Samael, or Satan, the adversary in the Kabala; the same tenets and spirit being found in the allegorical interpretations of every other ancient religion. This philosophical view does not interfere, however, with the historical records connected with it. We say "historical," because allegory and a mythical ornamentation around the kernel of tradition, in no wise prevent that kernel being a record of real events. Thus, the Kabala, repeating the time-honoured revelations of the once universal history of our globe and the evolution of its races, has presented it under the legendary form of the various records which have formed the Bible. Its historical foundation is now offered, in however imperfect a form, on these pages from the Secret Doctrine of the East; and thus the allegorical and symbolical meaning of the Serpent of Genesis is found explained by the "Sons of Wisdom" (or angels from higher spheres, though all and each pertain to the kingdom of Satan, or Matter) revealing to men the mysteries of Heaven. Hence, also, all the so-called myths of the Hindu, Grecian, Chaldean, and Jewish Pantheons are found to be built on fact and truth. The giants of Genesis are the historical Atlanteans of Lanka, and the Greek Titans.

In their turn the Rosicrucians, who were well acquainted with the secret meaning of the tradition, kept it to themselves, teaching merely that the whole of creation was due to, and the result of, that legendary "War in Heaven" brought on by the rebellion of the angels against creative law, or the Demiurge. The statement is correct, but the inner meaning is to this day a mystery. To elude further explanation of the difficulty by appealing to divine mystery, or to the sin of prying into its policy -- is to say nothing at all. It may prove sufficient to believers in the Pope's infallibility, but will hardly satisfy the philosophical mind. Yet the truth, although known to most of the higher Kabalists, has never been told by any of their number. One and all, Kabalists and symbologists, showed an extraordinary reluctance to confess the primitive meaning of the Fall of the Angels. In a Christian such silence is only natural. Neither alchemist nor philosopher could, during the Mediæval Ages, utter that which in the sight of orthodox theology was a terrible blasphemy, for it would have led them directly through the "Holy" office of the Inquisition, to stake and rack.

The "Rebels" would not create will-less irresponsible men, as the "obedient" angels did; nor could they endow human beings with only the temporary reflections of their own attributes; for even the latter, belonging to another and a so-much higher plane of consciousness, would leave man still irresponsible, hence interfere with any possibility of a higher progress. No spiritual and psychic evolution is possible on earth -- the lowest and most material plane -- for one who on that plane, at all events, is inherently perfect and cannot accumulate either merit or demerit. Man remaining the pale shadow of the inert, immutable, and motionless perfection, the one negative and passive attribute of the real I am that I am, would have been doomed to pass through life on earth as in a heavy dreamless sleep; hence a failure on this plane. The Beings, or the Being, collectively called Elohim, who first (if ever) pronounced the cruel words, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever ..." must have been indeed the Ilda-baoth, the Demiurge of the Nazarenes, filled with rage and envy against his own creature, whose reflection created Ophiomorphos. In this case it is but natural -- even from the dead letter standpoint -- to view Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the Father of Spiritual mankind. For it is he who was the first to whisper: "in the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil" -- [and he] can only be regarded in the light of a Saviour.

Furthermore, the "War in Heaven" is shown, in one of its significations, to have meant and referred to those terrible struggles in store for the candidate for adeptship, between himself and his (by magic) personified human passions, when the inner enlightened man had to either slay them or fail. In the former case he became the "Dragon-Slayer," as having happily overcome all the temptations; and a "Son of the Serpent" and a Serpent himself, having cast off his old skin and being born in a new body, becoming a Son of Wisdom and immortality in Eternity.

In its final revelation, the old myth of Prometheus -- his proto- and anti-types being found in every ancient theogony -- stands in each of them at the very origin of physical evil, because at the threshold of human physical life. KRONOS is "Time," whose first law is that the order of the successive and harmonious phases in the process of evolution during cyclic development should be strictly preserved -- under the severe penalty of abnormal growth with all its ensuing results. It was not in the programme of natural development that man -- higher animal though he may be -- should become at once -- intellectually, spiritually, and psychically -- the demi-god he is on earth, while his physical frame remains weaker and more helpless and ephemeral than that of almost any huge mammal. The contrast is too grotesque and violent; the tabernacle much too unworthy of its indwelling god. The gift of Prometheus thus became a CURSE -- though foreknown and foreseen by the HOST personified in that personage, as his name well shows. It is in this that rests, at one and the same time, its sin and its redemption. For the Host that incarnated in a portion of humanity, though led to it by Karma or Nemesis, preferred freewill to passive slavery, intellectual self-conscious pain and even torture -- "while myriad time shall flow" -- to inane, imbecile, instinctual beatitude. Knowing such an incarnation was premature and not in the program of nature, the heavenly host, "Prometheus," still sacrificed itself to benefit thereby, at least, one portion of mankind. But while saving man from mental darkness, they inflicted upon him the tortures of the self-consciousness of his responsibility -- the result of his free will -- besides every ill to which mortal man and flesh are heir to. This torture Prometheus accepted for himself, since the Host became henceforward blended with the tabernacle prepared for them, which was still unachieved at that period of formation.

Spiritual evolution being incapable of keeping pace with the physical, once its homogeneity was broken by the admixture, the gift thus became the chief cause, if not the sole origin of Evil.

Perfection, to be fully such, must be born out of imperfection, the incorruptible must grow out of the corruptible, having the latter as its vehicle and basis and contrast. Absolute light is absolute darkness, and vice versa. In fact, there is neither light nor darkness in the realms of truth. Good and Evil are twins, the progeny of Space and Time, under the sway of Maya. Neither exists per se, since each has to be generated and created out of the other, in order to come into being; both must be known and appreciated before becoming objects of perception, hence, in mortal mind, they must be divided.

Shadow is that which enables light to manifest itself, and gives it objective reality. Therefore, shadow is not evil, but is the necessary and indispensable corollary which completes Light or Good: it is its creator on Earth.

According to the views of the Gnostics, these two principles are immutable Light and Shadow, Good and Evil being virtually one and having existed through all eternity, as they will ever continue to exist so long as there are manifested worlds.


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(1) NOTE.--A collation from The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky.
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