Universe and Man

Rev. J. Frederick Sanders
Eternity had no beginning as it has no end, and God was alone in eternity.
God dwelt within Himself, and apart from His Life there was no life.
In His aloneness God took counsel with Himself: with His own attributes took He counsel,
And among His attributes are Love, Intelligence, Will, Imagination, Power, and Mind;
And Love said, Let us create heaven and earth, and magnify the Lord our God. And it was so.
It came to pass that Intelligence beheld in Imagination a vision of heaven and earth; Mind cherished the vision, and Will decreed that Spirit should lower its vibrations and bring the same into existence.
Heaven and earth took form and shape, marvelous in beauty, charged with the Spirit of God; perfect as God is perfect. And God saw in the perfection of creation a reflection of Himself, and was well-pleased.
And Love said, Let us create man to inherit the earth; let us make him in the image of God, gifted with all the powers of God, and let dominion be in his hands. And it was so.
Man came forth from God into existence. God came forth from eternity, dwelling in man, filling existence with His presence.
And all things whatever God created, He created out of His own substance; therefore whatever He created is eternal. In creating man God made for Himself a temple wherein to dwell, but man knew it not.

Throughout all ages the heart of humanity has vibrated to the feeling that God and man are related, that the key to the mystery of life lies in this relationship; yet the racial mind has been, and still is, obsessed by the idea that man is a self-contained human being, adrift on the sea of life, entirely separated from God whom he regards as incomprehensible. Verily, "the heart has knowledge the mind knows nothing of."

Shades of anthropomorphism are responsible for this confusion of thought. According to Genesis:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him. Male and female created he them.

If God were an anthropomorphic Deity who created man in His own image, man would indeed be an independent unit of life with no innate consciousness of God, and with no ability to comprehend God.

If, however, the God who created man in His own image is the Universal Spirit, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and infinite, man must of necessity be a projection of God's own nature, an individualization of the Universal Spirit. Intellectually, man may have grasped the idea that the Universal God exists in the human individual; not yet, however, has he realized that God centered in man is the individualizing principle of life.

St. Augustine gave to the world this jewel of thought, "The nature of God is a circle whose center is everywhere and its circumference nowhere." A glance at Nature confirms his suggestion. God cannot dissociate Himself from His creations. That which He creates He sustains, and that which He sustains He indwells. His trail across the fields of time is not a mere memory, but a highway thronged with the angels of His presence. He dwells in the cosmos as the law of gravitation, in the heart of a flower as the principle of beauty, in the heart of Nature as the principle of evolution. Each of the trillions of cells in the human body is a temple of His intelligence. What more reasonable than that God should make His home in the soul of man, with all His inexhaustible resources from which the soul may draw?

To lift God out of anything would make a no-thing. All things, soul and body, land, sea, and sky, sun and star are related to one another, patterned in unity and design. The microscopic atom is a replica of the solar system. The microcosm we call man mirrors in every respect the macrocosm we call the universe. As all the chemical elements of the universe are represented in man's physical body, so all the attributes of God are individualized in man's spiritual nature.

What man is on the individual scale, God is on the universal scale. Whatever qualities inhere in man's spiritual nature are in the similitude of God's attributes. Therefore nothing in God is alien to man, and nothing in man — the potentially spiritual being — is alien to God. By its shadow the mountain is measured, and by His image in man God may be apprehended. By exploring the spiritual reaches of his own nature, man gains an insight into the Divine Nature, while all his knowledge gained of the Divine Nature increases his knowledge of himself. Likewise, since the attributes of both God and man are similar in kind, although not in degree, the method by which man initiates any creative work is suggestive of the method employed by God in His work of creation.

The story in Genesis implies that God was alone with His attributes; also that there was no substance wherewith to create the universe apart from the nature of God. Therefore the cosmos was created either out of God's own substance or out of nothing. One can conceive of something, but it is impossible to conceive of nothing. Ex nihilo nihil fit: "From nothing, nothing comes." Our own alternative, then, is to accept the idea that the universe is spiritual in essence, as in origin, made of the Spirit-substance of God.

Intelligence, being an attribute of God, is a spiritual quality; and Spirit, being universal, permeated the entire cosmos with intelligence. Intelligence is plowed into Nature; it is the life of Nature. Were it withdrawn the whole fabric of creation would dissolve like a bubble. Lord Kelvin used to say, "The universe is the product of a Thinker, thinking mathematically." With equal truth it might be said that the universe is a palace wherein its Creator resides.

Since Intelligence operates on the cosmic scale, one can merely give a hint of its vast activities. Cosmic Intelligence supplies the soil with beauty and fragrance to the rose; it creates burls on the sequoia to heal their wounds; it so guides the planets in their orbits that the position each planet will occupy a thousand years hence may be determined with mathematical accuracy.

Man is rightly proud of the intelligence he exercises. His success in scientific achievements confirms the Bible legend that man was entrusted with dominion over Nature. Humility, however, should be his talisman, for there is more intelligence in his little finger than in his mind. Consider what happens when a sliver gets into it. With lightning speed news of the injury is flashed to the brain. The man has sufficient intelligence to remove the sliver, and that is all he can do. Fortunately for him, Cosmic Intelligence alerts his entire body to control the situation. It sends a guard of white corpuscles to surround the wound and eat up any bacteria invading it. It then builds new cells to replace those destroyed by the sliver.

As with the hurt finger so with a broken leg. A surgeon sets the broken ends of bone in apposition, and supports the bone with a splint; then Cosmic Intelligence takes control. It is Cosmic Intelligence which draws blood to the injury so that swelling takes place. It is Cosmic Intelligence which causes the influx of blood to carry nutritive material to the spot. It is Cosmic Intelligence which transmutes the torn muscle fiber into cartilage. It is Cosmic Intelligence which builds new cells, wherewith the broken ends of bone are welded together, making the bone in a few weeks stronger than before.

The Cosmic Intelligence displayed in healing and sustaining man's physical body, in building new cells, manufacturing fluids, hormones, and enzymes, hour after hour, far outweighs the intelligence that filters through the human brain. A bear when roused from hibernation is guided by Cosmic Intelligence to a tree whose bark — a potent purgative — the bear proceeds to eat, thereby cleansing his intestines, and restoring his digestive organs to high gear. If man were not to interfere with the Cosmic Intelligence, it would sustain his physical body in perfect health; whereas, believing in the supremacy of his own, he extracts from his food its natural goodness, and eats its toxic residue.

Cosmic Intelligence, the Servant of Divine Mind, permeates the entire universe with life and consciousness; it clothes the earth with beauty; it generates in the atom immeasurable power, and so preserves the same that not an ion of energy on this planet is lost. It supports the truth implied in the Bible saga that "matter" is permeated by Mind, and not merely the complementary opposite of Mind; that that which we call physical is spiritual in essence and in reality.

Since man is in the small what the cosmos is in the large, the Law of Unity is the law of his nature. Only in a relative sense are there "many men, many minds." "My mind to me a kingdom is," is an aphorism Sir Edward Dyer is credited with coining, but his kingdom was far from being an absolute sovereignty. The mind of man belongs not to himself. Far greater than his finite self, it is a gateway to infinity. Passing human comprehension, the mind of man is an individualized expression of the Universal Mind of God.

(From Sunrise magazine, September 1952; copyright © 1952 Theosophical University Press)

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