I Am—a phrase, full of meaning. In the Bible, it’s God’s name. In spirituality, it’s the enlightenment humans possess and can access.
I Am, two short words with a long history of spirituality. Unfortunately, they also represent two opposing spiritual views. God’s way = Focused outward and above, Serpent’s way = Focused inward and below. I Am, a phrase, full of meaning. In the Bible, it’s God’s name. In spirituality, it is the hidden enlightenment in humans, attainable by awareness. Which way do you want to follow?
(Agony of Humankind and the Antidote chapter 3.4)
We’re discussing how the Serpent devours humankind, how it transforms myth into reality, and how it encourages unethical behavior. Today we’ll see how the Serpent promotes a supposed more profound spirituality, a counterfeit, deceptive, but oh so effective method to distance humankind from God.
In the Garden of Eden, the Serpent engages in a conversation with Eve. We know it is a deceitful creature, but It can and does state the truth. Even when it tells the truth, the consequences are disastrous. Genesis 3:5 is just such a statement. It probably reveals the most significant influence the Serpent wields over humankind. It is devastating.
For God (H430) does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods (H430), knowing (H3045) good and evil.
“You shall be as gods.” This is the identical Biblical Hebrew word used for the Almighty God (both are E/elohim). It is what the Serpent would have dust humans believe they are.
If you know anything about God, then I think you have an understanding of who God is. When you read Strong’s definitions that include, exceeding, great, judge, mighty, deity, superlative, I think we can begin to get a basic idea of His magnificence.
But, and here’s what the Serpent wanted Eve and ALL humans to understand. These attributes, exceeding, great, judge, mighty, deity, superlative, HUMANS COULD ALSO POSSESS THEM. It told Eve, “You will be AS gods.” There are no capital or small letters in Hebrews. Since God, the real God has a capital; the Serpent was telling her she (they) would be as God, with a capital “G.” “Eve and Adam, you will possess ALL the attributes of God for yourselves.” Talk about an enticement. If someone, very influential, told you, “YOU can be THE Leader of a nation, possessing fame and fortune,” how long would you resist? “You can have all your dreams come true.”
The Serpent appealed to her feeling better about herself, based on herself and her capacity. “You’ll be the boss and, of and by yourself, you’ll know intuitively exactly what you should do. The choice is yours, but if you trust yourself, your feelings and instincts, you’ll make the right decisions.” “You be the judge of what’s right for you. Don’t let others (God) determine your spiritual pathway.” “You’ll have as much know-how, understanding as your Creator because you’ll be like your Creator.” “Just take this potion (magic, drug, hallucinator, hidden grail, etc.), and you can acquire everything you need to decide for yourself.” Such talk is setting a human up to think they’re God.
Look at E/elohim, H430 in Strong, and then read the follow-up entries down to H532 and H193 and see where G/god leads us.
אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym el-o-heem’; plural of H433 (אֱלוֹהַּ); gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:
KJV – angels, ⨯ exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), ⨯ (very) great, judges, ⨯ mighty.
אֱלוֹהַּ ʼĕlôwahh el-o’-ah; rarely (shortened) אֱלֹהַּ; probably prolonged (emphatic) from H410 (אֵל); a deity or the Deity:
KJV – God, god. See H430 (אֱלֹהִים).
אֵל ʼêl ale; shortened from H352 (אַיִל); strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity):
KJV – God (god), ⨯ goodly, ⨯ great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in ‘-el.’
אַיִל ʼayil ah’-yil; from the same as H193 (אוּל); properly, strength; hence, anything strong; specifically a chief (politically); also a ram (from his strength); a pilaster (as a strong support); an oak or other strong tree:
KJV – mighty (man), lintel, oak, post, ram, tree.
אוּל ʼûwl ool; from an unused root meaning to twist, i.e. (by implication) be strong; the body (as being rolled together); also powerful:
KJV – mighty, strength.
I hope you noted where the Biblical Hebrew meanings of words lead us. From H430 to H193. From the real God Almighty to a ram, pillar, oak tree, and twisted. Through this one word, we receive the gamut of nuances of the original language of the Bible. A couple of the keys to master Biblical Hebrew come into play.
Key two is the contrasting, even opposing meanings of the same word. God the Mighty Judge and the contrary. Those false idols, rams, pillars, and oak trees used as central points of worship in myth and often religion. Read the linked articles for more details. The Serpent has TWISTED (H193) the Power of God into the power of self. Note that this twisted worship and religion is worldwide, not limited to Western countries but the Orient as well. The Serpent is the deceiver of nations, plural (Rev. 12:9).
Key five is Biblical Hebrew names have meaning. Elohim means All-Powerful and is used both for God and idols. You cannot see the relationship between God and a ram, pillar, or oak tree, in your native language. You cannot see how twisted the Serpent;’s deception is. Biblical Hebrew unlocks Bible meaning. As an aside, the root meaning of night (H6153, H6150, H6148) in Biblical Hebrew is inter-meddle or mingle. The words are different, but the principles are similar. In the dark of night, the truth, God, god, is twisted and inter-mingled. Is that a description of today’s religious scene?
Eve couldn’t resist this offer of independence from God, of a ticket to improve their status effortlessly. She and he both ate, and then something grandiose happened. They knew. What’s so awe-inspiring about knowing you’re asking. Well, let see what the Biblical Hebrew for know entails.
יָדַע yâdaʻ yaw-dah’; a primitive root; to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively, instruction, designation, punishment, etc.):
KJV – acknowledge, acquaintance(-ted with), advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, (un-) awares, can(-not), certainly, comprehend, consider, ⨯ could they, cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can have, be (ig-) norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have (knowledge), (be, make, make to be, make self) known, + be learned, + lie by man, mark, perceive, privy to, ⨯ prognosticator, regard, have respect, skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety, teach, (can) tell, understand, have (understanding), ⨯ will be, wist, wit, wot.
The Biblical Hebrew common word yada, H3045, tells a story (Key 7), one aspect of which is (be, make, make to be, make self) known. Humans discern, discover, perceive, all associated with know. They become aware as in awareness, the latest spiritual craze.
Knowing has its right side and its wrong side. Let’s first notice the good side.
Above ≠ Beneath, Outward ≠ Inward.
There is so much in the Bible that reveals WHERE we need to search to find knowledge and the right pathway to follow. Here are a couple of passages.
The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
God is ABOVE. God is OUTward. Yes, we have to search, but not inwardly, outwardly. We are in the image of God. Above and outwardly is the way to look for the One who created us.
13 And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt you say to the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
The Explanation expounded on the meaning and comprehension of this name of God. Please read this post to refresh your mind. In short, I AM means the Eternal, Ever-Living God. It is to Him alone that Moses looked. We are to do likewise. In verse Exodus 13:8 God says, “And I am come down to deliver them,” I AM came down from ABOVE. If we want to search for I AM, the direction is ABOVE and OUTSIDE of ourselves.
Humans have revoked God’s right to I AM
Humanity, in general, either thinks I AM is not Eternal, God is Dead, or has disappeared from the scene. He’s undoubtedly not ABOVE, or any place else. But the vast majority have turned to a god that is INward and beneath. In a lot of cases, they don’t realize it; all they see is spirituality. But, it is a self-made spirituality—communism, Eastern Mindfulness, Philosophy: stoicism to hedonism. Even psychology has resorted to looking at people’s souls and passed life for the solutions.
10 For you have trusted in your wickedness: you have said, None sees me. your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you; and you have said in your heart, I am, and none else beside me.
Please read the end of that verse twice. People believe that they are I AM. The attitude of “I am” is rampant in all walks of life. I am the highest intellectual entity. Look at me; I have the solution. The 21st century is the epitome of the rejection of God and the acceptance of human ingenuity.
Human Reasoning, it’s Results. Observation.
In Audit of Humankind, The Explanation discussed How Humans Reason at length. There are four main areas we shall elaborate on here. In all of them, humankind has set itself up as I AM. The Serpent has done its job exceedingly well.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
What an indictment of humankind. Instead of seeing the things that are made, the Creation, as coming from an OUTSIDE and ABOVE origin, we have become vain in OUR OWN imaginations. That’s humankind’s OBSERVATIONS. That’s the INWARD approach. We’ve come up with a myriad of theories that eliminate God from Creation and replaced Him with nothing produced something. Scholars believe consciousness and mind is a by-product of randomness. Incredible!
But it goes even further into the abyss. We have transformed the glory of God into the likes of corruptible MAN. Humans have set themselves up as gods, looking to themselves for solutions. Under the deceitful influence of the Serpent, humanity has managed to reject God and worship eagles (birds), rams, bulls (fourfooted beasts), and beetles (creeping things). And plenty of other trash.
Whereas the 1st Commandment says to love God ABOVE, the twisting of truth now does the exact opposite. It has turned humans to look to their own inward feelings and emotions of what they interpret as spirituality. That’s what the Serpent had the first man and woman do. It twisted the human mind from the belief “I AM GOD” to “i am god.”
Philosophy, Western Gnosticism
Gnosticism (Greek) and Eastern Religions both have the same starting point: INWARD. I AM. The ramifications of this practice are many. It is not the intention of The Explanation to study any of these disciplines. They are varied and deep and beyond the scope of this book. Suffice to give a few pointed quotes and direct you to further works should you desire to deepen your knowledge of the origin, foundation, and fundamental teachings. I think it is edifying to know what the END goal of these disciplines is. This understanding tends to cut through the gordian knot of all the intricacies that promoters will present to you.
Gnosis refers to knowledge based on personal experience or perception. In a religious context, gnosis is mystical or esoteric knowledge based on direct participation with the divine. In most Gnostic systems, the sufficient cause of salvation is this “knowledge of” or “acquaintance with” the divine. It is an inward “knowing.”
Divine elements “fall” into the material realm, and are locked within human beings. This divine element returns to the divine realm when Gnosis, esoteric or intuitive knowledge of the divine element within, is obtained.
This quote includes sufficient information to reveal that adherents count on personal experience, themselves, to come up with inward knowing. Enough said. This philosophy of life consists of the divine locked within human beings. That’s about as backward of Godly I AM as you can get.
The Explanation expanded this subject in Eastern Philosophy as part of the second way of reasoning. The description of the results of these practices is enlightening. Terms like no-more-learning, worthy one, especially perfectly self-enlightened. That last one is specifically INWARD and BENEATH.
Buddhahood is the state of an awakened being, who, having found the path of cessation of dukkha (“suffering”, as created by attachment to desires and distorted perception and thinking) is in the state of “No-more-Learning”.
Some Buddhists meditate on (or contemplate) the Buddha as having ten characteristics. These characteristics are frequently mentioned in the Pāli Canon as well as Mahayana teachings, and are chanted daily in many Buddhist monasteries:
- Thus gone, thus come (Skt: tathāgata)
- Worthy one (Skt: arhat)
- Perfectly self-enlightened (Skt: samyak-saṃbuddha)
- Perfected in knowledge and conduct (Skt: vidyā-caraṇa-saṃpanna)
- Well gone (Skt: sugata)
- Knower of the world (Skt: lokavida)
- Unsurpassed (Skt: anuttara)
- Leader of persons to be tamed (Skt: puruṣa-damya-sārathi)
- Teacher of the gods and humans (Skt: śāsta deva-manuṣyāṇaṃ)
- The Blessed One or fortunate one (Skt: bhagavat). The tenth epithet is sometimes listed as “The World Honored Enlightened One” (Skt. Buddha-Lokanatha) or “The Blessed Enlightened One” (Skt. Buddha-Bhagavan).Similarly, in the Anuradha Sutta (SN 44.2). Buddha is described as the Tathagata—the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment.
This approach is widespread in the West as a sort of secular spirituality. One of the most visible proponents is Eckhart Tolle. Here are a few quotes from his book, A New Earth. It points INward, human godliness.
… awaken humans … to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.
You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you.
… glimpses of that Truth within yourself.
This time I tried to feel rather than think the answer. And suddenly I could see my I Am-ness.
Ego arises when your sense of Beingness, of “I Am.” which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form.
Can I sense my essential Beingness, the I Am, in the background of my life at all times?
Incontrovertible Proof of Immortality. So, there is no such thing as “my life,” and I don’t have a life. I am life. I and life are one.
States of Being … they emanate from within you as the love, joy, and race that are aspects of your true nature.
The capitalization on Truth and I Am are direct from Tolle’s book. That’s the importance he gives it.
Here’s another quote,
The Truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you are the Truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time. The very Being that you are is Truth.
I have separated this quote because Tolle follows it up with this,
“Jesus tried to convey that when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” These words uttered by Jesus are one of the most powerful and direct pointers to the Truth, if understood correctly. If misinterpreted, however, they become a great obstacle. Jesus speaks of the innermost I Am, the essence identity of every man and woman, every life-form, in fact. he speak of the life that your are.
In the context of the Serpent, turning darkness into light, I hope you see what is going on with this twisting of scripture. The Serpent said, “you will be as god (Elohim),” Tolle is saying, “you are I Am, Truth, Life.” Understand, the ONLY Truth, the ONLY Life, the ONLY I AM is Jesus Christ. Tolle is focused INward, into the human. The Bible is focused OUTward toward I AM. Tolle is saying the essence, the innermost within, of every man and woman is I Am. Whereas the Bible says, Christ is the only I Am. The two teachings are incompatible. It’s your choice.
We could go on for a long time about scientists who have vehemently rejected God from any equations to do with the existence of the Universe and Humankind. Many are quite outspoken on this subject. They occupy all the I AM space.
Let’s talk about psychology, and in particular, Carl Jung. Again, I’ll refer you to the experts. Below are some quotes from a well-frequented website about developing spirituality and relating to both Buddhism and psychology.
Warning: The Explanation is NOT promoting these websites or ANY of these practices. It is SOLELY for INFORMATION, so you realize the BASIS of these disciplines.
Spiritual awakening, then, is an awakening of a dimension of reality beyond the confines of the ego. The ego is our exclusive sense of self or “I.”
This awakening occurs when, for whatever reason, the ego somehow let’s go so that a Higher Self or Spirit can arise within.
As the process of spiritual awakening unfolds, the ego begins to sublimate to the Spirit. In the language of Taoism, the lower soul gets refined into the higher soul.
Arriving at this Spirit, or psychic wholeness, was the goal of Jung’s individuation process.
The first portion of life is mainly external as we seek to meet our basic needs.
From Jung’s outlook, the second part of life can represent a turning inward toward a deeper part of ourselves.
This inward turn starts the individuation process.
Spiritual awakening implies the return of what the Taoists call the Original Spirit, or what Jung called the Self. And it’s this return of Spirit that makes us truly human.
The above website includes this video of a disturbed young man. It is a prime example of INWARD looking, controlled by one’s feelings and emotions. Jordan Peterson recognizes that it’s a daunting experience, one that The Explanations recommends you STAY AWAY from, by a long distance. Also, notice the kind of music this person is listening to, one of the musical groups he mentions has a Hare Krishna background and fuses hardcore punk with trash metal. As he admits, it evokes powerful emotions. I referred to this activity in the post about (UN)ethical behavior. For your own sound mind, stay clear of such practices.
People are searching for spirituality WITHIN when I AM is ABOVE and OUTSIDE of the human mind.
Religion – Jewish Wisdom – secretive
We discussed some religious practices in the post about Myths. Below is a quote regarding Kabbalah, a Jewish practice. It’s their explanation of the events of the deceptive Serpent in the Garden of Eden. Note how this practice, as with so many others, believes that it has the tools to straighten out the sad situation of the world. It’s an INWARD approach, not an UPWARD, OUTWARD one that looks to God.
The serpent succeeded through being deceptive (Gen. 3:1) or as the Zohar (Zohar I:36a) puts it, “all its words were false” – where his true intentions were concealed. He was only able to succeed because he also had a certain G‑dly energy and influence – and was therefore, “wiser than all other creatures.” The serpent – had it been ignored or defeated – could have become a powerful force of holiness in the world. Since Adam and Eve failed the test, it is up to the subsequent generations to achieve this rectification.
There is a level of “deception” which is called “concealed chochma“. (“Vayomer Lo Elokim,” Vayishlach, 5694. Likutei Sichot 1:55-56. See also Zohar III:144a.) It is called “deception,” because the world cannot determine its true nature, but it is ultimately the tool which we use to undo the damage caused by the serpent.
Since the epic struggle to combat darkness draws from this “concealed chochma,” it often comes in a manner which seems foreign to us. A superficial glance will only see that the cover of the jar is being twisted; it takes Kabbalah to reveal to us how it’s being twisted in precisely the opposite direction.
What you believe is entirely up to you. The Explanation exists to point out what the Bible says about I AM. Whether it is IN US as some sort of hidden spirituality that we humans must learn to access using various tools. Or whether I AM is God ABOVE. Jesus answered that question to a group that was dubious about His origin.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Then said the Jews to him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?
Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Jesus revealed His Identity, His Name, His Godliness. He is the One who met Moses (Ex. 3:14). We can’t see it in English, but I AM (אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה) is directly integrated with YHVH (יְהֹוָה). Both use the same verb root and reflect God’s Eternity. I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE. Read this post for details about the meaning of YHVH. That is God ABOVE.
Real MindFULness is Filling your Mind with God.
When God confronted the first man and woman, they didn’t realize their wrong-doing. They decided to hide, to get away from the authority, rather than analyzing self, understanding, “I’ve made a mistake,” and looking for help.
That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
We are to be mindFUL of the Words of I AM. That’s proper mindfulness, filling our minds with God’s Word and His thoughts.
Do you remember the story of Job? At the height of his trial, he was looking inwardly at his righteousness, instead of outwardly and above to God. God had to REFOCUS Job’s attention. Everything in God’s plan is to REfocus the human mind. His plan still has a long way to go; that’s what the story of humankind is all about. For the time being, humans think they’ve got it all. They are the ultimate I AM. Their righteousness in their own eyes, their self is still in the forefront.
Wisdom from Above is real Peace
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Human reasoning, observation, philosophy, science, and religion are “I AM FOCUSED ON MY WISDOM.” God says that wisdom is from below; it is earthly and devilish. It will not lead you where you want to go, to the contrary. God’s wisdom from ABOVE is to be the focus of our minds; this is real mindfulness. God’s Word should be our meditation.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 3.4 of the book Agony of Humankind and the Antidote.
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