A Supposition on the Garden of Eden
Revised: October 2019
For over a century and into current times astrophysicists and the scientific community have concluded our physical universe to have been birthed from a single blast at some pivotal center in limitless space. The Big Bang. Authorities searched in vain for that single source point, until recently. With revelations from Hubble and Kepler Space Telescopes and similar instruments discovering no end to that expanding space, let alone its center, they're acquiescing to reconsider otherwise.
According to all current observations, there is no ‘center’ to the universe. No matter how we try to define and identify it, the universe has no center. The universe is infinite and non-rotating. Averaged over the universal scale, the universe is uniform.1
On the other hand Science seems to be on the brink of discovering a particle almost divine in its essence.
Religion, too, is suffering disappointment and defeat from devoted flocks disillusioned by vacant promises of some vague paradise to come. Even the Vatican has its own mountain observatory on the off-chance that science might actually find something out there contrary to obsolete dogma. It would appear, after a long, secret, tumultuous flirtation and rocky courtship, that Science and Religion might be on the verge of an engagement with marriage in mind.
There has been a third party overseeing all these events. Spirit has been tugging the strings behind Veils Absolute for Science and Religion unbeknownst to both from the no-beginning into the never ending forever. Spirit has given us the hows and wherewithals since the very beginning in the form of encrypted writings which Science and Religion have taken to be literal.
Over millennia down here on planet earth Science, in the guise of professional archaeologists, and Religion with Biblical archaeologists, coupled with university interests, social, ethnic and even private factions have been trying to prove that human beings were created from a single event at some pivotal location on the surface of a globe spiraling in limitless space. Expeditions have trampled the Mesopotamian region endeavoring to uncover the actual, physical locale of this pivotal plat, the Garden of Eden, as described literally in the Book of Genesis. Since two of the four rivers mentioned in Genesis are the Tigris and the Euphrates, most, if not all explorations have been concentrated within or approximate to geography around today's Iraq. I'm convinced, however, that seekers of The Garden, as with the Big Bang, must eventually acquiesce otherwise.
There is little to build upon historically since all descriptions of The Garden come from a single source, The Judaeo-Christian Bible. All the explorations and excavations have been based upon descriptions from the literal modern translations from the early Hebrew, Aramaic, The Septuagint, and The Latin Vulgate versions of the Old Testament. I submit that this approach is the initial error. For one, literal translations world over appear to vary vastly from each other. Regardless the versions through the centuries, an actual site remains elusive even after some explorers have claimed its true location to have been discovered already, and in different locations! Then, conclusions from other searchers are that the terrain has been so radically altered by the elements over time (and Noah's flood, Oy vey!) that nothing but two of the four rivers remain.
What follows is a very different investigation and excavation. A supposition, actually, based on the premise that there never really was the intention to describe an actual physical locale for The Garden. This, too, is not very novel speculation. Several authors have surmised the Eden story as mystical and mythical, even borrowed from other, earlier mythologies in the region, perhaps Sumerian or Akkadian. I will endeavor to show that the description of The Garden was singularly allegorical; that concealed within the very Hebrew letters, and between the lines in the Old Testament, lay a message as important and relevant today as it was when first scribed by the ancient sage, whoever he was. Scholars even contest the original author being singular. Various investigators also differ with dating when and where the story was composed. I hope to show that all speculation surrounding its original author(s), dates of composition and location are basically irrelevant to the hidden message since the early readers and later translators were incapable of deciphering or even recognizing the esoteric messages and their methods of concealment.
Or, perhaps some early religious scholars did know the secrets hidden within the original manuscripts, and deliberately kept them secret so as not to shake the foundations of controlling churchianity.
Speculations aside, this will be a Qabalistic investigation. Qabalah, קבלה, QBLH, basically means 'reception, acceptance.' Its root is from קבל, kibayl, a verb with nuances meaning: ‘to receive, to get; to win, to be awarded; to develop, to have; to welcome, to accept’. A student of Qabalah is a Qabalist, one who strives ‘to receive and accept’. What one receives through persistent and diligent study and practice is insight and intuitive awareness from an Inner Source concerning something secreted behind what is presented overtly, and in the case of sacred writings, behind what had been actually written literally. That Inner Source is Light, principally.
There are four approaches or levels to Qabalah: the Hidden Qabalah, the Dogmatic Qabalah, the Practical Qabalah, and the Literal Qabalah. Elsewhere in this site is a generalized explanation of these Four Faces of Qabalah. Presented here will be an analysis by Literal Qabalah. Literal Qabalah must not be misunderstood as interpreting Hebrew words at surface value per se. The argument against literal word-for-word transliterations is the basis of this supposition. So a Literal Qabalist utilizes entirely different methods with special tools to look behind and beyond the apparent surface meanings of words. By dissecting letters, words and phrases of the original languages, other ideas may surface to conscious awareness revealing hidden and arcane principles that one can only equate with the concept of Ageless Wisdom. Long before there was a story of a Garden, long before our physical world even, there is Ageless Wisdom. The tools of a Literal Qabalist are many and varied. A partial list includes: gematria, temurah, notariqon and the Magical Language. There are additional methods not included, but since I will not be using them in this investigation I decline to elaborate upon them here.
Gematria: History has demonstrated that the earliest communications between evolving civilizations originated with numbers. Later, when writing developed after numbers, the ideas of number and counting were then incorporated within the letters of ancient alphabets. Those numbers remain still within the letter glyphs of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin alphabets. Key words, phrases or sentences in any of the three languages can be reduced to numbers by the summation of their letters. Moreover, different phrases from any of the three languages or different words and phrases in the same script may reveal hidden correspondences with each other by virtue of their mutual numerical value. When the ancient wise men saw a word, they also perceived a number; with eying a number, a word-image surfaced. It was most natural to those minds to use the two interchangeably. This was not common practice in western mental techniques. Western minds must alter their natural processes to learn this unique approach to understanding nuances. This method of concealing deeper correspondences within otherwise unintelligible words and phrases written in esoteric literature is called Gematria. This was done deliberately in many sacred writings, and it was done in the Bible.
For example, within the word קבלה, Qabalah, the number 137 presents itself by virtue of the summation of the numbers behind each letter. This could then be compared with a Latin phrase, Spiritus Dei, the 'Spirit of God', in that the total sum of the letters within this phrase also totals to 137 by the Latin Cabala Simplex. The Spirit of God may certainly define Qabalah in one sense, but the implication also suggests that one very possible result from the study and use of Qabalah may lead a practitioner to receive or be rewarded with that Spirit of the Divine personally.
“ὅσοι γὰρ Πνεύματι Θεοῦ ἄγονται, οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν Θεοῦ.”
“Hosoi gar Pneumati Theou agontai, houtoi huioi eisin Theou.”
“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” - St. Paul, Romans 8:14
The letters with their numbers in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets can be found on this site, Appendix A (Go to bottom of this page, click Back to Index, then click on Appendix A). A table can also be found in Paul Foster Case's True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order. Click on "Bibliography" in the above horizontal menu for publisher details.
Temurah: A second method for mining bits of hidden information from sacred writings is called Temurah. This is slightly more involved in that there are varied sub-forms of this tool. The most common form used consistently in this paper is called את-בש, Atbash. Look at the two rows of Hebrew letters below. The red letters are to be read from the right and downward, את and בש, At-bash. This method replaces the first letter with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the second with the next-to-last, and so on: א with ת, and ב with ש, and ג with ר, etc. The practitioner would write out the entire alphabet from left-to-right or vice versa. Just below it a second line of the same alphabet is lined up in a reverse of the top line. Or, one could simply break the line of the alphabet in half to achieve the same result, thus:
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ
ת ש ר ק צ פ ע ס נ מ ל
In this manner any letter, word or phrase, even an entire sentence in extreme cases, spelled with letters taken from the either row of letters are then exchanged with the letters directly opposite in either row. This changes the number of the original word. The new number acquired is then compared with words or phrases of the same numerical value by gematria again which, in turn, renders additional ideas and imagery surrounding the original word or phrase under scrutiny. The exchanged letters do not always spell out a sensible second word. That does not matter. It is the number derived from the second set of letters that is of import. It is that new number which is compared with words or phrases of equal value. For example, the four letter tetragramaton, YHVH, יהוח, represents the letters in the name God gave for Himself when Moses inquired of Him. Transposing these letters by temurah renders MTzPhTz, מצפצ, a word not in Hebrew dictionaries, past or present. Then, to discover secreted inferences around the unspoken name of God we must revert to gematria. The letters M Tz Ph Tz sum to 300 in the Hebrew. One such example among many totaling 300 appears as יצר, yawtzar, 'formation, to form'. This suggests the spoken name of God, that is sound, is instrumental in the formation of light into substance. Another phrase, רוח אלהים, Ruach Elohim, 'The Spirit of God,' also totals 300. This reveals two methods referencing the “Spirit of God”. But it is not enough to merely transpose letters and numbers into other words. One must ponder, meditate and 'receive' a certain inspiration secreted behind the new image implied by the new number or word. That comes from the Hidden Qabalah after long practice.
Notariqon: The name of the third form is derived from the Latin word notarius meaning “shorthand writer.” This Qabalistic tool analyzes and constructs Hebrew words and phrases by the use of acronyms. It is difficult to discover in sacred manuscripts unless one is familiar with the acronym to begin with. When it is used it is done so by persons familiar with an acronym to convey a point to another person already aware of its meaning. It also, like with temurah, has sub-forms. However, it is most commonly constructed by taking the first letter of each word in a phrase or sentence and forming another word from these letters. The most common example seen in texts is AGLA, formed from the first letters of each word in Ateh Gebur Leolam Adonai, 'Thine is the Power of Ages, Adonai.' Notariqon can also be as simple as two letters. Ad, עד, meaning 'eternal, eternity', is a two-letter short form for על דברי, al deberi, 'the words', inferring that Holy Scripture and related sacred writings are timeless. It is difficult enough to discover when the acronym appears in English, but in Hebrew it is well nigh impossible to discern even to one familiar with the language. And again, it is ideas which may surface from behind the new words derived from the tools of the Literal Qabalist.
The Magical Language: The three technical tools defined above are all expressions of the Magical Language. It is considered magical in the sense that after considerable practice it leads directly to the Hidden Qabalah. Some other tools not defined here are: Theosophical Extension, Theosophical Reduction, Theosophical Articulation, the Qabalah of Nine Chambers, and the sub-forms of those three described previously. I will not elaborate on these tools here because they are not used in this supposition. They would only serve to add tedium for a beginner in Literal Qabalah by taking up much space with defining and explaining. Suffice to say they all have numbers at their root derived from letters for the sole purpose of gathering imagery and ideas. Numbers behind letters serve by building pictures and symbols, which when gathered together evoke thought. All this is not numerology. That is something else entirely and not relevant to Qabalah. The Magical Language, therefore, is the Universal Subconscious Language of Pictorial Symbolism. It is not enough to just read esoteric, sacred writings or Dogmatic Qabalah, regardless which language. It is not enough merely to read sacred writings in the original Hebrew, Greek or Latin, since it is the numbers within these alphabets that lead us to ideas and imagery hidden within the scripted words. Words alone do not, because they cannot, explain the inexplicable. Pictorial symbolism, the real Magical Language, is the language of the fourth dimension and there are no words for the fourth dimension. We must try to learn the language of, and the interpretation of, symbols. The tools above only serve to point a direction for Spiritus Dei to fill in the 'blanks' through one's intuition. It is the only method by which we might approach The Hidden Qabalah, which is the ultimate goal for studying any Qabalah in the first place. Chapter 1, paragraph 1 of the Sepher Yetzirah teaches plainly: “He created His Universe by the three forms of expression: Numbers, Letters, and Words (Sounds).”
Finally, a word of caution might be warranted here for beginning practitioners working with any of the above tools. Comparing number values of a word or phrase with any other arbitrary words or phrases of equal value arbitrarily will not always add relevant ideas and imagery to the initial word under investigation. Discrimination and Reason must be invoked here. And this takes practice. Spiritus Dei within us sees with the mind's eye which of the other words are most apropos to the problem at hand.
Persistent study of Qabalah with supplemental studies in esoterica from other schools of the spirit, Eastern or Western, and especially meditation, eventually evolve our intuitive sense toward perception and understanding. Genuine esoteric writings address the Higher Intellect, not our common intellectual apparatus used to read and understand these words. The Hindu Bhagavad Gita, especially Chapter 14 - The Three Modes of Material Nature, or the writings of the German mystic Jacob Boehme, for examples, are immensely insightful toward Alchemical studies from the East or West. Alchemy, Astrology, the Tarot, and Qabalah unlock each others' secrets. Difficult passages from one may be clarified by one of the others. There are no short cuts.
For this supposition I am working from The Interlinear NIV (New International Version) Hebrew – English Old Testament, published in 1987 by The Zondervan Corporation, with the English translation by John R. Kohlenberger III. I have maintained spaces between words but left off the vowel points to the letters for expediency.2 Hebrew is read from the right towards the left. Seven verses from the second chapter of Genesis are all we have for description concerning the Garden of Eden.
And so we begin...
1 Science Questions with Surprising Answers on “Where is the Center of the Universe?” Published: 17 September 2013. Answers provided by Dr. Christopher S. Baird. Internet.
2 Early written Hebrew/Chaldea had no spaces between words. And it was entirely a consonantal alphabet. The spoken vowel sounds were sounded from an oral tradition by memory from long term use. Some time between 550-650 AD a group of scribes called the Masoretes added vowel points above, below, and within some letters to indicate how written texts were to be sounded. The Old Testament with the added vowel points was subsequently called the Masoretic Text.