OUR present quarrel is exclusively with theology. The Church enforces belief in a personal god and a personal devil, while Occultism shows the fallacy of such a belief. And though for the Pantheists and Occultists, as much as for the Pessimists, Nature is no better than "a comely mother, but stone cold" – this is true only so far as regards external physical nature. They both agree that, to the superficial observer, she is no better than an immense slaughter-house wherein butchers become victims, and victims executioners in their turn. It is quite natural that the pessimistically inclined profane, once convinced of Nature's numerous shortcomings and failures, and especially of her autophagous propensities, should imagine this to be the best evidence that there is no deity in abscondito within Nature, nor anything divine in her. Nor is it less natural that the materialist and the physicist should imagine that everything is due to blind force and chance, and to the survival of the strongest, even more often than of the fittest. But the Occultists, who regard physical nature as a bundle of most varied illusions on the plane of deceptive perceptions; who recognise in every pain and suffering but the necessary pangs of incessant procreation: a series of stages toward an ever-growing perfectibility, which is visible in the silent influence of never-erring Karma, or abstract nature – the Occultists, we say, view the great Mother otherwise. Woe to those who live without suffering. Stagnation and death is the future of all that vegetates without a change. And how can there be any change for the better without proportionate suffering during the preceding stage? Is it not those only who have learnt the deceptive value of earthly hopes and the illusive allurements of external nature who are destined to solve the great problems of life, pain, and death?
If our modern philosophers – preceded by the mediæval scholars – have helped themselves to more than one fundamental idea of antiquity, theologians have built their God and his Archangels, their Satan and his Angels, along with the Logos and his staff, entirely out of the dramatis personæ of the old heathen Pantheons. They would have been welcome to these, had they not cunningly distorted the original characters, perverted the philosophical meaning, and taking advantage of the ignorance of Christendom – the result of long ages of mental sleep, during which humanity was permitted to think only by proxy – tossed every symbol into the most inextricable confusion. One of their most sinful achievements in this direction was the transformation of the divine alter ego into the grotesque Satan of their theology.
As the whole philosophy of the problem of evil hangs upon the correct comprehension of the constitution of the inner being of nature and man, of the divine within the animal, and hence also the correctness of the whole system as given in these pages, with regard to the crown piece of evolution – MAN – we cannot take sufficient precautions against theological subterfuges. When the good St. Augustine and the fiery Tertullian called the Devil "the monkey of God," this could be attributed to the ignorance of the age they lived in. It is more difficult to excuse our modern writers on the same ground. The translation of Mazdean literature has afforded to the Roman Catholic writers the pretext for proving their point in the same direction once more. They have taken advantage of the dual nature of Ahura Mazda in the Zend Avesta and the Vendidad, and of his Amshaspends, to emphasize still further their wild theories. Satan is the plagiarist and the copyistby anticipation of the religion which came ages later. This was one of the master strokes of the Latin Church, its best trump-card after the appearance of Spiritualism in Europe. Though only a succes d'estime, in general, even among those who are not interested in either Theosophy or Spiritualism, yet the weapon is often used by the Christian (Roman Catholic) Kabalists against the Eastern Occultists.
Now even the Materialists are quite harmless, and may be regarded as the friends of Theosophy, when compared to some fanatical "Christian" (as they call themselves, "Sectarian" as we call them) Kabalists, on the Continent. These read the Zohar, not to find in it ancient Wisdom, but to discover in its verses, by mangling the texts and meaning, Christian dogmas, where none could ever have been meant; and, having fished them out with the collective help of jesuitical casuistry and learning, the supposed "Kabalists" proceed to write books and to mislead less far-sighted students of the Kabala. 1
May we not then be permitted to drag the deep rivers of the Past, and thus bring to the surface the root idea that led to the transformation of the Wisdom-God, who had first been regarded as the creator of everything that exists, into an Angel of Evil – a ridiculous horned biped, half goat and half monkey, with hoofs and a tail? We need not go out of the way to compare the pagan demons of either Egypt, India, or Chaldea with the devil of Christianity, for no such comparison is possible. But we may stop to glance at the biography of the Christian Devil, a piratical reprint from the Chaldeo-Judæan mythology.
The primitive origin of this personification rests upon the Akkadian conception of the cosmic powers – the Heavens and the Earth – in eternal feud and struggle with Chaos. Their Silik-Muludag, "the God amongst all the Gods," the "merciful guardian of men on Earth," was the Son of Hea (or Ea) the great God of Wisdom, called by the Babylonians Nebu. With both peoples – as in the case of the Hindu gods – their deities were both beneficent and maleficent. As Evil and punishment are the agents of Karma, in an absolutely just retributive sense, so Evil was the servant of the good (Hibbert Lect. 1887, pp. 101-115). The reading of the Chaldeo-Assyrian tiles has now demonstrated it beyond a shadow of doubt. We find the same idea in the Zohar. Satan was a Son, and an Angel of God. With all the Semitic nations, the Spirit of the Earth was as much the Creator in his own realm as the Spirit of the Heavens. They were twin brothers and interchangeable in their functions, when not two in one. Nothing of that which we find in Genesis is absent from the Chaldeo-Assyrian religious beliefs, even in the little that has hitherto been deciphered. The great "Face of the Deep" of Genesis is traced in the Tohu-bohu, "Deep," "Primeval Space," or Chaos of the Babylonians. Wisdom (the Great Unseen God) – called in Genesis chap. i. the "Spirit of God" – lived, for the older Babylonians as for the Akkadians, in the Sea of Space. Toward the days described by Berosus, this sea became the visible waters on the face of the Earth – the crystalline abode of the great mother, the mother of Ea and all the gods, which became, still later, the great Dragon Tiamat, the Sea Serpent. Its last stage of development was the great struggle of Bel with the Dragon – the Devil!
Whence the Christian idea that God cursed the Devil? The God of the Jews, whomsoever he was, forbids cursing Satan. Philo Judæus and Josephus both state that the Law (the Pentateuch and the Talmud) undeviatingly forbid one to curse the adversary, as also the gods of the gentiles. "Thou shalt not revile the gods," quoth the god of Moses (Exodus xxii. 28), for it is God who "hath divided (them) unto all nations" (Deut. iv. 19); and those who speak evil of "Dignities" (gods) are called "filthy dreamers" by Jude (8). For even Michael the Archangel durst not bring against him (the devil) a railing accusation, but said: "The Lord rebuke thee" (ibid, 9). Finally the same is repeated in the Talmud. 2 "Satan appeared one day to a man who used to curse him daily, and said to him: 'Why dost thou this?' Consider that God himself would not curse me, but merely said: 'The Lord rebuke thee, Satan.' " 3
This bit of Talmudic information shows plainly two things: (a) that St. Michael is called "God" in the Talmud, and somebody else "the Lord"; and (b) that Satan is a God, of whom even the "Lord" is in fear. All we read in the Zohar and other Kabalistic works on Satan shows plainly that this "personage" is simply the personification of the abstract evil, which is the weapon of Karmic law and KARMA. It is our human nature and man himself, as it is said that "Satan is always near and inextricably interwoven with man." It is only a question of that Power being latent or active in us.
It is a well-known fact – to learned Symbologists at all events – that in every great religion of antiquity, it is the Logos Demiurge (the second logos), or the first emanation from the mind (Mahat), who is made to strike, so to say, the key-note of that which may be called the correlation of individuality and personality in the subsequent scheme of evolution. The Logos it is, who is shown in the mystic symbolism of cosmogony, theogony, and anthropogony, playing two parts in the drama of Creation and Being, i.e., that of the purely human personality and the divine impersonality of the so-called Avatars, or divine incarnations, and of the universal Spirit, called Christos by the Gnostics, and the Farvarshi (or Ferouer) of Ahura Mazda in the Mazdean philosophy. On the lower rungs of theogony the celestial Beings of lower Hierarchies had each a Farvarshi, or a celestial "Double." It is the same, only a still more mystic, reassertion of the Kabalistic axiom, "Deus est Demon inversus"; the word "demon," however, as in the case of Socrates, and in the spirit of the meaning given to it by the whole of antiquity, standing for the guardian Spirit, an "Angel," not a devil of Satanic descent, as theology will have it. The Roman Catholic Church shows its usual logic and consistency by accepting, as the ferouer of Christ, St. Michael, who was "his Angel Guardian," as proved by St. Thomas, 4 while he calls the prototypes of Michael and his synonyms, such as Mercury, for example, devils.
1 Such a pseudo-Kabalist was the Marquis de Mirville in France, who, having studied the Zohar and other old remnants of Jewish Wisdom under the "Chevalier" Drach, an ancient Rabbi Kabalist converted to the Romish Church – wrote with his help half a dozen volumes full of slander and calumnies against every prominent Spiritualist and Kabalist. From 1848 up to 1860 he persecuted unrelentingly the old Count d'Ourches, one of the earliest Eastern Occultists in France, a man the scope of whose occult knowledge will never be appreciated correctly by his survivors, because he screened his real beliefs and knowledge under the mask of Spiritism. 2Vide Isis Unveiled, Vol. II., 487, et seq. 3 Treat. Kiddusheem, 81. But see the Qabbala by Mr. I. Myer, pp. 92, 94, and the Zohar, quoted in his Volume. 4 In the work of Marangone "Delle grandezze del Archangelo Sancto Mikaele," the author exclaims: "O Star, the greatest of those that follow the Sun who is Christ! . . . O living image of Divinity! O great thaumaturgist of the old Testament! O invisible Vicar of Christ within his Church! . . ." etc., etc. The work is in great honour in the Latin Church.