THEOSOPHY, Vol. 57, No. 6, April, 1969
(Pages 174-181; Size: 23K)
(Number 18 of a 36-part series)


SATAN: The Cosmic Reflection of God

THE last of the true Christians died with the last of the direct apostles. Max Müller forcibly asks: "How can a missionary in such circumstances meet the surprise and questions of his pupils, unless he may point to that seed (referring to the seed planted by Jesus and his apostles), and tell them what Christianity was meant to be? unless he may show that, like all other religions, Christianity too, has had its history; that the Christianity of the nineteenth century is not the Christianity of the middle ages, and that the Christianity of the middle ages was not that of the early Councils; that the Christianity of the early Councils was not that of the Apostles, and that what has been said by Christ, that alone was well said?"

Thus we may infer that the only characteristic difference between modern Christianity and the old heathen faiths is the belief of the former in a personal devil and in hell. "The Aryan nations had no devil," says Max Müller. "Pluto, though of a sombre character, was a very respectable personage; and Loki (the Scandinavian), though a mischievous person, was not a fiend. The German Goddess, Hell, too, like Proserpine, had once seen better days. Thus, when the Germans were indoctrinated with the idea of a real devil, the Semitic Seth, Satan or Diabolus, they treated him in the most good-humored way."

The same may be said of hell. Hades was quite a different place from our region of eternal damnation, and might be termed rather an intermediate state of purification. Neither does the Scandinavian Hel or Hela, imply either a state or a place of punishment; for when Frigga, the grief-stricken mother of Bal-dur, the white god, who died and found himself in the dark abodes of the shadows (Hades) sent Hermod, a son of Thor, in quest of her beloved child, the messenger found him in the inexorable region -- alas! but still comfortably seated on a rock, and reading a book. The Norse kingdom of the dead is moreover situated in the higher latitudes of the Polar regions; it is a cold and cheerless abode, and neither the gelid halls of Hela, nor the occupation of Baldur present the least similitude to the blazing hell of eternal fire and the miserable "damned" sinners with which the Church so generously peoples it. No more is it the Egyptian Amenthes, the region of judgment and purification; nor the Onderâh -- the abyss of darkness of the Hindus; for even the fallen angels hurled into it by Siva, are allowed by Parabrahma to consider it as an intermediate state, in which an opportunity is afforded them to prepare for higher degrees of purification and redemption from their wretched condition. The Gehenna of the New Testament was a locality outside the walls of Jerusalem; and in mentioning it, Jesus used but an ordinary metaphor. Whence then came the dreary dogma of hell, that Archimedean lever of Christian theology, with which they have succeeded to hold in subjection the numberless millions of Christians for nineteen centuries? Assuredly not from the Jewish Scriptures, and we appeal for corroboration to any well-informed Hebrew scholar.

The only designation of something approaching hell in the Bible is Gehenna or Hinnom, a valley near Jerusalem, where was situated Tophet, a place where a fire was perpetually kept for sanitary purposes. The prophet Jeremiah informs us that the Israelites used to sacrifice their children to Moloch-Hercules on that spot; and later we find Christians quietly replacing this divinity by their god of mercy, whose wrath will not be appeased, unless the Church sacrifices to him her unbaptized children and sinning sons on the altar of "eternal damnation"!

Whence then did the divine learn so well the conditions of hell, as to actually divide its torments into two kinds, the pna damni and pænæ sensus, the former being the privation of the beatific vision; the latter the eternal pains in a lake of fire and brimstone? If they answer us that it is in the Apocalypse (20:10), we are prepared to demonstrate whence the theologist John himself derived the idea, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are and shall be tormented for ever and ever," he says. Laying aside the esoteric interpretation that the "devil" or tempting demon meant our own earthly body, which after death will surely dissolve in the fiery or ethereal elements,(1) the word "eternal" by which our theologians interpret the words "for ever and ever" does not exist in the Hebrew language, either as a word or meaning. There is no Hebrew word which properly expresses eternity; oulam, according to Le Clerc, only imports a time whose beginning or end is not known. While showing that this word does not mean infinite duration, and that in the Old Testament the word forever only signifies a long time, Archbishop Tillotson has completely perverted its sense with respect to the idea of hell-torments. According to his doctrine, when Sodom and Gomorrah are said to be suffering "eternal fire," we must understand it only in the sense of that fire not being extinguished till both cities were entirely consumed. But, as to hell-fire the words must be understood in the strictest sense of infinite duration. Such is the decree of the learned divine. For the duration of the punishment of the wicked must be proportionate to the eternal happiness of the righteous.

The Reverend T. Surnden, commenting on the speculations of his predecessors, fills a whole volume with unanswerable arguments, tending to show that the locality of Hell is in the sun. We suspect that the reverend speculator had read the Apocalypse in bed, and had the nightmare in consequence. There are two verses in the Revelation of John reading thus: "And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun, and power was given him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God." This is simply Pythagorean and kabalistic allegory. The idea is new neither with the above-mentioned author nor with John. Pythagoras placed the "sphere of purification in the sun," which sun, with its sphere, he moreover locates in the middle of the universe, the allegory having a double meaning: 1. Symbolically, the central, spiritual sun, the Supreme Deity. Arrived at this region every soul becomes purified of its sins, and unites itself forever with its spirit, having previously suffered throughout all the lower spheres. 2. By placing the sphere of visible fire in the middle of the universe, he simply taught the heliocentric system which appertained to the Mysteries, and was imparted only in the higher degree of initiation. John gives to his Word a purely kabalistic significance, which no "Fathers," except those who belonged to the Neo-platonic school, were able to comprehend. Origen understood it well, having been a pupil of Ammonius Saccas; therefore we see him bravely denying the perpetuity of hell-torments. He maintains that not only men, but even devils (by which term he meant disembodied human sinners), after a certain duration of punishment shall be pardoned and finally restored to heaven. In consequence of this and other such heresies Origen was, as a matter of course, exiled.

Many have been the learned and truly-inspired speculations as to the locality of hell. The most popular were those which placed it in the centre of the earth. At a certain time, however, skeptical doubts which disturbed the placidity of faith in this highly-refreshing doctrine arose in consequence of the meddling scientists of those days. As a Mr. Swinden in our own century observes, the theory was inadmissible because of two objections: 1st, that a fund of fuel or sulphur sufficient to maintain so furious and constant a fire could not be there supposed; and, 2nd, that it must want the nitrous particles in the air to sustain and keep it alive. "And how," says he, "can a fire be eternal, when, by degrees, the whole substance of the earth must be consumed thereby?"

The skeptical gentleman had evidently forgotten that centuries ago St. Augustine solved the difficulty. Have we not the word of this learned divine that hell, nevertheless, is in the centre of the earth, for "God supplies the central fire with air by a miracle"? The argument is unanswerable, and so we will not seek to upset it.

The Christians were the first to make the existence of Satan a dogma of the Church. And once that she had established it, she had to struggle for over 1,700 years for the repression of a mysterious force which it was her policy to make appear of diabolical origin.

The true esoteric view about "Satan," the opinion held on this subject by the whole philosophic antiquity, is admirably brought out in an appendix, entitled "The Secret of Satan," to the second edition of Dr. A. Kingsford's "Perfect Way." No better and clearer indication of the truth could be offered to the intelligent reader, and it is therefore quoted here at some length:--

1. "And on the seventh day (seventh creation of the Hindus), there went forth from the presence of God a mighty Angel, full of wrath and consuming, and God gave him the dominion of the outermost sphere."

2. "Eternity brought forth Time; the Boundless gave birth to Limit; Being descended into generation."(2)

4. "Among the Gods is none like unto him, into whose hands are committed the kingdoms, the power and the glory of the worlds:"

5. "Thrones and empires, the dynasties of kings,(3) the fall of nations, the birth of churches, the triumph of Time."

For, as is said in Hermes, "Satan is the door-keeper of the Temple of the King; he standeth in Solomon's porch; he holdeth the key of the Sanctuary, that no man enter therein, save the Anointed having the arcanum of Hermes" (v. 20 and 21).

These suggestive and majestic verses had reference with the ancient Egyptians and other civilized peoples of antiquity to the creative and generative light of the Logos (Horus, Brahmâ, Ahura-Mazda, etc., etc., as primeval manifestations of the ever-unmanifested Principle, e.g., Ain-Soph, Parabrahm, or Zeruana Akerne -- Boundless Time -- Kâla), but the meaning is now degraded in the Kabala. The "Anointed," who has the secrets and mysteries of Hermes (Buddha, Wisdom), and who alone is entrusted with the key to the "Sanctuary," the Womb of nature, in order to fructify it and call to active life and being the whole Kosmos, has become, with the Jews, Jehovah, the "God of generation" on the lunar mountain (Sinai, the mountain of the moon, "Sin"). The "Sanctuary" has become the "Holy of Holies," and the arcanum has been anthropomorphised and phallicised and dragged down into matter, indeed. Hence arose the necessity of making of the "Dragon of Wisdom," the Serpent of Genesis: of the conscious god who needed a body to clothe his too subjective divinity, Satan. But the "innumerable incarnations of Spirit," and "the ceaseless pulse and current of desire" refer, the first one, to our doctrine of Karmic and cyclic rebirths, the second -- to EROS, not the later god of material, physiological love, but to the divine desire in the gods, as well as in all nature, to create and give life to Beings. This, the Rays of the one "dark," because invisible and incomprehensible, FLAME could achieve only by themselves descending into matter. Therefore, as continued in the APPENDIX:

12. "Many names hath God given him (Satan), names of mystery, secret and terrible."

13. "The Adversary, because matter opposeth Spirit. Time accuseth even the Saints of the Lord."

28, 29, 31. "Stand in awe of him, and sin not; speak his name with trembling .... For Satan is the magistrate of the Justice of God (Karma); he beareth the balance and the sword .... For to him are committed Weight and Measure and Number."

Compare the last sentence with what the Rabbi, who explains the Kabala to Prince Al-Chazari in the Book of that name, says; and it will be found that the Weight and Measure and Number are, in Sepher Jezirah, the attributes of the Sephiroth (the three Sephrim, or figures, ciphers) covering the whole collective number of 10; and that the Sephiroth are the collective Adam Kadmon, the "Heavenly Man" or the Logos. Thus Satan and the anointed were identified in ancient thought. Therefore,

33. "Satan is the minister of God, Lord of the seven mansions of Hades" ....

The seven or Saptaloka of the Earth with the Hindus; for Hades, or the Limbo of Illusion, of which theology makes a region bordering on Hell, is simply our globe, the Earth, and thus Satan is called--

33 ".... the angel of the manifest Worlds."

It is "Satan who is the god of our planet and the only god," and this without any illusive metaphor to its wickedness and depravity. For he is one with the Logos, "the first son, eldest of the gods," in the order of microcosmic (divine) evolution; Saturn (Satan), astronomically, "is the seventh and last in the order of macrocosmic emanation, being the circumference of the kingdom of which Phbus (the light of wisdom, also the Sun) is the centre." The Gnostics were right, then, in calling the Jewish god "an angel of matter," or he who breathed (conscious) life into Adam, and he whose planet was Saturn.

34. "And God hath put a girdle about his loins (the rings of Saturn), and the name of the girdle is Death."

In anthropogony this "girdle" is the human body with its two lower principles, which three die, while the innermost man is immortal. And now we approach the "Secret of Satan."

37, 38, 39. "... Upon Satan only is the shame of generation. He hath lost his virginal estate (so hath the Kumâra by incarnating): uncovering heavenly secrets, he hath entered into bondage.... He compasseth with bonds and limits all things...."

42, 43, 44. "Twain are the armies of God: in heaven the hosts of Michael; in the abyss (the manifested world) the legions of Satan. These are the unmanifest and the manifest; the free and the bound (in matter): the virginal and the fallen. And both are the Ministers of the Father, fulfilling the word Divine...." Therefore--

55. "Holy is the Sabbath of god: blessed and sanctified is the name of the Angel of Havas" -- SATAN.

For, "The glory of Satan is the shadow of the Lord": God in the manifested world; "the throne of Satan is the footstool of Adonai" -- that footstool being the whole KOSMOS.

When the Church, therefore, curses Satan, it curses the cosmic reflection of God; it anathematizes God made 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.

To make the point clear once for all: that which the clergy of every dogmatic religion -- pre-eminently the Christian -- points out as Satan, the enemy of God, is in reality, the highest divine Spirit -- (occult Wisdom on Earth) -- in its naturally antagonistic character to every worldly, evanescent illusion, dogmatic or ecclesiastical religions included. Thus, the Latin Church, intolerant, bigoted and cruel to all who do not choose to be its slaves; the Church which calls itself the bride of Christ, and the trustee at the same time of Peter, to whom the rebuke of the Master "get thee behind me Satan" was justly addressed; and again the Protestant Church which, while calling itself Christian, paradoxically replaces the New Dispensation by the old "Law of Moses" which Christ openly repudiated: both these Churches are fighting against divine Truth, when repudiating and slandering the Dragon of esoteric (because divine) Wisdom. Whenever anathematizing the Gnostic Solar Chnouphis -- the Agathodæmon -- Christos, or the theosophical Serpent of Eternity, or even the Serpent of Genesis -- they are moved by the same Spirit of dark fanaticism that moved the Pharisees to curse Jesus by saying to him "Say we not well thou hast a devil?"

Read the account about Indra (Vayu) in the Rig-Veda, the occult volume par excellence of Aryanism, and then compare it with the same in the Purânas -- the exoteric version thereof, and the purposely garbled account of the true Wisdom religion. In the Rig Veda Indra is the highest and greatest of the Gods, and his Soma-drinking is allegorical of his highly spiritual nature. In the Purânas Indra becomes a profligate, and a regular drunkard on the Soma juice, in the terrestrial way. He is the conqueror of all the "enemies of the gods" -- the Daityas, Nâgas (Serpents), Asuras, all the Serpent-gods and of Vritri, the Cosmic Serpent. Indra is the St. Michael of the Hindu Pantheon -- the chief of the militant Host. Turning to the Bible, we find Satan, one of the "Sons of God" (Job. 1:6), becoming in exoteric interpretation the Devil, and the Dragon in its infernal, evil sense. But in the Kabala ("Book of Numbers") Samael who is Satan, is shown to be identical with St. Michael, the slayer of the Dragon. How is this? For it is said that Tselem (the image) reflects alike Michael and Samael who are one. Both proceed, it is taught, from Ruach (Spirit), Neschamah (Soul) and Nephesch (life). In the "Chaldean Book of Numbers" Samael is the concealed (occult) Wisdom, and Michael the higher terrestrial Wisdom, both emanating from the same source but diverging after their issue from the mundane soul, which on Earth is Mahat (intellectual understanding), or Manas (the seat of Intellect). They diverge, because one (Michael) is influenced by Neschamah, while the other (Samael) remains uninfluenced. This tenet was perverted by the dogmatic spirit of the Church; which, loathing independent Spirit, uninfluenced by the external form (hence by dogma), forthwith made of Samael-Satan (the most wise and spiritual spirit of all) -- the adversary of its anthropomorphic God and sensual physical man, the DEVIL!

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(4) NOTE.--"The Christian Scheme," begun in November, 1967, is collated from the works of H. P. Blavatsky. It recounts the historical background and early development of Christianity.
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(1) Ether is both pure and impure fire. The composition of the latter comprises all its visible forms, such as the "correlation of forces" -- heat, flame, electricity, etc. The former is the Spirit of Fire. The difference is purely alchemical.
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(2) When the pure, celestial Being (Dhyan Chohan) and the great Pitris of various classes were commissioned -- the one to evolve their images (Chhaya), and make of them physical man, the others to inform and thus endow him with divine intelligence and the comprehension of the Mysteries of Creation.
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(3) The "dynasties of kings" who all regard themselves as the "anointed," reigning "by the Grace of God," whereas in truth, they reign by the grace of matter, the great Illusion, the Deceiver.
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