Friday, May 1, 2009

Eric Butterworth, Involution and Evolution

Now here is a demonstration. As we finished yesterday evening's discussion, I made a mental note to introduce the idea of involution and evolution next week. Just now I went to read the daily topic on the Eric Butterworth website and lo! there was our topic.

Eric Butterworth was a Unity minister in NYC at the same time Raymond Charles Barker headed up the Church of Religious Science there. They spoke down the hall from each other each Sunday at the Lincoln Center. What a time that must have been. Butterworth is the author of the New Thought classic, "Spiritual Economics," which we will read in our Spiritual Economics class in the fall. I will include his bio in the next post. Here is his article:

Involution and Evolution
Thoughtful Bible students have always wondered about the paradox in the first two chapters of Genesis. The first chapter gives a wonderfully concise outline of the Creative Process of the Universe, and how It created our world and all that is in it. We read, and I quote: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion….So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.…And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” [Genesis 1:26, 27, & 31] The heavens and the earth were finished, and God rested. [Genesis 2:3]

This appears to be fairly comprehensive and final, and yet, it says in the second chapter [of Genesis], “And there was no man to till the ground.” [Genesis 2:5] “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living Soul [Being].” [Genesis 2:7] So, now we are told there was not one Creation, but two. One of them was instantaneous; the other proceeded through many millions of years. But how can these two creations be reconciled? You see, the “first creation” was in God Mind; it was what we call the “Involutionary Creation.” The second was the unfolding outworking of this idea through the “Evolutionary Creative Process.” These two need not be, and should not be, at odds. In the first chapter of Genesis [involution], the Creative Mind is pictured at work. It is Mind jelling Itself into a concept, a plan. There is a record of how Mind formulates Its ideas. Evolution is the gradual outworking, or outforming, or achievment of that plan.

As far back as 1930, Sir James Jeans, the eminent scientist, said, and I quote: “Thirty years ago, we thought, or assumed, that we were heading toward an ultimate reality of a mechanistic universe, a fortuitous jumble of atoms, destined to perform meaningless dances for a time, under the action of blind, purposeless forces, and then fall back to become a dead world. Today there is a wide measure of agreement [among scientists] that the stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality, with the universe beginning to look more and more like a great thought than a great machine.” A tremendous concept: “looking more like a great thought than a great machine”

Just as a man must have an ideal before he can bring it into manifestation, so it is with God’s Creation. Only after a man has built thought pictures of the house, can he follow this with the actual construction of the house that becomes a home. So, in the first chapter of Genesis, God’s creation of man is the “inner” or the “ideal” creation, made in the Image-Likeness of God, which He pronounces as “very good.” [Genesis 1:31] This was, and is, the direct offspring of the Divine Mind—God’s idea of a Perfect Man, begotten only of God, and not of human invention, evolution, environment, or heredity. This is the “Christ,” the “I AM.” No matter where a person may find himself in evolution, he should never forget that in involution he is a Perfect Being, formed in the Mind of God, and this Divine Pattern is always present at the heart and root of him. This is the pattern. This is the plan. It is his—the perfect image of himself as God sees him.

Then, God rested…and the plan began to unfold. And we quote: “And the Lord God created man out of the dust of the ground.….” [Genesis 2:7] “…and called their [his] name Adam.” [Genesis 5:2] “Called their [his] name Adam.” In a sense, Adam was the original “atom” from which all things have come. In its intended form, Adam is not a proper name at all. It simply means “man,” in a generic sense. All men were formed from the “dust of the ground.” Now, if this seems to be a miracle, your life or mine is no less a miracle, for, chemically, our bodies are created from “the [literal] dust of the ground.” All the elements of the sustaining food we eat come from the soil. So man is created from “the dust of the ground.”

To argue about the historical value of Genesis is to totally miss the point—to completely misunderstand what the Scripture is all about. To see why it was so detailed, we must understand the Oriental idiom and accept the metaphor. If you drop a stone to the ground, it falls quickly and surely. Stated technically and scientifically, the stone and the world are drawn together by a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. If you state this same proposition Biblically, it is simply that God puts the stone and the world together. Both explanations are valid, but neither of them is quite adequate to explain the Whole Person. The physical body is in a constant process of change and growth and renewal. Out of “the dust of the ground,” we are constantly taking into ourselves the means by which the cells and the functions of the body may be completely renewed, so that every few years you have an entirely different body—with a new heart, new lungs, new tissues. Yet, we are always the same persons, because we are more than our bodies…there is that of us that transcends the body.

Another metaphor, this time from ancient Greece, says, “The water changes, but the river remains the same.” We care nothing of the immediate atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen that make up our bodies at this particular moment. Let them go, let them move on like waters in the stream, because we can get more [of them] out of the dust; we can assimilate more than we need. The Life of us—the Truth of the body of us—is always more than the outer manifestation. There is that of you which is transcendent to the physical part of you.
It is wrong to say that you have a Soul. You don’t have a Soul. You are a Soul. You have a body. With this in mind, we must recognize the two important phases of being: “God’s Man” and “Adam’s man.” God’s Man is the Ideal Creation—the involutionary creation, your potential as the complete Image and Likeness of God. On the other hand, Adam’s man is in a constant state of becoming. Man must lift up his thought to the realization of his Divine Identity, so that he can begin to form the Body Imperishable—the “House…Eternal in the Heavens.” [2 Corinthians 5:1] You see, I am not my body; I am that which uses my body. I am not my emotions; I am that which controls my emotions. I am not my thoughts; I am that which directs my thoughts. Essentially, I am a Spiritual Being.

This is a great realization that can help us, in many ways, to achieve self-mastery. If you are trying to overcome something, and yet, you have a strong compulsion to eat or to drink or to smoke, you say, “But, I need a cigarette.” The fact is, you don’t need a cigarette. Your body needs a cigarette…but you are more than your body. You say, “But, I’m hungry.” You are not hungry, your body is hungry…and there is that of you that is more than your body. As you come to understand this, you begin to recognize that, even in terms of the emotions. You say, “I’m emotional.” But you are not emotional. You are Spirit, you are transcendent to the emotions. So, when you are jealous, you can say, “I’m not jealous. My emotions are jealous, and I’m experiencing jealous thoughts. But there is that of me that transcends my emotions.” This enables you to gain tremendous perspective, by which you can begin to assert yourself in self-mastery.

So in this “evolution,” man has come a long way, and his progress has been made possible by the peculiar forces of his curiosity and his discontent. Man is restless. He is ever searching, reaching, questioning, yearning, otherwise he would still be living in caves. There is something of you that is fulfilling the “Promethean Urge”—this tremendous drive, the up-searching something, which is constantly causing you to lift up, to rise up, to climb up to the heights of your own Divine Potential.

We stand, today, at a point that appears to be the peak of achievement. Looking backward, we can see how far we have come, giving us confidence in our possibilities. Looking ahead, we can realize that there is so much more within us—that “I am more than this.” Remember the story of the minister who patted the little boy on the head, and said, “Sonny boy, who made you?” The little boy looked up, disgustedly, and said, “Well, to tell you the truth, sir, I ain’t done yet.” This is true of you. You’re not done yet. The Apostle Paul says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” [1 John 3:2, RSV] This has been tremendously misunderstood. The words, “when He appears,” do not mean, “when Jesus appears.” Paul is talking about when we become cognizant of that “Involuted Self,” the God-Man, the I AM Self of you—the image-likeness of God, which is the Divine Pattern within you. When this appears, when you suddenly get it into your consciousness, when you get to the realization, “Ah, now I see! Now I know myself,” then you shall be like that in us that is created in His Likeness. Then we shall see the Divine Potential in ourselves as it really is.

This, then, is our task. There is no limit to how far we can go. Physically, we may be made out of “the dust of the ground,” we may be “flesh and blood” and there may be that of us which is vulnerable to physical disease, but eternally, there is hidden within us—in the innermost self of us—that little spark of Celestial Fire, which is our privilege and our responsibility to bring forth. The basis for Spiritual Healing, and of all philosophies based on the potential for a man to change, is right in this concept. Man is created as a Perfect Idea in God Mind; that is the involutionary creation. But, in the evolutionary creation, man is in the long quest to realize who and what he is, and as Paul says, “…it is not yet made manifest what we shall.” [1 John 3:2, ASV]

© Eric Butterworth

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