BECK index

Nature and Evolution

Realms of Consciousness
The Physical Universe
Evolution on Earth
Nature Kingdoms
Human Evolution

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Realms of Consciousness

     Cosmology is the study of the order in the universe. God is over all and in all of creation, as discussed in the previous chapter. The realms of pure Spirit, metaphysically prior to and beyond the worlds of creation can hardly be described except in absolutes, ultimates, and superlatives. Perhaps the only clear differentiation we can make is between the realms of God which transcend individuality in complete oneness and the soul realm where Spirit takes individual forms yet is still transcendent of creation. For us, who are incarnate in bodies on the Earth, the soul realm is our true home and ultimate destination. Actually our soul, our spiritual being, is always in that realm even while our consciousness is experiencing the created worlds. The God and soul realms of Spirit are purely subjective creative being and cannot be objectified, defined, limited, or conceptualized. Concepts about spiritual being are mental constructs, not the reality. The being of who we are is the reality.
      Within the oneness of God which pervades all of creation we can differentiate the purely creative Spirit from the objective realms of creation. Thus the God and soul realms can be referred to as positive and all of the creations as negative (not evil) or receptive. The soul and God realms are divine Spirit. All of the worlds created by Spirit can be called Nature because we can experience and describe their limited, definable, and changing characteristics as their “nature.” The worlds of nature are always changing and evolving. The physical universe is not the only created realm, although it is the densest or “lowest” that we know. The other created realms have been described in various ways by different metaphysical groups. The realm or plane closest to the physical has been fairly universally called the astral plane. This realm is not made of physical atoms but a more subtle substance that resembles sensory appearance and is usually experienced as imagination and fantasy. Although any divisions between these subtle planes is arbitrary since they blend together, I am going to call the next major plane the emotional realm and the next one subtler than that the mental realm. Emotions and mind are common experiences that everyone can understand. Between the mental realm and the soul plane is another realm which is very difficult to describe because it transcends the mind and is primarily unconscious. I am going to refer to this plane as the intuitional realm. The physical, astral, emotional, mental, and intuitional realms are all part of the negative, created world while the soul and God realms make up the positive, spiritual essence. Between the intuitional and soul realms is what has been called the grand division and the cosmic mirror. All of the created realms, then, are reflections of the spiritual being that we truly are. This mirror reflects our creations back to us until we learn to transcend into the soul realm.
      All of these realms exist universally or outwardly, and every human being has a subtle “body” within on each of these planes. We experience our own inner realms which are purely subjective and personal, and we can also experience the greater outer realms which are objective and universal. The vibrations of the astral are more subtle that the physical, the emotional more subtle than the astral; the mental is a higher frequency than the emotional, the intuitional higher than the mental, and the soul and God realms are most subtle of all. The soul is the spiritual being or divine essence that takes on these bodies or vehicles like sheaths. Because of the varying rates of vibration, it is as though the astral body is within the physical body, the emotional within the astral, the mental within the emotional, the intuitional within the mental, and the soul is at the center of them all. At physical death the soul and these subtle bodies withdraw from the physical body, and usually consciousness awakens on the astral plane. More advanced souls are able to drop the astral vehicle and experience the next plane up, and so on until the soul liberates itself from all these created worlds.
      Unfortunately little is known about these subtle planes here on Earth because very few individuals have the ability to bring back the awareness of these experiences into their physical consciousness. It is difficult to differentiate our own personal subjective realms from the universal outer realms that all share. The nature of these subtle bodies will be described in the second part of this work on the psychology of the individual. I do not believe I know enough about the universal realms myself to try to describe them here except to indicate with intuitive certainty that they do exist. Instead I would like to raise a few questions for future investigations to explore. Do these realms correlate with regions of the physical universe, or are they somewhere else altogether? Do they include life in other star systems together, or does each have its own subtle worlds? Exactly how do the inner realms of each person interact with the inter-subjective universal plane? What kind of experiences do beings who are in between physical incarnations have on these planes? While we are living on Earth do we live parallel lives on each plane of which we are mostly unconscious, except for dreams and mystical experiences? Is there a spiritual hierarchy and how do they decide who performs what functions in order to keep all the processes of life and death operating? These and other questions may be explored in the New Age. Eventually we will gain clearer knowledge of these things as we experience them, probably after leaving the physical plane. Most people have to die to go to heaven. This cosmology indicates that “heaven” is infinite with many levels, and it exists within us all the time.
      Spirit creates Nature and actively participates in its evolution. Spirit can extend as much of itself into creation as the capacity of the forms allow. Let us attempt to piece together how the universe has evolved. Being eternal the God and soul realms preceded as well as implemented all of creation. Although some believe that the physical universe is eternal, others hold that the universe was created in a “big bang.” In this philosophy both can be true in the sense that the physical universe may have been created by eternal Spirit in that tremendous explosion. The metaphysical questions arise as to whether the subtle realms—astral, emotional, mental, and intuitional—were created and prepared before the physical universe appeared, at the same time, or were developed as life and consciousness evolved. Although we have decided to refer to all of God as one God, that does not mean that there cannot be more than one universe in space-time. Other universes could have preceded this one, and others could be located somewhere else as well. God and souls may oversee many physical universes, and conceivably an intuitional or mental realm, for example, might be associated with one or more universes. Souls or angels may be able to move from one universe to another. Having acknowledged these possibilities, let us now focus on the evolution of our known universe.

The Physical Universe

     The cosmology of modern physics indicates a relativistic universe in which space, time, matter, and energy are all interrelated in a unified field. None of these concepts can be clearly defined without reference to the other three. The big bang created all of them at the same time-space-energy-matter event. How this “creation from nothing” occurred is a great mystery and seems to point to a divine Spirit or Creator. Nonetheless once the sequence of events is set in motion, we can attempt to describe and understand it. Space and time are inseparable, because they can only be created by movement, which implies both. Yet space-time is meaningless unless there is something in it. That something is energy and matter, both of which can be converted into each other. The only physical substance in this universe is this undulating energy-matter, and it can only exist in the matrix of space-time. Space-time is defined by the patterns of energy-matter in it.
      Although God is infinite, this physical universe is quantifiable and can be measured mathematically in terms of space-time and energy-matter. The creation of number concepts (mathematics) is a mental creation which transcends the physical plane but can be applied to any physical universe. The concepts of space, time, matter, and energy are also mental and can be used to describe the particular characteristics of a given physical universe. For example our universe contains a finite amount of energy-matter, which was created in the big bang and remains constant for the life of the universe. Also at any given time after the big bang, the space-time dimensions of the universe theoretically could be mathematically calculated if we know the rate of expansion caused by the original explosion and the amount of mass exerting its contractual force of gravity. Although this is possible by mental mathematics, the limitations of physical perception caused by the constant speed of light make the observation of space and time relative to each other. The light that gives us an image of distant galaxies left them so long ago that we are actually looking back into the distant past as well as into a distant place. Thus in the physical universe, time and space are combined together as events, which are then relative to other events in space-time. Also theoretically to move at a speed approaching the speed of light slows down our experience of time as compared to someone else not moving at such a speed.
      Four physical forces are known in our universe. First, gravity is the force that attracts all objects of mass toward each other, as Newton calculated, by the product of their masses divided by the square of the distance between their centers. However, recent discoveries have shown that this formula is not accurate in subatomic physics and in some astronomical relationships. Gravity is especially effective with the large masses and distances of stars and planets. The Euclidean geometry of space is a purely mental construct, which Newton applied. Einstein discovered that the physical space-time of the universe is more accurately described as a field that is shaped by all of the objects of mass that are in it.
      Discovery of the other three forces in quantum theory has helped us to understand the structure and dynamics of the atom and its particles. Electromagnetism is a polar force that works through the dualism of positive and negative charges such that opposites are attracted to form a balanced unity, while similar charges repel each other. When the universe first began, radiant energy exploded as brilliant light of intense density and heat. The photons, or particles of light, formed into electrons, positrons, and neutrinos. According to recent theory, equal amounts of matter and anti-matter came together and annihilated each other, releasing energy radiation which still exists as the background radiation throughout the universe. Some particles of matter and anti-matter went their separate ways to become the matter (and anti-matter) of our universe. Thus our universe is a temporary phenomenon based on this original split. As the universe expanded and cooled, neutrons, protons, and electrons formed first as hydrogen deuterium and then interacting to form helium. The positive charge of protons and the negative charge of electrons are the basis of electromagnetism. Quantum theory discovered that these particles of mass-energy operate in definite units and take a uniform structure in the atom such that the first two electrons occupy the first orbital shell, the next eight the second orbital shell, eighteen the third, thirty-two the fourth, and so on. Whereas large masses exert various gravitational forces on what seems to be a sliding scale, within the atom energy and force are exerted in these numerological units called “quanta.” As larger atoms formed, they took these structural forms balancing an equal number of protons and electrons, such that each whole number became an element with its own unique characteristics. The tendency for some elements to lose or gain electrons in order to complete their shell structures and to share electrons in common became the basis of the chemical ionic and covalent bonds respectively. Thus electromagnetism became the mechanism to form molecules and eventually organic life.
      The other two forces are nuclear. The strong force overcomes the repulsion between positive protons and at close range holds them and neutrons into the tightly packed nucleus of the atom. Thus it takes a tremendous force to break apart the atomic nucleus. The weak interaction force is what enables a proton, an electron, and a neutrino to join together to form a neutron. Because this force is much weaker than the electromagnetic force, this only happens in special circumstances.
      In its quest to discover the nature of the physical universe, the most stable entity that modern physics has been able to find is the speed of light. Since matter is a pattern of energy, and vice versa, and since space and time appear to be distorted as objects of mass-energy approach the speed of light, all four of these concepts by which we describe the field or patterns of the universe are all relative to physical light. Yet the search to ascertain what light is has revealed the paradox that it can be either photon particles or a vibrating wave pattern. Thus the scientific conclusion is that light is both particles and waves; but what we observe it to be depends on how we look at it. The more physicists search for tangible matter, the more intangible their results become.
      Not only have they not been able to define the nature of the basic particles of the universe, but also physical experiments have demonstrated that the position of a particle and its momentum cannot be determined at the same time. The more physicists can discover about its position the less they can know about its momentum, and vice versa. The behavior of individual particles cannot be predetermined; only probabilities and statistical averages of groups can be calculated.
      What are the philosophical implications of this research? The relativity of energy-matter-time-space supports the idea that the universe is a unified and interconnected whole. The results of the experiments where the method of observation used by the experimenting scientists influences the object of the experiment shows that the experimenter is part of the experiment. Therefore any attempt to separate our subjective consciousness from the objective universe is artificial and leads to fallacious conclusions. The uncertainty principle, which does not allow us to predict and therefore manipulate and absolutely predetermine events, not even with the smallest most material part of the universe, indicates that freedom exists even for these most elementary particles. The entire universe seems to be alive and vibrating in various rates and patterns.
      Also Newton's law of action and reaction states that any force exerted on any part of the universe causes an equal and opposite force to balance it. Thus whenever we push on anything, it pushes back with equal force. The spiritual implications of this physical law can be seen in the principle of karma or responsibility. The entire universe is a unified whole that maintains its proper balance. Every bit of energy-matter exerts its influence on the whole, and no one can predict precisely what each little part will do. Yet there are universal laws and principles that maintain the overall balance of creation. Physicists have discovered twelve laws of conservation that maintain this balance. They are the following: energy-mass, momentum, angular momentum, charge, electron-family number, muon-family number, baryon-family number, time reversal, combined space inversion and charge conjugation, space inversion by itself, charge conjugation by itself, strangeness, and isotopic spin. The strong interactions of the nucleus are restrained by all twelve of these conservation laws, electromagnetic interactions by all except isotopic spin, weak interactions by eight of them, and gravitational interactions have not yet been analyzed fully. Bell’s theorem and quantum theory indicate that paired particles know how to follow these conservation laws even when farther apart on the time-space continuum than light can travel in the time-distance available. Thus physicists are discovering that these laws of conservation somehow transcend the supposed limits of the physical universe. My explanation is that these laws are established by the Creator of the universe and that there are realms beyond the physical plane that are aware and able to transcend physical limitations such as the speed of light.
      This brings us to the whole question of consciousness and its relationship with the physical universe. I suggest that consciousness pervades the entire universe, extends into the physical plane and transcends it as well. Since the part of the universe, which has been supposed to be predictable and mechanically determined, is in fact unpredictable on an individual basis and somehow even aware in a mystical way so that it can follow the laws of conservation, it is not unreasonable for us to assume that Spirit is aware of the universe It created. Thus we can explore in what ways Spirit is immanent in creation. As we explore the evolution of the universe, we will try to understand these relationships. In order to further this quest, I will not be assuming that the universe is dead or accidental but rather that it is alive and intelligent so that we can open our intuition to greater spiritual insight.
      How galaxies, stars, and planets were formed after the big bang is not precisely known, although gravity is the major factor in holding them together in their units and patterns. The various chemical elements were produced in the intense heat and interactions within early galaxies and stars about seven to eight billion years ago. The origin of the universe in the big bang probably occurred between thirteen and twenty billion years ago. Our sun is about seven billion years old, and the Earth was formed approximately 4.7 billion years ago. The planets of this solar system are spaced according to the Titius-Bode law; the distance from the sun is .4 + .3x astronomical units where x is zero for Mercury, 1 for Venus and then doubles for each succeeding planet, including the asteroid belt but not Pluto. The astronomical unit is the distance between the sun and the Earth. Thanks to the law of gravity, mass formed into these spherical planetary units orbiting around a star to provide places where life could evolve.
      What is the significance of this cosmic pattern of our solar system? The sun provides a single and continual energy source. The planets are balanced in their orbits by their momentum and the gravitational field. We measure time by the spatial relationships and the cyclic movement. One spin of the Earth is a day; one orbit of the moon around the Earth is a month; and one orbit of the Earth around the sun is a year. By a miraculous coincidence the sun and the moon appear to be exactly the same size in the sky viewed from the Earth because the sun is four hundred times larger than the moon and four hundred times farther away. Thus a total eclipse of the sun by the moon is a perfect fit, and the corona energy pattern of the sun can be seen at that time. This corona is influenced by the gravitational field of the planets. Since the Earth receives virtually all of its energy (except nuclear energy) from the sun, these energy fields of gravitation and electromagnetism holistically affect the Earth.
      Now traditional science tends to examine everything quantitatively; this is especially true regarding time. What about the quality of time? Is all time the same? Is night the same as day? What about the seasons? Spiritual science attempts to understand the meaning and influence of these aspects of the cosmic environment. In fact the oldest science and the science with the most universal scope is astrology. Astrologers attempt to correlate the characteristics of the whole psychic field at different times with the relationships of the Earth, moon, sun, and other planets of the cosmic clock. The soul as located in space-time, particularly at birth and then during its life in a body, is used as the center and focal point. From the beginning of human efforts to understand the universe, observations of experience became the basis for mentally constructing systems that could help explain how the universe works. Perceptions of what different times of day and months of the year meant were eventually correlated with positions of the heavenly bodies as viewed from the Earth. This is not the place to explain the science of astrology in all its detail, except to say that it is a way of attempting to understand one aspect of our environment—that is, cosmic space-time.
      If God exists and is in everything, that means that Spirit is in every particle and wave in the universe. Spirit can extend Itself into any form and experience the manifestations of that form. Since God is eternal, this has always been true and always will be true. God has all the time in the world and is in no hurry for the universe to evolve. Spirit established laws of the universe which we are attempting to understand. Spirit also has created a process of unfoldment through which It can experience many things. Since Spirit is in everything, It takes various forms, which I will attempt to describe. Following the origin of the universe in the big bang, the first major forms to appear were the galaxies and stars. The spirits experiencing these celestial entities may be very magnificent indeed. Recent astronomical evidence indicates that at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is a black hole, a gravitational field that is so intense that all nearby energy-mass, including light radiation, is pulled into its center. Some hypotheses speculate that these black holes may be doors to other space-time dimensions in this universe or in others. Thus these black holes might be the space-time representations of local spiritual headquarters or celestial hierarchies. The spiritual beings that oversee or inhabit galaxies and stars may be from the angelic or divine kingdoms. If Spirit is in everything, then even planets can be said to have spirits. Let us turn now to the Earth to explore its spiritual evolution.

Evolution on Earth

     Because of gravity, the center of the earth is packed into a solid inner core, which is surrounded by a liquid outer core; this is enclosed in a thick mantle, which is covered by the crust. The coming together of the particles caused heat and melting; this heat was supplemented by the radioactive decay of half of the Earth's original uranium-235 to lead in the first seven hundred million years of the Earth's history. The heavier molten materials gravitated to the center, while the waters and air of the hydrosphere and atmosphere may have condensed from volcanic emission of gases. The rocky crust formed into continental land masses, while water filled in the oceans over their constantly churning floors. Although continental ages go back almost four billion years, their shapes have changed many times. As the Earth cooled, heat was released vertically through volcanoes. The great continents and oceans consolidated themselves about three billion years ago. The one continent of Earth called Pangaea, which was surrounded by the one sea called Panthalassa, probably began breaking up about two million years ago to gradually separate into our modern continents. The sea, as a reservoir of heat and cold, acts as a global thermostat to moderate temperatures on the Earth's surface. The spirit of the Earth was named Gaia by the Greeks, and as a whole it possesses many of the characteristics of a living organism.
      The original atmosphere was most likely lacking free oxygen, probably consisting of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen, hydrogen, ammonia, and methane. Complex molecules and primitive organisms would have difficulty forming with free oxygen there to burn them up by oxidizing them. Yet the electromagnetism of atomic structures enabled many energy exchanges and combinations to develop. Without an ozone shield in the atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation from the sun would disrupt the genetic mechanism of anything that might be exposed on land. Yet the radiation could release hydrogen from water that could be used as energy for an organic process in a molecule that might thus come to resemble bacteria by a photosynthesis that did not produce free oxygen. Radio astronomers have discovered evidence of several organic molecules in outer space.
      The structural pattern of the mineral kingdom was already established on Earth. Now Spirit was to take a step that would enable physical entities to take in energy, grow, replicate themselves, and even evolve the genetic pattern of replication. Because of their ability to give and take electrons, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon became the building blocks, along with elements such as phosphorus, calcium, and sulfur for energy exchange. Stimulated by solar radiation and somewhat protected under water, these elements formed into amino acids which combined together with peptide bonds eventually to become proteins. Self-replication requires an information system, and in this case Spirit developed a molecular code using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) in order to communicate the basic chemical design of the various protein-building amino acids. These cellular messengers use four basic molecules as letters linked in chains of three-letter words as a complex grammar of instructions for physical bodies to build and organize themselves intelligently. This process began on Earth about four billion years ago.
      To grow, the first organisms needed energy or food. The most available energy source was the solar radiation. As we saw above, early forms of photosynthesis probably did not produce free oxygen. Early cells, such as bacteria and blue-green algae, reproduced themselves simply by dividing in two. Yet the high-energy ultraviolet radiation of the time could cause numerous mutations, some of which surely proved to be improvements in cell structure. As bacteria-algae developed photosynthesis that does release free oxygen, then oxygen and ozone shielding began to build up in the atmosphere, lessening mutations from radiation. At this stage sexual reproduction involving the pairing of chromosomes and the division of reproductive cells through meiosis enhanced variability and the evolutionary process of natural selection. This development of eucaryotic cells was probably reached between one and two billion years ago and is considered the beginning of organic evolution. Spirit had organized complex molecules into units bounded by a protective membrane through which they could take in energy and nourishment and release waste. Procaryotic bacteria and blue-green algae never evolved cellular nuclei nor sexual reproduction and are the same today.
      Through photosynthesis, oxygen eventually built up to about its current concentration of 21%, which is a homeostatic balance between optimum metabolism and fire risk. About two billion years ago some bacteria began to use this oxygen for energy and later evolved to become animals.
      Single-cell organisms, which reproduce by division, are potentially immortal and thus static. Yet evolution by Spirit is a continual trend toward improvement by change, exploration, and diversity. By developing germ cells of two types that could recombine, sexual reproduction created variability and interaction. Large germ cells (eggs) containing food materials could unite with small germ cells (sperms) consisting of a nucleus that could move well. However, unicellular organisms could only grow to a certain size, because volume increases faster than surface area, thus limiting the food they could absorb. About seven hundred million years ago these cells began to clump together in groups or communities in order to produce larger and more complex systems as sponges. This evolutionary step of group cooperation enabled cells to specialize and contribute to the whole organism by serving as protecting casing, digesting of food, and eventually sensing and conveying of messages. Now that germ cells could reproduce a similar but not identical organism, that meant that the old organism would eventually be eaten or decomposed by bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and therefore die, having been replaced by its new but slightly different offspring. Spirit continually shows that It is not attached to the continuance of the same form, but rather thrives on processes of change so that better vehicles for experience can be produced. Spirit apparently has little difficulty going into and withdrawing from organisms as they are born and die.
      Roughly five hundred million years ago vegetation began to colonize the land, first as mosses and liverworts and then developing into vascular plants. Since vegetation needs only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, plants are not required to move from place to place searching for food. Thus they drew nourishment in water or rooted in the ground wherever sunshine was present. Animals evolved the ability to move with a mouth in front and waste disposal in back. By experimenting with mutations and variable reproduction, Spirit was able to evolve organs of sensing to assist the organisms in finding food. These sense organs and their communication system naturally centered in the brain at the head of the organism. Hard bone cells were found to give protection to the main line of the nervous system and strength to the organism's structure. Thus vertebrates and fish evolved. With more experimentation mutated flippers and fins were used to push on the ground in shallow water, and eventually legs and amphibians evolved who crawled onto the land about four hundred million years ago.
      Amphibians depended on water to nurture the growth of their embryos. After about one hundred million years or so, the shelled egg was evolved by the first reptiles, enabling them to stay on the land permanently. Reptiles primarily ate insects, which were living off the abundant vegetation. Eventually some reptiles became herbivorous, eating tropical plants in aquatic environments. Reptiles were very successful and grew in size. As much of the land dried out, reptiles took prominence over the amphibians. For well over one hundred million years dinosaurs dominated the Earth. Although some of them may have been warm-blooded, it seems that climatic change and temperature extremes may have led to the extinction of the larger reptiles about sixty million years ago, while crocodiles survived in tropical rivers and the smaller snakes, turtles, and lizards managed to survive by burrowing or crawling into holes. In this case, size, ferocity, and specialization proved to be less adaptable.
      Birds and mammals evolved ways to stabilize their internal temperature. Birds used feathers to keep warm and wings to escape predators and search for food. Mammals evolved fur to keep warm, milk glands to feed their young, and large brains for skillful adaptability. With the decline of the dinosaurs, the primitive mammals began to flourish and evolve more complex forms to fill the ecological niches now available. The evolution of flowers, fruit, nuts, and grasses at this time improved the food supply for animals. This stimulated early primates to evolve grasping hands, generalized teeth, stereoscopic color vision, and a still larger brain for the climbing of trees.

Nature Kingdoms

      Spirit is in all things, but It acts according to the laws and principles It established. That means It extends Itself into creatures according to their capacity. In doing so though, It enables evolution to proceed and consolidate the gains that are made. Although the groping and experimenting with new forms may seem random, Spirit is able to utilize improved vehicles of expression and through the process of reproduction continue them. If the overall process were random, then chances are that things would deteriorate as much as improve. But Spirit is awareness, and awareness can choose the improvement and discard failures. Evolution is the process by which Spirit has increasingly involved Itself in creation. Since Spirit is invisible, intangible, and ineffable, it is difficult to describe Its role in life. Scientists can ignore It and describe the process; but without the understanding of Spirit, the explanations of consciousness and Its development are seriously incomplete.
      Let us at least attempt to understand nature and evolution from a spiritual viewpoint. I will describe briefly seven kingdoms—mineral, vegetable, animal, deva, human, angelic, and divine. The first three have been classified by scientists, but what has been left out is their relationship of Spirit to the devic kingdom. Devas are nature spirits of various sizes and life-spans. They are not usually perceived because they are not physical but merely astral or etheric in their subtle forms. Their simplest forms are associated with the four basic elements—fire, earth, air, and water. Scientists no longer call these physical principles elements, but they are still basic to physical science as heat, solid, gas, and liquid. These nature spirits or elementals are called gnomes for earth, undines for water, salamanders for fire, and sylphs for air. These little spirits are also evolving through their playful experiences. They inhabit their various forms. Larger forms such as rivers, waterfalls, lakes, oceans, mountains, great winds, and fires may have larger more evolved devas in charge of them.
      Because the plant kingdom is organically alive, the devas or spirits that inhabit these growing forms are more evolved. Some tree devas can be majestic indeed. Theosophical doctrine holds that plants and animals of the same species have Spirit extended to them by group-souls. A group-soul is an individual soul that oversees a group of plants or animals of the same species. This theory helps to account for the marvelous cooperation between a hive of bees, a colony of ants, a flock of birds, or a herd of mammals.
      Rare individuals who are clairvoyant can often see these nature spirits, but it seems that for most of us the evolution of our consciousness has not yet reached this ability of perception. Devas evolve into the angelic kingdom by serving their spiritual hierarchy. Angels are divine beings which serve God in magnificent ways. Human souls may previously have evolved through the experiences of the nature kingdoms, or they may be fallen gods who have chosen to incarnate in the human form in order to gain experience. In either case they are evolving toward Godhood and entry into the divine kingdom.
      As mentioned before, between the physical body and the soul are the astral, emotional, mental, and intuitional realms of consciousness. The consciousness of living creatures functions in these realms, evolving more complex subtle forms to operate their evolving physical organisms. As compared to our human self-consciousness, their awareness is subconscious and instinctive. Nevertheless, as we shall see, human self-consciousness is built on the foundation of this evolving instinctive awareness. Even plants have awareness of their environment and are able to deal with it successfully. Yet the suddenness of the death phenomenon in animals suggests to me that this consciousness is more than the physical body of the organism but rather an extension of Spirit that inhabits the body and keeps it organized and working through its awareness. The evolution of these forms of consciousness parallels and is completely intertwined with the organic evolution. Only at death are they separated, but somehow Spirit manages to rejoin new forms when they are procreated and born. Thus evolution and life have two sides—the outward physical forms and the inward spiritual consciousness.

Human Evolution

      A few million years ago the ape-like creatures that were eating fruit, nuts, and vegetation in the trees began to spend more time on the ground. Those that stood up on their legs could see better and thus had a better chance of finding food and escaping predators. Some discovered that with their grasping hands they could pick up rocks, sticks, bones, and horns to use for digging, clubbing, or throwing. Their jaws and teeth were adapted for chewing and grinding seeds and nuts. The pelvis bones were structured for bipedalism, but the female maintained a fairly large opening to be able to give birth to a baby with a large head. Since a larger, more capable brain helped these creatures to survive, reproduce, and care for the children, neoteny slowed down the maturation process so that the brain could continue to grow after birth. The prolonged period of dependent childhood naturally selected for mothers and even fathers who were good at taking care of their young. The female lost her well-defined estrus period and thus could become continually attractive to the male at any time, stimulating permanent attachments. While the female cared for the helpless baby, the male would provide food and protection. Females and youths gathered fruit and vegetables while the males became increasingly occupied with finding meat. At first they probably scavenged meat from creatures that were already dead or killed by predators. Eventually they learned how to hunt with increasing sophistication and group cooperation.
      About two million years ago these proto-human creatures were beginning to develop human characteristics. As they did, I believe that spirits or souls began to experiment with going directly into these bodies to help them evolve and experience their consciousness. This fall of souls into actual incarnation in a physical body is a major step in evolution, although souls may already have been incarnating in dolphins and whales for a few million years. Somehow this experience on land was more challenging and creative. Here they could use tools. Although some species can use tools, early man learned that they could make tools and eventually shelters as well. Skins of other animals could be used to keep warm. When hunting as a group, they could communicate with each other by making gestures and sounds. Early efforts probably began by indicating basic agreement or disagreement with what was occurring at the moment. They could gather extra seeds, nuts, and fruits in season and thus plan for the future. Such processes were probably the beginnings of rational thoughts in physical creatures. Gradually a language of gestures and emotional utterances would develop and eventually include signals, names, and mental referents. Homo erectus lived and hunted in bands, probably following the herds most of the time. They discovered the value of fire for keeping warm, lighting caves, hardening spear points, and scaring animals.
      With glaciers descending upon the Eurasian continent adaptation was stimulated, and the first Homo Sapiens, Neanderthal man, became prominent. The intelligent use of fire, such as in cooking, may have had the double evolutionary effect of lessening the size of the protruding jaw and teeth so that the large muscles connecting the back of the head to the neck could be smaller, making room for more brain space. By about one hundred thousand years ago, the braincase of Neanderthal was as large as man’s is today. In the northern latitudes lighter skin color was selected because of the need for vitamin D from the sunlight to prevent rickets. Neanderthal communities cared for the crippled and sick, and they buried their dead with mementos or flowers. They probably practiced cannibalism, as evidenced by the skulls that were broken so that the brains could be removed. About thirty thousand years ago, Neanderthals evolved into or were replaced by the modern-looking Cro-Magnon people.
      The average brain capacity of Cro-Magnon was actually a little larger than the average human brain is today. These people rapidly advanced in tool-making, even making bone needles for sewing. They became the first great artists with their ritualistic cave paintings of animals and female fertility figurines. Humans spread to every continent, crossing the land bridge during the last glacier to the American continents and a short span of ocean to Australia. Their intelligence and technological skills had made Homo Sapiens the dominant species all over the earth. As their settlements became more permanent, they were on the verge of the great breakthrough of agriculture and civilization.
      Myths, legends, and many psychics have told stories of an advanced culture on a continent in the Atlantic Ocean called Atlantis. Yet archaeology has not produced evidence of advanced technology during this period. How can we correlate these two divergent accounts of man’s ancient pre-history? The appearance and submersion of Atlantean lands was probably caused by the ice ages. According to Edgar Cayce, Atlantis had three major periods of destruction or inundation, the last one having been about ten thousand years ago. As the ice increased, the water levels of the oceans were lowered considerably, revealing much of the Atlantic shelves. When the ice melted, the lands sank beneath the waves in what myths of various cultures called the “great flood.” The Cro-Magnon people with their large brains and new technical skills were certainly awe-inspiring, and many of their most advanced cultures have been found in western Europe. The early developments of civilization on various continents may have been legacies from the technical achievements of a people whose centers of culture were covered by the Atlantic Ocean.
      With the birth of civilization evolution reached a major turning point. Through trial and error, death and sexual selection, the body of Homo Sapiens had evolved to a vehicle capable of great adaptation and skill that is physical, perceptual, and even conceptual. The sensitivity of the endocrine system and the capacity of the brain and nervous system for use by individual souls enabled humans to take evolution to a new level of expression. With the evolution of the physical organism as a foundation, souls could now evolve consciousness through communication and education. What one individual or community learned could be consciously passed on to others. Instead of genetic change experimenting with instincts by perpetuating those that were survivable through reproduction, consciousness itself could choose and experiment by trial and error to perceive for itself what was successful. In other words, the human soul can learn and thus adapt almost instantaneously instead of generationally. Thus conscious evolution is rapidly accelerated. Each generation builds on the base of previous physical evolution by starting from there with conscious development through education. Gains in conscious awareness through art, technology, and human understanding can be passed on to future generations through cultural transmission.

Copyright © 1987, 2016 by Sanderson Beck

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BECK index

Principles of Education Based on a Spiritual Philosophy of Love

I. The Universe
Divine Principles
Nature and Evolution

II. The Individual
Physical Body

III. Society
Social Relationships
Politics and Law
Art and Communication