Creation, Evolution and Beyond
Humanity has been through a lot. Now we want to know how it all began and where we are headed
Our time in history is very special, the kind we learn about in history books years after it unfolds. Numerous events are happening daily and in every possible realm. Changes are occurring more often than ever, and at a pace that seems constantly faster.
Humanity has already been through great changes, but this time, it seems we are facing a fateful crossroads. Millennia of evolution are all pointing to a special point in time: ours.
In the beginning, man thought that Earth was flat, and that if one only walked far enough, he or she would reach the end of the world. In those days, people believed that a special God was assigned for each of the world’s phenomena. But as science evolved, people developed a better understanding of the world we live in. Yet, one question remained unresolved: “How did it all begin?
Ancient books of Kabbalah reveal that questions about how the world began occupied the minds of the first Kabbalists as early as 5,000 years ago. They discovered that the reality prior to our arrival started with a tiny spark of spiritual energy. This burst into the corporeal space about fifteen billion years ago created our universe. Science calls it “the big bang.”
The big bang created the conditions for the existence of life on Earth. Baal HaSulam, generally regarded as the greatest Kabbalist of the twentieth century, writes about it in a paper he published in 1940 under the title, The Nation:
“However, the planet had not yet grown still from the war between the forces, and after some time the liquid force of fire overpowered and erupted in a great noise from the bowels of the Earth, rising and shattering the cold hard crust to pieces, turning the planet into a liquid ball of fire once again. Then an era of new wars began until the cool force overpowered the force of fire once more, and a second crust was chilled around the ball, harder, thicker, and more durable against the outbreak of the fluids from amidst the ball.
“…Thus, the eons interchanged, and every time the cooling force was victorious, the crust it made was thicker. Finally, the positive forces overpowered the negative forces and they came into complete harmony: the liquids took their place in the abdomen of the Earth, and the cold crust became thick enough around them to enable the creation of organic life as it is today.”
The still (inanimate) nature evolved first. The next life form to emerge was vegetation. When vegetation completed its evolution, animals appeared. After several more millions of years, when the animate level completed its evolution, a human being appeared.
Each of these life forms evolved independently, regardless of the preceding life form. It is important to understand that the still does not beget the vegetative, the vegetative does not beget the animate, and the animate does not beget the human. There is, rather, a connection of cause and consequence between the levels. In other words, when one life form completes its evolvement, it is as though a hidden hand pushes a secret button, which sets off the emergence of the next form.
The First Kabbalist
Thus, 5767 years ago, evolution had come to a level when a new sensation appeared in one man: a desire to discover what lies beyond this world. This man could not settle for a roof over his head, a family, and a good meal. To be happy, he had to know why he existed.
Although many generations of humans existed on Earth before him, this man was the first to experience the awakening of the desire for spirituality. Baal HaSulam wrote that “Adam ha Rishon (The First Man) was the first to receive a body of knowledge of everything he had seen” (“The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Its Essence”).
That man’s name was Adam, from the Hebrew words Adameh LaElyon (“I will be like the Most High”) (Isaiah, 14:14), after his desire to be similar to the Upper Force. The awakening of spirituality that Adam ha Rishon experienced is the point from which the spiritual evolution of humanity begins. Hence, this is also the date on which the Hebrew calendar begins.
Wanting to Understand Life’s Secret
The sensation that awakened in Adam ha Rishon awakens in many of us today. The emptiness and dissatisfaction from life are the key reasons for today’s prevalence of depression. Humankind is now discovering that we cannot satisfy our incessantly growing desires. At the same time, just like Adam ha Rishon, we are beginning to need to understand the very reason for our existence.
Because of this need, Baal HaSulam continued to develop the wisdom of Kabbalah, to provide an answer to the question awakening in thousands today: “What is the meaning of my life?”