I wrote this article recently for publication in the Frederick News Post, Words on Faith. I would love to hear your thoughts.
The Birth of Seth
In doing research recently for a class I’m teaching on the Creative Process in Genesis, I discovered some notes I took while listening to a recorded lecture originally given by Rev. Ed Rabel at Unity Village in September, 1975, speaking to a class of Unity ministerial students. While there are a number of perspectives from which this story can be interpreted, I was particularly intrigued by Rev. Rabel’s thoughts on the metaphysical understanding of Seth, son of Adam and Eve.
“And Adam knew his wife and she bore a son and called his name Seth. For God, said she, hath planted me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” Genesis 4:25
Rev. Rabel began his lecture with the death of Abel, stating that the death of Abel by his brother Cain illustrates how our lives can contain experiences wherein we do something which will create a feeling of loss or deprivation, and when this happens, our attitude is one of somehow feeling cheated by life - I’ve been cheated; something has been taken away from me. It wasn’t fair; it isn’t right. Or, I’ve made a mistake and must endure a loss. When this happens, it brings about a sadness, which must have been the state of Adam and Eve when they learned of the death of Abel. And then according to the story, God gave Adam and Eve a substitute, Seth. The word Seth itself means substituted and compensation. The birth of Seth metaphysically symbolizes the law of divine compensation in action in our lives.
Seth comes to make up for the loss of Abel, and this fact parallels how this divine law works for us. Rev. Rabel pointed out that this particular law is the one which sees to it that a suitable substitute or compensation comes to make up for what seems to have been taken out. And like all spiritual laws, for it to have a direct benefit in our lives, we must believe there is such a thing, and trust it. Then its action becomes unmistakable and recognizable to us.
Could it be that part of our purpose in this life is to demonstrate this reality, this law of divine compensation, or divine justice? As we go through life, we have many experiences of a mixed or contradictory nature. We meet justice and injustice, sometimes wrapped up in the same package. We meet praise and criticism. We get kindness and unkindness, sometimes from the same person, profit and loss from the same circumstance; and we find ourselves feeling frustrated, sad or angry. Then we pause, take a deep breath and calm down, and when we calm down we find within the situation, within ourselves a way to grow and learn from the experience. That which calms us down and enables us to keep learning and growing is life itself – it is the birth of Seth - a new idea, a new perspective, a little light that turns on in our consciousness when everything seems so dark. And when that new life, that little light, emerges in the interior consciousness, it touches the whole body. And this is what calms us and refreshes us and encourages us for further adventures in living.
As we integrate that understanding of the divine law of compensation into our daily lives, I believe that we will find our perspective changing. We will find more light and peace entering our consciousness and changing the whole tempo of our world. Where in your life is there waiting for you the birth of Seth?