The Words of the Lieb Family
Kabbalah in the Theology of Rev. Moon
March 30, 1999
I recently read a passage by Rev. Sun Myung Moon about the birth of Cain and Abel that came leaping out at me from the page: it was, almost word-for-word, identical to an esoteric account of the two brothers found in the Zohar, the Hadith, and certain Gnostic Christian Gospels. This account is so extremely bizzare, if you will, so contrary to all exoteric interpretations of the Bible, that it's unlikely the Zohar, Gnostic Christianity, the Hadith and Rev. Moon all "simply had the same obvious idea."
I'll trace the historical transmission of the Cain and Abel mythos from the Zohar, to Gnostic Christianity, through Islam and, finally, into Rev. Moon's Unification theology. In a second post, I'll review the complicated Biblical foundations of this mythos; and, in a third and final post, I'll discuss their theological and religious implications.
The Underlying "Ur" Account of Cain And Abel
"Then Yahweh asked the woman [Eve], 'What is this you have done?' And the woman replied, 'the Serpent seduced me'." Genesis (Rashi) 3:13 In summary, the "Ur" account of Cain and Abel shared by the Zohar, Gnostic Christianity, and Rev. Moon is this: Eve had intercourse with two beings, Adam and the Serpent (Satan); from the mixture of the latters' semen, two offspring were born to Eve, Cain and Able; Cain inherited more of Satan's characteristics, Abel those of Adam. Cain and Abel had wives (their twin sisters) with whom they, in turn, had offspring of their own, through which the "evil side" of Satan and the "good side" of Abel were transmitted, in an almost Mendalian process, to the whole of humanity.
According to the Zohar, it was not until Seth was born to Adam and Eve, 130 years after their fall from Eden, that a line of Adam's descendants was begun that was uncontaminated by the "seed of Satan." It's for this reason that the Biblical account of Adam's descendants omits Cain and Abel and includes only Seth: "This is the roll of Adam's descendants: When Adam was a hundred and thirty years old he became the father of a son, in his likeness and image [which were that of God] and he called him Seth." (Genesis 5:1-3) In passing, it is further remarkable that Luke's role of Jesus's ancestors likewise omits Cain and Able, mentioning only Seth. (Luke 3:23-38)
This esoteric transmission, is found also in certain Gnostic Christian Gospels -- i.e. "The Three Steles of Seth," "The Apocryphon of John," and "On the Origin of the World." (See _The Nag Hammadi Library_, Harper & Row, 1977) It was the basis of the "Sethian" school of Gnostic Christianity and also explains the allegedly "antisemitic" passage in John, "The devil is your father." (John 8:44) I'll discuss all these implications in my third post of this series. Here I simply want to relate the two passages from the Zohar and Rev. Moon. Suffice it to say, there is plenty of support for them in the writings of the Talmud, Rashi, and other Torah commentators -- which I'll cover in my second post of the series.
FOUR ESOTERIC ACCOUNTS OF CAIN AND ABEL
The Zohar Account:
"For two beings had intercourse with Eve, and she conceived from both and bore two children. Each followed one of the male parents, and their spirits parted, one to this side and one to the other, and similarly their characters. On the side of Cain are all the haunts of the evil species from which come evil spirits and demons and necromancers. From the side of Abel comes a more merciful [Adam-like] class -- yet not wholly beneficial -- good wine mixed with bad. The right kind was not produced until Seth came, who is the first ancestor of all the generations of the righteous." (Bereshith 36b-37a)
The Gnostic Christian Account:
"Then the [divine] authorities [i.e., Elohim]. . . sent seven [fallen] archangels to see what happened. They came to Adam. When they saw Eve speaking with him, they said to one another . . . 'let us seize her and let us cast our seed on her, so that . . .those whom she begets will serve us.' [Eve] conceived . . . and she bore the rest of the sons from the seven . . . angels." (On the Origins of the World, II:5)
The Islamic Account:
Allah's Apostle said, "Tonight two (visitors) came to me (in my dream) and took me to a town built with gold bricks and silver bricks. There we met men who, half of their bodies, look like the most-handsome human beings you have ever seen, and the other half, the ugliest human beings you have ever seen. Those two visitors said to those men, 'Go and dip yourselves in that river. So they dipped themselves therein and then came to us, their ugliness having disappeared and they were in the most-handsome shape. The visitors said, 'The first is the Garden of Eden and that is your dwelling place.' Then they added, 'As for those people who were half ugly and half handsome, they were those who mixed good deeds and bad deeds, but Allah forgave them." (Sahih Bukhari Hadith: Volume 6, Book 60, Number 196)
The Rev. Moon Unificationism Account:
"Lucifer dared to seduce Eve at the risk of his life . . . and [they] had sexual intercourse with each other. . . Eve joined with Adam after she had the illicit relationship with the archangel [Satan] . . . and [Satan's and Adam's] elements were then transmitted to their descendants . . . and mankind has multiplied sin to the present day, thus perpetuating the lineage of Satan." (Divine Principle I.2.2.2) Thus, we see virtually the same mixed-paternal parentage attributed to Cain and Abel in all four scriptural accounts. In my next post, I'll discuss the Biblical texts which support and clarify this remarkable correspondence.
Raising up the Holy Sparks together,
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