The Fall

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The Fall is a concept present in a number of different religions that can refer either to the fall of the angels after the "war in heaven" or the fall of man after having sinned. In the Theosophical literature there is reference to different "falls" according to the different keys used to interpret this universal myth. As Helena Petrovna Blavatsky wrote:

There is more than one interpretation, for there are seven keys to the mystery of the Fall. Moreover there are two “Falls” in Theology: the rebellion of the Archangels and their “Fall,” and the “Fall” of Adam and Eve.[1]
The “Fall of the Angels,” and the “War in Heaven” are repeated on every plane, the lower “mirror” disfiguring the image of the superior mirror, and each repeating it in its own way. Thus the Christian dogmas are but the reminiscences of the paradigms of Plato, who spoke of these things cautiously, as every Initiate would.[2]

General description

In Theosophical literature there are references to three falls: the fall of spirit into matter, the fall of the angels into generation, and the fall of man into sin. However, Mme. Blavatsky claims that all these "falls" are the natural result of karmic law and evolution. Speaking of the fall of angels and men she wrote:

Thus the lower as well as the higher Hierarchies are charged with a supposed crime. The word “supposed” is the true and correct term, for in both cases it is founded on misconception. Both are considered in Occultism as Karmic effects, and both belong to the law of Evolution: intellectual and spiritual on the one hand, physical and psychic on the other. The “Fall” is a universal allegory. It sets forth at one end of the ladder of Evolution the “rebellion,” i.e., the action of differentiating intellection or consciousness on its various planes, seeking union with matter; and at the other, the lower end, the rebellion of matter against Spirit, or of action against spiritual inertia. And here lies the germ of an error which has had such disastrous effects on the intelligence of civilized societies for over 1,800 years. In the original allegory it is matter—hence the more material angels—which was regarded as the conqueror of Spirit, or the Archangels who “fell” on this plane. “They of the flaming sword (or animal passions) had put to flight the Spirits of Darkness.” Yet it is the latter who fought for the supremacy of the conscious and divine spirituality on Earth and failed, succumbing to the power of matter. But in theological dogma we see the reverse.[3]

However, there is also a mention to a "fall" of angels that was actually the result of a mistake, and that is when a group of Manasaputras refused to incarnate during the third Root-Race. (See below)

Fall of Spirit

The concept of a fall can be applied in a rather general sense to refer to the immersion of spirit into matter.[4] In a related sense, it can refer to the fact that the divine, though unconscious Monad, has to undergo the process of reincarnation in order to develop self-consciousness:

It is a universal tradition that, before the physiological “Fall,” propagation of one’s kind, whether human or animal, took place through the WILL of the Creators, or of their progeny. It was the Fall of Spirit into generation, not the Fall of mortal man. It has already been stated that, to become a Self-Conscious Spirit, the latter must pass through every cycle of being, culminating in its highest point on earth in Man. Spirit per se is an unconscious negative ABSTRACTION. Its purity is inherent, not acquired by merit; hence, as already shown, to become the highest Dhyan Chohan it is necessary for each Ego to attain to full self-consciousness as a human, i.e., conscious Being, which is synthesized for us in Man.[5]

Fall of the Angels

Although the term "fallen angel" is not found in either the Hebrew Bible or the Deuterocanonical Books or the New Testament, the phrase is used in Christianity to refer to rebellious angels who sinned, or angels cast down to the earth from the War in Heaven.

From a Theosophical point of view, there are several happenings that could be regarded as a fall.

Fall into generation

One kind of fall of the angels is related to the myth of Prometheus, symbolizing the incarnation of the Manasaputras in the third Root-Race. This can be regarded as a fall of the angels into matter:

But we are now concerned with the “fallen Angels” of Enoch . . . This remark refers to divine Wisdom falling like lightning on, and quickening the intellects of those who fight the devils of ignorance and superstition. Up to the time when Wisdom, in the shape of the incarnating Spirits of MAHAT, descended from on high to animate and call the Third Race to real conscious life, humanity—if it can be so called in its animal, senseless state—was of course doomed to moral as well as to physical death. The Angels fallen into generation are referred to metaphorically as Serpents and Dragons of Wisdom.[6]

Those who refuse to incarnate

There is a reference to a "rebellious" action on part of the "Sons of Wisdom" when they refused to incarnate in the early Root-Races. This was not really an unlawful act because these early bodies were not prepared:

25. How did the Manâsa, the Sons of Wisdom act? They rejected the Self-born, (the boneless). They are not ready. They spurned the (first) sweat-born. They are not quite ready. They would not enter the (first) egg-born. To a Theist or a Christian this verse would suggest a rather theological idea: that of the Fall of the Angels through Pride. In the Secret Doctrine, however, the reasons for the refusal to incarnate in half-ready physical bodies seem to be more connected with physiological than metaphysical reasons. Not all the organisms were sufficiently ready. The incarnating powers chose the ripest fruits and spurned the rest.[7]

However, when the time for incarnation came, some of the "Sons of Wisdom" refused to do it claiming the bodies were not ready, for which action they were "punished" by the karmic law. This is "fall" is more similar to the religious idea of some angels that did something wrong:

Those, on the other hand, who, jealous of their intellectual freedom (unfettered as it then was by the bonds of matter), said:—“We can choose . . . we have wisdom” (See verse 24), and incarnated far later—these had their first Karmic punishment prepared for them. They got bodies (physiologically) inferior to their astral models, because their chhayas had belonged to progenitors of an inferior degree in the seven classes. As to those “Sons of Wisdom” who had “deferred” their incarnation till the Fourth Race, which was already tainted (physiologically) with sin and impurity, they produced a terrible cause, the Karmic result of which weighs on them to this day. It was produced in themselves, and they became the carriers of that seed of iniquity for æons to come, because the bodies they had to inform had become defiled through their own procrastination. (See verses 32, 36.)
This was the “Fall of the angels,” because of their rebellion against Karmic Law.[8]

Fall of Man

In Christianity, the fall of man refers to the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience to God. Some Christians interpret the fall occurred when Eve was tempted by the Serpent to engage in a sexual relationship with Adam.

According to Mme. Blavatsky "the 'fall of man' was no fall, for he was irresponsible".[9] Besides, the fall is the result of the process of evolution:

The terrible crime was merely the natural result of the law of evolution: that is the races—hardly solidified at first—of our androgynous and semi-ethereal prototypes, materializing themselves little by little, taking on a physical body, then separating into distinct males and females, finally procreated carnally after they had formerly created their likenesses by entirely different methods which will be explained some day (if, however, one may express by the word create an idea quite contrary to that of engender).
This “audacious revolt” is again an anthropomorphic and personifying allegory that we owe to the Church, which materialized, in order to disguise them the better, all the ancient ideas—old as the world. It was a philosophic doctrine imbedded in the esoteric meaning of the Promethean legend. The sacred fire which he stole from the Gods is the flame of conscious intellect, the spark which animates the fifth principle, or Manas; it is also the generating and sexual flame; that spark is the reflection —if not the very essence— of the Archangels or Monads, forced by their karma from the preceding manvantara, to incarnate in the astral forms of the third great pre-Adamite race before its “fall”—the fall of Spirit into Matter.[10]

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 62.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 268.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 268.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 248.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 192-193.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 230.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 171.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 171.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 228.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VIII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1990), 386.