(01 Multi-part marriage dynamics )
The phrase, "denial of the fullness of God's creation," is the actual phrase that Mary Baker Eddy uses in one of her definitions for a wide range of marriage expressions. She presents a multi-part description of various types of marriage dynamics to set up an exploration of the principles involved. She did NOT present these in the chapter, Marriage, of her book. Instead, she lays them out as a platform designed for discovery. This was her style for dealing with the critical aspects that lay beyond the general perception of her time.
(02 The naming of Jacob's 12 children )
She presents this platform in the form of glossary definitions for 9 of the names of the children of the biblical Jacob, the man who later took on the name Israel. Jacob's story, as presented in the Bible, has all the features of a well-crafted illustrative historic fiction in which the naming of Jacob's 12 children reflects the respective mother's mentality surrounding the children's birth. The writer was illustrating a principle with the story. Also the story is evidently fiction as it pertains to times from long before written languages were in use. Also the number of children is suspicious, because 12 is a near universal numeric metaphor derived from an ancient symbol, the hexagram, that is used to signify 'many' or abundance. The metaphor of 12 to signify abundance is used 165 times in the Bible, including in the Jacob story. Since the story is evidently fiction for these reason, it becomes interesting to explore what the writer had intended to illustrate about the marriage process that comes to light in a range of unique features in the story.
(03 Jacob a 'rat' of a man )
To begin with, Jacob is presented in the story as a 'rat' of a man. He conspired with his mother to deceive his father, and thereby to cheat his brother out of what was most precious to him, his birthright blessing. Being this kind of an ‘empty’ man, instead of facing the consequences of his deeds, the fictional Jacob flees to his mother’s brother, Laban, who lives in a distant land.
(04 Jacob falls in love with Rachel )
When Jacob meets one of Laban's daughters, he falls in love with her at first sight and gladly agrees to work for Laban for seven years to receive her for his wife. But on his wedding day he found that he had married the older daughter, Leah, instead, who had to be married first according to custom. So he worked for another seven years to obtain the younger daughter, Rachel, also.
However, Rachel, the girl of Jacob's love, turns out to be barren, while Leah bares him children. Leah uses her advantage as an asset to win Jacob’s affection, though apparently with no success. On this note, the story unfolds.
(05 The child Reuben )
When Leah gives birth to her first child, and it was a son - sons were highly valued in an economy centered on manual labor - she utters with great joy, “now my husband will love me.” She names the child Reuben. The name can be interpreted as: "Behold a son." Indeed, wouldn’t everyone cheer for her? But was her bearing a child a gift of love, or was it a means for coercion? The naming suggests that it was for coercion.
Mary Baker Eddy gave Leah's intention a scolding assessment. Leah's motive was based on a delusion, an error in thinking that is focused on corporeality, sensuality, which are aspects related to mortality instead of divinity.
(06 Leah's third child, named Levi )
Mary Baker Eddy didn't comment on Leah's second child, Simeon, since the mother's mentality had remained the same, but she did commented on Leah's third child, named Levi, which means ‘attached’, as she was still hoping that by bearing him children her husband would become attached to her.
Mary Baker Eddy interpreted the intention that is reflected in the name Levi, as, “...a sensual belief, ...denial of the fullness of God’s creation, ecclesiastical despotism.” Leah felt 'empty' for not being loved.
(07 A love-devoid circumcised society )
Rachel didn't fare any different. While Jacob loved her deeply, she didn't love herself. She felt inferior for not bearing children, and envied her sister with a growing hatred. Thus she was stuck in a similar denial of the fullness of God's creation.
It appears that the Jacob story was written for a more-deeply underlying purpose than to illustrate the dimensions of the marriage covenant. The Jacob story ends with a shock that exposes the dynamics of a love-devoid circumcised society, which of course has its debilitating impact on marriage relationships. In the Jacob story Leah finds herself trapped into this love-devoid environment by marriage where she struggles to survive by playing along in the empty house ruled by controlling games, though she doesn't benefit anything by it, but finds her life increasingly wanting.
(08 Judah, object of praise )
Disappointed Leah shifts her focus away from manipulating others to love her, focusing onto what she already has, and always will have, her own fullness in living that doesn't depend on any person's response, but on her own response. Thus, when she bares her fourth son, she says, "Now will I praise the Lord," and names the child, Judah, which means, object of praise.
Mary Baker Eddy acknowledged the shift in focus, so that in defining the name Judah, she omitted the designation, "Jacob's son," and acknowledged the progress that Leah had made, referring to it as, "corporeal material belief progressing and disappearing; the spiritual understanding of God and man appearing."
(09 Acknowledging the fullness of God )
Leah had changed her tune of thinking, from denying the fullness of God to acknowledging the fullness of God. On this note, she is finally satisfied. She stops bearing children at this point. The writer of the Jacob story, though, didn't leave it with that. This would have been too simple. He adds a new increment of complexity with each of the two women giving their maid to Jacob as wife for the purpose of bearing children through them, which their maids do.
(10 Rachel offers her maid to Jacob )
So it was that in order not to be outdone by Leah's bearing children for Jacob, Rachel, Jacob’s beloved who had remained barren, out of desperation offers her maid to Jacob as a surrogate to have children through her.
When a son is born to Rachel on this platform, Rachel names the child Dan, which means "to judge," assuming that God has judged her worthy. But Mary Baker Eddy disagrees. She interprets the intention behind the surrogate birth as, “Animal magnetism, ...error working out the design of error, one belief preying upon another.” She defines in this manner the nature of a psychologically wounded and empty society that goes to the n'th degree in the game of controlling one another? The modern world is falling increasingly into this trap internationally. It has become the champion of it, with empire being its patron saint.
(11 Gad, a troop is coming )
Since Leah was no longer bearing children at this point in the story, she copies her sister’s approach and gives her maid too, to Jacob as wife, with no strings attached. When in due course a son is born on this platform, Leah names the child Gad, which means, "a troop is coming" - a troop of children for the family.
Mary Baker Eddy acknowledges the evidently elevated intention that is reflected in the name Gad, and gives it extremely high praise. She calls it, “science; spiritual being understood; haste towards harmony.”
Do we face a paradox here?
(12 Contrast in Mary Baker Eddy's assessments )
We have two physically identical processes described in the story. Both Rachel and Leah gave their maid to Jacob as wife for the purpose of having children, which they do. They have two children each. But why is there such a contrast in Mary Baker Eddy's assessments?
Apparently the physical process wasn't the key factor in her comparison, which was instead focused on the radically different intentions of the two women that reflected different mental backgrounds. Rachel’s intention had remained focused on personal gain under her continued denial of the fullness of God. This became evident in the naming of the children. She denied the singular, universal nature of humanity as the reflection of God, and saw herself isolated in her marriage in competition with her sister. This evidently prompted Mary Baker Eddy's scathing comment as: “Animal magnetism, ...error working out the design of error, one belief preying upon another.”
(13 Mary Baker Eddy defined empire )
With her scathing assessment of the intention represented by Rachel, Mary Baker Eddy defined also the underlying intention of the entire system of empire that aims to achieve world-dominance, while it is so empty in itself that it has nothing to offer. It truly stands in denial of the fullness of God. Empire plays the nations as pawns in its self-centered empty games to steal profits from the world. In this context, Mary Baker Eddy is right on the mark in her glossary, in defining the nature of the system of empire as ‘...error, working out the designs of error; one belief preying upon another.’
(14 Leah’s intention )
But Leah’s intention, in contrast, was no longer for personal gain. It was carried by the mentality that had brought her peace After years of struggling for it, she had finally realized that personal gain means nothing without the universal welfare of the family (and by extension the universal welfare of mankind) in which the acknowledgement of the fullness of God's creation is ultimately expressed. This mentality was carried forward into her surrogate relationship, and was reflected , of course, in the outcome. Leah had simply stepped above the broken step on the ladder that hadn’t worked for her and raised herself to higher ground where she focused on the universal welfare of the family instead, which she fully expressed in the naming of the resulting child as "Gad."
(15 Science; spiritual being understood )
Thus Leah's advance to the process of building for the general welfare became reflected in Mary Baker Eddy's definition for the name Gad as: ‘Science; spiritual being understood; haste towards harmony.’ With this definition Mary Baker Eddy provided a beautiful high-level definition for the spiritual dynamics of the marriage process, a type of acknowledgement of the fullness of God's creation. This dynamic flow appears totally fictional in today's world.
It is hard to imagine that Leah's action would be possible in the modern world, such as a wife inviting her husband to have sex with her own friend, and for them to have children together for the welfare of the family. That's impossible even as fiction, right? Nevertheless Mary Baker Eddy gave Leah high praise for it, because the intention of her doing so was there, and had bee developed up to this higher-level stage for the universal benefit of all.
(16 The child, Asher )
The writer of the Jacob story was evidently aware of the motivating principle towards this high-level state. The principle is expressed in the naming of the second child born in Leah's wide open process. Leah names the child, Asher. She says, ‘happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed. Mary Baker Eddy defines the principle involved as, ‘hope and faith; spiritual compensation; the ills of the flesh rebuked.’
(17 Mysticism of the fabled mandrake )
However, the writer of the Jacob story was evidently also aware that great discipline is required to maintain this high-level state, and also that such a state is rarely maintained in society. Thus the writer lets his story collapse too, at this point. He starts the collapse with the aid of the mysticism of the fabled mandrake plant, which is said to aid conception. Leah's son Reuben finds mandrakes in the field. Rachel wants some, and offers Leah a night with Jacob in trade. On this basis they both conceive.
(18 Types of regressions )
However, by Leah being able to bear children again, she finds herself drifting back into the old mentality of focusing on personal gain in denial of the fullness of God's creation. At the birth of her sixth son Leah is back to where she started. She says, “now will my husband love me, because I have given him six sons.” Her children are again regarded as ‘property’ with a property value attached, to be used for coercion.
These types of regressions, unfortunately have happened far too often in the real world. Small shifts in focus can change the whole world. And so the regressions are happening in our world as they do in the story, and will continue to happen until the chain is broken for their underlying cause.
(19 The Jacob story warns )
Mary Baker Eddy utilized the Jacob story to cut through some of the thick fog of fiction surrounding the marriage of humanity that unfolds in the smallest domain all the way to the international domain. She opens the horizon to the truth of the universal marriage of humanity as human beings on which the wide world of civilization unfolds at every level.
On this note the writer of the Jacob story ultimately warns that if the underlying chain of fundamental errors that drive the collapse is not being cut in society, civilization is doomed to disintegrate, both individually and collectively.
(20 Mary Baker Eddy defines Joseph )
In the Jacob story, Rachel reached only once above the sewer of the empire mentality that she became trapped into, where she eventually died during childbirth. She reached her high point after the mandrakes affair. What she had struggled for, for so many years, when she stopped struggling, suddenly happened naturally and effortlessly; as softly as a divine unfolding. And so, when a son was born to her, she named him Joseph. She acknowledged, "God has taken away my reproach and shall add to me another son. Mary Baker Eddy acknowledged that Jacob was no longer the focal point. Consequently she omitted the designation, Jacob's son. She defines Joseph, ‘A corporeal mortal; a higher sense of Truth rebuking mortal belief, or error, and showing the immortality and supremacy of Truth; pure affection blessing its enemies.’ The human experience always reflects the underlying acknowledgement of the fullness of God's creation, or the denial of it, even when the latter results from regression as in Leah's case at the end.
In the collective context, Jacob’s own story ends similarly.