In the beginning…
So starts one of the most famous quotes in history. Certainly one of the most famous in the bible. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” Those famous words are repeated at every degree during the candidates’ last moments of darkness. Why?
I have heard or read that statement thousands of times but always took it for granted as just a simple statement of fact. I never attached any Masonic significance to it until recently. One of my best Christmas presents was the book “The Rational Bible: Genesis” by Dennis Prager. Mr. Prager is a modern Renaissance man, who, besides directing classical symphony orchestras for charity, is a well-known writer, lecturer, radio talk show host, and a cigar lover too!
He points out a sublime lesson in the statement “In the beginning…” in the ONE beginning. There was nothing before and there was everything after, only because of that ONE beginning when ONE God created everything for all. In contrast to prior beliefs of multiple gods making multiple parts of nature for multiple tribes. From that time on, it was to be understood that since there is ONE Grand Architect, ONE Divine Creator of the universe, the world was created for ALL men ALL of who are on ONE level. Sound familiar?
As Masons, we are taught that all men, regardless of faith or different backgrounds, are equal and all are on the same one level together. Thus all men are welcomed and all “have a claim upon our kind offices”. How appropriate then that during each degree, these are the words chosen for every candidate to hear just before seeing Masonic light for the first time. During Masonic ritual, I will no longer take those words for granted.
In the beginning….
F. Lawrence Vernamonti