Question: You claim that according to Baal HaSulam, man descended from the ape. Could it be that Baal HaSulam was wrong? After all, it says in the Torah that the Creator created man in His image and His likeness.
Answer: It isn’t only Baal HaSulam who says that man descended from the ape. Many other Kabbalists write about that. When we speak about man, it should be clear what man we refer to. If we refer to a man who is flesh and blood in our world, we refer to the level of the animal, and in this case, we should agree with what the books say.
Three hundred years before Darwin, a great Kabbalist the Ari said that man is the next phase that descends from the monkey, which is the intermediate phase between the animate level of nature and man.
Our animate state is accurately attained by Kabbalists. Moreover, when the Ari wrote about it, it was not a new idea about creation and the development of man from the ape since it was already mentioned in The Book of Zohar, which was written in the second century.
Kabbalists saw this process by seeing the development of the upper forces, and they described it in just a few sentences, which were enough to understand everything. When we examine the system of creation, we divide it into five levels according to the five phases of the spreading of the Direct Light. Therefore, when we speak about a certain object, we have to talk about it on all levels of its development.
Man is called a soul without a body. Just like any other animal, the body undergoes its phases of development and dies, while the soul only accompanies it. The body helps the soul develop. This is its mission. As long as a person has not acquired his soul and has not begun to assemble it from the shattered parts, he exists in a body.
When a person begins to correct his soul, that is, his intentions from receiving for his own sake to bestowal unto others, he is no longer a monkey and not man in our world but a human being (Adam). The human level symbolizes man (Adam) that resembles the Creator, even it is only in one small part of the desire that emerges in him. The small part that is corrected is called Man (Adam). From this perspective, there are no human beings in our world; there are only apes that resemble man in their shape. If we speak about humans, we call them souls. Therefore, it depends on what we speak about and on which level.
Question: What did the Creator create: a biological body or our soul?
Answer: The Torah speaks about everything, but it basically speaks about the soul. Everything we see around us doesn’t actually exist, but is inside us in the form of different desires. The replicas of our desires are imprinted around us and are called “this world.” Objects in the form of the still, vegetative, animate, and human nature, which we see, represent impressions of our internal attributes.
We are in a matrix in which there are only forces that depict ourselves to us, and everything that we see inside us and outside ourselves, are like on a computer screen. When we see our internal desires, which are aimed for our own sake on the screen, they depict our world to us. When the internal desires and forces are aimed at the sake of others, they depict the upper world to us. This is how we are made.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 9/4/16