The Life and Doctrines of Jacob Boehme

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The Life and Doctrines of Jacob Boehme

By Franz Hartmann


"God created man in His own image. Male and female (in one) created He them."
Man in his cosmic aspect is a being very superior to that which is commonly looked upon as a "man," and which is described in books on anthropology, anatomy, &c. Such external sciences deal only with the grossly material body of external terrestrial man, while the essential body of macrocosmic and microcosmic man is beyond the reach of external observation. In the study of man as a cosmic being there are three subjects to be considered, although the three are only three aspects of one. These three subjects are God, Nature, and Man, and neither one of them can be understood in its inner essence without an understanding of the other two. External science, "natural philosophy," and theology seek to separate them. They regard man as a being separated, distinct, and independent of nature, and nature as something independent of man; while of God they know nothing, and regard the divine power, which is the cause of all life, as if it were something external to nature and man, and beyond their reach. For this reason the "man" of modern science has become an unnatural being, without any conceivable object for his existence, and nature is to him an organism evolved by accidence and subject to no other than mechanically acting law. The divine, spiritual, creative, and hidden powers in man and in nature are entirely removed from the field of perception of the "rationalist."

Man, as a whole, may be conceived of as a planetary spirit, a self-conscious, luminous sphere of unimaginable extent; as, in fact, at present the mental sphere of man has no defined limits; it reaches as far as his thoughts can go. He was created for the purpose of being the image of God. The glory of God was residing in him, and he was penetrated by the light of divine love.

In man is contained everything, God, and the Christ, and the angels, the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms, and the powers of hell. Outside of him is nothing of which he can conceive; he can know nothing except that which exists in his mind. No god or devil, no spirit or any power whatever, can act within man unless it enters into his constitution. Only that which exists in him has existence for him.

Without a realisation of this fact the mysteries of religion will remain incomprehensible. It may be interesting and amusing to speculate about all the different gods and celestial hosts that go to make up the Pantheons of the various nations, but such a study does not constitute real knowledge. Only when man's spiritual perceptions are unfolded and he attains divine knowledge of self, then will he know the Christ and all the celestial powers whose aggregate goes to make up the kingdom of God existing within himself.

"The Spirit of God resides from eternity to eternity only in heaven—that is to say, in His own essence, in the power of the majesty. When it became inbreathed into the image of man, then was heaven in man; for God willed to reveal Himself in man, as in an image created after His own likeness, and to manifest the great wonders of His eternal wisdom." (Stiefel, i. 36.)

"Simultaneously with the introduction of His divine image, Adam received also the living word of God (spiritual intelligence) to furnish food for his soul." (Menschwerdung, i. 3, 24.)

"God created Adam to (enjoy) eternal life in Paradise in a state of paradisiacal perfection. Divine love illumined his interior, as the sun is illuminating the world." (Stiefel, i. 36.)

"In Paradise there is perfect life without disturbance, and a perpetual day, and the paradisiacal man is clear like transparent glass, and he is fully penetrated by the light of the divine sun." 1 (Signature, xi. 5 1.)

His body likewise appeared luminous, because its terrestrial substance was absorbed in the celestial essence. It radiated a pure, divine light. 2

"The inner holy corporeity of the pure element penetrated through the four elements and kept the Limus of earth—that is to say, the external sulphuric (terrestrial) body within itself as in a state of absorption. Nevertheless, that body was actually present, but in such a way as darkness dwells in light, so that the darkness cannot manifest itself on account of the light." (Mysterium, xvi. 6.)

"All the qualities of the inner and holy body, together with the external ones, were in primordial man attuned in one harmony. Neither of them lived in its own state of desire; but they had their desire in the soul wherein the divine light was manifest. This, the divine light radiated through all the qualities, and produced in them an equal, harmonious temperature." (Mysterium, xvi. 5.)

"The inner man kept the external one imprisoned within itself and penetrated it in a manner comparable to iron, which glows if it is penetrated by fire, so that it seems as if it were itself fire. But when the fire becomes extinct, then does the black, dark iron become manifest." (Mysterium, xvi. 7.)

"The pure element penetrated through the external roan and overpowered the four elements; moreover, the power of the heat and the cold was in the flesh. But as the light of God was shining therein, they were in equal harmony, so that neither one of them became manifest before the other. Thus God the Father is called a wrathful, jealous God and a consuming fire, and He is all that in regard to His qualities; but of these qualities nothing becomes manifest in His light." (Stiefel, xi. 75.)

"Primordial man in Paradise, being fixed therein, was in a state such as time is before God and God in time. As time is a spectacle before God, likewise the external life of man was a spectacle before the inner and holy man, who was the true image of God." (Mysterium, xvi. 8.)

In the same sense the Bhagavad Gita says that the true self, the God, Atma, or " Christ," is not a participator, but merely a spectator in that which concerns the external illusion.

"The inner body was a dwelling-place of the Godhead, an image of divine substantiality. In that body the soul had her meekness, and her fire was rendered mild thereby, for she received there the love and meekness of God." (Tilk., i. 233.)

Owing to this resemblance to God, Adam's will and thoughts were as one. His mind was pure and uncomplicated, childlike, unsophisticated, and devoted to God; he did not need to speculate about the unknown, because he had the power to perceive that which he wanted to know. He enjoyed the perception of divine and terrestrial things. 1

"The mind of Adam was innocent like that of a child, playing with the wonders of its Father. There was in him no self-knowledge of evil will, no avarice, pride, envy, anger, but a pure enjoyment of love." (Threefold Life, xi. 23.)

"When Adam was created in Paradise, there his life was burning like a flame of pure oil. Therefore his perception was celestial, and his intelligence was surpassing and comprehending things beyond nature." (Signature, vii. 2.)

"The inner man stood in heaven; his essences were the Paradise; his body was indestructible. He knew the language of God and the angels, and the language of nature, as may be seen by Adam giving names to all creatures, to each according to its own essence and quality." (Forty Questions, iv. 7.)

"Adam, after having been created by God, was in Paradise in a state of joy and glorification, beautiful and filled with knowledge. God then brought before him, as the lord of the world, all the animals, so that he might behold them, and give a name to each according to its special essence and power. And Adam knew that he was within every creature, and he gave to each its appropriate name. God can see into the hearts of all things, and the same could be done by Adam." 1 (Three Principles, x. 17.)

In this state of godlike being he had power over all things; for all things existed in him and he in all, and there was nothing that could have done him any external injury. To express it in other words, all things existed subjectively in his mind, as they now do in ours, but his mind was his " body," and where the centre of his consciousness was, there was his "form."

"As God is a Lord over all, so man in the power of God was to be a lord over this world." (Menschwerdung, i. 4, 7.)

"The soul in the power of God penetrates through all things, and is powerful over all, as God Himself; for she lives in the power of His heart." (Three Principles, xxii. 17.)

"As gold is incorruptible in the fire, so man was subject to nothing, only to the One God dwelling in him, and manifested in him by the power of His holy being."

(Mysterium, xvi. 12.) "Everything was subject to Adam; his rule extended into heaven and over the earth, and in all elements and stars. This was because divine power was manifested in him." 1 (Mysterium, xvi. 2.)

"The will-spirit of man penetrated through all creatures, and was injured by none, because none could grasp it. No creature can apprehend the power and light of the sun in its own will, but must remain passive to become penetrated by it; thus it was then the case with the will-spirit of man." (Grace, vii. 2.)

"Before his fall, man could rule over the sun and the stars. Everything was in his power. 2 Fire, air, water, and earth could not tame him; no fire burned him, no water drowned, no air suffocated him; all that lived stood in awe of him." (Threefold Life, xi. 23.)

"No heat, no cold, no sickness, nor accident, nor any fear could touch or terrify him. His body could pass through earth and rocks without breaking anything in them; for a man who could be overpowered by the terrestrial nature, or who could be broken to pieces, would not be eternal." 3 (Menschwerdung, i. 2, 13.)

Likewise that nature which surrounded him, and which is called Eden, was illuminated by the celestial light, and it was thereby exalted to paradisiacal magnificence.

"Adam was in Paradise, that is to say, in the temperature. Thereby he was placed in a certain locality, namely, in that where the holy world was blooming out through the earth and bearing the fruits of Paradise." (Grace, v. 34.)

"'Eden' means the locality, but 'Paradise' is the out-flowing or the life of God in divine harmony." (Letters, xxxi. 28.)

"In Paradise the substance of the divine world penetrated the substance belonging to time, comparable to the power of the sun penetrating a fruit growing on a tree, and endowing it with such qualities as render it lovely to the sight and good to the taste." (Mysterium, xvii. 5.)

"Thus the holy divine world was predominant through all the three principles of the human quality, and there was an equal accord, and no enmity or opposite will was manifest betwixt the principles." 1 (Mysterium, xvii. 20.)

There were in Paradise all the products which we meet in the terrestrial world, but they were there in a state of ethereality and of supernatural beauty. This paradisiacal beauty was, however, not manifested in all parts of the world.

"In Paradise there are growths, the same as in this world, but not in (terrestrial) tangibility. There Heaven is in the place of the earth, the Light of God instead of the sun, and the Eternal Father in the place of the power of the stars." (Three Principles, ix. 20.)

"The Paradise is not anything corporeal or tangible in a terrestrial sense, but its corporeity and tangibility is like that of the angels. It is there a clear, visible, substance, as if it were material, and it is actually "material;" but it is formed only out of the power, without any addition of terrestrial matter, and it is, therefore, perfectly transparent." (Three Principles, ix. 18.)

"The tangible world, or nature, before the time of the wrath of God, was thin, ethereal, lovely, and clear, so that the sourcive spirits could look through everything and penetrate it. There were therein neither terrestrial rocks nor earth, and there was no created light needed, such as it is now; but the light was generated in all things in the midst of each thing, and everything was in the light." (Aurora, xviii. 29.)

"The whole world would have been all Paradise if it had not been corrupted by Lucifer. But as God knew that Adam was going to fall, it bloomed out in only one place, wherein man might find a suitable dwelling-place, and be fortified therein." (Mysterium, xvii. 7.)

"God saw and knew that man was going to fall, and therefore the Paradise did not bloom and bear fruits in the whole of the world by means of the earth, although it was manifest everywhere, but only in the Garden of Eden, wherein Adam was tempted, did it become revealed in its full magnificence." 1 (Letters, xxxix. 28.)

For all that, man, although having been endowed with great splendour by the Creator, did not yet enjoy true similarity with God. 2

"In Adam was manifest the kingdom of grace, the divine life, because he lived in the temperature (harmony) of the qualities, but he did not know that God was revealed in him. Likewise his self-will did not know that which is good, because it had as yet experienced no evil. How could there be any joy where no sorrow is known?" (Grace, ix. 15.)

"The soul was in her own essence from eternity, but as a created thing she was formed to represent the image of God at the time of the creation of the body. Nevertheless she is per se not yet the true image, but only an essential fire for its production." (Tilk., i. 81.)

"The soul of man, which has been breathed into him by God, is from the Eternal Father; but with that she has not yet attained the birth of the Son, wherein is the end of nature, and from which no created being issues." (Three Principles, ix. 13.)

Man can attain real similarity to God and perfect beatitude only by decisively willing to put his will into the Son, as the Heart or Light of the Father.

"God has the eternal and unchangeable will to generate His Heart and his Son, and thus the soul should put her immutable will into the heart of God. Then would she be in heaven and Paradise, and enjoy the inexpressible happiness of God the Father, which He enjoys in the Son, and she would hear the inexpressible words in the heart of God." 1 (Three Principles, x. 14.)

"Adam was conceived in the love of God and born into this world. He was in possession of a divine substantiality, and his soul was of the will, the first principle, the quality of the Father. This will should be directed, together with the imagination, into the heart of the Father, that is to say, into the Word and the Spirit of love and purity. Then would man's soul retain the substance of God in the Word of Life." (Menschwerdung, i. 10, 2.)

"The living soul, from the eternal will of the Father, was breathed into man, and this will has no other purpose than to give birth to His only Son. 1 Of this will God the Father infused into man, and this is the eternal soul of man. The soul ought to put her regenerated will into the eternal will of the Father, in the heart of God. Then will she receive the power of the heart of God and also His holy eternal light, wherein arises the Paradise and the celestial kingdom and eternal joy." (Three Principles, xxvi. 16.)

"If the soul sinks her will into the meekness, i.e., the obedience of God, she becomes a fountain of the heart of God, and receives divine power, and all her essences become angelic and joyful. Then her harsh essences will also be useful to her, and appear to her more mild and useful, than if they had already originally been entirely sweet and mild." (Three Principles, xiii. 31.)

It was within his power to decide, and he was free to do so, because there was in him not only the principle of light, but also the fire-principle,—not only perception, but will.

"The light and the power of the light is a desire, and wants to come in possession of the noble image made after God's likeness, because it has been created for the world of light. Likewise the dark world or the craving wrath desires the same, for man has all the worlds within himself, and there is a great battle taking place in man. That principle with which he identifies himself with in his desire and his will, will rule in him." (Tilk., i. 381.)

"As the soul is essential and her very substance is a desire, it is clear that she is in two kinds of Fiat. The first is her own soul-property; the other belongs to the second principle, issuing from the will of God in the soul. The soul desiring for God for the purpose of forming herself in His image and likeness, this desire of God acts as a Fiat in her own centre; for the desire of God wants to possess the soul. On the other hand, she herself desires to possess the centre in the power of the fire, wherein the life of the soul originates." (Eye, vii.)

"The will of the soul is free, and she can either sink into nothing within herself and conceive of herself as the nothing, when she will sprout like a branch out of the tree of divine life, and eat of the love of God; or she may in her own self-will rise up in the fire and desire to become a separate tree." 1 (Forty Questions, ii. 2.)

There existed in man also the third principle, wherein resides sensual desire. He was not endowed with this principle for the purpose of surrendering himself to it, but that he might introduce it into the light of God, and glorify Him by means of that light. 2

"Man was a mixed individuality, and destined to be an image according to the inner, and also according to the outer world; but as the symbol of God, he was to rule with the inner consciousness over the external one." (Menschwerdung, i. 3, 13.)

"When man remains in harmonious order, so as not to let one world into the other, he is then the likeness of God; but the image or the mirror of the world of light he should surely introduce into the external world." (Six Theosophical Points, vi. 12.)

"The constellation (the astral influences) of the macrocosm should not be permitted to rule over man; but he has his own constellation (the spirit, the idea) within himself, which is capable of becoming attuned to the harmony of the rise and evolution of the divine world within." (Letters, i. 8.)

"All of man's desire should have been placed into the light; then would the light have shone within his essence and desire, and filled everything as with one will." (Tilk., i. 542.)

"The soul of Adam could have ruled powerfully over the external principle if she had entered again with her will into the heart of God, into the word of the Lord." 1 (Forty Questions, iv. 2.)

Thus it was intended that, by means of the instrumentality of man, the paradisiacal splendour should be continually spread out and increased over terrestrial nature, and that all the hidden treasures of nature should be uncovered.

"The external world is also of God and belonging to God, and man has been created therein, so that he may bring again the external into the internal one; the end into the beginning." (Letters, xi. 18.)

"Adam was also created in the external quality, so that he may manifest in forms and execute in works that which had been perceived in eternal wisdom." (Menschwerdung, i. 4.)

"Man has been created in Paradise, for it was out-blooming through the earth, and from the earth of Paradise was Adam's body created, because he was a lord of the earth, and it was his destiny to unfold the wonders of the earth. If it had not been for that purpose, God might have endowed him with an angelic body; but in that case the substantiated being with its wonderful qualities would not have been unfolded." 1 (Menschwerdung, ii. 12.)

But while in Adam all the three principles were originally in unity and harmony, there was attracting him outwardly in a powerful manner, not only the heart of God, but also the devil and the kingdom of the terrestrial world. 2

"Man stood in three principles, and they were in equal concordance in him, but not outside of him; for the dark world had a desire different from that of the world of light, and likewise the external world had a desire differing from that of the dark world and from the world of light. Thus the image of God was betwixt three principles, which all of them in their desire were conducive to that image. Each of them wanted to become manifest in Adam—to have him within its own regiment or as a ruler, and to manifest its wonders through him." (Mysterium, xvii. 34.)

"Everything attracted Adam and wanted to take possession of him. The heart of God wanted to have him in Paradise and to reside in him, for it said, 'He is my image and likeness.' The kingdom of wrath wanted him, for it said, 'He is mine; for he has issued out of my fountain, out of the eternal mind of the darkness. I will be in him, and he shall live in my power; I will manifest through him strong and great power.' Finally, the kingdom of the world likewise said, 'He is mine, for he bears my image; he lives in me and I in him; he must be obedient to me, for I have all nay members (organs) in him and he has his members in me, and I am greater than he. He shall be my steward, and manifest my power and wonders.'" 1 (Three Principles, xi. 33.)

Adam, making a perverted use of the freedom granted to him, allowed his lower qualities to be awakened to an evil desire—that is to say, to a desire for the terrestrial world, which is divided within itself.

"In primitive man before the fall, the qualities for differentiation and self-enjoyment were in equal will-power, and their desire was introduced into the unity of God. This the devil begrudged to them, and he deluded the seven qualities of life by awakening within them a perverted desire, persuading them that it were good, and that they would become wise, if the qualities, each according to its own kind, would enter into their own accord, 2 and that in this way the spirit would taste and recognise that which was good and evil." (Tabulæ Principiæ, 68.)

"The soul of Adam fell in love with the creation of the formed word in its differentiation, and not being conscious of the power of distinguishing, she entered into lust, into differentiation." (Grace, vi. 33.)

"The soul wanted to know how it would be if the temperature were to become separated—that is to say, divided, as heat and cold, moisture and dryness, hardness and softness, acridity and sweetness, bitterness and that which is sour; she wanted to taste these and the other qualities all in their separateness, although it had been prohibited to Adam by God." 1 (Grace, iii. 34.)

Owing to this perverted desire, there grew in him the tree of temptation, wherein the terrestrial qualities, as such, became manifest. 2

"Adam's spirit was lusting after terrestrial fruit, such as was of the nature of the corrupted earth, and therefore nature formed for him a tree that was like the corrupted earth; for Adam was the heart in nature, and therefore his spiritual soul aided in the formation of that tree, of which he desired to eat." (Aurora, xvii. 20.)

"The tree of temptation grew by the power of the hunger after self-knowledge of good and evil. It should not be said that it was any other kind of a product than the rest of such trees; only there was manifest in it the terrestrial desire for conscious evil and good; while the other trees and plants were penetrated by the holy, paradisiacal Mercury, so that in them the qualities were in equal accordance, and heat and cold were not separately manifested in them." (Stiefel, ii. 80.)

"In the tree of self-knowledge of good and evil there were the qualities in the curse, such as is the case at present—that is to say, each of them was manifest in itself, and seeking to preponderate. They had gone out of their harmony, and thus all the three principles, each separately, were manifest in that tree. Therefore Moses (wisdom) calls it the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Mysterium, xvii. 15.)

The forthcoming of the tree of temptation is not to be wondered at, because Adam was endowed with great powers, and an earthly form as a protection to him against the powers of hell. 1

"Reason (man's reasoning) says, 'Why did God permit Adam to draw the tree of temptation out of the earth by means of his imagination?' Christ said, 'If you have faith as big as a mustard-seed, and you say to the mountain: throw thyself into the sea; it shall be done as you say.' The soul-spirit (spiritual soul) was produced out of the divine omnipotence, out of the centre of eternal nature, wherefrom all beings have been created. Why should it then not be powerful? It was a fire-spark out of God's power, but after it had been gathered into a created being (individualised as an organism) it gave way to its own selfish desire, and broke away from the whole, and thus it caused corruption unto itself. The soul-power, before vanity entered, was so strong as not to be subject to anything, and would be so now, even this very day, if the understanding had not been taken away." (Mysterium, xvii. 41.)

"Divine prevision recognised that the devil was going to winnow mankind, and to introduce them into evil desire; and therefore God put before them the tree of life, and of the knowledge of good and evil, by means of which the breaking up (the death) of the external body was inaugurated. He did this lest man should long after the centre of the dark world." 2 (Mysterium, xvii. 38.)

Formerly Adam belonged to the celestial world and to eternity; but now, the image of God having begun to pale in him, he sank into the terrestrial state, and thereby into impotency and sleep.

"A reasonable person will easily perceive that there could be no sleep in Adam as long as he was in the image of God, for at that time he was such an image as we shall be in the resurrection of the dead. We shall then not need the elements, neither the sun nor the moon, and also require no sleep; but our eyes will be open to see always and eternally the glory of God." (Three Principles, xii. 17.)

"The image of God does not sleep. In it there is no time. With sleep, time became manifest in man. He fell asleep in the angelic world, and awoke relatively to the external world." 1 (Mysterium, xix. 4.)

"After Adam had been overcome, the tincture, wherein the beautiful virgin had previously dwelt, became terrestrial, faint, and feeble. The powerful source of the tincture, wherefrom the virgin had her power, without being subjected to sleep, left Adam and went into its own principle." (Three Principles, iii. 8.)

Thus Adam became a victim of Magic, and now his magnificence was gone. Sleep signifies death and surrender. The terrestrial realm had conquered him and ruled over him." (Menschwerdung, i. 5.)

"After the lust of the spirit of this world had conquered in Adam, he fell asleep. Then his celestial body became flesh and blood, and his strong power became rigid bones. Then the celestial virgin went into the celestial ether, into the principle of power." 1 (Three Principles, xiii. 2.)

This impotency was to be a means of salvation for Adam, and moreover there was given to him the terrestrial woman in the place of the celestial virgin, who had passed away from him. 2 This was done to save him from arriving at a still greater depth of degradation. 3

"When Adam left God and entered into selfishness, God permitted it to happen that a deep sleep fell upon Adam. If it had not been for that circumstance, he would in his selfishness even have become a devil by the power of the fire." 4 (Stiefel, ii. 363.)

"When the devil saw that lust resided in Adam, he acted still more powerfully upon the Sal-nitre in Adam, and infected it still stronger. Then it was time that the Creator should build him a wife, who afterwards indeed caused the sin to be acted out, and who ate of the evil fruit. Otherwise, if Adam had eaten of the tree before the woman was made out of him, he would have fared still worse." (Aurora, xvii. 21.)

Therefore woman (spirituality) is, and will always be, the saviour of man.

The woman was extracted from all the powers of Adam. Relatively to her substance, she was formed out of a "rib," which at that time had not yet degenerated into stiff bone. 1

"Eve has been extracted from Adam, not as a mere spirit, but entirely substantial. It should be said that Adam received a cleft, and that the woman is bearing Adam's spirit, flesh and bone." (Three Principles, xiii. 14.)

"Reasoning says, 'If Eve has been made out of a rib of Adam, she must be very inferior to man.' This is, however, not so, but the Fiat, in its aspect as sharp attraction (the first quality), took her from all essences and qualities of each power of Adam." 2 (Three Principles, xiii. 18.)

"Adam's body had not yet received hard bones and osseous substance. This took place only when Eve tasted the apple and gave to Adam to eat thereof." "It is true that the infection and the terrestrial death were already in him as a tendency and deadly disease, but the 'bones' and 'ribs' were nevertheless still power and strength, and thus Eve was created out of that power or strength which (later on) was to become rib." 3 (Three Principles, xiii. 13.)

Eve was not misshaped. She lived with Adam in Paradise; but the pure likeness of God was then in neither of them.

"Eve was not misshapen, but very lovely; nevertheless she too bore the signs (of corruption), and could not be anything more than a wife of Adam. Both were still in Paradise, and if they had not eaten from the tree, but turned to God by changing their imagination, they would have remained in Paradise." (Three Principles, xiii. 36.)

"Adam and Eve had still a paradisiacal consciousness, but it was mixed with terrestrial desire. They were naked, and had animal organs for procreation; but they did not know this, neither were they ashamed of them, for the spirit of the great world had not yet obtained rule over them before they had eaten of the terrestrial fruit." (Menschwerdung, i. 6, 15.)

"No one can truly say that Eve, before coming in contact with Adam, had been a pure and chaste virgin, because, as soon as Adam awoke from his sleep, he saw her by his side. He soon imagined into her (fell in love with her). He took her unto himself and said, 'This is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. She will be called woman, because she has been taken from man.' Eve likewise began to put her imagination into Adam, and each one ignited the desire of the other. Where, then, is the pure chastity and virginity? Is this not animal? Has not the external image become an animal?" 1 (Forty Questions, xxxvi. 6.)

God had ordered mankind not to eat from the fruits of the tree of temptation; but the devil thought of inducing them to disobey the command, and they were, moreover, incited to do so by the spirit of the world, and by their own perverted desire.

"The holy-speaking Word of God, after the Trinity of the unfathomable Godhead, gave to the fiery intelligence of the soul the command, 'Eat not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; or, if you do that, you will die in the image of God on the same day.' That is to say, 'the fiery soul will lose her light, and thereby mortality, the quality of the dark world, from the centre of the first three principles, will creep forth and manifest itself in the tree, and swallow up the Kingdom of God therein.'" (Grace, vi. 17.)

"When Adam and Eve were in Paradise as man and woman, being still in possession of a celestial essence, although the latter was mixed (with materiality), the devil would not suffer this to be so, for his envy was great. Then, after Adam had been brought to fall and deprived of his angelic form, and seeing that Eve was his wife, the devil thought that they might generate children in Paradise and remain therein. He then made up his mind to seduce them to eat of the forbidden fruit, so that they might become earthly thereby." (Menschwerdung, i. 7.)

"Adam was urged on by the power of the tree, which was also within himself, so that one lust infected another. He was also urged by the spirit of the great world, so that his strength became overpowered." (Three Principles, xi. 40.)

For the purpose of seducing mankind, the devil availed himself especially of the services of the serpent, which, being a living symbol of the tree of temptation, caused them to imagine that, by eating the forbidden fruit, they would become godlike. 1

"The devil introduced his poisonous imagination into the human quality. Therefrom resulted in man the ardent desire to eat of evil and good, and to live in the self-will; that is to say, his will left the harmony of unity and went into the multiplicity of the qualities. The devil, by means of the serpent, represented to him that he would become like God, and that his eyes would open; which then actually took place in the fall, so that they could now recognise, taste, see, and feel evil and good." 1 (Mysterium, xvii. 37.)

"The devil mixed lies and truth together, and said to the first human beings that they would be like God. His meaning was that they would be so, according to the first principle of wrath; but about the Paradise he said nothing." (Three Principles, xvii. 96.)

"The substance of the snake, its celestial aspect, was a great power, as there was likewise a great celestial power in the devil, for he was a prince of God. Thus he introduced his cunning and lies into a strong state of will, for the purpose of making illusions therewith as his own god." (Mysterium, xx. 16.)

"The imagination of the devil poisoned the substance of the serpent, so that the latter, in consequence of the division of its powers that formerly were in paradisiacal unity, formed itself into a serpent. Thus he used the snake as his instrument." 2 (Letters, xxxix. 21.)

"The snake was a living symbol of the tree of temptation. The tree of temptation was in mute power, and the serpent was in a living power, and the serpent attached itself to that tree, being of its own nature." 3 (Mysterium, xx. 20.)

After Adam had introduced his perverted desire into Eve, the latter was the first to be seduced to fall away from God. 1

"The lust originated in Adam, but thereupon this perverted desire began to be excited in the woman." (Stiefel, ii. 375.)

"Eve was lusting after the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but there was the prohibition before her, and she was afraid of God, and did not want to act against the prohibition. Then the devil entered into the substance and cunning of the snake, and turned this power and craftiness around, so that Eve could see and know that the serpent was very artful and cunning. She clung to the forbidden tree, and it did her no harm; but she looked at the serpent and fell in love with his cunning and cleverness, also with his agility and artfulness, and she lusted to eat of the tree. The serpent advised her to do so by the sound and voice of the devil, and pretended that he derived his cunning and artfulness from the tree." (Mysterium, xx. 22.)

"The devil told her that the fruit would do her no harm, but that the eyes of her understanding would be opened, and she would be like God. She thought it would be a good thing to be a goddess, and she consented; and in consenting she fell from the divine harmony, from the peace in God, and from divine faith, and entered with her desire into the serpent and into the cunning, the desire, and vanity of the devil." 2 (Mysterium, xx. 25.)


While the devil was desirous directly for the fire-life, man at first was only desirous after the terrestrial things, but thereby his lust of pride began to arise.

"The devil went with his imagination into the fiery foundation, but Adam into the watery quality." (Signature, vii. 4.)

"Unlike Lucifer, Adam did not actually desire to awaken the first principle; his desire was rather to taste good and evil—that is to say, the vanity of the earth." (Mysterium, xviii. 31.)

"In the external part of the soul originated the terrestrial lust to eat of the manifold qualities; but in the interior fiery part of it originated lust for pride, to know evil and good, and to be like God." 1 (Mysterium, xviii. 30.)

Thus the first act of the great drama ended, and a god became a man. In the second act He rises again upward toward His former divine state, no more innocent and ignorant of evil, but taught by experience, knowing and wise, a conqueror over "matter," and a true Lord over all.

142:1 The term "Paradise" means a state of purity and innocence and happiness, but not necessarily knowledge. Man had to learn to know evil so as to be able to realise good.

142:2 His thoughts and will were pure, and therefore his spirit (the union of will and thought) manifested itself in producing a pure and luminous form, not burdened with the gross material elements which form at present the bodies of human beings. Then, as now, his body was the product of his own thoughts.

143:1 Logical proof is only useful as long as we are blind in regard to the nature of a thing After that thing has become a part of ourselves and we perceive it, no more proof of its existence will be required.

144:1 Adam was in harmony with creation and as one with all nature. Therefore he could experience the feelings of all beings in nature within himself, and express them accordingly.

144:2 Even now man is still there where his consciousness exists; but as his physical body is too gross to follow the movements of his thoughts, the body becomes unconscious whenever his consciousness concentrates itself at another place.

145:1 This was the divine Man, out of whom the world was created, while the natural man is a product of the world.

145:2 Because everything was within his own will, within himself.

145:3 This celestial Adam has not died, but still exists in all of us; but on account of our state of degeneration, caused by the attraction of the lower principles, we have forgotten our own divine nature.

146:1 It was Adam's own state of feeling and thinking that created an Eden for him, and thus each human being creates his or her own Paradise.

147:1 This Paradise (Deva-loca or Devachan) is described in Eastern books as an "illusion;" but it is no more an illusion to its inhabitants than the dream called "terrestrial existence" is an illusion to us. On the contrary, it is far more permanent and beautiful than this terrestrial world.

147:2 He could not enjoy similarity with God, because he did not possess divine self-knowledge. To attain this knowledge of self he had to eat from the tree of the self-knowledge of good and evil, and then return to his original divine state.

148:1 This the soul can surely not do by seeking for the Son or the Heart of God in anything outside of her own sphere, and with which she is in no way related. Therefore the meaning of the words, "Thou shalt worship only one God," is "Thou shalt have faith in no other God except the one who is seeking to reveal Himself within your own conscience, and not worship any strange idols, such as exist in the imagination of men."

149:1 God being a unity, has no other will or object in view than to give birth to His Son, i.e., to manifest His outspoken Word as wisdom in man.

150:1 The spiritual will of man is free; not so the will of semi-animal man, for freedom depends on the extent of knowledge. When man's knowledge becomes divine, then will his will be free—wholly free.

150:2 Man requires the material (animal) element in him to endow him with strength to rise above it by the power of God. Man may be regarded as a god crucified within an animal. The god furnishes him with wisdom, the animal with strength. We are to overcome the animal in us by the power of divine wisdom. He who has nothing to overcome can gain no victory. We cannot rise above a thing as long as we have not attained its highest level.

151:1 It would be foolish to worry about what Adam ought or ought not to have done. The meaning is, that we who have "Adam" in us should enter now with our will into the will of God.

152:1 If primordial man had never fallen from his purely spiritual state and "refused to create," he would never have learned to know the wonders of creation, the unfoldment of the third principle. The external world, as we know it, was created by Adam's fall.

152:2 The "devil" means spiritual will perverted. If it is perverted in a personal being, then will there be a personal devil.

153:1 God (Christ), nature, and the devil (Antichrist—i.e., Christ perverted) are seeking to attain self-consciousness in man. Man's consciousness is, therefore, continually changing, and in reality not his own. Only when the principle of either good or evil has become self-conscious in man, and he has become identified with it, will he know his true impersonal self. Only then will he be a free and responsible agent.

153:2 It was his desire that the lower qualities should become conscious in himself, each according to its own nature.

154:1 This is the difference between life in the terrestrial and life in the celestial states of nature, that the former is differentiated into forms, each of which loves to live in the consciousness of its own illusive self—i.e., in a state of isolation and separatedness, and enjoying its own qualities; while in the celestial state the individual powers intermingle, each living, so to say, in the consciousness and enjoying itself in the life of the other. while all strive towards unity and rest in it, like a tree, whose many branches and leaves receive their life all from one common trunk.

154:2 This "tree of temptation" is still growing in every human being, as is represented in the allegorical "Adam." The lower qualities in man still strive for outward manifestation, and can be overcome in no other way than by his rising above them into the higher ones.

155:1 It is self-evident that man can attain knowledge of a thing only by giving attention to it. In doing so, he directs his consciousness to it. Man's consciousness became centred within the lower principles constituting the sensual world, and thereby it lost its seat and centre of gravity in the Supreme. If it had not been for this attraction which the material world exercised upon man, he might have sunk still lower, and approached absolute evil, the kingdom of Lucifer.

155:2 "Adam would have fallen into the unfathomable abyss of hell, if, p. 156 besides the celestial state, which in consequence of his sin became perverted into a hellish one, there had not been still another, namely, the terrestrial region " (Hamberger).

156:1 God (divine self-consciousness) never sleeps; it is only nature in man that causes him to sleep and wake alternatively. No man is fully awake and self-conscious as long as he has not found his own god.

157:1 The "history of Adam" is nothing else but the history of mankind as a whole. Its truth may be recognised by every one capable of self-examination.

157:2 Adam having lost the power to recognise the true woman, the eternal virgin within himself, it was necessary that he should have an external objective substitute to whom he might be attracted, so as to stimulate his power to love; which would have entirely died out without such an object, or would have degraded him still lower by turning into desire for still lower beings in the scale of evolution.

157:3 From such a degradation may have resulted the tribe of the monkeys descended from aboriginal man. (See Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky.)

157:4 The "Sal-nitre" means the fiery material element in man, wherein reside his sensual attractions; in other words, his Kama-rupa.

158:1 The woman is made out of the more refined and spiritual essences of man; for this reason woman even to-day is more refined and intuitional than man; while the organisation of the body and also the mind of the male is on the whole more gross and material; and he reasons where woman perceives. There were not all the female elements removed from man in the creation of the woman. If man had no such elements in him he would be a brute. Neither could any woman be visible and tangible and man's associate if she had none of the male and grossly material elements of Adam in her organisation.

158:2 It was a part of the higher and more celestial elements which left "Adam" at the time of the creation of "Eve."

158:3 It may be well to remember that at the time of Jacob Boehme it was considered a crime to disbelieve even in the literal and external interpretation of the Bible allegories, and that his explanations would have been incomprehensible and unacceptable if his expressions had not been such as to correspond with those of the Bible.

159:1 Woman in all departments of life is a saviour of man. Even the most degraded woman may be a saviour for still more degraded man, by keeping alive in him a feeling for an ideal—a low ideal, it is true, but one that keeps him from sinking into still lower depths, and which may become more refined. The mission of woman to save man ceases only when man has found the celestial virgin within himself.

160:1 The "serpent" is the astral light, in whose folds and temptations the will of man is entangled.

161:1 Evil desires always enter the heart of man silently and worm-like, until the soul becomes entangled therein as in the folds of a serpent.

161:2 The serpent is not himself the devil, but the devil is the evil will that causes the serpent to move.

161:3 There is no mortal man to whose tree of life the serpent of desire is not attached during his terrestrial existence.

162:1 If woman represents the will and man the intellectual power of mankind as a whole, it naturally follows that the will was seduced by the desire before the intellect followed in its track. If the intellect had become seduced first, it would have become separated from the "woman," and man would have become a clever fool, an intellectual maniac, an unspiritual but cunning scientist, without any soul or faith—a "materialist."

162:2 Actual "sin" begins only where there is a knowledge of evil. A mere evil desire does not constitute "sin" as long as the desire has not the consent of the intellect.

163:1 The more man seeks for the object of his existence in external and sensual things, the more will he depart from his spiritual faith or point of gravitation from his own divine centre or God. He becomes experienced in external and superficial things, and loses sight of that which is real and divine. His external knowledge, which after all is only imaginary, as it deals only with passing illusions, awakens his pride and self-conceit; he begins to assert his personality against immortality; he becomes cruel, and selfish, and passionate; and unless he be redeemed by the awakening of spirituality within himself, he will end in awakening in him the "fiery foundation," the principle of evil, the "devil." Instead of the Christ, Lucifer will be revealed in him.



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