WHY then, O Trismegistos, was it necessary that man should be placed in the world, instead of where God is, to dwell with Him in supreme beatitude?
Thy question is natural, O Asclepios, and I pray God to assist me in replying to it, for everything depends upon His will, especially those great things which are at this moment the subject of our enquiry; listen, then, to me, Asclepios. The Lord and Author of all things, whom we call God, brought forth a second God, visible and sensible; I describe him thus, not because he himself has sensibility, for this is not the place to treat such a question, but because he is perceptible to the senses. Having then produced this unique Being who holds the first rank among creatures and the second after Himself, He found His offspring beautiful and filled with all manner of good, and He loved it as His own child. 1 He willed, then, that another should be able to contemplate this Being so great and so perfect whom He had drawn forth from Himself, and to this end He created man, endowed with reason and intelligence.
The will of God is absolute accomplishment; to will and to do are for Him the work of the selfsame instant. And, knowing that the essential could not apprehend all things unless enveloped by the world, He gave to man a body for a dwelling-place. He willed that man should have two natures; He united them intimately and blended them in just proportion.
Thus, He formed man of spirit and of body; of an eternal nature and of a mortal nature, so that, a creature thus constituted, he might, by means of his double origin, admire and adore that which is celestial and eternal; cultivate and govern that which is upon the earth. I speak here of mortal things, not of the two elements subjected to man, to wit, earth and water, but of things coming from man, which are in him or depending on him, such as the culture of the soil, the pastures, the construction of buildings, of ports, navigation, commerce, and those reciprocal exchanges which are the strongest bond among men. Earth and water form a part of the world, and this terrestrial part is sustained by the arts and sciences, without which the world would be imperfect in the eyes of God. For that which God wills is necessary, and the effect accompanies His will; nor can it be believed that anything which has seemed good to Him can cease to seem good to Him, because from the beginning He knew what should be and what should please Him.
54:1 This "second God" is the Visible Universe, which in most Hermetic writings is spoken of as the "Son of God"--"the word made flesh."
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