The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 12

The Twelfth Chapter

Of the Six Days' Works of the Creation

1. That God has created heaven and earth and all things in six days, as Moses says, is the greatest Mystery, wholly hidden from the external reason. There is neither night, morning, nor evening in the deep above the moon; but a continual day from the beginning of the outward world even to the end of the same.

2. And albeit the creation was finished in such a time as in the length of six days, yet the days' works have a far more subtle [or abstruse] meaning: for the seven properties are also understood therewith, six whereof belong to the active dominion, to good and evil, and the seventh, viz. the essence, is the rest, wherein the other properties rest, which God has expressed and made visible.

3. We have in the dominion of the planetic orb the figure, how the six properties of the active life (which rest in the seventh) have, in six days, out of the inward spiritual world, introduced and manifested themselves in an external visible world of four elements: for the planetic orb has its rise from the punctum of Sol; for there was the royal place of the hierarchies, of which the whole circle (between the stars in the internal and external) is a member or Corpus.

4. But seeing the prince of the hierarchies (when he sat in the heavenly essence in the rest) did fall, and aspired to or for the centre of the eternal nature, he was cast into the darkness: and God by his motion created [for] him[-self] another prince out of this place (but without divine understanding) for a ruler of the essence; and that is the sun.

5. From this place proceeded, in the divine motion, the seven properties of nature (understand, the planets) which govern the essential being in good and evil (in which [essence] Lucifer sat, and whence he was cast, and lost his dominion in the essence); and as the seven properties have their dominion in the beginning of each day in the week, even so were the six days' works of the creation.

6. For Lucifer forsook the rest of his hierarchies, and entered into the eternal disquietness. Now, God has created all things of this world in six days, and rested on the seventh day from the creation, which is Saturday, according to the Scripture; that is, from the day of rest, understand from the eternal day of rest, he has moved himself to the creation; and in the first form of nature he began the first day; that is, he has brought it forth out of the impression, and moved himself with his Word: this was the most inward motion according to the speaking Word of power.

7. Then began, in the expressed Word, Sunday, that is, the true paradisical day, where the powers did mutually work in each other in great holiness and glory; for on Sunday the enkindled sulphur and salniter of the earthly property was created out of the great deep of the whole hierarchy, out of the spiritual worlds, into a mass (which is the terrestrial globe), and was put forth out of the austere property of the first form of nature.

8. Even then began the first hour of the first day: and the power of nature did mutually rule in great joy in the expressed Word, out of which power of joy the sun was created on the fourth day in the princely place: so that this power, whereout the sun was created, ruled the first hour of the beginning of the world; and so it began its dominion, which continues even unto the end of the world: and therefore the sun rules the first hour on Sunday; and the day is rightly so called.

9. The words of Moses concerning the creation are exceedingly clear, yet unapprehensive to reason, for he writes thus: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, and it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And out of the evening and morning was the first day. [1] (Gen. i. 1-5).

[1. The evening and morning were the first day.]

10. The whole understanding is couched in these words: for the beginning is the first motion, which came to pass when prince Michael fought with the Dragon, when he was spewed out with the creation of the earth. For even then the enkindled essence, which with the enkindling did coagulate itself into earth and stones, was cast out of the internal into the external.

11. And he, the Dragon, fell from heaven, viz. out of the holy world, upon the wrath of the earth, as lightning, as it is written: I saw Satan fall from heaven as lightning, says Christ. [Luke 10:18] Moreover, it was wholly dark in the deep above the earth, and the austere endkindled wrath was manifest. For hell was prepared for him, whereinto he fell, viz. into the great darkness of the first Principle, wherein he lives.

12. Here now lies the veil before reason, that it cannot look into the eyes of Moses, for he says: And the earth was without form and void. Yea, without form indeed. Had not the Spirit of God moved upon the internal water (which was amassed with the Fiat in the heaven), and had not God said, Let there he light, the earth would have been yet without form and void.

13. With the Word, when God said, Let there be light, the essence of the ens did powerfully move itself in the light's property, not only in the earth, but also in the whole deep: whence [1] on the fourth day the sun was created, that is, enkindled in its place. And in this word Fiat the earth's mass, and also the very power which is called heaven, amassed itself in the essence; all which before was only a spirit, a spiritual essence.

[1. Out of which power or virtue in the light's property.]

14. And with the speaking, as God spoke, Let there be light, the holy power, which was amassed in the wrath, moved itself, and became light in the same essence in the power. And with this coming to be light, the devil's might and strength was wholly withdrawn from him in the essence, for here the light shone in the now anew awakened power, in the darkness; which [light] the prince of wrath could not comprehend; [2] it was also of no benefit to him, for it was the light of nature, which is useless to him.

[2. Receive or perceive.]

15. And Moses said, God divided the light from the darkness, which is thus to be understood. The darkness remained in the wrathful property, not only in the earth, but also in the whole deep: but in the light's essence the light of nature did arise [or spring forth] from heaven, viz. from the quintessence, whence the astrum was created; which essence is everywhere in the earth, and above the earth.

16. Thus the darkness remained in the wrath's property in the essence of the earth, and also in the whole deep of this world. And the nature-light remained in the light's essence, as a working life, through which the holy element did operate and work; in which operation Paradise budded [3] through the earth, and bore fruit until the curse of God. And then the holy bloomings or growth ceased, and the holy element remained as an inward heaven, steadfast, retired in itself. And yet it does diffuse its power through the light of nature, but not so powerfully as in the beginning, for the curse is the cause of its withdrawing; indeed there is no total departing, but yet it is nothing now as [compared with what it was] before the sin of the second created prince, Adam.

[3. Sprang.]

17. Thus in the first motion of the Verbum Fiat the heaven (that is, the circle, so far as the Verbum Fiat reached itself forth to the creation) was amassed or enclosed; and the earth was amassed with the Verbum Fiat, and created to the planetic orb. Thus by the separation, viz. of the light and darkness, and by the expelling of prince Lucifer, we are to understand the creation of the first day.

18. Now the first day with the manifested Word did convey itself through the other five days, even into the day of rest; where the beginning enters again into the end, and the end again into the beginning. For the first motion of the Word, where the light of nature has enkindled itself in the essence, is the joy of the creation or creature; which did open itself with the other days through all the properties of nature, where each property may be called a heaven: for it has and brings also its peculiar operation and efficacy along in itself into the rest, [1] and each day one property did move and manifest itself; wherein a peculiar sundry work was manifested and revealed.

[1. Understand, into the rest of the properties or days.]

19. The second day we call Monday, and therefore, because the moon rules the first hour of the day: and it is very likely that the ancient wise men have understood somewhat thereof in the light of nature, which they have kept secret and mystical, rather deciphering it by figures than clearly explaining it. And it is to be seen in the names of the seven planets, that they have for certain understood the same; in that they have given them names according to the seven properties of nature, which do so wholly agree and accord, as well with the creation as [with] nature, that methinks they have in part understood the ground of the creation aright, seeing the names of the planets have their rise and derivation so fully and punctually out of the language of Nature. But the reason why it has not been made clear, plain and manifest is (as before mentioned) because of the false magic, that it might remain hidden unto the artists of juggling and collusion in nature, by reason of the great abuse. Wherefore we also shall still let it so remain, and yet hint enough to the understanding of our school-fellows.

20. Now of the second day Moses writes thus: And God said, Let there be a firmament between the waters, and let it divide between the waters. Then God made the firmament, and divided the water under the firmament from the water above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament heaven. And out of the evening and morning was the second day (Gen. i. 6-8)

21. Moses said, that out of the evening and morning was the second day, that is, out of the manifestation of the first, the second manifestation proceeded and brake forth; and said further, that on the second day God created the firmament of heaven, and separated the waters; the water under the firmament from the water above the firmament. Here now lies the hidden veil, wherein we have hitherto been pointed and directed unto a heaven situate afar off above the stars, without the place of this world. So very blind is reason as to God that it understands nothing of him; and does not consider that the Scripture says of God: Am not I he which fills all things: and, that time and place cannot divide him. Much less is it understood what the water above the firmament is, which they will flatly hold to be a place afar distant, viz. above the stars, whither also we have been shown into heaven.

22. But seeing that God out of grace does bestow upon us the understanding, therefore we will set it down for our fellow-scholars who are able to apprehend it; and yet herein we shall write nothing for the selfish wiselings of outward reason, for they have it already in the eyes of their reason, and cannot miss it, they can judge all things: what the Spirit of God reveals, that must be a heresy unto them, albeit they do not understand it: so that they remain without, and do not so much as once know God.

23. The firmament is the gulf between time and eternity: but that God calls it heaven and makes a division of the waters, gives us to understand that the heaven is in the world, and the world is not in heaven.

24. The water above the firmament is in heaven, and the water under the firmament is the external material water.

25. Here we must understand the difference between the holy [water] and the outward element-water: the water above the firmament is spiritual in the birth of the holy element; and the water under the firmament is mortal, for it is apprehended in the dark impression; the curse and the awakened vanity is therein, and yet one water is not without the other.

26. When I look upon the external water then I must also say, Here is also the water above the firmament in the water under the firmament. But the firmament is the middle, and the gulf therein between time and eternity; so that they are distinct. And I see with the external eyes of this world only the water under the firmament: but the water above the firmament is that which God has appointed in Christ to the Baptism of Regeneration, after that the Word of the divine power had moved itself therein.

27. Now the outward water is the instrument of the inward; and the inward water is understood [therein]; for the moving Spirit in the Word is he which rules the inward water in the Baptism. Dear Christians, let this be spoken to you; it is the real ground.

28. But that Moses says, God created the firmament, and called it heaven, is the most intimate secret, of which the earthly man is not able to understand anything: the understanding is barely in the power of the water above the firmament, viz. in the heaven, or (as I might set it down) in the Spirit of God. If he be awakened in man in the water above the firmament, which disappeared in Adam, as to his life, that [man] sees through all; otherwise there is no understanding here, but all is dumb.

29. The creating of the heaven is understood, first how the speaking Word has amassed [1] the manifested powers of the spiritual world, wherein it is manifest, works, and also rules. Secondly, it is understood of the manifested powers of the external world, which the spirit has amassed into the essence of four elements, and closed into the external firmament, that the devil, viz. the prince of anger, cannot reach them; by which he would work with the internal water: so that the powers of eternity do work through the powers of time, as the sun illumines the water, and the water comprehends it not, but feels it only; or as a fire does through-heat an iron, and the iron remains iron. So likewise the outward heaven is passive, and the inward works through it, and draws forth an external fruit out of the outward; whereas yet the inward heaven lies hidden therein in the firmament: as God is hidden in the time.

[1. Conceived or formed.]

30. And we are to understand with the second day's work the manifestation of the internal heavenly and the external heavenly essence, viz. the manifestation of the water-source, understand, the essence of the seven properties, viz. the corporality, or the laboratory [2] of the other six; wherein the soul or spirit of the outward world works and rules in the external. This working [3] in the most external or inferior heaven next the earth is ascribed unto the moon, for it is the manifestation of the lunar property; not of the star [4] which was first created into the external on the fourth day to be a governor therein, but this same property [is] in the inanimate outward life, viz. in the vegetative life: the vegetative life was opened on the third day.

[2. Operate or work-house. 3. Or operation. 4. Star or planet called the moon.]

31. And when God had ordained the water into sundry places upon the earth, then he moved the external expressed word in the vegetative life. Now Moses says, God spoke, Let the earth put forth herbs, and grass yielding seed, and fruitful trees; each bearing fruit according to his kind; and let each have its seed in itself: and when it came to pass, out of the evening and morning was the third day.[5] (Gen. i. 11, 12).

[5. Of the third day of the creation.]

32. In the original of the eternal nature, which is an eternal original, the manifestation of the six days' works is very clearly to be found; how the eternal Word has unfolded them out of the invisible spiritual [property] and brought them into the visible: also the form thereof is to be found in the planetary orb, if any has skill to apprehend it.

33. For in the eternal nature's birth there is an eternal day. Whatsoever God has manifested and made visible in six diversalls,[6] which are called days' works, that stands in the eternal nature in six distinct degrees in the essence, viz. in the seventh property, in which the six degrees of nature work, and yet also do eternally rest from working; they are themselves the working, which they give in to the seventh, as into their own peculiar rest, wherein their perfection and manifestation consists.

[6. Or distinctions.]

34. And we are to understand nothing else by the creation, save that the Verbum Fiat has amassed the spiritual birth, and introduced it into a visible external dominion and essence. For we see it very clearly in the writings of Moses (albeit we have a glass besides to see), that when God the first day had created the gross part into a mass, that he extracted the fine part out of the same first day's work, and severed and amassed the waters, viz. the spiritual essence, and produced it out of the first day, viz. out of the holy power, into a time; that is, out of the eternal day into an inchoative day.

35. Now the third accomplishment of the third day's work is the moving growing life, in which on the first day the light of nature did shine in the essence of the ens, after an external manner: it shone likewise now through the second day, viz. through the water and the heaven. And in this shining light the expressed Word did move itself in the essence, and wrought effectually; and even then the power of the expressed Word from the light of the inward nature did pullulate, and spring forth, through the external nature, out of the heaven through the earth. [And so] now the potentate who was a king and great prince has lost his domination, for the essence of the wrath was captivated in the light of nature, and he with it. And so he lies between time and eternity, imprisoned in the darkness, until the judgement of God.

36. In the third day's work the sulphureous, mercurial, and saltish life out of the centre was opened out of the anguish in the outward world's property; and yet there is no anguish to be understood until the fire, but only a senseless forth-driving life, viz. a growth: for the fire-blaze arises out of the anguish, viz. out of the third form of nature: and this is the salnitral flagrat, which severises the powers in the properties, which was moved in the third day's work, where the properties opened themselves, and were mutually unfolded in the salnitral flagrat, each out of itself; which the impression did again receive into itself and made them corporeal in the water. And thence arose and proceeded trees, herbs and grass: each property became excressive [1] in the salniter, and did manifest itself with fruit: as we see plainly how the property of the dark world did mightily force itself along in the outward power: whereupon some herbs and plants are so venomous and malignant; for the earth proceeded out of both the inward worlds to a compaction.

[1. Or putting or budding forth.]

37. Now Mars on Tuesday has the first hour of the day in dominion, which day is the third in the creation. And this salnitral fire-flagrat is even the property of Mars: as he is wrathful and fiery, so likewise is this property in the sulphur, where we then do understand the salnitral flagrat for the poisonful Mars; which is the cause of motion and stirring and the compunction in the first impression in the eternal nature, viz. in the dark world.

38. In the third day's work God moved the third property of nature, viz. the sulphurous source, in which the fire enkindled, and in the fire-flagrat is the division of the powers; where each property became manifest in itself: Now when God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, herb and trees, that is nothing else, but that when he moved the expressed Word of the powers in the properties, the properties found and felt the light of nature in them; whereupon they became hungry, and were impressed, that is, amassed and compacted or coagulated. Now when as the light of nature found itself in a perceivance, and the nature did feel itself in the sweet light, thereby arose in the coagulation the dominion of joy, viz. the pullulation [germination] and growth. For all growth consists in the light and water; when the light penetrates the Sulphur and water-source, then Mars springs up for great joy in the Sulphur.

39. This opening began on the third day, and continues unto the end of the world. On the first day the earth was without form and void, for the possibility [1] to the growth was not yet opened. Here the earth was moved and the properties opened, and not only the earth, but the whole deep in the centre of the outward nature made itself external, and yet remained also internal.

[1. Or ability.]

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