The Mysterium Magnum

by Jacob Boehme

device width goes here


Jacob Boehme

Chapter 16

The Sixteenth Chapter

Of the Difference of the Heavenly and Earthly Man

1. When we consider the image of God which God created in Paradise unto the eternal uncorruptible life, then we can in no wise say of the gross fleshy image, that the gross property of the earthliness is the image of God, which can possess the holy world: for it is not of the same essence and ens, whereof also Christ speaks: The spirit is life; the flesh profiteth nothing: also, flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven. And yet verily the true body is couched in this bestial, gross property; as the gold in the ore.

2. All that is earthly on man, that is bestial and corruptible, and not man. Albeit God created man an external body out of the limus of the earth; yet it is not to be considered of us, as now it is. For the true human body, according to the inward world, is a spiritual Sulphur, a spiritual Mercurius, and a spiritual Sal: each property of the soul has a corporeal or essential quality on it.

3. God created such a body as the soul was in its essence, viz. in the spirated Word of the understanding; and breathed the soul thereinto for the understanding; also, the outward sulphurean body is in no wise the gross beast which passes away and returns not again. The true, real body, which is hidden in the grossness, is a spiritual body, in comparison to the grossness: it is created indeed in flesh and blood; but in a fixed, steadfast [uncorruptible flesh and blood].

4. By the lust and imagination of Adam the grossness was manifest; the true outward body is a sulphureous, mercurial and saltish property; a pure essential power, according to the nature of the soul: That which the soul is in the spirit, the same is the true human body in the essence, as a mansion of the soul.

5. All the properties of the inward holy body, together with the outward, were (in the first man) composed in an equal harmony, none lived in self-desire, but they all gave up their desire unto the soul, in which the divine light was manifest, as in the holy heaven. The light shone through all the properties, and made an equal temperature in the properties; all the properties gave their desire into the light, viz. into the manifested sweetness of God, which penetrated all the properties; in which penetration they were all tinctured with the sweet love; so that there was nothing but mere pleasing relish and love-desire and delight between them.

6. The inward holy corporality from [of] the pure element penetrated through the four elements, and held the limus of the earth (viz. the outward sulphureous body) in itself as it were swallowed up; and it was really there, but in manner as the darkness dwells in the light, and yet its darkness cannot be manifest for the light; but if the light extinguishes, then the darkness is manifest.

7. Thus the inward man held the outward captive in itself and penetrated it, as a fire through-heats an iron, that it seems as if it were all fire; but when the fire goes out, then the dark, swart iron is manifest.

8. Thus likewise was the first man when he stood in Paradise, in his fixed condition, in manner as time is before God, and God in the time; and they are distinct, but not parted asunder. As the time is a play before God, so also the outward life of man was a play unto [before] the inward holy man, which was the real image of God.

9. The outward spirit and body was unto the inward as a wonder of divine manifestation, according to the fire-dark-and-light world, a mirror of the great omnipotence and omniscience of God: and the inward was given unto it for a ruler and guide.

10. As God plays with the time of this outward world, so likewise the inward divine man should play with the outward in the manifested wonders of God in this world, and open the divine wisdom in all creatures, each according to its property; so likewise in the earth, in stones and metals, in which also there is a twofold essence, viz. one from the original of the dark fire-world, and one from the original of the holy light-world.

11. All this was given him for his play: he had the knowledge of all tinctures: all was subject to him; he ruled in heaven and earth and over all the elements, so also over all the constellations; and that, because the divine power was manifest in him: no heat nor cold did annoy him. As a tincture penetrates a body and preserves it from sickness, and as the warmth of the sun defends the body from cold, so likewise the highest tincture of the fire and light, viz. the holy power of the inward spiritual body, penetrated the outward body of flesh and blood, and took every outward elemental property, as also the limus of the earth, into its preservation or protection.

12. For as there was a temperature in the body of the inward and outward man, so likewise there was nothing without the body that could either destroy or annoy this temperature. As gold endures in the fire, and as a tincture penetrates all things, and yields or gives way unto nothing, so likewise man was not subject unto any thing, save only and alone to the only God, who dwelt through him, and was manifest in him with the power of the holy essence: and this was an image and likeness of God, in whom the spirit of God inhabited.

13. Reasons will understand us amiss, and say, I speak of a twofold man. But I say no! I speak only of one only man, who is a likeness according to God, viz. according to the manifested God, according to the expressed formed Word of the divine power, of divine understanding.

14. As all things are in God essentially [in essence], and yet he himself is not that very essence; and yet that essence rules every essence according to its property; so likewise the inward spiritual man is an image of the formed Word of divine power, and the outward an image of the inward, viz. an instrument of the inward. As a master must have an instrument wherewith to finish and perform his work, so likewise the outward man from the limus of the earth and four elements, with its outward constellation, is only an instrument of the inward, wherewith the inward frames and makes what the inward spirit of the soul wills.

15. As we see that the will is the master in all purposes and undertakings; and [we] see further, that the inward man has divine will and desire, but the outward [has] only a bestial [will], which is so by reason of the fall. The whole man is but one only man, but his property lies in sundry degrees, according to the inward and outward heavens, viz. according to the divine manifestation through the seven properties of nature.


16. God created all things in six days out of the seven properties, and introduced the six days' works of the manifestation of his creature into the seventh, wherein every life should work as in one body; for the seventh day and the first belong mutually to one another as one. For the six properties of the eternal nature are all couched in the seventh, as in a structure [operate or work-house] of the other six; the seventh property is a mystery or essence of all the others; and out of the seventh day the first day has taken its original and beginning.


17. For on the seventh day, viz. Saturday, Saturn has the first hour of the day [under] his dominion in the planetic orb; which is a figure of the sevenfold generation of the eternal nature. For like as the first form of the eternal nature is the astringent desire, viz. the Fiat, which in the desire impresses the free lubet (which is as a thin nothing in the eternal will of God, in the divine understanding) and introduces it into a spiritual essence, in which desire-essence all the properties do arise, as is above mentioned.

18. So likewise Saturn, or the seventh property of the seventh day, is the rest or mansion of the other six days works, wherein they work as a spirit in the body: the seventh property stands still as a senseless life.

19. But that now Moses says, God rested on the seventh day from all his works, and sanctified the seventh day for rest: this has a very peculiar emphatical deep meaning; and yet it were but plain and child-like, if we were in Paradise, and dwelt in the Sabbath. Understand it thus:

20. Out of the Verbum Fiat, viz. out of the divine Word, and out of the divine desire (which is the Fiat in the Word, wherewith the Word forms itself, or introduces itself in the spiritual essence to the dark fire-and-light-world), the six properties of the eternal and temporal nature proceeded; and each has introduced itself into a sundry degree of a sundry property, which degree may be called a heaven, or a magical spiritual-constellation.

21. For each property is a spirated essence, viz. a heaven: for heaven [1] does properly and exactly denote and signify, in the Language of nature, a spiration or formation, where the Fiat forms what the Word speaks or breathes forth; and thus the spiration or speaking was introduced into six degrees or days'-works.

[1. Text, Himmel, expounded in the Language of nature.]

22. Each spiration continued [for] a time, viz. the length of a day and night in the formation and conception, and each property of a day was mutually spoken or breathed forth out of the other, even unto the sixth, in which the formed Word was manifest, which in the fifth form, viz. in the love-desire, did receive its aspect or illustration through the fire from the light; and amassed or formed itself in the sixth form of nature; in which formation the image of God (man) was created, as an image of the formed Word, which God introduced into the Sabbath, viz. into the seventh day, understand, into the Verbum Fiat, viz. into the first divine desire to nature, wherein Paradise and the eternal day was.

23. For in the seventh property lieth the eternal day, whence the days of time are proceeded; and the ancients have called it Sonnabend [Sun-evening, or the evening of the sun. In our English, Saturday]; but it is rightly called Sonnaabend [The Evening of reconciliation: or Saving-day], wherein God's love does appease and atone the anger; as, when the six properties in the operate do enkindle themselves in the impression in the wrath's property, they are atoned and reconciled in the seventh property, viz. in the manifested holy power of God in the love-desire; (which holy power manifests itself in the fifth and sixth property, and does encircle the operate of all the rest as a holy heaven) and so are introduced into one only essence, wherein they rest, as in the Word of the Lord;[1] which has introduced itself with the seven properties into nature and essence; and thereof Moses speaks rightly, God rested on the seventh day from all his works, and hallowed the seventh day.

[1. Text, im Verbo Domini.]

24. Understand it here aright: God rested with his formed Word (which he first introduces into darkness and fire, viz. into the first Principle, according to which he is called a consuming fire), in the second Principle, viz. in the formed holy Word, where he educes himself through the fire in the light in the love-desire, viz. in the holy Fiat: and rests eternally with his manifested Word therein. His rest therein is a dominion of joy, where the anguish-source of God's wrath, of the eternal nature, is changed into a divine kingdom of joy.

25. And this rest is the holy heaven in the natural heaven, where time works in itself; and sets forth its operate for the day of rest, viz. the day of separation, where, at the end of the days of this world, the evil shall be separated from the good, and each thing shall possess its own heaven, viz. the property of its original [or sourcive] spirit, whence it was generated.

26. But in this time God's love and anger must mutually work in one another, and manifest the wonders of God, both according to the fire-[world] and light-world, and the Verbum Domini rests in the seventh manifestation of the properties, and shines with its power and virtue into the operation of the six days, viz. into the six properties; and affords aid and help to every life.

27. In the seventh property all things are brought into their end, viz. into the first day of the beginning of all essences. For the seventh day, viz. the seventh property of the eternal nature, is the transparent glassy sea before the throne of the Ancient, in the Revelation of St. John's, [Rev. 4:6] whence, as out of the Grand Mystery [Ex Mysterio Magno], this world was created into sundry peculiar heavens and forms, and formed in the Verbum Fiat. The seventh day was from eternity without and beyond all time, for it is the formed Word of the divine understanding; in it the eternal wisdom of God is manifest, viz. the powers and wonders of the divine understanding, in which the Deity works.

top of page