The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 17

Seventeenth Chapter

Of Paradise

1. Moses said, that when God had made man, that he planted a garden in Eden, and there he put man, to till and keep the same: and caused all manner of fruits to grow, pleasant for the sight and good for food: and planted the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the midst. (Gen. ii. 8, 9).

2. Here lies the veil before the face of Moses, in that he had a bright shining countenance, that sinful Israel cannot look him in the face. For the man of vanity is not worthy to know what Paradise is; and albeit it be given us to know it according to the hidden man, yet, by this description, we shall remain as dumb to the beast; but yet be sufficiently understood by our fellow-scholars.

3. The Garden Eden was a place upon the earth, where man was tempted; and the Paradise was in heaven; and yet was in the Garden Eden. For as Adam, before his Eve [was made out of him], before his sleep, was as to his inward man in heaven, and as to the outward upon the earth; and as the inward holy man penetrated the outward, as a fire through-heats an iron, so also the heavenly power out of the pure element penetrated the four elements, and sprang forth through the earth, and bore fruits, which were heavenly and earthly, and were qualified [sweetly tempered] of the divine power; and the vanity in the fruit was held as it were swallowed up, as the day hides the night, and holds it captive in itself; that it is not known and manifest.

4. Paradise was nothing else but the seventh day's property. The heavenly essentiality of the second Principle is couched or shut up in the earth, the curse of God has hidden it; it budded (in the beginning of the world) through the earthly essentiality, as the eternity is in the time, and the divine power is through all things; and yet is neither comprehended nor understood of any earthly thing in selfhood.

5. But in Paradise the essence of the divine world penetrated the essence of time, as the sun penetrates the fruit upon a tree, and effectually works it into a pleasantness, that it is lovely to look upon and good to eat: the like also we are to understand of the garden in Eden.

6. The word Eden [expounded according to the Language of nature] is nothing else but what Moses says of the earth: that it was void and empty; that is, it should not manifest its might according to the wrath of vanity, it should be still, as a mother to bring forth. For the internal would rule through the external, as the spiritual world through time, [and] heaven through the earth. The earth was empty without fruit; but the heaven was its husband, which made it fruitful, and bore fruit by it until the curse, where heaven did hide [disappear or withdraw] itself from the earth.

7. The whole world would have been a mere Paradise, if Lucifer had not corrupted it, who was in the beginning of his creation a hierarch in the place of this world. But seeing God knew well that Adam would fall, therefore Paradise sprang forth and budded only in one certain place, to introduce and confirm man therein; whom (albeit God saw that he would again depart thence), he would again introduce thereinto by Christ, and establish him anew in Christ, to eternity in Paradise.

8. For Lucifer poisoned the first Paradise with his false and wicked desire, therefore God promised to regenerate it anew in Christ; for the seventh day, which God appointed for rest, is nothing else but Paradise regenerate anew in the spirit of Christ, in the human property, wherein the poor soul shall rest eternally from the source of the six days'-works, viz. of the six properties of the life.

9. Also it is the seventh time or manifestation of God, in which the Mystery of God's kingdom shall be finished, when it shall be again pure in the place of this world; when heaven shall be again manifest in the world, and the devil driven out with his wickedness: [Text: evil essence ] whereinto no unclean thing shall any more enter; for this world, in which Adam was, before his Eve, must again return, as it was before the curse, in which righteousness shall rule: but the vanity shall be purged away through the fire of God's anger, and given to the dark world.

10. But that Moses said, the Tree of Life stood in the midst of the Garden, and presently next after sets down, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here lies the veil before his eyes, that the earthly sinful man cannot behold him; for he is not worthy of it; for his earthliness in the curse of the bestial vanity shall not inherit Paradise.

11. The precious pearl lies in [the knowledge of] the difference of the two Trees: and yet it is but only one, but manifest in two kingdoms. For the Tree of Life stands wholly in the midst of the Garden; for it stands in two Principles, in the midst, viz. in the holy world, between the eternal dark world of God's anger, where God is an angry zealous God and a consuming fire, and the outward visible world.

12. The holy power of God in the Tree was the middle-most kingdom, and Paradise was the outermost kingdom; for the middlemost penetrated the outermost, and manifested itself with the outward. This was the knowledge of the Good, which Adam should have as little known, in its original, as the Evil: he was created for an instrument of God, with whom God would manifest his wonders in figures; he should keep only a child-like mind, and be resigned unto God.

13. Now the Tree of the Knowledge of Evil was the dark world, which also was manifest on this Tree; likewise the vanity, as now [At this day] it is; all earthly fruit was manifest therein. Therefore Moses distinguishes the Tree, and says, the Tree of Life; thereby he understands the property of the eternal life in the Tree, viz. the second Principle. And by the words, of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he understands [means] the wrath of the anger of God, which was manifest by the essence of the outward world, in earthliness in this Tree, of which Adam should not eat; for he should have eaten [or eat] with the inward mouth, and not with the earthly desire but with the heavenly; for he had such fruit growing for him which the inward mouth could enjoy; indeed the outward mouth did also eat thereof; but not into the worm's carcass.

14. For as the light swallows [avalleth] up the darkness, so the celestial swallowed up the terrestrial, and changed it again into that whence it proceeded; or as the eternity swallows up the time, and in it is as a nothing. So likewise there were two centres in Adam's mouth. For the kingdom of God stands in power; and Adam also, before his Eve, stood in the kingdom of God, for he was male and female, with both divine heavenly tinctures; and neither the fire's nor the light's tincture or desire should be manifest in him, for they should stand in equal weight [in the true temperature] resigned in [or to] God.

15. But in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil the properties, viz. of God's love and anger, and also the earthliness (as it is at this day in the curse), were peculiarly manifest, each in itself, and did eagerly put themselves forth; that is, they were departed out of the likeness, out of the equal harmonious accord. And all the three Principles were each of them in an especial manner manifest in this Tree, and therefore Moses calls it, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

16. Reason says, Wherefore did God suffer this Tree to grow, seeing man should not eat thereof? Did he not bring it forth for the fall of man? And must it not needs be the cause of man's destruction? This is that about which the high schools contend, and understand it not; for they go about to seek and apprehend the inward in the outward, and it remains hidden and dead unto them, they understand not what man is.

17. Man, according to body and soul, was created out of all the three Principles; and was placed in the Principles, in the properties of the inward and outward world, in equal number, weight and measure; none of the Principles did exceed the other; there was an agreeing harmony; the divine light tempered all the properties, so that there was a mutual melody and play of unanimous love between them.

18. The fiery dark-world rejoiced in the holy light-world, and the light-world in the outward [world], as in its manifestation. Again, the outward world joyed itself in both the inward worlds; as in its life; and there was a mere pleasing harmonious will, pleasure and sweet delight between them. The Mercury, viz. the sounding, hearing and feeling life, viz. the manifestation of the divine Word in the Fiat, did mutually penetrate all essences, in a very exceeding joyful property.

19. The property or essence of all the three worlds reached with the desire after the light [or set their desire upon the light]; and in the light the expressed Word was holy. This holy Word gave its power and virtue to the sound of the inward dark fire-world; and also into the sound of the outward elemental world, viz. it gave itself into the inward fiery Word or life, and also into the outward earthly life.

20. Thus the holy divine Word was predominant through all the three Principles of the human property, and there was an equal accord; and no enmity or opposite will was manifest between the Principles, but a mere harmonious affection and inclination of will, pleasing relish, ravishing melody, sweet smell, a friendly smiling, and most pleasant aspect, a meek and kind sense, and mutual fruition of delight.

21. For man was, on the sixth day, taken and created unto a divine likeness and image in the sixth manifestation of the seven properties of the divine harmonious manifestation in the expressed power, which has diffused and manifested itself through the fifth property, viz. through the fiery love-desire. His true life's-centre was the fifth property of the eternal nature, viz. the fiery love-desire; which held the fire and darkness hidden [or shut up] in itself, and used it to its joy and delight.

22. But it is very needful for us to understand aright in this place, whence the desire to fall away from the equal accord did arise, both in the hierarch Lucifer, and also in Adam, the second hierarch or royal prince in the divine image.

23. When the eternal only God once moved himself through the eternal spiritual nature, viz. in the eternal great abyssal Mystery, and comprised [or amassed] this Mystery into a circumference or place, to manifest his great wonders; and introduced the eternal wisdom into a formal visible contemplation, and manifested all the seven properties of the inward eternal spiritual world, and introduced them into a creation of the angels; then all the properties were moved and affected and each desired to be in a creatural form, in the place, so far as the Verbum Fiat had put itself forth [or given itself in] to motion and manifestation.

24. And the angelical princes also, with their legions, were taken and created out of the properties in the Verbum Fiat, even from the first centre where the eternal lubet betakes itself into a desire, and introduces itself into nature, unto the most external manifestation, each hierarchy in its heaven or property.

25. But seeing Lucifer was, in his creation or formation of the properties, apprehended in the Principle of the property where the enkindling fire arises, where the light is manifest, thereupon he became so aspiring in himself as the most mighty prince; and being in the root of his creatural original he understood the great magical constellation, viz. the Mystery of the ground of all being, but yet in the dark property, which yet was now moved and affected; which magical constellation also desired to be [or would be] manifest and creatural in the dark world, thereupon it set its desire upon this mighty prince and hierarch.

26. And he, Lucifer, turned himself away from the divine light into the fiery Mystery, towards the darkness, whence the fire arises. And so the magical astrum of the Grand Mystery of the dark world apprehended him; for his desire, which the Verbum Fiat had extroduced through the fire in the light, turned itself back again thereinto, and would be like the creator of all beings, and change himself and the essence according to his own pleasure.

27. Thus he contemned the meekness in the light, viz. the second Principle, which [arises] through the fire-death, (where the wrath, of the spiritual essentiality of the wrathful dark property, dies in the fire; and out of which death of devoration the second Principle, viz. the holy love-world of great meekness and humility, is generated), and went back into the first Principle, viz. In magiam naturae, into the original of the eternal nature; and would be an omniscient artist: he would rule and domineer in and above the whole creation, and be a co-former in all properties.

28. Thus the light was extinct to him, for he made his angelical essence, which stood in great meekness and in fiery love-desire, wholly rough, austere, cold, wrathful and fiery, in the dark wrathful property; and the properties of enmity instantly arose in him, for in the light they could not be manifest; but when the light extinguished they were manifest, and he became a devil; and was driven out of the angelical world, out of his own heaven of the second Principle.

29. Thus we are to know, that the fall befell him from his creature, for he had not turned away his creatural desire from the divine meekness and love, in pride and stubborn will, to rule in the matrix of the pregnatress, which took him as a player, he had remained an angel. Had he continued under God's love-spirit and will, then his anger-spirit and will had not captivated him.

30. But seeing he has freely and willingly broken himself off from God's love-will, he has now God's anger-will in him, wherein he must be a manifestor and worker of the dark world's property, for it also would be creatural. Here it has a right captive, that can artificially act in ape's-sport; and now, as the dark world is in its property in its desire such also is its hierach or creatural prince.

31. And here it is very requisite for us to know aright how man came to fall. Man was created in the stead and place of extruded Lucifer, understand the inward spiritual man. He was created in the same heaven, according to the inward human soul, and should possess the hierarchy which Lucifer had lost; and hence the devil's envy against man is arisen.

32. But seeing God did well know that the devil would tempt him, and not beteem him that honour, the deepest love of God (viz. the high name Jesus out of JEHOVAH) has freely given itself herein, to regenerate this hierarchy which Lucifer had defiled; and to purge it through the fire, and to introduce his highest love thereinto; and to overcome the wrath (which Lucifer had awakened) with love, and change it again into divine joy, viz. into a holy heaven; in which place the Last judgement stands [or unto which end the Last judgement is appointed]. And this is that which Saint Paul says, Man was chosen [or elected] in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world was laid.

33. And for this end God created man out of three Principles in one, that [being] he did not live wholly in the place of Lucifer, that so he might help him. For God saw very well, according to the property of his wrath, that man would fall; but he would bring him again through and in the name Jesus through the corruptible death, into the royal kingdom whence Lucifer was fallen; in whose stead the man Christ, God and man in one person, should sit as a hierarch, high priest, or the great prince of men, in the name and power of Jesus out of JEHOVAH.

34. Therefore we are here rightly to consider of the fall of man, how he stood in Paradise and was tempted, and what the Paradise was. Man stood in three Principles, which indeed stood in man himself; viz. in body and soul, in equal accord and harmony; but not [so] without him, for the dark-world has another desire than the light-world; so also the outward world has another desire than the dark-and-light-world. Now the image of God stood between three Principles, all which three did set their desire upon this image, each would be manifest in Adam, and have him in their dominion for a ruler, and manifest their wonders through him.

35. But he, man, should have introduced his desire only into the sixth property of the divine manifestation, wherein he was created to an image of God; he should be wholly resigned to God; he should live only in the manifested divine Word, obedience to God, and not enter into [his] own will, but introduce his desire into God's will, viz. into the sixth property; that so the manifested Word of God might be his will, knowing, and doing: even as the holy angels do so live and rejoice only in the divine will, and melodise in the Holy Ghost, as he does open and manifest himself in them, according to the divine wisdom; and thus they live, will and act with a child-like mind and will.

36. Paradise, or the garden in Eden, did indeed stand with its properties in equal concord as to man. But the properties were in themselves an awakened hunger, each in itself; which verily the divine light did again introduce into a temperature. But the devil, in his enkindled envy, opposed man, and insinuated his venomous imagination into the human property, and enkindled the human properties in the centre in the first Principle of the soul's property, wherein the soul stands in like essence and being with the angels and devils.

37. Whence Adam's imagination and earnest hunger did arise, that he would eat of the evil and good, and live in [his] own will. That is, his will departed out of the equal concord into the multiplicity of the properties; for he would prove, feel, taste, hear, smell and see them. As the devil did persuade them also in the Serpent, they should be as God, and their eyes should be open in the properties; which also happened unto them in the fall, that they knew, tasted, saw and felt evil and good: whence arose unto them sickness, disease, pains and corruption [or the dissolution of this carcass].

38. And seeing the divine providence did afore know that the devil would tempt man, and bring him into strange lust; lest he should long after the centre of the dark world, and become a devil, as Lucifer did, God did represent unto him the Tree of Life, and of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, wherein the dissolution of the outward life was manifest.

39. For Adam was guilty therein, seeing he was yet in Paradise when he lusted after vanity, and brought his imagination into the earth, viz. into that essence whence the limus of the outward body was extracted; and desired out of his mother to assay of the enkindled vanity which the devil had inflamed. Thereupon the Fiat drew him forth such a plant out of the matrix of the earth, whence also it had extracted Adam's body, so that Adam, in his hunger, had to eat.

40. For the essence in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the hunger of the desire in Adam, were alike; what he desired was represented unto him by the Fiat; Adam's imagination was the cause of it.

41. Reason says, wherefore did God suffer it to come to pass? Christ said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard-seed, and should say to this mountain be cast into the sea, it should be done: [I prithee], was not the soul's spirit [sprung forth] out of the great divine omnipotence out of the centre of the eternal spiritual nature, whence all beings were created, and should it not then be potent?

42. He was a fire-spark out of God's might. But when he was formed into a creatural being of the creatures, he withdrew into self-lust, and broke himself off from the universal being, and entered into a self-fullness. And so he wrought his own destruction, and this he had had, if God's love had not redeemed him.

43. The soul's power was so potent before the vanity, that it was not subject to any thing; and so it is still powerful, if the understanding were not taken away from it. It can by magic alter all things whatsoever that are in the outward world's essence, and introduce them into another essence; but the vanity in the outward air's dominion has brought a darkness thereinto, so that the soul does not know itself. The curse of God has cast the defiled child into the dirt, that it must pray for a laver; and must be in this lifetime its own enemy, that it may learn to be humble, and continue in the divine harmony, and not become a devil.

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