The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 18

The Eighteenth Chapter

Of the Paradisical State,* showing how it should have been if Adam had not fallen

* Dominion, life or condition

1. I KNOW the sophist will here cavil at me, and cry it down as a thing impossible for me to know, seeing I was not there and saw it myself: To him I say, that I, in the essence of my soul and body, when I was not as yet I, but when I was in Adam's essence, was there, and did myself fool away [negligently lose] my glory in Adam. But seeing Christ has restored it again unto me, I see, in the spirit of Christ, what I was in Paradise; and what I now am in sin; and what I shall be again. And therefore let none cry it out as a thing unknowable; for although I indeed know it not, yet the spirit of Christ knows it in me; from which knowledge I shall write.

2. Adam was a man and also a woman, and yet none of them [distinct], but a virgin, full of chastity, modesty and purity, viz. the image of God. He had both the tinctures of the fire and the light in him; in the conjunction of which the own love, viz. the virginal centre, stood, viz. the fair Paradisical rose-garden of delight, wherein he loved himself. As we also, in the resurrection of the dead, shall be such; as Christ tells us, that we shall neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but be like the angels of God.

3. Such a man, as Adam was before his Eve, shall arise and again enter into, and eternally possess Paradise; not a man, or a woman, but as the Scripture says, they are virgins, and follow God, and the Lamb, they are like to the angels of God, yet not only pure spirit, as the angels, but in heavenly bodies, in which the spiritual angelical body inhabites.

4. Seeing then Adam was created in Paradise to the life eternal in the image of God; and God himself breathed his life and spirit into him; therefore we can well describe him, how he was in his innocency, and how he fell, and what he is now, and shall again be at last.

5. If God had created him unto [or for] the earthly, corruptible, miserable, naked, sick, bestial, toilsome life, then he had not brought him into Paradise; if God had desired [or willed] the bestial copulation and propagation, then he would instantly, in the beginning, have created man and woman, and both sexes had come forth in the Verbum Fiat, into the division of both tinctures, as it was in the other earthly creatures.

6. Every creature brings its clothing from its mother's body; but man comes miserable, naked and bare, in deepest poverty, and unability; and is able to do nothing; and in his arrival to this world he is the poorest, miserablest, forlornest, and most shiftless creature amongst all kinds, which cannot at all help himself; which does sufficiently show unto us that he was not created of God unto this misery, but in [unto] his perfection, as all other creatures were; which [perfection] the first man fooled away [or lost] by false lust; whereupon God afterwards, in his sleep, did first figurise him in the outward Fiat to the natural life in man and woman, according to the property of all earthly creatures; and hung upon him the worms'-carcass, with the bestial members for propagation, of which the poor soul is to this day ashamed, that it must bear a bestial form on the body.

7. Two fixed and steadfast essences were in Adam, viz. the spiritual body from [or of] the love-essentiality of the inward heaven, which was God's temple; and the outward body, viz. the limus of the earth, which was the mansion and habitation of the inward spiritual body, which in no wise was manifest according to the vanity of the earth, for it was a limus, an extract of the good part of the earth; which at the Last judgement shall be severed in the earth from the vanity of the curse, and the corruption of the devil.

8. These two essences, viz. the inward heavenly, and the outward heavenly, were mutually espoused to each other, and formed into one body [text, Corpus], wherein was the most holy tincture of the divine fire and light, viz. the great joyful love-desire, which did inflame the essence, so that both essences did very earnestly and ardently desire each other in the love-desire, and loved one another: the inward loved the outward as its manifestation and sensation, and the outward loved the inward as its greatest sweetness and joyfulness, as its precious pearl and most beloved spouse and consort. And yet they were not two bodies, but only one; but of a twofold essence, viz. one inward, heavenly, holy; and one from the essence of time; which were espoused and betrothed to each other to an eternal [being]. [1]

[1. Or eternally.]

9. And the magical impregnation [or conception] and birth did stand in this fiery love-desire, for the tincture penetrated through both essences, through the inward and outward, and did awaken (or stir up) the desire; and the desire was the Fiat, which the love-lubet [or imagination] took [conceived], and brought into a substance. Thus the likeness of the express image was formed in this substance, being a spiritual image according to the first. [Just] as the Fiat had conceived and formed the first image, viz. Adam, so also the likeness was conceived out of the first for propagation; and in this conception the magical birth was also forthwith (effected), where, in the birth, the spiritual body became external.

10. Understand, if it had been that Adam had stood in the trial, then the magical birth had been thus [effected]: not by a sundry peculiar issue from Adam's body, as now, but as the sun through-shines the water, and rends or tears it not. Even so [in like manner] the spiritual body, viz. the birth, had been brought forth, and in its coming forth had become substantial, without pains, care and distress, in a great joyfulness and delight, in a manner as both seeds of man and woman do receive in their conjunction a pleasant aspect. Even so also the magical impregnation and birth, had been a virginlike image, wholly perfect according to the first.

11. Which afterwards, when Venus's matrix was taken from Adam, and formed into a woman, must be done through anguish, trouble, smart, pangs and distress; as God said to Eve, I will multiply your sorrows when you conceive, you shall now bring forth children with sorrow, and your will shall be subject to your husband. Wherefore? Because it was sprung forth from the man's will. Eve was half the Adam, viz. the part wherein Adam should have loved and impregnated himself; the same, when as he stood not, was taken from him in his sleep, and formed into a woman: therefore when Adam saw her, he said, She shall be called woman, because she is taken out of man.

12. Man should have walked naked upon the earth, for the heavenly [part] penetrated the outward, and was his clothing. He stood in great beauty, glory, joy and delight, in a child-like mind; he should have eaten and drunk in a magical manner; not into the body, as now, but in the mouth there was the separation; for so likewise was the fruit of Paradise.

13. All things were made for his sport and delight; no sleep was in him; in or to him the night was as the day; for he saw with pure eyes in peculiar light [in his own genuine innate light]. The inward man, viz. the inward eye, saw through the outward; as we in the other world shall need no sun, for we [shall] see in the divine sight, in the light of the peculiar nature. No heat nor cold had touched them; there had also no winter been manifest upon the earth, for in Paradise there was an equal temperature.

14. The tincture of the earth had been their delight and pastime; they had had all metals for their play, until the time that God had changed the outward world: no fear or terror had been in them, also no law from anything or to anything; for all had been free unto them. Adam had been their chief prince; and they had lived in the world and also in heaven, inhabiting in both worlds at once; Paradise had been through the whole world.

15. But seeing the divine providence did well know that Adam would not stand, seeing the earth was corrupted by its former prince; in that the wrath of God had moved itself; and amassed [or took] the essence into an impression; therefore God created all manner of fruits and beasts, also all sorts of medicines [or sovereign healing] for the future sickness of man; and likewise all kinds of meat, that the man might have food, and raiment also in this world.

16. For he had determined to send another prince, by whom he would redeem man from his sickness and death, and purify and purge the earth through the fire of God, and introduce it into the holy (being), as it was when Lucifer was an angel, before it came into such a creature. [Or creatural being]

17. And Adam was created only unto [or in] the divine image, which should be eternal; and though it was known in the wrath of God that man would fall, yet the Regenerator [or Restorer] was also known in God's love; to [Text, for] whom this hierarchy should be given for a royal possession, in Lucifer's stead.

18. But that the fall might not proceed (or come) from the divine appointment, [2] God made man perfect, and created and ordained him unto Paradise, and forbade him the false lust, which the devil stirred up through the limus of the earth, in Adam's outward body, with his false imagination and hungry-desire.

[2. Or might not so much as appear to arise from the divine decree.]

19. And Adam was, before his Eve, forty days in Paradise in the temptation, before God made the woman out of him; if he had stood steadfast, then God had so confirmed him to eternity.

20. But that I write of forty days, contrary to the custom [and opinion] of other writers, is, that we have certain knowledge and sufficient ground of the same, not only by conjecture, but from another knowledge; of this also we will show you the types. As (first) of Moses upon Mount Sinai, when God gave him the Law; this was done in forty days, and Israel was tried whether they would continue in divine obedience; but seeing they made a calf, and an idol, and fell from God, therefore Moses must break the first Tables of the Law, signifying the first Adam in the divine law, who departed from it: therefore the same was broken from him, and he fell into the breaking [destruction] of his body, as Moses broke the Tables in pieces.

21. And God gave Moses another Scripture or writing upon a table [round ball or globe] of stone; which signifies the Second Adam (Christ), who should restore the first, and again introduce his Law into his table of the heart, viz. into the life, into the humanity, and write it with the living spirit in the sweet name JESU; thus the other law was also written, how God's love would destroy or break in pieces the anger; of which the Covenant in the Law was a type, as shall be hereafter mentioned in Moses.

22. The second figure of Adam in Paradise are the forty years in the wilderness; where Israel was tried in the Law with the heavenly manna, whether or not they would be obedient to God, that the anger might not so much devour them. The third figure is the true, real one, viz. Adam's hard encounter [combat] with Christ in the wilderness, where he stood in Adam's stead before the devil and God's anger, where he did eat forty days magically, viz. of the word of the Lord [Verbo Domini]; in which Adam also was tempted, whether he would remain wholly resigned unto God's will. Christ was, in Adam's stead, tempted in Adam's temptation, and with all that whatsoever wherein Adam was tempted, as shall be mentioned hereafter.

23. The fourth figure are the forty hours of Christ in the grave, where he awakened Adam out of his first sleep. The fifth figure are the forty days of Christ after his resurrection in the last proba, where the humanity was last of all tried, whether it would now stand, and be wholly resigned in God, being that death was destroyed, and the inward human life was new-born in God.

24. These five figures belong unto the five degrees of nature; from the first form of nature even to the fifth, viz. to the holy centre of the love-birth. If it were not too large we would set it forth very clearly. It shall be shown in its place.

25. These forty days Adam was tried in his innocency [Or stood in the proba], whether or not he would or could stand, to possess the throne of Lucifer, as a hierarch and prince of God. But seeing God knew that this would not be, he determined to move himself with his deepest love in this Adamical, angelical image of the inward holy man, which did disappear [vanish or withdraw] in Adam, and to regenerate him anew, viz. in the seed of the woman, understand in the love-desire's seed, wherein Adam should have impregnated, generated or brought forth himself in a magical manner. In this seed the mark or bound of the promised Covenant in [or with] Christ was set; who should restore the angel's image, viz. the divine man, as it is effected.

26. These forty days Adam, viz. the soul of Adam in the flesh, was tempted between three Principles; for each Principle drew the soul in the flesh, and would have the upper hand or dominion.

27. This was the right proba [trial] of what the free will of the soul would do; whether it would remain in the divine harmony, or whether it would enter into the selfhood. Here it was tried in soul and body, and drawn by all the three Principles; each would accomplish [or work forth] its wonders in him [with or by him].

28. Not that the three Principles did stand in unequal measure and weight in Adam, they were in equal weight in him, but not outside him; moreover the devil was very busy in God's anger in the first Principle, with his false desire; and introduced continually his imagination into the soul, and into the outward flesh, viz. into the limus of the earth, and insinuated it into the first Principle, viz. into the fiery property of the soul, even into the eternal nature; whereupon the first Principle in the soul was moved to speculate itself in the devil's imagination (or glass of fancy), viz. to contemplate in the magical birth how and what evil and good were, how it would relish and be, in the unlikeness of the essence: [3] whence the lust did arise in the soul.

[3. In the dissimilitude or various disparity of the properties which were without itself.]

29. Namely, the earthly lust to eat of the manifold properties did arise in the outward part of the soul; and in the inward fiery part of the soul the lust of pride did arise, to know and prove evil and good; desiring to be like God, as the devil also did, when he would be an artist [or craftsmaster] in the magical birth; after which Adam here also lusted.

30. Albeit Adam did not desire to prove the first Principle, as Lucifer has done, for his lust was only bent to taste and prove evil and good, viz. the vanity of the earth. The outward soul was so awakened, that the hunger entered into its mother wherefrom it was drawn, and introduced into another source.

31. And when this hunger entered into the earth to eat of evil and good, then the desire in the Fiat drew forth the Tree of Temptation, and set it before Adam. Then came the severe command from God, and said to Adam, You shall not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, in that day that you eat thereof, you shall die the death.

32. And Adam also did not eat thereof in the mouth, only with the imagination or desire did he eat thereof, whereby the heavenly tincture disappeared, which stood in a fiery love; and the earthly one did awake in the outward soul's property, whereby the heavenly image was obscured.

33. Thus the magical birth was spoiled, and it could not then be; although Adam [had] stood in Paradise, yet it had not availed him [or them]; for in the imagination or hunger after evil and good the outward man did awake in him, and obtained the dominion. Then Adam's fair image fell into a swoon, and drew near to the cessation of its operation [or rest]; for the heavenly tincture was captivated in the earthly desire; for the outward desire impressed into it its essence out of the vanity, whereby the man was darkened, and lost his clear pure steady [constant, permanent] eyes and sight, which was from the divine essence, from whence before he had his sight [or seeing].

34. Now Moses said, that the Lord God said, it is not good that this man should be alone, we will make an help meet for him. When God had created all creatures, with the whole creatural host, Moses said, and God beheld all things which he had made, and lo! it was very good; and confirmed all to its propagation. But here he said of man, it is not good that he should be alone, for he saw his miserable fall, that he could not magically propagate himself; and said, we will make an help for him.

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