“Anything arising after The First must necessarily arise from that First, whether immediately or a tracing back to it through intervenients; there must be an order of secondaries and tertiaries, in which any second is to be referred to the First, any third to the second.
“Standing before all things, there must be a Simplex, differing from all its sequel, self-gathered not inter-blended with the forms that arise from it, and yet able in some mode of its own to be present to those others: it must be authentically a unity. …
“There can be only one such being. If there were another, the two (as indiscernible) would resolve into one, for we are not dealing with two corporal entities.
“Our One-First is not a body: a body is not simplex and, as a thing of process cannot be a First, the Source cannot be a thing of generation: only a principle outside of body, and utterly untouched by multiplicity, could be the First.
“Any unity, then, later than the First must be no longer simplex; it can be no more than a unity of diversity” ~Plotinus
After the First
I think it is obvious that anything created after The First must have been created by The First, but apparently, that is not true of everyone. Some believe that all beings came into existence at different times, yet are independent of those beings and forces that came before.
This idea of complete independence is a common human belief. We might even say that it is a common human fantasy. We often hear the news media say that a person is a self-made millionaire, movie star, singer, or whatever. No one is self-made. We all have parents. We came from others who also came from others. Eventually, it can all be traced back to The First, otherwise known as God. God is The First because nothing could have existed before God.
Hierarchy of The First
A large corporation with thousands of employees could not everyone in the corporation was equal except the president or CEO. Likewise, the government of a large country can’t have the local water commissioner at the same level as a governor of a state. A big business and a big government must have a hierarchical structure with at least three or four levels, often more. Creation also must have such a structure. It is essential. This doesn’t mean any one thing or being is better than another. It is just the structure of their function that makes it seem that way.
So when it comes to spirits, there are several levels between our souls and God (or The First). God is not only the First, He is the highest, the top of the pyramid. We are not at the bottom, but neither are we the next level down. Between us and God are the Light Beings or angels. And if you really study it in the ancient spiritual literature, you will find that there are several levels of angels. So when a spiritual being appears to us or whispers ideas in our mental ears, it isn’t one at the highest level, but one just above us. It is the same way that at work your supervisor tells you what to do, not the vice-president.
Even the cosmos of matter has a Hierarchy, even if the top of it is not God, The First, but the Demiurge, or the false God (fallen angels). We know that the cosmos are structured into galaxies of many millions, or billions of stars in each. And each star may have planets around it with moons around those planets. Another Hierarchy.
And then when we look at the total of creation we find that the physical universe is but one dimension of many. These dimensions also exist and function as a hierarchy. The lowest dimension is the great void, known as “The Nothing” to fans of “The Never Ending Story”. The highest dimension at which individual beings can exist is a spiritual dimension totally free of matter. This dimension is commonly called “Heaven”. But that is still not the highest dimension. Above it is the highest called the Godhead. In the Godhead, there is but one, and that is The First. Nothing else can be there. And yet the Godhead, being the top of the hierarchy, has all the other dimensions within it.
Not a Body
Plotinus says The First does not have a body. If you mean a physical body, that is true. But a spirit is also a kind of body. It is a body that has very different rules than a physical one. A physical body must occupy a specific location in space and time. A spirit can occupy all space and all time simultaneously. So the spirit body of God, The First Being, is that kind of body.
But the point Plotinus is trying to make is that The First must be a simplex, not a complex being. While his logic in that regard makes some sense, it does so only in regard to physical things. Spiritual beings are more like a hologram. A hologram can be divided into many parts and each part has the complete image. A spirit is like that. It can be divided without and lose. It is, therefore, not really divided. So God, The First, can create many beings from Himself, yet remain whole. That is the enigma of a spirit. That is the greatness of The First.