Divine Word of God
“Johannes Tritheim, an abbot and alchemist, whose writings are plainer and more comprehensive than any other alchemical book, says:
‘All things have been made by the power of the divine word, which is the divine spirit or breath that emanated from the divine fountain in the beginning. This breath is the spirit or soul of the world, and is called the “spiritus mundi.” It was at first like air, and contracted into a fog or nebular substance, and afterward became “water” (Akasa). This “water” was at first all spirit and life, because it was permeated by and made alive by the spirit. It was dark in the depths; but through the outspoken word the light became generated therin, and then the darkness was illumined by the light, and the “soul of the world” (the astral light) had its beginning. This spiritual light, which we call “Nature,” or the soul of the world, is a spiritual body, which, by means of Alchemy, can be made tangible and visible; but as it exists in an invisible state, therefore it is called “spirit.”’”. ~Franz Hartmann
The idea of the Divine Word that comes from God is a very misunderstood concept. Too many people, thinking in human terms, and seeing God in the typical image of an old man with a long beard, think of God’s Word as speech coming out of that old man’s mouth. But God is not human, not material, and doesn’t look at all like a physical human. He is a spirit and has no mouth to speak with. His word is thought, not speech. So it is accurate to say that this word created the world and “all things” in it.
But the inner quote from Tritheim seems to be mixing two worlds together: the physical and the spiritual. He does do a good job of explaining how one became the other, using terms that are not quite scientific, and therefore easily misunderstood. He makes it sound as if the physical world was generated from the spiritual, and that it was God who caused this to happen. In actual fact, since spirit is perfect, and matter is flawed, it makes no sense at all for God to decide to turn spirit into matter. It was the Demiurge who created the realm of matter by altering some of the spirit of the spiritual realm.
Like the Divine Word, the meaning of Divine Breath is more allegorical than literal. If we think of the Divine Word as God’s thoughts, then the Divine Breath is the movement of the Divine Word, the Divine Word in action, creating things, making things happen.
Many of the New-Age Spiritual people like the idea of manifesting, by which they mean getting what they wish for. They believe that if they think of something often enough, and hard enough, they can make it real. That is, on a much more complex level, exactly what God does with his Divine Word and Divine Breath.
Breath, to Water, to Solid
The description of the steps of creation of the physical worlds is surprisingly similar to what science believes today. First, there were great clouds of gas (breath), they thickened into heavier gasses and liquids (water), then finally solid planets and stars were formed. But again, this is the work of the Demiurge, the false god, not the real God who created, and continues to create, only spirit.
Soul of the World
The soul of the world may well have been created by the Divine Word, but that soul is not Nature. At least it isn’t what most of us consider Nature to be. We see Nature as the driving force of the world, the mind of the planet. Most spiritual schools would agree with that. But mind and spirit are not the same things, just as intellect and consciousness are not the same. So the soul of the world is a spirit and operates from consciousness. Nature is the mind of the world and comes from intellect.