The First

The First Being and the Hierarchy of Creation

“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. Continue reading “The First Being and the Hierarchy of Creation”

hierarchy of being

Hierarchy of Being, Simple and Complex

“That which engenders the world of sense cannot itself be a sense world, it must be the Intellect and the Intellectual world; similarly, the prior which engenders the Intellectual Principle and the Intellectual world cannot be either, but must be something of lesser multiplicity. The manifold does not rise from the manifold: the intellectual multiplicity has its source in what is not manifold; by the mere fact of being manifold, the thing is not the first principle: we must look to something earlier.

“All must be grouped under a unity which, as standing outside of all multiplicity and outside of any ordinary simplicity, is the veritable and essential simplex.

“Still, how can a Reason Principle (the Intellectual), characteristically a manifold, a total, derive from what is obviously no Reason Principle?

“But how, failing such origin in the simplex, could we escape (what cannot be accepted) the derivation of a Reason principle from a Reason principle?

“And how does the secondary good (the imaged good) derive from the Good, the Absolute? What does it hold from the Absolute Good to entitle it to the name?” ~Plotinus

Matter and Intellect Hierarchy of Being

Plotinus, while apparently having a significant amount of spiritual knowledge, has difficulty grasping the idea of something greater than intellect. That is not too surprising. So many people today think the same way. Many even think the soul is just a part of the mind or another name for the mind. It isn’t.

Plotinus has the relationship of matter and Intellect (thought) down correctly, but he can’t seem to get beyond that, accept on an abstract level. He doesn’t know that the true hierarchy of complex beings like man is: the physical body, intellect or mind, psychic body, spirit, and soul. Four levels, not two, not three. Four levels of being. Four dimensions of existence.

Hierarchy of Being

While Plotinus has an incomplete hierarchy, he does understand how the hierarchy works. The basic idea is that you can’t create or generate something greater than yourself. You can’t generate something with more knowledge than you have. Therefore, the generated must always be of a lower or equal level in the hierarchy of being. It can never be higher than that which generated it. So the intellect (mind) could not be generated by the physical body. It has to be the other way around. Thought generates matter. Matter cannot generate thought. And the mind had to be generated by something higher.

Plotinus doesn’t say, or even speculate, on what that is. It should be obvious, however, that what is higher than intellect is spirit and soul. So the idea that spirit and soul grew out of the body or the mind is just nonsense. The created has to be of an equal or lower level than the creator. Spirit is definitely a higher level than mind or matter. Matter is temporary, constantly changing, constantly being destroyed and replaced. Spirit is permanent. It doesn’t die, get sick or old, it doesn’t fade away. It can become dormant from lack of use and that is the state it is in when we enter the physical realm. Very few people ever bother to awaken the spirit and soul. The primary reason is simply that they have not been made aware that it is necessary or how to do it.

It is only logical, then, to say that the spirit and soul could only be created by something even higher. That something, that Ultimate Consciousness, is what most of us call God. That universal spiritual consciousness creates all spirits and souls. Individual minds—the intellect of man—is generated from the spirit and soul. The physical body is a generation of mind. Top to bottom. The real hierarchy of being.

Simple to Complex Hierarchy of Being

It is said that evolution goes from the simple to the complex. Simple single-celled life forms evolved into simple multi-celled forms like the sponges, then to forms with complex parts and organs with different functions. So it seems like the hierarchy of being is simple to complex. That is only true when you look only at the physical level. If you include the mental, psychic, and spiritual levels of being, you see that matter has fallen from the spirit level that is much higher than matter. In a way, the spiritual level seems simple, but that is true only if you look just at that one level. It is, in fact, the most complex level of being because all other levels are below it, within it.

History of the Hierarchy of Being

Material science tells us that man is a recent development, evolved from lower beings, most recently apes. But that conclusion is made by ignoring the higher levels, or by believing that mind and spirit were generated by the physical body. As already discussed, that is a false belief. In truth, we existed for a very long time as pure spirits before man became physical. We existed before there even was a physical universe of matter. When everything was spirit, we were. Spirits and souls are ageless, eternal.

The other levels are the result of the Great Fall caused by the fallen angels. Only then did the current hierarchy of being come into existence.

just being

Just Being and Being a Lot More

“For in being, mere being, lies all that is at all. Being is the first name. Defect means lack of being. Our whole life ought to be being. So far as our life is being so far it is in God. So far as our life is feeble but taking it as being, it excels anything life can ever boast. I have no doubt of this, that if the soul had the remotest notion of what being means she would never waver from it for an instant. The most trivial thing perceived in God, a flower for example as espied in God, would be a thing more perfect than the universe. The vilest thing present in God as being is better than angelic knowledge.

“When God made man, he put into the soul his equal, his active, everlasting masterpiece. It was so great a work that it could not be otherwise than the soul and the soul could not be otherwise than the work of God. God’s nature, his being, and the Godhead all depend on his work in the soul. Blessed, blessed be God that he does work in the soul and that he loves his work! That work is love and love is God. God loves himself and his own nature, being and Godhead, and in the love he has for himself he loves all creatures, not as creatures but as God. The love God bears himself contains his love for the whole world.” ~Meister Eckhart

Being, Just Being

Webster define being as (1) a living thing, or (2) the state of having existence. I think Eckhart means both when he talks about the importance of being.

The first being, of course, was God. God has always existed but not always as a being. At first, He was consciousness only Conscious light without being or form. Them he changed Himself, taking on form and becoming a being. The being since there were no others yet. Once God took on form and became a being, he could now start creating other beings. Not physical beings as we generally think, but spiritual ones. Those known as Angels and Light Beings. Physical being came later and was created by the Demiurge, not God.

It is hard to tell where one type of being ends, and the other begins, based on the definition. We can say that God initially had no form or being, yet He was living ad clearly existed. So from a spiritual perspective, I think we should define being differently. Definition one should be “Existing as a living Thing.” Definition two would be having a form, a body, physical or spiritual. Then we get to definition three.

Definition three of Being is like the popular saying, “some go through life having never lived”. In other words, this kind of being requires that you do more than simply exist as a life form. It requires that you function, that you accomplish things. And most would say that his type of being means that you accomplish more than being born, eating, sleeping, having offspring, and then dying. While those are accomplishments of a sort, true being requires a little more than that. We have to grow and become more than we were initially. We have to help others. We have to make the world a better place in one way or another. Then we are truly being. We might say this is more than just being, it is advanced being. And Meister Eckart who was an advanced being, wants all of us to become advanced beings.

Life of Being

When Eckhart says our whole life ought to be being, he has to mean that third definition. It takes no effort to simply exist for our whole life. So that can’t be what he means. Nor can it mean simply having a form and a body. That would not have impressed Eckhart. It shouldn’t impress any of us. We should all seek to go beyond just being to a life of being.

Just Being and Soul Being

Eckhart says that when God gave us a soul, it was the greatest thing He could do for us. The soul, being essentially a piece of God, has access to the greatest knowledge and wisdom in the universe. But that is only true if the soul is awakened. And now we come to another definition of “Being”.

To be a true human, a true spiritual human, we must awaken our soul. Many insist it is always awake, but all great spiritual masters taught otherwise. When Jesus said we had to be born again, he meant that we had to awaken our spirit and soul. Then we become more than a simple creature. With a conscious soul, we are not just being, we are Being. We might even say we have become a super Being. That is the goal of any real spiritual school.

aspects of God, Supreme Being, God's presence, Godhead, Divine Intellect, Great Breath of God

Seven Aspects of God, a Complex Being

“Seven kinds of action of Deity were perceived by Boehme, none of which were more important than the others. These were:

  1. Ungrund, the ungrounded, the hidden Mystery in all things, the transcendent aspect of Being.
  2. Primordial Divine Will, ‘Father,’ both no-thing and everything.
  3. Will made subjective, the ‘Christ’ function.
  4. Will made objective, Holy Spirit,’ movement and life.
  5. The Trinity, the coming together or expression of the three wills giving a creative unity.
  6. Logos, or ‘the Word.’ the creative vibrational principle, i. e. ‘Let there be…’
  7. Wisdom, Sophia, the feminine principle of God. This acknowledges the androgyny of the Divine from which trinity and creation are born and exist.

Boehme himself says: ‘For I saw and knew the Being of all beings …’” ~Bernard Simon

Seven By Seven

Seven is a number we see a lot in religious and spiritual writings. It is assumed by most to be a reference to the seven energy centers (chakras) of the human body, although there are actually more than seven. Here we see that Jacob Boehme, from whom I quote often, lists a different Holy Seven: the “actions” or aspects of God. If you consider these seven aspects closely, you will see that they relate to steps and methods of spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Aspects of God

Boehme’s list of God’s aspect is not the only one. Other have made similar lists. Who can say which is the best one. These lists, after all, are from a human point-of-view. I was told once by a Hindu priest that the many gods of their religion are really just aspects of the one God. Perhaps Egyptian, Greek, Roman and other ancient pantheons are the same.

God is Complex

The point of it all is that God is a very complex being. So complex, we should be reluctant to even call him a being because that term is too limiting. Because we cannot comprehend that complexity, we make it simple on ourselves by looking only at one aspect of God. After studying one aspect, we should move on to another. Many don’t do that. They start to think that a single aspect of God is the whole package. They think God is only male, never female. Or they may think that God is only Divine Will, the Big Boss in the sky giving orders and demanding obedience.

Understanding Aspects of God

When we look at only one or two aspects of god, we get a very warped image. We need to make an effort to recognize and understand all the aspects. At least as far as human minds can understand. Of course, the best way to do this is to awaken and develop our spirit and soul. Only the soul can truly understand God. The mind can only speculate and have opinions.

Divine Will

Divine Will is another way of saying God has a Plan. This plan is for the redemption of the universe of matter. It needs to return to the spiritual realm from which it “fell”. Those who work for the completion of that plan are living according to God’s Will.

Will is a lot like ego. Some spiritual schools teach that the ego must be destroyed in order to develop our spiritual side. That is like saying that id we want to make a rear-wheel drive car into a front-wheel drive, we have to remove and destroy the rear wheels. Wrong. Turn it into an all-wheel drive vehicle. The will/ego is a useful tool when controlled by the soul.

Mystery and Wisdom

It is curious that these two aspects of God are first and last on the list. It is like they are the bookends that hold the rest of it together. In any case, the goal of the mystery schools and their teachings is to reach a state of wisdom and understanding. Not so we can boast about being better than others, but so we can aid others n their spiritual growth. And, of course, so we can help in the fulfillment of God’s Great Plan.