Mysterium Magnum, or an Exposition of the First Book of Moses
Jacob Boehme

Introduction of the Author

1. When we consider the visible world with its Being [Wesen], and consider the life of the creatures, we find within the likeness of the invisible spiritual world, which is hidden in the visible world, as the soul is hidden in the body. We see therein that the hidden God is beside all and through all, and the visible being is completely hidden.

2. We have an example of this in the human mind [
Gemüthe], which is an invisible fire, to light and darkness. It is inclined to joy and sorrow, and is in itself what amounts to nothing. Rather, it is but a cause, an invisible ungraspable source-fire, and as to its own being is closed in nothingness. It is but alone in its will to life.

3. The body cannot grasp the mind [
Gemüthe], but the mind grasps the body, and carries it to love [Lieb] and sorrow [Leid]. This is also how God's word and power [Kraft] are to be understood. They are hidden in the visible and sensible elements, and indeed live through and in the elements, and work through the sensible life and work, as the mind in the body.

4. Then the visible sensible things are a being of the invisible. Out of the invisible and ungraspable comes the visible and graspable. Out of the out-speaking or out-breathing of the invisible power [
Kraft] arose the visible being. The invisible spiritual [geistliche] word of divine power works with and through the visible being, as the soul [works] with and through the body.

5. The inner spiritual soul-man became inspired through the inspiration [
Einsprechen] or breath of the invisible word of God's power in the visible image, the created image of understanding [Verstande], {in which} the invisible and visible Beings [Wesens] stands within human science [Wissenschaft] and knowledge [Erkenntniß].

6. Hence the person of power, by the invisible word of God. . .that he speaks out again the hidden word of divine science [
Scienß] in formation and ...

Chapter 1: What the revealed God is like, and on the Trinity.

1. If we want to understand the new rebirth - what it is, and how it comes to be - we must first know what man is, and how man is of God's image, and how the divine indwelling might be. We must also understand what the revealed God might be, of whom man is the image.

2. When I consider what God is, I say that he is the One as compared to the creature; that is, he is the eternal Nothing. He has neither Ground, Beginning, nor Place. He possesses nothing other than himself. He is the Will of the Ungrund. He is in himself but One. He requires no space nor place. He brings himself forth in himself, from eternity to eternity. He is not like, nor does he resemble any thing, and there is no particular place in which he dwells. The eternal Wisdom or Understanding is his home. He is the will of Wisdom, and Wisdom is his manifestation.

3. There are three things that we should understand about this eternal birth. They are: (1) An eternal Will. (2) An eternal "mind" [
Gemüthe] of the Will. (3) The going-out of the Will and Mind [Gemüthe], which is the spirit of the Will and Mind [Gemüthe].

4. The will is Father: The
Gemüthe is that which is produced by the will's grasping, it is the will's seat or dwelling-place, or the centre to that which exists, and is the heart of the Will. The going-out of the Will and Gemüthe is its power and spirit.

5. This threefold Spirit is but one Being [
Wesen], and yet there is no Being [Wesen], but the eternal Understanding. This understanding is the origin of that which exists [Ichts], but is however the eternal concealment. In the same manner the understanding of mankind is not comprehended, nor is it in time and space, but rather it is its own comprehension and seat. The out-going of the Spirit is the eternal original contemplation, that is the desire [Lust] of the Spirit.

6. The out-going is the joy [
Lust] of the Deity, or the eternal Wisdom, which is the eternal Understanding of all Powers, Colours, and Virtues, through which the three-fold Spirit in this joy [Lust] craves Power, Colour, and Virtue. This craving is an impressing or a grasping of itself. The Will grasps the Wisdom in the Mind [Gemüthe], and that which is grasped in the understanding is the eternal word of the Colours, Powers, and Virtues. This grasping is expressed by the eternal will through the spirit from the understanding of the mind [Gemüthe].

7. And this same speaking is the movement or the life of the Deity. It is an eye of the eternal seeing, where one Power, Colour, and Virtue knows and distinguishes the others. These all stand, however, in similar properties, without importance, purpose, or measurement, undivided from each other. All Powers, Colours, and Virtues lie in One, and is a distinct-within-one-another, well tuned, pregnant harmony. Or, I could say that it is a spoken word, and within the word or the speaking all languages, Powers, Colours, and Virtues lie. With the voice or speaking they develop, and bring themselves into appearance or sight.

8. That is now the eye of the Ungrund, the eternal Chaos, in which everything eternal and temporal lies. It is called Deliberation, Power, Wonder, and Virtue. Its actual name is God, or IEOUA, or Jehovah. He is outside all Nature, outside of all beginning of Beings [
Wesens], a working in himself, giving birth to and finding or perceiving himself, without a certain pain from things or through things. He has neither beginning nor end, and is immeasurable. No number can express his largeness and greatness. He is deeper than any thought can ascend. He is nowhere far from anything, or near anything. He is through all and in all. His birth is over all, and without him there is nothing. He is time and eternity, ground and Ungrund, and yet nothing comprehends him other than the true understanding, which is God himself.

Chapter 2: On the Word or the Heart of God

1. This is now what St. John said: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1-2) The Word "In" is the will of the Ungrund. "Beginning" is the grasping [fassen] of the will, which it grasps in itself, and brings itself into an eternal beginning. Now the "Word" is that which is produced by the grasping [Gefassete], which in the will is a nothing. With the grasping there is birth. This is in the beginning with the will and in the will, but by means of the joy [Lust] of the will the beginning is received in the will's grasping. This therefore is called the heart, that is, the Centre or Life-circulator, in which the origin of the eternal life is.

7. Now we cannot say that the outer world is God, or the spoken word, which in itself is without such essence, or indeed also the outer man is not; rather, it is all simply the expressed word, which has coagulated itself in its own re-grasping to its expression, and continues to coagulate itself in the four elements through the spirit of desire (that is, of the stars). It brings itself into such a motion and life, after the style and manner, as the eternal speaking word makes itself into a Mystery (which is spiritual), which Mystery I call the centre of eternal nature. {This is} where the eternal-speaking word brings itself into birth, and also makes such a spiritual world in itself, as we are materially in the expressed word.

9. And the inner world stands in the eternal speaking word. The eternal word had spoken it (through the wisdom) out of its power, colour, and virtue into an essence, as a great mystery of eternity. This essence is also merely an out-breathing of the word in the wisdom, that has its re-grasping (to birth) in itself, and with the grasping also congeals itself, and brings itself into a form, after the manner of the birth of the eternal word. {This is} how the the powers, colours, and virtues in the word (through the wisdom) generate themselves, or as I might say, out of the wisdom of the word.


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