Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The Three Steps Of Creation
THE THREE STEPS OF CREATION
Thus the 2 is born as the feminine, passive, reflective number. Division has taken place; the foundation of the polarized world of contrast has been laid. But out of the 2 there now arises inescapably the 3, that third point which neutralizes the tension between the two polar opposites. The 3 is the outcome of the preceding twofold potency and unites the duality that has sprung from the 1, to form a new and higher unity, the trinity.
Eliphas Lévi expresses it in these words: “If God were only One He could never be Creator or Father. If he were Two there would be an antagonism or separation in the infinite, and that would also mean separation or death for all other things. Therefore He is Three, so that he can create the infinite multiplicity of beings and numbers out of himself and in his own image.”
As we have already seen from our analysis of the pattern of numbers, the 3 represents perfect creation which, however, has not yet entered the material realm. All religions attempt to express in their different ways this mystery of the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; Isis, Osiris and Horus.
In popular tradition as well the 3 is regarded as the perfect and complete number. We say: “Third time lucky”, “I'll give you three guesses”, and “Everything happens in threes”. In fairy tales the hero often has to accomplish three tasks, is granted three wishes, and so on. The 3 encompasses spatial dimensions of length, breadth and height. Time is divided into past, present and future. There are three primary colours: blue, red and yellow and 3 states of matter: solid, liquid and gaseous. In music we have the tonic triad and in alchemy the 3 essential substances: salt, sulphur and mercury.
These examples could be multiplied indefinitely, but by now it should be apparent that creation on all levels takes place in three steps. All further differentiation is nothing but a repetition of the trinity on a new level. God in the form of the trinity stands nearer to man's experience than the as yet unrevealed God of the 1. God has become the Creator. He has produced creation out of Himself, but creation remains within Him, encompassed by Him, and can never stand in opposition to Him, otherwise God would no longer be the “all-one”.
This image seems paradoxical to man. From the fact that God gave birth to creation out of Himself, we conclude that creation is separate and distinguishable from its Creator. But this notion is false, since nothing exists outside the all-encompassing God.
If we take this idea to its logical conclusion we see that in reality the universe does not exist at all. The universe is finite, changeable, polarized. God, however, is infinite, unlimited Oneness. Therefore nothing can exist outside of Him. But, at the same time, He Himself cannot be identified with the universe.
Certain religious traditions deal with this problem by saying that the whole of creation is only a dream of the Creator, a creation of the mind, for everything is mind. A man can give birth to an idea without that idea leaving him. Yet the idea is not identical with him nor a part of him. Similarly this universe is the mental creation of a dreaming God. “The All, from its limitless mind, creates innumerable universes that last for aeons, yet for the All creation and procreation, the downfall and death of millions of universes is but the blinking of an eye.”
Let us return to the analogy of the number sequence and deal with the number 4, which represents the physical, material plane. Its symbol is the square or cube. If we open out the sides of a hollow cube we get a cross. Thus man is nailed to the cross of matter, crucified by the polarity of time and space. Only at the point of intersection of the cross do time and space come together, yielding freedom from polarity. This is why since time immemorial the cross has been the symbol both of material bondage and of release from matter.
If we have understood the qualitative meaning of the first 4 numbers we need not bother for the time being with the other numbers. There are 9 figures, 3*3. This means that creation manifests itself on three levels, corresponding to the 3 initial worlds of the Qabalah, which, however, is too wide a field for us to enter into here. These 3 worlds are present in the smallest as in the largest cosmos. Remembering our axiom “as above so below” we see that this divine trinity can be translated analogically to all levels of manifestation, from the universe down to man himself. Thus, in esotericism we speak of the mental, astral and physical planes, which, in the human being, correspond to the mental, astral and physical bodies or, in other words, to spirit, soul and body.