Religious rules and laws, structures and ontologies.
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It is common Biblical knowledge that mankind was created in the "image of God".
What does this mean? Does this mean that God has arms, and legs, and looks like a human? Although this is a common interpretation, this is false.
We are created in the image of God in the sense that we are a trinity, as God is a trinity. This is the basic formula:
SOUL - BODY - SPIRIT = MAN
FATHER - SON - HOLY SPIRIT = GOD
Understanding our own trinity can help us understand the Godhead, and realize that God is one, not three. Even as we, as humans, are one, and not three separate people.
SON corresponds to BODY, or FLESH. Our flesh is the part that interacts with things on the physical plane. It is our physical body, a vehicle. Likewise, the SON of God is the physical manifestation of God, Jesus Christ.
FATHER corresponds to SOUL. Our soul is the part of us that can be "Saved", according to Christian terms. It is the part of us that can know God, and the part of us that is born of God. God the Father is the SOUL of God, which sits upon the Throne of Heaven. The location of the FATHER is in the celestial paradise, heaven, and His eyes behold everywhere in the universe at once.
HOLY SPIRIT corresponds to SPIRIT. Our spirit is our life-force, that part of us that thinks, feels, loves, hates, etc. All creatures have a spirit, or 'life-force". The Holy Spirit of God is what is given to believers upon salvation, to guide them throughout their Christian Walk. It is our comforter, and our interpreter of the Scriptures.
The FATHER is seated upon the Throne, where the seven spirits, angels, seraphim, cherubim, celestial beings, departed heaven-bound humans, and other holy entities are located, who constantly offer praise and worship to YHVH.
The SON is now seated at the right hand of this throne, making intercession for believers to the FATHER, and preparing New Jerusalem, the great City, for His followers.The SON will one day call up His believers, and then return to Earth to reign over every kingdom, and bring New Jerusalem to Palestine, ushering the great Kingdom Age.
The HOLY SPIRIT is now working in the hearts of every man and woman, bringing them to knowledge of GOD, and is constantly working to bring souls to salvation.
All three parts of the Godhead was present at creation (ELOHIM in the Hebrew texts). However, the Godhead is NOT three separate entities, as argued by the Muslims and other religious groups. Are you three separate beings? No, you are a body, soul, and spirit, which make up ONE person. Just as the GODHEAD is three, that make up ONE. This is the very meaning of "Trinity".
I will close with a few quotes from the Scriptures of Yashua ha'Mashiac Himself, claiming divinity. "Before Abraham was, I AM" "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, which was and is and is to come, the ALMIGHTY".
If YHVH had not of been my help, my soul had almost dwelt with Dumah.
I only wish more Christians would not fall back to idolizing the trinity as it is so common today. Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, they are all names an games which have gone through many, many translations. In turn, Christianity tends to resort to Paganism, the worshiping of an entity, and not the idea that it intrinsically represents.
We should learn how to sync ourselves to the Father, Spirit, and Son.
Hermetic Qabalah has been the most existential escape to this revelation than anything else.
The Tree of Life is a part of both the Hermetic Qabalah and the Jewish Kabbalah (the paths in the Tree differ in both traditions, but they share the sephirot), and the Jewish Kabbalah is Jewish misticism, and Judaism is the root of Christianism. To understand Christianism or the Old Testament the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life may be useful.
Funny thing is, the Tree of life became that popular only since around 70-80 years ago since the strong hermetic chapters started to work with it and their apporach influenced of course the whole literature world which then influenced the common magickal practice. Before that main focus of the quabbalah mysticism was the Thalmud.
It is a great example of system development in my eyes
I´m confused, Ramscha. Do you mean that before that time Jews didn´t believe in the Tzimtzum? (Tzim tzum means "contraction". At the beginning, God occupied everything and manking was only one person and was united to God. Then mankind wanted to be independent, and God contracted making a vacuum inside himself (that´s why it´s called "contraction"), so that there would be room for the universe. Then God created the universe in two tries. The first attempt failed, and gave origin to evil dimensions (the klippoth" and evil spirits. In the second attempt he createdthe ten dimensions of the Tree of Life, and the physical world is the lowest one.)
And what in the Talmud was their focus? I haven´t read it, but I know that it is a thick book.
Now, I didn´t fixed my focus on just Jews and I didn´t say that they did not believe in the Tree of Life. But as the kabbalah studies became more and more open and many non-jews started to study it over the past years the tree of life came into a high focus of the practicioners where it wasn´t before. If you look now in any forum which has a kabbalistic corner one of the first words you will find is the tree of life since today it is one of the key elements.
To come back to the thalmud as far as I know the focus depends on the direction the studies go. I am no expert in Judaism either but as far as I know there are also different schools but that goes to much into religion for me.
This is a Little offtopic, but I was thinking about the Merkabah mysticism and the Tree of Life, they seem like two different systems, in one there are seven heavens and seven halls to pass trhough, and in the other ten sephirot. However, both systems may fit if the sides of the Tree of Life are ignored, and there is only an ascent through the Middle Pillar and the Veils of Negative existence. Also may the Merkabah have influence from other religions? Mircea Eliade said that most religions have seven or nine heavens.
The Tree of Life has its first documented appearance, I believe, with the Sepher HaBahir. This is a Medieval work from Spain. It is not mentioned in the Sepher HaYetzirah from roughly the 3rd century AD. The concept of descending emanations is Neo-Platonic and this is connected with the Classical philosopher Plotinus. The Merkava practice is, I believe, much older and probably has deeper roots in Judaism.
The 7 heavens can be linked to the tree first you skip malkuth(not a heaven) the next six link to yesod to chessed and the seventh is link to binah chokmah and kether. Take a look and the beings in the heavens to see the relation.
As for man is made in the image of god i think this can be only understood in a very abstract way. One way to look at it would that we have all the same attributes/abilities as god just undeveloped like a child.
nosce te ipsum
Definitely an interesting topic. I will keep my eye on it.
If from dust I come, And dust I will be; Let me be remembered for my own life is fleeting.
Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) should be avoided.
An interesting topic to which I would like to react. The word that springs to my mind is that of emanation.
It makes sense that an image is always inferior to the original to which it has been modeled. A sculptor who fashiones a statue in the image of someone can create a beautiful piece of art that brings to mind the person that is represented by the statue. At the same time the statue is inferior to the original person; it lacks the essence and many attributes of the original.
The relationship between man and God is a bit different I think. Man is an animated being that has received a soul from God which gives him the power exist as an independent being. With this power we can remember (Plato: anamnesis) our Divine origin and strive to unite ourselves more closely to it.
In the Catholic theology the schema of exitus-reditus expresses this insight; the going out from God only to go back up to Him as the ultimate goal of mankind. In the Orthodox theology this is called theosis; the Divinization of mankind.
God is just a word; the danger is to have a too concrete image of the Reality which the word signifies. God is Reality itself, Being itself, Goodness itself, fullness itself. He is the fullness pleroma in which all the parts become one.
A term I like to use in my own thinking about this is Ascension. I believe that as human beings we can ascend to godhood by ascending through the levels of emanation. These levels are purely spiritual and can best be approached through the means of symbols; angelic orders, gods, aeons. We must climb Jacob's letter; we must ascend upwards and so attain godhood. Than all imitation burns away within the fire of Oneness.
"Umbra profunda sumus."
I think of God as something limitless, ineffable, and infinite. Even the father-son-Holy Spirit trinity is too small to fully encompass what God means. To say that man is made in God's image is to say that man is also limitless and ineffable. When we realize that we are not limited by our multidimensional bodies, that we are also infinite, we become one with God. But really, what happens is we realize that we were never separate from God in the first place.
At least, that's how I see it. Something limitless can't have an image. I think it's a figurative way of saying man = God.
I tend to think of it more as a duality than a trinity, with everything having a counterpart as both the Monad and the Dyad. This isn't exclusive to humans, or even to "living" things as a whole, but rather everything that we perceive is part of us and, by extension, part of God. We are created in the image of God in that everything is a reflection of God onto itself, and we must free ourselves and become one with God in order to end its (and our) suffering, because we all contain a part of God inside of us, which must be returned through Henosis.
Sorry if this was difficult to understand, but it isn't an easy concept for me to describe with words.
Being that God is absolutely united with Goddess as infinitely becoming - all you know surrounding you is the image of God as embodied by the Goddess, and in terms of being made in their likeness - God is energy or light, and Goddess is matter or darkness, and likewise human beings are Spirits in the Flesh.
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