Jacob Böhme
in the year 1620

1 - THOUGH we have explained this almost sufficiently in the other books, as everyone has them not at hand, it is necessary to give a short summary description of the creation of man, in order that the incarnation of Christ may afterwards be better understood. Also because of the pearls which in the course of his seeking fall more and more to man, are imparted and disclosed to him. And it affords me a special joy to recreate myself thus with God.

2 - The creation of man has been carried out in all the three Principles, that is, in the Father's eternal nature and property, in the Son's eternal nature and property, and in this world's nature and property. There was breathed into man, whom the verbum fiat created, the threefold spirit for his life, from three principles and sources. By a triple fiat was he created, understand what is corporeal and essential; and the will of the heart of God introduced into him the spirit according to all the three Principles. Understand this as follows

3 - Man was created entirely in the likeness of God. God manifested himself in humanity in an image which was to be as himself. For God is all, and all has arisen from him; and because all is not good, all, therefore, is not called God. For, as regards the pure Deity, God is a light-flaming spirit, and dwells in nothing but in himself only; there is nothing like unto him. But as regards the property of fire, wherefrom light is generated, we know the property of fire to be nature, which is a cause of life, movement and spirit, else there were no spirit, no light, nor any being, but an eternal stillness; neither colours nor virtues, but only a groundlessness without being.

4 - And though the light of Majesty dwells in the unground (groundlessness) and is not laid hold of by the fiery nature and property, we are to consider the fire and light withal in the following way The fire has and makes a terrible and consuming source. Now, there is in the source a sinking down, like a dying, or freely giving itself up. And this free surrendering falls into freedom out of the source, as into death, and yet there is no death; but it descends thus a degree deeper into itself and is delivered from the torment of the fire's anguish, and yet holds in keeping the sharpness of the fire,-not indeed in anguish, but in freedom.

5 - And now the freedom and unground is a life, and becomes in itself a light; for the freedom receives the flash of the anguishful source and becomes desirous of substantiality, and the desire makes itself pregnant with substantiality from out of the freedom and gentleness. For that which sinks down or turns away from the source of anguish, rejoices that it is free from the anguish and draws the joy into itself, and passes with its will out of itself, and this the life and spirit of joy. To express which we should require an angelic tongue. But in this connection we will give to the reader that loveth God a short intimation to reflect upon, in order to understand the heavenly substantiality.

6 - For in God all is power, spirit and life; but what is substance is not spirit. That which sinks down from fire, as in powerlessness, that is substance. For spirit stands in fire, but separates into two sources, namely one in fire, and one in the sinking down into freedom in the light. The latter is called God, for it is gentle and lovely, and has within it the kingdom of joy. And the angelic world is understood in the delapsing freedom of the substantiality.

7 - And because we were gone out from the freedom of the angelic world into the dark source, with fire as its abyss, there was no remedy for us unless the power and Word of the light, as a Word of the divine Life, became a man, and brought us out of the darkness through the torment of fire, through the death in fire, again into the freedom of the divine Life, into the divine essentiality. Therefore Christ had to die, and with the soul's spirit pass through the fire of the eternal Nature, that is, through the hell and wrath of the eternal Nature, into the divine essentiality, and make our soul a way through death and wrath, in which path we might with him and in him enter through death into the eternal divine Life.

8 - But regarding the divine essentiality, that is, regarding the divine corporeity, we are to understand as follows: The light gives gentleness as a love; now the fire's anguish desires gentleness that it may allay its great thirst; for the fire is desiring and the gentleness is giving, for it gives itself. Thus in the desire of the gentleness being is produced, as a substantial essentiality which has escaped from the fierceness, which freely gives its own life: such is corporeity. For through the power in the gentleness it becomes substantial, and is attracted and retained by the sourness, viz. by the eternal fiat. And it is therefore called substantiality or corporeity because it is fallen down to the fire-source and spirit, and is relatively to spirit as dumb, dead or powerless, although it is an essential life.

9 - You must understand us aright. When God created the angels, two Principles only were manifest and in being, viz. the existence in fire and light, to wit, as involving the fierce essentiality in the severe, sour fiat, along with the forms of the fiery nature, and, secondly, as involving the heavenly essentiality from the holy power along with the water-fountain of gentleness of the life of joy, in which, as in love and gentleness, the divine sulphur was generated; its flat was God's desiring will.

10 - From this divine Essence, as from God's nature, the angels as creatures were created. Their spirit or source of life stands in fire; for without fire no spirit exists. But it passed out of the fire into the light; there it received the source of love. And the fire was only a cause of its life; but the fire's fierceness was extinguished by the love in the light.

11 - Lucifer despised this, and remained a spirit of fire. Thus, he elevated himself and kindled in his locus the essentiality, from which earth and stones were produced; and he was cast out. Here commenced the third corporeity and the third Principle, along with the kingdom of this world.

12 - As the devil was cast out of the third Principle into the darkness, God created another image in his likeness for this region. But if it was to be God's likeness according to all the three Principles, it had to be taken from all three, and from every entity of this region, so far as the fiat had at the creation put itself forth in the ether in connection with Lucifer's princely throne. For man came in Lucifer's place; and hence the great envy of the devils, that they beteem not man that honour, but lead him continually by the evil corrupt way, in order that they may augment their kingdom. And they do this in defiance of gentleness or God's love. Further, they suppose, because they live in the fierceness of the strong might, they are higher than God's Spirit, which consists in love and gentleness.

13 - Thus the Will-spirit of God or the holy Spirit has disposed the twofold fiat into two principles, namely, the inner in the angelic world and the external in this outer world, and has created man (Mesch or Mensch) as a mixed person. For he was to be an image of the outer and inner world, and was to rule by the inner quality over the outer in this way he would have been God's likeness; for the outer nature was suspended to the inner. Paradise budded forth through the earth, and man was in this world, on earth, in Paradise. Paradisaic fruit also grew for him till the fall. When the Lord cursed the earth, Paradise passed into mystery, and became for man a mystery or secret; although if he be born again of God, he dwells by the inner man in Paradise, but by the outer man in this world.

14 - And we are further to consider the coming and origin of man. God created his body from the matrix of the earth, from which the earth was created. All was mixed up, and yet was divided into three Principles coextensive with three kinds of essence, and nevertheless that in the fierce wrath was not known. If Adam had but remained in innocency, he would have lived all the time of this world in two Principles only, and would have ruled by one over all; the fierce wrathful kingdom would never have been known or manifest in him, although he had in himself this kingdom.

15 - Adam's body was created by the inner fiat from the inner element, wherein lies the inner firmament and heaven with the heavenly essences; and, secondly, it was created by the outer fiat from the four elements of the external nature and from the stars. For in the matrix of the earth this was mixed up. Paradise was therein, and the body moreover was created for Paradise. It had divine and also earthly essentiality in itself; but the earthly was as it were swallowed up in the divine or powerless. The substance or matter from which the body was made or created was a mass, or a water and fire with the essence of both Principles; although the first was also contained in it, but was not active. Each Principle was to remain in its seat and not mix with the others, just as is the case in God: in this way man would have been a complete likeness of the being of God.


Of the insufflation of soul and spirit


16 - The body is a likeness according to the substantiality of God, and the soul and spirit is a likeness according to the Holy Trinity. God gave to the body his substantiality from the three Principles, and spirit and soul from the fountain of the threefold Spirit of the omnipresent Deity. And we are to understand that the soul with its image and its outward spirit has come from three principles, and. has been inbreathed and introduced into the body, as Moses attests: God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Gen. ii. 7).

17 - Now the breath and spirit of God includes three kinds of sources. In the first Principle it is a fire-breath or spirit, which is the true cause of life and stands in the Father's quality, as in the centre of the fiery nature. In the second Principle God's breath or spirit is the light-flaming love-spirit, the true spirit of the very Godhead, which spirit is called God the Holy Spirit. In the third Principle, as in the similitude of God, God's breath is the air-spirit, upon which the Holy Spirit sweeps along, as David says: The Lord walketh upon the wings of the wind (Ps. civ. 3); and Moses says: The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, upon the gulf where the air [spiritus mundi] arises (Gen. i. 2).

18 - This threefold spirit has the total God inbreathed and introduced into the created image from all the three Principles. First, the fire-spirit, which He introduced into man from within, not by the nostrils, but into the heart, into the twofold tincture of the inner and outer blood, although the outer was not known, but was mystery. The inner, however, was in evidence and had two tinctures, one derived from fire and the other from light. This fire-spirit is the true essential soul, for it has the centrum naturae with its four forms as its fire-power. It kindles itself the fire, and makes itself the wheel of the essences.

19 - It is not indeed the true image according to the Deity, but a magical everlasting fire, which has never had any beginning, neither will it have any end. Understand that God has introduced the eternal unoriginated fire (which from eternity has existed in itself, in the eternal Magia, viz. in the will of God, in the desire of the eternal Nature, as an eternal parturient centre); for this image was to be a likeness according to Him.

20 - Secondly, at the same time as the soul's essential fire the Holy Spirit introduced the light-flaming love-spirit out of itself into man, moreover in the second Principle only, wherein the Deity is understood; not at the nostrils, but as fire and light are suspended to one another and are one, although in two sources. Thus the good love-spirit was introduced into his heart with the essential fire-spirit, and each source brought with it its own tincture as a special life of its own. And in the love-tincture is understood the true spirit, which is the image of God, a likeness according to the clear true Deity, and resembles the whole man, likewise fills the whole man, but in its Principle.

21 - The soul is in and by itself an eye of fire or a mirror of fire, in which the Deity has manifested itself according to the first Principle, that is, according to nature; for it is a creature, yet not created into a likeness. But its image, which it generates out of its eye of fire into light, is the true creature, for the sake of which God became man and brought it again into the holy Ternary out of the wrath of the eternal Nature.

22 - The soul and its image are certainly together one spirit; but the soul is a hungry fire and must have substance, else it becomes a hungry dark abyss, as the devils are become such. The soul makes fire and life, and the gentleness of the image makes love and heavenly essentiality. Thus the soul's fire is attempered and filled with love; for the image has water from God's fountain, and it flows forth into life eternal; this water is love and gentleness, and it draws it out of the Majesty of God. As may be seen in a kindled fire, that the fire in itself has a fierce fervent quality, and the light a gentle gracious quality; and as in the deep of this world water is produced from light and air, so in like manner also here.

23 - Thirdly, God had breathed into man's nostrils at the same time and at once the spirit of this world with the source of the stars and elements, that is, the air [spiritus mundi]. He was to be a ruler in the outer kingdom and open up the wonders of the outer world, to which end God created man also unto the outward life. But the outward spirit was not to encroach upon the image of God, nor was the image of God' to lodge within it the outward spirit and suffer that to rule over it, for its aliment was from God's Word and power. And the outer body had paradisaic food,-not taken into the worm-bag or carcass, for this appendage he had not. Further, he had neither masculine nor feminine form, for he was them both, and had both tinctures, viz. of soul and spirit, of fire and light, and was to produce another man from himself according to his likeness. He was a chaste virgin in pure love; he loved himself and made himself pregnant by imagination, and in such wise was his reproduction. He was a lord over the stars and elements, a likeness, according to God. As God dwells in the stars and elements, and nothing seizes Him, He rules over everything: so was man created. The earthly source was not fully active in him. He had indeed the air-spirit, but heat and cold were not to affect him, for God's essentiality penetrated all. As Paradise pressed and budded through the earth, so did the heavenly essentiality grow up in the external being of his body and outward spirit. What seems strange to us in the earthly life is assuredly possible in God.

24 - Fourthly, by the introduction of his fair heavenly image into the Spirit of God, Adam received also the living Word of God, and this was the nutriment of his soul and image. The same living Word was surrounded with the divine Virgin of wisdom; and the soul's image stood in the virgin image which in the Deity had been seen from eternity. The pure image of Adam came from the wisdom of God. For God willed to see and manifest himself thus in an image, and that was the likeness according to God's Spirit, according to the Triad, an image entirely chaste, like the angels of God. In this image Adam was the child of God,-not only a likeness, but a child, born of God, of the Being of all beings.

25 - Thus it has been briefly stated what kind of image Adam was before his fall and how God has created him, in order to attain a better understanding why God's Word became man, how that has come to pass and what it has brought about.