Spiritual text 2

Mysteries of God, Cosmos, Humanity: distinguishing dimensions

Spiritual text: Corpus Hermeticum 2:1-28


Pymander: Well then, be still, oh Hermes Trismegistus, and do not forget what I shall tell you. I shall tell you immediately what has occurred to me.

Hermes: Much has been spoken from many aspects about the All and about God, but the opinions contradict each other, so that I have not discerned the truth in it. Will you, oh Lord, explain this to me? For I shall believe only what you will reveal to me.

Pymander: Just listen, my son, how God and the universe are related to each other: God, eternity, the world, time and genesis. God makes eternity, eternity makes the world, the world makes time, and time makes genesis. Goodness, beauty, blissfulness and wisdom form, as it were, the essence of God; the essence of eternity is invariability; the essence of the world is order; the essence of time is changeability; and the essence of genesis is life and death.

Spirit and soul are the actively revealing powers of God; durability and immortality are the manifestations of eternity; the return to perfection and denaturation are the manifestations of the world; increasing and decreasing are the manifestations of time; genesis has as its manifestation the faculty. So is eternity in God, the world in eternity, time in the world, and genesis in time.

Whereas eternity rests round about God, the world moves itself in eternity, time is accomplished in the world and becomes the genesis in time. Therefore, the origin of all things is God; the essence is eternity and the world is its matter. Eternity is a potential force of God. The work of eternity is the world which has had no origin, but is in a continual genesis through the activity of eternity. That is why nothing in the world will ever perish, for eternity is imperishable, neither will anything ever be destroyed, because the world is entirely surrounded by eternity.

Hermes: But what is the wisdom of God? Pymander: It is goodness, beauty, bliss, all virtue and eternity. Eternity shapes the world into an order by penetrating matter with immortality and durability. The nascency of matter depends on eternity, just as eternity itself depends on God.

There is genesis and there is time, in heaven as well as on earth, but they are of a different nature: in heaven they do not change and are imperishable, on earth they change and perish. God is the soul of eternity; eternity is the soul of the world and heaven is the soul of the earth.

God is in the Spirit-soul; the Spirit-soul is in the soul; the soul is in matter and all this through eternity. This vast body, comprising all bodies, is filled from within by a soul full of spiritual consciousness and full of God, a soul which vivifies the All and is surrounded by it from outside.

Outwardly: the vast and perfect life that is the world; inwardly; all living creatures; above, in heaven, it lasts invariably, always remaining equal to itself; below, on earth, it brings about the changes of genesis. Eternity maintains all this, either by what is called fate, providence, nature, or whatever one may think of it now, or later. But he who brings about all this by his activity is God, the revealing, active power of God. God, whose potential power is unsurpassable and with whom nothing human nor devine can be compared.

Therefore, Hermes, do not think that anything from here below or above would be equal to God, for you would then deviate from the truth: nothing is equal to the Incomparable, to the universal, one God. Neither should you think that he shares his potential power with  whomsoever. For save himself, who is creator of life, immortality and change? And what else could he do but create? God is not inactive, otherwise the entire cosmos would be inactive, for everything is full of God. Consequently, there is nowhere inactivity, neither in the world, nor in any other being. Inactivity is an empty word, with regard to the creator as well with that which comes into being.

And everything must come into being according to the influence, natural to every place. For the creator lives in all his creatures; and he does not abide in one of them separately, and he does not create in one of them alone, but he creates all of them. Whereas he is an ever-active power, it is not sufficient for him to have created beings, he also takes them into his care. Look upon the world which displays itself to you through me, and imbibe deeply of its beauty: a pure and imperishable body, inwardly strong and young, and ever increasing in force.