Sunday 11 November 2012

N3 - An Introduction to Jacob Boehme

Jacob Boehme  1575 - 1624   (excerpt from a wonderful online website) via Nancy Gilmore

Part of the series on Great Believers that we are calling Normal in the vein of the Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee

When we learn to read Boehme, we learn to read the Bible in a new and living way. Difficulties and seeming contradictions are resolved in the Three Principles. Theological enigmas like predestination, the fall of man and the wrath of God become easily discernible. His unearthly and strangely beautiful prose is like a silent music, an inscrutable language that bypasses the cognitive centers of the brain and illuminates the heart.
But Boehme's doctrine is more than just mystical speculation. Isaac Newton sequestered himself with Boehme's books for several weeks, believing that they contained all the mysteries of Creation. He emerged from his study with the Theory of Gravity. Though he did not credit Boehme with the discovery, one reviewer stated, "Newton hath ploughed with Behmen's Heifer." For Boehme had written long before, "The three first Properties of Nature are Attraction, Resistance and Whirling."
It was this anecdote that first kindled my interest in Boehme, but I found his books more or less impenetrable, until I read The Way to Christ, and found myself standing on new ground, reading a new Bible and beginning to understand in a new way.
For years I wracked my brains over learned theological grimoires in an effort to understand the mysteries of the Gospel. Why did Jesus have to die for our salvation?  The priestly explanation that he had to die to satiate the wrath of an angry Father, or to satisfy some bizzare requirement of divine justice, struck me as absurd. And what does Paul mean when he says we died with Christ? that our old man is crucified with Him? Academic theology offers only academic answers.
But when we set aside theological reasoning and submit to the dominion and illumination of the Holy Spirit, the scales fall from our eyes and the mystery of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" can be seen. Rev. 13:8  God is known by revelation, and revelation is given to the inward imaginal nature. Intellect belongs to the outward personality, the fallen Adamic ego, and has no light in itself. The renewed mind is illuminated from within.
It is not that intelligence and learning have no value; they enhance our ability to communicate the mystery of salvation to our fellow-creatures, but this mystery is revealed to the inner man, the spirit.
"The rational Man understands nothing in reference to God; for it is without and not in God....The true Understanding must flow from the inward Ground, out of the living Word of God. In which inward Ground, all my Knowledge concerning the Divine and natural Ground, hath taken its Rise, Beginning, and Understanding. I am not born of the School of this World, and am a plain simple Man; but by God's Spirit and Will am brought, without my own Purpose and Desire, into Divine Knowledge in high natural Searchings." {Epistles, page 121.}
"He that will learn to understand the true Way, let him depart from and forsake his own Reason." {Epistles, page 138.}
"Reason must be blinded, kept under, and not allowed to stir." {page .68.}
"Reason must yield up its own Hearing and Life, and give itself up to God, that God may live in the Understanding of Man, else there is no Finding in the Divine Wisdom. All that is taught and spoken concerning God, without the Spirit of God, is but Babel." {Epistle. page 9.}
"We must wholly reject our own Reason; it is not available to help us to the Light, but is a mere leading astray, and keeping us back. This we intimate to the Reader, that he may know what he readeth. Let none account it for a Work of outward Reason."  {Three-fold Life. pages 68,88.}
"Much disputing is not at all profitable, it maketh only confusion; go with me in my writings unto the centre of all beings, and you shall see the original (or understanding) in good and evil, and be freed from all this error, for you shall find so much in my writings that will give real satisfaction to the mind; so far as the centre of all beings is apprehended, there ariseth such joy in the mind, which surpasseth all the joy of this world, for the Philosopher's Stone of the wise men lieth therein, and he that finds it, accounts it of higher excellency than the outward world with all its glory." {Epistles 7:7}

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well, thanks for posting this link. I was wondering why web traffic spiked Sunday/Monday!

I just finished a Lexicon of JB's terminology that his modern-day readers might find useful.