Jakob Böhme : biography
In "De Tribus Principiis" or "On the Three Principles of Divine Being" Böhme subsumed the seven principles into the Trinity:
- 1. The "dark world" of the Father (Qualities 1-2-3);
- 2. The "light world" of the Holy Spirit (Qualities 5-6-7);
- 3. "This world" of Satan and Christ (Quality 4).
In one interpretation of Böhme’s cosmology, it was necessary for humanity to return to God, and for all original unities to undergo differentiation, desire and conflict -—as in the rebellion of Satan, the separation of Eve from Adam and their acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil — in order for creation to evolve to a new state of redeemed harmony that would be more perfect than the original state of innocence, allowing God to achieve a new self-awareness by interacting with a creation that was both part of, and distinct from, Himself. Free will becomes the most important gift God gives to humanity, allowing us to seek divine grace as a deliberate choice while still allowing us to remain individuals.
Böhme saw the incarnation of Christ not as a sacrificial offering to cancel out human sins, but as an offering of love for humanity, showing God’s willingness to bear the suffering that had been a necessary aspect of creation. He also believed the incarnation of Christ conveyed the message that a new state of harmony is possible. This was somewhat at odds with Lutheran teachings, and his suggestion that God would have been somehow incomplete without the Creation was even more controversial, as was his emphasis on faith and self-awareness rather than strict adherence to dogma or scripture.
Böhme believed that the Son of God became human through the Virgin Mary. Before the birth of Christ, God recognized himself as a virgin. This virgin is therefore a mirror of God’s wisdom and knowledge.Ingen 518. Böhme follows Luther, in that he views Mary within the context of Christ. Unlike Luther, he does not address himself to dogmatic issues very much, but to the human side of Mary. Like all other women, she was human and therefore subject to sin. Only after God elected her with his grace to become the mother of his son, did she inherit the status of sinlessness. Mary did not move the Word, the Word moved Mary, so Böhme, explaining that all her grace came from Christ. Mary is "blessed among women" but not because of her qualifications, but because of her humility. Mary is an instrument of God; an example of what God can do: It shall not be forgotten in all eternity, that God became human in her.Ingen 519
Böhme, unlike Luther, does not believe that Mary was the Ever Virgin. Her virginity after the birth of Jesus is unrealistic to Böhme. The true salvation is Christ, not Mary. The importance of Mary, a human like every one of us, is that she gave birth to Jesus Christ as a human being. If Mary had not been human, according to Böhme, Christ would be a stranger and not our brother. Christ must grow in us as he did in Mary. She became blessed by accepting Christ. In a reborn Christian, as in Mary, all that is temporal disappears and only the heavenly part remains for all eternity. Böhme’s peculiar theological language, involving fire, light and spirit, which permeates his theology and Marian views, does not distract much from the fact that his basic positions are Lutheran, with the one exception of the virginity of Mary, where he holds a more temporal view.
Böhme’s writing shows the influence of Neoplatonist and alchemicalIn several works he used alchemical principles and symbols without hesitation to demonstrate theological realities. Borrowing alchemical terminology in order to explain religious and mystical frameworks, Böhme assumed that alchemical language is not only a metaphor for laboratory research. Alchemy is a metaphysical science because he understood that matter is contaminated with spirit. Calian 2010, p.184. writers such as Paracelsus, while remaining firmly within a Christian tradition. He has in turn greatly influenced many anti-authoritarian and mystical movements, such as the Religious Society of Friends, the Philadelphians, the Gichtelians, the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness, the Ephrata Cloister, the Harmony Society, the Zoarite Separatists, Rosicrucianism, Martinism and Christian theosophy. Böhme’s disciple and mentor, the Liegnitz physician Balthasar Walther, who had travelled to the Holy Land in search of magical, kabbalistic and alchemical wisdom, also introduced kabbalistic ideas into Böhme’s thought.See Leigh T.I. Penman, ‘A Second Christian Rosencreuz? Jacob Boehme’s Disciple Balthasar Walther (1558-c.1630) and the Kabbalah. With a Bibliography of Walther’s Printed Works.’ Western Esotericism. Selected Papers Read at the Symposium on Western Esotericism held at Åbo, Finland, on 15–17 August 2007. (Scripta instituti donneriani Aboensis, XX). T. Ahlbäck, ed. Åbo, Finland: Donner Institute, 2008: 154-172. Boehme was also an important source of German Romantic philosophy, influencing Schelling in particular.See Schopenhauer’s On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, Ch II, 8 In Richard Bucke’s 1901 treatise Cosmic Consciousness, special attention was given to the profundity of Boehme’s spiritual enlightenment, which seemed to reveal to Böhme an ultimate nondifference, or nonduality, between human beings and God. Böhme is also an important influence on the ideas of the English Romantic poet, artist and mystic William Blake.