THEOSOPHY, Vol. 44, No. 1, November, 1955
(Pages 22-24; Size: 9K)

THE ANATHEMAS AGAINST ORIGEN

III

[Part 3 of a 5-part series]

ANATHEMA NO. II

If anyone shall say that the creation of all reasonable things includes only intelligences without bodies and altogether immaterial, having neither number nor name, so that there is unity between them all by identity of substance, force and energy, and by their union with and knowledge of God, the Word; but that no longer desiring the sight of God they gave themselves over to worse things, each one following his own inclinations, and that they have taken bodies, more or less subtile, and have received names, for among the heavenly Powers there is a difference of names as there is also a difference of bodies; and thence some became and are called Cherubims, others Seraphims, and Principalities, and Powers, and Dominations, and Thrones and Angels, and as many other heavenly orders as there may be: let him be anathema.

ESOTERIC philosophy, the fons et origo of all the world's sciences and religions, is the unchanging basis or standard by which the truth or untruth of every old teaching must be weighed.

Among the numerous pyramids found to be scattered over the face of the Earth, there is one which is particularly suggestive to students of ancient Cosmogony, and especially to those interested in the present discussion of the Anathemas against Origen. This old pyramid, like others built before and after it, is of seven stories in all; that is to say, the set-backs or levels from base to summit are seven in number. The slabs with which the first or highest level is surfaced are devoid of sculpture or markings of any kind. The stones of the next lower levels, proceeding downward, are variously characterized with types and shapes of geometric or symbolic meaning. Only at the bottom, on those slabs resting upon the earth, does one find any semblance of human or animal differentiation.

Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Synesius were all staunch supporters of the universal doctrine of Emanations. According to this teaching, all things are derived from the one Universal Principle, which is Absolute and Unconditioned. Everything that is, was, or shall be, eternally IS. At the dawn of each new period, the Active Power of the Eternal Breath only awakens (not creates) the Kosmos. The first emanation within the Absolute Principle is a universally pervasive substantial power, without "number or name." From it, lower and less perfect emanations proceed to unfold, until finally the material world of matter is produced. All the lower types, on the material plane of existence, are but concrete images, according to Plato, of the highest abstract ones.

Evolved from within outward on the basis of a sevenfold plan, the universe therefore is guided, controlled and animated by almost endless series of hierarchies of sentient beings. Proceeding from this basic, homogeneous Substance-Principle called Spirit, the first emanations are of a highly subtle ethereal nature. As unfoldment proceeds, more and more dense constructions result until the fourth world, that of our earth, has been reached. After this, the process is one of spiritualizing the whole, a return of all to the original condition of homogeneity, plus the experience gained. The "reasonable things," or beings, mentioned in Anathema No. II, evidently refer to the intelligences which ensoul bodies of whatever nature or degree. It is only in their lower manifestations that they acquire the names of Cherubims, Thrones, Angels, etc.

The third fundamental proposition of The Secret Doctrine affirms the fundamental identity of all souls with the Universal Oversoul. This teaching is the basis, no doubt, of Origen's doctrine that "there is unity between them all by identity of substance, force and energy and by their union with and knowledge of God." The Secret Doctrine affirms, moreover, the doctrine of the Cycle of Necessity, the pilgrimage through earth life undertaken voluntarily by every soul. Leaving its spiritual condition of unity and oneness with the whole, the Monad circles round the entire chain of seven worlds for the purpose of experience. The phrase used in Anathema No. II, that "no longer desiring the sight of God they gave themselves over to worse things, each one following his own inclinations, and that they have taken bodies, more or less subtile, and have received names," would seem to refer to this obligatory pilgrimage for every soul. At the beginning of the Cycle of Necessity the Divine Egos turn their gaze, metaphorically speaking, from the sight of God in order to experience differentiation. Entering bodies of substance more or less differentiated, they undergo the slow natural process of mixture, precipitation, and separation, from which comes the highest degree of perfection possible for all souls -- and final emancipation.

Hindu philosophy lists thirty-three groups, or classes of spiritual beings. These, in turn, are divided and sub-divided, so that the world of the immaterial is said to be inhabited actually by 330 millions of such invisible entities. It is of little significance whether these heavenly Powers are given the names of Devas, Angels or Cherubims, for the meaning underlying them all is the same.

ANATHEMA NO. III

If anyone shall say that the sun, the moon, and the stars are also reasonable things and that they have only become what they are because they turn towards evil: let him be anathema.

It is due to materialistic thinking that physical objects of any kind (worlds, human beings or things) are looked upon as dead matter. Everything that exists on the material plane, according to the ideas of ancient Pantheism, is ensouled by intelligence, by a conscious being or beings. There is an occult side to nature in all her manifestations. Oriental peoples have always looked upon trees, mountains, and rivers as being the home of intelligent entities -- every physical manifestation, in their view, being ensouled by a conscious, living presence. And according to the ideas of esoteric philosophy, the sun, moon and stars are likewise "reasonable beings," as taught by Origen.
"Entity" may be thought a strange term to use in the case of a globe; but the ancient philosophers, who saw in the earth a huge "animal," were wiser in their generation than our modern geologists are in theirs; and Pliny, who called the Earth our kind nurse and mother, the only element which is not inimical to man, spoke more truly than Watts, who fancied that he saw in her the footstool of God. (The Secret Doctrine.)

Following the general plan outlined in preceding pages, the Earth is sevenfold. It is an entity and not a mere lump of dead matter. And being thus an entity of a septenary nature there must be six other globes which roll with it in space. (The Ocean of Theosophy.)

It is one of the aims of the Wisdom Religion to rekindle the flame of Pantheistic philosophy, to demonstrate scientifically the reality of a living, ever-becoming universe. Under a culture and civilization of this kind, a closer, more cooperative relationship between man and Nature would naturally result -- man helping Nature in her cyclic task, and Nature, in turn, yielding up to him a beneficence and a sustaining power that he sorely needs.

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THE ANATHEMAS AGAINST ORIGEN
IV
[Part 4 of a 5-part series]

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