Concealing the Infinite Light of Creation, Part 2
In Part 2 of Concealing the Infinite Light of Creation, we would like to posit another way to look at the creation of the world. No one and nothing existed to the exclusion of the Everlasting YHVH, He created the Beginning, which itself is the concept of time and space. Nothingness was so absolute that even the concept of infinity of time and space was a created concept. Hence, the Creator is absolute and everything else He created afterwards was, is, and will be conditional upon His will and needs for the Creation.
In Part 1 of Concealing the Infinite Light of Creation, we explained that prior to Creation, there was and is only YHVH from whom His infinite light was radiating: the endless light. We also explained that this endless light had to descend from the Infinite Existence to the low world of Creation through concealment, which we called “filters”: the concealing garments of the infinite light.
By concealing it, the Creator allowed the infinite light to be manifested in the finite world and still remained hidden for the created beings. This progressive limitation of the infinite light the Eternal decided to descend through five worlds or realms, to which we now turn.
People use finite terms to try to explain the unexplainable Infinite One.
The Name of the Creator “Yehovah” means “He who exists” or by extension: “Everlasting Existence”. The grammatical structure of the Name includes three syllabi: Ye, Ho, Vah, and they mean: “will be” (yehiyeh), “is” (hoveh), and “was” (havah). The flow of time, as we read the Name Yehovah, is from future, to present, to past. But why is the Name not presented in a reverse order: from past, to present, to future? Perhaps, to point back to the origin of everything, namely, that He was the original Force of creation. From Him everything, visible and invisible, came to existence. Let us picture to ourselves the gradual development of the universe. The first thing that came to existence was the world of Adam Kadmon (Primordial likeness).
The world of Adam Kadmon (Primordial likeness)
The highest of the five worlds is called Adam Kadmon. This is the primordial world in the likeness of the infinite light which preceded it. Even though Adam Kadmon is called world, it comes into existence because the infinite light is “dimmed”. This world represents the transcendent Will, or “primordial thought” of YHVH — the blueprint for all of Creation. With the creation and existence of the primordial world, YHVH becomes the Creator. He begins to create this and the following worlds with one thought, that is, His Will.
The Creator does not plan after He creates. He plans before He creates. Navah
In the world of the primordial idea, everything is seen in one broad design. All the details of this design, from the creation of time and space, etc., are yet to be layered in this one thought, for nothing yet existed. Just one primordial thought. With this primordial world all the other worlds begin: one after the other.
The world of Atsilut (Emanation)
The world of Atsilut is the world of emanation where the internal structure of the original design is added. This world corresponds to the structuring of the primordial idea, where the “filters” for concealing and containing the original unformed and endless light were created. The original idea and the perception of it (an analogy for the filters) are conceptualized here in the world Atsilut.
Light is conceptualized according to the ability of the filters to receive it. In other words, the intensity of the infinity light absorbed in each of the worlds through the media of filters corresponds to and is dependent on the receptivity of these filters.
In this realm, the infinite light that radiates from the Eternal splits into a spectrum of emanations (Hebrew, sefirot). These emanations or radiances are analogous to how a prism splits white light into a spectrum of rainbow. Thus formed, the world of Atsilut becomes internal structure, and the infinite light becomes immanent light in the state of being within; that is to say, the light drawn down from above becomes structured and ordered according to the filters which are to split it into the sefirot (emanations). Hence, the Creator’s original idea, the Master Design, becomes perfectly formed in the structure of the radiance.
The world of Atsilut does not hinder nor does it obscure the infinite light, as it will be in the lower worlds. This is the world in which the endless light becomes structured in definite and highly organized sefirot (emanations) for the purpose of descending in the lower worlds. The world of Atsilut is still a world of non-existence, a world of thought, and the filters that will start obscuring the light on its path down to the lowest world are not yet activated. At this point in the study, it is necessary to understand that everything that is created in this world is still conceptual. For more insight into the matter of emanations, refer to the article The Ten Sefirot of the Creator Part 1 and 2.
The world of Beriya (Creation)
The world of Beriya is the world of Creation; it is a step down from the world of Atsilut. Beriya, or “creation” (from the word bara, to create, in Gen 1:1), is a world of limited reality and restricted existence. Here in this realm, the Eternal activates the first three of His ten sefirot (for more insight into the sefirot, refer to the aforesaid articles). These three emanations or radiances belong to the category of Intellect, and they are the three intellectual powers (radiances) of Chochmah (Wisdom), Binah (Understanding), and Da’at (Knowledge). Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge are also known as Keret (Crown) of Creation, because from them and through them everything was conceptualized and came into existence.
Yehovah founded the earth with wisdom, established the heavens with understanding. (Pro 3:19)
Through them YHVH sets His original Will (Master Design) into existence. (For more knowledge of the work of the ten radiances, refer to Part 2 of the aforesaid article). The filter which is added to the descent of the infinite light into the world of Beriya creates the concept of “existence”, as opposed to the “nothingness” of the upper world of emanations. In the world of Beriya (Creation) the filter begins to “obscure” the infinite light and creates limited existence according to the Master Design.
Yet, in this world, the structuring of the flash of the original idea is still in the stage of design. The filter in this world has started forming the original design that is meant to be conveyed to the lower worlds through the emanations Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge. The Creation has just started. This will be further explained in the interpretation of the next low worlds.
The world of Yetsira (Formation)
Once created all needed to be formed, with which we are arriving in the world of Yetsira (Formation). The filter that YHVH adds in the descent of His infinite light into the world of Formation, starts forming the concept of time and space through the emotive powers represented by the three radiances of Chessed (Kindness), Gevurah (Might), and Tiferet (Beauty). David gives expression to his joy of the deepest wish of his heart, in a prayer with which he exalted the Creator and His work,
Yours, Yehovah, is the greatness, Gevurah (the power) and Tiferet (the comeliness), Netzach (the pre-eminence) and Hod (the excellency), because of all that is in the heavens and in the earth. Yours is the kingdom, Yehovah, and You are exalted as head above all. (1Ch 29:11)
Until the descent of the light to the world of Yetsira (the world of Formation), the light is not limited by time and space, for time and space are still conceptual and not physical. The concept of forming time and space requires at least two reference points: beginning and end. Yetsira is the world where the concept of polarity and duality (the opposite of unity and oneness) comes into being. It is important to note that this duality is still conceptual, not physical.
As such the conceptual space is to be realized in six dimensions which limit and define it. They are: above and below, right and left, front and behind. These conceptual dimensions will move down in the lower world of Asiya (the world of Action), into actual physical space, but in this world, they are still abstract concepts. The primary characteristic of the world of Formation is that the infinite, endless, light which descends here from the upper world starts being limited and measured by space and time.
So, to sum up the process of creation until now, the original design of Creation is presented in the world of Atsilut, the world of Emanation. How this design is conceptualized and prepared to be conveyed in the lower worlds is presented in the world of Beriya, the world of Creation. Then, the actual implementation of this design is further conceptualized in the world of Yetsira, the world of Formation. Thus, these three worlds present how much of the original design carried by the infinite light can be transmitted down to the next lower world, the world of Action.
The descent of the infinite light into the lowest world is limited, i.e., absorbed by the filters of the upper worlds. In doing so, the infinite light becomes much more hidden (dimmed) and much more absorbed in the filters above. In this way each filter in the upper worlds receives the light and let it go down, according to its own specific purpose defined in the Master Design. We will be keeping on forwarding time even further.
The world of Asiya (Action)
The word asa, to make, gives the name of this final world Asiya, “action”. The world of Asiya is the world of action in which the Creator makes the physical world. Asiya, the world of Action, is really the ultimate purpose of Creation achieved through the active powers represented by the emanations Netsach (Perpetuity), Hod (Splendor), Yesod (Foundation), and Malchut (Kingdom). (See again 1Ch 29:11).
The filter in this realm further restricts the three radiances from the upper world: Chessed (Kindness) is restricted to Netsach (Perpetuity), Gevurah (Might) to Hod (Splendor), and Tiferet (Beauty) to Yesod (Foundation). (See the diagram above)
This world is about making time and space from concept into reality. This means that one object cannot be in two different places simultaneously in space. Moreover, the concept of time is bound with that of change meaning that when one thing ceases to be, another thing begins to be. The most pronounced example of this concept is “conservation of energy”. The law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system stays constant. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed from one form to another. This world begins with the first words of action, and it is also the beginning of our Bible, as it is said,
In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)
In this world, time is created by way of extension and retraction of the light as it reaches out to the filters below and returns to its original place. This is the pulsation of the light. The “gap” between the extension and retraction of the light creates time, as it pulsates continuously. This pulsating of light into the physical world creates time. This change is the origin of time, for time is a measure of change. When light pulsates, i.e., going back and forth in the physical realm, it creates not only time but space also. This is the stage where the infinite light of the Creator enters the physical world. With this action the world has already begun. Rabbi Ovadiah ben Ya’akov Seforno wrote the following concerning the pulsation of light,
The days (prior to the fourth day when the sun was placed in orbit) during which use was made of the “original light”, periods of light and darkness alternated due to causes other than the revolving of the planet around its own axis, i.e., due to the direct expression of God’s desire. He ensured that periods of light alternated with periods of darkness.
When the infinite light of the Creator enters the physical world, and the world begins to exist, it (the infinite light) becomes primordial light, for it has its existence from the beginning. The primordial light is the light which the Creator commanded to exist: “Light, exist!”, and the light existed.
Day One was the only time when Elohim created matter from nothing, including light in verse 3. In the remaining five days, various forms of entities evolved from the created matter. The rest of the Creation is described in the first chapter of the Bible. About this primordial light Seforno said further, “”Let there be light” — this is the light of the seven days [i.e., Or HaGanuz], which was for the use of those created without seed, and it will be again in the future”.
In the light of what has been said above, it is now possible to understand the following.
The climax of Creation
The story of Creation concludes with the words spoke on the seventh day of Creation [the first Shabbat]: “which Elohim created and made”.
And Elohim blessed the seventh day and set it apart, because on it He ceased from all His work which Elohim created and made. (Gen 2:3)
And when Elohim spoke those words, He set it apart as a special day and rested. According to the plain meaning of the text, it means that whatever work the Creator did on the seventh day was the completion of the seven days of creation. Shabbat is not a day to rest and do nothing. The completion of the work of creation on the seventh day can only be understood in the context of the clauses in Gen 2:2-3, as containing the actual completion. The world was not completed on the sixth day.
The reason Elohim blessed the seventh day is that He was so pleased with the results of His Creation. We must conclude, therefore, that on the seventh day, on which Elohim rested from His work, the world also attained to that day, and thus it became a sacred rest of YHVH. The reason for the “rest” of Elohim on the seventh day was not for Himself (see Isa 40:28), but for the world to enter this cycle of work and rest which in the Book of Leviticus would become known as the Jubilee cycle.
With these words the Creation story our Bible concludes. The last emanation Malchut (Kingdom), which the Creator used in His Creation, represents the physical world, and thus the ultimate goal of YHVH to create a dwelling place for Him comes to realization. For the old saying has it: “There is no king without kingdom”. A king needs a kingdom to rule over. We read from the Psalms where His kingdom is not established in opposition to the heavens but as one (echad) dominion. It is for this reason that it was said,
Yehovah has established His throne in the heavens, and His Malchut (kingdom) shall rule over all. (Psa 103:19)
Thus, before Gen 1:1 the Creator was Yachid; after the creation He became Echad. Yachid is exclusive; Echad is inclusive. Yachid means there was the only One, no one else, while Echad means He and His kingdom (malchut) are one in unity: everything created without exception, the universe of created things.
The world as a continuous recreation
The process of Creation, however, has not concluded with the establishment of His kingdom in the physical world, saying, “He ceased from all His work which Elohim created and made”. Chizkiah ben Manoach commented on these final words of Creation thus,
Instead of writing, “for on it He ceased from completing all His work,” the Torah wrote “asher bara elohim la’asot”, thereby hinting that He was going to continue being involved in the improvement of His universe. The correct translation of that line would be: “for on it He ceased from completing all His work of creating”.
When a potter has made a pot, the vessel is no longer dependent upon its creator and remains in exactly the same form as when it was created. Not so with the Creation of the world. The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya that the activating force of the Creator must constantly be vested within His creation, ceaselessly recreating and reanimating created beings from nothing. Thus, the relationship between all created things and the supernal flow of the life-force from the Breath of His mouth, which flows upon them and brings them into existence, is continuously being created. Therefore, by comparison, the Creator is their source, and they themselves are merely like a diffusing light and radiance from the Ruach of Elohim which issues forth and brings them from nothing into being (Chapter 3 of Shaar Hayichud Vehaemuna, Tanya).
Therefore, the Creation did not cease with the seventh day but continues from the eighth day on until today, as He never ceases recreating the world over and over again. This concept of recreation of the world and the life in it we explained in the article The World as a Constant Recreation, of Time of Reckoning Ministry.
Tikkun olam: to restore the world
YHVH makes the distinction between the three realities of bringing something to existence (that He effects His complete creation) very explicit. They are: “creating”, “forming”, and “making”. YHVH said,
Everyone is called by My name; and for my glory I have created him, I have formed him, also, I have made him. (Isa 43:7)
The words בָּרָא bara, to create, signifying bringing forth into existence out of nonexistence, to produce as a new thing, יָצַר yatsar, to shape what has been produced, and עָשָׂה asah, to make it accomplished or complete, form a climax: the highest point of Creation. This whole process of “creating”, “forming”, and “making” takes place as a supernal prolongation and projection of the original Master Desing from the highest world of infinity to the Kingdom of YHVH in the low world of finite existence. This verse changes the whole perception of creating implying that Elohim has created work that needs to be further formed and finished. He (Elohim) has done this, as we explained above by the way of illustration of the five worlds. But there is more to be done (that human effects His creation).
Thus interpreted, the sages view the role of the human race in His creation, namely, to complete the “unfinished” work of creation. This distinction between creating, forming, and making is central to Jewish philosophy and theology and is known as Tikkun Olam, “repair of world”. Has Elohim left the world broken to be repaired? Tikkun Olam expresses the Jewish view of the low world as a responsibility to repair or restore it to its intended state. (Tikkun Olam is not in the scope of this study)
The return of the Primordial Light
As Elohim began to bring together the universe, according to His plan, He began “from nothing” merely by uttering the words “Light, exist!” That was the primordial light. Then the Creator contrasted primordial light with the other primordial element: “darkness”. With that act the primordial light became “day”, while darkness became “night”.
That decree was made to the primordial light which at that time, even though created, was still invisible, hidden. And when it was said, “Light, exist!”, what was hidden now became manifested. This pulsation of the primordial light created the first day, and thus the reckoning of time began and continues until the consummation of time itself at the end of the seventh millennium.
During each of the first three days (according to some the first seven days), when the primordial light and darkness served together, both by day and by night, there was light over the entire Creation. From the moment the luminaries were commanded to rule over the day and over the night, the primordial light was hidden again in order to reveal once more.
To this time the prophecy in Isaiah 60 may refer. The introduction to the prophecy in Isa 60:1-22, “Arise, shine, for your light has come!”, seems to allude to the day when YHVH would be an everlasting light referring to a dazzling light at the end of the Messianic age, as we read,
No longer is the sun your light by day, nor does the moon give light to you for brightness, but YHVH shall be to you an everlasting light, and your Elohim your glory. No longer does your sun go down, nor does your moon withdraw itself, for YHVH shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. (Isa 60:19-20)
The meaning of this prophecy is that the light of the sun will not be lacked, because of the light of YHVH, who is the everlasting light, will be present for all who take pride in the His glory. And this will be the final new creation approaching, when the whole planetary system will be changed in the direct and primary light which streams down upon it from YHVH Himself. That this refers to a future event of a dazzling light of the Messianic age is evident in the next verse which says that Israel will inherit the earth forever – an even that is still anticipating in the future (Isa 60:21).
That which once occurred in the Creation (Gen 1:1-5 when the primordial light came into existence) may reoccur in the future. There is an allusion to this in Rev 21:22-24. Here is the deeper insight.
And I saw no Dwelling Place in it, for Yehovah El Shaddai is its Dwelling Place, and the lamb. And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of Elohim lightened it, and the lamb is its lamp. And the nations, of those who are saved, shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. (Rev 21:22-24)
And Rev 22:5 is like it,
And night shall be no more, and they shall have no need of a lamp or the light of the sun, because Yehovah Elohim shall give them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Rev 22:5)
The prophecy merely says of the New Jerusalem which will come down from heaven to earth, that the city will need neither the shining of the sun nor of the moon, because for the glory, which is His presence, of YHVH will be lightening it, and His lamb will be the one who emits this light. Thus, the city receives its light neither from the sun nor from the moon, because Rev 21:25 distinctly affirms, that there will be no more night there. Thus, the true rendering is this: the glory of the Eternal, which will rise above Jerusalem, will be from this time forth like a sun that never sets, and like a moon that is never taken out from the morning sky, and the Messiah is the lamp of the eternally unchangeable light of YHVH.
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