Friday, January 2, 2009

Light Divided by Darkness

Ancient Hebrews sometimes thought of the creation as beginning in a spiritual realm (Ein Sof) and the our physical creation as being an extension of that “world” (Keter is the gate to that world), and as that power extended downward to make creation it was divided. This divided power can be likened unto images of Solomon’s Temple. The Holy of Holies (Celestial Room) was a cube, the Holy Place (Terrestrial Room) was a larger room representing the expanded, divided, or dilution of the law. Then the Outer Court (Telestial Room) which was even larger.

In Ezekiel 47 the imagery is extended into the world in three degrees of salvation, where a trickle starts at the temple. At thousand cubit lengths the trail of water expands, or divides until it becomes a rushing river. (see HERE)

The same idea is present in Nephi’s river, see my post on: ”Filty Water”.

I know this idea may be foreign among many LDS folks. Think of it this way. We know that the imagery of the Tree of Life is central to the LDS view of the creation, it is there at Eden and heals the nations of the world during the Millennium.

In the Garden of Eden this overwhelming symbol, the “Tree of Life” was shown to Adam. But there was another tree there, “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” This latter tree had no power on man until he partook of the fruit. It appears the partaking of this “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” is what divides or dilutes the influence of the Tree of Life, at least as it now effects man. It is man’s choice to partake of the forbidden fruit that causes the levels or degrees of creation. In a nutshell, it is what law we live that creates the purity of the water, and the corresponding kingdom.

The powers of the Tree of Life are divided or split to the level we wish to partake at. Within the thinking of ancient Egyptians, regarding the creation and redemption of man this idea is played out over and over. Hugh Nibley teaches us about this teaching as found in the Book of the Dead.

“The custom is mentioned in the Book of Breathings: ‘I am the one before whom Atum [Adam] has announced the Annals under the noble Ished-tree of Heliopolis’ … When the initiate ‘witnesses the splitting of the Persea-tree in the midst of Rostau,’ in the B.D. version, that, according to Thausing, represents the Creation, among other things the ‘splitting of 'good' and 'evil' ’…, the law of opposites set forth in the Shabako Creation text.” (Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, Hugh NIbley, Deseret Book, 2nd addition, pg. 290)

The pillars of Jachin and Boaz stood in Solomon’s Temple representing these trees. The temple is a playing out in ritual form of these ideas of healing and death, justice and mercy, law and choice.

The choices of man have created an inequality in the universe. Things are at odds, there is no reconciliation, things are dying or running down to destruction.

It is the atonement of Christ that heals this splitting or dividing. It is in him that we must trust.

“I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.” (Ecclesiates)

It has long been held by some that this splitting or dividing is what is being spoken of in a symbolic way when God divides the light from the darkness during the creation narratives. This Idea has support from a reading of the Book of Abraham. In Abraham chapter 4, through 5:3 the seven creative periods (days) are described. The first act of creation is the creation of light (good) and it being divided by the darkness.

“And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light. And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.” (Abraham 4:3&4)

Then verses 5 through 13 describe two more periods of creation. But then in verse 14 forward is when actual lights in the heavens are set up, which is the FOURTH CREATIVE PERIOD.

“And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.” (Abraham 4:15)

So the first day of creation can be thought of as the dividing of light and darkness, which in gospel terms is good (law) and bad (wrong choices), And the fourth day of creation is the placing of the actual luminaries in the physical heavens. (1)

What amazes me is when we learn more about ancient understandings of the plan of salvation, even as they come to us in fragment and corrupted condition, they can cause epiphany after epiphany when we read modern text such at the 88th. section of the Doctrine and Covenants where we are taught about light, law, choice, mercy, and kingdoms.
1.) In actuality the fourth chapter of Abraham is the spiritual creation, it is not until a few verses into the fifth chapter that the physical creation is described. However, the spiritual creation works as a template to aid our understanding.


David Littlefield said...

In the above post I discuss the light being divided by the darkness as a first act of creation. In my footnote I disclose that we are really using the spiritual creation as the template. So how was light divided during the spiritual creation?

I tend to believe that the dividing of light in the spiritual creation was in fact the war in heaven.

It is there in the pre earth world (not the Celestial Kingdom - see HERE) that the plan was put forward, there was a division or splitting of the kingdom, and the creation was carried out.

Perhaps a bit speculative, but that’s the way I see it.


Anonymous said...

Joseph Smith's rendering of Gen. 1:1
"The Head God brought for the gods" for a Grand Council.
The "deep" could be a great body of spirits -- i.e. the Council.
"Darkness" upon the "deep" could indeed be Satan's plan being presented.
However, the Sprit of God moved upon the Council.
God separated those who sustained His plan from those who sustained Satan's.

Your theory has merit when we consider that Joseph Smith stated that verse 1 is about the Council.

David Littlefield said...

Thanks for the insights Jay!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts. I love the temple and everything relating to it. There is so much more for me to learn. I feel like shouting for joy when I contemplate the many blessings we have through the restored gospel. May the Lord bless you.

David Littlefield said...

Kevin H:

Thanks for for your kind words. There is a lot to learn at the temple.

I like your enthusiasm! Come back often.


Anonymous said...

Okay who spiked the Egg Nog? What were you
drinking/thinking when you Wrote this? This is Spiritualized Gnoticism on LSD or LDS.

There are huge jumps in this logic, and it seems that you have turned the scriptures into commentaries on Gnosticism and Jewish Quaballa mysticism.

Gnosticism thinks God is a Ying Yang and is neither good or bad but a being or Force of inclusive opposite polarities.

Some Mormons Embrace the "Falling UP theory" thinking that following Lucifer"S request in the Garden was in the Best intrest of Man in his Growth and necessary for Man"s Exhaltation and was infact part of God's plan of Salvation.

Yes Mormonism teaches that Adam and Eve had to Obey Lucifer's Request and Disobey God's Law and Command to be Exalted and Saved.

That Is Deviding Light and Darkness.
God is pure and HOLY and not Devided or a Being of contradiction

Mormonism teaches this "falling up" stated by the brethern Like Bruce Mc Conkie
and J.F. Smith and Feilding in "Mormon Doctrine" "Teachings"
"Gospel Doctrine" and "Answers to Gospel Questions"

Further Mormonism does not Beleive nor is it Content with the Fact that the Faithful and Obedient would be blessed with Gods Presence and Plan of Life in the Garden. In fact Mormonism does not Beleive that Adam and Eve could have children and multiply and replenish the earth ( Gods first command) unless they Disobeyed God and became obeident to Lucifer.

Who is the Author and finisher of Faith.

So what and from what and whom are we Saved

Stephanie A. Quinn said...

i am wondering if you have a recommendation for reading information on Kabalah. As an active LDS member I am careful what I read but am very open minded to new ideas. Sometimes when I have searched websites on Kaballah, I have felt totally intrigued, engaged and can feel the connection to the gospel and other sites have left me feeling dark. Any suggestions on ones you have enjoyed that have found harmony with your teachings of the gospel?

David Littlefield said...

Hello Stephanie!

Thanks for stopping by.

First let me clarify my position on Cabala. I really don’t have much interest in the in vogue movement that calls itself Cabala. I find it silly and sometimes dark also.

What I am interested in is the oral teachings of the Jews, that centered on temple theology. These ideas were to some degree captured in ancient Cabala. And I find these teaching contain fantastic truths that can help LDS people understand the temple better.

With these caveats in place I would suggest the following, in this order:

1.) My book, “Mormon Mysticism” - free in PDF format on this blog.

2.) I would read all of this blog, then:

3.) Read “Temple in Cosmos” by Hugh Nibley

4.) Read the three volume set, including footnotes of “The Zohar” by Daniel Matt.

- You can download a fee version here:
5.) Pray to understand as you read each of these. These items are understood by revelation.

You will then know more than 99% of people who claim to be Cabalists.

For a person already well grounded in LDS theology, and having read the above, I would also suggest watching Laitman videos:



Stephanie A. Kines Quinn said...

Thank you for your suggestions. I have been a follower of, and the backyard professor for quite a while. I have loved each of these wonderful resources. I am a huge Nibley fan and have read Temple and the Cosmos several times. I have read bits and pieces of info about the Zohar but so much appreciate your suggestion of where to read it online. Also, I have not heard of the videos you mentioned, so I appreciate your suggestion and will check them out soon. I am on the same page with you about Kaballah. I am not into the new age ideas but do see very significant gospel truths running as a thread through it just as I do with Egyptian culture and religion. I believe that all truth was once given and bits and pieces flow through many different cultures and ideas...thank goodness for the Holy Ghost to help us navigate and stay true to the doctrines of the gospel while opening our mind to new and different ideas. Thanks for your great blog, I truly enjoy it!

Stephanie A. Kines Quinn said...

I love the Egyptian 'weighing of the heart" I can't remember for sure if that is what it is called, but I think it shows so much of the plan of salvation and understanding of the temple. I have it hanging in my kitchen. My kids just say, "mom you are so weird" but as an active, temple attending LDS member, I find it fascinating and so connected to the temple.