by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners
When we are taught in the Fellowcraft degree about the winding staircase in the middle chamber of King Solomon’s temple, and of the three, five, and seven stairs encompassing it, we are told the number seven alludes to the seven liberal arts and sciences which are: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. We are told that Masonry is founded on geometry or the fifth science. We are then taught that Geometry is that science which treats of the powers and properties of magnitudes in general, where length, breadth, and thickness are considered - from a point to a line, from a line to a superficies, from a superficies to a solid. We are then taught:
· A point is a dimensionless figure; or an indivisible part of space.
· A line is a point continued, and a figure of one capacity, namely, length.
· A superficies is a figure of two dimensions, namely, length and breadth.
· A solid is a figure of three dimensions, namely, length, breadth and thickness.
We are furthermore instructed that: By this science, the architect is enabled to construct his plans and execute his designs; the general, to arrange his soldiers; the engineer, to mark out the ground for encampments; the geographer, to give us the dimensions of the world, and all things therein contained, to delineate the extent of seas, and specify the divisions of empires, kingdoms and provinces; by it, also, the astronomer is enabled to make his observations, and to fix the duration of times and seasons, years and cycles. In fine, geometry is the foundation of architecture, and the root of the mathematics.
Douglas Adams famously answered in his novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that "The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42." While there are 42 principles of Ma'at, the ancient Egyptian goddess – and concept – of physical and moral law, order, and truth, Douglas famously said that there is no significance regarding the number. "The answer to this is very simple," Adams said. "It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base 13, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat on my desk, stared into the garden, and thought 42 will do. I typed it out. End of story." What would you say if I told you the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything that was taught to you in the Fellowcraft degree and that it is written above in the four bullet points?
From this geometrical perspective, the process starts with a point; the point moves, and in doing so generates a line; the line moves, in a direction not parallel to itself, and generates a plane (superficies); the plane, moving in a similar way, generates a solid. But more importantly, it is a glimpse into how the universe began.
The predominant theory of how the universe began (most commonly known as The Big Bang Theory) is that there was a single point of singularity (a point in time-space of extremely high density and high temperature) from which the universe expanded instantaneously and continues to expand. Or: from a point to a line, from a line to a superficies, from a superficies to a solid.
Looking at the Sefer Yetzirah, or “Book of Formation”, which is a book about the theories of ma’aseh bereshit, or the account of the creation of the universe in which is important to Kabbalistic thought. The first chapter of the Sefer Yetzirah explains the sefirot—these sefirot of the Sefer Yetzirah differ from the ten “aspects of God” that appear later in kabbalistic thought. In the Sefer Yetzirah, they take the form of numbers with mystical qualities, each one representing the stages of creation. Beginning with the first sefirah, Keter, the sefirot emanates from one another as one number follows another. Or: from a point to a line, from a line to superficies, from a superficies to a solid.
These words should be familiar to every mason from Genesis 1:1-3: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Or in Hebrew:Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz.
Wəhā’āreṣ hāyəṯāh ṯōhû wāḇōhû wəḥōšeḵ ‘al-pənê ṯəhôm wərûaḥ ’ĕlōhîm məraḥep̱eṯ ‘al-pənê hammāyim.
Wayyōmer Ělōhîm "yǝhî ôr," wayǝhî ôr
God is a mistranslation of the Hebrew Elohim. El is the root word for deity, Eloh is a feminine singular for deity, im is the plural ending for things that are masculine. So Elohim should be translated either as “Gods and Goddesses” or “Dual-Gendered Deity”. Later on in Genesis 1:26, this is confirmed: “Then Elohim said, “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness. Let them rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domestic animals all over the earth, and all the animals that crawl on the earth
.” Elohim is best described by Lon Milo Duquette in The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford on page 30 as: “all-powerful, eternal, really, really holy and very, very large; who is so big It is both the King and Queen of the Universe, who is so all-encompassing and huge that It nowhere to sit down because all of the chairs are inside of itself, who, because It is everywhere and nowhere, everything and nothing, had no one to play with – this dude of dudes created the Universe
For those of you who are in York Rite, you will know these words from John 1:1-3 which is saying the same thing:In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
So Elohim was both nothing – a dimensionless figure, or an indivisible part of space or a point
that created heaven and earth…. something. Elohim spoke, and commanded that there be light, and there was light. A ray of light, a line
extending into infinity. When we look to the heavens at night, we see these rays as stars, and we are in essence looking back in time as it has taken light-years for those rays to reach our eyes.
Then Elohim says: “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water! Let it be for separating water from water.” So Elohim made the expanse and it separated the water that was below the expanse from the water that was over the expanse. And it happened so. Elohim called the expanse “sky.”
Would sky not be a superficies
? It has length and breadth.Then Elohim said, “Let the water below the sky be gathered to one place. Let the dry ground appear.” And it happened so. Elohim called the dry ground “land,” and the collection of the water He called “seas.” And Elohim saw that it was good.
The land and sea, part of the solid
From a point to a line, from a line to superficies, from a superficies to a solid. The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Pretty incredible if you ask me. Masonry has the lessons. All you need to do is to pay attention and learn.
WB Darin A. Lahners is our co-managing Editor. He is a Past Master of and Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org