From the very first primal moments of creation to the present, considering that time is the cosmic ‘stacking’ of moments, Man has been the key element of the creative process. And since we are speaking in terms of processes, the cycles of events within time, there is little reason to doubt that the experience of creation and time is also one of process. From previous study we have noted that the human essence is one of divine origin, such that in order for a creative energy, or God-Force, to have self-recognition and identification ‘it’, as expressed in The Tao, has to extend and be able to look back on itself, so to speak, to instill complete self-realization and uniqueness. For most of us, in Christian ideals, the need for God to know himself must sound absurd, and yet, if we are in that ‘likeness’, then are we not searching for the same sense of self-realization? We must first understand that if we are engaged in self-recognition, as creatures of divine origin, then the very heart of our being, the Soul – that shared essence of ‘divine likeness’ we have in creation and its unfolding – is in fact, God moving outward and experiencing the God-Self that initiated creation in the first place. And that the Soul and its place of being, deep within the Eden (Malkut), is balanced between the cosmic extremes of east and west, good and evil, life and death. It is set upon the axis of north and south, absolute and flawed, light and darkness, above and below, is the commanding expression of what has been, what is, and what is yet to become – is in truth – the essence of God that has yet to complete the masterpiece of Creation; for in the Seventh Day, God ‘rested’, and we are here.
With such an ideal, one would imagine that a Superlative Divine Creator could simply wish the end of such a process into being and be done with it, avoiding the mess of anything caught in between. But, is that anyway to create a divine creature from an absolute creator that desires its own self-recognition, skipping the course of opportunity or catastrophe, the fullness or incompleteness of being what one could be by traversing around or past what might or could have been? Can anything have completeness without causality? For even in creation a series of end-effects must transpire from previous acts of beginning-cause. This action can be related to ‘unfolding’, and therefore a two-staged act of force once it is set in motion. Up to this point, one can imagine the absolute stillness of pre-creation as the primal state of a single emergent God. And the comprehension of the Self is in itself an act of Creation. So, what is the first stage of unfolding? Or, by the clearing of a ‘void’, should we say “in-folding”?
As spoken of before, the act of “Tzimtzum” — the self constriction of God’s Light, found in the act of God’s composition of the God-Self — is one of the most important concepts found in The Bahir, the Book of Illumination. The simplest explanation of this concept is in the works of Rabbi Issac (Yitzak) Luria (1534-1572), known as the Ari, who headed the Safed school of Kabbalah. In the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life), it is expressed as follows: Before all things were created/the Supernal Light was simple, and it filled all existence. There was no empty space/when his simple Will decided to create all universes/He constricted the Light to the sides/leaving a vacated space/this space was perfectly round. After this constriction took place/there was a place which all things could be created/He then drew a single straight thread from the Infinite Light/and brought into that vacated space/it was through that line that the Infinite Light was brought down below.
In many ways this scene may seem bombastic, yet it placed great strain on the Infinite Light, or Divine Essence of a superlative God. It is, in the most basic sense, requiring God to move ‘outside’ of God in order to create. Moving outside of himself is the same as moving towards the outer-side of the self by moving away from a self-center, even though, in the greatest sense of the word, the superlative nature of God has no center or sides – it is the All. Again, we have to consider then that this requires God to ‘empty’ the self in order to be ‘filled’ by something, or a new sense of self; a course of action that is found in all earth religions in order to attain self-recognition. Yet, for God, or especially in the human course of things, this is not easily done.
The Kabbalist then state that this act of ‘tzimtzum’ can not be taken literally, as it is difficult to assume any spatial limitations to God, and that this is more so a conceptual view of divine preparedness. Yet, if God were to fill everything, in every place, as imagined or real, with absolute perfection, then there is no reason to allow Man to exist. It is difficult to imagine, but note that divine perfection can not rule within anything that is not of itself, and Creation is not an act of God duplicating Himself, therefore, any portion of creation must be brought forth in waves of imperfection; a force that must be contained, restricted, and hardened – for it is not absolute spirit once it moves from perfection. God therefore ‘constricted’ His infinite perfection, allowing a place for ‘free-will’, the action of cause/effect movement outside of perfection, and internal realization to unfold.
Before this phase of preparedness could take place, the Infinite Light had to be formed, and we note that the very first ‘work’ of creation, as in Genesis I, is that of creating Light. The very mention of the ‘separation’ of this Light (v.4) is noting the outward/inward motion that is found in Tzimtzum. God is constricting the superlative essence from itself providing a place for something that is to be less than absolute, such that God would not flaw himself, He is innovating the Self, affecting a ‘change’ within to allow growth from without. This is why we must note the difference between this act of the First Day, creating light, with the act set in the Fourth Day, when ‘luminaries’ are created. The Light of the first day is not visible light, but a lesser essence of Divine Light, dividing the light of day from the light of night; the Infinite Light moving to the edge as the Primal Light is set inward, as a darkness that has yet to be filled. Infinite Light divided from Absolute Light must be less than ‘absolute’, thus, it is considered to be like Darkness. We must also note that this ‘darkness’ is referred to as a ‘void’ only because it has yet to be filled with anything. It can only be filled with that which is LESS than perfect or superlative – even though it remains supernal in its derivative state of perfection, it remains Divine Space. This separation of Light is not taking place in the absolute essence of God, but in the Light [space] that is the first movement of creation held ‘within’ God. For this light is a created Light, and not empowered in the Eternal, which is why it’s only Infinite; stating that it is non-Eternal, as it has a beginning, and thus becomes locked in ‘Forever’.
This is the Infinite Light/Space or force of God that is the primal energy/place of Creation. It is the Air Element, the Breath of God, as it is brought forth from God by The Word, the first utterance of God turning Himself into God-Self. This light is the first essence brought into existence, as a display of God’s power to create, itself being formed for the direct intent of creating a universe – the first of five, as found in the Five Olamot Universes, as yet seen by Man. And it will be the very essence of Man, as a Soul, that is the definitive principle of God creating at all. God seeks self-recognition, but can not leave the Superlative essence to reflect on Himself as He is incapable of seeing Himself in that state. For example, can we look at ourselves with our own eyes, or as we are seen through others? It is this ‘mirror’ that God, The Divine, is seeking to form – a perpetual ‘mirror’ that has yet to be found in Man.