The Metaphysical Tapestry

The Metaphysical Tapestry: The Great Architect, Demiurge, and the Conception of Divine in different Worldviews.

Across diverse cultural and religious perspectives, the conceptualisation of the Divine, particularly in the context of the grand engineer or architect of the cosmos, is an intriguing deliberation (Hill, 1987).

With its roots deeply planted in various religious frameworks and philosophical thoughts, the conceptualisation of this Divine force provides a kaleidoscopic perspective on the essence, persona, and name accorded to the Supreme Deity.

The cornerstone of Christian theology, underpinned by the varied convictions held by its adherents, is the belief in a supreme Creator called God.

This belief is cross-pollinated into Freemasonry where the term “Divine” is employed inclusively and impartially to speak about the supreme deity (Anderson, 1723).

The concept of the Great Architect of the universe, first mentioned in Reverend James Anderson’s book of constitutions, later adopted by a calvinist minister, allows practitioners from various religious backgrounds to converge under a common divine symbol—an inclusive metaphor for the Supreme universal power (Haffner, 1989).

In Hindu scriptures, instances of such a divine architect can be observed in the character of Vishwa Karma, often associated with Perusia, the founder of the Vedic religion, and Brahman (Klostermaier, 2010).

Concurrently, theologians and Christian apologists like Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and James Hopwood examine this concept of the Universal Architect through a monotheistic lens seeking its application even to scientific explanations.

Stepping into the contours of Gnostic theology, the script flips as the God of the Old Testament, referred to as the demiurge, deviates from being the ultimate source to a product of creation (Filoramo, 1990).

Alternative takes on the push and pull of creative forces come into play, with Christ and Sophia becoming messengers of the true Transcendent God. The symbolism of the great architect in Gnostic theology becomes emblematic of the inherent divine potential harboured within every individual.

IMAGE:  the square magazine digital collection

The concept of the demiurge itself is brimming with philosophical intricacies. Plato initially introduced the demiurge as a benign being in charge of assembling the physical universe, emulating an ideal cosmos teeming with life and demi-gods (Plato, 360 BC). Subsequently, Neoplatonic thought led by Plotinus and others, bridged Aristotle’s theory of inertia and Plato’s demiurge by presenting the latter as an uncreated secondary cause(lamus, 1992).

Gnosticism contributed an additional layer of complexity by drawing a distinguishing line between the lesser Creator (demiurge) and the Supreme Being. The paradox of a Divine being depicted as flawed and often opposed to the Good is a characteristic motif in Gnostic sects (Hoeller, 1989).

In the tapestry of angelic beings, early Gnostic sects often contributed the act of creation to angels, drawing inspiration from Genesis.

A chief angel named Yalo has been credited with constructively and destructively influencing the fate of the Jewish people, leading them out of Egypt and subjecting them to various punitive actions (Wolfson, 2005).

Marion of Cop, an early Christian writer, drew a theological distinction between the demiurge, a just deity and the ruling God of this world, and the higher loving Good God of the New Testament.

The implications of such a belief highlight the dynamic interplay between faith, spiritual alignment, and divine justice.

Christian Dualist Movements like Catharism (12th – 14th Century) inherited the belief that an evil world was created by Satan from Gnosticism – a testament to the intellectual cross-pollination of theological ideas (Moore, 2006).

The relationship between the demiurge and the devil too is multifaceted and varies amongst Christian sects, adding yet another thread to the intricate philosophical weave of the Divine.

In conclusion, the idea of the Great Architect of the Universe or the Divine is a multifaceted and comprehensive concept that is affected by contextual factors such as culture, religion, and philosophical vantage points.

The intricate examination of these diverse spiritual, philosophical, and theological deliberations illustrate the dynamic perception of the demiurge and other divine constructions.

It underscores the significance of evolving divine symbology in comprehending the dialogic relationship between the material and spiritual worlds.

Acknowledging the richness and depth of these conceptualisations brings to light the essence of human spirituality and the power of metaphysical narratives in forging our tangible and intangible realities.

The cornerstone of Christian theology, underpinned by the varied convictions held by its adherents, is the belief in a supreme Creator called God (Plantinga, 2011). This belief is cross-pollinated into Freemasonry where the term “Divine” is employed inclusively and impartially to speak about the supreme deity (Anderson, 1723).

The concept of the Great Architect of the universe, first mentioned in Reverend James Anderson’s book of constitutions, later adopted by a calvinist minister, allows practitioners from various religious backgrounds to converge under a common divine symbol—an inclusive metaphor for the Supreme universal power (Haffner, 1989).

IMAGE:  the square magazine digital collection

In Hindu scriptures, instances of such a divine architect can be observed in the character of Vishwa Karma, often associated with Perusia, the founder of the Vedic religion, and Brahman (Klostermaier, 2010).

Concurrently, theologians and Christian apologists like Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and James Hopwood (Wayne, 2013) examine this concept of the Universal Architect through a monotheistic lens seeking its application even to scientific explanations.

Stepping into the contours of Gnostic theology, the script flips as the God of the Old Testament, referred to as the demiurge, deviates from being the ultimate source to a product of creation (Filoramo, 1990).

Alternative takes on the push and pull of creative forces come into play, with Christ and Sophia becoming messengers of the true Transcendent God. The symbolism of the great architect in Gnostic theology becomes emblematic of the inherent divine potential harboured within every individual.

The concept of the demiurge itself is brimming with philosophical intricacies. Plato initially introduced the demiurge as a benign being in charge of assembling the physical universe, emulating an ideal cosmos teeming with life and demi-gods (Plato, 360 BC).

Subsequently, Neoplatonic thought led by Plotinus and others, bridged Aristotle’s theory of inertia and Plato’s demiurge by presenting the latter as an uncreated secondary cause(lamus, 1992).

Gnosticism contributed an additional layer of complexity by drawing a distinguishing line between the lesser Creator (demiurge) and the Supreme Being. The paradox of a Divine being depicted as flawed and often opposed to the Good is a characteristic motif in Gnostic sects (Hoeller, 1989).

In the tapestry of angelic beings, early Gnostic sects often contributed the act of creation to angels, drawing inspiration from Genesis. constructively and destructively influencing the fate of the Jewish people, leading them out of Egypt and subjecting them to various punitive actions (Wolfson, 2005).

Marion of Cop, an early Christian writer, drew a theological distinction between the demiurge, a just deity and the ruling God of this world, and the higher loving Good God of the New Testament.

The implications of such a belief highlight the dynamic interplay between faith, spiritual alignment, and divine justice (Leadbetter, 2009).

Christian Dualist Movements like Catharism (12th – 14th Century) inherited the belief that an evil world was created by Satan from Gnosticism – a testament to the intellectual cross-pollination of theological ideas (Moore, 2006).

The relationship between the demiurge and the devil too is multifaceted and varies amongst Christian sects, adding yet another thread to the intricate philosophical weave of the Divine (Woods, 2008).

In conclusion, the idea of the Great Architect of the Universe or the Divine is a multifaceted and comprehensive concept that is affected by contextual factors such as culture, religion, and philosophical vantage points (Saliba, 2007).

Footnotes
References

– Anderson, James. The Constitutions of the Free-Masons. London, England, 1723.

– Filoramo, Giovanni. A History of Gnosticism. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1990.

– Haffner, Paul. Mystery of Creation. London, England: Gracewing, 1989.

– Hill, Robert. “The gods of the Greeks and Romans”, in Mircea Eliade (ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1987.

– Hoeller, Stephan A. Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2002.

– Klostermaier, Klaus K. A Survey of Hinduism, 3rd Edition. Suny Series. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2010.

– Leadbetter, Bill. “Marcellina”, in Richard E. Witcombe (ed.), Women in the Ancient World. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia, 2009.

– Moore, R. I. The War on Heresy. London, England: Profile Books, 2006.

– Plantinga, Alvin. Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2011.

– Saliba, John A. Understanding New Religious Movements. Altamira Press, 2003.

– Wayne, John. The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2013.

– Wolfson, Elliot R. “Seven Sermons to the Dead Written by Basilides in Alexandria, the City Where East and West Meet”, in Stephen Skinner (ed.), Alexandria, The Journal of Western Cosmological Traditions, Volume Two (2). number 2, 1995.

– Woods, Richard. “The demiurge”, in Mircea Eliade (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1987.

Article by: Antonio Biella

Antonio (Tony) was initiated into the Brotherhood of Aberhonddu lodge 8588 (Brecon) in 1998. (UGLE)

Now a practicing member of the Afon dar lodge 8829 in Aberdare. He also a member of Rose Croix, a Mark Master Mason, a companion in Royal Arch Chapter and a member in Knights Templar.

 

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