Image and Likeness

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Image and Likeness

#1 Postby Elder Gideon » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:09 pm

Shalom Tau Malachi:


Then Elohim said, ‘Let us make the Human One in our image, according to our likeness'
(Genesis 1:26).

We've recently been discussing nuances of image and likeness and I've been fascinated by their meanings. The Hebrew for these two words are remarkable. Image is tzelem צֶלֶם, whose root tzal means shadow; this invites me to imagine any image as the visible cast by the invisible.

Likeness is damah דָּמָה. This is quite complicated in Kabbalah for a host of definitions, one of the meanings of which is to imagine or to think ; add an Alef and this takes me to your wonderful post of the Human One where you shared how adamah also means I will imagine. This particular power of the Human One is its great beauty and horror.

Out of the root for likeness, damah, swirl other meanings such as similitude, as does the sense of appearance as in Ezekiel's vision of the Living Creatures. I've even seen a meaning of remembering. Likeness as a word has two edges. On one side, is everything already said that connotes similarity and nearness. On the other side, I see inside its use in Genesis k'dmutenuh כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ a tricky coincidence. The word for death, mote מוֹת or mavet מָוֶת are both present in the sense of likeness with which Elohim is creating. It suggests that the likeness of the Human One can rise in alignment or fall into oblivion.

This is more than enough to ask if you'd share what you've observed of image and likeness and the Human One who unites or divides these mysteries.

Gratefully,

Elder Gideon

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Re: Image and Likeness

#2 Postby Tau Malachi » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:17 am

Grace and peace to you in Hayyah Yeshua, the Risen Messiah!

Yes, indeed, we have had many discussions concerning ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ recently, and it seems good to draw out something of those teachings here in our online community.

At the outset we may recall two statements in the creation of humankind as recounted in the first chapter of Genesis:

“Then Elohim said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…’” (1:24).

And then shortly following:

“So Elohim created humankind in his image, in the image of Elohim he created them; male and female he created them”
(1:27).

The first verse speaks of image and likeness, and interestingly enough speaks in terms of a plurality, indicating God and Heaven, or spiritual powers, angels, while the second verse speaks only of the image of God, and in a relative singularity, though that ‘image’ corresponds with the generation of ‘male’ and ‘female.’ As we know, the play between these two verses has been cited by mekubalim, initiates, as indicating that something of Heaven - all spiritual powers, is set into the human one, and then something of the power of God (Elohim) is placed into the human one. When the words image and likeness are used in reference to God and Heaven - angels, ‘likeness’ is understood to refer to Heaven, for as we see following this only ‘image’ is used in reference to God alone. Yet we can say this, all in a great mystery, suggests that Heaven participates in ‘image’ as well as ‘likeness,’ for it is stated “our image, according to our likeness.” Thus, whatever might be indicated by ‘image’ angels, Heaven, also participate in, along with ‘likeness.’

Here we may speak an open secret. ‘Image of Elohim’ implies the power of Elohim, and truly nothing exists apart from the power of Elohim, more so, it implies the spiritual essences of things, and implies the existence, reality, of things, creatures, as they are in God and the Light Continuum, the eternal realm; ‘likeness’ corresponds with things, creatures, in heaven and on earth as they are in themselves, and more so the extent to which they resemble, or realize and embody their supernal image (tzelem), the image of Elohim in them. In this you may understand that something of the image of God is within and behind all human beings, but likeness, resemblance, similitude, is something that we must generate, something we must actualize and realize, and embody. When likeness is generated, actualized and realized, then something of the image of God is embodied and made manifest in this world and in Heaven.

Image is a given, and just is, but likeness we must labor to co-create with Heaven and the Holy Spirit; and through likeness, the image of God (El, Elohim) is realized - the enlightenment of living spirits and souls.

Understanding this, you will understand that image corresponds with something eternal, and likeness something impermanent, but if and when ‘likeness’ fully resembles ‘image’ and something of the image of God is embodied, then that ‘likeness’ becomes eternal, immortal, and appears in the eternal realm, the World-That-Is-Coming.

As is known, ‘likeness,’ ‘resemblance,’ ‘similitude,’ on a spiritual level corresponds with nearness, and complete likeness corresponds with union; thus, in this generation of likeness, resemblance to the image of God in us, we experience various gradations of nearness and unification, and may embody something of God Consciousness.

As you might intuit there are various gradations of the generation of likeness - nearness. According to Great Mekubalim - masters of the tradition, there can be the generation of the ‘likeness of a star’ or ‘celestial spirit,’ the ‘likeness of an angel,’ the ‘likeness of an archangel’ or the ‘likeness of The Name’ (Ha-Shem). These are various gradations of resemblance, nearness, and as is known, “He and His Name are One,” therefore the likeness of The Name corresponds with the most intimate nearness and union, as we witness with Messiah Yeshua.

Here we may also point out the generation of likeness in heaven among souls and angels, for there is something similar with regard to the likenesses of angels and their proximity to the Holy Shekinah, Throne of Glory, or stations in Heaven and the Holy Palace. In much the same way, the greater their likeness to the image of Elohim, the greater their beauty and holiness, knowledge and power, and nearness, ranging from angels that attend and worship in the outermost exterior Shekinah to those that attend and worship in the inmost interior Shekinah; the greater their ‘likeness,’ resemblance, the greater their nearness to God in Heaven, certainly so!

There is, no doubt, more to be said concerning ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ but this seems enough for the moment; let us abide and wait upon the Spirit of the Lord, contemplating what’s been shared.

May the blessings of Heaven pour out upon the people and land this day, and may all receive what is good to receive, all as each desires! Amen.


Shalom Aleichem!
Tau Malachi
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Re: Image and Likeness

#3 Postby Tau Malachi » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:09 pm

Blessings to you in Messiah Yeshua, Adonai!

There is more to be said concerning ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ more to draw out of our contemplation of this great mystery of the souls of human beings.

In the Holy Kabbalah, as is known, our supernal ‘image’ is associated with our neshamah, our supernal and heavenly soul, and so corresponds with the interior aspects of our soul; thus the image of Elohim corresponds with yechidah, our divine spark or unique essence, and hayyah, our light-power or living essence, and with neshamah, our divine nature. Understanding this ‘likeness’ corresponds with the exterior aspects of our soul, ruach, our spirit or intelligence, and nefesh, our vital soul. In order for ruach and nefesh to be manifest in likeness to our supernal image, or the image of Elohim in us, ruach and nefesh must be unified, and must be aligned and harmonized with neshamah, and with our thoughts, words and actions we must enact the will, the desire, of our holy neshamah, which is the will of God (El, Elohim) for us.

When ruach and nefesh are unified and are in harmony with neshamah, expressing something of neshamah, then sparks of our neshamah become incarnate, likeness is generated, and something of our supernal image shines from within us. If and when there is a full generation of likeness, so the essence of neshamah may become incarnate, and with it the fullness of the Holy Light and Spirit of the Supernal One (El Elyon), such as we are told of Enoch, Melchizedek, Moses, Elijah and Yeshua, as well as with certain holy women, such as the prophet Miriam, Mother Miriam and the Magdalene.

Understand, if and when there is a full generation of likeness, and the embodiment of the image of Elohim in us, then something of Elohim is realized and embodied; hence, the experience of Divine Consciousness, whether mental-spiritual or supramental-supernal. This is the very intention of God (Elohim) in creation, the conscious unification of souls with God and the embodiment of God, and in fruition the full reintegration of souls with the Infinite Light and Eternal God (Yahweh Elohim).

Thus, not only is the human being created in the image of Elohim, but the human being receives light and life from the breath of Yahweh Elohim. Thus there is this image of Elohim in which we are woven, and there is this radiant holy breath - Bornless Spirit (Ruach Yahweh, Ruach Elohim). The generation of likeness also corresponds with the integration of this radiant holy breath - the Holy Spirit.

If we consider the Holy Torah and Gospel, the giving of the commandments and the teaching of their spiritual essence in the revelation of the Messiah, the Anointing, the entire teaching of the commandments and the practices of their spiritual essence is for the sake of the generation of likeness, resemblance to the Image of Elohim, so that we might know and understand what right thought, right speech and right actions are and be able to enact what is good and true - faith and love. Likewise, through Adonai Yeshua and the Magdalene we have a revelation of the image of Elohim in a man and woman, male and female, so that we might imagine, envision something of that holy image in us and engage in a conscious evolution to draw near, and cleave, and experience conscious unification, something of God Consciousness, spiritual or supernal.

As we know, the Supernal One (Eheieh, El Elyon) is revealed through Divine Actions, and likewise, the image of Elohim in us is revealed through the actions of righteousness, actions in harmony with the will of the Supernal One (Ratzon Elyon); thus, through the actions of the commandments, or rather their spiritual essence, we generate ‘likeness’ and our true ‘image,’ the image of Elohim, is revealed.

As has been said, there is the generation of likeness at various gradations, truly countless gradations, and as we enact the commandments, or the spiritual essence of the commandments, so we may generate likeness from grade to grade with the help of Heaven and God, the angels and the Holy Spirit.

These were a few further thoughts it seemed good to share today, all as the Spirit inspired.

May the face of the Eternal One (Yahweh) shine upon you, and may God (Elohim) bless you and keep you! Amen.

Shalom Aleichem!
Tau Malachi

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Elder Gideon
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Image and Likeness

#4 Postby Elder Gideon » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:46 pm

Shalom Tau Malachi:

These are wonderful contemplations. They're so direct that I'm surprised I never heard or thought of image and likeness in this way! Praise be the Eternal for this mystery.

Thus, not only is the human being created in the image of Elohim, but the human being receives light and life from the breath of Yahweh Elohim. Thus there is this image of Elohim in which we are woven, and there is this radiant holy breath - Bornless Spirit (Ruach Yahweh, Ruach Elohim). The generation of likeness also corresponds with the integration of this radiant holy breath - the Holy Spirit.


You've now elucidated something I've not quite been able to grasp ever since being exposed to the Hebrew nuance of when

the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).

This breath of life is neshmot, implying multiplicities of neshamah. The living being is hayyah nefesh. With neshmot, I now hear image. With hayyah nefesh, I hear likeness. What you've drawn out of these dimensions of image and likeness are present right here in the animation of the Human One.

Perhaps I could ask in this vein what more could be said of the Moral Depth spanning Keter and Malkut in the Tree of Life. We're taught that nearness to the Holy One is likeness, how similar we are through our thoughts, words, and actions. You remind that through the actions of the commandments, or rather their spiritual essence, we generate ‘likeness’ and our true ‘image,’ the image of Elohim, is revealed. Your post radically essentializes the entire process of being (image) and becoming (likeness). The standard is our image by which our likeness (ruach and nefesh) either integrates or disintegrates: Our thoughts, speech, and actions are or are not in accord with our supernal image (neshamah). This is so grounded, so clear, that I'm astonished all over again by the habad from the Gospel of St. Philip that teaches

You who have joined the True Light with the Holy Spirit
join with us now the maggidim as in a single image!


Amen and amen!

Elder Gideon

Tau Malachi
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Re: Image and Likeness

#5 Postby Tau Malachi » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:23 pm

Blessings to you in the Holy Name of Yeshua Messiah, Adonai!

All in a mystery the image of Elohim and the breath of Yahweh Elohim are interwoven, completely inseparable from one another; as likeness is generated, created, so the greater knowledge and power of that radiant holy breath is realized and embodied - fullness of the Spirit of God (Ruach Yahweh, Ruach Elohim).

The breath as ‘neshamot’ is significant. First because this implies the soul of Supernal Adam containing the neshamot of all humanity, every human soul, neshamah, being drawn from within some part or aspect of Supernal Adam (Adam Ha-Rishon, Adam Elyon). Second because it speaks the truth of something experienced in the realization of neshamah and the universe of neshamot and archangels (Beriyah), that all neshamot are contained in our neshamah and our neshamah is contained in all neshamot - all neshamot being completely interpenetrating and interconnecting; hence, that in the supernal universe (Atzilut) neshamot exist in a profound oneness, and though countless unique and individual emanations they are as one Great Soul. This, of course, hints at something of the image of Elohim, for as we know a common meaning of the Name of Elohim is ‘One and Many,’ or the ‘One manifest as Countless Many yet remaining One.’ Quite literally, neshamah, neshamot, express this reality of Elohim, one and many, and male and female as in the generation of soulmates sharing one holy neshamah.

This holy breath called neshamot, however, indicates something more, the essence of neshamah, which is yechidah and hayyah. Understand, the entire story of creation in Six Days corresponds with the Realm of Perud, and specifically Beriyah, as has been well established in the teachings of the Arizal. The ongoing story of the creation of Adam, though, reaches into the Realm of Yichud, Adam Kadmon and Atzilut. Thus, this radiant holy breath is something more than neshamot, it is the essences of neshamot.

The essence of neshamah corresponds with the Word of God, for as is known nothing has come into being apart from the Word of God, which was with God and was God in the beginning, and so it is that each soul is a word of God - an emanation of the Word of God. As such, the essence of neshamah is like The Name (Yahweh), and when the essence of neshamah is realized and embodied there is something more than the image of Elohim that shines forth, there is the image of Yahweh Elohim, and there is the likeness of Heaven. Thus, when the Messiah appeared in the world, so the kingdom of heaven came to the world.

Understand, the essence of neshamah is like The Name, the fullness of neshamah is like an archangel, the fullness of ruach is like a host of angels, and the fullness of nefesh - hayyah nefesh, is like a star of heaven, a blazing fire. Thus, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion…”

As perhaps you might imagine, in the generation of likeness, first there is the likeness of a star of heaven, realization of nefesh elokit, then the likeness of a host of heaven, realization of ruach, then the likeness of an archangel, realization of neshamah, and ultimately the likeness of The Name, or the Messiah, realization and embodiment of the essence of neshamah. These gradations of likeness and the realization of the soul are gradations of nearness, and as is known, they correspond with the four Olamot, Asiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah and Atzilut, respectively; at the level of Atzilut there is the experience, realization, of conscious union with the Infinite Light and the Eternal God (Yahweh Elohim), the most intimate communion with the Primordial and Supernal One (Eheieh, El Elyon).

This, of course, speaks of the reality of the spiritual dimension, or “moral dimension,” designated by the Depth of Good and Depth of Evil - Keter and Malkut, respectively.

These were a few thoughts I was inclined to share.

May the face of Yahweh shine upon you, may Elohim bless and keep you, and may you be gathered into Makom, having knowledge of the Place of All (Kol)! Amen.

Shalom Aleichem!
Tau Malachi

Sophia Fellowship

Ecclesia Pistis Sophia


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