In every dedication, every oath, every ritual speech and every forming of the Masonic Lodge we are addressing to the Great Architect Of Universe. At each of our works that I have participated as Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or as a Master Mason of the Royal Art… I, my brethren, I wonder who he is, or rather, what it is this Great Architect?
Masonic historians, quoting from “Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia”, claim that the term Great Architect of the Universe comes from a long tradition of using an allegorical name for the Deity. This definition, that entered Masonic tradition in speech, comes from Andersen’s Constitutions from 1723 and it has probably been taken from the Calvinist teachings and terminology. Was it God, some other religion? Does Masonic faith exclude other beliefs? These are the questions that we are asked by others, ask each other and mostly ourselves.
This text is made-up of parts and Masonic quotes, connected by my thoughts and occurings on my journey of self-realization and I hope that everyone one of us will reach to their own self-realization, and that a good man can be made even better.
Throughout history Mankind has always tended to explain the Divine, to define, to understand, to accept, to perceive. We, enslaved by our own limited senses and minds, we never succeeded in that quest, yet we already created various convictions, beliefs, religion. This self-realization from this historical distance indicates that the path through the various attempts to explain this Divine, around us and within ourselves, makes sense and leads to eventual enlightenment. Omnipresent and omnipotent yet invisible and untouchable force that surrounds us and passes through all of us…
Aristotle, In his “Metaphysics” discuss the importance of “being as being” primarily referring to “Unmoved Mover”, those who are the cause of every movement, and they were not moved by any. Unmoved Mover is self-sufficient and is not caused by the need to actualize any potential. For Medieval scholasticism it is particularly important the concept of Primum Mobile – First Unmoved mover or The First mover, which means the source of all movement, a perfect being. God is, according to Aristotle, a perfect being and in the state of “stasis”, beyond the reach of change and imperfections. In this way we come to be actualized by events in his pureview. Reality exists only within the Divine Being, or under the influence of it.
Abrahamic teachings (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), on the other hand, recognize God as a being who created the world and is the master of the creation. Divine being is now being attributed with the properties such as holiness, justice, sovereignty, infinity, omnipresence, compassion and immortality. It is also believed that God is outside of both time and space. Therefore God is eternal and unchanging. None of his creations can not change or influence it. Divine Manifestations of these properties are very different one from another, and their particular importance is the subject of debate among representatives of different traditions of abrahamic teachings.
Understanding of God as creator, developer or architect is often contributed to Christianity. Illustrations of God as the Great Architect can be found in the medieval Bibles and are used by various teachings and preached Christian doctrine. St. Thomas Aquinas in his work Summa Theologicae writes that God as the first principle of all things is comparable to its creation as an architect to its design (ut artifex ad artificiata – an artist to his art). Commentators of this section, however, point out that the Great Architect of All Worlds can not be equated with the Christian God on the basis of simple analogies and theological principles, but requires “the leap in faith”, the acceptance of faith and belief without proof.
In the past, as well as in modern times this has led to various claims and to that, that every tradition developed their own learning – religion – in fact preaching their own God. These claims thus prevent the full, and allows only partial and limited understanding of God. Hafner Christopher in his book “Master unashamed” gives his own interpretation of the concept of The Great Architect Of The Universe, as the Supreme Being of ones choice:
“So imagine me standing in the lodge, between Brother Mohammed and Brother Malwani, head bowed in a prayer. Neither one of them does not believe in the Holy Trinity. Brother Mohammed is a Muslim, Brother Malwani is Hindu. I believe that there is only one God, and they have to so. Therefore I am faced with three choices:
– they pray to the devil while I pray to God.
– they do not pray to anyone, as their gods do not exist.
– they pray to the same God as I do, but still do not understand fully its true nature.
Without hesitation I would accept third option.”
Such monotheistic principle of Divine was known in the early Hellenistic period and originates from the monistic principle, which means the unity of all beings and all things, and henotistic principle, a belief in specific deities with recognition of the existence of others.
In many religions and beliefs, human beings, plants and animals, rocks, mountains, and all the other things that are God’s creation or created by God’s intervention, are labeled divine. Therefore it remains to us to accept that everything around us is Divine and from God – to acknowledge the existence of God – Creator – Grand Architect – Great Architect of the Universe within ourselves.
Therefore, Freemasonry, does not preach religion of any specific God or Deity or to separate us from it, but rather teaches us, among others, universal principle of creation and brotherly love among all people. We may know God only through the different levels of abstraction and manifestations of its operations, as a powerful, supernatural being, deity of esoteric, mystical and philosophical principles, as well as Supreme, the Summum Bonum, infinite, transcendent, as the main purpose and the essence of existence, a substrate that is beyond our comprehension.
Let us realize that we are here temporarily, just a moment in the infinite scheme of things. We are what we are, and we are here for as long as we can carry what we have been given. Although weak to carry the spark of creation it is our duty to bear the burden and under all circumstances, act justly. However, if we know how to distinguish the good from the bad, we can hope to find the right path toward the light and that we will carry less on our journey.
Honest and on the right path, we shall surely meet.
HL”Nemanja” Br.Z.P. , 28.11.6012. in the Orient of Nis