God, Geometry and Gematria
As Freemasons, we perceive God within geometry, we even see God represented as a geometrical image, as mathematical perfection. For example, the equilateral triangle becomes an image of the Trinity, which is a perception of a Christian form of God, and thus the common image of the all-seeing eye of God placed within the triangle, becomes apparent, three bringing completeness and stability. Geometry and the perfection it creates enabled the great Temples of antiquity to be constructed, and can be seen being practiced in ancient cultures, especially with the existence of the Egyptian Rhind Papyrus for example (BM 10057 and BM 10058) dated c.2000-1800 BC, and of course, by Pythagoras c.570-c.495 BC.
Geometry was seen as a language of God. Indeed, the seventeenth century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes once said that ‘Geometry is the only science that it hath pleased God hitherto to bestow on mankind’. Even Plato said ‘God ever geometrizes’. The dimensions of Solomon’s Temple were given by God, as were the dimensions of the Ark. This sacred geometry became the essence of God, and this geometry was used by the medieval stone masons to construct the beautiful cathedrals of Europe; houses of God built for his worship. To understand this Divine measurement became a focus of natural philosophers such as Sir Isaac Newton, who saw it somewhat as a code to crack.
Divine codes within geometry and mathematics have somewhat of a parallel to the practice of Gematria, a method of assigning numerical values to Hebrew words, based on the letters. The use of Gematria can be seen with certain stories within Biblical narrative, such as in John 21:11, where 153 fishes were caught, the number 153 being a reference for ‘the children of God’.1 Another example can be found with the number 318 in Genesis 14:14, where 318 is the number given of Abram’s men, which has the same numerical value to Eliezer’s name in Genesis 15.2 This ‘Kabbalistic art of Gematria’ may have also filtered into the 1674 edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost.3
To conclude, we bring ourselves back to perceptions of God, and in particular the interesting art of Gematria; in Gematria the number 15 spells the word ‘YH’, (Y=10, H=5) the syncopated form of the Tetragrammon (the word of God), the number assigned to Tetragrammon being 26:
Y H W H
1. Neil J. McEleney, ‘153 Great Fishes (John 21,11) — Gematriacal Atbash’, Biblica, Vol. 58, No. 3 (1977), pp.411-417.
2. Michael Moore, ‘THREE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN’, ETC: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2011), pp.199-204.
3. Eve Keller, ‘Tetragrammic Numbers: Gematria and the Line Total of the 1674 “Paradise Lost”’, Milton Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 1 (MARCH 1986), pp.23-25.