What is substance?

The three types of substance are Divine, emanated, and created.

What is substance? Substance is defined as the fundamental ingredient which is the basic “stuff” of existence. The substance of our physical world is called “matter”. There is another form of substance we understand to exist, and we call it “energy”. Einstein deduced that matter and energy are interconvertable forms of the same level of existence, which he called “something else”, an even more basic substance common to both matter and energy. Matter is the physical form of "something else", and energy is the non-physical form. Kabbalism calls this most fundemental form of substance, from which everything in our universe is formed, “created substance”. Created substance can take the form of matter, energy, and at least one other form, spirituous. Our souls are made of spirituous created substance. Because matter and spirit are two forms of the same essential substance, our bodies and our souls blend together in perfect harmony, so much so that we cannot tell the difference. Absolutely perfect symbiosis. Created substance is never static. It exists in a constant state of change. The macrocosmic progression of change is from the chaotic to the organized. However, on the microcosmic level, change can reverse its direction and digress from orderly to chaotic. This is why most of the human race is constantly becoming better, while the lesser portion of the human race seems to become worse with the passage of time.

God’s substance is entirely different, and is called “divine substance”. It is infinitely perfect and unchanging, the utter converse of our created substance. In fact, every quality we can apply to divine substance is best understood by it’s converse to any quality we find in created substance. Divine substance is infinite, which is the converse of finite. Divine substance is perfect, while created substance is imperfect. Divine substance never changes because it is perfect, while created substance evolves and undergoes constant change. The juxtaposing of all understood qualities of divine and created substances results in converse understanding. But the degree of converse meanings must be understood to be infinitely different, far more different than the difference between our understanding of good as the converse of evil. Good and evil take relative meanings, in epistemological opposition to each other. But the difference in meaning between divine and created is not relative; the difference is absolute and infinite. We can begin to comprehend what divine substance is in relative terms, but never with absolute meaning. Thus, we can no more than approximate our understanding of God’s being.

Since the degree of difference between divine substance and created substance is necessarily infinite, and further since absolute comprehension of the infinite is not possible for created being, it would seem there would be no possibility of communion between the two. But, God is infinitely wise. A third type of substance exists, intermediate between divine and created. This is called “emanated substance”, which is the fundamental ingredient of all angelic beings. It is somewhat divine-like as well as somewhat created-like in its make-up. Angels closest to God have more divine qualities than created qualities, while those nearest to us have more created qualities than divine. Emanated substance is formed by direct release out of God’s Will. Emanated being is not born, per se, for birth absolutely requires subsequent growth and development. Angels are emanated into existence complete and mature, immediately capable of fulfilling their intended roles in support of creation. There are at least seven levels of angelic existence between the created and divine, each of which the Kabbalists call a “Mansion”. Each mansion of angelic, emanated beings fulfills a necessary role in establishing a path of communication between the created and the divine.

Thus, we find a trinity of substance central to our understanding of scripture; divine, created and emanated. Through the medium of emanated being, it is possible for created being to commune with divine being, and makes it possible for all humans to be endowed with the idea of God. Though this trinity is not explicitly described in the Bible, we can infer its existence without taking passages out of context or generating unsupportable dogma. In fact, this is the only trinity to be found in scripture. There is no other.



1. Einstein, Albert; Relativity : The Special and the General Theory; Late Institute for Advanced Study; Princeton, New jersey; Crown Publishers, Inc.; Random House, New York. 1956

2. Conway, Vizcountess Anne; The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy; edited by Peter Loptson; Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague; 1982. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/conway/principles/principles.html

3. Von Rosenroth, Knorr; The Book of Concealed Mystery , from Kabbala Denudata; trans. By Mathers, S.L. Macgregor; Theosophical Publishing Co., New York; 1912. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/sy/sy00.htm

4. Cooper, Rabbi David A.; God is a Verb : Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism; Berkley Publishing Group of Penguin Putnam Inc., New York. 1997