There are many phrases that we hear without understanding the true origins or meanings. We often hear the phrase, “great minds think alike” without knowing that it ends with, “but fools seldom differ.” Another common one is, “as above so below.” We’re going to explore the meaning behind this saying, its origins, and the ways it features in the Bible. Through exploring the as above so below meaning, we’ll need to explore ancient societies and faiths, as well as certain aspects of numerology. We’ll also consider the as above so below the symbol.
Origins of the as Above so below Quote
The exact origins of this phrase are unknown, but the as above so below quote is found in the Emerald Tablet which is a section of the Hermetica. These are Egyptian-Greek texts that are said to have been created by Hermes Trismegistus and are the foundations of Hermeticism, a form of religion, tradition, or philosophy that involves the exploration of nature, astrology, the soul, the human mind, alchemy, God, and the universe.
The larger version of the quote reads, “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” We’ll explore the as above so below meaning in more depth in a moment, but let’s first grasp the overall message. Hermes and his teachings through Hermeticism involved the idea of all big and small aspects of the universe being connected.
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We find other examples of this same message being taught throughout history. Isaac Newton, the scientist responsible for discovering gravity, once said, “Tis true without lying, certain and most true. That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below.”
What about the as above so below meaning Bible references, are there any? As it happens, there are a few lines in the Bible that carry this message, but one stands out more than others.
In Matthew 6:10 It states:
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven
Here we see the concept held by the as above so below meaning. That which is on Earth is the same as that which is in heaven.
As above so below meaning
Examples of the as above so below meaning Bible references are many in number, but some are more difficult to spot than others. Before we explore them in more depth, we need to fully grasp exactly what this phrase is telling us.
We briefly discussed the first part of the quote and the as above so below meaning. This can reference Earth, which is below heaven, but it can also reference hell, which is below Earth. We see that the common message is the idea that all things are connected, and while they may not seem the same, at their very core they are.
This concept isn’t limited to locations though. We can view it in terms of beings. ‘As above’ can reference God, just as ‘as below’ can reference humanity. We are below God, but we’re also made in his image. We are his children and while we don’t share his power, we share aspects of the same base material. We can also view it as a comparison of God and the Devil, as we know that both literally and metaphorically, the Devil is below God. We’ll come to this point in a moment as it has another layer worth discussing.
This part of the saying also acknowledges the idea that we can’t hope to understand the large without understanding the small. You might say that we can’t understand space or the universe until we understand Earth, or we can’t understand God and spirituality until we understand ourselves.
As Within, So Without
The next part of the phrase, “as within, so without” is a little less cryptic. It points to the fact that we’re comprised of the same material as the universe. We can see this in a spiritual sense as we can’t understand anything external without understanding ourselves, but also in a scientific sense. You can look at the sun (as above) which is comprised of the same building blocks as humans. Carbon is the foundation of all that you see in this universe.
We mentioned the Devil earlier, and you’re probably wondering why that is important. According to the Bible, the number of the Devil is 666. As it happens, carbon has 6 protons, 6 neutrons, and 6 electrons. The same elements that are within us are also everywhere else, from stars to planets to other people. We are all one.
As the Universe, so the Soul
The final section of the ‘as above, so below meaning’ involves the phrase, “as the universe, so the soul.” This connects to the previous part where we discussed the idea that what’s inside us is also everywhere in the universe. We’re simply a moving part of something larger, a small component of a giant machine.
However, this final section goes deeper than that. The idea that the soul and the universe are connected isn’t new. Many great minds have often stated that we’re all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, in that we’re all part of God, both connected and disconnected from a larger being.
It’s also a reference to the concept of the soul and the spirit. We have 3 main parts: the mind, the body, and the spirit. Our minds are unique, completely separate from one another. Our bodies can connect but are often separated by physical space. The spiritual world allows us to connect directly with others, both above us and below us, from animals to spiritual beings. The soul is the key to reaching the rest of humanity and connecting to the integral parts of who we are.
The as above so below the symbol, which is two interconnected triangles pointing away from one another, perfectly captures this message. This symbol often appears as the Star of David or appears similar to the infinity symbol, suggesting that we’re part of a large, never-ending cycle. Our soul is part of a journey that goes beyond us, it travels from within to without, from below to above, and ultimately becomes part of the universe. This saying perfectly encapsulates the entirety of existence.