Emanationism is an idea in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems. Emanation, from the Latin emanare meaning "to flow from" or "to pour forth or out of", is the mode by which all things are derived from the First Reality, or Principle. All things are derived from the first reality or perfect God by steps of degradation to lesser degrees of the first reality or God, and at every step the emanating beings are less pure, less perfect, less divine. Emanationism is a transcendent principle from which everything is derived, and is opposed to both Creationism (wherein the universe is created by a sentient God who is separate from creation) and materialism (which posits no underlying subjective and/or ontological nature behind phenomena, being immanent).
The primary classical exponent of emanationism was Plotinus, wherein his work, the Enneads, all things phenomenal and otherwise were an emanation from the One (Hen). In Ennead 5.1.6, emanationism is compared to a diffusion from the One, of which there are three primary hypostases, the One (hen), the Intellect/will (nous), and the Soul (psyche tou pantos). For Plotinus, emanation, or the "soul's descent", is a result of the Indefinite Dyad, the primordial agnosis inherent to and within the Absolute, the Godhead.
Similar belief systems
Emanationist views are found in:
- Orthodox Christianity
- Rosicrucianism (Esoteric Christian)
- Surat Shabda Yoga
- J. R. R. Tolkien's Ainur of the world of Middle-earth.
- Clive Barker's Imajica
- Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials
- The Elder Scrolls series by Bethesda Softworks, in which Order and Chaos and the unity thereof are used to create a type dual Emanationism.
- Neoplatonism and Emanationism Many articles on Emanationism
- Emanation and Ascent in Hermetic Kabbalah 1.4 Mbyte PDF - Colin Low 2004. Presentation and notes on emanation and the roots of Hermetic Kabbalah
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