The following exerpt is taken from The Three Initiates commentary on The Kybalion – an ancient Hermetic text that can be downloaded here.
There is one more matter of which we desire to speak in this lesson, and that comes very near to an invasion of the Metaphysical field of speculation, although our purpose is merely to show the futility of such speculation. We allude to the question which inevitably comes to the mind of all thinkers who have ventured to seek the Truth. The question is: “WHY does THE ALL create Universes?” The question may be asked in different forms, but the above is the gist of the inquiry.
Men have striven hard to answer this question, but still there is no answer worthy of the name. Some have imagined that THE ALL had something to gain by it, but this is absurd, for what could THE ALL gain that it did not already possess? Others have sought the answer in the idea that THE ALL “wished something to love;” and others that it created for pleasure, or amusement; or because it “was lonely”; or to manifest its power; — all puerile explanations and ideas, belonging to the childish period of thought.
Others have sought to explain the mystery by assuming that THE ALL found itself “compelled” to create, by reason of its own “internal nature” — its “creative instinct.” This idea is in advance of the others, but its weak point lies in the idea of THE ALL being “compelled” by anything, internal or external. If its “internal nature,” or “creative instinct,” compelled it to do anything, then the “internal nature” or “creative instinct” would be the Absolute, instead of THE ALL, and so accordingly that part of the proposition falls.
And, yet, THE ALL does create and manifest, and seems to find some kind of satisfaction in so doing. And it is difficult to escape the conclusion that in some infinite degree it must have what would correspond to an “inner nature,” or “creative instinct,” in man, with correspondingly infinite Desire and Will.
It could not act unless it Willed to Act; and it would not Will to Act, unless it Desired to Act; and it would not Desire to Act unless it obtained some Satisfaction thereby. And all of these things would belong to an “Inner Nature,” and might be postulated as existing according to the Law of Correspondence.
But, still, we prefer to think of THE ALL as acting entirely FREE from any influence, internal as well as external. That is the problem which lies at the root of difficulty — and the difficulty that lies at the root of the problem.
Strictly speaking, there cannot be said to be any “Reason” whatsoever for THE ALL to act, for a “reason” implies a “cause,” and THE ALL is above Cause and Effect, except when it Wills to become a Cause, at which time the Principle is set into motion. So, you see, the matter is Unthinkable, just as THE ALL is Unknowable.
Just as we say THE ALL merely “IS ” — so we are compelled to say that “THE ALL ACTS BECAUSE IT ACTS.” At the last, THE ALL is All Reason in Itself; All Law in Itself; All Action in Itself — and it may be said, truthfully, that THE ALL is Its Own Reason; its own Law; its own Act — or still further, that THE ALL; Its Reason; Its Act; is Law; are ONE, all being names for the same thing.
In the opinion of those who are giving you these present lessons, the answer is locked up in INNER SELF of THE ALL, along with its Secret of Being. The Law of Correspondence, in our opinion, reaches only to that aspect of THE ALL, which may be spoken of as “The Aspect of BECOMING.” Back of that Aspect is “The Aspect of BEING,” in which all Laws are lost in LAW; all Principles merge into PRINCIPLE and THE ALL; PRINCIPLE; and BEING; are IDENTICAL, ONE AND THE SAME.
Therefore, Metaphysical speculation on this point is futile. We go into the matter here, merely to show that we recognize the question, and also the absurdity of the ordinary answers of metaphysics and theology.
In conclusion, it may be of interest to our students to learn that while some of the ancient, and modern, Hermetic Teachers have rather inclined in the direction of applying the Principle of Correspondence to the question, with the result of the “Inner Nature” conclusion, — still the legends have it that HERMES, the Great, when asked this question by his advanced students, answered them by PRESSING HIS LIPS TIGHTLY TOGETHER and saying not a word, indicating that there WAS NO ANSWER.
But, then, he may have intended to apply the axiom of his philosophy, that: “The lips of Wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding,” believing that even his advanced students did not possess the Understanding which entitled them to the Teaching.
At any rate, if Hermes possessed the Secret, he failed to impart it, and so far as the world is concerned THE LIPS OF HERMES ARE CLOSED regarding it. And where the Great Hermes hesitated to speak, what mortal may dare to teach?
But, remember, that whatever be the answer to this problem, if indeed there be an answer — the truth remains that: “While All is in THE ALL, it is equally true that THE ALL is in All.” The Teaching on this point is emphatic. And, we may add the concluding words of the quotation: “To him who truly understands this truth, hath come great knowledge.”