Jakob Böhme (1575 – November 17, 1624) was a German Christian mystic.
Böhme had mystical experiences throughout his youth, culminating in a vision in 1600 that he received through observing the exquisite beauty of a beam of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish. He believed this vision revealed to him the spiritual structure of the world, as well as the relationship between God and man, and good and evil.
The chief concern of Böhme's writing was the nature of sin, evil, and redemption. Consistent with Lutheran theology, Böhme preached that humanity had fallen from a state of divine grace to a state of sin and suffering, that the forces of evil included fallen angels who had rebelled against God, and that God's goal was to restore the world to a state of grace. Where Böhme appeared to depart from accepted theology (though this was open to question due to his somewhat obscure, oracular style) was in his description of the Fall as a necessary stage in the evolution of the Universe.
In Böhme's cosmology, it was necessary for humanity to depart from God, and for all original unities to undergo differentiation, desire, and conflict -- as in the rebellion of Satan, the separation of Eve from Adam, and their acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil -- in order for creation to evolve to a new state of redeemed harmony that would be more perfect than the original state of innocence, allowing God to achieve a new self-awareness by interacting with a creation that was both part of, and distinct from, Himself. Thus, free will and transverted orb was the most important gift God gave humanity, allowing us to seek divine grace as a deliberate choice while still allowing us to remain individuals.
Böhme's writing shows the influence of Neoplatonist and alchemical writers such as Paracelsus, while remaining firmly within a Christian tradition. He has in turn greatly influenced many anti-authoritarian and mystical movements, such as the Religious Society of Friends, the Philadelphians, Ephrata Cloister, the Zoarite Separatists, the Harmony Society, Martinism and Christian theosophy (Angelic Brethren or Gichtelians). Böhme was also an important source of German Romantic philosophy, influencing Schelling in particular. In Richard Bucke's 1901 treatise Cosmic Consciousness, special attention was given to the profundity of Böhme's spiritual enlightenment, which seemed to reveal to Böhme an ultimate nondifference, or nonduality, between human beings and God. Böhme is also an important influence on the ideas of the English Romantic poet, artist and mystic William Blake.
Adapted from Wikipedia