At the Ritual Work of the Lodge “Wisdom” held on Oct. 14th 2019, the Instruction of the previous Grand Master, Brother Branko Medojević, who passed too early to the Eternal East, the Instruction was read that was presented by passed Brother Branko at the Ritual Work of Lodge “Wisdom” on Mar. 27th 2011. In addition to this very inspiring and deeply philosophical Instruction, the Brothers in Lodge “Wisdom” were especially moved by the knowledge that this Instruction, by chance, was read only six days before the birthday of our dear Brother Branko. Bearing in mind the seriousness of this Instruction, we believe that all Brothers will be glad and useful to familiarize themselves with the content of Brother Branko’s Instruction in its entirety.
The usual opening of the Works in Freemasonic Lodges, regardless of different Obediences, begins with the following words: “To the glory of the Great Architect, the Builder of all the Worlds, in the name of universal and free Freemasonry…”. Likewise, an integral part of the Opening Ritual are the words of the Worshipful Master, the first and the second supervisor: “Let wisdom guide our construction, let strength carry it out (support it), let beauty complete it.”
What is this about? It is about the creative principle in freemasonry: Freemasons in their Lodges should combine wisdom, strength and beauty in building a temple on the way to light. It should be borne in mind that the Great Architect of all worlds is not their creator, but the builder. It is not God who created matter, the world, out of nothing, but the Great Architect is the builder who establishes order and harmony in nature and the cosmos, in man. These few hints about the Great Architect seek to explain the philosophical basis of the Freemasonic idea, that is, the basis of the philosophical understanding of the Great Architect. As is well known, throughout the long history of mankind, up to the present day, various nations and people have considered and recognized through the idea of God that there is an eternal, universal cause of all things. As circumstances changed and the degree of development of the species of Gods changed, so that today a few of them dominate. What do they have in common? Each of these Gods created the world: the earth as a planet, everything living and dead on it and that from nothing. That process of creation is completed by the very act of creation and nothing can be changed. It is interesting that, after so much time, a year and a half ago, the Catholic Church recognized the correctness of Darwin’s idea of evolution, because it had nowhere else to go. Second, each of these Gods predestined the birth, duration of life, and death of every living creature: man, animal, and plant. The individual is powerless here: as a living robot, it is determined, by God’s will, what, how and for whom to Work. Thirdly, each of these Gods, throughout the long history of humanity it was often present, abolished man as a thinking man, as a creator and visionary. For example, throughout the Middle Ages and up to the 17th century, within the Catholic Church, there was a strong understanding: the church, in the name of God, determines what an individual should think and what to do in order to show his faith in God and devotion to the church. However, since the 17th and 18th centuries, thanks to the development of freemasonry, bourgeois revolutions, and revolutions in technology and science, a completely different understanding of God has been making its way. It is about understanding God as the Great Architect of all worlds. The very word architect indicates a completely different understanding of God. The Greek word architekton is a coin of two words: arkein – which means to manage and tekton – which means craftsman. (see: Henri Tor – Nuges, The Freemasonic Idea, Belgrade, EURO, 2003, p. 64). So, the architect is the Master who directs the craftsmen during construction, the one who determines the plan and harmony (relationship between parts and the whole) and controls the construction.
Here, architecture means separation from nature, overcoming it through the act of building, it is the path that leads us from chaos to order and harmony, from darkness to light (ibid., p. 66). Many scholars of that era explained the idea of God as the Great Architect. For example, Isaac Newton’s opinion is interesting: “The principle of universal gravitation explains the system of the world, leads to unity and shows a structured cosmos, ordered and subject to Universal Law”. According to I. For Newton, this harmonious structure in the cosmos and nature leads to one principle, one Architect, without whose action the cosmos would be chaos itself (ibid., p. 67). The movements of the planets, Newton points out, are not the result of only natural causes, but are covered by some intelligent force. Or as Njegoš would say in Gorski vjenc “all nature provides weapons/against necessity, against insufficiency/ the sharp thistle defends the spikelets, the thorns prevent the rose from being plucked/ my teeth were sharpened by the rain/ my teeth were sharpened by the rain/ the bark, wings and speed of the legs/ and the whole these innocents / follow someone in order.” According to other authors, the Great Architect is also a geometer and a craftsman and an artist. He is also the legislator – the one who creates the world and organizes it according to justice, that is, according to the Moral Law. Freemasons speak of a Great Architect, not a Great Creator. A great architect is a builder, he establishes order in nature and leaves it to man to build – by combining wisdom, strength and beauty – to overcome nature both in himself and around him and to open the way to light. This creative act is essential for the Freemasonic understanding of the Great Architect: it is about the freedom of man to know the laws of nature (for others – they are given in advance, as a divine decree), to apply them creatively, to change himself, as well as the social relations in which he lives. Only in this way, as a comprehensively developed and enriched personality, a person can approach the light.
God as a great creator is the object of a given faith, a given confession, a given dogma. The Freemasonic Great Architect, if we look at him in a religious sense, is separated from a given confession, from a given dogma. He is tied to the man himself: to the Moral Law (Masonic code), to the order – spiritual, not natural, to the order of freedom and justice, to the order of Brotherly love.
For the philosophical basis of understanding God, i.e. The creative and dialectical principle is important to the great architect. It is not about affirming a principle as something given once and for all. Instead, it is about the continuous expansion of freedom, its seizure from nature and from people, it is about the continuous expansion of the creative and spiritual abilities of man, about the expansion of Brotherly love. It is about the continuous construction of the Freemasonic temple.
Finally, this understanding of the Great Architect requires, in order to avoid confusion, to answer the question: why do Freemasons, during initiation, swear by the Bible, why does it belong to the three great lights of Freemasonry?
If we take into account the above, it is clear that the Bible cannot be the holy book of a particular religion and located in a given time and only in a given space. As is known, the monopoly on its interpretation is appropriated by various churches, various authorities and various parties. However, for Freemasons, the Holy Scriptures represent a universal truth beyond any religion, beyond any dogmatic and anti-historical system. As an absolute truth, it belongs to all people, “of all faiths, nationalities and religions” (ibid., p. 89). At the same time, by swearing on the Bible, Freemasons accept it as universal truth, as universal good. She “symbolizes that moral law, as Henri Tor-Nogues points out, which is essentially the law of love, justice and mercy and which can lead them to the light.” (ibid., p. 89).
Within the Freemasonic “faith” defined in this way, there is, of course, room for the religious belief of each individual. After all, maybe one day the existing churches will be replaced by a Freemasonic church on the way of creative and spiritual development of man on his way to light.