The Masonic letter G reminds us that our every act is done in the sight of the Great Architect of the Universe.
“By letters four and science five, this “G” aright doth stand, in due Art and Proportion; you have your answer, friend.”
What are the “letters four”? It is believed that they stand for “YHWH”, the name of the Great Architect of the Universe (pronounced “Yahway”. (sometimes pronounced Jehovah) in the ancient Hebrew language, from which the Bible was translated:
Which is the 5th science? Geometry.
The Letter G stands for “Geometry”, which is the mathematical science upon which Architecture and Masonry were founded.
When did the letter G become part of the Square and Compass? No one knows exactly, but it is believed to be somewhere between 1730 and 1768, here in the United States. The “G” is not used in the center of the square and compasses in all jurisdictions around the world.
In Hebrew, the language our Bible was originally written in, it is called Gheemel (or Gimel) and has a numerical value of 3.
Throughout history, we see reference to the number 3 when we speak of the Supreme Architect of the Universe…no matter which language we speak!
Gimel (in slightly different forms) is the 3rd letter of many Semitic languages including Phoenician, Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Syriac.
Phonecian: Gimel (11th century BCE)
Greek: Gamma (9th century BCE)
Aramaic: Gamal (800 BCE to 600 CE) (800 years Before Common Era
to 600 years after Common Era)
Hebrew: Gimel (3rd century BCE)
Syriac: Gomal / Gamal (2nd century BCE)
G Throughout the Centuries
B.C.E. means “Before Common Era”. The Common Era (C.E.), also known as the Christian Era and sometimes as the Current Era, is the period beginning with the year 1 onwards.
The term is used for a system of reckoning years that is chronologically equivalent to the Anno Domini (A.D.), which is Latin for “In the year of our Lord”.
Therefore, the 3rd letter of the Phonecian alphabet, “gimel”, was in use 11 centuries Before the Common Era, which is 8 centuries before the Hebrew language…give or take a few hundred years.
Why give or take a few hundred years? While scholars who study languages are very thorough; we have to remember that they have very little from which to study.
Much of our knowledge of ancient languages comes from the study of hieroglyphics carved into stone and the subsequent attempt to determine which time frame they were carved; from mummies and their accompanying sarcophagi (carved wooden coffins), etc.
Note, however that while the letter G is the 7th letter in the English, Latin and Romanic alphabets, in Russian, and some others, it is 4th; in the Arabic the 5th, and in the Ethiopian language, the 20th.
These languages are much “younger” than the “ancient” languages and most, therefore, are propagations (changes that occurred) to the ancient languages throughout the centuries due to many factors.
The letter G in Freemasonry stands for both the Great Architect of the Universe and Geometry….or, to be more technically correct, it stands for Geometry under the Great Architect of the Universe.
Just as the Supreme Architect of the Universe watches the revolutions of the planets and stars in the sky, so does HE, who placed each of us here, watch each of our movements, hears not only our words, but our thoughts, as well …and it is to HIM that we are ultimately responsible.
Sympathy of the Masonic Lodge of Education http://www.masonic-lodge-of-education.com/letter-g.html