It is good to be all in one place, many people rarely are.
There is a lot of religious symbolism that came to be admixed with alchemical lore as was perhaps inevitable. Much of Christian Gnosticism is heavy with alchemical symbolism, and with that connection, we move on to the philosopher’s stone itself. It could be created in two forms, a white stone and a red. The white stone was the less mature version of the red, and thus less powerful.
First and last. Yes, alpha and omega.
A god casting lightening would be Alchemy? In a sense, yes that’s true, and the first matter would be the substance of the gods own being. The first matter when condensed down to a locus is what gives you the philosopher’s stone.
Important note: Alchemists saw no difference between living matter and unliving. They saw, in the active cycles of our physical world, life processes being carried out by living things. That schism even today is not adequately explained. Biology is just a subset of chemistry taking on mechanical aspects, bodies being chemical machines, and life according to scientists is nothing more than the mechanism of the body being working or active.
Could this philosopher’s stone be the Holy Grail? It could indeed, but actually that cup would be the vessel for the elixir of life or the blood of the Christ which later alchemists saw as being the incarnation of the philosophers stone.
So alchemists believed the same as chemists do? They believe the mirror opposite.
Alchemists believed everything was living and chemists believe everything is unliving? Exactly. Alchemists saw everything behaving according to the spirit in it, or pneuma, the spark of the first matter. For scientists, living behaviour is just an incidental emergent property of physical matter, an accident of the right balance of materials.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.