Cats Don’t Get It!

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Lucy seeks and shows affection in the way she nuzzles up to me. She meows gently and quietly — not stridently and persistently like the un-neutered tom who visits our garden making a thorough nuisance of himself.

I often have on hand a glass of orange or lemon squash to sip from. But if she thinks she will get away with it, my furry friend will not hesitate to jump up on to the coffee table to have a quick drink — just too lazy to walk into the kitchen where her bowl of water is always available.

Another thing — the soft chairs in our hall are full of torn fabric where she sharpens her claws even though I have placed a log of wood conveniently outside the kitchen door for her sole use. Yes she has her faults and definitely needs to change her attitude!

But is she capable of change?  I haven’t seen any signs of what I would call a social conscience in her makeup. No contrition at all when I tick her off. She looks at me as if I were just exercising my lungs. Animals of course learn how to gain rewards and avoid punishment. But no public prosecutor would take an animal to court on a criminal charge. Cats are known to be self-willed. But we don’t blame them for doing their own thing – for following their natural inclinations.

It’s otherwise with human beings. We also have a will but is ours not one based on rational understanding? For unlike animals have we not a higher degree of mind that can see beyond the things of the senses? — into a human realm of aesthetics, moral values, and spiritual principles. Not everybody seems to recognise this spiritual dimension to life.  However, many writers such as H.T. Hamblin and Emanuel Swedenborg have pointed to an ineffable realm apart from place, time and even person. An ‘eternal now’ where they found something deeply moving yet not easy to convey in natural language.

And does this higher perception not allow us to reflect on our own actions? A self-examination of which my cat is incapable. On the one hand we are free to make mistakes, rebel against what we know to be good and proper. But on the other hand we have a tremendous opportunity to face in a new direction, to turn our lives round, and even be transformed.

But why would we want to make any personal changes? One reason can be to do with wanting deeper happiness. If you have had a glimpse of something wonderful and beautiful you long to have it back.

Walking through the woods near my home, the other day, I saw a dead branch of a tree without any new growth that you would expect at this time of year – and I smiled ruefully to myself, for I felt a bit like that dead bit of wood. A bit lifeless inside. It was only when the fragrance from the wild flowers were pointed out to me that I took any notice. I saw the bluebells shooting up all over the place and heard the birds singing but they didn’t have the usual uplifting effect on me.

I have noticed this kind of negative state seems to come along when I have become pre-occupied with the wrong things. I have come to learn that personal change for me means less attachment to the things of self; less concern with what others think of me and of getting my own way in things; less priority given to bodily comfort and pleasure.

It is only when we change radio stations and switch into the things of spirit can we hope to feel enlivened and illuminated by the divine source to life. It is not surprising,  that I lacked the zest for life I had previously enjoyed, for I had been turning my back on the divine within; orientating myself away from the mystery that is the changeless force within our being. Without that Christ force we cannot change. But with it anything is possible.

First published in New Vision Magazine

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

 

7th July 2011CategoriesPrivate EthicsTags, , , , , , ,, , , ,  Leave a comment

Religion consists of:

 

 

Jesus Lives! – The Lord God Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth

 

Religion consists of:

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Belief.   Yes, but more:

Faith in unseen truth, acknowledging the One God.   Yes, but more:

Knowledge of the Truth.   Yes, but more:

Understanding of the Truth.   Yes, but more:

A Life led by Understanding of the Truth.   Yes, but more:

A Love which produces a Life led by Understanding of the Truth. Yes, but more:

A Love which produces a Life led by Understanding of the Truth, for Good Uses.

Now you are talking.

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www.biblemeanings.info/NewTruth within BibleMeanings.info

The Great Swedenborgian Debate!

Once upon a time a denomination of the Swedenborgian Church hosted a debate between two Swedenborgian experts on various spiritual topics. The first panelist had suggested that hell was eternal, that the human will was totally corrupt and the kingdom of heaven was not easy to obtain.

The second panelist eventually agreed, reluctantly, that “hell,” at least as theologian Emanuel Swedenborg described it, is an eternal outcome. The reason why this agreement was not immediate was because it seemingly challenged the idea of God’s Infinite love and mercy—which is what gets church pews to fill up.

We now cut to the live and continuing discussion over the other two highly contested remarks made by the first panelist:

“Swedenborg states in many places in his theological writings that the human will has complete control over the human intellect and makes it conform to its own disposition,” said the second panelist. “Therefore, something in the human will must be good in order for individuals to discern and make the best moral choices. So the human will cannot be totally corrupt.”

The second panelist notices the first panelist is shaking his head and immediately begins to provide more supportive ideas for his belief that the human will is not totally corrupt.

“The human understanding is capable of learning and considering nobler ideas, like God’s Ten Commandments, which challenge us to transcend the flawed proclivities of our worldly will. These higher principles of living can last long enough in the brain so that one’s earth-bound will, little by little, gets used to heaven-bound thinking and begin to make better choices,” said panelist number two.

“Nope,” said the first panelist. “The will that we are born with, including all its inclinations and compulsions, is put off during one’s spiritual evolution and salvation. An entirely new ‘heavenly will’ must be created by the Lord God to set the process of salvation in motion. God does not make the old will better.”

Clinging to some residual effect of his earth-born will, the second panelist reacted as if this statement were a personal attack. “Read Swedenborg’s statement in his work Heaven and Hell, number 533. It suggests to me, at least, that the process of salvation is continuous and commences from the old will as it gets better information,” said the visibly irritated second panelist.

“You cannot simply pick a quote by Swedenborg to get the big picture,” replied the first panelist. “My statement that the human will is totally corrupt comes from a synthesis of many of his writings. If we are attentive and look further into this matter we learn that it is not from our native will that God conducts His work of salvation. The Lord works from what Swedenborg called ‘remains.’ These are affections and bits of information that a child experiences in life and the Lord secretly stores away for safekeeping within the unconscious or involuntary mind.  The remains keep the child inwardly connected to heaven and its angels. When the process of spiritual regeneration begins, the Lord activates a person’s remains so that it can become a matrix or plane by which a new will and intellect is generated. This can also be understood as the formation of both a new conscience and a spiritual body, capable of living in heaven’s unique ecosystem.”

“Well, even if you are correct, that doesn’t mean it is difficult to get to heaven,” said the second panelist as he sat back in his seat and folded his arms over his chest.

“Proper humility is the hurdle,” replied the first panelist. “Unfortunately, the human race is allowed to sensate on earth that life and goodness flows out from the person—rather than flow into the person from God and heaven. Even when novice spirits are being prepared for a heavenly life after their departure from this terrestrial orb, they can unexpectedly be put into a situation whereby they experience a most unflattering revelation. Spirits communicate their affections and thoughts with others of their spiritual community. Swedenborg observed an experiment where spirits were temporarily removed from the spiritual community their hearts and minds were intimately conjoined with. This separation caused these particular spirits to enter into a diminished cognitive state whereby they falsely perceived that all goodness and truth proceeded from themselves and was their own. When their error was pointed out to them they became indignant. (Angels have no such illusion.) Accepting such a reality is anti-intuitive to human experience from living on earth, and creates a real challenge to one’s worldview and self-esteem. Acquiring this kind of humility, which is angelic, is not as ‘easy as pie.’”

Dear readers, please comment on which debater you believe made the most convincing points.

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Posted in god, Inner growth, Life after death, love, metaphysics, psychology, Reality, religion, spirituality, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Human

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Spiritual Topics

Human

The Lord, in His essence, is perfect, infinite love given form through perfect, infinite wisdom. Because He is love, and love wants something to give itself to, he created human beings so that we could accept his love and return it, and thus be conjoined with Him.
Two things had to be done for this to work. First, we had to be structured so we would fit into a state of union with the Lord – which means we had to be forms of love and wisdom ourselves. Second, we had to be free to reject the Lord’s love, or the choice would be meaningless (in fact, if we were purely good, with no choice, we would be extensions of the Lord; in that case loving us would the Lord loving Himself, which is contrary to His nature).

The things that make us human, then, are the fact that we have thoughts and feelings (thoughts come from wisdom; feelings come from love), and that we can choose – in freedom – to use those thoughts and feelings to open ourselves up to the Lord’s love and be conjoined to Him.

And how do we do that? By bringing our thoughts and feelings into line with the Lord’s love and wisdom, so His love and wisdom can flow into us. We accomplish this first through our thoughts, which are more external and more under our control than our feelings are. We can fill our minds with the Lord’s teachings through the Word, through ministers, teachers and parents and through the wisdom of people around us. Using those ideas of what is right and wrong, we can force ourselves to stop doing what is wrong and instead do what is right. If we stick to it out of a desire to be good people, the Lord will start rewarding us with joy in doing the right thing, and will eventually change how we feel so that we genuinely love to do what’s good.

If we do that, we will eventually become angels – who are also human, people who once lived in our world and followed the Lord. If we don’t, instead letting selfish loves rule us, we will eventually become evil spirits in hell – who are also human, though barely so, since they reject the Lord’s love.

An interesting aspect of this is the role of freedom. Free choice is essential to our humanity, but it seems like the more we force ourselve to follow rules the less freedom we have, until as angels we do nothing but obey. Following our urges and doing whatever we want seems like a much greater degree of freedom. This, however, is exactly wrong on a spiritual level. If we follow our urges we will end up desiring only evil. Since evil wants only to hurt and dominate others, we will face constant obstacles and resistance to our desires. That will be all the more true in hell, where the Lord prevents evil spirits from doing any actual long-term harm. On the other hand, if we force ourselves to be hind and loving, the Lord will eventually fill us with the desire to be kind and loving – and in heaven, with everyone in such a state, there is no need for rules at all. Every angel does exactly what he or she wants to do.

There is one other aspect of humanity that is worth mentioning. The Writings also tell us that because both heaven and the natural world were created by the Lord, they are in human form just as we are. That means every aspect of life has some analogy to the human body, and to the human spirit. Since humanity is modeled on the Lord, this also means that every aspect of heaven and earth has some analogy to the nature of the Lord. Think about this next time you go for a hike – every leaf on every tree could tell us something about the Lord, if only we could understand it. And every leaf on every tree could tell us something about ourselves, as well.

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Sexual imagery – Too explicit these days?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

sexual imageryWhen it comes to discussing sexual imagery in the media, society as a whole tends to take polarised views. Emotive language is used by those on both sides of the debate – one side being labelled as narrow-minded, prudish and moralistic and the other as being decadent, indecent, and exhibitionist.

Attitude to explicit sexual imagery

Those with a more balanced perspective use more moderate language. They ask whether a relaxed attitude, towards public display of explicit sexual imagery, simply amounts to being liberal, open-minded and tolerant. But they also wonder if sexual explicitness is to do with a lack of spiritual awareness about the deeper significance of the sexual relationship. Are we pushing permissiveness too far?

Public sexual imagery has become more explicit

Whatever your view of the rights and wrongs of the situation, there is no doubt that sexual imagery is becoming increasingly overt in the western world. We have started to see the sale of sexually suggestive clothes for children. In Britain the television programmes that people have traditionally watched as family viewing, such as talent shows and soap operas, are starting to push the boundaries of acceptability by including more sexual imagery and suggestiveness.

The rapidly changing technological environment has its benefits in so many ways but has also made the seamier side of humanity inescapable. Sexual imagery  showing provocative dress and intimate contact are being used not only in the content of television programmes, music videos, websites, magazines and newspapers, but also by the commercial world through advertising and marketing.

Boundaries between sexual imagery and soft porn?

There has been a blurring of boundaries between ‘adult soft porn’ material and the mainstream. More television drama and movies depict sexual intercourse as entertainment

In a sense the exercise of sexual freedom means people can be more honest about who they really are; no longer forced to pretend to want to act in certain ways. Many are exercising freedom to express what they want.

Today, those who believe that human beings are sufficiently mature to be trusted with how to live their lives — the right to make choices, not necessarily the best ones — support permissiveness. Liberals support the right to choose because they believe that it is only through having to make choices that people gain the maturity that is needed to conduct their private and public affairs.

Effect on children of sexual imagery

Although there is currently insufficient evidence to prove conclusively there is harm to children caused by an openly sexualized society, the ‘Letting Children Be Children’ Report by the Mothers Union, points out that this does not mean that no harm exists.

According to their research nearly nine out of 10 parents surveyed agreed with the statement that ‘these days children are under pressure to grow up too quickly’ with the pressure to take part in a sexualized life before they are ready to do so being a major factor. Sadly, some parent contributors even felt that there is ‘no escape’ and, for children, no ‘clear space’ where they can simply be themselves. It would seem that many mass media editors are out of touch with concerns of parents.

Attitude to sexual imagery reflects one’s view of sexual relationship

People may ask:

  • Isn’t sex a basic drive that needs to be satisfied, just like hunger and thirst?
  • Isn’t sexual expression one of our inherent freedoms?
  • Isn’t sexuality a way of expressing our unique individuality

To answer yes to these questions may be correct but it is to miss the point, for it ignores the sense of purity, innocence, and decency with respect to a valued sexual partnership. And so how one views sex seems to go to the heart of the matter. Some would say that it is pleasurable experience that can be enjoyed in its own right. For others it is also a way of forging intimate connections. And yet others feel that it is delightful expression of love in a monogamous relationship perhaps leading to procreation.

For Swedenborg sexual union ideally mirrors what he termed ‘conjugial love’, an exclusive close relationship between a man and woman that enables love and wisdom to act together fully in their lives more so than either partner could achieve alone.  And so Swedenborg recommends sexual restraint, modesty and purity of thought.

A deep desire for the success of a one to one relationship means not wanting to hurt your partner by having sexual relationships outside the partnership. According to this view, sexual pleasure can increase alongside the growth of deeper happiness if we do not permit ourselves infidelity. Also if we avoid loose sexual conduct and smutty thoughts about someone. Likewise a Buddhist precept is to avoid sexual misconduct.

Most what I call ‘sexual disorder’ involves error of judgment, human shortcoming, going astray, acting contrary to Divine order, and failing to follow spiritual principles. I believe such behaviour is associated with ignorance, or self-interest and may result in skin-deep pleasure that cannot last.

Spiritual order in moderation and self-control

The argument is that living in spiritual order is being in a better position to receive heavenly influx. It enables people to experience the depth of joy and fulfillment. There is a parallel between order at an individual level and the degree of social order within a group or community. All people ideally need to live in external order.

Brian Kingslake a student of Swedenborg’s writings once wrote:

“The Epicureans in ancient Rome, who made the search for happiness their goal and were the experts on the subject, found that permissiveness was not the solution to their problem. If they over-ate, they got indigestion; if they over-drank, they got a headache, which were far from being happy states! And if they had too much sex, sex ceased to give them pleasure. Their conclusion was that moderation and self-control were necessary if you were to enjoy life to the full.”

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on21st June 2011CategoriesEthics, Private EthicsTags, ,, , , , , ,, , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , ,, , ,  Leave a comment

The Lord

HR90 THE SCIENCE OF CORRESPONDENCE

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THE LORD >> The Word >> Good >> Truth >> Love >> Wisdom >> Glory
>> Bridegroom >> Father of Eternity >> Divine Human >> Jehovah

GOD ALONE, CONSEQUENTLY THE LORD, IS LOVE ITSELF,

BECAUSE HE IS LIFE ITSELF AND ANGELS AND MEN ARE RECIPIENTS OF LIFE.

sunpThis will be fully shown in treatises on Divine Providence and on Life; it is sufficient here to say that the Lord, who is the God of the universe, is uncreate and infinite,  whereas man and angel are created and finite.  And because the Lord is uncreate and infinite, He is Being [Esse] itself, which is called “Jehovah,” and Life itself, or Life in itself. From the uncreate, the infinite, Being itself and Life itself, no one can be created immediately, because the Divine is one and indivisible; but their creation must be out of things created and finited, and so formed that the Divine can be in them. Because men and angels are such, they are recipients of life. Consequently, if any man suffers himself to be so far misled as to think that he is not a recipient of life but is Life, he cannot be withheld from the thought that he is God. A man’s feeling as if he were life, and therefore believing himself to be so, arises from fallacy; for the principal cause is not perceived in the instrumental cause otherwise than as one with it. That the Lord is Life in Himself, He Himself teaches in John:

As the Father hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (5:26)

He declares also that He is Life itself (John 11:25; 14:6). Now since life and love are one (as is apparent from what has been said above, n. 1, 2), it follows that the Lord, because He is Life itself, is Love itself. [DLW4]

But that this may reach the understanding, it must needs be known positively that the Lord, because He is Love in its very essence, that is, Divine Love, appears before the angels in heaven as a sun, and that from that sun heat and light go forth; the heat which goes forth therefrom being in its essence love, and the light which goes forth therefrom being in its essence wisdom; and that so far as the angels are recipients of that spiritual heat and of that spiritual light, they are loves and wisdoms; not loves and wisdoms from themselves, but from the Lord. That spiritual heat and that spiritual light not only flow into angels and affect them, but they also flow into men and affect them just to the extent that they become recipients; and they become recipients in the measure of their love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor. That sun itself, that is, the Divine Love, by its heat and its light, cannot create any one immediately from itself; for one so created would be Love in its essence, which Love is the Lord Himself; but it can create from substances and matters so formed as to be capable of receiving the very heat and the very light; comparatively as the sun of the world cannot by its heat and light produce germinations on the earth immediately, but only out of earthy matters in which it can be present by its heat and light, and cause vegetation. In the spiritual world the Divine Love of the Lord appears as a sun, and from it proceed the spiritual heat and the spiritual light from which the angels derive love and wisdom, as may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 116-140). [DLW5]

Since, then, man is not life, but is a recipient of life, it follows that the conception of a man from his father is not a conception of life, but only a conception of the first and purest form capable of receiving life; and to this, as to a nucleus or starting-point in the womb, are successively added substances and matters in forms adapted to the reception of life, in their order and degree. [DLW6]

GOD IS VERY MAN.

In all the heavens there is no other idea of God than that He is a Man.  This is because heaven as a whole and in part is in form like a man, and because it is the Divine which is with the angels that constitutes heaven and inasmuch as thought proceeds according to the form of heaven, it is impossible for the angels to think of God in any other way. From this it is that all those in the world who are conjoined with heaven think of God in the same way when they think interiorly in themselves, that is, in their spirit. From this fact that God is a Man, all angels and all spirits, in their complete form, are men. This results from the form of heaven, which is like itself in its greatest and in its least parts. That heaven as a whole and in part is in form like a man may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 59-87); and that thoughts proceed according to the form of heaven (n. 203, 204). It is known from Genesis (1:26, 27), that men were created after the image and likeness of God. God also appeared as a man to Abraham and to others. The ancients, from the wise even to the simple, thought of God no otherwise than as being a Man; and when at length they began to worship a plurality of gods, as at Athens and Rome, they worshiped them all as men. What is here said may be illustrated by the following extract from a small treatise already published:

The Gentiles, especially the Africans, who acknowledge and worship one God, the Creator of the universe, have concerning God the idea that He is a Man, and declare that no one can have any other idea of God. When they learn that there are many who cherish an idea of God as something cloud-like in the midst of things, they ask where such persons are; and on being told that they are among Christians, they declare it to be impossible. They are informed, however, that this idea arises from the fact that God in the Word is called “a Spirit,” and of a spirit they have no other idea than of a bit of cloud, not knowing that every spirit and every angel is a man. An examination, nevertheless, was made, whether the spiritual idea of such persons was like their natural idea, and it was found not to be so with those who acknowledge the Lord interiorly as God of heaven and earth. I heard a certain elder from the Christians say that no one can have an idea of a Human Divine; and I saw him taken about to various Gentile nations, and successively to such as were more and more interior, and from them to their heavens, and finally to the Christian heaven; and everywhere their interior perception concerning God was communicated to him, and he observed that they had no other idea of God than that He is a man, which is the same as the idea of a Human Divine (C.L.J. n. 74). [DLW11]

The common people in Christendom have an idea that God is a Man, because God in the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity is called a “Person.” But those who are more learned than the common people pronounce God to be invisible; and this for the reason that they cannot comprehend how God, as a Man, could have created heaven and earth, and then fill the universe with His presence, and many things besides, which cannot enter the understanding so long as the truth that the Divine is not in space is ignored. Those, however, who go to the Lord alone think of a Human Divine, thus of God as a Man. [DLW12]

How important it is to have a correct idea of God can be known from the truth that the idea of God constitutes the inmost of thought with all who have religion, for all things of religion and all things of worship look to God. And since God, universally and in particular, is in all things of religion and of worship, without a proper idea of God no communication with the heavens is possible. From this it is that in the spiritual world every nation has its place allotted in accordance with its idea of God as a Man; for in this idea, and in no other, is the idea of the Lord. That man’s state of life after death is according to the idea of God in which he has become confirmed, is manifest from the opposite of this, namely, that the denial of God, and, in the Christian world, the denial of the Divinity of the Lord, constitutes hell. [DLW13]

IN GOD-MAN ESSE AND EXISTERE* ARE ONE DISTINCTLY**

Where there is Esse [being] there is Existere [taking form]; one is not possible apart from the other. For Esse is by means of Existere, and not apart from it. This the rational mind comprehends when it thinks whether there can possibly be any Esse [being] which does not Exist [take form], and whether there can possibly be Existere except from Esse. And since one is possible with the other, and not apart from the other, it follows that they are one, but one distinctly. They are one distinctly, like Love and Wisdom; in fact, love is Esse, and wisdom is Existere; for there can be no love except in wisdom, nor can there be any wisdom except from love; consequently when love is in wisdom, then it EXISTS. These two are one in such a way that they may be distinguished in thought but not in operation, and because they may be distinguished in thought though not in operation, it is said that they are one distinctly.*** Esse and Existere in God-Man are also one distinctly like soul and body. There can be no soul apart from its body, nor body apart from its soul. The Divine soul of God-Man is what is meant by Divine Esse, and the Divine Body is what is meant by Divine Existere. That a soul can exist apart from a body, and can think and be wise, is an error springing from fallacies; for every man’s soul is in a spiritual body after it has cast off the material coverings which it carried about in the world. [DLW14]

Esse is not Esse unless it Exists, because until then it is not in a form, and if not in a form it has no quality; and what has no quality is not anything. That which Exists from Esse, for the reason that it is from Esse, makes one with it. From this there is a uniting of the two into one; and from this each is the others mutually and interchangeably, and each is all in all things of the other as in itself. [DLW15]

From this it can be seen that God is a Man, and consequently He is God-Existing; not existing from Himself but in Himself. He who has existence in Himself is God from whom all things are. [DLW16]

IN GOD-MAN INFINITE THINGS ARE ONE DISTINCTLY.

That God is infinite is well known, for He is called the Infinite; and He is called the Infinite because He is infinite. He is infinite not from this alone, that He is very Esse and Existere in itself, but because in Him there are infinite things. An infinite without infinite things in it, is infinite in name only. The infinite things in Him cannot be called infinitely many, nor infinitely all, because of the natural idea of many and of all; for the natural idea of infinitely many is limited, and the natural idea of infinitely all, though not limited, is derived from limited things in the universe. Therefore man, because his ideas are natural, is unable by any refinement or approximation, to come into a perception of the infinite things in God; and an angel, while he is able, because he is in spiritual ideas, to rise by refinement and approximation above the degree of man, is still unable to attain to that perception. [DLW17]

That in God there are infinite things, any one may convince himself who believes that God is a Man; for, being a Man, He has a body and every thing pertaining to it, that is, a face, breast, abdomen, loins and feet; for without these He would not be a Man. And having these, He also has eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and tongue; also the parts within man, as the heart and lungs, and their dependencies, all of which, taken together, make man to be a man. In a created man these parts are many, and regarded in their details of structure are numberless; but in God-Man they are infinite, nothing whatever is lacking, and from this He has infinite perfection. This comparison holds between the uncreated Man who is God and created man, because God is a Man; and He Himself says that the man of this world was created after His image and into His likeness (Gen. 1:26, 27). [DLW18]

That in God there are infinite things, is still more evident to the angels from the heavens in which they dwell. The whole heaven, consisting of myriads of myriads of angels, in its universal form is like a man. So is each society of heaven, be it larger or smaller. From this, too, an angel is a man, for an angel is a heaven in least form. (This is shown in the work  Heaven and Hell, n. 51-86.) Heaven as a whole, in part, and in the individual, is in that form by virtue of the Divine which angels receive; for in the measure in which an angel receives from the Divine is he in complete form a man. From this it is that angels are said to be in God, and God in them; also, that God is their all. How many things there are in heaven cannot be told; and because the Divine is what makes heaven, and consequently these unspeakably many things are from the Divine, it is clearly evident that there are infinite things in Very Man, who is God. [DLW19]

From the created universe a like conclusion may be drawn when it is regarded from uses and their correspondences. But before this can be understood some preliminary illustrations must be given. [DLW20]

Because in God-Man there are infinite things which appear in heaven, in angel, and in man, as in a mirror; and because God-Man is not in space (as was shown above, n. 7-10), it can, to some extent, be seen and comprehended how God can be Omnipresent, Omniscient, and All-providing; and how, as Man, He could create all things, and as Man can hold the things created by Himself in their order to eternity. [DLW21]

That in God-Man infinite things are one distinctly, can also be seen, as in a mirror, from man. In man there are many and numberless things, as said above; but still man feels them all as one. From sensation he knows nothing of his brains, of his heart and lungs, of his liver, spleen, and pancreas; or of the numberless things in his eyes, ears, tongue, stomach, generative organs, and the remaining parts; and because from sensation he has no knowledge of these things, he is to himself as a one. The reason is that all these are in such a form that not one can be lacking; for it is a form recipient of life from God-Man (as was shown above, n. 4-6).  From the order and connection of all things in such a form there comes the feeling, and from that the idea, as if they were not many and numberless, but were one. From this it may be concluded that the many and numberless things which make in man a seeming one, a Very Man who is God, are one distinctly, yea, most distinctly. [DLW22]

THERE IS ONE GOD-MAN, FROM WHOM ALL THINGS COME.

All things of human wisdom unite, and as it were center in this, that there is one God, the Creator of the universe: consequently a man who has reason, from the general nature of his understanding, does not and cannot think otherwise. Say to any man of sound reason that there are two Creators of the universe, and you will be sensible of his repugnance, and this, perhaps, from the mere sound of the phrase in his ear; from which it appears that all things of human reason unite and center in this, that God is one. There are two reasons for this. First, the very capacity to think rationally, viewed in itself, is not man’s, but is God’s in man; upon this capacity human reason in its general nature depends, and this general nature of reason causes man to see as from himself that God is one. Secondly, by means of that capacity man either is in the light of heaven, or he derives the generals of his thought therefrom; and it is a universal of the light of heaven that God is one.  It is otherwise when man by that capacity has perverted the lower parts of his understanding; such a man indeed is endowed with that capacity, but by the twist given to these lower parts, he turns it contrariwise, and thereby his reason becomes unsound. [DLW23]

Every man, even if unconsciously, thinks of a body of men as of one man; therefore he instantly perceives what is meant when it is said that a king is the head, and the subjects are the body, also that this or that person has such a place in the general body, that is, in the kingdom.  As it is with the body politic, so is it with the body spiritual. The body spiritual is the church; its head is God-Man; and from this it is plain how the church thus viewed as a man would appear if instead of one God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, several were thought of.  The church thus viewed would appear as one body with several heads; thus not as a man, but as a monster. If it be said that these heads have one essence, and that thus together they make one head, the only conception possible is either that of one head with several faces or of several heads with one face; thus making the church, viewed as a whole, appear deformed. But in truth, the one God is the head, and the church is the body, which acts under the command of the head, and not from itself; as is also the case in man; and from this it is that there can be only one king in a kingdom, for several kings would rend it asunder, but one is able to preserve its unity. [DLW24]

So would it be with the church scattered throughout the whole globe, which is called a communion, because it is as one body under one head.  It is known that the head rules the body under it at will; for understanding and will have their seat in the head; and in conformity to the understanding and will the body is directed, even to the extent that the body is nothing but obedience. As the body can do nothing except from the understanding and will in the head, so the man of the church can do nothing except from God. The body seems to act of itself, as if the hands and feet in acting are moved of themselves; or the mouth and tongue in speaking vibrate of themselves, when, in fact, they do not in the slightest degree act of themselves, but only from an affection of the will and the consequent thought of the understanding in the head.  Suppose, now, one body to have several heads and each head to be free to act from its own understanding and its own will, could such a body continue to exist? For among several heads singleness of purpose, such as results from one head would be impossible. As in the church, so in the heavens; heaven consists of myriads of myriads of angels, and unless these all and each looked to one God, they would fall away from one another and heaven would be broken up. Consequently, if an angel of heaven but thinks of a plurality of gods he is at once separated; for he is cast out into the outmost boundary of the heavens, and sinks downward. [DLW25]

Because the whole heaven and all things of heaven have relation to one God, angelic speech is such that by a certain unison flowing from the unison of heaven it closes in a single cadence – a proof that it is impossible for the angels to think otherwise than of one God; for speech is from thought. [DLW26]

When, however, the Lord appears in heaven, which often occurs, He does not appear encompassed with a sun, but in the form of an angel, yet distinguished from angels by the Divine shining through from His face, since He is not there in person, for in person the Lord is constantly encompassed by the sun, but He is present by look.  For it is a common occurrence in heaven for persons to appear to be present in a place where their look is fixed or is terminated, even when this place is far away from where they really are. This presence is called the presence of internal sight, which will be treated of further on. I have also seen the Lord out of the sun in an angelic form, at a height a little below the sun; also near by in a like form, with shining face, and once in the midst of angels as a flame-like radiance.[HH121]

As it is from the Divine love that is in and from Him that the Lord appears in heaven like a sun, so all in the heavens are turned constantly to Him those in the celestial kingdom to Him as a sun and those in the spiritual kingdom to Him as a moon. But those that are in hell turn themselves to an opposite darkness and dense darkness, that is, they turn backwards, away from the Lord; and for the reason that all in the hells are in love of self and the world, thus antagonistic to the Lord. Those who turn themselves to the dense darkness that is in the place where this world’s sun is are in the hells behind, and are called genii; while those that turn themselves to the darkness that is in the place of the moon are in the hells more in front, and are called spirits. This is why those in the hells are said to be in darkness, and those in the heavens in light, “darkness” signifying falsity from evil, and “light” truth from good.  They so turn themselves because all in the other life look towards what rules in their interiors, thus to their loves; and with angels and spirits the interiors determine the face; and in the spiritual world quarters are not fixed, as in the natural world, but are determined by the face. In respect to his spirit man turns himself in like manner as a spirit does, backwards from the Lord if he is in love of self and the world, and towards the Lord if he is in love to the Lord and the neighbor. But of this man is ignorant, because he is in the natural world where quarters are determined by the rising and setting of the sun. But as this cannot be easily comprehended by men it will be elucidated hereafter when Quarters, Space, and Time in Heaven are treated of. [HH123]

Because the Lord is the sun of heaven and everything that is from Him looks to Him, He is also the common center, the source of all direction and determination.{1} So, too, all things beneath are in His presence and under His auspices, both in the heavens and on the earths.[HH124]

From all this what has been said and shown in previous chapters about the Lord may now be seen in clearer light, namely:

That He is the God of heaven (n. 2-6).

That it is His Divine that makes heaven (n. 7-12).

That the Lord’s Divine in heaven is love to Him and charity towards the neighbor (n. 13-19).

That there is a correspondence of all things of the world with heaven, and through heaven with the Lord (n. 87-115).

Also that the sun and moon of the world are correspondences (n. 105). [HH125]

Author: EMANUEL. SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/white-horse.htm

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Copyright © 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

 

 

Holy Spirit

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Spiritual Topics

Holy Spirit


The nature of the Holy Spirit is a topic where there’s a marked difference between standard Christian theology and the New Christian perspective. The “official” dogma of most Christian teaching is that the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons that make up one God, in the role of reaching out to people with the power of God to bring them into a desire for righteousness. He is perceived to be proceeding from the other two: God the Father and Jesus the Son.

That old formulation was the result of three centuries of debate among early Christians, as they tried to understand the nature of God. At that time, there was a sizeable minority that rejected the God-in-three-persons view, but — the majority won out, at the Council of Nicea, in 325 AD.

The New Christian teaching is more akin to some of the old minority viewpoints. It regards the Holy Spirit as a force, or activity, coming from God — not a separate being. This aligns with our everyday understanding of “spirit” as the projection of someone’s personality. It also accounts for the fact that the term “the Holy Spirit” does not occur in Old Testament, which instead uses phrases such “the spirit of God,” “the spirit of Jehovah” and “the spirit of the Lord,” where the idea of spirit connected closely with the person of God.

The Writings describe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three attributes of one person: the soul, body and spirit of the one God. They also say that the term “Holy Spirit” emerges in the New Testament because it is connected with the Lord’s advent in the physical body of Jesus, and because of the way that advent changed the way we can learn the Lord’s truth and become good people.

According to the Writings, the churches that came before the advent were “representative.” The people in them (in the best of those churches, anyway) knew that the Lord had created the world, and that the world was thus an image of the Lord, and they had the ability to look at that created world and understand its spiritual messages; they could look at the world and understand the Lord. And they did it without trying and with great depth, much the way we can read a book when what we’re actually seeing is a bunch of black squiggles on a white sheet of paper.

That ability was eventually twisted into idol-worship and magic, however, as people slid into evil. The Lord used the Children of Israel to preserve symbolic forms of worship, but even they didn’t know the deeper meaning of the rituals they followed. With the world thus bereft of real understanding, the Lord took on a human body so He could offer people new ideas directly. That’s why the Writings say that He represents divine truth (“the Word became flesh,” as it is put in John 1:14).

The Holy Spirit at heart also represents divine truth, the truth offered by the Lord through his ministry in the world and its record in the New Testament. The term “the Holy Spirit” is also used in a more general sense to mean the divine activity and the divine effect, which work through true teachings to have an impact on our lives.

Such a direct connection between the Lord and us was not something that could come through representatives; it had to come from the Lord as a man walking the earth during His physical life or – in modern times – through the image we have of Him as a man in His physical life. That’s why people did not receive the Holy Spirit before the Lord’s advent.

What we have now, though, is a full-blown idea of the Lord, with God the Father representing His soul, the Son representing his body, and the Holy Spirit representing His actions and His impact on people.

(References: Doctrine of the Lord 58; True Christian Religion 138, 139, 140, 142, 153, 158, 163, 164, 166, 167, 168, 170, 172)

http://newchristianbiblestudy.org/

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