God is not in Space

God is not in Space

That God, and the Divine which immediately proceeds from Him, is not in space, although He is omnipresent,—even with every man in the world, with every angel in heaven, and with every spirit under heaven,—cannot be comprehended by a merely natural conception; but it can be in some measure by a spiritual conception. The reason why it cannot be comprehended by a merely natural conception, is that in this there is space; for it is formed from such things as are in the world, in all and each of which, that appear before the eyes, there is space. Every idea of great and small, in the world, is according to space; all length, breadth, and height,—in a word, every measure, figure, and form therein, is of space. But yet a man may comprehend it by natural thought if only he admits into it something of spiritual light. Something shall therefore first be said concerning a spiritual conception and thought thence. A spiritual conception derives nothing from space, but derives its all from state. State is predicated of love, of life, of wisdom, of affections, ant of the joys from these; in general, of good and of truth. A truly spiritual conception of these has nothing in common with space. It is higher, and sees conceptions derived from space below itself, as heaven looks down upon the earth. But as angels and spirits equally with men see with their eyes, and objects cannot be seen except in space, therefore in the spiritual world, where spirits and angels dwell, spaces appear similar to the spaces on earth. And yet they are not spaces, but appearances; for they are not fixed and stated as on earth, but may be lengthened and shortened, may be changed and varied. Now because they thus cannot be determined by measurement, they cannot there be comprehended by any natural conception, but only by a spiritual conception; which conception of distances in space is no other than as of distances of good, or distances of truth, which are affinities and likenesses according to their states. It is evident from these considerations that by a merely natural conception a man cannot comprehend that the Divine is everywhere, and yet not in space; and that angels and spirits comprehend it clearly: consequently, that man also can do so, if only he admit some­thing of spiritual light into his thought. The reason that man can comprehend it is because it is not his body that thinks but his spirit, thus not his natural but his spiritual. And the reason why many do not comprehend it is that they love the natural, and are therefore not willing to elevate the thoughts of their un­derstanding above it into spiritual light; and they who will not cannot think even of God except from space, and to think of God from space is to think of the expanse of nature. (DLW n. 7-9)

An angel of heaven can by no means think otherwise, when he thinks of the divine omnipresence, than that the Divine fills all things without space. What an angel thinks is truth, because the light which enlightens his understanding is divine wisdom. This thought concerning God is fundamental; for without it what is to be said of the creation of the universe from God Man, and of His providence, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, though it should be understood cannot be retained. Because the merely natural man, when he understands them, relapses yet into his life’s love, which is of his will; and this love dissipates, and immerses them in space, in which what he calls his rational light is,—not knowing that in proportion as he denies those things he is irrational. (DLW n. 71, 72)

The very Divine Essence is Love and Wisdom

No one can deny that in God love, and at the same time wisdom, is in its very essence; for He loves all from love in Himself, and leads all from wisdom in Himself. The created universe too, viewed in relation to its order, is so full of wisdom from love, that it may be said all things in the complex are wisdom itself; for things innumerable are in such order, suc­cessive and simultaneous, that together they constitute one. It is from this, and no otherwise, that they can be held together and perpetually preserved.

It is because the very Divine essence is love and wisdom that man has two faculties of life, from one of which he has his under­standing, and from the other his will. The faculty from which he has his understanding derives all that it has from the influx of wisdom from God; and the faculty from which he has his will derives all that it has from the influx of love from God. That man is not justly wise, and does not exercise his love justly, does not take away the faculties, but inwardly closes them. (DLW n. 29, 30)

The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom are Substance and Form

The common idea of men, concerning love and wisdom, is that of a something volatile, and floating in subtle air or ether; or of an exhalation from something of the kind; scarcely any one thinks that they are really and actually substance and form. Those who see that they are substance and form, yet perceive love and wisdom out of their subject, as issuing from it; and that which they perceive out of the subject, as issuing from it, though it is perceived as a something volatile and floating, they also call substance and form; not knowing that love and wisdom are the subject itself, and that what is perceived as a something volatile and floating without it is only an appearance of the state of the subject within itself. The reasons why this has not heretofore been seen are several: one is, that appearances are the first things from which the human mind forms its understanding, and that it cannot shake them off but by an investigation of the cause; and if the cause lies very deep, it cannot investigate it without keeping the understanding, for some time, in spiritual light, in which it cannot keep it long, by reason of the natural light which contin­ually draws it down. The truth however is, that love and wisdom are very and actual substance and form, and constitute the subject itself.

But as this is contrary to appearance, it may seem not to merit belief unless it be shown, and it cannot be shown, except by such things as a man can perceive by his bodily senses; wherefore it shall be shown by them. A man has five senses, which are called feeling, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. The subject of feeling is the skin, with which a man is encompassed, the substance and form of the skin causing it to feel what is applied; the sense of feeling is not in the things which are applied, but in the substance and form of the skin, which is the subject; the sense is only an affection thereof, from the things applied. It is the same with the taste; this sense is only an affection of the substance and form of the tongue; the tongue is the subject. So with the smell; it is well known that odours affect the nose, and are in the nose, and that there is an affection thereof from odoriferous substances touching it. So with the hearing; it appears as if the hearing were in the place where the sound begins; but the hearing is in the ear, and is an affec­tion of its substance and form; that the hearing is at a distance from the ear is an appearance. So also with the sight; it appears, when a man sees objects at a distance, as if the sight were there, but yet it is in the eye, which is the subject, and is, in like manner, an affection thereof; the distance is only from the judgment forming its conclusions of space from intermediate objects, or from the diminution and consequent obscuration of the object, the a image of which is produced within the eye according to the angle of incidence. It hence appears that the sight does not go from the eye to the object, but that the image of the object enters the eye, and affects its substance and form. For it is the same with the sight, as with the hearing; the hear­ing does not go out of the ear to catch the sound, but the sound enters the ear and affects it. It thus appears that the affection of a substance and form, which constitutes sense, is not a thing separate from the subject, but only causes a change in it, the subject remaining the subject then, as before, and after. Hence it follows that sight, hearing, smell, taste, and feeling, are not a something volatile flawing from those organs, but that they are the organs themselves, considered in their substance and form, and that whilst they are affected the sense is produced.

It is the same with love and wisdom, with this only difference, that the substances and forms which are love and wisdom are not extant before the eyes, like the organs of the external senses. But still no one can deny that those things of wisdom and love which are called thoughts, perceptions, and affections, are sub­stances and forms, and that they are not volatile entities flowing from nothing, or abstract from that real and actual substance and form which is the subject. For in the brain there are innumerable substances and forms, in which every interior sense that has relation to the understanding and the will, resides. The affections, perceptions, and thoughts there are not all exhalations from the substances, but are actually and really the subjects, which do not emit anything from themselves, but only undergo changes, according to the influences which affect them, as may evi­dently appear from what has been said above concerning the senses.

Hence it may first be seen that the Divine love and the Divine wisdom in themselves are substance and form, for they are very Being and Existing; and if they were not such a Being and Existing as that they are substance and form, they would be a mere creature of reason which in itself is not anything. (DLW n. 40-43)