[“By “the Lord,” in the Writings of Swedenborg, the Lord Jesus Christ is always meant, or God incarnate, afterwards glorified. (AC n. 14)]

The Divine Human from Eternity

In heaven the Divine Human of the Lord is all; the reason is, because no one there, not even an angel of the inmost or third heaven, can have any conception of the Divine itself; according to the Lord’s words in John, “No man hath seen God at any time” (i. 18). “Ye have neither heard the voice of the Father at any time, nor seen His shape” (v. 37). For the angels are finite, and what is finite can have no conception of the infinite. In heaven therefore, if they had not an idea of God in the human shape, they would have no idea, or an unbecoming one; and thus they could not be conjoined with the Divine either by faith or love. This being so, therefore in heaven they perceive the Divine in the human form. Hence it is that in the heavens the Divine Human is the all in their intuitions concerning the Divine; and is thus the all in their faith and love; whence comes conjunction, and by conjunction salvation. (AC n. 7211)

That Jehovah appearing means the appearing of the Lord’s Divine in His Human, is evident from this, that. His Divine cannot appear to any man, nor even to any angel, except by the Divine Human; and the Divine Human cannot appear but by the Divine Truth which proceeds from Him. (ibid. n. 6945)

When Jehovah appeared before the coming of the Lord into the world He appeared in the form of an angel; for when He passed through heaven He clothed Himself with that form, which was the human form. For the universal heaven, by virtue of the Divine there, is as one man, called the Greatest Man. Hence then is the Divine Human; and as Jehovah appeared in the human form as an angel, it is evident that it was still Jehovah himself; and that very form was also His, because it was His Divine in heaven. This was the Lord from eternity. (ibid. n. 10,579)

When the Lord made His Human Divine He did this from the Divine, by transflux through heaven. Not that heaven contributed anything of itself, but that the very Divine might flow into the human it flowed in through heaven. This transflux was the Divine Human before the coming of the Lord, and was Jehovah Himself in the heavens, or the Lord. (ibid. n. 6720)

The Fall was Gradual and Successive

The Fall was Gradual and Successive

From what is here stated respecting the first man, it is manifest that all the hereditary evil existing at the present day was not derived from him, as is commonly but erroneously supposed…. With respect to hereditary evil the case is this: Every one who commits actual sin acquires a nature conformable to it, whence evil is implanted in his children, and becomes hereditary. Consequently it is derived from each particular parent, from his father, his grandfather, his great-grandfather, and their ancestors; and is thus multiplied and augmented in each descending generation. And it remains with each, and is increased in each by actual sin; nor does it ever become dissipated or lose its baneful influence except in those who are regenerated by the Lord. Every attentive observer may see evidence of this truth in the fact that the evil inclinations of parents visibly remain in their children; so that a family, yea, an entire race, may be thereby distinguished from every other. (AC n. 313)

The Nature and Extent of Hereditary Evil

Hereditary evil from the father is interior; and hereditary evil from the mother is exterior. The former cannot easily be eradicated, but the latter can be. When man is regenerated, the hereditary evil inrooted from the next parents is extirpated; but it remains with those who are not regenerated, or not capable of being regenerated. This then is hereditary evil. This is evident to every one who reflects; and further, from the fact that every family has some peculiar evil or good by which it is distinguished from other families; and it is known that this is from parents and ancestors. It is so in regard to the Jewish nation which remains at this day; which it is very manifest is distinct and may be known from other nations, not only by their peculiar genius, but also by their manners, speech, and counte­nance. But few know what hereditary evil is. It is believed to consist in doing evil; but it consists in willing and thence thinking evil. Hereditary evil is in the will itself, and thence in the thought, and is the very tendency which is within it; and even adjoins itself when a man does good. It is known by the delight which arises when evil befalls another. That root lies deeply hidden, for the very interior form recipient of good and truth from heaven, or through heaven from the Lord, is depraved, and so to speak, detorted; so that when good and truth flow in from the Lord they are either turned aside, perverted, or suffocated. Hence it is that there is no perception of good and truth at this day, but instead of it the regenerate conscience, which acknowledges as good and true what is learned from parents and masters. It is of hereditary evil to love self in preference to another; to will evil to another if he does not honour self; to perceive delight in revenge; also to love the world, and all the lusts or evil affections thence derived, more than heaven. Man does not know that such things are in him; and still less that such things are opposite to heavenly affections. But yet in the other life it is manifestly shown how much of hereditary evil every one has attracted to himself by actual life; also how much he has removed himself from heaven by evil affections from it. (AC n. 4317)

Every man is born, of his parents, into the evils of the love of self and of the world. Every evil which by habit has as it were contracted a nature, is derived into the offspring; thus successively from parents, from grandfathers, and from great-grandfathers, in a long series backward. Hence the derivation of evil is at length become so great that all man’s own life is nothing else but evil. This continued derived [evil] is not broken and altered except by a life of faith and charity from the Lord. (ibid, n. 8550)

External Respiration, and the Origin of Verbal Language by the Fall

External Respiration, and the Origin of Verbal Language by the Fall

As internal respiration ceased, external respiration almost like that of the present day succeeded; and with this came the language of words, or the determination of the ideas of thought into articulate sounds. Thus the state of man became entirely changed, and he became such that he was unable any longer to have that perception enjoyed by the Most Ancient Church. But instead of perception, he had another kind of dictate, which, as it resembled so it may be called conscience, although it was intermediate in nature between perception and the conscience known to some in the present day. When the ideas of thought became thus determined into verbal expressions, the capacity of being instructed through the internal man, possessed by the most an­cient people, ceased, and the external became the inlet to knowledge. Then, therefore, doctrinals succeeded to the reve­lations of the Most Ancient Church; which being first apprehended by the external senses were afterwards formed into the material ideas of the memory, and thence into the ideas of thought, by which and according to which they were instructed. Hence it was that this church, which succeeded to the Most Ancient, was of an entirely different genius; and unless the Lord had brought the human race to this genius or state, no man could ever have been saved. (AC n. 608)

The Most Ancient Church, above all churches in the whole world, was from the Divine; for it was in the good of love to the Lord. Their voluntary and intellectual faculties made one, thus one mind. They therefore had a perception of truth from good; for the Lord flowed in, through an internal way, into the good of their will, and through this into the good of the understanding or truth. Hence it is that that church in preference to the others was called Man. But when that generation expired, another succeeded of a totally different character. In­stead of discerning truth by good, or estimating the relations of faith by love, they acquired a knowledge of what is good by means of truth, and of love by the knowledges of faith; and with many among them mere knowledge was the desideratum. Such was the change made after the flood, to prevent the destruction of the world. (ibid. n. 4454, 200)

The Image of God not actually destroyed in Man

The Image of God not actually destroyed in Man

The image of God and the likeness of God are not destroyed with man, but are as if destroyed; for they remain implanted. in his two faculties that are called rationality and liberty. They became as destroyed when man made the receptacle of the Divine love, which is his will, the receptacle of the love of self, and the receptacle of the Divine wisdom, which is his understanding, the receptacle of his own intelligence. Thereby he inverted the image and likeness of God; for he turned away those two receptacles from God, and turned them round to himself. Hence it is that they are closed above and open below, or that they are closed before and open behind, when yet by creation they were open before and closed behind; and when they are opened and closed thus inversely, then the receptacle of love or the will receives influx from hell or from its proprium; in like manner the recep­tacle of wisdom or the understanding. Hence arose in the churches the worship of men in place of the worship of God, and worship from the doctrines of falsity in place of worship from the doctrines of truth; the latter from their own intelligence, and the former from the love of self. From these things it is mani­fest, that religion in process of time decreases and is consum­mated by the inversion of the image of God with man. (DP n. 328)

Loss of Internal Perception by the Fall

Loss of Internal Perception by the Fall

The Most Ancient Church had a perception of what was good and true; the Ancient church had no perception, but in the place of it a different kind of internal dictate, which may be called conscience. But, what has hitherto been unknown to the world, and will perhaps appear incredible, the man of the Most Ancient Church had internal respiration, and none that was externally perceptible. They therefore did not converse so much by words as afterwards, and at the present day, but like the angels, by ideas which they were able to express by innumerable variations of the looks and countenance, and especially of the lips. For in the lips there are innumerable series of muscular fibres which at the present day are not developed, but which, being then unloosed, served so perfectly to set forth, signify, and represent their ideas, that in a minute they could relate what it would now require an hour to express by articulate sounds or words; and that more fully and evidently to the apprehension and understanding of those present, than can ever be by words, and series of combined sounds. This is perhaps incredible, but nevertheless it is true. There are also many others, not inhabi­tants of this earth, who have conversed and at this day converse in a similar manner. I have, moreover, been informed as to the nature of this internal respiration, and how in the progress of time it became changed. As they breathed like the angels—for they respire in a similar manner—so also they were in profound ideas of thought, and were capable of enjoying such perception as cannot be described; and indeed, were it done the description would be rejected as incredible, because it could not be understood. Among their posterity, however, this internal respiration gradually ceased, and with those who were occupied with dire­ful persuasions and fantasies, it became so changed that they could no longer visibly express any but the most deformed idea of thought; the effect of which was that they could not survive, and therefore became extinct. (AC n. 607)

THE FALL OF MAN The Nature of the Fall


The Nature of the Fall

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the clay that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” These words, together with those just explained, signify that it is allowable to obtain a knowledge of what is true and good by means of every perception derived from the Lord, but not from self and the world; or, that it is unlawful to in­quire into the mysteries of faith by means of things of sense and knowledge, by which means his celestial quality is destroyed.

A desire to investigate the mysteries of faith by means of things sensuous and known, was not only the cause of the fall or decline of the Most Ancient Church, in the succeeding gene­ration, ‘but it is the cause of the fall or decline of every church; for hence come not merely false opinions, but evils of life also.

The worldly and corporeal man says in his heart, “If I am not instructed by the senses concerning faith, and the things relating to it, so that I may see them, or by means of knowledge, so that I may understand them, I will not believe;” and he confirms himself in his incredulity by the fact that natural things cannot be contrary to spiritual. Thus he would be instructed in heavenly and Divine subjects by the experience of his senses; which is as impossible as for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. For the more he would grow wise by such a process, the more he blinds himself, till at length he comes to believe nothing, not even the reality of spiritual existences, or of eternal life. This is a necessary consequence of the principle which he lays down. This is to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; of which the more a man eats the more dead he becomes. But he who would grow wise by wisdom derived from the Lord, and not from the world, says within himself that he ought to believe the Lord, that is, the things which the Lord has spoken in the Word, because they are truths; and according to this principle he regulates his thoughts. Such a person confirms himself in his belief by things of reason and knowledge, sensual and natural; and things which do not confirm he re­jects. (AC n. 126-128)

The evil of the Most Ancient Church, which existed before the flood, as well as of the Ancient church founded after that event, of the Jewish church, and subsequently of the new church or church of the Gentiles after the coming of the Lord, and also the evil of the church of the present day is, that instead of be­lieving the Lord, or the Word, they trusted to themselves and the evidence of their senses. Hence faith became annihilated, and when there was no faith there was no love to the neighbour, so that all was evil and falsity.

At this day, however, the evil is much greater than in former times, because men can now confirm the incredulity of the senses by knowledges of which the ancients were ignorant, which have given birth to indescribable darkness, at which mankind would be astonished did they but know how great it is. (ibid. n. 231, 232)

The Primitive Condition of Man

The Primitive Condition of Man

That man was created a form of Divine order follows from his being created in the image and likeness of God; for since God is order itself, man was therefore created the image and likeness of order. There are two origins from which order exists, and by which it subsists—Divine love and Divine wisdom; and man was created a receptacle of them both. Consequently he was created in, the order according to which these two operate in the universe; and particularly into that according to which they operate in the angelic heaven; for by virtue of such operation the whole heaven is a form of Divine order in its largest por­traiture, and appears in the sight of God as a single man. (TCR n. 65)

In the first ages of the world men acknowledged in heart and soul that they received all the good of love, and hence all the truth of wisdom, from God. They were, therefore, called images of God, sons of God, and born of God. (ibid. n. 692)

I have been informed that the men of the Most Ancient Church were of so heavenly a character that they conversed with angels, and that they had the power of holding such converse by means of correspondences. From this the state of their wisdom became such that when they looked upon any of the objects of this world they not only thought of them naturally, but also spiri­tually, thus in conjunction with the angels of heaven. (ibid. n. 202)

The Origin of Vital Heat

The Origin of Vital Heat

It is well known that there is vital heat in man, and in every animal, but its origin is not known. Every one speaks of it from conjecture. Those, therefore, who have no knowledge of the cor­respondence of natural things with spiritual, have ascribed it either to the heat of the sun, or to the activity of particles, or to life itself; but as they did not know what life is, they proceeded no further than barely to say this. But he who knows that there is a correspondence of love and its affections with the heart and its derivations, may know that love is the origin of vital heat. Love proceeds as heat from the spiritual sun, where the Lord is, and is also felt as heat by the angels. This spiritual heat, which in its essence is love, flows by correspondence into the heart and the blood, and imparts heat to it, and at the same time vivifies it. That a man is heated, and as it were fired, according to his love, and its degree, and grows torpid and cold according to its decrease, is well known, for it is felt and seen; it is felt from the heat of the whole body, and is seen in the redness of the face. And, on the other hand, its extinction is felt from the coldness of the body, and seen from the paleness of the face. (ibid. n. 379)

The very Inmost of Man

The very Inmost of Man

With every angel, and likewise with every man, there is an inmost or supreme degree, or a something inmost and supreme, into which the Divine of the Lord first or proximately flows, and from which it disposes the other interior things in the angel or man, which succeed, according to the degrees of order. This in­most or supreme may be called the Lord’s entrance to the angel and to man, and His veriest dwelling-place with them. By virtue of this inmost or supreme man is man, and is distinguished from brute animals; for these have it not. Hence it is that man, different from animals, as to all the interiors which are of his mind [mens] and mind [animus] can be elevated by the Lord to Himself, can believe in Him, be affected with love to Him, and thus see Him; and that he can receive intelligence and wisdom, and speak from reason. Hence also it is that he lives to eternity. But what is disposed and provided by the Lord in that inmost does not flow manifestly into the perception of any angel, because it is above his thought, and exceeds his wisdom. (HH n. 39, see also “The use of the Lord’s Tempations)

What the Internal and External Man are

What the Internal and External Man are

Few, if any, at the present day know what the internal and the external man are. It is generally supposed that they are one and the same; and the reason of this is, that most persons believe that they do good and think truth of themselves, or from their proprium; this being a necessary consequence of sub­mission to its influence. . . . The internal man is as distinct from the external as heaven from earth. Both the learned and the unlearned, when reflecting on the subject, have no other conception of the internal man than that it consists of thought, because it is within; and they believe that the external man is the body, with its sensual and voluptuous principle, because they are without. But thought, which is thus ascribed to the internal man, does not, in fact, belong to it; for in the internal man there are nothing but goods and truths derived from the Lord, conscience being implanted in the interior man by the Lord. For example, the wicked, yea, the very worst of men, and even those who are des­titute of conscience, have a principle of thought; from which it is evident that the faculty of thought does not belong to the internal, but to the external man. That the material body, with its sensual and voluptuous principle, does not constitute the external man, is manifest from the consideration that spirits, who have no material bodies, have an external man as well as men on earth. . . . The internal man is formed of what is celestial and spiritual; and the external man of what is sensual—not belonging to the body, but derived from corporeal things; and this is not only so with man, but also with spirits. (AC n. 978)

What Man is


What Man is

Man is so created as to be, at the same time, in the spiritual world and in the natural. The spiritual world is the abode of angels, and the natural of men; and being so created, he is endowed with an internal and an external—the internal being that by which he is in the spiritual world, and the external that by which he is in the natural world. His internal is what is called the internal man, and his external is what is called the external man. (TCR n. 401)

Man is not life, but a recipient of life from God. It is gene­rally believed that life is in man, and is his own; consequently that he is not merely a recipient of life, but actually is life. This general belief is founded upon the appearance; for man lives—that is, he feels, thinks, speaks, and acts altogether as of himself…. But how is it possible, according to any rational conception, for the Infinite to create anything but what is finite? Can a man, therefore, being finite, be reasonably conceived to be anything but a form, which the Infinite may vivify from the life which He possesses in Himself? (ibid . 470)

Man is an organ of life, and God alone is life. God infuses His life into the organ and all its parts, as the sun infuses its heat into a tree and all its parts. And God grants man a sense that the life in himself is as if it were his own; and is desirous that he should have such a sense of it, to the intent that he may live, as of himself, according to the laws of order—which are as many in number as the precepts of the Word—and may thus dispose himself to receive the love of God. Yet God continually, as it were, with His finger holds the perpendicular tongue that is over the balance, to moderate it; but still He never violates free determination by compulsion….. Man’s free determination results from the fact that he has a sense that the life he enjoys is his own. (ibid . n. 504)