What Men And Women Both Have

What Men And Women Both Have

In concluding this discussion of masculinity and femininity it is important to see what men and women share in common.  The most important similarity is that “every person has in him two faculties which form his life, faculties which are called intellect and will, the state of a person’s life is its character in relation to his intellect and will” (CL 184).  Although a man’s intellect and will are both intellectual and a woman’s intellect and will are both voluntary, it is essential to remember that they both share these human faculties.  It is important to recognize this because it derives from the fact that men and women both have a “spiritual rationality of the mind and consequently the natural sensuality of the body” which provide for a union between the two (CL 59.2).  Not only are these necessary for the union of man and wife, but in both men and women “the outer form that has to do with the body is perfected according to the perfection of the inner form which has to do with the mind; for the mind acts upon the body, and not the reverse” (CL 187).

Another aspect of humanity that men and women share in common is the church.  “The Lord calls those people brothers and sisters who belong to His church (Matthew 12:49, 25:40, 28:10, Mark 3:35, Luke 8:21)” (CL 120).  It is necessary to remember that:

a husband does not represent the Lord and his wife the church, because husbands and their wives both together form the church … the Lord is the head of the church, people – both men and women – are the church, and still more so husbands and wives together … The church is implanted first in the man, and through the man in his wife, because the man with his understanding acquires truth that the church teaches, and the wife acquires it from the man.  But if the reverse takes place, it is not according to order.  Nevertheless, this sometimes happens, but only in the case of men who either are not lovers of wisdom and so are not part of the church, or who hang like slaves on the bidding of their wives. (CL 125; see also CL 21)

One implication of this passage is that women should avoid dominating their husbands in matters of religion, for it is better for the church to come into a marriage by means of the husband.  There are also two warnings to men here, men must pursue wisdom and truths of the church, and secondly they must not become irrationally obedient to their wives (Cf. “Warnings to Men”).  I say “irrationally obedient”, because to “hang like slaves on the bidding of their wives” indicates that the husband in this case is not fulfilling his role as the rational sight of truth, thereby not supporting his wife in being the vehicle for the influx of conjugial love.  For wives to be the will and husbands to be the understanding of the couple, both must use the tools that they were given by the Lord – the wife the ability to feel or perceive love, and the husband, the ability to see or understand truth.  For these cannot exist in exclusion of each other.  The husband’s wisdom depends on the wife and the wife’s love depends on her husband’s wisdom.

Men should beware of thinking of themselves as dominant, for:

It seems as though truth is the primary thing in the church, because it is its first concern in time…The learned have given the palm to thought, which has to do with the intellect, over affection, which has to do with the will.  As a result, what the good of charity is and what the affection of the will is lie buried in a mound of earth, so to speak, and some have also thrown dirt on them … to keep them from rising again…. The good of charity is nevertheless the primary thing in the church, and this can be plainly seen by people who have not closed off the way from heaven into their understanding by arguments in support of faith as the only thing that makes the church, and in support of thought as the only things that makes the man. (CL 126)

Let men be wary, therefore, of thinking that their erudite thoughts are the substance of their wisdom.  For it is clear that wisdom is found in truths applied to life.

The fact is:

There is a conjugial element in the smallest particulars in every person, both male and female; only … the conjugial element in the male and the conjugial element in the female are not the same, but the conjugial element of the male possesses a capacity for conjunction with the conjugial element of the female, and vice versa, even in the least particulars.  This he showed by the marriage of will and understanding in every individual, the two of which operate together in the least constituents of the mind and in the least constituents of the body; from which it can be seen that there is a conjugial element in each component, even the least. (CL 316)

Women and men work together like the will and understanding.  In this case the male, or:

Man was created to do what he does in freedom in accordance with reason, and this entirely as though on his own.  Without these two faculties a person would not be a human being but an animal; for he would not receive anything flowing into him from heaven and adopt it as his own, and therefore nothing of eternal life could be implanted in him, since this must be implanted in him as his for it to be his. (CL 438)

On the other hand, a woman, or:

The will, which makes a person the person he is, is not moved even the least bit except by delight; for the will, regarded in itself, is nothing but the action and effect of some love, thus of delight, inasmuch as it is some element of fancy, liking and pleasure which causes one to will.  Moreover, because it is the will that impels the intellect to think, there is not the least idea existing in the thought which does not flow in from a delight of the will. (CL 461)

There is an elegant illustration of the interaction between the masculine and the feminine to be found in examining the human brain.  For:

the cerebrum is devoted to wisdom and its truths, while the cerebellum is devoted to love and its goods.  Therefore a person who looks with his face to the Lord receives wisdom from him, and through that wisdom, love.  But a person who looks away from the Lord receives love and not wisdom; and love without wisdom is love that originates with man and not from the Lord. (CL 444)

And so it may be seen that wisdom is implanted in the human being by means of the man, and to the degree that wisdom is introduced, to that degree love is able to be introduced by means of the woman.  This love then gives life to the individual from the Lord and fosters the development of further wisdom.  And so on to eternity.  For conjugial love is an eternal pursuit.  And the conjunction between one man and one woman is a gift from God which is the life of heaven.

An Afterthought

It is interesting to note that “wives in the third heaven love their husbands on account of their husband’s wisdom and in response to it, and the husbands love their wives on account of and in response to that love directed toward them, and so they are united” (CL 42.4) and again that “the husband in heaven is a form of wisdom, and his wife a form of the love of it, and both moreover are spiritual” (CL 44.9).  The relationship between husband and wife, as between wisdom and love, would appear to be both a celestial and a spiritual state of marriage (Cf. AC 8994).

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