The Lord’s Heredities


A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Washington – March 30, 1997

When Jesus … saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26, 27)

  1. One of the most powerful human relationships is that between a mother and her child.
    1. The fact that the child is made of his mother’s own flesh, and that she has felt him growing and moving inside her body for many months before birth creates a bond between them that cannot really be understood by those who are not mothers.
    2. It must have been very difficult for Mary to be the mother of Jesus Christ because of the unusual circumstances of His birth, and because of the unusual way that He went through His infancy, childhood, and youth.
    3. We know very little about her husband Joseph, only what is revealed in the scriptures relating to the circumstances of the Lord’s birth, and that he took his family to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years of age. There are no references to him after that. It possible that he died sometime before the Lord began His public ministry, which would mean that Mary was the Lord’s responsibility as the oldest son.
    4. However, we do know from scripture that as the Lord entered into the work of His ministry, He drew farther and farther away from His family.
      1. Each of the gospels records an incident early on where His family approached while He was teaching, and when the disciples tried to get people to make way for His family, He announced to the gathering that His only family were those who followed His commandments, that He had put away His earthly familial relationships.
      2. This was confirmed and illustrated by the incident depicted in our text: Mary approaching Jesus on the cross, and His giving her over to the care of John, finally severing all ties with Mary.
      3. We also note that nowhere in scripture does Jesus ever refer to Mary as “mother.” Rather, He always refers to her as “woman.”
      4. At first, this may seem like a difficult or cruel thing, but we must remember that Mary had known that Jesus was to be unlike any other man from the very first. She had seen many strange and wonderful things, and pondered them in her heart. She was not unprepared.
      5. We also have to remember that this, like every other thing that the Lord did while in the world, was done for the sake of the correspondence, for the sake of what the angelic heaven would perceive from it.
        1. The perception of the angels was that the Lord had finally completed the process of glorifying His human by putting off the things from Mary through victories in temptations against the hells. The things that had to be put away were hereditary evils that He received from His mother. He spent His life on earth fighting these evils, and His victory over them is what we are celebrating today.
  2. The Lord had hereditary tendencies to evil in the external man from His mother, and as a necessary consequence of this evil, He also had hereditary falsity, for falsity is born of evil once a person has some knowledges of truth that can be perverted and turned into falsity by the evil.
    1. It may be surprising to think that the Lord had hereditary evil, but it must be so, for no human can possibly be born of another human being without deriving something of heredity from the parents.
      1. The seed from the father is an offshoot of the soul that partakes of the father’s spiritual state at the time of production.
      2. The child growing in the mother derives all building materials and nourishment from the mother’s system, and her diet during the pregnancy has a profound effect on the well-being of the child.
      3. These things are widely known. Is it so difficult to see that there are spiritual effects passed on as well?
    2. Each individual receives two kinds of heredities, one from the father, and a different kind from the mother. The heredity from the father is more internal, and remains to eternity because it is associated with the soul itself and cannot possibly be removed without destroying the soul which carries it.
    3. The Lord did not have this kind of “permanent” hereditary evil because He was born with Jehovah as his Father and the source of His soul. Therefore He was without paternal hereditary evil.
      1. The hereditary evil from the mother is of the external man because it is associated with the things of the body which are provided by the mother when the soul builds for itself a home within her body. Because this heredity is associated with the physical things of the body (and also many of the attitudes of the mind), it can be put off when the body and natural degrees of the mind are put off. Once an evil arising from maternal heredity is shunned, and the opposite love in place through regeneration, then the evil is gone forever.
  3. The Lord could not have been attacked by the hells, fought them, defeated them, and put them back into their proper places unless He had hereditary tendencies to evil from His mother.
    1. The reason is that nothing can flow into a human mind from the spiritual world unless there is something there to receive it. We say that “Influx is according to the receiving vessel.” All of us exist in a vast and varied spiritual environment. The ideas that seem to “pop” into our heads come from the spiritual world. But for every idea we get, there are millions that we did not receive, because they were not in tune with our character, with our interest. We did not have the appropriate affections to receive them.
    2. We get ideas that are contrary to order because we have in our heredity the necessary affections to receive that influx from hell.
    3. We get good, kind, and generous ideas from the Lord through heaven because we have also hereditary tendencies to good from our parents, and we have “remains” of good and truth from the Lord Himself.
    4. The point is, just as you cannot listen to the radio signals that are everywhere present unless you have a radio receiver, the Lord could not receive the temptations and attacks from the hells unless He had something in Himself to receive that influx. He could not have such things from the Divine Itself, so it had to come from Mary.
    5. The Lord underwent temptations a thousand times more terrible than any man can ever endure; He endured them alone, and overcame evil, the devil, and hell, by His own power. The fact that while in the Garden of Gethsemene He sweated blood is recorded to show the extreme degree of His temptation, that the battle going on within His mind itself threatened to kill the body.
      1. Blood represents Holy Truth proceeding from the Lord. Letting His blood was another way to represent what the Jewish Church had done to the truth from the Word, for blood corresponds to truth, and letting the blood of an innocent man represents violence done to that charity and faith, thus to the holy truth proceeding from the Lord.
      2. References to blood in the Word, and particularly to letting blood in murder, signify the violence that was done to the Word by the Jews, in that they would not acknowledge anything of internal and heavenly truth that was contained within its letter. Because they did not acknowledge the Word, they did not later acknowledge the Lord when He came on earth to fulfill the prophecies of the Word.
      3. If they had really accepted the Word, as they said they did, they would have had to accept the Lord. That they did not accept Him shows the true nature of their use of the Word – that they used it for their own purposes, and not for the sake of governing their lives by means of spiritual truth.
      4. The complete rejection of truth Divine which was from the Lord, and which was the Lord, is meant by these words in Matthew: Pilate washed his hands before the people, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just man; see ye to it. And all the people answered, His blood be on us, and on our children (xxvii. 24,25).
      5. But we also miss the point if we take this part of scripture literally and come away feeling angry about the crimes of those long dead Jews. Rather, we must remember that those Jews represent active states of the rejection of the Word in our own lives – here, now, today. We reject the Lord whenever we say to ourselves that one of His commandments applies to another, but not to ourselves.
  4. As unhappy and unfortunate as it may seem to us, it was absolutely necessary for the Lord to be born with hereditary tendencies to evil, to confront them, and conquer them, because without them, He could not have been approached by the hells, and could not then have defeated them. Therefore, it was absolutely essential to the whole Divine plan that He be born with some evil adhering from the mother, and because from the mother, evil that could be put entirely away through the combats of temptations and the victories over them.
    1. Some admit the necessity of the Lord having evils in order to overcome in temptation, but they believe that He received those evils from the human race, that He took evils away from people and put them on Himself.
    2. We must ask ourselves how that could be possible. How can one person actually take evil from another to himself? It may be possible to lie, and to take the blame and punishment for another’s evil, for whatever reason, but the evil itself still remains with the individual who committed it.
    3. Being the Divine, the Lord was not susceptible to evil in the way we are. He could not be mislead into sin. He would not commit a sin from deliberate forethought. He could not receive evil and temptation in any other way than heredity from the mother.
      1. Therefore, in order that He might conquer evil by His own power, unlike any man, He was willing to be born as other men, with a natural body, a mind that required education and training, and with hereditary tendencies to evils of every kind associated with the natural body and mind.
      2. It would have missed the whole point for Him to be born without hereditary evil. If all the Lord wanted to do was to make a Human form for Himself, He could have done so in any number of different ways, as He had done in the past whenever He wanted to appear to men.
      3. But for His advent, face-to-face communication was not the goal. He came to meet, battle, and defeat evil on its own ground, the desires and affections of the natural body in the natural world.
    4. The heredity that the Lord received from His father was entirely good, since it was from Jehovah Himself. On the other hand, His maternal heredity, like our own, had many elements in it.
      1. Some of the things were good, innocent things.
      2. Some of them were bodily characteristics and features, and these things were progressively made Divine during His life in the world so that on Easter morning He arose with “that which with man rots in the grave,” a miracle that was essential for the sake of demonstrating His Divinity, for after all, every man rises as to his spirit. Only God can make a body one with the Divine and take it with Him.
      3. There were many other things that He received from his mother: evil tendencies, falsities that were the results of attempting to use truths to justify those evils, an infinity of like things.
        1. It was these things that were inherited from His mother that were entirely put off through victories in temptations while in the world. As these were conquered, they were entirely removed.
        2. Every evil tendency refused put another society of hell back into order until, finally, they were all in place, and back under their proper government.
        3. As each hell was conquered, the human race became more free until full freedom in spiritual things was restored.
        4. Our freedom of choice in spiritual things is a direct result of His conquering in temptation. This is a good reason for us to gather to celebrate His victory over the hells.
  5. So let us lift up our minds, and think no more of the sadness of the crucifixion.
    1. We know that it was foreseen by the Lord.
    2. We know that it was necessary.
    3. We can see that what appeared to be a defeat was in fact the ultimate victory over hell, the salvation of the human race.
    4. Let us no longer think about the crucified Lord, but instead about The Lord Jesus Christ, the one God of Heaven and earth, reigning from His heavenly throne.
      1. To help us think of Him in this way, we can recall the words that the angel spoke to those who came looking for Him in the tomb so many years ago: Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said (MAT 28:5,6). Amen.

    Lessons: MAR 16:1-11; JOH 19:25-20:18; AC 1573:3,4

    3rd Lesson: AC 1573

    [3] Its being said that there was with the Lord hereditary evil from the mother may cause surprise, but as it is here so plainly declared, and as the Lord is treated of in the internal sense, it cannot be doubted that so it was. For no human being can possibly be born of another human being without thence deriving evil. But the hereditary evil derived from the father is one thing, and that from the mother is another. The hereditary evil from the father is more internal, and remains to eternity, for it cannot possibly be eradicated; but the Lord had not such evil, because He was born of Jehovah the Father, and thus as to internals was Divine or Jehovah. But the hereditary evil from the mother is of the external man; this did exist with the Lord, and it is called “the Canaanite in the land;” and the falsity from this is “the Perizzite.” Thus was the Lord born as are other men, and had infirmities as have other men. [4] That He derived hereditary evil from the mother is clearly evident from the fact that He underwent temptations; no one can possibly be tempted who has no evil; it is the evil in a man which tempts, and through which he is tempted. That the Lord was tempted, and that he underwent temptations a thousandfold more grievous than any man can ever endure; and that He endured them alone, and overcame evil, or the devil and all hell, by His own power, is also evident. Amen.

2 thoughts on “The Lord’s Heredities

  1. Thanks for sharing this significant article in a time many are ashamed to speak about God or Jesus. In life, no matter how rich you are, if you have a weak spiritual life, things many not go the way you wanted. Unfortunately, people don’t realize the importance of the Gospel these days. “As for me and my household we will serve the Lord,” said Joshua.


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