Before the Lord’s Omnipresence and His Omniscience can be Comprehended

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Spaces and times must be removed from the ideas before the Lord’s omnipresence with all and with each individual, and His omniscience of things present and future, can be comprehended. But inasmuch as spaces and times cannot easily be removed from the ideas of the thoughts of the natural man, it is better for a simple man not to think of the Divine omnipresence and omniscience from any reasoning of the understanding; it is enough for him to believe in them simply from his religion, and if he thinks from reason, let him say to himself that they exist because they pertain to God, and God is everywhere and infinite, also because they are taught in the Word; and if he thinks of them from nature and from its spaces and times, let him say to himself that they are miraculously brought about. But inasmuch as the church is at present almost overwhelmed by naturalism, and this can be shaken off only by means of rational considerations which enable man to see what is true, it will be well by means of such to draw forth these Divine attributes out of the darkness that nature induces into the light; and this can be done because, as has been said, the understanding with which man is endowed is capable of being raised up into the interior light of heaven if only man desires from love to know truths. All naturalism arises from thinking about Divine things in accord with what is proper to nature, that is, matter, space, and time. The mind that clings to these, and is unwilling to believe anything that it does not understand, cannot do otherwise than make blind its understanding, and from the dense darkness in which it is immersed, deny that there is any Divine providence, and thus deny the Divine omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, although these are just what religion teaches both within nature and above nature. And yet these cannot be comprehended by the understanding unless spaces and times are separated from the ideas of its thought; for these are in some way present in every idea of thought, and unless they are separated man cannot think otherwise than that nature is everything, that it is from itself, and consequently that the inmost of nature is what is called God, and that all beyond it is merely ideal. And such, I know, will wonder how anything can possibly exist where there is no time or space; and that the Divine itself is without them, and that the spiritual are not in them, but are only in appearances of them; and yet Divine spiritual things are the very essence of all things that have existed or that exist, and natural things apart from these are like bodies without souls, which become carcasses.

Every man who has become naturalistic by thoughts from nature continues such after death, and calls all things that he sees in the spiritual world natural, because they are similar. Such, however, are enlightened and taught by angels that these things are not natural, but are appearances of natural things; and they are so far convinced as to affirm that it is so. But they soon fall back and worship nature as they did in the world, and at length separate themselves from the angels and fall into hell, and cannot be taken out to eternity. The reason is that their soul is not spiritual, but natural like the soul of beasts, although with the ability of thinking and speaking because they were born men. And because the hells at this day more than ever before are full of such, it is important that such dense darkness arising from nature, which at present fills and closes up the thresholds of the understanding of men, should be removed by means of rational light derived from spiritual.

(Apocalypse Explained 1220:2)
January 2, 2015

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