We should live ‘As if of ourselves’

God is Love

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
[John 15:5 ESV]

In him we live and move and have our being.
[Acts 17:28 ESV]

Are we conscious that, as Jesus puts it, apart from me you can do nothing? Do we feel that, as Paul states, in [God] we live and move and have our being? Most people would probably answer that we do not have such a direct experience.

On the contrary all the evidence of our senses and everyday life is that we act in all things from our life within us.

We can see this very early on in the life of a new born baby. Initially the baby is completely helpless and totally reliant on those around. But gradually its sense of the outside world develops and then an awareness of itself. The baby learns to move, just small motions of eyes, head and limbs. Then the ability to reach out and touch comes into play and from sitting up crawling and then walking soon develops. And then as language begins miraculously to appear the small child starts to separate the people around into different people. However they refer to themselves they know they are a person in their own right. Our development from infancy through to mature adulthood is only achieved because we have a clear sense of who we are and an ability to direct our daily life as we wish.

But if we accept that there is only ONE life, the Divine life, and this is the source of all life and everything that is involved in living then none of us and nothing in the created world has a life of its own. Rather, we are all simply receivers of life. A simple analogy may illustrate this concept (or principle). Think of a light bulb which when working properly and connected to the mains glows brightly. We are all so familiar with how a light bulb works that it is hard to imagine how someone would view it from say 300 years ago. They would probably see it as a wonderful source of light that somehow existed entirely within the light bulb. To them the light bulb would seem to have light in itself. Yet we know that the light bulb is merely a receptacle and receiver of the power of electricity designed in such a way as to produce light.

We can see ourselves then as people created by God to be receivers of the Divine life but able to live in a way where we are not conscious of that fact. But suppose it was different. What if, instead of feeling that our life was our own, we were really aware at all times that it was God’s life within us from which we lived and moved and had our being?

We can perhaps glimpse what this might be like from our own experiences of growing up. As a child we are totally dependent on our parents for our food, clothing and a place to live as well as direction in what we should or should not do and ambitions for our future. In many ways we become an extension of our parent’s lives until the point comes in teenage years when we desperately feel the need to break free and establish ourselves as separate individuals. It is a painful process, but it is vital for our development. If we could really feel God’s life within us wouldn’t it be like a teenager yearning and fighting to be free, a puppet on a string unable to cut the parental cords? How could we develop our unique potential in such circumstances?

It appears that we have a life of our own despite the reality that our life is from God alone. It is because of this appearance that we are able to grow and develop and regenerate as spiritual beings.

Emanuel Swedenborg wrote extensively about the appearance that we live as if of ourselves. Here is a quotation from Divine Providence 156:

To say that we are led and taught by the Lord alone is to say that the Lord is the only source of our life, since it is the intentions of our life that are led and the intelligence of our life that is taught. This is not the way it seems, though. It appears to us as if we live on our own, when the truth is that the Lord is the source of our life and we are not. As long as we are living in this world, we cannot be given a palpable sense that our life is coming from the Lord alone. We are not deprived of our sense of living on our own, because that is what makes us human.

Every one of us is perfectly free to stay in this appearance and live thinking our life is our own. But this is not what Jesus calls us to do. He says: I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing [John 15:5 ESV].

Our Lord Jesus Christ longs for us to acknowledge that our life is from him and that, really, without him we can do nothing. Why? Not because he wants or needs our adulation. No. It’s because he wants us to abide in him so that he can give us his joy, not because we are forced to but because we want to return to him, the source of our life.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
[John 15:11 ESV]

We should live ‘as if of ourselves’, but at the same time fully acknowledge that our life is from the Lord alone.

 

http://www.god-is-love.org.uk/twelve-key-teachings/as-if-from-ourselves/

DEGREES

HR90 THE SCIENCE OF CORRESPONDENCE

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DEGREES

DEGREES ARE OF A TWOFOLD KIND,

DEGREES OF HEIGHT AND DEGREES OF BREADTH.

stairs1pA knowledge of degrees is like a key to lay open the causes of things, and to give entrance into them. Without this knowledge, scarcely anything of cause can be known; for   without it, the objects and subjects of both worlds seem to have but a single meaning, as if there were nothing in them beyond that which meets the eye; when yet compared to the things which lie hidden within, what is thus seen is as one to thousands, yea, to tens of thousands. The interiors which are not open to view can in no way be discovered except through a knowledge of degrees. For things exterior advance to things interior and through these to things inmost, by means of degrees; not by continuous degrees but by discrete degrees. “Continuous degrees” is a term applied to the gradual lessenings or decreasings from grosser to finer, or from denser to rarer; or rather, to growths and increasings from finer to grosser, or from rarer to denser; precisely like the gradations of light to shade, or of heat to cold. But discrete degrees are entirely different: they are like things prior, subsequent and final; or like end, cause, and effect. These degrees are called discrete, because the prior is by itself; the subsequent by itself; and the final by itself; and yet taken together they make one. There are atmospheres, from highest to lowest, that is, from the sun to the earth, called ethers and airs that are separated into such degrees; they are like simples, collections of simples, and again collections of these, which taken together are called a composite. Such degrees are discrete [or separate], because each has a distinct existence, and these degrees are what are meant by “degrees of height;” but the former degrees are continuous, because they increase continuously and these degrees are what are meant by “degrees of breadth.” [DLW184]

Each and all things that have existence in the spiritual world and in the natural world, have conjoint existence from discrete degrees and from continuous degrees together, that is, from degrees of height and from degrees of breadth. The dimension which consists of discrete degrees is called height, and the dimension that consists of continuous degrees is called breadth; their position relatively to the sight of the eye does not alter the designation. Without a knowledge of these degrees nothing can be known of how the three heavens differ from each other; nor can anything be known of the differences of love and wisdom of the angels there; nor of the differences of heat and light in which they are; nor of the differences of atmospheres which environ and contain these. Nor without a knowledge of these degrees can anything be known of the differences among the interior powers of the minds of men, thus nothing of their state as regards reformation and regeneration; nor anything of the differences among the exterior powers of the bodies both of angels and men; and nothing whatever can be known of the distinction between spiritual and natural, thus nothing of correspondence. Nor, indeed, can anything be known of any difference between the life of men and that of beasts, or between the more perfect and the less perfect animals; neither of the differences among the forms of the vegetable kingdom, nor among the matters of the mineral kingdom. From which it can be seen that they who are ignorant of these degrees are unable to see causes from anything of judgment; they see only effects, and from these judge of causes, which is done for the most part by an induction that is continuous with effects. But causes produce effects not continuously but discretely; for cause is one thing, and effect is another. The difference between the two is like the difference between prior and subsequent, or between that which forms and that which is formed. [DLW185]

That it may be still better comprehended what discrete degrees are, what their nature is, and how they differ from continuous degrees, the angelic heavens may serve as an example. There are three heavens, and these are separated by degrees of height; therefore the heavens are one below another, nor do they communicate with each other except by influx, which proceeds from the Lord through the heavens in their order to the lowest; and not contrariwise. Each heaven by itself, however, is divided not by degrees of height but by degrees of breadth. Those who are in the middle, that is, at the center, are in the light of wisdom; but those who are around about, even to the boundaries, are in the shade of wisdom.  Thus wisdom grows less and less even to ignorance, as light decreases to shade, which takes place continuously. It is the same with men. The interiors belonging to their minds are separated into as many degrees as the angelic heavens; and these degrees are one above another; therefore the interiors of men which belong to their minds are separated by discrete degrees, that is, degrees of height. Consequently a man may be in the lowest degree, then in a higher, and also in the highest degree, according to the degree of his wisdom; moreover, when he is in the lowest degree only, the higher degree is shut, – but is opened as he receives wisdom from the Lord. There are also in a man, as in heaven, continuous degrees, that is degrees of breadth. A man is like the heavens because as regards the interiors of his mind, he is a heaven in least form, in the measure in which he is in love and wisdom from the Lord. That man as regards the interiors of his mind is a heaven in least form may be seen in the work Heaven and Hell (n. 51-58.)   [DLW186]

From all this it can be seen, that one who knows nothing about discrete degrees, that is, degrees of height, can know nothing about the state of man as regards his reformation and regeneration, which are effected through the reception of love and wisdom of the Lord, and then through the opening of the interior degrees of his mind in their order. Nor can he know anything about influx from the Lord through the heavens nor anything about the order into which he was created. For if anyone thinks about these, not from discrete degrees or degrees of height but from continuous degrees or degrees of breadth, he is not able to perceive anything about them from causes, but only from effects; and to see from effects only is to see from fallacies, from which come errors, one after another; and these may be so multiplied by inductions that at length enormous falsities are called truths. [DLW187]

I am not aware that anything has been known hitherto about discrete degrees or degrees of height, only continuous degrees or degrees of breadth have been known; yet nothing of the real truth about cause can become known without a knowledge of degrees of both kinds. These degrees therefore shall be treated of throughout this Part; for it is the object of this little work to uncover causes, that effects may-be seen from them, and thus the darkness may be dispelled in which the man of the church is in respect to God and the Lord, and in respect to Divine things in general which are called spiritual things. This I may mention, that the angels are in grief for the darkness on the earth; saying that they see light hardly anywhere, and that men eagerly lay hold of fallacies and confirm them, thereby multiplying falsities upon falsities; and to confirm fallacies men search out, by means of reasonings from falsities and from truths falsified, such things as cannot be controverted, owing to the darkness in respect to causes and the ignorance respecting truths.  The angels lament especially over confirmations respecting faith separate from charity and justification thereby; also over men’s ideas about God, angels and spirits, and their ignorance of what love and wisdom are. [DLW 188]

By creation the human being is such that he can be conjoined more and more closely to the Lord._ This becomes evident from what was shown about degrees in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, Part III, especially in the propositions: “By creation there are three discrete degrees or degrees of height in the human being” (nn. 230-235); “These three degrees are in man from birth, and as they are opened, the man is in the Lord, and the Lord in him” (nn. 236-241); “All perfection increases and mounts with and according to the degrees” (nn. 199-204).  Evidently, then, man is such by creation that he can be conjoined with the Lord more and more closely according to these degrees.

[2] But one must know well what degrees are and that there are two kinds –discrete degrees or degrees of height, and continuous degrees or degrees of breadth; also how they differ. It must be known, too, that every human being has by creation and hence from birth three discrete degrees or degrees of height, and that he comes at birth into the first degree, called natural, and can grow in this degree continuously until he becomes rational. He comes into the second degree, called spiritual, if he lives according to spiritual laws of order, which are divine truths. He can also come into the third degree, called celestial, if he lives according to the celestial laws of order, which are divine goods.

[3] These degrees are opened in a person by the Lord according to his life and actually opened in the world, but not perceptibly and sensibly until after his departure from the world. As they are opened and later perfected a man is conjoined to the Lord more and more closely. This conjunction can grow to eternity in nearness to God and does so with the angels. And yet no angel can attain or touch the first degree of the Lord’s love and wisdom, for the Lord is infinite and an angel is finite, and between infinite and finite no ratio obtains. Man’s state and the state of his elevation and nearness to the Lord cannot be understood without a knowledge of these degrees; they have been specifically treated of, therefore, in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, nn. 173-281, which see. [DP32]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/degrees.htm

http://blog.beginningtheisticscience.com/

Copyright © 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

The Doctrine Of Charity And Faith

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

Hell and Its Fire

THE DOCTRINE OF CHARITY AND FAITH

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

That which anyone does from love remains inscribed on his heart, for love is the fire of life, thus is the life of everyone. Consequently such as is the love, such is the life; and such as is the life, thus such as is the love, such is the whole man as to soul and as to body.

As love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor make the life of heaven with man, so when they reign do the love of self and the love of the world make the life of hell with him, for these loves are opposite to the former; and therefore those with whom the loves of self and of the world reign, can receive nothing from heaven; but all that they receive is from hell. For whatever a man thinks, and whatever he wills, or whatever a man believes, and whatever he loves is either from heaven or from hell.

From this it is that those in whom the love of self and the love of the world make the life, desire what is good for themselves alone, and not for others except for the sake of themselves. And as their life is from hell, they despise others in comparison with themselves, they are angry with others if they do not favor them, they hold them in hatred, they burn with revenge against them, and even desire to vent their rage upon them. At last these things become the delights of their life, thus their loves.

These are they who have hell in them, and who after death come into hell, because their life is in agreement with the life of those who are in hell; for all there are of this character; and everyone comes to his own people.

As these persons receive nothing from heaven, in their hearts they deny God and the life after death, and consequently hold in contempt all things of the church. It avails not that they do good to their fellow-citizen, to society, to their country, and to the church; or that they speak well about these; because they do all this for the sake of themselves and the world, in order to save appearances, and to secure reputation, honors, and gains. These are the external bonds by which such persons are brought to do what is good, and are withheld from doing what is evil. As for internal bonds, which are those of conscience, and which dictate that what is evil must not be done because it is sin, and is contrary to the Divine laws, they have none.

And therefore when these persons come into the other life, which takes place immediately after death, and external things are taken away from them, they rush headlong into every wickedness in accordance with their interiors, such as contempt of others in comparison with themselves, enmity, hatred, revenge, rage, cruelty, and also into hypocrisy, fraud, deceit, and many other kinds of wickedness. These are then the delights of their life; and therefore they are separated from the good, and cast into hell.

In the world many such persons are not aware that these thing are the delight of their life, because these things hide themselves in the loves of self and of the world; and at that time such persons call all things goods that favor these loves; and all things that confirm them they call truths. Neither do they know and acknowledge any other goods and truths, because they receive nothing from heaven, which they have closed against themselves.

As love is the fire of life, and everyone’s life is in accordance with his love, it may from this be known what heavenly fire is, and what infernal fire. Heavenly fire is love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor, and infernal fire is the love of self and the love of the world, and the consequent concupiscence of all evils, which spring from these loves as from their fountains.

The nature of the life with those who are in hell can be inferred from what it would be among such persons in the world if external bonds were taken away, and there were no internal bonds to restrain them.

The life of man cannot be changed after death. It then remains such as it had been. Nor can the life of hell be transferred into the life of heaven, because they are opposites. From this it is evident that those who come into hell remain there forever; and that those who come into heaven remain there forever.

http://lastchurch.blogspot.ca/

http://www.sacred-texts.com/swd/index.htm

http://www.eswedenborg.com/

(Arcana Coelestia 10740 – 10749)

v v v

Mike Cates   PO Box 292984   Lewisville, TX  75029

 

LOVE AND QUANTUM GRAVITY

The title for this blog post is actually the title I use for chapter four in my upcoming book Proving God. The purpose of this adventuresome book is to unify science and theology—in a way that will offer new insights to both the New Paradigm science (relativity theory, quantum theory and string theory) and biblical interpretation (exegesis). My aim is to offer novel and rational ideas that can be applied toward measureable social transformation.

The basic material for this book comes from my 35-year study of the remarkable ideas of scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. His ideas are remarkable because he claimed that LOVE was fundamental reality (esse) and the a priori law-giving universal substance by which creation comes forth through orderly causal process.

Of course, such a premise—that the physics ruling the universe on the fundamental level is something we usually associate with a human emotion such as romance or a value like empathy—would obviously have dubious merit among the proponents of the natural sciences. So to add potency to my book I decided to apply this psychical dynamic to the toughest problems facing physicists today.

One of toughest of the challenges facing today’s scientists is QUANTUM GRAVITY. Without a solution, scientists will be unable to unify the laws of the universe. String theory attempts to offer a solution but it never ventures beyond physical explanations and remains unproven. Is there any precedence for a physicist to suspect that non-material values, such as justice, ethics, morality, or empathy should enter into the equation of describing fundamental reality?

Yes! But this is not your father’s (patriarchal) physics and would equally embrace the feminine worldview.

Not long ago someone (who remains unknown) came upon my blog from a link to a most interesting site. I “clicked” on the link and an article entitled Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity appeared. The article was written (in 1994) by Professor of Physics, Alan D. Sokal, at the Department of Physics, New York University (NYU). Not too shabby! You can read it here: http://tiny.cc/Cjwb1

Sokal described his paper as a “subversive undertaking” because it challenged the scientific community that the very foundation of their worldview must be rebuilt on the principle of social ideology—otherwise it could not be considered legitimately postmodern. He offered no final answers but simply as an “idea starter,” suggested that a final science would have to be in line with an “emancipatory” and “ecological” (holistic) perspective capable of transforming society in positive ways.

That is precisely what my book attempts—to show that the ultimate laws of nature are the same as the laws of mutual love! Mutual love is the essence of social ideology and will redefine the content of science—even leading us to a plausible scientific theory of Quantum Gravity. So Swedenborg was way ahead of his time! And my book will present all the startling evidence.

http://www.provinggod.com

P.S. I have just been informed by a physicist friend that I fell for a hoax concerning the Skokal article. See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal affair

Rather than remove the post I will keep it as is. My book is not a hoax and even if I fell into a trap (because I trust people) the Sokal article is based on a real premise – a premise that it attempts to make fun of – that love is the ultimate science.

So perhaps the laugh is on me for now. It doesn’t hurt my relationship with my readers that I can laugh at myself and embrace a little humility. But I am quite amused that the hoax itself is based on the real direction science must ultimately take – fundamental reality is psychical not physical!

Certainly it is no hoax that the issue of Quantum Gravity has not been solved. And, my book “Proving God” indeed offers novel ways of approaching this elusive topic that are anything but superficial. The Sokal article offers no solutions to quantum gravity anyway. My book does! I was only fooled into thinking a scientist was interested in expanding science to include VALUES. There are many, many serious scientists attempting such a challenge.

This has been a hoot for me and I am going to enjoy it! So please have a laugh on me as well.

Posted onby

 

https://thegodguy.wordpress.com/

http://www.theisticscience.org/

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Celestial Angels

HR90 THE SCIENCE OF CORRESPONDENCE

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CELESTIAL ANGELS >> Innocence >> Peace >> Nakedness

celestial-angelsThere are angels that receive more interiorly the Divine that goes forth from the Lord, and others that receive it less interiorly; the former are called celestial angels, and the  latter spiritual angels. Because of this difference heaven is divided into two kingdoms, one called the Celestial Kingdom, the other the Spiritual Kingdom.{1}   [HH21]

As the angels that constitute the celestial kingdom receive the Divine of the Lord more interiorly they are called interior and also higher angels; and for the same reason the heavens that they constitute are called interior and higher heavens.{1} They are called higher and lower, because these terms designate what is interior and what is exterior.{2}   [HH22]

The love in which those are, who are in the celestial kingdom is called celestial love, and the love in which those are who are in the spiritual kingdom is called spiritual love. Celestial love is love to the Lord, and spiritual love is love towards the neighbor. And as all good pertains to love (for good to any one is what he loves) the good also of the other kingdom is called celestial, and the good of the other spiritual. Evidently, then, the two kingdoms are distinguished from each other in the same way as good of love to the Lord is distinguished from good of love towards the neighbor.{1} And as the good of love to the Lord is an interior good, and that love is interior love, so the celestial angels are interior angels, and are called higher angels.   [HH23]

The celestial kingdom is called also the Lord’s priestly kingdom, and in the Word “His dwelling-place;” while the spiritual kingdom is called His royal kingdom, and in the Word “His throne.” And from the celestial Divine the Lord in the world was called “Jesus,” while from the spiritual Divine He was called “Christ.”   [HH24]

The angels in the Lord’s celestial kingdom, from their more interior reception of the Divine of the Lord, far excel in wisdom and glory the angels that are in His spiritual kingdom; for they are in love to the Lord, and consequently are nearer and more closely conjoined to Him.{1} These angels are such because they have received and continue to receive Divine truths at once in their life, and not first in memory and thought, as the spiritual angels do. Consequently they have Divine truths written in their hearts, and they perceive them, and as it were see them, in themselves; nor do they ever reason about them whether they are true or not.{2} They are such as are described in Jeremiah:

I will put my law in their mind, and will write it in their heart. They shall teach no more everyone his friend and everyone his brother, saying, Know ye Jehovah. They shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest of them (31:33, 34).

And they are called in Isaiah:

Taught of Jehovah (54:13).

That the “taught of Jehovah” are those who are taught by the Lord He Himself teaches in John (6:45, 46).   [HH25]

It has been said that these angels have wisdom and glory above others for the reason that they have received and continue to receive Divine truths at once in their life. For as soon as they hear Divine truths, they will and do them, instead of storing them up in the memory and afterwards considering whether they are true. They know at once by influx from the Lord whether the truth they hear is true; for the Lord flows directly into man’s willing, but mediately through his willing into his thinking. Or what is the same, the Lord flows directly into good, but mediately through good into truth.{1} That is called good which belongs to the will and action therefrom, while that is called truth that belongs to the memory and to the thought therefrom. Moreover, every truth is turned into good and implanted in love as soon as it enters into the will; but so long as truth remains in the memory and in the thought therefrom it does not become good, nor does it live, nor is it appropriated to man, since man is a man from his will and understanding therefrom, and not from his understanding separated from his will.{2}   [HH26]

Because of this difference between the angels of the celestial kingdom and the angels of the spiritual kingdom they are not together, and have no interaction with each other. They are able to communicate only through intermediate angelic societies, which are called celestial-spiritual. Through these the celestial kingdom flows into the spiritual;{1} and from this it comes to pass that although heaven is divided into two kingdoms it nevertheless makes one. The Lord always provides such intermediate angels through whom there is communication and conjunction.   [HH27]

The wisdom of the angels of the third or inmost heaven shall now be described, and also how far it surpasses the wisdom of the angels of the first or outmost heaven. The wisdom of the angels of the third or inmost heaven is incomprehensible even to those who are in the outmost heaven, for the reason that the interiors of the angels of the third heaven have been opened to the third degree, while the interiors of angels of the first heaven have been opened only to the first degree; and all wisdom increases towards interiors and is perfected as these are opened (n. 208, 267).

[2] Because the interiors of the angels of the third or inmost heaven have been opened to the third degree, Divine truths are as it were inscribed on them; for the interiors of the third degree are more in the form of heaven than the interiors of the second and first degrees, and the form of heaven is from the Divine truth, thus in accord with the Divine wisdom, and this is why the truth is as it were inscribed on these angels, or are as it were instinctive or inborn in them.  Therefore as soon as these angels hear genuine Divine truths they instantly acknowledge and perceive them, and afterwards see them as it were inwardly in themselves. As the angels of that heaven are such they never reason about Divine truths, still less do they dispute about any truth whether it is so or not; nor do they know what it is to believe or to have faith. They say, “What is faith? for I perceive and see that a thing is so.” This they illustrate by comparisons; for example, that it would be as when any one with a companion, seeing a house and the various things in it and around it, should say to his companion that he ought to believe that these things exist, and that they are such as he sees them to be; or seeing a garden and trees and fruit in it, should say to his companion that he ought to have faith that there is a garden and trees and fruits, when yet he is seeing them clearly with his eyes. For this reason these angels never mention faith, and have no idea what it is; neither do they reason about Divine truths, still less do they dispute about any truth whether it is so or not.{1}

[3] But the angels of the first or outmost heaven do not have Divine truths thus inscribed on their interiors, because with them only the first degree of life is opened; therefore they reason about truths, and those who reason see almost nothing beyond the fact of the matter about which they are reasoning, or go no farther beyond the subject than to confirm it by certain considerations, and having confirmed it they say that it must be a matter of faith and must be believed.

[4] I have talked with angels about this, and they said that the difference between the wisdom of the angels of the third heaven and the wisdom of the angels of the first heaven is like that between what is clear and what is obscure; and the former they compared to a magnificent palace full of all things for use, surrounded on all sides by parks, with magnificent things of many kinds round about them; and as these angels are in the truths of wisdom they can enter into the palace and behold all things, and wander about in the parks in every direction and delight in it all. But it is not so with those who reason about truths, especially with those who dispute about them, as such do not see truths from the light of truth, but accept truths either from others or from the sense of the letter of the Word, which they do not interiorly understand, declaring that truths must be believed, or that one must have faith, and are not willing to have any interior sight admitted into these things. The angels said that such are unable to reach the first threshold of the palace of wisdom, still less to enter into it and wander about in its grounds, for they stop at the first step. It is not so with those that are in truths themselves; nothing impedes these from going on and progressing without limit, for the truths they see lead them wherever they go, and into wide fields, for every truth has infinite extension and is in conjunction with manifold others.

[5] They said still further that the wisdom of the angels of the inmost heaven consists principally in this, that they see Divine and heavenly things in every single object, and wonderful things in a series of many objects; for everything that appears before their eyes is a correspondent; as when they see palaces and gardens their view does not dwell upon the things that are before their eyes, but they see the interior things from which they spring, that is, to which they correspond, and this with all variety in accordance with the aspect of the objects; thus they see innumerable things at the same time in their order and connection; and this so fills their minds with delight that they seem to be carried away from themselves. That all things that are seen in the heavens correspond to the Divine things that are in the angels from the Lord may be seen above (n. 170-176). [DLW270]

Such are the angels of the third heaven because they are in love to the Lord, and that love opens the interiors of the mind to the third degree, and is a receptacle of all things of wisdom. It must be understood also that the angels of the inmost heaven are still being continually perfected in wisdom, and this differently from the angels of the outmost heaven. The angels of the inmost heaven do not store up Divine truths in the memory and thus make out of them a kind of science; but as soon as they hear them they perceive them and apply them to the life. For this reason Divine truths are as permanent with them as if they were inscribed on them, for what is committed in such a way to the life is contained in it. But it is not so with the angels of the outmost heaven. These first store up Divine truths in the memory and stow them away with their knowledge, and draw them out therefrom to perfect their understanding by them, and will them and apply them to the life, but with no interior perception whether they are truths; and in consequence they are in comparative obscurity. It is a notable fact that the angels of the third heaven are perfected in wisdom by hearing and not by seeing. What they hear from preachings does not enter into their memory, but enters directly into their perception and will, and comes to be a matter of life; but what they see with their eyes enters into their memory, and they reason and talk about it; which shows that with them the way of hearing is the way of wisdom. This, too, is from correspondence, for the ear corresponds to obedience, and obedience belongs to the life; while the eye corresponds to intelligence, and intelligence is a matter of doctrine.{1} The state of these angels is described in different parts of the Word, as in Jeremiah:

I will put My law in their mind, and write it on their heart. They shall teach no more everyone his friend and everyone his brother, saying, Know ye Jehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them even unto the greatest of them (31:33, 34).

And in Matthew,

Let your speech be Yea, yea, Nay, nay; what is more than these is from evil (5:37).

“What is more than these is from evil” because it is not from the Lord; and inasmuch as the angels of the third heaven are in love to the Lord the truths that are in them are from the Lord. In that heaven love to the Lord is willing and doing Divine truth, for Divine truth is the Lord in heaven. [DLW271]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/celestial-heaven.htm

Copyright © 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

 

There Is Always a Blue Sky

Swedenborg Foundation

By Peter King

Depression is an illness, and we can try to treat it with medicine, with therapy, or with a combination of the two. Such approaches are all very useful, and I would never tell anyone suffering from depression not to take the pills prescribed to them or to see a properly qualified therapist. These things will only take us so far, though, because depression is as much a spiritual problem as it is a physical one. Depression principally affects the way we think and feel; and in consequence, it affects how we relate to others. We need more than pills; we need a source of spiritual medicine. I believe that I have found such a source in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

I suffered from depression for more than fifteen years; and for most of that time, I did not hold out much hope that things for me and my family would improve. Depression ate away at my family life, my social life, my self-esteem, and my faith, leaving me with very little hope. But over the last year, I have come to realize that I can fight depression using the revelations of Swedenborg and as a result have begun to change. Swedenborg has given me the means to fight for my soul.

I have developed six simple statements that I use to fight off depression. I say these to myself constantly and use them to ward off the negative thoughts and sense of isolation that depression uses to trap me. These statements are entirely personal. If I am to change how I think and feel, they must be framed this way. But I hope that sharing them can help others fight for their souls as well.

1. I must face up to my problems and not hide from them.

For many years, I did not look at myself or examine what depression was doing to me. I would, in fact, refuse to do so, with the vain idea that if I ignored depression, then it might ignore me. But I now realize that I must do the exact opposite of this. I have to inspect my negative thoughts and ask myself what they are trying to get me to do. Just what are their motives and where do they come from? Are the thoughts trying to control me, dominate me, or coerce me into doing something that will harm me or others? If they are not helping me, then they are not what I want or need and I should reject them. These thoughts are not there for my own good but are simply there to further themselves at my expense.

Swedenborg showed me that I could not start to understand my situation unless I reflected upon myself. Once I did this, I began to notice things about myself that were hitherto secret or unknown. I became aware of myself in relation to what was around me.

Without reflection we know nothing, except that we are, and nothing else, not what we are. On the other hand, if we reflect upon ourself from [the viewpoint of] others, or allow others to reflect upon us, and to say what we are like, then for the first time we are able to know ourself. Otherwise we can never learn, but remain in our own illusions, and from them, reflect upon others. So one thinks truths are falsities, because one is judging from one’s illusions. For such as the starting-point is, such also is everything that follows. (Spiritual Experiences §734)

Without self-reflection, I would have continued with my illusions and misconceptions, using them as the basis for my relations with others. As a result of self-reflection, I have encouraged others to tell me how they see me and have begun to find that I can face the world as it really is.

I now see that I cannot ignore what depression is doing to me. It is only by looking at who I am that I can recognize its hold and then start to resist. I am no longer passive, and I now know that I must take responsibility; it is my fight.

2. I am neither my faults nor my virtues; I can choose my path.

The Lord does not condemn me. Like all of us, I am being prepared for heaven, and the only reason that I might not get there is because of my own actions. Swedenborg shows us that neither good nor evil comes from within but instead comes from outside of us; all that is good and true comes from heaven, and all that is false and evil comes from hell.

This is a tremendously liberating idea. It means that I do not have to accept depression, negative thoughts, or anxiety as things that are coming from within me. Even though I might have once believed them to be generated by me—that they are my thoughts—in truth, they are not. I now know that the negative thoughts that have dominated my headspace are not what I really am, so I can face these thoughts and call them out as the lies that they are. I see now that they are trying to control me and to harm me, but I don’t have to let them.

There are reflections of thought . . . for the most part having to do with one’s own affairs, or things that are to come . . . by which the longer one is held in them, the more one is infested by evil spirits. This is the cause of depressions with many. (Spiritual Experiences §§3624:2–3625)

3. Never forget that people love me and I love them.

When suffering from depression, I isolate myself and in turn feel completely alone. It is me against the world. But I am never really alone. The Lord is always with me; and the greater my need, the closer he is.

The Lord is present in us and with us throughout the whole world; and the reason for this is simply that the Lord is not in space. (Divine Love and Wisdom §10)

But I am also close to others who love me and whom I love. Depression brings with it self-pity and a refusal to accept responsibility. So what I do really does matter both to myself and to others. My choices matter, in terms of where I end up, but they also matter to those closest to me. Depression does not merely affect me, but it also impacts greatly on those I love. They bear the brunt of my anger and my moods. So, if I can change, I not only improve my own life but also improve the lives of those I love.

4. Depression is not me.

This is the single most important thing I have learned from Swedenborg. Depression is not who I am!

As mentioned above, Swedenborg tells us that all good and evil comes from outside of us. So just as I am neither my faults nor my virtues, I am not my depression. In fact, it is never my depression. What is pressing down on me is something from outside that is trying to affect the thoughts and feelings that I have.

Divine providence is in the smallest details of our thoughts and desires, which means that we cannot think or intend anything on our own. Everything we think and intend, and therefore everything we say and do, is the result of an inflow. If it is good, something is flowing in from heaven; if it is bad, something is flowing in from hell. (Divine Providence §287)

Depression does not come from within me, so it does not define me. Since I am separate from depression, it does not make me what I truly am. Understanding this idea puts depression on the outside and lets me think of myself as someone who can be free of it. I can be a caring and loving husband, father, and friend. I can take part in society and have a purpose in all that I do. I can be useful and free.

5. Depression is temporary; love is permanent.

Depression is a parasite. It seeks to feed off me, keeping me alive just so it can thrive at my expense. It leaves me debilitated, almost literally unable to move or to respond intelligently to others. But, when depression is not there, I am free to act, to care, and to love. This is how I really am; this is me.

Love is the opposite of depression: it is selfless. Unlike depression, love feeds me. Love is always there, and all I need to do is reach out for it. I try to remember that above the gray clouds, the sky is always blue.

The sky blue color is such as to contain good. (Spiritual Experiences Minor §4712)

Likewise, love is always there, if only I can see it.

6. Depression is weaker than me; I do not fear it.

As a parasite, depression needs me; it cannot live without me. Depression can only survive if I allow it to reside within me, but I do not have to let it do so.

Depression is negative and shallow, so it cannot offer us anything but despair. What I now know is that there is so much else beyond depression. There is always a blue sky; there is always love. I just have to remember it is there.

Love is our life. . . . We are wholly unaware that [love] is our very life—not just the general life of our whole body and of all our thoughts, but the life of their very least detail. (Divine Love and Wisdom §1)

These six statements are not a cure, and they will not necessarily make depression go away. But, for me at least, they provide a defense against it. Most of all, I know now what depression is, and it is much harder for me to be caught unawares. I know its shape and how it moves, and because of this, depression is diminished. I can see beyond it, and the sky is blue.

Peter King, PhD, is a reader in social thought at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK.

Read more posts from the Spirituality in Practice series >

http://www.swedenborg.com/

Throwing stones

“And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.'” (John 8:11)

by Rev. Dr. Thane Glenn

Let’s look at the story of the Woman Caught in Adultery in John 8:1-11.

Did Jesus care more about people or about the Scriptures?

That was the dilemma cast before Him, abruptly and unceremoniously, in the person of an unnamed woman exposed in the sexual act of an adulterous affair.

No doubt most of us have heard or read the story many times. How the religious leaders of the Jewish people interrupted Jesus as He was teaching in the Jerusalem temple, thrust the sinner in her shame before Him, and demanded His verdict. “Now Moses, in the Torah, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?”

They were right: the Scriptures do pronounce the penalty for adultery to be death by stoning (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 17:2-5). What would this radical teacher of the Law, healer, notorious champion of the downtrodden, reply?

Think of what was at stake in this moment. What if Jesus Christ, God-with-us, had responded,No, be merciful—don’t stone her? To do so would have been to discount the truth of the Scriptures, to discredit Himself as a religious authority—not only with the Pharisees—but with all humankind. How could the One who proclaimed that He came not to destroy but to fulfill the Law say such a thing (Matthew 5:17)?

On the other hand, what if He had conceded? Imagine if He had said, Yes, if that’s the law, she must be stoned. How could we ever turn to Jesus Christ as our all-loving God? And what about the woman in the temple—deep in her shame, having likely just jeopardized her marriage, maybe her neighbor’s marriage, probably confused, flustered, scared to death. How could she ever see in this Man the face of her God?

Did Jesus care more about people or about the Scriptures? Which do we care more about?

His answer, when it came, neither dismissed the Law nor conceded to the brutal punishment the religious leaders had in store for the adulteress. Its wisdom penetrated the conscience of those standing by to the point that every one of them dropped his accusatory stone and walked away. “Whoever is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

It is a profound answer, one that contains more than we might first expect. To explore it more deeply, consider a peculiar detail in the story, worth pausing over. We read that before Jesus replied, he stooped and wrote on the ground. This apparently meditative action is not some typical habit of Christ’s. Nowhere else do the Gospels record Him stooping to write on the ground. Why would the Gospel writer think it a significant detail to include here?

Almost every place the Gospels mention writing, it makes reference to the Law—the Old Testament Scriptures. Think of all the times Jesus says, “It is written.” Why might Jesus writeon the ground before answering the Pharisees? Perhaps He is making symbolic reference to the Law, the Scriptures, and then in His response offering a commentary on them. Something along the lines of His refrain in His sermon on the mountain—“You have heard it said… moreover I say to you…”—in which He repeatedly cites an Old Testament Scripture and then infills the outward action—murder, adultery, etc.—with the inner landscape of our spiritual lives (Matthew 5:21-48). Unjust anger in our hearts is spiritual murder, spiritual adultery is lust.

When Jesus told the Pharisees in the temple to look to their own sin before casting stones, He called on them to spiritually stone to death their own deeply interior, monstrous form of adultery. Rocks in hand, they were prostituting the Law, seducing God’s words to copulate with hatred, malice, an accusing spirit ( see Apocalypse Explained 222).

Jesus saved three that day. He gave one woman the chance to apply the Scriptures to her own heart, to sin no more, to begin the work of amending her broken life. He saved the leaders of the Jews from confirming themselves in a horrific spiritual crime. And He provided us with a profoundly necessary model for how to read the Scriptures. To see them as always about us, to take their rebuke and promise inside, to our own hearts, to our own spiritual landscapes.

Elsewhere, Jesus taught that all the Scriptures have at their heart love of God and love to the neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). On that day in the temple, He offered us a way to read even a brutal injunction to death by stoning as the loving promise of the One who wants to give each of us a new heart and a renewed spirit.

Thane Glenn is Chaplin and Assistant Professor of English and Religion at Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.brynathyn.edu.

https://newchurch.org/

Full issue

DAILY INSPIRATION

“You are created so that you can be more and more closely united to the Lord. The more closely you are united to the Lord, the wiser and happier you become.”

Divine Providence 32, 34, 37

Why Christianity?

New Christian Bible StudyNew Christian Bible Study

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What happened, with the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth? Was he the Messiah, the Christ, whose coming was prophesied many times in the Old Testament? In the Christian religion, we believe that he was. In New Christian thought, we emphasize that this miracle was that God took on a human form, being born as a baby to Mary, a virgin, in Bethlehem.

We believe that Jesus grew, learned, and prepared himself to teach, and heal, and inspire people in such a powerful way that the course of human history would change. He performed miracles here, while he lived on earth. After his crucifixion and resurrection, he was seen several times by his followers, whose spiritual eyes were opened.

In his lifetime, battling the power of hell, he opened the way for the new truths that he taught – loving the Lord, and the neighbor, and about repentance, and reformation, and forgiveness, and rebirth. These truths formed the basis of Christianity, which grew from its inception in Jerusalem and Galilee, to spread throughout many parts of the world.

http://newchristianbiblestudy.org/

Screening – What beliefs affect attending?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

screeningHealth screening programmes are becoming increasingly popular since early intervention has a better chance of success than when trying to cure a chronic condition. Many people in the UK who have nothing wrong with them are offered free health screening.

Two examples are a test for bowel cancer and one for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The first assessment involves people gathering and posting off samples of faeces and the second attending a clinic for an ultrasound test. Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious as they might burst.

Some individuals are reluctant to spend time complying with screening if there is nothing wrong with them especially if follow-up testing promises to be time-consuming and not without any financial penalty. Some people fear screening might reveal something physically unusual or abnormal which they consider may not be significant in terms of well-being and functioning. A particular screening test might be known to be liable to false alarms. Some might be put off the tests because of subsequent treatments – such as chemotherapy or surgery – having known negative side effects, as serious as incontinence or impotence.

However, given the care taken, by the public authorities who offer screening, to first examine all the medical considerations, there is a question that arises. Are those people, with doubts about screening, being negatively swayed by their deeper beliefs and attitudes regarding life and death? Perhaps it is difficult to disentangle the affects of religion, culture and personal bias on personal choice. Here are 6 attitudes which seem to be relevant.

Screening will trigger anxiety about dangerous disease

Some people won’t mention the word ‘cancer’ which for them is a taboo word. Pain, and death seem such awful things that they feel that “when you have no symptoms of any problem, advertised screening tests can make you anxious when you really didn’t need to be.”

Rather than use avoidance I would say a more rational approach is to honestly face anything bad and then you can have a hope of dealing with it. My own spiritual belief is that we can face the possibility of bad news with equanimity knowing that we can only cope with what we can cope with and the rest is in God’s hands. Furthermore I feel I can face death relatively calmly in the light of what has been revealed regarding the spiritual world described by Emanuel Swedenborg from his own experience.

Better to retain personal autonomy than become a dependent patient

The macho male wants to cling to an image of manhood as one of power through independence. Such a man will resist the prospect of being vulnerable in illness and be anxious to avoid finding out that he will be ill or infirm. I would suggest he does rather need to swallow his male pride and realise one doesn’t have to be a hypochondriac to be concerned to do what you can to have an illness diagnosed.

Screening is unnecessary as God will cure those who pray for healing

This is the view that medical treatment is unnecessary because only God can cure disease. Is it not magical thinking if people were to pray for and expect physical healing? It is as if God were a giant genie at the beck and call of every human whim. An alternative religious view is that God provides for our eternal needs and works through medicine to deal when it can with our temporary ones. After all even the most devoutly religious people can end up getting sick.

Screening is useless as you can’t change your fate

Some people believe it doesn’t matter what they decide because their future is written in the stars and what will be will be. Sometimes this fatalistic attitude is accompanied with a view that medical treatment cannot help because of the law of karma since “We reap what we sow”: and so acting irresponsibly, if not in this life then in a previous one, (e.g. adopting bad diet, smoking, excessive alcohol) will result in unchangeable consequences.

The modern medical view however is whilst life-style undoubtedly is an important factor in causing disease, one’s health can be improved by appropriate treatment if needed. For mainstream Christianity, the future may be foreseen by God, but not predestined, for what is foreseen depends on our personal choices now; our inner free-will enabling us to create our own destiny.

Disease is deserved punishment from God

This is the notion that if you are ill, it is the will of God. In line with this belief, disease is seen as a punishment for immoral behaviour from a punitive God. For example we find the attitude “HIV and cervical cancer is caused by promiscuity and so one must take one’s deserved punishment for immoral conduct.”

I favour an alternative view that God is not punitive but compassionate. I would say we are allowed to suffer the consequences of our personal choices if this helps towards learning the lessons of life but a loving God punishes no one for any past misdeed.

Screening is relevant to leading life to the full

It is difficult to fault this belief. I am probably in danger of sounding sanctimonious, but I feel I should be doing all I can to live my life to the full, choosing to help the lives of my loved ones and those around me be as happy as I can. Allowing a disease to go undetected, and thus untreated, could be unnecessarily burdening a future carer. This for me is the clinching reason for making the effort to attend medical screening appointments.

Copyright 2014 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on25th May 2014CategoriesEthics, Ethics & LifeTags, , ,, , Leave a comment

Alone we cannot do good

God is Love

All religions and indeed non-religious ways of living involve the idea that it is important to do good for others. This is best exemplified in the ‘Golden Rule’, expressed by Jesus as: So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets  [Matthew 7:12 ESV]. This Golden Rule is also to be found for example, in Buddhism – Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful  [Udana-Varga 5:18] and in Hinduism – This is the sum of duty; do not do to others what you would not have them do unto you [Mahabharata 5:1517]. And Emanuel Swedenborg commences one of his books [Doctrine of Life] with the words: All Religion has relation to life, and the life of religion is to do good.

So, true ways of living involve doing good for others. But can we really do good?

Matthew, Mark and Luke all include an account of a rich man coming to Jesus and asking him a question as here in Mark’s gospel:

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
[Mark 10:17-18 ESV]

In these few words Jesus makes it abundantly clear that God alone is Good. But we might also ask the question “What is Jesus saying about himself”? Is it perhaps that he wants the rich man to make the connection that Jesus is Good because Jesus is “Immanuel, God with us”. In John’s gospel we find these words of Jesus: For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself  [John 5:26]. We could easily replace the word life with good to emphasise that God in Jesus alone is good.

But where does that leave us?

Emanuel Swedenborg brings clarity to this situation in his opening words of Divine Love and Wisdom paragraph 4: God alone – the Lord – is love itself, because he is life itself. Both we on earth and angels are life-receivers.

Fundamentally we are receivers of love, life and goodness from God. We have no love, life or goodness in ourselves and yet it appears that we can use what we receive as if it were ours alone. And in particular we can try to do good for others from our own resources, motives and desires.

One of the dangers, of course, is that our motives and desires will be selfish and we will try to use our resources to do good for others in a way which seeks to benefit us and make us look good. Such a self-serving approach to doing good may have the external effect and benefit intended for others but internally it is anything but good and certainly does not have God’s goodness at its heart. When we put ourselves first in any situation and concentrate on our needs above the needs of others we are in a sense standing alone. Our world view is then dominated by I, me, mine and we appear alone and totally separated from others and indeed from God. It is in this context that Alone, we cannot do good.

But what of all the good done for other people every day through simple acts of kindness, love and caring, not from some selfish motive but from a feeling that it is the right thing to do? Surely the answer is that, no matter what race, colour or religion we are, when we have someone else’s needs in view the good we do for them is from God whether we acknowledge it or not. What really makes the difference is that we have rejected the error of a life dominated by I, me, mine and moved to one in which you and yours have become more important. We have stopped being alone.

We may still imagine that we are the ones doing good but what we do now has God’s goodness at its heart.

But can we go a stage further in not acting alone?

God gives us life and the sense and awareness that we live from ourselves whereas the reality is that we live only from God. But if we maintain and strengthen the appearance that we live from ourselves by the I, me, mine approach to life then we remain apart, separated and alone from God.

This is clearly not what God wants. In John’s gospel Jesus says the following:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
[John 15:4-5]

God leaves us free to do what we want with the life he gives us and to feel that it is our own. But he wishes that we would link or abide with him in the same way that he can link or abide with us. He wants us to be linked or connected together, to form a union with him, and not remain separated, apart and alone.

And what is the fundamental thing we need to do to make the link and start the process of union?

It is to do good for others as if the love, life and goodness we have is ours but believing, knowing and acknowledging that they are really only from God.

http://www.god-is-love.org.uk/