I may leave you, with some sort of impression, but I will never try to impress you, cuz the more you are as a person, the less you have to prove yourself to others.
I may leave you, with some sort of impression, but I will never try to impress you, cuz the more you are as a person, the less you have to prove yourself to others.
Education and knowledge by themselves do not bring inner peace to individuals, families or the society in which they live. But education combined with warmheartedness, a sense of concern for the well-being of others, has much more positive results. If you have a great deal of knowledge, but you’re governed by negative emotions, then you tend to use your knowledge in negative ways. Therefore, while you are learning, don’t forget the importance of warmheartedness.
HE DID COME TO MAKE AN ATONEMENT
Time would fail me to quote the passages in which he plainly declares that He came to reveal the Divine truth to men, to bring the Divine life down to them, and to open their eyes to see it. He says nothing about satisfaction, about the payment of debt. He is the good Shepherd, the great Physician, the perfect Teacher, the faithful Exemplar in every work. He did come to make an atonement, to make us at one with Him and the Father who dwells within Him. He assumed a human Nature because He could not come to man in any other way. He did what a just, wise, and loving father would do. If one of your children had wandered from home, had spent all his living, was sick and dying, would you not do all in your power to save him? Would you not spend time, money, labor; would you not provide yourself with all the instrumentalities in your power that were necessary to reach him? And do you suppose that infinite love, compared with which your love is not so much as a drop of water to ,the ocean, would refuse to be reconciled to His lost and dying children until he had received full compensation for their sin; until there had been measured to Him, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” or an exact equivalent? It cannot be. Reason, Scripture, the perceptions of justice and mercy which the Lord has given us, and the deep, spontaneous yearnings of our own hearts, declare it to be impossible. No, the Lord did not come into the world to satisfy the demands of an inflexible and arbitrary justice. He came rather to satisfy the demands of infinite love; not to pay a debt, but to reach the dying soul, to cleanse it from its impurities; to heal its diseases; to mould it into His own image and likeness, and fill it with His own peace and blessedness.
Father Son and Holy Spirit, Are the three essentials, of the one God, Like body soul, and operation in man.
Spiritual awareness and insight
From the literal meaning of the first chapters of Genesis, no one realizes that it refers to anything besides the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden which is called “Paradise,” and Adam, the first human to be created. Who thinks anything else? However, these things contain details that have never been revealed until now. . . . In this inner meaning, the first chapter of Genesis is about new creation of a human being.
In other words, it is about our rebirth.
It is a wonderful story to start out with in the Bible. You know how there is often a preface in a book, and the preface will tell you what the book is going to tell you. They always told us that in school: when you write a paper, first you tell them what you’re going to tell them, then you tell them, then you tell them what you told them. The Creation story is God telling us what he’s going to tell us in the whole Bible. He is summarizing the entire Bible, which is really, Swedenborg tells us, about our own spiritual growth. It’s about our process from when we first start to awaken spiritually to the time when we become angels in heaven. The Creation story is a wonderful summary, in just a little over one chapter, of the whole Bible story.
Stages: External representation
Spiritual State: Internal
Initial state: without form and void Prior to rebirth: no spiritual form
First state: light and darkness Knowing that the good and the true are something higher.
Second state: heavens and earth Distinguishing those spiritual things from God (in the internal man), from those of oneself (in the external)
Fourth state: sun and moon Love and Insight begin in the internal
Fifth state: whales of the sea, birds of the heavens Actions to confirm oneself in truth and good: deep principles & rising thoughts
Sixth state: living soul, beast, ‘image of God’Actions from insight, and hence from love: alive at last – ‘spiritual
’Seventh state: day of rest Actions from love, and hence from insight: ‘celestial’
This cannot be answered without a rational discussion of the Holy Trinity. This theological topic, more than any other, confuses the heck out of serious and religious thinking people.
Orthodox Christianity describes the Holy Trinity as three divine persons. Although they attempt to recover and restore the notion of one God (Christianity is supposed to be monotheistic) by saying that the three divine Persons of Trinitarian doctrine consist of one unified substance, still, one is left with the notion that these three Gods could sit in three different chairs.
When I have pointed to the illogicality of such an ambiguous notion of God, its defenders (including those with Ph.Ds) say that it is a “Great Mystery” and warn me that my mind should not even be going into such directions.
My answer to that is “zc@#$%*&>?+<#x<!”
Now that I have gotten that off my chest I can put my emotions aside and return to a more pragmatic discussion of this matter. When I say my prayers at night, I want to know exactly to whom I am addressing (and not have to guess whether I am focusing on the correct chair or the proper Deity).
I know that Jesus said that the only way to the Father was through Him (the Son) but then Jesus does an about face by teaching the Lord’s Prayer which completely bypasses the Son and allows us to pray directly to the Father.
So, with the Lord’s Prayer in hand, who needs Jesus?
But Orthodox Christianity, which embraces the sacred Trinity as three Persons, insists we are first to put our faith in Jesus. In this way the righteousness of the Son can be imputed to us humans by the Father, then the Holy Spirit shows up to set into motion the operation of justification, which magically wipes all our sins away, renews our spirit, and completes our salvation.
In other words, each Divine Person cannot claim to be fully God, as each does something that the other two don’t. If it takes three Persons to give us an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God, well, to be frank, that is not my idea of monotheism.
I prefer Emanuel Swedenborg’s version of the Divine Trinity as ONE GOD manifesting three distinct operations and functions. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit represent not three persons but the three operations of Divine Love, Divine Truth, and Divine Activity.
Truth makes love visible. That is why the Lord came into the world – to make the Love of the Father visible to us by taking on a human form. Jesus is Jehovah!
One might wonder how God could take on an imperfect and gross human body. According to Swedenborg, that was God’s precise strategy for salvation. The purpose of coming into the world was to make His human form perfectly divine by doing the will of the Father (the Father was His Divine Soul) and combating the worldly desires of the flesh and worldly temptations.
Why did God have to implore such a strategy instead of fighting evil straight on?
Without taking on a human body an Infinite God cannot be realistically attacked by any evil. A human body provided the medium by which the Lord was vulnerable to attack by both people on earth and by the entire powers of hell. The appearance of the Holy Spirit (as a dove) when Jesus was baptized was a sign from heaven that the operation of harmonizing his human side by means of the higher influence of His Divine Nature was about to begin.
This process of overcoming the flesh and its proclivities (especially love of self and the world) involved profound humiliation before the Father (which represented His Divine Spirit and its ultimate dictates).
The Lord’s biggest challenge on the cross was not enduring physical pain or physical death but His not giving in to the human part of His nature – which tempted Him to get off the cross as a show of absolute strength to men and women and compel belief. By resisting this final temptation and achieving profound humility He united His human nature with the Divine Nature and made them one (the Alpha and Omega). What died on the cross were all His human imperfections.
This complete victory over the flesh gave the Lord full power over hell, which was increasing its deadly influence in the world at the time of His Advent. We were not saved by this event but the door to salvation was kept open. When we approach the Lord to change our lives His Divine Heavenly Spirit (not a dove) starts a similar process of renewal and regeneration within us. The Lord will help us combat our negative nature and find true humility.
If God chose to sit in three chairs we would see the same person (the Lord) on all three.
How does that sit with you? Did I pull a chair right out from under your faith-system?
for Saturday, February 22, 2020
Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?—Isaiah 2:22
“To the extent that we are engaged in what is good, the world within us is subordinated to heaven and serves it; and then the Lord is present with us on both levels as He is in His Heaven.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell 57
With Easter approaching I was inspired to share a new “detail” with my readers concerning what the Lord actually accomplished on earth by his life and death. His coming into the world involved a most unique strategy that is not to be found among any of the current Christine dogmas.
Some students of the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg have humorously described the Lord’s strategy of coming into the world for the sake of human salvation as the divine “rope-a-dope.”
This cosmic maneuver by the Lord in fighting evil and falsity cannot be fully appreciated unless one realizes that most of the drama in the Lord’s struggles on earth took place behind the scenes. In fact, the real blow-by-blow action took place not on earth but in the spiritual world.
Without understanding this important detail, the real dynamics behind the Lord’s glorification will continue to elude current Christian theology.
What is not taken into account is that God’s sustaining influence (creatio continua) must pass through the spiritual world (top-down causation) before reaching the physical world. This means that God’s love and living force is actually intercepted by both the angels and devils in the a priori realm of heaven and hell, before reaching us humans in the form of various compulsions or noble strivings. (Just block out the world from your mind for a moment and you will notice the constant “chatter” taking place in your head.)
The Lord God wisely uses this situation to protect human free will, which is a gift from divine love. Free will is meaningless without real choices. But there must be a careful balance between these opposing influences or things will go haywire.
When evil is favored over good in the world, it will have an enormous effect on the populations of Hell as people die and take their proclivities with them. This puts human freedom in jeopardy.
At the time of the Lord’s arrival on earth this was the case and things were cosmically stacked against humans. What is not well understood by Christian orthodoxy is that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh! The reason why the Creator and Lord of heaven came into the world was that nothing finite (like the hells) could engage the Infinite in a fight. By being born of a human female, and putting on a finite body of flesh and bones, the Lord provided the hells with a finite medium for combat. In other words, the Lord could suffer all the weaknesses of the flesh.
So, the hells were tricked into a fight with God, which they could not resist.
This spiritual combat is only alluded to in the literal narrative of Scripture (as when the Lord is tempted by Satan in the wilderness). But translated into its highest quantum vocabulary, all the events in the Sacred Word actually represent the step-by-step process by which the Lord conquered Hell’s influence (and made the Word flesh).
With every victory over temptation the Lord removed the human traits derived from his mother while making His human increasingly divine. This is why he never calls Mary “mother.” The removal of His mother’s genetic and human contributions consisted of profound humiliation before the Father.
Hell’s devious temptations consisted of influencing the Lord to resist humiliation in favor of dominance over others and to come under the intoxicating power of self-love. This combat was more subtle than evil simply attacking good. It included something much more sinister – flattery. But as the Lord defeated temptations of every kind, even his flesh was made fully divine. Glorification was a process by which the Lord became fully united with the Father from top to bottom (His heavenly essence became one with His human).
The Lord did NOT save humankind through the passion of the cross. This was his final and most severe temptation. Even more intense than the physical pain of crucifixion the Lord had to suffer the emotional pain of being rejected, compounded with the natural human urge to come off the cross and compel the world to worship Him and acknowledge His self-importance.
So, if the Lord had come down from the cross and not suffered total humiliation, the hells would have been victorious.
What the Lord did accomplish during his life on earth was to subjugate the Hells so that human free will could be preserved, keeping the door open for salvation.
In a future post I will address what making flesh “divine” means in terms of the laws of the universe. It has everything to do with my thesis that Love is the ultimate science.
Somebody came up to me, and said your face looks familiar, I said it should be, I’ve been wearing it all my life.
for Thursday, February 20, 2020
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.—Galatians 2:20
“The Divine Providence is in the least details of all things, according to the Lord’s words, that not even a hair falls from the head without the will of God.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 6494
Rev. Frederick L. Schnarr
In many places in the Old Testament there is an appearance that the Lord is the source and cause of disease. The appearance is that He uses it to punish men for disobedience to His commandments. The sons of Israel were continually punished in various ways for disobeying the Word of the Lord; and, earlier, the Egyptians were plagued for disregarding the Divine commands. Even in the New Testament, where diseases are usually associated with the devil, the idea lingers that certain diseases are from God. Thus when Jesus passed by a man who had been blind from birth His disciples asked Him: “Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” But the Lord answered: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9: 1-4).
Because of the apparent relationship between sin and disease in both the Old and New Testaments, many have advanced the idea that all mental and physical diseases are from the sins of the individuals who contract them. If one’s faith were strong enough, it is said, one would be free from disease; and this idea seems to be confirmed by those passages in which the Lord promises not to bring diseases upon the sons of Israel if they will have faith in Him and obey His precepts.
Therefore it is argued that since faith in God can overcome sin, and disease is only the effect of sin, the mind and the body will be released from disease if faith is strong enough to overcome sin; and this conviction is fully confirmed, some believe, by the fact that the Lord, in healing all manner of sickness and disease, healed those only who professed faith in Him. All the forms of faith-healing practised by Christians rest essentially upon this idea of the relationship of sin and disease; with others it is merely a question of mind over matter.
The Writings tell us that there are certain truths in all these ideas about the origin, nature and cure of diseases. But they point out also that the truth has been so mixed with falsity that it can no longer enlighten man. False ideas about God, the purpose and nature of His creation, and man’s part and responsibility in it, have so darkened the truths in the letter of the Word about the origin, nature and cure of diseases that the result is foolishness and confusion.
In His second coming the Lord has revealed the origin of disease; for this must be known if man is to have a correct idea of God. He has also disclosed the nature of disease-its relation to man’s loves and thoughts; for this must be known if man is to be able to understand his own states and to co-operate with the Lord’s purpose in permitting disease. And, finally, the Lord has uncovered the relationship of faith to the cure of disease, that man may know for what he is responsible and for what he is not; also that man may be encouraged through such knowledge to bring his life into order, and to advance in medical research as a means to this end.
The Heavenly Doctrine teaches that disease is not of the Lord’s will, but that He permits it for the sake of the end, which is the preservation and salvation of man. If man were in Divine order he would be without disease, and would merely decline to extreme old age until he became again a little child, but a wise one. When the body could no longer serve the uses of the internal man, the spirit would pass without disease from the earthly body into a body such as the angels have, thus from earth to heaven. This was the case with the people of the Most Ancient Church (AC 5726; SD 4592).
Diseases did not arise until man began to fall. It was the love of evil and falsity that first began to change and distort the order of the inmost substances of the mind. That is where man’s eternal spiritual life is formed, where the nature of his loves and thoughts is permanently impressed. As every spiritual form, love or thought, must have an ultimate form in the spiritual world, so the perverted forms of man’s spiritual life were the causes of ultimate diseases and deformities in the physical body. Hatred, revenge, murder, theft, adultery, and other such evils, were the spiritual diseases which manifested themselves in the diseases of the body.
Every disease in the human race, therefore, is the correspondential ultimate of some form of evil or falsity, and came forth when that evil or falsity arose with men (AC 8364). For this reason, because of the activity of certain kinds of evil and falsity at the time, various diseases have predominated in different historical ages. When a new form of disease breaks out among men, it is because a new and somewhat different form of evil has been established in the hells (AC 5712; SD 4592).
Because the Word treats of man’s spiritual life, and not of his bodily life, the diseases mentioned in the letter of the Word represent the evils and falsities which ravage and deform man’s spiritual life (AC 5711, 8364). For example, by leprosy is signified a state in which man profanes truth (AC 8364: 4; AE 962: 10). A burning fever signifies the activity of an evil love (ibid.). Sores of different kinds signify various forms of evil works or deeds (AE 962). Blindness signifies a state of the understanding induced either by ignorance or by falsity (AC 1328, 1059, 2383; AE 283). Lameness signifies an evil state of the will resulting from ignorance of truth in the understanding (AE 455, 518; AC 4302). Thus the Lord’s promise not to send diseases upon the sons of Israel if they obeyed His commandments signifies His assurance to all men that obedience to the Divine truths of the Word will protect their minds from evils and falsities. That sickness, in the Word, represents a state of sin is evident from many of the Lord’s words to the sick. For example: “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee” (John 5: 14; cf. AE 163: 7)
Because diseases represent the evils and falsities of man’s spiritual life, physicians, the medical art and medicine, represent those things which preserve and heal man of evil and falsity, that is, the truths of the Word which lead to the good of life (AC 6502). Thus, in the highest sense, the Lord is man’s healer and physician, and He is so called in the Word. In explaining to the scribes and Pharisees why He ate with publicans and sinners the Lord said: “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5: 30-32: cf. AC 8365). The Lord’s miracles of healing all represented the power of the Divine truth to liberate man from various kinds of evils and falsities; and most of His miracles were concerned with healing because the purpose of His coming into the world was to liberate the spiritual life of men from domination by infernal loves, and this was represented by acts of healing.
We have noted that the Lord healed diseases according to the faith of those who sought to be cured; this was true also of the healing done by the disciples in the Lord’s name. Christian sects practising faith-healing use this to support their position.
However, the Writings tell us that the healing done by the Lord and His disciples was specifically to establish the acknowledgment of the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ among men (AE 815: 4). His miracles were done for this purpose alone, and only because the Lord could not establish the Divinity of His Human among men in any other way, when yet this was necessary for salvation. It was not the Lord’s will to perform open miracles, because they can take away freedom; they were done because they were necessary for salvation. Once the Divinity of the Lord had been established, and provision made by means of the New Testament for men to see and acknowledge Him as God, the need for open miracles had ceased. For this reason the New Church does not accept ideas of faith-healing which involve sudden or miraculous healings of diseases of the physical body.
Although all diseases have arisen through man’s evil loves and false ideas, and not in any way from the Lord, still the Lord permits them to exist for the sake of preserving the essential human, which is liberty and rationality. The Lord does not direct the affairs of man’s life openly and miraculously, for that would be to destroy the nature which sets man apart from all other forms of life. All human love must be born in freedom, and so must man’s love for God. However, as with all other disorders, the Lord does not permit diseases to exist unless some use may result. What, then, are those uses?
The Writings tell us that man cannot be reformed or regenerated in any sickness or disease that takes away his freedom. Anxieties, misfortunes, dangers to life, sorrows, fears and many other such things arising from sickness and disease, exert added pressures upon man’s normal thoughts and loves, causing him to think and do things he would not normally think or do. A man near to death, looking fearfully at the unknown future, may ask forgiveness for many wrong things he has done in his lifetime; yet it is the pressures of the moment that cause him to do so, not any love of God or of his fellows. Loves are not born in a moment, or changed in a moment, nor are they formed through external forces or pressures. For this reason the New Church does not believe in such things as deathbed repentance. Yet while man cannot be reformed or regenerated in states of sickness, because they influence his freedom and reason, he can be brought into states through them in which reflection upon his past life prepares for future reformation and regeneration. For example, a disease may serve to interrupt or break a state of disorderly lusts or practices. While the disease lasts, the externals of man’s life may be forced into a pattern of relative order. And the Divine law is that as soon as there is external order, the good and true loves of heaven may approach nearer to man. This causes him to raise his thoughts to religion and to reflect upon his life from it.
When the disease passes, these reflections may cause him to revaluate the purpose of his life and strive to bring it into order (AC 762, 857, 2284, 3147, 5127, 4352; DP 141, 142).
While it is true that all disease arises from evil and falsity, and thus from sin; and while it is also true that man may bring disease upon himself through illicit lusts and pleasures of the body, through intemperance and many other things; it is by no means true that each man is responsible for bringing upon himself every disease he contracts. In the spiritual world, which is governed by different laws than is the natural world, man contracts those diseases which agree with his loves; for there external things agree and make one with internal things. Thus the body of a spirit shows the nature of his internal loves. Because the internal loves of angels are good, their bodies are most beautiful and perfect, free from blemish and disease; because the internal loves of infernal spirits are evil, their bodies are unclean and diseased. The laws that govern the natural world, however, are such that the substances of the natural world may act independently of man’s internal loves. Natural laws must operate in this manner in order that man may form fixed and eternal loves. That is why the Lord created this world, and why it is necessary for man to be born into it.
Because natural substances are governed by natural laws essentially apart from mans internal loves, those substances act upon one another apart from individual human characters. The sun shines upon the just and upon the unjust, and the rain falls upon the merciful and upon the unmerciful. And disease and sickness attack both the good and the evil! That is why a little child, who knows nothing of sin, may be attacked and taken. That is why the Lord does not miraculously heal man’s diseases, no matter how true his faith or how sincere his prayers (AC 5713-5715; SD 4591-4592; SD min 4648). It is also why the Divine Providence concurs with every attempt to heal physical diseases through the study of material substances and their functions in the organs of the body. The New Church should support every proper and orderly endeavor to advance the medical arts.
Unless man is able to see that disease and sickness do not come from God he cannot but think of God as wrathful and vindictive. Unless he is able to see that the Lord does not will disease for man, but that He permits it for man’s preservation and salvation man cannot understand the omnipotence of God; nor can he see the Divine purpose and intelligence in all things of creation. And if these are not seen, how can man respect and love his Creator?
Looking always to the purpose and end of His creation, the Lord does everything in His power to bring the human race back into the Divine order in which He first established it.
He does everything in His power to control man’s evil loves and thoughts through the truths of His Word, and thus also to release man’s external life from the ultimate forms of evil and falsity. Through His truths, and the delights of man’s understanding of them, He is present in temptation, in sickness and disease, to comfort in every possible way; to show man His purpose in creation; and to show him the mercy and love of God in providing a kingdom where disease and death are not known; where happiness and peace reign.