Gay Pride and Straight Talk.

gayWhether to allow gay bishops is currently a hot issue in the Church of England. In line with British equality law, the Church cannot allow sexual orientation in itself to be grounds for preventing a priest being promoted to the role of bishop. However, consistent with provisions contained within the Act for a religious organisation to operate in accordance with its doctrine, the document, ‘Choosing Bishops – The Equality Act 2010’, makes clear that those considered for promotion must be celibate and to have been celibate during their time as a priest.

Many people feel puzzled by this reluctance to embrace homosexuality by strands of organised religion. And some feel angry and want to promote the idea that gay people should be proud of their sexual orientation feeling this is their natural inclination.

The same idea about natural inclination of course could be said of those attracted to the opposite sex who feel they have no conscious choice in the matter. However although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no firm findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles.

From a spiritual perspective, we might ask whether a gay partnership has the same potential for human happiness as that of a heterosexual one. So what does Swedenborg have to say about it?

Conjugial principle and gay partnership

Swedenborg coined a new word ‘conjugial’ by adding an ‘i’ to the old legal term ‘conjugal’. He did this to distinguish a quality of love that unites a couple as one in heart, mind and life. When the understanding of what is true in one person makes one with the affection of what is good in the other, there is said to be a union of the two minds into one.

A deep union between two people is said to be characterized by spiritual states of peace, tranquility, intimate friendship, full trust, joy and sexual pleasure. According to Swedenborg this state of ‘conjugial love,’ has a spiritual source ie the divine union of what is good and what is true. Without this harmony there would be inner tension — thinking one thing but wanting another. Hence in so far as the partnership is a conjugial one, there is a profound joy because the divine harmony is present within the relationship.

Given that each of us has both of some of what is good and true within us, it might be asked whether the conjugial principle has the potential to apply equally to the relationship between two people of the same sex in the same way as between two of the opposite sex. In other words can there be conjugial love in a gay marriage between masculine and feminine natures in each person if we assume we all have both masculine and feminine within us?

Gender difference

The idea there is both masculine and feminine in each person came from Carl Jung. On the contrary, although Swedenborg says that both sexes have thinking heads and feeling hearts and should be equally valued, he nevertheless maintains they are not the same. In his book Conjugial Love (section 32) he says there is an essential difference between male and female and that after death a male lives on as a male and a female as a female.  He goes on to describe the underlying psycho-spiritual difference between male and female minds.

According to Swedenborg, both sexes are capable of intelligent thought and empathy. At the same time, his contention is that men are more naturally inclined towards using their heads and taking an objective stance. On the other hand, women are said to be more likely to observe what is going on with their intuition and take a subjective perspective. Whilst the man is suited to thinking about what is right for longer in the light of understanding, the woman is suited to sustaining a warm feeling for what is good in the heat of love.

Heterosexual love

This supposed gender difference is Swedenborg’s rationale for heterosexual love. Just as opposites attract, the love between a man and a woman can be deeper because it can be between an understanding and its corresponding affection. And so each complements the other. This difference offers the potential to enter deeply and unite them. Also (in his book Conjugial Love section 181), he contends that conjugial love can only happen in the relationship between a man and a woman.

If Swedenborg is right about the difference between men and women, then love between two people of the same sex cannot be the same as the love between those of the opposite sex.

Gay love

We might wonder if these ideas from the eighteenth century have anything to teach us in this day and age. The marriage statistics show that there are lots of people in less than satisfactory heterosexual relationships. Some gay partnerships last longer than heterosexual ones. And given the sexual prejudice still around, one might argue that to persist as a gay couple requires a better inner resilience in the partnership.

Swedenborg doesn’t address the issue of gay partnerships – there was no word for it in his day. However one thing he does state (in his book Conjugial Love section 55) is that the love of a man for a man or that of a woman for a woman cannot be a deep one. He may have got it wrong, but he says that the love of a man for a man and of a woman for a woman make relatively superficial contact not leading to any deep inner union of the two.

In other words according to this view the love between two men is more about the association between one way of thinking and another way of thinking – between one understanding and another understanding. The love between two women is more about the association of one state of feeling and another state of feeling.

In aspiring to reach the heavenly condition of what Swedenborg calls conjugial love, one could argue that people stand a better chance within a heterosexual rather than a gay partnership.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

THE IDEAL OF ONENESS

THE IDEAL OF ONENESS

A Sermon by Rev. Jan H. Weiss Preached in Boston on February 23rd 1997

And lo, a chariot was seen descending from the highest heaven, and in it was seen a single angel, but as it drew near, two were seen (CL42:2).

This passage in Conjugial Love expresses “die Sehnsucht der Mensch”, the age old longing of human beings, the longing for marital oneness and agreement. After the description of many visual appearances, we also find this statement: “When the husband was speaking, he spoke at the same time as though from his wife, and when the wife, she spoke at the same time as though from her husband”.

It does not say that the husband was speaking from his wife, or the wife from her husband. Instead it says that when the husband spoke, he spoke at the same time as though from his wife. And when the wife spoke, she spoke at the same time as though from her husband.

Marital oneness does not require that each partner loses individual identity and individual opinion. But marital oneness does require repeated and continual conjunction of an individual man and an individual woman, who are committed in love to each other. After each conjunction this oneness becomes more perfect, and this to eternity.

The concept of oneness applies to many forms of humanity. The heavens are as one before the Lord. There is a oneness between angels in a society, between angelic societies in a heaven. Oneness also applies to the human body and all its individual parts. But marital oneness is very different concept. Marital oneness is only possible between one man and one woman, because conjugial love is mutual and reciprocal (AC2740). Marital oneness is different because it is a oneness between two very different and complimentary forms of Divine life, namely between the male and the female mind. Marital oneness is different and unique also because its first being is from the marriage of good and truth (AC10168).

Two more descriptions of this ideal marital oneness, before we descend into the reality of marital life. He or she loves what the other thinks and wills and does, and he or she loves to will as the other does, to be united to the other, and to become as one man (AC10169).

Her life is in me and mine in her. Our union is like the union between the heart and lungs of the human body, where heart means love and lungs wisdom. So that she is the love of my wisdom and I am the wisdom of her love. Her love veils my wisdom from without, and my wisdom is in her love from within (CL75:5).

Now the reality of our married life while we are living with these ideals in our mind. These ideals are far from realization within our church. Our marriages are not in a blissful peace, where the wife says what the husband thinks and the husband says what the wife feels.

There are a number of circumstances that can bring strife and disturbances. The first is the fact that we do not see clearly the difference between men and women. We either do not see any difference, or we believe in a difference, but we each have incorrect ideas, about which the partners disagree. In other words, we either see ourselves as two hearts or two lungs, or we do not quite see the connection between the heart and the lungs.

The second circumstance is the fact that we do not sufficiently focus our love on the other, and we allow this focus to be diverted or distracted. This leaves the other partner in a deep quandry as to what our focus is. An example of such a mistake is when women find it difficult to give up girl friends, and men find it difficult to give up male friends from the past. Not that we have to give up our friends, but we have to recognize that our marriage is all important and that our partner and children come first before anyone else.

The third circumstance is the fact that we do not welcome and tackle temptations and that we do not suffer ourselves to be purified. We avoid spiritual contacts, we refuse to listen to the other, and so spiritual conjunctions do not take place. Oneness only grows out of such repeated conjunctions.

The fourth circumstance is the fact that we are embroiled in heated discussions and interior struggles for supremacy. Conjugial love looks to union of wills and thus to liberty of agreement. But rivalry for supremacy or rule, removes these two objects from the marriage. It divides and separates the wills of the partners, and changes free agreement into servitude. So long as this rivalry continues, the spirit of the one meditates violence against the other (CL248).

The fifth circumstance is the fact that there is not enough time for listening and talking and not enough time for the conjunction of minds. Many wives in our society are working, either because they have to work, or because they want to work. In either case there is interference with the normal husband- wife communication.

For while it is normal for the wife to think constantly and perpetually about conjunction, when she is at work in a pressure- cooker situation, her normal feelings are interrupted, and upon her return to the home, there are too many distractions that block marital communication.

In a marriage, the husband wants to propagate his own truths, and the love of wisdom with his wife, feels that nothing is more pleasing than to receive these truths as though in a womb, and to carry them in a womb and bring them forth (CL115). But this is the case in heaven. On earth the husband is frustrated in this propagation, because there is no time for reception and conception, no time for bringing forth. In many cases the husband and wife have no time for serious communication, no time for marital conjunction.

The opposite is also true. A wife wants to receive from the husband, but that husband is not interested in giving, and so the wife is frustrated and left hanging.

And so the following teaching from Conjugial Love takes on a special meaning. Love truly conjugial is so rare at this day that it is not known what it is and that it is (CL58). In times of temptation we may wonder if we are married to our eternal partner. But the Lord urges us to realize that it is not important to know whether or not our present partner is going to be our eternal partner. What is important is that you husbands are going to be a heavenly partner for your wife, and you wives are going to be a heavenly partner for your husband. The Lord urges us to focus our love on the other, to purify it, and walk towards heaven by ourselves. Then He will take care of the rest. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Selections for lesson from the Writings.

5. That conjunction is inspired into the man by the wife according to her love, and is received by the man according to his wisdom.

6. That from the first days of marriage this conjunction is effected successively, and with those who are in love truly conjugial, more and more deeply to eternity.

7. That the conjunction of the wife with the rational wisdom of the husband is effected from within, but with his moral wisdom from without.

8. That with this conjunction as an end, the wife is given a perception of the affections of the husband and also the highest prudence in moderating them.

9. That for causes which are necessities, wives store up this perception with themselves and conceal it from their husbands, in order that conjugial love, friendship, and confidence, and thus the blessedness of cohabitation and the happiness of life, may be firmly established.

10. That this perception is the wife’s wisdom, and that it is not possible with the man; nor is the man’s rational wisdom possible with the wife.

11. That from her love, the wife is continually thinking about the inclination of the man to herself with the purpose of conjoining him to herself, not so the man.

12. That the wife conjoins herself to the man by applications to the desires of his will.

13. That the wife is conjoined to her husband by the sphere of her life going forth from her love.

14. That the wife is conjoined to the husband by the appropriation of the forces of his manhood, but that this takes place according to their mutual spiritual love.

15. That the wife thus receives into herself the image of her husband, and hence perceives, sees, and feels his affections.

16. That there are offices proper to the man and offices proper to the wife; and that the wife cannot enter into the offices proper to the man, nor the man into the offices proper to the wife, and rightly perform them.

17. That according as there is mutual aid, these offices also conjoin the two into a one, and at the same time make one home.

18. That according to the above-mentioned conjunctions, married partners become more and more one man.

19. That those who are in love truly conjugial feel themselves to be a united man and as one flesh.

20. That, regarded in itself, love truly conjugial is a union of souls, a conjunction of minds, and an effort to conjunction in breasts and thence in the body.

21. That the states of this love are innocence, peace, tranquillity, inmost friendship, full confidence, and a mutual desire of animus and heart to do the other every good; and from these, blessedness, happiness, delight, pleasure; and from the eternal fruition of these, heavenly felicity.

22. That these are by no means possible except in the marriage of one man with one wife (CL156:3).

They said that the prolific things expended by husbands are received by wives universally and add themselves to their life; that wives thus lead a life unanimous with their husbands, and successively more unanimous; and that hence the union of souls and conjunction of minds exists in effect (CL172).

The wisdom of the man which makes his soul may be appropriated to the wife, and that thus they may become one flesh (CL172).

The wife thus receives into herself the image of her husband, and hence perceives, sees, and feels his affections (CL173). Something of the husband is continually being transcribed into the wife and is inscribed upon her as her own (CL173).

Love truly conjugial is a union of souls, a conjunction of minds, and an effort to conjunction in breasts and thence in the body (CL179).

The sphere of conjugial love is received by women, and through women is transferred to men, and this because women are born loves of the understanding of men and the understanding is a recipient (CL393).

It is from this that the conjugial of one man with one wife is called the precious jewel of human life. This is confirmed by What was said above, namely, That with one wife, because there is union of minds there is also truly conjugial friendship, confidence, potency; that in and from that union are the celestial blessings, spiritual happiness, and thence natural delights which have been provided from the beginning for those Who are in love truly conjugial; that it is the fundamental love of all celestial and spiritual loves, and thence of all natural loves, and that into it are gathered all joys and gladness from their first to their last (CL457).

We are one; her life is in me, and mine in her. We are two bodies, but one soul. There is between us a union like that of the heart and the lungs; she is my love, and she is the love of my wisdom, and I am the wisdom of her love (CORO37:5).

The love between a husband and wife is tempered when the husband is perfected in wisdom and the wife loves that wisdom in her husband. This tempering is effected by and according to the uses which each of them with mutual aid perform in society. Delights then follow in accordance with the tempering of wisdom and its love (CL137:3).

THE IDEAL OF MARRIAGE TO ETERNITY

THE IDEAL OF MARRIAGE TO ETERNITY

A Sermon by Rev. Douglas M. Taylor Preached in Bryn Athyn October 30, 1994

“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

For centuries there has been but one standard interpretation of this teaching given by the Lord. It has been regarded as an unassailable proof that the Lord taught that there was no such thing as a married couple in heaven, that angels are not characterized or distinguished by sexes, that consequently all marriages are dissolved at death, and are never to be resumed in the other life. This is the way that people have thought when thinking from the doctrine of their church, though many, when thinking from common perception or common sense, have expressed belief in the idea that they will be re-united with their married partners. When thinking in this way, they invariably, and rightly, think of the partner as remaining of the same gender as he or she was while on earth. The notion that men in the other life are anything else but men, or women anything else but women, mercifully does not then enter their heads. Nor does the doctrine that prevails in the Christian world concerning our text come into the thought while one is thinking from common perception.

It is good that this is so, that common perception prevails over the common doctrine, because few things destroy a marriage of love truly conjugial more readily than does the notion that there is to be no marriage lasting into eternity. The teaching on this point ought to be clear, and indeed it is; for we are definitely taught that unless there is in the mind an idea of what is eternal in marriage, that is, an eternal companionship, the woman becomes less than a wife, and the man something less than a husband, and conjugial love perishes (see SD 6110:16, CL 216).

Yet the error of supposing that there are no married partners in heaven, while very serious, is nonetheless understandable. If once it is supposed, as is often done, that a human being is a human being from his body rather than from his mind or spirit, then it is fatally easy to fall further into error, the error of thinking that with bodily differences erased by death, those in the other world will be neither male nor female. If, further, it is thought that the married state is something less than perfect, a kind of natural permission for the sake of the propagation of the human race on earth if, in other words, marriage is held to be inferior to the state of celibacy, as has been taught for centuries and is still being taught then it is only to be expected that people would believe that angels would certainly not have anything to do with marriage. Such false and twisted ideas concerning life’s most precious jewel, a marriage of love truly conjugial, such falsities act like a pair of distorting spectacles before the eyes of many who read in the Word that the Lord said: “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (text). Such false assumptions distort the vision of many readers of these words, causing them to see things there that were never written.

For example, it is not said there, nor anywhere else in the Word, that there are no married partners in heaven. It is said that after death they are like “the angels of God in heaven.” It is not said that the angels are a race apart from the human race, or that they live in a state of celibacy. That is an unwarranted assumption made unthinkingly for hundreds of years. Yet this is nowhere stated. The text does not say that there is no such thing as the state of marriage in the other life. For all joys from first to last, we are frequently taught and reminded in the Writings, are gathered into conjugial love; it is the container of all other delights. So it is that all in heaven are in the married state, and that in the Word heaven is actually compared to a marriage (see Matt. 22:2).

If married couples, while living together on earth, have begun to receive from the Lord a spiritual love of marriage, i.e. conjugial love, and if they have continued steadfastly in it and in the Lord’s commandments until the end of their days on earth, then their marriage will be resumed in the other world. They enter into heaven married. It is not necessary for them to marry or be given in marriage, for they are as the angels of God in heaven. But if a married couple, believing in the eternity of marriage and having love truly conjugial as their ideal, nevertheless find in the other life that there is a hitherto unsuspected internal dissimilarity that separates them, they will each be provided with a suitable partner with whom they may live as married partners in heaven. But note: it is not that they married or were given in marriage in heaven. The suitable partner is provided on the basis of the person’s ruling love, on the basis of the love that he or she attained while on earth. The partner has to be suitable to our degree of regeneration, for regeneration and acquiring conjugial love walk hand in hand. So the criterion is the same; it is our life on earth that determines the nature and quality of our married state in the other life. The marriage takes place before we come into heaven or it does not take place at all. “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (text).

This leads us to consider another kind of marriage that is also to be understood by the Lord’s words on this occasion. What the Lord was referring to inmostly was the marriage that has to take place in every human mind: the marriage or wedding of the will to the understanding. The mind consists of two parts, the will or affectional side, and the understanding or thinking side. The will is made up of affections or feelings, while the understanding is made up of thoughts and reasonings. The whole effort of our life on earth should be to make these two the will side of the mind and the understanding to act as one, to be no longer two but one flesh. This is done when we act according to what we believe and understand to be good and true. The understanding is first instructed in what is good and true, and then begins the struggle to bring the will into line with this new vision of heavenly life. What the understanding sees as the true and good way of life, the will must learn to love and live. Or, as the Writings express it, the doctrine of life in the understanding must become the life of doctrine in the will. In this way, when every deed matches our creed, our mind is united and at peace. One part is no longer battling with the other; the will and understanding work together in conjunction. They are wedded together, married to eternity.

It was this kind of marriage to which the Lord was primarily referring when He said that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” This marriage of good and truth, of will and understanding, of deed and creed, must take place in this life or it will never take place. In the resurrection it will be too late. After death, the will and the understanding do not marry nor are they given in marriage. They must be united in this life.

But why did not the Lord explain this to the Sadducees when they tried to trap Him with their question about marriage in the afterlife? Why did not the Lord explain plainly that there is certainly a heavenly marriage, though it differs from an earthly one? Why did He allow the Christian Church, founded upon the words of His Gospel, to remain in such obscurity with regard to marriage? Could He not have given (at that time) the unambiguous explanation He has now given in the Writings?

No. That would have been worse than useless. The Lord in His infinite wisdom and mercy could perceive that mankind in general was incapable at that time of seeing such interior truths. Even the disciples, who were allowed to see more than the multitude, were unable to see the heavenly meaning of the parable of the sower, and needed to have it explained to them (see Luke 8:9). There were many things that they could not bear, including the doctrine about the spiritual marriage of good and truth, and the idea of a happy marriage to eternity. This was simply over the heads of the disciples.

Still less could the bodily-minded Sadducees have grasped even an introductory idea of a spiritual marriage. They were renowned for their complete denial of the afterlife. Concerning the nature of such people, we read: “When a man is such that he does not believe that he will live after death, he also disbelieves that there is anything internal which is spiritual and celestial; and such are those who live in mere lusts, because they live a mere life of the body and of the world, especially those who are immersed in loathsome avarice” (AC 1201).

These Sadducees were like that, and because their idea of marriage was manifestly restricted to the plane of the body, the concept of conjugial love, a love pure and clean above any other love of which mankind is capable, the concept of a spiritual kind of marriage, was quite beyond them. Even the Lord’s Divine wisdom itself on this subject would have been like thick darkness to their carnal minds. It was better, then, to let them think that there was no marriage in heaven than to have them defile the idea of a heavenly marriage with their gross, bodily ideas. For certain it is that there is no such thing in heaven as the kind of marriage the Sadducees had in mind. There is no such thing in heaven as marriage simply and solely for the sake of the propagation of physical offspring. The Lord’s words were literally true when applied to the Sadducees’ concept of marriage, and that is another reason for His speaking in the way He did.

In the work Heaven and Hell there is a passage explaining these words of the Lord with regard to marriage in the afterlife, in which it is said that while there are indeed married people in heaven, such marriages differ from those on earth. They differ principally in this, that there is no propagation of offspring. We read: “The procreation of offspring is another purpose of marriages on earth, but not of marriages in heaven, since in heaven the procreation of good and truth takes the place of the procreation of offspring … In heaven marryings are spiritual, and cannot properly be called marryings, but conjunctions of minds from the conjunction of good and truth. But on earth there are marryings, because these are not of the spirit alone but also of the flesh” (HH 382b).

It should not be supposed from this, however, that in the other world the inhabitants are bodiless minds without shape or form. Let us recall the familiar teaching that there is a spiritual body as well as a natural body, and that when the natural body is put off by death, we live in the spiritual body, and this is an exact replica of the mind, a beautiful mind being represented or manifested by a beautiful spiritual body, a masculine mind being manifested in a male spiritual body, a feminine mind in a female spiritual body. So it is that in the heavens also the conjunction of minds resulting from the conjunction of good and truth descends into the body, the spiritual body, the only difference being that there is, in the nature of the case, no propagation of physical offspring, but instead the propagation of spiritual offspring, that is, of new affections and delights belonging to good and truth.

These and many other detailed teachings about marriages in heaven are given in the Writings, notably in the works Heaven and Hell and Conjugial Love, in both of which works a whole chapter is devoted to the subject. Besides this, there are sundry other references scattered throughout the Writings.

But to what purpose were such details with regard to a blissful marriage to eternity revealed? The answer has already been given in a general way. We have already seen the teaching of the Writings that unless there remains in the mind an idea of what is eternal with regard to marriage, that is, an eternal conjunction of minds, the woman is reduced to something less than a wife, the man becomes something less than a husband, and conjugial love perishes. It is of the utmost importance for the men and women of the New Church to understand this teaching and the implications of it, so that they can use it, because it is promised that to the New Jerusalem will be restored that precious jewel of life, conjugial love.

But this is not attained simply by being a member of a church organization. Conjugial love is given by the Lord according to His laws, according to His way of operation. It is received by mankind only in the proportion that what is contrary to conjugial love is shunned and rejected. And one of the forces most destructive of conjugial love in the world is the notion that there is no marriage in the afterlife, that marriage has nothing of eternity in it. Likewise, in a particular marriage, the failure to keep before the mind the ideal of a happy marriage continuing into eternity causes the loss of conjugial love in that marriage. To entertain constantly the idea that one’s married partner in this life is probably not going to be one’s conjugial partner in the spiritual world is to cause conjugial love to dry up in that particular marriage, leaving an inward coldness even if outwardly there is agreement.

Such is the teaching of the Writings, especially in the following passage: “The reason why those who are in love truly conjugial look to what is eternal is that there is eternity in that love; and its eternity is from the fact that this love with the wife and wisdom with the husband increase to eternity, and in their increase or progression married partners enter more and more deeply into the blessings of heaven, which their wisdom and its love at the same time store up within them. If therefore the idea of what is eternal were eradicated, or if in any case it were to escape from their minds, it would be as if they were cast down from heaven … They are disunited as far as conjugial love is concerned, though not at the same time as to friendship, for this dwells in external things, but [conjugial love] in internals. It is the same in marriages on earth. There, when married partners tenderly love each other, they have what is eternal in their thoughts with regard to the covenant, and nothing at all of its end by death; and if they do think of this, they grieve, and yet in thought are comforted with the hope of its continuance after death” (CL 216a).

The same number from Conjugial Love goes on to give the experience of one couple in the spiritual world who sometimes believed that they would be eternal partners, but at other times lost this belief, the reason being that internally they were really dissimilar. When this became quite clear after death, they separated; but because they both believed in the eternity of marriage, each was provided with a partner who was internally similar.

So the conclusion is that it is the general denial of anything eternal in any marriage that destroys conjugial love. With regard to one’s own married partner in this life, the thought that he or she is internally dissimilar and will not be one’s eternal partner puts an end to any conjugial love in that particular marriage. However, if there remains the general acknowledgment that there is marriage in the heavens, a suitable partner can be provided in the other life; but under no circumstances can this be done if there is a confirmed denial of the eternity of conjugial love; for to deny this is to deny the inmost bliss of heaven.

The practical purpose for which the Lord has revealed so much about the nature of marriage in the heavens ought now to be clear. We are to hold steadfastly to the ideal of the eternity of marriage. We are to enter into our marriage with the conviction that it will last to eternity, and at all times we are to abhor the corroding thought that it will end at death. We are to act as if we know for certain that we are eternal partners, for only in this way can conjugial love, the container of all joys from first to last, be given by the Lord and preserved upon the earth. Amen.


Lessons: Matthew 22:1-33; HH 382a&b, 383

Heaven and Hell

382 a&b. In the inmost heaven there is genuine marriage love because the angels there are in the marriage of good and truth, and also in innocence. The angels of the lower heavens are also in marriage love, but only so far as they are in innocence; for marriage love viewed in itself is a state of innocence; and this is why consorts who are in the marriage love enjoy heavenly delights together, which appear before their minds almost like the sports of innocence, as between little children; for everything delights their minds, since heaven with its joy flows into every particular of their lives. For the same reason marriage love is represented in heaven by the most beautiful objects. I have seen it represented by a maiden of indescribable beauty encompassed with a bright white cloud. It is said that the angels in heaven have all their beauty from marriage love. Affections and thought flowing from that love are represented by diamond-like auras with scintillations as if from carbuncles and rubies, which are attended by delights that affect the interiors of the mind. In a word, heaven itself is represented in marriage love because heaven with the angels is the conjunction of good and truth, and it is this conjunction that makes marriage love.

Marriages in heaven differ from marriages on the earth in that the procreation of offspring is another purpose of marriages on the earth, but not of marriages in heaven, since in heaven the procreation of good and truth takes the place of procreation of offspring. The former takes the place of the latter because marriage in heaven is a marriage of good and truth; and as in that marriage good and truth and their conjunction are loved above all things, so these are what are propagated by marriages in heaven. And because of this, in the Word births and generations signify spiritual births and generations, which are births and generations of good and truth; mother and father signify truth conjoined to good, which is what procreates; sons and daughters signify the truths and goods that are procreated; and sons-in-law and daughters-in-law conjunction of these, and so on. All this makes clear that marriages in heaven are not like marriages on earth. In heaven marryings are spiritual, and cannot properly be called marrying, but conjunctions of minds from the conjunction of good and truth. But on earth there are marryings because these are not of the spirit alone but also of the flesh. And as there are no marryings in heaven, consorts there are not called husband and wife, but from the angelic idea of the joining of two minds into one, each consort designates the other by a name signifying one’s own, mutually and reciprocally. This shows how the Lord’s words in regard to marrying and giving in marriage in Luke 20:35,36 are to be understood.

383. I have also been permitted to see how marriages are contracted in the heavens. As everywhere in heaven those who are alike are united and those who are unlike are separated, so every society in heaven consists of those who are alike. Like are brought to like not by themselves but by the Lord (see above, n. 41, 43, 44, seq.); and equally consort to consort whose minds can be joined into one are drawn together; and consequently at first sight they inmostly love each other and see themselves to be consorts, and enter into marriage. For this reason all marriages in heaven are from the Lord alone. They have also marriage feasts; and these are attended by many, but the festivities differ in different societies.

PROTECTING MARRIAGE

PROTECTING MARRIAGE
A Sermon by Rev. Brian W. Keith
Preached in Glenview, Illinois May 1, 1988

“From true conjugial love there is power and protection against the hells … for the reason that through conjugial love a person has conjunction with the Lord, and the Lord alone has power over all the hells” (AE 999:2).

Marriage is precious. That most intimate of human relationships has the potential to provide a happiness that can hardly be described. Nowhere else can we share as much. Nowhere else can we receive as much from another human being. Nowhere else can we develop as strong a bond one that will last forever.

Think of the love that Isaac and Rebekah had. Although it was an arranged marriage, each willingly accepted the other and cared for the other. And it is expressed so simply: “and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her” (Gen. 24:67). Such love is different from every other affection that we might feel. It leads us to enjoy the presence of our spouse. It leads us to think of that person as our closest friend. But it also leads us to become one with our partner. It leads to a union that is special, unique. It leads to a human life that is full two becoming one flesh.

This is so important, so essential to our lives that it is worth protecting. It is worth taking care of and preserving that it might be realized.

For the person who is not yet married, the ideal of conjugial love is to be held high. Although there may have been disappointments, marriage is not just of this world. The person who asks the Lord for a conjugial partner may not receive one here, but the Lord will be able to provide one in the spiritual world for those who have cherished the concept of conjugial love. Protecting the conjugial for the single person is maintaining the dream, the promise, of what the Lord intends.

For the person who has experienced loss in marriage, or who has deeply hurt feelings from a bad experience, there is also a need to protect the concept of marriage. Although the ideal of two people spending a lifetime together, drawing ever more close, may not have been realized, the ideal is never lost, merely postponed. Marriage cannot be destroyed unless a person wills to destroy it by rejecting the ideal and living as if a happy marriage were impossible. Avoiding the poisons of disillusionment and bitterness may be enough to protect and preserve the hope of conjugial love.

And for the person who is married, that relationship is to be treasured above all other human relationships. No other human being is as important or worthy of respect and attention as one’s spouse. Any step taken to enhance the marriage, any effort made to strengthen the love, protects this precious jewel of human life.

One critical way to protect conjugial love is to face and deal with anything that might harm the marriage. The most extreme attack upon the relationship comes from adultery. We should avoid this at all costs. As we see how opposed to marriage it is, and how destructive it is, we should flee from extramarital entrapments.

In some ways this may seem easy, for most people are not openly enticed by others. But the Lord noted that the love of adultery, a love that will eventually lead into open adultery, is present in lust (see Matt 5:27, 28).

It is also important to point out that adultery rarely occurs between complete strangers. Where a person is forming a close relationship with someone other than one’s spouse, where a special trust or confidence grows up, the normal barriers against adultery are lowered. Lust does not always take the form of an animal desire for sexual relations. It can initially hide itself under the guise of a desire for communication and intimacy apart from marriage. When relationships outside of marriage become very appealing or satisfying, warning bells should be sounding. For marriage requires protection by resisting the lures of anything that would become more important than one’s spouse. Shunning adultery as a sin enables a love for one’s spouse to grow in fact, to increase daily (see SD 6110:7).

But to protect marriage we need to do more than just fight against the allure of adultery. For one evil cannot be resisted in isolation. Anything that would encourage our selfishness, anything that would encourage an over-emphasis upon worldly things, must be fought against (see CL 356). Anything that would diminish our humanity also harms our marriages. For the quality of our marriages will be determined by the quality of love within our hearts. As we progress in all aspects of our spiritual life, so will we have more love for our spouse and a stronger bond of marriage.

For just fleeing from what is opposed to marriage is not enough. We cannot spend our entire lives constantly on the lookout for anything that might threaten our marriage. If we attempt to be on the alert at all times, we will soon assume that enemies lurk in every corner, in every conversation our spouse has with another, in every look of passing strangers.

Lasting protection for our marriages can come only from the Lord from receiving His love. Yes, we have to guard against what might harm marriage, but that is only so that a genuine conjugial love might grow. It is like gardening. We have to pull up weeds and prevent the rabbits from getting in, but we cannot neglect to plant the seeds and harvest the crops. A strong marriage one that is based upon common beliefs, similar loves, and willingness to grow is the only sure protection against the hells. Or as the Heavenly Doctrines state: “from true conjugial love there is power and protection against the hells” (AE 999:2).

Strengthening a marriage is the process of two becoming one. Some of this miraculously and secretly occurs just by living with another in marriage. For the wife’s innate love directs the potential conceit of the husband to be focused on her, “neither the man nor the wife being conscious of it” (CL 193:2, 123, 171). The Lord wonderfully draws the two souls together as they talk, as they sit quietly, as they share all the little things that add up to a marriage.

Marriage is also protected by the couple’s attitudes. If marriage is seen as important, as sacred and holy, then a special bond can exist between them (see AC 2733). They can then view their relationship not just as a convenient way to live together, not just as a legality, but as a foundation upon which all happiness can rest.

It is also important for a couple to recognize the role of the Lord (see De Conj 81). If conjugial love is seen as a heavenly love descending from Him, there can be a humility and reverence toward what has been given. When we realize that we do not have to make ourselves happy, that we do not have to create love, then we can relax and accept the Lord’s direction.

And one final attitude is vital if we believe that marriage is eternal, that what is begun on earth is continued in heaven, then a stronger commitment can be made and all the little problems of living with another person can be put in perspective (see CL 216).

These beliefs attitudes enable a couple to constructively work on their relationship. As their goals and values are one, so they can strive in the same direction.

But much of the visible work of the marriage is found in emphasizing the couple’s similarities and harmonizing the differences (see CL 228, 176). What draws a couple together similar loves and values are a continuing source of delight. From superficial to core facets of life, what is held in common is the basis for the growth of love. But how differences are handled also can promote the growth of marriage. Often a young couple will think that becoming one means becoming the same. Different ways of thinking or doing things can be threatening, so each may try to be exactly like the other, or force the other to be like him- or herself. A false oneness or forceful dominion is the result. As marriages develop, couples do become more similar, but they also more clearly define and appreciate their unique qualities.

And there is no secret method for how a couple should improve their marriage. The simple principles of charity taught so clearly in the Sermon on the Mount form the ground rules for a happy marriage: be helpful, do not attack with words or deeds, turn the other cheek and forgive, seek the Lord’s help in prayer, don’t be too critical, and see the good of the other person. These and all other aspects of acting charitably enable the Lord to unite hearts and minds, producing the joys of love truly conjugial.

With a developing relationship there is a growing protection of marriage. For the tender love they share then surrounds itself with jealousy (see CL 371) not the green-eyed monster which is suspicious of all, but the recognition of what would be lost if the marriage were harmed. It is a type of fear, a fear that something precious might be damaged. It is not selfish, for with genuine conjugial love the marriage becomes more important than the temporary delights either person experiences. The fear for marriage is the fear lest the other person suffer, lest the eternal promise of happiness be lost.

Jealousy is a protective covering for marriage. It is the flame of a genuine love defending what is precious, what is heavenly. It may show itself in hostility toward others who may be forming inappropriate relationships with one’s spouse. It may show itself in resentments toward excessive work or play that draws one’s spouse away from the home and marriage. From the depth and strength of conjugial love, a just and sane jealousy emerges, protecting what is good that it might remain the source of eternal happiness for husband and wife.

The heavenly union of one man with one woman is the priceless pearl of human life. The wholehearted giving of two people to each other can bring delight and joy that is beyond imagination. It begins as the Lord leads two to discover each other, sensing that they were made for each other. Their love then develops and grows and a marriage of spirits occurs. Love truly conjugial gradually descends into their relationship, and the two become one.

Protecting and guarding this relationship lest anything harm it is vital. One form of protection is resisting hellish loves opposed to marriage. Adultery and its loves found in lust are to be rejected. Turning away from the false sirens of temporary delight enables the tender love in marriage to grow.

But lasting protection against the enemies of marriage can be found only in love truly conjugial. It is that love itself, or rather the Lord’s presence in that love, which affords us protection. As we work at our marriages, the investment of time and energy, caring and self-sacrifice will strengthen our hearts. And with such strength comes Divine protection, protection so that heaven may be created even within our lives, within our marriages. Amen.

Lessons: Genesis 24, Matthew 5:27-32, CL 371

Conjugial Love 371

That with married partners who tenderly love each other, jealousy is a just grief from sound reason, lest their conjugial love be divided and thus perish. Within all love is fear and grief, fear lest it perish, and grief if it does perish. There is the like fear and grief in conjugial love, but the fear and grief of this love is called zeal or jealousy. That with partners who tenderly love each other this zeal is just and from sound reason is because it is at the same time fear for the loss of eternal felicity, not only his own but also his partner’s; and because it is also a protection against adultery. As regards the first point that it is a just fear for the loss of his own and his partner’s eternal felicity this follows from all that has hitherto been advanced respecting love truly conjugial, and also from the fact that from that love come the blessedness of their souls, the happiness of their minds, the delight of their bosoms, and the pleasure of their bodies; and because these remain with them to eternity, there is fear for each other’s eternal happiness. (As regards the second point) that the zeal is a just protection against adulteries this is evident; therefore it is as a fire blazing out against violation and defending itself against it. From this it is evident that one who tenderly loves his partner is also jealous; but the jealousy is just and sane according to the wisdom of the person.

THE IDEAL OF MARRIAGE TO ETERNITY

THE IDEAL OF MARRIAGE TO ETERNITY

by Rev. Douglas M. Taylor

“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).


For centuries there has been but one standard interpretation of this teaching given by the Lord. It has been regarded as an unassailable proof that the Lord taught that there was no such thing as a married couple in heaven, that angels are not characterized or distinguished by sexes, that consequently all marriages are dissolved at death, and are never to be resumed in the other life. This is the way that people have thought when thinking from the doctrine of their church, though many, when thinking from common perception or common sense, have expressed belief in the idea that they will be re-united with their married partners. When thinking in this way, they invariably, and rightly, think of the partner as remaining of the same gender as he or she was while on earth. The notion that men in the other life are anything else but men, or women anything else but women, mercifully does not then enter their heads. Nor does the doctrine that prevails in the Christian world concerning our text come into the thought while one is thinking from common perception.

It is good that this is so, that common perception prevails over the common doctrine, because few things destroy a marriage of love truly conjugial more readily than does the notion that there is to be no marriage lasting into eternity. The teaching on this point ought to be clear, and indeed it is; for we are definitely taught that unless there is in the mind an idea of what is eternal in marriage, that is, an eternal companionship, the woman becomes less than a wife, and the man something less than a husband, and conjugial love perishes (see SD 6110:16, CL 216).

Yet the error of supposing that there are no married partners in heaven, while very serious, is nonetheless understandable. If once it is supposed, as is often done, that a human being is a human being from his body rather than from his mind or spirit, then it is fatally easy to fall further into error, the error of thinking that with bodily differences erased by death, those in the other world will be neither male nor female. If, further, it is thought that the married state is something less than perfect, a kind of natural permission for the sake of the propagation of the human race on earth – if, in other words, marriage is held to be inferior to the state of celibacy, as has been taught for centuries and is still being taught – then it is only to be expected that people would believe that angels would certainly not have anything to do with marriage. Such false and twisted ideas concerning life’s most precious jewel, a marriage of love truly conjugial, such falsities act like a pair of distorting spectacles before the eyes of many who read in the Word that the Lord said: “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (text). Such false assumptions distort the vision of many readers of these words, causing them to see things there that were never written.

For example, it is not said there, nor anywhere else in the Word, that there are no married partners in heaven. It is said that after death they are like “the angels of God in heaven.” It is not said that the angels are a race apart from the human race, or that they live in a state of celibacy. That is an unwarranted assumption made unthinkingly for hundreds of years. Yet this is nowhere stated. The text does not say that there is no such thing as the state of marriage in the other life. For all joys from first to last, we are frequently taught and reminded in the Writings, are gathered into conjugial love; it is the container of all other delights. So it is that all in heaven are in the married state, and that in the Word heaven is actually compared to a marriage (see Matt. 22:2).

If married couples, while living together on earth, have begun to receive from the Lord a spiritual love of marriage, i.e. conjugial love, and if they have continued steadfastly in it and in the Lord’s commandments until the end of their days on earth, then their marriage will be resumed in the other world. They enter into heaven married. It is not necessary for them to marry or be given in marriage, for they are as the angels of God in heaven. But if a married couple, believing in the eternity of marriage and having love truly conjugial as their ideal, nevertheless find in the other life that there is a hitherto unsuspected internal dissimilarity that separates them, they will each be provided with a suitable partner with whom they may live as married partners in heaven. But note: it is not that they married or were given in marriage in heaven. The suitable partner is provided on the basis of the person’s ruling love, on the basis of the love that he or she attained while on earth. The partner has to be suitable to our degree of regeneration, for regeneration and acquiring conjugial love walk hand in hand. So the criterion is the same; it is our life on earth that determines the nature and quality of our married state in the other life. The marriage takes place before we come into heaven or it does not take place at all. “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (text).

This leads us to consider another kind of marriage that is also to be understood by the Lord’s words on this occasion. What the Lord was referring to inmostly was the marriage that has to take place in every human mind: the marriage or wedding of the will to the understanding. The mind consists of two parts, the will or affectional side, and the understanding or thinking side. The will is made up of affections or feelings, while the understanding is made up of thoughts and reasonings. The whole effort of our life on earth should be to make these two – the will side of the mind and the understanding – to act as one, to be no longer two but one flesh. This is done when we act according to what we believe and understand to be good and true. The understanding is first instructed in what is good and true, and then begins the struggle to bring the will into line with this new vision of heavenly life. What the understanding sees as the true and good way of life, the will must learn to love and live. Or, as the Writings express it, the doctrine of life in the understanding must become the life of doctrine in the will. In this way, when every deed matches our creed, our mind is united and at peace. One part is no longer battling with the other; the will and understanding work together in conjunction. They are wedded together, married to eternity.

It was this kind of marriage to which the Lord was primarily referring when He said that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” This marriage of good and truth, of will and understanding, of deed and creed, must take place in this life or it will never take place. In the resurrection it will be too late. After death, the will and the understanding do not many nor are they given in marriage. They must be united in this life.

But why did not the Lord explain this to the Sadducees when they tried to trap Him with their question about marriage in the afterlife? Why did not the Lord explain plainly that there is certainly a heavenly marriage, though it differs from an earthly one? Why did He allow the Christian Church, founded upon the words of His Gospel, to remain in such obscurity with regard to marriage? Could He not have given (at that time) the unambiguous explanation He has now given in the Writings?

No. That would have been worse than useless. The Lord in His infinite wisdom and mercy could perceive that mankind in general was incapable at that time of seeing such interior truths. Even the disciples, who were allowed to see more than the multitude, were unable to see the heavenly meaning of the parable of the sower, and needed to have it explained to them (see Luke 8:9). There were many things that they could not bear, including the doctrine about the spiritual marriage of good and truth, and the idea of a happy marriage to eternity. This was simply over the heads of the disciples.

Still less could the bodily-minded Sadducees have grasped even an introductory idea of a spiritual marriage. They were renowned for their complete denial of the afterlife. Concerning the nature of such people, we read: “When a man is such that he does not believe that he will live after death, he also disbelieves that there is anything internal which is spiritual and celestial; and such are those who live in mere lusts, because they live a mere life of the body and of the world, especially those who are immersed in loathsome avarice” (AC 1201).

These Sadducees were like that, and because their idea of marriage was manifestly restricted to the plane of the body, the concept of conjugial love, a love pure and clean above any other love of which mankind is capable, the concept of a spiritual kind of marriage, was quite beyond them. Even the Lord’s Divine wisdom itself on this subject would have been like thick darkness to their carnal minds. It was better, then, to let them think that there was no marriage in heaven than to have them defile the idea of a heavenly marriage with their gross, bodily ideas. For certain it is that there is no such thing in heaven as the kind of marriage the Sadducees had in mind. There is no such thing in heaven as marriage simply and solely for the sake of the propagation of physical offspring. The Lord’s words were literally true when applied to the Sadducees’ concept of marriage, and that is another reason for His speaking in the way He did.

In the work Heaven and Hell there is a passage explaining these words of the Lord with regard to marriage in the afterlife, in which it is said that while there are indeed married people in heaven, such marriages differ from those on earth. They differ principally in this, that there is no propagation of offspring. We read: “The procreation of offspring is another purpose of marriages on earth, but not of marriages in heaven, since in heaven the procreation of good and truth takes the place of the procreation of offspring …. In heaven marryings are spiritual, and cannot properly be called marryings, but conjunctions of minds from the conjunction of good and truth. But on earth there are marryings, because these are not of the spirit alone but also of the flesh” (HH 382b).

It should not be supposed from this, however, that in the other world the inhabitants are bodiless minds without shape or form. Let us recall the familiar teaching that there is a spiritual body as well as a natural body, and that when the natural body is put off by death, we live in the spiritual body, and this is an exact replica of the mind, a beautiful mind being represented or manifested by a beautiful spiritual body, a masculine mind being manifested in a male spiritual body, a feminine mind in a female spiritual body. So it is that in the heavens also the conjunction of minds resulting from the conjunction of good and truth descends into the body, the spiritual body, the only difference being that there is, in the nature of the case, no propagation of physical offspring, but instead the propagation of spiritual offspring, that is, of new affections and delights belonging to good and truth.

These and many other detailed teachings about marriages in heaven are given in the Writings, notably in the works Heaven and Hell and Conjugial Love, in both of which works a whole chapter is devoted to the subject. Besides this, there are sundry other references scattered throughout the Writings.

But to what purpose were such details with regard to a blissful marriage to eternity revealed? The answer has already been given in a general way. We have already seen the teaching of the Writings that unless there remains in the mind an idea of what is eternal with regard to marriage, that is, an eternal conjunction of minds, the woman is reduced to something less than a wife, the man becomes something less than a husband, and conjugial love perishes. It is of the utmost importance for the men and women of the New Church to understand this teaching and the implications of it, so that they can use it, because it is promised that to the New Jerusalem will be restored that precious jewel of life, conjugial love.

But this is not attained simply by being a member of a church organization. Conjugial love is given by the Lord according to His laws, according to His way of operation. It is received by mankind only in the proportion that what is contrary to conjugial love is shunned and rejected. And one of the forces most destructive of conjugial love in the world is the notion that there is no marriage in the afterlife, that marriage has nothing of eternity in it. Likewise, in a particular marriage, the failure to keep before the mind the ideal of a happy marriage continuing into eternity causes the loss of conjugial love in that marriage. To entertain constantly the idea that one’s married partner in this life is probably not going to be one’s conjugial partner in the spiritual world is to cause conjugial love to dry up in that particular marriage, leaving an inward coldness even if outwardly there is agreement.

Such is the teaching of the Writings, especially in the following passage: “The reason why those who are in love truly conjugial look to what is eternal is that there is eternity in that love; and its eternity is from the fact that this love with the wife and wisdom with the husband increase to eternity, and in their increase or progression married partners enter more and more deeply into the blessings of heaven, which their wisdom and its love at the same time store up within them. If therefore the idea of what is eternal were eradicated, or if in any case it were to escape from their minds, it would be as if they were cast down from heaven …. They are disunited as far as conjugial love is concerned, though not at the same time as to friendship, for this dwells in external things, but [conjugial love] in internals. It is the same in marriages on earth. There, when married partners tenderly love each other, they have what is eternal in their thoughts with regard to the covenant, and nothing at all of its end by death; and if they do think of this, they grieve, and yet in thought are comforted with the hope of its continuance after death” (CL 216a).

The same number from Conjugial Love goes on to give the experience of one couple in the spiritual world who sometimes believed that they would be eternal partners, but at other times lost this belief, the reason being that internally they were really dissimilar. When this became quite clear after death, they separated; but because they both believed in the eternity of marriage, each was provided with a partner who was internally similar.

So the conclusion is that it is the general denial of anything eternal in any marriage that destroys conjugial love. With regard to one’s own married partner in this life, the thought that he or she is internally dissimilar and will not be one’s eternal partner puts an end to any conjugial love in that particular marriage. However, if there remains the general acknowledgment that there is marriage in the heavens, a suitable partner can be provided in the other life; but under no circumstances can this be done if there is a confirmed denial of the eternity of conjugial love; for to deny this is to deny the inmost bliss of heaven.

The practical purpose for which the Lord has revealed so much about the nature of marriage in the heavens ought now to be clear. We are to hold steadfastly to the ideal of the eternity of marriage. We are to enter into our marriage with the conviction that it will last to eternity, and at all times we are to abhor the corroding thought that it will end at death. We are to act as if we know for certain that we are eternal partners, for only in this way can conjugial love, the container of all joys from first to last, be given by the Lord and preserved upon the earth. Amen.

Lessons: Matthew 22:1-33; HH 382a&b, 383
Presented in Bryn Athyn October 30, 1994


Heaven and Hell

382 a&b. In the inmost heaven there is genuine marriage love because the angels there are in the marriage of good and truth, and also in innocence. The angels of the lower heavens are also in marriage love, but only so far as they are in innocence; for marriage love viewed in itself is a state of innocence; and this is why consorts who are in the marriage love enjoy heavenly delights together, which appear before their minds almost like the sports of innocence, as between little children; for everything delights their minds, since heaven with its joy flows into every particular of their lives. For the same reason marriage love is represented in heaven by the most beautiful objects. I have seen it represented by a maiden of indescribable beauty encompassed with a bright white cloud. It is said that the angels in heaven have all their beauty from marriage love. Affections and thought flowing from that love are represented by diamond-like auras with scintillations as if from carbuncles and rubies, which are attended by delights that affect the interiors of the mind. In a word, heaven itself is represented in marriage love because heaven with the angels is the conjunction of good and truth, and it is this conjunction that makes marriage love.

Marriages in heaven differ from marriages on the earth in that the procreation of offspring is another purpose of marriages on the earth, but not of marriages in heaven, since in heaven the procreation of good and truth takes the place of procreation of offspring. The former takes the place of the latter because marriage in heaven is a marriage of good and truth; and as in that marriage good and truth and their conjunction are loved above all things, so these are what are propagated by marriages in heaven. And because of this, in the Word births and generations signify spiritual births and generations, which are births and generations of good and truth; mother and father signify truth conjoined to good, which is what procreates; sons and daughters signify the truths and goods that are procreated; and sons-in-law and daughters-in-law conjunction of these, and so on. All this makes clear that marriages in heaven are not like marriages on earth. In heaven marryings are spiritual, and cannot properly be called marrying, but conjunctions of minds from the conjunction of good and truth. But on earth there are marryings because these are not of the spirit alone but also of the flesh. And as there are no marryings in heaven, consorts there are not called husband and wife, but from the angelic idea of the joining of two minds into one, each consort designates the other by a name signifying one’s own, mutually and reciprocally. This shows how the Lord’s words in regard to marrying and giving in marriage in Luke 20:35,36 are to be understood.

383. I have also been permitted to see how marriages are contracted in the heavens. As everywhere in heaven those who are alike are united and those who are unlike are separated, so every society in heaven consists of those who are alike. Like are brought to like not by themselves but by the Lord (see above, n. 41, 43, 44, seq.); and equally consort to consort whose minds can be joined into one are drawn together; and consequently at first sight they inmostly love each other and see themselves to be consorts, and enter into marriage. For this reason all marriages in heaven are from the Lord alone. They have also marriage feasts; and these are attended by many, but the festivities differ in different societies.