Angels and Non-Physical Complexity

 

There are those who maintain that angels are a unique creation and are distinct from the human race. This needs to be given further thought, not just from what our faith teaches, but pondered with some scientific reasoning thrown in.

An interesting new science that is moving into the forefront of research deals with complexity—the emergence of complicated systems in nature. Complexity finds its ultimate expression in the structure of the human brain.

It is a big mystery to science why nature shows an incessant striving towards self-organization and complexity. Naturalism, which does not believe in a divine author, sees complexity as coming into existence from simple molecules, which in turn came from more simple fundamental particles, like atoms and quarks. This is called scientific reductionism.

Physicist David Bohm was one of the first to challenge the idea that things get simpler the deeper you probe nature. His version of quantum physics theorizes that elementary particles become increasingly more complex, and contain subtle inner structure. This would suggest that large systems acquire their complexity from prior or implicate orders of reality.

I find Bohm’s position suitable for theology. If God existed before the creation of the physical world, it would mean that infinite complexity was already established and functioning in a pre-space condition. Since God is infinitely alive, bio-structure started from infinite perfection and always existed.

It is easier to envision God as Infinite Love and Infinite Wisdom than equating these divine attributes to a corresponding level of bio-complexity. Furthermore, how does God’s ineffable organic structure exist abstracted from space, time, and matter?

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg has offered the best explanation I have yet to come across. He claimed that fundamental substance was non-physical. Even more startling, this primal formative substance was LOVE, the causal agent and first principle of the universe. Love was God’s living substance and Wisdom was the Divine embodiment, or form love takes in all its expressions.

Therefore, complexity in the physical world emerged out of complexity from a non-physical world. That LOVE is the key to agency in the universe is evidenced by nature’s ongoing endeavor towards self-organization. With organization comes unity through utility. Unity through structure is an analog of love, because the very essence of love is to unite. Everything finds coherence by mutually serving some unifying purpose. This is unity through utility. Utility is also a derivative of love. It is a physical analog of goodness.

So what does all this have to do with angels? Angels are finite beings. Therefore, in spite of all their good will, their ideas are finite as well. Finite ideas cannot be formed outside of time and space (which is a problem in heaven).

All finite reasoning must come from ideas formed from living in a world of time and space. Living in a physical world allows a finite mind to detect distances and ratios between things and distinguish the past from the present. This is why Swedenborg maintained that all angelic beings were once a part of the human race.

God’s purpose in creation was to form a heaven from the human race. Of all earth’s creatures, humans have carved out a niche as an information-gatherer. We each take this information and internalize it. That is, we take ideas from the physical world and turn it into “us” through our subjective preferences and dispositions. If love is primal creative substance, then the values we choose in life will self-organize into the bio-complexity that reflects our true spirit or innermost life.

Without living in a physical world first, where there is time and space, angels would have had no lawful means for forming mental relationships and making distinctions. From learning physical relationships, the mind can then form ideas about non-physical relationships. For instance, a person who shares different values and opinions from ours becomes psychologically viewed as being “far” from us (no matter how physically close he or she may be). It is this change from physical standards of measurement to psycho-spiritual measurement that is needed for angels to discern relationships in the non-physical realm of heaven.

So, in God’s providential and ultimate scheme, when we depart from our physical bodies at the time of death, we will still retain our spiritual bio-complexity. This provides us with the proper organic vehicle to take our acquired ability to discern non-spatial and non-physical relationships with us into the other world.

I have left out many things that relate to this subject. Not everyone’s spiritual bio-complexity is properly formed for eternal life in heaven. I will touch on some of these additional topics in other posts and more completely in my next book, Proving God. I will announce on this blog when the book will be available.

Posted on September 20, 2008 by thegodguy

http://www.provinggod.com

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God wants to be loved, too!

I am not trying to imply that God has joined a lonely-hearts club or has a pitiful existence. It is simply a divine necessity for a God of Infinite Love.

Love needs a subject. This is clear to all of us when we reflect that our desires, passions, and intentions must be focused on something real – something that exists outside of us.

God created the external world as a focus for divine love. This does not mean that God creates matter so that quarks, atoms, and molecules could be “admired.” Rather, God focused divine love in a way that allowed its spiritual force to take form in concrete physical things.

In other words, all matter is a recipient form of God’s influence.

The Infinite occupies finite things according to reception. This is why nature displays a profound endeavor toward self-organization and complexity. Nature organizes itself into new levels of order as an increased response to God’s love.

The essence of love is to unite. Even a physicist will admit that the universe is obviously unified. There is no physical principle for why nature becomes so rationally ordered and coherent. Going a step further, there is no reason why the laws of the physical universe are so fine-tuned towards bio-friendliness.

Nature goes beyond the organization of galaxies and solar systems. Nature creates bio-structure, culminating in the profound structure of the human brain. What is not taken into consideration by the physical sciences is that this process of creation and evolution is the exaltation of love.

God’s love in the universe increases as structure becomes more complex. Everything is organized for cooperation and utility – which expresses God’s goodness. It is God’s love that attaches usefulness to various combinations of matter and their increasing complexity.

But ultimately, love needs more than a subject. Love is perfected and exalted when it is reciprocal.

Love wants to love and be loved in return.

This is the reason why evolution has led to the emergence of the human race. Humans have the cognitive ability to recognize the Creator and love God back – by applying spiritual values to their lives. Religious tenets are the means by which humankind becomes the ultimate recipient form of God’s love. Thus humankind indeed becomes an image and likeness of God.

Humans have an inner reality not shared by other creatures, called first person phenomenal experience. This inner psycho-reality allows evolution and bio-complexity to continue into a non-physical realm.

How?

The arrangement and ordering of human experience in the human heart and mind is a real organic process that creates real non-physical bio-structure, or spiritual body. This innermost body of the spirit is formed from one’s life choices and values, and, can survive physical death and the tyranny of time. (One’s choices and values are one’s spirit and are derivatives of love.)

Heaven is not to be thought of as simply a place that one goes to for being “good.” Heaven is beyond time, space, and physical law. It is something you become – inwardly. Heaven is a state of love – and the non-material organic form it takes from the quality of our personal response to God’s divine love.

This is the real purpose behind religion – to create a covenant between God and the human race through love finding its ultimate fulfillment.

God needs us to bring this wonderful plan to fruition.

Posted on September 3, 2008by thegodguy

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The New Physics and the New Jerusalem

 

My experience over the past several years with both physicists and theologians who are concerned with fundamentals is that I detect a real sense of anxiety. Both “sides” strongly believe that we are in need of a major paradigm shift.

The issue is unity.

Contemporary physicists, unable to unify the two pillars of modern physics—relativity theory and quantum theory—feel that a more adequate reformulation of these concepts still needs to be achieved. The universe cannot be based on two theories that do not mesh.

Similarly, contemporary theologians are acknowledging that a fresh approach to the doctrine of Scripture is needed to make its interpretation more inclusive and perpetually relevant to all faith-seekers, in all periods of human history, including the future. Religion, which has roots in the Latin word for ligament (ligare), meaning to bind and bring together, has unfortunately had an opposite effect all throughout history.

These problems become unimaginably intensified for those pioneering and rare individuals who are seriously attempting to unify the truth claims of both science and religion. It is useless to unify inadequate theology with inadequate scientific theory.

Humans will not find solutions to these difficult problems by means of academia and scholarship. The final answers can only come from the Lord God. Thankfully, since God wishes to share deeper knowledge about the ultimate reality with the human race, a divine delivery system has been set up to accomplish that very thing.

It is called the Lord’s Second Coming. And it is taking place right now.

Don’t look for earthquakes and great battles to begin. Rather, the Second Coming will be a shaking of the very foundations of our world-views. And the great battle to take place will happen within our hearts and minds over whether we should defend our old thinking or embrace the Lord’s promise to make all things “anew.” So God is promising a shake-up and overhaul of all our scientific and theological thinking.

The first Advent of the Lord was physical. The second is psychical. First we see, next, we understand.

The Lord is now revealing potent new concepts to the world. God’s guidance is required because these new ideas exist on deeper levels of meaning that are contained within the narratives of the Holy Word. The New Jerusalem will be a new church formed of individuals who are able to accept and adopt these doctrinal revelations into their faith-system.

How does this help science? Will modern science also benefit from the Second Coming?

Yes.

As these deeper levels of meaning in Scripture are revealed to us we will be able to gain an intelligible idea of how everything in the universe and its laws emerged from patterning principles hidden within the architecture of the Holy Word (John, 1:1-3).

I have had access to these new ideas (a new dispensation from the Lord) for almost 35 years. I can attest to the potency of these revelations because they have allowed me to write a book that will address such challenging issues as the nexus between the Infinite and the finite, resolve the problem of the Big Bang singularity, the emergence of spacetime and matter from nonphysical and pre-geometric (spiritual) principles, address top-down causality, offer a new theory of evolution, provide a comprehensive multi-level model of human cognitive function, explore the neural basis of religion, answer the mystery of the Neanderthals, explain the mechanism behind hypnotism, address quantum gravity, life after death, and the reality of the spiritual world.

All this will revolve around the totally unexpected idea that LOVE is ultimate formative substance and ultimate reality. In other words, a cosmological model, based on the dynamics of love, can provide us with an exact science (with real explanatory and predictive powers).

If taking the concept of love beyond its usual romantic connotation, and making it the fundamental stuff and law-giving agent of the universe, sends a shockwave through your brain, then congratulations. You have just experienced a small taste of what the “end of days” really address.

If you have been following my posts you will know how to gain access to the hottest news to come directly out of heaven.

I am sure you must have lots and lots of questions.

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Creation and the Metrics of Love

While this has led some theorists to believe in a Creation out of nothingness (Creatio ex nihilo), the problem with such a scenario is that it leads us to a cosmic dead end if we have set our hearts at finding the first causal principles of reality. How can we understand agency and natural law emerging from a pre-physical void? What special initial conditions could exist in a non-spatial and non-temporal realm that would be capable of carrying the seeds for our fruitful universe?

Thankfully, some serious forward-thinking physicists are working with the idea that time and space may have emerged from a realm of pre-geometry. In this pre-space, pre-temporal realm, there is a new kind of “activity.” Rather than the usual concept of motion or trajectory as a displacement of position, this activity would involve a change of states.

Is there anything that falls within our human experience that can verify whether dynamical change can really take place apart from spacetime measurement? Yes there is! In fact, change of state or non-physical action actually represents the most intimate perception of reality that we are conscious of. We even apply a unique standard of measurement to this non-physical activity.

We experience these change of states as our mental states (and changing dispositions). The human mind cannot be said to be located in space yet the mind’s thoughts and feelings are real activities that have real trajectories and measurement (metrics). Our goals and wishes represent these non-physical trajectories and we possess an inner sense of the psychical “distance” between where we are and where we need to be upon accomplishing our goals. We can also have big goals and smaller goals.

Obviously, our individual mental goals are not measured in meters, inches, miles or yardsticks. They are measured by what we value (which are all derivatives of love). This inner measurement is even more real to us then our physical reality because IT IS “US.”

People can seem close to us, or miles apart, according to whether we have similar values and affections (which has nothing to do with physical distance). If a person is unselfish and loving, we see him or her as “big” person (sometimes a giant among others) but if an individual is selfish he or she is seen as acting very “small.”

So size, distance, and place all come under a different standard of measurement when concerning our inner or spiritual reality. In this inner world, love sets the parameters.

So what does all this have to with discovering the first principles and special initial conditions of the universe before the appearance of time and space? Well, rather than nothingness, perhaps the world was created from LOVE. In other words, love should be scientifically considered as fundamental formative substance.

If the universe had a beginning (and was created) then first causal principles and agency must be sought after in a non-physical realm where time equaled zero (t=0). This realm must provide us with the origin of natural law and offer an explanation of how the quantum world of possibilities can logically take us to the time-irreversible outcomes of least actions that we see operating on larger scales of the cosmos (Newtonian physics). But I believe first principles must do even more than this, much more!

There is a concept in physics called the correspondence principle in which prior realities must help explain posterior realities. So if we truly seek a priori or first principles these principles must show us why nature is unified and has a continuous compulsion (endeavor) for self-organization and increased complexity, including bio-complexity.

First principles must not only be able to function in a pre-space world but they must represent living and organic principles right out of the starting gate!

Existence is relationship. Nothing exists without co-existence. The essence of love is an endeavor to unite. Even the organized mutual cooperation of living systems is a physical analog of Love. In humans, the bio-complexity of the brain has reached a level of sophistication where we can consciously choose to improve civilization through noble acts of love and the mutual sharing of our talents.

In such a cosmic scheme, first principles descend from a non-physical realm into the world of matter, than ascend back towards the invisible realm through increased complexity, the evolution of human consciousness, and resulting in the development of a non-physical, inner reality. This non-physical realm is called heaven.

Therefore, religion was given to humans in order that their activities and lives could put the first principles of the universe on display and help God realize the ultimate scheme of creation – the exaltation of love.

Love is the only force I know of that manifests endeavor and possibility. And, since love seeks self-representation in all things created (which is why everything is interconnected through utility), it absolutely requires the correspondence principle, self-consistency, a principle of least action, and the fine-tuning of natural laws.

Love is the ultimate science. The purpose of my next book, Proving God, is to flush out all these ideas in order to unify science with God’s wonderful plan.

Evolution and Religion

A big obstacle in unifying science with religion comes from the point of view that science deals with facts and religion deals with values. They each address quite different topics so some people feel there is no need to waste time trying to forge them together. Let them each do what they do best.

My new book project entitled “Proving God” will challenge this assumption. In my previous post I pointed out that the laws of physics somehow emerged from of a non-local and non-temporal void (that is, if you believe, like most scientists and theologians, that the universe had an actual beginning).

What is most conspicuous about the creation of the universe is that it not only entailed a distribution of energy and momentum but an ongoing process of self-organization. This organization of the cosmos continued to increase in the complexity of biosystems that ultimately led to the human brain. Whether this happened by design or chance scientists know that it is a fact that the manifest universe and organic life could not have come into existence unless the constants of nature met very tight tolerances. Did this “fine-tuning” of the universe, which allowed for the increase of intelligence and consciousness to emerge, have its origins from a creative principle operating in the pre-space void?

In the neo-Darwinian synthesis, which includes microbiology and genetics, evolution occurs from the ongoing strategies of genes to ensure reproduction under the pressures of a changing external environment. New species are the result of these survival strategies. However, the evolutionary trajectory has led to the human race, which enjoys first-person phenomenal experience. So evolution has a complex creature where values are very important.

All human values are derivatives of love. Affection, emotion, appetite, and intention all give focus to human cognitive function and steer it towards some valued goal. This is where religion enters into the picture of evolution. The human mind, which does not operate in space, can continue to develop and raise its level of complexity by adopting a more universal and noble love. What we love defines how our thoughts and ideas are put into some corresponding order and structure. In the same way that a human ear has evolved to be a subject for sound, human ideas represent the higher-ordered forms and subjects of our affections. Our thoughts and ideas are the non-material forms and bio-structure of what we love and intend. This creates our spiritual body.

Religion, which serves as a guide for choosing the optimum values for living, can therefore be looked at as a Divine strategy by which humans can extend evolution and bio-complexity into a non-physical domain. We call this realm heaven.

It is rational to think that the constancy and fine-tuning of laws in the universe is a faithful articulation of first causal principles. If the universe is self-consistent then the perfection of bio-complexity will more perfectly express the first principles of creation. Humans who raise their hearts and minds to spiritual love and its inclusiveness have successfully created a complexity of spirit that mirrors Divine Love. The ultimate scheme of creation and evolution is to create angels from the human race. This completes the dynamic and holistic process of creation emerging from an eternal non-physical reality and merging back into it. What do you think?

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Hello, serious thinkers!

God & Science

Both religion and science make truth claims about ultimate reality. For that reason there is growing interest among scientists, theologians, and laypeople to ask if science and religion can both answer the same questions about reality and have real points of interaction. I like to think of myself as part of this exciting and stimulating movement. I personally am coming to the last stages of completing the manuscript for my new book that hopefully will offer fresh ideas to this important discussion.

There are of course, landmines everywhere. For instance, in order to unify science and God one has to offer at least some rational evidence (if not empirical evidence) that God indeed exists. Next problem: what theological interpretation of religion and what scientific interpretation of quantum physics do you choose to unite? From my humble point of view, any successful encounter between the two would require that theology offer new insights to solving the perplexing issues of the New Physics, and that these solutions of science lead to a more rational approach to the deepest mysteries of faith. Since this has not happened I fully expect that an upheaval in both science and theology will be required. My book deals with this shake-up.

In the hopes of starting a dialog with open-minded and serious thinkers I would like to share with you reasons for my confidence that such a thing is possible. (Agnostics and atheists are more than welcome to participate.)

Before anyone pooh-poohs the existence of God, it is important to understand exactly where science is hitting a brick wall – its fundamental understanding of reality. Even science based on a strict materialistic philosophy is finding that nature, on her most fundamental level, is radically “weird” and resists a reductionist approach. In the invisible world of the quantum vacuum nothing physical or solid exists, there are only “tendencies to exist.” If God exists it will be in a non-local and non-temporal realm – exactly where science does not have a firm grasp on what is going on.

On the other side of the physics coin, relativity theory and the Big Bang Singularity presents us with another weird problem. Since the universe is expanding scientists assumed that if you turn time backwards the universe will shrink into an ever- decreasing radius and disappear into the void as a zero-dimensional point (essential singularity) where time and space no longer exist. Where there is no spacetime there are no physical laws either. So, if the laws of physics break down in a singularity than physics cannot explain the beginning of the universe.

Both quantum physics and the Big Bang point to a non-physical beginning (even though they do so in different ways). Therefore, the laws of physics must have their origin in an invisible, non-temporal and non-spatial realm. What non-material principles and agency made up the special initial conditions of the universe where time equaled zero (t = 0)?

It is the premise of my forthcoming book that the laws and forces of nature are actually spiritual laws and forces extended into the constraints of time and space. In other words, the various qualities of God’s Divine Love and Wisdom create all the ratios, proportions, and analogies we find in the extensiveness of the physical world.

Most physicists agree that Nature is unified. The essence of love is to unite and the essence of truth is to differentiate. Nature is the perfection of unity through difference. This is why Nature is a mirror image of God’s nature. What do you think

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The Order of Creation

The Order of Creation

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

revcooper.ca

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen. 1:1)

Everyone who believes in God, no matter what the details of their faith may be, also believes that God is the creator of everything. The difficulties that we have with the concept of creation begin to arise when we try to understand the process of how He created the universe. We want to know things like, “What is our relationship as created beings to our Creator?” and “Are people fragments of God that will eventually return to unity with Him?” and “Where did the matter of the universe come from in the first place?” These are some of the questions we will address today.

The first thing we must establish is that humans are not part of the “cosmic oneness” of God, but in fact depend on a degree of separation from Him to allow for individual development of personality and character. In order for people to live in freedom, able to respond to God’s leading each in his own unique way, it is absolutely essential that each person be separate from the Divine, while at the same time be of such a form as to be able to receive and use the constantly inflowing Divine life.

God created the universe because He is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom itself, and the nature of Divine Love is to continually seek to express itself, to go forth and give pleasure to others. Therefore, unless there were human beings to love, the Divine Love could not be received and it was frustrated, so God’s whole effort was directed to correcting this situation, to creating individual human beings whom He could love. In the same way, the Divine Wisdom of God also continually seeks to express itself, but it expresses itself in the forms of the created world, it represents God’s infinite knowledge. We can think of an example from our own experience. We feel a need for something, we desire to have it to enable us to perform some use. We then think about the steps that are required for us to make or buy that thing. The desire is like the Divine Love, the steps required to get it and use it, stand for the Divine Wisdom.

Another way to illustrate the Divine Love and Wisdom in God is to think of them like the heat and light that proceed from the sun. We are told that God appears to the angels in the spiritual world as a sun, as the sun of heaven itself, to represent this truth about His nature. When we think of God as the sun of the spiritual world, we can then think of the Divine Love proceeding from Him as heat, and the Divine Wisdom proceeding as light.

Such symbols are commonly used in the world today. When we are loved by someone, we say we feel the ‘warmth’ of their love. When someone explains something to us, we say that they have put a little ‘light’ on the subject. These common illustrations of human relationships are derived from their correspondence with God as He appears in the spiritual sun of heaven.

In the world of nature, the sun provides all the energy (except that which is provided by nuclear reaction). The sun shines on an innumerable variety of green plants which then use that energy to make their food. The sun’s energy is stored in the plants, and is later released when eaten by animals, or when burned in fires, or when turned to coal or petroleum over the passage of time. Even the electricity provided by a hydroelectric plant comes from the sun, for the sun causes the water to evaporate, clouds to form, and rain to fall into the reservoirs, thus the sun lifts the water from the sea into the mountains, and we collect some of the energy released as it rushes back to the sea. Everywhere we turn, we see that the very power to move and live in the natural world is provided by the sun, and if we lift our minds out of the world of nature just for a moment, we can see that this is so because God Himself is the sun of Heaven, and He created the natural sun to correspond to and represent His relationship to all of His creation.

The spiritual sun, and its heat and light are “a proceeding” from the Divine Love and Divine Wisdom of God (DLW 290). The Divine Love proceeds from the Lord as heat, and the Divine Wisdom proceeds from the Lord as light, and these two, taken together, are perceived as the sun of the spiritual world. This sun enlivens spiritual beings by its heat, and renews spiritual objects by its light (DLW 93), that is to say that it is by means of the Divine Love and Wisdom proceeding from the Lord as a sun that the spiritual world and its inhabitants have their life and their continual creation or renewal.

We know that the natural sun is incredibly active, and gives off strong radiation over a wide range of frequencies. In fact, the only reason the sun is life-giving instead of life-destroying is that it is 150 000 000 kilometers away, and the earth’s atmosphere blocks and filters out most of the harmful frequencies of radiation. In the same way we need to have some spiritual distance and spiritual atmospheres between God and us in order to survive His presence with us. The Lord’s Divine Love and Wisdom flow out from Him as a sun, with fierce power. But the first things that He created were spiritual atmospheres to soften and moderate His Divine power so that it could be received by the highest angels. He also created the spiritual world so that it itself acted like atmospheres, receiving the Lord’s Divine presence, softening, changing, and passing it on to the next level in a form particularly suited for the states of those who were to receive it. The warmth of that sun warms the will, and the light of it is the light of the understanding (DLW 96). But although the Divine Love and Wisdom proceed from God as the heat and light from a sun, and although the angels see Him above the heavens as a sun, we must also hold to the clear, repeated teaching of the Heavenly Doctrines that God is not a sun, but a Man: it is just that “The first proceeding from His Love and Wisdom is that fiery spiritual (substance) which appears before the angels as a sun” (DLW 97). In Himself He is not anything but Divine Man (See DLW 97).

The Lord cannot be present with us as He is in Himself, any more than we could live on the surface of the sun. Therefore, the Lord is present with us by means of those things which a person may receive from Him without harm, such as: love, wisdom, and use. Neither love nor wisdom can go out from God and be received by a person except by means of something that conducts it, any more than light and heat can travel from the natural sun to earth without something to carry them. For example, electricity must travel through its proper conductors — it cannot travel through an open switch. Sound and heat must have air (or some other substance) to carry them. Every form of energy that we know about must travel through its proper medium. In the case of love and wisdom, that thing that carries them from the Lord to mankind is use, for the Heavenly Doctrines teach that the spiritual atmospheres carry the effects of the spiritual sun to heaven, and then through heaven to men in the world, making “the Lord’s presence everywhere manifest” (DLW 299). And where the Lord is present, there uses are being performed.

The creative force flowed out from God and a spiritual atmosphere was formed. His power then flowed into that atmosphere which changed it and a lower atmosphere was formed, and so on until the heavens, and the world of nature were created. And, all these degrees and layers of creation continue to exist moment by moment because Life from the Lord is continually flowing into them, renewing them, and maintaining their existence.

Even though in themselves they are dead, each of these degrees of creation has something of the Divine within it, and therefore has a drive (or “conatus”) to return back to the Lord, to rise up in higher uses wherever and whenever the opportunity is present. The material substances of the world are dead in themselves, but there still is life in them from the Lord through the spiritual sun and atmospheres. The Lord has reached out and created level after level of substances and forms, until they are so far from Him that they seem to us to be inert and lifeless, yet they are capable of responding to the influx of life.

In this way, layer by layer, the Infinite was finited, and the material “stuff” of the universe was created. Then having reached the bottom, the most ultimate things of the natural world, the Lord then directed His life into these things so that they began to combine with each other and become more complex forms capable of receiving more life, and performing higher uses. From the basic matter of the universe, He created the mineral kingdom. With that as a foundation and basis, He then added a new level of life and created the vegetable kingdom. When that was well established and could support a new form of life there was another distinct jump and the animal kingdom was added as another kingdom capable of perform even higher uses. Then, when all was in readiness, He drew things together from the whole of creation and created human beings. This creation was unique and remarkable in that it could receive influx immediately from God into an eternal, human soul, it could receive the inflowing life from God into a conscious, rational mind, and it could receive an inflowing life into the material substances of the world and so build a body of natural substances which could serve as a means for acquiring and learning sensual knowledges from the world which would serve as a basis for the intellectual processes of the growing spiritual mind.

But the point of creation was not for the human beings to live for a few years in the natural world, but that there could be eternal, spiritual life for us, and to this end the Lord created people with an internal spiritual form to receive His life which could never be harmed and never die. It is difficult for us to sense this for ourselves, because the feeling of life from the soul has been hidden from people in the world as a protection for them. If people were able to become conscious on the level of the soul, they might choose to do something that would damage it, or make it no longer capable of receiving life from the Lord — certainly people make choices in the natural world that destroy their ability to be rational, so the same principle would apply on the spiritual level. If a person were to do damage to his soul, it would be the end of his eternal life, and so this is why the soul is particularly protected by the Lord — for the sake of man’s eternal life and happiness.

Creation descends from God to the ultimates of nature, and then ascends back to heaven, or as the Heavenly Doctrines say, “from firsts to lasts and thence into intermediates.” (ref.?) God created the universe not from nothing, but from Himself (DLW 55, 56, 291-306). He did so by successive degrees of accommodation until He had created all the material things in the world. These materials were from Him. He then built up the various degrees of creation until He had a vessel that could contain a living soul: a human being. He could inflow directly into this creation, giving it the gift of life, and with it the gift of the feeling that life is one’s own.

Although this treatment has barely touched the surface of this rich doctrine, it should be plain that the Lord created the universe for the sake of mankind. He created it from Himself in such a way that it is not continuous with Him, but that it is in order and thus responsive to Him. From the spiritual sun, life and truth descend by degrees through the spiritual atmospheres, taking on layer after layer of appropriate forms that clothe them. Yet every level is created to receive life or truth, and pass it on, or hold it, so that through his life, each person has the opportunity to act freely as of himself within the spiritual and natural environment created for him by the Lord. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. AMEN.

Lessons: Genesis 1:1-19, Rev. 4, AE 739

1st Lesson: Genesis 1:1-19,

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. {2} The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. {3} Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. {4} And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. {5} God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. {6} Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” {7} Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. {8} And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. {9} Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. {10} And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. {11} Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. {12} And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. {13} So the evening and the morning were the third day. {14} Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; {15} “and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. {16} Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. {17} God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, {18} and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. {19} So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Amen.

2nd Lesson: Rev. 4,

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” {2} Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. {3} And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. {4} Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. {5} And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. {6} Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. {7} The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. {8} The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” {9} Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, {10} the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: {11} “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Amen.

3rd Lesson: A. E. 739:2-4

[2] … Every man at his birth is altogether sensual, so that even the five senses of his body must be opened by use; he next becomes sensual in thought, since he thinks from the objects that have entered through his bodily senses; afterwards he becomes more interiorly sensual; but so far as by visual experiences, by knowledges (scientiae), and especially by the practices of moral life, he acquires for himself natural light (lumen), he becomes interiorly natural. This is the first or ultimate degree of man’s life. [3] … But if he goes on further, namely if he lives according to these knowledges from the Word, the interior degree is opened in him and he becomes spiritual, but only so far as he is affected by truths, understands them, wills them, and does them; and for the reason that evils and the falsities thence which by heredity have their seat in the natural and sensual man, are removed and as it were scattered in this and in no other way. … The interior degree with man can be opened in no other way, because the evils and falsities that are in the natural man keep it closed up; for the spiritual degree, that is, the spiritual mind, contracts itself against evil and the falsity of evil of every kind … On the other hand, when … Divine truths from the Word that derive their essence from good, approach that mind, it opens itself; yet the opening is effected not otherwise than by the reception of the good of love flowing in through heaven from the Lord, and by its conjunction with the truths that man has stored up in his memory, and this conjunction is only effected by a life according to Divine truths in the Word, for when these truths come to be of the life they are called goods. Thence it may be clear how the second or middle degree is opened. [4] … The third or inmost degree is opened with those who apply Divine truths at once to life, and do not reason about them from the memory, and thus bring them into doubt. This is called the celestial degree. Amen.