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

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.



Excerpts from the True Christian Religion
by Emanuel Swedenborg

TCR 75
As the subject of this first chapter is “God the Creator”, the creation of the universe by Him must also be considered; as in the next chapter on the Lord the Redeemer, redemption will also be treated of. But no one can gain a right idea of the creation of the universe until his understanding is brought into a state of perception by some most general knowledges previously recognized, which are as follows:

(i) There are two worlds, a spiritual world where angels and spirits are, and a natural world where men are.

(ii.) In each world there is a sun. The sun of the spiritual world is nothing but love from Jehovah God who is in the midst of it. From that sun heat and light go forth; the heat that goes forth therefrom in its essence is love, and the light that goes forth in its essence is wisdom; and these two affect the will and understanding of man- the heat his will and the light his understanding. But the sun of the natural world is nothing but fire, and therefore its heat is dead, also its light; and these serve as a covering and auxiliary to spiritual heat and light, to enable them to pass over to man.

(iii) Again, these two which go forth from the sun of the spiritual world, and in consequence all things that have existence in that world by means of them, are substantial, and are called spiritual; while the two like things that go forth from the sun of the natural world, and in consequence all things here that have existence by means of them, are material, and are called natural.

(iv.) In each world there are three degrees, called degrees of height, and in consequence three regions; and in accordance with these the three angelic heavens are arranged, and also in accordance with them human minds are arranged, which thus correspond to those three angelic heavens; and the same is true of everything else in both worlds.

(v.) There is a correspondence between those things that are in the spiritual world and those in the natural world.

(vi.) There is an order in which each thing and all things belonging to both worlds were created.

(vii.) It is necessary that an idea of these things should first be gained, for unless this is done the human mind from mere ignorance of these things easily falls into a notion of a creation of the universe by nature; while on mere ecclesiastical authority it asserts that nature was created by God; and yet, because it does not know how creation was effected, as soon as it begins to look interiorly into the matter, it plunges headlong into the naturalism that denies God. But it would be truly the work of a large volume to explain and demonstrate these statements properly one by one; moreover, the matter does not properly enter into the theological system of this book as a theme or argument; therefore I will merely relate some memorable occurrences from which an idea of the creation of the universe by God may be conceived, and from such a conception some offspring that will represent it may be born.



by Candidate David C. Roth

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was void and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3).

These familiar words are a portion of the whole creation story as given in the Lord’s Word. We often hear that we should disregard this story because we know that it is not literally true, that “It’s just a parable.” However, this is a true story, a wonderful story, which should never be disregarded. It contains the whole story of how the Lord patiently and mercifully regenerates each and every one of us if we let Him. It represents the story of regeneration in man, his new creation, the creation of a spiritually alive person from a spiritually dead one.

The Lord in His second coming reveals that there are seven states which comprise the whole process of regeneration. Therefore, in the story of creation there are seven days comprising the whole process of creation illustrating and representing each of these seven states in man. Each day is a new state of greater, more delightful, spiritual life created by the Lord. The portion which we will focus our attention on today is the first day of creation: the first day of our new spiritual life, the life which leads to heaven.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In this simple beginning of the Lord’s Divine Word is described two general things. One, the period in a man’s life when he is beginning to be regenerated by the Lord. Two, the fact that it is the Lord alone who reforms and recreates us. As we are told in the Writings, “The new creation, or regeneration, is the work of the Lord alone” (AC 88). The “beginning” spoken of here is the actual preparation the Lord does in us for our eventual regeneration (see AC 16). He does this by reforming our minds and our understandings by means of His Divine truth, the Divine truth found in the teachings of His Word.

But the Lord can teach us these truths only if we open His Word and read and study it. Whether we are an adult or child we are subject to this same condition: The Word must be read or heard in order for us to learn its truths, truths by which the Lord will lead us and reform us. This reformation by Divine truth is what is meant by “God created” (see AC 4402:5, AE 1057). What He is attempting to create, and thus make new within us, is the church, both as to its internal and external qualities, or what is the same, as to our internal and external man or mind. These two aspects are signified by “the heavens and the earth.”

“And the earth was void and empty; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” A person who has not yet begun regeneration is described as “void and empty.” This means that he or she is devoid of any good or truth of a spiritual nature. He is living in a completely external and natural state. He is a person without good and truth (see AC 17).

A person in this state is referred to as a dead man, a spiritually lifeless and dead individual. He is referred to as dead because the only things which are of interest to him are things which belong to the body and the world. These also become the center of his worship, if we can call it that. He doesn’t know what eternal life is, and if he does know, he doesn’t believe it. The life of the body and its pleasures are his only concern. We are told, “The dead man when involved in conflict nearly always gives in” (AC 81). Evil and falsity, and what is merely natural, have become his master, and he has become their enchained slave, obeying their every command. The only bonds that keep him in order are external ones, such as obeying laws solely out of the fear for the loss of honor, reputation, and worldly gain (see AC 81).

It is obvious that this person is in a state of thick darkness. Consequently, his life is clouded by stupidity and a “lack of knowledge about anything having to do with faith in the Lord and so anything that has to do with spiritual and celestial life” (AC 17). As illustrated in the Sacred Scripture, “My people are foolish; they know Me not; they are stupid children, having no understanding; they are wise to evil and know not how to do good” (Jeremiah 4:22). Because man is entrenched in such darkness as to what is really true and good, and is absorbed in selfish desires and the false rationalizations and excuses which accompany and confirm them, he is in complete darkness; and until he is ready to admit his condition, there is no light to dispel it; there is no truth. This is what is meant in our text by the phrase, “and darkness was on the face of the deep.”

This darkness in us can be from several things. It could be a result of pure ignorance from a lack of knowledge concerning the Lord and His Word. It could be from the overshadowing cloud which comes upon one who has chosen to believe what is false, or from the blindness which envelops one who has gotten caught up in some natural love or lust. Whatever the cause, the important thing for us to realize is that the Lord can, and desires more than anything to, pull us up out of our darkness. How He is able to accomplish this miracle, even when we are in what seems to be an almost spiritually hopeless state, is what is meant by the following: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

When properly understood, this small verse tells so much about how the Lord can lift us up and save us. “The Spirit of God” represents the Lord’s mercy which hovers over and protects the one thing in us which He can use to raise us up out of our thick darkness. This one means is our remains. They are the knowledges of what is true and good which the Lord has implanted in us in infancy and throughout our lives for use at a later time when they are needed – a time like this; a time of darkness. These remains are what are called in our text, “the face of the waters” (AC 19).

Even when we are in this dark state the Lord is ever protecting these precious cognitions of good and truth, is ever patiently waiting for an opportunity to stir them within us. The Lord is said to hover or brood over our remains like a hen over her eggs. Have you ever noticed how zealously a hen will guard her eggs while she waits for them to hatch? She covers them with her body and wings, and keeps them warm and safe until they are ready to come forth out of their protective shell. In the same way the Lord in His mercy is ever guarding and protecting these precious affections for and knowledges of good and truth that remain with us until they are ready to be brought into light and used to commence our spiritual life.

But these knowledges cannot be brought out to stir our minds and move our hearts until those things which might cause resistance and harm are laid waste and removed (see AC 18). “Thus,” we are told, “the old man must die before the new one can be conceived” (AC 18).

For an illustration, we might picture a child who will not listen to what his parents or teachers have to say. But then in his life he reaches a dead end or a problem which he sees can’t be handled on his own. In order to solve it he has to turn to a parent or a teacher in search of help and answers. To do this he has to let down his resistance and humble himself in the realization that he can’t do it alone.

The same must be true of us if we are going to allow the Lord to reform and regenerate us. The self-deceptions and superficial delights derived from such a natural and self-centered life have to be removed before the Lord can enter in (see AC 5037). But what is it that makes us want to break away from the old life of ignorance, falsity, and self-serving evil, the life which we love so much? What causes us to be jolted out of this state to realize that we need a change and need it now? Sometimes it can come about from hitting rock bottom in a life of drug or alcohol abuse. Or maybe the sudden passing of a loved one causes us to reevaluate our life and own inevitable death. It can also come from something less extreme in our lives. Whatever the reason, there must be some incentive to come out of our void and empty state.

For this reason, if the Lord sees that we can be regenerated, or moved in freedom toward good, He allows us to run aground and experience anxiety, grief, and despair, even to the point of feeling utterly helpless. The Writings tell us that it is only then that our “persuasive is broken, and our state is changed; and then we can be led into the belief that we can do nothing of ourselves, but that all power, prudence, intelligence, and wisdom are from the Lord” (AC 2694:3). This state comes about through what is called vastation. Vastation is the removal of what we love, the removal of those things which appear to us to be good and true, but which the Word teaches are not. The loss of these causes us to become anxious and enter into despair.

This loss may sound unfair, but is actually an act of the Lord’s mercy from His will to save us. Some vastation is necessary so that our remains can be safely brought to our assistance through His mercy. When these knowledges of what is good and true are now stirred by the Lord, we see in them answers to our problems. We start to realize that what is good and true is something far superior to the falsities and evil which we thought were good and true for us (see AC 20). The Lord’s light can now shine on them and illumine His truths with us as things to be desired. We can now begin to see that the Lord in His Word is the way, the truth and the light. This new awakening is what is signified by the phrase, “And God said, ‘Let there be light; and there was light.'” We now realize that what He has said is true: “I am the light of the world”(John 8:12). The Lord’s Divine truth is the only true light because it is the Lord Himself revealed in His Word (see AR 200). “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Ps. 27:1)

However, this awakening from darkness into light is a gradual process. Still, even the first glimpse of the Lord’s light compared to our previous darkness is like the difference between the light of the sun and that of the moon. The Writings tell us, “When a person is conceived anew, first he starts to recognize that the good in him is not really good, and then, when he enters more into light, to recognize the existence of the Lord and that the Lord is good and truth themselves” (AC 20; see also AC 24).

“And God saw the light that it was good.” The reason that the light here is called good is because first of all, it is a relatively good state, and second, because it is from the Lord. For He is good and truth itself, and all truth and good are from Him. In this state we can now see this for the first time. Yet we need to realize that this first state of acknowledgment is just that; it is a first state. There are still more and better states which need to dawn before we become regenerate. We are reminded that the story of man’s new creation is a seven-day story. This first day is just a beginning, but it is the beginning of something good, and we should rejoice in it. “And God saw the light that it was good.” We are now on the good path, the path of regeneration which leads to heaven.

“And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.” This further describes just how different our old beliefs are from the life of truth which is now shown to us by the Lord and which is the Lord’s. It is truly the difference between day and night. The truth which the Lord has shown us enables us to distinguish between what was our own, our evil and falsity, from what is the Lord’s, His good and truth, the darkness being what is man’s own, and the light being what is the Lord’s. And these are then called night and day respectively (see AC 21). This separation has allowed us to see the light or truth, and to see that it is good. And with this light now clearly showing what is ours and the Lord’s, we can seek the day and leave the night.

“And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.” Described here is the closing of the discussion of the first state of man’s regeneration, meant by the first day. In this new day we can now see the Lord’s truth in the Word as the answer to our prayers; it begins to become the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. We have come from being in no faith at all, meant by evening, to being in the first of faith or morning. It has been revealed that “the Lord does exist, and that He is good itself and truth itself, and that no good or truth exists except from the Lord” (see AC 24). We have been awakened from spiritual sleep. Morning has broken the darkness of our night. The Lord has made His coming into our lives, and has shed His light upon us. His Word can now be opened and read, and its truths can begin to lead us to a life of good in the light of this new day. “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Ps. 60:1). Amen.

Lessons: Genesis 1:1-5, John 1:1-13, AC 3913

Arcana Coelestia 3913

When a man is being regenerated, the internal man is to be conjoined with the external, consequently the goods and truths of the internal man with the goods and truths of the external; for from truths and goods man is man. These cannot be conjoined without means. Means are such things as derive something from the one side and something from the other, and which are attended with the effect that insofar as the man accedes to the one, the other becomes subordinate. These means are what are signified by the “handmaids,” the means on the part of the internal man by the handmaids of Rachel, and the means on the part of the external man by the handmaids of Leah.

That there must be means of conjunction may be seen from the fact that of itself the natural man does not in the least agree with the spiritual man, but disagrees so far as to be altogether opposite. For the natural man regards and loves himself and the world, but the spiritual man does not regard himself and the world except insofar as is conducive to the promotion of uses in the spiritual world, and thus regards its service and loves it from the use and end. The natural man seems to himself to have life when he is elevated to dignities, and thus to super-eminence over others; but the spiritual man seems to himself to have life in humility, and in being the least. Nor does he disregard dignities, provided that by them as means he can be of service to his neighbor, to the community, and to the church. Yet he does not reflect for the sake of himself upon the dignities to which he is elevated, but for the sake of the uses which he regards as the ends. The natural man is in his bliss when he is richer than others and possesses the world’s wealth; but the spiritual man is in his bliss when he is in the knowledges of truth and good, which are his riches, and still more when he is in the practice of good according to truths; and yet he does not despise riches, because by means of them he can be in that practice, and in the world.

From these few considerations it is evident that the state of the natural man and that of the spiritual man are opposed to each other by their ends but that nevertheless they can be conjoined, which takes place when the things of the external man are made subordinate and subservient to the ends of the internal man. In order therefore that a man. may become spiritual, it is necessary for the things of the external man to be reduced to compliance, thus that the ends in favor of self and the world be put off, and ends in favor of the neighbor and the Lord’s kingdom be put on.

The former can by no means he put off and the latter put on, and thus the two be conjoined except through means. These means are what are signified by the “handmaids,” and in particular by the “four sons” born of the handmaids.

The first means is one that affirms or is affirmative of internal truth, that it is so. When this affirmative comes, the man is in the beginning of regeneration; good is being worked by the internal, and causes the affirmation. This good cannot inflow into what is negative, nor even into what is full of doubt, until this becomes affirmative. But afterwards it manifests itself by affection, that is, by the man’s being affected with truth, or beginning to be delighted with it, first in knowing it, and then in acting according to it.

Take for example the truth that the Lord is the salvation for the human race. Unless this is made affirmative by the man, all the things he has learned from the Word or in the church concerning the Lord, and that are in his natural memory among the memory-knowledges, cannot be conjoined with his internal man, that is, with what can be there of faith. Thus neither can affection flow in, not even into the generals of that truth which are conducive to man’s salvation. But when it becomes affirmative, innumerable things are added, and are filled with the good that flows in; for good continually flows in from the Lord, but where there is no affirmative, it is not received. An affirmative is therefore the first means, and is as it were the first abode of the good that flows in from the Lord. The same is the case with all the other truths that are called truths of faith.

The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth

7 Days of Creation in Genesis

The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth



From the literal meaning of the first chapters of Genesis, no one realizes that it refers to anything besides the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden which is called “Paradise,” and Adam, the first human to be created. Who thinks anything else? However, these things contain details that have never been revealed until now. . . . In this inner meaning, the first chapter of Genesis is about new creation of a human being.
In other words, it is about our rebirth.

It is a wonderful story to start out with in the Bible. You know how there is often a preface in a book, and the preface will tell you what the book is going to tell you. They always told us that in school: when you write a paper, first you tell them what you’re going to tell them, then you tell them, then you tell them what you told them. The Creation story is God telling us what he’s going to tell us in the whole Bible. He is summarizing the entire Bible, which is really, Swedenborg tells us, about our own spiritual growth. It’s about our process from when we first start to awaken spiritually to the time when we become angels in heaven. The Creation story is a wonderful summary, in just a little over one chapter, of the whole Bible story.

Briefest Summary:

Stages: External representation

Spiritual State: Internal

Initial state: without form and void Prior to rebirth: no spiritual form
First state: light and darkness Knowing that the good and the true are something higher.
Second state: heavens and earth Distinguishing those spiritual things from God (in the internal man), from those of oneself (in the external)
Third state: tender grass, tree bearing fruit Acting from knowledge, not from the heart
Fourth state: sun and moon Love and Insight begin in the internal
Fifth state: whales of the sea, birds of the heavens Actions to confirm oneself in truth and good: deep principles & rising thoughts
Sixth state: living soul, beast, ‘image of God’ Actions from insight, and hence from love: alive at last – ‘spiritual’
Seventh state: day of rest Actions from love, and hence from insight: ‘celestial’