Chapter VIII. The Mind in Three Degrees

 

THIS diagram presents the three degrees of the mind B C D as described in Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and concerning the Divine Wisdom,

“The nature of man’s initiament or primitive in the womb, after conception, no one can know because it cannot be seen, and it is also of spiritual substance, which is not visible by natural light. Now because some in the world are such that they direct the mind even to an investigation of man’s primitive which is the seed of the father from which conception takes place, and because many of them have fallen into the error that man is in his fullness from his first which is the beginning [inchoamentuni] and is afterward perfected by growth; therefore the quality of this beginning or first, in its form, has been disclosed to me. This was done by the angels, to whom it was revealed by the LORD. They, have made this of their wisdom, and the joy of their wisdom is to communicate to others what they know; and therefore by leave granted them, they presented before my eyes in the light of heaven a type of man’s initial form, which was as follows:- There appeared something like a very small image of a brain with a delicate delineation of a certain face in front without appendage : this primitive in its upper convex part was compacted of contiguous globules or spherules, and every one of these spherules was compacted of still smaller ones, and every one of these again of the smallest; it was thus of three degrees; anteriorly in the flat part something delineated appeared for the face. The convex part was covered about with a very thin membrane or meninge, which was transparent; this convex part, which was a type of a brain in its leasts, was also divided into two cushions. as it were, as the brain in its largest [forrns] is divided into two hemispheres; and I was told that the- right cushion was the receptacle of love and the left the receptacle of wisdom, and that by marvelous interweavings they were like consorts and comrades. It was farther shown in the heavenly light which beamed upon it, that the structure of this little brainlet was interiorly, as to its situation and fluxion, in the order and in the form of heaven, and that its exterior structure was, on the contrary, opposed to that order and that form. After these things had been seen and shown, the angels said that the two interior degrees 1 which were in the order and form of heaven, were the receptacles of love and wisdom from the LORD.; and that the exterior degree, which was in the opposition to these, contrary to the order and form of heaven, was the receptacle of infernal love and insanity. This is because man by hereditary taint is born into all kinds of evil, and these evils reside there in the extremities; and that taint cannot be removed unless the two superior degrees are opened, which, as before stated, are receptacles of love and wisdom from the LORD. And as love and wisdom are the real man, – for love and wisdom in their essence are the LORD, – and as this primitive of man is their receptacle it follows that in this primitive there is a continuous effort toward the human form, which it also gradually assumes.”- DLW 432

This primitive or beginning of man is also described in Divine Wisdom in Apocalypse Explained, III, 4.

In the above extract the inmost A is neither described nor mentioned, yet we know from the Writings that it is within this primitive, it being the very primitive of the primitive.

The two higher degrees B and C constitute the whole internal mind and represent that mind in its two aspects of celestial and spiritual, and in the individual are equivalent to the two kingdoms in heaven; and they produce from themselves the external or natural degree D as their ultimate and base, answering to the world of spirits.

In this passage (DLW 432) these three degrees are presented in their strictly initial form as at conception. The two interior or superior degrees are represented in the diagram by B and C and the external degree by D. In Divine Wisdom III, 4, the two higher degrees B and C are said to be in the order and form of heaven, but the mass of the lowest degree, by virtue of hereditary decline, in the order and form of hell.

In Divine Love and Wisdom we read,

“The natural mind of man consists of spiritual substances, and at the same time of natural substances; from it; spiritual substances thought is produced, but not from its natural substances.”- DLW 257.

Of this natural mind, only that part which is organized of spiritual substances and called the lowest degree of the human primitive described above, is here represented by D; that part composed of natural substances which the above primitive afterward takes on from the mother, is not here separately drawn, though included in E, but it will be distinctly presented in Diagram XV.

The reader will bear in mind that the human primitive which is the paternal seed, already described from the Writings and here represented by B C D, is composed entirely of spiritual substance not visible in natural light; the material substance commonly regarded as the human seed is not the true seed, but merely its containant and preservative. (TCR 103, 92.)

NOTE. – The initial form of man in a type seen in the light of heaven, (described in DLW 432), is not man’s inmost presented in Diagram III and meant in Heaven and Hell 39 and other like passages in the Writings, but is the mind derived from the inmost, – the mind with its three degrees, in a germinal state.

This agrees with the fact that the “inmost, the LORD’S veriest abode in man,” (HH 39), is above the sphere of angelic consciousness, and with the fact that the heaven of human internals,” which is the complex of these supreme degrees of all the individual angels, is above the angelic heaven (AC 1999), because, above angelic consciousness, above the highest degree of the mind of the angel, as distinguished from his soul. (See Inf. 8.)

 

Evolution Mystery Solved?

When did we become human? This is a question that still remains to be solved by anthropologists.

Did we become human when we first stood up on two legs, freeing our hands for tool making, which demanded more mental ingenuity? Was it the creation of language? Art?

In order to understand at what point our species became human, we need to understand what it means to be human.

Humans enjoy both an external (corporeal) and inner (spiritual) reality. Our external reality is similar to that of other creatures, which have natural and worldly desires for food, comfort and sex. But our deeper, inner reality is something other creatures do not share.

This inner reality provided a medium by which God could affect the minds of men and women and enter into a most unique relationship. Through this medium and relationship, the human species can override its corporeal or natural level and continue to evolve inwardly into new spiritual beings called angels.

According to the theological writings and personal discoveries of Emanuel Swedenborg, we became human when we first began to both recognize and worship God. We are human from what we receive from God through our inner, psychical world.

God has given men and women two capacities in life that make us human. They are free will and discernment. These two capacities are the essence of human form (not ten toes and fingers or an upright stance). These two gifts are the finite equivalent of God’s Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. Free will has reference to love and discernment has reference to wisdom.

It is the two capacities of free will and discernment that make us an image of the Lord God. They allow God to make a covenant with the human race.

The Infinite essence is Love. Love is living and conscious (wise). Love is Infinite Personality. So God’s form is infinitely and divinely human.

Therefore one could also say that standing upright is what made us human—if we look at this as an inner or mental posture—which allows us to gaze towards heaven rather than have our eyes always fixed to the earth. In this way “standing upright,” means becoming an upright citizen through the observance of God’s tenets.

Our special God-given inner reality, called spirit, is the means by which men and women can gain eternal life and happiness.

Chapter VI. The Internal and the External Mind.

THE mind is here drawn in two planes-the internal or spiritual mind B and the external or natural mind C.

The spiritual body D though separately drawn, is yet closely conjoined with the external mind, and in the Writings is generally inclosed in it.

The internal mind is the primary and special abode of love to the LORD and of love to the neighbor. The external mind is the abode of self-love and of love of the world. (DLW 396; DP 324; TCR 401, 402; AC 9701-9709; NJHD 36-53.)

Divisions of the degrees into internal and external other than this occur in the Writings, and the same degrees are differently designated in different passages. A certain degree may in one passage be called the internal man, in another the spiritual man, in another the inmost man, in another the middle man, in another the rational man, and yet in others classed with and called the exterior or external man; all arising from different points of view.

In this diagram the internal mind B in the individual man or angel answers to the plane of the angelic heavens, and the external C answers to the region of the world of spirits.

In Apocalypse Explained, AE we read, –

“When the interior of man is purified from evils then the internal is opened which is above the interior, and which is called the spiritual internal; this communicates with heaven. There are two internals in man, one beneath and the other above. The internal which is beneath is that in which man is, and from which he thinks while he lives in the world, for it is natural this, by way of distinction, will be called the interior. But the internal which is above is that into which man comes after death when he comes into heaven; all the angels of heaven are in this internal, for it is spiritual.”- AE 940.

It should be noted that in the above passage the degree C is the natural internal, and is said to be below the spiritual internal which is B. This lower or natural internal is also called in this number and elsewhere in the Writings the interior.

In Apocalypse Explained, AE 940, this natural C is called natural internal in distinction to an extreme degree of the natural mind close to the body, which constitutes a natural external not here drawn, but to be drawn in Diagram XI

In the original Latin the internal mind is frequently called Mens, and the external mind and spiritual body together are called Animus, though Animus is sometimes restricted to the natural mind merely. In a wider sense Animus includes also that part of the external mind formed of natural substances as mentioned in Divine Love and Wisdom, 257. (See Diagram XV.)

In the prayer “Thy will be done as in heaven so upon the earth”, “as in heaven” means “as in the spiritual mind” and “so upon the earth” means “so in the natural mind.” “That your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied as the days of the heavens upon the earth,” (Deut. xi, 21), means that with the regenerate the states of the natural mind will accord with the states of the spiritual mind.

Chapter V. Will and Understanding. – Another View.

THIS diagram presents the will as a distinct faculty above the understanding, or, in simultaneous order, within the understanding. The will is called the celestial faculty and sometimes the celestial kingdom, and the understanding the spiritual; love is celestial, truth is spiritual. The will in every man and angel answers to the celestial kingdom of heaven, the understanding to the spiritual kingdom. (Consult Diagrams IX, X, XII.)

Considering the will as the highest and inmost degree and the understanding as the middle, the spiritual body D will be the lowest or outmost degree of the spirit. The spiritual body, however, is not another faculty, but merely an ultimate of the will and the understanding, so organized that by it the will and the understanding may enjoy outward sensation and give expression corresponding with affection and thought. In this view the mind constitutes the whole spirit of man, and the spirit is but an internal and an external will and understanding.

And as the material body is merely an intellectual and voluntary organism superadded for lowest and outmost sensation, perception and expression, it must be included when we say that the whole man is but an organic form of will and understanding. (DLW 358 to 432.)

Eating Your Way To Heaven

The multitudes of diet books for sale attest to the fact that we humans have developed poor eating habits. Eating involves more than satisfying one’s appetite, it also partakes of judgment. We constantly have to judge between eating what gives us the most pleasure and what food will do us the most good.

But is there a food so healthy for us that eating it will turn us into angels and get us all the way to heaven? The answer is “yes.”

Of course, eating your way to heaven does not mean merely switching your dessert from a seven-layered devil’s food cake to angel cake. Heaven is not a physical world, so it requires a steady diet of special, non-physical foodstuffs.

In my previous post I brought up the idea of a more rarefied aliment that is especially suitable to our species. Humans also have an appetite and a thirst for knowledge. The human brain and mind are actually the digestive system of our spirit. Everything the physical digestive system does with terrestrial food has its analog with what the mind does with information.

For example, we chew and ruminate on ideas. This mental activity lets us find out whether ideas or concepts are savory to our personal tastes and worthy of being “swallowed.” Next, our mind churns and rolls these ideas around so that they can be broken down further into their constituents. The mind then scrutinizes this mental material more deeply. In this way our discernment and judgment act as mental digestive enzymes (the acid test). If these constituents are judged as agreeable, they are finally absorbed and enter into the very fabric of our inner being (otherwise they are jettisoned as “crap”).

Like physical food, there are ideas which can seduce our thinking and bring us lots of pleasure, but are not necessarily going to do us the most good. This is why we need to reflect on all our compulsions. This is also why we need a higher form of nutritional guidance and wisdom to help our judgment.

God’s Holy Word is actually a Divine Diet Book. The whole cosmic drama of Adam and Eve was based solely on what to eat and what not to eat. In the same way that physical food is metabolized and becomes part of our spiritual being, information is metabolized in a way that it can become part of our inner or spiritual being. Therefore, both types of “eating” represent appropriation. We can accept God and religion or reject it.

Now the phrase “you are what you eat” takes on a more critical and eternal meaning. When one sheds his or her physical body after death in this world we are left with our spiritual fabric, which was formed out of the ideas, concepts, and belief systems we developed a strong appetite for. We then gravitate to either a world of compulsions or an unselfish world of wisdom.

It is not hard to imagine that a world where compulsive behavior runs rampant will be populated by individuals who seek to satisfy only themselves. This creates an environment of hatred and sets up a condition whereby there can only be eternal frustration in people’s never-ending hunger to dominate others and have things their own way. This frustration is the eternal “fire” of hell.

On other hand, those in heaven have developed their spiritual bodies to be able to metabolize and act according to God’s love and wisdom. I hope I have made these ideas easier for you to digest.

Bon apetit!

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Religion As God’s Evolutionary Strategy

Science is more concerned with the “how” of things rather than the “why.” If we are to have a constructive dialog between science and theology the answer to the “why” question will have to generate new knowledge about the world and actually change the direction of progressive research.

Emanuel Swedenborg, in his great theological work, Divine Providence, states that the purpose and goal of creation is to form a heaven from the human race. But WHY does God need to create anything at all, including humans?

Since the essence of spiritual love is sharing, God creates a universe as an object in which to direct and focus all that divine love. In other words, nature is the object of God’s love. Nature’s ceaseless drive towards order, self-organization and bio-complexity tells us that existence is relationship, and that all created things are self-representations of God’s nature (the essence of love is to unify).

But such a one-sided situation cannot fulfill love’s ultimate plan.

Love is not complete unless it is reciprocal. For spiritual love to be truly reciprocal, a creature must emerge in the physical world with a level of consciousness capable of acknowledging a Creator and loving God back. God seeks this ultimate relationship. (In religion this is called God’s covenant with humankind.)

Evolution, even when described in Darwinian terms, shows an obvious pattern towards increased intelligence and consciousness. However, evolutionary biology does not fully take into account that, unlike other creatures, the human species has found its niche in the world of information (as opposed to simply adapting their physical form to respond to the changing pressures of a natural environment). Humans seek out information in the same way other creatures forage for food.

Information is food and is much different than, let’s say, an apple. If you share half your apple with someone else, you are left with half an apple. If you share half your information with someone else you still possess all your knowledge. Information and knowledge are not under the same constraints of physical laws as an apple.

Knowledge and information do, however, come under the constraints of our personal values. What each of us seeks, intends, wishes and believes, shapes our attention and gives order and real organization to the ideas of our memory. In other words, it is in this non-physical niche of the mind and human spirit that evolution can still continue.

Religion deals with values.

In order for God to create a heaven from the human race, humans must be able to evolve beyond the physical world and adapt their lives to the laws of a distinct and more rarefied environment. Heaven is not a reward but is something we become. Obtaining heaven requires that the inner bio-organization of our spirit becomes responsive to, and adapted for, receiving God’s spiritual love and values.

When we adopt God’s tenets into our lives we are actually re-organizing the spiritual substances of our mind and spirit into new living structure. This process produces a spiritual body, which is the real embodiment of the spiritual principles and values we each choose and put into practice throughout our lives.

Nothing exists without form, neither in this world nor in the next. Our values and principles (whatever they may be) become the real fabric of our innermost being and involve real bio-structure. What we love molds our spiritual body exactly to our disposition. Under this system goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment.

So religion is God’s strategy to extend both bio-complexity and the biosphere into a non-temporal and non-spatial realm called heaven. This makes religion a “scientific” belief system with lawful intelligibility. True religion explains the laws of the heart and mind with the same systematic and rigorous methodology that science uses to explain the physical laws of the visible universe.

Do you believe that the mysteries of faith can come under the comprehension of human reasoning, as does science?

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