“Genuine life is a life of love received from God. True joy is the joy of that life.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 33
“Genuine life is a life of love received from God. True joy is the joy of that life.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 33
Love in its essence is spiritual fire.Love consists in desiring to give what is our own to another and feeling his delight as our own.The Divine of the Lord in heaven is love, for the reason that love is receptive of all things of heaven, such as peace, intelligence, wisdom and happiness.True charity is the desire to be useful to others with no thought of recompense.
“The love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a human point of view.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-16a)
“A life of faith without love is like sunlight without warmth – the type of light that occurs in winter, when nothing grows and everything droops and dies.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 34:2
“The Lord forgives everyone their sins, because He is mercy itself. Nevertheless they are not thereby forgiven unless one performs serious repentance, and desists from evils.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 9014:3
I ask this question because it seems that the work of human salvation is not finished. Thus, there is the spiritual addendum called the “Second Coming.”
Something further seems to be required for things to improve in the world.
Even orthodox Christianity states that the Lord’s act of taking on the sins of the world still requires an individual to go one step further and either believe (through Faith) that Jesus was the Savior or base this same belief on good works. Otherwise the Lord’s life and death affects nothing in our personal lives.
So what did the Lord actually accomplish while on earth? Start a new religion? Make his “Father” take notice?
I now turn to the unique spiritual doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg for the answers.
Swedenborg claimed that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh! This concept runs counter to the belief that the Divine encompasses three distinct Personalities—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Without offering lengthy arguments to provide evidence for Swedenborg’s monotheistic claim, I will—for now—focus on the rational reasons for the necessity of a divine entity coming into the spacetime arena of human history.The world has many problems. Religion makes the assertion that these problems originate from Hell and the general population’s dismissal of God’s tenets. Swedenborg, taking a scientific approach to faith issues, pointed out that the finite powers of Hell could never directly oppose an Infinite God (there is no ratio between the finite and the infinite). The Hells can only go after finite terrestrial humans. So how can God duke it out with the devil?
The Lord God’s strategy of assuming a finite physical body and being born on earth created the proper medium and battleground for the Hells to attack the Divine. Swedenborg insisted that most of the Lord God’s activities were invisible to human eyesight because Jesus was reorganizing the Heavens and subjugating the Hells through His victories in resisting all possible temptations. (The final temptation was on the “Cross” whereby the Lord stayed put and resisted the flawed, ego-driven desire to rule by dominating through physical force—rather than through Heavenly Truth.) During this inner battle, the Lord successfully unified his human nature (which he received from his earthly mother) with his Divine nature (Jehovah was the Lord’s soul). This unification was the “Glorification.”
God’s holy warfare did not directly save humankind from sin, but kept the door open for the possibility of salvation. We each must also decide to engage ourselves in a similar inner struggle during our life on earth and ask for the help of the Lord (who alone can—and did—conquer every possible evil allurement). Swedenborg also made the unpleasant claim that if the Lord God had not come into the world and taken on the Hells from an inner—or psycho-spiritual—battlefield, the entire human race would have morphed into gruesome monsters before finally perishing.
As a student of Swedenborg’s ideas (since 1974) I also came across one of his statements that without God storing innocent thoughts and feelings during our infancy to create a plane for angelic influences to gain a psycho-spiritual foothold in our inner world, we would also lose our humanness and morph into monsters of all description. Swedenborg called this inner plane where innocence is stored, the “remains.” (Nowhere else in worldly faith systems and religious doctrine is the idea of “remains” even acknowledged.)
This leads me to conclude that, while on earth, the Lord fought to keep this plane of activity—the remains—intact. Swedenborg also stated that the Lord’s saving activity operates only from a person’s remains because this inner plane acts as the soil for the future and genuine spiritual growth of an individual.
So what the Lord accomplished on earth was to regain top-down control of all universal processes and preserve the potential in all humans for angelic transformation.
The “Second Coming” (which the Lord promised was close at hand) represents the moment an individual allows the Lord to enter into our heart and mind and begin our personal battle against the forces of evil, and the vanities and allurements of the terrestrial globe. With this new inner engagement will come a greater and deeper understanding of the narratives of Holy Scripture—all of which refer to the development of one’s remains during the genuine process of salvation and purification.
In other words, the ball is now in your court.
Once upon a time the Devil was happily lying in a lounge chair trying to darken his tan from all the flames around him. Suddenly, one of his most trustworthy henchmen approached him in an absolute panic.
“Lucifer! Lucifer!” cried the evil sidekick, “the end times have arrived! An individual named Emanuel Swedenborg has been directed by the Lord God of heaven to write about the mysteries of faith to the people on earth! We will be exposed! We are doomed!”
Ha! Ha! Ha!” laughed the devil. “Relax, my faithful friend. I have already read Swedenborg’s writings very carefully and have determined that they will have a diminishing affect upon those silly humans on earth. The seeds of God’s truth will be planted in the wrong soil.”
“How can you be so sure?” asked the creepy cohort.
“I perfectly understand human psychology—after all, I helped influence it,” replied the shrewd master of deception. “Every human desperately wants to be seen as being a valuable and good person in society, thanks to a misguided principle of self-worth. So I simply let them have their way and keep them in a delusional trance whereby they will focus their attention on love, usefulness and community—apart from their inner predicament.”
“Isn’t love and compassion the opposite of what we want people to do?” asked the confused ally.
“Noble deeds are destroyed by the desire for affirmation and approval. The human need for affirmation is from the malignant principle of self-love. I am the undisputed leader of self-love, which opposes heavenly love! By helping to convince people that they will find self-importance by becoming more loving and caring, I cause the seeds of God’s teaching to be mis-planted,” said the smiling demonic leader.
“Please explain,” asked the cruel crony.
“It’s actually quite simple,” said Mr. Devil. “While I keep people’s attention on becoming more loving, they begin to overlook the actual process and lawful steps of spiritual transformation. Goodness and innocence only comes from the Lord God of heaven. Everyone born on earth has a small amount of this angelic goodness placed deep within their natural mind, during infancy. Mr. Swedenborg called this residue of heavenly innocence the ‘remains.’ I can tell you that not much attention is given to this piece of information. This convinced me that I still had room to operate and pursue my craftiness. Now listen carefully. When a person on earth learns of some heavenly truth, either from reading or attending a place of worship, these ideas of truth act like spiritual seeds. But because the average person is so hung up about being a good person and finding approval from others, these theological seeds fail to properly germinate. They never reach their intended soil.”
The Devil stops for a moment to quench his thirst with a swig from his bottle of hot sauce. Then he continues the discussion, “The misstep people take—even those who fervently study Swedenborg’s ideas—is that they rarely consider that these heavenly seeds must be planted in their God-given ‘remains’ to affect anything real.” Since genuine spiritual Love only comes from the Lord God alone, only the growth of one’s spiritual remains permits God’s Love to legitimately grow and change someone’s inner and outer life. So I put all my effort in helping push people into focusing on outward empathy and acts of charity as if this is something that can emanate from their own abilities, rather than from God’s. I have succeeded in making people believe that if they do good things, they will neither have to investigate nor directly deal with their character flaws of self-love—which, thanks to me, they all have in abundance! This oversight ensures that God’s seeds of truth have no place to germinate but in their fantasies. Only self-vigilance and self-conflict allow heavenly seeds of truth to reach a person’s remains or spiritual soil.”
The Devil then looked deeply into his associate’s eyes saying, “If you don’t believe me, ask any Swedenborgian you meet to explain the concept of ‘remains’ to you—even ask their scholars. Few can. But without grasping this important topic, all these sorrowful outward efforts of compassion by humans in the world merely become a form of hypnosis, trance and self-delusion.”
“You are brilliant!” said the Devil’s nasty devotee.
The two evil co-conspirators began laughing uncontrollably and slapping each other’s backs.
“The Lord never judges anyone except from good; for He desires to raise all into heaven… for the Lord is mercy itself and good itself, [thus] can never condemn anyone; but it is the person who condemns themself, because they reject good. “
Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 2335:3
When some people say that cats aren’t as loyal as dogs, I feel it is because they have never had one of these emotionally complex and devoted creatures as a beloved companion. This is a myth which sadly has prejudiced some people against these courageous and very affectionate animals due to a misconception which isn’t based on actual fact.
Education and knowledge by themselves do not bring inner peace to individuals, families or the society in which they live. But education combined with warmheartedness, a sense of concern for the well-being of others, has much more positive results. If you have a great deal of knowledge, but you’re governed by negative emotions, then you tend to use your knowledge in negative ways. Therefore, while you are learning, don’t forget the importance of warmheartedness.
HE DID COME TO MAKE AN ATONEMENT
Time would fail me to quote the passages in which he plainly declares that He came to reveal the Divine truth to men, to bring the Divine life down to them, and to open their eyes to see it. He says nothing about satisfaction, about the payment of debt. He is the good Shepherd, the great Physician, the perfect Teacher, the faithful Exemplar in every work. He did come to make an atonement, to make us at one with Him and the Father who dwells within Him. He assumed a human Nature because He could not come to man in any other way. He did what a just, wise, and loving father would do. If one of your children had wandered from home, had spent all his living, was sick and dying, would you not do all in your power to save him? Would you not spend time, money, labor; would you not provide yourself with all the instrumentalities in your power that were necessary to reach him? And do you suppose that infinite love, compared with which your love is not so much as a drop of water to ,the ocean, would refuse to be reconciled to His lost and dying children until he had received full compensation for their sin; until there had been measured to Him, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” or an exact equivalent? It cannot be. Reason, Scripture, the perceptions of justice and mercy which the Lord has given us, and the deep, spontaneous yearnings of our own hearts, declare it to be impossible. No, the Lord did not come into the world to satisfy the demands of an inflexible and arbitrary justice. He came rather to satisfy the demands of infinite love; not to pay a debt, but to reach the dying soul, to cleanse it from its impurities; to heal its diseases; to mould it into His own image and likeness, and fill it with His own peace and blessedness.
Father Son and Holy Spirit, Are the three essentials, of the one God, Like body soul, and operation in man.
Spiritual awareness and insight
From the literal meaning of the first chapters of Genesis, no one realizes that it refers to anything besides the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden which is called “Paradise,” and Adam, the first human to be created. Who thinks anything else? However, these things contain details that have never been revealed until now. . . . In this inner meaning, the first chapter of Genesis is about new creation of a human being.
In other words, it is about our rebirth.
It is a wonderful story to start out with in the Bible. You know how there is often a preface in a book, and the preface will tell you what the book is going to tell you. They always told us that in school: when you write a paper, first you tell them what you’re going to tell them, then you tell them, then you tell them what you told them. The Creation story is God telling us what he’s going to tell us in the whole Bible. He is summarizing the entire Bible, which is really, Swedenborg tells us, about our own spiritual growth. It’s about our process from when we first start to awaken spiritually to the time when we become angels in heaven. The Creation story is a wonderful summary, in just a little over one chapter, of the whole Bible story.
Stages: External representation
Spiritual State: Internal
Initial state: without form and void Prior to rebirth: no spiritual form
First state: light and darkness Knowing that the good and the true are something higher.
Second state: heavens and earth Distinguishing those spiritual things from God (in the internal man), from those of oneself (in the external)
Fourth state: sun and moon Love and Insight begin in the internal
Fifth state: whales of the sea, birds of the heavens Actions to confirm oneself in truth and good: deep principles & rising thoughts
Sixth state: living soul, beast, ‘image of God’Actions from insight, and hence from love: alive at last – ‘spiritual
’Seventh state: day of rest Actions from love, and hence from insight: ‘celestial’
This cannot be answered without a rational discussion of the Holy Trinity. This theological topic, more than any other, confuses the heck out of serious and religious thinking people.
Orthodox Christianity describes the Holy Trinity as three divine persons. Although they attempt to recover and restore the notion of one God (Christianity is supposed to be monotheistic) by saying that the three divine Persons of Trinitarian doctrine consist of one unified substance, still, one is left with the notion that these three Gods could sit in three different chairs.
When I have pointed to the illogicality of such an ambiguous notion of God, its defenders (including those with Ph.Ds) say that it is a “Great Mystery” and warn me that my mind should not even be going into such directions.
My answer to that is “zc@#$%*&>?+<#x<!”
Now that I have gotten that off my chest I can put my emotions aside and return to a more pragmatic discussion of this matter. When I say my prayers at night, I want to know exactly to whom I am addressing (and not have to guess whether I am focusing on the correct chair or the proper Deity).
I know that Jesus said that the only way to the Father was through Him (the Son) but then Jesus does an about face by teaching the Lord’s Prayer which completely bypasses the Son and allows us to pray directly to the Father.
So, with the Lord’s Prayer in hand, who needs Jesus?
But Orthodox Christianity, which embraces the sacred Trinity as three Persons, insists we are first to put our faith in Jesus. In this way the righteousness of the Son can be imputed to us humans by the Father, then the Holy Spirit shows up to set into motion the operation of justification, which magically wipes all our sins away, renews our spirit, and completes our salvation.
In other words, each Divine Person cannot claim to be fully God, as each does something that the other two don’t. If it takes three Persons to give us an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God, well, to be frank, that is not my idea of monotheism.
I prefer Emanuel Swedenborg’s version of the Divine Trinity as ONE GOD manifesting three distinct operations and functions. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit represent not three persons but the three operations of Divine Love, Divine Truth, and Divine Activity.
Truth makes love visible. That is why the Lord came into the world – to make the Love of the Father visible to us by taking on a human form. Jesus is Jehovah!
One might wonder how God could take on an imperfect and gross human body. According to Swedenborg, that was God’s precise strategy for salvation. The purpose of coming into the world was to make His human form perfectly divine by doing the will of the Father (the Father was His Divine Soul) and combating the worldly desires of the flesh and worldly temptations.
Why did God have to implore such a strategy instead of fighting evil straight on?
Without taking on a human body an Infinite God cannot be realistically attacked by any evil. A human body provided the medium by which the Lord was vulnerable to attack by both people on earth and by the entire powers of hell. The appearance of the Holy Spirit (as a dove) when Jesus was baptized was a sign from heaven that the operation of harmonizing his human side by means of the higher influence of His Divine Nature was about to begin.
This process of overcoming the flesh and its proclivities (especially love of self and the world) involved profound humiliation before the Father (which represented His Divine Spirit and its ultimate dictates).
The Lord’s biggest challenge on the cross was not enduring physical pain or physical death but His not giving in to the human part of His nature – which tempted Him to get off the cross as a show of absolute strength to men and women and compel belief. By resisting this final temptation and achieving profound humility He united His human nature with the Divine Nature and made them one (the Alpha and Omega). What died on the cross were all His human imperfections.
This complete victory over the flesh gave the Lord full power over hell, which was increasing its deadly influence in the world at the time of His Advent. We were not saved by this event but the door to salvation was kept open. When we approach the Lord to change our lives His Divine Heavenly Spirit (not a dove) starts a similar process of renewal and regeneration within us. The Lord will help us combat our negative nature and find true humility.
If God chose to sit in three chairs we would see the same person (the Lord) on all three.
How does that sit with you? Did I pull a chair right out from under your faith-system?
for Saturday, February 22, 2020
Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?—Isaiah 2:22
“To the extent that we are engaged in what is good, the world within us is subordinated to heaven and serves it; and then the Lord is present with us on both levels as He is in His Heaven.”
Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell 57