Using Swedenborg to Understand the Quantum World I: Events

Swedenborg Foundation

By Ian Thompson, PhD, Nuclear Physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryFor the last hundred years, physicists have been using the quantum theory about the universe, but they still do not properly understand of what the quantum world is made.

molecular_thoughts_hires

The previous physics (referred to as “classical” and started by Isaac Newton) used ideas of “waves” and “particles” to picture what makes up the physical world. But now we find that every object in the quantum world sometimes behaves as a particle and sometimes behaves as a wave! Which is it? In quantum physics, objects behave most of the time like waves spreading out as they travel along, but sometimes measurements show objects to be particles with a definite location: not spread out at all. Why is that? It is as though their size and location suddenly change in measurement events. This is quite unlike classical physics, where particles exist continuously with the same fixed shape. In quantum physics, by contrast, objects have fixed locations only intermittently, such as when they are observed.  So they only offer us a discrete series of events that can be measured, not a continuous trajectory. Quantum objects, then, are alternately continuous and discontinuous.

Why would we ever expect such a fickle world? Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) has some ideas that might help us. He describes how all physical processes are produced by something mental, or spiritual, and this can be confirmed by reason of the similarity in patterns between the physical processes and their mental causes. In Swedenborg’s words, there are correspondences between the physical and the mental—that they have similar structures and functions, even though mind and matter are quite distinct.

I need to state what correspondence is. The whole natural world is responsive to the spiritual world—the natural world not just in general, but in detail. So whatever arises in the natural world out of the spiritual one is called “something that corresponds.” It needs to be realized that the natural world arises from and is sustained in being by the spiritual world . . . (Heaven and Hell §89)

Although these ideas are not part of present-day science, I still hope to show below that they may have some implications for how science could usefully develop.

Swedenborg’s theory of mind is easy to begin to understand. He talks about how all mental processes have three common elements: desire, thought, and action. The desire is what persists and motivates what will happen. The thought is the exploration of possibilities for actions and the making of an intention. The action is the determined intention, the product of desire and thought that results in an actual physical event.

The [actions] themselves are in the mind’s enjoyments and their thoughts when the delights are of the will and the thoughts are of the understanding therefrom, thus when there is complete agreement in the mind. The [actions] then belong to the spirit, and even if they do not enter into bodily act still they are as if in the act when there is agreement. (Divine Providence §108)

All of the three spiritual elements are essential. Without desire (love), or ends, nothing would be motivated to occur. Without thought, that love would be blind and mostly fail to cause what it wants. Without determined intention, both the love and thought would be frustrated and fruitless, with no effect achieved at all. In everyday life, this intention is commonly called will, but it is always produced by some desire driving everything that happens. Here is the pattern:

      Spiritual                                                                   Natural
Desire + Thought Mental Action (Intention)  Physical Action, or Event, in the World

Swedenborg summarizes the relationship between these elements as follows:

All activities in the universe proceed from ends through causes into effects. These three elements are in themselves indivisible, although they appear as distinct in idea and thought. Still, even then, unless the effect that is intended is seen at the same time, the end is not anything; nor is either of these anything without a cause to sustain, foster and conjoin them. Such a sequence is engraved on every person, in general and in every particular, just as will, intellect, and action is. Every end there has to do with the will, every cause with the intellect, and every effect with action. (Conjugial Love §400:1–2)

Now consider Swedenborg’s theory of correspondences mentioned above. He says that there is a similar pattern between the details of the effects and the details of the causes. ”As above, so below,” others have said. So if mental action produces some effect in the physical world, then, by correspondence, we would expect a similar pattern between that physical effect and each of the three elements common to all mental processes. We would expect something physical like desire, then something physical like thought, and finally something physical like mental action. Do we recognize these patterns in physics? And if so, do we recognize them better in classical physics or in quantum physics?

I claim we do recognize them in physics:

  • We recognize the “something physical like desire” as energy or propensity. These are what persist physically and produce the result, just like desire does in the mind. They are in both classical and quantum physics.
  • We recognize the “something physical like thought” as the wave function in quantum physics. This describes all the possibilities, propensities, and probabilities for physical events, just like thought does in the mind.
  • We recognize the “something physical like mental action” as the actual specific physical outcome, a selection of just one of the possibilities to be made actual. This is a measurement event in quantum physics, the product of energy or propensity and the wave function, just like the product of desire and thought is the mental action.

We will discuss energy and wave functions in later posts, focusing here on the final step of mental actions and physical events. According to Swedenborg’s ideas, the structure of mental processes and the structure of physical events should be similar. So, too, the function of mental processes and the function of physical events should be similar. Can we tell from this whether we should expect a classical world or a quantum world?

One feature of thought and mental action with which we should be familiar is time. That is, we always need time to think! Without any time gap between desiring and intending, we would be acting instinctively and impulsively. Sometimes that works but not always (at least in my experience!). Most often, there has to be some delay, even some procrastination, between having a desire and fulfilling it. That delay gives us time to deliberate and decide on the best action to select. And, most importantly, if it is we who decide when to act, we feel that we act in some freedom. It feels better.

If the physical world corresponds to those mental processes, according to Swedenborg, what hypothesis do we reach about physics? It is that there will be corresponding time gaps between the beginning of some persisting energy or propensity and the selection of physical outcome. Remember that quantum objects are selected and definite only intermittently—when measured, or observed—while classical objects are continuously definite with no gaps. All this leads us to expect that physical events should not be continuous; that is, we should expect a quantum world rather than a classical world.

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Continue with Part II: Desire and Energy>

Ian Thompson is also the author of Starting Science from God, as well as Nuclear Reactions in Astrophysics (Univ. of Cambridge Press) and more than two hundred refereed professional articles in nuclear physics.

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Chapter XXV. The Wicked.

< Chapter XXIV. The Third Degree of Regeneration. ^ Discrete Degrees ^ PART II. Assumption and Glorification of the Human by the Lord. >

 

THIS diagram illustrates the state of the wicked. Their spiritual mind is closed and almost inoperative, thus with them heaven is shut. Their natural mind being filled with evil and falsity is perverted. The natural mind in such case reacts against the spiritual mind and closes it, so that but little influx can enter the natural mind from above or through heaven.

Z represents the three hells as they appear below the world of spirits. No new degrees are here represented but only the degrees of the natural mind in a state of perversion as they appear when disrobed of every semblance of goodness and truth. The three degrees of the natural mind when in a state of order are in the world of spirits appearing there beneath the heavens, conjoined with the heavens and acting as one with them. They can appear elsewhere only by being brought into a state of inverted order,. which inversion is represented by their appearance at Z without the pale of true order.

Some of the wicked however are more deeply sunken in the evils of one degree and some in the evils of another. The predominant evils and falsities of some are in w, and with them this degree is more operative than the lower degrees. These constitute the first hell, thus

The evils and falsities of others are in x. These constitute the middle hell, thus

And still others are in y. These constitute the lowest hell, thus

The hells then consist of those who are in the perverted rational, scientific, sensual.

In The True Christian Religion we read, –

“If a man neither acknowledges God, nor worships Him with actual piety, he puts off the image of God and becomes like some animal except that he enjoys the faculty of understanding and thence of speech. If he then closes [against heaven] the highest natural degree [represented by w] he becomes with respect to love like a beast of the earth; but if he closes the middle natural degree [x] he becomes with respect to love like a fox and with respect to the sight of the understanding like a bird of the evening; but if he also closes the ultimate natural degree [y] as to its spiritual, he becomes with respect to love like a wild beast and with respect to the understanding of truth like a fish.” -TCR 34.

In the light of this diagram and of Diagram XI we can easily understand Arcana Coelestia AC 6564, 10492, 10429. In this light read The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 33, 36 to 46; True Christian Religion TCR 401, 402; Arcana Coelestia 9701 to 9709, 9128; Divine Love and Wisdom 162, 270; Apocalypse Explained 406 [a], 940, 939, 941, 1145 (Atli.Cr. 44). The internal man of the evil mentioned in Arcana 9128 is the interior of the natural mind. (Diagram XI.)

Inversion of order and therewith the existence of evil cannot occur in the spiritual mind B though this may be closed by the prevalence of evil in the natural mind C. The spiritual mind is formed for the exclusive occupancy of love to the LORD and love to the neighbor; but if those loves are not exercised, this mind shrinks and closes. The natural mind is the abode of self-love and the love of the world. These when submissive to the higher loves and animated by influx from them, are orderly and good, but when rebellious they are disorderly and evil. (Chapters VI and XVIII.)

END OF PART I.  


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Chapter XXIV. The Third Degree of Regeneration.

< Chapter XXIII. The Second Degree of Regeneration. ^ Discrete Degrees ^ Chapter XXV. The Wicked. >

THIS diagram presents man regenerated to the highest or celestial degree a of his spiritual mind. The corresponding degrees of the natural, b and c, are also regenerated and conjoined to the highest. He now enjoys celestial perception. He leads a life the highest, purest, and happiest possible, performing uses the most essential and universal, the life and use of celestial love and wisdom and of inmost innocence and peace. The measure of every recipient faculty in every plane is full. The lower degrees of the spiritual mind opened and lived through as he passed on to the highest are closed beneath the one he now inhabits. Still, gathering their harvests of good and truth and garnering them in those lower planes, he extracted their celestial essences and bore them with him to his lofty home where the very primitives of the life and delight of the lower degrees bloom and fructify to eternity. (AC 5114; HH 208.)

The whole natural man (except the gross body to be rejected) is joined to the spiritual mind and ever after acts as one with it, the willing servant of a heavenly lord and master. Dying in this state man rises to an abode in the celestial heaven.

From the above concord of the natural with the spiritual there is however this abatement, the vanquished but not exterminated evils from the father and any actual evils that may have existed, though dormant, still remain in the circumference of the spiritual-sensual and spiritual-corporeal. These evils by the force of the ever increasing good within are continually pressed out into the farthest verge of that plane, where (though dormant) they cannot but emit deleterious effluvia which must sink from the highlands where the angels reside down into the lowlands surrounding the hells. (AC 4564, 1414, 1444, 4551, 4552.) In the above abatement must be included the limbus so far as tinctured with actual evil therein enrooted or affected by the influence of unexterminated evil in the higher degrees.

ON page 59 we deferred our interpretation of the teaching that with those who come into heaven, the limbus is below and the spiritual above, but the reverse with those who come into hell. The whole passage is as follows:

“The soul which is from the father is the man himself, and the body, which is from the mother is not in itself the man, but from him. The body is only the clothing of the soul woven of such [substances] as are of the natural world; but the soul is of such [substances] as are in the spiritual world. Every man after death lays aside the natural which he carried from the mother and retains the spiritual which was from the father, together with a certain limbus of the purest [substances] of nature around it; but this limbus with those who come into heaven is below, and the spiritual above, but the limbus, with those who come into hell, is above, and the spiritual below; thence it is that a man-angel speaks from heaven, thus what is good and true; but that a man-devil speaks from hell while from his heart, and as it were from heaven while from his mouth; this he does abroad, but that at home. “- TCR 103

This cannot mean that the limbus of the wicked is above their spiritual organism. Natural substances being created from spiritual must be below them and be their base. The wicked being in inverted order esteem the sensuals and corporeals of the limbus as more valuable than the spiritual, thus above the spiritual. With the good, true order is preserved, they hold the spiritual as above and the sensual as beneath. (AC 5076, 5077, 5094, 4552; TCR 402.)

We say man receives the Divine Love and Wisdom; but strictly these are of such order and force that no finite human organism could bear the least contact with them. What then is received? Men are organized of created substances spiritual and natural and receive life from the LORD which in itself is the inmost activity of the Divine Love and Wisdom. (TCR 471, 472.) Even this life cannot be received as it is in the LORD but as flowing forth from Him and moderated by the substances of the sun of the spiritual world and the atmospheres through which it passes. This proceeding Divine is dual, the activity of the Divine Love inmostly affecting man’s will and the activity of the Divine Wisdom affecting his understanding, producing in them states correspondent to Love and Wisdom in the LORD. (TCR 39.)


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Chapter XXIII. The Second Degree of Regeneration.

< Chapter XXII. Adult Life. – First Degree of Regeneration. ^ Discrete Degrees ^ Chapter XXIV. The Third Degree of Regenerat

RECALLING Chapter XXII, the present diagram will need but little explanation. It represents man at the close of the second great step in regeneration. Dying at this stage he ascends to the spiritual or middle heaven. During this period man is brought into combat with deeper evils and falsities than in the first stage namely the evils and falsities of the second degree of the natural mind d and of the limbus f but he is sustained by more interior goods and truths in the second degree of the spiritual mind, a. Thus the second degree of the spiritual mind becomes founded on the cleansed and regenerate second degree of the natural mind and of the limbus. The middle degree of the natural mind is filled by an influx of good and truth from the middle degree of the spiritual mind and is conjoined to that degree and makes one with it. The interior seat of thought and affection and of spiritual power is now elevated into and fixed in the middle degree of the spiritual mind. Here also conscience holds its interior seat; its exterior seat being in d.

The warfare against the evils of the middle degrees of the natural d and f, causing their removal, was not carried on by the goods and truths of the spiritual mind directly upon those evils but through goods and truths stored as remains in the natural.

When the regenerate man rises after death into his appropriate heaven are his lower degrees elevated into that higher plane? No. -His lower degrees necessarily remain in their proper planes with which they agree in substance, structure and quality. These are conjoined with and quiescent under the higher. Nevertheless the man, now an angel, appears in the higher plane opened for his conscious enjoyment.

Opening a higher or a lower degree in an angel or a spirit causes his appearance in that degree, and closing the degree causes his disappearance. So it is that angels and spirits ascend and descend on that great Ladder (or way with steps) within themselves which was set on the earth with its head reaching to heaven.

With the wicked the natural degrees are closed above and opened below. In the good those degrees are open above and closed below. These opposite states cause separation and cause the good to appear above and the evil below. This with change of locality by change of thought, answers the question on page 59.

How can spirits travel in the spiritual world clothed as they are with the limbus belonging to the natural world? Their travel is effected by change of state causing also an outward sensation and appearance of travel as with man. To such travel the limbus is no impediment. Swedenborg and the prophets experienced such travel in spirit even while clothed with the gross body. (HH 191-199; TCR 280; Inv. 43, 52; U. 127, 128, 129.)


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Chapter XXII. Adult Life. – First Degree of Regeneration.

< Chapter XXI. Growth During Youth. ^ Discrete Degrees ^ Chapter XXIII. The Second Degree of Regeneration. >

 

DURING minority there was an ascent through the degrees of the natural mind C even into its highest b and at the same time a descent of heaven through the degrees of the spiritual mind B into its lowest a, meeting between the two minds. This is shown in the three preceding diagrams.

Standing now at the threshold of adult life man can under the LORD enter heaven if he will and allow heaven to flow down into his natural, by discrete degrees successively. Such is the structure of the mind, such the order of heaven, and such the nature and order of regeneration. (AE 940.)

During minority, the course was upward in the natural mind and downward through the spiritual. Thenceforth, should the man become regenerate, it will be the reverse-up through the spiritual, down through the natural. The first great step in this process is the opening of the lowest or natural degree of the spiritual mind a and elevation of the man into it with the descent of influx thence into the highest degree of the natural mind b, and into c the highest degree of the limbus which is the lowest scat of thought and affection, and thence into word and deed by the gross body.

This first step in adult regeneration, may be elucidated. The lowest degree of the spiritual mind a having been previously stored with good and truth is prepared for the man’s entrance into it; he then rises into it and plants therein the interior seat of his thought and affection. Thus he begins to be a distinctively spiritual man but has not yet become so, especially not permanently so. To ensure this result the highest degree of his natural mind b and the corresponding plane of the limbus c must be cleansed of evil and falsity and appropriate good and truth adopted in their stead. (AC 3539 and 6724.) Evil and falsity can be removed only by combat in obedience to the Divine command to shun them as sins, for the LORD can work in man to remove his disorders only when man co-operates with Him. (AE 790 [b].) This combat is waged by good and truth on the LORD’s side against evil and falsity assaulting on the other. The goods and truths immediately brought into use as the hosts of the LORD in this combat are those;already stored in these degrees (b and c) during youth, But these goods and truths cannot combat and expel the evils and falsities from these degrees except as infilled and animated by the higher goods and truths in a of the spiritual mind. Thus the combat is primarily between the spiritual mind and the evils and falsities of -the natural mind. The spiritual mind however fights from its own goods and truths by the goods and truths of the natural mind. (AC 6724, AE 176, 790.) Then the spiritual rests securely on the natural and the man thereafter holds his interior seat in that lowest degree of the spiritual mind. This degree of the natural mind is now conjoined with the spiritual and makes one with it. The man dying in this state goes to the lowest or natural heaven because he is regenerate to the natural degree of his spiritual mind and to the corresponding degree of his natural mind. This first great step of regeneration requires years for its accomplishment, with most persons, many years. Neither does it always actually commence at twenty-one years of age.

But cannot man be saved unless this degree be completely regenerate in this world? Yes. If the work be well commenced it will be completed in the other world. (TCR 571.) With most who are saved, indeed with an who are properly saved by entering into heaven, that is who cultivate in themselves the heavenly marriage of good and truth, the spiritual mind is opened and as to their interior life they live distinctly and clearly within. There are however a few in whom that mind is neither strictly closed, nor properly open. These acknowledge God and shun as sin but have little or no concern about truths, being content with a few simple ideas. Truth as well as good is requisite to open the spiritual mind and secure elevation into it. As they do not lead a wicked life but a certain species of good life they neither close heaven against themselves nor properly enter it. Their abode after death is in the very lowest part of heaven, or in the outskirt of a superior heaven, where they perform service under direction of those who are in heaven. (DLW 253.)

When a man with the lowest degree of the spiritual mind, opened and the highest of the natural regenerate enters his appropriate heaven the unremoved evils of the two lower degrees of the natural mind are thereafter held in quiescence, chiefly by the goods and truths appropriated in the higher degrees. The like occurs with him who is so far regenerated as to enter the spiritual or middle heaven after death. His lowest natural degree is yet tainted with evil, but the two higher degrees of the natural mind being purified, the evils of this degree are held in quiescence. It is different with him who enters the highest heaven because (as will be seen in Diagram XXIV) every degree of his natural mind is cleansed of evil and filled with good and truth.

There is a difference between evil from the father and evil from the mother. (Chapter XVIII.) The evil which is from the father (resident in the three degrees of the natural mind C and thence in the spiritual-sensual and spiritual-corporeal), cannot be expelled, but only removed from the centre to the circumference and there held in subjection and, as it were, lifeless, to eternity. But the evil from the mother may be dispersed as regeneration descends through the degrees of the limbus. (AC 1414, 1444, 1573.)

Dispersion of the maternal evil does not involve the rejection of the limbus as an organism but only a change of state by expulsion of impure substances and disorderly forms and the appropriation of other substances pure and orderly. The good and truth of -the paternal degrees rest on corresponding states in this material plane, the limbus, as their ultimate base. Even the gross body becomes purified in proportion to the regeneration of the higher degrees-a change effected by rejection of impure substances and incorporation of material substances pure and orderly.

As the unremoved evil in the two lower degrees of the natural mind with him who dies in the state presented in this diagram is held forever quiescent in those degrees, so the undispersed evil of the two lower degrees of the limbus is held in quiescency by the power of the good appropriated in the regenerated degrees above. “Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours, no man shall be able to stand before you, JEHOVAH your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land that you shall tread upon.” (Deut. xi, 24, 25 ; Gen. ix, 2.)

From earliest infancy remains have been stored preparatory for regeneration in after years. (Pages 67, 73, 75-83, 85.) During adult life there are added new good by an internal way and new truth by an external way. This increase continues after death but only of good and truth of the same degree as appropriated during life in the world. After death no new degree can be opened. Angels of a lower heaven never become angels of a higher, nor do the higher fall to a lower. While in the world man acquires a certain measure of good or evil which after death he neither transcends nor falls below. (AC 7984; S.D. 4037-9.)

The cause of this permanence is that the limbus, the plane of the natural memory, then quiesces. During life this lowest mental plane was active and usable under volition and could be changed in quality and thus made the basis of new openings of the higher degrees. But in quiescing after death it becomes fixed. Should a degree higher than that attained in the world be providentially opened it could not be held permanently because this opened state would not be terminated in the limbus. No spiritual degree nor state of a degree can endure except it rest on the limbus, the indestructible base and containant of the whole spirit and of all its states. (DLW 257; D.W. in AE VIII, quoted pp. 54-56.)

Why does the limbus quiesce? When man becomes a spirit he must close the memory of natural things and enter into interior consciousness without which he could not properly inhabit the spiritual world. Were not the limbus then quiescent he would relapse into it and thus be withdrawn from conscious life in the states and scenery of that world. When a spirit for a special purpose experiences temporary activity of his natural memory he is withdrawn from the consciousness and memory of things spiritual. This exercise of the material memory however causes no permanent change of its state. During life the limbus is clothed with the gross body which furnishes a reactive plane for the operation of the natural memory. When this reactive plane is removed by death the natural memory quiesces and the spiritual memory is opened.

Should the limbus not quiesce at death the spirit could not thereafter permanently retain his interiors in due form and order as they would have no unchangeable ultimate; the regenerate could not then be preserved forever in heaven, nor the wicked in hell. (AC 2469 to 2494; S.D. 4037 to 4039.)

Nor does this quiescence merely fix the happy state of the angels in the degree to which they have advanced, but as the Divine acts by universal laws this quiescence also holds the evil in their life’s love without possibility of either descent or ascent to other degrees than those opened in their perverted minds and founded in the limbus during life in the world. “As the tree falls so it lies.”

The fixed state of the limbus fixes the interiors because interiors must be and flow according to exteriors, so that no permanent change can be made in the interior without a corresponding change in the exterior.

“Unless the natural assist, no birth of interior truth exists, for it is the natural which receives into its bosom interior truths when born, since it gives them ability to come forth. In regard to the things which are of spiritual birth, reception must be wholly be in the natural. This is the reason why, during man’s regeneration, the natural is first prepared to receive; and so far as this is made receptive, so far interior goods and truths can be excluded [that is, begotten by the interior, and received and brought forth by the exterior], and multiplied. This also is the reason why, if the natural man be not prepared to receive the goods and truths of faith in the life of the body, he cannot receive them in the other life, thus he cannot be saved. For man has with him in the other life the natural memory or the memory of the external man, but in that life they are not allowed to use it (see 2469 to 2494;) wherefore it is as a foundation plane into which interior goods and truths descend; and if that plane is not receptive of the truths and goods which flow in from the interior, the interior goods and truths are either extinguished, or perverted, or rejected.”-AC 4588.

The quality of man’s affection and thought and thus of his state of life depends entirely on the agreement or disagreement of his natural with his spiritual mind or what is the same on his natural being rightly or wrongly receptive of Divine influx through his interiors.

The spiritual mind is always in true order. But influx thence into the natural mind becomes natural good and truth embodying spiritual and thus regenerating the natural C only so far as the limbus is regenerated. (DP 119, 120.) Hence,

“The thought of spirits and angels is terminated in she natural, for they have all the natural memory and its affections, but they are not allowed to use it. Although they are not allowed to use that memory, still it serves them as a plane or as a foundation, so that the ideas of their thought are therein terminated; hence it is that their thought is such as is the correspondence [or non-correspondence] of their natural with the rational.”-AC 3679.

The natural corresponds or discorresponds causing rationality or insanity according to life in the world which life determines the state of the limbus and this unalterably fixes the state of the spirit or the angel.

The numberless inner evils of the natural mind C are enrooted in the limbus D wherein they present themselves as one.

Cupidities within, the man sees not; these are known to the LORD alone. But the LORD can remove them only when man who is together with Him in the limbus fights against them there as seen by the light of truth. Thus their basis is removed, and the inner mind is cleansed. Good and truth can then descend from the spiritual mind into the natural mind C, regenerating it, become enrooted in the limbus, and be rendered as act and speech by the gross body. Good and truth thus implanted in the natural band enrooted in the limbus D are also permanently enjoyable as to their interiors in the spiritual mind B. (DP 119, 120, 125) The “internal man” in these passages of Divine Providence is the natural mind C, the “external man” is the limbus and gross body. (Chapter XV.)

Thus far as to the quiescence of the limbus.

The temporary activity of the limbus above alluded to is caused by the spirit or the angel being for the time so joined to man’s externals as to furnish a reactive base for the purpose.

Another feature of regeneration pertaining alike to him in whom only the first degree of the spiritual mind is opened (as shown in this diagram) and to him whose states are represented in Diagrams XXIII and XXIV, should be especially noted. Since the spiritual mind is formed of spiritual substances of a purer kind and the paternal natural C is formed of spiritual substances of a grosser kind therefore good and truth flow from the spiritual into the natural simply by taking on a more compound form.

But they cannot flow from the natural mind into the limbus and gross body in the same manner, as these are composed of material substances, and hence as already stated undergo renovation by rejection of impure natural substances, and incorporation of such as are pure,


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Chapter XXI. Growth During Youth.

< Chapter XX. Growth During Childhood. ^ Discrete Degrees ^ Chapter XXII. Adult Life. – First Degree of Regeneration. >

 

THIS diagram compared with XX shows the development accomplished during youth. There has been great development of c the lowest degree of the spiritual mind in which were deposited celestial-natural and spiritual-natural remains by altogether imperceptible influxes, mainly by immediate Divine operation and partly through the angels of the lowest heaven which is celestial-natural and spiritual-natural. Great development has taken place also in the corresponding degree of the natural mind d, in the highest degree of the limbus g and in the gross body E.

In the plane c are implanted the interior and initial forms of the love of knowing the reason of things and of the faculty of reason. In d are implanted the exterior and natural forms of the same, which however are imperceptible except as they operate in and by g the highest of the limbus. Thence they speak and act by means of the gross body.

Youth completes the period of spiritual minority. Spiritual majority follows. During minority man believes, knows, thinks and acts not from himself or in his own right and reason as a spiritual free agent, but from others-from parents and masters whom he trusts, thus from authority. Minority since the Fall is prolonged far beyond its duration in the pristine age. This prolongation is to ensure a protracted quiescence of evil inclinations and a fullness of remains of good and truth whereby regeneration may be secured in after years.

Knowledges of natural objects and of social life gathered in by means of the senses during this period are highly important, yet knowledges from the Word and the Doctrines of the Church are the most essential.

Concerning the three states of Spiritual Minority we recapitulate

Infancy is a corporeal and sensual state. During its continuance the sensual degree, involving the corporeal, is opened and developed. (Chapter XIX.)

Childhood is a knowing or scientific state. During its continuance, the knowing or scientific degree is opened and developed. (Chapter XX.)

Youth, reaching to the BEGINNING of adult age, is a rational or reasoning state. During its continuance the natural rational degree of the mind is opened and developed.

These three states have their internal and unconscious existence in the spiritual mind and their external and conscious existence in the natural. It is solely their internal that renders their external possible. Infancy, childhood and youth are but the beginning of will and understanding. Manhood, to be presented in the following Chapters, is a state of actual will and understanding.

In the present diagram we see the state of the faculties and the interior seat of thought on arrival at adult age. The interior unconscious seat of thought has been elevated during minority through the three discrete degrees of the natural mind. This seat of thought is now poised between the spiritual mind above and the natural mind below. This equilibrium exists with him who has not yet chosen and appropriated either good or evil. This however is not the freedom of the regenerate man and of the angel in heaven. The freedom of the regenerate and of the angel arises from the delight of the love of good and truth appropriated from the LORD and is seated in the spiritual mind and higher therein according to the degree of regeneration. While the seat of thought was rising, man was natural. Now, by regeneration he becomes spiritual. Without regeneration he remains merely natural.

Should he become regenerate, the seat of his thought will be elevated into the spiritual mind, and successively higher therein as he advances in regeneration. If not regenerate the seat of his thought sinks into the natural mind and lower therein the more deeply he betakes himself to hereditary evils and makes them his own.

Both the upward course of the good and the downward course of the evil will be represented in subsequent diagrams. Here read Doctrine of Life, 19, and refer to this diagram. Imagine man at adult age standing in the midst between the natural and the spiritual mind. if from that point he looks up, he looks to the LORD flowing into his inmost A and thence into the spiritual mind B his heaven. If he looks down he looks to the devil that is hell whence is influx into the lower regions of his mind C and D into which he gradually sinks to rise no more.

The natural man C and D with E included, though stored during minority with good and truth, is yet (at adult life) tainted with hereditary evil more or less active, and with fallacy and falsity. These are mingled with the good and truth, defiling and obscuring them and are to be removed by regeneration in after years. The gross body E is included in the term natural man as a subject of evil because it is disordered and impure from evil in the natural mind and limbus. These disorders and impurities are also to be removed as far as may be during regeneration.


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Chapter XX. Growth During Childhood.

THIS diagram presents the growth and storage of the mind during childhood, infancy having preceded, youth yet to follow.

Compare this diagram with XVIII, XIX, and XXI.

The principal growth and implantation of remains during childhood have taken place in b the middle degree of the spiritual mind, in c the middle degree of the natural mind, and in e the middle of the limbus. The five. senses of the body have increased in quickness and strength. The remaining three degrees not here lettered have somewhat advanced in preparation for future development.

The plane b is the middle degree of the spiritual mind and is the middle heaven. This degree ultimates in the natural mind; its first ultimate is c which is the middle degree of the natural mind; and its lowest ultimate is e the middle degree of the limbus.

This degree b and its ultimates are characterized by spiritual good and truth which are those of love to the neighbor; spiritual good is the good of that love, and spiritual truth is the truth that teaches, contains and defends it. These in their beginnings are stored imperceptibly in the middle degree of the spiritual mind during childhood, the child during this time being under the ministration of spiritual angels. While the LORD imperceptibly stores spiritual principles immediately from Himself and mediately through the angels of the spiritual heaven in the degree b, He by various perceptible and imperceptible means stores the corresponding degrees below with the affection of knowledge and with knowledge itself The perceptible means are external instruction and training.

In the Writings, two distinctions are drawn between the celestial and the spiritual. The view presented in this diagram coincides with only one of these distinctions. The other puts things celestial and things spiritual in each of the three degrees of the internal and of the external mind. These distinctions may be illustrated by the body. In one view the head is celestial, the trunk spiritual, the extremities natural; this is like the celestial, the spiritual and the natural in this diagram. In the other view the right part of the head is celestial, the left spiritual; so of the trunk and extremities.

To exemplify these distinctions take the whole mind consisting of will and understanding. The mind is organized with three distinct degrees from above down, celestial, spiritual and natural. Each degree has a voluntary which is the internal, essential, affectional, and an intellectual which is the external, formal, thinking. In the highest degree this voluntary and intellectual are celestial, in the middle spiritual, in the lowest natural. The voluntary in the highest receives love to the LORD, and the intellectual in the highest, the truth of that love. In the highest degree then exist celestial good and truth, in the middle spiritual good and truth, in the lowest natural good and truth. Thus there is the celestial and the spiritual or what is the same the voluntary and the intellectual in each degree as mentioned in Chapter XIX, page 81. This is one distinction. The other is the distinction between the highest degree which is celestial and the middle which is spiritual. The first distinction is between good and truth in one degree; the second is between good and truth in one degree in relation to good and truth in another.

These distinctions may be illustrated by the examples of a married pair in the celestial heaven, a pair in the spiritual, and a pair in the natural. In the highest, the husband and wife are related to each other as love and its wisdom or as the celestial and its spiritual; yet both are celestial in relation to the pair in the heaven below. The lower pair are related to each other as truth, and good from truth, or as the spiritual and its celestial; yet both are spiritual in relation to the pair above. So the pair in the lowest heaven are natural in relation to the pairs above; but in relation to each other one is celestial and the other spiritual.

To return to the diagram. We have said in substance that the germ of the degree b undergoes development during childhood and receives interior spirituals, while that in c also becomes developed and receives exterior spirituals. The exterior as well as interior spirituals are voluntary and intellectual – the affection of knowledge being voluntary, the knowledge itself intellectual. We call the plane c in the external mind spiritual because it answers to the middle or spiritual degree b in the internal mind. But c is properly the natural spiritual. Observe that the plane c which is paternal in its origin, acts in and by the plane e and the gross body which are from the mother. Hence the affections and acquisitions of the paternal are clothed with qualities which are maternal. Thus, as shown in Chapter XVIII page 71, maternal character and quality adhere for a time to the external of the higher faculties which as to their germinal forms and states were from the father; for which reason this external is called maternal.

During the period of childhood represented in this diagram there is a lingering continuance of the state of infancy that preceded-the celestial love of parents and the celestial-spiritual love of brothers and companions with somewhat of the innocence and peace inherent in those loves together with a continual addition of sensual and corporeal ideas and impressions.

So childhood with the affection of knowing continues into youth, though the predominant desire of the youth is to know causes and reasons. He asks not so much, What? as Why? This state we present in the next diagram.


Previous: Chapter XIX. Growth During Infancy. Up: Discrete Degrees Next: Chapter XXI. Growth During Youth.