Conjunction

HR90  THE SCIENCE OF CORRESPONDENCE

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CONJUNCTION

HEAVEN IS CONJUNCTION WITH THE LORD

conjunctionpHeaven is heaven, not from the angels but from the Lord. For the love and wisdom in which angels are and which make heaven are not theirs, but the Lord’s, indeed are the  Lord in them. And as love and wisdom are the Lord’s, and are the Lord in heaven, and make the life of angels, it is plain that their life is the Lord’s, indeed is the Lord. The angels themselves avow that they live from the Lord. Hence it is evident that heaven is conjunction with the Lord. But conjunction with Him is various and one man’s heaven is not another’s; therefore heaven is also according to the conjunction with the Lord. In the following proposition it will be seen that conjunction is more and more close or more and more remote.

[2] Here let something be said about how the conjunction takes place and what the nature of it is. It is a conjunction of the Lord with the angels and of the angels with Him, therefore is reciprocal. The Lord flows into the life’s love of the angels, and they receive Him in wisdom, thus in turn conjoining themselves with Him. It must be said, however, that it seems to the angels that they conjoin themselves to the Lord by wisdom; actually the Lord conjoins them to Himself by their wisdom, for the wisdom is also from the Lord. It is the same thing if we say that the Lord conjoins Himself to the angels by good and they in turn conjoin themselves to the Lord by truth, for all good is of love, and truth, of wisdom.

[3] This reciprocal conjunction is an arcanum, however, which few can understand unless it is explained. I want therefore to unfold it so far as it can be done by things within one’s grasp. We showed in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom (nn. 404, 405) how love unites itself with wisdom, namely, through affection for knowing from which comes an affection for truth, through affection for understanding from which comes perception of truth, and through affection for seeing what is known and understood, from which comes thought. Into all these affections the Lord flows, for they are all derivatives of one’s life’s love, and the angels receive the influx in perception of truth and in thought, for in these the influx becomes apparent to them, but not in the affections.

[4] As the perceptions and thoughts appear to the angels to be their own, although they arise from affections which are from the Lord, the appearance is that the angels reciprocally conjoin themselves to the Lord, when nevertheless the Lord conjoins them to Himself. The affection itself produces the perceptions and thoughts, for the affection, which is of love, is their soul. Apart from affection no one can perceive or think anything, and every one perceives and thinks according to his affection.  It is evident that the reciprocal conjunction of the angels with the Lord is not from them, but as it were from them. Such, too, is the conjunction of the Lord with the church and of the church with Him, a union called celestial and spiritual marriage. [DP28]

All conjunction in the spiritual world is effected by intent regard.

When anyone there thinks of another with a desire to speak with him, the other is at once present, and the two come face to face. Likewise, when one thinks of another from an affection of love; by this affection, however, there is conjunction, but by the other only presence. This is peculiar to the spiritual world; for there all are spiritual beings. It is otherwise in the natural world where all are physical beings. In the natural world something similar takes place in the affections and thoughts of the spirit; but as there is space here, while in the spiritual world space is appearance only, what takes place here in one’s spirit occurs outwardly there.

[2] We have said so much to make known how conjunction of the Lord with angels and their seemingly reciprocal conjunction with Him is effected.  All angels turn the face to the Lord; He regards them in the forehead, and they regard Him with the eyes. The reason is that the forehead corresponds to love and its affections, and the eyes correspond to wisdom and its perceptions. Still the angels do not of themselves turn the face to the Lord, but He faces them toward Himself, doing so by influx into their life’s love, by this entering the perceptions and thoughts, and so turning the angels to Him.

[3] There is such a circuit from love to thoughts and under love’s impulse from thoughts to love in all the mind’s activity. It may be called the circling of life. On these subjects see some things also in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom: as that “Angels constantly turn the face to the Lord as a sun” (nn. 129-134); “All the interiors of both the mind and the bodies of the angels are likewise turned to the Lord as a sun” (nn. 135-139); “Every spirit, whatever his character, turns himself likewise to his ruling love” (nn. 140-145); “Love conjoins itself to wisdom and causes wisdom to be conjoined reciprocally with it” (nn.  410-412); “Angels are in the Lord and He in them; and as the angels are only recipients, the Lord alone is heaven” (nn. 113-118). [DP29]

0093a We shall say briefly how man can be more and more closely conjoined to the Lord, and then how the conjunction seems closer and closer. _How man is more and more closely conjoined to the Lord:_ this is effected not by knowledge alone, nor by intelligence alone, nor even by wisdom alone, but by a life conjoined to them. A man’s life is his love, and love is manifold. In general there are love of good and love of evil. Love of evil is love of committing adultery, taking revenge, defrauding, blaspheming, depriving others of their possessions. In thinking and doing such things the love of evil finds its pleasure and joy. Of this love there are as many derivatives, which are affections, as there are evils in which it can find expression. And there are as many perceptions and thoughts of this love as there are falsities favoring and confirming such evils. The falsities make one with the evils as understanding makes one with will; they are mutually inseparable; the one is of the other.

[2] Inasmuch as the Lord flows into one’s life’s love and by its affections into the perceptions and thoughts, and not the other way about, as we said above, it follows that the Lord can conjoin Himself more closely to a man only as the love of evil is removed along with its affections, which are lusts. These lusts reside in the natural man. What a man does from the natural man he feels that he does of himself. For his part, therefore, a man should remove the evils of that love; so far as he does, the Lord comes nearer and conjoins Himself to him. Anyone can see from reason that lusts with their pleasures block and close the door to the Lord and cannot be cast out by the Lord as long as the man himself keeps the door shut and presses and pushes from outside to keep it from being opened. It is plain from the Lord’s words in the Apocalypse that a man must himself open the door:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me (3:20).

[3] Plainly, then, so far as one shuns evils as diabolical and as obstacles to the Lord’s entrance, he is more and more closely conjoined to the Lord, and he the most closely who abhors them as so many dusky and fiery devils. For evil and the devil are one and the same, and the falsity of evil and satan are one and the same. As the Lord’s influx is into the love of good and into its affections and by these into the perceptions and thoughts, which have it from the good in which a man is that they are truths, so the influx of the devil, that is of hell, is into the love of evil and its affections, which are lusts, and by these into the perceptions and thoughts, which have it from the evil in which the man is that they are falsities.

[4] How the conjunction seems closer and closer. The more the evils in the natural man are removed by shunning and turning away from them, the more closely a man is conjoined to the Lord. Love and wisdom, which are the Lord Himself, are not in space, as affection which is of love, and thought which is of wisdom, have nothing in common with space. In the measure of the conjunction by love and wisdom, therefore, the Lord seems nearer; and, contrariwise, in the measure of the rejection of love and wisdom, more distant. There is no space in the spiritual world; distance and presence there are appearances according to similarity or dissimilarity of the affections. For, as we said, affections which are of love, and thoughts which are of wisdom, in themselves spiritual, are not in space (on this see what was shown in the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ nn. 7-10, 69-72, and elsewhere).

[5] The Lord’s conjunction with a man in whom evils have been put away is meant by the Lord’s words:

The pure in heart shall see God (Mt 5:8);

and by the words:

He who has my commandments and does them . . . with him will I make an abode (Jn 14:21, 23).

“To have the commandments” is to know and “to do them” is to love, for it is also said: “he who does my commandments, he it is that loves Me.” [DP 33]

The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the wiser one becomes._ As there are three degrees of life in man by creation and so from birth (see just above, n. 32), there are specifically three degrees of wisdom in him. These degrees it is that are opened in man according to conjunction, that is, according to love, for love is conjunction itself.  Love’s ascent by degrees, however, is only obscurely perceived by man; but wisdom’s ascent is clearly perceived by those who know and see what wisdom is. The degrees of wisdom are perceived because love by its affections enters the perceptions and thoughts, and these present themselves to the internal mental sight, which corresponds to the external bodily sight. Thus wisdom appears, but not the affection of love which produces it. It is the same with all a man’s deeds; he is aware how the body does them, but not how the soul does them. So he perceives how he meditates, perceives and thinks, but not how the soul of these mental activities, which is an affection of good and truth, produces them.

[2] There are three degrees of wisdom: natural, spiritual, and celestial.  Man is in the natural degree of wisdom during his life in the world. This degree can be perfected in him to its height, but even so cannot pass into the spiritual degree, for the latter is not continuous with it, but conjoined to it by correspondences. After death man is in the spiritual degree of wisdom. This degree also is such that it can be perfected to its height, and yet cannot pass into the celestial degree of wisdom, because neither is this continuous with the spiritual but conjoined to it by correspondences. Plainly, then, wisdom can be raised threefold, and in each degree can be perfected but only to its peak.

[3] One who understands the elevation and perfecting of these degrees can see to an extent why angelic wisdom is said to be ineffable. So ineffable, indeed, is it, that a thousand ideas in the thought of angels in their wisdom can present only a single idea in the thought of men in their wisdom, the other nine hundred and ninety-nine ideas being unutterable, because they are supernatural. Many a time have I been given to know this by living experience. But, as was said, no one can enter into the ineffable wisdom of the angels except by and according to conjunction with the Lord, for He alone opens spiritual and celestial degrees, and only in those who are wise from Him. Those are wise from the Lord who cast the devil, that is, evil, out of themselves. [DP34]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/conjunction.htm

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Truth argues. Love supports.

When we argue with other people, the human brain instantly brings to mind the ideas that uphold our viewpoint. These ideas represent our “truth.” All people argue from their notion of truth. Religions argue over truths, which are their differing doctrines. Scientists argue over what theories are closest to the truth.

Love, on the other hand, is supportive for it represents the very essence of goodness.  Everyone appreciates goodness. But isn’t there some ultimate truth that can settle all arguments?

Yes! When truth leads to love then it is ultimate truth. According to scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, truth is the form by which love can be intellectually seen and understood. Let me make an analogy. In the same way physical force finds its form (embodiment) in kinetic energy (outward trajectory), love finds its form in some construct of “truth.” Truth is the informational parameter or limit for which love is tending—just like a trajectory is the parameter and limit in which a physical force is tending. Without love or physical force taking on some real form, neither can be discerned. That is why form and information are synonymous.

One might say that if knowledge must lead to love (and wisdom) it will limit the mind’s thirst for all kinds of data and information. Not really. It will only point to the incompleteness of such information.

Why do I say that? Because even a physicist will concur that the universe is unified. Therefore, all information must be interrelated, interconnected and even interdependent. In other words, all true knowledge must be supportive! Existence is relational.

Love supports (and thus unifies). So all the laws (truths) of the universe must be expressions (physical analogs) of love. This is why nature has a relentless drive towards self-organization and complexity. The scientific mystery behind the thermodynamics of gravitating systems to grow coherent structure spontaneously is solved when love is seen as the first causal principle in the universe. Love brings people together as well as atoms, quantum potentials and stars. This brings God into the equation of scientific investigation.

I have just completed a book entitled Proving God. It will be available in 6 weeks and provide lots of evidence for why love is the ultimate science and why God and science can be rationally unified.

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Divine Good Cannot Do After the Manner of Truth Separated from Good

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A Portion of a Passage from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

… there are two things which constitute the order of the universal heaven, and thence in the universe, namely, Good and Truth. Good is the essential of order, all the things of which are mercies. Truth is the secondary of order, all the things of which are truths. The Divine good adjudges all to heaven, but the Divine truth condemns all to hell; and therefore unless the Lord’s Mercy, which is of good, were eternal, all men, however many, would be condemned.This is what is signified by the statement that the Divine good cannot do this after the manner of truth separated from good.

[There are two things which are predicated of the Lord, namely, that He is King, and that He is Priest. A king, or the royalty, signifies the holy which is true; and a priest, or the priesthood, signifies the holy which is good; the former is the Divine spiritual, the latter the Divine celestial.  The Lord as King governs each and all things in the universe from Divine truth; and as Priest, from Divine good.  Divine truth is the very order of His universal kingdom, all the laws of which are truths, or eternal verities; Divine good is the very essential of order, all things of which are of mercy.  Both of these are predicated of the Lord. If Divine truth alone were His, no mortal could be saved, for truths condemn everyone to hell; but Divine good, which is of mercy, uplifts from hell to heaven. These are what the kings and priests in the Jewish Church represented and these likewise Melchizedek represented, as king of Salem, and priest to God Most High. (Arcana Coelestia 1728)]

That the evil are nevertheless condemned to hell, is not because the Divine good is separated from the Divine truth, but because the man separates himself from the Divine good.  For the Lord in no case sends anyone down into hell, but the man sends himself….

In the following respect also the Divine good is conjoined with the Divine truth: that unless the evil were separated from the good, the evil would do harm to the good, and would be continually endeavoring to destroy order: thus that the good may not be harmed, is of Mercy. This stands just as in the kingdoms of the earth. If evils were not punished, the whole kingdom would be infected with evils, and so would perish; for which reason kings and judges show more mercy in punishing evils and in expelling from society those guilty of them, than by exercising in their behalf an unseasonable clemency.

(Arcana Coelestia 2258)
January 16, 2015

Falsity

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We know, in a general sense, what “false” means. It’s the wrong answer on a “true or false” test; it’s saying 2+2=5; it’s saying that the sky is green and the clouds are orange.

That simplicity, however, comes from applying the idea of “truth” to simple, concrete facts. It gets much trickier when we try to apply the idea to the things we love and feel.

Consider, for instance, the idea that “you’ve got to look out for yourself, because no one else is going to.” Is that true- It feels true in a way, and seems to apply to a lot of real-world situations. To some degree, no matter how high-minded we might be, we have to take care of ourselves if we’re going to be any good to anyone else. But if we take that idea and make it central to our lives, will it help us be loving people- Or will it encourage selfishness, which is pretty strong in most of us anyway- Clearly the answer is the latter.

Swedenborg would label that a “falsity,” because it is ultimately a description of how to be selfish. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” would, by contrast, be labeled a “truth” because it is a description of how to be caring and kind. Basically, statements describing or springing from love of the Lord and love of the neighbor are “truth” and those springing from love of self or love of worldly things are “falsity.”

You might wonder why that is. The fact that “look out for yourself” is selfish doesn’t make it necessarily untrue; it’s a selfish world!

But in Swedenborg’s theology, the universe and reality itself are direct products of the Lord’s infinite love, and are thus ultimately expressions of love. The only reason selfishness exists is that the Lord created us with freedom, which includes the ability we have to reject His love and turn it toward ourselves instead. The Lord’s every intention and purpose is to get us turn away from ourselves and toward Him; if we do that, reality can fulfill its loving purpose.

True reality, then, is completely loving, and expressions that reflect and support that loving nature are “true” – they are aligned with reality in its purest, greatest and intended form. Statements that reject and deny that loving nature are “false” because they are contrary to reality’s true form.

But there’s an argument: Couldn’t someone use the idea that “you’ve got to look out for yourself, because no one else is going to” to become strong and self-reliant, in a better position to help others, and use it to be a better person- Yes, they could ᾢ ideas that are essentially false can at times be used for good purposes. In a broad application, religious systems can have false ideas about the Lord, but still lead people to good lives and ultimately to heaven. On the flip side, ideas that are essentially true can be used for evil purposes (“love thy neighbor” could prompt giving aid to someone engaged in evil, for instance). “Truth” only becomes truly real when it is married to the desire for good; “falsity” only becomes truly real when it is married to the desire for evil.

(References: Apocalypse Explained 734; Apocalypse Explained 526 [1-2]; Conjugial Love 428; Divine Providence 318; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 171)

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Truth

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A child holds a pile of sunshine-drenched milkweed seeds in her hands.

There is a great deal of talk about “truth” in the works of Swedenborg, but in some ways it is one of the more elusive terms. That’s because we tend to think of it in basic terms – meaning something that is an accurate statement of reality – and because we tend to think of it in terms of ideas that can be verbalized or written.

“Truth” to Swedenborg, however, is something deeper, broader, richer, more meaningful, more powerful and more beautiful. In a sense, it is a delivery system for love, and sharing love is the very purpose of reality, which makes truth vitally important. And while it can come in the form of dry, cold rules and facts, it is at its most pure a thing of indescribable beauty, something that moves us internally.

The nature of truth originates in the idea that Lord in His essence is love itself, perfect and infinite, and that He loves us beyond our capacity to imagine. And just as we want people we love to love us back, so also the Lord has the deepest desire for us to love Him back; His love wants to reach out to us and inspire love in turn.

Love, however, cannot operate on its own; it needs a medium to work in. Think of it this way: To express love for someone, you need a face to smile with, a voice to speak with, arms to embrace with, or various tools you can use to do good, loving things for the people you love. Without those things it’s just a feeling, stuck inside and rather useless. In a sense, if it can’t be expressed, its existence is not really quite complete.

“Truth,” then, could be defined as “the expression of love” or maybe as “love expressed.” This can be pretty profound and beautiful: The expression on a new mother’s face, seeing her baby for the first time – that is truth, on a level beyond words. The feeling in her is expressed, and we take it in and feel a surge of emotion ourselves. At a higher level yet, we might try to image the expression on the Lord’s face when he looks at us, the love pouring from him; that is truth at its deepest.

But truth comes at lower levels too. Think of the ways we love our children – at times that means laying down some stark, black-and-white rules. “Keep your hands to yourself” and “you need to obey me” don’t sound very loving, and making a child take out the trash does not exactly inspire warm feelings and poetic thoughts. But we are in fact loving them when we teach them lessons that will help them be good people, even if that love doesn’t glow from the surface of what we’re saying. The Lord has to handle us the same way at times, especially in the early stages of our spiritual growth. “Thou shalt not kill” doesn’t sound all that loving, and the order to not covet can seem unrealistic and borderline unfair. If we look at them closely, though, we can see that they are loving, and are leading us to be loving people.

So truth comes at many levels and in many forms, shaped and adapted to various ways we can be led to be good and loving. This is why so many different things in the Bible – stones, water, wine, plants, swords and many others – all represent truth; they all have shades of meaning reflecting the many types of truth the Lord uses to lead us.

At heart, though, all truth is a way of sharing love. If we look to that, we will treasure it properly.

(References: Apocalypse Explained 434; Apocalypse Explained 627 [5-6]; Arcana Coelestia 3077, 3295, 4247, 5912, 6880, 8456, 9407, 9806, 10026; Arcana Coelestia 1904 [3]; Arcana Coelestia 3207 [1-3]; Arcana Coelestia 3509 [2]; Arcana Coelestia 7270 [2-3]; Arcana Coelestia 8301 [2]; Arcana Coelestia 9407 [13]; Divine Providence 10, 36; Divine Wisdom 9; Doctrine of Life 36; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 24; True Christian Religion 379, 398; True Christian Religion 209 [2-4]; True Christian Religion 224 [1-2])

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Goodness

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The Lord, in His essence, is love itself, perfect and infinite. From that love His entire focus and effort is on loving us and making us happy – which can only be done to its fullness if we freely choose to accept His love and be conjoined with Him.

To that end, we also have the capacity to love – we can allow that conjunction to happen by receiving the Lord’s love and returning it, and the way we do that is by aligning our loves with the Lord’s. Obviously the Lord is infinite and perfect and we are finite and imperfect, but we can work to love as He loves, and closer we get the more we are “good” – the more we will desire to be good, delight in what is good, actually do what is good, and live in peace, harmony and joy both in this life and in heaven.

Achieving that, of course, is not a matter of saying a little prayer and being changed, and it’s not a matter of simply deciding or force of will. As anyone who has mooned over an unrequited romance knows, our loves are simply not changed that easily, and indeed seem largely out of our control.

Consider, for instance: Say you are in desperate need of money, and see a man drop his wallet as he climbs into an expensive car and drives away. You pick up the wallet, and find several thousand dollars there. The fact is, at that moment you (unless you are a better person than 99.9 percent of us) really really want to keep that money. You might not do it. You know what’s right, and you may well make yourself do what’s right. But you can’t just change that “want” and make it go away. You don’t have that kind of control.

So how can we actually become good? The answer is what the Writings refer to generically as “truth.” From the time we are small children we are constantly learning what’s right and wrong and being forced to apply that knowledge. Over time those ideas get deeper – from “don’t hit other children!” to “you need to think about what makes other people happy” to “love your neighbor as yourself” – but they all to some extent run contrary to what we want. Consider that wallet: The reason most of us would call the guy and give him his money is that we know it’s the right thing to do, even though it’s not really what we want to do.

If you think about it, those truths – those ideas of right and wrong – come into use from the outside, and sort of work their way from outer layers of our minds (“don’t hit other children!”) to deeper, more thoughtful ones (“love your neighbor as yourself”). The Writings tell us that even as we are absorbing truth from the outside, the Lord is secretly planting desires for good in our souls, in the inmost levels that we’re not even aware of. Among the most important of these desires is, in fact, the desire for truth, which urges us to gather and accept that truth coming to us from the outside.

As we build that storehouse of knowledge, we come to the key decision point (or a lifelong series of decision points, really). We can decide to embrace that truth, to determine for ourselves that we want to do what’s right because it is right. Or we can ignore it and wallow in our base desires.

If we do the former – determine to follow what’s true – that truth crosses from the exterior parts of our mind to more interior ones. And in the more interior areas it can mix with the desires for good the Lord has hidden away there.

And then what happens? The Writings have some beautiful passages about how good loves truth, how it will seek it and embrace it, fill it with life and make it its own. This is a little hard to imagine, but consider falling in love with someone. Don’t you want to know everything about him or her? Don’t you want to know every little thing that makes him or her happy so you can provide it? Your desire to love embraces truth so it can put love into action. Much the same happens with the desires for good inside us and the attendent truths – the good desires seek the real truths, the ones that fit, and make them their own.

This does not, of course, happen all at once in every aspect of our being. It is the work of a lifetime and entails many battles with the evil desires that pollute our souls. But the process can be increasingly joyful, and the end result is spectacular – eventually the desires for good will be so empowered that they can actually take the lead role and extend out to the outermost parts of our minds. In that state we no longer even want what’s wrong; our joy of life is in doing what’s good. This, of course, is the state that angels enjoy in heaven.

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The Opening of the Spiritual Mind

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Something shall now be said about its [the spiritual mind’s] formation. The spiritual mind is formed from those things that are in man’s memory from the Word; for the memory is the storehouse … but these things are elevated therefrom in this manner:
First, there is given to man the affection of truth, which is called the spiritual affection of truth, which is that man loves truth because it is truth. This affection of truth is then given because when evils are removed man is in goods from the Lord, and good loves truth and truth good, and the two will to be conjoined. This affection is given by the Lord alone, because the Lord in heaven is Divine truth; and it is given by the Word, because the Lord in the church is the Word.

Secondly, those things that are from the Word in man’s storehouse … are drawn forth and purified by the Lord, and genuine truths are there discriminated and separated from falsities; for man’s spiritual mind can be formed only out of genuine truths, since heaven is in no other.

Thirdly, those truths are elevated by the Lord in a wonderful manner, and become spiritual; this is effected by the influx of heaven, and thus of spiritual things corresponding to natural; and these truths are there disposed into a heavenly form.

Fourthly, the truths that are elevated into the spiritual mind are not in a natural but in a spiritual form. Truths in a spiritual form are such as are in the spiritual sense of the Word, but truths in a natural form are such as are in the natural sense of the Word…. For this reason, when man after death becomes a spirit and his spiritual mind is opened, he no longer thinks and speaks naturally, but spiritually.

Fifthly, so long as man is living in the world he is wholly ignorant of what he thinks in the spiritual mind; he knows only what he thinks from that mind in the natural; but after death the state is changed, and he then thinks from the spiritual mind, and not from the natural.

(Apocalypse Explained 790:8)
April 16, 2017