From Use, In Use, and For Use

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeFrom Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Lord’s Omnipresence and Omniscience can be Comprehended

The omnipresence and omniscience of the Lord can be comprehended also from the creation of the universe; for the universe was so created by Him that He is in things first and in things last, in the center and in the circumferences, and that the things in which He is are uses. This can be seen to be true from the creation of the universe, from the life of man, and from the essence of uses.

The creation of the universe can be in no way so well understood as from types of it in the heavens. There creation is unceasing and instantaneous, for in the spiritual world lands exist in a moment, and upon them paradisal gardens, and in these trees full of fruits, also shrubs, flowers, and plants of every kind. When these are contemplated by one who is wise, they are found to be correspondences of the uses in which the angels are, to whom they are given as a reward. The angels, moreover, in accordance with their uses have houses given them, full of utensils and beautiful things according to uses; also garments according to their uses, and food that is esculent and palatable according to their uses, and delightful conversations, which also are uses because they are recreations. All these things are given them gratuitously, and yet on account of the uses they perform. In a word, the whole heaven is so full of uses that it may be called the very kingdom of uses.

Those, on the other hand, who perform no uses, are sent into the hells, where they are compelled by a judge to perform tasks; and if they refuse no food is given them and no clothing, nor any bed but the ground, and they are scoffed at by their companions as slaves are by their masters. The judge even permits them to be their bond servants, and if they entice others from their tasks they are severely punished. All this is done until they yield. But those who cannot be made to yield are cast out into deserts, where a morsel of bread is given them daily, and water to drink, and they dwell by themselves in huts or in caves; and because they perform no uses the land about them is so barren that a grassy sod is rarely seen upon it. In such deserts and hells I have seen many of noble descent, who in the world gave themselves up to idleness, or sought offices, the duties of which they discharged not for the sake of use but for honor and gain, which were the only uses regarded.

The uses performed in the heavens and the tasks done in the hells are in part like those done in the world, although for the most part they are spiritual uses, that cannot be described by any natural language, and (what I have often wondered at) do not fall into the ideas of natural thought. But this is generally the case with what is spiritual. In the unceasing and instantaneous creation of all things in the heavens there can be seen as in a type the creation of the universe with its globes, and that there is nothing created in these except for use, and in general, one kingdom of nature for another, the mineral kingdom for the vegetable, this for the animal, and both for the human race, that they may serve the Lord for performing uses to the neighbor.

From the life of man. When this is regarded from the creation of all things in it no part will be found that is not for use, not a fiber or minute vessel in the brains, in the organs of sense, in the muscles, or in any of the viscera of the thorax and the abdomen, or anywhere else, that is not for the sake of use in general and in particular, thus for the sake of the whole and of each thing connected with it, and not for its own sake. The greater forms, which are called members, sensories, muscles, and viscera, which are made up and organized from fibers and vessels, all are formed from use, in use, and for use, so that they may be simply called uses, of which the whole man is composed and formed. It is therefore clearly evident that they have no other origin and no other end than use.

That every man likewise was created and born for use is clearly evident from the use of all things in him, and from his state after death, when, if he performs no use, he is accounted so worthless that he is cast into infernal prisons or into desert places. That man is born to be a use is clear also from his life; for a man whose life is from a love of uses is wholly different from one whose life is from a love of idleness. By a life of idleness is meant a life made up of social interaction feasting, and entertainments. A life from the love of uses is a life of love of the public good and of love to the neighbor, and also a life of love to the Lord, for the Lord performs uses to man through man, consequently a life of the love of uses is the spiritual Divine life, and everyone who loves a good use and does it from a love for it is loved by the Lord, and is received with joy by the angels in heaven. But a life of the love of idleness is a life of the love of self and the world, and thus a merely natural life; and such a life does not hold the thoughts together, but diffuses them into every vain thing, and thereby turns man away from the delights of wisdom and immerses him in the delights of the body and of the world alone to which evils cling; therefore after death he is let down into the infernal society to which he has attached himself in the world, and is there compelled to work by force of hunger and lack of food. By uses in the heavens and on the earths are meant the ministries, functions, and pursuits of life, employments, various domestic tasks, occupations, consequently all things that are opposite to idleness and indolence.

From the essence of uses. The essence of uses is the public good. With the angels the public good in the most general sense means the good of the entire heaven, in a less general sense the good of the society, and in a particular sense the good of the fellow citizen. But with men the essence of uses in the most general sense is both the spiritual and the civil good of the whole human race, in a less general sense the good of the country, in a particular sense the good of a society, and in an individual sense the good of the fellow citizen; and as these goods constitute the essence of uses, love is their life, since all good is of love and the life is in the love. In this love is everyone who takes delight in the use he is in because of its usefulness, whether he is a king, a magistrate, a priest, a minister, a general, a merchant, or a workman. Everyone who takes delight in the use of his function because of its usefulness loves his country and fellow citizens; but he who does not take delight in it because of its usefulness, but does it solely for the sake of self, or solely for the sake of honor and wealth, does not in his heart love his country and fellow citizens, but only himself and the world. This is because no one can be kept by the Lord in love to the neighbor unless he is in some love for the public good; and no one can be in that love unless he is in the love of use for the sake of use, or in the love of use from use, thus from the Lord.

Since, then, each thing, and all things in the world were created in the beginning for use, and in man also all things were formed for use, and the Lord from creation regarded the whole human race as one man, in which each individual is likewise for use or is a use, and since the Lord Himself, as has been said above, is the life of that man, it is clear that the universe was so created that the Lord is in things first and in things last, also in the center and in the circumference, that is, in the midst of all, and that the things in which He is are uses. And from all this the Lord’s omnipresence and omniscience can be comprehended.

(Apocalypse Explained 1226)
June 3, 2017
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In the first place, something shall be said about ends. There are three things that follow in order, called first end, middle end, and last end; they are also called end, cause,  and effect. These three must be together in every thing, that it may be anything. For a first end without a middle end, and at the same time a last end, is impossible; or, what is the same, an end alone, without a cause and an effect is impossible. Equally impossible is a cause alone without an end from which and an effect in which it is, or an effect alone, that is, an effect without its cause and end. That this is so may be comprehended if it be observed that an end without an effect, that is, separated from an effect, is a thing without existence, and therefore a mere term. For in order that an end may actually be an end it must be terminated, and it is terminated in its effect, wherein it is first called an end because it is an end. It appears as if the agent or the efficient exists by itself; but this so appears from its being in the effect; but if separated from the effect it would instantly vanish. From all this it is evident that these three, end, cause, and effect, must be in every thing to make it anything. [DLW167]

EndsIt must be known further, that the end is everything in the cause, and also everything in the effect; from this it is that end, cause, and effect, are called first end, middle end, and last end. But that the end may be everything in the cause, there must be something from the end [in the cause] wherein the end shall be; and that the end may be everything in the effect, there must be something from the end through the cause [in the effect] wherein the end shall be. For the end cannot be in itself alone, but it must be in something having existence from it, in which it can dwell as to all that is its own, and by acting, come into effect, until it has permanent existence. That in which it has permanent existence is the last end, which is called effect. [DLW168]

These three, namely, end, cause, and effect, are in the created universe, both in its greatest and least parts. They are in the greatest and least parts of the created universe, because they are in God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity. But since He is Infinite, and in the Infinite in finite things are one distinctly (as was shown above, n. 17-22), therefore also these three in Him, and in His infinites, are one distinctly. From this it is that the universe which was created from His Esse, and which, regarded as to uses, is His image, possesses these three in each and all of its parts. [DLW169]

The universal end, that is, the end of all things of creation, is that there may be an eternal conjunction of the Creator with the created universe; and this is not possible unless there are subjects wherein His Divine can be as in Itself, thus in which it can dwell and abide. In order that these subjects may be dwelling-places and mansions of Him, they must be recipients of His love and wisdom as of themselves; such, therefore, as will elevate themselves to the Creator as of themselves, and conjoin themselves with Him. Without this ability to reciprocate no conjunction is possible. These subjects are men, who are able as of themselves to elevate and conjoin themselves. That men are such subjects, and that they are recipients of the Divine as of themselves, has been pointed out above many times. By means of this conjunction, the Lord is present in every work created by Him; for everything has been created for man as its end; consequently the uses of all created things ascend by degrees from outmosts to man, and through man to God the Creator from whom [are all things] (as was shown above, n. 65-68). [DLW170]

To this last end creation progresses continually, through these three, namely, end, cause, and effect, because these three are in the Lord the Creator (as was said just above); and the Divine apart from space is in all space (n. 69-72); and is the same in things greatest and least (77 – 82); from which it is evident that the created universe, in its general progression to its last end, is relatively the middle end.  For out of the earth forms of uses are continually raised by the Lord the Creator, in their order up to man, who as to his body is also from the earth. Thereafter, man is elevated by the reception of love and wisdom from the Lord; and for this reception of love and wisdom, all means are provided; and he has been so made as to be able to receive, if he will.  From what has now been said it can be seen, though as yet only in a general manner, that the end of creation takes form [existat] in outmost things; which end is, that all things may return to the Creator, and that there may be conjunction. [DLW171]

That these three, end, cause, and effect, are in each and every thing created, can also be seen from this, that all effects, which are called last ends, become anew first ends in uninterrupted succession from the First, who is the Lord the Creator, even to the last end, which is the conjunction of man with Him. That all last ends become anew first ends is plain from this, that there can be nothing so inert and dead as to have no efficient power in it. Even out of sand there is such an exhalation as gives aid in producing, and therefore in effecting something. [DLW172]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

The Second Coming

By every indication, the New Testament seems to suggest that the Lord’s Second Coming was close at hand. Scripture even mentions this happening within the same generation of those who heard Jesus speak. Now, two millennia later, the Lord still has not delivered on His promise of returning. Or did He?

Scripture makes it quite clear that the great battle between the armies of the great red Dragon and Michael during the end times will take place in heaven (Rev. 12:7). The Lord also makes it clear that when He makes His return, people will be unable to point to any particular location when He states: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke, 17:21).

The Second Coming is not a physical event (nor does God kick ass).

So, if there is something truly new to be revealed by God’s Revelation it is that all the spectacular events of the Apocalypse occur within our innermost being and spirit. This is not the view of Christian orthodoxy, which remains in obscurity to a potentially new paradigm shift. The quality of a church is based on its understanding of the Lord’s Word. Therefore, the Lord’s “coming with clouds,” means to break through this obscurity with new and deeper teachings pertaining to His Word.

Scripture is a multidimensional document and contains a quantum vocabulary of discrete and more expanded meanings. The Holy Word contains deeper narratives concerning our spiritual predicament and the way to make our inner world a heavenly abode for the Lord.

The first coming of the Lord is physical. The second is psychical, through a real inner awakening of a higher cognitive function. First we see, next we understand.

The Second Coming can happen to each of us at different times. That is how the Lord can promise His return within a generation, that is, within a person’s lifetime and “make all things anew.” But one risks a personal upheaval (psycho-earthquakes) to his or her current worldview. Armageddon represents our personal resistance to this new dispensation from the Creator.

These ideas are based on the remarkable writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, an eighteenth century scientist, philosopher, mystic and theologian.

Did I cause interesting new synapses in your brain or just step on your toes?

Existence is Relationship

There is a unifying principle in the universe. Physicists seek it in a Grand Unified Theory (or Theory of Everything) and the clergy seek it in God. Therefore, the topic of unity in the universe seems to be a reasonable area where science and religion can begin to have a meaningful encounter with each other. I would even go so far as to say that to the extent to which science and religion cannot be unified one must hold their theories and theologies under suspect. This is the premise I take in my future book, entitled “Proving God.” So, for the purposes of this mini-discussion, I would like to provide a few examples of how existence is founded on relationship.

In the current scientific model of atomic structure everything is held together by an exchange of photons, gluons and quarks. In the human body and other forms of bio-complexity in nature, everything is held together by an exchange of labor. Human society is also held together through an exchange of labor and sharing our special talents as well.

Human cognition involves recognition of ratios and proportions, which are relationships (out of which springs mathematical reasoning). Neuroscience is moving closer to the idea that human affection focuses our attention and shapes our memory by forming new relationships between thoughts and ideas (which lead to creative imagination and abstract thinking).

Marriage between two people is a most intimate sharing of each other’s lives.

It seems that for anything new to come into existence, previous (a priori) things must coexist, that is, form relationships.

Love is relationship. Religion can be looked at as a lawful strategy for taking the unifying dynamic operating in the universe even further. Loving God and the neighbor represents the epitome of relationship forming. Scripture teaches us that all the law of the prophets hangs on these two expressions of love. (I cannot imagine a legitimate religion that is not founded on those two tenets.)

If there be a unifying principle in the universe, LOVE would make a good one! Here’s why. First of all, love is psychical and operates within the human mind. The mind cannot be said to operate in space. Therefore, love gives us a unifying principle of agency that can exist as a special initial condition of a pre-natal universe when time equaled zero (t = 0). Having its domain in pre-space, we are given a unifying principle whereby every created thing can be non-locally connected simultaneously—towards an eternal goal.

Love is the one force that absolutely necessitates the constants of law and a fine-tuned universe because it creates through self-similarity. This self-similarity (correspondence) finds its ultimate expression of unified relationship in the bio-complexities of living organisms and finally the human race through God’s covenant. Love also offers a new way to view top-down causation in a way that preserves self-consistency through discrete operations.

The manifest universe emerged out of a conscious living force. Physics (classical and quantum) has to be reformulated to reflect this principle or it will fail to find the answer to the nature of agency in the universe. Religion also needs a paradigm shift.

Any thoughts?

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Excerpts from the True Christian Religion
by Emanuel Swedenborg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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