Man Who is Taught from the Word is Taught by the Lord Alone

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection fromĀ Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Lord is the Word, and that all doctrine of the church must be drawn from the Word. Since, then, the Lord is the Word, it follows that the man who is taught from the Word is taught by the Lord alone. But as this is not easily comprehended, it shall be illustrated in the following order:

(1) The Lord is the Word because the Word is from Him and treats of Him.

(2) Also because it is the Divine truth of the Divine good.

(3) Thus to be taught from the Word is to be taught from the Lord.

(4) That this is done mediately through preaching does not take away the immediateness.

First: The Lord is the Word because the Word is from Him and treats of Him. That the Word is from the Lord is denied by no one in the church. That the Word treats of the Lord alone is not denied, indeed, but neither is it known. This has been set forth in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Lord (n. 1-7, 37-44); also in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 62-69, 80-90, 98-100).

Since, then, the Word is both from the Lord alone and treats of the Lord alone, it follows that when man is taught from the Word he is taught from the Lord, since the Word is the Divine; and who except the essential Divine, from whom the Word is and of whom it treats, can communicate the Divine, and plant it in the heart? When, therefore, the Lord speaks of His conjunction with the disciples He says:-

That they should abide in Him, and His words in them (John xv. 7). That His words are spirit and life (John 6:63).

And that He makes His abode with those who keep His words (John xiv. 20-24).

To think from the Lord, therefore, is to think from the Word, seemingly through the Word. [That all things of the Word have communication with heaven has been shown in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture, from beginning to end.] And since the Lord is heaven, this means that all things of the Word have communication with the Lord Himself. It is true that the angels of heaven have communication; but this, too, is from the Lord.

Secondly: The Lord is the Word, because it is the Divine truth of the Divine good. That the Lord is the Word He teaches in John in these words:-

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14).

As heretofore this has been understood to mean only that God taught men through the Word, it has been explained as a hyperbolical expression, not meaning that the Lord is the Word itself; and for the reason that it was unknown that by “the Word” the Divine truth of the Divine good is meant, or, what is the same, the Divine wisdom of the Divine love. That these are the Lord Himself is shown in Part First of the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom; and that these are the Word is shown in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 1-86).

How the Lord is the Divine truth of the Divine good shall also be briefly told.

Every man is a man not from his face and body but from the good of his love and from the truths of his wisdom; and because it is from these that a man is a man, every man is also his own truth and his own good, or his own love and his own wisdom. Apart from these he is not a man.
But the Lord is good itself and truth itself, or, what is the same, He is love itself and wisdom itself; and these are the Word which was in the beginning with God and which was God, and which became flesh.

Thirdly: Thus to be taught from the Word is to be taught by the Lord Himself, because it is to be taught from good itself and truth itself, or from love itself and from wisdom itself, which are the Word, as has been said. But every one is taught according to the understanding that belongs to his own love; what is beyond this is not permanent.

All those who are taught by the Lord in the Word are taught a few truths in the world, but many when they become angels; for the interiors of the Word, which are Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, although implanted at the same time, are not opened in man until after his death, thus in heaven, where he is in angelic wisdom, which in comparison with human wisdom, that is, man’s former wisdom, is ineffable. That Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, which constitute angelic wisdom, are present in all things, and in each thing of the Word, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 5-26).

Fourthly: That this is done mediately through preaching does not take away the immediateness. The Word must needs be taught mediately through parents, teachers, books, and especially the reading of it. Nevertheless it is not taught by these, but by the Lord through them. And this the preachers know, and they say that they do not speak from themselves but from the spirit of God, and that all truth, like all good, is from God. They are able, indeed, to declare the Word, and bring it to the understanding of many, but not to the heart of any one; and what is not in the heart perishes in the understanding; “the heart” meaning man’s love. From all this it can be seen that man is led and taught by the Lord alone, and is led and taught immediately by Him when this is done from the Word. This is the arcanum of arcana of angelic wisdom.

(Divine Providence 172)
June 17, 2017
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Wisdom

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Wisdom once was a universally admired quality. In the present world this has changed especially in the ā€œdevelopedā€ Western world where there is an ambivalence about it. In the world of commerce and government where the emphasis is on materialism, knowledge, competitive performance, efficiency and results, wisdom tends to be dismissed. But at the same time amongst the public there is a demand for books of the collected wisdom from different cultures.

For Swedenborg wisdom cannot be found in a book. It is not a collection of ideas but, along with love, it is an essential of a truly human life. He explains that everyone is born with two receptacles to receive life from God, the will and the understanding. The will receives love and the understanding wisdom. They are completely interdependent. Love is dependent on the quality of its wisdom and vice versa. Their relationship is like that of the heat and light of a flame.

It is this association of heat with love and light with wisdom that is the origin of the use of heat and light in many sacred scriptures.

As part of the gift of life we are given free will and an ability to reason. So we have a choice about the kind of love we have and whether or not we become wise.

To be truly wise a person loves God and their neighbour and therefore they love what is good and true because it is good and true. A person who has no such love but only loves the self and world may be theologically knowledgeable and intellectually clever but will never be spiritually wise because he has no desire for genuine wisdom. Neither will a person who dismisses spiritual things and relies solely on worldly and natural ideas because spiritual wisdom is based on spiritual concepts and awareness. People such as these may be ā€œwiseā€ in the eyes of the world but they cannot be truly wise.

In ancient cultures wisdom was often associated with not only spirituality but also old age because people only reach their potential by making a spiritual journey. They move from a self-centred love to a God centred and unselfish love. This takes a lifetime so true wisdom became associated with age.

A wise person develops many qualities, such as, a love for what is good and true, humility, integrity, compassion, empathy, honesty, justice, and innocence. Throughout the history of every culture and religion these are the qualities that have been recognised in people who are wise. This does not mean that they become naĆÆve. As Jesus succinctly put it, ā€œBe as wise as serpents but as innocent as dovesā€

It is encouraging to read of a few people such as Charles Handy in his book ā€œThe Hungry Spiritā€ stating that such qualities are essential in the modern Western world and no business or political party can continue to function for long if they ignore or dismiss them.

Here are three quotes on wisdom:

It is obvious from actual experience that love generates warmth and wisdom generates light. When we feel love, we become warmer, and when we think from wisdom, it is like seeing things in the light. We can see from this that the first thing that emanates from love is warmth and that the first thing that emanates from wisdom is light. Emanuel Swedenborg in Divine Love and Wisdom 95

Ā Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it Ā Albert Einstein

Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.Ā  Kahlil Gilbran

http://www.spiritualwisdom.org.uk/meaning-of-life.htm

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Unique expressions of Godā€™s love

 

Unique expressionsHave you ever been so appreciative of a quality in another person that you had to tell them immediately because you felt you might burst otherwise? Or have you ever participated in an group exercise of naming characteristics you love in each other? I recently led an exercise in a church service where I called on someone in the room, and everyone else in the room spoke of the positive qualities they saw in that person. It was a powerful, even sacred experience. These are amazing experiences, because something holy happens in those moments of expressing love. Something changes as we focus our love for one another and speak it aloud.

One of the things that has been striking me profoundly in the last couple years is what the New Church tells us about love. A beautiful teaching is that love, by its very definition canā€™t keep itself to itself, it has to be shared.

ā€œThe essence of love is loving others than oneself, wishing to be one with them and devoting oneself to their happiness…. The third essential of Godā€™s love, to devote Himself to the happiness of others, is to be recognized in everlasting life, which is blessedness, bliss and happiness without end, which He gives to those who receive His love into themselves. For God, just as He is Love itself, is also blessedness itself. For every love breathes out an aura of joy from itself, and the Divine Love breathes out the very height of blessedness, bliss and happiness foreverā€ (Emanuel Swedenborg, True Christianity 43).

Love cannot exist unless there is something that it loves; it needs a receptacle.

ā€œThe hallmark of love is not loving ourselves but loving others and being united to them through love. The hallmark of love is also being loved by others because this is how we are united. Truly, the essence of all love is to be found in union, in the life of love that we call joy, delight, pleasure, sweetness, blessedness, contentment, and happiness. The essence of love is that what is ours should belong to someone else. Feeling the joy of someone else as joy within ourselvesā€”that is lovingā€ (Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom 47).

God is love, and His love is the reason we were created. So you were breathed into existence out of Godā€™s love, for the purpose of Godā€™s love. That is the reason you exist, so that God can love you. What an amazing thought! And if any of us were not here, there would be some unique expression of Godā€™s love which we are each an instrument of in someone elseā€™s life that would be missing from their life and from the world. That is an incredible thing to think about. Each of our lives is meant to be an instrument of that love which would be missing in other peopleā€™s lives without us.

It is up to us to share that love, share that expression of the Lord that we were created for, with others. We need to carry that same conviction into our interactions with all the people in our lives so that when we use the words ā€œGod is Love,ā€ and when we talk about how the Lord loves all His children, everyone we come in contact with will come to really believe it. We need to make sure people feel and trust that our love for them is coming from a heartfelt conviction and that we care more about them than we do about whatā€™s comfortable for us. Not just for our friends, but everyone around us, on both an individual and a global scale.

The Lord has called each of us by name and is lifting us up to new lives. This is where all hope comes from.


Ā Reflection

Take this challenge:

  • Think of someone you love, feel neutral about, or are in conflict with.
  • Speak/write the positive qualities you see in them.
  • Hold them in a loving place in your heart.
  • Observe any shifts that occur within you as you do this.

 

Ethan McCardell is the pastor at the Light for Life New Church in Seattle, WA. Visit www.lightforlifenewchurch.org for more information.

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DAILY INSPIRATION

“In its essence, marriage love is nothing else than the willing of two to be one, that is, their desire that the two lives shall become one life.”

Married Love 215

 

Fulfilment

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“I must do something worthwhile with my life, achieve my potential.” I think that’s a common feeling, but so is “I want to feel needed, liked and appreciated.” And these two feelings don’t always fit together easily. We may feel pressured to fulfil other people’s expectations of us, although part of us would rather “do it our way”. Some of us also wonder “But what does God expect from me?” How can we best find fulfilment?

Emanuel Swedenborg assures us that we will all find it in some way eventually. Whatever character we choose to adopt is capable of endless development, of filling out with more and more depth and detail, bringing us an increasing sense of completeness.tower of babel

Our chosen character is sure to be unique. It will be “our way”. Still, the more it involves of really caring for others’ happiness, the greater will be the potential for beauty, the finer our sense of fulfilment.

The Bible pictures some negative kinds of fulfilment. One is people trying to build the ‘Tower of Babel’ up to the sky “to make a name for themselves” but bringing on themselves total confusion. (Genesis 11:1-9)

Another is a rich man storing up wealth for himself, but dying before he can enjoy it. (Luke 12:13-21)

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A fulfilled character cannot be all love, nor all thought, nor action alone. True love will draw wisdom to itself, like a marriage partner, and their offspring will be good actions. The three make completeness.

Many people feel wonderful fulfilment in producing children, while others are distressed that they cannot. In spirit we all are equally children of God, but can feel our achievements of sharing light and love as our children.

So it is reaching our potentials for creativity, for being useful, and for actively caring for others that cause us to feel ā€˜filled fullā€™ and complete deep down inside.

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Freedom

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FREEDOM

There is infernal freedom, and there is heavenly freedom. Thinking and willing evil and also speaking and doing it so far as civil and moral laws do not prevent, is from infernal freedom. But thinking and willing good and speaking and doing it so far as opportunity offers, is from heavenly freedom. A man perceives as his own what he thinks, wills, speaks and does in freedom. The freedom anyone has always comes from his love. The man in an evil love cannot but deem infernal freedom to be real freedom, and a man in love of the good perceives that heavenly freedom is real freedom; consequently each regards the opposite of his freedom as bondage. No one can deny that one or the other must be freedom, for two kinds of freedom opposed to each other cannot both be freedom. Furthermore it cannot be denied that to be led by good is freedom and to be led by evil is bondage. For to be led by good is to be led by the Lord, but to be led by evil is to be led by the devil.

[2] Inasmuch as all he does in freedom appears to a man to be his own, coming as it does from what he loves, and to act from oneā€™s love, as was said, is to act freely, it follows that conjunction with the Lord causes a man to seem free and also his own, and the more closely he is conjoined to the Lord, to seem so much freer and so much more his own. He seems the more distinctly his own because it is the nature of the divine love to want its own to be anotherā€™s, that is, to be the angelā€™s or the manā€™s. All spiritual love is such, preeminently the Lordā€™s. The Lord, moreover, never coerces anyone. For nothing to which one is coerced seems oneā€™s own, and what seems not oneā€™s own cannot be done from oneā€™s love or be appropriated to one as oneā€™s own. Man is always led in freedom by the Lord, therefore, and reformed and regenerated in freedom. On this much more will be said in what follows; also see some things above, n. 4. [DP43]

The reason why the more distinctly a man seems to be his own the more plainly he sees that he is the Lordā€™s, is that the more closely he is conjoined to the Lord the wiser he becomes (as was shown, nn. 34-36), and wisdom teaches and recognizes this. The angels of the third heaven, as the wisest angels, perceive this and call it freedom itself; but to be led by themselves they call bondage. They give as the reason for this that the Lord does not flow immediately into the perceptions and thoughts of wisdom, but into the affections of the love of good and by these into the former, and this influx they perceive in the affection by which they have wisdom. Hence, they say, all that they think from wisdom seems to be from themselves, thus seemingly their own, and this gives reciprocal conjunction. [ DP44]

As the Lordā€™s divine providence has for its object a heaven from mankind, it has for its object the conjunction of the human race with Him (see nn. 28-31). It also has for its object that man should be more and more closely conjoined to Him (nn. 32, 33); for thus man possesses a more interior heaven. Further, it has for its object that by the conjunction man should become wiser (nn. 34-36) and happier (nn. 37-41), for he has heaven by and according to wisdom, and happiness by wisdom, too. Finally, providence has for its object that man shall seem more distinctly his own, yet recognize the more clearly that he is the Lordā€™s (nn. 42-44). All these are of the Lordā€™s divine providence, for all are heaven and heaven is its object. [ DP45]

How far distant heavenly freedom (which is from the affection of good and truth) is from infernal freedom (which is from the affection of evil and falsity), is evident from the fact that when the angels in heaven merely think about such freedom as is from the affection of evil and falsity, or what is the same, from the cupidities of the love of self and the world, they are immediately seized with internal pain; and on the other hand, when evil spirits merely think about the freedom which is from the affection of good and truth, or what is the same, from the desires of mutual love, they at once come into anguish; and what is wonderful, so opposite is the one freedom to the other, that the freedom of the love of self and the world is hell to good spirits; and on the other hand, the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love is hell to evil spirits. Hence all in the other life are distinct according to their kinds of freedom, or what is the same, according to their loves and affections, consequently according to the delights of their life, which is the same as according to their lives; for lives are nothing else than delights, and these are nothing else than affections which are of the loves. [AC 2873]

0179a

0179a Because Jehovah hath hearkened to thine affliction. That this signifies while it was submitting itself, is evident from what was said above (n. 1937), in that to “humble and afflict oneself” denotes to submit to the sovereign control of the internal man, which submission was there treated of, and it is shown that this is to compel oneself; also that in compelling oneself there is freedom, that is, what is spontaneous and voluntary, by which compelling oneself is distinguished from being compelled. It was also shown that without this freedom, that is, spontaneity or willingness, man cannot possibly be reformed and receive any heavenly Own; and further that there is more of freedom in temptations than out of them, although the contrary appears to be the case, for the freedom is then stronger in proportion to the assaults of evils and falsities, and is strengthened by the Lord in order that a heavenly Own may be conferred upon the man; and for this reason the Lord is more present with us while we are in temptations. It was shown further that the Lord never compels anyone; for he who is compelled to think what is true and do what is good is not reformed, but thinks falsity and wills evil all the more. All compulsion has this effect, as we may see from the records and examples of life, for from them we know these two things: that consciences do not suffer themselves to be compelled, and that we strive after what is forbidden. Moreover everyone desires to pass from non-freedom into freedom, for this belongs to man’s life.

[2] Hence it is evident that anything which is not from freedom, that is, which is not from what is spontaneous or voluntary, is not acceptable to the Lord; for when anyone worships the Lord from what is not free, he worships from nothing that is his own, and in this case it is the external which moves, that is, which is moved, from being compelled, while the internal is null, or resistant, or is even contradictory to it. While man is being regenerated, he, from the freedom with which he is gifted by the Lord, exercises self-compulsion, and humbles and even afflicts his rational, in order that it may submit itself, and thereby he receives a heavenly Own, which is afterwards gradually perfected by the Lord, and is made more and more free, so that it becomes the affection of good and thence of truth, and has delight, and in both the freedom and the delight there is happiness like that of angels. This freedom is what the Lord speaks of in John:

The truth shall make* you free; if the Son makes you free, you shall be* free indeed (John 8:32, 36).

[3] The nature of this freedom is utterly unknown to those who do not possess conscience, for they make freedom consist in doing as they please and in the license of thinking and speaking what is false, of willing and doing what is evil, and of not compelling and humbling, still less of afflicting such desires; when yet the very reverse is the case, as the Lord also teaches in the same gospel:

Everyone that committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34).

This slavish freedom they receive from the infernal spirits who are with them and who infuse it, and when they are in the life of these spirits they are also in their loves and cupidities, and an impure and excrementitious delight breathes upon them, and when they are being as it were carried away by the torrent, they suppose themselves to be in freedom, but it is infernal freedom. The difference between this infernal freedom and heavenly freedom is that the one is that of death, and drags them down to hell, while the other, or heavenly freedom, is of life and uplifts them to heaven.

[4] That all true internal worship comes from freedom, and none from compulsion, and that if worship is not from freedom it is not internal worship, is evident from the Word, as from the sacrifices that were freewill offerings or vows, or offerings of peace or of thanksgiving; which were called “gifts” and “offerings” (concerning which see Num. 15:3, etc.; Deut. 12:6; 16:10-11; 23:23-24). So in David:

With a free-will offering will I sacrifice unto Thee; I will confess to Thy name, O Jehovah, for it is good (Ps. 54:6).

So again from the contribution or collection which they were to make for the Tabernacle, and for the garments of holiness, spoken of in Moses:
Speak unto the sons of Israel, and let them take for Me an offering; from every man whom his heart impels willingly ye shall take My offering (Exod. 25:2).

And again:

Whosoever is of a willing heart let him bring it, Jehovah’s offering (Exod. 35:5).

[5] Moreover the humiliation of the rational man, or its affliction (from freedom, as before said), was also represented by the affliction of souls on days of solemnity, as mentioned in Moses:

It shall be a statute of eternity unto you; in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, ye shall afflict your souls (Lev. 16:29).

And again:

On the tenth of the seventh month, this is the day of expiations; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; every soul that shall not have afflicted itself in that same day, shall be cut off from his peoples (Lev. 23:27, 29).

It was for this reason that the unleavened bread, in which there was nothing fermented, is called the “bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:2-3).

[6] “Affliction” is thus spoken of in David:

Jehovah, who shall sojourn in Thy tent? who shall dwell in the mountain of Thy holiness? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness; he that sweareth to afflict himself, and changeth not (Ps. 15:1-2, 4).

That “affliction” denotes the mastering and subjugation of the evils and falsities that rise up from the external man into the rational, may be seen from what has been said. Thus “affliction” does not mean that we should plunge ourselves into poverty and wretchedness, or that we should renounce all bodily delights, for in this way evil is not mastered and subjugated; and moreover some other evil may be aroused, namely, a sense of merit on account of the renunciation; and besides, man’s freedom suffers, in which alone, as in ground, the good and truth of faith can be inseminated. (Concerning “affliction” as denoting also temptation, see above, n. 1846.) [AC 1947]

The reason why the evil succeed in accordance with their skill, is that it is according to order that everyone should do what he does from reason and also from freedom; and therefore unless it were left to a man to act in freedom according to his reason, and thus also unless the consequent arts succeeded, the man could not possibly be disposed to receive eternal life, because this is instilled when the man is in freedom, and his reason is enlightened. For no one can be compelled to good, because nothing compulsory cleaves to the man, for it is not his. That becomes the man’s own which is done from freedom, for that which is from the will is done from freedom, and the will is the man himself; and therefore unless a man is kept in the freedom to do evil also, good from the Lord cannot be provided for him. [AC 10777]

Author: EMANUEL. SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/white-horse.htm

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Two Essentials of All Things of Man’s Life

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Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Divine Essence Itself Is Love And Wisdom
Sum up all things you know and submit them to careful inspection, and in some elevation of spirit search for the universal of all things, and you cannot conclude otherwise than that it is Love and Wisdom. For these are the two essentials of all things of man’s life; everything of that life, civil, moral, and spiritual, hinges upon these two, and apart from these two is nothing. It is the same with all things of the life of the composite Man, which is … a society, larger or smaller, a kingdom, an empire, a church, and also the angelic heaven. Take away love and wisdom from these, and consider whether they be anything, and you will find that apart from love and wisdom as their origin they are nothing.
Love together with wisdom in its very essence is in God. This no one can deny; for God loves every one from love in Himself, and leads every one from wisdom in Himself. The created universe, too, viewed in relation to its order, is so full of wisdom coming forth from love that all things in the aggregate may be said to be wisdom itself. For things limitless are in such order, successively and simultaneously, that taken together they make a one. It is from this, and this alone, that they can be held together and continually preserved.

It is because the Divine Essence itself is Love and Wisdom that man has two capacities for life – from one of these he has understanding, from the other will. The capacity from which he has understanding derives everything it has from the influx of wisdom from God, and the capacity from which he has will derives everything it has from the influx of love from God. Man’s not being truly wise and not loving rightly does not take away these capacities, but merely closes them up; and so long as they are closed up, although the understanding is still called understanding and the will is called will, they are not such in essence. If these two capacities, therefore, were to be taken away, all that is human would perish; for the human is to think and to speak from thought, and to will and to act from will.

From this it is clear that the Divine has its seat in man in these two capacities, the capacity to be wise and the capacity to love (that is, that one may be wise and may love). That in man there is a possibility of loving [and of being wise], even when he is not wise as he might be and does not love as he might….

(Divine Love and Wisdom 28-30)
May 13, 2017

Ends

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app 78THE END OF CREATION HAS FORM [existat] IN OUTMOSTS, WHICH END IS THAT ALL THINGS MAY RETURN TO THE CREATOR AND THAT THERE MAY BE CONJUNCTION.

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,Ā  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.Ā  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.Ā  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)

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

http://www.theisticscience.org/

Using Swedenborg to Understand the Quantum World III: Thoughts and Forms

Swedenborg Foundation

By Ian Thompson, PhD, Nuclear Physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

 

In this series of posts, Swedenborgā€™s theory of correspondences has been shown to have interesting applications for helping us to better understand the quantum world.

InĀ part I, we learned that our mental processes occur at variable finite intervals and that they consist of desire, or love, acting by means of thoughts and intentions to produce physical effects. We in turn came to see theĀ correspondentialĀ relationship between these mental events and such physical events that occur on a quantum level: in both cases, there will be time gaps between the events leading up to the physical outcome. So since we find that physical events occur in finite steps rather than continuously, we are led to expect a quantum world rather than a world described by classical physics.

InĀ part II, we saw that the main similarity between desire (mental) and energy (physical) is that they both persist between events, which means that they are substances and therefore have the capability, or disposition, for action or interaction within the time gaps between those events.

Now we come to the question ofĀ howĀ it is that these substances persist during the intervals between events. The events are the actual selection of what happens, soĀ afterĀ the causing event andĀ beforeĀ the resultant effect, what occurs is the exploring of ā€œpossibilities for whatĀ mightĀ happen.ā€ With regard to our mental processes, this exploration of possibilities is what we recognize asĀ thinking. Swedenborg explains in detail how this very process of thinking is the way love gets ready to do things (rather than love being a byproduct of the thinking process, as Descartes would require):

Everyone sees that discernment is the vessel of wisdom, but not many see that volition is the vessel of love. This is because our volition does nothing by itself, but acts through our discernment. It first branches off into a desire and vanishes in doing so, and a desire is noticeable only through a kind of unconscious pleasure in thinking, talking, and acting. We can still see that love is the source because we all intend what we love and do not intend what we do not love. (Divine Love and Wisdom Ā§364)

When we realize we want something, the next step is to work outĀ howĀ to do it. We first think of the specific objective and then of all the intermediate steps to be taken in order to achieve it. We may also think about alternative steps and the pros and cons of following those different routes. In short, thinking is the exploration of ā€œpossibilities for action.ā€ As all of this thinking speaks very clearly to the specific objective at hand, it can be seen as supporting our motivating love, which is one of the primary functions of thought. A focused thinking process such as this can be seen, simplified, in many kinds of animal activities.

With humans, however, thinking goes beyond that tight role of supporting love and develops a scope of its own. Not only do our thoughts explore possibilities for action, but they also explore the more abstract ā€œpossibilities for those possibilities.ā€ Not only do we think about how to get a drink, but we also, for example, think about the size of the container, how much liquid it contains, and how far it is from where we are at that moment! When we get into such details as volume and distance, we discover that mathematics is the exploration of ā€œpossibilities of all kinds,ā€ whether they are possibilities for action or not. So taken as a whole, thought is the exploration of all the many possibilities in the world, whether or not they are for action and even whether or not they are for actual things.

For physical things (material objects), this exploration of possibilities is spreading over the possible places and times for interactions or selections. Here, quantum physics has done a whole lot of work already. Physicists have discovered that the possibilities for physical interactions are best described by the wave function of quantum mechanics. The wave function describes all the events that are possible, as well as all the propensities and probabilities for those events to happen. According to German physicist Max Born, the probability of an event in a particular region can be determined by an integral property of the wave function over that region. Energy is the substance that persists between physical events, and all physical processes are driven by energy. In quantum mechanics, this energy is what is responsible for making the wave function change through time, as formulated by the Schrƶdinger equation, which is the fundamental equation of quantum physics.[1]

Returning now to Swedenborgā€™s theory of correspondences, we recognize that the something physicalĀ likeĀ thoughts in the mind are the shapes of wave functions in quantum physics. In Swedenborgā€™s own words:

When I have been thinking, the material ideas in my thought have presented themselves so to speak in the middle of a wave-like motion. I have noticed that the wave was made up of nothing other than such ideas as had become attached to the particular matter in my memory that I was thinking about, and that a personā€™s entire thought is seen by spirits in this way. But nothing else enters that personā€™s awareness then apart from what is in the middle which has presented itself as a material idea. I have likened that wave round about to spiritual wings which serve to raise the particular matter the person is thinking about up out of his memory. And in this way the person becomes aware of that matter. The surrounding material in which the wave-like motion takes place contained countless things that harmonized with the matter I was thinking about. (Arcana CoelestiaĀ Ā§6200)[2]

Many people who have tried to understand the significance of quantum physics have noted that the wave function could be described as behaving like a non-spatial realm of consciousness. Some of these people have even wanted to say that the quantum wave functionĀ isĀ a realm of consciousness, that physics has revealed the role of consciousness in the world, or that physics has discovered quantum consciousness.[3]Ā However, using Swedenborgā€™s ideas to guide us, we can see that the wave function in physicsĀ correspondsĀ to the thoughts in our consciousness. They have similar roles in the making of events: both thoughts and wave functions explore the ā€œpossibilities, propensities, and probabilities for action.ā€ They are not the same, but they instead follow similar patterns and have similar functions within their respective realms. Thoughts are the way that desire explores the possibilities for the making of intentions and their related physical outcomes, and wave functions are the way that energy explores the possibilities for the making of physical events on a quantum level.

The philosophers of physics have been puzzled for a long time about the substance of physical things,[4]Ā especially that of things in the quantum realm. From our discussion here, we see that energy (or propensity) is also the substance of physical things in the quantum realm and that the wave function, then, is the form that such a quantum substance takes. The wave function describes the shape of energy (or propensity) in space and time. We can recognize, as Aristotle first did, that a substantial change has occurred when a substance comes into existence by virtue of the matter of that substance acquiring some form.[5]Ā That still applies to quantum mechanics, we now find, even though many philosophers have been desperately constructing more extreme ideas to try to understand quantum objects, such as relationalism[6]Ā or the many-worlds interpretation.[7]

So what, then, is this matter of energy (desire, or love)? Is it from the Divine? Swedenborg would say as much:

It is because the very essence of the Divine is love and wisdom that we have two abilities of life. From the one we get our discernment, and from the other volition. Our discernment is supplied entirely by an inflow of wisdom from God, while our volition is supplied entirely by an inflow of love from God. Our failures to be appropriately wise and appropriately loving do not take these abilities away from us. They only close them off; and as long as they do, while we may call our discernment ā€œdiscernmentā€ and our volition ā€œvolition,ā€ essentially they are not. So if these abilities really were taken away from us, everything human about us would be destroyedā€”our thinking and the speech that results from thought, and our purposing and the actions that result from purpose. We can see from this that the divine nature within us dwells in these two abilities, in our ability to be wise and our ability to love. (Divine Love and WisdomĀ Ā§30)

When seeing things as made from substanceā€”from the energy (or desire) that endures between events and thereby creates further eventsā€”we note that people will tend to speculate about ā€œpure loveā€ or ā€œpure energyā€: a love or energy without form that has no particular objective but can be used for anything. But this cannot be. In physics, there never exists any such pure energy butĀ onlyĀ energy in specific forms, such as the quantum particles described by a wave function. Any existing physical energy must be the propensity for specificĀ kindsĀ of interactions, since it must exist in some form. Similarly, there never exists a thing called ā€œpure love.ā€ The expression ā€œpure loveā€ makes sense only with respect to the idea of innocent, or undefiled, love, not to love without an object. Remember that ā€œour volition [which is the vessel of love] does nothing by itself, but acts through our discernment.ā€

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

[1]Ā Wikipedia,Ā https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrƶdinger_equation.

[2]Ā Secrets of HeavenĀ is the New Century Edition translation of Swedenborgā€™sĀ Arcana Coelestia.
[3]Ā See, for example,Ā http://quantum-mind.co.uk.
[4]Ā Howard Robinson, ā€œSubstance,ā€ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,Ā http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/substance.
[5]Ā Thomas Ainsworth, ā€œForm vs. Matter,ā€ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,Ā http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/form-matter/.
[6]Ā Michael Epperson, ā€œQuantum Mechanics and Relational Realism: Logical Causality and Wave Function Collapse,ā€Ā Process StudiesĀ 38.2 (2009): 339ā€“366.
[7]Ā J. A. Barrett, ā€œQuantum Worlds,ā€Ā PrincipiaĀ 20.1 (2016): 45ā€“60.

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Read more posts from the Scholars on Swedenborg series >

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Conjunction

HR90Ā  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 Lordā€™s, indeed are theĀ  Lord in them. And as love and wisdom are the Lordā€™s, and are the Lord in heaven, and make the life of angels, it is plain that their life is the Lordā€™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 manā€™s heaven is not anotherā€™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 lifeā€™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 oneā€™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 oneā€™s lifeā€™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.Ā  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 oneā€™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.Ā  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 lifeā€™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 loveā€™s impulse from thoughts to love in all the mindā€™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 ā€œAngels constantly turn the face to the Lord as a sunā€ (nn. 129-134); ā€œAll the interiors of both the mind and the bodies of the angels are likewise turned to the Lord as a sunā€ (nn. 135-139); ā€œEvery spirit, whatever his character, turns himself likewise to his ruling loveā€ (nn. 140-145); ā€œLove conjoins itself to wisdom and causes wisdom to be conjoined reciprocally with itā€ (nn.Ā  410-412); ā€œAngels are in the Lord and He in them; and as the angels are only recipients, the Lord alone is heavenā€ (nn. 113-118). [DP29]

0093aĀ 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 manā€™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 oneā€™s lifeā€™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 Lordā€™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 Lordā€™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 Lordā€™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 Lordā€™s conjunction with a man in whom evils have been put away is meant by the Lordā€™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).

ā€œTo have the commandmentsā€ is to know and ā€œto do themā€ is to love, for it is also said: ā€œhe who does my commandments, he it is that loves Me.ā€ [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.Ā  Loveā€™s ascent by degrees, however, is only obscurely perceived by man; but wisdomā€™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 manā€™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.Ā  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

Copyright Ā© 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

DEGREES

HR90Ā THE SCIENCE OF CORRESPONDENCE

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DEGREES

DEGREES ARE OF A TWOFOLD KIND,

DEGREES OF HEIGHT AND DEGREES OF BREADTH.

stairs1pA knowledge of degrees is like a key to lay open the causes of things, and to give entrance into them. Without this knowledge, scarcely anything of cause can be known; forĀ Ā  without it, the objects and subjects of both worlds seem to have but a single meaning, as if there were nothing in them beyond that which meets the eye; when yet compared to the things which lie hidden within, what is thus seen is as one to thousands, yea, to tens of thousands. The interiors which are not open to view can in no way be discovered except through a knowledge of degrees. For things exterior advance to things interior and through these to things inmost, by means of degrees; not by continuous degrees but by discrete degrees. ā€œContinuous degreesā€ is a term applied to the gradual lessenings or decreasings from grosser to finer, or from denser to rarer; or rather, to growths and increasings from finer to grosser, or from rarer to denser; precisely like the gradations of light to shade, or of heat to cold. But discrete degrees are entirely different: they are like things prior, subsequent and final; or like end, cause, and effect. These degrees are called discrete, because the prior is by itself; the subsequent by itself; and the final by itself; and yet taken together they make one. There are atmospheres, from highest to lowest, that is, from the sun to the earth, called ethers and airs that are separated into such degrees; they are like simples, collections of simples, and again collections of these, which taken together are called a composite. Such degrees are discrete [or separate], because each has a distinct existence, and these degrees are what are meant by ā€œdegrees of height;ā€ but the former degrees are continuous, because they increase continuously and these degrees are what are meant by ā€œdegrees of breadth.ā€ [DLW184]

Each and all things that have existence in the spiritual world and in the natural world, have conjoint existence from discrete degrees and from continuous degrees together, that is, from degrees of height and from degrees of breadth. The dimension which consists of discrete degrees is called height, and the dimension that consists of continuous degrees is called breadth; their position relatively to the sight of the eye does not alter the designation. Without a knowledge of these degrees nothing can be known of how the three heavens differ from each other; nor can anything be known of the differences of love and wisdom of the angels there; nor of the differences of heat and light in which they are; nor of the differences of atmospheres which environ and contain these. Nor without a knowledge of these degrees can anything be known of the differences among the interior powers of the minds of men, thus nothing of their state as regards reformation and regeneration; nor anything of the differences among the exterior powers of the bodies both of angels and men; and nothing whatever can be known of the distinction between spiritual and natural, thus nothing of correspondence. Nor, indeed, can anything be known of any difference between the life of men and that of beasts, or between the more perfect and the less perfect animals; neither of the differences among the forms of the vegetable kingdom, nor among the matters of the mineral kingdom. From which it can be seen that they who are ignorant of these degrees are unable to see causes from anything of judgment; they see only effects, and from these judge of causes, which is done for the most part by an induction that is continuous with effects. But causes produce effects not continuously but discretely; for cause is one thing, and effect is another. The difference between the two is like the difference between prior and subsequent, or between that which forms and that which is formed. [DLW185]

That it may be still better comprehended what discrete degrees are, what their nature is, and how they differ from continuous degrees, the angelic heavens may serve as an example. There are three heavens, and these are separated by degrees of height; therefore the heavens are one below another, nor do they communicate with each other except by influx, which proceeds from the Lord through the heavens in their order to the lowest; and not contrariwise. Each heaven by itself, however, is divided not by degrees of height but by degrees of breadth. Those who are in the middle, that is, at the center, are in the light of wisdom; but those who are around about, even to the boundaries, are in the shade of wisdom.Ā  Thus wisdom grows less and less even to ignorance, as light decreases to shade, which takes place continuously. It is the same with men. The interiors belonging to their minds are separated into as many degrees as the angelic heavens; and these degrees are one above another; therefore the interiors of men which belong to their minds are separated by discrete degrees, that is, degrees of height. Consequently a man may be in the lowest degree, then in a higher, and also in the highest degree, according to the degree of his wisdom; moreover, when he is in the lowest degree only, the higher degree is shut, – but is opened as he receives wisdom from the Lord. There are also in a man, as in heaven, continuous degrees, that is degrees of breadth. A man is like the heavens because as regards the interiors of his mind, he is a heaven in least form, in the measure in which he is in love and wisdom from the Lord. That man as regards the interiors of his mind is a heaven in least form may be seen in the work Heaven and Hell (n. 51-58.)Ā Ā  [DLW186]

From all this it can be seen, that one who knows nothing about discrete degrees, that is, degrees of height, can know nothing about the state of man as regards his reformation and regeneration, which are effected through the reception of love and wisdom of the Lord, and then through the opening of the interior degrees of his mind in their order. Nor can he know anything about influx from the Lord through the heavens nor anything about the order into which he was created. For if anyone thinks about these, not from discrete degrees or degrees of height but from continuous degrees or degrees of breadth, he is not able to perceive anything about them from causes, but only from effects; and to see from effects only is to see from fallacies, from which come errors, one after another; and these may be so multiplied by inductions that at length enormous falsities are called truths. [DLW187]

I am not aware that anything has been known hitherto about discrete degrees or degrees of height, only continuous degrees or degrees of breadth have been known; yet nothing of the real truth about cause can become known without a knowledge of degrees of both kinds. These degrees therefore shall be treated of throughout this Part; for it is the object of this little work to uncover causes, that effects may-be seen from them, and thus the darkness may be dispelled in which the man of the church is in respect to God and the Lord, and in respect to Divine things in general which are called spiritual things. This I may mention, that the angels are in grief for the darkness on the earth; saying that they see light hardly anywhere, and that men eagerly lay hold of fallacies and confirm them, thereby multiplying falsities upon falsities; and to confirm fallacies men search out, by means of reasonings from falsities and from truths falsified, such things as cannot be controverted, owing to the darkness in respect to causes and the ignorance respecting truths.Ā  The angels lament especially over confirmations respecting faith separate from charity and justification thereby; also over menā€™s ideas about God, angels and spirits, and their ignorance of what love and wisdom are. [DLW 188]

By creation the human being is such that he can be conjoined more and more closely to the Lord._ This becomes evident from what was shown about degrees in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, Part III, especially in the propositions: ā€œBy creation there are three discrete degrees or degrees of height in the human beingā€ (nn. 230-235); ā€œThese three degrees are in man from birth, and as they are opened, the man is in the Lord, and the Lord in himā€ (nn. 236-241); ā€œAll perfection increases and mounts with and according to the degreesā€ (nn. 199-204).Ā  Evidently, then, man is such by creation that he can be conjoined with the Lord more and more closely according to these degrees.

[2] But one must know well what degrees are and that there are two kinds –discrete degrees or degrees of height, and continuous degrees or degrees of breadth; also how they differ. It must be known, too, that every human being has by creation and hence from birth three discrete degrees or degrees of height, and that he comes at birth into the first degree, called natural, and can grow in this degree continuously until he becomes rational. He comes into the second degree, called spiritual, if he lives according to spiritual laws of order, which are divine truths. He can also come into the third degree, called celestial, if he lives according to the celestial laws of order, which are divine goods.

[3] These degrees are opened in a person by the Lord according to his life and actually opened in the world, but not perceptibly and sensibly until after his departure from the world. As they are opened and later perfected a man is conjoined to the Lord more and more closely. This conjunction can grow to eternity in nearness to God and does so with the angels. And yet no angel can attain or touch the first degree of the Lordā€™s love and wisdom, for the Lord is infinite and an angel is finite, and between infinite and finite no ratio obtains. Manā€™s state and the state of his elevation and nearness to the Lord cannot be understood without a knowledge of these degrees; they have been specifically treated of, therefore, in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, nn. 173-281, which see. [DP32]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

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

http://blog.beginningtheisticscience.com/

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