John 1:18

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

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18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Commentary on this verse

William Blake's etching/watercolour "Ancient of Days".

The Lord, in His essence, is infinite. He is the source of all energy, the well-spring of reality itself. His love is of such power that we would be destroyed by its direct heat, which is infinitely greater than the heat of the finite sun. His wisdom, the direct outpouring of His love, is of such power that we would be blinded by its brightness, which is infinitely brighter than the light of the finite sun. His immensity – which is beyond immensity – is inaccessible to our finite imaginative powers. In His essence, He is unknowable to us.

Yet we know Him. How? The Writings say that His love and wisdom project as a human form, then pass through that form almost like a filter to come to us as divine truth. That truth is like a container that is conformed to our minds, enough that we can hang onto an idea of the Lord and receive His love. We can have ideas that are filled with the Lord, and feel like we know Him, though really what we know is just the amount we can handle.

That divine truth is, itself, "the only begotten son." It was the son as the soul within the physical man Jesus; it was the son as the inner meaning of the Old Testament; it was the son as expressed by the Lord in other ways before Moses, and it is still the son now as the inner meaning of the Old and New Testaments together. It knows the Father – the love that is the Lord’s essence – and does, in fact, declare the Father to us, if only we will listen.

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Study the Inner Meaning

Commentary on this text:


Explanation(s) or references from Swedenborg's works:

Arcana Coelestia 1990, 2025, 2135, 2136, 2628, 2798, 3038 ...

Apocalypse Revealed 222, 839

Brief Exposition of Doctrine 44

Conjugial Love 82, 336

The Lord 19, 32

Worlds in Space 122

Heaven and Hell 84

True Christianity 98, 107, 112, 135, 153, 339, 342 ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 283

Show references from Swedenborg's unpublished works