Interaction of the Soul and Body # 9

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9. VII. The sun of the natural world is pure fire; and the world of nature first existed and continually subsists by means of this sun

That nature and its world by which we mean the atmospheres and the earths which are called planets, among which is the terraqueous globe on which we dwell, together with all the productions, in general and in particular, which annually adorn its surface subsist solely from the sun, which constitutes their centre, and which, by the rays of its light and the modifications of its heat, is everywhere present, everyone knows for certain, from his own experience, from the testimony of the senses, and from the writings which treat of the way in which the world has been peopled. As, therefore, perpetual subsistence is from this source, reason may also conclude with certainty that existence is likewise from the same; for perpetually to subsist is perpetually to exist as a thing first existed. Hence it follows that the natural world was created by Jehovah God by means of this sun as a secondary cause.

[2] That there are spiritual things and natural things, entirely distinct from each other, and that the origin and support of spiritual things are from a sun which is pure love, in the midst of which is Jehovah God, the Creator and Upholder of the universe, has been demonstrated before; but that the origin and support of natural things are a sun which is pure fire, and that the latter is derived from the former, and both from God, follows of itself, as what is posterior follows from what is prior, and what is prior from The First.

[3] That the sun of nature and its worlds is pure fire, all its effects demonstrate: as the concentration of its rays into a focus by the art of optics, from which proceeds violently burning fire and also flame; the nature of its heat, which is similar to heat from elementary fire; the graduation of that heat according to its angle of incidence, whence proceed the varieties of climate, and also the four seasons of the year; besides many other facts, from which the rational faculty, by means of the senses of the body, may confirm the truth that the sun of the natural world is mere fire, and also that it is fire in its utmost purity.

[4] Those who know nothing concerning the origin of spiritual things from their own sun, but are only acquainted with the origin of natural things from theirs, can scarcely avoid confounding spiritual and natural things together, and concluding, through the fallacies of the senses and of the rational faculty derived from them, that spiritual things are nothing but pure natural things, and that from the activity of these latter, excited by heat and light, arise wisdom and love. These persons, since they see nothing else with their eyes, and smell nothing else with their nostrils, and breathe nothing else through their lungs but nature, ascribe to it all things rational also; and thus they imbibe what is natural as a sponge sucks up water. Such persons may be compared to charioteers who yoke the team of horses behind the carriage, and not before it.

[5] The case is otherwise with those who distinguish between things spiritual and natural, and deduce the latter from the former. These also perceive the influx of the soul into the body; they perceive that it is spiritual, and that natural things, which are those of the body, serve the soul for vehicles and mediums, by which to produce its effects in the natural world. If you conclude otherwise you may be likened to a crayfish, which assists its progress in walking with its tail, and draws its eyes backward at every step; and your rational sight may be compared to the sight of the eyes of Argus in the back of his head, when those in his forehead were asleep. Such persons also believe themselves to be Arguses in reasoning; for they say, 'Who does not see that the origin of the universe is from nature? And what then is God but the inmost extension of nature?' and make similar irrational observations, of which they boast more than wise men do of their rational sentiments.

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Table of Contents
The Interaction of the Soul and Body 1-2 I. There are two worlds: the spiritual world, inhabited by spirits and angels, and the natural world, inhabited by men. 3 II. The spiritual world first existed and continually subsists from its own sun; and the natural world from its own sun. 4 III. The sun of the spiritual world is pure love from Jehovah God, who is in the midst of it. 5 IV. From that sun proceed heat and light; the heat proceeding from it is in its essence love, and the light from it is in its essence wisdom. 6 V. Both that heat and that light flow into man: the heat into his will, where it produces the good of love; and the light into his understanding, where it produces the truth of wisdom. 7 VI. Those two, heat and light, or love and wisdom, flow conjointly from God into the soul of man; and through this into his mind, its affections and thoughts; and from these into the senses, speech, and actions of the body. 8 VII. The sun of the natural world is pure fire; and the world of nature first existed and continually subsists by means of this sun 9 VIII. Therefore everything which proceeds from this sun, regarded in itself, is dead. 10 IX. That which is spiritual clothes itself with that which is natural, as a man clothes himself with a garment. 11 X. Spiritual things, thus clothed in a man, enable him to live as a rational and moral man, thus as a spiritually natural man. 12 XI. The reception of that influx is according to the state of love and wisdom with man. 13 XII. The understanding in a man can be raised into the light, that is, into the wisdom in which are the angels of heaven, according to the cultivation of his reason; and his will can be raised in like manner into the heat of heaven, that is, into love, according to the deeds of his life; but the 14 XIII. It is altogether otherwise with beasts. 15 XIV. There are three degrees in the spiritual world, and three degrees in the natural world, hitherto unknown, according to which all influx takes place. 16 XV. Ends are in the first degree, causes in the second, and effects in the third. 17 XVI. Hence it is evident what is the nature of spiritual influx from its origin to its effects. 18-20

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.