Interaction of the Soul and Body #8

Interaction of the Soul and Body (Vickers translation)      

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8. 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.

The spiritual influx hitherto treated of by inspired men is that from the soul into the body, but no one has treated of influx into the soul, and through this into the body; although it is known that all the good of love and all the truth of faith flow from God into man, and nothing of them from man; and those things which flow from God flow first into his soul, and through his soul into the rational mind, and through this into those things which constitute the body. If any one investigates spiritual influx in any other manner, he is like one who stops up the course of a fountain and still seeks there perennial streams; or like one who deduces the origin of a tree from the root and not from the seed; or like one who examines derivations apart from their source.

[2] For the soul is not life in itself, but is a recipient of life from God, who is life in Himself; and all influx is of life, thus from God. This is meant by the statement: 'Jehovah God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of lives, and man was made a living soul' (Genesis 2:7). To breathe into the nostrils the breath of lives signifies to implant the perception of good and truth. The Lord also says of Himself, 'As the Father hath life in Himself so hath He also given to the Son to have life in Himself' (John 5:26): life in Himself is God; and the life of the soul is life flowing in from God.

[3] Now inasmuch as all influx is of life, and life operates by means of its receptacles, and the inmost or first of the receptacles in man is his soul, therefore in order that influx may be rightly apprehended it is necessary to begin from God, and not from an intermediate station. Were we to begin from an intermediate station, our doctrine of influx would be like a chariot without wheels, or like a ship without sails. This being the case, therefore, in the preceding articles we have treated of the sun of the spiritual world, in the midst of which is Jehovah God (5); and of the influx thence of love and wisdom, thus of life (6, 7).

(References: The Interaction of the Soul and Body 6-7)


[4] That life flows from God into man through the soul, and through this into his mind, that is, into its affections and thoughts, and from these into the senses, speech, and actions of the body, is because these are the things pertaining to life in successive order. For the mind is subordinate to the soul, and the body is subordinate to the mind. The mind, also, has two lives, the one of the will and the other of the understanding. The life of its will is the good of love, the derivations of which are called affections; and the life of the understanding there is the truth of wisdom, the derivations of which are called thoughts: by means of the latter and the former the mind lives. The life of the body, on the other hand, are the senses, speech, and actions: that these are derived from the soul through the mind follows from the order in which they stand, and from this they manifest themselves to a wise man without examination.

[5] The human soul, being a superior spiritual substance, receives influx directly from God; but the human mind, being an inferior spiritual substance, receives influx from God indirectly through the spiritual world; and the body, being composed of the substances of nature which are called matter, receives influx from God indirectly through the natural world.

That the good of love and the truth of wisdom flow from God into the soul of a man conjointly, that is, united into one, but that they are divided by the man in their progress, and are conjoined only with those who suffer themselves to be led by God, will be seen in the following articles.

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


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