True Christianity #111

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111. The second memorable occurrence. In our earthly world we have two types of thought, inner thought and outer thought, and because of that we have two modes of verbal communication. We are able to talk on the basis of both our inner and outer thought at the same time, and we are able to talk on the basis of our outer thought separate from our inner thought. In fact, we can say the opposite of what we think inside, which is something we do to put on appearances, insincerely agree with people, and play the hypocrite.

In the spiritual world, though, our thought process is single, not dual. There we say what we think. If we do not, we emit a horrible sound that hurts people's ears. Nevertheless we have the option of being silent and not publicizing the thoughts in our mind. So when hypocrites come among the wise they either leave right away or throw themselves into a corner of the room, make themselves inconspicuous, and sit in silence.

[2] Once there was a large conference in the world of spirits. This was the very topic they were discussing with each other. The participants were saying that it is a hardship for spirits who have had unacceptable thoughts about God and the Lord not to be able to say what they think when they come into the company of the good.

In the center of the participants there was a group of Protestants, many of them clergy, and next to them a group of Roman Catholics including monks. Both the Protestants and the Catholics were saying at first that it is not hard. "Why not say what we think? they maintained. If we happen not to think the right things, we can always close our mouths and keep quiet. "

The clergy said, "Who doesn't have the right thoughts about God and the Lord?"

So some participants in the conference said to each other, "Let's test these Protestants and Catholics!"

Some [in the central groups] were convinced that there is a trinity of persons in God. The participants told them to say and think "One God. " They were unable to. They twisted and puckered their lips into all sorts of shapes but they still could not articulate the sound of any words but those in harmony with their thoughts and mental images, which were of three persons and therefore three gods.

[3] Some [in the central groups] were convinced that faith should be separate from goodwill. They were told to say the name "Jesus. " They could not, although they could all say "Christ" and also "God the Father. " [The participants] were amazed at this and wanted to know why. The reason, they discovered, was that those people had prayed to God the Father for the sake of the Son, but had not prayed to Jesus as their Savior, and "Jesus" means Savior.

[4] Then they were told to think about the Lord's human nature and say "divine-human. " No Protestant clergy person who was there could do it, but some Protestant lay people could. At that point they gave the discussion some structure.

1. The following passages from the Gospels were read out loud to [the Protestant clergy]: "The Father has given all things into the hand of the Son" (John 3:35). The Father has given the Son power over all flesh (John 17:2). "All things have been handed to me by the Father" (Matthew 11:27). "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18). They were told, "On the basis of these passages, hold it in your mind that Christ in both his divine nature and his human nature is the God of heaven and earth. Then say 'divine-human. '" They still could not say it. They reported that on the basis of those passages they were able to hold some thoughts in their minds about it, but they could not hold any acknowledgment, so they were unable to say it.

[5] 2. Then Luke 1 verses 32, 34, and 35 were read to them, showing that the Lord's human manifestation was the Son of Jehovah God. It was pointed out that in those passages he is called "the Son of the Highest" and everywhere else he is called "the Son of God," and also "the only begotten One. " The participants asked [the Protestant clergy] to hold this in their thoughts and also to consider that an only begotten Son of God born in the world could not possibly be anything other than God, just as the Father is God, and then say "divine-human. "

"We can't," they said. "Our spiritual thinking, which goes on very deep inside us, does not allow incompatible ideas access to the thought processes located near speech. "

They said they were realizing that they could not now divide their thinking the way they had been able to in the physical world.

[6] 3. Then the Lord's words to Philip were read to them: "Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father. ' And the Lord said, 'Those who see me see the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?'" (John 14:8-11). Other passages that say that the Father and the Son are one were also read, such as John 10:30. [The Protestant clergy] were told to hold this in their thinking and say "divine-human. " Since that thought was not rooted in any acknowledgment that even in his human manifestation the Lord is God, they contorted and twisted their lips to the point of exasperation and tried to force their mouth to enunciate the words, but they did not have the power; because all who are in the spiritual world find that the words they speak match the ideas that arise from the things they have acknowledged. If those ideas do not exist, the words are impossible, because speech is ideas turned into words.

[7] 4. Then the following passage was read to [the Protestant clergy] from teachings that are accepted in the entire Christian world: "The divine nature and the human nature in the Lord are not two but one. In fact, they are one person, united like the soul and the body in one human being. " This is part of the belief that was stated in the Athanasian Creed and ratified by councils. They were told, "From this passage you had every opportunity to form and acknowledge an idea that the Lord's human nature is divine because his soul is divine, for this is part of the church teachings you acknowledged in the world. Furthermore, the soul is the very essence of a person and the body is the person's form, and essence and form are one, like underlying reality and manifestation, or like the cause that produces an effect and the effect produced. "

[The Protestant clergy] held on to that idea and tried on that basis to say "divine-human," but they could not. Their inner idea of the Lord's human nature expelled and destroyed this new "supplemental" idea, as they were calling it.

[8] 5. There was a further reading to them from John: "The Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh" (John 1:1, 14). And this: "Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20). Also a passage from Paul: "All the fullness of divinity dwells physically in Christ Jesus" (Colossians 2:9).

They were told to think like this, meaning to think that God who was the Word became human, that he is the true God, and that all the fullness of divinity dwells physically in him. This they did, but only in their outer thought. A resistance in their inner thought made it impossible for them to say "divine-human. " They openly stated that "divine-human" was an idea they could not have. "God is God," they said, "and human is human. God is a spirit, and a spirit to our thinking is no different from wind or ether. "

[9] 6. Finally they were asked, "Don't you know that the Lord said, Live in me and I [shall live] in you. Those who live in me and I in them bear much fruit, because without me you cannot do anything" (John 15:4-5)?

Because some of them were Anglican clergy, a passage stated at their Holy Communion was read to them: "For when we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ and drink the blood, then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us. " They were told, "If you now think that this situation could not occur unless the Lord's human manifestation was divine, then say divine-human from this acknowledgment in your thought. "

They still could not say it. The idea had been too deeply impressed on them that what was divine could not be human and what was human could not be divine, and so too had the idea that his divine nature came from the divinity of the eternally begotten Son, and that his human nature was just like anyone else's.

They were asked, "How can you think that way? Can a rational mind really think that some Son was born from God from eternity?"

[10] 7. Next the participants focused on the Lutheran Protestants. They said to them that the Augsburg Confession and Luther himself taught the following:

The Son of God and the Son of Humankind are one person in Christ. Even his human manifestation is omnipotent and omnipresent. It sits at the right hand of God the Father and rules all things in the heavens and on earth, fills all things, is with us, and dwells and is at work in us. His human manifestation deserves no different adoration, because through his human manifestation, which is perceptible, we adore the Divinity that is not perceptible. In Christ, God is human, and a human is God.

To this they replied, "Is that so?" They looked around. Soon they said, "We didn't know these things before, so we can't say divine-human. "

Nevertheless first one, then another, said, "We read that text and we even wrote some of it, but still when we thought about it they were only words. We did not have the inner idea that goes with them. "

[11] 8. Finally the participants turned to focus on the Catholics and said, "Perhaps you are able to pronounce 'divine-human,' since you believe that in your Eucharist Christ is fully present in the bread and wine, in each and every part of them. You adore Christ as the most holy God when you display and convey the host. Since you call Mary 'the Bearer of God' or 'the one who gave birth to God,' you therefore acknowledge that she bore God, that is, the Divine-Human Being. "

They then tried to say it, but they could not. What came to their minds was a physical idea of Christ's body and blood, as well as the belief that his humanity is separable from his divinity, and is actually separated in the case of the pope, to whom only Christ's human power, not his divine power, had been transferred.

Then a monk stood up and said that he could think of the Holy Virgin Mary and also the saint of his monastery as divine-human.

Another monk came forward and said, "With the idea I have of the holy pope - an idea I have come to cherish - I can more easily speak of the holy pope than of Christ as divine-human. "

Some other Catholics, however, pulled him back and said, "Shame on you!"

[12] After this heaven seemed to open and tongues like little flames seemed to come down and flow into some people. They began praising the Lord's divine humanity and saying, "Remove the idea of three gods. Believe that all the fullness of divinity dwells physically in the Lord. Believe that the Father and he are one as the soul and the body are one. Believe that God is a human being, not wind or ether. Then you will be connected to heaven, and from the Lord you will be able to name Jesus and say 'divine-human. '"

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