True Christianity #138

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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138. Chapter 3: The Holy Spirit and the Divine Action

UPON entering the spiritual world, which generally happens on the third day after death, all members of the Sacred Order who have developed a just idea of the Lord our Savior are first taught about the divine Trinity. They are specifically taught that the Holy Spirit is not a separate God; the Word uses the phrase to mean the divine action that radiates from the one omnipresent God. They are specifically taught about the Holy Spirit because after death many fanatics who have believed they were divinely inspired fall into the mad delusion that they themselves are the Holy Spirit. There are many church people who believed while they were in the world that the Holy Spirit spoke through them. They terrify others with the Lord's statement in Matthew that it is an unforgivable sin to speak against what the Holy Spirit has inspired in them (Matthew 12:31-32).

After all are taught, any who abandon their belief that the Holy Spirit is a separate God are later informed about the unity of God. They are told that that unity has not been partitioned into three Persons, each of whom is God and Lord (as the Athanasian Creed would have it). Instead the divine Trinity exists within the Lord the Savior like the soul, the body, and the radiating effect of any human being.

Then they undergo preparations to accept the faith of the new heaven. After their preparation is complete, a road opens up for them to a community in heaven where that same faith exists. They are given a place to live among their companions. There they live in eternal bliss.

Because we have covered God the Creator and the Lord the Redeemer, we need to cover the Holy Spirit as well. This treatment, like the rest, will be divided into separate points. They are as follows:

1. The Holy Spirit is the divine truth and also the divine action and effect that radiate from the one God, in whom the divine Trinity exists: the Lord God the Savior.

2. Generally speaking, the divine actions and powerful effects meant by the Holy Spirit are the acts of reforming and regenerating us. Depending on the outcome of this reformation and regeneration, the divine actions and powerful effects also include the acts of renewing us, bringing us to life, sanctifying us, and making us just; and depending on the outcome of these in turn, the divine actions and powerful effects also include the acts of purifying us from evils, forgiving our sins, and ultimately saving us.

3. In respect to the clergy, the divine actions and powerful effects meant by "the sending of the Holy Spirit" are the acts of enlightening and teaching.

4. The Lord has these powerful effects on those who believe in him.

5. The Lord takes these actions on his own initiative on behalf of the Father, not the other way around.

6. Our spirits are our minds and whatever comes from them.

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