True Christianity #78

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78. The third memorable occurrence. The next day an angel from some community in heaven came to me and said, "In our community we heard that you were summoned to a community close to ours because you were meditating on the creation of the universe and that you talked to them about creation. At the time they agreed with what you told them; later it also made them very happy. Now I will show you how God produced animals and plants of every kind. "

The angel took me down to a huge green meadow and said, "Look around. "

I looked around and I saw birds of gorgeous colors. Some were flying, some were sitting on trees, and some were down in the meadow plucking the petals off roses. Among the birds there were also doves and swans.

These things vanished from my sight and then I saw not far from me flocks of sheep and lambs and of kids and nanny goats. Around the flocks I saw herds of cattle and calves, as well as camels and mules. In a grove I saw deer with tall antlers and also unicorns.

After I had seen that, the angel said, "Turn your face to the east. "

I saw a garden with fruit trees - orange trees, lemon trees, olive trees, grapevines, fig trees, pomegranate trees - and also shrubs with berries.

Then the angel said, Now look to the south.

I saw crops of various kinds - wheat, millet, barley, and beans. Around them I saw flowerbeds of roses with beautifully varied colors. To the north, however, I saw woods full of chestnut trees, palms, linden trees, sycamores, and other leafy trees.

[2] When I had seen that, the angel said, "All the things you saw correspond to different feelings of love felt by the angels who are nearby. "

He listed the feeling each thing corresponded to.

"In fact," he went on, "those things are not the only correspondences. Everything else that takes a visible form before our eyes is also a correspondence: our homes, the useful things in them, the tables and food, the clothing, and even the gold and silver coins. Likewise the diamonds and other jewels that adorn married and unmarried women in the heavens. From all the above we become aware of the quality of love and wisdom in each person. The things that are in our homes and support our usefulness there stay the same; but for people who wander from community to community, things like this change as the people's relationships change.

[3] "The purpose of showing you these things was for you to be able to see the whole of creation from a particular instance. God is absolute love and absolute wisdom. His love includes an infinite number of feelings. His wisdom includes an infinite number of perceptions. The correspondences of those feelings and perceptions are all the things that appear on earth. This is where the birds and animals come from. This is where the trees and shrubs come from. This is where the grains and crops come from. This is where the plants and grasses come from.

"God is not extended but he is everywhere in what is extended. He is in the universe from beginning to end. Because he is omnipresent, correspondences of the qualities of his love and wisdom are found everywhere in the physical world. In our world, called the spiritual world, there are similar correspondences surrounding those who receive feelings and perceptions from God. The difference is that in our world God creates things of this kind in a moment to match the feelings of angels, while in your world things like this were originally created in a similar way but there was a provision for their perennial renewal from generation to generation; and so creation goes on.

[4] "The reason why there is instantaneous creation in our world while in yours there is a creation that continues across generations is that the atmospheres and soils in our world are spiritual while those in your world are physical. Physical things were created to cover spiritual things the way animal or human skin covers the body, inner and outer bark cover tree trunks and branches, membranes and meninges cover brains, sheaths cover nerves, coatings cover nerve fibers, and so on. For this reason all things in your world have constancy and perennially return. "

Then the angel added, "Pass on what you have seen and heard here to the inhabitants of your world. Until now they have been in total ignorance about the spiritual world. Yet without being notified of it no one could even guess, let alone know, that in our world creation is still going on and that when God first created the universe something very similar to this happened in your world. "

[5] After that we talked about a number of different things, eventually including hell. None of the things seen in heaven is seen in hell. Hell has only their opposites, because the feelings of love there, which are yearnings for evil, are opposite to the feelings of love the angels have. Around individuals in hell, and generally in the deserts there, there appear flying creatures of the night such as bats, screech owls, and other owls. There are also wolves, leopards, tigers, rats, and mice. There are poisonous snakes of all kinds, as well as dragons and crocodiles. Where there is any vegetation, brambles, stinging nettles, thorns, thistles, and certain poisonous plants spring up. Alternately the vegetation disappears and you see only stones in piles and swamps where frogs croak.

All the above are also correspondences, but correspondences to the feelings of love in hell, which as I said before are yearnings for evil.

These things in hell are not created by God. Where things like this exist in the physical world, they were not created by God either - all the things that God created and creates were and are good. As hell came into existence, hellish things came into existence on earth. Hell consists of people who turned away from God and became devils and satans after death.

But talking about horrible things began to hurt our ears, so we turned our thoughts away from them and recalled again what we had seen in the heavens.

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