True Christianity#33


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33. 6. Every created thing is finite. The Infinite is in finite objects the way something is present in a vessel that receives it; the Infinite is in people the way something is present in an image of itself. Every created thing is finite because Jehovah God [created] all things through the sun of the spiritual world, which most closely surrounds him. That sun is made of a substance that went out from him, the essence of which is love. The universe from beginning to end was created from that sun through its heat and light. This is not the place, however, to lay out the steps of creation in sequence. A rough outline of them will be presented in sections to come [76, 78]. The only point relevant to the current discussion is that things were formed from what went before. As a result, levels were created - three levels in the spiritual world; three corresponding levels in the physical world; and the same number for the inert substances that make up the lands and waters of the world. Information on the origin and nature of those levels was published in Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom (Amsterdam 1763). It was fully laid out in the little work Soul-Body Interaction (published in London, 1769). Because of these levels, all things that came later were vessels for earlier things. These in turn were vessels for things earlier still, which were vessels for the primary substances that constitute the sun of the angelic heaven. This is how finite vessels that could receive the Infinite came about. (This process squares with ancient wisdom: every single thing can be divided without end.)

There is an idea in circulation that finite things are not large enough to hold the Infinite and therefore they could not be vessels for the Infinite. On the contrary, points that I made in my works on creation show that God first made his infinity finite in the form of substances put out from himself. The first sphere that surrounds him consists of those substances, and forms the sun of the spiritual world. By means of that sun, he then completed the remaining spheres even to the farthest one, which consists of inert elements. He increasingly limited the world, then, stage by stage. I lay this out here to appease human reason, which never rests until it knows how something was done.

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