132. To this I will append two narrative accounts. Here is the first:
I was once speaking with two angels. One was from an eastern heaven, the other from a heaven in the south. When they perceived that I was pondering secrets of wisdom relating to conjugial love, they said, "Do you know about schools of wisdom in our world?"
I replied that I did not yet.
They said, "There are many." And they described how people who love truths with a spiritual affection, or who love them because they are true and because wisdom is gained by means of them, at a specified signal come together to discuss and draw conclusions on matters requiring a deeper understanding.
Then they took me by the hand, saying, "Follow us and you will see and hear for yourself. The signal has been given for a meeting today."
I was taken through a flat stretch of country to a hill, and behold, at the foot of the hill was an avenue of palm trees that extended all the way up to the top. We entered the avenue and ascended. At the top or apex of the hill we then saw a grove whose trees grew round about on a rise of ground and formed a kind of theater, with a level area in the middle covered with variously colored stones. Chairs had been placed around this space in the shape of a square, where the lovers of wisdom were already seated. Moreover, in the center of the theater stood a table, on which a piece of paper had been placed, sealed with a seal.
 The people sitting on the chairs invited us to seats that were still empty. But I replied, "I was brought here by the two angels to observe and listen, not to participate."
The two angels then went to the table in the middle of the level area; and undoing the seal on the piece of paper, they stood before the people seated and read them the secrets of wisdom written on the paper, which the people were now to discuss and explain. (The topics had been written by angels of the third heaven and sent down to their place on the table.)
There were three secrets to be explained. First, what the image of God is and the likeness of God into which man was created. Secondly, why man does not come by birth into the knowledge necessary to any love, whereas both higher and lower animals and birds come by birth into the kinds of knowledge necessary to all their loves. Thirdly, what the tree of life symbolizes and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and what eating from them means.
Underneath, the added instruction had been written, "Combine the three explanations into a single statement and write it on a new piece of paper, then place it back on the table and we will look at it. If the statement seems balanced and accurate, each of you will be given an award for wisdom."
After they read this, the two angels withdrew and were taken up into their respective heavens.
 Then the people sitting on the chairs began to discuss and explain the secrets of the questions put before them, speaking in turn, beginning with those who sat towards the north, then those towards the west, afterwards those towards the south, and finally those towards the east. They started by taking up the first topic for discussion, namely, what the image of God is and the likeness of God into which man was created. First of all, they had the following verses read aloud from the book of creation for everyone to hear:
...God said, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness...." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him. (Genesis 1:26-27)
In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. (Genesis 5:1)
The people who were sitting towards the north spoke first, saying that the image of God and the likeness of God are two kinds of life breathed into man by God, these being the life of the will and the life of the understanding. For we read, they said, the following statement:
...Jehovah God...breathed into (Adam's) nostrils the breath of lives; and man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)
"Into the nostrils," they said, "means into a perception that a will of good and an understanding of truth were in him, and thus that he had 'the breath of lives.' And because life was breathed into him by God, the image and likeness of God symbolize integrity resulting from wisdom and love and from righteousness and judgment in him."
Those who were sitting towards the west expressed agreement with this view, only adding that that state of integrity inspired by God into the first man is continually being breathed into every person after him, but that it exists in a person as though in a recipient vessel, and a person is therefore an image and likeness of God to the extent that he is such a recipient vessel.
 Next, the people third in order, who were those who were sitting towards the south, said, "The image of God and the likeness of God are two distinct things, but they were united in man at his creation. Moreover, from a kind of inner light we see that the image of God can be destroyed by a person, but not the likeness of God. This appears by inference from the suggestion that Adam retained the likeness of God after he had lost the image of God, for we read, after the curse, this statement:
'Behold, the man is like one of us, knowing good and evil.' (Genesis 3:22)
And later he is called a likeness of God, and not an image of God (Genesis 5:1).
"But let us leave it for our colleagues who are sitting towards the east and who are therefore in a higher light to say precisely what the image of God is, and what the likeness of God is."
 So then, after waiting for silence, the people sitting towards the east rose from their chairs and looked up to the Lord. And when they had taken their seats again, they said that the image of God is the capacity to receive God, and because God is love itself and wisdom itself, the image of God in a person is the capacity to receive love and wisdom from God.
On the other hand, the likeness of God, they said, is the perfect semblance and complete appearance that love and wisdom are in a person, and this entirely as though they belonged to him. "For a person has no other sensation than that he feels love on his own and becomes wise on his own, or that he wills good and understands truth by himself, even though not the least bit of it originates from him but from God. God alone loves from within Himself and is wise from within Himself, because God alone is love itself and wisdom itself.
"Love and wisdom, or good and truth, seem to be in a person as though they belonged to him, because this semblance or appearance makes him a human being and causes him to be capable of being conjoined with God and so of living to eternity. It follows from this that a person is a human being as a result of his ability to will good and understand truth entirely as though on his own, and yet to know and believe that he does so from God. For God sets His image in a person to the extent that he knows and believes this. It would be different if he were to believe that he had that ability from himself and not from God."
 As the speakers said this, a zeal came over them from their love of truth, prompting them to continue.
"How," they went on, "can a person receive any measure of love and wisdom so as to be able to retain it and reproduce it, unless he feels it as belonging to him? And how can there be any conjunction with God by means of love and wisdom unless man has been given some way of reciprocating necessary for conjunction? For no conjunction is possible without reciprocation. The reciprocation required for conjunction is a person's loving God and being wise in matters relating to God as though on his own, and yet believing that it is from God. Furthermore, unless a person has been conjoined to the eternal God, how is it possible for him to live to eternity? Consequently, how can a person be a human being without having that likeness of God in him?"
 On hearing this explanation, the rest all expressed their agreement, and they proposed that a conclusion be drawn on the basis of it, formulated in the following statement:
"Man is a vessel recipient of God," they said, "and a vessel recipient of God is an image of God. Since God is love itself and wisdom itself, man is a vessel recipient of these. And as a recipient vessel, a person becomes an image of God to the extent that he receives.
"Moreover, man is a likeness of God because of his sensing in himself that the things he has from God are in him as though they belonged to him. But still, a person is an image of God as a result of that likeness only in the measure that he acknowledges that the love and wisdom or good and truth in him are not his and so do not originate from him, but are God's alone and so originate from God."