Order and Disorder

By Joe David and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Four Mandalas

The establishment of an order within creation runs throughout divine activity. There are many orderly laws of providence by which the Divine governs all things and which the Divine cannot transgress.

If you look at the universe, containing so many stars and galaxies, extending so far, and containing so much sustaining energy, you can sense the overwhelming order that enables it to provide for solar systems and planets that surely provide other places for life to thrive.

If you learn a little about the physics of matter, where scientists are continuing to postulate building blocks of larger particles and the various forces that bind them at close distances or operate over astronomic distances, you can see not only a mind-boggling complexity, but also a serene order that keeps everything operating as it should and has been doing so for billions of years.

This order comes from God, the creator. His infinite Divine love, as it gets finited and sublimated, is the only real thing, the only thing that exists in itself. Everything else, time and space, elements and physical matter, living creatures and human consciousness, all natural and spiritual entities come from Him. This flowing down, so to speak, is the order that exists, and it is dominant.

The Lord’s order is not only concerned with natural creation but with mankind’s spiritual welfare as well. Mankind is different from all other living creatures because all other living creatures can live only in the order in which they are created, whereas people can deviate from their order because they are free.

The short form of the order for mankind is to "love the Lord with all the heart… and thy neighbor as thyself." Spiritually speaking, people did so until they ate of the parabolic forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. From that time we began to decide for ourselves what is good and what is evil, rather than trusting what the Lord said. As these decisions multiplied, we turned more and more to ourselves and away from the Lord, and this heredity was passed on generation after generation, slowly getting worse. Order was replaced by disorder.

Eventually our heredity was turned upside down so that the order of our loves is completely backwards, and we are now born with the will to love ourselves rather than the Lord and our neighbor. However, because we have rational minds, we can be taught and trained to turn our minds right side up again, putting a love to the Lord and the neighbor ahead of loves of self and the world, and bringing ourselves back into order.

(References: A Brief Explanation of the Teachings of the New Church 52; Arcana Coelestia 1055, 1475, 4839 [2], 8513, 9736, 10659 [4]; Divine Providence 279 [5]; Heaven and Hell 315, 523; True Christian Religion 53, 54)

From Swedenborg's Works

Heaven and Hell #523

Heaven and Hell (Dole translation)

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523. The Lord never does anything contrary to his design because he himself is the design. The divine truth that emanates from him is what establishes the design, and divine truths are the laws of the design by which the Lord is leading us. Saving people by unmediated mercy is contrary to the divine design, and anything contrary to the divine design is contrary to the divine nature.

The divine design is heaven for us. We have distorted it by living contrary to its laws, which are divine truths. The Lord brings us back into the design out of pure mercy, through the laws of the design; and to the extent that we are brought back, we accept heaven into ourselves. Whoever accepts heaven enters heaven.

This shows again that the Lord's divine mercy is pure mercy but not unmediated. 1


1. Divine truth emanating from the Lord is the source of his design, and divine good is the essence of the design:Arcana Coelestia 1728, 2258, 8700, 8988. As a result, the Lord is the design: 1919, 2011, 5110, 5703, 10336, 10619. Divine truths are the laws of the design: 2247 [2447?], 7995. The whole heaven is arranged by the Lord according to its divine pattern: 3038, 7211, 9128, 9338, 10125, 10151, 10157. So heaven's form is a form in accord with the divine design: 4040-4043, 6607, 9877. To the extent that we live according to the design, that is, to the extent that we live intent on what is good according to divine truths, we accept heaven into ourselves: 4839. The human being is where all the elements of the divine design are gathered together, and by creation we are the divine design in form because we are its vessels: 4219-4220, 4223, 4523-4524, 5114, 5368 [4839?], 6013, 6057, 6605, 6626, 9706, 10156, 10472. We are not born into what is good and true but into what is evil and false, and therefore not into the divine design but into a pattern contrary to it, which is why we are born into pure ignorance and need to be born again or regenerated; the Lord effects this through divine truths, in order to bring us back into the design: 1047, 2307-2308, 3518, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10283-10284, 10286, 10731. When the Lord is forming us afresh or regenerating us, he arranges everything in us according to the design, or into heaven's form: 5700, 6690, 9931, 10303. Evil and false things are contrary to the design, but still people who are absorbed in them are governed by the Lord, not according to the design but from it: 4839, 7877, 10778 [10777?]. It is impossible for someone who is living in evil to be saved out of pure mercy, because this goes against the divine design: 8700.


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