Commentary

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

True Christian Religion #54

True Christian Religion (Chadwick translation)

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54. To expound the nature, however, of the order imposed on the universe at its creation would demand many pages. The following section on Creation [75-80] will attempt an outline sketch of this topic. It must be grasped that everything in the universe has been endowed by creation with its own order, so that it may continue in existence by itself. This order was imposed from the beginning in order to link up with the order of the universe, so that each particular order should continue in existence as part of the universal structure and thus be one with them. Let us proceed to a few examples.

Man is endowed by creation with his own order, and so is each and every part of him; the head has its order, the body its, the heart, the lungs, the liver, the pancreas, the stomach each its own; likewise every organ of movement called a muscle, and every organ of sense, as the eye, the ear or the tongue. To be sure, there is not a single little blood-vessel or minor fibre in the body which has not its own proper order. Yet all these countless parts are joined to the body as a whole and are so linked into it as to make one together with them. The same is true of all other things, which it will be enough to list as an illustration. Every land animal, every bird of the air, every fish of the sea, every creeping thing, even every worm down to a grub has by creation its own order. Equally every tree, bush, shrub and vegetable has its; and so moreover has every stone, every mineral, right down to each single particle of dust.

(References: True Christian Religion 75)

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