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 #53

True Christian Religion (Chadwick translation)

Go to section / 853  

← Previous    Next →

53. God is order, because He is substance itself and form itself. He is substance, because it is from Him that everything comes which is in existence, has come into and is coming into being. He is form, because every attribute of substances has arisen and still arises from Him, and attributes cannot come from any other source than form. Now since God is the very, sole and prime substance and form and at the same time is the very and sole Love and the very and sole Wisdom, and since wisdom from love produces form, and the state and quality of this is dependent on the order in it, it follows that God is order itself and therefore that He of Himself introduced order both into the universe and every one of its parts. It was a most perfect order that He introduced, because all that He created was good, as we read in the Book of Creation. I shall show in the appropriate place that evils came into existence together with hell, and therefore after creation. But first we shall deal with matters which come more nearly within the purview of the understanding, more clearly enlighten it and arouse milder emotions.

Go to section / 853  

← Previous    Next →


Translate: