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

Arcana Coelestia #1055

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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1055. 'To remember the eternal covenant' means so that the Lord can be present with him within charity. This is clear from what has been stated and shown above about the meaning of a covenant, namely, that there is no other eternal covenant except love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour. This covenant is eternal because it lasts from eternity into eternity. The whole of heaven is founded on love, as indeed is the whole natural order, for in the natural order nothing whatever exists, possessing any union or conjunction, which does not trace its origin back to love, whether it be animate or inanimate. Indeed everything natural arises from what is spiritual, and what is spiritual does so from what is celestial, as stated above. Consequently love, or the semblance of it, is implanted in every single thing. Man is the only being with whom love does not reside but the contrary, for man has destroyed within himself the order of nature. But when he is able to be regenerated, that is, to be restored again to order and receive mutual love, then the covenant or conjunction by means of charity exists, which is the subject here.

(References: Genesis 9:16)

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