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Arcana Coelestia #34

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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34. Love and faith cannot possibly be separated for they constitute one and the same thing. This is why, when first the [great] lights are dealt with and they are taken to be one, it is said [using a singular verb with a plural noun], 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens'. Let some marvels relating to this be mentioned here. Since celestial angels possess from the Lord that kind of love, they possess by virtue of that love every cognition of faith, and by virtue of that love the kind of life and light of understanding that almost defies description altogether. On the other hand spirits who without love have a knowledge of the doctrinal matters concerning faith live such cold lives and are in such dull light that they cannot approach even the outer gateway to heaven before running off in the opposite direction. Some claim to have believed in the Lord, but they have not lived according to His teaching. The Lord refers to these people in Matthew as follows,

Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does My will. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? and so on. Matthew 7:21-22-end.

[2] From this is clear that those who have love have faith as well, and so heavenly life, whereas those who claim to have faith and yet have none of the life inherent in love do not. The life of faith devoid of love is like sunlight devoid of warmth, as is the case in wintertime when nothing grows and every single thing is inactive and dies off. But faith deriving from love is like the sunlight in springtime when everything grows and blossoms, for it is the warmth of the sun that brings it out. It is similar with spiritual and celestial things, which are normally represented in the Word by the things found in the world and on earth. An absence of faith, and faith devoid of love, are also compared by the Lord to winter where He foretold the close of the age in Mark,

Pray that your flight may not happen in winter, for those will be days of affliction. Mark 13:18-19.

'Flight' means the final period, also the time when a person dies; 'winter' is life which is destitute of love, 'days of affliction' his wretched condition in the next life.

(References: Genesis 1:14-17; Matthew 7:23-29)

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From Swedenborg's Works

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Arcana Coelestia 1001, 1837, 2034, 2116, 3121, 3195, 3272, 4697, 4918, 6015, 7233, 9228

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 256

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Related New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.




By New Christian Bible Study Staff

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The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, receiving His love and being enlightened by His truth. And “nighttime,” obviously, represents states in which we are turned away from the Lord, left cold and blind to the truth. The most common word used for it in Swedenborg is “obscurity.”

The darkness is not absolute, of course. Swedenborg tells us that the light of the moon represents the understanding we can have based on facts and our own intelligence. But while the moon reflects some of the sun’s light, it offers almost no heat, so this kind of understanding is a cold one, without the warmth of love.

And at its darkest and coldest, night represents a state of judgment. This happens when a person – or a church – becomes so mired in evil and falsity that there is no light or heat. The Lord can then step in, separate the good from the evil, consign the evil to hell and begin rebuilding based on the remnant that is still good.

Drastic as that sounds, it is something that we all go through repeatedly in various aspects of our loves, so that we can be rid of what is evil and let the Lord rebuild us as angels.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 862, 1712, 2353, 5092, 6000, 7776, 7870, 8199; The Apocalypse Explained 401 [21])