True Christianity # 32

Од стране Емануел Сведенборг

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32. 5. From many things in the world, enlightened reason can see the infinity of God. I will list a number of things that human reason can view as evidence of God's infinity.

(a) In the entire created universe, no two things can possibly be the same. It is impossible for any two things to be identical at any given point in time, as human scholarship and reasoning have seen and verified. Yet the substantial and physical things in the universe viewed one by one add up to an infinite number. Neither can the world have two identical situations over time. As you can see from the wobbling of the earth caused by the misalignment of the axis to the poles, the earth never comes back to the same spot.

This is also provable from human faces. In the whole world, not one face exists that is the same as another or similar in every way. Nor will there ever be two identical faces to eternity. Infinite variety like this could occur only as the result of God the Creators infinity.

[2] (b) No one's character is completely like another's. As the saying goes, there are as many opinions as there are people. Therefore no mind, that is, no will and intellect, is the same as another or similar in every way. As a result, no one's speech is identical to anyone else's, either in tone or in the thought behind it. Nor does anyone's action copy another's to a T, either in manner or in the emotion and inclination behind it. This infinite variety as well is like a mirror in which we can see the infinity of God the Creator.

[3] (c) In all animal sperm and in all plant seeds there is an intrinsic kind of immensity and eternity - immensity because it can be replicated to infinity, and eternity because its replication has continued without interruption from the creation of the world until now and will continue perpetually. As an example from the animal kingdom, take fish in the ocean. If there were as many fish as there are fish sperm, within twenty to fifty years fish would fill the ocean to the point where it contained nothing else, causing the water to flood the whole planet and destroy it. To prevent this, God has provided that fish become food for other fish.

The same would happen with plant seeds. If all the seeds that one plant produces each year were planted, within twenty or thirty years they would cover the surface of not just one planet but many. In the case of some bushes, each seed will produce hundreds or even thousands of other seeds [in a year]. Calculate it for yourself, multiplying the production of one such seed twenty or thirty times over, and you will see.

The divine immensity and eternity cannot help but be reflected in some way. The two commonly experienced phenomena just discussed make these divine qualities visible.

[4] (d) To an enlightened reason the infinity of God can become apparent from the fact that every academic discipline can grow to an infinite extent. So, therefore, can our intelligence and wisdom. Both intelligence and wisdom are capable of growing from a seed into a tree, and from a tree into forests and gardens of trees - intelligence and wisdom have no end. Our memory is their soil. They germinate in our intellect; they bear fruit in our will. In fact, these two faculties, our intellect and our will, are capable of being cultivated and improved to the end of our lives in this world, and afterward to eternity.

[5] (e) You can also see the infinity of God the Creator in the infinite number of stars, which are all suns, and all have solar systems. Elsewhere, in a short work that I wrote as an eyewitness, I have shown that out in space there are planets that have people, animals, birds, and plants.

[6] (f) The angelic heaven and also hell have made the infinity of God even more obvious to me. God has arranged and ordered both places into countless communities and groups according to every type of love for good or love for evil, allotting every individual a location according to what she or he loves. All members of the human race have gathered there since the creation of the world; they will continue to gather there throughout the ages of ages. Although each person has his or her own place and situation, still all who are there have such a partnership with each other that the entire angelic heaven is like one divine human being, and the entirety of hell is like one monstrous devil. From the entirety of heaven and the entirety of hell and from the infinite number of astounding things in them, both the immensity and the omnipotence of God stand in plain view.

[7] (g) If we raise the level of our mental reasoning a little, surely we can all understand that the life to eternity we will all have after death is impossible unless God is eternal.

[8] (h) There are further aspects of infinity that become visible to us, some in physical light and others in spiritual light. As examples that become visible in physical light, there are various geometrical series that go on to infinity. On each of the three vertical levels as well, there is a progression to infinity. The first level, called the earthly level, cannot be refined and raised to the perfection of the second level, called the spiritual level. Neither can this level be refined and raised to the perfection of the third level, called the heavenly level. It is like the purpose, the means, and the result. No matter how developed the result becomes, it cannot take the place of the means to itself; nor can these means take the place of the purpose behind them.

Take the three levels of atmospheres as another illustration. The aura is supreme, the ether is below it, and the air is under the ether. No type of air can ever have such high quality that it becomes a type of ether, nor can any type of ether ever have such high quality that it becomes a type of aura. Yet the qualities of each of these atmospheres can be developed and improved to infinity.

As for examples that become visible in spiritual light, the earthly type of love an animal has cannot have such a high quality that it becomes the spiritual love that creation has endowed us with. Likewise an animals earthly intelligence cannot have such a high quality that it becomes human, spiritual intelligence. Because these last points are not yet known, they will be explained elsewhere [; 335].

From all the above examples you can see that features that are universal to our world are everlasting tokens of God the Creators infinity. As for the way specific things imitate those universal features, however, and reflect the infinity of God, this is an abyss; it is an ocean the human mind can navigate, as long as it remains watchful for storms arising from the earthly self that would sink the ship - masts, sails, and all - starting with the helm where the earthly self stands confident.

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