Из Сведенборгових дела

 

True Christianity # 33

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33. 6. Every created thing is finite. The Infinite is in finite objects the way something is present in a vessel that receives it; the Infinite is in people the way something is present in an image of itself. Every created thing is finite because Jehovah God [created] all things through the sun of the spiritual world, which most closely surrounds him. That sun is made of a substance that went out from him, the essence of which is love. The universe from beginning to end was created from that sun through its heat and light. This is not the place, however, to lay out the steps of creation in sequence. A rough outline of them will be presented in sections to come [76, 78]. The only point relevant to the current discussion is that things were formed from what went before. As a result, levels were created - three levels in the spiritual world; three corresponding levels in the physical world; and the same number for the inert substances that make up the lands and waters of the world. Information on the origin and nature of those levels was published in Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom (Amsterdam 1763). It was fully laid out in the little work Soul-Body Interaction (published in London, 1769). Because of these levels, all things that came later were vessels for earlier things. These in turn were vessels for things earlier still, which were vessels for the primary substances that constitute the sun of the angelic heaven. This is how finite vessels that could receive the Infinite came about. (This process squares with ancient wisdom: every single thing can be divided without end.)

There is an idea in circulation that finite things are not large enough to hold the Infinite and therefore they could not be vessels for the Infinite. On the contrary, points that I made in my works on creation show that God first made his infinity finite in the form of substances put out from himself. The first sphere that surrounds him consists of those substances, and forms the sun of the spiritual world. By means of that sun, he then completed the remaining spheres even to the farthest one, which consists of inert elements. He increasingly limited the world, then, stage by stage. I lay this out here to appease human reason, which never rests until it knows how something was done.

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

Из Сведенборгових дела

 

True Christianity # 76

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76. The first memorable occurrence. One day I was in a meditation on the creation of the universe. Angels who were above me to the right noticed my meditation. Their region had had a number of meditations and debates on that same subject. Therefore one of them came down and invited me to join them. I came into my spirit and accompanied the angel.

After I entered their community I was brought to its leader. In the leaders court I saw a gathering of about a hundred, with the leader in the middle. One of them said, "We became aware up here that you were meditating on the creation of the universe. A number of times we have been in similar meditations, but were unable to come to a conclusion. This was because there was an idea stuck in our minds - an idea of chaos as a great egg from which everything in the universe hatched in sequence. Now, however, we see that the universe is too large to have hatched in this way. There was another idea stuck in our minds as well: that God created everything out of nothing. Now we realize that nothing is made of nothing. Nevertheless our thinking has not yet been able to evolve far enough beyond these two ideas to see with any illumination how creation actually came about. For that reason we called you away from where you were in hopes that you would disclose your meditation on the subject. "

[2] Hearing that, I replied, "I will indeed.

"For a long time I meditated on this without success," I went on. "Later, when the Lord sent me into your world, I became aware of the futility of drawing any conclusions about the creation of the universe without first knowing several facts: There are two worlds: the one in which there are angels, and the other in which there are people. Through death people cross over from their own world into the other world. Then I also saw that there are two suns. All spiritual things flow forth from one of them; all physical things from the other. The sun that all spiritual things flow from consists of pure love from Jehovah God; he is within that sun. The sun that all physical things flow from consists of pure fire.

"After I realized this, on one occasion when I was in a state of enlightenment I was granted the insight that the universe was created by Jehovah God through the sun that surrounds him. Because love does not exist apart from wisdom, I could also see that the universe was created by Jehovah God from his love through his wisdom. Since then, everything I have seen in the world where you are and everything I have seen in the world where I am in my body convinces me of the truth of this.

[3] "It would take too long to lay out the way creation progressed from the very beginning; but when I was in a state of enlightenment I saw that there were spiritual atmospheres that were created by means of the heat and light from the sun in your world. At their core those atmospheres are substantial. Each one led to the next. Because there were three of these atmospheres, and therefore three levels of them, three heavens were made - one for angels who are at the highest level of love and wisdom, another for angels at the second level, and a third for angels at the lowest level.

"This spiritual universe could not exist, however, without a physical universe in which it could accomplish its useful effects. Therefore at the same time a sun was created as the source of all things physical. Through this sun by means of its heat and light three atmospheres were created to surround those prior atmospheres the way a nutshell surrounds a kernel or the inner bark of a tree surrounds the wood. Finally, through these atmospheres the globe of lands and seas was created. Here people, animals, and fish, and trees, bushes, and plants were created out of earthly materials consisting of soils, stones, and minerals.

[4] "This is only a very general sketch of creation and its stages. The particular and individual stages could not be explained without filling volumes of books. They would all come to the following conclusion, though: that God did not create the universe out of nothing. As you said, nothing is made out of nothing. God created the universe through the sun in the angelic heaven - a sun that comes from his underlying reality and is therefore pure love together with wisdom. The universe, meaning both worlds (the spiritual and the physical), was created out of divine love through divine wisdom, as every single thing in it witnesses and attests. If you consider phenomena in the universe in a coherent and sequential way and set them in the light you already possess in your intellectual perceptions, you will see this clearly.

"You must keep in mind, though, that the love and the wisdom that become one in God are not love and wisdom in the abstract. Think of them as a substance in him. God is the absolute, the first, and the only substance or essence that exists in itself and subsists of itself.

[5] "That everything is created out of divine love and wisdom is the meaning of the following words in John: The Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by it, and the world was made by it (John 1:1, 3, 10). God there means divine love and the Word means divine truth or divine wisdom. In that passage the Word is called light. Light, when it is said of God, means divine wisdom. "

After this, as I was saying goodbye, sparkles of light from the sun in that world came down through the angelic heavens into their eyes, and passed through their eyes into the dwellings of their minds. Enlightened in this way, they expressed agreement with what I had said. Afterward they accompanied me out to the entrance. My companion from before journeyed with me to the house where I was, and then went back up to his community.

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