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 # 78

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78. The third memorable occurrence. The next day an angel from some community in heaven came to me and said, "In our community we heard that you were summoned to a community close to ours because you were meditating on the creation of the universe and that you talked to them about creation. At the time they agreed with what you told them; later it also made them very happy. Now I will show you how God produced animals and plants of every kind. "

The angel took me down to a huge green meadow and said, "Look around. "

I looked around and I saw birds of gorgeous colors. Some were flying, some were sitting on trees, and some were down in the meadow plucking the petals off roses. Among the birds there were also doves and swans.

These things vanished from my sight and then I saw not far from me flocks of sheep and lambs and of kids and nanny goats. Around the flocks I saw herds of cattle and calves, as well as camels and mules. In a grove I saw deer with tall antlers and also unicorns.

After I had seen that, the angel said, "Turn your face to the east. "

I saw a garden with fruit trees - orange trees, lemon trees, olive trees, grapevines, fig trees, pomegranate trees - and also shrubs with berries.

Then the angel said, Now look to the south.

I saw crops of various kinds - wheat, millet, barley, and beans. Around them I saw flowerbeds of roses with beautifully varied colors. To the north, however, I saw woods full of chestnut trees, palms, linden trees, sycamores, and other leafy trees.

[2] When I had seen that, the angel said, "All the things you saw correspond to different feelings of love felt by the angels who are nearby. "

He listed the feeling each thing corresponded to.

"In fact," he went on, "those things are not the only correspondences. Everything else that takes a visible form before our eyes is also a correspondence: our homes, the useful things in them, the tables and food, the clothing, and even the gold and silver coins. Likewise the diamonds and other jewels that adorn married and unmarried women in the heavens. From all the above we become aware of the quality of love and wisdom in each person. The things that are in our homes and support our usefulness there stay the same; but for people who wander from community to community, things like this change as the people's relationships change.

[3] "The purpose of showing you these things was for you to be able to see the whole of creation from a particular instance. God is absolute love and absolute wisdom. His love includes an infinite number of feelings. His wisdom includes an infinite number of perceptions. The correspondences of those feelings and perceptions are all the things that appear on earth. This is where the birds and animals come from. This is where the trees and shrubs come from. This is where the grains and crops come from. This is where the plants and grasses come from.

"God is not extended but he is everywhere in what is extended. He is in the universe from beginning to end. Because he is omnipresent, correspondences of the qualities of his love and wisdom are found everywhere in the physical world. In our world, called the spiritual world, there are similar correspondences surrounding those who receive feelings and perceptions from God. The difference is that in our world God creates things of this kind in a moment to match the feelings of angels, while in your world things like this were originally created in a similar way but there was a provision for their perennial renewal from generation to generation; and so creation goes on.

[4] "The reason why there is instantaneous creation in our world while in yours there is a creation that continues across generations is that the atmospheres and soils in our world are spiritual while those in your world are physical. Physical things were created to cover spiritual things the way animal or human skin covers the body, inner and outer bark cover tree trunks and branches, membranes and meninges cover brains, sheaths cover nerves, coatings cover nerve fibers, and so on. For this reason all things in your world have constancy and perennially return. "

Then the angel added, "Pass on what you have seen and heard here to the inhabitants of your world. Until now they have been in total ignorance about the spiritual world. Yet without being notified of it no one could even guess, let alone know, that in our world creation is still going on and that when God first created the universe something very similar to this happened in your world. "

[5] After that we talked about a number of different things, eventually including hell. None of the things seen in heaven is seen in hell. Hell has only their opposites, because the feelings of love there, which are yearnings for evil, are opposite to the feelings of love the angels have. Around individuals in hell, and generally in the deserts there, there appear flying creatures of the night such as bats, screech owls, and other owls. There are also wolves, leopards, tigers, rats, and mice. There are poisonous snakes of all kinds, as well as dragons and crocodiles. Where there is any vegetation, brambles, stinging nettles, thorns, thistles, and certain poisonous plants spring up. Alternately the vegetation disappears and you see only stones in piles and swamps where frogs croak.

All the above are also correspondences, but correspondences to the feelings of love in hell, which as I said before are yearnings for evil.

These things in hell are not created by God. Where things like this exist in the physical world, they were not created by God either - all the things that God created and creates were and are good. As hell came into existence, hellish things came into existence on earth. Hell consists of people who turned away from God and became devils and satans after death.

But talking about horrible things began to hurt our ears, so we turned our thoughts away from them and recalled again what we had seen in the heavens.

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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.