Angels always face the Lord as the sun, so south is on their right, north on their left, and west behind them

All these statements about angels and the way they face the Lord as the sun should also be understood as applying to us spiritually, since we are spirits as to our minds, and angels if we are engaged in love and wisdom.

So after death, when we shed the outer forms we have derived from the physical world, we become spirits or angels. Since angels do constantly face the sunrise (the Lord), we say of people who are engaged in love and wisdom from the Lord that they see God, that they look to God, and that they have God before their eyes, meaning that they are living like angels.

We say these things in this world both because that is what is really happening in heaven and because that is what is actually happening in our spirits. Do we not all look straight ahead at God when we pray, no matter which way we are facing?

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 129

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7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence (Continued)

The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more fully we are in God because of God’s omnipresence. Because God is omnipresent he is intrinsically present, so to speak, everywhere in his divine design, in the sense that he is the divine design, as we showed above (Sections 52–53). Now, because we have been created as forms of the divine design, God is in us. But this is true only to the extent that we fully follow the divine design in the way we live. When we do not follow that design in the way we live, God is still in us, but is only in the highest parts of us, making it possible for us to understand what is true and intend what is good. That is, he gives us a capacity to understand and an inclination to love. The more we go against the divine design in the way we live, however, the more we bar the lower levels of our minds or spirits and prevent God from descending into them and filling them with his presence. As a result, God is in us but we are not in God.

There is a common saying in heaven: God is in all of us, the evil as well as the good, but we are not in God unless we follow the divine design in the way we live. The Lord says that he wants us to be in him and him to be in us (John 15:4).

When we follow the divine design in the way we live we are in God, because God is omnipresent in the universe and in everything within it at the inmost level, since things on the inmost level are in the divine design. Things that go against the divine design are all outside that inmost level. On the outer levels God’s omnipresence takes the form of an ongoing struggle with things that are against the divine design, and a constant effort to restore them to the divine design. The more we allow ourselves to be restored to the divine design, the more thoroughly present God is in each of us; consequently to a greater extent God is in us and we are in God.

It is no more possible for God to be absent from us than it is for the sun (through its heat and light) to be absent from our earth. The living things on earth, however, do not always feel the sun’s power. To feel it, they have to receive both the heat and the light that radiate from the sun, as they do in spring and summer. This situation is applicable to God’s omnipresence as well. The more we are in harmony with the divine design, the more spiritual heat and light, or to put it another way, the more of love’s goodness and wisdom’s true perspective we have.

Spiritual heat and light are not, however, like physical heat and light. During the winters, the amount of physical heat available to the world and the objects in it diminishes. During the nights, the amount of light diminishes. This happens because the earth makes units of time with its rotations and its orbit. Spiritual heat and light do not behave the same way. Through his sun and its heat and light God is always present and does not go through changes the way the sun of our solar system appears to do. We ourselves turn away from God much the way the earth turns away from the sun. When we turn away from wisdom’s true perspective we are like the earth turning away from the sun by night. When we turn away from the goodness of love we are like the earth turning away from the sun in winter. The useful effects of the sun in the physical world correspond in this way to the useful effects of the sun in the spiritual world.

from True Christianity, Section 70

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence (Continued)

The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more wisdom about goodness and truth we receive from God’s omniscience. This is because all love for goodness and all wisdom about truth come from God. To put it another way, all the goodness of love and all the truth belonging to wisdom come from God—all the churches in the Christian world profess that it is so. Therefore we cannot inwardly have any true wisdom except from God, because God has omniscience, that is, infinite wisdom.

The human mind is divided into three levels, just as the angelic heaven is. The mind has the capability of being raised to a higher level and to another level higher still. Then again the mind can be brought down to a lower level and to another level lower still. As our minds are raised to the higher levels, we come into wisdom, because we come into the light of heaven. The mind cannot be raised except by God. The more our minds are raised to heaven, the more human we are. The more our minds are brought down to the lower levels, the more we come into the faint, deceptive light of hell. There we are not human, we are animals. (This is why people stand upright on their feet and look with their faces toward the sky, and are even capable of looking directly overhead. Animals, however, stand on their feet with their bodies parallel to the ground, looking down to the ground with their whole head, and only with difficulty can they raise their heads toward the sky.)

If we lift our minds to God and acknowledge that all true wisdom comes from him, and we also follow the divine design in the way we live, we are like someone standing at the top of a tall building, who looks out on a crowded city below and watches what is happening in the streets. If, however, we are utterly convinced that all true wisdom comes from ourselves, from our own earthly light, we are like someone at the bottom of that same tall building who lurks in a room below ground looking at the same city through little holes in the wall, able to see the wall of only one of the houses in the city and to examine how its bricks are mortared.

When God is the source we draw on for wisdom, we are like a bird flying high, looking around at everything in the gardens, forests, and villages, and flying toward whatever we need. When we ourselves are the source we draw on for things related to wisdom without believing that those things actually come from God, we are like a hornet that flies near the ground and, on seeing a dunghill, lands there and enjoys the stench.

As long as we are living in the world, we all walk midway between heaven and hell. Therefore we are in an equilibrium. We can freely choose to look either upward to God or downward to hell. If we look upward to God, we recognize that all wisdom is from God and that in our spirits we are actually with angels in heaven. If we look downward (as we inevitably do if we have false thinking from an evil heart), in our spirits we are actually with devils in hell.

from True Christianity, Section 69

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence

The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more power we receive from God’s omnipotence to fight against forms of evil and falsity, because no one can resist evils or the falsities that go with them except God alone. All forms of evil and falsity are from hell. There they stick together as one thing, exactly the same way all forms of goodness and truth do in heaven.

As we said above (Section 65), to God the totality of heaven is like one human being. On the other hand, hell is like one giant monster. Going against one evil and its falsity is going against that whole giant monster of hell—no one can do it except God, because he is omnipotent.

Clearly then, unless we seek help from God Almighty we have no more power of our own against evil and falsity than a fish has against the ocean, or a gnat against a whale, or a piece of dust against a mountain that is falling on it. On our own, the power we have against evil is much smaller than the power a locust has against an elephant or a fly against a camel. Furthermore, our power against evil and falsity is even weaker because we are born into evil. Evil cannot act against itself.

Therefore we have to follow the divine design in the way we live. We have to acknowledge God, his omnipotence, and our resulting safety from hell, and do our part to fight against the evil that is with us; this acknowledgment and this fighting go together as part of the divine design. Otherwise we cannot help being plunged into hell and swallowed up; and once there, we cannot help being driven by evils, one after the other, like a little rowboat on the sea being pushed around by storms.

from True Christianity, Section 68

6. Human beings were created as forms of the divine design (Continued)

Before creation, God was love itself and wisdom itself. That love and that wisdom had a drive to be useful. Without usefulness, love and wisdom are only fleeting abstract entities, and they do indeed fly away if they do not move in the direction of usefulness. The two prior things without the third [love and wisdom without usefulness] are like birds flying across a great ocean that eventually become worn out, fall into the ocean, and drown.

God created the universe so that usefulness could exist. Therefore the universe could be called a theater of useful functions. Because we, the human race, are the principal reason for creation, it follows that absolutely everything else was created for our sake. All aspects of the divine design have been brought together and concentrated in us so that God can perform the highest forms of useful service through us.

Without usefulness as a third party, love and wisdom would be as unreal as the heat and light of the sun would be if they had no effect on people, animals, and plants. That heat and that light become real by flowing into things and having an effect on them.

Another set of three things that follow in order is purpose, means, and result. The learned world knows that a purpose is nothing unless it has reference to an efficient cause or means; and the purpose and the means are nothing unless there is a result. We can of course contemplate a purpose and the means of accomplishing it purely in our minds, but we still do so only for the sake of the result that the purpose intends and that the means make possible.

Likewise with love, wisdom, and useful service. Useful service is what love intends and what it occasions through the means. When useful service results, love and wisdom take on a real existence. In that useful service, they set up a place for themselves to live and stay, and there they rest as if they were at home. We are that way ourselves when God’s love and wisdom are in us and we do something useful. The reason we were created images and likenesses of God, or forms of the divine design, was so that we would be able to do God’s useful services.

from True Christianity, Section 67

6. Human beings were created as forms of the divine design (Continued)

It is important to know that everything that radiates from the sun around Jehovah God in the spiritual world relates to humanness. Therefore all things that take shape in that world combine to make a human form, and at their deepest level present that form themselves. As a result, all the objects that take shape there before the eyes are symbolic of a human being.

There are animals of every kind in that world. They are likenesses of the feelings of love and the resulting thoughts that angels have. The same goes for the tree gardens, flower gardens, and lawns and meadows there. The angels are also given insights about what feeling this or that object represents. Surprisingly, when their inner sight is opened up they recognize an image of themselves in the things around them. This happens because all people are their own love and their own thought. In everyone there are a variety and multiplicity of feelings and thoughts, some of which relate to the feeling embodied in one animal, and some to the feeling embodied in another. Therefore images of the angels’ feelings take shape in that way. There will be more on this topic in the part of this chapter on creation (Sections 75–80).

From all this the truth becomes clear that the purpose of creation was [to provide for] an angelic heaven from the human race—humankind as a resting place for God to inhabit. And this is why human beings were created as forms of the divine design.

from True Christianity, Section 66

6. Human beings were created as forms of the divine design

We have been created as forms of the divine design because we have been created as images and likenesses of God, and since God is the design itself, we have therefore been created as images and likenesses of that design.

The divine design originally took shape, and it continues to exist, from two sources: divine love and divine wisdom. We human beings have been created as vessels for these two things. Therefore the design that divine love and wisdom follow in acting upon the universe, and especially upon the angelic heaven, has been built into us.

As a result, heaven in its entirety is a form of the divine design in its largest possible manifestation. In the sight of God, heaven is like one human being. The correspondence between heaven and a human being is in fact complete. There are no communities in heaven that do not answer to some part, some internal or external organ, of the human body. For this reason a given community in heaven is said to be in the province of the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the stomach, the eye, the ear, or the tongue, and so on. In fact, the angels themselves know which specific area within a given part of the human body they inhabit. I was given an opportunity to learn about this from living experience. I saw a community of several thousand angels together in the form of one human being. From that experience it became clear to me that heaven as a whole is an image of God, and an image of God is a form of the divine design.

from True Christianity, Section 65

5. God is omnipresent in his design from beginning to end (Continued)

The divine omnipresence can be illustrated by the amazing way angels and spirits become present to each other in the spiritual world. Because there is no [physical] space in that world—there is only apparent space—an angel or a spirit can be visibly present with another in a moment, provided she or he comes into the same state of love and thought [as that other], since love and thought create the appearance of space.

All who are in the spiritual world have this way of becoming present. This became clear to me from the fact that I was able to see people from Africa and India nearby in that world, although we were many thousands of miles apart on earth. In fact, I was able to become visibly present with people on planets in this solar system and even with people on planets in other solar systems beyond this one.

Through this method of being present not in a place but in the appearance of a place, I have spoken with apostles, and with deceased popes, emperors, and monarchs; with Luther, Calvin, and Melanchthon, the founders of the modern-day church; and with others from distant regions. If angels and spirits have such a method of being present, surely an infinite divine presence exists throughout the universe.

The reason angels and spirits have this method of being present is that every feeling of love and every resulting thought in the intellect is in space independently of space and in time independently of time. Any one of us can think about a sibling, a relative, or a friend who is in the Indies, and then focus on those people as if they were present with us. We can also feel love for them on the basis of our memories. These phenomena, which are known to us, illustrate the divine omnipresence to some extent.

The divine omnipresence can also be illustrated by human thoughts. When we call to mind things we saw at this or that place while traveling, it is as if we are present in those places again.

Indeed, our physical eyesight emulates this presence. It is unaware of an object’s distance except through things in between that provide a means of measuring. In fact, the sun itself would seem to be near to or even in our eye if things between us and the sun did not indicate that it is very far distant. People who have written on optics have recorded this phenomenon in their books.

The reason why our minds as well as our bodies have vision that can be present in this way is that our spirit sees through our spiritual eyes. Animals do not have a similar mental presence, however, since they have no spiritual sight. From all this it stands to reason that God is omnipresent in his design from beginning to end. That he is also omnipresent in hell was shown in the point before this one (Sections 61–62).

from True Christianity, Section 64

5. God is omnipresent in his design from beginning to end

God’s omnipresence in his design from beginning to end is a function of the heat and light from the sun that surrounds God in the spiritual world. The divine design was created through this sun. From it God sends forth a heat and a light that pervade the universe from beginning to end. That heat and that light give life to humankind and to every animal. They also produce the plant soul that every plant in the world possesses. The two flow into every single thing and cause it to live and grow according to the design assigned to it upon creation.

Because God is not extended and yet fills all things throughout the universe that are extended, he is omnipresent. I have shown elsewhere that God is in all space independently of space, and in all time independently of time (Section 30), and therefore the universe in its essence and design is the fullness of God. Therefore he senses all things through his omnipresence, he provides all things through his omniscience, and he produces all things through his omnipotence. Clearly then, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence are one; each presupposes the next. Therefore they cannot be separated.

from True Christianity, Section 63

4. God is omniscient; that is, he is aware of, sees, and knows everything down to the least detail that happens in keeping with the divine design, and by contrast is aware of, sees, and knows what goes against the divine design (Continued)

Keep in mind, however, that it is one thing to sense things that are opposite and another to sense things that are related. Opposites are things that stand outside and against the things that are inside. Something opposite first arises where one thing completely stops being anything and something else then arises that tries to act against the first thing, like one gear that opposes another gear, or a current that goes against another current. Related things, however, have to do with the arrangement of many different elements into a design so that they work together in harmony—for example, the gems of different colors in the sash across a queen’s chest, or the multicolored flowers used in a garland to please the eye. Each side, then, contains things that are related to each other. The side of good contains things that are related to each other, and so does the side of evil; the side of truth contains things that are related to each other, and so does the side of falsity. Things related to each other exist in heaven and they exist in hell, but the things related to each other in hell are all opposite to the things related to each other in heaven.

Now, because God is aware of, sees, and knows all related things in heaven based on the divine design in which he himself is, and as a result he is aware of, sees, and knows all the opposing related things in hell, as follows from what was just said, therefore it is clear that God is just as omniscient in hell as he is in heaven. He also has full knowledge of people in the world. He is aware of, sees, and knows our evils and falsities from the goodness and truth that he is in and that are essentially him. As the Word says, “If I ascend into the heavens, you are there. If I lie down in hell, behold, you are there” (Psalms 139:8). Elsewhere it says, “If they dig through into hell, from there my hand will take them” (Amos 9:2).

from True Christianity, Section 62