2. The recognition that God exists and that there is one God flows universally from God into human souls.

There is an inflow from God into us. This is obvious from everyone’s ready admission that everything good that is truly good and that exists in us and is done by us is from God. The same admission applies to everything related to goodwill and faith. For we read, “We cannot receive anything unless it is given to us from heaven” (John 3:27). And Jesus said, “Without me you cannot do anything” (John 15:5), meaning anything having to do with goodwill and faith.

This inflow comes into our souls because the soul is the inmost and highest part of us. The inflow from God reaches that part first and then comes down into the things below and enlivens them, depending on our openness to what flows in. Of course, truths that will become part of our faith do indeed flow in through our hearing and are implanted in our mind, which is below the soul; but all these truths do is prepare us to accept what flows in from God through our soul. The quality of that preparation determines the quality of our acceptance and of the transformation of our earthly faith into spiritual faith.

The notion that there is one God flows into our souls from God because everything that is divine, as a whole and in every detail, is God. And because everything that is divine is integrated into a unity, it cannot help but inspire in us the idea of one God. This idea grows ever stronger as God lifts us into the light of heaven. In angelic light, the angels cannot force themselves to say “gods.” In fact, every phrase of their speech ends rhythmically on a single beat, a phenomenon that arises from no other cause than the notion inflowing into their souls that there is one God.

Now, even though the idea of one God flows into all our souls, many of us think nonetheless that God’s divinity has been divided among many gods who share the same essence. This is because as that inflow comes down it takes forms that do not correspond to one another, and the forms themselves cause variation. This variation also occurs in every entity in the three kingdoms of nature. The same God who gives life to us gives life to every animal, so it is the form on the receiving end that makes the animal an animal and the human a human. A comparable variation happens when humans render their minds beastly. The sun flows the same way into every tree; the difference in trees is a result of each one’s form. The sun flows the same way into a grapevine as into a thorn bush, but if a thorn branch is grafted onto a grapevine, the inflow is changed and adapts to the form of the thorn branch.

A similar thing happens to the things in the mineral kingdom. The light that flows into a diamond and into a piece of limestone is the same; but in one it shines through while in the other it is darkened. Our minds are varied according to their forms, which are inwardly spiritual depending on our faith in God and also on our life from God. These forms become translucent and angelic when we believe in one God, but become opaque and beastly when we believe in many gods, which is virtually the same as not believing in God.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 8


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