2. The one God is substance itself and form itself. Angels and people are substances and forms from him. To the extent that they are in him and he is in them, to that extent they are images and likenesses of him.

Because God is the underlying reality, he is also substance. Unless the underlying reality becomes substance it is a figment of the imagination; but as a substance it becomes an entity. And one who is substance is also form, for substance without form is another figment of the imagination. We can attribute both of these to God, provided he is seen as the sole, the only, and the archetypal substance and form.

The work Divine Love and Wisdom, published in Amsterdam in 1763, demonstrates that God’s form is the human form itself, that is, that God is the Human Being, and all God’s attributes are infinite. That work also shows that angels and people are substances and forms that have been created and arranged to receive divine qualities flowing into them through heaven. In the Book of Creation they are called images and likenesses of God (Genesis 1:26–27). Elsewhere they are called God’s children and people born of God.

As the sequence of topics in this book will show in many ways, the more we live under divine guidance, meaning the more we submit to God’s leading, the more and more deeply we become an image of God.

If human minds do not form an idea of God as the archetypal substance and form, and of God’s form as the Human Form itself, they render themselves highly susceptible to delusions and speculations about God, about the development of the human race, and about the creation of the world. Their thought of God is restricted to a thought of the expanse of nature underlying the universe, or else a thought about emptiness or nothing at all.

The development of the human race they think of as a lucky coincidence—elements just happened to come together in this form. As for the creation of the world, they see its substances and forms as originating in geometry’s points and then lines; and because these are nondimensional and one-dimensional they are actually nothing. In such minds, everything that has to do with the church is like the river Styx or the thick darkness in Tartarus.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 20


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