Memorable Occurrence

To these points I will add the following memorable occurrence.

One time just after I woke up from sleeping I fell into a deep meditation on God. Looking up I saw above me in heaven an oval of intensely shining light. As I fixed my gaze on the light, it gradually receded toward the sides and merged into the periphery [of my vision].

Then, behold, heaven opened up to me! I saw magnificent things, and angels standing in a circle on the south side of the opening, talking to each other. Because a burning desire came over me to hear what they were saying, I was allowed to hear it—first the sound of it, which was full of heavenly love; then the conversation itself, which was full of the wisdom that goes with that love.

They were having a conversation about the only God, about being in partnership with God, and about the salvation that results. What they were saying was ineffable—most of it could not be expressed in the words of any earthly language. Several times before, however, I had been in gatherings of angels in heaven itself, and had been able to join in their conversation because I was then in a state similar to theirs. This enabled me to understand them now, and to select from their discussion a few points that could be expressed in a rational way using the words of earthly language.

They were saying that the underlying divine reality is united, uniform, absolute, and undivided. They used spiritual images as illustration.

They said, “The underlying divine reality cannot be divided into many entities, each of which possesses an underlying divine reality, and still remain united, uniform, absolute, and undivided. Otherwise each separate entity would think on its own from its own separate underlying divine reality. If it also happened to be of the same mind as the others, there would be a number of deities in agreement; there would not be one God. Agreement, or the consensus of many, each one acting on its own or by itself, is not an attribute of one God but of many.”

They did not say “gods” because they were unable to. It was suppressed by the light of heaven that shaped their thought and by the atmosphere in which their conversation took place. They also said that when they tried to utter the word “gods” and to describe each one as a person by himself, the effort to say that immediately veered off toward “one,” and in fact toward “the one only God.”

They added, “The underlying divine reality is a reality in itself, not from itself, because if it were from itself, that would imply an underlying reality that existed in itself from some prior underlying reality. It would mean there was a god from a god, which is not possible. What comes from God is called ‘divine,’ but it is not called ‘God.’ What is ‘a god from God,’ what is ‘an eternally begotten god from God,’ and what is ‘a god emanating from an eternally begotten god from God’ except words devoid of heavenly light?”

Later on they said, “The underlying divine reality, which in itself is God, is uniform—and uniform not just in a simple way but in an infinite number of ways. It is uniform from eternity to eternity. It is uniform everywhere, and it is uniform with everyone and in everyone. (It is the condition of the recipient that causes all the variety and change in reception.)”

The angels demonstrated the absoluteness of the underlying divine reality, which in itself is God, as follows: “God is the Absolute, because he is absolute love and absolute wisdom, or to put it another way, because he is absolute good and absolute truth. As a result, he is life itself. If these qualities were not absolute in God they would never exist in heaven or in the world, because they would be relatively nonexistent compared to the Absolute. Every quality is what it is because it comes from the Absolute, both as its source and as its point of reference.

“The Absolute (meaning the underlying divine reality) has no specific location. It is with those and in those who are in specific locations, depending on their locations. Love and wisdom, goodness and truth, and the life these qualities give are absolute in God; in fact, they are God himself. A specific location cannot be attributed to them, and neither can a progression from place to place as the source of their omnipresence. For this reason the Lord says he is in the midst of people [Matthew 18:20]; and he is in them and they are in him [John 6:56; 14:20; 15:4, 5].

“Nevertheless, no one can comprehend God as he is in himself. Therefore he is visible above the angelic heavens as a sun, which is the form his essence takes. He himself as wisdom emanates from that sun in the form of light, and he himself as love emanates from that sun in the form of heat. That sun is not God himself. The divine love and wisdom surrounding him as they first go forth from him come to angels’ view as a sun.

“The Absolute in that sun is the Human Being. It is our Lord Jesus Christ, including both the Divine Source and the Divine Human Manifestation. Since the Absolute, which is absolute love and absolute wisdom, was in him as his soul from the Father, therefore divine life or life in itself was in him. None of us is like this. The soul in us is not life; it is merely a vessel for receiving life.

“In fact, the Lord teaches this when he says, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ [John 14:6]; and in another passage, ‘As the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself’ (John 5:26). ‘Life in himself’ is God.”

They added that people who have any spiritual light at all can see from all this that the underlying divine reality cannot be shared among many, because it is united, uniform, absolute, and undivided. If anyone were to claim that the divine reality could be shared, further points that person made on the subject would contain obvious contradictions.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 25

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