Genesis 1:14, 15, 16, 17 (Continued)

Humans have two basic faculties: will and understanding. When the will regulates the understanding, the two together make one mind and as a result one life; under those circumstances, what we will and do is also what we think and intend. When the understanding is at odds with the will, though, as when we act in a way that contradicts what we claim to believe, our single mind is torn in two. One part wants to rise up to heaven while the other leans toward hell. And since the will drives everything, we would rush into hell heart and soul if the Lord did not take pity on us.

People who have separated faith from love do not even know what faith is. When they try to picture it, some see it merely as thought. Some view it only as thoughts about the Lord. A few equate it with the teachings of faith.

But faith is more than the knowledge and acknowledgment of all that is encompassed in the teachings of faith. First and foremost it is obedience to everything that faith teaches; and the primary thing faith teaches and requires our obedience to is love for the Lord and love for our neighbor. No one who lacks this possesses faith. The Lord teaches this so clearly in Mark that no one can doubt it:

The first of all the commandments is “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your powers.” This is the first commandment. A second, similar one, of course, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:28–34)

In Matthew he calls the former the first and great commandment and says that the Law and the Prophets depend on these commandments (Matthew 22:35–40). “The Law and the Prophets” are the teachings of faith, all-inclusively, and the whole Word.

The words the lights will act as signals and will be used for seasons both for the days and for the years contain more hidden information than can be spelled out in the present work, even though none of it appears in the literal meaning. The only thing to be said at this time is that spiritual and heavenly things—as a group and individually—go through cycles, for which the daily and yearly cycles are metaphors. The daily cycle begins in the morning, extends to midday, then to evening, and through night to morning. The corresponding annual cycle begins with spring, extends to summer, then to fall, and through winter to spring.

These changes create changes in temperature and light and in the earth’s fertility, which are used as metaphors for changes in spiritual and heavenly conditions. Without change and variation, life would be monotonous and consequently lifeless. There would be no recognition or differentiation of goodness and truth, let alone any awareness of them.

The celestial cycles are called “statutes” in the prophets, as in Jeremiah:

The word spoken by Jehovah, who gives the sun as light for the day, the statutes of moon and stars as light for the night: “These statutes will not depart from before me.” (Jeremiah 31:35, 36)

And in the same prophet:

This is what Jehovah has said: “If my compact with day and night should cease, if I should cease to set the statutes of heaven and earth . . .” (Jeremiah 33:25)

from Regeneration, Pages 140, 141


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