The Essence of God: 4. Love and wisdom are united in God. (Continued)

It is also important to know that there are three levels of love and wisdom, and therefore there are three levels of life. The human mind is formed into areas that go with these levels. The life in the highest area of the mind is the highest level of life. The life in the middle area of the mind is a lesser level of life. The life in the lowest area of the mind is the lowest level of life.

These areas in us are opened one after the other. The lowest area of the mind, where there is the lowest level of life, is opened during childhood and adolescence, by means of factual information. The second area of the mind, where there is a greater level of life, is opened during adolescence and early adulthood, by means of thought that builds on factual information. The highest area of the mind, where there is the highest level of life, is opened during early adulthood, middle age, and beyond, by means of perceiving both moral and spiritual truths.

Another important thing to know is that life in its greatest perfection is not thinking; it is perceiving truth in the light of truth. The level of this perception in people can be used to determine what level of life they have. For example, there are people who, immediately upon hearing something true, perceive the truth of it. In the spiritual world they are represented as eagles. Then there are people who do not perceive what is true, but they do arrive at truth from argumentation based on other things that are apparent. They are represented as songbirds. There are people who believe something to be true because it was decreed by a man in authority. They are represented as jays or magpies.

There are also some who are unwilling and others who are unable to perceive what is true; they can perceive only what is false. The reason is that the light they are in is faint and deceptive. In that light what is false seems true, and what is true seems like something hidden in a thick cloud overhead or like a shooting star; or else it just seems false. Such people’s thoughts are represented as night birds, and their speaking as screech owls. Those among them who have become adamant in their own false impressions cannot stand to hear things that are true. As soon as anything true reaches the outermost part of their ear, they reject it in disgust much the way a nauseous stomach distended with bile will regurgitate food.

from True Christianity, Section 42

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The Essence of God: 4. Love and wisdom are united in God.

All the goodness of love and goodwill comes from God, and so does all the truth of wisdom and of faith, as any wise person in the church knows. In fact, all human reason is capable of seeing that this is true, once it is aware that love and wisdom originate in the sun that surrounds Jehovah God in the spiritual world; or to put it another way, once it is aware that love and wisdom come from Jehovah God through the sun that surrounds him. The heat radiating from that sun is essentially love, and the light radiating from it is essentially wisdom. From this it becomes as clear as day that love and wisdom are united at their source—namely, God, who is the origin of that sun.

This point can be visualized [by thinking] of the sun in the physical world. It is nothing but fire. Heat radiates from its fieriness; light radiates from the glow of its fieriness. At the outset, then, heat and light are one.

As they radiate, however, they are separated, as you can tell from the fact that some objects they strike take in more heat and some more light. A more extreme separation occurs in us. With us, the light of life (intelligence) and the heat of life (love) are distinct. This separation exists because we need to be reformed and regenerated, and this will not happen unless the light of life, or intelligence, teaches us what we should want and what we should love.

It is important to know that God is continually building a partnership between love and wisdom in us, but if we are not facing God and believing in him, we ourselves are constantly separating the two. The greater the partnership within us, then, between these two things—the goodness of love or of goodwill and the truth of wisdom or of faith—the more we become an image of God and are raised toward heaven and even into heaven where the angels are. On the other hand, the more these two things are separated in us, the more we become an image of Lucifer and of the dragon and are cast down from heaven to earth and then below the earth into hell.

When love and wisdom have a partnership in us, we become like a tree in springtime, when heat joins equally with light to make the tree bud, flower, and bear fruit. On the other hand, when love and wisdom are separated in us we become like a tree in winter, when heat withdraws from light, making the tree bare and bald of all its foliage.

When spiritual heat, or love, withdraws from spiritual light, or wisdom, or equally when goodwill withdraws from faith, we become like humus that rots and becomes acidic—worms breed in it, and if seedlings come up at all, their leaves are covered with little leaf-eating grubs. Then enticements to love evil, which are really cravings, burst forth in us. Rather than controlling and restraining them, our intelligence loves them, takes care of them, and feeds them.

In a word, to separate love and wisdom or goodwill and faith—two things God is constantly trying to bring together—is comparable to taking all the redness out of a face so that it becomes as pale as death, or taking all the whiteness away from the redness so that the face becomes as inflamed as a firebrand.

Separating love and wisdom is also comparable to breaking a couple’s marriage bond and turning the wife into a prostitute and the husband into an adulterer. Love is like a husband, and so is goodwill; wisdom is like a wife, and so is faith. Their being separated causes spiritual prostitution and whoring, in the form of falsifying what is true and contaminating what is good.

from True Christianity, Section 41

The Essence of God: 3. Because God is love itself and wisdom itself, he is life itself, or life in itself.

The Gospel of John says, “The Word was with God, and the Word was God. In it there was life, and that life was the light for humankind” (John 1:1, 4). “God” in this case means divine love, and “the Word” means divine wisdom. Divine wisdom is actually life, and life is actually the light that radiates from the sun in the spiritual world—the sun that surrounds Jehovah God.

Divine love produces life the way fire produces light. Fire has two qualities: burning and shining. Its burning radiates heat and its shining radiates light. Likewise love has two qualities. The burning quality of fire corresponds to one of them; it is something that affects our will at the deepest level. The shining quality of fire corresponds to the other; it is something that affects our intellect at the deepest level. This is where our love and intelligence come from, because, as I have said several times now, the heat that radiates from the sun in the spiritual world is essentially love, and its light is essentially wisdom. That love and that wisdom flow into each and every thing in the universe and affect them at the deepest level. In us, they flow into our will and intellect; both were created as vessels to receive what flows in, the will as a vessel for love and the intellect as a vessel for wisdom.

From all this three points emerge: that our life finds its home in our intellect; that that life is only as good as our wisdom; and that that life is modified by the love in our will.

We also read in John, “As the Father has life in himself, so he also granted the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26). This means that as the Divine itself that has existed from eternity is alive in itself, so also the human aspect that it acquired in time is alive in itself. “Life in itself” means the absolute and only life from which all angels and people on earth are alive.

Our reason is capable of seeing this in relation to the light that radiates from the sun in the physical world. That light cannot be created, but the forms for receiving it can. Our eyes are forms tuned to receive that light. When the light flows in from the sun, we see. It is similar with life. Life, as I just pointed out, is light radiating from the sun in the spiritual world. That light too cannot be created, but it is at all times flowing in. As it enlightens our intellect, it also brings it to life. Because light, life, and wisdom are one, wisdom cannot be created either, nor can faith, truth, love, goodwill, or goodness; but forms for receiving those things have been created. They are human and angelic minds.

Be very careful, then, not to convince yourself that you are alive from yourself—do not think you are wise, have faith, are loving, perceive truth, or will or do what is good from yourself. As people do convince themselves of these things, they cast their mind down from heaven to earth and change from being spiritual to being oriented to nature, their own senses, and their own body. They close the higher regions of their mind. Doing so blinds them to everything having to do with God, heaven, or the church. Then whatever they happen to think, reason, or say on these subjects is ridiculous, because they are in the dark.

At the same time, ironically, they gain greater confidence in the wisdom of their perspective. Since the higher regions of their mind are closed, where the true light of life makes its home, a lower region of their mind opens up that is attuned only to the glimmer of the world. That glimmer, devoid of light from the higher regions, is faint and deceptive. In it, false things seem true and true things false; argumentation on false premises seems like wisdom, and on true premises seems like madness. People like this truly believe they have the visual powers of an eagle, when in fact they cannot see what comes from wisdom any more than a bat can see in broad daylight.

from True Christianity, Sections 39, 40

The Essence of God: 2. Because goodness comes from love and truth comes from wisdom, God is goodness itself and truth itself.

Everyone knows that all things relate to goodness and truth (which is an indication that all things come from love and wisdom). Everything derived from love is called good. It feels good. Love reveals itself in pleasure, and pleasure feels good to everyone. Everything derived from wisdom is called true. Wisdom, which consists of nothing but truths, casts its subjects in a delightful light. When we perceive that delight, something true is coming from something good.

Love is all things that are good combined, and wisdom is all things that are true combined. Both sets of things are from God, who is love itself and therefore goodness itself, and wisdom itself and therefore truth itself.

As a result, there are two things that are essential to the church, called goodwill and faith. Each and every thing in the church consists of these two; in fact, these two have to be in each and every aspect of the church. The reason for this is that all good things related to the church have to do with goodwill and are called goodwill; and all true things related to the church have to do with faith and are called faith. It is our pleasure in love, which is the same as our pleasure in goodwill, that makes us call love good. It is our delight in wisdom, which is the same as our delight in having faith, that makes us call a true thing true. This pleasure and this delight bring those qualities to life; without any life coming from pleasure or delight, goodness and truth are more or less dead, and are in fact sterile.

There are actually two kinds of pleasure having to do with love, and two kinds of delight that seem related to wisdom: the pleasure of a good kind of love or the pleasure of an evil kind of love; and a delight in true faith or a delight in false faith. People call the pleasure from each kind of love a good thing when they feel it; they also call the delight from each kind of faith a good thing when they perceive it, although because it is in the intellect it is actually true rather than good. Yet the two kinds are opposite to each other. When we feel good from the one type of love, it is actually good, but from the other type, it is actually evil. When we see truth in the one type of faith it is actually true, but in the other type, it is false.

The love in which we feel a genuinely good pleasure is comparable to the type of heat from the sun that makes plants fruitful and thriving, and causes fertile soil, and productive trees and grains. Where this type of heat is in effect, the land becomes like a paradise, a garden of Jehovah, or the [biblical] land of Canaan. The delight we feel in the truth related to this love is like the sunlight in spring, or like a ray of light shining on a crystal vase of gorgeous flowers, causing them to open and give off a sweet fragrance.

The love in which we feel an evil pleasure is comparable to the type of heat from the sun that makes plants dry and withered, and causes sterile soil and harmful plants like thorns and brambles. Where this type of heat is in effect, the land becomes an Arabian desert with serpents, hydras, and presters. The delight we feel in the falsity related to this love is like sunlight in winter, or like a ray of light shining on a jar of maggots and stinkbugs swimming in vinegar.

It is important to realize that everything good structures itself, and also envelops itself, with things that are true. This is how it differentiates itself from other types of good. Furthermore, types of good from the same “family” join together to form bundles, and also envelop their bundles, in order to differentiate themselves from other types of good. This method of formation is clear from all parts of the human body, large and small.

A similar thing happens in the human mind, as should be inferable from the constant correspondence of all things related to the mind with all things related to the body. It follows that on the inside the human mind is constructed of spiritual substances, and on the outside, of earthly substances and finally physical materials. The mind that feels a good kind of pleasure from love is inwardly made of spiritual substances like those in heaven. The mind that feels an evil kind of pleasure from love is inwardly made of spiritual substances like those in hell. The evil things in the latter mind are in bundles tied with falsities. The good things in the former mind are in bundles tied with truths. Since this is how good things are bound together, and evil things as well, the Lord says that “the tares need to be gathered into bundles for burning, and so do all things that offend” (Matthew 13:30, 40, 41; John 15:6).

from True Christianity, Section 38

The Essence of God: 1. God is love itself and wisdom itself.

These two constitute his essence. All the infinite things in God and all the infinite things radiating from him relate to two essentials: love and wisdom. Our earliest ancestors saw this relationship. In the sequence of ages that then followed, however, people removed their minds from heaven, so to speak, and plunged them into worldly and bodily preoccupations, with the result that people became unable to see this relationship. They began not to know what love is in its essence, and therefore what wisdom is in its essence. They forgot that without a form there is no love, because love operates in forms and through them.

God is substance itself and form itself, and is therefore the first and only substance and form, whose essence is love and wisdom. All things that were made, were made by God [John 1:3]. It follows, therefore, that it was from love by means of wisdom that God created the universe and each and every thing in it. As a result, divine love together with divine wisdom is present in every single entity that has been created. Furthermore, love is the essence that not only forms all things but also bonds and unites them to each other; therefore love is the force that holds all things in connection.

Countless things in the world could be used to illustrate this. For example, there are two essential and universal things through which each and every thing on earth comes into existence and continues to exist: the heat and the light of the sun. They are present in the world because they correspond to divine love and wisdom. The heat that radiates from the sun in the spiritual world is in fact essentially love, and its light is essentially wisdom.

As further illustration, take the two essential and universal things through which human minds come into existence and continue to exist: the will and the intellect. The mind of each of us consists of these two things. They are present and operative in each and every detail of the mind. This is because the will is a vessel and a dwelling place for love, and the intellect is a vessel and a dwelling place for wisdom. Will and intellect therefore correspond to the divine love and the divine wisdom from which they originate.

For another illustration I could use the two essential and universal things through which human bodies come into existence and continue to exist: the heart and the lungs, or the systolic and diastolic motions of the heart and the respiration of the lungs. It is a known fact that these two pairs of motions are at work in each and every detail of our bodies. This happens because the heart corresponds to love and the lungs to wisdom, a correspondence that is fully demonstrated in Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom, published in Amsterdam.

Countless examples in both worlds, spiritual and physical, can convince us that love produces or begets all forms like a bridegroom and husband, by means of wisdom as a bride and wife. For now I will mention this example alone: the whole angelic heaven is arranged into the form it takes, and is kept in it, by divine love acting through divine wisdom.

People who attribute the creation of the world to any other force than divine love acting through divine wisdom, and who do not realize that these two qualities constitute the essence of God, descend from the sight of reason to the mere sight of the eye. They embrace nature as the creator of the universe; as a result they conceive monsters and give birth to phantoms. The thoughts they have are false, they use them as the basis of their reasoning, and the conclusions they reach are eggs with night birds inside. People like this cannot be called minds; they are eyes and ears without an intellect, or thoughts without a soul. They speak of colors as if they could exist without light; of trees as if they could exist without having been seeds; of all things on earth as if they could exist without the sun. Such people designate things begun as beginnings, and things caused as causes. They turn everything upside down, put their reason to sleep, and see dreams.

from True Christianity, Section 37

The Essence of God: Divine Love and Wisdom

I have drawn a distinction between God’s underlying reality and God’s essence because there is a difference between God’s infinity and God’s love. Infinity pertains to God’s underlying reality; love pertains to God’s essence. As I said above [Sections 18, 21], God’s underlying reality is more universal than God’s essence. Likewise, God’s infinity is more universal than God’s love. “Infinite” is an adjective modifying God’s attributes and the components of God’s essence. All these are said to be infinite. In the same way, divine love is said to be infinite, and so are divine wisdom and divine power. I do not mean that God’s underlying reality came about before God’s essence, but rather that it is an ingredient or component of that essence that is connected with that essence, that gives that essence direction, and that forms and also elevates that essence.

This part of this chapter, like the parts that went before, will be divided into points, as follows:

1. God is love itself and wisdom itself. These two constitute his essence.

2. Because goodness comes from love and truth comes from wisdom, God is goodness itself and truth itself.

3. Love itself and wisdom itself are life itself, or life in itself.

4. Love and wisdom are united in God.

5. The essence of love is loving others who are outside of oneself, wanting to be one with them, and blessing them from oneself.

6. These essential characteristics of divine love were the reason the universe was created, and they are the reason it is maintained.

I will take up these points one by one.

from True Christianity, Section 36

The Lord The Redeemer: 9. From now on, no Christians will go to heaven unless they believe in the Lord God the Savior and turn to him alone. (Continued)

To further support this point I will relate some things that I know and can testify to because I have seen them.

Today a new angelic heaven is being built by the Lord. It is being made up of those who believe in the Lord God the Savior and who go directly to him; the rest are rejected. From now on if any from the Christian world come into the spiritual world (as happens to us all after we die) and they do not believe in the Lord, do not turn to him alone, and are unable at that point to change in this regard because they have lived in evil ways or have convinced themselves of falsities, when they take their first step toward heaven they are pushed back. Their face is turned away from heaven toward the lower earth. They go off in that direction and join up with spirits in the lower earth who are meant by the dragon and the false prophet in the Book of Revelation.

From now on all people from Christian areas who do not believe in the Lord are not going to be listened to, either. In heaven their prayers are like foul smells and like belches from damaged lungs. If people like that think their own prayer is like burning frankincense, nevertheless it does not reach the angelic heaven any more effectively than would the smoke from a fire that was blown back into their eyes by a storm coming down. Or their praying is like burning incense in a censer under a monk’s robe.

This is what is going to happen from this time on with all piety that is directed to a separated Trinity rather than a united one.

The main point of this book is that the divine Trinity is united in the Lord.

Here I will add something previously unknown. Several months ago the Lord called together the twelve apostles and sent them out into the whole spiritual world just as they had been sent out before to the physical world. Their assignment was to preach this gospel. Each apostle was assigned a territory to cover. They are carrying out their assignment with complete enthusiasm and energy.

These topics will be specifically covered in the last chapter of this book on the close of the age, the Coming of the Lord, and the New Church [Sections 753–791].

from True Christianity, Section 108

The Lord The Redeemer: 9. From now on, no Christians will go to heaven unless they believe in the Lord God the Savior and turn to him alone. (Continued)

People will live in the Lord and the Lord in them (John 14:20; 15:1–5; 17:23), a situation that is brought about by faith.

To both Jews and Greeks Paul proclaimed repentance before God and belief in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Those who believe in the Son believe in the Father, since as we said above, the Father is in the Son like a soul in a body. The following passages make this clear:

If you had known me you would have known my Father also. (John 8:19; 14:7)

Those who see me see the One who sent me. (John 12:45)

Those who receive me receive the One who sent me. (John 13:20)

This is because no one can see the Father and live (Exodus 33:20), which is why the Lord says,

No one has ever seen God. The only begotten Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, has made him visible. (John 1:18)

No one has seen the Father except the One who is with the Father. He has seen the Father. (John 6:46)

You have never heard the voice of the Father or seen what he looks like. (John 5:37)

There are those of course who know nothing about the Lord, such as most people who are in those two great parts of the world called Asia and Africa, as well as in the Indies, for example. If they believe in one God and follow the principles of their religion in their lives they are saved by their faith and by their life. Spiritual credit or blame applies only to those who know; it does not apply to those who do not. We do not blame the blind for tripping. As the Lord says, “If you had been blind you would have had no sin; but now that you say you see, your sin remains” (John 9:41).

from True Christianity, Section 107

The Lord The Redeemer: 9. From now on, no Christians will go to heaven unless they believe in the Lord God the Savior and turn to him alone.

We read in Isaiah, “Behold, I am creating a new heaven and a new earth, and the earlier heaven and earth will not be remembered or overwhelm the heart. Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a rejoicing and its people a joy” (Isaiah 65:17). In the Book of Revelation we read, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and I saw the holy Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride for her husband. And the One sitting on the throne said, ‘Behold, I will make all things new’” (Revelation 21:1, 2, 5). A number of times we read that no one can come into heaven except the people who have been written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). “Heaven” in these passages does not mean the visible heaven or sky that is before our eyes; it means the angelic heaven. “Jerusalem” does not mean some city from the sky; it means the church that will descend out of the angelic heaven from the Lord. Lamb’s book of life” does not mean a book written in heaven that will be opened; it means the Word, which is from the Lord and is about him.

In fact, the reason why Jehovah God, who is called “the Creator” and “the Father,” came down and took on a human manifestation was so that we could turn to him and form a partnership with him, a point I have supported, proven, and established with the previous statements in this chapter.

When we go to see someone, we do not go to the person’s soul. Who would be able to go to someone’s soul? No, we go to the actual person. We see the person eye to eye and talk with the person face to face. It is the same with God the Father and the Son because God the Father is present in the Son the way a soul is present in its body.

The following passages in the Word teach that we have to believe in the Lord God the Savior:

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him would not perish but would have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

Those who believe in the Son have eternal life. Those who do not believe in the Son will not see life; instead God’s anger will remain upon them. (John 3:36)

The bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Those who come to me will never hunger and those who believe in me will never thirst. (John 6:33, 35)

This is the will of the One who sent me, that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life, and I will revive them on the last day. (John 6:40)

They said to Jesus, “What shall we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is God’s work, to believe in the One whom the Father sent.” (John 6:28, 29)

Truly I say to you, those who believe in me have eternal life. (John 6:47)

Jesus cried out, saying, “If any are thirsty, they must come to me and drink. If any believe in me, rivers of living water will flow out of their bellies.” (John 7:37, 38)

Unless you have believed that I am [he], you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even if they die they will live. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25, 26)

Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light so that all who believe in me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46; 8:12)

As long as you have the light, believe in the light so that you may be children of the light. (John 12:36)

from True Christianity, Section 107

The Lord The Redeemer: 8. When the Lord was being emptied out he was in a state of progress toward union; when he was being glorified he was in a state of union itself. (Continued)

Because these two states follow the divine design, and the divine design fills everything large and small down to the least detail in the universe, therefore there are a number of different things in the universe that represent these two states.

The first state is represented by the stages we all go through from infancy to childhood and into our teenage years, our twenties, and our thirties. These stages entail our being deferential and obedient to our parents, and learning from teachers and ministers.

The second state, however, is represented by our stages later on when we are responsible for ourselves and our own choices, when we have our own will and our own understanding, and have authority in our own home.

The first state, then, is represented by the situation of a prince, the son of a king, or else a son of a duke, before he becomes the king or the duke himself; or by the situation of any citizens before they become civic leaders; or of any royal subjects before they take government positions; or of any students studying for the ministry before they become priests. The same applies to the situation of those priests before they become rectors, and of those rectors before they become deans. The same also applies to the situation of any young women before they marry; or to the situation of any female servants before they become heads of households. This is generally the situation of apprentices before they go into business for themselves, of soldiers before they become ranking officers, and of male servants before they become heads of households. The first state in every case is a kind of slavery while the second state belongs to our own will and intellect.

These two states are also represented by various things in the animal kingdom. The first state is represented by animals and birds as long as they are still with their mothers and fathers, when they follow them around constantly and are fed and raised by them. The second state is represented when they leave their parents and take care of themselves.

Caterpillars are another example. They represent the first state when they inch along and eat leaves; the second, when they shed their old form and become butterflies.

These two states are also represented by members of the plant kingdom. The first state is represented when a plant grows from a seed and is decked out with branches, boughs, and leaves; the second is represented when the plant produces fruit and generates new seeds. This sequence is equivalent to the way truth and goodness join together, in that all parts of a tree correspond to kinds of truth, and pieces of fruit correspond to good things [that result].

If we stay in the first state and do not go on to the second we are like a tree that produces only leaves but no fruit. It says in the Word that this type of tree has to be uprooted and thrown into the fire (Matthew [7:19]; 21:19; Luke 3:9; 13:6–9; John 15:5, 6). This is also like a slave who does not want to be free. There used to be a law that slaves like this had to be taken to a door or a post and have their ears pierced with an awl (Exodus 21:6). “Slaves” are people who have no partnership with the Lord. “The free” are people who have such a partnership; for the Lord says, “If the Son makes you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36).

from True Christianity, Section 106