To these points I will attach the following secret. The soul we get from our father is our true self. The body we get from our mother is part of us but is not our true self. It is only something that clothes us, woven out of substances belonging to the physical world. Our soul is woven out of substances belonging to the spiritual world. After death we put off the physical component we acquired from our mother but keep the spiritual component we acquired from our father, along with a border around it made of the finest substances in nature. For those of us who go to heaven this border is at the bottom and the spiritual part of us is above it. For those of us who go to hell the border is at the top and the spiritual part of us is below it. This border allows angelic people to speak from heaven and say what is good and true. It allows devilish people to speak from hell when they speak from their hearts, and to seem to speak from heaven when they speak with their lips, the latter being what they do in public and the former what they do at home.
Our soul is our true self and is spiritual in origin. It is clear then why it is that a father’s higher mind, lower mind, character, tendencies, and feelings of love live on in one descendant after the other. They return and surface noticeably in generation after generation. As a result, many families, and in fact whole nations, resemble their first father. A common image manifests itself in the individual faces of successive generations.
That image does not change unless the spiritual realities of the church come into play. The reason why the general image of Jacob and Judah still remains in their descendants and they are differentiated from others by that image is that even to the present they have stuck firmly to their religious position.
In the sperm that conceives each one of us, there is a whole graft or offshoot of our father’s soul that is wrapped in substances from nature. Our body is formed by means of this in our mother’s womb. The formation of our body may lean toward a likeness of our father or a likeness of our mother, but the image of our father remains inside and constantly tries to assert itself. If it cannot manifest itself in the first child, it successfully manifests itself in the younger children.
In sperm there is a whole image of the father because, as I say, the soul is spiritual in origin. What is spiritual has nothing in common with space; therefore it is the same in something small as it is in something large. As for the Lord, by acts of redemption while he was in the world he put off everything human that came from his mother and put on a human nature that came from his Father—a divine human nature. As a result, in him a human is God and God is human.
from True Christianity, Section 103