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

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