Divinity is in all time, nontemporally (Continued)

Now, since the segments of time that are proper to nature in its world are nothing but states in the spiritual world, and since these states come to view sequentially because angels and spirits are finite, it stands to reason that they are not sequential in God, because God is infinite. The infinite things in God are all one, in keeping with what has been explained above in sections 17–22. It then follows from this that Divinity is present in all time, nontemporally.

If people do not know about God beyond time, if they cannot think about such a God with some insight, then they are totally incapable of seeing eternity as anything but an eternity of time. They cannot help getting caught in crazy thoughts about God from eternity, thinking about some beginning; and a beginning has to do with nothing but time. This leads to the fantasy that God emerged from himself, and promptly degenerates into nature originating from itself. The only way out of this notion is through a spiritual or angelic concept of eternity, one that does not involve time. Once time is excluded, eternity and Divinity are one and the same; Divinity is Divinity in and of itself, and not from itself. Angels say that while they can conceive of God from eternity, there is no way they can conceive of nature from eternity, let alone nature from itself; by no means whatever can they conceive of nature that is intrinsically nature. This is because anything that has intrinsic existence is the reality itself that is the source of everything else. That intrinsic reality is the “life itself” that is the divine love that belongs to divine wisdom and the divine wisdom that belongs to divine love.

This, for angels, is eternity, which transcends time the way the Uncreated transcends the creature or the Infinite one transcends the finite. There is no ratio whatever between them.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 75, 76

Notes:

Sections 17-22: Published 4/15/2018-4/16/2018

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Divinity is in all time, nontemporally

Just as Divinity is in all space nonspatially, it is in all time nontemporally. Nothing proper to the physical world can be attributed to Divinity, and space and time are proper to the physical world. Space in the physical world can be measured, and so can time. Time is measured in days, weeks, months, years, and centuries; days are measured in hours; weeks and months in days; years in the four seasons; and centuries in years. The physical world gets these measurements from the apparent circuit and rotation of earth’s sun.

It is different in the spiritual world. Life does seem to go on in time there in much the same way. People live with each other the way we do on earth, which cannot happen without some appearance of time. However, time there is not divided into segments the way it is in our world because their sun is always in its east. It never moves. It is actually the Lord’s divine love that angels see as their sun. This means that they do not have days, weeks, months, years, or centuries, but states of life instead. It provides them with divisions that cannot be called divisions into time segments, only divisions of state. This is why angels do not know what time is, and why they think of state when time is mentioned. Further, when it is state that determines time, time is only an appearance. A pleasant state makes time seem brief, and an unpleasant one makes it seem long. We can therefore see that time in the spiritual world is simply an attribute of state.

This is why hours, days, weeks, months, and years in the Word mean states and their sequences, viewed either serially or comprehensively. When the church is described in terms of time, its morning is its initial state, its noon is its fulfillment, its evening is its decline, and its night is its end. The same holds true for the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

We can see from this that time is the equivalent of thought from feeling. This is in fact the source of our basic quality as people. There are many examples of the fact that as people move through space in the spiritual world, distances are equivalent to progress through time. Paths there are actually or correspondingly lengthened, in response to eagerness, which is a matter of thought from affection. This is also why we speak of “stretches of time.” In other situations, though, such as in dreams, where thought is not coordinated with our actual feelings, time is not in evidence.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections

Divinity fills all space in the universe nonspatially. Nature has two basic properties: space and time. (Continued)

The following example should illustrate how merely earthly people think in spatial terms about matters spiritual and divine, while spiritual people do so without reference to space. When merely earthly people think, they use images they have garnered from things they have seen. There is some shape to all of these involving length, breadth, and height, some angular or curved form bounded by these dimensions. These dimensions are clearly present in the mental images people have of visible, earthly things; and they are present as well in their mental images of things they do not see, such as civic and moral matters. They do not actually see these dimensions, but they are still present implicitly.

It is different for spiritual people, and especially for heaven’s angels. Their thinking has nothing to do with form and shape involving spatial length, breadth, and height. It has to do with the state of the matter as it follows from a state of life. This means that in place of length they consider how good something is as a result of the quality of the life from which it stems; in place of breadth they consider how true something is because of the truth of the life from which it stems; and in place of height they consider the level of these qualities. They are thinking on the basis of correspondence, then, which is the mutual relationship between spiritual and earthly things. It is because of this correspondence that “length” in the Word means how good something is, “breadth” means how true it is, and “height” means the level of these qualities.

We can see from this that the only way heaven’s angels can think about divine omnipresence is that Divinity fills everything, but nonspatially. Whatever angels think is true, because the light that illumines their understanding is divine wisdom.

This is a foundational thought about God, since without it, while readers may understand what I am going to say about the creation of the universe by the Divine-Human One and about God’s providence, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, they still will not retain it. This is because even when merely earthly people do understand these things, they still slip back into the love of their life that is their basic volition. This dissipates their previous thought and plunges their thinking into space, where they find the light that they call “rational.” They do not realize that to the extent that they deny what they have understood, they become irrational.

You may confirm the truth of this by looking at the concept of the truth that God is human. Please read carefully what I wrote above in Sections 11–13 and thereafter, and you will understand that it is true. Then bring your thoughts back into the earthly lighting that involves space. Will these things not seem paradoxical to you? And if you bring your thoughts all the way back, you will deny them.

This is why I said that Divinity fills all space in the universe and did not say that the Divine-Human One does. If I were to say this, merely earthly light would not accept it, though it can accept the notion that Divinity fills all space because this agrees with the standard language of theologians. They say that God is omnipresent, and hears and knows everything. There is more on this subject in Sections 7–10 above.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 71, 72

Notes:

Sections 7-10: Published 4/10/2018-4/12/2018

Sections 11-13: Published 4/12/2018-4/13/2018

Divinity fills all space in the universe nonspatially. Nature has two basic properties: space and time.

In this physical world, we use them to form the concepts of our thinking and therefore the way we understand things. If we stay engaged with them and do not raise our minds above them, there is no way we can grasp anything spiritual and divine. We entangle such matters in concepts drawn from space and time, and to the extent that we do, the light of our discernment becomes merely earthly. When we use this light to think logically about spiritual and divine matters, it is like using the dark of night to figure out things that can be seen only in the light of day. Materialism comes from this kind of thinking.

However, when we know how to raise our minds above images of thought derived from space and time, we pass from darkness into light and taste things spiritual and divine. Eventually we see what is inherent in them and what they entail; and then we dispel the darkness of earthly lighting with that [new] light and dismiss its illusions from the center to the sides.

People who possess discernment can think on a higher level than these properties of nature—can think realistically, that is—and see with assurance that Divinity, being omnipresent, is not within space. They can also see with assurance the other things already mentioned. If they deny divine omnipresence, though, and attribute everything to nature, then they do not want to be lifted up even though they could be.

These two properties of nature—the space and time just mentioned—are left behind by everyone who dies and becomes an angel. At that time, people come into a spiritual light in which the objects of their thought are truths, and the objects of their vision—even though those objects look like things in this physical world—are actually responsive to their thoughts.

The objects of their thought, which as just noted are truths, are not at all dependent on space and time. While the objects of their sight do seem to be in space and in time, angels do not use them as the basis for their thinking. The reason is that in the spiritual world intervals of space and time are not fixed the way they are in our physical world, but are changeable in response to their states of life. This means that states of life take the place of space and time in the concepts of their thinking. Issues related to states of love are in place of spatial intervals and issues related to states of wisdom are in place of temporal intervals. This is why spiritual thought and the consequent spiritual speech are so different from earthly thought and its speech that they have nothing in common. They are alike only as to the deeper aspects of their subject matter, which are entirely spiritual. I need to say more about this difference later [Sections 163, 295, and 306].

Since angels’ thoughts do not depend at all on space and time, then, but on states of life, we can see that angels do not understand when someone says that Divinity fills space. They do not know what spatial intervals are. They understand perfectly, though, when someone says that Divinity fills everything, with no reference to any image of space.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 69, 70

The useful functions of everything created tend upward, step by step, from the lowest to us, and through us to God the Creator, their source. (Continued)

I need also to explain briefly how we climb—or rather, are lifted—from the last level to the first. We are born on the lowest level of the physical world, and are lifted to the second level by means of factual knowledge. Then as we develop our discernment through this knowledge, we are lifted to the third level and become rational. The three ascending levels in the spiritual world are within this, resting on the three physical levels, and do not become visible until we leave our earthly bodies. When we do, the first spiritual level is opened for us, then the second, and finally the third. However, this last happens only for people who become angels of the third heaven. These are the ones who see God.

Angels of the second heaven and of the lowest heaven are people in whom the second and the lowest level can be opened. The opening of each spiritual level within us depends on our acceptance of divine love and wisdom from the Lord. People who accept some of this love and wisdom reach the first or lowest spiritual level; people who accept more reach the second or intermediate spiritual level; and people who accept a great deal reach the third or highest level. However, people who do not accept any divine love and wisdom stay on the physical levels, deriving from the spiritual levels only enough to allow them to think and therefore to talk and to intend and therefore to act—but not intelligently.

There is something else that we need to know about this lifting of the inner levels of our minds. Reaction is characteristic of everything created by God. Only life is action, while reaction is prompted by the action of life. This reaction seems to be proper to the created being because it becomes perceptible when that being is stirred; so when it happens in us, it seems to be our own. The reason is that even though we are only life-receivers, we have no sense that our life is anything but our own.

This is why we react against God as a result of our inherited evil. However, to the extent that we believe that all our life comes from God and that everything good about it comes from an act of God and everything bad about it from our own reaction, our reaction becomes a property of the action and we are then acting with God with apparent autonomy. The equilibrium of all things comes from action and immediate reaction, and everything must necessarily be in an equilibrium. I mention these things to prevent any belief that we ourselves climb up to God on our own power. It is done by the Lord.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 67, 68

The useful functions of everything created tend upward, step by step, from the lowest to us, and through us to God the Creator, their source.

As already stated [Section 52], these “lowest things” are all the elements of the mineral kingdom—various forms of matter, some stony substances, some saline, some oily, some mineral, some metallic, with the constant addition of a humus composed of plant and animal matter reduced to minute particles. Here lie hidden the goal and the beginning of all the functions that arise from life. The goal of all useful functions is the effort to produce [more] functions; the beginning of all functions is an active force that comes out of that effort. These are characteristics of the mineral kingdom.

The intermediate things are all the elements of the plant kingdom—grasses and herbs of all kinds, plants and shrubs of all kinds, and trees of all kinds. Their functions are in support of everything in the animal kingdom, whether flawed or flawless. They provide food, pleasure, and life. They nourish [animal] bodies with their substance, they delight them with their taste and fragrance and beauty, and they enliven their desires. This effort is inherent in them from their life.

The primary things are all the members of the animal kingdom. The lowest of these are called worms and insects, the intermediate ones birds and animals, and the highest humans; for there are lowest, intermediate, and highest things in each kingdom. The lowest are for the service of the intermediate and the intermediate for the service of the highest. So the useful functions of all created things tend upwards in a sequence from the lowest to the human, which is primary in the divine design.

There are three ascending levels in the physical world and three ascending levels in the spiritual world. All animals are life-receivers, the more perfect ones receiving the life of the three levels of the physical world, the less perfect receiving the life of two levels of that world, and the least perfect the life of one level. Only we humans are receptive of the life not only of the three levels of the physical world but also of the three levels of the spiritual world. This is why we, unlike animals, can be lifted up above the physical world. We can think analytically and rationally about civil and moral issues within the material world and also about spiritual and heavenly issues that transcend the material world. We can even be lifted up into wisdom to the point that we see God. I will discuss in their proper place, though, the six levels by which the functions of all created things rise up all the way to God, their Creator.

This brief summary enables us to see that there is a ladder of all created things to that First who alone is life and that the functions of all things are the actual vessels of life, and so too, therefore, are the forms of those functions.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 65, 66

Notes:

Section 52: Published 5/22/2018

All the things that have been created reflect the human in some respect.

There is evidence for this in every detail of the animal kingdom, in every detail of the plant kingdom, and in every detail of the mineral kingdom.

We can see ourselves reflected in every detail of the animal kingdom from the fact that all kinds of animal have in common with us members for locomotion, sensory organs, and the inner organs that support these activities. They also have their impulses and desires like our own physical ones. They have the innate knowledge proper to their desires, with an apparently spiritual element visible in some of them, more or less obvious to the eye in the beasts of the earth, the fowl of the heavens, bees, silkworms, ants, and the like. This is why merely earthly-minded people regard the living creatures of this kingdom as much like themselves, lacking only speech.

We can see ourselves reflected in every detail of the plant kingdom in the way plants grow from seeds and go through their successive stages of life. They have something like marriages with births that follow. Their vegetative “soul” is the function to which they give form. There are many other ways in which they reflect us, which some writers have described.

We can see ourselves reflected in every detail of the mineral kingdom simply in its effort to produce the forms that reflect us—all the details of the plant kingdom, as I have just noted—and to perform its proper functions in this way. The moment a seed falls into earth’s lap, she nurtures it and from all around offers it resources from herself for its sprouting and emerging in a form representative of humanity. We can see this effort in solid mineral materials if we look at deep-sea corals or at flowers in mines, where they spring from minerals and metals. This effort toward becoming plant life and thereby performing a useful function is the outermost element of Divinity in created things.

Just as there is an energy in earth’s minerals toward plant growth, there is an energy in plants toward movement. This is why there are various kinds of insect that are responsive to the fragrances they give off. We will see later [Sections 157–158] that this is not caused by the warmth of our world’s sun but comes through it, from life, according to the recipient vessels.

What has been cited thus far tells us that there is some reference to the human form in everything in the created universe, but it enables us to see this fact only obscurely. In the spiritual world, though, people see this clearly. Everything in the three kingdoms exists there as well, surrounding each angel. Angels see these things around themselves and also are aware that they are pictures of their own selves. In fact, when the very heart of their understanding is opened, they recognize themselves and see their own image in their surroundings, almost like a reflection in a mirror.

We can be quite certain, on the basis of all this and of many other things consistent with it (which it would take too long to include) that God is a person and that the created universe is an image of him. The overall totality offers a reflection of him, just as specific aspects offer reflections of us.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 61-64

Everything in the created universe is a vessel for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One (Continued)

There are many things that need to be said about levels of life and levels of vessels of life before I can give an intelligible explanation of the fact that other things in the universe, things that are not like angels and people, are also vessels for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One—for example, things below us in the animal kingdom, things below them in the plant kingdom, and things below them in the mineral kingdom. Union with them depends on their functions. All useful functions have their only source in a related union with God that is, however, increasingly dissimilar depending on its level. As we come down step by step, this union takes on a nature in which there is no element of freedom involved because there is no element of reason. There is therefore no appearance of life involved; but still these are vessels. Because they are vessels, they are also characterized by reaction. It is actually by virtue of their reactions that they are vessels.

I will discuss union with functions that are not useful after I have explained the origin of evil [Sections 264–270].

We can conclude from this that Divinity is present in absolutely everything in the created universe and that the created universe is therefore the work of Jehovah’s hands, as it says in the Word. That is, it is a work of divine love and wisdom, for this is what is meant by “Jehovah’s hands.” Further, even though Divinity is present in all things great and small in the created universe, there is no trace of intrinsic divinity in their own being. While the created universe is not God, it is from God; and since it is from God, his image is in it like the image of a person in a mirror. We do indeed see a person there, but there is still nothing of the person in the mirror.

I once heard a number of people around me in the spiritual world talking and saying that they did in fact want to recognize that there was something divine in absolutely everything in the universe because they saw God’s wonders there, and the deeper they looked, the more wonderful were the things they saw. However, when they heard someone say that there actually was something divine in absolutely everything in the created universe, they resented it. This was a sign that they claimed the belief but did not actually believe it.

They were therefore asked whether they could not see this simply in the marvelous ability in every seed of generating its growth in sequence all the way to new seeds. In every seed, then, there is an image of something infinite and eternal, an inherent effort to multiply and bear fruit without limit, to eternity.

Or they might see this in even the tiniest animals, realizing that they contain sensory organs, brains, hearts, lungs, and the like, along with arteries, veins, nerve fibers, muscles, and the activities that arise from them, to say nothing of incredible features of their basic nature that have had whole books written about them.

All these wonders come from God, though the forms that clothe them are of earthly matter. These forms give rise to plant life and, in due sequence, to human life. This is why humanity is said to have been created out of the ground, to be the dust of the earth with the breath of life breathed in (Genesis 2:7). We can see from this that the divine nature is not our possession but is joined to us.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 58-60

Everything in the created universe is a vessel for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One.

We acknowledge that everything in the universe, great and small, has been created by God. That is why the universe and absolutely everything in it is called “the work of Jehovah’s hands” in the Word.

People do say that the whole world was created out of nothing, and they like to think of “nothing” as absolutely nothing. However, nothing comes from “absolutely nothing” and nothing can. This is an abiding truth. This means that the universe, being an image of God and therefore full of God, could be created by God only in God. God is reality itself, and everything that exists must come from that reality. To speak of creating something that exists from a “nothing” that does not exist is a plain contradiction of terms.

Still, what is created by God in God is not a continuation of him, since God is intrinsic reality and there is no trace of intrinsic reality in anything created. If there were any intrinsic reality in a created being, it would be a continuation of God, and any continuation of God is God.

The angelic concept involved is that anything created by God in God is like something within ourselves that we have put forth from our life, but the life is then withdrawn from it. It then agrees with our life, but still, it is not our life. In support of this, angels cite many things that happen in their heaven, where they say that they are in God and that God is in them, and yet that they have in their being no trace of God that is actually God. This may serve simply as information; more of the angels’ evidence will be offered later [Section 116].

Everything created from this source is in its own nature suited to be receptive of God not by continuity but by contact. Union comes through contact, not through continuity. What is created is suitable for this contact because it has been created by God in God. Because it has been created in this way, it is an analog; and because of the union, it is like an image of God in a mirror.

This is why angels are not angels in their own right but are angels by virtue of their union with the Divine-Human One; and their union depends on their acceptance of what is divinely good and what is divinely true. What is divinely good and what is divinely true are God, and seem to emanate from him even though they are within him. Their acceptance depends on the way angels apply the laws of his design, which are divine truths, to themselves, using their freedom to think and intend according to their reason, a freedom given them by God as their own possession. This is what enables them to accept what is divinely good and divinely true in apparent autonomy; and this in turn is what makes possible the mutual element in their love, for as already noted [Section 48], love is not real unless it is mutual. It is the same with us here on earth.

All this enables us finally to see that everything in the created universe is a vessel for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 55-57

Everything in the universe was created by the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One

The universe, from beginning to end and from first to last, is so full of divine love and wisdom that you could call it divine love and wisdom in an image. This is clearly evidenced by the way everything in the universe answers to something in us. Every single thing that comes to light in the created universe has such an equivalence with every single thing in us that you could call us a kind of universe as well. There is a correspondence of our affective side and its consequent thought with everything in the animal kingdom, a correspondence of our volitional side and its consequent discernment with everything in the plant kingdom, and a correspondence of our outermost life with everything in the mineral kingdom.

This kind of correspondence is not apparent to anyone in our physical world, but it is apparent to observant people in the spiritual world. We find in this latter world all the things that occur in the three kingdoms of our physical world, and they reflect the feelings and thoughts of the people who are there—the feelings that come from their volition and the thoughts that come from their discernment—as well as the outermost aspects of their life. Both their feelings and their thoughts are visible around them looking much like the things we see in the created universe, though we see them in less perfect representations.

From this it is obvious to angels that the created universe is an image depicting the Divine-Human One and that it is his love and wisdom that are presented, in image, in the universe. It is not that the created universe is the Divine-Human One: rather, it comes from him; for nothing whatever in the universe is intrinsic substance and form or intrinsic life or intrinsic love and wisdom. We are not “intrinsic persons.” It all comes from God, who is the intrinsic person, the intrinsic wisdom and love, and the intrinsic form and substance. Whatever has intrinsic existence is uncreated and infinite; while what comes from it, possessing nothing within itself that has intrinsic existence, is created and finite. This latter presents an image of the One from whom it derives its existence and manifestation.

Created, finite things may be said to have reality and manifestation, substance and form, life, and even love and wisdom, but all of these are created and finite. The reason we can say they have these attributes is not that they possess any divinity but that they are in Divinity and there is Divinity in them. Anything that has been created is intrinsically without soul and dead, but it is given a soul and brought to life by the presence of Divinity in it, and by its dwelling in Divinity.

The divine nature is not different in one subject than it is in another. Rather, one created subject is different from another: there are no two alike, so each vessel is different. This is why the divine nature seems to differ in appearance. I will be talking later [Section 275] about its presence in opposites.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 52-54