The Lord The Redeemer: The Second Memorable Occurrence

In our earthly world we have two types of thought, inner thought and outer thought, and because of that we have two modes of verbal communication. We are able to talk on the basis of both our inner and outer thought at the same time, and we are able to talk on the basis of our outer thought separate from our inner thought. In fact, we can say the opposite of what we think inside, which is something we do to put on appearances, insincerely agree with people, and play the hypocrite.

In the spiritual world, though, our thought process is single, not dual. There we say what we think. If we do not, we emit a horrible sound that hurts people’s ears. Nevertheless we have the option of being silent and not publicizing the thoughts in our mind. So when hypocrites come among the wise they either leave right away or throw themselves into a corner of the room, make themselves inconspicuous, and sit in silence.

Once there was a large conference in the world of spirits. This was the very topic they were discussing with each other. The participants were saying that it is a hardship for spirits who have had unacceptable thoughts about God and the Lord not to be able to say what they think when they come into the company of the good.

In the center of the participants there was a group of Protestants, many of them clergy, and next to them a group of Roman Catholics including monks. Both the Protestants and the Catholics were saying at first that it is not hard. “Why not say what we think?” they maintained. “If we happen not to think the right things, we can always close our mouths and keep quiet.”

The clergy said, “Who doesn’t have the right thoughts about God and the Lord?”

So some participants in the conference said to each other, “Let’s test these Protestants and Catholics!”

Some [in the central groups] were convinced that there is a trinity of persons in God. The participants told them to say and think “One God.” They were unable to. They twisted and puckered their lips into all sorts of shapes but they still could not articulate the sound of any words but those in harmony with their thoughts and mental images, which were of three persons and therefore three gods.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 111

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The Lord The Redeemer: The First Memorable Occurrence (Continued)

“The Lord’s praying to the Father while in the world as if the Father were someone else and humbling himself before the Father as if the Father were someone else followed the unchangeable divine design established from the time of creation, which everyone has to follow in order to form a partnership with God. That design is that as we forge our connection with God by living according to the laws of the divine design, which are God’s commandments, God forges his connection with us and turns us from earthly people into spiritual people.

“The Lord united himself to his Father and God the Father united himself to the Lord in the same way. When the Lord was an infant, he was like an infant. When he was a child, he was like a child. We read that he advanced in wisdom and grace, and later on asked the Father to glorify his name, meaning his human nature. (To glorify is to make divine through union with God himself.) When the Lord prayed to the Father, then, he was clearly in a state of being emptied out, which was his state of progress toward union.

“That same design has been built into every one of us from creation. Of course, it all depends on how we prepare our intellect with truths from the Word and adapt it to receive faith from God, and how we prepare our will with acts of goodwill and adjust it to receive love from God. In a similar way, depending on how jewelers cut a diamond they can adapt it to receive and transmit the brilliance of the light, and so on.

“We prepare ourselves to receive God and to forge a partnership with him by following the divine design in our lives. The laws of that design are all God’s commandments. In the case of the Lord, he fulfilled all these laws down to the finest details. By so doing he made himself a vessel for divinity in all its fullness. This is why Paul says that all the fullness of divinity dwells physically in Jesus Christ, and why the Lord himself says that all things belonging to the Father are his.

“Furthermore, we must keep in mind that only the Lord is actually active in us. On our own we are completely passive. Thanks to life inflowing from the Lord we too can be active. Because of the constant inflow from the Lord it seems to us as though we are active on our own. Because of this inflow we have free choice, which is given to us so we can prepare ourselves to receive the Lord and forge a partnership with him. Forging a partnership cannot happen unless that partnership is reciprocal. It becomes reciprocal when we act with our own freedom, and yet on the basis of faith we attribute all our action to the Lord.”

Next I asked whether he, like his colleagues, confessed that there is one God. He replied that he did. Then I said, “I am afraid, though, that the confession of your heart is that there is no God. What the mouth says emanates from what the mind thinks, does it not? The confession of your lips that there is one God will therefore tend to drive out of your mind the thought that there are three, and in turn your mind’s thought will tend to drive away from your lips the confession that there is one. Surely this will eventually culminate in denial of God. The position that there is no God would eliminate the whole discrepancy between your mind and your lips. About God, then, your mind will surely conclude that nature is God. About the Lord, it will conclude that his soul was either from his mother or from Joseph. Yet all the angels in heaven turn away from these two conclusions as something horrible and detestable.”

After I said that, the spirit was sent off into the great pit referred to in Revelation 9:2–3 where the dragon’s angels debate the mysteries of their faith.

The next day when I looked out at the spot, in place of the tents I saw two statues that looked like human beings. They were made out of dust from the ground, which as I say was a mixture of sulfur, iron, and clay. One statue looked as though it had a scepter in its left hand, a crown on its head, and a book in its right hand, as well as a bodice held in place by a diagonal sash covered with gems, and a robe with a train that flowed out behind it toward the other statue. These features, however, had been put on the statue through someone’s power to project images.

Then I heard a voice there from some follower of the dragon: “This statue portrays our faith as a queen. The statue behind it portrays goodwill as faith’s maidservant.”

The other statue was made out of the same mixture of different types of dust. It was placed just beyond the edge of the robe flowing down off the queen’s back. The second statue held a sheet of paper in its hand with writing on it that said, “Warning: don’t come too close or touch the robe.”

Then suddenly a rain shower fell from heaven, drenching each statue. They began to fizz because they were made out of that mixture of sulfur, iron, and clay. (A mixture of those substances in powdered form tends to effervesce when water is added to it.) An internal fire then melted them into piles that stood thereafter like burial mounds on that piece of ground.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 110

The Lord The Redeemer: The First Memorable Occurrence

In the spiritual world I once saw a strange light in the [night] sky that fell slowly down to the earth. It had a glow around it. It was a strange aerial phenomenon that the local population called “the dragon.” I made a note of the place where it landed; but in the early dawn as the sun was first coming up it disappeared, as all strange lights at night do.

Later in the morning I went to the place where I had seen it fall in the night. To my surprise, the ground there was a mixture of sulfur, iron filings, and white clay. Then I suddenly noticed two tents, one directly over the spot and the other beside it to the south. I looked up and I saw a spirit falling down from heaven like a thunderbolt. He was hurled right onto the tent that stood directly over the spot where the strange aerial phenomenon had come down. I was in the other tent that was next to it to the south. I stood up in the doorway of my tent, and I saw that the spirit, too, was standing in the doorway of his tent.

I asked him why he had fallen out of heaven like that. He answered that Michael’s angels had thrown him down as an angel of the dragon.

“It was because I voiced some of the beliefs I had convinced myself of in the world,” he said. “Among them was this one: God the Father and God the Son are not one; they are two. As it turns out, though, all who are in the heavens today believe that God the Father and God the Son are one like a soul and a body. Any statement to the contrary is like a stinging irritation up their noses or like an awl piercing their ears. They become disturbed and pained by it, so they order anyone voicing opposition to leave, and if you resist, they throw you out.”

So I asked him, “Why don’t you believe what they believe?”

He replied that after leaving the world, people are unable to believe anything else except the convictions they have already adopted. These beliefs remain entrenched in people and cannot be pulled out—especially not personal convictions about God.

In the heavens everyone’s location depends on his or her idea of God. I also asked what evidence he had used to convince himself that the Father and the Son were two. He said, “It is the fact that in the Word the Son prays to the Father not only before suffering on the cross but even during it; and also that he humbles himself before his Father. How then can they be one like a soul and a body are one in us? Do we pretend to address a prayer to someone else or pretend to humble ourselves to someone else when we are actually that other person? No one does that—certainly not the Son of God. For another thing, in my day the entire Christian church had split the Divinity into persons, each person being one entity on its own. ‘Person’ is defined as something that exists and subsists on its own.”

When I heard that I replied, “I gather from what you said that you are totally ignorant of how God the Father and the Son are one. Because you don’t know that, you have convinced yourself of false beliefs that the church still has about God.

“Surely you know that when the Lord was in the world he had a soul like every other human being. Where would his soul have come from but God the Father? That God the Father is its origin is abundantly clear in the Word of the Gospel writers. What then is that entity called the Son except a human manifestation conceived by the divine nature of the Father and given birth to by the Virgin Mary?

“A mother cannot conceive a soul. That idea completely contradicts the divine design that governs the birth of every human being. Neither could God the Father have given a soul from himself and then withdrawn, the way every father in the world does. God is his own divine essence, an essence that is single and undivided; and since it is undivided it is God himself. This is why the Lord says that the Father and he are one, and that the Father is in him and he is in the Father, as well as other things like that.

“The people who drafted the Athanasian Creed had a distant glimpse of this. Even after splitting God into three persons they wrote that in Christ, God and a human being, that is, the divine nature and the human nature, are not two; they are one like the soul and the body in one human being.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 110

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race (Continued)

Heaven’s union with us is not like the union of one person with another, but is a union with the deeper levels of our minds and therefore with our spiritual or inner person. There is, though, a union with our natural or outer person by correspondences, which union will be discussed in the next chapter when I deal with heaven’s union with us by means of the Word.

I will also explain in the next chapter that heaven’s union with us and our union with it are of such a nature that each relies on the other.

I have talked with angels about the union of heaven with the human race and have told them that church people actually do say that everything good is from the Lord and that there are angels with us, but few people really believe that angels are so close to us, much less that they are in our thought and affection. The angels have told me that they knew this kind of [empty] belief and talk occurred in the world, and especially (which astonished them) in the church, where people have the Word that teaches them about heaven and its union with them. Yet in fact the union is so vital that we could not think the least thought apart from the spirits who are with us. Our spiritual life depends on this. They said that the reason for this ignorance was that people believe they live on their own, without any connection with the Ultimate Reality of life, and do not know that there is this connection through the heavens. Yet if that connection were severed, we would instantly drop down dead. If we believed the way things really are, that everything good comes from the Lord and everything evil from hell, then we would not take credit for the good within us or blame for the evil.

Whenever we thought or did anything good, we would focus on the Lord, and any evil that flowed in we would throw back into the hell it came from. But since we do not believe in any inflow from heaven or from hell and therefore believe that everything we think and intend is in us and from us, we make the evil our own and defile the good with our feeling that we deserve it.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 300-302

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race (Continued)

The spirits who are with us—both those united to heaven and those united to hell—never flow into us from their own memory and consequent thought. If they did flow into us from their own thought it would seem to us exactly as though their character was our own (see above, Section 256). However, there does flow into us through them an affection from a love of what is good and true from heaven and an affection from a love of what is evil and false from hell. So to the extent that our own affection agrees with what is flowing in, we accept its influence in our thinking. This is because our more inward thought is in complete accord with our affection or love. To the extent that our own affection does not agree, we do not accept [the influence].

We can see from this that thoughts are not instilled into us by spirits but only an affection for what is good or an affection for what is evil. This gives us a choice because it gives us freedom. It means that in our thought we can accept what is good and reject what is evil, since we know from the Word what is good and what is evil. What we accept in thought from affection becomes part of us, while what we do not accept in thought from affection does not become part of us. This enables us to determine the nature of the inflow into us of the good from heaven and of the evil from hell.

I have been enabled to learn where we get the anxiety, distress of mind, and inward sadness called depression. There are spirits who are not yet united with hell because they are still in their first state (which will be described later when we talk about the world of spirits). They love half-digested and noxious substances like the foods that are becoming excrement in the stomach, so they attach themselves to the same sort of matter in us, because they find delight in it; and they talk with each other there out of their evil affection. The emotional tone of their conversation flows into us, and since it is contrary to our affection, it brings about a sadness and an anxious depression; while if it agrees with our affection, it brings about a sense of happiness and exhilaration. These spirits can be seen in the neighborhood of the stomach, some on the left and some on the right, some lower and some higher, nearer or farther away—variously depending on the affections they are involved in.

A great deal of experience has convinced me that they are the source of our anxiety of spirit. I have seen them, heard them, felt the anxieties that well up from them. I have talked with them, they have been driven off and the anxiety has ceased, they have come back and the anxiety has returned, I have observed its increase and decrease as they drew near and moved away. It has become clear to me, then, where that anxiety originates that is blamed on a stomachache by people who do not know what conscience is because they do not have any.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 298, 299

Notes:

Section 256: Published 3/3/2017

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race (Continued)

The reason we are controlled by the Lord through spirits is that we are not in the pattern of heaven. We are in fact born into evils that are from hell and are therefore exactly opposite to the divine pattern. This means that we need to be brought back into the pattern, and we cannot be brought back except through the agency of spirits. It would be different if we were born into the good that accords with heaven’s pattern. Then we would not be controlled by the Lord through the agency of spirits but through the pattern itself and therefore through a general inflow.

This [general] inflow determines the way things move from thought and intent into act and therefore determines our speech and actions, since these both do flow according to a natural pattern. So the spirits who are with us have nothing to do with these processes. Animals are also controlled through a general inflow from the spiritual world because they are in the pattern proper to their life, a pattern that they can neither distort nor destroy, because they do not have a rational faculty. (On the difference between humans and animals see above, Section 39.)

To continue with the general topic of the union of heaven with the human race, we need to be aware that the Lord flows into each one of us according to heaven’s design, into our inmost natures as well as into our outmost, and disposes us to accept heaven. He controls our outmost natures from the inmost and the inmost from the outmost at the same time, and in this way keeps everything about us in coherent connection. This inflow from the Lord is called a direct inflow, while a second inflow that happens through the agency of spirits is called an indirect inflow. The latter is sustained by the former. The direct inflow, an action of the Lord himself, is from his divine human. It comes into our intentions, and through our intentions into our understanding. This means it comes into what is good in us and through that good into what is true in us, or (which amounts to the same thing) into our love and through our love into our faith. It does not happen the other way around, much less into faith apart from love or into truth apart from good or into understanding apart from volition.

This divine inflow is unceasing and is accepted in what is good in good people, but not in evil ones. In them it is either rejected or stifled or distorted. So they have an evil life that spiritually understood is a death.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 296, 297

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race (Continued)

The kind of spirit that is associated with us is determined by the kind of person we are in respect to affection and love, though good spirits are assigned to us by the Lord while we ourselves summon the evil ones. The spirits with us change, however, as our own affections change. This means we have one kind with us in infancy, another kind during our childhood, another kind as we are growing up and in early adulthood, and still another kind in old age. During our earliest years, spirits who are in innocence are with us, that is, spirits who are in touch with the heaven of innocence, the inmost or third heaven. In later childhood we are in the company of spirits who are engaged in an affection for knowledge and who are in touch with the ultimate or first heaven. As we are growing up, during our early adulthood, spirits who are responsive to affections for what is true and good and therefore with intelligence are with us. They are spirits who are in touch with the second or intermediate heaven. In old age, though, spirits who are in wisdom and innocence are with us, spirits therefore who are in touch with the inmost or third heaven.

Still, this association is arranged by the Lord for people who can be reformed and regenerated. It is different for people who cannot be reformed or regenerated. Good spirits are assigned to them as well in order to restrain them from evil as much as possible, but their direct connection is with the evil spirits who are in touch with hell. This means that the spirits are of the same nature as the people they are associated with. Whether they love themselves or money or revenge or adultery, the same kind of spirits are with them and are, so to speak, taking up residence in their evil affections. To the extent that we cannot be restrained from evil by good spirits, they inflame us, and to the extent that an evil affection is in control, they cling to us and will not back off.

In this way, evil people are united to hell and good people to heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 295

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race (Continued)

The reason spirits who are in touch with hell are attached to us as well is that we are born into all kinds of evil, so that our first life is made up of nothing else. Unless spirits of the same kind were associated with us, then, we could not live or be led out of our evils and reformed. So we are kept in our own life by evil spirits and restrained from it by good spirits. Through the two kinds, we are kept in a balance; and since we are in a balance we enjoy an appropriate measure of freedom and can be led out of our evils and turned toward good.185 This good can be sown in us as well, which could never happen except in our freedom; and the freedom could not be granted us unless spirits from hell were acting on the one side and spirits from heaven on the other, with us in the middle.

I have been shown that to the extent that we exist from our hereditary nature and from ourselves, we could have no life at all if we were not allowed to engage in evil. We would also have no life if we were not in some freedom, and we cannot be compelled to good: anything compelled does not become part of us. I have also been shown that anything good that we accept in freedom is sown in our intentions and becomes virtually our own. This is why we have a communication with hell and a communication with heaven.

I also need to describe the nature of the communication of heaven with good spirits, the nature of the communication of hell with evil spirits, and the nature of the consequent union of heaven and hell with us. All the spirits who are in the world of spirits are in communication with heaven or with hell, the evil ones with hell and the good ones with heaven. Heaven is differentiated into communities, and so is hell. Every spirit is a member of some community, is sustained by an inflow from it, and therefore acts in harmony with it. This is why we are united with heaven or hell just as we are united with spirits. We are actually united to some community there, the community we belong to in respect to our affection or our love; for all heaven’s communities are differentiated according to their affections for what is good and true and all hell’s communities according to their affections for what is evil and false (on heaven’s communities, see above, §§41–45 and 148–151).

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 293, 294

Notes:

Sections 41-45: Published 5/7/2017-5/8/2017

Sections 148-151: Published 7/13/2017-7/14/2017

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race

IT is acknowledged in the church that everything good comes from God and nothing of it from us, and therefore that we should never take personal credit for anything good. It is also recognized that evil comes from the devil. This is why people who talk from the doctrine of the church describe people who are acting well and who are talking devoutly and preaching as being led by God, and say the opposite about people who are acting maliciously and speaking blasphemously. None of this could happen unless we had a union with heaven and a union with hell, and unless those unions were with our volition and our understanding, since it is from these that the body acts and the mouth speaks. We need now to describe what this union is like.

There are good spirits and evil spirits with every individual. We have our union with heaven through the good spirits and our union with hell through the evil ones. These spirits are in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell and will be specifically treated later. When these spirits come to us, they come into our whole memory and from there into all our thinking—evil spirits into the matters of memory and thought that are evil, and good spirits into the matters of memory and thought that are good. These spirits are totally unaware that they are with us. Rather, as long as they are, they believe that all these matters of our memory and thought are actually theirs. They do not see us, either, because their sight does not extend to things in our subsolar world.

The Lord takes the greatest care to prevent spirits from knowing whom they are with. If they did know, they would talk with them, and then the evil spirits would destroy them; for evil spirits, being united to hell, want nothing more than to destroy us not only as to spirit (that is, as to our love and faith) but as to our bodies as well. It is different when they do not talk with us. Then they do not know that we are the source of what they are thinking—and what they are saying to each other, since they talk to each other just the way we do—but believe that these matters are their own. They value and love whatever is their own, so these spirits are constrained to love and value us, even though they do not know it.

This kind of union has become so familiar to me through years of constant experience as to be commonplace.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 291, 292

The State of Innocence of Angels in Heaven (Continued)

Since innocence, for heaven’s angels, is the very essence of what is good, we can see that the divine good emanating from the Lord is innocence itself, inasmuch as it is this good that flows into angels, moves their deepest natures, and aligns and adapts them to accept all the blessings of heaven. Much the same happens with infants, whose deeper natures are not only formed by the passage of innocence from the Lord but are also constantly adapted and aligned to accept the good of heavenly love, because the good of innocence acts from deep within, being, as already noted, the very essence of all good. This shows that all innocence is from the Lord, which is why the Lord is called the Lamb in the Word, since a lamb means innocence.

Because innocence is the very heart of all the good of heaven, it also affects minds so strongly that people who feel it—which happens at the approach of an angel of the inmost heaven—feel as though they are not under their own control. They are moved by such a joy, so taken out of themselves, so to speak, that it seems as though all the pleasure of the world is nothing by comparison. I speak of this from having experienced it.

Anyone who is in the goodness of innocence is moved by innocence, and is moved by innocence to the extent that she or he is in that good. However, people who are not in the good of innocence are not moved by it. Consequently, all the people in hell are absolutely opposed to innocence. They do not know what innocence is. Their nature is such that the more innocent people are, the more they burn with desire to cause them harm.

This is why they cannot stand to see little children. The moment they do, they are consumed with a vicious desire to inflict harm. This has shown me that our self-image and the self-love it fosters are opposed to innocence, for all the people who are in hell are caught up in their own self-image and therefore in self-love.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 282, 283