Angels are in the Lord and the Lord is in them; and since angels are vessels, the Lord alone is heaven (Continued)

However, this calls for an explanation of how angels can feel and sense this as their own and so accept and retain it when in fact it is not theirs, given the statement that angels are not angels on their own but by virtue of what is within them from the Lord. The essence of the matter is this. There is freedom and rationality in every angel. These two qualities are there so that angels can be open to love and wisdom from the Lord. Neither of these, though—neither the freedom nor the rationality—belongs to the angels. They are in them but belong to the Lord. However, since these two elements are intimately united to angels’ life, so intimately united that you could call them linked to their life, it seems as though they belong to the angels. Freedom and rationality enable them to think and intend and to speak and act; and what they think, intend, speak, and act as a result seems to be done on their own. This gives rise to the reciprocal element that is the means to union.

Still, the more that angels believe that love and wisdom are within them and claim them for themselves as their own, the more there is nothing angelic within them. To the same extent, then, there is no union with the Lord for them. They are outside the truth; and since truth is identical with heaven’s light, they are correspondingly unable to be in heaven. This leads to a denial that they live from the Lord and a belief that they live on their own and therefore that they possess some divine essence. The life called angelic and human consists of these two elements—freedom and rationality.

This leads to the conclusion that angels have a reciprocal ability for the sake of their union with the Lord, but that the reciprocal element, seen as an ability, is the Lord’s and not theirs. As a result, angels fall from angelhood if they abuse this reciprocal element that enables them to feel and sense what is the Lord’s as their own by actually claiming it for themselves. The Lord himself teaches us in John 14:20–24 and 15:4, 5, 6 that union is reciprocal, and in John 15:7 that the Lord’s union with us and ours with him occurs in things that belong to him, things called “his words.”

There are people who think that Adam had a kind of freedom or ability to choose that enabled him to love God and be wise on his own, and that this freedom to choose was lost in his descendants. This, however, is wrong. We are not life, but life-receivers (see Sections 4–6 and 55–60 above); and people who are life-receivers cannot love and be wise from their own resources. So when Adam wanted to love and be wise from his own resources, he fell from wisdom and love and was cast out of the garden.

We can say much the same about the heaven that is made up of angels as we have said about individual angels, since Divinity is the same in the largest and smallest things (see Sections 77–82 above). What we have said about angels and heaven needs to be said about us and the church as well, since angels of heaven and we of the church act in consort because of our union. Further, as to the inner reaches of our minds, we of the church are angels—but “we of the church” means people who have the church within themselves.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 116-118

Notes:

Sections 4: Published 4/14/2016

Section 5-6: Published 4/9/2018

Sections 55-60: Published 5/23/2018-5/24/2018

Sections 77-82: Published 6/1/2018-6/2/2018

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