The Entire Sacred Scripture Is about the Lord, and the Lord Is the Word

We read in John,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and nothing that was made came about without him. In him there was life, and that life was the light for humankind. And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not grasp it. And the Word became flesh and lived among us; and we saw his glory, glory like that of the only-begotten child of the Father. He was full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 14)

In the same Gospel,

Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)

And elsewhere in the same Gospel,

While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light. I have come into the world as a light so that anyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness. (John 12:36, 46)

We can see from this that the Lord is God from eternity and that he himself is that Lord who was born into the world. It actually says that the Word was with God and that the Word was God, as well as that nothing that was made came about without him, and then that the Word became flesh and that they saw him.

There is little understanding in the church of what it means to call the Lord “the Word.” He is called the Word because the Word means divine truth or divine wisdom and the Lord is divine truth itself or divine wisdom itself. That is why he is also called the light that is said to have come into the world.

Since divine wisdom and divine love are one with each other and have been one in the Lord from eternity, it also says “in him there was life, and that life was the light for humankind.” The life is divine love, and the light is divine wisdom.

This oneness is what is meant by saying both that “in the beginning the Word was with God” and that “the Word was God.” “With God” is in God, since wisdom is in love and love is in wisdom. This is like the statement elsewhere in John, “Glorify me, Father, together with yourself, with the glory I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5). “With yourself” is “in yourself.” This is why it adds “and the Word was God.” It says elsewhere that the Lord is in the Father and the Father is in him [John 14:10], and that the Father and he are one [John 10:30].

Since the Word is the divine wisdom of the divine love, it follows that it is Jehovah himself and therefore the Lord, the one by whom all things were made that were made, since everything was created out of divine love by means of divine wisdom.

from The Lord, Section 1

Note: This Section was published 4/4/2016.

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7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence. (Continued)

The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more fully we are in God because of God’s omnipresence. Because God is omnipresent he is intrinsically present, so to speak, everywhere in his divine design, in the sense that he is the divine design, as we showed above [Sections 52–53]. Now, because we have been created as forms of the divine design, God is in us. But this is true only to the extent that we fully follow the divine design in the way we live. When we do not follow that design in the way we live, God is still in us, but is only in the highest parts of us, making it possible for us to understand what is true and intend what is good. That is, he gives us a capacity to understand and an inclination to love. The more we go against the divine design in the way we live, however, the more we bar the lower levels of our minds or spirits and prevent God from descending into them and filling them with his presence. As a result, God is in us but we are not in God.

There is a common saying in heaven: God is in all of us, the evil as well as the good, but we are not in God unless we follow the divine design in the way we live. The Lord says that he wants us to be in him and him to be in us (John 15:4).

When we follow the divine design in the way we live we are in God, because God is omnipresent in the universe and in everything within it at the inmost level, since things on the inmost level are in the divine design. Things that go against the divine design are all outside that inmost level. On the outer levels God’s omnipresence takes the form of an ongoing struggle with things that are against the divine design, and a constant effort to restore them to the divine design. The more we allow ourselves to be restored to the divine design, the more thoroughly present God is in each of us; consequently to a greater extent God is in us and we are in God.

It is no more possible for God to be absent from us than it is for the sun (through its heat and light) to be absent from our earth. The living things on earth, however, do not always feel the sun’s power. To feel it, they have to receive both the heat and the light that radiate from the sun, as they do in spring and summer. This situation is applicable to God’s omnipresence as well. The more we are in harmony with the divine design, the more spiritual heat and light, or to put it another way, the more of love’s goodness and wisdom’s true perspective we have.

Spiritual heat and light are not, however, like physical heat and light. During the winters, the amount of physical heat available to the world and the objects in it diminishes. During the nights, the amount of light diminishes. This happens because the earth makes units of time with its rotations and its orbit. Spiritual heat and light do not behave the same way. Through his sun and its heat and light God is always present and does not go through changes the way the sun of our solar system appears to do. We ourselves turn away from God much the way the earth turns away from the sun. When we turn away from wisdom’s true perspective we are like the earth turning away from the sun by night. When we turn away from the goodness of love we are like the earth turning away from the sun in winter. The useful effects of the sun in the physical world correspond in this way to the useful effects of the sun in the spiritual world.

from True Christianity, Section 70

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence. (Continued)

The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more wisdom about goodness and truth we receive from God’s omniscience. This is because all love for goodness and all wisdom about truth come from God. To put it another way, all the goodness of love and all the truth belonging to wisdom come from God—all the churches in the Christian world profess that it is so. Therefore we cannot inwardly have any true wisdom except from God, because God has omniscience, that is, infinite wisdom.

The human mind is divided into three levels, just as the angelic heaven is. The mind has the capability of being raised to a higher level and to another level higher still. Then again the mind can be brought down to a lower level and to another level lower still. As our minds are raised to the higher levels, we come into wisdom, because we come into the light of heaven. The mind cannot be raised except by God. The more our minds are raised to heaven, the more human we are. The more our minds are brought down to the lower levels, the more we come into the faint, deceptive light of hell. There we are not human, we are animals. (This is why people stand upright on their feet and look with their faces toward the sky, and are even capable of looking directly overhead. Animals, however, stand on their feet with their bodies parallel to the ground, looking down to the ground with their whole head, and only with difficulty can they raise their heads toward the sky.)

If we lift our minds to God and acknowledge that all true wisdom comes from him, and we also follow the divine design in the way we live, we are like someone standing at the top of a tall building, who looks out on a crowded city below and watches what is happening in the streets. If, however, we are utterly convinced that all true wisdom comes from ourselves, from our own earthly light, we are like someone at the bottom of that same tall building who lurks in a room below ground looking at the same city through little holes in the wall, able to see the wall of only one of the houses in the city and to examine how its bricks are mortared.

When God is the source we draw on for wisdom, we are like a bird flying high, looking around at everything in the gardens, forests, and villages, and flying toward whatever we need. When we ourselves are the source we draw on for things related to wisdom without believing that those things actually come from God, we are like a hornet that flies near the ground and, on seeing a dunghill, lands there and enjoys the stench.

As long as we are living in the world, we all walk midway between heaven and hell. Therefore we are in an equilibrium. We can freely choose to look either upward to God or downward to hell. If we look upward to God, we recognize that all wisdom is from God and that in our spirits we are actually with angels in heaven. If we look downward (as we inevitably do if we have false thinking from an evil heart), in our spirits we are actually with devils in hell.

from True Christianity, Section 69

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence.

The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more power we receive from God’s omnipotence to fight against forms of evil and falsity, because no one can resist evils or the falsities that go with them except God alone. All forms of evil and falsity are from hell. There they stick together as one thing, exactly the same way all forms of goodness and truth do in heaven.

As we said above [Section 65], to God the totality of heaven is like one human being. On the other hand, hell is like one giant monster. Going against one evil and its falsity is going against that whole giant monster of hell—no one can do it except God, because he is omnipotent.

Clearly then, unless we seek help from God Almighty we have no more power of our own against evil and falsity than a fish has against the ocean, or a gnat against a whale, or a piece of dust against a mountain that is falling on it. On our own, the power we have against evil is much smaller than the power a locust has against an elephant or a fly against a camel. Furthermore, our power against evil and falsity is even weaker because we are born into evil. Evil cannot act against itself.

Therefore we have to follow the divine design in the way we live. We have to acknowledge God, his omnipotence, and our resulting safety from hell, and do our part to fight against the evil that is with us; this acknowledgment and this fighting go together as part of the divine design. Otherwise we cannot help being plunged into hell and swallowed up; and once there, we cannot help being driven by evils, one after the other, like a little rowboat on the sea being pushed around by storms.

from True Christianity, Section 68

6. Human beings were created as forms of the divine design. (Continued)

Before creation, God was love itself and wisdom itself. That love and that wisdom had a drive to be useful. Without usefulness, love and wisdom are only fleeting abstract entities, and they do indeed fly away if they do not move in the direction of usefulness. The two prior things without the third [love and wisdom without usefulness] are like birds flying across a great ocean that eventually become worn out, fall into the ocean, and drown.

God created the universe so that usefulness could exist. Therefore the universe could be called a theater of useful functions. Because we, the human race, are the principal reason for creation, it follows that absolutely everything else was created for our sake. All aspects of the divine design have been brought together and concentrated in us so that God can perform the highest forms of useful service through us.

Without usefulness as a third party, love and wisdom would be as unreal as the heat and light of the sun would be if they had no effect on people, animals, and plants. That heat and that light become real by flowing into things and having an effect on them.

Another set of three things that follow in order is purpose, means, and result. The learned world knows that a purpose is nothing unless it has reference to an efficient cause or means; and the purpose and the means are nothing unless there is a result. We can of course contemplate a purpose and the means of accomplishing it purely in our minds, but we still do so only for the sake of the result that the purpose intends and that the means make possible.

Likewise with love, wisdom, and useful service. Useful service is what love intends and what it occasions through the means. When useful service results, love and wisdom take on a real existence. In that useful service, they set up a place for themselves to live and stay, and there they rest as if they were at home. We are that way ourselves when God’s love and wisdom are in us and we do something useful. The reason we were created images and likenesses of God, or forms of the divine design, was so that we would be able to do God’s useful services.

from True Christianity, Section 67

6. Human beings were created as forms of the divine design.

We have been created as forms of the divine design because we have been created as images and likenesses of God, and since God is the design itself, we have therefore been created as images and likenesses of that design.

The divine design originally took shape, and it continues to exist, from two sources: divine love and divine wisdom. We human beings have been created as vessels for these two things. Therefore the design that divine love and wisdom follow in acting upon the universe, and especially upon the angelic heaven, has been built into us.

As a result, heaven in its entirety is a form of the divine design in its largest possible manifestation. In the sight of God, heaven is like one human being. The correspondence between heaven and a human being is in fact complete. There are no communities in heaven that do not answer to some part, some internal or external organ, of the human body. For this reason a given community in heaven is said to be in the province of the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the stomach, the eye, the ear, or the tongue, and so on. In fact, the angels themselves know which specific area within a given part of the human body they inhabit. I was given an opportunity to learn about this from living experience. I saw a community of several thousand angels together in the form of one human being. From that experience it became clear to me that heaven as a whole is an image of God, and an image of God is a form of the divine design.

It is important to know that everything that radiates from the sun around Jehovah God in the spiritual world relates to humanness. Therefore all things that take shape in that world combine to make a human form, and at their deepest level present that form themselves. As a result, all the objects that take shape there before the eyes are symbolic of a human being.

There are animals of every kind in that world. They are likenesses of the feelings of love and the resulting thoughts that angels have. The same goes for the tree gardens, flower gardens, and lawns and meadows there. The angels are also given insights about what feeling this or that object represents. Surprisingly, when their inner sight is opened up they recognize an image of themselves in the things around them. This happens because all people are their own love and their own thought. In everyone there are a variety and multiplicity of feelings and thoughts, some of which relate to the feeling embodied in one animal, and some to the feeling embodied in another. Therefore images of the angels’ feelings take shape in that way. There will be more on this topic in the part of this chapter on creation [Sections 75–80].

From all this the truth becomes clear that the purpose of creation was [to provide for] an angelic heaven from the human race—humankind as a resting place for God to inhabit. And this is why human beings were created as forms of the divine design.

from True Christianity, Sections 65, 66

5. God is omnipresent in his design from beginning to end.

God’s omnipresence in his design from beginning to end is a function of the heat and light from the sun that surrounds God in the spiritual world. The divine design was created through this sun. From it God sends forth a heat and a light that pervade the universe from beginning to end. That heat and that light give life to humankind and to every animal. They also produce the plant soul that every plant in the world possesses. The two flow into every single thing and cause it to live and grow according to the design assigned to it upon creation.

Because God is not extended and yet fills all things throughout the universe that are extended, he is omnipresent. I have shown elsewhere that God is in all space independently of space, and in all time independently of time [Section 30], and therefore the universe in its essence and design is the fullness of God. Therefore he senses all things through his omnipresence, he provides all things through his omniscience, and he produces all things through his omnipotence. Clearly then, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence are one; each presupposes the next. Therefore they cannot be separated.

The divine omnipresence can be illustrated by the amazing way angels and spirits become present to each other in the spiritual world. Because there is no [physical] space in that world—there is only apparent space—an angel or a spirit can be visibly present with another in a moment, provided she or he comes into the same state of love and thought [as that other], since love and thought create the appearance of space.

All who are in the spiritual world have this way of becoming present. This became clear to me from the fact that I was able to see people from Africa and India nearby in that world, although we were many thousands of miles apart on earth. In fact, I was able to become visibly present with people on planets in this solar system and even with people on planets in other solar systems beyond this one.

Through this method of being present not in a place but in the appearance of a place, I have spoken with apostles, and with deceased popes, emperors, and monarchs; with Luther, Calvin, and Melanchthon, the founders of the modern-day church; and with others from distant regions. If angels and spirits have such a method of being present, surely an infinite divine presence exists throughout the universe.

The reason angels and spirits have this method of being present is that every feeling of love and every resulting thought in the intellect is in space independently of space and in time independently of time. Any one of us can think about a sibling, a relative, or a friend who is in the Indies, and then focus on those people as if they were present with us. We can also feel love for them on the basis of our memories. These phenomena, which are known to us, illustrate the divine omnipresence to some extent.

The divine omnipresence can also be illustrated by human thoughts. When we call to mind things we saw at this or that place while traveling, it is as if we are present in those places again.

Indeed, our physical eyesight emulates this presence. It is unaware of an object’s distance except through things in between that provide a means of measuring. In fact, the sun itself would seem to be near to or even in our eye if things between us and the sun did not indicate that it is very far distant. People who have written on optics have recorded this phenomenon in their books.

The reason why our minds as well as our bodies have vision that can be present in this way is that our spirit sees through our spiritual eyes. Animals do not have a similar mental presence, however, since they have no spiritual sight.

From all this it stands to reason that God is omnipresent in his design from beginning to end. That he is also omnipresent in hell was shown in the point before this one [Sections 61–62].

from True Christianity, Sections 63, 64

4. God is omniscient; that is, he is aware of, sees, and knows everything down to the least detail that happens in keeping with the divine design, and by contrast is aware of, sees, and knows what goes against the divine design. (Continued)

From what occurs in keeping with the divine design, God is aware of, knows, and sees everything down to the least detail that is done against the divine design.

When people are involved in evil, God does not hold them there; he holds them back from evil. He does not lead them; he struggles against them. He perceives the quantity and quality of evil and falsity from their constant wrestling, striving, struggling, fighting, and pushing back against his own good and truth, and therefore against himself. This comes from God’s omnipresence in everything of his own design as well as his complete knowledge of everything in that design.

By analogy, when your ear focuses on harmony and on sounds that are in tune, and then something discordant or out of tune occurs, you notice precisely how wrong and how far off it is. A similar awareness occurs when you focus on some pleasure and then some unpleasant sensation interrupts.

By the same token, when your sight focuses on something beautiful, your appreciation of it is heightened if there is something misshapen beside it; this is why painters often place an unpleasant face next to a beautiful one. The same thing happens with goodness and truth. When evil and falsity struggle against good and truth, we perceive the evil and the falsity distinctly by contrast.

Everyone who focuses on goodness can sense evil, and everyone who focuses on truth can see falsity. The reason is that goodness is actually in the warmth of heaven and truth is in its light, while evil is in the coldness of hell and falsity is in its darkness. An illustration of this is that the angels of heaven are capable of seeing what goes on in hell and what type of monsters are there; but the spirits of hell are completely unable to see what goes on in heaven. They cannot see the angels any more than a blind person could, or more than an eye would see something by looking into empty air or ether.

Those who have the light of wisdom in their intellects are like people standing on a mountain in the middle of the day clearly seeing everything below. Those who have an even higher light are like people with telescopes who can see things off in the distance or far below as if they were close at hand. Those, however, who have defended falsities and are therefore in the faint, deceptive light of hell are like people on the same mountain at night with oil lamps in their hands who can see only what is nearby and even then can barely make out vague shapes or tell colors apart.

Some people have some light of truth but still have evil in their lives. As they go on loving and enjoying their particular evil, at first they view things that are true more or less the way a bat views towels on a clothesline in a garden—it flies to them as a safe haven. Later on these people become like night birds, and then at length like horned owls. Then they become like a chimneysweep stuck in a dark chimney; when he raises his eyes, he sees the sky through the smoke; when he looks down he sees the hearth from which the smoke ascends.

Keep in mind, however, that it is one thing to sense things that are opposite and another to sense things that are related. Opposites are things that stand outside and against the things that are inside. Something opposite first arises where one thing completely stops being anything and something else then arises that tries to act against the first thing, like one gear that opposes another gear, or a current that goes against another current. Related things, however, have to do with the arrangement of many different elements into a design so that they work together in harmony—for example, the gems of different colors in the sash across a queen’s chest, or the multicolored flowers used in a garland to please the eye. Each side, then, contains things that are related to each other. The side of good contains things that are related to each other, and so does the side of evil; the side of truth contains things that are related to each other, and so does the side of falsity. Things related to each other exist in heaven and they exist in hell, but the things related to each other in hell are all opposite to the things related to each other in heaven.

Now, because God is aware of, sees, and knows all related things in heaven based on the divine design in which he himself is, and as a result he is aware of, sees, and knows all the opposing related things in hell, as follows from what was just said, therefore it is clear that God is just as omniscient in hell as he is in heaven. He also has full knowledge of people in the world. He is aware of, sees, and knows our evils and falsities from the goodness and truth that he is in and that are essentially him. As the Word says, “If I ascend into the heavens, you are there. If I lie down in hell, behold, you are there” (Psalms 139:8). Elsewhere it says, “If they dig through into hell, from there my hand will take them” (Amos 9:2).

from True Christianity, Sections 61, 62

4. God is omniscient; that is, he is aware of, sees, and knows everything down to the least detail that happens in keeping with the divine design, and by contrast is aware of, sees, and knows what goes against the divine design.

God is omniscient, that is, he is aware of, sees, and knows all things, because he is wisdom itself and light itself. Wisdom itself is aware of all things. Light itself sees all things.

We showed above [Section 37] that God is wisdom itself. He is light itself because he is the sun of the angelic heaven that enlightens the intellect of all, both angels and people. As our eye is illuminated by the light of the physical sun, so our intellect is illuminated by the light of the spiritual sun—not only illuminated, but also filled with intelligence (depending on how much we love receiving it), since spiritual light is essentially wisdom.

This is why it says in David that God dwells in inaccessible light [Psalms 104:2; see also 1 Timothy 6:16]; and why it says in the Book of Revelation that in the New Jerusalem they do not need lamps because the Lord God enlightens them [Revelation 21:23]; and why it says in John that the Word that was with God and was God is the light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world [John 1:1, 9]. The “Word” in this last reference means divine wisdom. This is why the more wisdom angels have, the brighter a light they are in; and why when “light” is mentioned in the Word it means wisdom.

God is aware of, sees, and knows everything down to the least detail that happens in keeping with the divine design because it is a universal design that encompasses the smallest individual designs. (Individual things taken collectively are called universal, just as particular instances are collectively called something common or general.)

The universal design with [all] its individual designs is a masterwork so well connected together into one thing that you cannot touch or affect one part without something of a sensation flowing back to the others. Every created thing in this world has something comparable to this quality of the divine design in the universe.

Comparisons with observable phenomena will shed light on this. Throughout a human being, there are connective membranes and individual parts. The membranes enclose the individual parts, creating such a thorough connection that they become part of each other. This is accomplished through a common membrane around every unit in the body. This membrane wraps around the individual parts inside so that they act in a unified way to do whatever function or service that unit provides.

For example, the membrane around each muscle extends between individual motor fibers and wraps them with itself. The membrane around the liver, the membrane around the pancreas, and the membrane around the spleen also extend into the smaller parts inside these organs. The membrane around the lungs, called the pleura, extends in a similar way into the individual parts inside the lungs, as the pericardium also extends into each and every part of the heart. Likewise the peritoneum in general goes through anastomoses [points of communication] to join with all the membranes around individual organs. The same is also true of the meninges, the membranes around the brain. Using projecting filaments, these membranes extend into all the glands below, and extend through the glands into fibers, and through the fibers into every single thing in the body. This is how the head uses the brains to control everything under its power.

The sole purpose in mentioning these examples is to show you observable phenomena, so that you may have some idea of how God is aware of, sees, and knows everything down to the least detail that happens in keeping with the divine design.

from True Christianity, Sections 59, 60

3. In the universe and everything in it, God’s omnipotence follows and works through the laws of its design. (Continued)

If, as the modern-day belief goes, God’s omnipotence was as absolute for doing evil as it is for doing good, surely it would be possible, even easy, for God to lift the whole of hell to heaven. He could turn devils and satans into angels. In a moment he could take all the ungodly people on earth, purify them from sin, make them new, holy, and reborn, and justify them, turning them from children of wrath into children of grace [Ephesians 2:3–8] solely by assigning and attributing to them the justice of his Son.

God cannot do this with his omnipotence. It is against the laws of his design for the universe. It is also against the laws of his design for human beings, which dictate that the individual and God have to form a mutual partnership. (From later sections in this book [Sections 89, 99, 100, 110:4–6, 368–372] you will see that this is the case.)

The ridiculous modern-day belief about God’s omnipotence would mean that God could turn all goat people into sheep people and move them at will from his left side to his right [Matthew 25:31–46]. He could transform the dragon’s spirits into Michael’s angels [Revelation 12:7]. He could give the sight of an eagle to someone with an intellect like a mole. In a word, he could make a dove person out of an owl person.

God cannot do these things, because doing so is against the laws of his design, although he never stops wanting to or trying. If he could have done things like this he would not have let Adam listen to the serpent, pluck a piece of fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and bring it to his mouth. If God could have avoided it, he would not have let Cain kill his brother. He would not have let David take a census of the people; he would not have let Solomon build shrines for idols, or let the kings of Judah and Israel desecrate the Temple, which they did a number of times. Indeed if he could have, he would have saved the whole human race without exception through his Son’s redemption and would have uprooted hell in its entirety.

Ancient gentiles ascribed this kind of omnipotence to their gods and goddesses, as you can see from their myths. For example, in the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, the stones they throw behind their backs become people; in another story Apollo turns Daphne into a laurel tree; in another, Diana turns a hunter into a deer. And there is a myth that one of their gods turned the young maidens of Parnassus into magpies.

The belief about divine omnipotence today is similar to these ancient myths. In every region where there is religion many fanatical and heretical ideas have been brought into the world as a result.

from True Christianity, Section 58