Light and Warmth in Heaven (Continued)

The reason the love that emanates from the Lord as the sun is experienced as warmth in heaven is that the deeper levels of angels are involved in a love that comes from the divine good, which in turn comes from the Lord. Consequently, their more outward levels, which are warmed by this, are in warmth. This is why warmth and love are mutually responsive to each other in heaven, so that everyone is in the kind of warmth that accords with her or his love, as follows from what we have just been saying.

Our world’s warmth does not enter heaven at all, because it is too crude, being natural and not spiritual. It is different for us, though, since we are in the spiritual world as well as in the natural world. As far as our spirits are concerned, we grow warm exactly according to our loves, but as far as our bodies are concerned, we respond to both—the warmth of our spirits and the warmth of the world. The former flows into the latter, because they correspond.

We can determine the nature of the correspondence of these two kinds of warmth by looking at animals, whose loves—the primary one being for the procreation of offspring of their own species—break forth and become active in response to the presence and touch of warmth from our world’s sun, a warmth that comes primarily in spring and summertime.

People who believe that the inflow of our world’s warmth arouses these loves are much mistaken. There is actually no inflow of what is natural into what is spiritual, but of what is spiritual into what is natural. This latter inflow is of the divine design, while the former would be contrary to the divine design.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 135


Previously Cited: 11/29/2016

No One Enters Heaven on the Basis of Mercy Alone (Continued)

The Lord never does anything contrary to his design because he himself is the design. The divine truth that emanates from him is what establishes the design, and divine truths are the laws of the design by which the Lord is leading us. Saving people by unmediated mercy is contrary to the divine design, and anything contrary to the divine design is contrary to the divine nature.

The divine design is heaven for us. We have distorted it by living contrary to its laws, which are divine truths. The Lord brings us back into the design out of pure mercy, through the laws of the design; and to the extent that we are brought back, we accept heaven into ourselves. Whoever accepts heaven enters heaven.

This shows again that the Lord’s divine mercy is pure mercy but not unmediated.

If we could be saved by nothing but mercy then everyone would be saved, even the people in hell. In fact, there would not be any hell because the Lord is mercy itself, love itself, goodness itself. So it goes against his essential divine nature to say that all people can be saved directly and that he does not save them. We know from the Word that the Lord intends the salvation of all and the damnation of no one.

Many people who arrive in the other life from the Christian world bring with them a faith that they are going to be saved out of straight mercy, because they plead for it. When they are examined, though, it turns out that they have believed that getting into heaven was simply a matter of being let in, and that people who had been admitted were in heavenly joy. They have had no notion of what heaven is or what heavenly joy is. So they are told that the Lord does not deny heaven to anyone. They can be let in if they wish and even stay there. Some who wanted to were actually let in; but at the very threshold, at the touch of heaven’s warmth (that is, of the love angels are engaged in) and the inflow of heaven’s light (which is divine truth), they were seized with such pain in the heart that they felt themselves in the torments of hell rather than in the joys of heaven. Struck by this, they plunged down headlong. In this way they were taught by firsthand experience that no one can enter heaven out of straight mercy.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 523-525

2. We cannot comprehend God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence unless we know what the divine design is, and unless we learn that God is the divine design and that he imposed that design on the universe as a whole and on everything in it as he created it.

Astounding quantities and varieties of folly have crept into human minds and slithered into the church through the heads of its founders as a result of their not understanding the design that God built into the universe and everything in it. A mere list of these foolish notions, which appears below [Sections 56–58], will make this clear.

For now let me open a discussion of the divine design with a general definition: A “design” is the quality of arrangement, boundaries, and interaction among parts, substances, or entities that together make up a form. This quality results in a state—a state that is perfect when produced by wisdom acting on the basis of love, and imperfect when spawned by unsound reasoning acting on the basis of mere desire.

This definition uses the terms substance, form, and state. By substance we mean form as well, because every substance is a form, and the quality of that form is its state. The perfection or imperfection of that state is a result of the design it has.

Because these points are metaphysical, though, they are unavoidably cloaked in thick darkness; but in the ensuing discussion, application of these terms in illustrative examples will dispel this darkness.

God is the divine design because he is substance itself and form itself. He is substance because from him come all things that subsist, that came into existence in the past, and that are coming into existence now. He is form because every quality of [these] substances arose and arises from him. Quality comes from no other source than form.

Now, because God is the absolute, the first, and the only substance and form and is also the absolute and only love and the absolute and only wisdom, and because wisdom produces form on the basis of love, and the state and quality of the form depend on its design, it follows that God is the design itself. It also follows that from himself God imposed a design on the universe and on every single thing in it, and the design imposed was absolutely perfect because all that he created was good, as we read in Genesis, the Book of Creation.

(In its own place we will show that evil of every kind and hell itself came into existence after creation.) Now we turn to thoughts that are more accessible to, clearer for, and gentler on the mind.

from True Christianity, Sections

The Lord the Redeemer: 3. In the process of taking on a human manifestation, God followed his own divine design.

In the section on divine omnipotence and omniscience we showed that in the act of creating, God introduced his design into the universe as a whole and into each and every thing in it. Therefore in the universe and in all its parts God’s omnipotence follows and works according to the laws of his own design. The treatment of those laws runs from Sections 49 to 74.

Now, because God came down, and because he is the design (as was also shown in that section), there was no other way for him to become an actual human being than to be conceived, to be carried in the womb, to be born, to be brought up, and to acquire more and more knowledge so as to become intelligent and wise. Therefore in his human manifestation he was an infant like any infant, a child like any child, and so on with just one difference: he completed the process more quickly, more fully, and more perfectly than the rest of us do.

This statement in Luke shows that he followed the divine design in his progress:

“The child Jesus grew and became strong in spirit, and he advanced in wisdom, age, and grace with God and with humankind” (Luke 2:40, 52).

Other statements about the Lord in the same Gospel make it clear that he grew up more quickly, more fully, and more perfectly than the rest of us; for example, when he was “a child of twelve, he sat and taught in the Temple in the midst of the scholars, and all who heard him were astounded at his insightful answers” (Luke 2:46–47). Likewise later on; see Luke 4:16–22, 32.

The Lord’s life followed this path because the divine design is for people to prepare themselves to accept God; and as they prepare themselves, God enters them as if he were coming into his own dwelling and his own home. The preparation entails developing a concept of God and of the spiritual things related to the church—that is, developing intelligence and wisdom.

It is a law of the divine design that the closer and closer we come to God, which is something we have to do as if we were completely on our own, the closer and closer God comes to us. When we meet, God forms a partnership with us. The Lord followed this design even to the point of union with his Father, as we will show later on [Sections 97–99, 105–106].

People who do not know that the divine omnipotence follows and works according to the divine design are capable of hatching many concepts from their own imaginations that contradict and oppose sound reason. For example, they might wonder why God did not instantly take on a human manifestation without going through life stages. They might wonder why he did not create or assemble a body for himself from substances from all four directions of the world. If he had, he could have presented himself as a human God before the Jewish people and in fact before the entire world. Or if he had especially wanted to go through the birth process, why did he not pour his whole divinity into that embryo, or else into himself as a baby? Or right after he was born why did he not expand himself to the size of an adult and immediately start speaking divine wisdom? People who think of divine omnipotence without thinking of the divine design are capable of conceiving and giving birth to these thoughts and others like them, and filling the church with craziness and garbage—which, of course, has actually happened.

Take for example the idea that God could procreate a Son from eternity and could arrange that a third God would then emanate from himself and his Son. Or the idea that God could be enraged at the human race and schedule it for destruction, but then be willing to be brought back to compassion by the Son through the Son’s intercession and the Father’s recollection of the cross. Not only that, but God could put his Son’s justice into people and insert it into their hearts like Wolff’s “simple substance,” in which, as that author himself says, everything of the Son’s merit exists, even though that substance cannot be divided, since divided it would collapse into nothing. Then there is the idea that through a Papal bull God could forgive the sins of anyone he felt like forgiving and could purify utterly godless people of their black sins, thereby making dark devils shine like angels of light, while the godless people changed and developed no more than a stone would, but instead stayed as still as a statue or an idol.

People who fixate on divine, absolute power without recognizing or acknowledging any divine design are capable of scattering abroad these and many other insane ideas the way a winnower scatters chaff on the wind. On spiritual topics having to do with heaven, the church, and eternal life, people like this are prone to wander far from divine truths like a blind man in a forest who one moment trips over stones, the next knocks his head against a tree, and the next catches his hair in the branches.

The divine miracles followed the divine design as well; they followed the design of inflow from the spiritual world into the physical one. Until now no one has known anything about this design, however, because no one has known anything about the spiritual world. The nature of this design will be revealed in its own time, when I come to the discussion of divine miracles as opposed to magical miracles.

from True Christianity, Sections 89-91