The Sun in Heaven (Continued)

This is why in the Word the Lord is compared to the sun when the focus is on love and to the moon when the focus is on faith. It is also why the sun means a love for the Lord that comes from the Lord, and the moon means a faith in the Lord that comes from the Lord. Compare the following passages.

The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days. (Isaiah 30:26)

When I annihilate you, I will cover the heavens and blacken the stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not make its light. I will blacken all the luminaries in the heavens above you and send darkness over your land. (Ezekiel 32:7–8)

I will darken the sun in its rising, and the moon will not make its light shine. (Isaiah 13:10)

The sun and the moon will be blackened and the stars will withdraw their shining; the sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. (Joel 2:2, 10, 31; 3:15)

The sun became black as hairy sackcloth, and the moon became like blood, and the stars fell to earth. (Revelation 6:12-13)

Immediately after the affliction of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven. (Matthew 24:29)

And elsewhere. In these passages, the sun means love and the moon faith, while the stars mean instances of recognizing what is good and true. These are said to be darkened, to lose their light, and to fall from heaven when they no longer exist.

The Lord’s appearance as a sun in heaven may also be inferred from his transfiguration before Peter, James, and John, when “his face shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2). This is how the Lord was seen by those disciples when they had been lifted out of their bodies and were in the light of heaven.

For this reason, when the early people (who constituted a representative church) were engaged in their divine worship, they faced the sun in the east. It is why they set their temples to face the east.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 119

Notes:  

The Word (Scripture) Swedenborg used in all his books was the bible in use during his lifetime (1688-1772).

Previously Cited: 11/17/2016

Spiritual Heat and Light

There are two things in the natural world which make the life there, namely, heat and light; and there are two things in the spiritual world which make the life there, namely, love and faith. Heat in the natural world corresponds to love in the spiritual world, and light in the natural world corresponds to faith in the spiritual world. Hence it is that when spiritual heat or fire is mentioned, love is meant; and when spiritual light is mentioned, faith is meant. Moreover, love is actually the vital heat of man, for it is known that man grows warm from love; and faith is actually the light of man, for it can be known that man is illumined from faith.

The heat and light in the natural world arise from the sun of the world; but spiritual heat and light, or love and faith, arise from the sun of heaven. The sun of heaven is the Lord; the heat which comes from Him as a sun is love, and the light which comes from Him as a sun is faith. That the Lord is light is evident from these words in John:

Jesus said, I am the light of the world, he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12)

and that the Lord is a sun is evident in Matthew:

When Jesus was transfigured, His face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as the light (Matt. 17:2).

From this correspondence it can also be known how the case is with faith and with love. Faith without love is like light without heat, as is the light of winter; and faith with love is like light with heat, as is the light of spring. That in the light of spring each and all things grow and flower, is known; and also that in the light of winter all things become torpid and die. It is similar with faith and love.

from Arcana Coelestia, Sections 7082-7084

Heat and Light Vs. Love and Faith

There are two things in the natural world which make the life there, namely, heat and light; and there are two things in the spiritual world which make the life there, namely, love and faith. Heat in the natural world corresponds to love in the spiritual world, and light in the natural world corresponds to faith in the spiritual world. Hence it is that when spiritual heat or fire is mentioned, love is meant; and when spiritual light is mentioned, faith is meant. Moreover, love is actually the vital heat of man, for it is known that man grows warm from love; and faith is actually the light of man, for it can be known that man is illumined from faith.

The heat and light in the natural world arise from the sun of the world; but spiritual heat and light, or love and faith, arise from the sun of heaven. The sun of heaven is the Lord; the heat which comes from Him as a sun is love, and the light which comes from Him as a sun is faith. That the Lord is light is evident from these words in John: Jesus said, I am the light of the world, he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12); and that the Lord is a sun is evident in Matthew: When Jesus was transfigured, His face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as the light (Matt. 17:2).

From this correspondence it can also be known how the case is with faith and with love. Faith without love is like light without heat, as is the light of winter; and faith with love is like light with heat, as is the light of spring. That in the light of spring each and all things grow and flower, is known; and also that in the light of winter all things become torpid and die. It is similar with faith and love.

from Arcana Coelestia, Sections 7082-7084

Genesis 1:22-23 and Its Inner Meaning

And God blessed them, saying, “Reproduce and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and the birds will multiply on the land.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. — Genesis 1:22-23

Everything with life from the Lord in it reproduces and multiplies beyond measure—not so much during our physical lives, but to an astounding degree in the next life.

In the Word, reproducing or being fruitful applies to the elements of love, and multiplying, to the elements of faith. Fruit born of love holds the seed by which it multiplies so prolifically.

The Lord’s blessing in the Word also symbolizes fruitfulness and multiplication, because these are its result.

from Secret of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 22-23

THE LORD ALONE CREATES US ANEW

The sections on goodwill and faith have already shown that the Lord carries out the process of regenerating us by means of goodwill and faith. . . . Both of these things, goodwill and faith, I call means because they forge our partnership with the Lord. Together they ensure that our goodwill is real goodwill and that our faith is real faith. The process of our regeneration cannot occur without our having some part to play in it.

In preceding chapters, our cooperation with the Lord has come up several times; it will be illustrated again here, however, because the human mind is by nature unable to rid itself of the sensation that it carries out this process under its own power.

In every motion and every action there is an element that is active and another element that is responsive. The active element acts, and then the responsive element acts in response. As a result, a single action comes forth from the two elements. A mill is activated in this manner by a waterwheel; a carriage by a horse; a motion by a force; an effect by a cause; a dead force by a living force; and in general an instrumental cause by a principal cause. Everyone knows that each pair together completes a single action.

In the case of goodwill and faith, the Lord acts, and we act in response. There is an activity of the Lord that prompts our human response. The power to do good things comes from the Lord. As a result, there is a will to act that seems to be our own, because we have free choice. Either we can take action together with the Lord and by doing so, form a partnership with him; or else we can take action drawing on the power of hell, which is outside the Lord, and by doing so, separate ourselves from him. Actions of ours that are in harmony with the Lord’s actions are what I mean here by “cooperation.” To make this even clearer, it will be illustrated with comparisons below.

It follows from this that the Lord is constantly active in regenerating us. He is constantly active in saving us, and no one can be saved without being regenerated, as the Lord himself says in John: “Those who are not born again cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5, 6). Regeneration is therefore the means of being saved; and goodwill and faith are the means of being regenerated.

The notion that we are regenerated as a consequence of simply having the faith that is preached by the church of today—a faith that involves no cooperation on our part—is the height of foolishness.

The kind of action and cooperation just described is visible in action and movement of all types. The interaction between the heart and all its arteries is an example. The heart acts and the arteries use their sheaths and linings to cooperate; this results in circulation. A similar thing happens with the lungs. The air pressure, which depends on the height of the atmosphere above it, acts upon the lungs; the lungs work the ribs, which is immediately followed by the ribs working the lungs. This breathing motion affects every membrane in the body. The meninges of the brain, the pleura, the peritoneum, the diaphragm, and all the other membranes that cover the internal organs and inwardly hold them together, act and react and cooperate in this way, because they are flexible. Together these movements provide for our continued existence.

A similar thing happens in every fiber and nerve and in every muscle. In fact it even occurs in every piece of cartilage. It is well documented that in each of these there is an [initiating] action and then a cooperation.

Such cooperation also exists in all our bodily senses. Just like the motor organs, the sensory organs consist of fibers, membranes, and muscles; but there is no need to describe the cooperation of each one. It is well known that light acts upon the eye, sound upon the ear, odor upon the nose, taste upon the tongue; and that the organs adapt themselves to that input, which results in sensation.

Surely everyone can see from these examples that thought and will could not exist unless there was a similar action and cooperation between life as it inflows and the spiritual organic structure underlying our brain. Life flows from the Lord into that organic structure. Because the organic structure cooperates, it perceives what it is thinking. Likewise it perceives what is under consideration there, what conclusion is formed, and what action it has decided to take. If the life force alone took action but we did not cooperate (seemingly on our own), our ability to think would not exceed a log’s. We would have no more thought than a church building does when a minister is preaching; the church can indeed feel the reverberation of sound coming through the double doors as an echo, but it cannot appreciate anything about the sermon. We would be no different if we did not cooperate with the Lord in developing goodwill and faith.

What we would be like if we did not cooperate with the Lord can be further illustrated with the following comparisons. If we perceived or sensed anything spiritual related to heaven or the church, it would strike us as something hostile or disagreeable flowing in, the way our nose would react to a rotten smell, our ear would react to a dissonant sound, our eye would react to a hideous sight, or our tongue would react to something disgusting.

If the delight associated with goodwill and the enjoyment associated with faith were to flow into the spiritual organic structure of the mind of people who take delight in evil and falsity, such people would feel terrible pain and torment until they eventually collapsed in unconsciousness. The spiritual organic structure consists of long strands in helixes; under that circumstance in people of that type, it would wrap itself in coils and would be tormented like a snake on a swarm of ants. The truth of this has been fully demonstrated to me in the spiritual world through an abundance of experiences. . . .

from Regeneration, pages 50-53

REPENTANCE

Now that faith, goodwill, and free choice have been treated, the related topic of repentance comes next, because without repentance there can be no true faith and no genuine goodwill, and no one could repent without free choice. Another reason why there is a treatment of repentance at this point is that the topic that follows is regeneration, and none of us can be regenerated before the more serious evils that make us detestable before God have been removed; repentance is what removes them.

What else are unregenerate people but impenitent? And what else are impenitent people but those who are in a drowsy state of apathy? They know nothing about sin and therefore cherish it deep within themselves and make love to it every day the way an adulterous man makes love to a promiscuous woman who shares his bed.

To make known what repentance is and what effect it has, this treatment of it will be divided into separate headings.

from Regeneration, page 23

Notes: This section was first published 6/29/2016

LOVE AND THE SELF: Faith

No one knows what faith is in its essence who does not know what goodwill is, because where there is no goodwill there is no faith. This is because goodwill is just as inseparable from faith as goodness is from truth. That is, what we love or really care about is what we regard as good, and what we believe in is what we regard as true. We can therefore see that the oneness of goodwill and faith is like the oneness of what is good and what is true.

The oneness of goodwill and faith is also like the oneness of our will and understanding. These are, after all, the two capacities that take in what is good and what is true, our will taking in what is good and our understanding what is true. So, too, these two capacities take in goodwill and faith, because goodness is a matter of goodwill and truth is a matter of faith. No one is ignorant of the fact that goodwill and faith are associated with us and are in us, and since they are associated with us and in us the only place they can exist within us is in our will and our understanding. Our whole life resides there and comes forth from there. We do have memory as well, but that is only a waiting room where things gather that are going to enter our understanding and will. We can see, then, that the oneness of goodwill and faith is like the oneness of will and understanding.

Goodwill unites with faith for us when we will to do what we know and sense. Willing is a matter of goodwill, and knowing and sensing are matters of faith. Faith moves into us and becomes part of us when we both will to do and love what we know and sense. Until that happens, it is outside us.

Faith is not faith for us until it becomes spiritual, and it does not become spiritual unless it becomes a matter of love. It becomes a matter of love when we love to live out what is true and good—that is, to live by what we are commanded in the Word.

Faith consists of being moved by what is true because we want to do what is true simply because it is true; and wanting to do what is true simply because it is true is our actual spiritual nature. That is, it is detached from our earthly nature, which is willing to do what is true not because it is true but for the sake of praise or fame or profit for ourselves. Truth detached from such concerns is spiritual because it comes from the Divine. Whatever comes from the Divine is spiritual, and this is united to us through love because love is spiritual union.

We can know and think and understand a great deal, but when we are left to the privacy of our own thoughts we discard anything that is not in harmony with our love. This means also that we discard such things after our physical lives, when we are in the spirit, since the only things that are left to us once we are in the spirit are the things that have entered into our love. After death all the rest strikes us as foreign matter that we throw out of the house because it is not part of our love. I have said “in the spirit” because we live as spirits after death.

We can form some image of the good that goodwill does and the truth that faith discloses if we think in terms of the warmth and light of the sun. When the light that radiates from the sun is united to warmth, as is the case in spring- and summertime, then everything on earth sprouts and blossoms. When there is no warmth in the light, though, as is the case in wintertime, then everything on earth becomes dormant and dies. Spiritual light is the truth that faith discloses, and spiritual warmth is love.

This enables us to form an image of what people of the church are like when faith is united to goodwill in them. They are just like a garden or park. Their image when faith is not united to goodwill in them is like that of a wasteland and a land buried in snow.

from Regeneration, Pages 16-18

Rich and Poor People in Heaven (Continued)

Poor people do not get into heaven because of their poverty but because of their lives. Our lives follow us whether we are rich or poor. There is no special mercy for the one any more than for the other. People who have lived well are accepted; people who have lived badly are rejected.

Poverty can actually seduce people and lead them away from heaven just as much as wealth can. There are many people among the poor who are not content with their lot, who covet much more, and who believe that wealth is a blessing; so when they do not get what they want, they are enraged and harbor evil thoughts about divine providence. They envy other people their assets, and given the chance would just as soon cheat them and live in their own foul pleasures.

It is different, though, for poor people who are content with their lot, are conscientious and careful in their work, prefer work to idleness, behave honestly and reliably, and lead Christian lives. I have sometimes talked with rural and common people who had believed in God while they lived in this world and had behaved honestly and righteously in their jobs. Because they were impelled by a desire to know what was true, they kept asking what thoughtfulness and faith were, since they had heard a lot about faith in this world and were hearing a lot about thoughtfulness in the other life.

So they were told that thoughtfulness is all about living and faith is all about doctrine. This means that thoughtfulness is intending and doing what is fair and right in every task, while faith is thinking what is fair and right; so faith and thoughtfulness go together like doctrine and a life according to it, or like thought and intent. Faith becomes thoughtfulness, then, when we intend and do the fair and right things that we think. When this happens, they are not two but one. They understood this perfectly well and were overjoyed, saying that in the world they had not understood believing to be any different from living.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 364

The Church

What constitutes heaven for us also constitutes the church; just as love and faith constitute heaven, so too love and faith constitute the church. So we can see what the church is from what has already been said about heaven [Sections 230–240].

The term “church” is applied to the regions where the Lord is acknowledged and the Word exists, since the essentials of the church are a love for the Lord that comes from the Lord and a faith in the Lord that comes from the Lord, and the Word teaches us how we need to live in order to receive this love and faith from the Lord.

For a church to exist there also needs to be a body of teaching based on the Word, since without one the Word is not understood. Such teachings alone, however, do not constitute a church for us—that requires living in accordance with such teachings. It therefore follows that faith by itself does not constitute the church, but a church requires living according to faith, which means caring.

A genuine body of teaching is one focused on caring and faith together and not one focused on faith by itself. Clearly, a body of teaching focused on caring and faith together is about how to live, while a body of teaching focused on faith that does not include teachings focused on caring is not.

People outside the church who acknowledge one God and in accordance with their religion devote their lives in some way to caring about their neighbor have something in common with people in the church, because no one who believes in God and lives a good life is damned. This shows that although the Lord’s church takes a particular form where the Lord is acknowledged and the Word is found, it actually exists everywhere in the whole world.

Everyone in whom the church exists is saved and everyone in whom the church does not exist is damned.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 241-245

Sections 230-239: See 11/30/17

Faith

No one knows what faith is in its essence who does not know what caring is, because where there is no caring there is no faith. This is because caring is just as inseparable from faith as goodness is from truth. What we love or really care about is what we regard as good, and what we believe is what we regard as true. We can therefore see that the oneness of caring and faith is like the oneness of what is good and what is true. The nature of that union was made clear in the earlier material on goodness and truth.

The oneness of caring and faith is also like the oneness of our will and our understanding. These are, after all, the two faculties in us that are receptive to goodness and truth, our will being the faculty receptive to goodness and our understanding being the faculty receptive to truth. These two faculties are also receptive to caring and faith, because caring has to do with goodness and faith has to do with truth. Everyone knows that caring and faith are with us and in us, and since they are with us and in us, the only place they can be is in our will and in our understanding. Our whole life resides there and comes forth from there. Yes, we do have a faculty of memory as well, but that is only a waiting room where things gather that are going to enter our understanding and our will. We can see, then, that the oneness of caring and faith is like the oneness of our will and our understanding. The nature of this oneness can be seen from the information already presented on our will and our understanding.

Our caring is joined to our faith when we choose to do what we know and perceive to be true. Our caring is a function of what we choose to do, and our faith is a function of what we know and perceive to be true. Faith first enters us and becomes part of us when we choose to do what we know and perceive to be true, and when we come to love that truth. Until that happens, faith remains outside us.

Faith is not faith for us unless it becomes spiritual, and it does not become spiritual unless it arises out of our love. This happens when we love to live a life of truth and goodness—that is, to live by what we are commanded in the Word.

Faith is a passion for truth that comes from wanting to do what truth teaches because it is the truth; and wanting to do what truth teaches because it is the truth is the very definition of human spirituality. That is, it transcends our earthly nature, which involves our wanting to do what truth teaches not because it is the truth but for the sake of praise or fame or profit for ourselves. Truth detached from such concerns is spiritual because it comes from the Divine. Whatever comes from the Divine is spiritual, and this is joined to us through love because love is a spiritual joining together.

We can know and think and understand a great deal, but when we are left to the privacy of our own thoughts we discard anything that is not in harmony with our love. We discard such things after our physical lives as well, when we are in the spirit, since the only things that are left to us once we are in the spirit are the things that have entered into our love. After death all the rest strikes us as foreign matter that we throw out of our house because it is not part of our love. And I say “in the spirit” because we live as spirits after death.

We can form some image of the relationship between good actions that come from caring and the truth that belongs to religious faith if we think in terms of the warmth and light of the sun. When the light that radiates from the sun is joined to warmth, as is the case in spring and summer, then everything on earth sprouts and blossoms. When there is no warmth in the light, though, as is the case in winter, then everything on earth becomes dormant and dies. The truth that belongs to religious faith is spiritual light, and love is spiritual warmth.

This makes it possible for us to form some image of what people of the church are like when faith is joined to caring in them. They are just like a garden paradise. Their image, though, when faith is not joined to caring in them is like that of a desert or a land buried in snow.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 108-114

Notes:

Goodness and Truth: Published on 11/14-15/2017
Will and Understanding: Published on 11/18/2017