Genesis 1:26 anf Its Inner Meaning (Continued)

And God said, “Let us make a human in our image, after our likeness; and these will rule over the fish of the sea and over the bird in the heavens, and over the beast, and over all the earth, and over every creeping animal that creeps on the earth.” — Genesis 1:26

As long as we are spiritual, we rule the outer self first and from this the inner, as illustrated here in Genesis 1:26.

When we become heavenly, though, and do good because we love to, we rule the inner self first and from it the outer. The Lord describes this as being true of himself; and as it is true of him, it is also true of the heavenly type of person, who is a likeness of him. The words appear in David:

You have made him rule over the works of your hands; all things you have put under his feet: the flock and all the herds, and also the animals of the fields, the bird in the heavens, and the fish of the sea—that which travels the paths of the seas. (Psalms 8:6–8)

In this passage, animals receive the first mention, next the bird, then the fish of the sea, because the heavenly person proceeds from love, which belongs to the will. Things are different with the spiritual person, for whom the fish and birds come first and the animals follow; fish and birds are associated with the intellect, which concerns itself with faith.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 52

Genesis 1:9 and Its Inner Meaning

And God said, “Let the waters under heaven be gathered into one place, and let dry land appear”; and so it was done. — Genesis 1:9

When we learn that we have an inner self and an outer, and that truth and goodness come from the inner self—or rather from the Lord by way of the inner self into the outer, even though this is contrary to appearances—this information, this knowledge of truth and goodness, is stored away in our memory.

The knowledge takes its place among the secular facts we have learned, because anything instilled in our outward memory, whether earthly, spiritual, or heavenly, lodges there as a fact, and from there the Lord draws on it.

This knowledge is the waters gathered into one place and named seas. The outer being itself, on the other hand, is called dry land. Immediately afterward it is called earth, as the next verse shows.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 27

OUR INNER SELF HAS TO BE REFORMED FIRST, THEN OUR OUTER SELF

The concepts of the inner and outer self taught by the new church are completely different [from what is taught by other churches]. In this view, our inner self is our will. It is the source of the thoughts we have when we are left to ourselves, such as when we are at home. Our outer self is what we do and say in company or in public. Our inner self, then, is goodwill and faith—goodwill that belongs to our will, and faith that occupies our thoughts.

Before we undergo regeneration, goodwill and faith constitute our earthly self, which is divided into an inner and an outer level. This is clear from the fact that we are not allowed to act in company or in public the way we do when left to ourselves at home. What causes the split into an inner and outer level is that civil law prescribes punishments for those who do evil things and rewards for those who do good things. Since no one wants to be punished and everyone wants to be rewarded, we therefore force ourselves to create an outer self that is separate from our inner self. The reward takes the form of wealth or a good reputation; we achieve neither one unless we live according to the law. This is why morality and benevolence are practiced outwardly, even by people who have no morality or benevolence inwardly. This is the origin of all hypocrisy, flattery, and pretense.

As for the earthly self being split into two levels, this is an actual division of both will and thought. Every action that we take originates in our will; every word we say originates in our thought. Below our first earthly will, we ourselves create a second will and a second thought process, which also belong to our earthly self. The will that we create ourselves could be called our bodily will, because it drives the body to behave in moral ways. The thought process that we create ourselves could be called lung-related thought, because it drives our lips and tongue to say things that show a good understanding.

Taken together, this type of thought and this will can be compared to the inner bark that adheres to the outer bark of a tree; or it can be compared to the membrane that adheres to the shell of an egg. Behind this self-made thought and will lies the inner earthly self. If we are evil, our inner earthly self is like rotten heartwood within a tree whose outer and inner bark appears whole; or like a rotten egg inside a clean white shell.

Now to the nature of the inner earthly self that we are born with. Its will has a tendency toward evils of every kind and therefore its thinking has a tendency toward falsities of every kind. This inner self, then, is what needs to be regenerated. If it is not regenerated, it harbors hatred toward everything related to goodwill and anger at everything related to faith.

It follows, then, that our inner earthly self must be regenerated first, and our outer self must then be regenerated through our inner self. This sequence follows the divine design. To regenerate our inner self through our outer self would go contrary to the divine design, because the inner self acts as the soul of the outer self, not only in a general way but in every detail. The inner self is present in everything we say, without our even realizing it. This is what allows angels to perceive the quality of our will from a single action of ours, and the quality of our thinking from a single thing we say—the “quality” meaning whether we are hellish or heavenly. As a result, they have complete knowledge of us. From our tone of voice they perceive the interests that drive our thinking; from a gesture of ours, or the form of one action, they perceive the love that resides in our will. They detect this no matter how good we are at presenting ourselves as a Christian and a moral citizen.

Our regeneration is portrayed in Ezekiel as the dry bones on which sinews were placed; then flesh, and skin, and spirit was breathed into them, and they came to life (Ezekiel 37:1–14). The following words in that story make it obvious that it represents regeneration: “These bones are the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:11). There is also a comparison there involving graves. We read that God will open graves and cause bones to rise up out of them, and he will put spirit in them and place them in the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37:12, 13, 14). The land of Israel here and elsewhere means the church. Bones and graves were used to represent regeneration because people who have not been regenerated are called the dead, and people who have been regenerated are called the living. The former are spiritually dead, but the latter are spiritually alive.

Every created thing in the world, both animate and inanimate, has an inner level and an outer level. The one level does not exist in the absence of the other, any more than an effect can exist without a cause. Every created thing is considered valuable if it is inwardly good, and worthless if it is inwardly bad, even where inner badness lies within outer goodness. Every wise person in the world and every angel in heaven evaluates people and things in this way.

What a person who has not been regenerated is like and what a person who has been regenerated is like can be illustrated through comparisons. People who have not been regenerated but who present themselves as moral citizens and “good Christians” can be compared to a corpse that has been embalmed with fragrant oils but nevertheless gives off a reek that overpowers the fragrances, assaults your nose, and hurts your brain. . . .

In our world, of course, the inside is sometimes valued highly on the basis of what is outside, but only by people who themselves have no inner goodness and who therefore judge things by appearances. This is not how it works in heaven, however. The body that can be turned this way and that around the spirit and can be bent from evil to good is removed by death, and then only the inner self remains, which constitutes the spirit. Then even from far away such people look like a snake that has shed its skin, or rotten wood whose shiny bark has been removed. It is different, though, for those who have been regenerated. Their inner level is good and their outer level, which appears to be like anyone else’s, is actually as different from that of the people just mentioned as heaven is from hell, since it has a soul of goodness inside.

After death it means nothing anymore whether people in this world were of high rank and lived in a mansion and walked around with an entourage, or lived in a hut and were waited on by a child. It does not matter if they were an archbishop who wore a scarlet robe and a two-tiered tiara, or a shepherd tending a few sheep in the woods, who wore a loose-fitting country coat with a hood for his head.

Gold is still gold whether it shines next to the fire or its surface is blackened with smoke. Gold is still gold whether it has been poured into a beautiful shape like that of a little child or an unpleasant shape like that of a rat. The rats made of gold and placed next to the ark were still found acceptable and pleasing (1 Samuel 6:3, 4, 5, and following), because gold symbolizes inner goodness. Diamonds and rubies that have been kept in their matrix of limestone or clay are just as valuable as diamonds and rubies set in a queen’s necklace, because they are valued for their inner goodness. And so on.

This makes it clear that what is on the outside derives its value from what is on the inside and not the other way around.

from Regeneration, Paages 63-66

The Inner Self and the Outer Self

We are created in such a way that we are in the spiritual world and the earthly world at one and the same time. The spiritual world is where angels are and the earthly world is where we are. And since that is how we are created, we are given an inner nature and an outer nature—an inner nature that allows us to be in the spiritual world, and an outer nature that allows us to be in the earthly world. Our inner nature is what we refer to as the inner self, and our outer nature is what we refer to as the outer self.

Each one of us has an inner level and an outer level, but they are not the same for good people as they are for evil ones. For good people, their inner level is in heaven and in its light, while their outer level is in the world and in its light. Further, for good people this latter light is brightened by heaven’s light, so their inner and outer levels act in unison like an efficient cause and its effect, or like what is prior and what is subsequent. For evil people, though, their inner level is in this world and its light, and the same holds true for their outer level as well. This means that they cannot see anything in heaven’s light, only in this world’s light, which they call “the light of nature.” That is why heavenly matters are in darkness for them and worldly matters are in the light.

We can see from this that good people have an inner self and an outer self, while [in effect] evil people have no inner self, only an outer one.

It is the inner self that is called a spiritual self because it is in heaven’s light, and that light is spiritual. It is the outer self that is called an earthly self because it is in the light of this world, and that light is earthly. Anyone whose inner level is in heaven’s light and whose outer level is in this world’s light is a spiritual individual in both respects, but people whose inner level is not in heaven’s light but in this world’s light, where their outer level is as well, are earthly individuals in both respects. Spiritual individuals are the ones called “living” in the Word, while earthly individuals are the ones called “dead.”

When our inner level is in heaven’s light and our outer level is in this world’s light, we think in ways that are both spiritual and earthly, but our spiritual thinking flows into our earthly thinking, and that is where we perceive it. However, when our inner level is caught up in this world’s light along with our outer level, we think materialistically rather than spiritually. That is, we base our thinking on the kinds of things we find in this physical world, all of which are composed of matter.

To think spiritually is to think about actual things as they really are, seeing truths in the light of truth and perceiving what is good because we love it. It is seeing the qualities of things and perceiving their emotional impact apart from their material characteristics. In contrast, thinking materialistically is thinking, seeing, and perceiving things as inseparable from matter and as in matter, and therefore relatively crudely and dimly.

Seen in its own right, a spiritual inner self is an angel of heaven, and while it is living in the body it is also in the company of angels even though it is not aware of being so; and once it is released from the body it joins them. A merely earthly inner self, though, when seen in its own right, is not an angel but a spirit and is also in the company of spirits while it is living in the body. However, it is with spirits who are in hell, and after its release from the body it joins them.

The deeper levels of [the minds of] people who are spiritual are actively raised up toward heaven because that is their primary focus, while the deeper levels of the minds of people who are merely earthly are actively turned toward this world because that is their primary focus. For all of us, our inner levels, which are levels of our higher mind, are turned toward what we love above all, and our outer levels, which are levels of our lower mind, are turned in the same direction as the inner.

People who have only a vague concept of the inner self and the outer self believe that it is the inner self that thinks and intends and the outer that speaks and acts as a result, since thinking and intending are internal activities, and speaking and acting are external. It should be borne in mind, though, that when we think intelligently and intend wisely, we are thinking and intending from a spiritual inner nature, but when we do not think intelligently and intend wisely we are thinking and intending from an earthly inner nature. This means that when our thoughts about the Lord and about matters that involve the Lord are good and when our thoughts about our neighbor and about matters that involve our neighbor are good, and when our intentions toward them are good, we are thinking and intending from our spiritual inner nature. This is because our thinking is based on a belief in what is true and a love for what is good, and is therefore coming from heaven. However, when our thoughts about them are evil and our intentions toward them are evil, then we are thinking and intending from our earthly inner nature because our thinking is based on a belief in what is false and a love for what is evil, so our thinking is coming from hell.

In short, to the extent that we are focused on loving the Lord and loving our neighbor, our inner nature is spiritual. We are thinking and intending from that nature and are speaking and acting from it as well. To the extent that we are focused on loving ourselves and loving the world, though, our inner nature is earthly. We are thinking and intending from that nature and are speaking and acting from it as well.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 36-42

OUR INNER SELF HAS TO BE REFORMED FIRST, THEN OUR OUTER SELF

The concepts of the inner and outer self taught by the new church are completely different [from what is taught by other churches]. In this view, our inner self is our will. It is the source of the thoughts we have when we are left to ourselves, such as when we are at home. Our outer self is what we do and say in company or in public. Our inner self, then, is goodwill and faith—goodwill that belongs to our will, and faith that occupies our thoughts.

Before we undergo regeneration, goodwill and faith constitute our earthly self, which is divided into an inner and an outer level. This is clear from the fact that we are not allowed to act in company or in public the way we do when left to ourselves at home. What causes the split into an inner and outer level is that civil law prescribes punishments for those who do evil things and rewards for those who do good things. Since no one wants to be punished and everyone wants to be rewarded, we therefore force ourselves to create an outer self that is separate from our inner self. The reward takes the form of wealth or a good reputation; we achieve neither one unless we live according to the law. This is why morality and benevolence are practiced outwardly, even by people who have no morality or benevolence inwardly. This is the origin of all hypocrisy, flattery, and pretense.

As for the earthly self being split into two levels, this is an actual division of both will and thought. Every action that we take originates in our will; every word we say originates in our thought. Below our first earthly will, we ourselves create a second will and a second thought process, which also belong to our earthly self. The will that we create ourselves could be called our bodily will, because it drives the body to behave in moral ways. The thought process that we create ourselves could be called lung-related thought, because it drives our lips and tongue to say things that show a good understanding.

Taken together, this type of thought and this will can be compared to the inner bark that adheres to the outer bark of a tree; or it can be compared to the membrane that adheres to the shell of an egg. Behind this self-made thought and will lies the inner earthly self. If we are evil, our inner earthly self is like rotten heartwood within a tree whose outer and inner bark appears whole; or like a rotten egg inside a clean white shell.

from Regeneration, Pages 63, 64