Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations


 

The Correspondential Sense of Sacred Scriptures

Proving that there is a Unified Theistic Psychology

Hidden Within the World’s Historical Sacred Writings

 

Dr. Leon James
Professor of Psychology
University of Hawaii

April 2009, version 2

Table of Contents

 

Introduction. 1

Evidence. 6

Relationship Between Sacred Scriptures, Religion, and Theistic Psychology. 6

Why We Need Sacred Scripture. 9

The Hidden Correspondential Sense of Sacred Scriptures. 10

The Correspondential Sense of the Genesis Creation Story. 13

Why We Need Theistic Psychology. 22

The Incarnation Event: God Enters the World of History and Science. 24

How Divine Speech Descends In the Human Mind Through Discrete Layers. 34

Conceptual Charts of the Physiology of God and the Human Mind. 36

The Method of Correspondences With Enlightenment. 38

Methods of Extraction. 44

The Method of Substitution. 46

The Method of Rational Series. 49

The Method of Mapping. 54

External and Internal Revelation. 55

The Process of Enlightenment and Regeneration: The Scientific Meaning of Genesis 24. 62

The Topics of Genesis 24 in Relation to Theistic Psychology. 69

Table Illustrating the Extraction Process. 74

Scientific Revelations in Sacred Scripture. 77

Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech. 81

Correspondences in Sacred Scripture and Divine Speech. 85

Levels of Descent of Divine Speech. 99

How Divine Speech Unifies the Human Race. 111

Extracting the Scientific Meaning in Sacred Scripture. 113

Analyzing Divine Speech: The Scientific Sense of Genesis 22. 126

The Binding of Isaac on the Altar. 131

The Mental Struggles of the Divine-Human on Earth. 136

The Meaning of Sacrifices in Worship. 138

Evolutionary Footsteps for the Human Race. 147

The Scientific Meaning of Sin and Sacrifices. 152

The Correspondential Meaning of Asanas (Postures). 282

The Correspondential Meaning of Mudras. 289

The Correspondential Meaning of Breath and Breathing. 291

Quotes from the Bhagavad Gita and Their Correspondential Meaning. 295

The Correspondential Meaning of the Upanishads. 300

The Source of Conjugial Love With Husbands: The Correspondential Sense of CL 88. 308

The Definition of God in the Quran and Related Sacred Books. 311

The Various Names of Jesus in the Qur'an. 315

The Subject Matter of Sacred Scripture. 317

Seeing Through Sacred Scripture. 320

The Secret Code of Correspondences in the Bible. 322

Extracting the Inner Sense of Deuteronomy Chapter 1. 328

Repentance as the Gateway to the Interior Sense of Sacred Scripture. 346

The Threefold Order of the World and of Heaven. 349

The Ninefold Self and the Ninefold Sacred Scripture. 352

The Simple But Basic States of Our Religion in Childhood. 354

The Scientific Meaning of Genesis. 356

The Scientific Meaning of the Parables of Jesus. 358

Correspondential Sense of Ancient Forms of Sacred Scripture and Their Derivatives. 367

Hindu Sacred Scriptures on the Nature of God. 369

Central Theme. 369

The Trinity of God: A Correspondential Analysis of Concepts from Hindu Sacred Scriptures. 374

Buddhism as a Religion -- the Buddha and the Dharma. 380

The Correspondences in Yoga. 387

Zoroastrian Sacred Scripture. 394

Sad Dar. 397

The Correspondential Sense in Bahai Sacred Scripture. 405

 

Introduction

 

The purpose of this electronic book is to present the evidence for three Propositions about Sacred Scriptures.

Proposition 1

The literal sense of Sacred Scriptures is a cultural and historical document associated with a specific religion. There is a hidden correspondential sense within Sacred Scriptures which reveals a universal biological science that may be called theistic psychology.

Proposition 2:

Any text that contains an extractable interior sense by the application of correspondences, is Sacred Scriptures. The interior sense is then arranged in a complete rational series of interrelated meanings and propositions about the development and anatomy of the human mind (or “spirit body”).

Proposition 3:

The Theological Writings of Swedenborg are Sacred Scriptures.

Proposition 4:

The holy books known in the major world’s religions today are Sacred Scriptures.

 

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) wrote a verse by verse, and word by word, analysis of the first two books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus) and the last book of the New Testament in the Bible (Apocalypse or Book of Revelations). He identified the correspondential sense of every word, and then confirmed that sense by giving numerous examples from other parts of the Bible where the same word or expression is meant also in this correspondential sense. What is totally amazing is that the same correspondential sense is present across all the books of the Bible, even though these books were written by different prophets over the course of two millennia.

 

And even more stupendous is the amazing possibility explored below that all the books of Sacred Scriptures from around the world comprising all the major historical religions across millennia, also contain this same correspondential sense that Swedenborg discovered is present in the Old and New Testaments. The evidence I present strongly suggests such a possibility.

 

The correspondential sense of Sacred Scriptures was called by Swedenborg “spiritual sense” and the “interior sense of the Word.” The plain text meaning of the words and verses he called the “literal sense” or meaning. He showed by thousands of examples from across all the books of the Bible that the entire Old and New Testaments is “written in correspondences.” The correspondential sense in Sacred Scriptures is the spiritual message that God wants us to know about, and not just the literal sense.

 

Swedenborg honored the literal sense of the Old and New Testaments as “the Word of God.” He asserted and insisted that the literal sense is historically true and accurate in every detail, having been dictated by God to each prophet from within the mind. God is the actual author of the literal text of Sacred Scriptures. Swedenborg shows by many passages from the Old and New Testaments that God speaks the literal words in Sacred Scriptures, and these are therefore Divine and Holy. He shows by many examples from the Bible that God often speaks the literal in one way, and then follows it up by explaining its meaning another way. For instance, in the Parables of Jesus in the New Testament Sacred Scriptures, God speaks the parable or story, and then explains the spiritual meaning of the story. The story events in the literal “stand for” or correspond to some spiritual meaning, which is the message of the story as a whole, a message God wants us to understand by deciphering the symbolism and rational implications of the literal meaning.

 

Swedenborg states that God has always spoken in this way to humanity, since the beginning of the race on earth. He says that among the most ancient people on earth there were scientists called “wise men” and “sages” who studied the “laws of correspondences” and used them to extract new meanings from their Sacred Scriptures. This ancient science was later called “the science of correspondences.” In its modern version as rediscovered by Swedenborg in the eighteenth century, correspondences are cause-effect laws of creation that link the vertically arranged discrete degrees of existence in the mental world of eternity and in the physical world of time and space.

 

Swedenborg painstakingly demonstrates with thousands of examples in two dozen volumes that God speaks in correspondences because that is how meanings about truth and love descend from God and enter the minds of human beings. Swedenborg describes the anatomy of the human mind showing that it is layered in vertically arranged discrete degrees or layers of consciousness, some closer to God in authenticity of truth and love, and some more distant. God gives each of us the opportunity to settle in any of these mental regions of life. When God speaks, the audience is the entire human race. God’s meanings are celestial, spiritual, and rational in their purest form. They descend first into the highest layers of the human mind called celestial. When our consciousness is elevated into the celestial layer of thinking and loving, we have a celestial-rational understanding of the spiritual meaning of God’s message or communication.

 

In daily activities our consciousness is in the material or natural layer of thinking and loving, and we have reduced understanding of God’s message. It is still God’s Divine message, equally as before. But it is a lower form of God’s meaning or presence in our understanding and love.

 

We know what is God’s message to us in the material consciousness of the literal sense of Sacred Scriptures. When we talk about the content of the Bible we normally refer to the historical details of the physical events that took place at some place in some century. This is the literal sense. If there is also a correspondential sense hidden within this, then what is it? What is God talking about in the correspondential sense of Sacred Scriptures? The evidence presented below will show the astonishing fact that God is talking about details of theistic psychology and science, namely, about mental development, mental anatomy, steps in regeneration, discrete degrees in cause-effect laws, correspondences, and conjugial love between soulmates.

 

When God speaks the Divine Words reach us here in our conscious material mind as we read Sacred Scriptures. Said differently: When we read Sacred Scriptures God speaks Divine Words to us and they are reaching us through a series of discrete layers of meaning in our mind called correspondences. First we understand God’s meaning through celestial-rational correspondences. We are not conscious of this operation. When we operate with our material consciousness of daily life, we understand God’s meaning through material-natural correspondences. Celestial-rational correspondences of God’s Speech and material-natural correspondences of it, are different and contrastive, and this difference needs to be understood.

 

Celestial and rational correspondences of God’s meaning (“spiritual sense”) deal with

·         love and truth as substance within the mind, being God there

·         dying and resuscitating

·         the second death and organic induction into heaven and hell

·         synergy of breathing of spiritual societies

·         nature of life in eternity and the vertical community connection

·         mental development, remains, temptations, reformation, and regeneration

·         conjugial love and eternal marriage between soulmates

·         God’s management methods and goals

·         mental anatomy and spiritual genetics

·         discrete degrees and correspondences.

 

Material or natural correspondences of God’s meaning (“literal sense”) deal with

·         animal sacrifices to gain forgiveness from God

·         worship rituals that must be performed as a group or society

·         outward conduct of appropriate social behavior towards others

·         punishment of bad behaviors that are forbidden by God

·         historical and cultural events, places, and details

·         natural disasters, famines, migrations, miracles

·         promises and reassurances of God’s forgiveness and love

 

You can see from the contrast between the two lists that the higher correspondential sense that can be extracted from the literal sense results in a change of content or topics. The more interior “spiritual sense” exists in a more rational understanding that is above the natural or material understanding. We can read Sacred Scriptures at two levels of meaning. One is the literal or surface meaning of God’s Speech, and the other is the underlying or spiritual meaning of God’s message. The literal meaning of God’s message deals with sacrifices, worship, punishment, and promises, while the spiritual meaning deals with mental development and anatomy, discrete degrees and the laws of correspondences, regeneration and temptation, marriage and community in eternity. In other words, the correspondential or spiritual sense of Sacred Scriptures deals with theistic psychology.

 

It is clear that God gives both of these components of Sacred Scriptures because both are important and necessary to humankind. Religion and science are both necessary. If God gave only the theistic psychology component to science there would be no religion. Without religion there would be no civilized world, hence no science or community. If the literal of Sacred Scriptures were written as theistic psychology, only few people would read it and acknowledge it. Further, when God speaks the Divine Words are rational truths that come down to the conscious material mind through stages of transformation by the laws of correspondences. The celestial-rational meanings represent the first transformation. As this descends into the material mind there is another transformation. Each transformation changes the content. By the time it reaches the mind of the prophet the transformation has reached its final state in the form of a particular language and culture on earth.

 

The literal meaning of the written Word is therefore the basis and source of a religion. The literal meaning now contains all the previous transformations. Knowledge of correspondences allows science to extract these prior or more interior meanings. Hence it is that we can list the content and many of the details of theistic psychology. The knowledge of theistic psychology is extractable by any scientist or scholar from any Sacred Scriptures. Its methodology has been described as rational empiricism.

 

Swedenborg did not use the expression “theistic psychology” but it is obvious to me that this is what he was in fact describing, namely, that while the literal sense of Sacred Scriptures is given for religion, the correspondential sense is given for theistic science.

 

In line with the discoveries and developments by Swedenborg, I investigated the following proposition:

Proposition 2:

Any text that contains an extractable spiritual sense by the application of correspondences, is Sacred Scriptures.

My research after several years of investigation indicates two preliminary findings that I believe will be fully established by other researchers and scholars.

Proposition 3:

The Theological Writings of Swedenborg are Sacred Scriptures.

 

Proposition 4:

The holy writings known in the major world’s religions today are Sacred Scriptures.

 

A critical methodological issue facing the Propositions is to distinguish between “contains correspondences” vs. “contains a complete series of correspondences.” Swedenborg states that the Book of Job which forms part of the modern Bible, is written in the ancient style of correspondences, but does not contain a complete rational series, as do the other books of the Old Testament. While there are “holy books” it doesn’t mean that all holy books have a complete internal series of correspondences. The definition of Sacred Scriptures is that they contain an arrangement that forms a complete rational series. This series must cover all the anatomical layers of descent.

 

The following presents samples of my research selected from my online collection of books Principles of Theistic Psychology (18 volumes) and from my other essays and articles.

 

Evidence

 

Relationship Between Sacred Scriptures, Religion, and Theistic Psychology

Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech transformed by correspondence into a natural language  . All genuine Sacred Scripture has therefore two levels of meaning. The clearly visible literal sense is historical and cultural, leading to particular religions. The hidden correspondential sense is universal and culture-free. Hence although the literal sense of the various collections of Sacred Scripture is necessarily cultural and ethnic, also divisive against each other, the hidden correspondential sense of all Sacred Scripture is unified and consistent, relating to the rationality and love of Divine Speech as One God for all.

 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch1p1.htm#topic3

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

To understand how we are alive and what it means to be alive, we need to know what God has revealed to humanity. These Divine revelations are known in most cultures today as Sacred Scriptures. The literal meaning of Sacred Scriptures in a natural language was given to serve as the basis a specific religion at some time in history. The scientific meaning hidden within the literal meaning, was given to serve as the basis for theistic science and theistic psychology.

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

(Note: The words in italics are substitutions for the original expressions (see Table below):

SS 78. Further, it is through Sacred Scripture that God the Divine Psychologist is present with us and is conjoined with us, for God the Divine Psychologist is Sacred Scripture, and as it were speaks with us in it. God the Divine Psychologist is also Divine truth itself, as likewise is Sacred Scripture. From this it is evident that God the Divine Psychologist is present with us and is at the same time conjoined with us, according to our understanding of Sacred Scripture, for according to this we have truth and the derivative rational knowledge in our cognitive organ, and also pro-social motivation in our affective organ. God the Divine Psychologist is indeed present with us through the reading of Sacred Scripture, but we are conjoined with Him through the understanding of truth from Sacred Scripture, and according thereto; and in proportion as God the Divine Psychologist has been conjoined with us, in the same proportion theistic psychology is active in our mind.

Theistic psychology is within us; theistic psychology that is outside of us is the institutionalized scientific discipline with a number of us who have theistic psychology within them. This is meant by the words of the Incarnated Divine Human to those who study theistic psychology without applying it to their daily willing and thinking who want to know how heaven is established in our mind:

"The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).

Here the "kingdom of God" means God the Divine Psychologist, and from Him, knowledge of theistic psychology. (SS 78) (see Note below)

  Note: The following substitutions were made in the above paragraph indicated by italics:

Original Literal Expression in the Writings of Swedenborg
(given for religion)

Equivalent Translated Concept into
Theistic Psychology
(given for science)

the Word

Sacred Scriptures

the Lord

God the Divine Psychologist, Incarnated Divine Human

a man, him, his, he is

us, our, we are

faith

rational knowledge in our cognitive organ

love and the derivative life

pro-social motivation in our affective organ

the church is in man; with man; within him; outside of man

the knowledge of theistic psychology is active in our mind; outside of us is the institutionalized scientific discipline of theistic psychology

the Pharisees

those who study theistic psychology without applying it to their daily willing and thinking

who asked

who want to know

when the kingdom of God would come

how heaven is established in our mind

within you

in our mind

The conversion Table above illustrates the way in which theistic psychology is extracted from the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture, in this case, the Writings of Swedenborg. As you can see, all traces of the original historical or ethnic references vanish when this is done, and what remains is universal science applying to all human beings. Many more illustrations will be given in what follows.

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch1p1.htm#topic3A

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Why We Need Sacred Scripture

 

This is why it is absolutely necessary that God give people guidelines and definitions of what is heavenly and what hellish. We cannot rely on our own judgment. Hence it is that God gives Sacred Scripture to the human race. This is the Divinely given definition and criterion for what is good vs. evil, true vs. false, heavenly vs. hellish.

In Sacred Scripture God gives us several distinct layers of meanings and definitions. Our first encounter with Divine Speech through Sacred Scripture is the literal sense of the sentences that make up the books of Sacred Scripture. These sentences can be read by anyone and be understood in the literal sense. What are the topics of Sacred Scripture at this literal level of meaning? What is God talking to us about?

At the literal level Sacred Scripture has a historical and religious content. For instance, the Old Testament Sacred Scripture reads like the history of an ancient people, and contains poetry about God, visions and dreams by prophets, various prophecies of future history, numerous commandments and rituals that must be performed, and punishments and rewards are received accordingly. This literal-historical level of meaning of Sacred Scripture forms the basis for religion and its various denominations and varieties.

What happens when people form religions and belief systems based on the literal sense of Sacred Scripture? People interpret this literal content to suit themselves and what they love. People focus on the parts they like and ignore the parts of Sacred Scripture they don’t like. There is no consistency, no rational responsibility for being consistent. It is necessary therefore for people to go to the next layer of meaning in Sacred Scripture. This is called the spiritual meaning or the interior meaning, whereas the literal sense is called the natural meaning or the external meaning.

People are able to penetrate to the hidden correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture by making these steps:

(1) Acknowledging that the correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture can only be understood by being received from God.

No one can do this on their own or from their own. Those who try come up with much improbable fantasy rather than truth and reality.

(2) Studying Sacred Scripture by rational and scientific methods.

One must be completely consistent, explain apparent contradictions, and ignore no parts. This is called forming for oneself the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture. Theistic psychology is an instance of this approach.

(3) Applying each truth and idea to our daily willing and thinking.

We must monitor the hundreds of choices we make every day. Every choice must be distinguished in our mind as either heavenly or hellish, as defined by the spiritual meaning of Sacred Scripture that God reveals to us on a daily basis.

If we practice these three steps on a daily basis, we are slowly building up our heaven and cutting our ties with hell. After resuscitation we happily and easily let go of whatever hellish traits remain, and we enter our heaven.

The correspondential sense of the Old and New Testament Sacred Scriptures are revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg Sacred Scriptures. The Writings Sacred Scriptures teach us how to extract the correspondential sense of all Sacred Scriptures. The literal sense of the Writings Sacred Scriptures makes up the Swedenborg Reports in about 30 volumes that describe his experiments, observations, and rationale. It is revealed there that life in eternal heaven is a conjugial life, that is, everyone there is married to their soulmate. Swedenborg interviewed many married couples who live in their heavens. A husband and wife are soul mates and live out their immortal life in happiness and blessedness in company with other similar couples with who they form a society or city. Swedenborg describes the details of life in heaven and hell.

 

The Hidden Correspondential Sense of Sacred Scriptures

 

What is God talking to us about in the hidden correspondential sense of Sacred Scriptures? And why is it hidden?

 

The idea of “God talking” is the same as the idea of “Divine Truth” because God thinks and speaks Divine Truth and nothing else. Remember that the mental world of eternity is the world created by God’s thoughts and purposes. God has no beginning and no end, and therefore God’s thoughts are eternal, which is the same as saying that God’s thoughts, or Divine Truth, forms the world of eternity. Remember also that the physical world of time and space is an effect or consequence of a mental cause. This mental cause of the physical world is Divine Truth, which is God’s thinking.

 

We at first think that the physical world is concrete and solid while the mental world is ephemeral, almost non-existent in concrete reality. We have sayings in popular culture like “It’s only in his imagination. It’s not real.” A popular song about an island the singer is dreaming of ends with “But there is no island at all, just a picture on my wall.” So we grow up with the idea that the mental world is less real than the physical world.

 

But as we progress in our rational thinking we discover from the hidden correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture that the mental world is more real than the physical world. Everything in the physical world is temporary and breaks down with time. Nothing is permanent. But in the mental world created by God’s thoughts every single thing is permanent. We are immortal because our mental world is created by the thoughts of God, that is, by Divine Truth. A human mind constructed out of God’s thoughts and feelings is an immortal being because nothing in it can die; everything in it is permanent in eternity. Animals do not have the same mental body we have.

 

While we have a natural or material mind and a spiritual-rational or celestial-rational mind, animals only have a natural mind. Upon the death of the animal the mental body containing the animal’s natural mind cannot remain itself, cannot survive, and so dissipates. It is our rational mind that makes us different from all animals. Our spiritual-rational mind is constructed as a receptor organ for God’s thoughts and feelings, while animals do not have such an organ. The natural mind that animals have are similar to our natural mind in that its content is constructed through the sensory signals of the physical body. In contrast to this, the spiritual or celestial-rational mind does not receive any input whatsoever from the physical body and the natural world. All the input into our spiritual mind comes from the spiritual world, that is, the mental world of eternity.

 

The input or inflow of God’s thoughts and feelings into our spiritual mind is unconscious and automatic. This is the source of rationality, that is, our ability to think and reason rationally in our natural mind. We are not conscious of the inflow of God’s rational thoughts. We are only conscious of the rational thoughts as we are thinking about something or solving a problem.

 

Why then are we not perfectly rational all the time? Why is the Divine Truth hidden in Sacred Scripture as its correspondential sense? Why not reveal the truth to everybody?

 

To understand the answer you need to recall that God’s thoughts and feelings flow out into the created mental world of eternity where the minds of human beings exist and live. God’s thoughts and feelings spread out into the mental world of humanity like sunlight and heat spread out into physical space and into the planets. Divine Truth as Divine Speech, spreads into the unconscious spiritual mind of every human being, insuring the rationality and immortality of every member of the human race. But where does Divine Truth go from there? How does it go from the unconscious spiritual mind to the conscious natural mind where we do our thinking?

 

The answer is that the natural mind and the spiritual mind are connected by the laws of correspondences. These laws govern the functional connection between the layers of reality, starting with the spiritual mind and its layers, spreading outward to the natural mind, and finally being written down as sentences in a book. At each level of descent there is a corresponding reaction so that the upper level causes the lower level to react in correspondence with itself. When Divine Speech, or Divine Truth, reaches the bottom of the natural mind, the meaning of the ideas are natural, not spiritual. The literal sense that the prophet writes down in sentences is not what God said or thought, but a correspondence to what God thought and said. See the Layers Diagram.

 

For instance the literal sense of the Old Testament Sacred Scripture often speaks of water, different forms of it, like rain, ocean, storm, flood, river, spring waters, etc. When Swedenborg read the Sacred Scripture people use in the heavens of their eternity, there was no mention of water anywhere. Instead, when Swedenborg compared the specific passages and phrases where the Old Testament Sacred Scripture mentions water, there was mention of various forms of truth, like external vs. internal truth, or mediate truth vs. genuine truth, or truth of doctrine, truth of religion, natural truth vs. spiritual truth, falsified truth, etc. In other words, Divine Speech discusses the varieties of truth in human minds, not the weather or bodies of water on earth.

Another example is the frequent mention and description of wars conducted by the children of Israel in the Holy Land. All sorts of sordid details are given, some quite revolting. In several passages God is quoted as saying that He orders the children of Israel to invade the land that was promised them, wage holy war against the inhabitants, and destroy their cities, and decimate their population. God orders that no one should be spared the sword, -- women, children, and cattle. Many people today are puzzled or offended by such a barbaric treatment commanded by God. But you can understand it if you look for the hidden spiritual meaning of these events. Every detail of war mentioned in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture can be analyzed and seen to deal with the details of the psychology of regeneration.

 

Swedenborg was conscious in both the natural mind, as we are now, and in his spiritual mind, as we will be after resuscitation, which is the process of awakening in the spiritual mind a few hours after the death of the physical body  . Because Swedenborg was conscious in both minds simultaneously he was in a position of making direct empirical observations of how natural and spiritual phenomena are interrelated. He was able to read the literal meaning of the Bible in Hebrew and Greek so that he was conscious of its meaning in the natural mind, as we are, but also of its meaning in the spiritual mind, since the two are interrelated. This is how he empirically discovered the natural-spiritual correspondences in the Bible.

 

The Correspondential Sense of the Genesis Creation Story

 

Let's see what he discovered about the Genesis creation story as he compared passages in the Bible with Sacred Scripture that exists in every person's unconscious spiritual mind. In the following passages people are called "angels" when, after death and resuscitation, they become conscious in their spiritual and celestial layers of the mind. The expression "the Word" refers to Sacred Scripture. "The Lord" refers to the universal God the Divine Human  . The expression "the Word in the world" refers to the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture as we are conscious of it in our natural mind, which is referred to as "the church."

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg: [comments in italics are not in the original]

De Verbo 14. XIV  The Word in the heavens.

The Word [= Sacred Scripture] exists in all the heavens [= layers of the mind], and it is read there as it is in the world [= the meaning of it in our natural mind] , and sermons [= knowledge of theistic psychology] are based on it.

For it [= Sacred Scripture] is the Divine Truth which is the source of the angels' [= people in the afterlife already conscious in their celestial layers] intelligence and wisdom. For without the Word no one knows anything about the Lord [= God the Divine Human], love and faith, redemption, and all the other secrets of heavenly wisdom. In fact without the Word heaven [= consciousness in the afterlife in our celestial layers] would not exist, just as without the Word there would be no church in the world [= no way of regenerating our character], so that there would be no linking with the Lord.   (...)

[2] The Word in the Lord's spiritual kingdom [= unconscious spiritual layer of our mind] is not the same as the Word in the world [= conscious natural layer of our mind]. In the world there is the natural Word, but in that kingdom there is a spiritual Word. The difference is like that between its natural and spiritual senses.

The nature of the spiritual sense [= correspondential sense] has been demonstrated at length in my Arcana Coelestia, where the whole contents of Genesis and Exodus have been explained in accordance with that sense. The difference is such that no word is the same. Things take the place of names, and likewise of numbers; the histories are replaced by matters concerning the church [= the natural mind]. The surprising thing is that, when an angel reads it, he is unaware that it is not the same as what he read in the Word while in the world [= after resuscitation, we become conscious in the spiritual mind and unconscious in the natural mind]. This is because he no longer has any natural ideas, since they are replaced with spiritual ones; and the natural and the spiritual are linked by correspondences into a kind of unity.

So when someone passes from the natural into the spiritual [= at our death and immediate resuscitation], it seems to him as if they were the same. In fact an angel does not know that he is wiser than he was in the world, though his wisdom is really so superior as to be comparatively indescribable. He is unable to recognize the difference, because in his spiritual state he knows nothing of the natural state, which he had in the world; and he is unable to compare and differentiate them [= as Swedenborg was able to do], because he cannot return to his former state so as to make a comparison [= but Swedenborg was conscious in both before his death]. Still an angel in heaven is constantly being brought to a higher degree of perfection in wisdom than he had in the world, because his affection for spiritual truth is purer [= more rational and perfect].

[3] However, the Word in the Lord's celestial kingdom is far superior and wiser than the Word in His spiritual kingdom. The difference is of the same kind as that which distinguishes the natural Word in the world from the spiritual Word, as has been stated.

For that Word contains an inmost sense, called celestial, which in all its details refers to nothing but the Lord [= how God the Divine Human manages our mental operations]. In this Word [= celestial layer of our mind] the Lord [= God the Divine Human ] is read in place of "Jehovah" [= God's literal Name in the Bible], and of "Abraham", "Isaac" and "Jacob"; and also the Lord is named in place of "David", "Moses," "Elijah" and the rest of the Prophets; and His divinity is distinguished by special marks [= in the written version of Sacred Scripture that exists in our celestial mind]. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and also the names of the Apostles, when read there, convey something about the Lord as regards the church [= how we can change our inherited character]; and so with all the rest.

From this it became plain to me that the whole of the Sacred Scripture deals in its inmost sense with nothing but the Lord. The difference which distinguishes the two Words, the spiritual and the celestial, is like that between thoughts, the province of the intellect [= our cognitive organ], and affections, the province of the will [= our affective organ]. For the angels of the celestial kingdom are guided [=  our chief motives and loves] by love to the Lord and so affection for good [= wanting to be conjoined with God the Divine Human ]; the angels of the spiritual kingdom are guided by faith in the Lord and so by perception of truth [= wanting to be conjoined with the truths of God the Divine Human].

[4] Another difference between the celestial and spiritual Words is their script. The script of the spiritual Word is made up of letters resembling the printed letters of our world; but each letter has a meaning. If therefore you were to see that script, you would not understand a single word. For one letter succeeds another without a break, with dashes and dots above and below, since it is in accordance with spiritual speech, which has nothing in common with natural speech. The wiser angels are, the more they see of the inner secrets of their Word so written, more so than the simpler angels. What is stored there is plainly visible to the eyes of the wise, but not to the eyes of the simple. It is similar to what happens with our Word, but to a greater degree; here too the wise see more than the simple.

The script of the celestial Word, however, is made up of letters not known in the world. They are indeed alphabetical, but each one of them is composed of curved lines with serifs above and below, and there are small marks or dots in the letters, and also above and below them. I was told that the most ancient people on this earth had such a script. Some details agree with the Hebrew script, but not much. Such a script expresses the affections which make up a love; so it contains more secrets than they themselves can ever utter. They express these unutterable secrets which they perceive from their Word by means of representations. The wisdom hidden away in this Word surpasses the wisdom in the spiritual Word as a thousand does one.

[5] To make the difference between the three Words, the natural, the spiritual and the celestial, intelligible, let us take as an example the first chapters of Genesis, which deal with Adam, his wife and the Garden.

 In the natural Word which we have in this world there is a description of the creation of the world, the first creation of man, and the earthly pleasures and delights of man and the world. By the persons named following him up to the Flood [= hellish traits we inherit and acquire ] are meant his descendants, and the numbers mean their ages. But in the spiritual Word the angels of the spiritual kingdom have, this is not what is meant. The first chapter is a description of the reform and regeneration of the people of the most ancient church [= celestial traits we inherit and acquire]; this too is called a new creation. The second chapter describes as the Garden the intelligence of the people of that church; Adam and his wife stand for the church itself, and their descendants down to the Flood describe the changes in the state of that church [= evolution of mental states in the human race], up to the time when it came to an end and was finally destroyed by the Flood [= hellish traits we inherit and acquire].

But in the celestial Word possessed by the angels of the Lord's celestial kingdom, the first chapter describes the glorification of the Lord's Human; the Garden describes his Divine wisdom. Adam himself is understood to mean the Lord as regards the Divine itself and at the same time the Divine Human. His wife stands for the church, which since it has life from the Lord is called Eve from [the Hebrew word for] life. Adam says of her that she was to be his bone and his flesh, and [they should be] one flesh, because the church comes from the Lord, and is out of Him and with Him as if one. The names of the descendants of Adam describe the successive states by which the Lord was received by the people of that church and linked with them, until there was nothing at all received and so no linking.

[6] So when the first chapters in our Word are read by upright people, especially by boys and girls, and they feel joy at the state when everything was created and at the Garden, then these meanings are unfolded, and the spiritual angels [= those in the afterlife connected to the natural mind of people still on earth] understand them in accordance with their Word, and the celestial angels in accordance with theirs, without being aware that a person or a child is reading it [=  hence without prior knowledge or biased teaching]. These meanings are unfolded in their due sequence because they correspond, and correspondences are from creation like this.

This makes it plain what the Word is like in its depths, that is, it has three senses. The last is the natural one for men on earth; this deals mainly with worldly matters [= historical narratives] and where it deals with Divine matters [= spiritual meanings about the afterlife], they are still described by the kind of things which the world contains [= spiritual ideas described and understood naturally, not spiritually]. The middle sense is the spiritual one, which describes the kind of things which belong to the church [= mental world of eternity in the afterlife]. The inmost sense is the celestial one, which contains the kind of things which belong to the Lord [= how we are conjoined to God by loving Him].

For the whole of nature is a theatre representing the Lord's kingdom; and the Lord's kingdom, heaven and the church, is a theatre representing the Lord Himself. For just as the Lord glorified His Human [during the Incarnation Event], so too He regenerates a person; and as He regenerates a person, so too did He create him.

[7] These facts may establish what the Word is like in its depths. The natural Word as possessed by the Christian part of the world contains within itself a spiritual and a celestial Word. For the spiritual sense of our Word is the Word in the heavens which make up the Lord's spiritual kingdom; and the celestial sense of our Word, its inmost sense, is the Word in the heavens which make up the Lord's celestial kingdom. Our Word therefore contains both the spiritual and the celestial Words; but the spiritual Word and the celestial Word do not contain the natural Word. The Word of our world is therefore the one most full of Divine wisdom, and consequently more holy than the Word of the heavens [= because it contains the other two Sacred Scripture within itself].  (DE VERBO 14)

AC 4. While the mind cleaves to the literal sense alone [= of Sacred Scripture], no one can possibly see that such things [= heavenly secrets in the form of correspondences] are contained [= hidden] within it. Thus in these first chapters of Genesis [= Chapters 1 to 11], nothing is discoverable from the sense of the letter other than that the creation of the world is treated of, and the garden of Eden which is called Paradise, and Adam as the first created man. Who supposes anything else? But it will be sufficiently established in the following pages that these matters contain arcana [= secrets] which have never yet been revealed; and in fact that the first chapter of Genesis in the internal sense treats in general of the new creation of man, or of his regeneration [= mental character change from inherited hellish traits to heavenly], and specifically of the Most Ancient Church; and this in such a manner that there is not the least expression which does not represent, signify, and enfold within it these things. (AC 4)

AC 67. CHAPTER 2  As of the Lord's Divine mercy it has been given me to know the internal meaning of the Word, in which are contained deepest arcana that have not before come to anyone's knowledge, nor can come unless the nature of the other life is known (for very many things of the Word's internal sense have regard to, describe, and involve those of that life), I am permitted to disclose what I have heard and seen during some years in which it has been granted me to be in the company of spirits and angels. (AC 67)

AC 68. I am well aware that many will say that no one can possibly speak with spirits and angels so long as he lives in the body; and many will say that it is all fancy, others that I relate such things in order to gain credence, and others will make other objections. But by all this I am not deterred, for I have seen, I have heard, I have felt. (AC 68)

AC 69. Man was so created by the Lord as to be able while living in the body to speak with spirits and angels, as in fact was done in the most ancient times; for, being a spirit clothed with a body, he is one with them. But because in process of time men so immersed themselves in corporeal and worldly things as to care almost nothing for aught besides, the way was closed. Yet as soon as the corporeal things recede in which man is immersed, the way is again opened, and he is among spirits, and in a common life with them. (AC 69)

AC 70. As it is permitted me to disclose what for several years I have heard and seen, it shall here be told, first, how the case is with man when he is being resuscitated; or how he enters from the life of the body into the life of eternity. In order that I might know that men live after death, it has been given me to speak and be in company with many who were known to me during their life in the body; and this not merely for a day or a week, but for months, and almost a year, speaking and associating with them just as in this world. They wondered exceedingly that while they lived in the body they were, and that very many others are, in such incredulity as to believe that they will not live after death; when in fact scarcely a day intervenes after the death of the body before they are in the other life; for death is a continuation of life. (AC 70)

Here is a summary of the correspondential sense of the first chapters of Genesis:

From: BibleMeanings.info (paraphrased from the Writings of Swedenborg):
http://www.biblemeanings.info/Bible/genesis.html

AC 6. The six days, or periods, which are so many successive states of the regeneration of man, are in general as follows.

AC 7. The first state is that which precedes, including both the state from infancy, and that immediately before regeneration. This is called a "void," "emptiness," and "thick darkness." And the first motion, which is the Lord‘s mercy, is "the Spirit of God moving upon the faces of the waters."

AC 8. The second state is when a distinction is made between those things which are of the Lord, and those which are proper to man. The things which are of the Lord are called in the Word "remains," and here are especially knowledges of faith, which have been learned from infancy, and which are stored up, and are not manifested until the man comes into this state. At the present day this state seldom exists without temptation, misfortune, or sorrow, by which the things of the body and the world, that is, such as are proper to man, are brought into quiescence, and as it were die. Thus the things which belong to the external man are separated from those which belong to the internal man. In the internal man are the remains, stored up by the Lord unto this time, and for this use.

AC 9. The third state is that of repentance, in which the man, from his internal man, speaks piously and devoutly, and brings forth goods, like works of charity, but which nevertheless are inanimate, because he thinks they are from himself. These goods are called the "tender grass," and also the "herb yielding seed," and afterwards the "tree bearing fruit."

AC 10. The fourth state is when the man becomes affected with love, and illuminated by faith. He indeed previously discoursed piously, and brought forth goods, but he did so in consequence of the temptation and straitness under which he labored, and not from faith and charity; wherefore faith and charity are now enkindled in his internal man, and are called two "luminaries."

AC 11. The fifth state is when the man discourses from faith, and thereby confirms himself in truth and good: the things then produced by him are animate, and are called the "fish of the sea," and the "birds of the heavens."

AC 12. The sixth state is when, from faith, and thence from love, he speaks what is true, and does what is good: the things which he then brings forth are called the "living soul" and the "beast." And as he then begins to act at once and together from both faith and love, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an "image." His spiritual life is delighted and sustained by such things as belong to the knowledges of faith, and to works of charity, which are called his "food and his natural life is delighted and sustained by those which belong to the body and the senses; whence a combat arises, until love gains the dominion, and he becomes a celestial man.

AC 13. Those who are being regenerated do not all arrive at this state. The greatest part, at this day, attain only the first state some only the second; others the third, fourth, or fifth; few the sixth; and scarcely any one the seventh.

Continued here: http://www.biblemeanings.info/Bible/genesis.html

Let us examine a Number from the Writings Sacred Scripture that will demonstrate to you how the scientific sense is extracted from the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. This passage gives an analysis of a phrase in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture. Try to keep track of the topic by translating certain words from the literal meaning into theistic psychology concepts. See if you can memorize these correspondences:

THE WRITINGS
SACRED SCRIPTURE

CORRESPONDING THEISTIC PSYCHOLOGY CONCEPTS

the Word

Sacred Scripture

the Lord

God the Divine Human

church

our understanding of truth from Sacred Scripture

labor, combat, works

fighting against spiritual temptations

rest on the seventh day, peace

not being in a state of temptation, conjunction with God the Divine Human

external man, internal man

conscious natural mind, unconscious spiritual mind

Divine order, heaven rules man

our daily thinking and willing conforms to the truth from Sacred Scripture that is in our understanding

born into loving the world and himself more than heaven and the Lord

inherited hellish traits in the natural mind, materialism, selfism, negative bias in science

regenerating, regenerated, external things disposed so as to agree with internal things

character reformation to conform to truth from Sacred Scripture in our understanding

the hells flow from all sides, continually endeavoring to infest

particular connection to vertical community through our love for inherited enjoyments and attachments

the Lord continually protects and sets him free.

the Divine Psychologist manages the process of character reformation to the extent we reciprocate

the body and its senses, see and act through influx from heaven

sensations are not caused by the electro-chemical action of neurons, but the reverse

raised from external things into internal, and thus into the light of heaven.

becoming conscious in the rational mind when is in correspondence with the spiritual mind

in this world are intelligent and wise, those who are in the truth and good of the church

when we make our daily willing and thinking to conform to the truths of Sacred Scripture in our understanding, we receive intelligence in greater degree

[scientists who] confirmed themselves against the truths and goods of the church, are more insane and foolish that the rest

materialistic monism or the negative bias in science, which denies God and the truths of Sacred Scripture, thus denies spiritual reality, which is irrational, thus is in the hells of the mind

after death they are raised by the Lord into angelic wisdom

those who make their daily willing and thinking to conform to the truths of Sacred Scripture, are resuscitated in their mental body and choose to dwell in their conjugial heaven, where where they think and feel in terms of celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech

 

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture: (words in italics appear in the table above)

AC 9278. Six days thou shalt do thy works. [Exodus. 23:12]

That this signifies the state of labor and of combat when the man is in external delights that are to be conjoined with internal, is evident from the signification of the "six days" which precede the seventh, as being a state of labor and of combat (see n. 737, 900, 8510, 8888, 8975). The labor and combat then are signified by the "works" which they were to do in the six days. By the "works of the six days," and the "rest on the seventh day," are signified those things which come forth in man in his first, and in his second state, during regeneration, and also those which come forth in him when he has been regenerated.  (Concerning the first and second states of man during regeneration, see above, n. 9274; and concerning those things which come forth with him when he has been regenerated, n. 9213.)

These things take place to the end that external things may be conjoined with internal; for there is an external man, which is also called natural; and there is an internal man, which is also called spiritual. The external man communicates with the world, and the internal man with heaven.

[2] The Divine order is that heaven should rule the world in man, and not the world rule heaven in him; for when heaven rules man, then the Lord rules him. Man is born into loving the world and himself more than heaven and the Lord. And because this is opposite to Divine order, there must be an inversion by means of regeneration; and this inversion is effected when the things of heaven and the Lord are loved more than those of the world and of self. This is the reason why the man who has been regenerated, as also he who is in heaven, is alternately in external and in internal things; for external things are thereby disposed so as to agree with internal things; and finally to be subject to them.

[3] When a man is in external things, he is in labor and combat, for he is then in a life which savors of the world, into which the hells flow from all sides, continually endeavoring to infest, and even to subjugate in the man the things of heaven; but the Lord continually protects and sets him free.

From this arise the labor and combat which are signified by the "six days of the week in which works are to be done." But when the man is in internal things, then, because he is in heaven with the Lord, the labor and combat cease, and he is in the tranquility of peace, in which tranquility conjunction also is effected. These are the things which are signified by the "seventh day." That the interiors of man have been created according to the image of heaven, and his exteriors according to the image of the world; thus that man is a heaven and a world in a little form, and according to the maxim of the ancients, is a microcosm, may be seen above (n. 6057); and consequently that it is according to Divine order that the Lord through heaven directs the world in man, and by no means the reverse.

[4] The nature of the labor and combat when a man is in external things, can be seen from the fact that he is then in such a state as to be in heat from the world and to be cold toward heaven, unless heaven be to him as the world; and that he is consequently in such a shade that he cannot conceive otherwise than that external things flow into internal, and consequently that the eye sees and the ear hears of itself, and that their objects bring forth thoughts, and produce the intellect, and that thereupon he is able of himself to believe, and likewise to love God; consequently from the world to see heaven.

From this fallacy he can scarcely be withdrawn until he has been raised from external things into internal, and thus into the light of heaven. Then for the first time he perceives that the things in him which are of the world, thus which are of the body and its senses, see and act through influx from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord, and not at all from themselves. From this it is evident why a sensuous man believes that everything of his life is from the world and from nature; that there is no hell, nor heaven; and finally that there is no God; consequently why he ridicules everything of the church insofar as he is concerned; but is in favor of it insofar as it concerns the simple, so that they may be in bonds, in addition to those of the laws.

[5] From this it can be known what it is to be in external things, and not at the same time in internal things, and that when a man is in external things, he is in cold and shade in respect to the things which are of heaven and which are of the Lord. From this also it can be known who in this world are intelligent and wise, namely, those who are in the truth and good of the church, because these are wise from heaven; and also who are foolish and insane, namely, those who are not in the good and truth of the church, because their knowledge is derived solely from the world; and that those among them who by means of the sciences of the world have confirmed themselves against the truths and goods of the church, are more insane and foolish that the rest, however much they may believe themselves intelligent and wise in comparison with others, and may call those simple who are in the good of life from the truths of doctrine; when yet the simplicity of these latter is wisdom in the eyes of the angels, and moreover after death they are raised by the Lord into angelic wisdom. (AC 9278)

You can see from the above that the hidden meaning of the verse "Six days thou shalt do thy works" in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture refers to the process of regeneration by which the natural mind is made to correspond to the rational mind by compelling our thinking and willing to conform to the truths of Sacred Scripture in our understanding. This self-compulsion on a daily and hourly basis is referred to as "six days of doing one's works." In God's purpose our main task on earth is to regenerate, hence the methods of regeneration is a major topic of Divine Speech hidden throughout Sacred Scripture.

For other demonstrations of extracting the hidden meaning of Sacred Scripture using correspondences, see Sections:

9.1.1 || 1.8.8.1 || 1.8.8.2.3 || 1.8.8.12 || 1.8.8.2.1 || 1.8.2

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch1p1.htm#need-SS

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Why We Need Theistic Psychology

This is what God wants us to know. Divine Love wants each human being to live in the heaven of eternity that is constructed out of God’s rational feelings and thoughts. God has arranged things so that He cannot make us to be in our heaven if we don’t want to. This is called spiritual freedom. God puts spiritual freedom above all other properties of human beings. Through His Divine omnipotence God maintains the spiritual freedom of every human being from birth to endless eternity. God makes sure that we remain totally unaware of the fact that our thoughts and feelings are nothing but reactions or adaptations in our mind to His thoughts and feelings in the form of the spiritual substances of good and truth inflowing from Him. His thoughts and feelings are not our thoughts and feelings!  But our reactions to the substances of good and truth inflowing into our mental organs, are our thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts and feelings are never God's thoughts and feelings, and vice versa, but they are related to each other by correspondence.

 

God does not want us to actually sense or be sensuously aware of the fact that our thoughts and feelings are mere reactions and adaptations to His thoughts and feelings inflowing as good and truth substances. Why not?

 

Because we would not like it, and could not be happy in heaven. In order for us to feel happy it is a necessity that we feel like an independent self or person, and that we act from our free will according to our own desires and understanding. We don’t want our thoughts and feelings to be controlled by God. And so because God has made us this way, He makes sure that we are unconscious of the source of our thinking and feeling as being from God rather than from self.

 

God gives us the sense and feeling that we think and feel from ourselves. This is called the as-of self  . In other words, we do not have a self that originates in ourselves. The collection of thoughts and feelings we call a human person is not built up by ourselves, but by God’s actions in our mind, and to which each of us reacts in a unique fashion. Every human being is born from parents so that the mental world of the offspring is an actual offshoot to the mental world of the parents. This has been true since the beginning of the race so that everyone lives in the same inherited mental world of humanity. Our mental body contains all the qualities of our parents, and they inherited their mental qualities from their parents. Various specific genealogies thus evolve as races, blood lines, families, and nations, each sub-variety of culture being a particular zone in the mental world. The inheritance of the visible physical traits are correspondences to the inheritance of the mental traits.

 

Over the many generations of human beings on this planet there occurred a progressive decline in mental traits because people falsified the thoughts of truth that came into their conscious natural mind from their spiritual mind. The original generations lived in a paradise on earth because this corresponded to their mental states, which were heavenly  . They were in direct communication with conscious awareness, of their family and friends already in the afterlife of eternity. This was through their spiritual mind, which in those days was still conscious. But later generations began to falsify the thoughts of truth in their natural mind. Falsified truths serve to justify feelings and intentions that are contrary to good. In this way they created a hell in the mental world and became unconscious of their spiritual mind while on earth.

 

Hell in the thoughts and feelings of our natural mind is nothing but the perversion of the thoughts and feelings in our spiritual mind or heaven, because evil, which is hell, is nothing but the corruption or adulteration of good, which is heaven.

The hells of the human mind then kept growing and accumulating from generation to generation. The New Testament Sacred Scripture reveals that every human being born on this earth had become a hell by the time of the Incarnation Event two thousand years ago, by which God made Himself be born as a human child on earth. By acquiring a Divine Natural Body, God radically changed His relationship to the human race and our evolution of consciousness. The Divine Child, while on earth, created in His natural mind a new mental organ that did not exist before in the human race. This organ is called the spiritual-natural mind.

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch1p1.htm#need-tp

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The Incarnation Event: God Enters the World of History and Science

 

About two thousand years ago an extraordinary and totally unique event took place that altered the course of human evolution in a fundamental way that is only now being discovered by science. The Universal God the Divine Human, Creator and Manager of the universe, entered history and science by the Incarnation Event (see entry for Incarnation Event in the Subject Index in Volume 18).

 

This event had been foretold in the most ancient Sacred Scriptures.

 

The ancient prophecy was given at the beginning of a phase of human evolution called The Fall  . Before this, the celestial human race existed on this earth  . At the end of this phase called the Golden Period, the new spiritual phase began on this earth. We are of this race. We are called spiritual in contradistinction to the earlier race called celestial. The human mind was created in three discrete layers -- celestial, spiritual, natural. Hence the evolution of the race must follow the anatomical composition of the human mind. The celestial layer of the human race was evolved, developed, and completed through the lives of the individuals that lived in the early generations on this earth. When the celestial anatomical layer was complete, the celestial race was "consummated" or extinguished. A few "remnants" whose anatomical structures deviated from the norm were the carriers that insured the connection between the extinguished celestial race and the newly beginning spiritual race.

 

As we are part of the spiritual race we possess a functioning operational celestial layer of our mind even though nothing of its operations is conscious to us. Our celestial mind is above our spiritual mind, a discrete degree within it, and whatever is within or above, is far superior all that is below it. Our celestial mind is far superior to our spiritual mind. But even so, we only become conscious of our spiritual mind after resuscitation  . This happens just a few hours after physical death. When we are resuscitated we at first are conscious in our natural mind, which is the layer we know ourselves in everyday life here on earth. This natural layer forms the content of who we know ourselves to be. But shortly thereafter our natural mind begins to fade like a distant memory -- our identity, profession, hobbies, knowledge of history and science -- all of this that is stored up in our natural mind, slowly begins to fade like a distant memory from childhood or some land we once visited.  See the Layers Diagram.

 

This happens because the natural mind is totally unsuited for life in eternity which is a mental world without time, space, matter, or sickness and death. Everything now depends on our rational feeling and thinking. What kind of people we are with and what the environment and situation is like, depends entirely on our ruling loves. Not like before on earth out of which the content of the natural mind was formed. Now in eternity the laws that govern reality are purely rational laws. To try to operate with the natural mind after resuscitation doesn't get you anywhere. You have to disregard your identity, your culture, your nominal religion, your citizenship awards, your achievements and reputation -- all of these things are formed in your natural mind and are part of the natural mind. But after resuscitation you are existing in your spiritual mind.

 

Swedenborg reports that some people he talked to after resuscitation insisted on not letting go of the natural mind. The only way this is possible is to act insane in the spiritual mind, pretending by fantasy that you are still in your natural mind and in your physical body on earth. The result of this spiritual inanity is very sad and frightening. People in this mental state are victims of their own emotions and feelings. In the spiritual mind the environment around you is created by correspondences of your emotions and thoughts. So if you have insane thoughts and emotions the environment you exist in are correspondences to them in the natural world. For instance the intention to rob someone by misleading them and posing as a friend, immediately causes deadly scorpions and poisonous flying snakes with an ominous darkening of the skies. So the intended victim can immediately recognize the stranger's evil intentions. Nevertheless, some victims who are also spiritually insane, fantasize something totally different that is going on. And so they fall victim to the machinations of others. And Swedenborg reports that no matter how clever someone is, there is one who is more clever in and endless series of the layer of the human mind called the hells.

 

Everyone is born into eternity with a permanent and immortal mental body and temporary physical body  . After the celestial race was extinguished, as discussed above, what happened to those people who had been celestial and had lived on earth all those generations? Well, they were in the immortal heavens of their mind called the celestial heavens of the most ancient peoples  . Swedenborg visited with them in their mental states, seeing the habitations they lived in that corresponded to their feelings and thoughts. So even though the celestial race died out on earth, the people of that race continued to evolve in their celestial heavens.

 

This fact is of greatest importance for us to understand because our unconscious celestial mind is made up of their celestial heavens. Whatever the mental operations they experience, these are the causes of the operations in our unconscious spiritual mind. And whatever we experience here in our conscious natural mind is a consequence of the operations going on in our spiritual mind, which are connected by correspondence to the celestial mind of those who are in that state. Hence it is that the various distinct layers of the human mind are connected by the laws and operations of correspondence.

 

The Universal God the Divine Human manages the layers of the human mind through the laws of correspondences. Divine Speech or Divine Truth issues forth from God's mind into the layers of the human mind, first into the inmost or highest layer called celestial heavens, and from there in descends or externalizes by correspondence into the spiritual layer of our mind, and from there by correspondence into the conscious natural layer of our mind where it presents itself as Sacred Scripture in a natural historical language. This process of the sequence of correspondences initiated by Divine Speech is the continuous and permanent method by which God rules the universe. See the Layers Diagram.

 

Until two thousand years ago the long history of evolution of the race on earth was managed by God the Divine Human in this way through correspondences. But there was a creeping mentality of materialism that came about as the natural mind of the human race on earth was becoming more scientific and more rational in consciousness, mentality, and civilization. In order to allow for democratic modernism to evolve on this planet it was necessary to develop the sensuous sub-layer of the natural mind as opposed to its rational layer. The sensuous layer of the natural mind tends to be submerged into materialism to such an extent that we start denying the existence of God or the afterlife of eternity. These concepts require a rational understanding and when people reject rational understanding as not important to them, they lose the ability to comprehend spiritual things like theistic psychology. See the Layers Diagram.

 

So materialism was strengthened while religious ideas and practices became cultural and national expressions rather than spiritual.  Once people lost their rational ability to see spiritual truths and realities, they could no longer be conscious or aware of the existence of God and the afterlife. Even those who had religious ideas and practices could not understand Sacred Scripture in a universal scientific or rational sense.

 

What was God going to do about this? This was a serious situation where the human race could die out so that those who were already in their eternity could also be destroyed since the created order no longer worked to keep all things into one synergistic unit. Of course God had already provided for the solution since the beginning of creation, since to God all things are united into one -- past, present, and all future. The solution had to be such that the natural mind could once more recognize that God exists.

 

God cannot exist for us in full strength or conjunction unless each individual reciprocates God's love for the individual. We must acknowledge God's love for us or else we cannot closely be conjoined to God. And without this there are consequences. God manages molecules, planets, animals, and all things directly by correspondences which provide for the cause-effect relation between adjacent layers of discrete degrees  . God manages human beings in two ways. One is immediately and unconsciously across the layers of the mind. The second is mediately and consciously through the conscious layers of the mind. The celestial race is conscious at the celestial level. The spiritual race is conscious at the natural level prior to resuscitation, and afterwards at the spiritual level. When materialism took hold of the natural mind on earth, God disappeared from conscious awareness of people on earth.

 

The prior conscious awareness of God was replaced by a blind faith in God.

But a blind faith is not the same as a rational faith based on conscious understanding of God such as we have in theistic psychology. Blind faith only enters the natural layer of the mind. The spiritual layer requires rational faith. So while people on earth had a rational faith in their unconscious celestial and spiritual mind, they only had a blind faith at the conscious natural level.

The only way God could remedy this situation was by entering history and science.

 

God made Himself be born as a Divine Human Child. This Child was at first not conscious of who He was, namely the Incarnated God in the natural or physical world. God the Divine Human was always both Divine and Human. This is why He created human beings who are in His Image as the Divine Human. So God has always been in the Human Form. However, God's Human Form was a mental body that consisted of a celestial affective organ and a spiritual cognitive organ. The affective organ is in the Human Form and the cognitive organ is in the Human Form. This is therefore also true of us. Our affective and cognitive organs are both in the human form.

 

However, God did not have a physical body. This was completely unnecessary in the prior generations because people could see spiritually, and therefore they could see God's Human Form replicated in their own mental body. People were able to look upon the human form they had and see God's Human Form. But after the Fall, the spiritual race was no longer able to see God's Human Form in their own body and mind. Whenever God wanted people to have a communicative exchange with Him He would "possess" or take over the conscious mind of an individual in the celestial or spiritual race in their heavens. They were called "angels" when they appeared to people's natural consciousness. God spoke through the angels and everyone could see and hear that.

 

But once materialism crept into the mind, people were no longer able to even believe that there are angels, let alone see and hear them through their internal mind. In the past God could communicate with people's internal mind and thereby influence them and protect them. But this path of communications was destroyed by materialistic thinking which denied God and taught the negative bias in science. This is what you and I were taught in our generation. Hence we no longer had the ability to hear God, to recognize Divine Speech in Sacred Scriptures.

 

But when God entered the physical world, this suddenly changed. The Divine Child grew into an adult male and He declared Himself to be Divine. God's life on earth as a citizen of a small mid-eastern nation created a historical biography, which makes God's presence on earth a historical fact. This was His mission, to make Himself once more visible to humankind on earth. Now people had a choice as to whether to acknowledge God or not. People did not have that choice before God's Incarnation.

 

Furthermore, by entering history, God entered science.

 

It is true that the literal sense of the New Testament Sacred Scripture is used as a religion by various groups who disagree with each other on almost everything about God and the afterlife. It is the literal sense of the New Testament Sacred Scripture that gives the historical account of God's Incarnation and its details.

 

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scriptures:

AC 2803. (...) But the Divine Human which was born from eternity was also born in time; and what was born in time, and glorified, is the same. Hence it is that the Lord so often said that He was going to the Father who sent Him; that is, that He was returning to the Father. And in John: [New Testament Sacred Scripture]

In the beginning was the Word (the "Word" is the Divine Truth itself), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-3, 14; see also John 3:13; 6:62).

(AC 2803)

Doc. Lord 1. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the

Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
The light is come into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).
While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me should not abide in the darkness (John 12:36, 46).

From these passages [in the New Testament Sacred Scripture] it is evident that the Lord is God from eternity, and that this God is the selfsame Lord who was born in the world; for it is said that the Word was with God, and God was the Word, and also that without Him was not anything made that was made; and it is added that the Word was made flesh, and they beheld Him. (Lord 1)

TCR 3. (...) Jehovah God is Love itself and Wisdom itself, or Good itself and Truth itself. He came down in the form of Divine Truth, which is the Word and which was God with God, and took upon Himself human form, so as to reduce to order everything in heaven, in hell and in the church. For at that time the power of hell was stronger than the power of heaven, and on earth the power of evil was stronger than the power of good, so that utter damnation stood threatening at the gates. This impending damnation was removed by Jehovah God by means of His Human, which was Divine Truth, and thus angels and men were redeemed. Afterwards He united in His Human Divine Truth with Divine Good, or Divine Wisdom with Divine Love, and so returned into the Divinity which was His from eternity, together with and in His glorified Human. This is the meaning of the passage in John: [New Testament Sacred Scripture]

The Word was with God and the Word was God; and the Word was made flesh. John 1:1, 14.

(TCR 3)

Here there is an explanation about the New Testament Sacred Scripture saying that "the Word was God ... And the Word was made flesh." The Word" = Divine Truth or Divine Speech = God the Divine Human. "Was made flesh" = incarnation in a physical body on earth. That this was God who incarnated is clear from the statement that "the Word was God' and that the Word was made flesh. Hence it was God who incarnated in a physical body on earth. This is the Divine Child.

 

The literal sense of Sacred Scripture is always used by religion, not science. Hence there are disagreements according to culture and interpretation. But the correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture reveals its scientific sense, which is universal because it does not mention culture or anything in the natural mind, but only the spiritual and celestial mind. Theistic psychology is based only on the correspondential sense and hence cannot be identified with any religion. The Incarnation Event is therefore not only an religious event but an evolutionary scientific event.

 

The correspondential sense of the Old and New Testament Sacred Scripture reveals that the Divine Child created a new layer in His Natural mind that did not exist before in the human race. This new layer is called the spiritual-natural layer or the interior-natural layer. Once this layer was created in the Divine Child's mind, it became available to every human being, past, present, and future. This was the momentous new evolutionary step that was taken by the human race about two thousand years  . See the Layers Diagram.

 

From then on we would be able to be consciously aware of spiritual truths. This fact then restored the race to its celestial level, though in a totally different way. Now we would be able to receive a new mind that was not contaminated by inherited evils. This new mind then could form the basis for our heavenly eternity. This new mind was constructed within our natural mind, so that we could be conscious of it. But this ability would be dependent on our regeneration. Only when we are willing to undergo character reformation, can we see anything with this new spiritual-natural capacity. This requires the positive bias and theistic psychology.

 

There remains a logical puzzle about the Incarnation Event. The New Testament Sacred Scripture records few biographical facts about God's life on earth as a citizen of the Ancient Holy Land. Almost all the facts reported about Him are external, belonging to His social and political life. Almost nothing is recorded about His state of mind, what He thought of as a Divine Man on earth, or what He was busy doing in the universe while He was growing up as a Divine Child. But these biographical facts about God's inner life while on earth are revealed in the correspondential sense of the Old Testament Sacred Scripture, written hundreds of years prior to the Incarnation Event! For instance, the Psalms of David, one of the Books of the Old Testament Sacred Scripture, records the thoughts and feelings that King David had when he was stressed under attack from his political enemies from whom he was forced to flee for awhile.

 

By Divine Providence David was allowed to think, compose, and write down only those thoughts and emotions, that corresponded to what the Divine Child would undergo mentally when stressed under the attack of the hells. And similarly with the histories of the the patriarchs and their families that make up a large portion of the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture. Every recorded detail fits by correspondence all the developmental stages that the Divine Child went through in order to create the new human organ called the interior-natural organ within the conscious natural mind. This new creation was one of the central purposes for God's Incarnation, as explained above.

 

So we have all these biographical details of the thoughts and feelings of the Divine Child during the Incarnation Event. So the puzzle is this: What explains the strange history of God, portrayed as a political problem to the authorities of the land and was put to death by them at age 33? What happened to God on earth so that these events could befall Him? After all He was God, and so He was still omnipotent and running all things in the universe. He was of course running the details of His Own Incarnation. He was running the minds of the authorities who tried and condemned Him, and He was running the Roman soldiers who executed Him.

 

After the execution and His death, He caused Himself to be resuscitated in His physical or natural body.

 

This was a unique event in the history of the human race. God the Divine Human was now equipped with a Natural Body, born and grown on earth in time-space, in history and science. God's relationship to the human race took a whole new turn, that was not possible before. Now God could be seen in the conscious awareness of the natural mind. It is easy to picture and see in one's mind the event of God as a Man with a Natural Body, a Face, Hands, Feet, Heart, Lungs, Liver, etc. God was always in the Human Form, as explained above, but now in addition to the mental human form, God acquired the natural human form.

 

Note carefully this detail: human beings do not resuscitate in the physical body.

We resuscitate in the mental body in the afterlife of  eternity. The physical body or corpse, disintegrates. But with Himself, God caused His resuscitation with the physical body. Swedenborg confirms that He often saw God's Natural Body in eternity , and in fact, we will all be able to confirm this with our own observation when we are resuscitated. All those who were in their heaven in eternity could also see God's Natural Body there.

 

God's Natural Body in eternity is not physical but substantial. This is described and explained under the topic of "glorification".

 

Note that without the idea of God's Natural Body born on this earth it is not possible to picture God in any way since He is infinite and we cannot picture something that is not in the human form. The religions based on the Old Testament Sacred Scripture, including the Koran Sacred Scripture, created the rule that it is not permitted to picture God in human form. And this is understandable for it is not possible to picture an infinite God who is not in the human form. Now if you allow the Incarnation Event as part of theistic psychology, it is permitted to picture God in the human form. Now we know what God looks like in the Natural Form, namely like we do. And this is why it is said in Sacred Scripture that we were created in God's Image and Likeness.

 

So by creating a Natural Body for Himself God changed His relationship to the human race. In this way He repaired the loss suffered by the race called the Fall (see above). The race had already completed the celestial and spiritual layers of the mental world of eternity, and now it was necessary to complete the last layer called the spiritual-natural or interior-natural layer of the mental world. This required that God obtain for Himself a Natural Body on earth.

 

The sad and ignominious details of God's short life on earth was constructed by God for the sake of correspondences. In Sacred Scripture God's incarnation is called "the Word made flesh" (as discussed above). He is Divine Speech, He is Divine Truth, He is Sacred Scripture or "the Word." Written Sacred Scripture had been given to people since the Fall, but with the rise of materialistic thinking people lost the spiritual meaning of Sacred Scripture and interpreted all its meanings with materialistic ideas. For instance, they pictured the afterlife as happening here in the physical world. They rejected the idea of an afterlife in mental eternity. They could not comprehend such a thing.

 

As a result, they reinterpreted Sacred Scripture to suit their pet philosophies and political lifestyles. Hence Sacred Scripture lost all its spiritual value and it became useless for the purpose of preparing oneself for a life in eternity. In other words, they "killed the Word."  Since God was "the Word" or Sacred Scripture, He enacted in physical life by correspondence, what people had done to Sacred Scripture over the generations. They perverted Sacred Scripture for their political gain, thus killing God in their own mind. When God incarnated, He created those details in His biography on earth that corresponded and represented the details of how Sacred Scripture was killed in the minds of people.

 

Henceforth people would no longer be able to kill Sacred Scripture in their mind because it is now known in history and science that God is a Man, and that His Divine Speech is Sacred Scripture. The human race is now on a permanent rise in evolution so that any individual regardless of cultural or religious background, can have a living relationship with God the Divine Human born on this earth. In theistic psychology this living relationship is called the Divine Psychologist.

 

It is important to have a rational understanding of God. This understanding requires knowing about correspondences, that is, knowing how God has formed all things in discrete non-overlapping layers of existence. The only connection between the layers is that they operate together by correspondences. The layers have no independent existence of functioning.  It is that the human mind, or the world of eternity, was created by God in corresponding layers so that all the layers react to each other as cause and effect. In this way the entire creation is held together as one in God's Mind.

 

Further, you need to remember the distinction between "God as He is in Himself" and "God as He is Outside of Himself". God as He is in Himself is changeless from eternity to eternity, is infinite, incomprehensible, and cannot be approached directly. Because of this, God created the mental world of eternity, and then the physical world of time linked to it by correspondences. God's creative activities are rational and developmental. When the human mental world evolved sufficiently in the course of numerous generations, it reached a phase where God could reveal Himself in a Natural Body taken up from earth. So God made Himself be born a Divine Child in the land that had been entrusted by Him centuries before, to study and protect the Old Testament Sacred Scripture. This Sacred Scripture was a theistic psychology textbook on what the Divine Child is going to do, what thoughts He is going to have, and how He is going to change the psychobiology of the mental world in eternity. Every human being past, present, and future will therefore be directly affected by this change.

 

God's Natural Body is Divine because it is made of Divine substances. All the substances of earth or matter that formed His inherited physical body had been replaced by the death and resurrection process. Now God had a Divine Natural Body along with His Divine Natural Mind He constructed for Himself on earth. This is the Body that can now be seen by anyone from the spiritual and celestial layers of their mind.

 

But it is necessary to think of this Natural Body as Divine, and therefore infinite. This is a difficult idea to comprehend rationally and without the idea of space, time, or place.

 

God's Natural Body can be seen by anyone, regardless of where they are or which way they turn. Swedenborg confirmed this amazing phenomenon. He observed with the people who live in the third heaven or celestial mind, that whichever way they turn turn or face, the Spiritual Sun in which God's Natural Body appears, remains in front of them at the same altitude of height on the horizon, and, equally brilliant in light. God can now appear in this Natural Body in every individual's mind. This is why the Incarnation Event had to happen. This Divine Human Natural Body is in every place but apart from space  . It is therefore omnipresent. That is, God the Divine Human is omnipresent and omnipotent in this Divine Human Natural Body.

 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch1p1.htm#incarnation

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

How Divine Speech Descends In the Human Mind Through Discrete Layers

 

Our mental heaven in eternity is inborn. This heaven is already present in our mind when we are born, just as hell is present in the human mind at birth. Physiologically, our mind is constructed out of heavenly feelings and traits and out of hellish feelings and traits. In other words, heaven and hell are located within the spiritual organs of the mind. This awesome secret has been revealed thousands of years ago in the literal sense of Sacred Scripture. An example is the scientific revelation in the New Testament Sacred Scripture:

Being demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them, and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20-21).

The phrase "cometh not with observation" means that the natural mind, which is formed by physical content, cannot be in heaven. In the literal sense it means that heaven is not in the natural world but in the spiritual world of eternity. Hence this passage, among others in the New Testament Sacred Scripture, reveals the scientific reality of dualism, that is, of the existence of this world in time-space, and the world of eternity which is snot in time-space. The phrase "the kingdom of God is within you" means that eternity is in our mind. "Within you" contrasts with the phrase "with observation" which is outward through the physical senses, while "within you" is mental and is not observable outwardly by the physical senses.

I am amazed that I did not realize the meaning of this passage the first time I read it thirty years ago  . And I am astonished that no one until Swedenborg in the eighteenth century, took note of this amazing scientific revelation in the New Testament. It wasn't until I became an expert on Swedenborg and then read this passage again that its meaning hit me. It is the Divine revelation of scientific dualism  . Similar scientific revelations occur in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture, as for instance the Genesis verses:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1).

And the heavens and the earth were finished (Gen. 2:1).

These are the nativities of the heavens and of the earth (Gen. 2:4),

In the literal sense it plainly says that God created the spiritual world of eternity ("the heavens") and the natural world of time, space, and energy. This is the Divine confirmation of scientific dualism as a reality, not a hypothesis or theory. What is not revealed here is that the world of the heavens in eternity is the same as the mind. For thousands of years people who derived their religion from the Old Testament had a materialistic worldview, not abstracted from the senses. They were not willing to think of the heavens as being created in a separate universe, outside time, space, or region. To think of the universe of eternity, not in space, not in time, involving no material substances, and yet still supportive of human life and happiness, requires a rational spirituality, not material or sensuous. It requires a rational consciousness of God. This level of thinking had not yet developed in the human mind until the age of science and modernism starting in the 18th century.

This is the reason that 20 centuries of Christian scholarship and adoration of the New Testament were not able to uncover this obvious heavenly secret, namely, that "the Kingdom of God is within you." In theistic psychology I render this statement by the following formulaic expression:

the Kingdom of God = eternity and human life there = the heavens = within you = your mind = your mental organs = your feelings, thoughts, and loves = the self = immortality

Is this not an astonishing realization?

You too will be astonished as soon as you begin to reflect on this amazing rational equation. This equation shows that all human beings are born immortal! Who knew this? The vast majority of people on this planet today belong to the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist religions and practices. None of these religions give a clear and factual description of our immortality or life in eternity. None of the religions give any clear explanation of the most basic facts that Swedenborg presents in the Writings Sacred Scripture. As for instance the fact that every human being who dies is resuscitated within 36 hours and continues life in eternity as himself or herself. Which religious leader, prophet, or scholar has known this? The reason is that Sacred Scripture reveals almost nothing about life after death -- when you consider the literal meaning of the sentences of Sacred Scripture. This is why all sorts of imaginative and fantastic interpretations have been given of the Book of Revelations, which is the last book of the New Testament Sacred Scripture, and is written in a prophetic and visionary style, rather than historical narrative, as the rest of the New Testament is written.

 

The most popular beliefs surrounding the symbolism and interpretation of the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelation, have been that its visionary scenes that John witnessed "while being in the spirit," describe symbolically the historical scenes that will take place on earth at the so-called "end of times" or when the physical planet is destroyed and instantaneously remade, while the faithful who are saved, are "caught up in the air" and kept safe during these tumultuous events that destroy earth. Then a "new earth" is created by God for those who are "resurrected from the graves," put back together again with new and immortal bodies, to enjoy forever on the new earth.

These amazingly imaginative ideas come from one source -- the practice of interpreting the literal sense of Sacred Scripture in accordance with one's own ideas, beliefs, scholarship, intelligence, or imagination. None of these approaches can yield the true spiritual meaning that is hidden within the literal sense of Sacred Scripture  . Instead, it was necessary to wait until God reveals the appropriate method for extracting the hidden meaning from the literal sentences. This method had been revealed before by God to the most ancient peoples on this earth. Swedenborg interviewed some of these people who have been living since then in their celestial heavens. They informed him that when they were on earth they called this knowledge the Science of Correspondences.

 

This therefore is the most ancient science on the planet. It has to do with how the spiritual world of causes relate or act upon the natural world of effects. In other words, the science of correspondences was the rational revelation of scientific dualism and how the two worlds are connected by laws. Swedenborg interviewed people in eternity who were from different historical eras on earth. He was thus able to piece together a historical chart of the succeeding civilizations on this earth  , describing the mentality and character of those people. After some generations, the most ancient civilization died out and in its place arose a series of civilizations. By the time the Old Testament Sacred Scripture was written about three thousand years ago, almost nothing was left of the knowledge of the science of correspondences. It was so well hidden that no one knew, not even the prophets who wrote the Bible, that the sentences of Sacred Scripture were written in correspondences because they represented the content of Divine Speech.

 

This history is necessary for us to know because of a rational principle that I would like to phrase as follows:

Individual biography recapitulates human evolution and history

In other words by knowing the details of the mental evolution of the human race on earth we are able to know details of our own mental states and how they develop in our life from birth to eternity.

It wasn't until the Writings of Swedenborg in the eighteenth century that the human mind was first given knowledge again of the lost science of correspondences. Now for the first time we are able to read Sacred Scripture and extract from it the Divine Speech that is hidden within it. In order for God to revive this consciousness in the human race it was necessary that He select a scientist, like Swedenborg, who was given the scientific genius, rationality, and reputation, to bring this science of dualism back into modern times and the modern person of the future. In order to succeed, it was necessary for this person to be given access to the laboratory of eternity.

This was done by making Swedenborg's spiritual mind to be conscious while he was still living on earth. At age 57, he became a dual citizen, living and interacting in both worlds simultaneously! Only a scientist who had access to both worlds simultaneously could make the necessary observations of this science of correspondences, since it is the science of how the worlds are connected by functional cause-effect laws for all phenomena. Now any person who studies these laws of correspondences can read Sacred Scripture and figure out its hidden correspondential sense. This correspondential sense is the content of Divine Speech. Theistic psychology is the knowledge extracted from the literal sense of the Writings Sacred Scriptures.

In order to understand this more clearly, it is necessary to have a mental chart of the human mind and how it is created, ordered, and managed by God through Divine Speech. Study the following conceptual diagrams which are explained elsewhere in theistic psychology (see Volume 6):

Conceptual Charts of the Physiology of God and the Human Mind

Chart 1

Chart 2

 

 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch1p1.htm#layers

(to be continued)

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The Method of Correspondences With Enlightenment

 

Enlightenment is not a mystical experience. Nor is it difficult to understand precisely what it is. From the perspective of theistic psychology enlightenment is a psychobiological process of the human mind corresponding to the biological process by which sunlight and its heat are received by plants and use it to fabricate their nutrition. Spiritual light in which there is spiritual heat proceeds from the Spiritual Sun into the mental world of humanity where it enters the mind of every existing human being simultaneously and proceeds outward and downward by successive degrees of correspondence. The cognitive (light) and affective (heat) organs of the mind are constructed and animated by this universal “influx,” and we use it for willing and thinking in daily activities.

 

The operation of enlightenment in the cognitive organ is also called “revelation”: Quoting: By "revelation" is meant enlightenment when the Word is read, and perception then” (AC 8694). When we read the Writings Sacred Scripture (“the Word”) we can comprehend the revelations in a spiritual way when we are enlightened while reading and reflecting. It is not necessary that we read the printed sentences on the page or screen. It is equally effective if we think the sentences or phrases and reflect upon their universal meaning.

 

In this reflection upon the universal meaning, we are to be motivated to apply the truth to self. To be motivated to apply the truth to one’s willing and thinking is to search for the universal meaning. This universal meaning applies to every individual regardless of background, culture, and religion. Hence we call this universal meaning theistic psychology. This process of extracting the scientific meaning from the Writings Sacred Scripture is the process of practicing the method of correspondences with enlightenment.

 

Enlightenment is the comprehension of scientific meaning within the literal meaning. It is to perceive how the sentence applies to self and to all other human beings. This is what makes it into a science – universal and objective applicability. Enlightenment, or the perception of spiritual meaning, is not received when our motivation for reading and reflecting upon the Writings is other than application to one’s own willing and thinking. Our interest must be no other than the desire to reform our inherited character by facing spiritual combat in temptations. The truths we extract that apply to our willing and thinking are to be formed into a doctrine of justification by which we can fend off doubts and relapses. This is the ultimate purpose of enlightenment.

 

Enlightenment is not something superfluous or special, reserved for certain types of scholarship and piety. Enlightenment is the psychobiological process by which every person’s affective and cognitive organs are regenerated and prepared for life in heaven. Without enlightenment no one can be prepared for heaven. Either we are enlightened in this world, or failing that, in the afterlife. No one enters heaven without being enlightened while reading the Writings Sacred Scripture. Everyone who is resuscitated in the world of spirits is given instruction in the Writings Sacred Scripture since they alone contain the rational heavens of our immortality. Those who have lived a life of conscience and use are happy and willing receivers of the truths of the Writings. Others are unwilling.

 

The extracted knowledge of theistic psychology may be studied by anyone for any purpose, but everything in it will be understood naturally, and nothing in it will be understood spiritually – unless one is enlightened by the Divine Psychologist while it is being read or applied. It is not possible to perceive spiritual meanings without being ‘online’ as it were, connected to “mediate influx” in a deliberate and conscious way. This ‘online’ feature applies to enlightenment since it is the organic operation of spiritual light in the cognitive organ of thinking and reasoning. As long as we are plugged in the correct way, enlightenment flows and operates in our conscious mind. The organic venue for the process is the interior-natural organ.

 

When the Writings discuss some particular historical ethnic group or religion, we are to search for the scientific meaning behind the discussion, just as Swedenborg performed for us with the Old and New Testament portion of Sacred Scripture. The Writings teach that all Sacred Scripture is written in correspondences and that we are to extract spiritual doctrine from them. The Writings Sacred Scripture are written in natural-rational correspondences, which is a discrete degree above the New Testament Sacred Scripture. The angelic spirits in the first heaven of the mind read the Writings Sacred Scripture as we do, but it is clear that they know nothing about any of the historical names, nations, periods, and places mentioned in the Writings. Instead of these things, they see the interior-natural correspondences. Our interior-natural organ can give us enlightenment to see these spiritual-natural correspondences of the Letter of the Writings, not exactly as they do, but in an image that is so close that we can speak with them and think with them.

 

The scientific meaning of “Abraham” is a celestial mental state in every person’s mind regardless of religion or planet. Similarly with “Jerusalem,” which refers to the spiritual-rational correspondences out of which is constructed the second heaven of every human mind. By this method of correspondences the reader makes the historical names “vanish,” and likewise, with all references to natural things (AC 1405; 3776). When we read the Writings Sacred Scripture we think and reason in our external natural understanding by means of the natural-rational correspondences of the literal meaning. But the angels who are with us, only perceive the interior-natural, the spiritual-rational, and celestial-rational correspondences that are within the literal meaning we are reading.

 

Quoting:

AC 1963

When the Word is being read by man, angels neither know nor perceive what eighty-six is, nor are they concerned about what age Abram was when Hagar bore him Ishmael. Rather, when such a number is read, the real things embodied in that number instantly present themselves to them, as when all other expressions are read, these present themselves as the things which they have been shown to mean in the internal sense. (AC 1963)

when the Word is being read by man the angels may thereby be in their happiness of wisdom (AC 5398)

this sense is for the angels who are with man while the Word is being read, consequently that there is from this source an influx of holiness, and a perception of it, with those who are in the life of faith and charity (AC 8971)

They said that these persons are mentioned with honour in the Word for the reason that in the internal sense the Lord is meant by them-by "Abraham", "Isaac", and "Jacob", the Lord in respect of the Divine and the Divine Human; by "David" the Lord in respect of the Divine Royalty; and by the "Apostles" the Lord in respect of Divine Truths; also that when the Word is read by man the angels have no perception whatever of these men, for their names do not enter heaven (HH 526)

When we read passages in the Writings Sacred Scripture that discuss Abraham or King David or one of the Apostles, these names repeatedly appear within the literal meaning of the Writings. What is the scientific or universal meaning of these names? They each refer to human mental states and their dynamic activity in regeneration and spiritual growth. This applies to all people regardless of background, religion, or planet, though no doubt with realistic differences. When we read one of the many superb Memorable Relations throughout the Writings, what do the angels who are with us get out of it? Especially when our children read them in the innocence of ignorance? The angels have no idea of number or age. What then do they think of when numbers and ages are mentioned in the Memorable Relations? Neither do they know of directions like north or south. Neither do they know of the European nations and cities, as those which are mentioned in many places throughout the Writings, nor the names of the bishops of the Church, and so on.

 

It is clear that the Writings Sacred Scripture exists at discrete levels and that the Letter is different at each level. The method of correspondences starts at the natural-rational level of the literal meaning, collecting facts and organizing them into an orderly doctrine that we use as a tool in daily spiritual combat with our temptations brought to us by the Divine Psychologist for this very purpose. This doctrine may be called abstracted, to distinguish it from the later doctrine that is extracted.

 

Abstracted doctrine does not use the method of correspondences, and hence does not depend on enlightenment. We all start with principles of life and religious doctrines that are abstracted, paraphrased, contrasted, and reflected on. They are the foundation of our moral-rational life, and hence of civilization and society. Further on down the road of maturity we begin to go beyond abstraction. We leave the discrete degree of the literal and its rational abstractions in our mind, by making the literal meaning “vanish” from central focus, and as a result, we begin to think with angels (AC 1405; 3776).

Quoting:

But as he grows into a young adult, if he develops his power of reason, he employs what is in his interior natural to work out the reasons for things, which are truths of a yet higher nature. These are extracted so to speak from what is present in the interior natural. (...) This is the manner in which a person rises with his understanding from the world up to heaven. (AC 5497)

The phrase “to rise with the understanding from the world up to heaven” refers to enlightenment through Sacred Scripture. Our thoughts suddenly begin to operate by means of spiritual-natural correspondences of the Writings Sacred Scripture. We are with the angelic spirits that inhabit the first heaven in our mind. And by progressive enlightenment in our interior-natural organ we climb up Jacob’s ladder of discrete correspondences in our mind, “as though” we actually were in the presence of the angels who dwell in our spiritual mind.

 

We receive this light of heaven when we read the Writings as Divine Speech rendered in the correspondences of Sacred Scripture. To read the Writings as Divine Speech in correspondences is to read them with enlightenment. The abstract doctrine of the literal meaning is suddenly seen infused with heavenly light so that its interiors are perceived as truth from the Divine Human. This interior perception in enlightenment cannot possibly be at the same discrete level of meaning as the literal. The literal Sacred Scripture and the abstracted doctrine of the literal, now become spiritually empowered with a comprehension that is a discrete degree above them.

 

We learn and memorize and apply abstracted doctrine for decades before we begin reformation and regeneration. Abstracted doctrine is necessary for making us ready for reformation, and we could not become ready without it. But the Writings tell us that the time must come in adulthood when we choose to begin our reformation and regeneration. Now we must enter a discrete degree within the abstracted doctrines that we have collected in our mind until then. We do this under the supervision of the Divine Psychologist who provides the spiritual light or enlightenment.

 

The Divine Psychologist is commanding us, through the literal meaning of  the Writing Sacred Scripture, that we must begin practicing the method of correspondences with enlightenment. This involves the deliberate intention and systematic application procedures called extractive research, that is, spiritual meaning that is “drawn out” by means of correspondences and illustration.

 

Quoting:

AC 8694

[3] But what is the nature of the revelation with those who are in good and from this in the affection of truth, cannot be described. It is not manifest, neither is it altogether hidden; but it is a certain consent and favoring from within that a thing is true, and a non-favoring if it is not true. When there is a favoring, the mind is at rest and is serene, and in this state there is the acknowledgment which is of faith. The cause of its being so is from the influx of heaven from the Lord; for through heaven from the Lord there is light, that surrounds and enlightens the intellect, which is the eye of the internal sight. The things which are then seen in that light are truths, for this very light is the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord. That this Divine truth is light in heaven, has been frequently shown. (AC 8694)

This passage describes in natural expression a spiritual phenomenon that we experience mentally when extracting theistic psychology knowledge for ourselves. The extracted information is called “revelation” because it cannot be perceived as true except by enlightenment. The spiritual meaning which is the content of revelation or enlightenment, “cannot be described” with natural expressions because “it is not manifest.” But “neither is it altogether hidden.”

 

What does this mean? Something that cannot be described in language that refers to natural objects and conditions, which are “not manifest” in natural perception? The closest specific description given for it is that “it is a certain consent and favoring from within that a thing is true, and a non-favoring if it is not true.” If we were to become conscious in our third heaven, we would be nearly omniscient, because whatever we were curious about would instantly be present in our thoughts as an answer in Divine Truth, which is omniscient.

 

Methods of Extraction

The procedures for extracting scientific facts from the Writings Sacred Scripture are surely endless in number when we consider that the Writings Sacred Scripture mark themselves as the last portion of the overall Sacred Scripture that took thousands of years to deliver to humanity. It calls itself “the Crown of Revelations” because “it will endure forever.” Quoting:

Coronis 0

LII. This New Church, truly Christian, which at this day is being established by the Lord, will endure to eternity, as is proved from the Word of both Testaments; also it was foreseen from the creation of the world; and it will be the crown of the four preceding churches, because it will have true faith and true charity. (CORO 0)

We need to extract the correspondential sense of the above passage to see how it applies to theistic psychology:

Passage From
the Writings Sacred Scripture

Its Correspondential Sense
in Theistic Psychology

New Church, truly Christian

People from all religions who acknowledge that there can be only one God and that He is Divine Human in whose Image He created human beings. Consequently this one God is the God of all human beings.

which at this day is being established by the Lord

Every human being regardless of religion or culture is given access to new human mental states that were not accessible to people before this.

will endure to eternity

These new mental states give access to the rational understanding of spiritual truths.

as is proved from the Word of both Testaments

The new rational powers are accessed through the correspondential sense of all Sacred Scripture.

also it was foreseen from the creation of the world

This evolutionary organic upgrade could not be delivered to the human race before the new civilization of rationality and science. Now, every individual has access to the highest human potential through rationality from Sacred Scripture.

it will be the crown of the four preceding churches

All mental states below these highest powers are to be made to align themselves with them so that our thinking, willing, and doing in daily acts are to be congruent with the quality of these highest mental states.

because it will have true faith and true charity

The highest human potential is attained when the cognitive organ operates by the rationality of the correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture, and the affective organ operates by willing those things which agree with this rationality.

 

We now know that heaven and earth must stay connected in creation so that there will never be an end to earths in the natural world. An endless series of civilizations and generations will be using the Writings Sacred Scripture for extracting the information they will need to regenerate. Every generation must extract its own information because each generation is unique in relation to all the others, and their regeneration will depend on new truths that prior generations have not seen.

This is why it is rational to think that the number of methods by which spiritual information can be extracted from the Writings, is endless. But here are three methods of extraction that it was given me to discover. Perhaps others have also made these and similar discoveries in their study of the Writings. They are serviceable to our generation for extracting certain types of spiritual facts that are suitable to a civilization whose genes of consciousness is formed by natural-rational correspondences. I use the expression genes of consciousness to refer to the basic semantic units that define our mentality levels.

 

The Method of Substitution

The substitution technique involves parallelisms in the Writings that are explicitly stated in the Letter. It may also be called the method of applying the Letter to the Letter. The Letter of the Writings must define the substitution for it to be permissible. Some substitutions are near to each other, as they are mentioned closely to each other in the text, while other substitutions are more distant from each other, so that several steps of parallelisms must be reconstructed and demonstrated.

 

I illustrate near substitutions in the following table which is based on a search for equivalence statements in the text, as for instance "it is the same whether you say that...", besides others like it that could also be searched.

 

“it is the same whether you say...”

Permissible substitutes

Divine worship consists of these truths and goods, or that man consists of them, (AC 10298)

Divine worship

man

truth or faith, since everything of faith is truth; also it is the same whether you say good or love, since everything of love is good (HH 232)

good

love

conjunction of understanding and will or conjunction of truth and good. (HH 370)

conjunction of understanding and will

conjunction of truth and good

ruling love or that which he loves above all things. (HH 486)

ruling love

that which he loves above all things

truth or faith (NJHD 35)

truth

faith

"begotten of God" or "proceeding from God;" (TCR 23)

begotten of God

proceeding from God

 

 

God is Good itself and Truth itself or He is Love itself and Wisdom itself (CAN 8)

God

Good itself and Truth itself

God

Love itself and Wisdom itself

Lord's Divine Human, or the Divine Love (AE 146)

Lord's Divine Human

Divine Love

the understanding of truth is described, or those who are in it are described (AE 355)

the understanding of truth

those who are in the understanding of truth

the spiritual and natural mind or the spiritual and natural man. (AE 406)

spiritual and natural mind

spiritual and natural man

falsities from the hells, or the hells (AE 538)

falsities from the hells

the hells

faith or conscience (AC 2325)

faith

conscience

higher and lower ones, or more internal and more external (AC 10051)

higher and lower

more internal and more external

Let’s take a passage that allows several substitutions according to the table above. I have bolded the words in the original, and also in its duplicate paragraph below to indicate the substitutions: Quoting:

The natural mind, by its two capacities called rationality and freedom, is in this state that it is capable of ascending through three degrees, or of descending through three degrees. It ascends by reason of goods and truths, and descends by reason of evils and falsities. And when it ascends, the lower degrees which tend towards hell are closed, but when it descends, the higher degrees which tend towards heaven are closed. The cause for this is that they are in reaction. These three degrees, higher and lower, have neither been opened nor closed in man in earliest infancy, for he is then ignorant of good and truth, and of evil and falsity. (DLW 274)

[making the substitutions;]

The natural man, by its two capacities called rationality and freedom, is in this state that it is capable of ascending through three degrees, or of descending through three degrees. [The man] ascends by reason of love and faith, and descends by reason of evils and the hells. And when [the man] ascends, the external degrees which tend towards hell are closed, but when [the man] descends, the internal degrees which tend towards heaven are closed. The cause for this is that they are in reaction. These three degrees, internal and external, have neither been opened nor closed in man in earliest infancy, for he is then ignorant of love and faith, and of evil and the hells.

It this case, it turns out that the original and the substitutions are so close that the two paragraphs hardly seem different in meaning. Nevertheless, the second paragraph is not merely synonymous with the original but reveals new features that are more interior. To see this requires more detailed study and examination. (see Note 8).

 

Let us take another passage where the substitutions create a more dramatic difference:

·         The very essence and life of faith is the Lord alone (AC 30)

·         The very essence and life of conscience is the Lord alone

The second sentence containing the substitution is a more interior meaning than the original. We knew that the life of faith is the Lord since faith is truth from the Lord, and what is from the Lord is the Lord. Hence, the very essence and life of faith is the Lord alone. But we did not know that the very essence and life of conscience is the Lord alone. This is a new spiritual revelation contained within the first revelation of the Letter. We must now confirm this new more interior perception by finding a passage in the Letter that states that the life of conscience is the Lord. As for example: Quoting:

The new will with the spiritual regenerate man is conscience (NJHD 1919)

[2] A person does not feel this struggle to be anywhere but in himself, and he feels it as the pangs of conscience. Yet it is the Lord and the devil (that is, hell) who struggle in man; their struggle is to gain control of the person, to see which is to possess him. The devil, or hell, attacks the person and calls forth the evil in him, while the Lord protects him and calls forth the good in him. (TCR 596)

Genuine conscience is given by the Lord through the knowledges of a true faith (SE 3615)

With angelical spirits there are bonds of conscience, which conscience is from the Lord. (SE 3850)

Judgments are based on what is the Lord's when they accord with truths and spring from conscience. (AC 9160)

When conscience dictates, it is in like manner said in the Word that "Jehovah speaks;" because conscience is formed from things revealed, and from knowledges, and from the Word; and when the Word speaks, or dictates, it is the Lord who speaks; hence nothing is more common, even at the present day, when referring to a matter of conscience, or of faith, than to say, "the Lord says." (AC 371)

You can see from these series of passages that a conscience that is genuine is from the Lord and is the Lord. Quoting: “nothing is more common, even at the present day, when referring to a matter of conscience, or of faith, than to say, "the Lord says."

 

In summary, we go through three steps in the method of substitution. First, we find parallelisms in the Letter that are explicitly identified in the plain meaning of the sentences. Second, we make the substitutions and reflect on the new formulation. This new meaning is more interior than what could be seen in the original text of the Letter. It has been spiritually enriched by the different series or contexts which are brought together by the substitution. Third, find new passages that explicitly confirm the new meaning.

 

Note that the new perception after substitution is more interior than the older perception before substitution. Despite this, the new perception is not yet a discrete degree higher than the old perception. It is in the same degree, which is natural-rational at a more interior continuum. Performing this three-step method builds natural-rational vessels that are needed later for influx and enlightenment. This occurs when we apply the new meaning to our hourly willing and thinking all day long. Then, at some point -- unexpected point -- we receive enlightenment. That’s when for the first time we can see the meaning of the new perception in a spiritual degree.

 

Without having practiced the substitution method regarding some topic, there are not any such cognitive “vessels” that can be enlightened. Of course, it is possible for people to practice the substation technique implicitly, not as a formal research technique, but spontaneously, since our thinking about Sacred Scripture is always in the company of angels who prompt the train of our thoughts in favorable directions for noticing parallelisms and discovering the substitutes.

 

The Method of Rational Series

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scriptures:

210. III. THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORD IS THE BASIS, THE CONTAINANT, AND THE SUPPORT OF ITS SPIRITUAL AND CELESTIAL SENSE.

In everything Divine there is a first, a middle, and a last, the first passing through the middle to the last, and so existing and subsisting; consequently the last is the basis. Again, the first is in the middle, and through the middle in the last; thus the last is the Containant. And since the last is the Containant and the Basis, it is also the Support. The learned can understand that these three may be called end, cause, and effect; also being [esse], becoming [fieri] and standing forth [existere]; and that the end is being, the cause is becoming, and the effect is standing forth; consequently that in every complete thing there is a trine, which is called the first, the middle, and the last, also end, cause, and effect. When this is understood, it can also be understood that every Divine work is complete and perfect in its last; also that the whole is in the last, because in it prior things are together. (TCR 210) 

The triconcentric diagram visually exhibits the three "discreet degrees of height" (A----> C ---> S) which are called "successive order", and the three "continuous degrees of breadth" which are called "simultaneous order." Picturing the triconcentric diagram while reading a sentence or paragraph in the Writings Sacred Scripture, greatly enhances our capacity to see the meaning distinctly. Quoting from the Writings:

The human mind always dwells in the trine called end, cause and effect. If one of these is lacking, the mind is not possessed of its life. An affection of the will is the initiating end; the thought of the understanding is the efficient cause; and bodily action, utterance or external sensation is the effect from the end by means of the thought.  (DLW 178)

The first sentence may be graphically analyzed using the triconcentric method, as shown on the left of the diagram below:

 Diagram 2

 

Note that the three degrees of existence are connected by "correspondences" which are functional relations as indicated by the arrows. Thus, "ends" (also called "essence" elsewhere) descend by correspondence into "causes" and these in turn descend into "effects," the three being in functional correspondence with each other, both successively and simultaneously. By adding the concepts in the third sentence of the quotation above, we can enlarge the graphic diagram to include them and obtain a slightly more complex form of Swedenborg's thought, as shown on the right of the diagram above. In theory, there is no limit to the size of the graphic diagram, but in practice we restrict each diagram to a particular topic or topic domain under study.

 

Swedenborg's Writings are replete with sentences that mention one element of each of the three degrees of existence, as in the two quotations above. The Table below illustrates this same pattern in collateral works by various others discussing Swedenborg's ideas. Try to picture the concepts in a triconcentric diagram, as above.

A - words -->
AFFECTIVE

B - words --->
COGNITIVE

C - words
SENSORIMOTOR

Source

HOPE

REASON

EVENT

Swedenborg, Divine Providence, n.178

GOOD OF LOVE

RATIONAL TRUTH

MEMORY

Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, n.1959

BREAD

WINE

FRUITS

Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, n.5620

SYMPATHY

UNDERSTANDING

MEMORY

H. Keller, My Religion, p.142

FUNCTIONS

POWERS

ACTIVITIES

H. Keller, My Religion, p.117

WILL

MIND

BODY

H. Keller, My Religion, p.124

RELIGION

CONVENTION

POLITICS

H. Keller, My Religion, p.133

FEELING

THOUGHT

ACTION

J. Spalding, Sw. Theol. Works, p.31

AFFECTION

INTELLECT

EMBODIMENT

J. Spalding, Sw. Theol. Works, p.35

STRIVING

RIGHTEOUSNESS

EXPERIENCE

J. Spalding, Sw. Theol. Works, p.37

IMPULSES

SIN

SELECTING

J. Spalding, Sw. Theol. Works, p.38

CREATION

DESIGN

USE

W. Van Dusen, Uses, p.7

FEEL FREE

REALIZE

ACT

W. Van Dusen, Uses, p.113

ENDS

WISDOM

BEAUTY

G. Dole, Logos, Spring 1982 (end)

LOVING

UNDERSTANDING

HELPING

G. Dole, Logos, Spring 1982 (end)

 This kind of conceptual "matrix" reveals a great deal about the system of thought in the Writings Sacred Scripture. The more a person studies the Writings the more one gains in one's thought a new way of classifying ideas or concepts by which one can then apprehend phenomena in an entirely new way; that is, in an integrated rather than loose system. By running your eye up and down within a column of such a matrix, you get a good indication of the specific character of that degree as applied to a particular topic domain. In the above instance, note how the A-words (affective organ) are inmost in degree, hence highest or earliest in successive order. Note how the C-words (sensorimotor organ) are outermost in degree of existence, and thus are the lowest or ultimate in succession. When you run your eye across a row horizontally, you are getting a good indication of the mechanism of that particular phenomenon, how it comes into existence and what are its successive steps of existence from origin / end, through cause, to effect. For instance, the GOOD OF LOVE (second line) must occur first in order to externalize as RATIONAL TRUTH in the intermediate stage and as MEMORY or MEMORY-KNOWLEDGES in its ultimate stage. Or to take the last line, HELPING is a consequence or effect of prior UNDERSTANDING, which in turn originates from LOVING.

 

The next diagram shows the trigrammatic series applied to contemporary concepts and authors in social psychology.

Diagram 3

 

The method of rational series for extracting scientific information from the Writings Sacred Scripture is illustrated in the section 15.3        Genes of Consciousness. It consists of arranging words or phrases from the Writings in sets that they belong to.

COLUMN 1

COLUMN 2

COLUMN 3

Love

Wisdom

Use

Celestial

Spiritual

Natural

Third heaven

Second heaven

First heaven

Abraham

Isaac

Jacob

Jerusalem

Assyria

Egypt

Affective

Cognitive

Scientific (sensorimotor)

Lamb

Mules

Horses

If you inspect each column up and down you are creating a new rational set in the organization or thesaurus that you carry in your memory-knowledge. Now, when you read about Abraham you can supply the rest of the series in your mind, thus giving it a new meaning which is more interior than what you had before. Now, this new semantic gene of a higher continuous level will serve as a vessel for enlightenment. This occurs the moment you apply this new semantic gene to your willing and thinking in daily activities. 

 

The Method of Mapping

This method is illustrated in section 15.3.5 titled Enneadic Gene Structures. It uses a chart or matrix created by putting together two series obtained from the method of rational series. This chart is made of intersections that have dynamic properties relating to mental states, as described in the Writings when explicating the correspondential sense of the Old Testament. In the example below, the first column lists the phrases in the Writings and in the second column, their mental state map location is given. A refers to the affective organ (“the will”), C refers to the cognitive organ (“the understanding”). Levels 3, 2, and 1 refer to the three degrees: celestial, spiritual, natural.

Divine good of the rational

A3

Good by an internal way

A2

truth by an external way.

C2

Good thus conjoins itself with truth in the rational

A2 + C2

the rational as to good

A2

memory-knowledges and knowledges from the natural man

C1

When you identify the map location of “Divine good of the rational” as A3, you are thinking in a more interior way about this concept. “A” means affective and level “3” means celestial. So to recognize in your mind that “Divine good of the rational” is celestial willing (A3), you are providing an enlarged context for it that can be hooked up to other mapped areas, as is illustrated in the section below. Now this enlarged more interior thesaurus becomes a vessel for enlightenment the moment that you apply this larger interior thesaurus to some part of your willing and thinking at some point during the day.

The method of extraction can only be applied to the Writings Sacred Scripture. Only Divine text is written in such a way that it may contain endless information to be extracted until eternity. It may appear at first that the extracted knowledge is of the same degree as the original, but deeper analysis shows that the extracted knowledge is at a higher degree, all the way to the celestial-rational.

The elevation of meaning during the extraction process is due to the operation of the interior-natural organ, as discussed section 8 titled Thinking With Angels -- Our Virtual Heavens.

 

External and Internal Revelation

From Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia (AC 5121):

"And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it." That this signifies revelation from perception from the celestial in the natural as to what it had in itself, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historic parts of the Word, as being perception (n. 1791, 1815, 1819, 1822, 1898, 1919, 2080, 2619, 2862, 3395, 3509), here revelation from perception, because said of a dream and its interpretation - all revelation being either from speech with angels through whom the Divine-Human speaks, or from perception (of which hereafter); and from the representation of Joseph, as being the celestial in the natural (of which above, n. 5086, 5087, 5106); and from the signification of "interpretation," as being what it had in itself (of which also above, n. 5093, 5105, 5107). From this it is plain that by "Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it" is signified revelation from perception from the celestial in the natural as to what it had in itself.

The above is a passage from the Writings that discusses the scientific sense of the verse in Genesis 40:12. Note the expression "revelation from perception from the celestial in the natural ." You need to know what is being referred to before you can understand it. What does "the celestial in the natural" refer to?  Here, "the celestial" refers to the celestial mind or the celestial portion of our mind. This is the organ that is able to receive direct influx from the Spiritual Sun so that spiritual heat (or love) and spiritual light (or truth) stream into it, a process called "Divine influx." This influx is called divine not because God can enter into us, but because the love and truth that enter into us are from the Spiritual Sun and this is the expanse around the Divine-Human, hence it is Divine.

Note this very important principle: Whatever is from God must be fully God since God cannot be divided into portions. This is because God is infinite and the infinite cannot be divided but remains the infinite wherever it enters the finite. So the infinite enters the finite, not the other way around. The finite contains the infinite fully, not just a part of the infinite, but all of it, since as already said, the infinite cannot be divided into lesser portions of itself.

 

You need to understand rationally the way the infinite enters the finite and "dwells" there in fullness of itself,

 

You can see that this is the same as saying: You need to understand rationally the way God enters the human mind and "dwells" there in fullness of itself,

 

God or the infinite "dwells" in the finite mind by adjoining love and truth to the mind as-if they belong to the person. We experience love as a feeling, like wanting to be useful to society, and we experience truth as an understanding, like seeing that selfishness is destructive. God dwells within the feeling of wanting to be useful, and the seeing that selfishness is destructive. God dwells in the loves and truths we acquire and feel as-if our own. How can that be? That's because the love and truth we experience as-if our own is not our own but came into our celestial mind from the Spiritual Sun. Now that they are in our organs, love in the affective organ and truth in the cognitive organ, they feel like our own, as-if they were own. Even if we know from revelation that all love and truth are God's, we still feel as-if they are own within us.

 

This is where God dwells, where God is in us. It's possible only because the love and truth in us is God's love and truth, and whatever is God's cannot be separated from God but forever remains God's. God is infinite and unchanging, and therefore the love and truth emanating from Himself as the Spiritual Sun, must remain God's. God cannot give them away to created things like the finite human mind. So if we now have the experience that the love and truth in us is our own, then it is equivalent to being adjoined or connected to God. But note carefully: It is never the case that we can be conjoined to God, or merging with God, or being one with God. If this were possible, we would become God, and each of us would be God, as some people believe.

 

Clearly, the possibility of being connected or adjoined to God depends on this sensation or feeling that the love and truth in us is as-if our own.

 

 The moment we would actually sense the influx, or become aware of it, the as-if position is destroyed and we can never be conjoined to God, hence not receive love and truth from God, and thus instantaneously disappear from existence.

 

Consider again the phrase in the passage above: "revelation from perception from the celestial in the natural." The celestial mind is "within" the natural mind, which means that it is higher and superior to it. Whenever something is said to be "within" another portion of the mind, it is always superior to it in excellence, by far. So the celestial portion of the mind is superior to the natural portion of the mind in mode and level of operation in its affective organ (feelings, loves) and in its cognitive organ (thoughts, truths). The phrase "revelation from perception" refers to the influx of truth which is felt as-if it is our own. God prevents us from sensing influx so that we can maintain the as-if feeling. By maintaining the as-if feeling, we can be connected to God's love and truth, hence to God. The connection depends on our feeling that the love and truth is as-if our own.

 

Scientific revelations are Divine truths contained in Divine Speech. When we understand scientific revelations found in Sacred Scripture we are receiving revelation from perceiving the scientific sense of a word or phrase in Sacred Scripture. Perceiving the scientific sense is an intellectual effort that feels like our very own effort. This is the as-if feeling we have that those truths are our own from the effort of understanding them. Once we understand some scientific revelation, the truth of it becomes as-if our own. This is called rational consciousness. It does not work with sensuous consciousness. Feeling something we call "oneness with God" is an effort to connect with God through sensuous consciousness. This can only translate into mystical spirituality, which inhibits all forms of rational spirituality.

 

Rational spirituality is necessary for the appropriation of love and truth to self by means of the as-if feeling. The appropriation of love and truth to self is necessary in order to be connected to God. Hence all connection to God is based on rational understanding and not on sensuous experience. If we appropriate the sensuous consciousness of God, we become God, and this is impossible. It is therefore destructive of rational consciousness, our only means of connection to God. Our heaven is embedded in our rational consciousness, while our hell is embedded in sensuous consciousness or corporeal spirituality, this being a state of anti-rationality or irrationality.

 

Going on with the Number (AC 5121):

[2] In regard to revelations being either from perception, or from speech with angels through whom the Divine-Human speaks, it is to be known that they who are in good and thence in truth, and especially they who are in the good of love to the Divine-Human, have revelation from perception; whereas they who are not in good and thence in truth, can indeed have revelations, yet not from perception, but through a living voice heard within them, and thus through angels from the Divine-Human. This revelation is external, but the former is internal. The angels, especially the celestial, have revelation from perception, as also had the men of the Most Ancient Church, and some too of the Ancient Church, but scarcely anyone at this day; whereas very many, even those who have not been in good, have had revelations from speech without perception, and also by means of visions or dreams.

 

This fascinating paragraph reveals and specifies many details about scientific revelations viewed from an evolutionary perspective. The highest portion of the mind called celestial receives revelation directly from perception of the scientific sense of Divine Speech. But we are not conscious of our celestial mind while we are attached to the physical body on earth, with the unique exception of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Therefore in order for us to become conscious of the scientific sense of Sacred Scripture, our understanding must be enlightened by gradual acquisition of knowledge which we must consciously build up into a coherent framework called "doctrine." We can also call it theistic psychology, from the perspective of organized and institutional science.

The passage above reveals that anyone can have revelation from perception if they are willing to love the scientific revelations enough to guide their daily life according to it. This is expressed as "they who are in good and thence in truth." To be in good refers to our willingness to love the Divine-Human as the source of all that we have in our mind and in our future. When we love scientific revelations as God's Speech to us, we love good and thence truth. The truth we perceive is loved because it is from the Divine-Human. When we are in this state of mind, we experience perception from revelation. We can perceive how the truth applies specifically to us, and particularly to our feelings and thoughts. What we think must be according to truth or else we must reject what we think. And what we feel or enjoy must be according to the love or else we enjoy what is the opposite of love, namely love of self as god, which is not properly love, but cupidity.

When we are unwilling to love the Divine-Human as the source of all that we have, we can still be enlightened to see the scientific sense of Sacred Scripture. But not by perception, only by mediation, through the intermediary of others. Others who have perception can translate for us through correspondences that are lower and easier to understand within the natural perspective. It is said in the passage above that when we are in this state we can hear a "living voice" within our mind. This refers to the sensuous consciousness of a spiritual vision that the prophets had in the Old Testament. The spiritual vision could be heard rather than seen, and the words heard could be written down as Sacred Scripture. This is called an "external revelation" to contrast with the "internal revelation" by direct perception. Swedenborg was raised into his celestial mind and made conscious there so that he had revelation from perception like all the inhabitants of the higher heavens.

Continuing:

[3] Such were most of the revelations of the prophets in the Jewish Church; they heard a voice, they saw a vision, and they dreamed a dream; but as they had no perception, these were merely verbal or visual revelations without any perception of what they signified. For genuine perception comes through heaven from the Divine-Human, and affects the intellect spiritually, and leads it perceptibly to think as the thing really is, together with internal assent, the source of which it knows not. It supposes that it is in itself, and that it flows from the connection of things; whereas it is a dictate through heaven from the Divine-Human, flowing into the interiors of the thought, about such things as are above the natural and sensuous, that is, about such things as are of the spiritual world or of heaven. From what has now been said it may be seen what revelation from perception is. But the revelation from perception which the Divine-Human had (who is here represented by Joseph, and which revelation is here treated of in the internal sense), was from the Divine in Himself, thus was from Himself. (AC 5121)

It is clear from these details that God is very much involved in the details of our thinking and feeling. You need to maintain rational thinking to understand this enough in order not to feel disappointed or angry at God. My grown up children have always expressed a distaste for this idea that God is so involved in their thinking. It seems to them from their natural perspective, that if this were so, there would be no point or desire to keep thinking and living. They lose all enthusiasm for living when thinking about how it is God who directs their attention, focus, and memory. They suddenly feel that they are not free in that case and all joy of life leaves them, and all desire to do anything. But as they continue to grow in rational consciousness of God they will start feeling less and less troubled by the idea, and eventually, they will start feeling more and more that it is their joy to know it is God within them that activates and guides these processes in the mind, thus insuring that we are well and that our future is well. If it were left to us to think on our own even for a few seconds, we would instantly hate God and precipitate ourselves into the lowest hell of our mind, where we stay forever, being unwilling to emerge from there by loving God.

 

Another quote from Swedenborg (NJHD 51). (Reference numbers refer to numbered paragraphs in Arcana Coelestia):

The Sciences and Knowledges through which the internal spiritual Man is opened.

Those things are called scientifics which are in the external or natural man and in its memory, but not those which are in the internal or spiritual man, nos. 3019, 3020, 3293, 3309, 4967, 9918, 9922. Because scientifics belong to the external or natural man, they are respectively things of service, because the external or natural man was made to serve the internal or spiritual man, just as the world was made to serve heaven, nos. 5077, 5125, 5128, 5786, 5947, 10272, 10471. The external man is respectively a world, because the laws of the Divine order which are in the world, are inscribed upon it, and the internal man is respectively a heaven, because the laws of the Divine order which is in heaven, are inscribed upon it, nos. 4523, 5424, 5368, 6013, 6057, 9278, 9279, 9283, 9706, 10156, 10472; and in the work on Heaven and Hell, nos. 51 to 58.

There are scientifics which concern natural things; there are such as relate to the civil state and life, and again there are such as relate to the moral state and life, and such as relate to the spiritual state and life, nos. 5774, 5934. But for distinction those which relate to the spiritual state and life, and which are chiefly doctrinals, are called knowledges, no. 9945.

A man ought to become imbued with sciences and knowledges, because through them he learns how to think; afterwards how to understand what is true and good, and at length how to be wise; that is how to live according to what is true and good, nos. 129, 1450, 1451, 1453, 1548, 1802. Scientifics and knowledges are the first things, on which a man's civil, moral, and spiritual life are built and founded; but they ought to be learned for the sake of the use of life as an end, nos. 1489, 3310. Knowledges open the way to the internal man, and afterwards conjoin the internal with the external man according to uses, nos. 1563, 1616. The Rational is born through sciences and knowledges, nos. 1895, 1900, 3086. Still, not through the sciences and knowledges themselves, but through the affection of uses from them, and according to such affection, no. 1895.

The internal man is opened and successively perfected through sciences and knowledges, if the man has for an end some good use; particularly the use which has respect to eternal life, no. 3086. In this case, the spiritual things from the celestial and spiritual man, go to meet the scientifics and knowledges which are in the natural man, and adopt those that agree, no. 1495. The uses of a heavenly life are then extracted, eliminated, and elevated by the Divine-Human, through the internal man, from the scientifics and knowledges which are in the natural man, nos. 1895, 1896, 1900-1902, 5871, 5874, 5901. And the scientifics which do not agree, and which are inimical, are rejected to the sides and exterminated, nos. 5871, 5886, 5889. The sight of the internal man calls forth from the scientifics and knowledges of the external man, only such as belong to its love, no. 9394. Scientifics and knowledges are arranged in bundles, and conjoined according to the loves by which they have been introduced, no. 5881.

The things belonging to the love are then in the middle and in clearness, under the sight of the internal man, but those which do not belong to the love are at the sides and in obscurity, nos. 6068, 6084. Scientifics and knowledges with a man are successively implanted in his loves, and dwell in them, no. 6325. A man would be born into every science, and into intelligence from it, if he were born into the love of the Divine-Human, and into love towards the neighbour but since he is born into the love of self and the world, he is therefore born into [a state of] entire ignorance, nos. 6323, 6325. Knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom are the sons of love to the Divine-Human and love towards the neighbour, nos. 1226, 2049, 2116.

Since scientifics and knowledges belong to the external or natural man, they are in the light of the world; but the truths, which have become matters of love and faith, and have thus obtained life, are in the light of heaven, no. 5212. Still, the truths which have thus obtained life, are comprehended by a man by means of natural ideas, no. 5510. Spiritual influx takes place through the internal man into the scientifics and knowledges which are in the external man, nos. 1904, 8005. Scientifics and knowledges are receptacles, and as it were vessels, of the truth and good belonging to the internal man, nos. 1469, 1496, 3068, 5489, 6004, 6023, 6052, 6071, 6077, 7770, 9922. Vessels in the Word, therefore, signify, in the correspondential sense, scientifics and knowledges, nos. 3068, 3069, 3079, 9394, 9544, 9723, 9724.

Scientifics are a kind of mirrors, in which the truths and goods of the internal man appear, and are perceived, as in an image, no. 5201; they are together in them, as in their ultimate, nos. 5373, 5874, 5886, 5901, 6004, 6023, 6052, 6071, 6077. Because scientifics are in the light of the world, they are confused and obscure when compared with the things which are in the light of heaven; consequently, so also are the things which are in the external man, when compared with those which are in the internal man, no. 2831. Therefore, what is intertwined or confused, signifies in the Word the Scientific, no. 2831; likewise by the obscurity of a cloud, nos. 8443, 10551.

The starting-point ought to be made from truths of doctrine which are from the Word, and they ought first to be acknowledged; it is permitted afterwards to consult scientifics in order to confirm these truths, which are corroborated in this manner, no. 6047. Those who are in an affirmative principle in respect to the truths of faith, are therefore permitted to confirm these truths intellectually by means of scientifics, but not those who are in a negative principle; for the affirmation which precedes inclines all things in favour of its own side, while the negation which precedes inclines them to its side, nos. 2568, 2588, 3913, 4760, 6047. There is an affirmative principle of doubt, and a negative principle of doubt; the former is with some who are good, and the latter with the evil, no. 2568. Entering into scientifics from the truths of faith, is agreeable to order; but, conversely, entering into the truths of faith from scientifics, is contrary to order, no. 10236. For influx is spiritual, and not physical, that is, natural; and, therefore, it takes place from the truths of faith because they are spiritual, into scientifics because they are natural, nos. 3219, 5119, 5259, 5427, 5428, 5779, 6322, 9109, 9110.

Whoever is in a principle of negative doubt, which in itself is negative, and who says that he will not believe until he is persuaded through scientifics, will never believe, nos. 2094, 2832. Those who do so, become insane as to the things which belong to the Church and Heaven, nos. 128-130. They lapse into falsities of evils, no. 232, 233, 6047. And in the other life, when thinking about spiritual things, they are like drunken persons, no. 1072. A further description of their quality, no. 196. Instances to illustrate that spiritual things cannot be comprehended, if you enter into them in an inverted order, nos. 233, 2094, 2196, 2203, 2209. Many of the learned are more insane in spiritual things, than the simple-minded, because they are in a negative principle, and are furnished in abundance with scientifics by which they confirm the negative [state], no. 4760. An instance of an educated person, who was unable to understand anything concerning the spiritual life, no. 8629. Those who reason from scientifics in opposition to the truths of faith, reason sharply, because [they do so] from the fallacies of the senses, which are captivating and persuasive; for they can be shaken off only with difficulty, no. 5700.

Those who do not understand anything of truth, and they also who are in evil, are able to reason concerning the truths and goods of faith, and yet they are not able to be in any enlightenment, no. 4214. The mere confirmation of a dogma is not the part of an intelligent man, because a falsity can be confirmed as easily as a truth, nos. 1017, 2482, 2490, 4741, 5033, 6865, 7012, 7680, 7950, 8521, 8780. Those who reason concerning the truths of the Church, whether a thing be so or not, are totally in the dark with respect to truths, and are not yet in spiritual light, nos. 215, 1385, 3033, 3428.

There are scientifics which admit Divine truths, and others that do not, no. 5213. Useless scientifics ought to be destroyed, nos. 1489, 1492, 1499, 1500. Those scientifics are useless which regard as their end, and confirm, the loves of self and the world, and which withdraw [the mind] from love to the Divine-Human and love towards the neighbour; because such scientifics shut up the internal man, so that the man is afterwards unable to receive anything from heaven, nos. 1563, 1600. Scientifics are means for becoming wise, and means for becoming insane; and through them the internal man may either be opened or shut; and thus the Rational may either be cultivated or destroyed, nos. 4156, 8628, 9922.

After death the sciences are of no account, but only what a man through the sciences has imbibed into his understanding and life, no. 2480. Still all scientifics remain after death, but they are quiescent, nos. 2476-2479, 2481-2486.

(( NOTA BENE!))

The same scientifics which are false with the wicked because they are applied to evils, are true with the good because they are applied to goods, no. 6917. Scientific truths are not truths with the evil, however they may appear like truths while they pronounce them for interiorly there is evil in them, and from it they are falsified; science with the evil does not even deserve to be called science, because it is without life, no. 10331.

Being wise is one thing, understanding another, being acquainted with a thing is a further, and doing is another still; nevertheless with those who lead a spiritual life, they follow in order and correspond, and in the doing or the works they are together simultaneously, no. 10331. It is also one thing to know, another to acknowledge, and still another to have faith, no. 896.

An instance of the quality of the desire of knowing with spirits, no. 1973. The angels have an immeasurable desire of knowing and of becoming wise, because knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, are spiritual food, nos. 3114, 4459, 4792, 4976, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5410, 5426, 5576, 5582; 5588, 5655, 6277, 8562, 9003.

The chief science with the ancients was the science of correspondences, but this science at the present day has perished, nos. 3021, 3419, 4280, 4844, 4964, 4966, 6004, 7729, 10252. The science of correspondences existed among the eastern nations, and in Egypt, no. 5702, 6692, 7097, 7779, 9391, 10407. Their hieroglyphics were derived from that source, nos. 6692, 7097. Through the science of correspondences the ancients introduced themselves into the knowledges of spiritual things, nos. 4749, 4844, 4966. The Word was written by mere correspondences, and its internal or correspondential sense is from that source; and without the science of correspondences it is impossible to know that this sense exists, or yet what the quality of the Word is, nos. 3131, 3472-3485, 8615, 10687. How much the science of correspondences excels the other sciences, no. 4280. (NJHD 51)

 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch4.htm#enlightenment

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The Process of Enlightenment and Regeneration: The Scientific Meaning of Genesis 24

Here is the text of Genesis 24 as it appears in the Writings, where it is given a word by word and phrase by phrase analysis regarding their spiritual meaning or “internal sense.” The passage opens with the comment that Sacred Scripture (“the Word”) has a literal meaning which has “stored within it” a different meaning which is “heavenly secret” because no one can know what it is except through a knowledge of correspondences. The internal sense is revealed to anyone who knows the correspondences in which Sacred Scripture is written. This is the secret now revealed to humankind through the Writings of Swedenborg (see also the analysis of Genesis 22 in Section xx):

Arcana Coelestia 3011.
From what has been said it may be seen what hidden things the Word has stored within it; which can by no means come to anyone's knowledge except from the internal sense.

GENESIS 24

     1. And Abraham being old was come into days; and Jehovah blessed Abraham in all things.

     2. And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, who administered all that he had, Put I pray thy hand under my thigh.

     3. And I will make thee swear by Jehovah the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a woman for my son of the daughters of the Canaanite, in the midst of whom I dwell;

     4. But thou shalt go unto my land, and to my nativity; and take a woman for my son for Isaac.

     5. And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land; bringing shall I bring back thy son unto the land whence thou camest out?

     6. And Abraham said unto him, Beware that thou bring not back my son thither.

     7. Jehovah the God of heaven, that took me from my father's house, and from the land of my nativity, and that spoke unto me, and that swear unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land, He shall send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a woman for my son from thence.

     8. And if the woman be not willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this mine oath; only thou shalt not bring back my son thither.

     9. And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his lord, and sware to him concerning this word.

     10. And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his lord, and departed, and every good of his lord was in his hand; and he arose and went to Aram-naharaim, unto the city of Nahor.

     11. And he made the camels kneel down, without the city, by the well of waters, about the time of evening, about the time the drawers go out.

     12. And he said, O Jehovah God of my lord Abraham, cause to meet I pray before me this day; and do mercy with my lord Abraham.

     13. Behold, I stand by the fountain of waters; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw waters.

     14. And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink, and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also, her hast Thou appointed for Thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that Thou hast done mercy with my lord.

     15. And it came to pass that scarcely had he done speaking, when behold Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.

     16. And the damsel was exceeding good to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her; and she went down to the fountain, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

     17. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me I pray sip a little water from thy pitcher.

     18. And she said, Drink, my lord; and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and made him drink.

     19. And she finished making him drink, and she said, I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.

     20. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw, and drew for all his camels.

     21. And the man marveling at her, withheld himself, to know whether Jehovah had prospered his way or not.

     22. And it came to pass when the camels had done drinking, that the man took a jewel of gold, of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands, ten of gold their weight.

     23. And he said, Whose daughter art thou? Tell me I pray is there room in thy father's house for us to pass the night?

     24. And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bare unto Nahor.

     25. And she said unto him, We have both straw and much provender, also room to pass the night.

     26. And the man bent himself, and bowed himself down to Jehovah.

     27. And he said, Blessed be Jehovah the God of my lord Abraham, who hath not forsaken His mercy and His truth from my lord. I being in the way, Jehovah hath led me to the house of my lord's brethren.

     28. And the damsel ran, and told her mother's house according to these words.

     29. And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban; and Laban ran out of doors unto the man, unto the fountain.

     30. And it came to pass when he saw the jewel, and the bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spoke the man unto me, that he came unto the man; and behold he stood by the camels at the fountain.

     31. And he said, Come thou blessed of Jehovah, wherefore standest thou without? For I have swept the house, and there is room for the camels.

     32. And the man came into the house, and loosed the camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the feet of the men that were with him.

     33. And there was set before him to eat; and he said, I will not eat until I have spoken my words. And he said, Speak.

     34. And he said, I am Abraham's servant.

     35. And Jehovah hath blessed my lord exceedingly, and hath made him great, and hath given him flock and herd, and silver and gold, and menservants and maidservants, and camels and asses.

     36. And Sarah, my lord's wife, bare a son to my lord after she was old; and he hath given unto him all that he hath.

     37. And my lord made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a woman for my son of the daughters of the Canaanite, in whose land I dwell.

     38. But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my family, and take a woman for my son.

     39. And I said unto my lord, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.

     40. And he said unto me, Jehovah, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a woman for my son from my family, and from my father's house.

     41. Then shalt thou be clear from my oath, when thou comest to my family; and if they give not to thee, thou shalt be clear from my oath.

     42. And I came this day unto the fountain, and said, O Jehovah God of my lord Abraham, if now Thou do prosper my way wherein I do walk;

     43. Behold I stand by the fountain of waters; and let it come to pass that the maiden which cometh forth to draw, and to whom I shall say, Let me drink I pray a little water from thy pitcher;

     44. And she shall say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels, let her be the woman whom Jehovah hath appointed for my lord's son.

     45. I scarcely had done speaking in mine heart, when behold Rebekah came forth; and her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the fountain and drew; and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray.

     46. And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from upon her, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; and I drank, and she gave drink to the camels also.

     47. And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bare unto him. And I put the jewel upon her nose, and the bracelets upon her hands.

     48. And I bent and bowed myself down to Jehovah, and blessed Jehovah God of my lord Abraham, who led me into the way of truth, to take the daughter of my lord's brother for his son.

     49. And now if ye will do mercy and truth with my lord, tell me; and if not, tell me; and I will look to the right hand, or to the left.

     50. And Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The word hath gone forth from Jehovah; we cannot speak unto thee evil or good.

     51. Behold Rebekah is before thee; take her, and go, and let her be the woman of thy lord's son, as Jehovah hath spoken.

     52. And it came to pass that when Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth unto Jehovah.

     53. And the servant brought forth vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and garments, and gave to Rebekah; he gave also precious things to her brother and to her mother.

     54. And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him; and they passed the night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my lord.

     55. And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us days, at least ten; afterwards thou shalt go.

     56. And he said unto them, Do not delay me, and Jehovah hath prospered my way; send me away, and I will go to my lord.

     57. And they said, Let us call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth.

     58. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.

     59. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men.

     60. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Our sister, be thou for thousands of ten thousands; and may thy seed inherit the gate of those that hate thee.

     61. And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man; and the servant took Rebekah, and went away.

     62. And Isaac came from coming from Beer-lahai-roi; and he dwelt in the land of the south.

     63. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold there were camels coming.

     64. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and saw Isaac, and she alighted from off the camel.

     65. And she said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant said, It is my lord. And she took a veil and covered herself.

     66. And the servant told Isaac all the words that he had done.

     67. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah, and she was to him for a woman, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother.

This charming and moving love story is written in the natural-corporeal correspondences of the Old Testament mentality and consciousness (see Section xx). Hidden within the corporeal correspondences are higher order rational correspondences that can be extracted through a deeper understanding of theistic psychology (see Section xx).

The Writings inform us that all historical events and descriptions in Sacred Scripture are accurate to the detail. There are two portions to this idea that we need to think about.

First, that the Divine Human brought these precise historical events into existence at the time they occurred.

This idea includes the surrounding natural and social setting of the events, which is always specified in Sacred Scripture. For instance, some of the cities in which the events took place were named hundreds of years before the events recorded took place. The Divine Human also brought about that these particular names be chosen for those places because each name had its correspondence from the Most Ancient version of Sacred Scripture on this earth, and this was from heaven itself (see Section xx).

Correspondences are from creation and they are eternal and unchangeable. The human mind is constructed on the pattern of correspondences, as are material objects and laws (see Section xx). Understanding correspondences will give you a deeper understanding of how we think and feel, and how things in nature are related to things in the mind or human spirit. The knowledge of correspondences is important for understanding both psychological phenomena and the physical environment around us. The revelation of correspondences and how to use them has the potential of raising the rational thinking potential of humankind and of every individual.

So the first portion of the idea is that the events described in Sacred Scripture are historically accurate, brought about by means of correspondences. The second portion of the idea is that the Divine Psychologist used correspondences to restrict the thoughts of each prophet and revelator who wrote down the books of Sacred Scripture. In this way the literal sentences of Sacred Scripture in their original -- Hebrew, Greek, and Latin – were written out in an exact sequence of words, phrases, and sentences, that would allow the extraction of their inner scientific meaning to which they corresponded.

This inner scientific meaning contains

  • principles of theistic psychology and the prescribed methods one must follow for extracting it from Sacred Scripture
  • facts about the human race, the human mind, and the spiritual world
  • taxonomies of cognitions and affections and their dynamic interactions
  • knowledges about the objective mental world and its immortality
      • character regeneration and its methods
      • the process of resuscitation
      • life after death and its stages
      • heaven and hell objectively and subjectively described
      • how the dual universe was manufactured by the Spiritual Sun through the use of correspondences arranged in simultaneous and successive discrete degrees
      • how it is maintained by rational laws of good and truth whose conjunction forms the basis of conjugial love in heaven and on earth

These are then the two portions involved in the concept of Sacred Scripture: (1) the Divine production of actual historical events through the laws of correspondences, and (2), the Divine control by means of correspondences over what details are written down by the prophet and in what exact sequence, that would make them correspond with the inner rational series of scientific revelations to be extracted.

You might be wondering why all this is necessary. Why didn’t God dictate the sentences of Sacred Scripture to make a textbook for theistic psychology. Why should we have to go through this elaborate methodology of extracting this scientific knowledge from historical descriptions? As you study theistic psychology you will be able to give may answers to this question. You may be sure that if this had been possible, God would have done that! So we need to understand why that is not possible, and the more theistic psychology you know, the clearer this dynamic will become. The human mind has a built in or wired in thinking syntax based on rationality which is based on Divine Truth. There is a developmental pattern of elevating the conscious understanding across the discrete levels of correspondences (see Section xx). If Sacred Scripture were written out purely in spiritual correspondences, it would be incomprehensible.

The sentences of Sacred Scripture contain names of people and of places, details about the number of days or years that something took, time of the day or season, natural things like mountains, lakes, oceans, various objects like pitchers, swords, chariots, houses, food, and as well, various animals and plants. Each of these items are natural objects or qualities. The law of correspondences, by creation, dictates that spiritual events are the instrumental cause in the creation of natural events. In other words, spiritual events originate physical events.

The spiritual law of correspondences is a mental law because the objective spiritual world = the objective mental world. There is only one objective mental world and only one spiritual world. They overlap and everyone’s mind exists in that overlap.

The Writings say that it was the Ancients living throughout Asia, who chose the names of places which are named in the Old and New Testaments. They always gave names according to their knowledge of correspondences, which they inherited from the celestial race prior to the Fall (see Section xx). This is why we can reconstruct the spiritual correspondences hidden within the sentences of Sacred Scripture. Every sentence of Sacred Scripture was written by means of correspondences, but this was not known to the prophets and Gospel writers. This great “heavenly arcanum” or secret, was revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg (1745-1771).

Theistic psychology is the process of extracting the higher-order correspondences from the literal sentences of the Threefold Sacred Scripture – the Hebrew Old Testament, the Greek New Testament, and the Latin Final Testament (= the Writings of Swedenborg) (see Section xx).

Now that the third and final portion of the Threefold Sacred Scripture has been delivered to the human race, theistic psychology as a science has been made possible. Now anyone from any culture or religion can read through the historical and cultural details so that these vanish from view. Left in place are the concepts and principles of theistic psychology that God wants every human being to know and understand.

What follows is an illustration and exploration of Chapter 24 in the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament. The discussion will proceed along three simultaneous columns or pathways. First, the details and dramatic sequence of the “story” in Genesis, as told in natural events that are correspondences. The content for this first column is taken from the Old Testament text. Second, we need to follow the spiritual correspondences of each natural detail that is mentioned. This is taken from the Writings, in particular the work known as Arcana Coelestia. Third, we need to state the scientific meaning of the spiritual correspondences. This is taken from theistic psychology.

The Topics of Genesis 24 in Relation to Theistic Psychology

We begin with Number 3012 from the 12-volume set of Arcana Coelestia, as translated into English.

AC 3012

            THE CONTENTS

In the internal sense there is described the whole process of the conjunction of truth with good in the Lord's Divine rational; in this chapter, the process of initiation which precedes conjunction. "Isaac" is the good of the rational; "Rebekah" here is truth to be initiated into good; "Laban" is the affection of good in the natural man.

The above paragraph is like a table of contents of Chapter 24 of Genesis, viewed in their spiritual correspondences or “internal sense.” It lists the topics of theistic psychology that are dealt with in this Chapter of Sacred Scripture. These are the things that the Divine Human wants to communicate to the human mind for the sake of its regeneration and preparation for eternal happiness in heaven (see Section xx). Overall, the Chapter deals with “the whole process of the conjunction of truth with good.”

When extracting celestial-rational correspondences, the topic discusses how the Divine Child in the Incarnation Event actually performed and achieved this conjunction in His Own Mind (see Section xx). But when extracting spiritual-rational correspondences, the topic discusses what every person must actually perform in order to achieve this conjunction in himself or herself (see Section xx).

This makes sense in view of the fact, explained elsewhere, that the Incarnation Event was the creation of a new psychobiological mind by means of which every human being could henceforth step through the same mental procedures that the Divine Child created in Himself (see Section xx).

The celestial-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture discuss how the Divine Child created the conjunction process in His Mind. The spiritual-rational correspondences discuss theistic psychology. The literal sentences of the Writings are written in natural-rational correspondences. At this level of meaning the Writings give the external appearance of being a new Christian theology located within the Western cultural history and mind-frame. While this level is admirably suited for the Christian religion everywhere, it cannot form the content of a cross-cultural and pan-religious curriculum.

But this literal meaning “vanishes from view” when one translates it into its spiritual correspondences. This is why theistic psychology can be suitable as the content of a cross-cultural and pan-religious curriculum about

  1. the one God, Creator and Manager of the universe (see Section xx)
  2. the world of spirits where all human beings are resuscitated immediately after death (see Section xx)
  3. heaven and hell in every person’s mind and the quality of life in our immortality (see Section xx)
  4. conjugial love and eternal marriage (see Section xx)
  5. the anatomy of the mind and its spiritual development (see Section xx)
  6. the geography of the spiritual world in relation to human mental states (see Section xx)
  7. the evolution and development of the universal Grand Human of Heaven containing the entire human race (see Section xx)
  8. spiritual linguistics regarding the thought-language that is inborn in every human, and is used by all in immortality, regardless of cultural background on earth (see Section xx)
  9. rational correspondences and how they regulate the mind and the universe (see Section xx)
  10. discrete degrees of life and all phenomena, from largest to smallest (see Section xx)
  11. God’s rational laws of Divine management of the dual universe and of human minds (see Section xx)
  12. the Spiritual Sun as the source of all good and truth in the human mind (see Section xx)
  13. regeneration and character reformation – a lifetime task for every person (see Section xx)
  14. Divine Speech, revelation, enlightenment, higher consciousness (see Section xx)
  15. and many others (see Overall Table of Contents)

These are the topics of theistic psychology. They are spiritual correspondences extracted from the natural correspondences of the Writings Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). They are the topics of Divine Speech. This is what God wants to talk to us about. This is what God wants every human being to know. This is what every human being must know in order to manage one’s own future in immortality.

The scientific meaning of Genesis 24 gives the details about the process of regenerating our natural mind so that it is set into correspondence with our spiritual mind. This is the central issue in theistic psychology. The quality of life in our immortality is determined by how successful we are in regenerating the natural mind with which we are born. Anatomically, the natural mind has three organs layered into three discrete levels of operation. This can be rendered schematically as follows:

Schematic Diagram of Nine Levels of Consciousness in Spiritual Growth

Discrete Levels of
Consciousness or Meaning

Correspondences of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture

Spiritual Geography,
Mental Anatomy,
and  Sacred Scripture

9

God
the Divine Human

Spiritual Sun
(spiritual heat and light as substances)

8

Divine Good and Truth
(or Love and Wisdom)

7

Celestial-Rational

Third Heaven

6

Spiritual-Rational

Second Heaven

5

Spiritual-Natural

First Heaven

Death and Resuscitation

4

Interior-Natural

Theistic Psychology

3

Natural-Rational

The Writings

2

Natural-Sensuous

New Testament

1

Natural-Corporeal

Old Testament

In the chart above, the conscious natural mind covers layers 1 to 4. Layers 5 to 7 constitute the unconscious spiritual mind. Layers 8 and 9 are uncreate, infinite, and Divine, referring to the Divine Human's Mind or Spirit. Upon the death of the body and subsequent resuscitation of the "spirit," the natural mind (layers 1, 2, 3, 4) is quickly rendered non-operational and our conscious awareness is thenceforth located forever in the spiritual mind (layers 5, 6, 7).

The seven human layers of consciousness (1 to 7 in the chart), are created by the correspondences of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). Here, individual development recapitulates history and evolution. Each level that succeeds is a discrete degree higher or more interior and rational. The Old Testament mentality or level of thinking (1) is our first concept of God, heaven, and hell (see Section xx). The New Testament mentality or level of thinking (2) is our next understanding of God, heaven, and hell (see Section xx). The Writings mentality or level of thinking (3) is our third concept of God, heaven, and hell (see Section xx). Our fourth concept of God, heaven, and hell is theistic psychology, which is a level 4 mentality or thinking, and is extracted from the Writings according to prescribed methods specified in the Writings (see Section xx).

Level 4 becomes operational when we undergo conscious character reformation in adult life and begin our regeneration by applying the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture to our daily willing and thinking (see Section xx). Level 4 thinking is called "enlightenment" because its information base is from the spiritual mind and its reasoning quality is genuinely rational. This genuinely rational thinking is only the first layer of understanding genuine truth. Layer 3 is natural-rational, which is a rationality whose concepts are bounded by materialism, time and place. On the other hand, layer 4 reasoning is interior-natural, which also means spiritual-natural reasoning. Layer 4 is a new organ created within the natural mind by the Incarnation Event (see Section xx).

 

The scientific analysis by correspondences of Genesis 24, 25, and 26 yields a complete anatomical and developmental description of level 4 thinking (see Section xx). The natural mind cannot be regenerated through layers 1, 2, and 3, which constitute the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). The Incarnation Event was the process by which the Divine Human created the interior-natural organ within the natural mind of the human race (layer 4). This tool two steps. First, the Divine Child created this new layer of thinking in Himself by extracting theistic psychology from the literal meaning of the Hebrew Old Testament, which He studied in His earliest years of conscious awareness as an infant (see Section xx). This took several rational steps, as described in Genesis 24, 25, and 26. When the process was completed in Himself, the second step was to create this new mental organ within the mind of every human being who were already in the afterlife, then every human being who was alive in the natural universe, and finally, every human being that is being born since then, and to the endless future of new humanity.

 

The interior-natural organ that makes possible conscious level 4 meanings, may be called a virtual heaven with three discrete layers of correspondences. This is because layers 5, 6, and 7 of the unconscious spiritual mind are virtually represented in our conscious natural mind (see Section xx). This is accomplished by virtual higher-order correspondences that can be operational in the interior-natural organ, while they cannot be operational in the exterior-natural organ (layers 1, 2, 3). The thinking level of people in their First Heaven is at layer 5 by means of spiritual- natural correspondences. This meaning level is virtually represented in our conscious natural mind through our understanding of spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture. We are similarly conscious of layers 6 and 7 by means of spiritual-rational and celestial-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture in their virtual form (see Section xx).

 

Regeneration cannot occur at the natural level of thinking (1, 2, 3) about Sacred Scripture because the literal meaning is always bound up in materialistic thinking that includes historical names of places or people, time and number and, matter and motion. This is true of all Sacred Scripture because it is always expressed in a natural language -- Hebrew, Greek, Latin. Theistic psychology is a level of thinking that goes into the interior of the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture (level 4). At this level we learn to think and reason only from the universal concepts contained in Divine Speech. Sacred Scripture is only a window to Divine Speech, and the window is opened or made transparent when we apply correspondences as prescribed. Nevertheless, there are different discrete levels at which correspondences can be applied to one's thinking and willing. One's degree of enlightenment or consciousness of higher meanings in theistic psychology is proportional to one's degree of regeneration, a process that goes on throughout life and never ceases to eternity.

 

Genesis 24 describes the process by which the natural mind is set to order by means of the higher correspondences in the interior-natural organ. Setting in order the natural mind means to make it correspond with the spiritual mind. When we are born we inherit a natural mind in disorder, and in fact, in an order that is dead set against the spiritual order. The symptoms of this include a civilization of materialism, the negative bias in science, numerous societal problems, violent conflict between people, and individual inadequacies (depression, addiction, deception, cynicism, intolerance, hatred). The natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture in the human mind are powerless to overcome this inbred negativity. Despite what people can read in Sacred Scripture, and the religious doctrines that are justified through them, people seem incapable of reforming themselves through these ideas and concepts. They endlessly fall back to their inherited enjoyments and inclinations, unwilling to give them up. Their concept of heaven and hell (levels 1, 2, 3), isn't powerful enough in their mind to effect character change.

 

This is why "salvation" of the human race was necessary in order to rescue the human mind from hellish attachments people are unwilling to give up, consequently condemning themselves to an eternity of hellish life. New and more powerful mental tools had to be created, concepts and truths that could overcome the hellish attachments with which we were born. Only God could do that. But now consider the task of communicating these new mental reasoning tools to the human race. God could not implant the new concepts into the conscious natural mind of every individual. That would have felt like some unknown power taking over our mind. It i snot possible to acquire concepts without wanting to, without some motivation or love for them.

 

The method this required involved these nine steps.

  1. God willing Himself to be born on earth as an ordinary human being.
  2. This Divine Child, though Divine from within, had to be ordinary and natural from without, thus had to be socialized and schooled.
  3. The Divine Child had to discover His Divinity and Mission by extracting the knowledge of theistic psychology from the Old Testament Sacred Scripture.
  4. The Divine Child had to apply this knowledge to His own thinking and willing in daily life where He was a citizen, member of a religious group, and earning a living at a job.
  5. He had to recognize and deal with the hellish attachments His Natural Mind inherited from natural birth.
  6. He had to invent new concepts and new ways of reasoning in order to vanquish these attachments in Himself.
  7. At last, He brought His disorderly natural mind into order according to His spiritual mind, making all of Himself Divine at all levels, thus, "glorifying" His human from this earth and uniting it perfectly with His Divine Human from eternity.
  8. He had to pass on these new ways of thinking to the human race by creating a new capacity in the human mind. He did this by creating a new organic entity within the natural mind called the "interior-natural" mind.
  9. He can now activate this newly created evolutionary mental organ and fill it with the operations of spiritual correspondences. This new higher order knowledge is called theistic psychology and is extracted from the correspondences of Divine Speech embodied in the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture.

These nine steps collectively constitute the Incarnation Event (see Section xx). It created a way out for "fallen" humanity (see Section xx). A new interior-natural organ was created within the conscious natural mind.

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch4.htm#Genesis 24

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Table Illustrating the Extraction Process

In theistic psychology, “Divine truth” in our conscious natural mind is called the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech. The phrase “as Divine Speech” means that Sacred Scripture is read by means of the correspondences revealed and explained in the Writings. The scientific details extracted from this Chapter of Genesis are arranged in an orderly series that unfolds through the dramatic sequence of the story. Let us review in an encapsulated form what this Chapter has told us. The following Table presents the threefold analysis that is typical for extractive research in theistic psychology (see Section xx).

Table 4.4.5

Literal meaning of the
Old Testament Sacred Scripture
written in
 Natural-Corporeal
Correspondences

Literal meaning of the
 Writings Sacred Scripture
written in
 Natural-Rational Correspondences

Literal meaning of
Theistic Psychology
written in
Spiritual-Natural
Correspondences

Abraham

The Incarnated Lord, the Divine Child, the Divine Human

Our unconscious spiritual and celestial mind; also, our celestial consciousness when regenerated

Abraham’s servant, the elder of the house

The Lord’s external or natural man which was disposed in order by the influx from His internal Divine

Our conscious natural mind when it is brought into correspondence with our unconscious spiritual mind, so that we are capable of rational thinking and moral willing

Who administered all that he had

To discharge offices or duties. The Lord’s external man was to be rearranged into agreement by influx from the Divine, thus to be an image of it

Our conscious natural mind is elevated in consciousness when it sets itself to correspond to our spiritual mind which is rational from influx from the Spiritual Sun

Angels

The inhabitants of the heavens

Our mentality when elevated to the level of understanding celestial-rational correspondences

Old and come into days

The beginning of a new phase in which the Lord’s human mind is also made Divine; also putting off the mere human and putting on the Divine

In our spiritual growth, the end of our natural phase, marked by rebirth and reformation, and the beginning of our spiritual phase, marked by regeneration

Burial, death, dying

Resurrection or resuscitation of the spirit following the death of the body

The moment we enter our immortality in the objective mental world at the time of the death of the physical body

Isaac and Rebekah married

The rational mind; the internal mind

The unconscious spiritual mind while we are on earth operating with spiritual-rational correspondences

Man, Adam, human being

Man, earthling

The conscious natural mind while we are on earth which operates with natural correspondences

Putting the hand under the thigh as a rite; also, loins

Pledging with full power of the good of conjugial love

The unity model of marriage (see Section 11.3)

That thou shalt not take a woman for my son of the daughters of the Canaanite

The Divine good of the rational (i.e., "Isaac" or Abraham’s son) was not to be conjoined ("married to") with any affection disagreeing with truth ("Canaanite daughters")

Our spiritual mind cannot maintain the rationality of our natural mind (as equity, morality, justice), unless our natural mind wills itself to be in agreement with (“is conjoined to”) the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture (“Rebekah”), which is the same as willing what is good (“Isaac married to Rebekah")

Daughters of the Canaanite

Affections that do not agree with truth

The motives in our natural mind before they are reformed and aligned with the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture

Woman

The affection of truth

The motivation for studying theistic psychology

The above Table summarizes the discussion so far and shows the parallelism between the meaning of natural-corporeal correspondences (Old Testament Sacred Scripture), natural-rational correspondences (the Writings Sacred Scripture), and spiritual-natural correspondences (theistic psychology). These are three discrete levels of correspondences (see Section xx).

Theistic psychology depends on thinking with spiritual-natural correspondences, which is also called the “first heaven” (see Section xx). From the Table above you can easily notice that there is a much greater similarity in content between the Writings (column 2) and theistic psychology (column 3), than there is between the Writings (column 2) and the Old Testament (column 1). This is because the Old Testament Sacred Scripture is written in corporeal correspondences, while the Writings are written in rational correspondences. Though both are natural correspondences, they are at different sub-levels of the natural mind. The corporeal level of thinking is the lowest operation of the natural mind (see Section xx). Next comes the sensuous level of thinking in which the New Testament Sacred Scripture is written. Finally, comes the rational level of thinking, and this is the consciousness level in which the Writings Sacred Scripture are written.

The spiritual-natural correspondences of theistic psychology (or first heaven), are spiritual, and therefore they are superior to any of the natural correspondences in which the threefold Sacred Scripture is written. Yet their meanings are closely related to the natural-rational correspondences of the letter of the Writings. In this Table these similarities are more noticeable but in other passages the extraction process can be more involved (see Volume 2 of A Man of the Field listed in the Readings).

Try to memorize the contents and patterns in Table 4.4.5 above. This will help you as you continue reading the analysis of Genesis 24, the passage in the Old Testament that discusses the theistic psychology of enlightenment. More specifically, it describes the mechanism by which our thinking and willing in daily life set themselves in agreement with the rational doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture that we have acquired for ourselves. In this way, the natural mind is regenerated and we enter the phase of the genuine human life. This process is called "salvation of the human race" because without it every individual born on earth would enter the hells of their mind when they become spirits in eternity. We must be willing to undergo this process of re-alignment of our external self, which involves setting it in agreement with our rational doctrine.

Our rational doctrine is spiritual in origin. It is not created by materialistic ideas of self-intelligence. It is extracted from Sacred Scripture using prescribed methods of extraction. This requires

  • (a) knowledge of correspondences from Sacred Scripture exclusively, and
  • (b) enlightenment from the Divine Psychologist who is a co-participant to our thinking and willing.

This evolutionary mechanism of spiritual regeneration did not exist in the human race prior to the birth of the Divine Child on this earth two thousand years ago. The Incarnation Event was the mechanism which God used to set up the glorification process, that is, the process by which the Divine Human from eternity is conjoined as one to the Human born on earth in time and place. The human born on earth is called the Divine Child and it is this Person who underwent the mental changes that created the new pathway of regeneration for the human race. The glorification process was completed in the Divine Man, when He reached the age of 33, died, resurrected, and "ascended to Heaven." The expression "ascending to heaven" refers to the completion of the glorification process.

The instant this process was completed, the entire human race now possessed a new biological mechanism of unparalleled significance for the race. The natural mind now had a new spiritual organ within itself that did not exist before the glorification process. In the Incarnation Event, God the Divine Human, acquired a human from earth and united it with His Divine. This produced a new entity in existence -- the Divine Natural of God.

But note carefully that the Divine Natural Mind of God had to be a product of the same mechanism that produces the natural mind of every human being on some earth. The Divine Child made His external self limited and vulnerable, full of the inheritance of evil that every individual possesses. Think of the difficulty of the task involved in glorifying this natural mind full of evil! How can it be purified so that it could become one with the Divine?

That's what we are told in the Genesis Chapters 18 and onward as we read the story of the four Jewish patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. An excellent and stimulating study of these chapters was made by Geoffrey Childs (see The Path in the Readings).

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch4.htm#table1

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 Scientific Revelations in Sacred Scripture

Note: For a more detailed justification for extracting the correspondential sense of the Writings of Swedenborg, please consult my online book at:   www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/v2ch1-nonduality.html 

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

I am well aware that many will say that no one can possibly speak with spirits and angels so long as he lives in the body; and many will say that it is all fancy, others that I relate such things in order to gain credence, and others will make other objections. But by all this I am not deterred, for I have seen, I have heard, I have felt. (AC 68)

As it is permitted me to disclose what for several years I have heard and seen, it shall here be told, first, how the case is with man when he is being resuscitated; or how he enters from the life of the body into the life of eternity. In order that I might know that men live after death, it has been given me to speak and be in company with many who were known to me during their life in the body; and this not merely for a day or a week, but for months, and almost a year, speaking and associating with them just as in this world. They wondered exceedingly that while they lived in the body they were, and that very many others are, in such incredulity as to believe that they will not live after death; when in fact scarcely a day intervenes after the death of the body before they are in the other life; for death is a continuation of life. (AC 70)

 

By focusing on the universal meaning of Sacred Scripture, the natural historical meaning recedes in the background. From a sectarian religion, Divine Speech is reconstructed into a science of the human mind and God. Note that the literal sense is also true and is unaffected by the scientific sense drawn from it. Hence it is not accurate to say that the scientific sense destroys religion or impairs it in any way. In fact, it's quite obvious that when both the literal and scientific senses are known, the literal and historical meaning is strengthened, not weakened. Theistic psychology supports all religions and is dependent on the literal sense as a foot is dependent on a shoe, or as the head is dependent on a hat for protection, or as the egg is dependent on the egg shell. The literal sense is the eggshell and the scientific sense is the egg, or, the hat is the literal sense while the head is the scientific sense. Take away the hat and your head has no protection, or, take away the egg shell and the egg is lost. In the passage below, "the internal or correspondential sense of the Word " refers to the scientific sense of Divine Speech.

 

Quoting from Swedenborg:

The internal or correspondential sense of the Word contains innumerable arcana.
The Word in its internal sense contains innumerable things, which exceed human comprehension (n. 3085, 3086). It also contains inexplicable things (n. 1965). Which are represented only to angels, and understood by them (n. 167). The internal sense of the Word contains arcana of heaven, which relate to the Divine-Human and His kingdom in the heavens and on earth (n. 1-4, 937). Those arcana do not appear in the sense of the letter (n. 937, 1502, 2161). Many things in the prophets appear to be disconnected, when yet in their internal sense they cohere in a regular and beautiful series (n. 7153, 9022). Not a single word, nor even a single iota can be omitted in the sense of the letter of the Word, without an interruption in the internal sense, and therefore, by the Divine Providence of the Divine-Human, the Word has been preserved so entire as to every word and every point (n. 7933). Innumerable things are contained in every particular of the Word (n. 6617, 6620, 8920); and in every expression (n. 1689). There are innumerable
(...)
The internal sense is the very doctrine of the church (n. 9025, 9430, 10400). They who understand the Word according to the internal sense, know the essential true doctrine of the church, inasmuch as the internal sense contains it. (...) (NJHD 260) (Note: The numbers refer to citations from Arcana Coelestia.)

 

Quoting from Swedenborg:

 But man has severed this connection with heaven by turning his interiors away from heaven, and turning them to the world and to self by means of his love of self and of the world, thereby so withdrawing himself that he no longer serves as a basis and foundation for heaven; therefore the Divine-Human has provided a medium to serve in place of this basis and foundation for heaven, and also for the conjunction of heaven with man. This medium is the Word. How the Word serves as such a medium has been shown in many places in ARCANA COELESTIA, all of which may be seen gathered up in the little work on THE WHITE HORSE mentioned in Revelation; also in the APPENDIX TO THE NEW JERUSALEM AND ITS HEAVENLY DOCTRINE, from which some notes are here appended.

For the reason that the natural is the ultimate in which spiritual and celestial things, which are interior things, terminate and on which they continue in existence, like a house upon its foundation (n. 9430, 9433, 9824, 10044, 10436).

That the Word might be such it was written by means of pure correspondences (n. 1404, 1408, 1409, 1540, 1619, 1659, 1709, 1783, 8615, 10687).

Because the Word is such in the sense of the letter it is the containant of the spiritual and celestial sense (n. 9407).

And it is accommodated both to men and to angels at the same time (n. 1769-1772, 1887, 2143, 2157, 2275, 2333, 2395, 2540, 2541, 2547, 2553, 7381, 8862, 10322).

And it is a means of uniting heaven and earth (n. 2310, 2495, 9212, 9216, 9357, 9396, 10375).

The conjunction of the Divine-Human with man is through the Word, by means of the internal sense (n. 10375).

There is conjunction by means of all things and each particular thing of the Word, and in consequence the Word is wonderful above all other writing (n. 10632-10634).

Since the Word was written the Divine-Human speaks with men by means of it (n. 10290).

The Church where the Word is and the Divine-Human is known by means of it, in relation to those outside the Church where there is no Word and the Divine-Human is unknown is like the heart and lungs in man in comparison with the other parts of the body, which live from them as from the fountains of their life (n. 637, 931, 2054, 2853).

Before the Divine-Human the universal Church on the earth is as one Man (n. 7396, 9276).

Consequently unless there were on this earth a Church where the Word is, and where the Divine-Human is known by means of it, the human race here would perish (n. 468, 637, 931, 4545, 10452). (HH 305)

 

In its scientific sense "the Church" refers to our mental state when we are regenerating or developing spiritually through progressive character reformation by temptations. "The Word" refers to Divine Speech and "the Divine-Human" refers to God. "Those who are outside the Church" refers to our mental states prior to entering the states of regeneration. Read again the passage above by focusing away from the literal sense and towards the scientific sense. Then do the same for the passage below. "The Church of the Divine-Human" refers to the fact that every individual regardless of religion is led into the states of regeneration by the same one and only God. The "universal Church on earth" refers to every individual who acknowledges God and God's commandments.

 

The church of the Divine-Human is with all in the whole world who live in good according to their religious principles (n. 3263, 6637, 10765). All who live in good wherever they are, and acknowledge one God, are accepted by the Divine-Human and come into heaven; since all who are in good acknowledge the Divine-Human, because good is from the Divine-Human, and the Divine-Human is in good (n. 2589-2604, 2861, 2863, 3263, 4190, 4197, 6700, 9256). The universal church on earth before the Divine-Human is as one man (n. 7396, 9276). As heaven is, because the church is heaven or the kingdom of the Divine-Human on earth (n. 2853, 2996, 2998, 3624-3629, 3636-3643, 3741-3745, 4625). But the church, where the Divine-Human is known and where the Word is, is like the heart and lungs in man in respect to the other parts of the body, which live from the heart and lungs as from the fountains of their life (n. 637, 931, 2054, 2853). Hence it is, that unless there were a church where the Word is, and where the Divine-Human is thereby known, the human race could not be saved (n. 468, 637, 931, 4545, 10452). The church is the foundation of heaven (n. 4060).

 

Quoting from Swedenborg:

The angels themselves declare that all their wisdom comes through the Word; for the light they enjoy depends upon how deep is their understanding of the Word. The light of heaven is Divine wisdom, which is visible to their eyes as light. In the shrine where a copy of the Word is stored, the light is flame-like and brilliant, surpassing in intensity any light in heaven outside it. The wisdom of the celestial angels exceeds that of the spiritual angels, more or less to the same extent as that exceeds that of human beings. This is because the celestial angels have the good of love from the Divine-Human, and the spiritual angels have the truths of wisdom from the Divine-Human. Where the good of love is, there too dwells wisdom; but where truths are, wisdom does not dwell except to the extent that the good of love is there too. This is why the Word is written differently in the Divine-Human's celestial kingdom from that in His spiritual kingdom. For in the Word of the celestial kingdom the expressions convey the different kinds of good of love and the characters the affections of love; in the Word of the spiritual kingdom the expressions convey the truths of wisdom, the characters the inward perceptions of truth. These facts will allow one to conclude what wisdom there is lurking hidden in the Word we have in the world. For in it lies hidden all the wisdom of the angels, which is beyond description; and a person after death enters into possession of this wisdom, if by means of the Word he is made an angel by the Divine-Human. (TCR 242)

As the external of the Word appears in heaven of a scarlet color, and as there is an influx out of heaven into man's memory, in which what is drawn from the Word appears of such a color, therefore scarlet was employed in relation to the remembrance of things. (AC 9468)

 

Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech

Theistic psychology is the scientific knowledge extracted from Sacred Scripture according to the laws of correspondences revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg (see Section xx). When the authors of the Old and New Testament wrote down their sentences they did not know that within those sentences are hidden scientific revelations from Divine Speech. Swedenborg's sentences are also of this Divine style called "the Word" though he himself, being a mere human, could not see the infinite depth of meanings contained in the sentences he wrote. His job was to write about what he saw in the spiritual world according to his own understanding and scientifically trained mind. This he did. Surely, when he reflected upon it, Swedenborg must have realized that his sentences had that property of Divine Speech. He does state that he only wrote what the Lord inspired him to write, and frequently he says that he can't go further into some subject because the Lord did not allow it.

 

Swedenborg says that no one can discover the inner layers of Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech, except those to whom it is revealed by the Divine Human. Swedenborg was commissioned by the Divine Human to be the revelator of the code of correspondences through which all Divine Speech enters the human mind. Divine Speech is nothing but Divine Truth, and Divine Truth is the syntax by which our rational thinking proceeds. Our ability to think rationally allows us to understand spiritual concepts contained in Divine Speech. This is the only source of spiritual concepts for human beings. Without spiritual concepts, the human race would fall into animal life, which is purely natural, and of this world only. Heaven and hell, and immortality, would not be possible without spiritual concepts forming human minds.

 

Divine Speech contains spiritual concepts that descend from the Divine Human into the minds of human beings, thus forming their rational mind, by which they have immortality. Divine Speech is therefore the source of immortality and the source of life. But we need to consider the fact that human beings are in different states of rationality at different times of their biography. Rational understanding of spiritual concepts varies from high to low. For instance, when children read Sacred Scripture their ability to understand is at first limited mainly to historical and natural events and stories. their concept of God is a natural one, and so is their idea of heaven and hell. They think hell is a place of physical punishment and torment, and heaven as a place of physical rewards and enjoyments. Many adults continue along this natural approach to spiritual ideas. For instance, many religious people believe that this world will physically end, and a new physical world will be created, upon which will live those who are resurrected from their graves.

 

The physicalistic understanding of God, heaven, hell, salvation, sin, etc. is expressed in a language called "natural correspondences."  These are lower-order cognitions or thought patterns. It is the way we think when all our knowledge is based in materialistic input -- our physical senses, or facts based on observations with the physical senses. Thus, nothing of the spiritual world can enter this knowledge since these cannot be observed with the physical senses. The only source of spiritual knowledge is Sacred Scripture. This spiritual knowledge is in Sacred Scripture, but it is hidden from the surface meaning of the sentences, which is purely natural in content and thinking level or mentality.

 

Individuals progress spiritually to deeper levels of understanding and rationality when they learn the laws of correspondences in which Sacred Scripture is written. They can now read the sentences of Sacred Scripture with higher-order cognitions called "spiritual correspondences." The Writings of Swedenborg analyze major portions of the Old and New Testaments, applying the method of correspondences revealed to him through his direct observations in the spiritual world (see Section xx). The Writings do not analyze themselves in the same way for reasons I can understand. If Swedenborg had tried to include this self-exegesis, his books would have been incomprehensible to most people. Instead, the exegesis of the Writings is to be done by others in the ensuing centuries and millennia, in their scholarship and research of the scientific revelations hidden within its sentences. Theistic psychology is the organized research effort that has begun this task that will be so critical to the evolution of the human race.

 

Let us see how how Swedenborg applies the method of correspondences to two common words in the Old Testament: "foes" and "enemies." Quoting from the Writings:

 

AE 671. And their enemies saw them.- That this signifies cognition and acknowledgment with those who are interiorly opposed to the goods and truths of the Word and of the church, is evident from the signification of seeing, as denoting to understand, consequently to know and to acknowledge (concerning which see above 11, 37, 260 a, 354, 529); and from the signification of enemies, as denoting those who are opposed to the goods of love and the truths of doctrine, consequently those who are in evils and falsities, for these are meant, in the Word, in its correspondential sense by enemies (inimicos) and foes (hostes). It is therefore evident, that by their enemies saw them, is signified cognition and acknowledgment with those who are against the two witnesses, which are the goods of love and truths of doctrine.

[2] The interior truth involved is as follows: by enemies are here meant those who are interiorly, but yet not outwardly, opposed to the goods of love and the truths of doctrine, for with the lips they act as friends, but in heart as enemies. Therefore before the world they profess those things, but in their spirit, in which they are when engaged in meditating alone, they deny them. These, therefore, are the enemies who see; for when they are in corporeal-natural thought, which is the case when they are in the company of others, they see, that is, know and acknowledge goods and truths; but when they are in spiritual-natural thought, which is the case when they are alone, and think concerning the things of faith, then they do not acknowledge them. This is why it is said, that those two witnesses ascended into heaven in a cloud; for the cloud Signifies the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, which, and from which, they see. That the cloud there signifies this external, may be seen in the article just above.

[3] In numerous passages of the Word, mention is made of foes and enemies, and by them are meant evils and falsities, by foes (hostes), evils, and by enemies (inimici), falsities, for the Word in its bosom is spiritual; therefore in that sense foes and enemies mean only spiritual foes and enemies. That this is the case is evident from the following passages.

In David:

"Jehovah, how are my foes increased, many are they that rise up against me, that say of my soul, no safety (salus) for him in God" (Psalm iii. 1, 2).

In the same:

"Make wonderful thy mercy, O Saviour of them that trust, from them that rise up against me: keep me by thy right hand, from the wicked who are against my soul, who compass me about" (Psalm xvii. 7-9).

In the same:

"Deliver me not up to the desire of my foes, for witnesses of a lie have risen up against me, who breathe out violence; unless I had trusted to see good in the land of life" (Psalm xxvii. 12, 13).

In the same:

"Deliver me from my foes, O my God, from them that rise up against me, lift me up: deliver me from the workers of iniquity behold they lay snares for my soul" (Psalm lix. 1-3).

In Isaiah:

"The wicked acteth perversely in the land of uprightness, but Jehovah, thine hand is lifted up, fire shall devour thine enemies " (xxvi. 10, 11).

Besides in many other places in the prophetic Word, where foes and enemies are mentioned, and also in the historic Word, where foes, wars, and battles are treated of. For as war signifies spiritual war, which is that between truths and falsities, and as the weapons of war, such as spears, bows, arrows, and swords, signify those things that pertain to spiritual war, so also do foes and enemies. That wars, in the Word, and also weapons of war, as bows, arrows, and swords, signify such things, has been frequently shown in the preceding pages. (AE 671)

 

The above analysis gives an indication of some of the content of Divine Speech. While the natural correspondences refer to foes and enemies in a natural sense, the spiritual correspondences of "foes" and "enemies" refer to the mental state of being opposed to what is good and true. Natural foes and enemies refer to the horizontal community of people in our geographic area. In the Psalms, David frequently refers to King Saul's soldiers who are chasing him. They are his foes and enemies from whom he asks God for protection. This is the literal, historical, religious meaning. But when we extract the spiritual correspondences, we get an entirely new meaning, this time not natural, but spiritual, which means mental, since spiritual=mental (see Section xx). The content of Divine Speech in its higher correspondences is about mental states and how we can change them to prepare them for heavenly life. This is obviously the most critical topic God can talk about to the human race since the purpose of the human race on earth is to become regenerated, to acquire a heavenly character, and thus to enter immortal life in heaven. It is for this single overarching purpose that God creates human beings, and therefore it is also the chief content of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture.

In the passage above the scientific meaning of "enemies" is given as "cognition and acknowledgment with those who are interiorly opposed to the goods and truths of the Word and of the church." To understand this definition as theistic psychology we need to apply correspondences to it. What is designated here by "the goods and truths of the Word and of the church" to which we are opposed in certain mental states? "The Word" refers to Sacred Scripture and "the church" refers to our developing spiritual understanding based on it. We are called "enemies" by Divine Speech when we reject or contradict the spiritual concepts we derive from Sacred Scripture. Our concepts of good or love, on the one hand, and our concepts of truth on the other, are called "the two witnesses." These are the means by which we can be regenerated for heavenly life. The "goods of love" are for regenerating the affective organ of the will, while the "truths of doctrine" are for regenerating the cognitive organ of understanding.

God talks about our mental states, teaching us to differentiate them so that we can learn to control them. This is called regeneration (see Section xx), without which we enter our hells upon entering the spiritual world of immortality. Hence God is intent on giving us the rational consciousness of the spiritual world. Our heaven of immortality is located inside this rational consciousness. Without it, we have nothing but the sensuous consciousness of the corporeal mentality, which is the hell in everyone's mind. Rational thinking about spiritual ideas opens the heaven in everyone's mind, makes it functional and operational.

 

The passage above discusses the exterior and interior mental states relative to each other, a distinction that must be understood and taken into account. It is said that "by enemies are here meant those who are interiorly, but yet not outwardly, opposed to the goods of love and the truths of doctrine, for with the lips they act as friends, but in heart as enemies." In other words, we need to recognize a particular mental state within ourselves in which we are of a divided mind, one part of our mind being an enemy to the other part. In this state we are "outwardly" supportive of the spiritual ideas we extract from Sacred Scripture but "interiorly" we are "opposed" to them. The reason we are inwardly opposed to the ideas of good and truth we learn about is that our hellish loves are enemies to the heavenly truths. Why?

 

Because heavenly truths, or truths of doctrine from Sacred Scripture, point to what good we must love and do. We don't like to do these heavenly goods because we already love to do the hellish things. these are the things we call good -- what we enjoy and already love, and they are evil enjoyments that benefit self only and lead to the destruction of all heavenly good and truth we could have.

 

The passage says that "before the world they profess those things, but in their spirit, in which they are when engaged in meditating alone, they deny them. These, therefore, are the enemies who see" 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch4.htm#scientific-revelations

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Correspondences in Sacred Scripture and Divine Speech

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

66. There are in the Word, in general, four different styles. The first is that of the Most Ancient Church. Their mode of expression was such that when they mentioned terrestrial and worldly things they thought of the spiritual and celestial things which these represented. They therefore not only expressed themselves by representatives, but also formed these into a kind of historical series, in order to give them more life; and this was to them delightful in the very highest degree. This is the style of which Hannah prophesied, saying:

Speak what is high! high! Let what is ancient come out of your mouth (1 Sam. 2:3).

Such representatives are called in David, "Dark sayings of old" (Ps. 78:2-4). These particulars concerning the creation, the garden of Eden, etc., down to the time of Abram, Moses had from the descendants of the Most Ancient Church.

[2] The second style is historical, which is found in the books of Moses from the time of Abram onward, and in those of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings. In these books the historical facts are just as they appear in the sense of the letter; and yet they all contain, in both general and particular, quite other things in the internal sense, of which, by the Lord's Divine mercy, in their order in the following pages.

The third style is the prophetical one, which was born of that which was so highly venerated in the Most Ancient Church. This style however is not in connected and historical form like the most ancient style, but is broken, and is scarcely ever intelligible except in the internal sense, wherein are deepest arcana, which follow in beautiful connected order, and relate to the external and the internal man; to the many states of the church; to heaven itself; and in the inmost sense to the Lord. The fourth style is that of the Psalms of David, which is intermediate between the prophetical style and that of common speech. The Lord is there treated of in the internal sense, under the person of David as a king. (AC 66)

Recall that all details of reality and events are produced by God. This is the dictionary meaning of the word "omnipotence" which is attributed to God by definition. Since nothing exists before God creates it, all things that exist must be created out of the infinite and immortal spiritual substances that are in God.

These spiritual substances are called "uncreate" to distinguish them from created objects. We are familiar with many of these uncreate substances, calling them by such names as life, love, good, truth, intelligence, and freedom, along with all their sub-varieties like different kinds of loves, different types of truths, different variety of sensations and mental delights. These uncreate substances are infinite and alive in themselves. When we receive them in our mental organs by inflow, these spiritual uncreate substances set in motion mental operations that we subjectively experience as loves and attractions we feel, the truths we think and understand, the delights and pleasures we experience, the will and determination we exercise when pursuing a goal, and so on. These operations in our mind are created by the inflow of the uncreate spiritual substances.

In what sense are we then different from a television, a computer, or a robot?

The scientific answer is revealed in the Writings Sacred Scripture. It is one of the most astonishing ideas in theistic psychology. It's called the "as-of self" (see Section xx). In other words, God has created our mental organs not only to be able to receive the inflow of the uncreate spiritual substances, but also to make us feel that these living operations in our mind are our own, not something that comes into us from outside ourselves.

We don't want to be TV sets. We don't want to be computers and robots. We want to have a mind of our own, our own thoughts, our very own feelings. This human sentiment is discussed in the story of Adam and Eve in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). The explanations are laid out in the scientific sense of the story once it is determined what the words in the literal meaning tell us by correspondence between the natural events and the mental operations. The natural event is about Adam, who is presented there as the first created human being, who complained to God about being alone. God responded by taking one of Adam's ribs while he was asleep, and creating a woman out of it, and the two became a married couple. This is the natural event or story line. It is written in a special Divine language where every detail mentioned hides some universal fact about mental states and about their proper preparation for immortality.

The mental operations to which it corresponds involve the "as-of self" in the evolution of the human race (see Section xx). Adam stands for the self. Eve represents the "as-of self." The self of a human being could not be happy without feeling that our willing and thinking are our very own and that we can act in freedom in accordance with our desire. That refers to the feeling of inner freedom and privacy, but since it was revealed to our rational mind that God is omnipotent, we can reason that the rationality of our mental operations in our willing and thinking cannot really be our own. Both of these must be present in our mind – the feeling of freedom to act and the understanding that God is actually the only animating power and rationality.

On the one hand, we understand rationally that the life and intelligence in us is not our own. On the other hand, we would be inhuman unless we had the sensation and feeling that our willing and thinking are our very own. This is why we need the "as-of self" concept. It is one of the most productive and beneficial ideas in theistic psychology. It is the as-of self that makes us human and fundamentally different from other receptors -- TVs, radios, computers, robots. Animals do not reflect rationally on the world and themselves. They do not have an as-of self, which is a purely human operation of the rational organ of the mind.

God rules all created things by means of the uncreate spiritual substances that stream forth from the infinite Spiritual Sun and enter every created object from within. These living immortal substances create different operational effects depending on the structure or form of the receiving object. Rocks and atoms are physical receptors that receive the uncreate substances within themselves from within, and this makes up the basis or infrastructure of their existence. Plants and animals receive the inflow of uncreate spiritual substances still differently, and clearly in a higher level of function. This is why plant and animal species can adapt, survive, and propagate, while structures of rocks and atoms fall apart in time. Human minds receive the inflow of uncreate spiritual substances at the highest possible level, which is called rationality. This is the level that creates the operation of the as-of self.

The above discussion was about how God creates and manages things through their inner reception of the uncreate substances. Recall that the uncreate substances are living in themselves as part of God's life. There are two main categories of uncreate substances -- good and truth. Divine Good is also called Divine Love, while Divine Truth is also called Divine Wisdom. You can see from the above discussion that good and truth are spiritual substances that form the basis of every object and quality in the created universe. This is difficult to grasp at first because we think of good and truth in materialistic ideas, not spiritual or rational. But you can see why and in what way theistic psychology uses the concept Divine Speech. God's "speech" refers to God's love and truth, since that's what God is -- infinite Divine Love and Truth.

God creates and manages the universe by means of love and truth. Divine Speech is always about love and truth, the very source and structure of all reality, including worlds, atoms, and minds. The good and truth we receive form the basis of our mind, our immortality, our conjugial happiness, and our ability to make others happy from ourselves. God gives the human race love and truth in many different ways. One of the ways involves our conscious rationality as human beings. This is the "as-of self" spoken of above. God uses Divine Speech to elevate the consciousness of human beings. Divine Truth in Divine Speech is the primary and most powerful agent of creation. The Divine Truth in Divine Speech is expressed in meanings called correspondences -- the same correspondences that governs the laws between natural events and spiritual events, as discussed above. This is understandable when you consider that God manages the natural world as a world of effects whose causes are in the spiritual world.

The cause-effect relation is achieved by means of correspondences. If X in the natural world corresponds to Y in the spiritual world, then Y is the cause of X.

 

In the following passage from Arcana Coelestia ("Heavenly Secrets"), Swedenborg is analyzing the phrase "When it is well with thee" which appears in Genesis 40, Verse 14. In its inner scientific sense, this phrase refers to a developmental phase of character reformation involving the sensuous or empirical level of thinking and feeling. Swedenborg takes the opportunity here to say something more about correspondences, a subject that he discusses progressively throughout the 12-volume set of Arcana Coelestia.

AC 5131

"When it is well with thee." [Gen. 40:14]

That this signifies when there is correspondence, is evident from the signification of its "being well with thee," when the rebirth or regeneration of the exterior natural or sensuous is treated of, as being correspondence; for it is not well with it until it corresponds. At the end of the different chapters it may be seen what correspondence is. There is a correspondence of sensuous with natural things, a correspondence of natural with spiritual things, a correspondence of spiritual with celestial things, and finally a correspondence of celestial things with the Divine of the Lord; thus there is a succession of correspondences from the Divine down to the ultimate natural.

[2] But as an idea of the nature of correspondences can with difficulty be formed by those who have never thought about them before, it may be well to say a few words on the subject. It is known from philosophy that the end is the first of the cause, and that the cause is the first of the effect. That the end, the cause, and the effect may follow in order, and act as a one, it is needful that the effect should correspond to the cause, and the cause to the end. But still the end does not appear as the cause, nor the cause as the effect; for in order that the end may produce the cause, it must take to itself administrant means from the region where the cause is, by which means the end may produce the cause; and in order that the cause may produce the effect, it also must take to itself administrant means from the region where the effect is, by which means the cause may produce the effect.

These administrant means are what correspond; and because they correspond, the end can be in the cause and can actuate the cause, and the cause can be in the effect and can actuate the effect; consequently the end through the cause can actuate the effect. It is otherwise when there is no correspondence; for then the end has no cause in which it may be, still less an effect in which it may be, but is changed and varied in the cause, and finally in the effect, according to the form made by the administrant means.

[3] All things in general and in particular in man, nay, all things in general and in particular in nature, succeed one another as end, cause, and effect; and when they thus correspond to one another, they act as a one; for then the end is the all in all things of the cause, and through the cause is the all in all things of the effect. As for example, when heavenly love is the end, the will the cause, and action the effect, if there is correspondence, then heavenly love flows into the will, and the will into the action, and they so act as a one that by means of the correspondence the action is as it were the love; or as when the faith of charity is the end, thought the cause, and speech the effect, then if there is correspondence, faith from charity flows into the thought, and this into the speech, and they so act as a one, that by means of the correspondence the speech is as it were the end.

In order however that the end, which is love and faith, may produce the cause, which is will and thought, it must take to itself administrant means in the rational mind that will correspond; for without administrant means that correspond, the end, which is love or faith, cannot be received, however much it may flow in from the Lord through heaven. From this it is plain that the interiors and the exteriors of man, that is, what is rational, natural, and sensuous in him must be brought into correspondence, in order that he may receive the Divine influx, and consequently that he may be born again; and that it is not well with him till then. This is the reason why here by "when it is well with thee" is signified correspondence. (AC 5131)

We can highlight the above passage by summarizing some of the assertions contained in it. This will give us a more rational understanding of correspondences and the key role they have in our lives.

(1) There is a succession of correspondences produced by Divine Speech, from the Spiritual Sun down and out to the ultimate physical plane of reality.

(2) The end, the cause, and the effect follow in order, and act as a one because the effect corresponds to the cause, and the cause to the end. Hence correspondences are the means by which all phenomena (natural effects) are produced (spiritual causes).

(3) The end is in the cause and actuates the cause. The cause is in the effect and actuates the effect. Consequently the end through the cause actuates the effect. The “end” refers to God’s goal of adequately preparing human beings for their life in immortality. This is Divine Love. The “cause” refers to the exteriorization of God’s goal by means of Divine Truth within which Divine Love is contained and hidden. Thus truth is nothing but the outward visible appearance of love, which itself remains invisible within it.

(4) In order that the end may produce the cause, it must take to itself administrant means from the region where the cause is, by which means the end may produce the cause; and in order that the cause may produce the effect, it also must take to itself administrant means from the region where the effect is, by which means the cause may produce the effect. These “administrant means” are what correspond. This means that there is no direct contact across degrees between the spiritual and the natural realities. There is only a correspondential function that automatically ties them together in the position of cause and effect. The impossibility of direct contact between the natural and the spiritual, or between the effect and its cause, is because the effect and the cause are each in separate substances or realities that can never appear to each other. But they do appear to each other by correspondence, which is a functional connection, not direct and continuous.

(5) All things in general and in particular in the human mind and in nature, succeed one another as end, cause, and effect; and when they thus correspond to one another, they act as a one. This is the basis of reality. Correspondences are the laws that hold all things in the right position, structure, and action.

(6) In human action, the mental organ of “the will” operates our motivated affective goal states. This is experienced as a striving to achieve a particular “end” or purpose. The mental organ of the “understanding” operates our cognitive thinking sequences. These cognitive operations are motivated, initiated, and directed by the will to produce a plan to reach the desired goal state. A particular action is the ultimate result of the three-step process. In this behavioral series, the “will,” or the operations of the affective organ, defines and selects the “end” or particular motivated goal state. The “understanding,” or the operations of the cognitive organ, provides the “cause” or particular reasoning and plan. The action is the “effect” and it is executed or performed by the sensorimotor organ of the mind. Once the sequence affective-cognitive-sensorimotor is complete in the mind, the physical body reacts by correspondence and produces appropriate movement, action, perception, and sensation.

These four things correspond to each other --

  • the feelings of the will or operations in the affective organ
  • the thoughts of the understanding or operations in the cognitive organ
  • the sensations of the sensory or operations in the sensorimotor organ
  • the reactions of the physical body which correspond one-to-one with the operations in the sensorimotor organ

(7) The Divine Human's love in the form of spiritual heat, inflows into the affective organ, and the Divine Human's truth in the form of spiritual light, inflows into the cognitive. No matter how much love and truth flow into our mind from God, they remain inactive on their own, until we consciously decide to make our willing and thinking to correspond to the inflowing love and truth. Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture instructs us on how to achieve this correspondence.

Our willing and intending, or motivational goal states, must be made consciously to correspond to the inflowing Divine love, and our thinking and reasoning processes, must be made consciously to correspond to the inflowing Divine truth. Thus can we be “reborn” as an individual with new character. This new and superior spiritual character makes it possible for us to live in the heavens of our mind, when we pass into the immortality of the afterlife.

(8) The love and truth to which our intending and reasoning have been made to correspond, is nothing else than the Divine Love and the Divine Truth activating and operating by correspondence the new willing mind. We must continuously keep in mind that this love and truth are both infinite and uncreate, hence they cannot belong to us. When we fail to keep this in mind, we are spiritually insane and irrational. We must think rational thoughts, namely, that God wills that His Divine Love and Truth entering our mind, appear to us as-if our very own. In other words, it feels to us that we are free to think or do as we choose.

This is a real feeling based on our actual reality. It is not an illusion or delusion. It is God who creates this reality. He makes it such that His love and truth, which operate our willing and thinking, feel to us like our own love and truth, our own willing what we like, and our own thinking what we want. We can forget, or we can deny, that it is God’s power and God’s rationality that activates our willing and thinking. God allows people to forget or deny reality.

If God did not allow people to deny reality, and forced them to think only rationally, we would not have freedom, hence we would not be human. We could not reciprocate God’s love, for which He longs, and for which He created the universe. Hence it is absolutely essential that God give people actual freedom, not bogus freedom as an appearance to fool us. To give people actual freedom means that He must compel Himself to make things happen that He would not choose to on His Own, because they are evil things that make human beings suffer, instead of the good things that He Himself wills for them, which make them eternally happy. The revelation of this Divine Law of Permissions, as it is called in the Writings Sacred Scripture, proves that human freedom is actual, not a mere appearance or illusion, despite God’s omnipotence (see Section xx).

Without the reality of this as-if appearance, we could not be maximally happy, hence we could not dwell in our heaven. But we must constantly acknowledge to ourselves that they are only as-if our own, and not actually our own. The moment we think they are truly our own, they turn instantly into their opposites -- negative love (hatred, fear, anger, dissatisfaction) and negative truth (invalid conclusions, false assumptions, delusional explanations). It’s like a car you are allowed to own for free given to you by a wizard. You are told that the moment you think that the car is actually yours, it will disappear.

Our rationality is an ability or power that gives us the ability to reason truthfully. It feels like it’s our own rationality. But we are told in the Writings Sacred Scripture that if we assume that our intelligence is actually our own, not God’s, we lose it. Our rationality vanishes. We now start thinking and reasoning with flaws. Our conclusions are no longer accurate and real. Our assumptions are false. Our motivational states slip into negative zones. We have lost the status of humanity. We can regain it, but only by giving up how we think and feel.

(9) The anatomy of the mind shows three discrete layers in the natural mind, from top to bottom-- rational, natural, and sensuous. Another way of saying this is natural-rational, natural-sensuous, and natural-corporeal (see Section xx). Love and truth inflowing from the Divine Human cannot activate anything in our will and understanding unless we ourselves consciously create rational concepts in our understanding. These rational concepts are called "administrant means" in the passage above. Elsewhere they are called rational "vessels" that can “contain spiritual truths.”

Theistic psychology is the knowledge that consists of these rational concepts and principles organized into a science (“scientifics of doctrine”). Divine Love and Truth can inflow into these rational concepts. The more interior these rational concepts are, the higher the form of the Divine Love and Truth that we can receive into our consciousness. In other words, the thoughts and feelings are at a level of consciousness or mentality that correspond to Divine Love and Truth. It is Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture that forms the content of consciousness at each discrete level of the mind.

You can see from this discussion that the revelation of the existence of correspondences and what they are, will be a great boon to the evolution of human civilization on this earth.

The Table below shows how Divine Speech expressed in Sacred Scripture gradually raised the evolution of consciousness of the human race.

Please read this Chart from bottom up (1, 2, 3)

LEVELS OF MEANING OF
DIVINE SPEECH
IN SACRED SCRIPTURE

MENTALITY LEVEL INDICATING
EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
(contrast each numbered entry
across the three levels)

3

 


natural-rational
correspondences

 

The Writings of Swedenborg
(theistic psychology)

 

(1745 AD
to 1771 AD)

 

 

(i) Relationship to God at a particular level.
(ii) God is the universal Divine Human who incarnated in history on this earth to bring about a new creation in the human mind. Everyone is born for an eternal life in heaven. However, one can end up in hell by character corruption and evil.
(iii) The Divine Human creates and manages all events in the minutest detail, including the growth of human minds, and the thinking operations of every unique individual from birth to our immortal eternity.
(iv) God is infinite Love and Wisdom and cannot hate or punish people. He has already forgiven you before you disobey. He gives commandments for people to obey only to help them acquire a good character. This is what determines our immortality in the afterlife in heaven or in hell.
(v) God participates in every event, thought, or choice. He supplies the power and direction of an event or choice as it unfolds.
(vi) God communicates Divine Speech in the form of Sacred Scripture that is written down in correspondences suitable in meaning to the mentality of the people. Hidden within the literal sentences of Sacred Scripture, are higher and higher correspondences designed for people who want to elevate their consciousness to their eternal heaven of conjugial love and union.

2

 

natural-sensuous
correspondences

 

New
Testament

 

(50 AD
to 100 AD)

(i) Relationship to God at a personal level.
(ii) We influence God by a personal faith in Jesus Christ, the incarnated Son of God. Through this faith we have eternal life. Without it, our eternal life is in darkness or hell.
(iii) God loves all people and races equally and gives them an equal opportunity to acquire a personal faith in Jesus Christ, His Son.
(iv) God hates sin and turns away from people who love sin. He forgives people and doesn't take vengeance any more because of His Son who took people's sins upon Himself.
(v) God does not remove Himself from people but it is the people who turn away from Him.
(vi) Sacred Scripture is God's Word given through the inspiration of special people whom God chooses. God also inspires any individual who has faith in Him.

1

 

natural-corporeal
correspondences

 

Old
Testament

 

(3000 BC
to 400 BC)

 

 

(i) Relationship to God at a general level.
(ii) We influence God collectively by prescribed worship rituals. God rewards those who are pious with a good life here on earth, and after the resurrection of the dead. Those who disobey the rituals are punished severely, including their family and their nation who pay a collective price for the sins of a few.
(iii) God prefers certain races over others. He keeps the "chosen people" closest to Him.
(iv) God gets angry at times and feels better after He takes His vengeance upon the guilty who have broken His commandments.
(v) God removes Himself from the details of creation and lets things run according to natural laws.
(vi) The Old Testament has physical power hidden within it and special people can use this power.

You can see that Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture has been given to the human race on this earth over a period of thousands of years in Western culture comprising three periods or phases of evolution. Prior to this history, Divine Speech was received in earlier forms of Sacred Scripture whose character is described in the Writings. These earlier forms of Sacred Scripture formed the consciousness and religions of the Asiatic people. Subsequently, the East and the West cultures and religions have developed separately, but at the beginning all cultures on this earth had religions from the ancient Sacred Scripture given to the first human generations born on this planet. These historical details are revealed in the Writings. They are important to know because of the universal law that individual biography recapitulates cultural history, or that the developmental steps of our consciousness recapitulate the evolution of mentality in the race (see Section xx).

In the table above, the first phase is marked by the Hebrew Old Testament Sacred Scripture which was written in a style and mentality called "natural-corporeal" correspondences of Divine Speech. The meaning of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture was cast in a mentality that corresponded to the level and style of thinking of the civilization of the Old Testament in the Middle East and surrounding regions. The prophets through whose mind these Sacred Scriptures were written down, had this mentality and they wrote down the Divine Speech that came to their natural mind at the level of their own mentality, which was natural-corporeal. Hence the Old Testament Sacred Scripture had to be written in natural-corporeal correspondences of Divine Speech.

The second phase is marked by the Greek New Testament Sacred Scripture, which is written in a higher mentality level called "natural-sensuous" correspondences of Divine Speech. When you contrast the numbered entries in the table which describe that mentality, you can see that Divine Speech in correspondences at the natural-sensuous level, comes through and speaks to a more universal level of the human mind, less sectarian and ethnic. From a general or distant relationship to God, humanity could now develop a personal and close relationship. God as a Divine Human has a relationship directly to the individual (phase 2 consciousness), not just collectively to a nation or religion (phase 1 consciousness).

The third phase is marked by the Writings Sacred Scripture which are written with the highest level of natural correspondences called "natural-rational" correspondences of divine Speech. At this level of thinking Divine Speech describes the particulars of our relationship to God in universal scientific ideas, such as we have in theistic psychology based on the Writings Sacred Scripture.

Theistic psychology is based on the systematic methodical activity of extracting layers of correspondences in the Writings Sacred Scripture. This extraction process must follow the procedures specified in the Writings regarding how to extract higher order correspondences from all Sacred Scripture. Theistic psychology was made possible when the Divine Child during the Incarnation Event created the interior-natural organ in Himself, and consequently in every human being’s mind (see Section xx).

Considered in its literal meaning, the Old and New Testament Sacred Scripture appears to be historical, ethnic, and religious, and sometimes even sectarian and sexist. This literal content has been used in history to wage cruel wars against other religions and ethnic groups. Even within one religion that is based on the same historical Sacred Scripture, there are sub-varieties of interpretations that have fueled passions and aroused discrimination, disagreement, cruelty, and bitterness. All this negativity and dogmatism associated with religion and Sacred Scripture disappear totally when we go below the surface literal meaning to the inner level of correspondences, as is illustrated and demonstrated in the Writings Sacred Scripture.

It is understandable why Divine Speech is of such a negative character by the time it comes down to the lowest common denominator, which is the ethnic mind of a prophet who is a member of a community somewhere and has a cultural or socialized mentality reflecting his tribe and times. All portions of Sacred Scripture are constructed of written sentences in some natural language like Hebrew (Old Testament), Greek (New Testament), or Latin (the Writings). In each case the literal-historical content reflects the age and culture. But the inner sense that is extracted through correspondences has no cultural, historical, and religious content. Its content is theistic psychology, a universal scientific revelation of endless proportions, delivered through the modern scientific mind of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

It is very significant to note that the modern scientific revelations in the Writings could not have been delivered by Swedenborg in the same way as the revelations contained in the Old Testament, and the New Testament. None of the authors of the Old and New Testament books had any idea of the hidden inner correspondences of the sentences they wrote down. Their thinking mentality was pre-modern. They could not possibly understand the rational scientific descriptions of the human mind, its anatomy, and relation to the spiritual world, heaven, and regeneration. For instance, the people who wrote the New Testament were eyewitnesses to the physical Incarnation of God as the Divine Human. They were able to relate to Him only at the natural-sensuous level. They would not have been able to read and understand the Writings, written 17 centuries later in natural-rational correspondences of Divine Speech. They had only natural-sensuous concepts by which to comprehend God and the Divine Human that walked among them.

For instance, they could not understand why it was that the physical Divine Human had to undergo death and had to vanish from their sensuous consciousness. They tried to hold Him back, not being able to understand His explanations that He must return to a state of spiritual existence in order that He might appear to them in a more eternal manner. This new more real Presence is the Divine Human in their conscious rational mind and is called the “Holy Spirit.” The co-Presence of God with us is in our rational consciousness. The Divine Human, once He was present physically on earth, could have remained within their sensuous consciousness, as they urged Him to do. But He refused to do that for their sake and the sake of all humanity. It took 17 more centuries of evolution before a modern scientist like Swedenborg could be introduced into the spiritual world while still on earth, so that he might give an empirical rational account of the spiritual world and God. Nothing but an empirical and scientific account could serve for the new modern science of theistic psychology.

From this discussion you can see how it is that the evolution of human consciousness is brought about by God through Divine Speech expressed in levels of correspondences matching the ability of people to understand God's management techniques. Human consciousness is therefore an expression of our relationship to God -- general, personal, and particular.

For more on this topic see Section xx and my other online book Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg: Three Steps in Rational Spirituality available online:  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss/moses.html 

See also AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRESENCE OF CORRESPONDENCES WITHIN THE WORD by Rev. Dr. Reuben P. Bell available online at: http://highermeaning.org/Authors/RPB/CORRESPO.shtml 

Here is an example of how we transform or translate natural-rational ideas into spiritual-natural correspondences:

Old Testament Sacred Scripture
in corporeal-sensuous correspondences
of Divine Speech

The Writings Sacred Scripture
in natural-rational
 correspondences
 of Divine Speech

Theistic Psychology
in spiritual-natural
 correspondences
 of Divine Speech

And there was a famine in the land

this signifies a lack of the knowledges of faith

diagrams A and B in Section 6.3.1.1 (the current Section) and other Sections (xx)

The Table above is a comparison of the discrete levels of operation of Divine Speech in our mind as it descends from the Spiritual Sun (see Diagrams above). Divine Speech is also called Divine Truth and also, spiritual light. Truth is therefore a substance, which is why sunlight or electric light is a form of matter or physical energy. Light is not "nothing." It is constructed of something. Natural light is constructed of physical energy and matter. Spiritual light is constructed of the uncreate substances that stream forth from the eternal Spiritual Sun, which was not created because it exists in eternity, without a beginning point in time.

Time itself is a created natural thing or process. It is not yet known when time, space, matter and the expanding physical universe was first created. This was not revealed explicitly in Sacred Scripture. But it is possible that future research in theistic psychology may discover this knowledge by extraction, using the method of extraction specified in Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). It is not possible to know all that there is hidden and extractable from the Sacred Scripture we now possess (see Section xx). The Writings Sacred Scripture explicitly state that no new revelations are to be expected for the human race, and that the Writings Sacred Scripture complete the full creation and evolution of the human race. The mental anatomy is now in place in every human mind for Divine Speech to be consciously interpretable through applying the method of correspondences with enlightenment (see Section xx). Through this extraction process every individual now has the ability to construct true doctrine of life for oneself, and thereby be regenerated by the Divine Psychologist who is now operating at the level of the natural mind, as a result of the Incarnation Event (see Section xx).

The Table above gives an illustration of what this process of extraction yields. Divine Speech descends to its lowest possible point in the natural mind, which is called the corporeal mind (see Section xx). Sometimes this is referred to as the sensuous mind, or the corporeal-sensuous mind. To understand this, it is necessary to remember that the natural mind operates at three discrete levels of rationality, called the corporeal level, the sensuous level, and the rational level (see Section xx). The history of civilization shows a gradual progression of level of thinking from savage and barbaric to civilized and humane. The more civilization becomes humane, the more it is rational in its laws and practices. One sign of this is that new laws are constantly passed to give additional protections of human and individual rights. The more we are advanced in our civilization the more we practice justice, fairness, equal treatment, equal opportunity, compassionate government, spreading the wealth, helping neighbor countries and living in peace, etc. This progression in human mentality is created and managed by Divine Speech descending into the mind of every person.

In recent history, Divine Speech has brought on a new progressive mentality in civilization through the levels of correspondences in which Sacred Scripture was delivered to a person or prophet, who wrote it down, and then studied and transmitted through generations and culture. The Old Testament Sacred Scripture was delivered Book by Book, over several centuries, starting with the first five books written by Moses about four millenniums ago. It was completed with the last Book delivered by a prophet several hundred years before the next portion was delivered, called the New Testament Sacred Scripture. Then, seventeen centuries later, the third and final portion was delivered in the Writings Sacred Scripture (completed near the end of the18th century). These three portions of Sacred Scripture provide a full set of revelations for the human race. This fact is established and justified through scientific and rational arguments and evidence for it is presented in the Writings of Swedenborg. Any literate person or scientist can verify this argument and this evidence. I have done so continuously for the past 24 years (see Section xx). The more I study the Writings the more I can present scientific arguments and evidence verifying its statements. This course in theistic psychology is the presentation of that evidence.

 The level of truths contained in Divine Speech correspond to the elevation of our rational understanding of God. It is Divine Speech that forms the content of our understanding at each level. Our understanding of God is higher and higher as we proceed from corporeal-sensuous correspondences of truth to natural-rational understanding, to spiritual-natural understanding. This is the highest level of thinking we are capable of as earthlings restricted to our natural mind in consciousness. At this level we are capable of character reformation and regeneration (see Section xx).

Here is another example of how we apply the correspondential sense of the Ten Commandments to theistic psychology:

TEN COMMANDMENTS
(literal meaning)

SCIENTIFIC MEANING
The Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture (see Section 5.7)
 

SELF-WITNESSING DATA

First Commandment
There is not to be any other God before my face

God  is the sole source of everything. Spiritual values must guide every one of your behaviors.

In the course of the day I constantly forget to keep God in my conscious awareness. My commitment to do so is not constant, showing that I have insufficient love or motivation for it even though I accept the principle that I should.

Second Commandment
Do not take the Name of God in vain

You must give up what is against God in your mind--slander, innuendo, character assassination, cursing, gossip, exaggeration, idle talk, obscene jokes.

I accept this in principle but there are occasions when I find myself exaggerating something, or thinking of something obscene, or something negative about a stranger I don't even know.

Third Commandment
Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

You must acknowledge God's operational presence in your thoughts and feelings all day long every day.

I understand this process rationally, yet I frequently act as if I'm alone in my mind. I thus temporarily expel God from my mind when I want to continue doing what I shouldn't.

Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and mother

Obey your conscience and the rule of law. Do not be cynical, arrogant, and unethical. Conserve the common good.

I hold this up as an ideal for myself, yet I give myself permission to drive over the speed limit, or to waste water conservation by laziness (like not fixing a leak, or keeping the faucet running unnecessarily).

Fifth Commandment
Do not murder

Do not vent your anger or fantasize revenge. Do not violate the human rights of anyone.

I fully agree with this, yet I enjoy, for a few seconds, the image of physically restraining someone who stands in my way, even mentally crushing another car with my giant tractor. I reject these fantasies as evil, yet I have not stopped enjoying them for the few moments they last, before I put an end to them.

Sixth Commandment
Do not commit adultery

Do not fantasize illicit sex or enjoy pornographic entertainment in the privacy of your mind.

I understand how important this requirement is, and yet I enjoy a sexual fantasy that pops into my mind, or a sexy photograph that unexpectedly comes my way on the computer screen, on TV, or a Victoria's Secrets lingerie catalogue.

Seventh Commandment
Do not steal

Do not spread false beliefs or deprive others of their truth and rationality. Do not attribute any power to yourself, but only to God.

I officially attribute all things to the omnipotent God, and yet I often act as if I am my own boss, doing what I want instead of what God says He wants us to do.

Eight Commandment
Do not lie

Do not deceive anyone for your personal benefit. Do not contradict the truth of God. Do not justify in your mind or, find excuses for the bad things you do.

I dislike the idea of spreading false facts, and yet I sometimes exaggerate how precisely I know something, giving my guess or recollection the status of research facts. Thus, my convenience and my self-promotion take precedence over being truthful.

Ninth and Tenth Commandments
Do not covet

Do not focus only on cleaning up your outward behavior. You must also clean up your private thoughts and feelings.

I'm fully committed to this principle, and yet I see how my thoughts do not match my outward behavior, which means that I'm being hypocritical for my benefit. When I'm competing I have to remind myself that others have an equal right to win.

 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch3.htm#correspondences-SS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Levels of Descent of Divine Speech

God creates and manages all the details of the dual universe through Divine Speech (historically known to many as "the Word of God" or "Logos"). Divine Speech issues or proceeds from the Infinite Rational Mind of the Divine Human. Swedenborg has described the Spiritual Sun as a brilliant aura around the Divine Human so that all whose consciousness is in the highest portion of their rational mind, can visually or sensually see the Divine Human amidst the Spiritual Sun as an aura around Him.

In that state of mind called our “third heaven,” we know that the visual and sensuous appearance of the Divine Human outside of themselves at a seeming distance in the sky, is only an appearance that represents the Omnipresence and the Co-Presence of the Divine Human within themselves. They know that He is actually co-Present inside their mind, not sensuously, but rationally in the good and truth that inflows from Him and activates their will and their understanding. They know that the Spiritual Sun seen outside of themselves is actually within themselves. They cannot see the infinite, but the infinite can be within what is their finite and never the other way round (see Section xx).

The sensuous consciousness of God is distant, but the rational consciousness of God is close up. Co-Presence with God is possible only in rational consciousness of Him. This is why the Divine Human had to depart the physical plane of reality. To remain would have condemned humanity to a distant relationship when God was longing for a close relationship. He departed from a distant sensuous consciousness for the sake of close up rational consciousness.

It is revealed in the Writings Sacred Scripture that God created the universe in order to bestow eternal conjugial happiness and wisdom to every human being. It was not possible for us to be human, rational, and free by being created ready made angels in the eternity of heaven. That's what God would have done had He wanted a race of sensuous robots. While such a race could worship and obey God, it would not be able to love God. But God wants love, not worship and obedience for its own sake. God Himself is infinite love and truth, and the nature of love, as revealed in the Writings, is "spiritual conjunction."

In other words, God's love is such that it desires to make every human being He creates, happy and rational to eternity by having them experience His infinite love and truth as if they are their own.

For instance, when we walk, we feel like we are walking from our own power to exercise our will to move towards a goal. And yet, we know from rational revelation that our will has no power of its own but must be moved by God's Divine Speech which inflows into our affective organ in the form of love or spiritual heat (see Section xx). It is God's spiritual heat, or love, inflowing, that moves our legs while walking toward a particular goal. And yet, if feels like it is our own will that moves our legs towards the goal we have chosen.

Another example is given by our ability to study and learn. It feels like we are putting up the effort to read, analyze, comprehend, memorize, apply. And we are happy with ourselves when we succeed. But in reality, it is God's moment by moment interventions that puts one thought next to another, or supplies the reasoning procedure by which we can make an appropriate conclusion.

These examples show how God wills that what is actually His, to be as-if ours. 

God's inflowing love and truth, activating our will and intelligence, appear ours, yet are not actually ours, but appear as-if they are ours (see Section xx). This is the actualizing form that God's love takes.

Swedenborg was told by the celestial angels that they actually perceive the inflowing love and truth from the Divine Human. They also told him that if they should for a moment think that their powers, intelligence, and wisdom are their own, rather than appear as-if their own, they would instantly fall out of heaven. The heavenly state of consciousness attributes every detail of one's thoughts and feelings to the Divine Human. But it is otherwise for the unenlightened person informed by sensuous consciousness rather than by rational ideas from Sacred Scripture. When we are in this materialistic mentality of the sensuous, we attribute some things to God and some things to ourselves. I have sometimes been told by people that they hate the idea of this "as-of self" that I was explaining to them. They react to the idea as something that removes their motivation or incentive to do or think anything. People want the credit for their effort and abilities. Of course, this is a practical attitude when we are interacting with other people in society, but it is an insane idea spiritually when we are considering our interactions with God who activates all our activities.

Rational reception of Divine Speech by each individual is the mechanism that God has created for human beings so that they can be consciously co-Present with God. Co-presence with God is called "conjunction" with Him. When we are in a state of conjunction with God we are consciously aware of His interior presence in our rational mind. We can talk to Him as if He were present face to face on the outside, but He does not engage in sensuous or physical dialog by voice or apparition. He makes His thoughts known to us instantly, so that we think it in the form and meaning that is at our level of mentality. This is rational consciousness of God and it affords us conscious co-Presence. In that state of closeness to Him He is able to give us conjugial bliss in eternity.

It is most important to underscore the fact that this co-Presence and communication with the Divine Human is not sensuous but rational.

There are no voices or visions like the prophets of old experienced in their sensuous consciousness. There is no interlocutor who takes turns in a dialog, as we do with other people. There is only rational perception and rational love. In other words, God arranges our thoughts and feelings in a way that corresponds to His message. We experience His message as our own thinking, feeling, and rational perception. It is only rationally that we know that it is God who has rearranged our thoughts and feelings in any particular situation. In terms of sensuous experience, it appears that it is our own rearrangement or insight. It is easy to deny that it is God's. God makes it easy for us to deny that it is He that arranges our thoughts and feelings.

In the modern age of science, God would not speak to us in living voice or appear to us visually because this would paralyze our rational consciousness of Him and thus deny us His co-Presence, rob us of conjugial bliss in eternity. God appearing at the United Nations tomorrow and making a Divine Declaration in the world media, would paralyze our ability to be co-Present with Him in our rational mind, which is where our eternal heavens are. God created heaven in our rational mind so that He can be co-Present with us to eternity, and by this conjunction to make us happy and intelligent to eternity. It is through Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture that God is present with us in our rational consciousness of Him. This rational consciousness is built up in our mind by the correspondences of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture – and in no other way.

God’s co-Presence varies from clear to obscure. "Clear" means that we are able to receive more interior meanings of Divine Speech in higher order correspondences of Sacred Scripture. When God is clearly co-Present in our rational consciousness we are able to receive a more perfect happiness and wisdom, than what we can receive when His co-Presence in our mind is somewhat "obscure.” Our consciousness or level of mentality reflects the clarity of His co-Presence within our rational understanding of His Sacred Scripture.

The following chart shows the levels of descent of Divine Speech from the Rational Mind of the Divine Human to human minds at various levels of mentality or consciousness and enlightenment (from clear to obscure). This descent is sequential in successive order, but it is simultaneous in existential order. The descent of Divine Speech occurs simultaneously into every human mind but it is perceived according to one’s clarity or obscurity of His co-Presence. The clarity of His co-Presence depends on one main thing: The intensity or purity of our love of His truth and good. This purity is measured by how much we are willing to cooperate with Him in our endless regeneration process.

Hence it all comes down to the bottom line of spiritual accounting – how much we are willing to let go of our own desires and justifications, in exchange for His desires and justifications, as explained to humanity through Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture. Our consciousness would be elevated instantaneously to the highest human potential of near omniscience (“third heaven”) if we were willing right this moment to let go of one hundred percent of our desires and justifications. But, assuming we can let go of all of them, would we be as happy as we can be? When the answer is Yes, we are in that third heaven.

LEVELS OF
DESCENT

SPIRITUAL
GEOGRAPHY

MENTAL
ANATOMY

CORRESPONDENCES OR CONSCIOUSNESS LEVELS

CONTENT OR
TOPICS ADDRESSED

Level 1

Layers 1, 2, 3
DIVINE
SPEECH

Spiritual Sun

human internals, soul

Divine Truth from
the Divine Rational Mind of the Divine Human

Infinite things make distinguishably one

Level 2

Layer 4
SACRED SCRIPTURE
IN THIRD HEAVEN

Celestial Heaven
 (Third)

Affective
Organ predominates

Celestial-rational
Correspondences
(interior rational mind)

What is love, good, hierarchy of affections, intending and willing, regeneration

Level 3

Layer 5
SACRED SCRIPTURE
IN SECOND HEAVEN

Spiritual Heaven
(Second)

Cognitive
Organ predominates

Spiritual-rational
Correspondences
(external rational mind)

What is truth, faith, rationality, theology, science, doctrine, understanding

Level 4

Layer 6
SACRED SCRIPTURE
IN FIRST HEAVEN

Natural Heaven
(First)

Sensorimotor
Organ predominates

Spiritual-natural
Correspondences
(spiritual-natural mind)

What is use, good works, morality, justice, virtue, aesthetics, competition

Level 5

Layer 7, 8, 9
SACRED SCRIPTURE
IN NATURAL LANGUAGE

World of Spirits and Earth

Conscious
Memory
Organ and Brain

Natural
Correspondences
(natural mind)

Layer 7: Psychology
Writings Sacred Scripture
natural-rational correspondences
-----
Layer 8: Theology
New Testament Sacred Scripture
natural-sensuous correspondences
-----
Layer 9:  History
Old Testament Sacred Scripture
natural-corporeal correspondences.

Level 6
Layer 7, 8, 9
SACRED SCRIPTURE FALSIFIED

Hells

Sensorimotor, Cognitive, and Affective Organs Corrupted

Falsified
Correspondences
(at three levels)
(natural mind)

Hate is love, evil is good, falsity is truth, fantasy is faith, selfish is use, what you want is morality, injustice is justice, evil works are good works, etc.

Note: in the following discussion about the table above on levels of descent,  the word "level" refers to this table, but "layer" refers to the layers chart of mental anatomy located elsewhere. They agree with each other but the levels of descent table above collapses some of the layers in the layers chart of mental anatomy. This is indicated in the first column.

Levels
of descent of Sacred Scripture

Layers
of mental
anatomy

1

1, 2, 3

2

4

3

5

4

6

5

7, 8, 9
regenerated

6

7, 8, 9
corrupted

Note that Divine Speech "descending" through correspondences in Sacred Scripture creates each layer of our mental anatomy successively, and causes them to operate by correspondences in these successive degrees or layers.

 In Itself (level 1) Divine Speech is incomprehensible and inexpressible because it is infinite and our understanding cannot comprehend the infinite. In the Rational Mind of the Divine Human infinite things make one distinguishably. In other words the infinite individual items each remain unique and mutually distinguished from all others. Divine Speech flows out of the Divine Human's Mind into the created universe from within by means of correspondences arranged in exteriorizing discrete degrees and operating in simultaneous order. Divine Speech as an outflow or emanation from the Spiritual Sun, is the means by which the Divine Human creates all things and maintains them in a rational and loving order.

The Divine Speech exits or proceeds from the Spiritual Sun, which is an aura of spiritual heat (love) and spiritual light (truth) that is continuously proceeding, united as one, into the created universe. This proceeding is called Divine Influx and as it descends it makes first contact with humanity through the soul of every created individual (layer 3). The soul is immortal. It is a mental organ constructed out of the spiritual substances proceeding from the Spiritual Sun. The soul functions as a receptor or filter. It is capable of receiving or capturing the Divine Speech. Although the Divine Speech as received by the soul is no longer infinite, it is still Divine. In other words, the Divine can limit itself and “dwell” within the boundaries of finite things created for the reception of the infinite. This self-delimited Divine is called the Divine Proceeding or "Holy Spirit." It is what forms, initiates, activates, and operates our consciousness – its rational syntax and the human affections within it. The human begins in the inmost of the rational, in the words of the Writings.

The Divine Proceeding which is in our soul does not become amalgamated or one with the soul because the infinite cannot become one with the finite. There is no “oneness” with God. There is an absolute duality between God and human beings, or between that which is uncreate (like love, life, truth, intelligence, light, heat, endeavor, propensity) on the one hand, and on the other, that which is created (like galaxies, atoms, plants, human minds, heaven, and hell). There is no possible overlap between the uncreate and the created. But the created has the property of being able to contain the uncreate. For instance, plant cells are capable of receiving life, light, heat, and propensity, while rock molecules can only receive heat and motion. The form, structure, and substance of each created object determines what uncreate substances it is capable of receiving from the Divine Proceeding.

The human mind is created and is born into the spiritual world and overlaps with it. All human minds therefore overlap with each other, creating the objective spiritual world (see Section xx). When we are born, our physical body is temporarily alive on earth while our mental body ("spirit" or "mind") is permanently alive in the spiritual world. The shape of the human mind is the shape of the mental body, and this is the shape of the physical body. Therefore the spiritual world must be in the shape of the human body and the human mind. Swedenborg was able to confirm this by direct observation. He was given a "bird's eye" view of the spiritual world, as if he were taken out of it to look at it. He saw that it had a shape, and this was the form of the human body. Nothing was missing. In fact, as he was traveling through the spiritual world Swedenborg described his location with reference to the human body. He would say that he was "in the province of the eye" or the heart, or "in the region beneath the buttocks" (where some of the worst hells are located). Quoting:

AC 818

There is a dreadful hell beneath the buttocks, where they seem to stab one another with knives, aiming the knives at one another's breasts like furies, but in the act of striking the knife is continually taken away from them. They are those who have held others in such hatred that they burned to kill them cruelly; and from this they had derived a nature so direful. This hell was opened to me (but only a little on account of their direful cruelties), so that I might see the nature of deadly hatred. (AC 818)

Swedenborg called this shape of humanity in eternity as "the Grand Man," which is also translated as "the Grand Human." It has both male and female organs. Swedenborg says that the Divine Human continuously wills to unify the entire created immortal human race. This unification is reflected by the visual appearance of the Grand Human. But this Grand Human contains only the portions of human minds called heaven, which is why the Grand Human has a perfect human anatomical shape. But the hells of the human mind are separated out and formed into another unity which Swedenborg called a malformed or disfigured individual. (D.Love 6).

The 6 levels of the chart above show the parallel forms of the spiritual world and the mental world, in the columns marked "spiritual geography" and "mental anatomy." The spiritual world is a vertically organized operational sphere for supporting the activity of thoughts and feelings of the human race. All our thoughts and feelings are operations in the anatomical organs of the mind. Swedenborg was able to visit three layers of heaven and three equivalent layers of hell. There is such a structural balance between the heavens and the hells because hells are created by the corrupted reception of spiritual heat (love) in the affective organ (“the will”), and spiritual light (truth) in the cognitive organ (“the understanding.” Everyone receives the same Divine Proceeding into their unique soul. From there, the Divine Proceeding descends by levels into the discrete layers of the human mind, thus, of the spiritual world.

When Divine Speech descends through the soul into our third heaven, it is first received into the highest portion of the affective organ called celestial, which constitutes the third heaven of every individual. This mental activation or operation of the affective organ (or “will”) has a rational content which becomes conscious to us when we have elevated our consciousness into the third heaven. In that mental state, we are called "celestial angels." Swedenborg often talked to people who already live in the eternity of their heavens.

Celestial angels think and feel by means of celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech (level 2 in the chart above). The topics they think and talk about includes all the things that have to do with love, affection, charity, willing, intending, and regenerating. Swedenborg saw their Sacred Scripture, which he described as having similar shaped letters to the Hebrew print of the Old Testament that he was familiar with on earth. That Sacred Scripture is located in the mind of every human being, in its uppermost layer of operation. If we are willing to elevate our consciousness and mentality to that level, we can become conscious of that celestial-rational Sacred Scripture.

Those who elevate their conscious awareness to the second heaven (level 3) (also called “angelic spirits”), think and feel from spiritual-rational correspondences of Divine Speech in which their copy of Sacred Scripture is written. This level of comprehending Divine Speech involves thinking about truth, faith, science, knowledge, understanding. It is a cognitive world, while the third heaven is an affective world. The cognitive mind is a receptor organ of spiritual light from the Spiritual Sun descending through the soul and through the third heaven. Swedenborg compared the thinking level of celestial-rational correspondences (third heaven) with the thinking level of spiritual-rational correspondences (second heaven). There was such a discrete difference that there was absolutely no overlap in level of conscious meaning between the Sacred Scripture in these two discrete locations in our mind.

The lowest form of thinking in the third heaven was absolutely beyond the thinking and comprehension of the highest thinking in the second heaven. But there was a relation of correspondence between them. When a celestial angel (third heaven) was allowed to communicate with a spiritual angel (second heaven) they did so through correspondences. Every celestial-rational idea or operation has a corresponding spiritual-rational idea or operation. Thus, while celestial angels are able to perceive directly any truth they are interested in – thus being near-omniscient, spiritual angels have to reason, reflect, debate, and be instructed about it before gaining understanding and enlightenment.

There is a similar discrete separation between the spiritual angels (second heaven) and the "natural angels" of the first heaven, also called “good spirits.” When spiritual angels think in spiritual-rational correspondences from their Sacred Scripture (level 3), "angelic spirits" of the first heaven think in corresponding ideas from their Sacred Scripture called spiritual-natural correspondences (level 4). These interior-natural ideas involve things about the external behavior rather than internal thoughts (second heaven) and feelings (third heaven). They are involved in thinking about uses, functions, architecture, competition, justice, and so on. Swedenborg describes the apparent lifestyle of those who are in the three heavens of their eternal life, and it is fascinating to see the differences, all of which relate to the level of correspondences in which they understand their Sacred Scripture.

The chart above shows that below the first heaven is located the "world of spirits" (level 5). This is the mental "space" that separates our heaven and our hell. This is the "great interspace" into which our mind is born at our birth, and it is the mental space into which we are resuscitated at the death of the physical body (see Section xx). The world of spirits is therefore the same level as our normal conscious daily natural mind. This level of thinking (level 5) is based on the level of natural correspondences in Sacred Scripture as expressed, written down, and published in a natural language on earth. Swedenborg observed that when people are resuscitated they awaken into the same level of mentality and thinking that they had in their last period on earth. For example, those who had materialistic beliefs and assumptions, would not at first acknowledge that they were now spirits in the spiritual world of the afterlife. They had to learn from new experience that their materialistic beliefs were false. Those who were religious minded, upon awakening from resuscitation, talk about heaven and angels.

Swedenborg calls this level of thinking a natural level based on our "external memory" (level 5). In other words, our sensorimotor experiences occasioned by contact with the physical environment are permanently recorded in our memory. The organ of the memory has an external natural portion and an interior spiritual portion. It is our external memories from earth that form the style of life we have in the spiritual world. Those who share compatible or similar memories can be together as a community in heaven or hell since their intentionality will be projecting a similar city or residence, a similar daily round of activities, a similar civic and legal management system. Swedenborg reports that people even name their cities in the world of spirits by similar names as they had on earth -- London, Paris, Stockholm, Jerusalem. The content of the external memory organ forms a plane for instantiating the appearances of the lifestyle environment. The type of mentality operative at this level is fixed by natural correspondences in the natural mind.

The external natural mind is our daily familiar conscious mind. It is formed entirely by sensory input from the physical body and its abstraction into taxonomic explanatory systems. It is revealed in the Writings that the natural mind has three sub-levels of discrete operations in its outward external portion, and three levels of discrete operations in its inward interior portion (see Section xx). In other words, the natural mind is a microcosm of the entire spiritual world. The three vertical layers of the external natural mind are called corporeal (level 5a), sensuous (level 5b), and rational (level 5c). The natural-corporeal mind (level 5a) is closely bound to the order and limits of the physical world as we know it directly from our physical organs.

For example, our corporeal mind (level 5a) can notice that the sun rises in the east every morning and sets in the west. From this observation we may conclude that the earth is flat, unmoving, while the sun is round and moving. The natural-sensuous mind (level 5b) is less closely bound to the physical appearances and is able to construct mental abstractions of them in which it can comprehend new higher relations. The sensuous mind can figure out that the earth must also be round and that the appearance of flatness is only present for the immediate visual view around us. The natural-sensuous mind (level 5b) forms abstractions by abandoning the assumptions of natural-corporeal correspondences (level 5a) and thinking in terms of natural-sensuous correspondences (level 5b).

Materialistic science and secularized democratic societies are two great achievements of the natural-sensuous mind. The level of civilized society has been progressively moving to a more rational and spiritual mentality, as we can see when we compare the literal sentences of the Old and New Testaments. The mentality of the Old Testament peoples was such as we detect from the natural-corporeal correspondences in its literal sentences. They thought of God as a stern omnipotent ruler who was partial to certain people and seemed not to care about others, even to the point of commanding cruel acts against them, including slavery and genocide. This mentality went on for centuries, created and embedded in the natural-corporeal correspondences of the Old Testament.

Remember that Divine Speech descends from the highest portion of the human mind (level 2, third heaven) to the lowest (level 5, world of spirits and earth). It is the same Divine Speech throughout, but its appearance in correspondences becomes progressively less celestial, less spiritual, less rational, less natural, until it ends up at the lowest level of correspondences built for the human mind -- natural-corporeal correspondences (level 5a or layer 9). The mental span from level 2 (celestial-rational correspondences) to level 5a (layer 9, natural corporeal correspondences) is so enormous that it goes from a heavenly society of rational peaceful people to a barbaric society of semi-rational and cruel people.

The span of correspondences that shape human consciousness and behavior is built in given that spiritual geography = mental anatomy. Every individual must go through the developmental steps indicated by the elevation from level 5a (natural-corporeal) to level 2 (celestial-rational). We start our mental life with natural-corporeal correspondences (layer 9), move on through experience and instruction to natural-sensuous correspondences (layer 8), then to natural-rational correspondences (layer 7). The chart above shows that the Writings are written in natural-rational correspondences (layer 7), the New Testament is written in natural-sensuous correspondences (layer 8), and the Old Testament is written in natural-corporeal correspondences (layer 9).

For instance, the same Ten Commandments are presented in all three collections of Sacred Scripture. One of the commandments is Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery (see Section xx). In the natural-corporeal meaning of the Old Testament it is clear that this refers to an overt act of infidelity in marriage. The same commandment is expressed in the mentality of natural-sensuous correspondences in the New Testament. Now it is made clear to the comprehension that there is physical adultery and mental adultery. Both are forbidden, so that if we now fantasize infidelity, and do not disapprove of it in our fantasy, then we are breaking the commandment against adultery. Further, in the Writings when this commandment is presented in the language of natural-rational correspondences, we can comprehend that there are three kinds of adultery: physical, mental, and spiritual. Spiritual adultery is a natural-rational concept that does not appear at the two discrete lower levels of correspondences in Sacred Scripture. As mentioned above, spiritual adultery refers to "adulterating the Word," which means to falsify Sacred Scripture for personal reasons such as gaining influence over others or using Sacred Scripture to justify continuing to practice one's wickedness. The adulteration of Sacred Scripture by falsifying its correspondences produces hell in our mind (level 6), as is discussed below.

It is important to understand the connection between the natural mind and regeneration. No issue is more central to theistic psychology than this connection. The natural mind of the human race has undergone a major evolutionary transformation when the Incarnation Event occurred two thousand years ago (see Section xx). The purpose of this event was to create new mental pathways for the human race on earth which has descended to the level of sensuous consciousness of God (see Section xx). Swedenborg observed what happens to the masses of people that enter the world of spirits every day. Those who arrive with a sensuous consciousness of God reject the spiritual instructions they receive regarding the Divine Human, heaven, the doctrine of good and truth, charity and faith, love and wisdom. They reject them because these spiritual ideas require a rational understanding of them. Sensuous consciousness (5b) is the reliance on external appearances and their symbolic abstractions, while rational consciousness (5c) is reliance on interior framework and their correspondences.

Sensuous consciousness (level 5b) sees absolutely nothing above itself, which is why it interprets all higher-order correspondences at the level of natural-sensuous correspondences. This type of mentality is known as "materialism." Swedenborg observed that hose who arrive in the world of spirits with a materialistic world view are unwilling to accept the reality of God and heaven unless it be proven to them by visual experience that God or heaven actually exist. In other words, materialism demands a sensuous consciousness of the Divine before it will acknowledge it. Since sensuous consciousness of the Divine is not given, materialism fabricates novel interpretations of natural-rational and spiritual-rational correspondences. Swedenborg reports that people with a materialistic outlook, when they realize that they are in the spiritual world, demand to be brought into heaven and into the presence of God.

Angels then show up who are able to keep these people's spiritual mind closed while they are raised into their heaven with their externals or natural mind. This is necessary for it is impossible for their corrupted spiritual to be raised to their heaven. When they reach the mental state of their heaven, they face a surrounding environment that is devoid of all things -- no light, no sound, no people, no movement, nothing happening. They are shocked when they are told this is heaven and that it is filled with all sorts of beautiful gardens, palaces, and people. But they see nothing, hear nothing, smell nothing. Soon they begin to experience the emotion of panic and the sensation of suffocation. They quickly throw themselves out of their state of heaven back down into their natural-sensuous ideas and emotions. Their inability to have any experience in heaven is because heaven is a rational consciousness of God.

It was crucial therefore for God to continue the creation of the human race by providing new mental pathways, new organic structures in the human mind by which materialism could be defeated. This was accomplished by the Incarnation Event (see Section xx). Since then every individual is born with these new mental pathways and organic structures. The individuals who were already in their afterlife phase were transformed physiologically and anatomically so that they can continue their immortality in the "new heavens" of the human mind that the Divine Human created through spiritual-rational and celestial-rational correspondences (levels 3 and 2).

It is still possible for people to ignore the new mental structures and arrive into the world of spirits with a materialistic worldview. However, many people do not think deeply about their materialism so that they go through life ignoring their materialism and practicing decency and integrity for the sake of their idealism for good and truth. When they arrive into the afterlife and are instructed in rational loves and truths, they eagerly receive them, and love them. They ascend to their heaven and live in eternal conjugial bliss.

When people's religious ideas are based on sensuous consciousness of God they avoid the use of Sacred Scripture for extracting higher-order meanings of God and heaven. They dislike giving up their sensuous cravings for the sake of rational understanding, which appears to them as "intellectualizing" God rather than "experiencing" God or "being one with Him." Sensuous consciousness of God turns into mysticism and opposes rational consciousness of Divine Speech (see Section xx).

The Incarnation Event was necessary for creating the new mental organ for regeneration. The natural mind was reformed or transformed by that event so that it received a new interior form it did not have before. This new portion is called the "interior-natural mind" (see Section xx). The interior-natural organ was created into a discrete degree higher than the natural-rational organ (level 5c). If you look at the chart again you will see that immediately above level 5c is located level 4, the first heaven, and above that, the second heaven (level 3), and above that, the third heaven (level 2). These three heavens are progressively higher by virtue of their correspondences from Sacred Scripture. In other words, the newly created interior-natural organ was capable of conscious operations that represented the discrete levels of the three heavens.

This new ability marks the highest and final phase of the creation of the human race. Now people are able to read the natural-rational correspondences of the Writings and extract higher-order correspondences that are spiritual-rational (level 3) and celestial-rational (level 2). This is what makes theistic psychology possible. With this new ability in our interior-natural mind we are able to understand Divine Speech in its highest rationality and meaning (levels 3 and 2). We have new powerful mental tools available for our regeneration efforts. The higher the correspondences we can think with, the more effectively we can overcome our inherited materialism. Individuals who have access to the concepts of theistic psychology can understand the process of character reformation within themselves. They can tap into a spiritual source of determination by which they can face their inherited hellish inclinations, attachments, and involvements and reject them for the sake of their heavenly opposites (see Section xx).

When people are unwilling to acknowledge and to study the concepts of theistic psychology they are rejecting rationality as revealed by our Creator. They are then drawn deeper into the web of materialism and unreality. They retain their natural abilities to think logically by segments, but they are unable to put the segments together into a rational understanding of the whole. They have rejected the only source of rationality and sanity -- the spiritual correspondences of Sacred Scripture. They still receive the same influx as others but they systematically turn the ideas into their opposites. They use their limited logic in local segments to transform every statement of Divine Speech into its very opposite. The chart shows this as thinking level 6. (See Note 8)

For additional descriptions of the three levels of rational mentality in spiritual development see my book titled Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss/moses.html  

For additional considerations of why Sacred Scripture must be our exclusive source of ideas about regeneration, see my book A Man of the Field: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html 

For additional discussion on extracting the scientific meaning from the Writings see Volume 2 of my book A Man of the Field: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html 

 

How Divine Speech Unifies the Human Race

 

Note from the accompanying diagram that Divine Speech proceeds from the Divine Human's Rational Mind by means of the Spiritual Sun. This Proceeding from the Spiritual Sun is uncreate and infinite, and as it proceeds downward relative to the Spiritual Sun, or outward relative to the natural world. As the Divine Proceeding or Speech exteriorizes and descends, it first reaches the human race through the uppermost portion of the mind called "the Third Heaven." Swedenborg received the opportunity to view the script in which Sacred Scripture was written down in the Third Heaven of the human mind. People whose consciousness are elevated to this level are called celestial angels and live their immortality in conjugial bliss (see Section xx).

Swedenborg was also able to observe the Sacred Scripture which was read by the spiritual angels, which is the name given to those who dwell permanently in the Second Heaven of the human race. He confirmed the fact that the celestial Sacred Scripture (Third Heaven) corresponds perfectly to the spiritual Sacred Scripture (Second Heaven). The celestial angels saw the meaning of the sentences as discussing love and the hierarchy of human affections. The spiritual angels saw the meaning of the sentences as discussing truth and the varieties of human understanding. Clearly then, Divine Speech descends and exteriorizes by discrete degrees that do not overlap in meaning, but they do correspond to each other.

This conclusion was additionally confirmed when Swedenborg viewed the Sacred Scripture read by the angelic spirits, which is the name given to those who dwell permanently in the First Heaven of the human race. At each level, divine speech communicates itself in the form of Sacred Scripture written down in some language -- celestial-rational language, spiritual-rational language, or spiritual-natural language, for the three heavens respectively. These three types of human languages correspond to each other by discrete degrees (see Section xx). A fourth type of human language is called natural language, and it is what we speak and know here on earth. Sacred Scripture on earth is written and translated in many natural languages. It is always written in natural correspondences, which are a degree below the first three. By the time Divine Speech has descended and exteriorized to this ultimate level of human consciousness, the topic of Sacred Scripture appears to be historical, cultural, and religious. But using the method of correspondences revealed in the Writings, one can mentally or spiritually "climb back up" through the discrete degrees. At each higher level, the topic of Divine speech will change.

Note that the diagram shows earth and the world of spirits together. It is a level in the human mind located in the spiritual interspace that is created between the heavens and the hells, making it impossible for people's consciousness to go from one to the other, unless it is on earth, that is, still tied to a physical body. Earth and the world of spirits are together structurally or biologically since when we are born, our spiritual body or mind, is born into the world of spirits and remains there until we are resuscitated at the death of the physical body (see Section xx). Therefore, while we are tied to a physical body on earth, our mind is in the world of spirits. All the sensations and thoughts we have in the natural mind through the brain and sensory organs, are not in the brain, nor on earth, or anywhere else in the physical world. They are always from the beginning in the world of spirits where is our spiritual body which houses the mental organs or mind.

The diagram shows that below the world of spirits are the hells. There are three discrete hells, each formed by the inversion of correspondences in Sacred Scripture. Those who invert celestial-rational correspondences in their mind keep themselves in the worst hells (discrete level -3). Those who invert spiritual-rational correspondences in their mind keep themselves in the middle hells (discrete level -2). Those who invert spiritual-natural correspondences in their mind keep themselves in the least evil hells (discrete level -1).

Note the spiritual dynamics depicted in the above diagram with the two arrows. The descending arrow is the process that was just described, namely, the reception of Divine Speech at its various discrete levels of descent. The ascending arrow is the result of the reception and is called elevation of consciousness. In other words, the consciousness of the celestial angels (3) is elevated to ever higher levels within the celestial degree, the more they appropriate the ideas in their Sacred Scripture. Similarly with the spiritual angels (2) and the angelic spirits (1). Note however, that the no matter how elevated the consciousness grows for any particular individual, it remains at that same discrete degree.

The downward exteriorization of Divine Speech is the final and ultimate goal of creation. All else is derivative of this great use. Therefore, progressive excellence and perfection of this use is our highest and most human achievement. Our most human task here on earth is the elevation of our consciousness to the Divine Human. This elevation is achieved by the reception of the ideas in Sacred Scripture.

We can achieve elevation or enlightenment while we are in the natural mind attached to the physical body on earth. This amazing spiritual event is possible because the Divine Incarnation Event has created new mental pathways for this elevation (see Section xx). Specifically, the natural mind has three portions -- corporeal, sensuous, and rational. The new biological organism making elevation possible is the creation of a virtual heaven within our natural-rational mind (the highest portion of the natural mind). This new mental organ does not receive input from the physical world, as does the natural-rational mind. It receives input only from the spiritual and celestial mind, which are unconscious (see Section xx).

In other words, the new spiritual-natural organ can be activated by reacting to the correspondences in the three heavens. Through this built in feature, we are able to be aware and process higher order correspondences in a virtual form. This processing is what elevates our consciousness all the way to the Third Heaven of our mind, where we can understand what Divine Speech is saying about love and the hierarchy of human affections. Knowing this allows us to be angels on earth, that is, live a life of preparation for angelic life in the afterlife. This is also called becoming regenerated (see Section xx). Regeneration is also called salvation because only by character reformation can be prepare our mind for heavenly life. The mind that is unregenerate when awakening in the world of spirits, is unwilling to be elevated into the life of heaven. Swedenborg observed this phenomenon on many occasions.

Try memorizing the diagram given in this section. You can then use it in your mind to understand theistic psychology at a deeper and even more useful level. Also, try to relate it to the two charts in Section 3.7.2.1 and 3.7.2.2. The diagram and the two charts should be memorized together, enough so you are able to reproduce them from memory. This will add powerfully to your ability to understand theistic psychology at a deeper and more useful level.

 

Extracting the Scientific Meaning in Sacred Scripture

 

Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture is expressed literally in the lowest common denominator of historical and cultural meaning. On earth it is expressed in natural correspondences in a natural language, and it can be translated in all languages without losing their capacity to include the hidden higher correspondences that are spiritual and celestial in meaning and rationality.

It is necessary that Sacred Scripture be written at this lowest level of representation because in that way Divine Speech can be understood rationally and accepted voluntarily by the receiving people. But in the Writings of Swedenborg, where Divine Speech is expressed with natural-rational correspondences, it is revealed that all Sacred Scripture is written in correspondences of Divine Speech. Also, a method is given specifying how we can systematically extract the higher correspondences or meanings that lay hidden within the literal sentences. Swedenborg was able to understand and write this method down so that everyone could have access to it. That's what theistic psychology is. It gives everyone access to the universal scientific meaning of Divine Speech.

Swedenborg compared the sentences of the Old and New Testaments which he found in the spiritual world, with those in his Bible on earth. He then wrote 12 volumes of a collection of books in Latin called Arcana Coelestia ("Heavenly Secrets"), in which he compares word by word, and phrase by phrase, major portions of the Old and New Testaments in the spiritual world with the natural version in the natural world. He did this systematically for the first two books of the Old Testament called Genesis and Exodus. Later he also did similar comparisons for the entire Book of Revelation in the New Testament, and many portions of other segments throughout the Old and New Testaments. 

It turns out that while the Bible version on earth is about natural and historical events that took place on earth in relation to God, the version in the spiritual world is about theistic psychology -- the anatomy and growth of the human mind.

This scientific knowledge about the human mind is given to us by the Divine Human because such knowledge is of critical practical value to every human being regarding their regeneration, which is the lifelong process of character reformation (see Section xx). Every individual who will enter heaven in eternity must undergo character reformation on earth. Those who are unwilling to change their inherited hellish traits for new heavenly traits, are absolutely unwilling to do so after they arrive in the world of spirits. As a result, they are spontaneously drawn into the hells of their mind from which state they are unwilling to come out. Swedenborg has seen some who had been there for eons of ages, and still are unwilling to ascend to their higher rational consciousness where their heaven is. Hence it is that the topics of Divine Speech all have to do with the knowledge we need to regenerate, for there is no subject more vital about which God can talk to us at the conscious level of understanding and communication.

Swedenborg was the only person in history who was given this opportunity of objectively making a word by word comparison of the natural meaning of the Bible and its spiritual meaning. The people in the spiritual world who were reading Sacred Scripture could only understand the verses in their inner spiritual meaning. But when these people were still on earth, they could understand the verses only naturally. Swedenborg was the first person still on earth who could perceive both the natural meaning and at the same time the spiritual meaning of Sacred Scripture. And since he was a scientist he had to find the rational mechanisms and laws by which this amazing correspondence was taking place. He saw this spiritual-natural correspondence of Sacred Scripture as the key to understanding rationally how God manages the universe and how the human race evolves from lower to ever higher levels of rational and spiritual life.

For the past two hundred years the Writings of Swedenborg (published on earth between 1745-1771) have been read in the spiritual world as Sacred Scripture. Today, with the parallel development of theistic psychology on earth, people can begin to raise their consciousness and the level of their life, by studying and understanding the natural-rational correspondences of Divine Speech which are found only in the Writings of Swedenborg. This collection of works constitutes the third and final portion of the Judaeo-Christian tradition of Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). The Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings of Swedenborg are therefore known as the "Threefold Word" (see Section xx). Swedenborg has demonstrated that once the scientific meaning of the Threefold Word is extracted, nothing is left of the historical and natural references in their literal sentences. This is what makes theistic psychology a universal science for all times for the human race, both in this world and in our immortality.

Swedenborg has discussed this with the people who are in their highest heavens in eternity. They are called "spiritual and celestial angels" and they told Swedenborg that all their knowledge and intelligence comes from the spiritual-rational and celestial-rational correspondences in which their Sacred Scripture is written. Thus, while the literal meaning of the Judean-Christian tradition of Sacred Scripture is sectarian and cultural, its inner meaning is completely devoid of this content. Divine Speech must necessarily be given through a natural language, culture, and race, which is why the literal meaning sets races and nations apart and often against each other. As well, the literal meaning can be used as a powerful weapon of enslavement by which a a few professionals of religion dictate to many a religious or sectarian lifestyle that is their own invention since that is never what Divine Speech is talking about in its true correspondential sense.

Our spiritual development and eternal future does not depend on these invented religious lifestyles, prohibitions, and belief systems. Instead, our life in immortality is determined by what kind of character we bring with us from this earth. To achieve their character reformation successfully people need to be told what Divine Speech says about it, and this cannot be obtained from the literal sentences of Sacred Scripture. Hence all religious schools and all public educational systems on the planet should teach the content of Divine Speech as it is extracted from Sacred Scripture.

For the past 200 years, theistic psychologists have been extracting higher order correspondences from the literal sentences of Sacred Scripture and contributing to the growing field (see Readings). They did not call their work "theistic psychology" but from our perspective today, that's what it was. They have been engaged in the systematic effort of building a body of knowledge that is based exclusively on the Writings of Swedenborg. All work in theistic psychology requires the application of correspondences to the literal sentences.

Swedenborg created a kind of translation dictionary of correspondences so that you can look up a word, name, or number from the Old Testament and New Testament version on earth, and find out what it meant in the spiritual version. Since the spiritual version is a body of scientific knowledge called theistic psychology, you can see how crucial it was for Swedenborg to describe very precisely and exactly how we must use this method of extraction. This is why Swedenborg, a well known and qualified scientist, was given the unique and special ability of being conscious in the spiritual world while still alive on earth. What is remarkable is that he was able to prove beyond any doubt that the Old and New Testaments were written in the same language of correspondences since they are both Divine Speech expressed as Sacred Scripture.

It's extremely important to understand that the correspondences of Sacred Scripture described in the Writings are not a symbolic code that Swedenborg invented. Without his ability to observe both the natural and spiritual versions of Sacred Scripture, he would not have been able to describe the laws of correspondences that govern the functional interaction of the two worlds. This is not a symbolism for Sacred Scripture. Correspondences are the universal laws that govern the functional interaction of the levels of existence and creation. God governs all details of the universe through correspondences. It makes sense therefore that Sacred Scripture is written in these same laws since the natural language sentences of Sacred Scripture must be produced by a prior spiritual phenomenon. Also, the same Sacred Scripture appears at all the discrete levels of humanity, but at each level it has a different content. The differences of content across the discrete levels are specified exactly and precisely by correspondences (see Section xx).

Every correspondence in the language of Sacred Scripture has a positive and a negative meaning, so that in some passages it refers to the positive meaning and in others to the negative meaning. In the illustrations below, only one meaning is presented.

Beasts or Animals signify the things in our will or our loves, e.g., "bears" signifies the state of mind when the Word is read and not understood (Gen. 1:24); "dogs" signifies those of small value who are outsiders (e.g., Ex.. 11:7) "foxes" signifies those who rely on their own prudence (Ps. 63:10); "lamb" signifies the holiness of innocence (Gen. 21:28, Rev. 5:6);

Carriages  signify goods from a rational origin (e.g., Rev. 18:13, Jdg. 18:21)

Husband signifies the rational mind (e.g., Gen. 3:16)

Egypt signifies the natural mind separated from the spiritual which is the pride of self-intelligence (Isa. 19:1)

Esau signifies natural good which was to be made Divine in the Incarnation Event (Gen. 25:25)

Hand signifies ability and power (Gen. 8:9)

Jacob signifies the lowest things of reason which are external knowledges (Gen. 25:26)

 Jews signifies those who are in love to the Divine-Human, and in the truths of doctrine from Him (Zech. 8:23)

Mary, the Virgin signifies the universal church at that time, throughout the world (e.g., Mat. 1:16)

Numerals signify specific things; e.g., "1" signifies what is perfect (Gen. 11:6); "2" signifies  conjunction of pairs which complete each other (Gen. 7:9); "7" signifies the celestial mind, fully regenerated (Gen. 2:2); "19" signifies the state of idolatrous worship (Gen. 11:25); "40" signifies the state of temptation (Gen. 7:4, Mt. 4:1); "99" signifies the state before the union of the Divine-Human's Human Essence with His Divine (Gen. 17:24); "250" signifies as much as is sufficient for use (Ex. 30:23); "144,000" signifies all who acknowledge the Divine-Human to be the God of heaven and earth (Rev. 7:4).

Rich signifies the spiritual goods from truth with which the Divine-Human was enriched at this stage of His inner life on earth (Gen. 13:2; Ex. 30:15)

Spider's web signifies deceitful falsities (Isa. 59:5)

Transgressions or Trespasses signify such evils as are done against the commandments (Num. 14:41)

Uncircumcised signifies one who is in self-love (Gen. 17:14)

 Wife signifies selfhood in the external mind (Gen.2:24)

And so on. When these and other correspondences are applied to the text of Sacred Scripture, there emerges a new content which is the scientific description of human development and character reformation. In other words, the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture is given for the use of religion, while the derived correspondential meaning is given as scientific revelations about the human mind, life after death, the process of regeneration or character reformation, and so on.

Here are some examples of how Swedenborg derives the scientific meaning of the Old Testament by applying the laws of correspondences. You should remember as you read this that "church" in its scientific sense signifies the regenerating mind, and "religion" or "religious belief" signifies our knowledge of the literal sentences of Sacred Scripture. In other words this passage in its scientific sense discusses how Sacred Scripture is related to regeneration. Quoting from Arcana Coelestia:

From the mere letter of the Word of the Old Testament no one would ever discern the fact that this part of the Word contains deep secrets of heaven, and that everything within it both in general and in particular bears reference to the Divine-Human, to His heaven, to the church, to religious belief, and to all things connected therewith; for from the letter or sense of the letter all that anyone can see is that-to speak generally-everything therein has reference merely to the external rites and ordinances of the Jewish Church. Yet the truth is that everywhere in that Word there are internal things which never appear at all in the external things except a very few which the Divine-Human revealed and explained to the Apostles; such as that the sacrifices signify the Divine-Human; that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem signify heaven-on which account they are called the Heavenly Canaan and Jerusalem-and that Paradise has a similar signification. (AC 1)

 

The above passage says that no one has known before this that the Old Testament words and phrases actually refer to scientific concepts relating to the human mind and its regeneration for heavenly life. In the literal sense of the Old Testament "everything therein has reference merely to the external rites and ordinances of the Jewish Church." These topics do not seem universal or scientific, and they are not. But when you translate the words and phrases into their spiritual correspondences, the details about the rites and rituals of the Jewish Church vanish. What is left is a scientific concept or idea. These scientific concepts are arranged in a rational series or pattern, so that together they make up an exact map of the genes of human consciousness. This map describes the evolution of consciousness of the human race and how every individual must recapitulate in development all the steps or phases that the race went through. The map also indicates the final disposition of the human race in eternity and of every individual in immortality.

The passage above also says that the New Testament reveals a few selected instances of correspondences in the Old Testament. For instances New Testament scholars have known for centuries that the animal sacrifices God commanded in the Old Testament days were done in order to represent symbolically or ceremoniously the sacrifice of the Incarnated Son of God, or "Messiah"  which was to take place hundreds of years later. The Old Testament people were not allowed to know of this explicitly because their mentality would have rejected this idea of the future. It is better for the people involved to keep spiritual ideas away from them if they are going to reject them. Hundreds of years later, the New Testament people were told that animal sacrifices in the Old Testament are not to be restarted, but recognized as having represented the future sacrifice of the Son of God, which was necessary to redeem the human race from the grips of hellish influences into which it has fallen by rejecting the guidance of God and conscience.

It wasn't until the 18th century that the human race was ready to receive and accept the revelations of the Writings of Swedenborg, in which all the correspondences are explicitly explained. Now it will take many more centuries and millennia for people to extract significant portions of theistic psychology from the Writings themselves. Swedenborg did not comment explicitly regarding the correspondences that are hidden in the Writings. For this reason, some scholars of the Writings do not accept the idea that they are also written in hidden correspondences, though they acknowledge them as Sacred Scripture. This does not seem justified since the Writings state that all Sacred Scripture on earth is written in natural correspondences of Divine Speech. Therefore if one acknowledges the Writings as Sacred Scripture one should also acknowledge that they too are written in correspondences. Theistic psychology is nothing but the spiritual-rational correspondences that we extract from the natural-rational correspondences in which the Writings are written (see Section xx).

Continuing with the next passage which discusses the scientific content of Genesis:

While the mind cleaves to the literal sense alone, no one can possibly see that such things are contained within it. Thus in these first chapters of Genesis, nothing is discoverable from the sense of the letter other than that the creation of the world is treated of, and the garden of Eden which is called Paradise, and Adam as the first created man. Who supposes anything else? But it will be sufficiently established in the following pages that these matters contain arcana which have never yet been revealed; and in fact that the first chapter of Genesis in the internal sense treats in general of the new creation of man, or of his regeneration, and specifically of the Most Ancient Church; and this in such a manner that there is not the least expression which does not represent, signify, and enfold within it these things. (AC 4)

 

The above passage reminds us that the Genesis creation story "treats of the new creation of man, or of his regeneration, and specifically of the Most Ancient Church." Remember that church signifies the regenerating mind. The "Most Ancient Church" signifies the first phase of the regenerating process. Historically, in its literal sense, the Writings discuss the Most Ancient Church as the celestial race on this earth prior to the Fall. The proof that such a race existed on this earth was given to Swedenborg when he was allowed to visit them in the heavens where they have been dwelling for thousands of years, since passing from life on earth to life in immortality (see Section xx). But in the scientific sense all reference to history on this earth vanishes, and instead what is signified is the regenerating mind. "Most Ancient" therefore signifies the initial or first phase of our regeneration.  This beginning phase is also called "the new creation of man."

That this is really the case no one can possibly know except from the Divine-Human. It may therefore be stated in advance that of the Divine-Human's Divine mercy it has been granted me now for some years to be constantly and uninterruptedly in company with spirits and angels, hearing them speak and in turn speaking with them. In this way it has been given me to hear and see wonderful things in the other life which have never before come to the knowledge of any man, nor into his idea. I have been instructed in regard to the different kinds of spirits; the state of souls after death; hell, or the lamentable state of the unfaithful; heaven, or the blessed state of the faithful; and especially in regard to the doctrine of faith which is acknowledged in the universal heaven; on which subjects, of the Divine-Human's Divine mercy, more will be said in the following pages. (AC 5)

In the above passage Swedenborg once again refers to his dual citizenship as a Divine act of mercy or love for the human race. Through his special status he was able to observe both worlds simultaneously, a power or ability not granted to anyone before in human history. But now the time had come for God to advance the human race to its final and highest phase of consciousness. The human mind had been prepared by centuries of scientific developments. In the 18th century the modern human mind was fully matured and ready to hear the ultimate and final revelations about itself and its eternal future.

These final revelations had to be cast in a modern rational scientific language and Swedenborg had been prepared for scientific eminence prior to his new dual abilities that began at age 57. His mission, no longer impossible, was to give a rational scientific description and explanation of God, God's management techniques, the process of dying and the afterlife, heaven and hell, conjugial love in marriage, spiritual development, the geography of the spiritual world, the anatomy of the mind, the correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture, Divine Speech, spiritual language, earths in the universe and their inhabitants, evil spirits, influx, discrete degrees, and many more such facts and principles undiscoverable by any other means but revelation.

The following passage discusses the scientific sense of verse 2 in Genesis:

Verse 2. "And the earth was a void and emptiness, and darkness was upon the faces of the deep; and the Spirit of God was brooding upon the faces of the waters." Before his regeneration, man is called the "earth void and empty" and also the "ground" wherein nothing of good and truth has been sown; "void" denotes where there is nothing of good, and "empty" where there is nothing of truth. Hence comes "thick darkness" that is, stupidity, and an ignorance of all things belonging to faith in the Divine-Human, and consequently of all things belonging to spiritual and heavenly life. Such a man is thus described by the Divine-Human through Jeremiah:

My people is stupid, they have not known Me; they are foolish sons, and are not intelligent; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and lo a void and emptiness, and the heavens, and they had no light (Jer. 4:22-23). (AC 17)

 

In the above passage a contrast is made between "church," which signifies the regenerating mind, as discussed above, and the "earth that is void and empty," which signifies the unregenerate mind, or the mind before it has begun its regeneration. We begin our regeneration when we are willing to undergo "reformation" of our ideas and beliefs. Until that time, our ideas and beliefs are not patterned according to the ideas of Sacred Scripture. We grow up thinking and assuming that we are alone in our mental world. The mental effort we put up when we learn something feels like our own effort, and so we take credit for it. But when we are willing to undergo reformation of ideas, we focus on Sacred Scripture as the source of facts about ourselves. And Sacred Scripture says that God is omnipotent, which means we have no power of our own. Therefore the mental effort we put up while learning something is God's power operating in us, not our own power. We now begin a new way of thinking. We think of God's conscious cooperation and co-presence in our thinking process. Prior to this our mind was "void and empty" of spiritual truths," whence comes "darkness" and "stupidity" in spiritual matters and "of all things belonging to spiritual and heavenly life."

In the passage from Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, Divine Speech is being quoted in which God calls us "stupid," "foolish," and "not intelligent" when we are in the prior phase of "void and emptiness" regarding knowledge of God and spiritual truths. Materialism is an an instance of such a phase. non-theistic science and psychology today has completely denied God's existence and presence in all details of human behavior. It is therefore full of "darkness" and "foolishness." But theistic psychology enters a new phase of mental evolution. "Earth" in Sacred Scripture signifies the natural mind. Jeremiah quotes God saying that God "beheld the earth and lo a void and emptiness." In other words, the natural mind which is immersed in non-theistic materialism and the negative bias, "has not known Me," that is, has denied the existence of God. When this is done, the mind is plunged into irreality, delusion, and "spiritual insanity." The consequences of spiritual insanity are the plagues of civilization -- crime, poverty, war, prejudice, divorce, abuse of children and women, terrorism, and the rest of the ills of humankind with which we are all very familiar. These evil consequences are the result of spiritual insanity. Reversing this process is possible through regeneration and character reformation.

Another typical passage discusses verses 14-17 in the first chapter of Genesis in the Old Testament. The first eleven chapters of Genesis are a discussion of "those who are being created anew," which is a reference to our mental phase when we begin our regeneration. To be "created anew" means to be reformed in the old character we have prior to regeneration. The old character believes in self, while the new character believes in God.

AC 30. Verses 14-17.

"And God said, Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to distinguish between the day and the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years; and let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth; and it was so. And God made two great luminaries, the greater luminary to rule by day, and the lesser luminary to rule by night; and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth."

 What is meant by "great luminaries" cannot be clearly understood unless it is first known what is the essence of faith, and also what is its progress with those who are being created anew. The very essence and life of faith is the Divine-Human alone, for he who does not believe in the Divine-Human cannot have life, as He himself has declared in John:

He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life, but he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God shall abide upon him (John 3:36).

"The Son" refers to the Divine Human. To "believe on the Son" means to acknowledge the existence of the Divine Human as the Divine Psychologist who leads our thoughts and feelings towards regeneration and heaven. If we fail to acknowledge the Divine Human's co-presence in our mental operations we "shall not see life," that is, eternal life in the heavens of or mind. Instead, "the wrath of God shall abide upon him," which means that  we shall be living in the hells of our mind instead the heavens. In Sacred Scripture "life" always refers to heavenly life in eternity, while "death" refers to life in hell to eternity. Those who are unwilling to acknowledge the Divine Human when they awaken in the world of spirits (see Section xx), are going down to their existence of "death" in hell. Those who are in the hells of their mind seem to feel that the "wrath of God abides with them." But in reality, God cannot feel or show wrath. And in fact, God supports the life of hell for those who insist on being there, making their condition less intolerable than they themselves would make it, if left to their own insanity.

[2] The progression of faith with those who are being created anew is as follows. At first they have no life, for it is only in the good and the true that there is life, and none in the evil and the false; afterwards they receive life from the Divine-Human by faith, first by faith of the memory, which is a faith of mere knowledge; next by faith in the understanding, which is an intellectual faith; lastly by faith in the heart, which is the faith of love, or saving faith. The first two kinds of faith are represented from verse 3 to verse 13 [in Genesis 1], by things inanimate, but faith vivified by love is represented from verse 20 to verse 25, by animate things. For this reason love, and faith thence derived, are now here first treated of, and are called "luminaries;" love being "the greater luminary which rules by day;" faith derived from love "the lesser luminary which rules by night;" and as these two luminaries ought to make a one, it is said of them, in the singular number, "Let there be luminaries," and not in the plural.

 

The above passage gives details about the "progression of faith" which in the scientific sense refers to the developmental steps of regeneration, as follows:

(I) The state prior to beginning our regeneration is a state of "no life" because our materialistic ideas and negative bias make no room for mental operations that lead to heaven, called "life." These mental operations involve "good and truth" which is called life itself. Only that mind which receives good and truth seems alive. The mind that turns the good and true into falsity and evil is not alive or heavenly since mental operations of falsity and evil are called dead or hellish. Only what is from heaven -- good and truth, is called "alive" in Sacred Scripture.

(II) When reformation starts we "receive life from the Divine Human." At first this new life is called a "faith of the memory, which is a faith of mere knowledge." We have acknowledged the existence of the Divine Human in our mental operations, but we have not yet applied this knowledge to our daily life. We are still operating largely as we did before, materialistically in all our motives, although we formally declare our knowledge of God and participate in religious worship. or, alternately, engage in the study of theistic psychology.

(III) Intellectual faith is the next stage, in which we not only know about God but try to justify God in our belief system. We now begin to think about the repercussions of accepting God as a philosophy or belief system. We find that we have to modify many aspects of our belief system to accommodate God's presence in them -- abortion, politics, science, history, business, education, marriage, parenting, entertainment.

(IV) Next is "faith of the heart," which refers to the mental state of loyalty to God's commandments of living. Now we feel that we must practice what we preach. This is the true beginning of regeneration. Until now we were busy with our intellectual "reformation," but now we are ready for our character "regeneration." Reformation is about our cognitive operations in the organ of the understanding, while regeneration is about our affective operations in the organ of the will. 

 

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

[3] Love and faith in the internal man are like heat and light in the external corporeal man, for which reason the former are represented by the latter. It is on this account that luminaries are said to be "set in the expanse of heaven" or in the internal man; a great luminary in its will, and a lesser one in its understanding; but they appear in the will and the understanding only as does the light of the sun in its recipient objects. It is the Divine-Human's mercy alone that affects the will with love, and the understanding with truth or faith. (AC 30)

And Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. That this signifies those who are in the good of charity, but in external worship, who here are "Lot," and who are among the evil, but separate from them-which is to "sit in the gate of Sodom"-can be seen from the representation of "Lot," and from the signification of "gate," and also from that of "Sodom." From the representation of "Lot:" Lot when with Abraham represented the Divine-Human's sensuous part, thus His external man (as shown in Volume 1, n. 1428, 1434, 1547). But here, when separated from Abraham, Lot no longer retains the representation of the Divine-Human, but the representation of those who are with the Divine-Human, namely, the external man of the church, that is, those who are in the good of charity, but in external worship.

[2] No, in this chapter Lot not only represents the external man of the church, or what is the same, the external church such as it is in the beginning, but also such as it is in its progress, and also in its end. It is the end of that church which is signified by "Moab" and the "son of Ammon," as of the Divine-Human's Divine mercy will appear from the series of the things that follow. It is a common thing in the Word for one person to represent a number of states that succeed each other, and which are described by the successive acts of his life.

[3] From the signification of a "gate:" a gate is that through which one enters into a city, and through which he goes out of the city; consequently, to "sit in the gate" does indeed here signify to be with the evil, but still to be separate from them; as is wont to be the case with the men of the church who are in the good of charity; these, although they are among the wicked, are still separate from them; not as to civic society, but as to spiritual life. (That "Sodom" signifies evil in general, or what is the same, the evil, especially within the church, was said above, n. 2322.) (AC 2324)

That a "horse" signifies the faculty of understanding is from no other source than the representatives in the other life. Often there, in the world of spirits, horses are seen, and this with great variety, and those also that sit on them; and whenever they are seen they signify the faculty of understanding. There are such representatives continually with spirits. It is from the representation of the horse, as being the understanding, that when horses are mentioned in the Word, the spirits and angels with man at once know that the understanding is what is treated of. It is also from this that when spirits from a certain distant world on being imbued with intelligence and wisdom are taken up from the world of spirits into heaven, there appear to them horses shining as with fire; which also I have seen when they were taken up.

[2] From this I could see what is signified by the chariot of fire and horses of fire seen by Elisha when Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven; as also what is signified by the exclamation of Elisha then: "My Father, my Father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof" (2 Kings 2:11, 12); and by Joash king of Israel saying the same to Elisha when he was dying: "My Father, my Father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof" (2 Kings 13:14). That by Elijah and Elisha was represented the Divine-Human as to the Word, will of the Divine-Human's Divine mercy be told elsewhere; the doctrine of love and charity from the Word being meant by the "chariot of fire," and the doctrine of faith therefrom by the "horses of fire." The doctrine of faith is the same as the understanding of the Word as to its interiors, or as to its internal sense.

[3] That chariots and horses are seen in the heavens with spirits and angels, is evident from the fact of their being seen by the prophets, as by Zechariah (chapter 1:8-10; 6:3-7), and by others, and also by Elisha's servant, as thus described in the book of Kings:

Jehovah opened the eyes of Elisha's boy, and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).

Moreover, where the abode of the intelligent and wise is, in the world of spirits, chariots and horses appear continually; for the reason as said that by chariots and horses are represented the things of wisdom and of intelligence. Resuscitated persons after death, who are entering into the other life, see represented to them a young man sitting upon a horse, and then alighting from the horse; and by this is signified that they are to be instructed in the knowledge of good and truth before they can come into heaven (see volume 1, n. 187-188).

[4] That chariots and horses signified these things, was well known in the Ancient Church, as also is evident from the book of Job, which is a book of that Church, where are these words:

God hath made her to forget wisdom, and hath not imparted to her intelligence; what time she lifteth up herself on high she cometh the horse and his rider (Job 39:17-19).

From the Ancient Church the signification of the horse, as being the faculty of understanding, was extended to the wise round about, even into Greece. From this it came to pass that when they described the sun (by which was signified love, n. 2441, 2495), they placed in it the god of their wisdom and intelligence, and gave him a chariot and four horses of fire; and that when they described the god of the sea, because by the sea were signified knowledges in general (n. 28, 2120), they gave horses also to him; and that when they described the rise of knowledges from the understanding, they represented a flying horse which with his hoof broke open a fountain, where dwelt the virgins that were the sciences; and by the Trojan horse nothing else was signified than a contrivance of their understanding for destroying city walls.

Even at this day the intellect is often described, according to the custom received from those ancient people, under the figure of a flying horse, or Pegasus; and learning is described as a fountain; but scarcely anyone knows that a horse, in the mystic sense, signifies the understanding, and a fountain truth; still less that these significatives were handed down to the Gentiles from the Ancient Church. (AC 2762)

From all this it is now manifest whence come the representatives and significatives in the Word, namely, from the representatives that exist in the other life. From this source they came to the men of the Most Ancient Church, who were celestial, and were in company with spirits and angels while living on earth. From them the representatives passed to their posterity, and at length to those who merely knew that they had such a signification; but because the representatives came from the most ancient times, and were in their Divine worship, they were venerated and held sacred.

[2] Besides representatives, there are also correspondences which suggest and also signify something altogether different in the spiritual world from what they do in the natural world; as the heart, the affection of good; the eyes, the understanding; the ears, obedience; the hands, power; besides innumerable other correspondences. These are not represented in this way in the world of spirits; but they correspond, as what is natural to what is spiritual.

Hence it is that every word, even to the smallest iota of all, in the Word, involves spiritual and heavenly things; and that the Word is in this manner inspired, so that when it is read by man, spirits and angels immediately perceive it spiritually according to the representations and correspondences. But this knowledge, which was so much cultivated and esteemed by the ancients after the flood, and by means of which they were able to think with spirits and angels, is at this day altogether obliterated, so much so that scarcely anyone is willing to believe that it exists; and they who believe in it merely call it a kind of mystical thing, of no use; and this for the reason that man has become altogether worldly and corporeal; to such a degree that when what is spiritual and heavenly is mentioned, he feels a repugnance, and sometimes a loathing, or even nausea. What then will he do in the other life, which lasts forever, and where there is nothing worldly and corporeal, but only what is spiritual and heavenly, which makes the life in heaven? (AC 2763)

Only a few passages are reproduced here to show the systematic and consistent quality of Swedenborg's application of correspondences to verses of Sacred Scripture and the resulting scientific information about human minds and the world. It is easy to see the objectivity and accuracy with which the Writings demonstrate that the literal meaning of the Old and New Testament verses is historical and deals with natural things in this world, while unbeknownst to the reader, there is a hidden underlying scientific sense that describes the anatomy and function of the mind and its relation to eternal life in heaven or hell. Again it's worth noting methodologically that Swedenborg demonstrates that this underlying scientific information runs across all the books of the Old and New Testaments, and they are strung out in a rational series that can be uncovered by research similar to what Swedenborg demonstrates in relation to the Old and New Testaments.

The same method of correspondences will be applied in future research to the Writings themselves since they constitute the third and final portion of "the Word of God" or Sacred Scripture. While this Sacred Scripture was given to the Western peoples of the Middle East, Europe, and America, this is only so in their literal meaning. When you extract their correspondential meaning it becomes obvious that this Sacred Scripture was given to the entire humanity, both in this world and in heaven. For an initial attempt in exploring the correspondential meaning of the Writings, see my book A Man of the Field, Volume Two, available on the Web at:  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/volume2-nonduality.html

Consider how amazing this discovery is. The books of the Old and New Testaments were written independently by dozens of prophets across two thousand years or more. Most of these prophets did not possess copies of most of the books, and yet unbeknownst to them, they wrote verses that were hiding an internal correspondential meaning consisting of an integrated series of scientific revelations about the anatomy and function of the mind, about human nature and character reformation, about how God manages the universe, and about how the entire race is in unconscious communication with each other in both this world and the spiritual world. None of the authors through whom these Sacred Scriptures were delivered could have even understood this inner scientific series of rational concepts belonging to theistic psychology. Even if it had been revealed to them, it would have meant nothing because only the modern scientific mind today is prepared enough in rational structure to understand theistic psychology.

This hidden integrated series is like the DNA code we have in every cell. Now imagine if the elements that make up the sequence of the DNA code were separated from each other and scattered in the ocean. How can we get the sequence back? Imagine 100 submarines marked 1 to 100 went out to all the oceans and brought back a sample of the water. Would the 100 samples allow you to reconstruct the DNA code? The chances of that happening is a far bigger number than the suspected age of the universe in nanoseconds! Therefore it cannot happen. And yet, suppose it did? The 100 samples brought back by the 100 submarines did fit perfectly in the right sequence when you placed them in the order of the number on each submarine. Suppose this did happen.

How would you explain it?

In the negative bias mode, one can only say again and again, "But that's impossible," as materialistic thinking hits itself upon anti-gravity that threatens to destroy its world. In the positive bias mode, a rational explanation is given by Divine revelation, namely, that God has arranged that the scattered pieces of the DNA code be gathered together in precisely the100 samples picked up by the submarines.

In the same way, as explained in the Divine revelations of the Writings, God managed that only those historical details are recorded in Sacred Scripture which arrange themselves in a perfect rational series in their inner correspondential meaning. You can see that this would have been impossible for the authors themselves to do this who were unknown to each other and did not know anything about correspondences. Furthermore, the names given to people and places had to be managed by God centuries in advance of the events, so that the historical events in those places could represent in correspondences the scientific meaning to be delivered to humanity at a later time--through the Writings in the 18th century and beyond.

In addition, the visions of the prophets were also such as to represent the hidden correspondential meaning, and the visions of all the prophets over some centuries fit together in one uninterrupted rational series of theistic psychology, from the Genesis to Revelation, thus the Old and New Testaments. God arranged all this so that the human race would come into the possession of "heavenly secrets," understand them rationally as theistic psychology, and make use of the knowledge to help people regenerate their character for a heavenly life. Untold benefits to humankind are still to be extracted from this infinite scientific series that is enclosed in the finite verses of Sacred Scripture. It is a source of scientific knowledge that can never be exhausted from now to eternity. This is because Divine Speech contains infinite things within itself. Divine Speech is the same as Divine Truth and this is infinite in God. There is no limit to how many different truths and concepts one can extract from Sacred Scripture.

This is also why there is not going to be any new revelations after the Writings of Swedenborg. There is no need for new revelations when what has already been given is an infinite source for all the future to come. This also simplifies things so that if anyone should claim that they have new revelations from God, we can know in advance that this is impossible. This is why some theistic psychologists call the Writings "the Last Testament" and "the Final Testament." The Writings present the rationale as to why there cannot be a new revelation from God. Hence God has revealed that there are not going to be new Divine revelations after this. This may sound ridiculous to the negative bias perspective, but it makes rational sense in the positive bias.

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch3.htm#Levels of Descent of Divine Speech

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Analyzing Divine Speech: The Scientific Sense of Genesis 22

The existence of "Divine Speech" and its character are discussed in this passage of the Arcana Coelestia (AC 6996):

Send I pray by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send. That this signifies that the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine-Human will be mediately uttered, is evident from the representation of Moses, who says this, as being the Lord as to the Word, that is, as to Divine truth (see n. 6752); from the signification of "sending," when said of the Lord, as being to proceed (n. 2397, 4710); and from the signification of "sending by the hand," as being by another to whom power will be given, namely, the power of uttering the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine-Human of the Lord; and as it denotes by another to whom power is given, it denotes mediately. It was shown above (n. 6982, 6985), that the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Lord's Divine-Human cannot be heard and perceived by any man, nor even by an angel. Therefore in order that it may be heard and perceived, there must be mediation, which mediation is effected through heaven, and afterward through the angels and spirits with the man.

[2] This can be plainly known from the fact that man cannot even hear the spirits who are with him speaking with one another; and if he heard he could not perceive, because the speech of spirits is without human words, and is the universal speech of all languages. Moreover spirits cannot hear angels; and if they heard they could not perceive, because the angelic speech is still more universal. Nay, the angels of the inmost heaven can be still less heard and perceived, because their speech is not a speech of ideas, but of affections which are of celestial love. Seeing that since these kinds of speech are so far away from man, that they cannot possibly be heard and perceived by him, what then, so to speak, must be the Divine speech, which is infinitely above all the kinds of speech in the heavens! It is said "the Divine speech," but the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine-Human of the Lord is meant. This being so, it can be seen that the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, in order to be heard and perceived, must pass to man through mediations. The last mediation is through the spirit who is with the man, who inflows either into his thought, or by means of a living voice.

[3] That the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Lord cannot be heard or perceived, is also evident from the correspondences and derivative representatives; namely, that the things a man speaks are presented quite differently with spirits; and the things spirits speak, quite differently with the angels. This can be seen from the correspondential sense of the Word and its literal sense, in that the literal sense, which is adapted to man, is significative and representative of the things which are in the correspondential sense; while this latter sense is not perceptible to man except insofar as it can be presented and expressed by such things as are of the world and of nature; and still less the angelic sense. What then must be the case with the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Divine of the Lord, which is infinitely above the angelic understanding, and which is not perceptible in heaven except insofar as it passes through heaven, and so puts on a form adapted and suited to the perception of those who are there, which is effected by means of a wonderful influx, not at all comprehensible to anyone! These things have been said in order that it may be known that the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord cannot be heard or perceived by anyone, except through mediations. (AC 6996).

 

In other words, "Divine Speech" refers to Divine Truth issuing from the Divine-Human in the Spiritual Sun. The spiritual light proceeding from the Spiritual Sun is Divine Truth and Divine Speech. It is Divine Truth adapted to the human mind since in itself Divine Truth is infinite and this cannot enter into human understanding. Spiritual light issuing from the Spiritual Sun permeates the spiritual world with the expanse of rational ether. It is in this substantive ether constructed from truth that the human mind is born and develops to eternity. The spiritual light enters into the human mind located in the world of spirits, where it is born, and is encased in a spiritual or mental body also made of the substance of truth conjoined with the substance of love. Love or spiritual heat, and truth, or spiritual light, are thus the construction substances out of which all things that exist have been created. Love and truth are the inmost framework of every created object, whether the mind or a rock on earth.

Love and truth from the Spiritual Sun are combined more and more as they descend into the two worlds. At its purest and simplest, love and truth are infinite substances, but as they begin to be combined more and more, the substance becomes less pure and less and less similar to the original Divine state of purity and infinity. The descent of Divine Truth or Divine Speech into the human mind takes places by stages or degrees that do not overlap with each other. The first entry of Divine Speech into human consciousness is at the uppermost region of the mind called "heaven." People who are willing to be elevated by God all the way to the top of their conscious mind are in heaven and are able to perceive Divine Speech at the level of celestial meaning ("Third Haven"). Next the Divine Meaning descends by correspondence into its next degree in the mind called the "spiritual mind" or "Second Heaven." At this level of rational consciousness we are able to understand spiritual correspondences of Divine Speech.

The rational understanding we have at the spiritual level is far below that we have at the celestial level. The spiritual mind cannot comprehend the celestial mind so far apart they are. Below this is the "natural heaven" or "First Heaven" which is within the natural mind after it has been regenerated. At last, in its final degree of descent, Divine Speech appears in natural correspondences in which Sacred Scripture is written.

The Writings of Swedenborg have revealed the laws of correspondences which govern the relationship between celestial correspondences, spiritual correspondences, and natural correspondences. Without knowing these laws no one is capable of reconstructing Divine Speech up the ladder of correspondences. But now anyone can who is willing to follow the steps indicated in the Writings regarding how to reconstruct Divine Speech or the Word in its various "inner senses" or meanings.

At the level of natural correspondences there are two platforms of understanding or rationality by which we can comprehend them. They are called the natural-rational mind and the spiritual-natural mind. One is within the other in terms of an interior degree. The spiritual-natural organ of the mind is created or implanted by God in the interior degree within the natural-rational mind. The natural-rational mind grows and develops through the rational content of natural order as we detect it through our physical senses. To begin with this natural-rational level of thinking is non-theistic and materialistic. non-theistic science as we know it today is at the level of the natural-rational thinking. At this level we are unable to comprehend rationally anything that is not an abstraction based on the physical universe. We can be religious, but this is called "faith" and this is ordinarily viewed as more mystical than rational.

But as we begin our reformation and regeneration in adult life (see Section xx), God activates this dormant spiritual organ of consciousness within our conscious natural mind. The organ grows and develops to the extent of our cooperation with God in our regeneration through temptations (see Section xx). As the spiritual-natural organ develops it gives us conscious awareness of meaning that are conveyed in spiritual- correspondences and celestial-correspondences. The Writings call this growth process as the "elevation of the mind into heaven." It is also called spiritual "enlightenment."

Thus, as we progress in our regeneration or character rebuilding, we are able to comprehend higher level rational correspondences or meaning of Divine Speech. At first we are only able to comprehend the interior meaning of natural correspondences. This is called the interior-natural consciousness or "First Heaven." When we can become conscious of the interior meaning natural correspondences our consciousness is in effect in the First Heaven with all those who are also there forming a universal community. This can be illustrated by considering the meaning of Divine Speech when Sacred Scripture gives us the Commandments (see Section xx). Let us consider the Third Commandment.

Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy; for six days you are to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath for Jehovah your God. (Exod. 20:8-10; Deut. 5:12, 13 in the Old Testament of the Bible).

This is an example of Divine Speech as Sacred Scripture in a natural language. It is written in historical and natural style called "natural correspondences" to Divine Speech. At this level of literal thinking God is telling us to reserve the seventh day of the week as a religious holiday. IN other words, we are to shift focus from our week day work and activities to special "holy" day of rest from work and dedicated to God. At this level of rational thinking there appears nothing else in Divine Speech but instructions on the external conduct of our life. But when we apply the verse of Sacred Scripture to our life because it is from God, we are given a deeper rational understanding of what is in the verse. Our rational consciousness is elevated to our First Heaven and in that mental state we are able to comprehend the interior meaning of the verse. Instead of the external natural-rational understanding of the verse, we now are able to see a spiritual-natural meaning within it.

The comprehension of the interior-natural correspondences of the verse gives an entirely new and higher rationality for understanding the verse of Sacred Scripture. Here, the spiritual-natural meaning of "Sabbath" is "instruction in holy things about God and heaven." The Hebrew word "Sabbath" literally means "rest from work." So in the literal natural sense the verse commands us to take a day of rest, but in the spiritual-natural meaning the verse commands us to instruct ourselves in spiritual truths about God and heaven. These two meanings are far apart and one cannot be deduced from the other. People can obey the commandment at the literal level of resting from work, and yet not obey the commandment of instructing themselves in the holy things of God. Fundamentalist practices tend to focus almost exclusively on the literal natural meaning of Sacred Scripture.

However, when we reflect upon our religion rationally we can compare one verse with others and thereby construct new understandings that can coalesce into a cognitive system or philosophy of God called "doctrine." Doctrine is a rational and coherent expression of our understanding of Sacred Scripture. As we form doctrine in our mind we begin to understand verses of Sacred Scripture in a more interior or correspondential sense. In this case, as we practice the literal rest period commanded, we are also motivated to be instructed further in God and heaven, and especially, in realizing all that God commands us to do.

Once we understand the spiritual-rational correspondence of "Sabbath" as instruction in religion, we can go even deeper to reconstruct the spiritual-rational correspondences in the verse. When this is understood our rational mind is elevated to the Second Heaven. Regarding the Sabbath commandment, we now can see what the Writings are discussing about this verse:

Sabbath in the language of the original means rest. Among the Children of Israel the Sabbath was the holiest of observances, because it represented the Lord. The six days represented the Lord's toils and battles against the hells, the seventh His victory over them, and so rest. Since that day represented the completion of the Lord's whole act of redemption, it was for that reason the height of holiness.

When, however, the Lord came into the world, so that representations of Him ceased, that day became a day for instruction in Divine matters, and also a day of rest from work, for meditation about matters conducive to salvation and everlasting life, and a day for love towards the neighbor. (...) (TCR 301)

Note that we are told something new here that is information from the spiritual world and not from the natural world. There is nothing in the commandment to keep the day of rest about spiritual temptations, and yet the expression "rest from labor" in the correspondential sense means the period of peace following the labor of temptation. When this verse is reconstructed at the level of spiritual-rational correspondences (Second Heaven consciousness), we can see that Divine Speech is discussing here the state of mind in regeneration when we undergo temptations, resist them by means of Divine truths, and win freedom from the evil spirits to which we were previously tied (see Section xx). After a victory in temptation we feel the close presence of God, and we bask in a mental state of freedom from slavishness to our emotions and obsessions. This is the spiritual Sabbath.

The Commandment to keep the Sabbath refers therefore to the absolute requirement that we acknowledge God's operational presence in our thoughts and feelings as we struggle to obey God's Commandments in our efforts at character reformation or regeneration. To disobey this Commandment is to reject the idea in our mind that God is operating our mental activity, and to adopt instead the point of view that we alone are operating our mental activity. This rejection is death or eternal hell because the denial of God in our mental operations neutralizes God's efforts to save us. It is like driving a car without wearing seat belts. We thereby neutralize the safety feature that will save us from injury and death in case of a collision. When we are in the state of mind called the Sabbath rest, we are in heavenly peace on earth, that is, we are experiencing a correspondence of our true heaven. In this mental state, there is rational consciousness of the spiritual kind, and this is called eternity.

There is also a deeper peace at the level of our Third Heaven when we advance in our regeneration enough so that we can face celestial temptations. We can then understand the verse in its celestial-rational correspondence. This level of meaning of Sacred Scripture always discusses details about how God creates new and higher mental states for humankind (see Section xx).

An analysis of the higher meanings of the Ten Commandments will be found in Chapter xx.

The next Section examines the character of Divine Speech by analyzing the text of a chapter in Genesis in the Old Testament that contains the Abraham story of the binding of his son Isaac. I will make a running commentary as we go through each selected passage.

The Binding of Isaac on the Altar

Genesis Chapter 22, Verses 1 to 19:

1. And it came to pass after these words, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Here am I.

     2. And He said, Take I pray thy son, thine only one, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee to the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

     3. And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his boys with him, and Isaac his son; and he clave the wood for the burnt-offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God told him.

     4. On the third day, and Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

     5. And Abraham said unto his boys, Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the boy will go yonder, and we will bow ourselves down, and will come again to you.

     6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife; and they went both of them together.

     7. And Isaac said unto Abraham his father; and he said, My father; and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; and where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?

     8. And Abraham said, God will see for Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son: and they went both of them together.

     9. And they came to the place which God told him of; and Abraham built there the altar, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

     10. And Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

     11. And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham; and he said, Here am I.

     12. And He said, Put not forth thine hand upon the boy, and do not anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, and thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only one, from Me.

     13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold a ram behind, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went, and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son.

     14. And Abraham called the name of that place, Jehovah-will-see, as it is said to this day, In the mountain Jehovah will see.

     15. And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven.

     16. And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only one,

     17. That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed, as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies.

     18. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast harkened to My voice.

     19. And Abraham returned unto his boys; and they rose up, and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt in Beersheba. (…) (AC 2763)

 

In this chapter in the internal sense the Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations are treated of, by which He united His Human Essence to His Divine Essence; and also the salvation by this union of those who constitute the Divine-Human's spiritual church. (AC 2764)

 

The Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations are treated of (verses 1, 3-6, 9-11). Concerning the unition of His Human Essence with His Divine Essence, or His glorification, by means of them (verses 2, 11, 12, 16). Concerning the salvation by the Divine-Human's Divine-Human of the spiritual, of those who are in charity and faith, within the church (verses 2, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). And concerning the salvation of those who are in good, outside the church (verses 20, 21, 22, 23, 24).(AC 2765)    (..)

My commentary:

Note the overall summary of the Chapter given here, namely, that Genesis 22 deals with the “most grievous” temptations Jesus had to undergo. Other chapters deal with other temptations. Keep in mind that the purpose of God’s Incarnation was to produce a situation in which the ordinary human mind of Jesus, His natural mind, was to face the false ideas of the hells by which they were keeping the people on earth from developing their heavenly character. Meanwhile, the natural mind of Jesus would be fed information about spiritual truths from His Divine Spiritual Mind, and with these new spiritual truths, Jesus could defeat the arguments and persuasions of the people in hell. The God-Man on earth had to face the same hells we face, the same false belief systems that justified holding on to hellish traits. No human being was able to come up with these new truths that were needed to defeat the arguments, persuasions, and influence of the hells upon the Fallen inherited natural mind.

Jesus allowed His inherited human natural mind to be exposed gradually to the falsities and persuasions of the hells, defeating them one by one by means of the new spiritual truths. In this way, He made steady progress towards His final goal, which was to completely neutralize the hells and contain them within their habitations in the “lower earths” of the spiritual world. Jesus had to enlighten and regenerate His inherited natural mind. This could be accomplished only by means of temptations. Why?

Because this natural mind He inherited could not be compelled from above, without being destroyed. Jesus could have compelled His natural mind to obey, but this would only have driven its attachment to the hells even more, making it impossible for this natural mind to be regenerated and glorified or made one with the Divine, just as our natural mind makes a one with our spiritual mind and celestial mind. Since the natural mind could not be compelled from above, there was only rational or scientific method Jesus could use to remove all the evil attachments that was in this rational mind from heredity through Mary. This method was the same that we must use to regenerate our natural mind, namely, undergoing a series of temptations.

What happens when our natural mind faces temptation? For instance, for years we may have gotten used to driving aggressively. Almost everybody does it at some times. It’s part of our culture. You see your parents doing it, characters on TV, in video games, all your friends. And so you continue to accept your behavior. This acceptance is a tie to certain hells that you’ve inherited and reinforced in yourself by maintaining it as a habit. Say you realize one blessed day that aggressive driving is a hellish trait. You suddenly realize in horror that you’ve been breaking Divine Commandments since aggressive driving puts others in danger and upsets them, adding to their stress.

Clearly a habit that results in endangering and upsetting others cannot be a heavenly trait. You try to tell yourself to stop being aggressive behind the wheel, yet your corporeal and sensuous mind are doing the driving and reacting, not your enlightened natural-rational mind. Yet the natural-rational mind cannot compel the lower natural mind to obey. The lower natural mind is out of your control because some hell society is in control, by an inherited built in connection. The only way you can free yourself is by enlightening the lower rational mind so that it voluntarily from its own self, breaks the connection by rejecting it as something you reject because it is from hell. This takes re-training or self-modification efforts which consist of self-witnessing your feelings, thoughts, and actions, keeping track of them, evaluating them, then rejecting them and acquiring new habits that are opposite, until one gradually ceases to be an aggressive and impatient driver and starts to be a supportive and peaceful driver.

What allows your lower natural to reject the hellish trait it has gotten used to and finds satisfying?

Only the process of temptation. For instance, you may hurt someone badly one day as a result of the way you drove. Suddenly you are face to face with your own evil. If you then take it  to heart you will feel shocked that you are this way, that you engage in this evil. If you don’t try to explain your evil away, and if you believe in God and heaven, then you will feel like rejecting your long term habit and its satisfaction. The temptation is the desire and enjoyment of doing something that you know now is opposed to your beliefs. You injured someone due to your impatience and you now can either justify it and be damned, or recoil from it and be saved. Every temptation provides a fine line balancing point between choosing evil or good. This apparent equality is carefully maintained by God for every individual for it is the only method of salvation available to the human race. No temptation is permitted by our Divine Psychologist to face us unless He can provide this fine line balance for us. A temptation that is overwhelming, preventing free choice, is never permitted, as has been revealed in the Writings.

And so the only way the inherited human natural mind of Jesus could be regenerated and made Divine is by subjugating it with temptations during which He had the choice of accepting or rejecting His old belief system. The Writings reveal that Jesus went through all the temptations human beings go through so that He could conquer all the hells, not just some of them. Each hell had a particular persuasive hold on the unregenerate inherited natural mind of everyone on earth. Jesus had to face them each in turn and conquer them by fabricating new truths they could not oppose. These new truths came down into His natural conscious mind from His unconscious Divine Mind, until at last all the hells were conquered with all the new truths that were needed. Only the Divine Mind could defeat all the hells in their enormous entirety and cleverness. This is the same Divine Mind that maintains the faculty of fabricating persuasive falsities about God, which people in their hells have cumulatively fabricated over the generations.

There is here a most astonishing image that is worthwhile holding up for reflection. God was doing two things simultaneously. One was to maintain the hells in the ability of fabricating falsities about Him. The other was to give Jesus new truths by which the hell falsities about Him could be defeated in the natural human mind.

The result was the salvation of the human mind throughout its levels of operation -- hell, earth or world of spirits, and heaven. All three portions had to be saved if the human mind was to survive. The hells were saved from destruction by having them subdued by the natural portion of the human mind in Jesus. Had Jesus used His Spiritual Divine Mind, the hellish level of the human mind would be destroyed. If any portion of the human mind is destroyed, all of it perishes. So the human mind was saved by saving the hells from destruction.

The heavenly portion of the human mind was saved by transforming the old sensuous celestial region of the human mind into the new rational consciousness of the Divine Human called "the Holy Spirit." This new rational heaven in every human mind is opened to any individual who is willing to undergo spiritual temptations and to fight them with the new spiritual truths of theistic psychology. The new heavenly level of the human mind was created by the Incarnation event and the temptations in the natural mind of Jesus. Hence the Incarnation was the most significant step in the evolution of human consciousness since the Fall of the race (see Section xx).

When the work of temptations of Jesus was accomplished, His ordinary natural mind died in the crucifixion (the last of the temptations), and He then resurrected with a Divine Natural Mind and Divine Natural Body. I present these details here as a context for understanding the passage about the Binding of Isaac that we are analyzing. These details are given in other passages not presented here, but see the many references to other Numbered Paragraphs within the passages below.

The Divine Natural Mind and Body is called the Glorified Human. In the passage above (AC 2765) it is said that “He united His Human Essence to His Divine Essence.” This means that He Glorified His Human. From now on God was to be called the Divine-Human, and anyone on earth or in the spiritual world, can be aware of Him, communicate with Him, be led by Him, and thus be saved for eternal life in heaven. In the passages below we shall see more details about these struggles and how they took place. The reason we must acknowledge and communicate with the Divine-Human is that this is the only way we have access to the new truths He created while on earth.

Our heavenly life is inside these truths. Unless we appropriate these new truths as our own by understanding and love, we have no heaven to go to or to dwell in. Our heaven exists inside these new truths. Heaven is a property of rational consciousness. Our only entry point to our heaven is through the development of our rational consciousness. This must be accomplished through gradual regeneration by temptation.

Those who have no access to these new truths while on earth are exposed to them immediately after resuscitation (see Section xx). Access to these truths on earth comes from Sacred Scripture and theistic psychology. After resuscitation in the world of spirits access to these truths is through instruction of the novitiate spirits by those who are in their heavens and love to share these truths. Swedenborg has seen vast libraries in the world of spirits where one can examine any book published on earth. I imagine that for our generation these libraries would include electronic databases, such as this one you are reading.

 

The Mental Struggles of the Divine-Human on Earth

Continuing with the presentation:

Verse 2. “And He said, Take I pray thy son, thine only one, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee to the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” "He said, Take I pray thy son," signifies the Divine rational begotten by Him; "thine only one, whom thou lovest," signifies the sole one in the universe by which He was to save the human race; "even Isaac," signifies its quality; "and get thee to the land of Moriah," signifies a place and state of temptation; "and offer him there for a burnt- offering," signifies that He should sanctify Himself to the Divine; "upon one of the mountains," signifies the Divine Love; "which I will tell thee of," signifies as He should perceive. (AC 2771).

My Commentary:

The paragraph above is awesome to contemplate. Isaac was a real person and Moriah was a real mountain in the Holy Land. And Jehovah did indeed talk to Abraham telling him the things listed above. These events occurred a thousand years before Jesus struggled to form new mental pathways for human beings. These struggles are described in detail in the Abraham biography written a thousand years earlier. This is awesome! Imagine that you find a book one day in some bookstore for old used books, and as you browse through it, it is the story of your life. Feverishly you turn the pages and you see all the details are true, even what you thought and how you felt when you were 6 or 12. You turn to the date when the book was published and you see 1899—decades before you were born. What would you think?

Let’s look at how the passage extracts the details of Jesus’ mental struggles and development, by applying the code of correspondences. Recall that Divine Speech is written in this code because the code is determined by the laws of correspondences that scientifically define the interconnectivity between the natural and spiritual worlds. God creates through scientific laws because all things are created by means of spiritual light and heat from the Spiritual Sun, and spiritual light is the same as truth. Hence truth is a substance by which God creates all things. Things cannot be created out of nothing, as some erroneously believe. Things must be created out of something, namely, the spiritual substance of truth. Rationality is the application and derivation of truth in the mind. This is why heaven is constructed out of our rational consciousness.

Continuing with the passage:

He said, Take I pray thy son. That this signifies the Divine rational begotten by Him, is evident from the signification of a "son," as being the rational (see n. 2623); here the Divine rational, because by the son is meant Isaac; and that he represents the Divine-Human's Divine rational has been shown above (n. 1893, 2066, 2083, 2630). And as the Divine-Human made His rational Divine by His own power, as has been often said, by "thy son" is also signified that it was begotten by Him (see n. 1893, 2093, 2625). (AC 2772) (…)

My Commentary:

Note the many references to other Numbered Paragraphs in the same Work called Arcana Coelestia (=Heavenly Secrets in Latin), which runs for 12 volumes in English translation. Swedenborg painstakingly proves every little detail of every assertion he makes about correspondences in the Old and New Testaments. The paragraph above is from Number (AC 2772). You can see from the progression of the Numbers in the references (numbers in parentheses) that he keeps track of all the single proofs he gives earlier, to make sure the reader can retrace the development of any one sub-topic and proof. You will also note in the subsequent passages below, that the Writings are rooted in the verses of the Old and New Testaments, and also, that the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings make up one unit called the Threefold Word.

The paragraph above reviews these prior proofs of correspondence in Sacred Scripture:

(a) whenever “son” is mentioned, the scientific reference is to our rational mind (not the sensuous mind, not the spiritual mind).

(b) whenever “Isaac” is mentioned, the scientific reference is to the Rational Mind of the Divine-Human.

(c) whenever “thy son” is mentioned, the scientific reference is to the origin or formative state of the rational mind.

At one level of meaning, the scientific reference in “thy son” is to the Divine-Human’s Rational Mind. At another level of meaning, the reference is to our regenerated mind or heavenly traits. “Thy son” is a natural correspondence for what mentally we think of as the “originating idea.” The originating idea of a plan or formula is also referred to as the “father” clause. We also use the term “fathering” a concept or trend in fashions, etc.

These connections exist because our language contains built in correspondences between physical events or qualities and mental or spiritual qualities and references. As pointed out elsewhere, the ancient civilizations had a knowledge of correspondences, which had been passed down the generations from the most ancient celestial race (see Section xx). In modern times the knowledge was forgotten or turned into myths and fables. To some extent the science of aesthetics is aware of correspondences. Emerson took the idea of correspondences from the Writings and turned it into something different, namely, poetic and artistic vision or feeling.

Note:  For a deeper analysis of how the Incarnate God glorified His Human and made it Divine, explained with lucid diagrams, see the excellent study by N. C. Burnham at:  www.theisticscience.org/books/burnham/index.htm

The Meaning of Sacrifices in Worship

Continuing with the Chapter being analyzed:

“And offer him there for a burnt-offering.” That this signifies that He should sanctify Himself to the Divine, is evident from the representation of a burnt-offering among the Hebrew nation and in the Jewish church, as being the most holy thing of their worship. There were burnt-offerings and there were sacrifices, and what these represented may be seen above (n. 922, 923, 1823, 2180). Their sanctifications were made by means of them, and hence it is that by "offering up for a burnt-offering" is here signified to be sanctified to the Divine, for the Divine-Human Himself sanctified Himself to the Divine, that is, united His Human to His Divine by the combats and victories of temptations (see n. 1663, 1690, 1691 at the end, 1692, 1737, 1787, 1812, 1813, 1820). 

[2] It is a common belief at this day that the burnt-offerings and sacrifices signified the Divine-Human's passion, and that by this the Divine-Human made expiation for the iniquities of all; indeed, that He took them upon Himself, and thus bore them; and that those who believe are in this manner justified and saved, provided they think, even though it were in the last hour before death, that the Divine-Human suffered for them, no matter how they may have lived during the whole course of their life. 

But the case is not really so: the passion of the cross was the extremity of the Divine-Human's temptation, by which He fully united His Human to His Divine and His Divine to His Human, and thus glorified Himself. This very union is the means by which those who have the faith in Him which is the faith of charity, can be saved. For the supreme Divine Itself could no longer reach to the human race, which had removed itself so far from the celestial things of love and the spiritual things of faith, that men no longer even acknowledged them, and still less perceived them. In order therefore that the supreme Divine might be able to come down to man in such a state, the Divine-Human came into the world and united His Human to the Divine in Himself; which union could not be effected otherwise than by the most grievous combats of temptations and by victories, and at length by the last, which was that of the cross. (AC 2776)

The above passage discusses the meaning of “sacrifices” in the Old and New Testaments. References are given to earlier Numbered Paragraphs where the details are first proven, one by one. Here, in summary form, it is recalled to the reader that sacrifices in the Old Testament were commanded because they represented, or symbolically stood for, the Incarnation event. Recall that the Incarnation event was the greatest evolutionary step in the creation of the human race. It began a new age for humankind, an elevation of the human consciousness to God. The Incarnation event created a visible Divine-Human in the external world. This became necessary when the human race on earth had falsified and distorted Sacred Scripture available to them. This distancing from Divine Speech destroyed their spiritual rationality.

They were unable to love God except externally, for personal benefit, reward, or power. People born on earth were at the edge of doom, invaded and controlled by evil spirits from hell, who held on to them by these falsities and their evil loves. A God visible on earth was not yet a possibility, not yet part of the evolution of the race’s consciousness of the Divine and of their future in eternity. God had foreseen this from creation, and when the time was ripe, God Incarnated as a Divine Child born of a virgin in the Holy Land where He had been worshipped in Name as Jehovah.

Jehovah, the infinite Human Divine God, came out into the external world to create a visible God out of Himself. For reasons already discussed above, this task of “glorifying His Human begotten in the world” had to involve treacherous and disturbing temptations He had to suffer Himself to undergo with that portion of Himself that was not yet regenerated.

Once the task was accomplished, the Glorified Divine-Human was visible in our rational consciousness. Every person since then has been given the capacity to picture the visible Divine-Human, to read the Divine Speech of the Divine-Human in Sacred Scripture, and to love the Divine-Human with such intensity that we can strive to arrange every detail of our daily life for His sake, for the sake of our love for Him. By acting, thinking, and feeling for His sake in accordance with His Word, we are able to elevate our consciousness to heaven and to abide in heavenly life to eternity.

God’s commandment that we love Him more than anything, is for this reason only, that if we follow that commandment, He is then able to give us what He longs to give us—life in eternity in heaven in the maximum conjugial bliss and happiness possible, endlessly increasing. This is what He commands us to love Him more than anything. The Divine Commandment a scientific built in process for mental development, not something that God desires for being worshipped or glorified by humans. In the passage below, more details are given on how this scientific mechanism works.

Continuing with the analysis of the Chapter:

 [3] Hence it is that the Divine-Human can from His Divine-Human illumine minds, even those far removed from the celestial things of love, provided they are in the faith of charity. For the Divine-Human in the other life appears to the celestial angels as a Sun, and to the spiritual as a Moon (n. 1053, 1521, 1529, 1530, 2441, 2495), whence comes all the light of heaven. This light of heaven is of such a nature that when it illumines the sight of spirits and angels, it also illumines their understanding at the same time.

This is inherent in that light, so that in heaven so much as anyone has of external light, so much has he of internal light, that is, so much of understanding; which shows wherein the light of heaven differs from the light of the world. It is the Divine-Human's Divine-Human which illuminates both the sight and the understanding of the spiritual; which would not take place if the Divine-Human had not united His Human Essence to His Divine Essence; and if He had not united them, man in the world would no longer have had any capacity of understanding and perceiving what is good and true, nor indeed would a spiritual angel in heaven have had any; so that they would have had nothing of blessedness and happiness, consequently nothing of salvation. From this we can see that the human race could not have been saved unless the Divine-Human had assumed the Human and glorified it. .) (AC 2776)

My Commentary:

Here again in this passage it is repeated that the Divine Light or Truth, and the Divine Heat or Love, were inverted into their opposites by the time it reached our conscious level in the natural mind here on earth. There was an inability of the human race on earth to be moved by this process of filtering down, which had worked before, but no longer. Therefore it was necessary for the Visible Divine-Human to be created in the consciousness of the race.

The above passage gives us this amazing scientific revelation: that spiritual light from the Spiritual Sun is actually an event of enlightenment of our consciousness by means of the clear vision of full understanding. Spiritual light is received differently by people in accordance with their ability or willingness to understand scientific truths about God and human development.

The highest angels are the top consciousness people in the universe, being closest in apparent location to the Spiritual Sun. Those of us who get there, or reach that inner state of consciousness, are called “celestial angels” and we live in the Third Heaven to eternity. We are the first human contingent to receive the Divine Light and Heat, that is the Divine Wisdom and the Divine Love from the Spiritual Sun. From the minds of the celestial angels, it filters down to the minds of the angelic spirits in the Second Heaven, and finally to the angelic spirits of the First Heaven. From them the Divine Light and Heat are transmitted to the internal-natural of those who are undergoing regeneration on earth.

This means that they are enlightened in their natural mind and conscious awareness. They are able to receive interior confirmation of truth when they read it. It is not possible to misguide them with a wrong scientific theory or belief system. They are able to see through falsities and to recognize what is from heaven and what from hell, that is, what is good and what is not good, what is true and what is not true. They are liberated from the daily emotional spin cycle (see Section xx). The live in conjugial love and feel blessed in what they possess from the Divine-Human, whom they keep before their focus of attention every day and every hour of the day. They look forward to their conjugial life in heaven. They progress in wisdom and love throughout the days of their life on earth, and thereafter, in heaven to eternity.

The rational mind is regenerated from top down. First, the natural-rational mind, through one’s knowledge and love for Sacred Scripture. Second, the sensuous mind, through self-witnessing one’s threefold self (see Section xx). Finally, the corporeal mind, through physical disciplines performed for the sake of regeneration or character reformation (see Volume 3 of A Man of the Fieldwww.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/volume3-nonduality.html

When the natural mind is being regenerated at these three levels, there is a new physiological formation within the natural mind that becomes operational. This new portion is more interior than the natural-rational operations of the mind, which means that it is capable of higher consciousness available to our awareness. This superior interior portion of the natural mind is called the “spiritual-natural” and also the “interior-natural.” These refer to the level of our consciousness or ability to understand and see scientific facts about God and human development. This superior understanding requires an enlightened state, which is a mental state resulting from our reception of spiritual light in the interior-natural organ of the natural mind. IN this state of enlightenment we become capable of communicating with the angelic spirits of the First Heaven. We have spiritual perception while still on earth.

With this new organ developing in the interior of our natural mind, we become capable of perceiving ever more interior degrees of meaning within Divine Speech. The deeper we can understand Sacred Scripture the higher our perception of scientific truths about our mental development or regeneration. The higher our conscious awareness of these interior truths, the more we can be regenerated, and the higher the state of life that we enter and develop further in eternity.

There is an orderly and lawful process by which this new spiritual organ develops within our natural mind and conscious awareness. First, we acquire understanding and perception similar to the level of thinking and feeling of the angelic spirits in the First Heaven. Their consciousness is within the spiritual-natural degree of operation, and this is the level we can first become conscious of.

As we progress in regeneration or character reformation, the interior-natural organ develops a more interior level of operation equivalent to the angelic spirits of the Second Heaven. This level of our understanding is far above that of our first phase of enlightenment, called the First Heaven. Now we use in our thinking spiritual-rational correspondences, not merely natural-rational as before.

Finally, we progress to the third degree of spiritual consciousness, equivalent to that of the Third Heaven. The interior-natural organ is now fully developed and we are able to perceive and understand celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech. We have the wisdom and power of perception of angels on earth.

It is this kind of developmental facts that this passage refer to, along with their earlier references, the content of which I am filling with my commentaries.

 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#genesis22

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First, we need to see the rational contradictions in the sacrifice version. It is a contradiction to think of God as angry and demanding a sacrifice to appease His anger. This doesn't sound like the omnipotent God of pure love and wisdom. It sounds more like a human king or petty tyrant whose anger is appeased by the punishments and sacrifices of his people. The Writings reveal that God agreed to a worship of sacrifices during the Moses religion because the people insisted on it. Had God denied them a worship of Him through animal sacrifices, they would have abandoned God altogether and pursue idol worship and human sacrifices, as was the practice of the nations around them. But later, God reveals in the Old Testament that He does not want sacrifices.

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

That sacrifices were by no means acceptable to Jehovah, thus were merely permitted and tolerated for the reason just stated, is very evident in the Prophets, as we read in Jeremiah:

Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth the God of Israel, Add your burnt-offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh. I spoke not unto your fathers, and I commanded them not in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offering and sacrifice; but this word I commanded them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God (Jer. 7:21-23).

In David:

O Jehovah, sacrifice and offering Thou hast not willed, burnt-offering and sin-offering Thou hast not required. I have desired to do Thy will, O my God (Ps. 40:6, 8).

In the same:

Thou delightest not in sacrifice, that I should give it; burnt-offering Thou dost not accept. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (Ps. 51:16-17).

(...)
[7] From all this it is now evident that sacrifices were not commanded, but permitted; also that nothing else was regarded in the sacrifices than what is internal; and that it was the internal, not the external, that was acceptable. On this account also, the Divine-Human abrogated them, as was likewise foretold by Daniel in these words:

In the midst of the week shall He cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (Dan. 9:27),

where the Divine-Human's advent is treated of.(...) (AC 2180)

 

How can God be angry or hate something, and then how can God be "propitiated" or calmed down by an animal sacrifice? The Writings reveal that Divine Speech appears in this mode when filtered into the natural mind where a natural psychology governs our perceptions. In other words, the Divine appears to us in a natural form according to our natural ideas of an earthly king or despot. God keeps this appearance going in our minds when in that lower state of worship. God keeps this appearance to keep open the possibility of our progression to a more interior form of worship, which consists of more rational concepts of God and of His management principles and style. From a rational consciousness of God we can know that anger is from hell and therefore cannot be with God. We must know therefore that when Sacred Scripture say something that is not rationally acceptable about God, we are to look for the underlying spiritual message. In the case of anger, it is this: That God appears angry to us when we are evil. Swedenborg saw evil spirits scamper to hide under rocks and in caverns when a ray of light from heaven entered their domain. This ray of light corresponds to Divine Truth, and so when evil spirits are faced with Divine Truth they experience such terror that they think they are being punished by a vengeful God.

Remember that anger and hate are affective operations in the natural minds of people. Negative emotions originate from the people in the hells of their mind. These emotions are hellish and are produced by the inversion of heavenly affections flowing in from God through the heavens. It is rationally impossible for anger and hate to travel upward from the natural mind into the spiritual mind, and then into the celestial mind and then into the Spiritual Sun and into God's Mind. This upward progression of hellish affections is impossible by the structure of the universe as created. Instead, all affections and truths flow down from God through the layers, and they are inverted in the hells of people's minds. This explains rationally why Sacred Scripture describes God as angry and hating sin. It is how God appears to us when we are lodged in the hells of our mind. Sacred Scripture was given to people everywhere, the majority of whom are born in the hells of their mind and must be willing to climb higher by means of revealed truths from God.

As revealed in the Writings, the Incarnate God used His mere human inherited from Mary to face the hells with new truths He fashioned in His mind as an infirm human. Within this infirm human was His Human Divine, for He was "the Divine-Human from Eternity" come down from heaven. For that purpose God entered the natural world in time and history. Prior to that moment God was omnipresent apart from space and time. God was not present in space and time (see Section xx). When God Incarnated as a mere human He for the very first time became present both apart from time and space and in time and space.

It is obvious that it was God who empowered people to have the idea, the desire, and the act of crucifying His mere human body. He only appeared helpless to those who carried it out and witnessed it. He is the one who gave them the power to do it to Him. He permitted this in His Divine Providence because this is what He had planned all along since creation. God's love burns with the ceaseless desire to bring every human being to the heavens in their minds. God is with every individual in the midst of sin. What is sin? It is to think, feel, and act from the hell in us. Who maintains this hell in every mind? There is no other power in existence than God's power.

Hence we must understand rationally how God actually manages the universe and people. These laws of Divine management or Providence have been revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg. All good events and qualities are provided by God, while all evil events and qualities are allowed by God. He has the power to stop any of it and all of it, but He will not use this power to stop the evil because it would destroy the as-of self independence and freedom of the individual to choose. Without this free choice, we cannot be elevated to heaven. Hence God will not stop people from turning good into evil, but He will moderated people's evils constantly so that more evil than is necessary shall not come into existence.

The suffering of the Divine-Human on the cross was the last temptation or passion He made Himself endure. By this act He was able to face the worst of all the hells in the human race, and defeat them by means of the thought processes and feelings He created for that occasion. Since then every human being can similarly face their own hells by means of the mental operations the Divine-Human created in overcoming every temptation. Everyone can now be regenerated by character reformation through temptations that the Divine-Human arranges at the right time and in the right proportion of intensity and quality--just what is needed for each unique person to gain victory and self-change.

Continuing with the Chapter analysis:

“And went unto the place of which God told him.” That this signifies His state at that time according to perception, is evident from the signification of "place," as being state (see n. 1273-1277, 1376-1381, 2625); and from the signification of "God saying," as being to perceive from the Divine (n. 2769, 2778). As regards the state itself, it is described in this verse, that is, the state which the Divine-Human assumed when He underwent temptations, and here that which He assumed when He underwent the most grievous and inmost temptations. His first preparation for that state was that He entered into a state of peace and innocence, and that He prepared the natural man in Himself, as also the rational, so that they should serve the Divine rational, and that He adjoined the merit of righteousness, and in this manner elevated Himself.

These things cannot be explained at all to the comprehension, or be presented to the idea, of anyone who does not know that many states exist together, and these distinct from one another; and who does not also know what a state of peace and innocence is, what the natural man is, what the rational man, and also what the merit of righteousness is; for he must first have a distinct idea of all these, and must also know that the Divine-Human from His Divine could induce upon Himself whatever states He pleased, and that He prepared Himself for temptations by inducing many states. Although these things are in obscurity as of night with men, they are nevertheless in clearness as of day with the angels, who being in the light of heaven from the Divine-Human, see in these and similar things innumerable things distinctly, and from the affection flowing in at the time perceive ineffable joy. Hence it is evident how far human understanding and perception fall short of angelic understanding and perception. (AC 2786).

My Commentary:

Note the scientific meaning of “place” in Divine Speech, namely mental state. Sacred Scripture frequently mentions a place in the historical narrative and in poetic visions. This shows that God is frequently discussing the topic of mental states, and this is because the purpose of Sacred Scripture is to elevate our understanding from the natural to the spiritual, so that from the spiritual we could reorder the natural mind from its inherited state of disorder to a new arrangement of order as defined for us by our Creator for the sake of our salvation. Salvation refers to the acquisition of a heavenly character that God can keep in maximum happiness to eternity.

The passage above says that “He prepared the natural man in Himself, as also the rational, so that they should serve the Divine rational.” In other words, God Himself was in charge of the mental development of the Divine Child, God’s own Incarnation or appearance in the physical world. God is present everywhere, as is well known, but it is not widely known yet that God is present everywhere in space but apart from space. The infinite God cannot be limited to physical space, which is His creation. Neither can the infinite be divided but is always the same as one. The only rational scientific answer is that God is present equally in all space but apart from space. God is one, and there is no pluralism about His Presence and Identity as the Divine Supreme Person. God does not appear in multiple places to many people, for this would be a division of Himself into many parts, and that is not rationally possible for the infinite Being. Instead, God is present equally with every created object or mind, not in the created structure itself, but apart from it, or underlying its inmost framework.

This underlying inmost framework is not in space because it is spiritual, and the spiritual is not in space. Nor is the mental in space since the mental and the spiritual form a one. For the same reason God cannot in the minds or souls of people in the sense that this is accepted in some Eastern philosophies and belief systems. We cannot rightly say, “the God in me greets the God in you,” since God is not in me and not in you. No part of me is part of God. Instead God is said to “dwell” in me, or to dwell in the soul of every human being. This means that God dwells in me but apart from me. In other words, God and I can be co-present. Or, God and I can be adjoined to each other, but never “conjoined,” meaning an overlap or sharing of parts.

In the entire explication of Genesis Chapter 22 it is being shown how God-Man as a Child on this earth, made Himself go through developmental mental states as He transformed his inherited and evil natural mind by struggling with the falsities of the hells that kept people captive to them. Having created these new mental pathways or truths, the Incarnate God-Man brought salvation to the human race, meaning, that any individuals who wanted to could now transform their inherited evil natural mind into a heavenly mind that can live there to eternity. In this passage we are told that it is God who prepares us for the temptations we must undergo in order to become aware of our falsities and evils, so that seeing them in us, we may reject them as no longer of us.

We need the right kind of thoughts and feelings to accomplish this. God supplies the right kind of temptation at the right time when we are in a state of mind in which we can accept His fighting for us against the hells. We cannot fight on our own for we cannot resist the hells. We must therefore acknowledge that the Divine-Human fights for us just as He fought for Himself when He subdued the hells by the new mental truths He revealed to Himself from His Divine.

Every human being anywhere can now obtain salvation for heaven by mentally stepping through the pathways established by the Incarnate God during His life on this earth. These pathways have been revealed in scientific terms through the revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg. We are analyzing here portions a few Numbers in Arcana Coelestia, one of the works of the Writings, a portion that extracts the scientific sense of Chapter 22 of Genesis in the Old Testament. The passage above that “many states exist together, and these distinct from one another” and that we need to know “what a state of peace and innocence is, what the natural man is, what the rational man, and also … that the Divine-Human from His Divine could induce upon Himself whatever states He pleased, and that He prepared Himself for temptations by inducing many states.”

Continuing with the analysis:

“On the third day.” That this signifies completeness, and the beginning of sanctification, is evident from the signification of the "third day." "Day" in the Word signifies state (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893); as also does "year," and in general all periods of time; as an "hour," a "day," a "week," a "month," a "year," an "age;" as also "morning," "noon," "evening," and "night;" and "spring," "summer," "autumn," and "winter;" and when "third" is added to these, they signify the end of that state, and at the same time the beginning of the following state. As the Divine-Human's sanctification is here treated of, which was effected by temptations, the "third day" signifies completeness, and at the same time the beginning of sanctification, as also follows from what has been already said.

The reason of this signification is that when the Divine-Human had fulfilled all things He would rise again on the third day; for the things that were done, or that would be done by the Divine-Human when He lived in the world, were in the representatives of the church as if already done (as also they were in the internal sense of the Word); for in God to be and to become are the same; indeed all eternity is present to Him. (AC 2788)

My Commentary:

Here we find out that when considering their scientific meaning, words in Sacred Scripture relating to time and period, like day, year, age, winter, morning, night, etc., refer to the variety of specific mental states we undergo in regeneration or spiritual development. “On the third day” refers to a mental state that completes a particular phase of development, given that the number 3 in the Word always refers to that which is complete or completed.

The passage reveals that when God-Man suffered Himself to be crucified, He did this on account of its spiritual correspondence, in accord with what was written about Him in various Old Testament passages. And also, because everything God does is for the entire human race for all times. His Speech is therefore by correspondences, as explained above, and also His specific actions, like arranging for His Own Crucifixion and suffering Himself to carry it through. It was after all He Himself who gave the idea and the power to those men to do this to Him. Hence the act of Resurrection on the third day after His burial.

The Glorified Physical Body that He made to arise from the tomb was completely pure and untainted by the former inherited deficiencies and tendencies to evil. IN fact, we are told that the risen Natural Body was made one with the Divine so that it could now be called the Divine Natural Body of the Divine-Human. This Divine Natural Body can be seen in the Spiritual Sun, which is a hot aura of Love and Wisdom around this Body and emanating from it in infinite quantity.

Continuing with the Chapter, here, regarding the scientific meaning of the number 3 throughout samples of Holy Scripture:

[2] Hence the number "three" was representative, not only in the Ancient Church and in the Jewish, but also among various nations. (See what is said concerning this number above, n. 720, 901, 1825.) That this was the origin of the signification of "three," is evident in Hosea:

Let us return unto Jehovah, for He hath wounded, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up; after two days He will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him (Hos. 6:1-2);

(…)

Jesus said to the Jews, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. He spake of the temple of His body (John 2:19-21; Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58; 15:29).

(…)

 [6] When they came into the land of Canaan the fruit was to be uncircumcised three years, and was not to be eaten (Lev. 19:23).

At the end of three years they were to bring all the tithes of their increase in that year and lay it up in their gates, that the Levite, the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow might eat (Deut. 14:28-29; 24:12).

(…)

David was to choose one of three things: seven years of famine in the land; or that he should flee before his enemies three months; or a pestilence in the land three days (2 Sam. 24:12-13).

(…)

So in the following passages:

Peter denied Jesus thrice (Matt. 26:34, 69 and following verses).

The Divine-Human said to Peter three times, "Lovest thou Me?" (John 21:17).

Also in the parable, the man who planted the vineyard sent servants three times, and at length his son (Luke 20:12; Mark 12:2, 4-6).

They who labored in the vineyard were hired at the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour (Matt. 20:1-17).

Because the fig tree did not bear fruit for three years, it was to be cut down (Luke 13:6, 7). (…) (AC 2788)

I’m only presenting a small sample here to indicate that Swedenborg was painstakingly careful in proving the scientific sense of some word by showing how it had the same sense in all other passages in Sacred Scripture, even though they were written by different people at vastly different epochs.

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#passion

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Evolutionary Footsteps for the Human Race

 

Continuing with the Chapter analysis, we are given a lot more details about the progressive development of His mental states, the same mental states we must go through, by “following Him” or stepping through the footsteps and pathways He created. Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scriptures:

AC 2795  “And will come again to you.” That this signifies conjunction afterwards, is also evident without explication. As the Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations are treated of in this chapter, all the states that He assumed when He underwent these temptations are described. The first state is described in the third verse, the second state in this verse, the third state in the verse next following, and the rest afterwards.

But these states cannot be expounded to the common apprehension unless many things are first known, not only respecting the Divine-Human's Divine, as here represented by Abraham, but also respecting His Divine-Human as represented by Isaac, and respecting the state of this rational when He engaged in and underwent the combats of temptation (this being the "boy"); and also what and of what quality the former rational was, and also the natural which it had; and likewise what the state was when the one was adjoined to the other, and what the state was when they were more or less separated.

Moreover many things concerning temptations must be known, as what exterior and interior temptations are, and hence what were the inmost and most grievous temptations the Divine-Human had, and which are treated of in this chapter. So long as these things are unknown, the things contained in this verse cannot possibly be described to the comprehension; and if they should be described, even most clearly, they would still appear obscure. To the angels, who are in the light of heaven from the Divine-Human, all these things are manifest and clear, indeed blessed, because they are most heavenly. 

[2] Here we will merely say that the Divine-Human could not be tempted at all when He was in the Divine Itself, for the Divine is infinitely above all temptation; but He could be tempted as to His human. This is the reason why when He was to undergo the most grievous and inmost temptations, He adjoined to Himself the prior human, that is, the rational and the natural of it, as described in verse 3; and why He afterwards separated Himself from these, as is said in this verse; but nevertheless retaining something by means of which He could be tempted; which is the reason why it is not here said, "Isaac my son," but "the boy," by whom is meant the Divine rational in such a state, namely, in a state of truth, prepared for the most grievous and inmost combats of temptations (see n. 2793).

That neither the Divine Itself nor the Divine-Human could be tempted, must be evident to everyone simply from the fact that not even the angels can approach the Divine, much less the spirits who induce temptations, and still less the hells. Hence it is manifest why the Divine-Human came into the world, and put on the human state itself with its infirmity; for thus He could be tempted as to the human, and by means of the temptations subjugate the hells, and reduce each and all things to obedience and into order, and save the human race which had removed itself so far away from the supreme Divine. (AC 2795)

My Commentary:

The passage above explains further what I have already discussed in my commentaries above.

Continuing with the next selection (remember that I’m skipping and sampling):

AC 2796  As regards the putting on of the various states by the Divine-Human which is here treated of, they cannot but be unknown to man, because he never reflects on his changes of state; which are nevertheless going on continually, both as to what is of the understanding or the thoughts, and as to what is of the will or the affections. The reason of his not reflecting upon them is that he believes that all things in him follow in natural order, and that there is nothing higher which directs; whereas the case is that all things are disposed by means of the spirits and angels with him; and all his states and changes of states are therefrom, and are thus to eternity directed by the Divine-Human to ends which the Divine-Human alone foresees.

That the reality is so, has become most fully known to me now by the experience of many years. It has also been given to know and observe what spirits and angels were with me, and what states they induced; and this I can solemnly assert-that all states, even to the least particulars, come from this source and are thereby directed by the Divine-Human. It has also been given to know and observe that in every state there are a great many others, which do not appear, and which together appear as one general state; and that these states are disposed in relation to the states which follow in order in their series. With a man these things are done by the Divine-Human; but with the Divine-Human Himself, when He lived in the world, they were done by Himself; because He was Divine, and the very being of His life was Jehovah. (AC 2796)

My Commentary:

In the above passage are stated in summary form many amazing scientific revelations about the operation and development of the human mind. You can see in this passage several key principles in theistic psychology discussed frequently in this book. Let’s list them in the order they appear in the passage above:

1. As individuals grow their mind goes through a series of phases, just as the physical body goes through visible maturation steps. Each phase consists of a series of developmental mental states and there is never a time when this flow of states ceases.

2. God is in charge of the operation of this series with every individual from the moment of birth to eternity. The series could not proceed without God’s immediate involvement, moderating one step and preparing the next step in advance by adjusting the current step, and so on.

3. The series of developmental steps brought on by God moment by moment can be monitored by the individual through “reflection” or spiritual self-witnessing (see Section xx). People don’t do this ordinarily because they are in the negative bias mode of living their daily lives, even if they have an active religious life in the community. Spiritual self-witnessing is to monitor and evaluate the sequence of mental states in any specific situation or task activity. It is thus a spiritual discipline in the service of our regeneration efforts (see Volume 3 of A Man of the Field www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/volume3-nonduality.html

4. The negative bias mode of living is to operate on the assumption that “there is nothing higher which directs.” Theistic psychology is based on the positive bias assumption, which is that “all things are disposed by means of the spirits and angels with him; and all his states and changes of states are therefrom.” This is discussed in theistic psychology under the topic of the “vertical community” (see Section xx).

5. The vertical community refers to the fact that, as stated in points 3 and 4, every developmental step in our mental operations is managed closely by God, not immediately, but immediately, “by means of the spirits and angels with him.” This is the vertical community to which every human mind on earth is connected and without which we would have absolutely no mental activity. God always follows this principle of mediate action, which is His method for maintaining the total networking of the human race, so that whatever happens to one individual anywhere affects in some way every other individual anywhere. What a stupendous concept! And how grand! It has been revealed that to God the entire human race appears as one (see Section xx).

6. But the operation of the vertical community is more specific than this universal networking effect. God connects us and reconnects us, moment by moment, to different “spirits and angels” that make up our vertical community at any one moment. God uses these more direct and specific influences as a Divine Psychologist who lovingly and wisely manages our regeneration needs—what things we need to become aware of when, or, what kind of experience we need to be prepared for the next phase.

7. Swedenborg confirms these revelations about the vertical community by careful scientific observations extended over a period of several years on a daily basis. Through his unique dual consciousness, he was able to see the spirits and angels in his own vertical community, who they were, what their character was, and how often they were exchanged for different spirits and angels. “Spirits” is the name used for people who pass into the afterlife and are resuscitated a few hours later in the world of spirits. “Angels” is the name used for people who enter the afterlife, and shortly thereafter, are elevated to their heavens.

8. The character of the spirits and angels in our vertical community determines our mental state. Our mental states are “induced” by our vertical community. For instance, suppose you are standing in your bathroom flossing your teeth. God has to bring certain spirits and angels into your vertical community to allow you to perform the flossing activity. Our freedom of choice is maintained in every detail by balancing the vertical community to include good spirits and evil spirits. For instance, when I floss, I experience many kinds of celestial temptations that challenge my love for doing a good job at flossing. I have to overcome the impulse to hurry and skip parts. Many issues like this arise during the daily routine that takes about three minutes. How to hold the floss for most effectiveness. How to curl it and uncurl it so the circulation in the finger isn’t cut off. How to be efficient and not use up more floss than is necessary. And other temptations and resolutions (see Section xx). God manages every little detail of my mental states during flossing. And the management method involves the vertical community.

9. The organization of mental states is hierarchical (“in order in their series”), like the top down syntactic construction of a sentence when we talk. During self-witnessing we can confirm this organization or “series.” At first many mental operations appear as one undifferentiated whole, as when we try to describe flossing prior to self-witnessing. We can hardly mention a few things about it. But after some self-witnessing effort we can mention hundreds of things about it. The passage tells us that “in every state there are a great many others, which do not appear, and which together appear as one general state.”

Continuing with the next paragraph of the passage:

AC 2796  [2] The changes of state with man as to what is of the understanding and as to what is of the will, and the order in which they follow on, as also the series through which they pass, and thus how they are bent by the Divine-Human as far as possible to good, it belongs to the angels to know.

The wisdom of the angels is such that they perceive all these things most minutely. Hence it is that these things which are revealed in the internal sense concerning the changes of state with the Divine-Human, are clearly and distinctly perceivable by the angels, because they are in the light of heaven from the Divine-Human; and they are also in some degree intelligible to a man who lives in simple good; but they are merely obscure and as nothing to those who are in evil, and also to those who are in the deliriums of wisdom; for these have obscured and extinguished their natural and rational light by many things which have induced darkness, however much they may believe that they are preeminently in light. (AC 2796)

The above passage reveals an important and special feature of theistic psychology. It is stated that when our consciousness and character is raised to the celestial level of our mind (“the wisdom of angels”), we gain the capacity to observe our mental operations in great detail. It is like the people who train themselves in linguistic analysis and are able to recognize in their mind the syntactic hierarchy that generates the sentence they are hearing. Or it is like expert chess players who are able to look at a position on the board and recognize in it a pattern of relations with which they are very familiar and can instantly reproduce from memory. In our angelic mind we can recognize the details of where we are in a series of our mental operations.

Even more startling is the revelation here that the clarity with which we can be aware of our mental operations depends on the progress we’ve made in our regeneration. While we are undergoing mental states that are evil in thoughts and feelings, we are unable to accurately observe ourselves. As we move on to heavenly or good traits, we become progressively more conscious of the details of our thoughts and feelings. This serves our spiritual development, since regeneration involves becoming more and more aware of the details of our thoughts and feelings, so that we may modify them appropriately.

 

The Scientific Meaning of Sin and Sacrifices

 

Continuing with the next selection:

“To slay his son.” That this signifies until whatever was from the merely human was dead, is evident from the internal sense of these words; for they signify the Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations, the last of which was that of the cross, in which it is evident that what was merely human also died. This could not be represented by Abraham's son or Isaac, because to sacrifice sons was an abomination; but it was represented so far as it could be, namely, even to the attempt, but not to the act. Hence it is evident that by these words, "Abraham took the knife to slay his son," is signified until all that was merely human was dead. ). (AC 2819)

My Commentary:

Note the assertion that human sacrifice is an abomination, and yet Abraham was planning to sacrifice his son because it seemed to him that God was commanding him to do so. The fact is that God abhors all sacrifices, as indicated in several places in the Old Testament as for instance:

Thou delightest not in sacrifice, that I should give it; burnt-offering Thou dost not accept. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (Ps. 51:16-17).(see AC 2180)

The Writings reveal that sacrifices were not commanded but permitted by God because the people of the Old Testament insisted on a worship based in animal sacrifices, and had God not permitted this, they would not have accepted the religion from Moses. In consequence, God gave them strict rules on the procedures and rituals for carrying out sacrifices, as we can read in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. The dimensions and construction materials of the Temple in Jerusalem where the sacrifices were going to take place were specified in strict detail. Highly specific details and exact measurements for the Temple construction were given, and numerous details were specified regarding animal sacrifices--what species for what sin, and how to dispose of the blood and the carcasses.

Every single detail of size, material, color, or ritual act, was commanded because they were all natural correspondences to spiritual meanings or realities. The inhabitants of the heavens were closely involved with these details since Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech originates from God and then filters down through the three heavens to the natural mind and hence to a written record in a natural language.

All sacrifices were natural events or rituals that represented by correspondence some detail about the Divine-Man’s life and work on earth. These representations were endowed with Divine power. The Divine power within the representative acts and meanings caused a “conjunction” to occur between “heaven and earth.” In other words, the minds of the people who worshiped with these representatives were affected, and so were the physical events around them, like the weather, the crops, the fertility, the national unity, the international peace. Had these representative worship rituals not been permitted to them the connection between heaven and earth would have been disturbed and rendered less effective and beneficial. The worship rituals had to be spiritually representative otherwise they would not have involved the people in the spiritual world and thus the contact between heaven and earth would be broken.

In the scientific sense “to slay his son” (in the passage above) refers to the slaying of the Lamb of God or Jesus on the Cross. By this Divine act—dying on the cross—“what was merely human also died.” To the disciples and angels who did not want Jesus to die, Jesus said that He must die. Why must He? Is He not the omnipotent God? The answer is that He is the omnipotent and He could have not done this to Himself, but He chose to do it because this is what was foretold in Divine Speech for many centuries. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Word of the Old Testament, referring thereby to the fact, not known to anyone on earth, that every detail of the sacrifices represented something about the Work He came to earth to accomplish, and this Work was to struggle with the hells and subdue them by means of the new truths His natural mind fashioned, as discussed several times above. “Hence it is evident that by these words, ‘Abraham took the knife to slay his son,’ is signified until all that was merely human was dead.” ). (AC 2819)

 

Continuing with the next passage:

[2] That it was known from the most ancient time that the Divine-Human was to come into the world, and was to suffer death, is evident from the fact that the custom prevailed among the Gentiles of sacrificing their sons, believing that they were thus purified, and propitiated to God; in which abominable custom they could not have placed their most important religious observance, unless they had learned from the ancients that the Son of God was to come, who would, as they believed, be made a sacrifice. To this abomination even the sons of Israel were inclined, and Abraham also; for no one is tempted except by that to which he is inclined. That the sons of Jacob were so inclined is evident in the Prophets; but lest they should rush into that abomination, it was permitted to institute burnt-offerings and sacrifices (see n. 922, 1128, 1241, 1343, 2180). (AC 2818)

My Commentary:

Once again it is stated in the passage above that sacrifices were not God’s choice but the people’s choice to which God agreed under strict conditions. The idea that we are saved by the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross is an idea that has remained intense and rooted in for many centuries in the Catholic and Protestant religions. It is not surprising therefore that this topic is treated of so often and in such detail in the Writings, which are the revelations of the Second Coming, and thus revealing all the hidden secrets about the representative nature of the Jewish sacrifices.

As pointed above, the current intense reaction to the movie The Passion (of Christ) demonstrates that this idea is still operational in the psyche of Christians as a whole. If you listen to Sunday sermons in Church or on TV from any Christian denomination you will note once again that the death of Jesus on the cross is made the centerpiece of the religion and worship. Hence it is extremely important for people to discover what the Writings reveal regarding sacrifices and salvation.

Continuing with the next sample, which lists references to prior Numbers where these points were demonstrated in detail:

That the evils and falsities in a man who is being regenerated are subdued by temptations, not abolished (n. 868): That truth has the first place in combat (n. 1685): That man combats from the goods and truths which he has acquired by knowledges, though they be not in themselves goods and truths (n. 1661): That evil spirits and genii excite the falsities and evils in a man, and hence come temptations (n. 741, 751, 761).

That in temptations man thinks that the Divine-Human is absent, whereas He is then more present (n. 840): That man can by no means sustain the combats of temptations of himself, because they are against all the hells (n. 1692 at the end): That the Divine-Human alone combats in man (n. 1661, 1692): That by means of temptations evil genii and spirits are deprived of the power of doing evil and inspiring falsity in man (n. 1695, 1717): That temptations come with those who have conscience, and more acute ones with those who have perception (n. 1668): That temptations rarely exist at this day, but in their place anxieties, which are of another character and from another source (n. 762):  (AC 2819)

My Commentary:

Sacrifices represent atonement of sins, meaning that God forgives us, that we are therefore purified of the sins, and now continue life in peace and safety. When God-Man incarnated, He taught the people that sacrifices represent Him, and that now that He has incarnated, no more sacrifices are to be performed. Instead, a new method for the forgiveness of sins has been initiated for the human race. This new method is internal, not external. In other words, it is mental or spiritual, not natural and physical. The human race now is able to be liberated from the grip of the hells that make us sin. This new method consists in character reformation, which to be successful, requires that we step through the mental paths created by Jesus when alive on earth. This means thinking the new truths and feeling the new feelings that the God-Man created for the human race.

You can see rationally that the new method is the only method, and that the prior method of sacrificing did not work except for the earthly benefits. The people arriving into the afterlife were not able to enter heaven no matter how much they sacrificed and were benefited by it on earth. This is because they merely expected their hellish traits to be forgiven, not to be taken away. People kept sinning after the sacrifices, necessitating the continue practice of sacrifices all one’s life on earth. But thereafter, the sacrificing was of no use because in the afterlife the inner character takes over by necessity of spiritual law. They were then instructed about what they really need to do, but to no avail. They were unwilling, for the most part, to undergo character reformation in the spiritual world. Hence they sunk down into the hells of their minds, regardless of the sacrifices they performed.

In the passage above we are informed once more that the only way one can be saved is by character change, and the only way we can reject our hellish traits is by temptations. As indicated in earlier discussion, temptations are brought on by specific experiences arranged and timed for every person by God. God fights for the person and overcomes, not the person through one’s own power. We cannot glory in the victory of overcoming temptations because it is accomplished By the Divine-Human, not by us. Yet we must agree and cooperate. Temptations are not brought to anyone who will not agree and cooperate with God, which we do either through our knowledge of Sacred Scripture, or through our conscience, or both.

Temptations are mental struggles or “combats from the goods and truths which one has acquired by knowledges.” We cannot undergo temptations until we either know some Divine truth from revelation, or we have a direct intuitive perception from our inborn conscience that something is evil or good. The knowledge or perception of what is good or evil must precede the temptation. For instance, in natural temptations, we must have knowledge of the physical dangers we run if we do not overcome and do the right thing, like flossing regularly or staying honest on the job. In spiritual temptations, we must have knowledge of heaven and hell, of God’s Commandments, and the danger we run if we do not overcome and cling to the truths of our faith or theistic science. In celestial temptations, we must have knowledge of our loves, of how they affect others as well as ourselves, and the dangers we run if we do not overcome and cling to the love of God and the love others.

 

Continuing with the next passage, which lists more references where temptations were discussed in earlier Numbers:

That men spiritually dead cannot sustain the combats of temptations (n. 270): That all temptations are attended with despair respecting the end (n. 1787, 1820): That after temptations there is fluctuation (n. 848, 857): That the good learn by temptations that they are nothing but evil, and that all things are of mercy (n. 2334): That by temptations goods are conjoined more closely with truths (n. 2272): That men are not saved by temptations if they yield in them, nor if they think that they have merited by them (n. 2273): That in every temptation there is freedom, and stronger than out of temptations (n. 1937). (AC 2819)

My Commentary:

Note that undergoing temptations is an orderly and scientific process that goes through specific steps to which we must adapt appropriately or else the temptation is rendered ineffective for spiritual development or character reformation. One of the consequences of temptations is to discover that we “are nothing but evil.” In other words, by inheritance we acquire such a vast number of evil traits and tendencies, that we are filled with evil impulses all the time, even when on the surface we appear to be good and decent. But this is only a surface put on as the temptation demonstrates to us.

The above passage explains that “by temptations goods are conjoined more closely with truths.” This is why temptations require that we already have some knowledge about physical dangers of risk, spiritual dangers of truth, and celestial dangers of love. We have spiritual truths, but instead of spiritual goods we have spiritual evils. The temptation process contains and restricts the evil and replaces it with good, which is conjoined to the truth we already have. Regeneration is therefore the process by which God attaches goods to the truths we have acquired from moral teachings and Sacred Scripture. Now we can act from love by means of truth, which is what constitutes heaven.

 

Continuing with the next sample:

“Behind, caught in a thicket.” That this signifies entangled in natural knowledge, is evident from the signification of being "caught," as here being entangled; and from the signification of a "thicket" or "tangle" as being memory-knowledge-explained in what follows. That the spiritual are held entangled in natural knowledge in regard to the truths of faith, is as follows. The spiritual have not perception of good and truth, as the celestial have, but instead of it conscience formed from the goods and truths of faith which they have imbibed from infancy from their parents and masters, and afterwards from the doctrine of faith into which they were born. They who have no perception of good and truth have to be confirmed by knowledges.

Everyone forms for himself some idea respecting the things he has learned, and also respecting the goods and truths of faith; for without an idea, nothing remains in the memory otherwise than as an empty thing. Confirmatory things are added thereto, and fill up the idea of the thing, from other knowledges, even from memory-knowledges. The confirmation of the idea itself by many things causes not only that it sticks in the memory, so that it can be called forth into the thought, but also that faith can be insinuated into it. (AC 2831)

My Commentary:

This passage gives us the scientific meaning of “tangled” and “thicket” which refer to plants, bushes, and vines. Throughout the text of Sacred Scripture references to vegetation signify things about the cognitive organ of the mind, while animals signify things about the affective organ of the mind. The thickets, and tangles of vines and branches are natural correspondences to conceptual hierarchies and taxonomies.

For example, if you’re familiar with the logical classification system known as Roget’s Thesaurus you will recognize how the meaning relations reach across semantic categories, like intertwining branches. The reason branches and vines grow in this fashion is because they correspond to mental properties, in this case cognitive structures that overlap in meaning. Few people knew of this connection between plants and the cognitive mind until it was revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg.

Different types of branches or vines correspond to different features of the cognitive networks we all have in the mind and memory structures. “Thicket” represents “memory-knowledge” which designates whatever we have acquired externally by experience and are stored representatively in the cognitive organ. The reason this is being discussed here is that our Fallen race is materialistic and monist in terms of memory-knowledges we acquire in our daily life on earth. All our memories come from what we experience through the senses in the external physical world.

It is stated in the above passage that “the spiritual have not perception of good and truth, as the celestial have, but instead of it conscience formed from the goods and truths of faith which they have imbibed from infancy from their parents and masters.” We are being referred to as “the spiritual” in contrast to the “celestial” race that existed prior to the Fall. The split-brain race that came into existence after that original race, did not have dual consciousness. The only source for their knowledge of good and evil came from a “conscience” formed by “the goods and truths of faith” we acquire through our socialization process. As a result, we are “held entangled in natural knowledge in regard to the truths of faith.” In other words, our semantic categories about the world and reality, and specifically our ideas about God and the afterlife (“truths of faith”), are “entangled” in natural categories that ignore the spiritual categories from which they originate and to which they are connected by the laws correspondence. We need to know and recognize this prior to opting for the positive bias perspective on science and reality.

 

The above is from: http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#footsteps

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5.0.9  Three Types of Spiritual Perception

Continuing with the passage, which will give us further details about the anatomy of our mind and how it functions, specifically regarding the three types of perception through which we raise our consciousness and develop spiritually:

[2] As regards perception in general, since few know what perception is, this must be declared. There is perception of what is good and true in celestial and spiritual things; there is perception of what is just and equitable in civil life; and there is perception of what is honorable in moral life. As regards the perception of what is good and true in celestial and spiritual things, the interior angels have this perception from the Divine-Human, the men of the Most Ancient Church had it, and the celestial, who are in love to the Divine-Human, have it. These know at once, from a kind of internal observation, whether a thing is good and whether it is true; for this is insinuated by the Divine-Human, because they are conjoined with Him by love.

Spiritual men, however, have no such perception of good and truth in celestial and spiritual things, but instead of it have conscience which dictates; but as before said, this conscience is formed from the knowledges of good and truth which they have imbibed from their parents and masters, and afterwards from their own study in doctrine and in the Word; and in these, even though not entirely good and true, they put their faith. Hence it is that men can have conscience from any doctrine whatever; even the Gentiles have something not unlike conscience from their religion. 

My Commentary:

According to this passage, the three types of perceptual operations are as follows:

(a) perception of what is good and true spiritually

(b) perception of what is just and equitable in public behavior

(c) perception of what is honorable and moral in personal behavior

The perception what is good and true spiritually is a capacity of our celestial mind. The most earliest generations on this earth had that kind of perception since they were conscious in both worlds, as Swedenborg was. When we enter our heaven following the second death, we are in our celestial mind, either the highest portion of it called the “Third Heaven” or the lowest called the “First Heaven.” However, note carefully that it says that those of us “who are in love to the Divine-Human, have it.” This is very encouraging indeed. It means that there is a special organ within the natural mind that can give us this celestial perception.

As explained above in one of my comments, the natural mind has the capacity of containing a spiritual organ that can replicate in a representative way the higher order mental operations taking place in the unconscious spiritual and celestial mind. This spiritual-natural organ gives us full conscious awareness of spiritual truths and goods by means of higher order correspondences (see Volume 2 of A Man of the Field:  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/volume2-nonduality.html

The development and operationalization of the spiritual-natural organ is dependent on our regeneration or character reformation efforts. These efforts must be motivated by love for the Divine-Human and the knowledge that our heaven is within the Divine-Human’s Rational Mind. To the extent that we can align our rational mind to the Divine Rational Mind, to that extent we gain perception of spiritual truths and celestial goods, right here on earth, in full consciousness and awareness. We are then in a state of spiritual enlightenment.

The passage above also informs us that conscience gives us intuitive perception of what is good and true spiritually, though this is imperfect in comparison to the rational perception of spiritual truths in our new spiritual-rational organ, just discussed. The imperfect nature of conscience comes from the fact that its content is mixed through socialization practices and religious belief systems, many of which are not spiritually true but can lead one to spiritual truths. These are called “mediate truths and goods.”

For example, the worship by sacrifice which was discussed above, was not in itself true and good, not something that actually prepared their character for life in heaven. But when the sacrificial worship, even if pagan, was taken sincerely, it contained the fear and worship of God. This was sufficient to establish for them a life of conscience. When they arrived in the afterlife, this life of conscience now formed the basis for their instruction in actual truths and goods, which they were then willing to accept. Thus they entered their heavens.

Here is what we are further told about conscience and the importance of spiritual self-witnessing:

[3] That the spiritual have no perception of the good and truth of faith, but say and believe that to be true which they have learned and apprehended, is sufficiently evident from the fact that everyone says that his own dogma is true, heretics more than others; and that they are not able to see the truth itself, still less to acknowledge it, although thousands of things should declare it.

Let everyone explore himself and see if he is able to perceive from any other source whether a thing is true; and if when a thing most true is made manifest to him he still does not fail to acknowledge it. As for example, one who makes faith the essential of salvation, and not love: even if all should be read before him which the Divine-Human spoke concerning love and charity (see n. 2373), and if he should know from the Word that all the Law and the Prophets hang upon love to the Divine-Human and charity toward the neighbor, he will nevertheless remain in the idea of faith, and will say that this alone saves. It is otherwise with those who are in celestial and spiritual perception.  (AC 2831)

Evidence is mentioned here showing that our spiritual race living by conscience evolves all sorts of belief systems (“faith”) that are contradictory to each other and fall into “dogma,” which refers to unscientific conclusions based on no evidence yet enforced on others. These contradictory and dogmatic variations of human conscience shows that conscience is not pure, like spiritual perception, but mixed up with socialized and ethnic belief systems. At this level of mental operations “they are not able to see the truth itself, still less to acknowledge it, although thousands of things should declare it.”

An example given elsewhere in the Writings is the dogma of “faith alone saves,” which is erroneously based on some things Paul says in the Epistles and which Luther elaborated on when establishing the intellectual basis of Protestantism. This dogma declares that since no one is capable of fulfilling “the Law” in Sacred Scripture, we cannot be saved by our actions, but must rely on blind faith in the saving power of the Blood of Christ who died for us. As a result, preachers and teachers tell the people that they are saved by this blind faith, even if they do not reform their character. This is because God no longer looks upon their sin, now that they are saved by the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross.

The Writings show the many places in both the Old and New Testaments where it is declared, even by Paul, that we are not saved by a faith of rituals and declarations, but only by ceasing to sin and living a charitable life according the commandments, both in their letter and in their spirit. Hence it is said above that “they are not able to see the truth itself, still less to acknowledge it, although thousands of things should declare it.” The thousands of things that declare the truth are the many references in Sacred Scripture that warn us that only when we stop our evil thoughts and feelings can we enter heaven.

The passage above refers to those who “who make faith the essential of salvation, and not love,” which is another dogma frequently rejected in Sacred Scripture, including Paul in his Epistles. Even though the relevant passages in Holy Scripture are shown to them, they “nevertheless remain in the idea of faith, and will say that this alone saves,” and that “when a thing most true is made manifest to him they still do not fail to acknowledge it.” Such are the disadvantages of a conscience based on blind faith that ignores the sayings of Sacred Scripture in one place, and pick only those places that support the dogmatic beliefs.

Continuing with the passage, we receive more explanations on the nature of perception and its evolutionary origin:

[4] As regards the perception of what is just and equitable in civil life, however, those in the world who are rational have this, and also the perception of what is honorable in moral life. These two perceptions distinguish one man from another, but by no means do such men for this reason have the perception of the good and truth of faith, because this perception is higher or more internal, and flows in from the Divine-Human through the inmost of the rational. 

[5] The reason also why the spiritual have no perception of the good and truth of faith, is that good and truth are not implanted in their will part, as with celestial men, but in their intellectual part (see n. 863, 875, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 2256). Hence it is that the spiritual cannot arrive at the first degree of the light in which the celestial are (n. 2718), but have what is obscure in comparison (n. 1043, 2708 at the beginning, 2715). That the spiritual are entangled in natural memory-knowledge in respect to the truths of faith, follows from this.  (AC 2831)

My Commentary:

The perception of what is good and true in public and personal life comes from the development of the natural-rational mind. One does not have to belong to a religion in order to be a useful law abiding citizen and a moral neighbor. We learn to act rationally on the natural plane of life and society by suppressing our irrational and evil impulses. This suppression is not possible to maintain once the person is regenerating because these evils are brought out by the experiences of temptations. But those who do not suffer themselves to undergo regeneration arrive in the afterlife, as Swedenborg talked to some of them, and demand that be admitted to heaven since they had lived a useful and moral life. But when they are taken to their second death, which means that they are immersed in all their internal loves, the evil that was suppressed now feels liberated like a genie in a bottle, and they trot off to their hells.

This must be taken very seriously if you care about your eternal future. The Writings explain that we are able to be aware of our suppressed evils except by temptations, and these are brought to us only if we are prepared to fight and overcome, that is, are prepared to undergo a series of temptations for the sake of character reformation. As further explained in the following passage:

 [10] The reason why in the Word memory-knowledges are called "thickets," is that they are comparatively of such a character, especially when the cupidities of the love of self and of the world, and the principles of falsity, seek for them. Celestial and spiritual love is that which disposes into order the knowledges which are of the exterior memory; and the love of self and of the world is that which perverts the order, and disturbs all things in it. These things the man does not take notice of, because he places order in perverted order, good in evil, and truth in falsity. On this account these things are in entanglement; and also on this, that the things of the exterior memory, where these knowledges are, compared with those in the interior memory, where rational things are, are as in a thicket, or as in a dark forest.

How shady, opaque, and dark it is there in comparison, a man cannot know so long as he is living in the body; for he then supposes that all wisdom and intelligence are from this source; but he will know in the other life, when he comes into the things of his interior memory. That in the exterior memory, which is proper to man while he is living in the world, nothing is less to be found than the light of intelligence and wisdom; but that all is relatively dark, disorderly, and entangled there, may be seen above (n. 2469-2494). (AC 2831)

My Commentary:

A “thicket” represents the way our thinking gets entangled when we rely on our own self-made ideas about God and regeneration. We start with a love for evil and a resistance to character reformation that forces us to give up our evil delights and pet ideas. This is called the “cupidities of the love of self and of the world, and the principles of falsity” that support these evil loves. When we are in such a lost state, whatever we experience as delightful is called good and true. We completely lose the ability to distinguish between actual good and truth and actual evil and falsity that masquerades in our own eyes as good and truth.

The only way out of this terrible and dangerous life dilemma is to compel ourselves to learn spiritual truths from revelation and to order our natural mind so that it agrees with the revealed spiritual order. As soon as we are committed to doing this, God brings new knowledge by which we can fight our temptations and progress steadily in this regeneration path. The more we acquire rational consciousness from scientific revelations, the more we can disentangle the spider webs of false beliefs that keep our evils in place.

Continuing with the next passage, which gives us more detail about how we get entangled in the exclusively natural perspective, ignoring spiritual revelations:

“By his horns.” That this signifies with all power in regard to the truths of faith, is evident from the signification of "horns." "Horns" are mentioned in many places in the Word; and there signify the power of truth from good; and in the opposite sense the power of falsity from evil; here the meaning is that the spiritual who are signified by the "ram" are entangled in natural memory-knowledge with all their might in regard to truth, and hence that they are deprived of the power of perceiving truths. For the more anyone consults natural memory-knowledges, and sticks fast in them in his animus and mind in regard to the things which are truths of faith, the more does he lose the light of truth, and with the light, the life of truth.

Everyone may know this from experience, if he attends and reflects, from those who say that they can believe nothing unless they comprehend that it is so by means of the things of sense, or of memory-knowledge. If you explore their quality, you will find that they believe nothing; and moreover that nothing seems to them more wise than to ascribe everything to nature. There are many also who say that they believe although they do not comprehend; when nevertheless, in secret with themselves, they reason equally as others do from the things of sense and memory-knowledge concerning the truths of faith, as to whether a thing is so. These either have a kind of persuasion breathed in from the love of self and the world, or they do not believe at all. Their quality is manifest from their life. Both classes are indeed in the Divine-Human's spiritual church, but they are not of the church.

They who are of the church are in a life of good, and have faith in truths; but the spiritual have faith in other truths besides those which have been impressed on them from infancy, and which they have afterwards confirmed to themselves from doctrine or from some other source. Such is the state of the spiritual, which state is here described by the "ram caught in the thicket by his horns" (see just above, n. 2831).  (AC 2832)

My Commentary:

In the passage above we find out that the scientific sense of “horns” refers to “the power of truth that is in faith.” In the Writings “faith” is used in two ways—blind faith and rational faith. Blind faith characterizes religion while rational faith characterizes theistic psychology. Both truths and falsified truths are referred to in Sacred Scripture by the horns of animals because horns represent the animals power to fight and defeat its enemies. Truths have power to defeat evils but falsities also have power to defeat goods. It all depends on how the person uses the truths or the falsities.

A ram’s horns represent the power of false beliefs to entangle us in the thicket of a natural life devoid of spiritual development. As it is said above, “The more anyone consults natural memory-knowledges, and sticks fast in them in his animus and mind in regard to the things which are truths of faith, the more does he lose the light of truth, and with the light, the life of truth.” Here, blind faith is being referred to, not rational faith which is based on an enlightened understanding from Divine scientific revelations.

The negative bias perspective is referred to in the above passage as “those who say that they can believe nothing unless they comprehend that it is so by means of the things of sense.” Materialism denies the spiritual because the spiritual is not perceivable by the physical senses. About those who think this way it is said that “nothing seems to them more wise than to ascribe everything to nature.” Thinking this way keeps them in irreality. But it is not only the materialist who falls into this mental trap. Those who have a religion of blind faith do not examine the logic of their belief system. They say they believe because it is faith and they do not have to understand its mysteries. They may belong to a religion but “they are not of the Church. Their quality is manifest from their life.”

For spiritual development we must go beyond the religious truths “which have been impressed on us from infancy.” We must examine the teachings of our religion and belief systems in the light of rationality and science, not non-theistic science which denies Sacred Scripture, but theistic science which examines and scrutinizes Sacred Scripture for its scientific revelations.

Continuing with the next selection that discusses the role of faith and charity in our spiritual development, that is, the role of truth and love:

“In the mountain Jehovah will see.” That this signifies charity, by means of which it is provided by the Divine-Human that they should be saved, namely, the spiritual, is evident from the signification of a "mountain," as being love and charity (see n. 795, 796, 1430). That "Jehovah will see" denotes the Divine-Human's providence, or what is provided by the Divine-Human, was said just above (n. 2837). Here charity is spoken of, and not love, on account of the difference between charity and love (see n. 2023). That the spiritual are saved by charity, and not by faith separate from charity, is evident from many passages in the Word. With charity and with faith the case is this: charity without faith is not genuine charity, and faith without charity is not faith.

That there may be charity, there must be faith; and that there may be faith, there must be charity; but the essential itself is charity; for in no other ground can the seed which is faith be implanted. From the conjunction of the two mutually and reciprocally is the heavenly marriage, that is, the Divine-Human's kingdom. Unless faith is implanted in charity it is mere memory-knowledge; for it goes no further than the memory; there is no affection of the heart which receives it; but when it is implanted in charity, that is, in the life, it becomes intelligence and wisdom. Charity without faith, such as is with children and with upright Gentiles, is only ground in which faith is implanted-if not in the life of the body, still in the other life (see n. 1802, 2280, 2290-2309, 2419, 2589-2604). (AC 2839).

My Commentary:

In the above passage it is stated that we (‘the spiritual”) are regenerated for heaven “by charity, and not by faith separate from charity.” This is known to everyone who is familiar with the teachings of the Old and New Testaments, namely that “charity without faith is not genuine charity, and faith without charity is not faith.” I hear this issue debated frequently on Christian radio broadcasts. People would call in the talk show presentation and ask about how do they know they are saved since they still feel like living in their old habits, and do. So they want to know if they are saved or not? The standard answer given is that they are saved as long as they were sincere in confessing their faith in Jesus, that He died to save them form their sins. Then they are told that there is a process called “sanctification” by which the Holy Spirit leads them to show their faith in their life. Then they are told that that to live a life of faith means to go to Church, to seek fellowship with other Christians, and to confess their faith in Christ publicly to anyone who will listen. But is this really true?

The Writings show that it is not true. The life of true faith is not fellowship, Church attendance, and confession of religion, but charity, which is defined as changing how we think and act so that we do things for the sake of others, not just for the sake of self. As long as we are mean to people, or care more about our own comfort zone, we do not live a life of charity. For instance, in our work, we need to be honest and sincere, considering the uses we serve and for which we are paid. Doing a good job and being useful to neighbors, family, and society for the sake of God and heaven—this is the life of charity that leads to salvation. Faith without this charity is useless for salvation, as witnessed by Swedenborg when he monitored what happens to people who arrive in the afterlife with a strong faith not based on a life of use and caring for others. They have no faith they can hold on to in the afterlife because it is not based on altruism. They sink down into their hells where many profess faith but don’t mean it. They continue to love themselves more than others, and often, they love themselves alone, and others they love only for the sake of self. It is not possible for the "blood of Christ" or the "Merit of Christ" to turn a person who is a wolf into a sheep. Only a life of character reformation for the sake of God and heaven, can do this.

The New Testament frequently warns us that faith can only be “implanted” in charity since “in no other ground can the seed which is faith be implanted.” Salvation consists of the “heavenly marriage” which refers to the conjunction between our faith and our charity, that is, our understanding of the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, and then the doing of it in daily life. In the Writings the word "faith" refers to rational faith or theistic psychology. "Faith implanted in charity" means that we are motivated to live the truth we know from Sacred Scripture, and when we proceed in this way, our faith “becomes intelligence and wisdom.” To "live the truth" means to apply doctrine from Sacred Scripture to our willing and thinking in daily activities.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

NJHD 140. Concerning Perception.

Perception consists in seeing by influx from the Lord what is true and good, nos. 202, 895, 7680, 9128 [all Numbers here refer to AC]. Perception exists only with those who are in the good of love from the Lord to the Lord, nos. 202, 371, 1442, 5228. Perception exists in heaven with those, by whom, while they lived as men in the world, the doctrinals of the Church which are from the Word, were applied immediately to the life, and were not first committed to the memory; the interiors of their minds were thus formed for the reception of the influx of the Divine; and for this reason their understandings are in a continual state of enlightenment in heaven, nos. 104, 495, 503, 521, 536, 1616, 1791, 5145. They know innumerable things, and their wisdom is unbounded, nos. 2718, 9543.

Those who are in perception, do not reason concerning the truths of faith, and should they reason their perception would perish, nos. 586, 1398, 5897. Those who believe that they know and are wise from themselves, cannot have any perception, no. 1386. The learned are unable to comprehend what this perception is; from experience, no. 1387.

Those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom, have perception; but those who are in the spiritual kingdom, have no perception, but conscience instead, nos. 805, 2144, 2145, 8081. Those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom do not think from faith, like those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom, because those who are in the celestial kingdom are in the perception from the Lord of all things of faith, nos. 202, 597, 607, 784, 1121, 1387, 1398, 1442, 1919, 7680, 7877, 8780.

Wherefore the celestial angels say concerning the truths of faith, only Yea, yea, or Nay, nay, because they perceive and see them; but the spiritual angels reason concerning the truths of faith, whether they are so, or not, nos. 2715, 3246, 4448, 9166, 10786; where the words of the Lord are explained (Matt. v. 37), "Let your communication be Yea, yea, Nay, nay: what is more than these, cometh from evil." Because the celestial angels know the truths of faith from perception, they are not even willing to mention faith, nos. 202, 337. The distinction between the celestial and the spiritual angels, nos. 2088, 2669, 2708, 2715, 3235, 3240, 4788, 7068, 8521, 9277, 10295.

Concerning the perception of those who belonged to the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial Church, nos. 125, 597, 607, 784, 895, 1121, 5121.

There is interior and exterior perception, nos. 2145, 2171, 2831, 5920. In the world there is a perception of what is just and fair, but rarely a perception of spiritual truth and good, nos. 2831, 5937, 7977. The light of perception is altogether different from the light of confirmation; and is not like it, although to some it may appear as if it were, nos. 8521, 8780.
(NJHD 140)

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#perception-types

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5.0.10  The Elevation of Consciousness

Continuing with the next selected portion (skipping in between Numbers):

“As the stars of the heavens.” That this signifies the multitude of the knowledges of good and truth, is evident from the signification of the "stars," as being the knowledges of good and truth (see n. 1808, 2495). The spiritual are they who in the Word are in various places compared to the stars, and this owing to the knowledges of good and truth which they have; but the celestial are not so compared, because they have not knowledges but perceptions; moreover the stars illumine the night, and the spiritual have a light of night (as from the moon and stars) in comparison with the light of day in which the celestial are. (That the spiritual have comparative obscurity may be seen above, 1043, 2708 at the beginning, 2715.) (AC 2849)

My Commentary:

When Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech filters down to the word “stars” in a natural language, earlier scientific meanings can be derived from this word if we know what it is a correspondence to in the spiritual world. In the passage above it is revealed that the spiritual or mental correspondence to stars are the knowledges of good and truth. God refers to the mentality of the split-brain race on earth as stars that are both countless and providing light at night. Our mentality is spiritual, that is, intermediate between natural and celestial. Our celestial mind is as far above our spiritual mind as the light of the noon sun is far more brilliant than the light of the moon and stars at night.

God-Man on earth has prepared the mental pathway we can take to reach our celestial mind. The pathway that leads from the spiritual to the celestial is called love. When we love to do something we notice that we have an insight into it that others do not. We comprehend more at a glance that they can and we can fix it and improve it. This is the case with some physical activity like a hobby or specialty. It is even more true in the spiritual world where love is far more powerful than the entire nature with its cataclysmic energies. If, when we arrive in the afterlife, we are willing to love the Divine-Human, this love instantly illuminates our surround and fills it with heavenly sights, sounds, and odors. Such is the creative power of love in the spiritual world.

If we are willing to love the Divine-Human, our consciousness is immediately elevated to its highest potential in whichever developmental phase we are going through. When we are reading Sacred Scripture with the same love, acknowledging the Sacred Scripture as the Speech of the Divine-Human, we are enlightened to our highest potential of understanding within the phase of regeneration that we are in. We perceive ever more detailed scientific meanings within the Divine Speech, meanings which are infinite in number and fitting together in endless series and spirals expressing ineffable heavenly forms that cannot be expressed in a natural language.

The more we continue progressing in our heavenly character development the more we penetrate into the endless semantic space of God’s Rational Mind. The more we are willing to receive Divine love from the Divine-Human, the more we can love the Divine-Human, and the more we love the Divine-Human, the deeper and deeper we are capable of penetrating into the Divine Rational Mind, along with its celestial delights and blessedness. It is not necessary to postpone this mental state until “we get there.” The celestial state is available to us now through the spiritual-natural organ within the natural mind, discussed above.

We need to understand the what is at stake here and its mechanism. Does it make a difference to you if you end up in the First Heaven rather the Second, or the Third? It is stated in the Writings that once you undergo your second death and enter heaven, your position of entrance remains fixed to eternity. In other words, your basic foundational mental state does not change to eternity. Within this basic mental identity state, you can experience an endless series of progressions of new states to eternity. But you cannot ascend to a higher foundational state or identity. So the people who enter the First Heaven stay there forever, and the same with the Spiritual and Celestial Heavens.

In the mental states of our First Heaven our consciousness is called interior-natural or spiritual-natural. In other words it is similar to the consciousness we have here on earth after we have been regenerating progressively. I say similar because in actual comparison the inhabitants of the First Heaven are more purely enlightened than what our enlightenment is in the spiritual-natural organ discussed above. Our enlightenment is representative but not actual, as long as we are in this world tied to a physical body.

Because of this representativeness of higher states within our interior-natural organ, if operational, we are able to know and understand the difference between the mental states of the three heavens. You will spend your day very differently if you dwell in the First Heaven of your mind vs. the Second or Third. Swedenborg describes the occupations and cities of all three heavens. People in the First Heaven have thoughts and feelings that project a daily life that is similar to what it was like for them on earth, but cleaned up of any evil or degradation and disorder. Swedenborg saw shops, shoppers, carpenters, civil officials, games and sports, Churches, beautiful houses and palaces. These outward appearances, like a beautiful dream, were instantaneous creations of their loves and wisdom, endlessly varied and involving their creativity, so that the people felt fully blessed.

Life in the Second Heaven involved the people there less in sensorimotor activities and more in verbal and intellectual exchanges and studies. They loved to debate and hold conferences on various issues of interest, which varied endlessly to their great delight. Their habitations, clothes, and art were distinctly superior to what Swedenborg was able to see in the First Heaven. Their thoughts and understandings filtered down to the First Heaven where they were transformed in the minds of people there, to the subjects and knowledges they were interested in, all having to do with the trades, commerce, sports, and government.

Life in the Third Heaven is so superior to that in the Second Heaven that the subjects forming the thoughts and perceptions of the people there are incomprehensible to the people of the Second Heaven. When people in the Third Heaven speak to one another or reflect to themselves, the celestial meanings filter through to the minds of the people in the Second Heaven. They then experience an internal enlightenment and excitement at the new thoughts and insights they are able to have. These thoughts and insights are the spiritual correspondences of the celestial subjects that filtered down.

In summary, the differences between the three heavens in our mind are vast. The thoughts, insights, and feelings we have at these three levels are vastly different in excellence and power. When we love sensorimotor activities and involvements the most, we are in our First Heaven. When we love cognitive activities and involvements the most, we are in our Second Heaven. When we love affective activities and involvements the most, we are in our Third Heaven.

Continuing with the next sample:

“And as the sand which is upon the sea shore.” That this signifies the multitude of corresponding memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of the "sea," as being memory-knowledges in general, or a gathering of them (see n. 28, 2120); and from the signification of "sand," as being memory- knowledges specifically or in particular. Memory-knowledges are compared to "sand," because the little stones of which sand is made, in the internal sense signify memory-knowledges (n. 643, 1298).

It is here said that they shall be multiplied "as the stars of the heavens," and also "as the sand of the sea shore," because the stars or knowledges have relation to the rational, but the sand of the sea shore or memory-knowledges to the natural. When the things of the rational man, namely, the goods and truths of knowledges, agree with those of the natural man, namely, with memory-knowledges, so that they make a one, or mutually confirm each other, they then correspond. To this correspondence the Divine-Human reduces the rational and natural things of man when he regenerates him, or makes him spiritual. From this cause it is that both the stars of the heavens and the sand of the sea shore are here mentioned; otherwise one would have been sufficient. (AC 2850)

My Commentary:

The passage above discusses the all important topic of the difference between our natural-sensuous mind and our natural-rational mind. The natural-sensuous mind is called “sand” and “ocean or sea,” while the natural-rational mind is called “stars.” Rational mental operations are called stars while observational data from sensory input is called “sand.” Our thinking and reasoning process when sticking to the input data is lower in insight or understanding to that of more abstract and rational thinking about the data. We call this higher operation an explanation or a theory of the data. As stars are far above the sand, so are rational explanations far above mere sensory observation of phenomena.

The passage above says that “When the things of the rational man, namely, the goods and truths of knowledges, agree with those of the natural man, namely, with memory-knowledges, so that they make a one, or mutually confirm each other, they then correspond.” This is something God accomplishes in our mind as we are being regenerated by Him, to the extent of our willingness to cooperate. Our natural-rational mind or understanding is reformed first by means of Sacred Scripture, if we study it with love. Then our natural-sensuous and natural-corporeal are brought into agreement with the rational so that we become an enlightened heavenly person here on earth.

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#elevation

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5.0.11  Thy Seed Shall Inherit the Gate of Thine Enemies

Continuing with the next Number:

“And thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies.” That this signifies that charity and faith shall succeed in the place where evil and falsity were before, is evident from the signification of "inheriting," as being to receive the Divine-Human's life (see n. 2658); here, to succeed in the place, because when charity and faith are in the place where evil and falsity were before, then the Divine-Human's life succeeds there; from the signification of "seed," as being charity and faith (see n. 1025, 1447, 1610, 1941); from the signification of a "gate" (explained in what follows); and from the signification of "enemies," as being evils and falsities, or what is the same, those who are in evil and falsity: in the internal sense of the Word these are signified by "enemies" and "foes."  (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

The historical event in the Bible of God blessing a person’s descendants used to intrigue me prior to starting to read the Writings. Similarly, when a patriarch or prophet blessed somebody it was often in the form of blessing their offspring, that they should be numerous as the stars or the sand. I tried, but failed, to be impressed by such an event. To me it was not such a big deal whether my descendants were very numerous, or even frankly, extinct. I did not have the same feeling for a continuation of my line. Why did some others care so much, I wondered. I came up with the idea of “blood lust,” which later I found discussed in the Writings.

It turns out that blood lines do not count in the afterlife. When we ascend to the heavens of our mind we find there others in their heaven. It seems that we are sharing the same heaven in the spiritual world. Swedenborg observed that when people first get there, they are welcomed by others. When the newcomers see the people there they have the amazing strong feeling that they are coming back after a long absence. Everyone is so inexplicably familiar and everyone looks like they belong to one family.

This external appearance is instantiated by correspondence to their ruling love. At their second death, people seem to themselves to arrive in a city that feels familiar, where others who feel like old friends, welcome them as neighbors. Everyone ends up in the city or society where others already dwell who share the same category of ruling love. There is an endless variety of ruling loves, and an endless variety of the affections controlled by a ruling love. As a result, there are endless cities and societies that make up the overall Heaven called the Grand Human (see Section xx).

When we dwell in the consciousness of our heaven in the company of “affectional similitudes” of one another, we do not recognize or know the natural origin of any of the people there. Remember that the process of the second death quiets the natural mind so that in our heaven we have no memories of earth, therefore no memories of children and parents on earth. Swedenborg observed the plight of parents who never fully gave up the blood lust attachments. They had been parents who accepted their children’s faults because nothing their children did could be wrong in the parents’ eyes.

As a result, when they passed on and entered heaven, they were fine, but when their children passed on, they had the strong desire to descend to their natural mind so that they could meet the children in the world of spirits. All desires in heaven are automatically instantiated, so that they were suddenly out of their heaven and back into the world of spirits where they greeted the children, now grown up, with great affection and joy.

The children, now adults, progressed toward their second death by displaying the hellish traits they brought with them. The parents were horrified but they could not break the contact of affection they felt for them. They were forced to witness all the horrendous evil of their children coming out in far greater intensity and proportion than what they knew them as on earth where they merely looked upon these as cute quirks or forgivable weaknesses of character. They suffered much and for many sequences of negative mental states, until at last they were so devastated that they were able to desire to be cut off from their children. The instant they felt this desire, it automatically brought them back to their ranking love, and hence, back to their familiar and beloved heaven and friends there.

We find the same warning in the Writings about forming an inner friendship with a friend who is of an opposite genius. Inner friendships are permanent, crossing over into the afterlife, and are difficult to break there, involving much suffering. External friendships with anyone cannot hurt us because nothing that is external remains operational at the second death.

The passage above is about the scientific sense of “And thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies.” Why does God care about such things? Or why does God go along with Abraham’s blood lust? There are two parts to the answer. First, God does not care about such things but God permits them for the sake of the salvation of the people who insist on it from their free choice. God’s mechanism for giving His Divine Speech to humankind was to filter it through all the layers of the human mind, starting with the highest heaven there. By the time it reaches the lowest portion of the mind, known as the natural mind, the words of Divine Speech seem natural, referring to trees, animals, peoples, events in cities and countries that still exist today.

But God’s Speech did not start that way! Instead God said something about how we can cooperate with Him in our regeneration for heaven. But these words automatically get transformed by the universal laws of correspondence as they descend from high consciousness to low consciousness in the human mind. Now, through the Writings of Swedenborg, the code of correspondences has been once again revealed to the people on earth. Swedenborg shows us how to apply this code to get back what was there originally before it filtered down into the natural mind. This Section is an example of how this is done for Genesis Chapter 22.

When we apply the code of correspondences to Sacred Scripture we derive immensely more from it than the prophets who received it in his natural mind as it descended from heaven, and then wrote it down. Often the Old Testament verse begins with God instructing the prophet to write something down, as in this passage:

Jehovah said, Son of man, take a stick and write on it, For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions. And take another stick and write on it, For Joseph - the stick of Ephraim and of the whole house of Israel, his companions and join them together, one to the other into one stick for you, that both may be one in your hand. Thus said the Divine-Human Jehovih, I, behold, I am taking the stick of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and of the tribes of Israel his companions, and I will add them to the stick of Judah, and make them into one stick, and they will be one in My hand. And I will make them into one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king to them all, and they will no longer be two nations, nor will they ever be divided into two nations again. Ezek. 37:16, 17, 19, 22. (AC 3969)

This passage would be quite puzzling about God’s seemingly odd ways. But now we know that the natural meanings can be decoded by spiritual-natural correspondences to obtain the scientific sense contained in Divine Speech when it is in our celestial and spiritual minds. The Numbered Paragraph section in the Writings where this passage from Ezekiel is discussed (AC 3969) is in connection with explaining the meaning of Judah and why he was called by that name. Judah, in its scientific sense, refers to our celestial mind wherever this name is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments.

But as yet scarcely anyone knows that these things are meant in the Word when the name Judah is mentioned, the reason being that the historical descriptions of the Word are thought to be simply historical descriptions, and the prophetical utterances to belong among such things as have fallen into oblivion, except for some of them from which doctrinal inferences may be drawn out. No belief exists that those descriptions and utterances have a correspondential sense within them, because at the present day no knowledge exists of what the correspondential sense is, or indeed of what the spiritual is.

And the chief reason for this is that the life which people lead is the natural life. This is such that when they have that life as their end in view or it is the only life they desire, it blots out both spiritual knowledge and faith - so much so that when spiritual life and a correspondential sense are spoken of, these are like something that does not really exist or else are something unpleasant and depressing which, because it does not accord with natural life, they find distasteful.

Such being the condition of the human race at the present day it neither understands nor wishes to understand by the names mentioned in the Word anything else than the nations, peoples, individual persons, regions, cities, mountains, or rivers, which those names denote. Yet in the correspondential sense names mean real things.

[2] That 'Judah' in the internal sense means the Divine-Human's celestial Church, in the universal sense His celestial kingdom, and in the highest sense the Divine-Human Himself may be seen from many places in the Old Testament where Judah is mentioned, for example, from the following: In Moses…(AC 3969)

There then follows different passages from various parts of the Old Testament and in each case the scientific sense of Judah is the celestial portion of the human mind where heaven is. This is truly amazing and cannot be explained except as Divine Speech. Recall that these Old Testament books were written independently by dozens of prophets over many centuries. How could it be that what they wrote down in visions and voices and historical events contain the same scientific sense hidden within it and transformed into historical events and their details. How could this be? The only rational explanation is that it is Divine Speech which has this characteristic of always containing the same scientific sense hidden, or filtered down and transformed, in the words of historical narratives and poetic expressions.

Continuing with the next selection:

[2] As regards the signification of a "gate," there are in general two gates with every man; the one opens toward hell, and is opened to the evils and falsities therefrom; in this gate are infernal genii and spirits; the other gate opens toward heaven, and is opened to good and the truths therefrom; in this gate are angels. There is thus a gate which leads to hell, and a gate which leads to heaven. The gate of hell is opened to those who are in evil and falsity, and only through chinks round about above does anything of the light from heaven enter, by means of which they are able to think and reason; but the gate of heaven is opened to those who are in good and the truth therefrom. 

[3] For there are two ways which lead into man's rational mind-a higher or internal one, through which good and truth from the Divine-Human enter, and a lower or external one, through which evil and falsity come up from hell. The rational mind itself is in the middle, and to it these ways tend. That mind, from the goods and truths which are in it, is compared in the Word to a city, and is called a "city." And because it is compared to a city, and is called a "city," gates are attributed to it, and it is often described as being besieged and stormed by enemies, that is, by evil genii and spirits; and as being defended by angels from the Divine-Human, that is by the Divine-Human. (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

This passage is packed with anatomical facts about the human mind, facts which are used in theistic psychology to build our rational understanding and spiritual consciousness and to apply it to the daily needs of people in society. The scientific sense of “gate” and related concepts like “city” ,“street”, “pavement” and so on, refer to the structural parts of the rational mind, at all three levels (see Section xx). Here we are given anatomical facts about how information enters our cognitive operations.

There are two paths of information sources to our conscious mind here on earth, one from above, namely the spiritual world, called the “gate of heaven,” and one from below the natural mind, called the “gate of hell.” Our hellish habits develop and mature by using the information from the hells in our mind, coming up from below into our corporeal and sensuous mind (see Section xx). The rational mind is in between. The lower or external portion of the rational mind is called natural-rational. The upper or inner portion of the rational mind is called spiritual-rational and celestial-rational.

The rational function of our mind therefore is the key to our salvation or life in heaven to eternity. Our lower natural knows evil from hell. Our higher natural knows good from heaven. As long as we are still on earth, God keeps a perfect balance between these two rational operations in every individual. In this way, we are always free to choose which we reject. Only such free choices, rejecting the evil information and delight, can permanently separate us from them, leaving behind only the good delights and truths, which are from heaven.

5.0.12  Invasion of the Hells

Continuing with the text we are analyzing:

The infernal genii and spirits, with their evils and falsities, cannot come further than to the lower or outer gate, and in no case into the city. If they could get into the city, or into the rational mind, all would be over with the man. But when they come so far as to seem to themselves to have taken that city by storm, it is then closed, so that good and truth no longer flow into it from heaven except as was said some little through chinks round about. From this it is that such persons no longer have anything of charity or anything of faith, but make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.

From this also it is that they are no longer truly rational, although they seem to themselves to be so (n. 1914, 1944). And it is from this that they are called dead men, although they believe that they are more alive than others (n. 81, 290 at the end). These things are so because the gate of heaven is closed to them. That it is closed to them manifestly appears and is perceived in the other life; as also on the other hand that the gate of heaven is open to those who are in good and truth.  (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

Note the scary part: “If they could get into the city, or into the rational mind, all would be over with the man.” By “all would be over with the man” means you and me. We are the split-brain spiritual race. Our immortality depends on our rationality. The “infernal genii and spirits” come to the entrance “gate” of our rational mind when they enter the corporeal, climb to the sensuous, and are seeking to have the rational justify their presence. They are then seeking to take the “city” by storm, the scientific sense of which is that that our “doctrine” of life, our principles of living, our morality and rationality, are in danger of concocting and fabricating a justification for what is happening in our sensuous and corporeal minds.

Our natural conscience and moral principles are at stake, and if we have religion, our spiritual conscience and salvation are at stake. This is mental process that people need to self-witness in themselves so that they may be prepared to undergo temptations whereby God delivers them by removing these particular hells at our gates, containing them forever from coming to these particular gates again. There are numerous particular hells at our gates every day and they must be removed one by one through spiritual self-witnessing and temptations. In this way we may go on with our spiritual development and not be stuck before a seemingly insurmountable barrier.

What happens to us when we fail this test and go ahead and develop rationalized justifications for actual evils in our corporeal and sensuous minds?

In other words, what are the consequences in our mental operations when we justify a hellish habit we witness in ourselves?

The passage above gives the answer in these terms: “But when they come so far as to seem to themselves to have taken that city by storm, it is then closed, so that good and truth no longer flow into it from heaven except as was said some little through chinks round about. From this it is that such persons no longer have anything of charity or anything of faith, but make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.” How devastating to discover this! The consequence of justifying our hellish habits in thoughts and in feelings is to stop the flow of good and truth into our celestial mind!

This is devastating to the individual. I say that it is scary because if there is no good and truth flowing into our mind, there is nothing to stop the hellish habits to multiply in my personality. I have no protection from this or that desire, this or that fanciful attraction, this or that pleasure I can experience. Without protection, I give in to them, all of them, and my fate is sealed. I now am a devil in company of devils. The instant I pass on and become a spirit, I precipitate myself into the hell of my mind and there I find all my friends, all the genii and infernal spirits I had been with in my pleasures and cupidities on earth. We embrace each other like long lost friends. We recognize each other’s faces and emotions.

But after the delirious welcoming exchanges, conditions change. They are much further into the insanity than I am, perhaps than I will ever be. But now I have to live with them. So I become their victim and I suffer endlessly to eternity, except when it’s my turn, and my desperation is so great that I become the torturer and my they become my victims. O what pleasure and infernal glory I then feel, -- for a little while, because soon they take over again, which never fails. So this is the life that awaits me if I let them storm my city, meaning, if I justify my corporeality and sensuality regardless of their being hellish rather than heavenly.

The picture I draw above is not a fantasy created by fear. It is the very thing Swedenborg had observed many times. It is also the very same process of events he observed in heaven, when we are willing to undergo character reformation by means of spiritual self-witnessing and temptations in which we call upon the Divine-Human to fight the hells on our behalf.

Note that when we justify a hellish enjoyment or habit we “make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.” This is a process of thinking that requires rational operations, though applied to an irrational goal. Some of the sub-elements of the mental reasoning sequence are rational in themselves, but when they are placed together with irrational sub-components, the end-goal of the sequence will be irrational. But to us in that mental state, we ‘”make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.” This is Divine scientific revelation. It becomes a key principle in theistic psychology.

Using our rational syntax to justify evil is equivalent to introducing a virus into your mental components. It is an actual damaging physiological operation in the spiritual neuronal fibers of the natural mind. Popular wisdom says, Misuse it and you lose it. You can see this spiritual principle operating in the destruction of our rational mind through its misuse. What happens if you use a sharp knife to cut a brass handle? The knife utility is reduced, perhaps destroyed so you need to sharpen it again. Our rational syntax misoperates when used to justify a hellish idea because our heaven is in our rational, the upper portion of the rational called the spiritual-rational mind and the celestial-rational mind. These upper portions of our mind cannot remain operational unless the natural-rational retains its integrity of operation, without a virus.

It is like gangrene or cancer that spreads to all portions of the physical body unless surgically or chemically removed before it starts spreading from the point where it entered the body. In fact, the aggressive and invasive injurious operation of gangrene and cancer possesses this property from the invasive and injurious operations of the hells in our mind. The enter through our lowest and weakest point—our corporeal and sensuous mind. These are the weakest or most susceptible to the hells because the inherited traits and tendencies are very strong in the lower portion of the natural mind.

As the passage above says, when we begin to justify evil interests and goals we “are no longer truly rational, although we seem to ourselves to be so.” We become inured, uninfluenciable by reason and rational discourse. We have become a god to ourselves, recognizing ourselves as the highest executive officer of our choices. “And it is from this that they are called dead men, although they believe that they are more alive than others.” This is the built-in self-destructiveness of using our intelligence to defend the hells in us. We believe we are alive, better off, free, at the very moment that we are chained to awful things to come.

“These things are so because the gate of heaven is closed to them.” This means that the source of our rational syntax, which must remain online to operate, is cut off. We pull out the plug on ourselves when we rationalize one of our evil habits or enjoyments. It is not the evil enjoyment that destroys us, as sometimes believed from a religious perspective. More scientifically, we can see that it is the justification of evil enjoyment that destroys our rational syntax, which eliminates the heaven in our mind. Yet it is this rational heaven, or “rational faith,” that we must have to live in eternity in conjugial bliss.

Continuing with the following portion of the selection:

[4] As regards the "gate of enemies" in particular, which is treated of in this verse, it is with man in his natural mind. When man is wholly natural, or not regenerate, evils and falsities occupy the gate; or what is the same, evil genii and spirits flow into it with cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity (see n. 687, 697, 1692); but when man becomes spiritual, or is being regenerated, then the evils and falsities, or what is the same, the evil genii and spirits, are driven away from the gate, or from the mind; then goods and truths, or charity and faith, take their place; which things are signified by its being said, "thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies." This takes place in particular with every man when he is being regenerated; and in like manner in the other life with those who come into the Divine-Human's kingdom; and it also takes place in the general body, or in the church, which is composed of many.  (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

You may notice that when we are trying to give an example of evil and hell we think of Hitler, serial killers, and terrorists. Sometimes I think that this serves to hide from ourselves how close and ordinary hell and evil are. For instance, when we think of evil and hell we do not think of our playing the music too loud or tailgating somebody while driving home. We do not think of the “f” word that constantly drips from our lips, nor of leaving our dirty dishes in a sink used by others. Yet these are evil and hellish traits that will provide an entrance for the entire hells. If we justify these ‘little’ hellish things because we don’t do the big ones, we are introducing a virus into our natural-rational operations. As sure as hell, the virus will spread and infect the entire rational mind until we are a dead man. These operations are scientifically described in theistic psychology.

The passage above says that “When man is wholly natural, or not regenerate, evils and falsities occupy the gate; or what is the same, evil genii and spirits flow into it with cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity.” This is discussing the vertical community (see Section xx). Prior to character reformation, or regeneration, our rational is wholly natural, which is why it is called the natural-rational mind. We receive no input from above, that is from the spiritual mind, because it is not yet operational in our consciousness. We do not as yet have a spiritual organ built up within the natural mind. Character reformation is a built in skill that every individual can perform by means of rational principles, either from moral teachings or directly from Sacred Scripture. When we begin this intentional and conscious process, it becomes our goal. We are motivated to proceed with it. As a result neuronal fibers and networks are being built up in the spiritual organ within the natural mind. This has been discussed above.

The more this spiritual organ grows within the natural mind, the more rational we become spiritually. Our consciousness or ability to understand spiritual-rational ideas, is elevated and enlightened by spiritual light from the Spiritual Sun that is within Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech. When reading Sacred Scripture we are then given perception of its scientific sense by applying the knowledge of correspondences and discourse analysis (see Section xx). This scientific sense is the rational thinking we need to elevate our consciousness into reality and truth. This is what our heaven is made of, and hence, our salvation and eternal life in conjugial bliss.

The passage above indicates what the scientific sense is of the verse of Sacred Scripture we’ve already referred to above, "thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies." The scientific sense applies to every human being. “To inherit” refers to regeneration for heavenly life, not only while we are still on earth, but also in the afterlife, and not just for individuals but for society and civilization.

Continuing with the next selection:

[5] This was represented by the sons of Israel expelling the nations from the land of Canaan. The latter is meant in the literal sense where it is said, "thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies;" but in the internal sense are signified the things which have been told. Hence in ancient times it became customary to speak thus when blessing those who were entering into marriage; as is also manifest from the benediction of Laban to his sister Rebekah, when she was going away betrothed to Isaac:

Our sister, be thou thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed inherit the gate of those that hate thee (Gen. 24:60).

[6] That such things are signified in the Word by the "gate of enemies" or of "those that hate," may be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:

I will kill thy root with famine, and I will slay them that remain of thee. Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou art melted away, O Philistia, all of thee, for there cometh a smoke out of the north (Isa. 14:30-31);

to "kill the root with famine, and to slay them that remain," denotes to take away the goods and truths which had been stored up interiorly by the Divine-Human. (…)

 [12] In David:

They that dwell in the gate plot against me, they that drink strong drink sing songs (Ps. 69:12);

"they that dwell in the gate" denotes evils and falsities, and also the infernals. (…)

[14] It may be seen from these passages what is signified by the "gate of enemies," namely, that it is hell, or infernal spirits, who are continually attacking goods and truths. Their seat with man as before said is in his natural mind. But when a man is of such a character as to admit goods and truths, and thus angels, the infernal spirits are then driven away by the Divine-Human from that seat; and on their being driven away, the gate of heaven or heaven itself is opened. This gate is also mentioned in the Word in various places; as in Isaiah:

A song in the land of Judah. We have a strong city, salvation will He appoint for walls and bulwarks; open ye the gates, and the righteous nation that keepeth fidelities shall enter in (Isa. 26:1-2).

 (…)

 [15] From these passages it is manifest that the "gate of heaven" is where angels are with man, that is, where there is an influx of good and truth from the Divine-Human; and thus that as before said there are two gates. Concerning these two gates the Divine-Human speaks thus in Matthew:

Enter ye in by the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat; because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt. 7:12-14; Luke 13:23-24).

Moreover the gates to the New Jerusalem and the gates to the new temple are much treated of in Ezekiel, and also by John in Revelation, by which nothing else is meant than the entrances to heaven (see Ezek. 40:6-49; 43:1-2, 4; 44:1-3; 46:1-9, 12; 48:31-34; Rev. 21:12-13, 21, 25; 22:14; Isa. 54:11-12). Hence Jerusalem is called the "gate of the people" (Micah 1:9; Obad. verse 13). (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

I presented these detailed selections to demonstrate that the vastly spread out books of the Old and New Testament all share this thing in common, namely, that they are written in a natural language that follows the code of correspondences, even though the prophets who wrote them had absolutely no idea of this property of the Divine Speech they were writing down. The Divinity of the Bible is asserted and firmly believed among most Christians today, as indicated by polls and popular commentators. This is a religious blind faith based on sincerity and tradition. They feel this way even though they cannot prove that the Old and New Testaments are Divine Books, and even though they have doubts here and there about some parts that appear bizarre and incomprehensible.

But now we have entered the Age of the Second Coming initiated as a spiritual-rational revolution through the Writings of Swedenborg. The laws of correspondences that govern the interconnectivity between the natural and spiritual worlds have been revealed to the human race at a period or age when science and rationality have entered public schools and all institutions of society. Now we can extract the scientific sense of Divine Speech given to humanity. There is no more need to turn away from bizarre text in the Holy Book. Knowledge of correspondences allows us to reconstruct the spiritual-rational message in Divine Speech. This is the level of meaning and consciousness that we need to develop spiritually as an individual and as a generation. This is the level of meaning we need to be willing to suffer ourselves to undergo character reformation.

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#seed

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5.0.13  Universal Salvation of Everyone

Continuing with the next selection:

“In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” That this signifies the salvation of all who are in good, is evident from the signification of "being blessed," as being to be enriched with celestial and spiritual good (see n. 981, 1096, 1420, 1422); here, to be saved, because spoken of those who are saved (that "to be blessed" has a comprehensive meaning is well known); from the signification of "seed," as being the faith of charity (see n. 1025, 1447, 1610); and from the signification of the "nations of the earth," as being those who are in good (see n. 1159, 1258-1260, 1416, 1849). 

[2] Moreover in these words there is contained the following arcanum: that through the church (which is here the "earth," n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262) those are saved who are out of the church; for as just stated, "thy seed" denotes the faith of charity; and no others are in the faith of charity than those within the church, for the faith of charity is truth of doctrine adjoined to good of life. The case is this: The Divine-Human's kingdom on earth consists of all those who are in good, who though scattered over the whole earth, are still one, and as members constitute one body.

Such is the Divine-Human's kingdom in the heavens, where the whole heaven represents one man, which is therefore also called the Grand Man (n. 684, 1276); and what is wonderful and hitherto unknown, all parts of the human body correspond to societies in heaven. And therefore it is sometimes said that some societies belong to the province of the head, some to the province of the eye, others to that of the chest, and so on, which correspondence will of the Divine-Human's Divine mercy be spoken of by itself.  (AC 2853)

My Commentary:

The passage above answers the troublesome issue of whether or not only those are saved who are “in the Church.” It is traditional for religions to believe this, which shows that religions are cultural rather than universal and cross-cultural. I saw an exchange on TV the other day that illustrates this ingrained belief and how it creates conflict in society which is always more diverse than one religion. Two people were being interviewed on a news show. The topic was the current smash hit movie The Passion (of Christ). One interviewee was a Jewish rabbi whom I have seen on several other shows over the past couple of years. He displays an aggressive style and frequently interrupts others while they are talking, not letting them go on, talking over them, raising his voice. I found him annoying every time I’ve seen him. The other interviewee was a woman Christian activist who had started a Web site promoting the idea that Christians should go see the movie because it strengthens their faith.

The rabbi was arguing that the movie was anti-Semitic because it presents Jews in a negative light and because it inflames bigots to hate the Jews. The woman was arguing that it is an accurate portrayal of the New Testament’s descriptions of the Crucifixion. The rabbi was incensed that society is forced to be exposed to the New Testament which is prejudicial to him and to Jews and other religions. The woman said she cannot back off the Gospels which declare that Jesus is the way, the truth and eternal life for all humanity. The rabbi screamed that she is forcing her heaven on him and taking away his heaven. He confronted her: Yes or No, are you saying I cannot have my heaven without Jesus? She repeated that she cannot back away from what the Gospels declare. The host then put an end to the debate.

The revelation of the scientific sense within the Old and New Testaments puts an end to this kind of religious warfare. From the perspective of religion, the rabbi can keep his ideas from the Old Testament and the Christian woman can keep her ideas from the New Testament. But both can now investigate and learn that the Old and New Testaments contain the same scientific meaning, which is for both of them, and for all religions. In the passage above, and many others in the Writings, it is revealed that “through the church those are saved who are out of the church.” The scientific sense of the word “church” in Sacred Scripture is the rational mind that is to be regenerated from being merely natural to being spiritual-natural. Hence the church is the method of character reformation in all religions through the commandments that the members are to follow in daily life.

“Those within the church” refers to the state of mind we are in when undergoing character reformation through Sacred Scripture or morality based on it. This is referred to as those who “are in faith and charity” which means when we are rejecting some evil habit for the sake of our spiritual development or the heaven of our eternity. Those who are outside the church refers to our state of rebellion when we are justifying our evil traits so that we can continue to practice them. The passage asserts that our rebellious mental states during regeneration (“out of the church’) are overcome by our states of obedience (“within the church”).

But in addition, the passage applies to the meaning of Church as an institution of religion. When read from a religious perspective, those who are “within the Church” designate practicing Christians while those “out of the Church” designates non-Christians. That everyone is saved means that we can give up religious conflict. The Christian woman on the news show discussed above could free herself from social conflict if she could have answered the rabbi that he too is saved by Jesus, even if he doesn’t wish to acknowledge the New Testament as Divine.

Of course he has to be a man of sincerity and conscience because even Christians are not saved if they are not sincere and do not live like their religion dictates. But anyone anywhere is saved if they arrive into the afterlife and are willing to receive instruction about the scientific sense of the Sacred Scripture they had been worshipping. If they were sincere in their religion and conscience, they gladly receive the new scientific truths that are universal and apply to all. If they are not willing to let go of their sectarian views, and if they reject the scientific sense which they are taught, they remain in the state of mind they came with and cannot become rational, cannot enter the rational heavens of eternity. These universal laws apply equally to Christians and all others. No one enters heaven by declarations of faith of any kind.

Swedenborg witnessed numerous heavens, each adjusted to the peculiar genius of the inhabitants there. Once in heaven there are no Christians vs. non-Christians and there are no religions in the natural sense they exist on earth. Everyone in all the heavens know and study the scientific sense the Sacred Scripture of their recognition. Divine revelations have been given various times to various peoples in the history of earth, a history that is traced and explained in the Writings.

5.0.13.1   Extracting Theistic Psychology From Sacred Scripture -- an Illustration

In the following passage the literal sense discusses a historical event, a conversational exchange that took place at a well in Palestine between one of the patriarchs called Jacob and a few "droves" who were about to water their sheep. The snippet under analysis is recorded in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture: "And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5]

We will do a twofold analysis and examine the layers of hidden content of Divine Speech as it enters our conscious natural mind through the external senses when we read the written sentences of Sacred Scripture. The most external or bottom layer of Divine Speech as laid down in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture, in this instance, consists of a question a man addresses to other men waiting at a well in a desert of Palestine where the sheep are watered: And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? Jacob is asking about his father's cousin and uncle who are from that area, and possibly known by the men at the well. All these details are historical facts and there appears to be nothing holy or Divine in them, in and of themselves. But this is only a surface appearance, not the objective reality of what is actually there, hidden in this snippet of Divine Speech laid down in the literal sentences of the Old Testament Sacred Scripture.

Why do we call this snippet "Divine Speech"?

First, because of the principle that every word, sentence, and feature of Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech laid down in a natural language, and is describing or explaining something for the natural mind in which we are aware and think. God wants us to know some principles that will assist us in character reformation. Everything God says to the human race has to do with that general subject, namely, the principles of character reformation. Why? Because that's what we are here for on earth tied by correspondence to a physical body. We cannot change our character after we are resuscitated and begin our life in eternity (see Section xx). So you can see why it is so desperately important that God get through to us with Divine Speech so that we may know how to succeed in our character reformation.

It is therefore a deep puzzle to all of us, why God is talking about ordinary historical events and conversations that happened thousands of years ago. Why is God not talking to us about theistic psychology -- the mind's anatomy and how it develops, and how it works, and what we can do to influence and manage our mental operations every day throughout our childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Why is God not talking to us like a Divine Psychologist, which He is (see Section xx). The answer is that He is talking to us about theistic psychology subjects! In order to see this, we need to analyze the sentences of Sacred Scripture and access the various layers of meaning that are hidden within it.

These inner layers are clearly discussing theistic psychology and reveal the facts and principles people need to know in order to effect a successful program of character reformation. This will then allow them to abandon the character they inherited and practiced in culture and society, and to start living, feeling, willing, thinking, reasoning, and behaving from a new character, an reformed character, a new self. Whereas the old self is hellish, the new self is heavenly (see Section xx). When we are resuscitated and begin our life of immortality, we choose for our consciousness to dwell in the upper parts of our mind called the heavens, or the lower parts called the hells of our mind. This free choice is dictated by our ruling love or highest ranked affections and delights (see Section xx).

To obtain this vital information from Divine Speech we must enter into the spiritual layers of the literal sentences in Sacred Scripture. The Writings Sacred Scripture reveal and demonstrate the method of analysis that must be used in order for it to yield genuine information as opposed to bogus information. The Writings Sacred Scripture state that  this method must be used exactly as prescribed in the Writings Sacred Scripture, or else the results cannot be genuine.

This method will now be illustrated in two steps. First, we look at the literal explanations given by the Writings Sacred Scripture of this passage in the Old Testament (about Jacob's question), which will illustrate how the Writings follow the method when analyzing Old Testament sentences. Second, we will apply this same method of analysis ourselves to the sentences of the Writings. This is why it's called a double unfolding of Divine speech laid down in Sacred Scripture. The first unfolding is to see what lies underneath the sentence in the Old Testament ("And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor?"), and the second unfolding is to see what lies underneath the explication sentences in the Writings (see Section xx).

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 3778. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5]

That this signifies, Have they the good of this stock? is evident from the representation of Laban, as being the collateral good of a common stock (see n. 3612, 3665); and from the representation of Nahor, as being that common stock from which is the good represented by Laban; that "to know," in the internal sense signifies to be therefrom, is manifest from the series.

How the case is with the representation of collateral good by Nahor, Bethuel, and Laban, shall be briefly stated. Terah, who was the father of three sons-Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Gen. 11:27), represents the common stock from which come churches. Terah himself was indeed an idolater, but representatives do not regard the person but the thing (n. 1361). And because the representative Jewish Church commenced in Abraham, and was renewed among his descendants from Jacob, therefore Terah and his three sons put on the representation of churches-Abram the representation of a genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word; but Nahor his brother the representation of a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word.

That the Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and that it exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity, is manifest from what has been shown here and there concerning the Gentiles.
 

[2] This therefore is the reason why by Nahor, his son Bethuel, and Bethuel's son Laban, there is represented the collateral good of a common stock, that is, the good in which they are who are of the Lord's church among the Gentiles.

This good differs from the good of a common stock in the direct line of descent, in this respect-that the truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine, but most of them are external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses; for these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened. In its essence indeed good is only one, but it receives its quality from the truths implanted in it, and thereby becomes various. The truths that to the Gentiles appear as truths are in general that they should worship some God from whom they seek their good and to whom they attribute it, and so long as they live in the world they do not know that this God is the Lord; also that they should adore their God under images, which they account holy; besides many other things.

Nevertheless these things are no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians, provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor; for thus in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths (see n. 932, 1032, 1059, 2049, 2051, 2284, 2589-2604, 2861, 2863, 3263).

This shows what is here meant by the collateral good of a common stock. That by Nahor are represented those out of the church who are in brotherhood by virtue of good, may be seen above (n. 2863, 2866, 2868); that by Bethuel is represented the good of the Gentiles of the first class (n. 2865, 3665); and by Laban the affection of external or corporeal good, and properly the collateral good of a common stock (n. 3612, 3665).

[3] With this good the case is that first of all it serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good, for it is external corporeal, and is grounded in external appearances which in themselves are fallacies of the senses. In childhood man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good, and although he is taught what internal good and truth are, still he has no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one; and because such is the first idea, therefore such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced. This is the arcanum which is here represented by Jacob and Laban. (AC 3778)

I will now analyze the elements of the passage (underlined above):

(1) there is a common stock from which come churches signifies there is a shared universal character ("common stock") to every human mind that acknowledges the existence of God  ("churches")

(2) belief in God can be based in either of two sources:

(I) a genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word signifies belief in God ("church") that operates with the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("genuine church")

(II) a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word signifies belief in God ("church") that operates from self-intelligence without the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("church of the Gentiles")

(3) the Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity signifies that the acknowledgement that God exists ("the Lord's church") is implanted in every human being ("is scattered throughout the universal earth"), by which every individual has the motivation to refrain from hurting others and to do them good ("Gentiles who live in charity")

(4) people whose mind operates from self-intelligence ("Gentiles") continue to hurt others whenever they are able to justify it to themselves ("the truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine") due to false principles of morality and culture ("external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses") which do not come from the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened ").

(5) The belief in God produced by self-intelligence ("truths that to the Gentiles appear as truths ") motivates people to practice a cultural religion ("should worship some God from whom they seek their good and to whom they attribute it") in which they do not realize that God is the Divine Human within their mind ("they do not know that this God is the Lord") but believe God to be outside of them ("adore their God under images").

(6) When people are resuscitated upon death they are given the opportunity to enter their eternal heavens regardless of their religious background ("no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians") as long as they refrained from hurting others on account of their beliefs ("provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor"), since then they are able to receive the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths").

(7) What gives people the capacity to acquire a heavenly character even without knowledge of Sacred Scripture  ("those out of the church")? It is the motivation not to harm others because it is against God to do so ("who are in brotherhood by virtue of good").

(8) Where do we obtain this motivation? ("it serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good") From our own self-intelligence and character ("external corporeal, grounded in external appearances, which are fallacies of the senses"). We can acknowledge God without knowing Sacred Scripture ("In childhood man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good"), but our level of understanding of God is then only natural and sensuous or materialistic, not rational ("no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one'), even if we are taught the rational and spiritual ideas of theistic psychology ("although he is taught what internal good and truth are").

(9) Although this motivation for character reformation is not yet genuine, rational, and spiritual, it is given by God as a temporary means by which the person can begin to make progress in character reformation ("such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced"). 

The nine elements of the passage we analyzed above can now be placed together to show the difference in meaning between the literal, and the unfolded layers of meaning in Divine Speech.

First unfolding of the Old Testament Scripture: And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5], as taken from the Writings Sacred Scripture's explication of that verse:

There is a common stock from which come churches. A genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word, and a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word. The Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity. The truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine, but external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses. For these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened, but only truths that appear to them as truths. They do not know that God is the Lord, and adore their God under images.

These things are no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians, provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor, and in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths. Those out of the church are in brotherhood by virtue of good. This [intermediate state] serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good. [These intermediate states] are external corporeal, grounded in external appearances, which are fallacies of the senses. In childhood, although he is taught what internal good and truth are, man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good, [having] no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one. Such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced. (From AC 3778)

Second unfolding constructed by analyzing the above paragraph, as explained in the analysis:

There is a shared universal character to every human mind that acknowledges the existence of God. Belief in God can be based in either of two sources: Belief in God that operates with the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture, and belief in God that operates from self-intelligence without the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture. The acknowledgement that God exists is implanted in every human being, by which every individual has the motivation to refrain from hurting others and to do them good.

People whose mind operates from self-intelligence, continue to hurt others whenever they are able to justify it to themselves  due to false principles of morality and culture which do not come from the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture.

The belief in God produced by self-intelligence motivates people to practice a cultural religion in which they do not realize that God is the Divine Psychologist within their mind, but believe God to be outside of them. When people are resuscitated upon death they are given the opportunity to enter their eternal heavens regardless of their religious background, as long as they refrained from hurting others on account of their beliefs, since then they are able to receive the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture.

What gives people the capacity to acquire a heavenly character even without knowledge of Sacred Scripture? It is the motivation not to harm others because it is against God to do so. Where do we obtain this motivation?  From our own self-intelligence and character. We can acknowledge God without knowing Sacred Scripture, but our level of understanding of God is then only natural and sensuous or materialistic, not rational, even if we are taught the rational and spiritual ideas of theistic psychology. Although this motivation for character reformation is not yet genuine, rational, and spiritual, it is given by God as a temporary means by which the person can begin to make progress in character reformation.

From this parallel layout of the double unfolding it is easy to see how the content of Divine Speech changes as we extract the inner layers of the sentences of Sacred Scripture. You can see that as the unfolding proceeds, the explication gets longer. The Old Testament verse contains 12 words, while the explication of it in the Writings takes 228 words, and its explication in theistic psychology takes 324 words. You can also see that the content of Divine Speech as we move closer to it towards God, is strictly about how our mind works and how we should apply this knowledge to our character reformation, by which we prepare our mind for heavenly life in eternity.

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#universal

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5.5.2  The Alignment of Trines From Sacred Scripture

 

Table of Trines in Relation to the correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture

Row number

 

 

 

1

Old Testament
Sacred Scripture (OT)

New Testament
Sacred Scripture (NT)

The Writings
Sacred Scripture (TT)

2

sensorimotor organ [S]
predominates as a natural revelation about effects (omnipotence)

cognitive organ [C] predominates as a spiritual revelation about causes (omniscience)

affective organ [A]
predominates as a celestial revelation about ends (omnipresence)

3

nervous system,
legs of the body

respiratory system,
torso of the body

circulatory system
head of the body

4

plane of effects,
first in etiology, last in completeness, natural light predominates

plane of causes,
intermediate in etiology, spiritual light predominates, intermediate in completeness

plane of ends,
last in etiology, first in completeness, spiritual heat predominates

5

basis of doctrine,
literal sense of Sacred Scripture

containant of doctrine
correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture

support of doctrine
celestial sense of Sacred Scripture

6

consciousness of God as
celestial sensuousness (innocence of remains) (infancy) (descending line)

consciousness of God as
spiritual sensuousness (childhood) (descending line)

consciousness of God as
natural sensuousness (adolescence) (descending line)

7

consciousness of God as
natural doctrine
confirmed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture (young adulthood) (ascending line)

consciousness of God as
spiritual-natural doctrine
extracted from Sacred Scripture (First Heaven) (adulthood) (ascending line)

consciousness of God as
spiritual-rational doctrine extracted from Sacred Scripture (Second and Third Heaven) (old age) (ascending line)

8

Old Testament phase
of the New Church mind (the literal sense of the Writings is the Divine doctrine)

New Testament phase
of the New Church mind (acknowledging that the correspondential sense of the Writings is the Divine doctrine)

Third Testament phase
of the New Church mind (applying Divine doctrine to one’s daily willing and thinking – being in good and truth)

9

corporeal spirituality
characterized by tribal loyalty, blood lust, superstitions, religious fundamentalism, literalism, salvation by rituals and sacrifices

sensuous spirituality
characterized by universal compassion, indiscriminate love of neighbor, salvation by blind faith in a personal God

rational spirituality
characterized by the discriminating love of the good in the neighbor, salvation by as-of self effort in character reformation

10

corporeal heaven
heaven is in the natural world after resurrection; spiritual rewards are saintly powers, earthly possessions and happiness

sensuous heaven
heaven is in eternity prior to resurrection and on earth after resurrection; spiritual rewards are mental goodness and peace

rational heaven
heaven is the mental world of eternity in which we are immediately after death; we continue immortality either in a conjugial heaven or in the hell of our ruling love

 

 

 

 

For the sake of memorizing this chart, here it is again without the explanations:

Row number

 

 

 

1

Old Testament (OT)

New Testament (NT)

The Writings (TT)

2

sensorimotor organ [S] (omnipotence)

cognitive organ [C] (omniscience)

affective organ [A]
(omnipresence)

3

nervous system
legs of the body

respiratory system
torso of the body

circulatory system
head of the body

4

plane of effects

plane of causes

plane of ends

5

basis of doctrine
literal sense

containant of doctrine
spiritual sense

support of doctrine
celestial sense

6

celestial sensuousness (infancy)

spiritual sensuousness (childhood)

natural sensuousness (adolescence)

7

natural doctrine
(young adulthood)

spiritual-natural doctrine
(adulthood)

spiritual-rational doctrine (old age)

8

Old Testament phase
of the New Church mind

New Testament phase
of the New Church mind

Third Testament phase
of the New Church mind

9

corporeal spirituality

sensuous spirituality

rational spirituality

10

corporeal heaven

sensuous heaven

rational heaven

 

 

 

 

Some charts list trines in the literal sense while others, like the chart above, lists concepts derived from the literal sense. Here is a chart that lists trines based on the literal sense as they occur in the Writings Sacred Scripture (see Section 9.0.1.2 Trigrammatic Gene Structures):

Sensorimotor [S]

Cognitive [C]

Affective [A]

Use

Wisdom

Love

Natural

Spiritual

Celestial

First heaven

Second heaven

Third heaven

Memory-knowledges

Knowledges

Doctrinal things

Sensory (action)

Understanding

Will

Effect

Cause

Source

Outermost

Intermediate

Inmost

Divine Proceeding

Divine Existere

Divine Essence

Salvation

Redemption

Creation

Jacob

Isaac

Abraham

Egypt

Assyria

Jerusalem

Good works

Faith

Charity

Holy Spirit

Son

Father

Divine Proceeding

Divine Truth

Divine Love

Spiritual influx

Spiritual Light

Spiritual heat

Interior-natural

Spiritual-rational

Celestial-rational

Horses

Mules

Lamb

Springs

Rivers

Mountains

Faith

Knowledge

Ideas

 

 

 

(Note that slight differences in adjacency order need to be addressed. for these charts)

Note: For further explanations and tables on trines:

(1) See SCA/ACS Diagram and explanations in the Genes of Consciousness article here: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss/harmonizing4.htm#diagram4

(2) See also relevant Glossary Entries here:
www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss.html

(3) See also my book Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg: Three Steps in Rational Spirituality here:  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss/moses.html

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#trines

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

5.7  The Scientific Meaning of the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are significant in human history because they were communicated to the  human race by God Himself rather than through the intermediary of a prophet. Swedenborg points out that most of the Commandments were known to various nations in Asia and the Middle East and often formed part of their legal code. Swedenborg points out that no society or kingdom could have survived for any length of time had there not been legal prohibitions against murder, theft, adultery, and false witness. The fact that these prohibitions are mentioned later as part of the Divinely Spoken Ten Commandments indicates to the world that these are not merely human laws but Divine as well. In other words, when you break these prohibitions you're not only accountable to secular government but to God and the afterlife.

It is part of the religious belief system that if you break God's Commandments you are sinning and sin always leads to spiritual death or eternal hell.

This sounds like a very harsh Divine retribution that needs to be interpreted rationally in order to keep it harmonious with the idea of God as Divine Love for whom it is impossible to feel angry or the desire to punish. Even mere human justice recognizes that stealing is not like murder, and adultery does not deserve life in prison, and even less, eternity in hell. The way to create this rational harmony is by investigating the scientific sense of the Ten Commandments. When this is done it becomes very clear that God does not do any punishing but that the punishment is an automatic consequence of the behavior of breaking the prohibitions in the Commandments.

We need to understand the exact mechanism of this automatic built-in negative consequence system of Divine management. We will examine the scientific sense of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament. Since these verse are Divine Speech we already know that it will have several layers of meaning as the Divine Speech filters down from the highest heaven in our mind to the natural mind which is the locus of our conscious awareness while we are tied to the physical body on earth. When we read the literal text of the Ten Commandments we are focusing on the natural and historical meaning, which is similar to the laws of all civilized societies. In this sense there is no Divinity in the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament version and the legal statutes of countries appear similar.

In order therefore to see where the Divinity lies in the Ten Commandments, we need to acknowledge it, first, as Sacred Scripture and Divine Speech, which is adopting the positive bias. Second, we then need to apply what has been revealed in the Wirings of Swedenborg about the code of correspondences in which all Sacred Scripture is written. By doing this we are slowly and gradually climbing up the influx ladder and reconstructing the scientific meaning of each Commandment. As a result we discover what God says about the scientific mechanism He uses to oversee and manage our spiritual development in preparation for heavenly life. The scientific sense of each Commandment will tell us how the mind is influenced by obeying or disobeying it. These consequences determine the physiology of our mind and therefore the conditions of life our mind can support in the afterlife. Such as our mind is, such is our destiny in eternity, whether in heaven or in hell. Hell is not a punishment for sin but a way of life determined by people's loves, or lusts and cupidities. These affective operations make the mind such as it is.

Quoting the Writings:

The reason why the Ten Commandments in their spiritual and celestial senses contain in universal form all the commandments relating to doctrine and life, and so the whole of faith and charity, is that the literal sense of the Word in every single detail, both generally and in every part, conceals two inner senses, one called spiritual, the other celestial. And these senses contain Divine truth with its own light and Divine goodness with its own heat. Now since the Word is like this both generally and in every part, each of the Ten Commandments must be explained in those three senses, the natural, the spiritual and the celestial. The nature of the Word has already been shown to be like this by the demonstrations given in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture or the Word (193-208 above). (TCR 289)

In other words, the Ten Commandments, being Divine Speech as Sacred Scripture, contain layers of meaning, or "inner senses," that can be reconstructed. In the Writings the layers of meaning of Sacred Scripture are categorized into three distinct degrees called natural, spiritual, and celestial. These three degrees correspond to three levels of thinking about spirituality (see the explanations in my Moses book). These three degrees of meaning correspond to the three heavens in every person's mind, each heaven containing its own meaning. Divine Speech filters down through these three heavens, and those who are in each heaven understand only that meaning which corresponds to that level of mentality. We can gain some understanding of each of these levels of meaning because our natural mind is capable of interior perception through higher correspondences (see xx).

Quoting the next Number in the Writings:

No one who is ignorant of the nature of the Word can have the slightest idea that infinity is contained in its details, that is to say, that its contents are countless, so that not even the angels can exhaust them. Anything found there can be compared to a seed, which planted in the ground can grow into a great tree, and produce an abundance of seeds; these again produce similar trees to form a garden, and their seeds in turn form other gardens, and so on to infinity. The Word of the Divine-Human is like this in its details, and such above all are the Ten Commandments. For since they teach love to the Divine-Human and love towards the neighbor, they are a short summary of the whole Word. The Divine-Human also shows that the Word is like this by a comparison:

The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his land. This seed is smaller than all other seeds; but when it has grown up, it is larger than any plant, and it becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches. Matt. 13:31, 32; Mark 4:31, 32; Luke 13:18, 19; cf. also Ezek. 17:2-8.

The fact that such an infinity of spiritual seeds or truths lies in the Word, can be established from the wisdom of the angels, the whole of which is derived from the Word, In their case wisdom goes on growing for ever. The wiser they become, the more clearly do they see that wisdom has no end; and they perceive that they are merely at its entrance, and they cannot reach even the minutest part of the Divine-Human's Divine wisdom. They call this bottomless. Now since this is the source of the Word, coming as it does from the Divine-Human, it is plain that all its details contain a sort of infinity. (TCR 290)

We are given some fascinating details here about the construction of the human mind. "Angels" refers to the level of our feeling and thinking in the celestial portion of our mind. It is said above that the source of our rationality and intelligence at this highest level of human potential, is "the Word" or Divine Speech in the form of written Sacred Scripture. Divine Speech is the source of all truths which form our rationality and intelligence. Our ability to think rationally and with wisdom comes from appropriating for ourselves truths or meanings we pick up from reading Sacred Scripture. But since there are three distinct degrees of meaning in Sacred Scripture, the level of rationality we form through it depends on which layer of meaning we focus on and understand.

Each word of each Commandment contains infinite truths for building our intelligence and rationality endlessly to eternity.

5.7.1  First Commandment: God is the Source of Everything

Continuing with the next Number from the Writings:

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT

"There is not to be any other God before my face'"

These are the words of the first commandment (Exod. 20:3; Deut. 5:7). Their ordinary meaning in the natural or literal sense is that idols are not to be worshipped (...) (TCR 291)

This commandment 'There is not to be any other God before my face' also means in the natural sense that no human being, alive or dead, is to be worshipped as a god, another practice found in Asia and various surrounding countries. (...) (TCR 292)

In the natural or literal sense this commandment also means that no one is to be loved above all except God, nor anything except what comes from God. This too agrees with the Divine-Human's words (Matt. 22:37-39; Luke 10:25-28). Anyone or anything which is loved above all is, to the lover, God and divine. For instance, if anyone loves himself or the world above all else, then he or the world is his own god. This is why such people do not in their hearts acknowledge any God. They are therefore linked with like minds in hell, where all are gathered who have loved themselves or the world above all. (TCR 293)

The literal sense of the First Commandment tells us that we are not love things of this world above the things of the spiritual world. When we think of the scientific sense as to why we should feel this way it becomes clear that loving natural things above spiritual things involves tying ourselves down to lower forms of mental states. For instance, when our love for eating is greater than our love for staying healthy, we are in trouble. I heard on the news the other day that there are 40 million overweight people in the U.S. and there is a rising incidence of killer diseases associated with being overweight--high cholesterol, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, as well as lowered functioning and productivity.

Another example is the rising incidence of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases when people's promiscuous or addictive love for sex is greater than their love for prudence or their love for one of the sex (monogamy--see Section xx). It's not that promiscuous and unsafe sex is a sin that God punishes, as some religious people believe, but that having unsafe sex as part of a promiscuous sub-culture is elevating the love of sex above the love of prudence and monogamy (love of one of the sex).

When we place the love of God to the highest rank in our motivational system, we still love and enjoy food and sex, possibly more than others, but we moderate the love of sex and food by means of the love of God. To love God means to obey God's Commandments. By doing this we are rearranging our motivational hierarchy to agree with the highest intelligence and truth that our mind is capable of. When we subordinate all our loves to the love of God, we exercise prudence, wisdom, rationality, and compassion in all our behaviors every day--food behavior, sexual behavior, business, relationships, entertainment.

From a scientific perspective we can see that God doesn't desire that we love Him out of Divine pride or glory. Commandments are for our sake, not His. God is not only our Creator but also our Manager, Therapist, and Co-participant in our thinking, feeling, and acting, arranging all things in the environment for the benefit of our regeneration or spiritual development. God's purpose is to elevate our mind into our heaven where we can live in happiness and protection forever. What happens when we disregard professional rules and follow our own ideas when mixing hazardous chemicals or explosives? Boom! We know this, so we follow correct  procedures and live. It is the same with the Commandments.

Quoting the next Number from the Writings Sacred Scripture: [explications are not in original]

The spiritual sense of this commandment is that no other God is to be worshipped except the Divine-Human Jesus Christ [historical name in the New Testament Sacred Scripture for the Incarnation], because He is Jehovah [historical name of God in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture], who came into the world and carried out the redemption [reference to the Incarnation Event], without which no man, nor any angel, could have been saved [regenerated or prepared for heavenly life]. The following passages in the Word [Old Testament Sacred Scripture] show that there is no other God beside Him.

On that day it will be said, Behold, He is our God, whom we have awaited to free us. He is Jehovah, whom we have awaited; let us exult and rejoice in His salvation. Isa. 25:9. (...)

Am I not Jehovah, and there is no other God beside me? There is no righteous God and Savior beside me. Isa. 45:21, 22.

I am Jehovah, and there is no Savior beside me. Isa. 43:11; Hosea 13:4. (...)

A child is born for us, a son is given to us, whose name is Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Isa. 9:6. (...)

We are in truth, in Jesus Christ. He is the true God and everlasting life. My sons, beware of idols. 1 John 5:20, 21.

These passages plainly show that the Divine-Human our Savior is Jehovah Himself [the Incarnated God, who is at once the Creator, the Redeemer and the Regenerator. This is the spiritual sense of this commandment. (TCR 294) 

This passage identifies the "spiritual sense" (or correspondential sense) of the First Commandment in terms of the literal historical meaning of the Old and New Testaments. The historical and literal meaning of Sacred Scripture serves for religion (see Section xx). This is a necessary consequence of the filtering of Divine Speech down to the natural mind dealing with the conditions and events of this world in terms of times, culture, and history. It is called here the "spiritual sense" of the First Commandment because it depends on putting together various passages in the Old and New Testaments where the historical identity of the Incarnate God is specified. God's Incarnation is His entering the natural world in time and culture (see Section xx). This necessitates His appearance in a particular religion and nation. But we can reconstruct the higher scientific sense by reconstructing the rational meaning of God as the Divine-Human. If you think of references to "Jehovah" and "Jesus Christ" as the universal God in the Form of the Divine-Human, all religion, history, and culture disappear from focus, and there emerges the scientific message. In the next Number it is called the "celestial sense":

The celestial sense of this commandment is that the Divine-Human Jehovah is infinite, measureless and eternal; He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end, who was and who is and who shall be. He is love itself and wisdom itself, or good itself and truth itself, and consequently life itself, Thus He is the sole source of everything. (TCR 295)

Note the assertion that God is "the sole source of everything." To love God more than anything means to recognize God as the source of everything--our thoughts, our feelings, our sensations, our actions, our environment and its events. I call this the scientific sense of the First Commandment because it is a scientific statement to identify the source of everything. For instance, if we want to identify the source of mercury in our drinking water, we need to follow scientific procedures such as testing samples of the water at various times and in various places. We would then discover where is the highest concentration of mercury and we can investigate what entry mechanisms are in place for getting the mercury into the water system, such as leaks from hazardous wastes or illegal dumping of chemicals from a factory.

Similarly, to inquire what is the source of everything is a scientific investigation. The scientific meaning of the First Commandment is that God is the source of everything. This in itself is not sufficient as a scientific inquiry, but it is the beginning, and further inquiry into God's Speech will give us more details.

5.7.2  Second Commandment: Do Not Take the Name of God in Vain

Continuing with the next Number:

THE SECOND COMMANDMENT

"You are not to take the name of Jehovah your God in vain, for Jehovah will not hold anyone guiltless, who takes His name in vain."

Taking the name of Jehovah God in vain means in the natural or literal sense the misuse of the name itself in all sorts of conversation, especially false statements or lies, and in swearing without good cause, or in order to avoid being blamed, in evil intentions, which are curses, and in witchcraft and spells. On the other hand, swearing by God and His holiness, the Word and the Gospel, at coronations, ordination into the priesthood, or inauguration into offices of trust, is not taking the name of God in vain, unless the one who takes the oath subsequently rejects his promises as worthless. The name of God, being holiness itself, is to be constantly employed in the sacred business of the church, as in prayers, hymns and all forms of worship, as well as in sermons and writings on religious subjects. This is because God is present in everything to do with religion, and when He is duly invoked, His presence is summoned by His name, and He listens. In these ways the name of God is hallowed.  (TCR 297)

The literal sense of the Second Commandment refers, as in the other cases, to religious behavior--worship, sacraments, priesthood, and Church. God's Name represents God and therefore speaking against God or saying things that are irreverent or disrespectful of God, is to violate the prohibition of taking God's Name "in vain." The scientific sense of "holiness" and the "sacred," refers to our attitude of respect for God as the Supreme Being. "Jehovah God" is the religious name of God as known to Jews and Christians. The scientific sense of "Jehovah God" is the Divine-Human, which is the Name of God as it is known to the entire human race in the spiritual world.

When we swear, curse, or engage in jokes or levity regarding the religious things of God, we are downgrading the quality of the source of our mental input in thinking and feeling. All thinking and feeling originates and is managed by God on our behalf. If we deny God or disdain His religious Name, we are cutting off the source of our intelligence and rationality, inverting what we receive from God into its opposite. Thus we become irrational and insane in spiritual things, not knowing what is good or evil, true or false. God forbids us to disrespect Him because such an attitude is extremely harmful to us and prevents our spiritual development. When this is halted, we cannot prepare our mind for eternal life in heaven.

In order to understand this process rationally it is necessary to know the anatomy of the mind and how "influx" takes place through the various layers of the mind's organic structure (see Section xx). Acknowledgement of God and respectful worship of God is physiological process that begins in the upper portions of the organic mind called celestial, then filters down through the spiritual by correspondence, and at last comes into our consciousness in the natural mind. In this conscious form or content, worship and respect of God appear as religious behavior.

But be aware that this external behavior and thinking is the bottom of the process, and that it results from inward influx through the layers of the unconscious mind. Denying God or ridiculing religion is the process of inversion during the descent of influx into our mind. God maintains our reasoning capacity in operating order moment by moment. It is therefore from God's management of our mind that we are able either to worship God or to ridicule. In both instances it is God's management operation, not our own, for we have no power to operate any part of our mind on our own. This is a rational consequence of the definition of God as omnipotent. If we were able to operate any part of our mind or body by ourselves, from ourselves, then God would not be omnipotent. This is a logical conclusion.

Having realized this, we must immediately answer the pressing problem that presents itself to the rational mind: Then we are robots and have no responsibility. And therefore putting people into hell is a cruel joke.

Obviously, if we're going to argue rationally, hell could not be a cruel joke if God is omnipotent and good with nothing bad in Him. Hell is therefore not a joke and not cruel. It is a mental operation that God manages,  just as He manages heaven. to understand this rationally we need to know more about the mechanisms God uses to manage everything in our mind and body, and especially we must understand the concept of as-of self (see Section xx). We are not conscious that it is God who is managing our mental operations. God prevents us from perceiving His operational Presence because if He didn't, and we would be able to perceive His operation, we would lose all desire or motive to do anything. We would lose the ability to plan things and to intend things that are either heavenly or hellish. Since we would do nothing, we would not do evil since God would not. We would therefore be in heaven being human robots, but not human beings. We would have no motive to choose this or that, we would have no feeling of trying and winning, no feeling of loving and enjoying, no reason to think, no reason to talk.

You can see that it is not possible for God to turn us into such angelic robots because it is contrary to God's rationality and Love. God's Love desires only to make us supremely happy to eternity. To accomplish this He has to manage to raise every individual's mind into heaven. Heaven is a rational consciousness of God's truth, by which we can receive God's love. Being filled with God's truth and love, we live happily as human beings to eternity. We have an identity and a uniqueness. We can form relationships with other unique human beings. We can form a conjugial couple and a heavenly society. All this that God desires would be lost and impossible were He to (a) let us perceive His operation in our conscious mind, or (b) stop managing the entire process from beginning to end and from first to last.

God created a wonderful solution:  the as-of self. First He hides His operational Presence. Second, He creates in us the feeling of freedom of choice from self.  This is what's called the "as-of self" in the Writings. Note that it contrasts with the idea of "the self" that we are familiar with. Until the Writings revealed it was not known by anyone that we have an as-of self. Some people said that we have a self, others that we don't really have a self, but no one said that we have an as-of self. And if someone had said it, it would have been seen as equivalent to the self. But the concept of "self" is natural and does not take into account how we can have a self if God is omnipotent. Some people thought that God just removed Himself from nature and mind, so that we did have a self. But this is obviously illogical since God is omnipresent and cannot remove Himself from anywhere.

The as-of self concept solves the logical conundrum. We have an as-of self not from any power of our own but from God's power. An analogy from the Writings is to think of two teams of strong men in a contest pulling a rope on either side of a dividing line. Suppose they are perfectly matched in strength. No team can win. Then a little child comes along and pulls the rope in one direction and the strong men are pulled over and fall. It's as-if the little child is very strong, stronger than ten muscle men. But this is an appearance and in reality the child is much weaker than one man.

This analogy reflects the model God is using to create the as-of self feeling. We have much less power to operate the mind than the child has to pull the men over. God manages the mental operations on either side of any choice we are making. God balances perfectly the power to go one way or the other. We don't need any power to make the choice but only the indication of which way we want to go. The moment we choose, it is done for us by God. The situation (which God also manages) then determines what are the consequences of the choice. Sometimes nothing happens, nothing moves. Sometimes what we expected happens. Sometimes the opposite or something unexpected. Whatever God manages to occur, that we attribute to our choice. this works only so long as we cannot perceive God's actual operations in us.

Hence it is that we feel that we are our own agent of action and choice. Whatever choices we make cumulate to create our environment and personality. God is in charge at all times and with every detail. The process is infinitely complex when you consider the endless choices we make from birth to eternity, and how they must fit together with the endless choices of endless numbers of humanity. Only God who is infinite can take care of any part of it and of all of it.

The choice to deny God and ridicule religion takes us down a mental path filled with wrong choices and produce awful experiences that God continues to manage and operate, but not to control or reverse. Our as-of self would be instantly shattered and destroyed if God prevented us from sliding into cumulative hell. God does prevent many things that we are unconscious of. This He can do and does endless times as He operates to influence our choices up to the line of compulsion or coercion, but never crossing that line. Therefore God gives us the power to defeat God's desire for us for heaven, and allows us to live in hell. Even then, the Writings reveal that God moderates every evil and only allows the evil that He cannot prevent, given the necessity to maintain the as-of self.

For instance God manages our memory process so that what we remember or forget is used to manage what happens without arousing our perception of His operations. God prevent some bad choices by blocking our memory, keeping us ignorant of something, or keeping occasions and opportunities form presenting themselves. Yet all this management activity still cannot prevent people from making bad choices without visible interference. Swedenborg reports that no one in hell is allowed to do more than the evil that keeps them living. Also, that events on earth are controlled so that worse things don't happen in many situations.

"Taking the Name of God in vain" is therefore an expression that refers to the evil consequences God cannot prevent and allows to happen to people who are asserting their as-of self in a direction of irrationality or disorder, thus opposite to God's rational order that leads to heavenly states of mind. The people in hell still maintain their as-of self for this the basis of their living. If God were to override the as-of self so that the people hell could feel themselves being taken to heaven, they would perceive God's operational presence, which would destroy their as-of self. Now they might in  heaven, but they lack an as-of self. They are worse off than in hell because they have no as-of self, hence no motive, identity, or happiness.

Continuing with the next Number:

In the correspondential sense the name of God means the whole of the church's teaching taken from the Word, and through which the Divine-Human is invoked and worshipped. All of this is summed up in the name of God. Therefore taking the name of God in vain means using anything from this source in idle talk, false statements, lies, curses, witchcraft and spells; for this too is slandering and blaspheming God, and so His name. The following passages will show that the Word and all the church takes from it, and so all worship, is the name of God.

From the rising of the sun men shall call upon my name. Isa. 41:25.

From the rising of the sun to its setting, great is my name among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name. (...)  Mal. 1:11-13.

All peoples walk in the name of their God, and we shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God. Micah 4:5. (...)

Jesus said, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst. Matt. 18:20. (...)

Those who believe will have life in His name. John 20:31.

The Divine-Human said, You have a few names in Sardis. Rev. 3:4.

There are many other passages in which, as in these, the name of God means the Divine which goes forth from God, and through which He is worshipped. The name of Jesus Christ, however, means the whole of redemption, and the whole of His teaching, and so the whole of salvation. Jesus means the whole of salvation by means of redemption; Christ the whole of salvation by means of His teaching. (TCR 298)

The names of God in Sacred Scripture are associated with religious, historical, and cultural events. But when we focus on the scientific meaning of each of God's names, the historical-religious reference vanishes and what's left behind is a specific scientific concept about human development, the anatomy of the mind, and the operational laws by which God manages the details of our thinking and feeling. In this passage it is revealed that the name "Jesus Christ" refers in its scientific sense to "redemption." This refers to character reformation or regeneration. In other words the sentence quoted above "Jesus said, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst. Matt. 18:20" means that redemption ("Jesus," "my name," "there am I") or character reformation becomes effective when we acknowledge ("gather together") that it is God or the Divine-Human who puts up the power we need to reject inherited traits that bind us to hell. "Redemption" is like "deliverance" since to redeem means to buy back from bondage. It is the bondage of sin that are freed from when we acknowledge the Divine-Human and act from this rational faith.

"Jesus Christ" refers to the universal Divine-Human who is worshipped in every religion as God. In cultural context, only Christians acknowledge this name as Divine, while other religions acknowledge the Divine-Human under another name, each according to their own ethnic history. Nevertheless, it is clear that they all worship the same Divine-Human since there is only one infinite God, by definition and by rational necessity. The name of God refers not only to the Person of the Divine-Human but to "the whole of His teaching." Thus, Divine Speech or Sacred Scripture is part of the Name of God. Therefore to ridicule Sacred Scripture or to deny that it is Divine in every part, constitutes taking the Name of God in vain.

The expression "Divine-Human" is used in the New Testament only once (I believe) (Rev. 3:4) but it is used thousands of times in the Writings of Swedenborg. I think this means that the Divine-Human was not universally revealed in the New Testament, which has remained associated exclusively with the Christian religion. But the new age of the Second Coming ushered through the Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1772), God's name as the Divine-Human is being introduced for science and thus universally and not solely associated with Christianity. Quoting from Swedenborg:

The names used in the spiritual world make it plain that someone's name does not mean just his name, but his whole character. In that world no one keeps the name he received at baptism and from his father or family in the world, but everyone there is named to suit his character, and angels have names to suit their moral and spiritual lives. (...)

Even in the natural world a name does not mean just the name, but at the same time a person's whole character, since this is inseparable from the name. In ordinary speech we say, 'He is doing this for the sake of his name', or 'for the sake of the reputation of his name'; or 'this man has a famous name.' We mean by this that he is famous for qualities he possesses, such as ingenuity, learning, achievements, and so on. Everyone knows that if anyone insults and slanders someone by name, he is also insulting and slandering the way he lives. The ideas are linked, so that the reputation of his name is destroyed. In much the same way, if anyone utters the name of a king, duke or high dignitary in an insulting fashion, he heaps abuse also on their majesty and dignity. Equally, if anyone pronounces a person's name in a contemptuous tone, he at the same time shows his contempt for the way he lives. It is the same with every person; the laws of all kingdoms forbid a person's name to be slandered or insulted, because the name is equivalent to his character and reputation. (TCR 300)

In the United States libel laws prohibit people from slandering the name or reputation of someone else or some business or institution. Heavy fines and prison terms are assigned to people convicted of this crime. There also laws against expressing threats against the President. We sometimes read in the news about people arrested and put in jail for expressing threats against government officials. It is clear that laws against slander and libel are necessary in society and without them society would fall into chaos and self-destruct. The same holds true for the Ten Commandments, and without them, people would remain ignorant of their hellish behaviors, and the human race would perish thereby, everyone ending up in their eternal hells. The primary purpose of the Ten Commandments is thus to make us aware of our hellish traits, and thus choose to remain in them, or to reject them.

Note the explicit acknowledgement in the Old Testament regarding God being worshiped under many Names: "From the rising of the sun men shall call upon my name." (Isa. 41:25)  "From the rising of the sun to its setting, great is my name among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name." (Mal. 1:11). "All peoples walk in the name of their God, and we shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God." (Micah 4:5.).

Both the Old and New Testaments acknowledge that God is worshiped by all nations. In the fundamentalist idea of some Jews and Christians, they are the only ones who worship the one true God. But this dogma is contradicted by Sacred Scripture in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings of Swedenborg. In general, fundamentalist beliefs in other religions like Islam and Hinduism, also hold the dogma that they are the only ones who worship the one true God. However this does not represent the majority perspective in all the major religions.

Note in the passage above (TCR 298) the list of eight behaviors that constitute taking the name of God in vain: idle talk, false statements, lies, curses, witchcraft, spells, slandering, and blaspheming God. When we do one of these behaviors we usually do most of them or are prone to doing all of them. When we guard ourselves from doing one of them we also tend not to do any of them. What happens when we do one or more of these behaviors? Why are they prohibited by God?

Because acknowledgement of God reflects the rational reality of the world while rejection of God reflects the irrational delusions of insanity. Denial of God leads to forms of thinking that are irrational and hurtful while acknowledgment of God leads to forms of thinking that are rational and beneficial. If God exists and operates our mind and the environment (the positive bias in science), then to think the opposite is clearly contrary to our reality, and leads us into irrational and hurtful behaviors and choices. Each one of the Ten Commandments is designed by God to assist us in keeping our thinking in the rational mode. The Ten Commandments in their whole, both literal and scientific meaning, constitute a complete system of effective control over inherited and acquired hellish traits.

When we try to obey each of the Commandments, our natural mind reacts in opposition. We feel a strong resistance, a deep annoyance and reluctance. We don't want to give up what is delightful and seemingly harmless. Most people can give up murder, many can give up stealing, few can give up lying and adultery, and almost no one is willing to give up slander, innuendo, character assassination, cursing, gossip, exaggeration, idle talk, or obscene jokes. By holding on firmly to the Ten Commandments in their whole, keeping them in constant focus all day long, we are able to self-witness our resistances and reluctances and rebellions.

Observing these inner reactions when facing a Commandment gives us a free choice as to whether we obey it and reject our hellish behavior, or whether we reject the Commandment and continue in our hellish behavior. Having the freedom of this choice is what is called "redemption" and "salvation" of the human race. Each of us can still choose the hells and reject the heavens in our mind. Those who make this choice are not redeemed and are not saved from their hellish traits. Those who make the choice of rejecting the hellish trait and adopting the heavenly, are redeemed and saved for life in their heavens.

This free choice of redemption and salvation was not available to the human race prior to the Incarnation Event when the Divine-Human entered the natural world in history and culture. Until then people on this earth knew of the Ten Commandments and of Sacred Scripture but were incapable of free choice. The inherited tendencies of the hellish traits held a lock on rational thinking and people's minds were filled with false idols, distorted dogmas, and intellectual rationalizations that allowed them to neutralize the clear and simple teachings of Sacred Scripture. God's Incarnation as the Divine-Human person was a mechanism for defeating the stronghold of false beliefs on the human race. It restored free choice between obeying and disobeying the Ten Commandments in their complex. How this was done is discussed elsewhere (see Section xx).

5.7.3  Third Commandment: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy; for six days you are to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath for Jehovah your God.

For this third commandment, see Exod. 20:8-10; Deut. 5:12, 13. In the natural or literal sense this means that six days are for man and his work, and the seventh is for the Lord, and for Him to give man rest.

Sabbath in the language of the original means rest. Among the Children of Israel the Sabbath was the holiest of observances, because it represented the Lord. The six days represented the Lord's toils and battles against the hells, the seventh His victory over them, and so rest. Since that day represented the completion of the Lord's whole act of redemption, it was for that reason the height of holiness.

When, however, the Lord came into the world, so that representations of Him ceased, that day became a day for instruction in Divine matters, and also a day of rest from work, for meditation about matters conducive to salvation and everlasting life, and a day for love towards the neighbor. (...) (TCR 301)

In the historical-religious sense, to keep the Sabbath appears like an ethnic-cultural ritual that is not universally applicable to other religions. But in in its universal scientific meaning "Sabbath" refers to the mental state following temptation or our struggle against a hellish trait in ourselves that comes to our attention. God uses the mechanism of temptation to give us the awareness of a particular hellish trait or habit we have. Once we become aware of it in the face of a Commandment, we are set up for the free choice to remain in it or to reject it. When we reject it, God weakens the habit or tendency, and if we reject it consistently, God removes the habit. In this way all our hellish traits can be removed.

The process of temptation is painful and disturbing, sometimes in the extreme. It is always unpleasant. To some it feels like punishment form God, but in reality, God doesn't punish but works to bring us to victory in temptations. This experience of victory over temptations feels as-if our own victory, though we must acknowledge rationally that it is God's victory over the hells to which we are chained by birth. The state following victory over a temptation is called "Sabbath," a Hebrew word meaning "rest from struggles." This state of Sabbath in our mind is sweet and peaceful. After a victory in temptation we feel the close presence of God, and we bask in a mental state of freedom from slavishness to our emotions and obsessions.

The Commandment to keep the Sabbath refers therefore to the absolute requirement that we acknowledge God's operational presence in our thoughts and feelings as we struggle to obey God's Commandments in our efforts at character reformation or regeneration. To disobey this Commandment is to reject the idea in our mind that God is operating our mental activity, and to adopt instead the point of view that we alone are operating our mental activity. This rejection is death or eternal hell because the denial of God in our mental operations neutralizes God's efforts to save us. It is like driving a car without wearing seat belts. We thereby neutralize the safety feature that will save us from injury and death in case of a collision.

Quoting from the Next Number (TCR 302):

In the correspondential sense this commandment means man's reformation and regeneration by the Lord. 'Six days of work' means the fight against the flesh and its lusts, and at the same time against the evils and falsities which are implanted in one by hell. The seventh day means his being linked with the Lord, and his consequent regeneration. It will be shown later on, in the chapter on reformation and regeneration, that, so long as that fight continues, a person is engaged in spiritual labor; but when he is regenerated, he has rest. The important points made there are these:

(i) Regeneration is an exact replica of a person's conception, gestation in the womb, birth and training.

(ii) The first act of a new birth is called the reformation of the understanding, its second act is the regeneration of the will and hence of the understanding.

(iii) The internal man must first be reformed, and the external man by means of the internal.

(iv) At that time a struggle takes place between the internal and external man; the one who wins becomes master over the other.

(v) A person's regeneration is having a new will and a new understanding, etc.

The reason why this commandment in the correspondential sense means a person's reformation and regeneration is that it parallels the Lord's toils and battles with the hells, and His victory over them, followed by rest. For the way in which the Lord glorified His Human and made it Divine is the same as the way in which He reforms man and regenerates him, making him spiritual. This is what is meant by 'following Him'. It is plain from Isaiah chapters 53 and 63 that the Lord engaged in battles and these are called toils; and similar events with men are called toils (Isa. 65:23; Rev. 2:2, 3). (TCR 302)

The above passage specifies several key details about the use of the Ten Commandments for character reformation. Regeneration is the process of applying the Ten Commandments to one's daily activities--affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor--what our motives are, what our thinking is, and what are overt actions are. Regeneration is an organic process of the physiology of the mind. It is revealed here that regeneration of the mind has three phases, like the generation of a birth--conception, gestation, birth, and socialization ("training"). The phase of conception in spiritual rebirth is cognitive reformation ("understanding"), which refers to rearranging the meanings and content of our thinking to agree with the Ten Commandments in their complex whole. For instance, moving from the materialistic negative bias to the dualism of positive bias, constitutes conception in the regeneration process.

The second phase of gestation in regeneration consists of affective modification attempts ("regeneration of the will"). It is not enough of course to be reformed by filling our intellect with the scientific revelations in the Ten Commandments. To stop at reformation would be like a miscarriage in gestation--no baby will be formed and born. Reformation of the intellect through the positive bias and through knowledge of the Ten Commandments in their complex, is the beginning that needs to be followed up by applying the reformation of the intellect to the choices and action of the will. It is the will, or the affective organ, that determines whether we shall obey the Commandments we know, or whether we shall disobey them. Once this mental gestation process is matured, a new understanding develops from the new will. This new consciousness of truth is higher than before because it is now actual, whereas before it was theoretical. When we obey a Commandment God gives us a new insight into its meaning so that we are prepared to continue obeying that Commandment at a deeper level. This permits us to be regenerated in our deeper loves or hidden character traits.

Note the statement that the "internal man must first be reformed, and the external man by means of the internal." This is referring to the sensuous portion of the natural mind vs. the rational portion of the natural mind. The sensuous portion is called the "external man" because it is formed by the experiences we have in the world through our physical senses. The sensuous mind contains the sensations and delights of our physical life, and the concepts that are based on them. These are time-bound and space-bound concepts like the concepts of materialistic science in the negative bias mode. But the "internal man" refers to our rational reasoning process and our rational emotions based on them. We are able to operate mentally above the sensuous mind by abstracting the sensuous data as they come in and re-ordering them into a rational system of understanding. Science is the organized and cumulative activity of creating these abstracted theories or doctrines. These scientific theories need a context of the positive bias so that we may be informed from Divine scientific revelations. This is the "internal man" -- scientific revelations in the positive bias.

We are told here that in regeneration there is a struggle going on between the "external man" and the "internal man." In other words, the sensuous-rational operation in the natural mind are opposed to the spiritual-rational operation in the highest portions of our natural mind. Unless the higher rational wins over the lower rational, our consciousness will remain lodged in the natural concepts of the sensuous mind. The higher rational refers to our scientific understanding of the Ten Commandments, while the lower rational refers to our religious understanding. These two forms of understanding oppose each other because the religious understanding is mystical and cultural, while the scientific understanding is universal and eternal. The cultural and earthly is distorted while the spiritual and heavenly is rational and true.

The internal man must first be reformed because the external man is compelled to reform by the internal man. In other words, our lower rational thinking cannot reform from itself but only from something higher than itself. This is the general law in mental operations, that the higher controls the lower and never the reverse.

The Sabbath rest is relief we feel when we have struggled and won between our lower and higher nature. God gives us this rest by inducing upon our mind quietude, contentment, security, and peace. These heavenly states of mind become possible when we choose a heavenly love to become the ruling love. Quoting from Swedenborg:

Heavenly peace, which prevents evils and falsities rising up from the hells and assaulting us, can be compared with natural peace in many respects. For instance, the peace which follows wars, when everyone lives protected from enemies, safe in his town and in his house, his estates and gardens; as the prophet said speaking in natural fashion about heavenly peace:

They will sit each man under his vine and under his fig-tree, unafraid. Micah 4:4; Isa. 65:21-23.

It can also be compared with mental relaxation and rest after hard work; or with the solace mothers experience after childbirth, when their maternal love affords its delights. Another comparison might be with fine weather after storms, black clouds and thunder; and with spring at the end of a severe winter, and the flourishing of new crops in the fields, and the gardens, meadows and woods bursting into flower. It can equally be compared with the state of mind of those who after storms and dangers on the sea reach harbor, and set foot on the land they hoped for. (TCR 304)

 Reading the above in its scientific meaning we can see some of the details of this mental state called the Sabbath rest. "The end of a severe winter" refers to our negative mental states during the struggles of temptation, when we have won victory by choosing to obey the Commandments. "Black clouds and thunder" refers to the pain and suffering, the anxiety and agony when we are on the edge of free choice between what we desire and enjoy sensuously, and what we desire and enjoy rationally or spiritually. This is a thunderous stormy battle in our experience, agonizingly unpleasant. "Childbirth" refers to rebirth or spiritual development, as discussed just above (conception, gestation, birth, socialization).

The "fine weather" and "spring" refer to the mental states of the Sabbath rest. "Flourishing of new crops in the fields" refers to the semantic enrichment of our understanding which is afforded us through the activation of higher mental processes--a new state called enlightenment. Victory over temptations brings both peace and enlightenment. "Gardens, meadows and woods bursting into flower" refers to the informational enrichment of our intellect. We have a deeper understanding after victory than before. We see with a clearer vision, higher consciousness, deeper insight into truth, reality, eternity. We read Sacred Scripture and we realize it is Divine Speech. Our rational understanding expands to new content and meaning, more universal and integrative, but also more particular and singular to one's unique situation and position.

It is said above that "Heavenly peace prevents evils and falsities rising up from the hells and assaulting us." When we are in the state of mind called the Sabbath rest, we are in heavenly peace on earth, that is, we are experiencing a correspondence of our true heaven. In this mental state, there is rational consciousness of the celestial kind, and this is called eternity. When we are in this mental state we are segregated and protected from being "assaulted by evils and falsities rising up from the hells." The hells in our mind rise by means of false concepts and beliefs. When we allow them in by acquiescing uncritically, the hellish traits receive a boost and enter into higher rational processes such as our moral reasoning. Suddenly we begin to be confused about what's right or wrong in a situation. The Ten Commandments no longer seem so clear about it. This is the action of the false beliefs upon the reasoning process. They make it easier for evil motives to be justified and pursued.

But in our heavenly operations we are completely isolated from any falsity and any evil. The Divine-Human struggling for us in our temptation will not permit the hellish influences to spread into our moral and rational mind--as long as we choose the Commandments over self-intelligence or the intelligence of a friend, book, or philosophy.

 

5.7.4  Fourth Commandment: Honor Your Father and Mother

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long and you may prosper upon earth.

This commandment is found in Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16. Honoring your father and mother means in the natural or literal sense honoring one's parents, obeying them, being attached to them, and showing gratitude for the kindnesses they do. These include feeding and clothing their children, and bringing them into the world, so that there they may live civilized and respectable lives; also bringing them into heaven by teaching them the rules of religion. In this way they provide for their temporal prosperity as well as their eternal happiness. They do all this because of the love they have from the Lord, in whose place they act. It also means, in appropriate cases, the honoring of guardians by their wards, if the parents are dead.

In a wider sense this commandment means that one should honor one's king and magistrates, since these provide all with the necessities of life in general, just as parents do in particular cases. In the widest sense the commandment means that one should love one's country, since it feeds and protects one; hence it is called one's fatherland. Honor should be shown by parents to both one's country and its rulers, and they should implant this idea in their children. (TCR 305)

It's obvious that this Commandment is universal since no society can exist or survive unless people obey the government and family norms. "To honor father and mother" refers to all relationship of dependency that a human being must have to survive on earth and in eternity. It includes teachers, baby sitters, neighbors, police officers, judges, civil servants, the military, legislators, insurance agents, sanitary engineers, cleaning ladies, and truck drivers. No service profession can be excluded. God is commanding us that we honor all of them. Why?

Because without honoring them we cannot enter our heaven. This is exactly the same answer for every Commandment. Heaven in eternity is inside you rational consciousness which is built up from Sacred Scripture. Rational consciousness is the key to eternal life in happiness. False beliefs corrupt and sicken our rational consciousness like a virus from an email attachment corrupts and spreads throughout your computer, and the computer of others who open the email attachment you inadvertently forwarded. False beliefs are mental operations with defective rationality. If you love these false beliefs they are able through your love, to invade like a virus, higher mental operations until your rational and moral judgment is defective. You are then at the mercy of your illusions and insanities. You cannot free yourself from your hells.

Hence to obey this Commandment protects your mental operations from losing rationality. If you honor your doctor, you comply with the medication regimen. If you forget, you don't honor your medical professional because you don't obey the professional advice (see Section xx on Health Behaviors). If you honor your government, you respect the laws enacted by the elected legislators. You don't try to cheat or get around. If you get a traffic ticket and lie to the judge to get off, you are not honoring the judge or the country's court system and constitution. If you cheat on your tax forms, you are not honoring the government, its laws, and the whole of society. This Commandment really protects us from the endless temptations we experience in daily life, at work, shopping, driving, or paying your bills and voting.

Even if you don't cheat at your taxes but feel resentful for having to pay, you are not honoring the system, the country, the professionals, the legislators. Paying taxes is a rational necessity for any society or community. Honoring the system is part of the attitude of people who have integrity. Honesty, sincerity, integrity, fair-mindedness, caring are all heavenly traits that we can perform when we elevate this Commandment to our immediate focus in daily life. Paying taxes cheerfully and with gratitude is an expression of obedience of this Commandment, especially if this Commandment is your motivation for paying your taxes cheerfully. We can think of the use our money will be put. We can think of taxes as sharing money with others who are needy since the government distributes the income to pay for public roads and law and order.

Whatever we do when we are motivated by obedience to the Ten Commandments, we are regenerating and being born with a new character that can live in heaven to eternity. People who are not explicitly aware of the Ten Commandments as Sacred Scripture nevertheless are aware of similar injunctions of life from parents and school. Everyone has an inborn conscience that informs us of the Commandments in some form. If we behave with the explicit motive to obey conscience, we are regenerating and developing spiritually a character that can live in heaven to eternity.

Cynicism and pessimism are obviously not from our heavenly inventory. When we are immersed in false belief systems that oppose this Commandment, our mental operations take a lower level of consciousness, where cynicism and pessimism appear logical and justifiable positions or perspectives. In this state of mind we have rejected the Commandment of honoring God and society. Cynicism is a type of reasoning that is blind to some evidence as it strives to distort the evidence for positivity and innocence. When we are in a cynical state we fall into negative conclusions about government leaders, making it impossible for us to see their innocence or sincerity. When we are in a pessimistic state we reject the truth that God is in charge. Cynicism and pessimism are subjective states; they are different from prudence and objective assessment.

Quoting from the next Number:

In the correspondential sense honoring one's father and mother means reverencing and loving God and the church. In this sense father means God, who is the Father of all, and mother means the church. Children and angels in the heavens know of no other father or mother, since the Lord causes them to be born anew there by means of the church. This is why the Lord says:

Do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in the heavens. Matt. 23:9.

This is said for the benefit of children and angels in heaven, not for children and people on earth. The Lord teaches the same lesson in the prayer shared by all Christian churches: 'Our Father in the heavens, may your name be hallowed.'

The reason why mother in the correspondential sense means the church, is that just as a mother on earth feeds her children with natural food, so the church does with spiritual food. This too is why in the Word the church is frequently called mother. For instance, in Hosea:

Strive with your mother; she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Hosea 2:2, 5.

(...) And in the Gospels:

Jesus, stretching out his hand to the disciples, said, My mother and my brothers are those who hear the Word of God, and do it. Matt. 12:49, 50; Mark 3:33-35; Luke 8:21; John 19: 25-27.

(TCR 306)

In the passage above, when focusing on the scientific meaning, "the church" refers to the integrated action of the affective and cognitive operations in the mind. The cognitive is called "the faith in the church," while the affective is called "the charity in the church." "Father" refers to God and "mother" refers to the church. In other words, the operation of the affective and cognitive mind is called "the church," while God who is managing the operation is called "Father." Hence to "honor father and mother" refers to honoring religion and the work of religion, which is regeneration and spiritual development.

Honoring the church in its literal sense means to be respectful of all religion, our own and that of others who worship God.

Quoting from the next Number:

It must be grasped that there proceeds constantly from the Lord a Divine sphere of heavenly love towards all who embrace the teaching of His church, and who, just as children in the world obey their father and mother, obey Him, are attached to Him, and seek food, that is, instruction from Him. This heavenly sphere is the origin of the natural sphere of love towards infants and children. This is extremely universal, affecting not only human beings but also birds and beasts, even down to snakes; and not only animate creatures, but even inanimate objects.

But the Lord, in order to work on these as He does on spiritual things, created the sun to be a sort of father in the natural world, and the earth to be a sort of mother. For the sun is so to speak the common father, and the earth the common mother, from whose marriage spring all the products of germination which adorn the earth's surface. The action of that heavenly sphere on the natural world produces those wonderful developments of plants from seed to fruit and to new seeds. That too is why there are many kinds of plants which by day turn their faces, so to speak, towards the sun, and turn them away when the sun sets. That too is why there are flowers which open as the sun rises and close as it sets. That too is why song birds sing sweetly in the early morning, and likewise when they have been fed by mother earth.

So it is that all these things honor their father and their mother. All of these occurrences are evidence that the Lord, by means of the sun and the earth in the natural world, provides all necessities for living creatures and for inanimate matter. That is why we read in the Psalms of David:

Praise Jehovah from the heavens. Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him from the earth, whales and deeps. Praise Him, fruit tree and all cedars; wild beast and every animal, reptile and birds with wings; the kings of the earth and all peoples, young men and maidens. Ps. 148:1-12.

(TCR 308)

As we are penetrating the meaning of this Commandment in its scientific sense we can see that it has universal application. Even animals and plants represent this Commandment because they are activated by the sun as a kind of father, and the earth as a kind of mother, to produce the offspring of this marriage in the form of flowers and fruits. The heavenly sphere of honoring God and His Commandments, spreads to society and nature. If human beings would stop honoring God altogether, no animal or plant could survive since their operations are correspondential expressions produced from the Divine Commandments in our mind being honored and obeyed. God has created the natural world to be nothing but a reflection of the mental world. The mental world is the initiating cause of all natural events. Hence if human beings stop honoring the Commandments, the mechanism for the operation of animal and plant life ceases. As well for the geological order of things on earth--their physical operations are also dependent on the appropriate mental activity of human beings.

5.7.5  Fifth Commandment: Do not murder

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
You are not to commit murder.

This commandment, 'You are not to commit murder', means in the natural sense that it is forbidden to kill a human being or inflict upon him any wound that might prove fatal; also to mutilate his body. It also means not doing any drastic injury to his name or reputation, since to many people their reputation is as precious as their life. In a wider natural sense murder includes feelings of enmity, hatred and revenge which are murderous in intent. For these have the idea of murder lurking in them, like fire in wood beneath ashes; and the fire of hell is precisely this. This is why we talk of burning with hatred and being hot for vengeance. These are murders in intention, but not in deed. If fear of the law, of retaliation and being punished in the same way were removed, such people would break out into actions, especially if the intention contains an element of deceit or savagery. These words of the Lord prove that hatred is a kind of murder:

You have heard that it was said by the men of old, You are not to commit murder, and anyone who kills will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother unjustifiably will be subject to the hell of fire. Matt. 5:21, 22.

The reason is that everything intentional is an act of the will, and thus is essentially a deed. (TCR 309)

The New Testament two thousand years ago introduced the idea that mentally breaking the Ten Commandments is as hurtful to the individual as physically breaking them. To intend harm to others is a hellish trait and if we make it allowable in our mind, we cannot get rid of it in the afterlife. Hence Sacred Scripture warns us not to break the Commandments either overtly or mentally.

This New Testament concept ushered in a new evolutionary step for the human race everywhere. A related idea is contained in the contrast between obeying the letter of the law but not obeying its spirit. To disobey the law in spirit refers to thinking and feeling in a way contrary to the Commandments, and allowing it. If we are regenerating we cannot allow it. If we are mentally unchaste in marriage, or if we allow ourselves to fantasize or seek out pornographic entertainment, we are breaking the Commandment against adultery. If we are resentful and fantasize revenge, we are breaking the Commandment against murder. If we are envious and desire to take away the possessions of others, we are violating the Commandment against stealing. And so on.

I call this a new evolutionary step for humanity because it elevates us to higher states of rational consciousness. It makes good sense. The internal and the external man, as discussed above, battle each other  until the rational mind subdues the sensuous mind. The passage above tells us that when we allow a crime or sin in our mind without disapproving of it, we are only held back from committing it by external sanction and fear of getting caught. In the world of spirits we have no such external fears any more. So whatever is in our desire and thinking cannot be kept inside, and is expressed. In the spiritual world our state depends on the character we bring with us from our life on earth. Our character is what we love, desire, and choose when we are completely free.

We need therefore to train our mind not to break the Commandments in thinking, desiring, and expecting. We do this by disapproving and rejecting the thoughts and feelings we are aware of that are contrary to the Commandments that we know of, or to the dictates of conscience that we feel.

Continuing with the next Number:

The nature of the human internal, if not reformed by the Lord, has been made plain to me by seeing the devils and satans in hell. For these are constantly minded to kill the Lord, and because they cannot do this, they keep trying to kill those who are devoted to the Lord. Because they cannot do this, as they can kill people in the world, they make every effort to attack them in order to destroy their souls, that is, to destroy the faith and charity they possess. Thoughts of hatred and revenge actually appear in their vicinity like fires, either smoky or white-hot ones; hatred looks like a smoky fire, revenge like a white-hot one. But they are not real fires, only appearances. Sometimes the savage thoughts in their hearts are made visible in the air above them as battles with angels, in which the angels are killed and slaughtered; it is their anger and hatred for heaven, which causes such horrible scenes to be staged.

Moreover the same spirits look from a distance like wild animals of every kind, such as tigers, leopards, wolves, foxes, dogs, crocodiles and snakes of all kinds. When they see peaceful animals, which are representative forms, they imagine they are attacking them and trying to butcher them. They came into my view looking like dragons, standing next to women who had babies, which they were trying to swallow, exactly like what is described in Revelation, chapter 12.

These visions are simply representations of their hatred for the Lord and His new church. It is not apparent to their companions that the people in the world who want to destroy the Lord's church are like this. The reason is that their bodies allow them to behave properly, thus absorbing and hiding these appearances. But in the sight of the angels, who do not look at their bodies but their spirits, they appear in similar shapes to the devils described above.

 How could anyone know such facts, if the Lord had not opened his sight and given him the ability to gaze into the spiritual world? But for this these facts, along with many others equally memorable, would have remained hidden from human beings for ever. (TCR 312)

Swedenborg reminds us in the last paragraph that had he not been given by God the opportunity to observe and report on the spiritual world, humanity would not have known what conditions of life we are to expect in hell if we do not regenerate. Those who enter the afterlife with hatred and murder in their motivational system, are unwilling to stop their constant desire and passion to kill God, to kill people in heaven, to kill anyone who supports religion, God, and obedience to Commandments. Their hatred of the good makes them appear like wild animals. Their murderous and violent passions create "smoky" and "white-hot" fires around them. Their violent and vile emotions are projected outward into visionary scenes around them that depict the evils they are imagining and enjoying. While we are attached to the physical body on earth, these hellish mental events are hidden from others, absorbed by the physical body so nothing shows on the outside. But once they arrive into the afterlife, everything comes out and everything is visible to others. Hence they are segregated in their hells so that they cannot harm others, but only each other, taking turns at torturer and victim.

5.7.6  Sixth Commandment: Do not Commit Adultery

Quoting from the Writings:

THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
You are not to commit adultery.

In the natural sense, this commandment forbids not only committing adultery, but also having obscene desires and realizing them, and so indulging in lascivious thoughts and talk. It is clear from these words of the Lord that even lusting is committing adultery:

You have heard that it was said by the men of old, You are not to commit adultery. But I say to you, that if anyone looks at another man's wife so as to lust after her, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt. 5:27, 28.

The reason is that when lust is in the will, it becomes like a deed; for the enticement only enters the understanding, but the intention enters the will, and a lustful intention is a deed. More on this subject can be found in my book CONJUGIAL LOVE AND SCORTATORY LOVE, published at Amsterdam in 1768. This contains sections on he opposition of [scortatory and] conjugial love (423-443); fornication (444a-460); types and degrees of adultery (478-499); the lust for deflowering (501-505); the lust for variety (506-510); the lust for rape (5-11, 512); the lust for seducing the innocent (513, 514); the imputation of either love, both scortatory and conjugial (523-531). All these ideas are meant by this commandment in the natural sense. (TCR 313)

Once again it is being emphasized that the mental act is as serious as the physical when it comes to breaking a Commandment. In the section on Sexuality (see Section xx) it is indicated that love of sex is indiscriminate and non-exclusive while love of one of the sex is chaste and monogamous. Adultery refers to love of sex in its many forms, though some forms are more weighty or serious than other forms because of the motive that we have and the justification that we fabricate for making the behavior allowable in our mind. Sex therapy in the medical and psychological professions often recommend fantasizing different partners or perusing pornographic movies to "spice up" the marital sex and reintroduce some of the passion that is lost after the initial years together. But we see from this Commandment that such mental adultery is harmful to the conjugial love in the marriage.

Continuing with the next Number:

 In the correspondential sense committing adultery means adulterating the various kinds of good in the Word and falsifying its truths. These meanings of committing adultery have until now been unknown, because the correspondential sense of the Word has until now been hidden. It is perfectly plain from the following passages that this and nothing else is meant in the Word by 'committing fornication, committing adultery, and whoring.'

Run up and down the streets of Jerusalem, and seek to find a man who acts righteously and seeks the truth; when I gave them plenty, they went after whores. Jer. 5:1, 7. (...)

They acted foolishly in Israel, they went after whores, and spoke my Word untruthfully. Jer. 29:23.

They went after whores, because they have abandoned Jehovah. Hosea 4:10. (...)

Babylon has given all nations to drink from the wine of anger of her whoring. Rev. 14:8. (...)

 (TCR 314).

The word "adultery" in Sacred Scripture has two references, one relating to sexual behavior, the other to religious behavior. "Whoring" is often a reference to "adulterating the Word," which means falsifying the truths in Sacred Scripture, for the purpose of justifying a lifestyle that is contrary to the Commandments. Sometimes this is called "profaning the Word," "falsifying the truth," and "adulterating the good."

Continuing with the next Number:

There are a number of reasons why a person may appear chaste, not only to others, but even to himself, when in fact he is utterly unchaste. For he is unaware that when lust is present in the will it constitutes a deed, and this lust can only be removed by the Lord after the person has repented. It is not abstaining from the act which makes a person chaste, but abstaining from willing it, when the opportunity is there, because it is a sin.

Suppose for example someone abstains from adultery and fornication simply out of fear of the civil law and its penalties; from fear of losing his reputation and respectability; from fear of catching diseases by this means; from fear of quarrelling with his wife at home and thus upsetting his life; from fear of a husband or relatives taking revenge, and of being beaten by their servants; or from greed; or from weakness due to disease, abuse or age, or impotence for any other reason; even if he abstains from these actions as the result of any natural or moral law, and not at the same time as the result of spiritual law, yet that person is inwardly an adulterer and fornicator. For in spite of this he believes these actions not to be sins, and so in his spirit does not treat them as unlawful in the sight of God. Consequently he commits them in spirit, even if he does not do so bodily in the sight of the world. After death therefore, when he becomes a spirit, he openly speaks in favor of them.

Moreover, adulterers can be compared with the forsworn, who break their promises, or with the satyrs and priapi of the ancients, who roamed the woods shouting, 'Where are the girls, the brides and wives for us to have fun with?' Adulterers actually look like satyrs and priapi in the spiritual world. They can also be likened to stinking he-goats; or to dogs which run about the streets, looking around to sniff out bitches with whom to wanton, and so forth. Their virility, when they become husbands, can be likened to the flowering of tulips in spring-time, which within a month wither and droop. (TCR 316)

This remarkable passage puts illicit sex in a spiritual context. Many people today would see nothing but dogmatic preaching in this Number of Sacred Scripture. It doesn't fit the modern mentality and sexual morality of our generation in the Western world. But in fact the details being revealed above are not Swedenborg's dogma but scientific observations similar to a medical researcher who traces heart failure to cholesterol clogged arteries. In the world of spirits he was able to observe the behavior and character of those who had developed a taste for illicit sex and exploitative sex while in the life of the physical body on earth. When he says that "Adulterers actually look like satyrs and priapi in the spiritual world" he is not discussing his religious sexual attitudes but reporting a fact visible and verifiable to anyone in the world of spirits, including each of us, when we enter into that state of rational immortality, just a few earth hours after the physical body is detached from our mind. Swedenborg's observations are easily verifiable by anyone who is conscious in the spiritual world.

This Number makes it clear that abstinence from illicit sexual behavior is not in itself an indication that the individual abstains mentally. From the socio-legal perspective in our society it makes a world of difference whether someone fantasizes a rape or committing one. There are no laws in the United States that address what one does mentally in one's own private mind. Society leaves the individual in total internal freedom. Only physical actions are addressed by laws. No one can go to jail in the U.S. for thinking something or enjoying something in fantasy no matter what it is. This is true of our horizontal community--it is external only. But our vertical community is internal (see Section xx). We are in mental communication with the entire human race, and we are not conscious of the various levels of connectivity we actually have with the inhabitants of the spiritual world, both in heaven and in hell. No mental operation can take place in one mind without the influx or co-participation of many other minds, some of whom are semantically close, others more distant in terms of influencing agents. Swedenborg was able to observe this Grant Integration of all human minds in various ways (see Section xx).

When we are fantasizing illicit sex or enjoying pornographic entertainment in the privacy of our mind, we are not alone. Many individuals in their hells are closely connected to us in that moment. In a real sense, we descend to their hells where we experience the enjoyments and delights they feel as a result of our fantasy. The amazing thing is that we feel their enjoyment as our own! They are not aware of us just as we are not aware of them, and yet we are connected in this way: their enjoyment enters our fantasy and we then experience their enjoyment as our own. We attribute our enjoyment to the fantasy of which we are of course aware. I don't think they are conscious of the content of our fantasy, but they supply their own fantasy, of which we are not conscious. So only the enjoyment or delight is held in common, though neither is aware of this.

Now the consequences to us.

We become attached by love to those delights that are theirs but feel like ours. In other words, we become spiritually attached to one another since love is a bonding agent that never gives up once sealed. The enjoyment of mentally engaging in illicit sex does not in itself create the unbreakable bond with those hells. All we need to do is to reject those enjoyments as not our own but from hell. This is a free choice from rational doctrine based on Sacred Scripture or on conscience. When we take this position of choice, God can immediately remove the connection we have with those hells. Now when they return to us through new fantasies of a similar kind, we can disapprove of them and refuse to go on with them. This becomes easier with repetition since God removes the masses of disorderly people that are connected to us through our various fantasies, daydreams, desires, or longings.

Now you can see why adultery and all illicit sex and pornography is solemnly forbidden by Divine Commandment. It's not just a religious "thing." It's a scientific fact that evil spirits from hell bond with us when we engage in these behaviors, physical or mental. These bonds are incalculably dangerous to us, for if they remain permanent, we will be unwilling to remove ourselves from these fantasies and longings, no matter how dreadful our lives become in eternal hell. The enjoyment of illicit sex destroys the enjoyment of married sex. Those who are in the hell of their mind are not willing to rise up from that mental state. Swedenborg has proven this over and over again with various groups of people and individuals who were raised to the heaven of their mind by rendering their hell temporarily unavailable to their consciousness. As soon as they were in the heaven of their mind they were in company with others in their heavenly states. They could not stand it for very long. There was nothing in their heaven they could enjoy. They felt lifeless and dying, so that they had to be removed and allowed back into their hells, where Swedenborg saw them revive into the insanity of their life.

This is then the danger of breaking the Commandment against physical and mental illicit sex. Again, it is not the occurrence of these thoughts that constitute the danger, nor the enjoyment of them when they occur. For this merely represents the inherited bonds we have with those hells. These bonds become permanent only of we confirm them by love. If we go along with our enjoyment of illicit fantasies and thoughts, we love them, and we accept the love even though we know it is against conscience, against Divine Commandment, and against our rational understanding. By going along we are making the choice of acceptance, love, and permanent bonding. By refusing to go along we are weakening the inherited bond.

To refuse to go along is to stop the fantasy or thought or image because it is against the Commandment, or because it is against our future in eternity. If this is the motive, God then weakens the inherited connection until it has been completely neutralized. At some point we will no longer feel the delight as our own. Instead we will feel disgust at the idea that we could enjoy such hurtful activities. The more we weaken our connection to illicit sex the more we are able to strengthen our connection to married sex and conjugial love. When Swedenborg talked to those in the heavens of their mind he was told that their sexual passion and enjoyment in the context of conjugial love is immeasurably greater than what they knew in their life in the physical body.

Illicit sex, adultery, or pornography are expressions of the love of sex which is inherited, and is especially strong for men. It is a natural love that we share with birds and bees, elephants and porcupines. Sex becomes human when it descends from the rational mind into the sensuous mind and into the corporeal mind. When sex descends in this orderly fashion it springs from conjugial love which is celestial from the Spiritual Sun. Then the sex in the body is merely an expression of the love in the heart, and this love is celestial and spiritual, not natural. When the celestial and spiritual are within the natural, then sex is orderly, and according to creation, far more satisfying and pleasurable than the sex in the body that is disorderly and from another source.

 

5.7.7  Seventh Commandment: Do Not Steal

Quoting from the Writings

THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
You are not to steal.

In the natural sense this commandment means literally not stealing, engaging in brigandage or piracy in peacetime; and in general not depriving anyone of his goods secretly or on any pretext. It also extends to all imposture and unlawful gain, usury and extortion, as well as fraud in payment of dues and taxes and in repaying debts. Workers who do not work in good faith and without deceit offend against this commandment; so do merchants who cheat over their wares, weights, measures and calculations; so do officers who withhold their troops' pay; and judges who are influenced in their judgments by friendship, bribery, nepotism or other reasons, so perverting laws or legal processes, and depriving others of the lawful possession of their goods. (TCR 317)

Fraud through deceit obviously violates this Commandment. But so does cheating the government or loafing on the job. Using your influence to obtain a favor for someone may be sometimes be legitimate, but often it is not, if it means that someone else unfairly loses something thereby. If you find something on the street knowing who it belongs to, not returning it, breaks this Commandment. You may get away with charging too much for a service, but your spiritual future may be placed in jeopardy. A Divine Commandment is not something to be ignored since it is given to us by God as a protection from ending up in hell.

Continuing with the next Number:

In the correspondential sense stealing means depriving others of the truths they get from their faith; this is the effect of falsities and heretical beliefs. Priests, whose ministry is conducted solely for the sake of profit or to seek honors, and who teach the sort of things which they see, or could see, from the Word not to be true, are spiritual thieves, since they take away from the people their means of salvation, the truths of faith. Such people are called thieves in the following passages of the Word:

He who does not enter into the sheepfold through the gate, but climbs in somewhere else, is a thief and a robber. A thief does not come except to steal, to slaughter and destroy. John 10:1, 10.

Lay up your treasures not upon earth, but in heaven, where thieves do not come and steal. Matt. 6:19, 20. (...)

They will run about the city, they will run on the wall, they will climb into houses, they will enter through windows like a thief. Joel 2:9.

(TCR 318)

Stealing someone's chances of being successful or a good person hurts you because it ties you to those who enjoy this evil activity. Corrupt clergy who sexually abuse children in their congregation hurt themselves more than their depravity brings them pleasure. As well, clergy who use their position for power or gain, hurt themselves by bonding with those in their hells who delight in this kind of exploitation and deceit. Ministers and teachers who make up false doctrine and dogma to control the believers, hurt themselves by becoming associated with those in their hells who obsess with such things.

In the celestial sense thieves mean those who strip the Lord of His Divine power, and those who claim for themselves His merit and righteousness. Although these people worship God, yet it is not in Him they trust, but in themselves; and they do not either believe in God, but in themselves. (TCR 319)

This deeper meaning of stealing is perhaps the most hurtful and dangerous in terms of the eternal consequences. It has to do with a falsification in one's mind of revelations about God in Sacred Scripture. One form of this evil is to separate God's Divine from God's Human. Another form is to attribute to oneself the "merit of righteousness" which refers to the fantasy that we are good because of our own effort and power. For instance, we attribute success to our talent and intelligence rather than to God's operation of our mental and physical activity, along with managing the events of our success or skill. This is stealing because it takes away the role of God which is primary while our role is as nothing in comparison.

5.7.8  Eighth Commandment: Do Not Lie

Quoting from the Writings:

THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
You are not to bear false witness against your neighbor.

Appearing as a false witness against one's neighbor or giving false evidence means in the strictest natural sense not being a false witness before a judge, or before other people out of court, against someone who is wrongly accused of some crime, and asserting this in God's name, or swearing by anything else holy, or by oneself, or by such things as affect the reputation of one's name. In a wider natural sense this commandment forbids all kinds of lying and hypocrisy in public life with evil intent; also, criticizing and slandering one's neighbor so as to undermine his honor, name and reputation, on which the whole of a person's character depends. In the widest natural sense it includes using trickery, guile and deliberate wrong-dealing against someone for various causes, such as enmity, hatred, revenge, envy, rivalry, etc. These evil actions contain bearing false witness hidden within them. (TCR 321)

What is more common than deception in our generation? We begin to lie as children and we continue lying as adults. The paragraph above sets out three levels of deception that we perform in terms of how direct or wily we are in our lying. The first level covers overt behaviors of lying and deception. These are the first we must stop and give up if we are to undergo spiritual development and preparation for life in heaven in eternity. This level may be called the overt socio-legal level of lying or swearing. This covers both oral and written forms of deception, as for instance lying to an investigator for the purpose of hurting someone else.

It's important to attach the purpose of why we do something to the assessment of some deceptive behavior. For instance, if you are a detective or spy in the lawful protection of your country, your purpose is a legitimate one, not a selfish one to benefit yourself in some scheme you're involved in. The purpose of the deception makes it a hellish or a heavenly behavior. This principle applies to all the Commandments. For instance, the prohibition against killing is addressed to killing for a hellish purpose, not killing for a heavenly purpose such as the defense of your country by an attacker or self-defense when attacked by a stranger.

The second level of deception and lying involves slandering or gossiping about someone with the purpose of hurting their reputation or business. Spreading a false rumor would also fall in this category of deception, as also hypocrisy and pretending to agree while planning to disagree in some business deal--all this for personal gain and for gaining an unfair advantage. The third level of deception and lying involves trickery, guile, treachery, and conspiracy done for the purpose of injuring someone out of a desire for revenge or hatred. Continuing with the next Number:

 In the correspondential sense, "bearing false witness" means to persuade that falsity of belief is true belief and evil of life is good of life, and the reverse, doing this from purpose, not from ignorance; that is, doing this after one has learned what is true and good, not before; for the Lord says:

If ye were blind, ye would have no sin; but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth (John 9:41).

In the Word this kind of falsehood is called a "lie" and the intent is called "deceit," as in the following passages: (...)

This is a rebellious people, lying sons, they will not hear the law of Jehovah (Isa. 30:9). (...)
Thou wilt destroy them that speak a lie; Jehovah abhorreth the man of deceit (Ps. 5:6).

Because a "lie" means what is false, the Lord says: (,,,)

That when the devil speaketh a lie, he speaketh from his own (John 8:44).

(TCR 322)

The external levels of deception are natural behaviors that are motivated by more inward spiritual loves that are from hell. These evil loves connect us to those who are in their hells and ties us to them so that we give up the freedom of our own choices. Deception at the inner level involves posing as a teacher or friend in order to entrap the other person into situations when they can be abused and hurt. The entrapment procedure involves clever ways of persuading the other person that you have their interest at heart. For example, a teacher, priest, or older friend who seduces and entraps children into satisfying their sexual depravity. Also, an author or movie director who distorts a story in order to mislead people about something for some selfish purpose or gain. This type of deception includes a pop singer "idol" whose message and performance exploits and hurts some one or some group for the sake of making more money. A boy seducing a girl by pretending he loves her, also falls into this category of inner deception. A famous person who endorses a product knowing it's harmful to users, is doing this kind of deception.  Continuing:

In the celestial sense, bearing false witness means blaspheming the Lord and the Word, thus banishing truth itself from the church; for the Lord is the Truth itself, as likewise the Word. On the other hand, to bear witness in this sense, means to speak the truth, and testimony means the truth itself. For this reason the Decalogue is called the "testimony" (Exod. 25:16, 21, 22; 31:7, 18; 32:15, 16; 40:20; Lev. 16:13; Num. 17:4, 7, 10).(...)  (TCR 323)

Every religion forbids blasphemy of God or of the religion, including its Sacred Scripture and the holy things of their worship rituals. The desire to attack God and worship of Him involves the deepest level of deception and lying. This is because all truth issues from God and to attack God is the same as to attack all truths, not just some of them. Sometimes people who attack God or religion may not have this motive of attacking all truth. They may do it by learned habit or imitation of style without having reflected on its meaning or significance. In that case the behavior would be violation of the Commandment not the take the Name of God in vain (see Second Commandment above).

5.7.9  Ninth and Tenth Commandments: Do not Covet

Continuing with the Next Number:

THE NINTH AND TENTH COMMANDMENTS.

THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE; THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S WIFE, NOR HIS MANSERVANT NOR HIS MAIDSERVANT, NOR HIS OX, NOR HIS ASS, NOR ANYTHING THAT IS THY NEIGHBOR'S.  (TCR 325)

These two commandments have relation to all the preceding ones, and teach and enjoin not only that evils must not be done, but also that they must not be lusted after, consequently that evils pertain not solely to the external man, but also to the internal; since he who refrains from doing evils and yet lusts to do them, still does them. For the Lord says:

If anyone lusts after another's wife, he has committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matt. 5:27, 28);

and the external man becomes internal, or acts as one with the internal, only when lusts have been removed. This also the Lord teaches, saying:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees; for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and platter, that the outside may be clean also (Matt. 23:25, 26).

And the same is taught throughout that chapter. The internals which are Pharisaical, are lusts after the things that are forbidden to be done in the first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth commandments. It is known that when the Lord was in the world, He taught the internal things of the church, and these internal things are not to lust after evils; and He so taught in order that the internal and external man may make one. This is the being born anew, of which the Lord spoke to Nicodemus in the third chapter of John; and no man can be born anew or be regenerated, and consequently become internal, except from the Lord. That these two commandments may have relation to all the preceding ones, inasmuch as the things forbidden therein are not to be lusted after, the house is first mentioned, after the wife, then the manservant, maidservant, ox, and ass, and lastly, everything that is the neighbor's.  (...) (TCR 326)

In the passage above a crucial distinction is made between external physical behavior and internal mental behavior. In the mentality of the human mind represented by the Old Testament, the Commandments and Statues govern one's external physical behavior. The next evolutionary phase of the human mind is represented by the New Testament mentality, which is that the Commandments apply especially to mental behavior. There is a natural tendency to assess ourselves by listing our outward accomplishments and conduct. For example, I used to believe that I am a good person because I don't murder, steal, or swear falsely. A few things I used to do that I  knew were wrong but was able to justify them as not really that bad or evil, like lying to protect myself, making false declarations about my income, gossiping about others, and cheating sexually. My ability to justify these evil behaviors is referred to in the passage above as "internals that are Pharisaical." A "blind Pharisee" is an expression of Sacred Scripture referring to these mental justification procedures in which we end up accepting our evil enjoyments and intentions.

But it is revealed in the Writings that we are required to compel ourselves to stop mental acts of evil that justify outward behaviors. This is called "the internal things of the church," where "church" refers to our mental justification procedures by which we accept or reject our loves or lusts. It is revealed above that "the external man becomes internal, or acts as one with the internal, only when lusts have been removed." This refers to our outward behaviors ("external man") in relation to our mental justifications of them ('internal man"). In order to live in heaven in eternity we must undergo character reformation since we are born with inherited tendencies to evil enjoyments ("lusts"). We enjoy breaking the Commandments; we enjoy ego trips; we enjoy hurting others when we feel like it; we enjoy getting away with not being fully sincere, fully honest, fully fair. These inherited enjoyments of evil loves stand in opposition to our commitment to rebuild our character from hellish to heavenly.

God is giving us the rational understanding of His revelations so that we may see that we cannot enter heavenly life in our immortality unless we bring our external behavior in conformity with our interior morality from Sacred Scripture. This is called "being reborn" ("Nicodemus") or regenerated by God. Only God has the power to force alignment between our external and our internal self. The internal moral and rational self must compel the external irrational self to obey the letter and the spirit of the Commandments. "The letter" of the Commandments refers to our external physical behaviors, while "the spirit" refers to our internal mental behaviors (reasoning, justifying, thinking, enjoying, intending, desiring).

How can we compel ourselves not to enjoy something?

I love chocolate and I long to eat as much of it as I desire. I can stop putting it in my mouth, but how can I stop enjoying it? I can stop myself from looking at pornography, but how can I stop enjoying it?

God has revealed that if I don't stop enjoying what is bad for me, I can never get rid of it. I can never live in my heavenly mind when I get into the afterlife because I am then unwilling to give up the enjoyments that are bad for me and my future. Swedenborg has observed this effect with many people after their resuscitation in the world of spirits (see Section xx). What God warns against, Swedenborg was able to confirm directly by observation. Between our first death and resuscitation, and our second death a short time after, we undergo special experiences brought to us by God, in which we are faced with all the inner loves we brought with us in our mind. This is the process by which we are compelled to give up the evil loves, so that we remain with only good loves, or give up our good loves, remaining with only evil loves. No one can keep both kinds of loves as we had been able to on earth.

If I keep my desire for eating something that is not good for me, I cannot keep my good desires such as staying healthy and taking responsibility for it. If I keep my enjoyment of pornography, I cannot keep my enjoyment for married love, which is the only sexuality possible in heaven. This is why it's so critical that I stop myself from enjoying overeating and pornography, among many other things like that. This is the burden of character rebuilding. And indeed, we cannot stop enjoying what we are enjoying from inherited tendencies. But God can put an end to it--if we consent to it. God cannot put an end to it if we do not consent (see Section xx).

The act of consenting to it is called our "cooperation in regeneration." We cooperate with our Divine Psychologist by "washing our feet ourselves," which is a way Sacred Scripture refers to the as-of self effort required to inhibit and suppress external acts that we know are contrary to the Commandments. If we do this consistently, then we give consent to God to remove the enjoyment of evil acts and their justifications. God brings me face to face with temptations about chocolate, pornography, and many other things in the course of a day. My job is to make sure I don't do them in my outward behavior--my hand, my mouth, my eyes. In my self-witnessing (see Section xx) I have observed many times that the longer I abstain from evil acts the less I am tormented by missing out on their enjoyments. God has revealed that eventually, my enjoyment of them will completely die, and will be replaced by an aversion for them, and a horror at the idea of doing them or enjoying them. All I need to do is to persevere and be steadfast in my commitment to cooperate with God in my regeneration or spiritual development.

Continuing with the passage:

 In the correspondential sense, these two commandments forbid all lusts that are contrary to the spirit, thus all that are contrary to the spiritual things of the church, which relate chiefly to faith and charity; for unless lusts are subdued, the flesh let loose would rush into every wickedness. For it is known from Paul,

That the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh (Gal. 5:17);

and from James:

Each man is tempted by his own lust when he is enticed; then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin; and sin, when it is completed, bringeth forth death (James 1:14, 15);

again from Peter,

That the Lord reserves the unrighteous unto the day of judgment, to be punished; but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in lust (2 Peter 2:9, 10).

In short, these two commandments understood in the spirit sense relate to all things that have before been presented in the correspondential sense, that they must not be lusted after; so likewise, to all that has been before presented in the celestial sense; but to repeat all these things is unnecessary. (TCR 327)

In the literal language of Sacred Scripture there is talk about "sin" and punishment of it by "death." These two things refer to our mental states when we fail to cooperate with the Divine Psychologist in regenerating us through daily temptations. These mental states form a one with the mental states of those who are in the hells of their mind. These evil states become our permanent consciousness in the afterlife from which we are unwilling to exit once we are permanently in them. Hence they are called "death" because life in hell is devoid of all that is truly life--happiness, rationality, conjugial love, beauty, pleasantness, peace, understanding, inventiveness, cooperation, community, altruism, truly human. In the hells of our mind we have none of these, and one is then called "dead"--unhappy, irrational,  sexually impotent, deformed, suffering, dull, egotistical, beastly, not human:

The lusts of the flesh, the eye, and the other senses, separated from the lusts, that is, from the affections, the desires, and the delights of the spirit, are wholly like the lusts of beasts, and consequently are in themselves beastlike. But the affections of the spirit are such as angels have, and therefore are to be called truly human. For this reason, so far as anyone indulges the lusts of the flesh, he is a beast and a wild beast; but so far as one satisfies the desires of the spirit, he is a man and an angel. The lusts of the flesh may be compared to shriveled and dried up grapes and to wild grapes; but the affections of the spirit to juicy and delicious grapes, and also to the taste of the wine that is pressed from them.

The lusts of the flesh may be compared to stables where there are asses, goats, and swine; but the affections of the spirit to stables where there are noble horses, and sheep and lambs; and they differ as an ass and a horse, a goat and a sheep, a lamb and a pig; in general, as dross and gold, as limestone and silver, as coral and rubies, and so on. Lust and the deed are connected like blood and flesh, or like flame and oil; for lust is within the deed, as air from the lungs is in breathing or in speaking, or as wind in the sail when the vessel is in motion, or as water on the wheel that gives motion and action to machinery. (TCR 328)

The "lusts of the flesh" refers to enjoyments we derive from hurtful behaviors, while the "desires of the spirit" refers to our rational loves for obedience, peacefulness, and respect for God and people. One takes us to the hells of our mind, while the other to the heavens of our mind. This is how God has created human beings. This is the true reality that no one can escape.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF THE DECALOGUE CONTAIN ALL THINGS THAT BELONG TO LOVE TO GOD, AND ALL THINGS THAT BELONG TO LOVE TOWARD THE NEIGHBOR.

In eight of the commandments of the decalogue, the first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth, there is nothing said of love to God and love toward the neighbor; since it is not said that God should be loved, that His name should be hallowed, that the neighbor should be loved and consequently that he should be dealt with sincerely and uprightly. It is only said, "Thou shalt have no other God before Me;" "Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain;" "Thou shalt not kill;" "Thou shall not commit adultery;" "Thou shalt not steal;" "Thou shalt not bear false witness;" "Thou shalt not covet what belongs to thy neighbor;" that is in general, that evil, either against God or the neighbor, is not to be cherished in will or thought, nor to be done.

The reason why such things as relate directly to love and charity are not commanded, but only such things as are opposed to them are forbidden, is that so far as man shuns evils as sins, so far does he will the goods that pertain to love and charity. That the prime thing of love to God and the neighbor is not to do evil, and the second to do good, will be seen in the chapter on Charity. (TCR 329)

There is an interesting psychology revealed here, namely, that in order for people to be good, they must first stop being bad. We often hear people justify themselves by saying that they are not as bad as some others, and that their bad traits are balanced out by a lot of good traits they also have, so all in all, they figure, they're good. Sometimes people try to make up for the bad they do by giving away money to the needy, or by serving in soup kitchens for the poor on certain days. This is certainly very useful to the people who are being helped. But one should understand that the good we do cannot make up for the bad we do. We must still face the bad we do on its own. The passage above reveals that we must stop doing evils before we can start doing good, or else the good we do is not actually good. So the Ten Commandments of God tell us what we must not do in a complex. Only if we stop doing these things that are forbidden, can we then do the things that are required--to love God and neighbor more than we love ourselves.

To love the neighbor means to refrain from doing evil to any person. Doing evil means to hurt others by injuring them or by feeling hateful towards them or indifferent to their need and suffering.

There are two opposite loves, the love of desiring and doing good, and the love of desiring and doing evil; this latter is infernal and the other is heavenly; for all hell is in the love of doing evil, and all heaven in the love of doing good. Since then, man is born into all kinds of evil, and therefore from birth inclines to what pertains to hell, and since he cannot enter heaven unless he is born again or regenerated, it is necessary that evils, which belong to hell, should be removed before he can desire goods, which are heavenly. For no one can be adopted by the Lord until he is separated from the devil. But how evils are removed and man is brought to do good, will be shown in the two chapters, on Repentance, and on Reformation and Regeneration.

That evils must be put away, before the good that a man does becomes good in the sight of God, the Lord teaches in Isaiah:

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; [cease to do evil], learn to do well, then though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah. 1:16-18). (...)

(TCR 329)

Good and evil cannot exist together, and so far as evil is put away good is regarded and felt as good, for the reason that there exhales from everyone in the spiritual world a sphere of his love which spreads itself round about and affects, and causes sympathies and antipathies. By these spheres the good are separated from the evil. That evil must be put away before good can be recognized, perceived, and loved, may be compared to many things in the natural world; for example: one cannot visit another who keeps a leopard and a panther shut up in his chamber (himself living safely with them because he feeds them), until those wild beasts have been removed. (...)

Man himself ought to purify himself from evils, and not wait for the Lord to do this without his cooperation. Otherwise he would be like a servant going to his master, with his face and clothes befouled with soot and dung, and saying, "Master, wash me." Would not his master say to him, "You foolish servant, what are you saying? See, there are water, soap, and a towel; have you not hands of your own and the power to use them? Wash yourself." So will the Lord God say, "These means of purification are from Me, and your ability to will and do are also from Me; therefore use these My gifts end endowments as your own, and you will be purified;" and so on. That the external man is to be cleansed, but by means of the internal the Lord teaches in the twenty-third chapter of Matthew from beginning to end. (TCR 331)
 

5.7.10   Summary Table For the Scientific Meaning of the Ten Commandments

TEN COMMANDMENTS

SCIENTIFIC MEANING
(see Section 5.7)

SELF-WITNESSING DATA

First Commandment
There is not to be any other God before my face

God  is the sole source of everything. Spiritual values must guide every one of your behaviors.

 

Second Commandment
Do not take the Name of God in vain

You must give up what is against God in your mind--slander, innuendo, character assassination, cursing, gossip, exaggeration, idle talk, obscene jokes.

 

Third Commandment
Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

You must acknowledge God's operational presence in your thoughts and feelings all day long every day.

 

Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and mother

Obey your conscience and the rule of law. Do not be cynical, arrogant, and unethical. Conserve the common good.

 

Fifth Commandment
Do not murder

Do not vent your anger or fantasize revenge. Do not violate the human rights of anyone.

 

Sixth Commandment
Do not commit adultery

Do not fantasize illicit sex or enjoy pornographic entertainment in the privacy of your mind.

 

Seventh Commandment
Do not steal

Do not spread false beliefs or deprive others of their truth and rationality. Do not attribute any power to yourself, but only to God.

 

Eight Commandment
Do not lie

Do not deceive anyone for your personal benefit. Do not contradict the truth of God. Do not justify in your mind, or find excuses for, the bad things you do.

 

Ninth and Tenth Commandments
Do not covet

Do not focus only on cleaning up your outward behavior. You must also clean up your private thoughts and feelings.

 

 

You can use this Table for assessing yourself in relation to the Ten Commandments--see an example in Section 6.0.5.2..

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#scientific-ten-commandments

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5.7.11  Rise Above It--The Ten Commandments in All Religions

The subtitle of the book Rise Above It is "Spiritual Development Through the Ten Commandments" (Touchstone Seminars, Philadelphia 2001. See also the Web site at:  newearth.org/~touchstone/main.php?content=book

 In this unique book Ray and Star Silverman use the Ten Commandments in group seminars designed to help people grow spiritually. What's unusual is that the group members are from different religions and the seminar has been used for this purpose in several countries besides the United States. The book demonstrates that the Ten Commandments are pan-religious and pan-cultural. For each Commandment, the authors present the equivalent in five religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and the New Church ( which is based on the Writings of Swedenborg). Quoting from the Introduction:

In this book we will try to show how the Sacred Scriptures of the various religions, when understood more deeply, are really one religion. This is because they all teach the same fundamental message: There is One God, infinitely loving and wise, Who is leading each of us , at every moment, into all the love and wisdom we are willing to receive. As the Dalai Lama has said, "Every major religion of the world has similar ideals of love, the same goal benefiting humanity through spiritual practice, and the same effect of making their followers into better human beings." In brief, every major religion seeks to aid its adherents in finding their way to the Kingdom of God. (Ray and Star Silverman, Rise Above It, p. 2),                

The authors state their belief that "the Ten Commandments...are a Divinely given framework that contains the totality of spiritual growth. ... We regard them as a heavenly curriculum...intended for the spiritual development of humanity.... From the first word to the last--the Ten Commandments are a continuous stream of Divine Truths.... It is a curriculum prepared by the "Master Teacher--the One True God of heaven and earth." (p.5) The authors present the book not merely as pan-religious theology but as a "book of life." "Rising above" refers to "rising above merely natural existence and entering higher states of consciousness--states that are closer to God--so that we may see clearly the circumstances and situations in which we find ourselves. We get a new view from a higher vantage point." (p. 8-9).

The authors recommend that seminar participants "keep journals in which they record their experiences of examining themselves in the light of a particular commandment that is being studied." (p. 9). This is followed by the attempt to put the commandment into practice. Participants share this experience with the rest of the group. They consider it important for people to get together in groups to share their experiences of trying to live each commandment in their daily lives. Besides mutual support and encouragement, participants can also provide each other with incentives to keep working at it despite conflict and difficulties.

The First Commandment provides the occasion for identifying one's "false gods" in life--fascinations, compulsive interests, addictions, TV, as well as self-centered traits and character weaknesses like perfectionism, being overcritical of others and uncritical of self, excessive conformism to friends or trends, self-centered bragging, hopelessness, pessimism, etc. A false god is anything that hurts your spiritual development because you are overly attached to it or because it keeps you down (see Section xx).

Each Commandment is quoted in five religions. For instance the Second Commandment about the Name of God, is rendered as follows:

·   You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Old Testament-Jewish)

·   Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (New Testament--Christian)

·   He is Allah and there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the source of peace, the guardian of faith, the preserver of safety, the exalted in might, the irresistible, the supreme...Qur'an--Islam)

·   They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and Agni...To what is one the sages give many names. (Rig Veda, Hinduism)

·   The name of anyone means not only his name but his whole characteristic quality (New Church--Swedenborg)

The authors point out that taking the name of God in vain does not only refer to swearing and cussing but also to insincerity in one's worship and religion. If we fail to practice what we profess about God, we are taking His name in vain. Forgetting to pray or to give thanks to God for what we are able to enjoy and do, is also a form of taking the name of God in vain. The book advises people to pray for qualities in themselves that they are lacking rather than ask for worldly things they desire or covet. Some of the qualities of the One True God are listed as love, compassion, humor, patience, order, optimism, forgiveness, charity, gratitude, playfulness, peace, innocence, trust, understanding. These are the qualities we ourselves must strive to acquire within ourselves if we are sincere about honoring God's name (see Section xx).

Another Commandment is worded as follows:

·   You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Old Testament)

·   For this cause I was born, and for this cause have I come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. (New Testament)

·   Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance, and lo! they see aright! (Qu'ran)

·   To tell the truth is consistent with righteousness. There is nothing higher than the truth. (Santiparva)

·   When a person abstains from false testimonies and turns away from them as sins, the love of truth and the love of justice flow in from the Lord through heaven... As a consequence his utterances become utterances of truth, and his works become works of justice. (The Writings of Swedenborg)

Lying and deceit destroy meaningful connections in relationships.

Muhammad is quoted as saying: "The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he talks, he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he is disloyal." (p.173). "Truth-telling" is the key to keeping human relationships healthy.

But telling the truth is also something we need to do with ourselves about ourselves. "Being true to oneself" means that we don't justify ourselves when we are wrong, that we don't try to protect what is not noble in us by using rationalizations for our faults and, denials for our weaknesses. Examining our thought patterns is essential to assess our truth-telling or our lying (see Section xx). Do we twist the truth to our advantage?  Do we exaggerate details to gain an advantage in an argument? Do we omit parts of a story to make ourselves look good when we're not?

Discouragement is often based on lying to oneself. Hopelessness is based on lying to ourselves about God like "God is powerless" or "God is absent" or "God doesn't think I deserve it." One of the daily exercises the book recommends to tell the truth: "be true to yourself and to others; live in integrity and keep your word. Harness the power of truth to refute the false witnesses that enter your mind and occupy your thoughts. The truth is that God is all powerful, and that with God all things are possible." (p.187)

What are the false witnesses in our mind? They are the falsities we believe to be true and the truths we believe to be falsities. This mental trap is unavoidable when we freely choose to turn away from the Commandments as the guides for how we should think and why.  Once we are in this mental trap there is only one method for getting out--Sacred Scripture. This contains the meaning we need to contradict the false witnesses in our mind. And especially, it contains the power from God by which we can freely choose to obey the Commandments because they are God's Divine Truth.

The most universal use of the Ten commandments as a group is that it gives every human being anywhere anytime the freedom to choose the reality based on God vs. the reality based on self and others. One reality leads to a life of eternal conjugial happiness in heaven, while the other leads to a life of infernal misery forever. A lot more is at stake here than comfort or self-pride!

The book Rise Above It presents the Ten Commandments at the religious level of thinking. It is based on the idea from the Writings that we live in inner bondage to our false beliefs and their negative emotions about ourselves, others, and society. We free ourselves from this inner slavishness to negativity and pessimism by applying the Ten Commandments to our daily thoughts and feelings. Swedenborg says that the only freedom humans have is to follow God's laws from conscience and rational choices. It is a useful book for religious behaviorism (see Section xx). In theistic psychology we have an interest in pan-religious ideas because they identify the universal concepts about God that we need to explain scientifically. Some of these concepts were presented in the prior section above titled The Scientific Meaning of the Ten Commandments (Section 5.7).

 

The above is from:  http://web.archive.org/web/20161031210444/http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#rise-above-it

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6.0.2  Woman Built From the Man's Rib

Continuing to quote from the Writings where we find the analysis by correspondences of the Genesis story:

Verse 21 "And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he fell asleep; and He took one of his ribs, and He closed up the flesh in its place."

'A rib', which is a breast bone, is used to mean man's proprium when it contains very little life, a proprium indeed that he cherishes. 'The flesh in place of the rib Is used to mean the proprium when it does contain some life. 'A deep sleep' is used to mean that state into which he was brought so that he might seem to himself to have a proprium. This state resembles sleep because a person in that state is conscious only of living, thinking, speaking, and acting from himself. But when he starts to realize that this is false, he is aroused from sleep so to speak and wakes up. (AC 147)

What a remarkable revelation to discover that we are asleep in our conscious awareness when being immersed in our inherited proprium or self. Our inherited proprium is represented by a bony lifeless rib and we are described as being in a "deep sleep" when in that proprium. Our consciousness is asleep to true reality. We live a delusion thinking that we have a self separate from God's management of it. We consciously live this delusion by being convinced that we are acting from ourselves. We are thus persuaded of a delusion by rejecting the revelation that we only have an as-of self in a universe where God is the only power. When we undergo character reformation we no longer refuse to accept God's revelations. We are then said to be "aroused from sleep" or delusion, and we awaken to reality.

Continuing with the quotations:

The state of a person when caught up in the proprium, that is, when he imagines that he lives from himself, is compared to a deep sleep. Indeed the ancients actually called it 'a deep sleep' while the Word speaks of people having 'the spirit of deep sleep poured out on them [Isaiah 29:10], and of their sleeping a perpetual sleep [Jeremiah 51:57].

The fact that man's proprium is in itself dead, that is, that nobody possesses any life from himself, has been demonstrated in the world of spirits so completely that evil spirits who love nothing except the proprium, and insist stubbornly that they do live from themselves, have been convinced by means of living experience, and have admitted that they do not live from themselves.

With regard to the human proprium I have for several years now been given a unique opportunity to know about it - in particular that not a trace of my thinking began in myself. I have also been allowed to perceive clearly that every idea constituting my thought flowed in [from somewhere], and sometimes how it flowed in, and where from. Consequently anyone who imagines that he lives from himself is in error. And in believing that he does live from himself he takes to himself everything evil and false, which he would never do if what he believed and what is actually the case were in agreement. (AC 150)

Note that Swedenborg's description of the human unregenerate proprium is not a theory he is proposing but demonstrated fact. As usual he presents two kinds of proof--one from objective observation of others, and one from self-witnessing observations on himself. In his unique dual consciousness, Swedenborg was able to perceive directly the incoming source of his thoughts and feelings. The delusion of the unregenerate inherited proprium is that our thoughts and feelings originate in our self and are our own. This is certainly the conscious experience we have here on earth. But in the afterlife, having been disconnected from the physical world and body, we have the ability to perceive our interactions with the vertical community (see Section xx).

Continuing:

Verse 22 And Jehovah God built the rib which He took from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man.

'Building means reconstructing that which has fallen down, 'rib' the proprium that has not been given life, 'woman the proprium that has been given life by the Lord, 'bringing her to the man' that a proprium was granted to him. Since the descendants of this Church, unlike their ancestors, did not wish to be the celestial man, but to be their own guides and so set their heart on the proprium, they were allowed to have one. It was however a proprium given life by the Lord, which is why it is called 'a woman', and after that 'a wife'. (AC 151)

Anyone paying the matter only scant attention may see that woman was not formed out of the rib of a man, and that the arcana embodied here are deeper than anybody has ever been aware of up to now. And that the proprium is meant by 'the woman may be seen from the consideration that the woman was the one who was deceived, for nothing but the proprium - or what amounts to the same, self-love and love of the world - ever deceives a person. (AC 152)

The scientific meaning of Divine Speech is about the theistic psychology we need to awaken from the delusion of sleep in which we consciously believe that we are alone in our mind and we think and feel from ourselves. We are to awaken to this spiritual reality prior to entering the spiritual world. We cannot awaken afterwards if we do not awaken here. Swedenborg confirms by many interviews in the world of spirits that those arrived with a denial of God's omnipotence in all details, are unwilling no matter what, to change their mind. They continue in their delusions, which take them to hell and keep them there forever, being still unwilling no matter what.

The well known Genesis story in the Old Testament of Eve being built out of Adam's rib refers in its scientific sense to the proprium, specifically, that the proprium which is a dead delusion in itself, was enlivened by God. "Woman" and "wife" refer to the enlivened proprium in all human beings.

Continuing:

Nothing evil or false can possibly exist that is not the proprium or derived from the proprium. For man's proprium is evil itself, which means that man is nothing but evil and falsity. This has become clear to me from the fact that when the contents of the proprium are presented to view in the world of spirits they look so ugly that nobody can paint any uglier picture. (Those contents vary however according to the nature of the proprium.) As a result when anyone is offered a glimpse of the contents of his proprium he is horrified at himself and wishes to run as though from the devil.

On the other hand contents of the proprium which have been given life by the Lord look beautiful and attractive, varying according to the life to which a celestial quality that is the Lord's can be added. Indeed people who have received charity, that is, been made alive by it, look like boys and girls with very attractive faces. And people who have received innocence look like naked small children adorned in different ways with garlands of flowers twined around their breasts, and precious stones in their hair, living and playing in brightest light, with a sense of happiness stemming from the depths of their being. (AC 154)

Swedenborg reports what he saw when he looked at the unregenerate proprium of people in the world of spirits. In that state of mind everyone can see the proprium of others. And in Swedenborg's estimation the contents of the unregenerate proprium "look so ugly that nobody can paint any uglier picture." In other passages he describes it as bony and black like a burned skull upon which no flesh is left. When someone is allowed to see their own proprium "he is horrified at himself and wishes to run as though from the devil."

On the other hand the regenerate proprium that has been made alive by God, called the heavenly proprium, contains thoughts and feelings that "look beautiful and attractive." When we are in our heavenly mental state our proprium from a distance to others looks like attractive boys and girls adorned in flowers and precious stones with a happy expression reflecting their inner innocence. Innocence is the willingness to be guided by God rather than self.

6.0.3  The Rebirth of the Fallen Proprium or Self

Continuing:

Verse 23 And the man said, By this change, it is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh; for this she will be called Wife, because she was taken out of man (vir).

'Bone from bones and flesh from flesh' means the proprium belonging to the external man, 'bone' the proprium that has been given not much life, 'flesh' the proprium that has been given life. 'The man' (vir) however means the internal man. And because, as is said in the next verse, the internal man was so coupled to the external man, this proprium previously called 'woman' is now called 'Wife'. 'By this change' means that it happened now, because there had been a change of state. (AC 156)

The man (Adam) called the woman his wife (Eve). The woman was made out of his rib. This is the style of writing of the ancients when discussing theistic psychology. In this case they were writing about the birth and development of the human proprium or self conscious awareness. This style of writing made sense to them because they were celestial minds before the Fall. In other words, people in those days still had direct perception into the spiritual world where all things of the mind are represented outwardly in these imageries called correspondences. The external self, or "the proprium belonging to the external man," was referred to as "'Bone from bones and flesh from flesh." They were thinking of the natural mind whose content and organization is from the physical world, rather than the "internal man" or internal self, which has undergone regeneration and is called "wise" or spiritually developed. A distinction is introduced here between two portions of the external self--one dead ("bone"), the other vivified ("flesh").

Continuing:

It is not easy to perceive however how these matters can be so unless the nature of the state of the celestial man is known. The state of the celestial man is such that the internal man is quite distinct from the external, so distinct in fact that he perceives what belongs to the internal man and what to the external man, and how the external man is governed by the Lord through the internal. But because his descendants desired the proprium, which belongs to the external man, their state became so altered that they no longer perceived any distinction between the internal man and the external. Instead they perceived the internal man as being one with the external, for this is what perception comes to be once man desires the proprium. (AC 159)

Here, the phrase "the state of the celestial man" refers to the portion of the human mind that is called heaven (see Section xx). The earliest generations on this planet were celestial people because their celestial mind was fully conscious on earth. They were therefore able to perceive the heavens in which their parents and family were after departing this world. The wrote in a style of correspondences since they were able to see directly, or visualize directly, the mental references in natural vocabulary. But in a later stage of evolution called the Fall, this dual consciousness was lost to protect the human race from being taken over by the Fallen proprium, which was evil. In other words, the thoughts and feelings that make up the external self, were evil--injurious, selfish, irrational, cruel, destructive, etc. Just as now, our motives are selfish and our thinking is less than rational most of the time. This mentality creates a hell on earth in which we are unsafe and experience suffering despite an omnipotent God who only wants our conjugial happiness in an eternal heaven.

God cannot change what our proprium has become without destroying us, which God cannot do as it would be against His Love. By "destroying us" I mean have every human being live in hell from now to eternity. God made a rational and loving choice: Instead of changing our Fallen proprium He can give us a new one that can live in heaven. In other words, we are born with the inherited Fallen "proprial" tendencies towards evil and denial of God. This is the Fallen proprium, ugly, bony, dead. Now God has created a mechanism by which we can start living a new life with a new proprium that has been "vivified" or made receptive of God and heavenly life. This is called "rebirth" and the process goes on a lifetime and is called "regeneration." This is an active process of character building that is very challenging and filled with suffering. This is caused by our having to Inhibit, suppress, and loathe all the loves and enjoyments of the Fallen proprium to which we are attached by egotistical loves.

We don't want to give them up voluntarily, one by one. It seems to us that we are being deprived of all our enjoyments and interests. What good is heaven to us if we cannot have our enjoyments? A neighbor to whom I was talking about Swedenborg asked me to describe life in heaven and in hell. At the end he said he is going to hell. Shocked, I asked why. He explained that all his friends would be there, and all his enjoyments. While in heaven, well, he didn't see himself living there. Later I thought about it and I realized that people don't believe in hell when they say they rather go there. It's just a kind of bravado talk. There must be few people who can read and accept Swedenborg's descriptions of hell, and still say they want to go there. So most people who don't seem to be afraid of hell don't actually believe that there is one.

The rebirth of the human proprium is called "salvation" of the human race. Through the process of temptations we can anesthetize forever our hellish proprium. Each temptation is timed by our Divine Psychologist to allow us to voluntarily lay aside one proprial love. We cannot do this on our own, for our motivation is to give in. But we can overcome this deadly built in motivation by acknowledging God's presence and involvement in the temptation. God then anesthetizes the proprial love, and starts the operation of a new heavenly love in its place. Gradually, through many temptations daily over a lifetime, the "reborn" proprium becomes our conscious awareness. Our thoughts and motives are altruistic and loving to be obedient to God's will or the Proprium of the Divine-Human (see next sub-section).

Continuing:

Verse 24 Therefore a man (vir) will leave his father and his mother and will cling to his wife, and they will be one flesh.

'Leaving father and mother' is leaving the internal man, for the internal is that which conceives and gives birth to the external. 'Clinging to his wife' is in order that the internal man may be within the external. 'Being one flesh' means that they are there together. Previously the internal man, and the external man deriving from the internal, were spirit, but now they have become flesh. In this way celestial and spiritual life was joined on to the proprium in order that they might seemingly be one. (AC 160)

In the style of writing with correspondences "the man clinging to his wife" refers to the heavenly self becoming active within the external self. The thoughts and motives of the external self are transformed from hellish to heavenly when the new reborn proprium becomes active. The lower external self cannot do this on its own, but it can be vivified or operationalized by the higher self acting within the lower self. The higher self which is heavenly cannot be seen in the lower self since the lower self is natural and the natural mind cannot see the celestial mind. The celestial mind active and influencing the natural mind is referred to as "'Leaving father and mother."

These relationships may not be fully clear because only a sample of the overall argument is presented. Please consult the Writings for the detailed study. But enough is given here to demonstrate to you that Sacred Scripture in its extracted scientific meaning is about thei