Divine Love and Wisdom/n. 11
GOD IS VERY MAN.
11. In all the heavens there is no other idea of God than that He is a Man. This is because heaven as a whole and in part is in form like a man, and because it is the Divine which is with the angels that constitutes heaven and inasmuch as thought proceeds according to the form of heaven, it is impossible for the angels to think of God in any other way. From this it is that all those in the world who are conjoined with heaven think of God in the same way when they think interiorly in themselves, that is, in their spirit. From this fact that God is a Man, all angels and all spirits, in their complete form, are men. This results from the form of heaven, which is like itself in its greatest and in its least parts. That heaven as a whole and in part is in form like a man may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 59-87); and that thoughts proceed according to the form of heaven (n. 203, 204). It is known from Genesis (i. 26, 27), that men were created after the image and likeness of God. God also appeared as a man to Abraham and to others. The ancients, from the wise even to the simple, thought of God no otherwise than as being a Man; and when at length they began to worship a plurality of gods, as at Athens and Rome, they worshiped them all as men. What is here said may be illustrated by the following extract from a small treatise already published:—
The Gentiles, especially the Africans, who acknowledge and worship one God, the Creator of the universe, have concerning God the idea that He is a Man, and declare that no one can have any other idea of God. When they learn that there are many who cherish an idea of God as something cloudlike in the midst of things, they ask where such persons are; and on being told that they are among Christians, they declare it to be impossible. They are informed, however, that this idea arises from the fact that God in the Word is called "a Spirit," and of a spirit they have no other idea than of a bit of cloud, not knowing that every spirit and every angel is a man. An examination, nevertheless, was made, whether the spiritual idea of such persons was like their natural idea, and it was found not to be so with those who acknowledge the Lord interiorly as God of heaven and earth. I heard a certain elder from the Christians say that no one can have an idea of a Human Divine; and I saw him taken about to various Gentile nations, and successively to such as were more and more interior, and from them to their heavens, and finally to the Christian heaven; and everywhere their interior perception concerning God was communicated to him, and he observed that they had no other idea of God than that He is a man, which is the same as the idea of a Human Divine (L. J. n. 74).
12. The common people in Christendom have an idea that God is a Man, because God in the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity is called a "Person." But those who are more learned than the common people pronounce God to be invisible; and this for the reason that they cannot comprehend how God, as a Man, could have created heaven and earth, and then fill the universe with His presence, and many things besides, which cannot enter the understanding so long as the truth that the Divine is not in space is ignored. Those, however, who go to the Lord alone think of a Human Divine, thus of God as a Man.
13. How important it is to have a correct idea of God can be known from the truth that the idea of God constitutes the inmost of thought with all who have religion, for all things of religion and all things of worship look to God. And since God, universally and in particular, is in all things of religion and of worship, without a proper idea of God no communication with the heavens is possible. From this it is that in the spiritual world every nation has its place allotted in accordance with its idea of God as a Man; for in this idea, and in no other, is the idea of the Lord. That man's state of life after death is according to the idea of God in which he has become confirmed, is manifest from the opposite of this, namely, that the denial of God, and, in the Christian world, the denial of the Divinity of the Lord, constitutes hell.