Divine Love and Wisdom/n. 69

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69. There are two things proper to Nature—space and time. From these man in the natural world forms the ideas of his thought, and thereby his understanding. If he remains in these ideas, and does not raise his mind above them, he is in no wise able to perceive things spiritual and Divine, for these he involves in ideas drawn from space and time; and so far as that is done the light [lumen] of his understanding becomes merely natural. To think from this lumen in reasoning about spiritual and Divine things, is like thinking from the thick darkness of night about those things that appear only in the light of day. From this comes Naturalism. But he who knows how to raise his mind above ideas of thought drawn from space and time, passes from thick darkness into light, and has discernment in things spiritual and Divine, and finally sees the things which are in and from what is spiritual and Divine; and then from that light he dispels the thick darkness of the natural lumen, and banishes its fallacies from the middle to the sides. Every man who has understanding is able to transcend in thought these properties of nature, and actually does so; and he then affirms and sees that the Divine, because omnipresent, is not in space. He is also able to affirm and to see the things that have been adduced above. But if he denies the Divine Omnipresence, and ascribes all things to nature, then he has no wish to be elevated, though he can be.

70. All who die and become angels put off the two above-mentioned properties of nature, namely, space and time; for they then enter into spiritual light, in which objects of thought are truths, and objects of sight are like those in the natural world, but are correspondent to their thoughts. The objects of their thought which, as just said, are truths, derive nothing at all from space and time; and though the objects of their sight appear as if in space and in time, still the angels do not think from space and time. The reason is, that spaces and times there are not fixed, as in the natural world, but are changeable according to the states of their life. In the ideas of their thought, therefore, instead of space and time there are states of life, instead of spaces such things as have reference to states of love, and instead of times such things as have reference to states of wisdom. From this it is that spiritual thought, and spiritual speech therefrom, differ so much from natural thought and natural speech therefrom, as to have nothing in common except as regards the interiors of things, which are all spiritual. Of this difference more will be said elsewhere. Now, because the thoughts of angels derive nothing from space and time, but everything from states of life, when it is said that the Divine fills spaces angels evidently cannot comprehend it, for they do not know what spaces are; but when, apart from any idea of space, it is said that the Divine fills all things, they clearly comprehend it.

71. To make it clear that the merely natural man thinks of spiritual and Divine things from space, and the spiritual man apart from space, let the following serve for illustration. The merely natural man thinks by means of ideas which he has acquired from objects of sight, in all of which there is figure partaking of length, breadth, and height, and of shape determined by these, either angular or circular. These [conceptions] are manifestly present in the ideas of his thought concerning things visible on earth; they are also in the ideas of his thought concerning those not visible, such as civil and moral affairs. This he is unconscious of; but they are nevertheless there, as continuations. With a spiritual man it is different, especially with an angel of heaven, whose thought has nothing in common with figure and form that derives anything from spiritual length, breadth, and height, but only with figure and form derived from the state of a thing resulting from the state of its life. Consequently, instead of length of space he thinks of the good of a thing from good of life; instead of breadth of space, of the truth of a thing from truth of life; and instead of height, of the degrees of these. Thus he thinks from the correspondence there is between things spiritual and things natural. From this correspondence it is that in the Word "length" signifies the good of a thing, "breadth" the truth of a thing, and "height" the degrees of these. From this it is evident that an angel of heaven, when he thinks of the Divine Omnipresence, can by no means think otherwise than that the Divine, apart from space, fills all things. And that which an angel thinks is truth, because the light which enlightens his understanding is Divine Wisdom.

72. This is the basis of thought concerning God; for without it, what is to be said of the creation of the universe by God-Man, of His Providence, Omnipotence, Omnipresence and Omniscience, even if understood, cannot be kept in mind; since the merely natural man, even while he has these things in his understanding, sinks back into his life's love, which is that of his will; and that love dissipates these truths, and immerses his thought in space, where his lumen, which he calls rational, abides, not knowing that so far as he denies these things, he is irrational. That this is so, may be confirmed by the idea entertained of this truth, that God is a Man. Read with attention, I pray you, what has been said above (n. 11-13) and what follows after, and your understanding will accept it. But when you let your thought down into the natural lumen which derives from space, will not these things be seen as paradoxes? and if you let it down far, will you not reject them? This is why it is said that the Divine fills all spaces of the universe, and why it is not said that God-Man fills them. For if this were said, the merely natural lumen would not assent. But to the proposition that the Divine fills all space, it does assent, because this agrees with the mode of speech of the theologians, that God is omnipresent, and hears and knows all things. (On this subject, more may be seen above, n. 7-10.)