Divine Love and Wisdom/n. 73
THE DIVINE IS IN ALL TIME, APART FROM TIME.
73. As the Divine, apart from space, is in all space, so also, apart from time, is it in all time. For nothing which is proper to nature can be predicated of the Divine, and space and time are proper to nature. Space in nature is measurable, and so is time. This is measured by days, weeks, months, years, and centuries; days are measured by hours; weeks and months by days; years by the four seasons; and centuries by years. Nature derives this measurement from the apparent revolution and annual motion of the sun of the world. But in the spiritual world it is different. The progressions of life in that world appear in like manner to be in time, for those there live with one another as men in the world live with one another; and this is not possible without the appearance of time. But time there is not divided into periods as in the world, for their sun is constantly in the east and is never moved away; for it is the Lord's Divine Love that appears to them as a sun. Wherefore they have no days, weeks, months, years, centuries, but in place of these there are states of life, by which a distinction is made which cannot be called, however, a distinction into periods, but into states. Consequently, the angels do not know what time is, and when it is mentioned they perceive in place of it state; and when state determines time, time is only an appearance. For joyfulness of state makes time seem short, and joylessness of state makes time seem long; from which it is evident that time in the spiritual world is nothing but quality of state. It is from this that in the Word, "hours," "days," "weeks," "months," and "years," signify states and progressions of state in series and in the aggregate; and when times are predicated of the church, by its "morning" is meant its first state, by "mid-day" its fulness, by "evening" its decline, and by "night" its end. The four seasons of the year, "spring," "summer," "autumn," and "winter," have a like meaning.
74. From the above it can be seen that time makes one with thought from affection; for from that is the quality of man's state. And with progressions of time, in the spiritual world, distances in progress through space coincide; as may be shown from many things. For instance, in the spiritual world ways are actually shortened or are lengthened in accordance with the longings that are of thought from affection. From this, also, comes the expression, "spaces of time." Moreover, in cases where thought does not join itself to its proper affection in man, as in sleep, the lapse of time is not noticed.
75. Now as times which are proper to nature in its world are in the spiritual world pure states, which appear progressive because angels and spirits are finite, it may be seen that in God they are not progressive because He is Infinite, and infinite things in Him are one (as has been shown above, n. 17-22). From this it follows that the Divine in all time is apart from time.
76. He who has no knowledge of God apart from time and is unable from any perception to think of Him, is thus utterly unable to conceive of eternity in any other way than as an eternity of time; in which case, in thinking of God from eternity he must needs become bewildered; for he thinks with regard to a beginning, and beginning has exclusive reference to time. His bewilderment arises from the idea that God had existence from Himself, from which he rushes headlong into an origin of nature from herself; and from this idea he can be extricated only by a spiritual or angelic idea of eternity, which is an idea apart from time; and when time is separated, the Eternal and the Divine are the same, and the Divine is the Divine in itself, not from itself. The angels declare that while they can conceive of God from eternity, they can in no way conceive of nature from eternity, still less of nature from herself and not at all of nature as nature in herself. For that which is in itself is the very Esse, from which all things are; Esse in itself is very life, which is the Divine Love of Divine Wisdom and the Divine Wisdom of Divine Love. For the angels this is the Eternal, an Eternal as removed from time as the Uncreated is from the created, or the Infinite from the finite, between which, in fact, there is no ratio.