255. 2. The merely natural man confirms himself against the Divine Providence when he sees that the Mohammedan religion is accepted by so many empires and kingdoms. That this form of religion is accepted by more kingdoms than the Christian religion may be a stumbling-block to those who think about the Divine Providence, and who at the same time believe that no one can be saved unless he has been born a Christian, thus where the Word is by which the Lord is known. But the Mohammedan form of religion is not a stumbling-block to those who believe that all things are of the Divine Providence. They inquire how such a thing can be, and they find the answer in this, that the Mohammedan religion acknowledges the Lord as the Son of God, the wisest of men and a very great prophet who came into the world to teach men; and most Mohammedans consider the Lord to be greater than Mohammed.
 To make it fully understood that this form of religion was raised up by the Divine Providence of the Lord to destroy the idolatries of many nations, it will be set forth in an orderly account beginning with some observations on the origin of idolatries. Previous to the religion of Mohammed the worship of idols was common throughout the whole world. This was because the Churches before the Coming of the Lord were all representative Churches. Such was the Israelitish Church. In it the tabernacle, the garments of Aaron, the sacrifices, all things belonging to the temple at Jerusalem, and also the statutes, were representative. Moreover, among the Ancients there was the science of correspondences, which is also the science of representatives, the science of the wise. This was especially cultivated in Egypt, and is the source of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. From this science they knew the signification of animals of every kind, also the signification of trees of every kind, and of mountains, hills, rivers and fountains, and also of the sun, moon and stars; and as all their worship was representative, consisting wholly of correspondences, they celebrated it on mountains and hills, and also in groves and gardens. For the same reason they also regarded fountains as holy, and in their adoration of God they turned their faces to the rising sun. Moreover, they made graven images of horses, oxen, calves, lambs and also of birds, fishes and serpents, and set them up in their houses and other places in an order according to the spiritual things of the Church to which they corresponded or which they represented. They also placed similar objects in their temples that they might bring to remembrance the holy things which they signified.
 In the course of time, when the science of correspondences had been lost, their posterity began to worship the graven images themselves, as being holy in themselves, not knowing that their forefathers had seen no holiness in those things, but only that they represented and consequently signified holy things according to correspondences. Hence arose the idolatries which filled the whole world, Asia with its neighbouring islands, as well as Africa and Europe. In order that all these idolatries might be rooted out it was brought about by the Divine Providence of the Lord that a new religion should arise, adapted to the genius of Orientals, in which there should be something from both Testaments of the Word and which should teach that the Lord came into the world, and that He was a very great prophet, the wisest of all men, and the Son of God. This was effected by means of Mohammed, from whom that religion is called the Mohammedan religion.
 By the Divine Providence of the Lord this religion was raised up and adapted to the genius of Orientals, as was just stated, to the end that it might destroy the idolatries practised by so many nations and give the people some knowledge concerning the Lord before they entered the spiritual world. This religion would not have been received by so many kingdoms with power to extirpate idolatries if it had not been suited and adapted to the ideas of thought and life of them all. It did not acknowledge the Lord as God of heaven and earth because Oriental peoples acknowledged God as the Creator of the universe, but they could not comprehend that He came into the world and assumed the Human, even as Christians do not comprehend this, who consequently in their thought separate His Divine from His Human, and place the Divine near the Father in heaven and His Human they know not where.
 Hence it may be seen that the Mohammedan religion also arose from the Divine Providence of the Lord; and that all persons of that religion who acknowledge the Lord as the Son of God and at the same time live according to the precepts of the Decalogue, which they also have, by shunning evils as sins, come into a heaven called the Mohammedan heaven. This heaven is also divided into three, the highest, middle and lowest. In the highest heaven are those who acknowledge the Lord to be one with the Father, and thus to be Himself the only God; in the second heaven are those who renounce a plurality of wives and live with one; and in the lowest are those who are being initiated. More about this religion may be seen in THE CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE LAST JUDGMENT AND CONCERNING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (n. 68-72), where the Mohammedans and Mohammed are treated of.