(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 324

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324. Since from these considerations it may also be seen that the Divine Providence is none other than predestination to heaven and cannot be changed into any other, it falls to be shown here in the order set forth that the end of creation is a heaven from the human race. First: Every man is created that he may live for ever. In the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, Parts Third and Fifth, it is shown that in man there are three degrees of life, called the natural, the spiritual and the celestial, and that these degrees are actually in every man; while in beasts there is only one degree of life, which is similar to the lowest degree in man called the natural. From this it follows that man by the elevation of his life to the Lord is in such a state above the beasts that he is able to understand what pertains to the Divine Wisdom and to will what pertains to the Divine Love, and in this way to receive the Divine; and he who can receive the Divine so as to see and perceive it in himself cannot be otherwise than conjoined to the Lord, and through this conjunction cannot but live for ever.
[2] Having surrounded Himself with the whole of the created universe, what would the Lord be had He not also created images and likenesses of Himself to whom He could impart His Divine? Otherwise what would He be but a Creator causing something to be and not to be, or to exist and not to exist, and this for no other purpose than that He might contemplate from afar a mere shifting of scenes and continual changes as in some theatre? Why should the Divine be in these images and likenesses were it not that they might be of service to subjects that would receive the Divine more intimately, and see and feel it? Further, as the Divine is a Being of inexhaustible glory, would He retain it to Himself alone, or indeed could He? For love desires to communicate its own to another, and even to give from its own as much as it can. What then would the Divine Love which is infinite not give? Can that give and take away again? Would not this be giving what is about to perish? Inwardly in itself this is nothing, as when anything perishes it comes to naught, that which IS not being in it. But the Divine Love gives what IS, that is, which does not cease to be, and this is eternal.
[3] In order that every man may live for ever, what is mortal with him is taken away. His mortal part is the material body which is taken away by his death. His immortal part, which is his mind, is thus unveiled and he then becomes a spirit in human form, his mind being that spirit. The sages or wise men of old perceived that the mind of man cannot die; for they said, How can spirit (animus) or mind die when it can exercise wisdom? Few men at the present day know what they interiorly understood by this: but there was an idea which descended from heaven into their general perception that God is Wisdom itself which man shares; and God is immortal or eternal.
[4] As it has been granted me to speak with angels I will also say something from my own experience. I have talked with some who lived many ages ago, with some who lived before the Flood and with some who lived after it, with some who lived in the time of the Lord, with one of His Apostles, and with many who lived in later times. They all appeared like men of middle age, and they said they did not know what death is, but only that there is condemnation. Moreover, all who have lived well, when they enter heaven, come into the state of early manhood they reached in the world and continue in it to eternity, even those who had been old and decrepit men in the world. Women, too, although they had been shrunken and aged, return to the flowering period of their age and beauty.
[5] That man after death lives for ever is manifest from the Word where life in heaven is called eternal life, as in Matt. xix. 29; xxv. 46; Mark x. 17; Luke x. 25; xviii. 30; John iii. 15, 16, 36; v. 24, 25, 39; vi. 27, 40, 68; xii. 50;
also simply life,
Matt. xviii 8, 9; John v. 40; xx. 31.
The Lord also said to the disciples:
Because I live, ye shall live also. John xiv. 19;
and concerning the resurrection,
That God is a God of the living, and not a God of the dead, And that they cannot die any more. Luke XX. 38, 36.
[6] Second: Every man is created that he may live for ever in a state of happiness. This follows as a consequence; for He who wills that man should live for ever also wills that he should live in a state of happiness. What would eternal life be without that? All love desires the good of another. The love of parents desires the good of their children; the love of the bridegroom and of the husband desires the good of the bride and of the wife; and friendship's love desires the good of friends. What then does the Divine Love not desire? What is good but delight? And what is Divine Good but eternal happiness? All good is called good from its delight or happiness. That which is given and possessed is indeed called good, but unless it is also delightful it is a barren good, not good in itself. Hence it is clear that eternal life is also eternal happiness. This state of man is the end of creation; and it is not the Lord's fault but man's that only those who enter heaven are in that state. That man is in fault will be seen in what follows.
[7] Third: Thus every man is created that he may enter heaven. This is the end of creation; but all do not enter heaven because they become imbued with the delights of hell which are opposite to the happiness of heaven; and those who are not in the happiness of heaven cannot enter heaven, for they cannot endure it. To no one who enters the spiritual world is it denied to ascend to heaven; but when one who is in the delight of hell enters heaven his heart palpitates, his breathing is laboured, his life begins to fail, he is in anguish, distress and torment, and he writhes like a serpent placed close to a fire. This is so because opposites act against each other.
[8] Nevertheless, they cannot die, as they were born men and thereby with the faculty of thinking and willing, and consequently of speaking and acting. However, as they can live only with those who are in a similar delight of life they are sent to them; thus those who are in the delights of evil and those who are in the delights of good are sent to their own appropriate companions. It is indeed granted everyone to experience the delight of his own evil provided he does not molest any who are in the delight of good; but as evil cannot do otherwise than molest good, for there is inherent in evil hatred against good, therefore lest the wicked should inflict injury they are removed and cast down to their own place in hell, where their delight is turned to what is the reverse of delightful.
[9] But this does not alter the fact that man by creation is such, and consequently is born such, that he may enter heaven; for everyone who dies in infancy goes to heaven, and is there brought up and instructed as a person is in the world; and through his affection for good and truth he is imbued with wisdom and becomes an angel. Such also might the man become who is brought up and instructed in the world, for there is inherent in him the same as is in the infant. Concerning infants in the spiritual world see the work HEAVEN AND HELL, published in London in the year 1758 (n. 329-345).
[10] With many in the world this does not take place, because they love the first degree of their life, called the natural, and have no desire to withdraw from it and become spiritual. The natural degree of life regarded in itself loves only self and the world, for it clings to the bodily senses and these occupy a prominent place in the world; but the spiritual degree of life regarded in itself loves the Lord and heaven, and also itself and the world, but God and heaven as higher, principal and ruling, and itself and the world as lower, instrumental and serving.
[11] Fourth: The Divine Love cannot do otherwise than desire this, and the Divine Wisdom cannot do otherwise than provide for it. It is shown at length in the treatise, THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, that the Divine Essence is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom; and it is also demonstrated there (n. 358-370) that in every human embryo the Lord forms two receptacles, one for the Divine Love and the other for the Divine Wisdom, a receptacle of the Divine Love for the future will of the man, and a receptacle of the Divine Wisdom for his future understanding; and that in this way He has endowed every man with the faculty of willing good and the faculty of understanding truth.
[12] Now since man from his birth is endowed with these two faculties by the Lord, and consequently the Lord is in them as in His own with man, it is clear that His Divine Love cannot but will that man should go to heaven and there enjoy eternal happiness; and also that the Divine Wisdom cannot but provide for this. But since it is from the Lord's Divine Love that man should feel heavenly blessedness in himself as his own, and this is impossible unless he is kept completely in the appearance that he thinks, wills, speaks and acts of himself, therefore the Lord can lead man only according to the laws of His Divine Providence.


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