328. We then withdrew, and speaking further on this subject, I said: "These distinctions exist solely because you, being in the spiritual world and therefore being yourselves spiritual, are in things substantial and not in things material, and things substantial are the beginnings of things material. You are in principles and thus in simples, while we are in principiates and compounds. You are in particulars, we in generals; and just as generals cannot enter into particulars, so neither can things natural, which are material, enter into things spiritual, which are substantial, exactly as a ship's cable cannot enter or be drawn through the eye of a needle, or a nerve enter or be drawn into one of the fiber of which it consists, or a fiber into one of the fibrils of which it consists. This, moreover, is known in the world, it being the consensus of the learned, that there is no influx of the natural into the spiritual but only of the spiritual into the natural. This then is the reason why the natural man cannot think the thoughts which the spiritual man thinks, and therefore cannot speak them. Therefore Paul says that the words which he heard out of the third heaven were unutterable.*  Add to this, that to think spiritually is to think apart from time and space, and to think naturally is to think with time and space; for something of time and space adheres to every idea of natural thought, but not to any spiritual idea. The reason is, because the spiritual world is not in space and time like the natural world, but in the appearance of space and time. In the same way also do thoughts and affections differ [in the two worlds]. Therefore, you can think of the essence and omnipresence of God from eternity, that is, of God before the creation of the world, because you think of the essence of God from eternity apart from time, and of His omnipresence apart from space. Thus you can comprehend things which transcend the ideas of the natural man."
 I then told him that once I had thought of the essence and omnipresence of God from eternity, that is, of God before the creation of the world. Being unable as yet to remove spaces and times from the ideas of my thought, I became troubled; for instead of God, the idea of nature entered in. But it was told me, "Remove the ideas of space and time and you will see." It was then given me to remove them, and I did see. From that time on, I could think of God from eternity and not at all of nature from eternity; for God is in all time without time, and in all space without space, while nature is in all time in time, and in all space in space; and nature with her time and space must needs have a beginning and origin, but not God who is without time and space. Therefore, nature is from God--not from eternity but in time; that is to say, she is from God together with her time, and with her space.
* 2 Cor. 12:4.