(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 29

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29. (2) God is Infinite because He was before the world was, thus before spaces and times arose. In the natural world there are spaces and times; but in the spiritual world these exist only apparently, and not actually. Time and space were introduced into these worlds for the purpose of distinguishing one thing from another, the great from the small, the many from the few, thus quantity from quantity, and so quality from quality; also to enable the bodily senses to distinguish between their objects, and the mental senses between theirs, and thereby to be affected, and to think and choose. In the natural world times were established by the rotation of the earth on its axis, and by the progression of these rotations from point to point along the zodiac, these movements being made apparently by the sun, from which the whole terraqueous globe derives its heat and light. From this come the divisions of the day, morning, noon, evening, and night; and the seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter-the divisions of the day according to light and darkness, and the seasons of the year according to heat and cold. In the natural world spaces were established by earth's being formed into a globe, and filled with various kinds of matter; with its parts distinguished one from another, and also extended. But in the spiritual world there are no material spaces with corresponding times; but there are appearances of time and space; and these appearances vary according to differences of state in the minds of the spirits and angels there; thus times and spaces there conform to the affections of their wills, and the consequent thoughts of their understandings. But these appearances are real in that they are constant according to these states.
[2] The common opinion about the state of souls after death, and therefore also about angels and spirits, is that they do not occupy any extension, and consequently are not in space and time. Owing to this idea souls after death are said to be in an indefinite somewhere, and spirits and angels are said to be mere puffs of air, which can be thought of only as ether, air, breath, or wind is thought of; when in fact they are substantial men, and like men in the natural world live together in spaces and in times, which, as just said, are determined in accordance with the states of their minds. If it were otherwise, that is, if they were without space and time, that universe into which souls are flowing, and in which angels and spirits dwell, might be passed through the eye of a needle, or be concentrated upon the end of a single hair. This would be possible if there were no substantial extension there; but as there is, angels dwell together as separately and distinctly as men who dwell in material extension, and even more distinctly. Nevertheless, times there are not divided into days, weeks, months, and years, since there the spiritual sun does not appear to rise and set, nor to move from east to west, but remains stationary in the east at a point midway between the zenith and the horizon. There are spaces there, because all things in that world are substantial which in the natural world are material. But this point will be further considered in the section of this chapter where Creation is treated of. [3] From all this it can be comprehended how spaces and times render each thing and all things in both worlds finite; and therefore men are finite not only in body but also in soul, and likewise angels and spirits. The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that God is infinite, that is, not finite; since He Himself, as the Creator, Former, and Maker of the universe, gave finiteness to all things; and this He did by means of His sun, in the midst of which He is, and which is constituted of the Divine essence that goes forth from Him as a sphere. There, and from that, is the first of the finiting process, and its progress reaches even to the outmost things of the world's nature; consequently in Himself God is infinite because He is uncreated. To man, nevertheless, because he is finite, and thinks from things finite, the infinite seems to be nothing; and therefore he feels that if the finite which adheres to his thought should be taken away, what would be left would amount to nothing. And yet the truth is that God is infinitely all; and man of himself in comparison is nothing.


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