(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 48

Remove Highlights | Highlight Search Terms


48. To this I will add this Memorable Relation:
I was once talking with two angels, one from the eastern and the other from the southern heaven. When they perceived that I was meditating upon the arcana of wisdom respecting love, they said, "Do you know anything about the schools of wisdom in our world?"
I answered, "Not yet."
They said that there were many such, and that those who love truths from spiritual affection, or because they are truths, and because by means of them wisdom is acquired, come together at a given signal and discuss and settle those questions that spring from a deeper understanding.
They then took me by the hand, saying, "Follow us, and you shall see and hear; the signal has been given for a meeting today."
I was led over a plain to a hill; and behold, at the foot of the hill was an arcade of palms reaching to its very top. This we entered and ascended; and on the top or summit of the hill a grove was seen, and among its trees the raised ground formed a kind of theater, within which was a level spot paved with little stones of various colors. Around this in quadrangular form seats were placed upon which lovers of wisdom were sitting; and in the middle of the theater there was a table, upon which was laid a paper sealed with a seal.
[2] Those who were seated invited us to the still vacant seats; but I answered, "I have been brought here by two angels to see and hear, not to sit."
Then the two angels went to the table in the middle of the level spot, and broke the seal of the paper, and read to those seated the arcana of wisdom written on the paper, which they were now to discuss and unfold. These arcana were written by angels of the third heaven, and let down upon the table. There were three: First, What is "the image of God," and what is "the likeness of God," into which man was created? Second, Why is man not born into the knowledge proper to any love, when even beasts and birds, both the noble and the ignoble, are born into the knowledges proper to all their loves? Third, What does "the tree of life" and what does "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" signify, and what is signified by "eating" of them?
Underneath was written, "Unite the answers to these three in one opinion. Write it on a fresh paper, and place it on this table, and we shall see. If the opinion seems well-balanced and correct, each one of you shall receive the prize for wisdom." Having read this the two angels withdrew, and were taken up into their heavens.
Then those sitting upon the seats began to discuss and unfold the arcana proposed to them, speaking in this order, first those, who sat on the north side, then those on the west, next those on the south, and lastly those on the east. And they took up the first subject of discussion, which was, What is "the image of God" and what is "the likeness of God" into which man was created? In the first place there was read to all of them these words from the Book of Creation
God said, Let us make man into Our image, after Our likeness. So God created man into His own image, into the likeness of God made He him (Gen. 1:26, 27).
In the day that God created man, into the likeness of God made He him (Gen. 5:1).
[3] Those who sat on the north spoke first, saying that an image of God and a likeness of God are the two lives breathed into man by God, which are the life of the will and the life of the understanding; for we read:
Jehovah God breathed into the nostrils [of Adam] the breath of lives, and man was made into a living soul (Gen. 2:7).
This seems to mean that there was breathed into him the will of good and the perception of truth, thus the soul of lives. And inasmuch as life from God was breathed into him, image and likeness signify integrity in him from love and wisdom, and from righteousness and judgment."
To this those sitting on the west assented, adding, however, that the state of integrity breathed into Adam from God is continually breathed into every man after him; but in man it is as into a receptacle; and man is an image and likeness of God in proportion as he becomes a receptacle.
[4] Afterwards the third in order, who were those seated at the south, said, "An image of God and a likeness of God are two distinct things but in man they are united by creation; and we see as if from some interior light that while the image of God may be destroyed by man, the likeness of God cannot. This we see as through a network, in that Adam retained the likeness of God after he had lost the image of God; for after the curse we read:
Behold the man has become as one of us, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:22)
and after this he was called a likeness of God, but not an image of God (Gen. 5:1). But let us leave to our companions who sit at the east, and are therefore in superior light, to say what is properly an image of God, and what is properly a likeness of God. "
[5] Then after a period of silence, those seated towards the east arose from their seats and looked up to the Lord, and again took their seats, and said that an image of God is a receptacle of God; and as God is love itself and wisdom itself, an image of God is the reception in that receptacle of love and wisdom from God; while a likeness of God is a perfect likeness and full appearance that love and wisdom are in man, and are therefore entirely his. For man has no other feeling than that he loves from himself and is wise from himself, or that he wills what is good and understands truth from himself; nevertheless, this is not from himself in the least degree, but from God. God alone loves from Himself and is wise from Himself, because He is love itself and wisdom itself. The likeness or appearance that love and wisdom, or good and truth, are in man as his own, is what makes man to be man, and makes him capable of conjunction with God, and thus of living to eternity; from which it follows that man is man from his being able to will what is good and understand truth wholly as if from himself, and yet with the ability to know and believe that he does so from God; for as man knows and believes this, God puts His image in man; but not so if man believes that he does this from himself, and not from God.
[6] When this had been said there came upon them a zeal arising from a love for the truth, from which they spoke as follows: "How can man receive anything of love and wisdom, and retain it and reproduce it, unless he feels it to be his own? And how is any conjunction with God by means of love and wisdom possible unless there has been given to man something by which he may reciprocate the conjunction? For without a reciprocal no conjunction is possible. And the reciprocal of conjunction is man's loving God and doing what is of God as if from himself, and yet believing that it is from God. Moreover, how can man live to eternity unless he is joined to the eternal God? Consequently, how can man be man without that likeness in him?"
[7] These remarks were approved by all, and they said, "Let us form a conclusion from all this." This was done as follows: "Man is a receptacle of God, and a receptacle of God is an image of God; and as God is love itself and wisdom itself, man is a receptacle of these; and the receptacle becomes an image of God in the measure in which it receives. And man is a likeness of God from his feeling that the things that are from God are in him as his own; and yet from that likeness he is only so far an image of God as he acknowledges that love and wisdom, or good and truth, are not his own in him, and are not from him, but are solely in God, and consequently from God."
[8] After this they took up the second subject of discussion, Why is man not born into the knowledge proper to any love, when even beasts and birds, both the noble and the ignoble, are born into the knowledges proper to all their loves? They first confirmed the truth of the proposition by various arguments, as, that man is born into no knowledge, not even into a knowledge of marriage love. They inquired and learned from investigators the fact that an infant from connate knowledge does not even know its mother's breast, but learns of it from the mother or nurse by being put to the breast; that it merely knows how to suck, and this it has acquired from continual suction in the mother's womb; that subsequently it does not know how to walk, or to articulate sound into any human word, and not even to express by sounds its love's affections as beasts do; furthermore, that it does not know what food is suitable for it, as beasts do, but seizes upon whatever comes in its way, clean or unclean, and puts it in its mouth. The investigators said that man without instruction knows nothing whatever of the modes of loving the sex, virgins and youths even knowing nothing about it until they have been taught by others. In a word, man is born a purely corporeal thing, like a worm, and so continues unless he acquires knowledge, understanding, and wisdom from others. [9] After this they confirmed the fact that both noble and ignoble animals, as the beasts of the earth, the birds of heaven, reptiles, fishes, and the smaller creatures called insects, are born into all the knowledges proper to their life's loves, as into all things pertaining to nutrition, to their habitations, to sexual love and prolification, and all things pertaining to the rearing of their offspring. All this they confirmed by wonderful facts which they recalled to memory from what they had seen, heard, and read in the natural world, where they had formerly lived, and where the animals are real and not representative. When the truth of the proposition had been thus established, they applied their minds to the investigation and discovery of the reasons by means of which this arcanum might be unfolded and made clear. And they all said that these things could spring only from the Divine wisdom, to the end that man might be man, and beast might be beast; and thus man's imperfection at birth becomes his perfection, and the beast's perfection at birth is its imperfection.
[10] Then those on the north began to express their views; and they said that man is born without knowledges in order that he may be able to receive all knowledges; while if he were born into knowledges he would not be capable of receiving other knowledges beyond those into which he had been born, nor would he be capable of making any knowledge his own. This they illustrated by the comparison that man at birth is like ground in which no seed has been sown, but which nevertheless is capable of receiving all seeds and of causing them to grow and bear fruit; while a beast is like ground already sown, and full of grasses and herbs, which can receive no other seeds than those already sown, or if it did, would choke them. For this reason man is many years in coming to maturity, during which he can be cultivated, like soil, and bring forth, as it were, all kinds of crops, flowers, and trees, while the beast matures in a few years, during which it is capable of improvement only in the things into which it was born.
[11] Afterwards those on the west spoke, and said, "Man is not, as a beast is, born a knowledge, but is born a faculty and inclination-a faculty for knowing and an inclination for loving. Moreover, he is born a faculty for loving both what pertains to self and the world and what pertains to God and heaven. Consequently, man at birth is merely an organ, living only an obscure life through the external senses, and with no internal senses, to the end that his life may develop step by step, and he may become first a natural man, then a rational man, and finally a spiritual man; and this he could not become if he were born into knowledges and loves as beasts are. For that development is limited by connate knowledges and affections of love, while mere connate faculties and inclinations do not limit it. This is what gives man the ability to be perfected to eternity in knowledges, intelligence, and wisdom.
[12] Those on the south followed, and pronounced their opinion, saying that it is impossible for man to derive any knowledge from himself, and since he has no connate knowledge he can only gain it from others. "And as man can acquire no knowledge from himself, neither can he any love, since where knowledge is not love is not. Knowledge and love are inseparable companions, as inseparable as will and understanding, or as affection and thought, or even as essence and form. Therefore as man acquires knowledge from others, love unites with it as a companion. The most general love that unites itself is the love of knowing, and afterwards the love of understanding and of being wise. No beast has these loves, but man only; and they flow in from God. [13] We agree with our fellow-members on the west that man is not born into any love, and consequently not into any knowledge, but is born merely into an inclination for loving and thus into a faculty for receiving knowledge, not from himself but from others, that is, through others. We say through others, because neither do these receive anything from themselves, but originally from God. We agree also with our fellow-members on the north, that man at his birth is like soil in which no seeds have been planted, but in which all seeds, both noble and ignoble, may be planted. This is why man was called homo [man], from humus [soil], and Adam [Hebrew for man], from adamah, which means soil. To this we add that beasts are born into natural loves, and from these into knowledges corresponding thereto; and yet they have no ability to learn or to think or to understand or to be wise from knowledges; but are impelled to these by their loves, much as the blind are conducted through the streets by dogs (for beasts are blind so far as understanding is concerned; or rather, beasts are like persons walking in sleep, who do whatever they do from blind knowledge, their understanding being asleep)."
[14] Finally those on the east spoke and said, "We assent to what our brethren have said, that man derives no knowledge from himself, but only from and through others, in order that he may recognize and acknowledge that all his knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are from God; also that man can in no other way be born and begotten of God, and become His image and likeness. For man becomes an image of God by acknowledging and believing that he has received and continues to receive from God every good of charity and every truth of wisdom and faith, and none whatever from himself; while he is a likeness of God by his feeling these goods and truths to be in himself as if they were from himself. This he feels because he is not born into knowledges but acquires them; and what he requires seems to him to be from himself. Moreover to so feel is bestowed upon man by God in order that he may be a man and not a beast, since it is through man's willing, thinking, loving, understanding, and being wise as if from himself, that he receives knowledges, and exalts them to intelligence, and, by using them, to wisdom; thus God conjoins man to Himself, and man conjoins himself to God. All this could not be done unless it had been provided by God that man should be born in total ignorance."
[15] After this had been said it was the desire of all that a conclusion be drawn from the points discussed, and this was done as follows: "Man is born into no knowledge that he may be capable of entering into all knowledge and progressing into intelligence, and through this into wisdom; and he is born into no love that he may be capable of entering, into all love by the application of knowledges from intelligence, and into love to God through love of the neighbor, and thus of being conjoined to God, and thereby becoming man and living forever."
[16] After this they took up the paper and read the third subject of discussion, which was, What is signified by "the tree of life," and by "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and by "eating" of them? They all requested that those in the east should unfold this arcanum, because it was a matter of deeper understanding, and because those from the east were in flaming light, that is, in the wisdom of love, and this wisdom is meant by "the garden of Eden," in which those two trees were placed.
They replied, "We will speak; but as man receives nothing from himself, but everything from God, we will speak from Him, and yet from ourselves as if from ourselves." And they said, "A tree signifies man, and its fruit the good of life therefore 'the tree of life' signifies man living from God; and as love and wisdom, or charity and faith, or good and truth, constitute the life of God in man, 'the tree of life' signifies a man who has these within him from God, and in consequence, eternal life. The tree of life of which it shall be given to eat (mentioned in Apoc. 2:7; 22:2, 14) has the same signification. [17] 'The tree of the knowledge of good and evil' signifies a man who believes that he lives from himself and not from God; thus that love and wisdom, or charity and faith, that is, good and truth, are not God's in man, but his own, the reason for this belief being that man thinks and wills and speaks and acts in all likeness and appearance as if from himself; and as man thereby persuades himself that he is himself a god, the serpent said
God doth know that in the day ye eat of the fruit of that tree your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).
[18] "'Eating' of these trees signifies reception and appropriation, 'eating of the tree of life' reception of eternal life, and 'eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' the reception of damnation. 'The serpent' means the devil in respect to the love of self and the conceit of one's own intelligence; this love is the possessor of that tree, and the men who are in the conceit derived from that love are such trees. It is therefore a monstrous error to believe that Adam was wise and did good from himself, and that this was his state of integrity; when in fact Adam was himself cursed on account of that belief; for this is what is meant by his 'eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;' and this was why he then fell from his state of integrity, which had been his possession because of his believing that he was wise and did good from God, and in no respect from himself, which is what is meant by his 'eating of the tree of life.' The Lord alone when He was in the world was wise from Himself and did good from Himself, because the Divine Itself was in Him, and was His from His birth; therefore by His own power He became the Redeemer and Savior."
[19] From all this they formed this conclusion: "'The tree of life, ' 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,' and 'eating' therefrom, mean that man's life is God in him, and when God is in him he has heaven and eternal life; while the death of man is the persuasion and belief that his life is not God, but himself, and this belief leads to hell and eternal death, which is damnation."
[20] After this they looked at the paper left by the angels on the table, and saw written upon it, "Bring these three together in one opinion;" and bringing them together they saw that the three formed one coherent series, and the series or opinion was as follows: "Man was so created as to be capable of receiving love and wisdom from God, and yet in all likeness as if from himself, and this for the sake of reception and conjunction; and this is why man is not born into any love, nor into any knowledge, nor even into any power to love and be wise from himself. Therefore when he attributes every good of love and every truth of faith to God he becomes a living man; but when he attributes them to himself he becomes a dead man."
This they wrote on a fresh paper, and placed it on the table; and behold, immediately angels came in, a bright cloud and carried the paper away to heaven.
And when it had been read there, those sitting upon the seats heard from heaven the words, "Well done, well done, well done." And presently one from heaven was seen flying as it were with what appeared like two wings on his feet and two on his temples, bringing rewards, which were robes, caps, and laurel wreaths. He descended and gave to those sitting at the north robes of an opaline color; to those at the west robes of scarlet; to those at the south caps with borders ornamented with bands of gold and pearls, and with their tops on the left side adorned with diamonds cut in the form of flowers; while to those on the east he gave wreaths of laurel in which were rubies and sapphires. And all, decorated with these rewards, went home from the school of wisdom with joy.


User-Contributed Related Pages

Be the First to Find a Related Page!

Add a Related Page


'eating 'eating' 'the ability able acquired acquires adam affection affections after afterwards agree alone already angels animals answered anything appearance arcana arcanum attributes beast beasts become becomes began being belief believe believes believing birds birth blind born breast breathed bring bringing called capable caps charity companions conceit conclusion confirmed conjoins conjunction connate consequently continues created creation damnation death deeper discuss discussion divine does done during east eating entering eternal eternity every evil evil' express fact faculty faith feeling feels fellow-members finally first flowers follows form formed fresh fruit full gave given good ground hear heard heaven hill himself ignoble image imperfection inclination inseparable integrity intelligence investigators itself know knowing knowledge knowledges knows laurel left level life life' light likeness lives living looked lord love loves loving made makes man's many mean means meant merely middle might moreover mother's natural neither nevertheless noble north nothing only opinion order other others ourselves paper perfection pertaining pertains place placed planted possible power proper properly proposition puts read reason receive receives receiving receptacle reception reciprocal respect rewards robes seal seated seats second seeds seems seen self senses series shall side signal signified signifies signify sitting soil soul south sown speak spiritual spoke spot spring state step subject table theater thereby third three thus together tree trees truth truths understand understanding unfold unites unless various west whatever wills wisdom wise within without word words world wreaths written years

Translate This Page

Add Small Canon Search to Your Website

Add a Small Canon Search™ button to my Google Toolbar

Add Small Canon Search™ to my Firefox Search Bar!

Add to Google

Daily Bible Verse

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Green Hosting

5 FREE Domains with Select Hosting Plans. Get yours!