Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Divine Love and Divine Truth

If there is one insight that the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg provides about the true nature of God, it is that not only that God is One, but that there are two aspects to God: Love and Truth.  Everything that exists are forms of love and truth: we are created in the image of God, in that we are forms of love and truth.  Love and truth corresponds to our will and thought, doing and thinking.  Love and Truth must act as one as a marriage, and indeed, it so influences how we behave it is the spiritual origin of sex: females are forms of love, and males are forms of truth, and together they make one angel. The correspondence extends into the material world: instead of spiritual Love and Truth, there is substance and form in matter.  You cannot have a substance without a form, nor form without substance.  At an atomic level, substance and form corresponds to the nucleus and the orbiting electrons. And not only matter, there is a correspondence of Love and Truth with space and time. Everything in the universe has a correspondence to Love and Truth, and this is represented most perfectly in the human form. Thus all of life tends to evolve towards the human form, and the goal of each creation is to return back to his or her Creator.

It is a simple concept, and once one understands it, one can apply it to just about everything. On a spiritual level, one can recognize false religions and philosophies. Some say we must love everybody. But this is not true: love must be guided by truth, to consider what is good and useful. On the other extreme many religions emphasize just "faith," or "belief," or "enlightenment," or "meditation" - but this is just one side of the coin. If you know something, and do not act upon it, it is nothing. If it is not applicable to life, it is nothing.  Spirituality must guide the will, how you live. All religions tend to degenerate into two forms: the opposite of Love, which is the love of self, which seeks to use religion to rule over others. If its not the love of rule or self, the other way religion degenerates is into belief alone, and external worship.  Always seek the middle ground: when you recognize the truth, live by it, apply it to your life. For the universal truth is this: all who live by the truth that they know to do what is good will go to heaven.

Swedenborg summarized this concept in his work Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom. It is not as popular as his other works, but it is in fact the foundation of the theology that was revealed to him. Even those who have had Near Death Experiences talk about it: a Supreme Being of Light, full of Love and Truth, who has one question to ask us: what have you done with your life? And then there is a life review, and we see how our actions have effected others. Some who have come back seem to have this idea planted in their head: its all about Love and Truth. Swedenborg describes how this concept of Love and Truth can be applied to everything:

If you gather together all things that you are acquainted with, and consider them attentively, and if in some elevation of spirit you search for the universal of them all, you cannot conclude otherwise than that it is Love and Wisdom. For these two are the essentials of all things of man's life; everything civil, moral, or spiritual belonging to it depends upon these two, and without them is not anything. It is the same with all things of the life of the composite man, which is, as said above, society in a larger or smaller form, a kingdom or empire, the Church, and also the angelic heaven. Take away love and wisdom from these, and think whether they are anything, and you will find that without love and wisdom as their source they are nothing. (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 28)

It is upon this concept, and different degrees of order (another topic), that form the foundation for disclosing the spiritual meaning of scripture.  Each line of scripture will have some relation to love or truth.  For example in scripture, this is represented by the name "LORD God," which in Hebrew is Jehovah Elohim. The name Jehovah is used when referencing the Divine Love, and Elohim when referring to the Divine Truth.  Divine Love is often called "mercy," and the Divine Truth is called simply "truth" or "judgment" - for everyone is judged by the truth. Whereas the Divine Love is often represented by fire, the Divine Truth is represented by light. As Divine Love governs the will, so Divine Truth governs the thought: thus the latter is often called the "Law," or as others know it: the Word.

And what of the Father and Son of the New Testament?  Are they two different beings? Far from it. This is a lower material view of God, and many, many people have fallen into this false way of thinking.  The Father is simply the Divine Love, and the Son is simply the Divine Truth.  And so the Word became incarnate, and this involved a descent of the Divine Love as the Divine Truth into human form:

"Jehovah descended as Divine truth, which is the Word, and yet He did not separate Divine good. Two things make God's essence, Divine love and Divine wisdom; or what is the same, Divine good and Divine truth. That these two are the essence of God was shown above (n. 36-48). These two in the Word are meant also by Jehovah God; by Jehovah, Divine love or Divine good, and by God, Divine wisdom or Divine truth. This is the reason of the distinction in the Word in various ways, when sometimes only Jehovah is named, and sometimes only God; for where the subject is Divine good, Jehovah is said; and where it is Divine truth, God is named; and where both are meant, Jehovah God is said. That Jehovah God descended as Divine truth, which is the Word, is evident in John, where are these words: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. . . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (i. 1, 3, 14). By the Word is there meant Divine truth because the Word which is in the church is Divine truth itself; for it was dictated by Jehovah Himself, and what is dictated by Jehovah is purely Divine truth, and can be no other; but because that passed through the heavens even into the world, it became accommodated to angels in heaven and also to men in the world. Hereby there is in the Word a spiritual sense in which Divine truth is in light, and a natural sense in which Divine truth is in shade; therefore Divine truth in this Word is what is meant in John. This appears still further from the fact that the Lord came into the world in order to fulfil all things of the Word as it is so often said that this and that was done by Him, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Nor is any other than the Divine truth meant by the Messiah or Christ; nor any other by the Son of Man; nor any other by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which the Lord sent after His departure. (True Christian Religion, n. 85)

When one understands this concept, many things Jesus says about himself suddenly becomes clear. He says he is the "light of the world" for he is Divine Truth in human form. No one can approach the Father except through him - for no one can approach what is good or love except through the truth. Jesus says all judgment is entrusted to him, for it is the Divine Truth which will judge every person after he or she dies. As for the Father, he always says he came to do the "Father's will" and that he could do nothing except what he sees his Father doing. That's because the Father is the Divine love, the Divine will of God. And what about Jesus dwelling in the Father, and the Father in him?  The Father dwelt inside of Jesus as the soul dwells inside the body, and the human form was in the soul in that it could do nothing but what the soul was directing the outer form to do. Jesus said he was lesser than the Father - for Divine Truth is lesser than the Divine Good. And when he became glorified, or united with the Father, what happens? All power on heaven and earth is given to him. For now his external form had been transformed and made one with the Divine.

The concept of love and truth governs everything -  not only concerning Christianity, but of everything you look at in life. And when one realizes the truth that love is first and makes one with truth, one can then see things differently in life, and act accordingly.

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