Friday, June 28, 2019

A Christian Revelation on Marriage and Sex

One fundamental truth of Christianity is the sacredness of marriage between husband and wife. Jesus affirms that it is only lawful for a man to join in permanent union with his wife (Matt. 19:4-6), and that any union outside of marriage is against God's law. Christianity is based on the sacredness of marriage, and a new Divine revelation has been given that affirms this.

When it comes to marriage and sexual relations, they are to be distinguished according to spiritual degrees which in general correspond to one's intent or purpose in regards to love:
  1. Spiritual marriages are between one man and one woman only which originate from a Divine influx between God and mankind.
  2. Natural marriages are polygamous given by permission to those who are in ignorance of spiritual marriages.
  3. Lustful relations are all other sexual relations which cause harm and profane what is spiritual.
Natural and lustful relations devolve into a love and self and pleasure. Spiritual marriage tends toward of love of another more than oneself and thus towards a love of God. Without understanding spiritual degrees, as most do not, one will devolve sexual relations into the lowest third category and not see any distinction between what is good and evil as the only criteria is self pleasure. Those who are in the highest spiritual degree will be seen by them as "intolerant" due to their lack of knowledge because they are in effect in opposite degrees to each other. All are born natural into a love of sex in general, but hidden within this love is a spiritual love of one of the sex. One is introduced to this spiritual love only through a love of the One God in Jesus Christ.

First let's discuss what is mentioned in the Bible in regards to marriage, how the Christian advent restored God's original law, and then finally discuss what has been revealed as to why marriage is a holy and sacred contract.


The Jewish laws were representative and symbolic, and were abrogated when they were fulfilled by the coming of Jesus Christ. Also many laws that were given by way of permission, adapted to those who were incapable of the higher good:
"It is to be known that very many things which were commanded by Jehovah or the Lord, in the internal sense do not signify that they were commanded, but that they were permitted." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6914.5)
Not everyone will accept laws concerning marriage. Thus when Jesus spoke of marriage, he said it was not going to be received by everyone:
"Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those it has been given to." (Matt. 19:11)
Among the 10 commandments, the seventh forbids adultery. The 10 commandments tend to begin with what "not to do" as one must withdraw from evil before good can be implanted, and here the prohibition against adultery is to protect marriage. Adultery is one of the legitimate reasons for divorce as it breaks the marriage contract (Jer. 3:8).

Jesus says something else in regards to divorce: the law which permits divorce (Deut. 24:1-3) was given because of the evilness of the Israelites (Matt. 19:7-9). That this was given by way of permission is indicated by  God's original command as exemplified by the story of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:24), by the law that a priest should not marry a divorced woman (Lev. 21:7,14), and that marriage should lead to godly offspring and divorce due to hate is a departure from God (Mal. 2:15-16). The implication here is that inasmuch one withdraws from God in doing evil one withdraws from the marriage contract, and the second implication is that due to evil, laws of permission are given to limit the evil and protect what is good in marriage.

Just as the Mosaic law permitted divorce it also permitted polygamy (Ex. 21:10). Polygamy is similar to divorce: it was allowed by means of permission because of evil tendencies and many would not accept monogamous marriage. That this was not the original command, but rather a law of permission, is indicated by these passages:
  1. A king should not "acquire many wives" as his heart will turn away from God (Deut. 17:17).
  2. In a polygamous relationship one wife will tend to be loved more than another. The Mosaic law guards against this by ensuring the inheritance rights of children (Deut. 21:15-17).
  3. Jesus said it was Moses who permitted them to divorce their wives (Matt. 19:8), indicating polygamy like divorce was given by permission.
Laws of polygamy are for those who are natural and ignorant in spiritual matters. Animals are born with innate instinctual knowledge, but man is born into no knowledge and must be taught in spiritual matters. Thus one who is ignorant and regards marriage as no more than the love of sex and enters into a polygamous relationship cannot be judged to be evil (see Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 350). Thus it is allowed in Islam, for those who are ignorant in the identity of Jesus Christ. Muslims are generally kept in ignorance in regards to what the Bible teaches.

Beyond marriage after divorce, and polygamy, there is no other marriage contract given as permissible. Polygamy is not permitted to those who have entered a spiritual marriage contract, and as the Jews were a representative church and not a spiritual one it was permitted for them. The original command was for one man to marry one wife, to be one flesh (Gen. 2:24); other sexual unions that break this union are to be avoided and shunned as evil (examples of forbidden unions are given in Ex. 20:14, Lev. 18:8-23, 20:10-21, Deut. 27:20-23). Should one engage in sex before marriage, if consensual it should be confirmed in marriage (Ex. 22:16).


That monogamous marriages are sacred is declared in the last book of the Old Testament:
Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? (Mal. 2:15)

Earthly marriages between husband and wife correspond to one's spiritual relationship with God. A marriage of one husband and one wife corresponds to the worship of One God, and this is constantly emphasized in scripture as idolatry and worship of multiple gods is known as spiritual fornication and adultery.  A departure from One God is declared to be spiritual fornication and adultery in Isa. 1:21, Jer. 3:1-8, Eze. 16:32, 23:37, and in another case those who depart from One God will tend to engage in fornication and adultery (Hos. 4:13-14).

That spiritual adultery and marriage adultery correspond to each other can be seen in the the first and second tablets of the 10 commandments: the first 4 commands of the first tablet regard one's relationship with God and the second tablet of the latter 6 commands regard one's relationship with others. The first commandment declaring that there is One God corresponds to the fifth commandment of honoring one's father and mother, as in the spiritual sense a father and mother signifies God and the church. The second commandment which forbids idolatry or worship of multiple gods corresponds to the seventh commandment which forbids adultery.

In the Christian revelation, it is clearly stated that the marriage of one husband and one wife corresponds to the relationship between Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as the bride. Thus the disciples are called children of the bridechamber (Matt. 9:15), the kingdom of heaven is declared to be similar to a wedding banquet (Matt. 22:2-9) and of virgins meeting the bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-13) and when the Lord comes it is declared to the marriage of the Lamb of God (Rev. 19:7-9).

But why is this so? There is a rational reason behind it, but it would take a heavenly revelation to indicate why earthly marriages are sacred and correspond to the relationship between the Lord and His people.


In the 18th century Emanuel Swedenborg received many revelations concerning Christianity, mainly concerning that Jesus Christ is the One God of the universe, that we should live by His commandments, that there is life after death, and indicating how and why books in the Bible are Divinely inspired. In all things, the Divine One is a union of Love and Truth, and this flows in as marriage love into the male and female forms of the human race. Anything that opposes this union of Love and Truth in marriage is opposed to God's will. Marriage love contains within it the highest heavenly love that can be experienced on earth, and this is a gift to those who desire and ask it from the Lord. Swedenborg's second to last published work was devoted to this one subject only, entitled Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, which contains accounts of his interactions with angels in the heavenly world on this one subject.

All things Divine are related to the marriage or union of Love and Truth. Love is one's purpose or intent, Truth or Wisdom is the thought in fulfilling one's purpose, and when joined together it manifests in Use or Usefulness, otherwise known in scripture as good works. Marriage love is from Divine influx, thus true marriage love is only possible in couples who live according to God's commandments and trust in the Lord.  Love and wisdom flow into the humans according to the following manner:
"the truth of good or truth from good is the masculine, and the good of truth or good from truth is the feminine" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 88).
Good must be in conjunction with truth and truth must be in conjunction with its good; separate from each other they cease to exist. This is the spiritual origin of marriage love in the male and female forms of the human race. Males are born into a form of intellect and intelligence:
"a perpetual union of love and wisdom or marriage of good and truth flows in from God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe; and that created subjects receive this, each according to its form. And that from this marriage or this union the male receives truth of wisdom, and to this the good of love is conjoined by the Lord according to reception; that the reception takes place in the understanding; and that from this fact the male is born to become intellectual." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 90).
Females, however, are born to be volitional and to be in affection for the intellect, and as love seeks its truth, and truth seeks its love, this leads to marriage love and union between a man and a woman:
"the male was created to be an understanding of truth, thus truth in form; and the female was created to be a will of good, thus good in form; and to both was imparted from the inmosts an inclination to conjunction into one" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 100)
Love and truth flow into living forms in the form of the will and understanding; when the will and understanding act as one that leads to useful activity.  In females there is a focus on the volition and in males there is a focus on the understanding. Divine influx causes the desire for each to seek their mate and be one, which is first a union of mind and afterwards a union of body. When this happens between a single pair in true marriage love, the love grows to eternity, and this is a spiritual union that is the sacred union within the Christian revelation, and among those who are wiser than others.

One rather interesting point - the Divine influx of marriage love flows into the female only and through the female into the male sex. This is one of the hidden abilities that women have over men, and it only became known to Swedenborg through heavenly revelation:
"That love and thence conjunction is inspired into the man by the wife, is at this day concealed from men, yea, is universally denied by them. The reason is that wives persuade that only the men love and they themselves receive; or that the men are loves and they obediences. And they rejoice in heart when men believe so...  The reason why the inspiration and insinuation of love is from the wives into men is that with men there is nothing of marriage love, nor even of love of the sex, but only with wives and women. That this is so has been shown me to the life in the spiritual world." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 161)
Swedenborg observed that there was a hidden sphere or aura that emanates from females, whereby the love of sex and marriage was insinuated into their husbands. He explains why this is so, albeit briefly since much of the knowledge would be misunderstood:
"That the masculine is an understanding form and the feminine a will form, and an understanding form cannot of itself grow warm with marriage heat, but from the conjunctive heat of one in whom it is implanted by creation. Just so it cannot receive that love except through the will form of a female adjoined to itself, because this also is a form of love." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 223)
As a corollary of this, since women are direct recipients of marriage love, as a general rule (with exceptions) it is more harmful to them than for males to engage in sexual promiscuity. Fornication and adultery are opposite to marriage love, and destroy it, albeit the latter more so than the former. On this subject see The Spiritual Consequences of Adultery and the Origin of Marriage Love. Other forms of sexual unions can be classified as purely natural, if the person is lacking in spiritual knowledge. But one should turn away from illicit sexual unions:
"[Marriage love] viewed from its origin and its correspondence is celestial, spiritual, holy, pure and clean, beyond every love that exists among the angels of heaven and among the men of the church... and these its attributes cannot be given except to those who are conjoined with the Lord and are consociated by Him with angels of heaven. For these shun loves outside of marriage, which are conjunctions with others than one's own consort, as they would flee from ruin of the soul and from the lakes of hell; and so far as consorts shun such conjunctions even as to the lusts of the will and intentions thence, in so far the love is purified in them, and gradually becomes spiritual,—first while they live on earth, and afterwards in heaven." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 71)

There is a general lack of understanding as to why true Christianity should defend traditional marriage, especially in this day and age. Swedenborg acknowledges that there is a lack in understanding of how marriage is related to the church, and thus those outside the church will take hold the opinion that such a view is intolerant:
"The marriage of the Lord and the Church and the correspondence of it are treated of here because without knowledge and understanding of this one can scarcely apprehend that marriage love in its origin is holy, spiritual, and heavenly, and that it is from the Lord. It is indeed said by some in the church that marriages have a relation to the marriage of the Lord with the church, but what the relation is is not known." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 223)
True Christianity and marriage go hand in hand, which is indicated by the fact that the Lord is called the bridegroom and the church is called the bride. Another similar correspondence is God is known as Father (Isa. 9:6, John 10:30, 12:44-45, 14:7-9), and the church is known as the Mother (Hos. 2:2,5, Ez. 16:45, 19:10, Isa. 50:1). From this correspondence, those who follow God's commandments and live by them are called His children throughout scripture. The reason for this is that goods and truths are spawned as children by conjunction of the Lord with the church:
"the spiritual offspring which are born of the marriage of the Lord with the Church are truths,—from which come understanding, perception, and all thought; and goods,—from which are love, charity, and all affection.—That goods and truths are the spiritual offspring born of the Lord by the Church, is because the Lord is good itself and truth itself, and these in Him are not two but one; and nothing can proceed from Him but what is in Him, and is Himself. That the marriage of good and truth proceeds from the Lord and flows into men, and is received according to the state of mind and life of those who are of the church" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 121)
The Word of scripture itself is a marriage of good and truth:
"the Word is the perfect marriage of good and truth; and because it is from the Lord, and what is from Him is in truth Himself, it results that when a man reads the Word and takes truth therefrom the Lord adjoins good." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 128)
As marriage originated from the union of good and truth, the more wise one is, the more one acknowledges and lives a life according to marriage love.  With man there are three degrees of truth:
  1. Truth by knowledge, or what is known from the memory (experience, skill, from the five senses)
  2. Truth by reason, what is learned by the understanding (civil level, what is applicable to use in the world)
  3. Truth by wisdom, which is in regards to life in shunning evil and doing good (spiritual level)
Each of the the three degrees correspond to different levels of the mind. The highest is the spiritual, though which one has conjunction with the Divine. Wisdom, which is what is applicable to life, or one's spirituality, can also be measured in how one regards marriage love:
"Since wisdom is of life and thence of reason, as was said above, the question arises, What is wisdom of life? In a brief summary it is this:—To shun evils because they are hurtful to the soul, hurtful to the state, and hurtful to the body; and to do good deeds because they are of advantage to the soul, to the state, and to the body. This is the wisdom which is meant by wisdom wherewith marriage love allies itself. It allies itself therewith in truth by the fact that it shuns the evil of adultery as a bane to the soul, to the state, and to the body. And as this wisdom springs from spiritual things which are of the church, it follows that marriage love, because it is according to the state of wisdom is according to the state of the church in a man. It is also meant by this, that—as has been stated many times before—in the degree that a man becomes spiritual he is in true marriage love; for man is made spiritual by means of the spiritual things of the church." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 130)
And to those who have marriage love with their end in view, a soulmate is given by the Lord, whether in this life or in the next, for which see The Truth of Eternal Soul Mates and Twin Flames.
"marriage love is celestial spiritual and holy, because it corresponds to the celestial spiritual and holy marriage of the Lord and the church. This correspondence moreover follows from the origin of marriage love from the marriage of good and truth... because the marriage of good and truth is the church in man; for the marriage of good and truth is the same as the marriage of charity and faith, since good is of charity and truth is of faith. That this marriage constitutes the church cannot but be acknowledged, for it is a universal truth, and every universal truth is acknowledged as soon as it is heard—which comes of influx from the Lord and at the same time from the confirmation of heaven. Now, as the church is the Lord's, because from the Lord, and as marriage love corresponds to the marriage of the Lord and the church, it follows that this love is from the Lord." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 62)
"[Marriage love] is also the fundamental love of all loves, celestial, spiritual, and therefore natural. The reason why marriage love considered as to its essence is the fundamental love of all the loves of heaven and the church is, that its origin is from the marriage of good and truth, and from that marriage all the loves which make heaven and the church with man proceed." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 65)

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Spiritual Symbolism of the Animal, Vegetable and Mineral Kingdoms

Swedenborg saw in his waking visions that this material in which we live in is but a theatrical representation of spiritual realities in the heavenly realm, a higher dimension in which space and time have no meaning. His writings expose us to a systematic way of thinking, for both science and theology, which categorizes everything into degrees of order. In our natural material world, we can generally divide things into animal, vegetable and mineral. Each of these three kingdoms correspond to universal spiritual realities:
"All things of the earth are distinguished into three kinds, called kingdoms, namely, the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and the mineral kingdom. The things of the animal kingdom are correspondences in the first degree, because they live; the things of the vegetable kingdom are correspondences in the second degree, because they only grow; the things of the mineral kingdom are correspondences in the third degree, because they neither live nor grow." (Heaven and Hell, n. 104)
In his exposition of the spiritual meaning of scripture, it is revealed that in general animals correspond to the will and its affections, plants correspond to the understanding or thoughts of truth, and minerals correspond in the lowest degree to knowledges, or mere obedience to authority. From mineral to vegetable to animal there are increasing degrees of freedom.

The animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms are the most well known general degrees of order. However within each of these three kingdoms the degrees of order repeat. Swedenborg wrote in the 18th century before the periodic table of elements was known, and before the structure of molecules was known. Despite this, he makes this rather interesting statement in regards to the mineral kingdom:
"In all forms of uses there is an image of creation. Forms of uses are of three kinds — the forms of uses of the mineral kingdom, the forms of uses of the vegetable kingdom, and the forms of uses of the animal kingdom. The forms of uses of the mineral kingdom cannot be described, because they do not appear to sight. The first forms are the substances and matters of which the earths consist, in their least parts; the second forms are aggregations of these, and are of infinite variety; the third forms are from plants fallen to dust, and from the remains of animals; and from continual evaporations and exhalations of these, which add themselves to the earths, and form their soil. These forms of the three degrees of the mineral kingdom represent creation in an image in this, that being acted on by the sun through the atmospheres and their heat and light, they produce uses in forms, which were the ends of creation." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 313)
Despite not knowing about atoms and molecules, Swedenborg divides the mineral kingdom into the following three degrees:

  1. Substances in their least parts.
  2. Substances that are aggregates of the least parts.
  3. Organic substances.

It is possible that the the first degree is atoms, but its also possible he may be referencing simple molecules. So, I was curious, with our knowledge of modern science, how do we classify molecules? For this I found this article: Classification Of Compounds. One method is classification based on what the molecules contains (e.g., oxides contain oxygen). But within this method there is a broad classification between inorganic and organic. So what about inorganic molecules, can they be divided into two further degrees? Yes:
Another classification scheme for chemical compounds is based on the types of bonds that the compound contains. Ionic compounds contain ions and are held together by the attractive forces among the oppositely charged ions. Common salt (sodium chloride) is one of the best-known ionic compounds. Molecular compounds contain discrete molecules, which are held together by sharing electrons (covalent bonding).
So with this scheme, we can divide molecules into three degrees:

  1. Ionic compounds
  2. Molecular compounds (covalent bonding)
  3. Organic molecules that support life

So this is different from the classification of Arthur M. Young in his theory of The Reflexive Universe. He had come up with seven divisions of molecules which is described in this post: The Universal Order of Design - part II, one of which is based on the covalent bond.  However Swedenborg had classified the mineral kingdom into three broad degrees which is also supported by the general modern classifications. The final degree - organic molecules - is actually a subset of molecular compounds. But since it supports life, it is classified as a higher degree of order as it leads to the next higher kingdoms of plants and animals. For Young, his classification is based more on functional form where the highest degree of order was the DNA molecule, so there may be some validity to his classification which requires more analysis. Each higher degree uses the previous degree as a foundation for the next.

Below the mineral kingdom of molecules, there are perhaps three other degrees of order, which we can classify as dimensional, subatomic, and atomic. As they were invisible to the ancient world they were unknown, and at the time could only be inferred.

The three degrees of order can be extended to classify three levels of spiritual development, which Swedenborg terms as natural, spiritual and celestial. These three degrees also correspond to three degrees of heaven in the afterlife. The levels of spiritual development, in most general terms, are as follows:

  1. A life of usefulness, and obedience to laws
  2. Mutual charity, or living by the truth from one's understanding and rationality
  3. Acting from love to the Lord
There are three heavens that correspond to these three stages, and these three stages overall correspond to Love, Wisdom and Use in the Lord:
"because the Lord is Love Itself and Wisdom Itself, therefore also He is Use Itself; for love has use for its end, which it produces by means of wisdom. For love and wisdom without use have no boundary or end, that is, they have no home of their own; wherefore it cannot be said that they are and exist unless there be a use in which they are. These three constitute the three degrees of altitude in the subjects of life. These three are as the first end, the middle end which is called the cause, and the last end which is called the effect... These three degrees with the angels are named Celestial, Spiritual, and Natural; and for them the celestial degree is the degree of love, the spiritual degree is the degree of wisdom, and the natural degree is the degree of uses. These degrees are so named because the heavens are distinguished into two kingdoms, and one kingdom is called the celestial and the other the spiritual, to which is added a third kingdom, in which are men in the world, and this is the natural kingdom. And the angels of whom the celestial kingdom consists, are in love; and the angels, of whom the spiritual kingdom consists, are in wisdom; but men in the world are in uses; and therefore these kingdoms are conjoined." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 230, 232)

Thus one can see that the theology of the New Church is rational, and conjoins both spirituality and science into one systematic spiritual philosophy that is applicable to one's life.