Spiritual background for GENESIS 25    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 3228. This chapter treats of the sons of Abraham by Keturah, and also of the sons of Ishmael, whose names are given; afterwards it treats of Isaac and Rebekah, in that Esau and Jacob were born to them, and finally that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a pottage of lentils. Every one can see that these subjects are of such a nature as may indeed be of use for the church history of that time, but are of little value in regard to spiritual life, for the sake of which however the Word is given. What does it benefit a man to know who were the sons of Abraham by Keturah, and who were the sons of Ishmael? and that Esau, weary with hunting, craved the pottage of lentils, and that Jacob by means of it shrewdly procured the birthright for himself? And so in the following chapter, where it is said that the herdmen of Abimelech quarreled with the herdmen of Isaac concerning the wells they had dug, in about the same way as they had previously contended with the herdmen of Abraham (chapter 21). Moreover in some places there are mere lists of names, as that of the posterity of Esau (chapter 26); and the same in other chapters. In so far as these are historical matters there is so little of the Divine in them that you can in no wise say that that Word was Divinely inspired in regard to every expression, and even to every jot, that is, that it had been sent down from the Lord through heaven to the man who wrote it; for what has been sent down from the Lord is Divine in all things both in general and in particular. Thus there is nothing Divine in regard to historical things (since these are transactions of men) except from things contained deeply hidden in the historicals, all of which both in general and in particular treat of the Lord and His kingdom. The historicals of the Word are unlike all other historicals in the universe, in that they contain such things within them.

AC 3229. If the Word were the Word in regard solely to its historicals, that is; in regard to its external or literal sense, then all the historicals in it would be holy; and, what is more, many persons there mentioned would be regarded as holy, and the result would be (as has actually happened with many of them) that they would be worshiped as gods because they are treated of in the holiest of writings; for example, those who are called the patriarchs, namely, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and after them the fathers of the tribes, the twelve sons of Jacob, and later David and many others; and yet all these were men, and some of them had but little regard for Divine worship; and I am able to testify that they enjoy nothing beyond the common lot of humanity, and also that in the heavens they are quite unknown. But of the Lord‘s Divine mercy more will be said elsewhere concerning them and their state in the other life. From all this it is clearly evident that the external or literal sense is the Word solely from the internal or spiritual sense within it, and from which it is.


AC 3337. What correspondences are, and what representations, may appear from what has been said and shown above, namely, that there are correspondences between the things which are of the light of heaven and those which are of the light of the world; and that the things which take place in those which are of the light of the world are representations (n. 3225). But what the light of heaven is and what is its quality cannot be very well known to man, because he is in the things that are of the light of the world; and in so far as he is in these, the things that are in the light of heaven appear to him as darkness, and as nothing. It is these two lights which--life flowing in--produce all the intelligence of man. The imagination of man consists solely of the forms and appearances of such things as have been received by bodily vision wonderfully varied, and so to speak modified; but his interior imagination, or thought, consists solely of the forms and appearances of such things as have been drawn in through the mind‘s vision still more wonderfully varied, and so to speak modified. The things which come forth from this source are in themselves inanimate, but become animate through the influx of life from the Lord.

AC 3338. Besides these lights there are also heats, which likewise are from two fountains--the heat of heaven coming from its sun, which is the Lord; and the heat of the world from its sun, which is the luminary visible to our eyes. The heat of heaven manifests itself to the internal man under the form of spiritual loves and affections; but the heat of the world manifests itself to the external man under the form of natural loves and affections. The former heat produces the life of the internal man, but the latter that of the external man; for without love and affection man cannot live at all. Between these two heats also there are correspondences. These heats become loves and affections through the influx of the Lord’s life; and hence they appear to man as if they were not heats, although they are; for unless as to both the internal and the external man, man derived heat from this source he would fall down dead in a moment. These facts must be evident to everybody from the circumstance that in proportion as man is inflamed with love, he grows warm; and in proportion as love recedes, he grows torpid. It is this heat from which the will of man lives, and it is the light above spoken of from which comes his understanding.

AC 3339. In the other life these lights, and also these heats, appear to the life. The angels live in the light of heaven, and also in the heat above described; from the light they have intelligence, and from the heat they have the affection of good. For in their origin the lights which appear before their external sight are from the Lord‘s Divine Wisdom; and the heats which are also perceived by them are from His Divine love; and therefore the more the spirits and angels are in the intelligence of truth and the affection of good, the nearer they are to the Lord.

AC 3340. To this light there is an opposite darkness, and to this heat there is an opposite cold in these live the infernals. Their darkness is from the falsities in which they are, and their cold is from the evils; and the more remote they are from truths, the greater is their darkness; and the more remote they are from good, the greater is their cold. When it is permitted to look into the hells where such infernals are, there appears a dark cloud in which they have their abode; and when any exhalation flows out thence, there are perceived insanities that exhale from falsities, and hatreds that exhale from evils. A light is indeed sometimes granted them, but it is a deceptive one; and this is extinguished with them, and becomes darkness, the moment they look at the light of truth. Heat also is sometimes granted them, but it is like that of an unclean bath; and this is changed into cold with them as soon as they observe anything of good. A certain person was let into that dark cloud where the infernals are, in order that he might know how the case is with those who are there; he being protected by the Lord by means of angels. Speaking from thence with me he said that there was there so great a rage of insanity against good and truth, and especially against the Lord, that he was amazed that it could possibly be resisted; for the Infernals breathed nothing but hatred, revenge, and slaughter, with such violence that they desired to destroy all in the universe; so that unless this rage was continually repelled by the Lord, the whole human race would perish.

AC 3341. Inasmuch as the representations in the other life cannot take place except by means of differences of light and shade, he it known that all light, consequently all intelligence and wisdom, are from the Lord; and that all shade, consequently all insanity and folly, are from that which is their own in man, spirit, and angel; from these two origins flow forth and are derived all the variegations which are of light and shade in the other life.

AC 3342. All the speech of spirits and of angels is also effected by means of representatives; for by wonderful variations of light and shade they vividly present before the internal and at the same time before the external sight of him with whom they speak, all they are thinking about, and insinuate it by suitable changes of the state of the affections. The representations that come forth in such speech are not like those before described, but are quick and instantaneous, being simultaneous with the ideas that belong to their speech. They are like something that is described in a long series, while at the same time it is exhibited in an image before the eyes, for, wonderful to say, all spiritual things themselves whatever can be representatively exhibited by forms of imagery that are incomprehensible to man, within which are things of the perception of truth, and still more interiorly those of the perception of good. Such things are also in man, for man is a spirit clothed with a body; as is evident from the fact that all speech perceived by the ear, on ascending toward the interiors, passes into forms (ideas) not unlike those of sight, and from these into intellectual forms or ideas, and thus becomes a perception of the sense of the expressions. Whoever rightly reflects upon these things may know from them that there is in himself a spirit which is his internal man, and also that after the separation of the body he will possess such a speech, because he is in the very same during his life in the world, although it does not appear to him that he is in it, by reason of the obscurity and darkness which earthly, bodily, and worldly things induce.

AC 3343. The speech of the angels of the interior heaven is still more beautifully and pleasantly representative; but the ideas which are representatively formed are not expressible by words, and if they should be expressed by any, they would surpass not only apprehension, but also belief. Spiritual things, which are of truth, are expressed by modifications of heavenly light, in which are affections, which are wonderfully varied in innumerable ways; and celestial things, which are of good, are expressed by variations of heavenly flame or heat; so that they move all the affections. Into this interior speech also man comes after the separation of the body, but only the man who during his life in this world is in spiritual good, that is, in the good of faith, or what is the same, in charity toward the neighbor; for he has this speech within himself, though he is unaware of it.

AC 3344. But the speech of the angels of the still more interior or third heaven, although also representative, is yet such as to be inconceivable by any idea, and consequently is indescribable. Even this perfect form of speech (idea) is also within man, but in the man who is in celestial love, that is, in love to the Lord; and after the separation of the body he comes into it as if born into it, although as before said nothing of it could be comprehended by him under any idea during his life in the body. In short, by means of representatives adjoined to ideas, speech becomes as it were alive; least of all with man, because he is in the speech of words but more so with the angels of the first heaven; still more so with the angels of the second heaven; and most of all with the angels of the third heaven, because these are most nearly in the Lord’s life. In itself whatever is from the Lord is alive.

AC 3345. From what has been said it is evident that there are kinds of speech successively more interior, but yet of such a nature that the one comes forth from the other in order, and also that the one is within the other in order. The nature of man‘s speech is known, and also his thought from which the speech flows, the analytics of which are of such a nature that they can never be explored. The speech of good spirits, that is, of the angels of the first heaven, together with the thought from which it flows, is more interior, and contains within it things still more wonderful and unexplorable. The speech of the angels of the second heaven together with the thought from which again this flows, is still more interior, containing within it things still more perfect and unutterable. But the speech of the angels of the third heaven together with the thought from which again this flows, is inmost, containing within it things absolutely unutterable. And although all these kinds of speech are of such a nature that they appear different from one another, nevertheless there is but one speech, because the one forms the other, and the one is within the other; moreover that which comes forth in the exterior is representative of the interior. A man who does not think beyond worldly and bodily things cannot believe this, and therefore supposes that the interior things with him are nothing, although in fact they are everything; and the exterior things, that is, the worldly and corporeal things that he makes everything, are relatively scarcely anything.

AC 3346. In order that I might know these things, and know them with certainty, of the Lord’s Divine mercy it has been granted me for several years to speak almost constantly with spirits and angels; and with spirits (that is, with the angels of the first heaven in their own speech; also at times with the angels of the second heaven in their speech; but the speech of the angels of the third heaven has only appeared to me as a radiation of light, in which there was perception from the flame of good within it.

AC 3347. I have heard angels speaking concerning human minds, and concerning their thought and the derivative speech. They compared them to the external form of man, which comes forth and subsists from the innumerable forms that are within--as from the brains, the medulla, the lungs, the heart, liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach, and intestines, besides many other organs, as those of generation in both sexes from the innumerable muscles encompassing these organs; and lastly from the integuments; and from all these being woven together from vessels and fibers, and indeed from vessels and fibers within vessels and fibers, from which come the ducts and lesser forms; thus that the body is composed of things innumerable; all of which nevertheless conspire, each in its own way, to the composition of the external form, in which nothing appears of the things that are within. To this external form they compared human minds, and their thoughts and the derivative speech. But angelic minds they compared to those things which are within, which are relatively illimitable, and also incomprehensible. They also compared the faculty of thinking to the faculty that belongs to the viscera of acting according to the form of the fibers, saying that the faculty is not of the fibers, but of the life in the fibers; just as the faculty of thinking is not of the mind, but of life from the Lord flowing into it. When such comparisons are made by angels they are at the same time exhibited by means of representatives, whereby the interior forms above spoken of are presented visibly and intellectually, in respect to their smallest incomprehensible parts, and this in a moment; but comparisons made by means of spiritual and celestial things, such as take place among the celestial angels, immeasurably surpass in the beauty of wisdom those made by means of natural things.

AC 3348. Spirits from another earth were with me for a considerable time; and I described to them the wisdom of our globe, and told them that among the sciences pursued by the learned is that of analytics, with which they busy themselves in exploring what is of the mind and its thoughts, calling it metaphysics and logic. But I said that men have advanced little beyond terms, and certain shifting rules; and that they argue concerning these terms--as what form is; what substance; what the mind; and what the soul; and that by means of these general shifting rules they vehemently dispute about truths. I then perceived from these spirits that when men inhere in such things as terms, and think concerning these matters by artificial rules, they take away all sense and understanding of a subject.

[2] They said that such things are merely little black clouds interposed before the intellectual sight; and that they drag down the understanding into the dust. They added that with them it is not so, but that they have clearer ideas of things in consequence of being unacquainted with such analytics. I was also permitted to see how wise they are. They represented the human mind in a marvelous manner as a heavenly form; and its affections as spheres of activity in agreement with it; and this so skillfully that they were commended by the angels. They represented also in what manner the Lord bends those affections which in themselves are not delightful, into such as are delightful.

[3] Learned men of our earth were present, and could not in the least comprehend these things, although in the life of the body they had discoursed much on such subjects in a philosophical way and when the spirits just referred to in turn perceived their thoughts, in that they inhered in mere terms, and were inclined to dispute on every point as to whether it is so, they called such things feculent froth.

AC 3349. From what has been said thus far it may be seen what correspondences are, and what representatives; but in addition to what has been said and shown at the end of the preceding chapters (n. 2987-3003, 3213-3227), see also what is said of them elsewhere; namely, That all things in the sense of the letter of the Word are representative and significative of what is in the internal sense (n. 1404, 1408, 1409, 2763): That the Word through Moses and the prophets was written by means of representatives and significatives, and that in order to possess an internal sense by which there might be communication of heaven and earth it could not be written in any other style (n. 2899): That the Lord Himself for this reason spoke by representatives, as well as for the reason that He spoke from the Divine Itself (n. 2900): What has been the source of the representatives and significatives in the Word and in rituals (n. 2179): That representatives originated from the significatives of the Ancient Church, and these from the things perceived by the Most Ancient Church (n. 920, 1409, 2896, 2897): That the most ancient people had their representatives from dreams also (n. 1977): That Enoch denotes those who collected the perceptive matters of the most ancient people (n. 2896): That continually in heaven there are representatives of the Lord and His kingdom (n. 1619): That the heavens are full of representatives (n. 1521, 1532): That the ideas of the angels are changed in the world of spirits into various representatives (n. 1971, 1980, 1981): Representatives by means of which children are introduced into intelligence (n. 2299): That the representatives in nature are from the Lord‘s influx (n. 1632, 1881): That in universal nature there are representatives of the Lord’s kingdom (n. 2758): That in the external man there are things which correspond to what is internal, and things which do not correspond (n. 1563, 1568).

AC 3350. In order to show more plainly the nature of representatives, I may adduce one additional instance. I heard a host of angels of the interior heaven who together or in consort were forming a representative. The spirits about me could not perceive it, except from a certain influx of interior affection. It was a choir, in which many angels together thought the same thing, and spoke the same thing. By representations they formed a golden crown gemmed with diamonds around the Lord‘s head; which was effected all at once by means of a rapid series of representations, such as are those of thought and speech spoken of above (n. 3342-3344); and wonderful to say, although there were a host they nevertheless all thought and spoke as a one, thus they all represented as a one; and this because no one was desirous to do anything from himself, still less to preside over the rest and lead the choir; for whoever does this is of himself instantly dissociated. But they suffered themselves to be led mutually by each other, thus all individually and collectively by the Lord. All the good who come into the other life are brought into such harmonious agreements.

[2] Afterwards there were heard many choirs, which exhibited various things representatively, and although there were many choirs, and many in each choir, still they acted as a one; for from the form of various things there resulted a one, in which was heavenly beauty. Thus the universal heaven, which consists of myriads of myriads, can act as a one by being in mutual love; for thereby they suffer themselves to be led by the Lord; and wonderful to say the greater their numbers, that is, the greater the number of the myriads who constitute heaven, so much the more distinctly and perfectly are things done in general and in particular; and the more also in proportion as the angels are of a more interior heaven; for all perfection increases toward the interiors.

AC 3351. They who formed the choirs on this occasion belonged to the province of the lungs, thus to the Lord’s spiritual kingdom, for they inflowed gently into the respiration; but the choirs were distinct, some pertaining to the voluntary respiration, and some to the involuntary.

AC 3352. A continuation concerning correspondences and representatives, especially those in the Word, will be found at the close of the following chapter.

previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page