Spiritual background for GENESIS 46    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 6053. Nothing whatever can be known or even thought about influx, and about the intercourse of the soul with the body, unless it is known what the soul is, and also something of its nature. If nothing is definitely known about the soul, nothing can be said about its influx and intercourse. For how can the communication of two parts be thought of in the total absence of knowledge about the nature of one of them? That complete ignorance prevails about the nature of the soul, especially in the learned world, is evident from the fact that some believe it to be an aerial thing, others something flaming or fiery, others a purely thinking entity, others a general vital force, and others a natural activity. And what is a still further proof of the prevailing ignorance about the nature of the soul is that various places in the body are assigned it, some placing it in the heart, some in the brain and its fibers, others in the corpora striata, others in the ventricles, and others in a small gland; some in every part, but in so doing they conceive of a vitality such as is common to every living thing. From all this it is evident that nothing is known about the soul, and this is the reason why all that has been asserted on the subject is conjectural. And as in this way men could have no idea about the soul, very many have not been able to avoid the belief that the soul is a mere vital thing that is dissipated when the body dies. And this is the reason why the learned have less belief in the life after death than the simple; and because they do not believe in it, neither can they believe in the things which belong to that life, which are the heavenly and spiritual things of faith and love. This also appears from the Lordís words in Matthew:--

Thou hast hid these things from the wise and intelligent, and hath revealed them unto babes (Matthew 11:25).

And again:--

Seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand (Matthew 13:13).

For the simple have no such thoughts about the soul; but believe that they will have after death; in which simple faith, unknown to them, there is hidden the belief that they will live there as men, will see angels, will speak with them, and will enjoy happiness.

AC 6054. As regards the soul of which it is said that it will live after death, it is nothing else than the man himself who lives within the body, that is, the interior man who in this world acts through the body, and who causes the body to live. This man, when loosed from the body, is called a spirit, and then appears in a complete human form; yet he cannot possibly be seen with the eyes of the body, but only with the eyes of the spirit; and before the eyes of the latter he appears like a man in this world; he has senses (namely, touch, smell, hearing, sight) much more exquisite than in this world; he has appetites, cupidities, desires, affections, loves, such as there are in this world, but in a more surpassing degree; he also thinks as in this world, but more perfectly; he converses with others; in a word, he is there just as he had been in this world, insomuch that if he does not reflect upon being in the other life, he knows no otherwise than that he is in this world (as I have sometimes heard spirits say), for the life after death is a continuation of the life in this world. This then is the soul of man which lives after death.

[2] But lest in consequence of the conjectures and hypotheses about it, the word "soul" should give rise to the idea of the unknown, it is better to say manĎs "spirit," or if you prefer it, the "interior man," for the spirit appears there exactly like a man, with all the members and organs belonging to a man, and moreover is the man himself, even in the body. That this is so, is also evident from the angels that have been seen, as recorded in the Word, who were all seen in the human form; for all the angels in heaven have the human form, because the Lord has it, who after His resurrection appeared so many times as a man. That an angel, as well as the spirit of man, is in form a man, is because the universal heaven has from the Lord the capacity of conspiring into the human form, whence the universal heaven is called the Grand Man of which, and also of the correspondence of all things of man therewith, I have treated at the close of many chapters. And as the Lord lives in each one in heaven; and as by influx from the Lord the universal heaven acts into each one, therefore every angel is an image thereof, that is, is a form most perfectly human, and so in like manner is a man after death.

[3] All the spirits I have seen, who are thousands and thousands, have appeared to me exactly like men; and some of them have said that they are men just as in the world, and they added that in the life of the body they had never believed that it would be so. Many were sad because of the ignorance of men about their state after death; and because they think so insanely and emptily about the soul; and because most persons who have thought more deeply on the subject have supposed the soul to be a kind of thin air, which idea must needs lead into the insane error that it is dissipated after death.

AC 6055. He who does not know the interiors of man, cannot know about influx and the intercourse of the soul with the body; for the intercourse and the influx are effected by means of these interiors. In order to know the interiors of man, it is necessary to know that there is an internal man and an external man, and that the internal man is in the spiritual world, and the external man in the natural world; thus that the former is in the light of heaven, and the latter in the light of the world. It is also necessary to know that the internal man is so distinct from the external man that the former, being prior and interior, can subsist without the latter; but that the latter or external man, being posterior and exterior, cannot subsist without the former. It must be known, further, that the internal man is what is properly called the intellectual or rational man, because this is in the light of heaven", in which light are reason and understanding; whereas the external man is what is properly to be called that of memory-knowledge, because in him there are memory-knowledges, which for the most part derive their light from those things which are of the light of the world, when this light is enlightened and thus vivified by the light of heaven.

AC 6056. It has been said that the internal man, being prior, can subsist without the external, because this is posterior; but not the converse. For it is a universal rule that nothing can subsist from itself, but from and through something else, consequently that nothing can be kept in form except from and through something else, which may also be seen from everything in nature. The case is the same with man. In respect to his external, man cannot subsist except from and through his internal. Neither can the internal man subsist except from and through heaven. And neither can heaven subsist from itself, but only from the Lord, who alone subsists from Himself. Influx is according to existence and subsistence, for all things subsist by means of influx. But that all things in general and in particular subsist by influx from the Lord, not only mediately through the spiritual world, but also immediately in both mediates and ultimates, will be shown in what follows.

AC 6057. Before any statement can be made about influx and the operation of the soul into the body, it must be well understood that the internal man is formed according to the image of heaven, and the external man according to the image of the world; insomuch that the internal man is a heaven in the least form, and the external man is a world in the least form, thus is a microcosm. That the external man is an image of the world, may be seen from the external or bodily senses; for the ear is formed according to the whole nature of the modification of the air; the lungs according to the whole nature of its pressure, as also is the general surface of the body, which is held in its form by the circumpressure of the air; the eye is formed according to the whole nature of ether and of light; the tongue to the sense of the solvent and fluent parts in liquids; and, together with the lungs, the trachea, the larynx, the glottis, the fauces, and the lips, according to the power of suitably modifying the air, whence come articulate sounds, or words, and harmonious sounds;the nostrils are formed according to the sense of particles fluent in the atmosphere; the sense of touch, which encompasses the whole body, is according to the sense of the changes of state in the air, namely, to the sense of its cold and heat, and also to the sense of liquids and to that of weights. The interior viscera to which the aerial atmosphere cannot enter are held in connection and form by a more subtile air, which is called ether;not to mention that all the secrets of interior nature are inscribed upon and applied to the external man, such as all the secret things of mechanics, of physics, of chemistry, and of optics. From all this it is evident that universal nature has contributed to the conformation of the external of man; and hence it is that the ancients called man a microcosm.

[2] And just as the external man has been formed according to the image of all things of the world, so has the internal man been formed according to the image of all things of heaven, that is, according to the image of the celestial and spiritual things which proceed from the Lord and from which and in which is heaven. The celestial things there are all those which are of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor; and the spiritual things there are all those of faith, which in themselves are so many and of such a nature that the tongue cannot possibly utter one millionth part of them. That the internal man has been formed according to the image of all these things, is strikingly shown in the angels, who when they appear before the internal sight (as they have appeared before mine), affect the inmosts by their mere presence; for love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor pour out of them and penetrate, and the derivative things of faith shine forth from them and affect. By this and other proofs it has been made plain to me that as the internal man has been created to be an angel, he is a heaven in the least form.

[3] From all this it is now evident that in man the spiritual world is conjoined with the natural world, consequently that with him the spiritual world flows into the natural world in so vivid a manner that he can notice it, provided he pays attention. All this shows the nature of the intercourse of the soul with the body, namely, that properly it is the communication of spiritual things which are of heaven, with natural things which are of the world, and that the communication is effected by means of influx, and is according to the conjunction. This communication which is effected by means of influx according to the conjunction is at this day unknown, for the reason that each and all things are attributed to nature, and nothing is known about what is spiritual, which at this day is so far set aside that when it is thought of it appears as nothing.

AC 6058. But influx is of such a nature that there is an influx from the Divine of the Lord into every angel, into every spirit, and into every man, and that in this way the Lord rules everyone, not only in the universal, but also in the veriest singulars, and this immediately from Himself, and also mediately through the spiritual world. In order to make known the existence of this influx, much has already been said about the correspondence of manís parts with the Grand Man, that is, with heaven; and at the same time about the representation of spiritual things in natural; at the close of chapters 23 to 43, and afterward about the angels and spirits with man, at the close of chapters 44 and 45; and this is now to be followed with a specific exposition of the subject of influx and the intercourse of the soul and the body. But this subject must be illustrated by experiences, for otherwise things so much unknown and rendered so obscure by hypotheses cannot be brought forth into the light. The illustrative experiences shall be presented at the close of some of the following chapters. Let what has been said thus far, serve as an introduction.

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