Theism: How we think of the Lord
What it Theism?
Theism is the knowledge that the Lord God not only created the universe of mind and nature, but also continually sustains its operation. It is in contrast to:
We take as the starting point the theism of the main western religions that follow the Lord God, that:
The necessary more detailed fundamentals of theism are presented below.
The important difference in theism is that God is separate from the world, but causally interrelated with it; in particular causal, cognitive and spiritual inputs from God into the world must be expected. Theistic Science depends critically for its starting point on the cognitive input from revelations, as otherwise, from our own observations and thinking, we could have no reliable idea of the details of mental and spiritual processes that are almost all beyond our observation.
Basic Theistic Ideas:Starting from the Theology as presented by Emanuel Swedenborg, a revelation from God, we may see:
Note that we cannot be expected ourselves to deduce these fundamental ideas from anything prior, for, according to theism, there is nothing prior to the nature of God. However, we can satisfy ourselves that we can rationally see the truth of these statements.
Explanations of the Basic IdeasThe following quotations are from Swedenborg's 1763 book "Divine Love and Wisdom", especially from the First Part.
For more discrimination between natural and spiritual modes of thought, please refer to here.
Love is the substance of every living beingThe idea of men in general about love and about wisdom is that they are like something hovering and floating in thin air or ether or like what exhales from something of this kind. Scarcely any one believes that they are really and actually substance and form. Even those who recognize that they are substance and form still think of the love and the wisdom as outside the subject and as issuing from it. For they call substance and form that which they think of as outside the subject and as issuing from it, even though it be something hovering and floating; not knowing that love and wisdom are the subject itself, and that what is perceived outside of it and as hovering and floating is nothing but an appearance of the state of the subject in itself. There are several reasons why this has not hitherto been seen, one of which is, that appearances are the first things out of which the human mind forms its understanding, and these appearances the mind can shake off only by the exploration of the cause; and if the cause lies deeply hidden, the mind can explore it only by keeping the understanding for a long time in spiritual light; and this it cannot do by reason of the natural light which continually withdraws it. The truth is, however, that love and wisdom are the real and actual substance and form that constitute the subject itself. (DLW 40)
Wisdom is the form in which this Love existsWhere there is Esse (being) there is Existere (taking form); one is not possible apart from the other. For Esse is by means of Existere, and not apart from it. This the rational mind comprehends when it thinks whether there can possibly be any Esse (being) which does not Exist (take form), and whether there can possibly be Existere except from Esse. And since one is possible with the other, and not apart from the other, it follows that they are one, but one distinctly. They are one distinctly, like Love and Wisdom; in fact, love is Esse, and wisdom is Existere; for there can be no love except in wisdom, nor can there be any wisdom except from love; consequently when love is in wisdom, then it EXISTS. These two are one in such a way that they may be distinguished in thought but not in operation, and because they may be distinguished in thought though not in operation, it is said that they are one distinctly. Esse and Existere in God-Man are also one distinctly like soul and body. There can be no soul apart from its body, nor body apart from its soul. The Divine soul of God-Man is what is meant by Divine Esse, and the Divine Body is what is meant by Divine Existere. (DLW 14)
Love acts by means of Wisdom in every work (Use)There is a union of love and wisdom in every Divine work. From this it has perpetuity, its everlasting duration. If there were more of Divine Love than of Divine Wisdom, or more of Divine Wisdom than of Divine Love, in any created work, it could have continued existence only in the measure in which the two were equally in it. (DLW 36)
The delight of Use returns to Love.It is the essential of love, moreover, to be loved by others, for thus conjunction is effected. The essence of all love consists in conjunction; this, in fact, is its life, which is called enjoyment, pleasantness, delight, sweetness, bliss, happiness and felicity. Love consists in this, that its own should be another's; to feel the joy of another as joy in oneself, that is loving. But to feel one's own joy in another and not the other's joy in oneself is not loving; for this is loving self, while the former is loving the neighbour. These two kinds of love are diametrically opposed to each other. (DLW 47)
God is uncreateThe Lord, who is the God of the universe, is uncreate and infinite, whereas man and angel are created and finite. And because the Lord is uncreate and infinite, He is Being (Esse) itself, which is called "Jehovah," and Life itself, or Life in itself. (DLW 4)
God is one and indivisibleWho that has sound reason can help seeing that the Divine is not divisible? also that a plurality of Infinites, of Uncreates, of Omnipotents, and of Gods, is impossible? Suppose one destitute of reason were to declare that a plurality of Infinites, of Uncreates, of Omnipotents, and of Gods is possible, if only they have one identical essence, and this would make of them one Infinite, Uncreate, Omnipotent, and God, would not the one identical essence be one identity? And one identity is not possible to several. If it should be said that one is from the other, the one who is from the other is not God in Himself; nevertheless, God in Himself is the God from whom all things are (DLW 27)
God contains infinite things `perfectly'That God is infinite is well known, for He is called the Infinite; and He is called the Infinite because He is infinite. He is infinite not from this alone, that He is very Esse and Existere in itself, but because in Him there are infinite things. An infinite without infinite things in it, is infinite in name only. The infinite things in Him cannot be called infinitely many, nor infinitely all, because of the natural idea of many and of all; for the natural idea of infinitely many is limited, and the natural idea of infinitely all, though not limited, is derived from limited things in the universe. Therefore man, because his ideas are natural, is unable by any refinement or approximation, to come into a perception of the infinite things in God; and an angel, while he is able, because he is in spiritual ideas, to rise by refinement and approximation above the degree of man, is still unable to attain to that perception. (DLW 17)
God is Life Itself, so Love Itself and Wisdom Itself,Love is the very life of man, so God alone, consequently the Lord, is Love Itself, because He is Life Itself (DLW 1,4)
From Divine Love and from Divine Wisdom, which make the very Essence that is God, all affections and thoughts with man have their rise - affections from Divine Love, and thoughts from Divine Wisdom; and each and all things of man are nothing but affection and thought (DLW 33)
The Lord God is Man, a Human Divine.In all the heavens there is no other idea of God than that He is a Man. This is because heaven as a whole and in part is in form like a man, and because it is the Divine which is with the angels that constitutes heaven and inasmuch as thought proceeds according to the form of heaven, it is impossible for the angels to think of God in any other way. From this it is that all those in the world who are conjoined with heaven think of God in the same way when they think interiorly in themselves, that is, in their spirit. From this fact that God is a Man, all angels and all spirits, in their complete form, are men. (DLW 11)
(This the new knowledge for many of us).
God is of Divine Love that cannot love itself, but can delight in the joy of anotherIt is the essential of love, moreover, to be loved by others, for thus conjunction is effected. The essence of all love consists in conjunction; this, in fact, is its life, which is called enjoyment, pleasantness, delight, sweetness, bliss, happiness and felicity. Love consists in this, that its own should be another's; to feel the joy of another as joy in oneself, that is loving. But to feel one's own joy in another and not the other's joy in oneself is not loving; for this is loving self, while the former is loving the neighbour. These two kinds of love are diametrically opposed to each other. (DLW 47)
From this it is clear that Divine Love must necessarily have being (esse) and have form (existere) in others whom it may love, and by whom it may be loved. For as there is such a need in all love, it must be to the fullest extent, that is, infinitely in Love Itself. (DLW 48)
With respect to God; it is impossible for Him to love others and to be loved reciprocally by others in whom there is anything of the Divine. For if there were beings having in them anything of infinity, that is, of the essence and life of love in itself, that is, of the Divine, it would not be God loved by others, but God loving Himself; since the Infinite, that is, the Divine, is one only, and if this were in others, Itself would be in them, and would be the love of self Itself; and of that love not the least trace can possibly be in God, since it is wholly opposed to the Divine Essence. Consequently, for this relation to be possible there must be others in whom there is nothing of the Divine in itself. That it is possible in beings created from the Divine will be seen below. (DLW 49)
From absolute nothingness, nothing is or can be madeIt is well known that each and all things of the universe were created by God; hence the universe, with each and every thing pertaining to it, is called in the Word the work of the hands of Jehovah. There are those who maintain that the world, with everything it includes, was created out of nothing, and of that nothing an idea of absolute nothingness is entertained. From absolute nothingness, however, nothing is or can be made. This is an established truth. The universe, therefore, which is God's image, and consequently full of God, could be created only in God from God; for God is Esse itself, and from Esse must be whatever is. To create what is, from nothing which is not, is an utter contradiction. But still, that which is created in God from God is not continuous from Him; for God is Esse in itself, and in created things there is not any Esse in itself. If there were in created things any Esse in itself, this would be continuous from God, and that which is continuous from God is God. (DLW 55)
Every created thing is such in its nature as to be a recipient of God, not by continuity, but by contiguity.From the uncreate, the infinite, Being itself and Life itself, no one can be created immediately, because the Divine is one and indivisible; but their creation must be out of things created and finited, and so formed that the Divine can be in them. Because men and angels are such, they are recipients of life. (DLW 4)
Every created thing, by virtue of this origin, is such in its nature as to be a recipient of God, not by continuity, but by contiguity. By the latter and not the former comes its capacity for conjunction. For having been created in God from God, it is adapted to conjunction; and because it has been so created, it is an analogue, and through such conjunction it is like an image of God in a mirror. (DLW 56)
All created things have relation in a kind of image to God-ManThis can be seen from each and all things of the animal kingdom, from each and all things of the vegetable kingdom, and from each and all things of the mineral kingdom. (DLW 61)
The Divine, apart from time and space, fills all time and spaces of the universeThere are two things proper to Nature - space and time. From these man in the natural world forms the ideas of his thought, and thereby his understanding. If he remains in these ideas, and does not raise his mind above them, he is in no wise able to perceive things spiritual and Divine, for these he involves in ideas drawn from space and time; and so far as that is done the light (lumen) of his understanding becomes merely natural .... He who knows how to raise his mind above ideas of thought drawn from space and time, passes from thick darkness into light, and has discernment in things spiritual and Divine, and finally sees the things which are in and from what is spiritual and Divine; and then from that light he dispels the thick darkness of the natural lumen, and banishes its fallacies from the middle to the sides. Every man who has understanding is able to transcend in thought these properties of nature, and actually does so; and he then affirms and sees that the Divine, because omnipresent, is not in space. (DLW 69)
As the Divine, apart from space, is in all space, so also, apart from time, is it in all time. For nothing which is proper to nature can be predicated of the Divine, and space and time are proper to nature. Space in nature is measurable, and so is time. This is measured by days, weeks, months, years, and centuries; days are measured by hours; weeks and months by days; years by the four seasons; and centuries by years. Nature derives this measurement from the apparent revolution and annual motion of the sun of the world. But in the spiritual world it is different. The progressions of life in that world appear in like manner to be in time, for those there live with one another as men in the world live with one another; and this is not possible without the appearance of time. (DLW 73)
The Divine in things greatest and least is the sameThere are spaces greater and greatest, and lesser and least; and since spaces and times, as said above, make one, it is the same with times. In these the Divine is the same, because the Divine is not varying and changeable, as everything is which belongs to nature, but is unvarying and unchangeable, consequently the same everywhere and always. (DLW 77)
It seems as if the Divine were not the same in one person as in another; as if, for instance, it were different in the wise and in the simple, or in an old man and in a child. But this is a fallacy arising from appearance; the man is different, but the Divine in him is not different. Man is a recipient, and the recipient or receptacle is what varies. A wise man is a recipient of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom more adequately, and therefore more fully, than a simple man; and an old man who is also wise, more than a little child or boy; yet the Divine is the same in the one as in the other. (DLW 78)
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