b. Goodwill and Faith Are Transient and Exist only in Our Minds unless, When an Opportunity Occurs, They Culminate in Actions and Become Embodied in Them

We have both a head and a body. They are joined by the neck. The mind that wills and thinks is found in our head, and the power that acts and carries out is found in our body. If therefore we had only benevolence, or thoughts based on goodwill, but we did not do anything good or produce anything useful as a result, we would be like head by itself or a mind by itself, which could not continue to exist on its own without a body. Surely everyone can see from this that goodwill and faith are not goodwill and faith when they are only in our head and our mind but not in our body.

Under those circumstances goodwill and faith are like birds flying in the sky that have no home of their own on the ground. They are like birds that are about to lay eggs but have no nests; the eggs slip out of the birds into the air or onto a twig of some tree and then fall and smash on the ground.

All things in our mind have a corresponding element in our body. The corresponding thing could be called an embodiment. Therefore when goodwill and faith are only in our mind, they are not embodied in us. Under those circumstances we could be compared to the airy human figures known as ghosts, as Fama was depicted by the ancients, with a laurel wreath on her head and a horn of plenty in her hand. Because we would then be ghosts and yet would still be able to think, we could not help being constantly hounded by mental images (a problem also caused by false inferences based on various kinds of sophistry). We would be much like swamp reeds blown around by the wind that have shells at their base underwater and frogs croaking at the surface. Surely we can see that things like this happen when people merely know some ideas from the Word about goodwill and faith but do not practice them.

In fact the Lord says, “Everyone who hears my words and does them I will compare to a prudent man who built his house on a rock. But everyone who hears my words and does not do them will be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand” or “on the ground without a foundation” (Matthew 7:24, 26; Luke 6:47-49). Goodwill and faith and made-up ideas about them, when we do not put them into practice, can also be compared to butterflies in the air that a sparrow sees, flies toward, and eats. Likewise, the Lord says, “A sower went out to sow. Some seeds fell on hard ground, and the birds came and ate them” (Matthew 13:3-4).

from True Christianity, Section 375

a. “Goodwill” Is Benevolence toward Others; “Good Works” Are Good Actions That Result from Benevolence

Goodwill and good woks are two distinct things, just as will and action, or a mental impulse and a physical movement, are two distinct things. They are as distinct as our inner self and our outer self. Our inner self and our outer self are as distinct as a cause and an effect. The causes of all things are formed in our inner self, and all their effects take place in our outer self. Therefore goodwill, because it belongs to our inner self, is intending benevolence to others, and good works, because they belong to our outer self, are good actions that result from that intention.

Nevertheless there is an infinite difference between one person’s benevolence and another’s. Anything that someone does to please another is believed, or appears, to come from benevolence. It is hard to know, however, whether those good actions come from goodwill at all, let alone whether the goodwill they come from is genuine or illegitimate.

The infinite difference between one person’s benevolence and another’s originates in the individual’s purpose, goal, and consequent plan. These lie hidden within the intension to do good things. They determine the quality of the individual’s will.

In the intellect the will seeks ways and means of achieving its desired outcomes, which are results. In the intellect the will finds a light that enables it to see not only various opinions but also specifically when and how it must take action and thereby bring about its desired results, which are works. In the intellect the will also equips itself with the power to act. Therefore the works that result are in respect to their essence the result of the will, in respect to their from the result of the intellect, and in respect to their ultimate action the result of the body. This is how goodwill comes down into good works.

This process can be illustrated by comparison with a tree. In many ways trees are like us. Hidden in their seeds lies a kind of purpose, goal, and plan of producing fruit. In these aspects the seeds correspond to the will in us, where our purpose, goa, and plan reside, as I said. Drawing on what is inside them, the seeds grow up out of the ground and clothe themselves with branches, boughs, and leaves. This is how they prepare the means of achieving their purpose, which is fruit. In these aspects the tree corresponds to our intellect. Finally, when the time is right and the opportunity for results exists, the tree blossoms and produces fruit. In these aspects the tree corresponds to our good works. It should be clear, then, that the pieces of fruit in respect to their essence are the result of the seed, in respect to their form are the result of the boughs and leaves, and in respect to their ultimate action are the result of the wood of the tree.

This process can also be illustrated by comparing ourselves to a temple. According to Paul we are temples of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21-22). The purpose, goal, and plan for us as temples of God is our salvation and eternal life. Salvation and eternal life relate to our will, where our purpose, goal, and plan reside. As we go along, we take in teachings about faith and goodwill from our parents, teachers, and preachers. When we come into our own judgment, we take in teachings about faith and goodwill from the Word and religious books. These are all means to an end. These means have to do with our intellect. Finally we end up being useful by following teachings as the means; this happens through the physical actions called good works. Therefore our purpose employs means to produce results that are in respect to their essence the result of our purpose, in respect to their form the result of the teachings of the church, and in respect to their ultimate action the result of our useful service. This is how we become temples of God.

from True Christianity, Section 374

8 Goodwill and Faith Come Together in Good Actions

Every action that we take contains our whole self with the full measure and quality of our mind or our essential nature. Our “mind” means our love and our desire and the thoughts that come from them. These form our nature and our life in general. If we look at a person’s actions in this way, they are like mirrors of the person.

This can be illustrated by a comparison with wild and domesticated animals. A wild animal is a wild animal, and a domesticated animal is a domesticated animal, in everything it does. A wolf is a wolf in everything it does. A tiger is a tiger in everything it does. A fox is a fox in everything it does. A lion is a lion in everything it does. The same goes for a sheep or a goat in all its actions. It is the same for us, except that our quality is determined by our inner self. If we are wolves or foxes inside, everything we do is inwardly wolfish and foxlike. The opposite is true if we are inwardly like a sheep or a lamb. Nevertheless, the inner quality that is present in everything we do is not necessarily apparent in our outer self, because our outer self can turn in different directions around our inner self, although our inner self remains nonetheless hidden within it. The Lord says, “Good people bring what is good out of the good treasure in their heart, and the evil people bring what is evil out of the evil treasure in their heart” (Luke 6:45). He also says, “Every type of tree is known by its fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes or gather grapes from a bramble bush (Luke 6:44).

After we die it becomes very obvious to us that everything that comes from us has the nature of our inner self, since we are then living as our inner self and no longer as our outer self.

When the Lord, goodwill, and faith dwell in our inner self, then there is goodness within us, and all the work that comes from us is good. This point will be demonstrated in the following sequence.

a. “Goodwill is benevolence toward others; “good works” are good actions that result from benevolence.

b. Goodwill and faith are transient and exist only in our minds unless, when an opportunity occurs, they culminate in actions and become embodied in them.

c. Goodwill alone does not produce good actions; even less does faith alone produce them. Good actions are produced by goodwill and faith together.

Now I will take up these points one by one.

from True Christianity, Section 371

Childhood (Continued)

But what are remains? They are not only the goods and truths that a man has learned from the Lord’s Word from infancy, and has thus impressed on his memory, but they are also all the states thence derived, such as states of innocence from infancy; states of love toward parents, brothers, teachers, friends; states of charity toward the neighbor, and also of pity for the poor and needy; in a word, all states of good and truth. These states together with the goods and truths impressed on the memory, are called remains, which are preserved in man by the Lord and are stored up, entirely without his knowledge, in his internal man, and are completely separated from the things that are proper to man, that is, from evils and falsities.

All these states are so preserved in man by the Lord that not the least of them is lost, as I have been given to know from the fact that every state of a man, from his infancy to extreme old age, not only remains in the other life, but also returns; in fact his states return exactly as they were while he lived in this world. Not only do the goods and truths of memory thus remain and return, but also all states of innocence and charity. And when states of evil and falsity recur-for each and all of these, even the smallest, also remain and return-then these states are tempered by the Lord by means of the good states. From all this it is evident that if a man had no remains he must necessarily be in eternal damnation.

from Arcana Coelestia, Section 561


And every living soul of all flesh. That this signifies the whole human race, is evident from the signification of “living soul of all flesh.” Every man is called a living soul from what is living in him. No man can ever live, still less as a man, if he has not something living in him, that is, if he has not something of innocence, of charity, and of mercy, or something from it like or emulating it. This something of innocence, charity, and mercy man receives from the Lord during infancy and childhood, as is evident from the state of infants and also from that of childhood. What the man then receives is preserved in him, and the things that are preserved are called in the Word “remains” and are of the Lord alone in the man. What is thus preserved is what causes the man, when he comes to adult age, to be capable of being a man.

That the states of innocence, charity, and mercy which a man has had in infancy and during the years of childhood, cause him to be capable of being a man, is plainly evident from this, that man is not born into any exercise of life, as brute animals are, but has everything to learn, and what he learns becomes by exercise habitual, and thus as it were natural to him. He cannot even walk or speak until he learns, and so with everything else. By use these things become as it were natural to him. And such is the case also with the states of innocence, charity, and mercy with which he is in like manner imbued from infancy, and without which states he would be much viler than a brute. Yet these are states which man does not learn, but receives as a gift from the Lord, and which the Lord preserves in him. Together with the truths of faith, they are also what are called “remains” and are of the Lord alone. Insofar as a man in adult age extinguishes these states, he becomes dead. When a man is being regenerated, these states are the beginnings of regeneration, and he is led into them; for the Lord works through the remains, as already stated.

These remains with every man are what are here called the “living soul of all flesh.” That “all flesh” signifies every man, and thus the whole human race, is evident from the signification of “flesh” everywhere in the Word. As in Matthew: Except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved (Matt. 24:22; Mark 13:20). In John: Jesus said, Father glorify Thy Son, as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh (John 17:2). In Isaiah: And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together (Isa. 40:5). And again: And all flesh shall know that I Jehovah am thy Savior (Isa. 49:26).

from Arcana Coelestia, Section 1050

d. This Reciprocal Partnership between the Lord and Us Comes about through Goodwill and Faith

Today people know that the church constitutes the body of Christ. People also know that everyone who has the church inside is in some part of that body, as Paul says (Ephesians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:4-5). Is the body of Christ anything except divine goodness and divine truth? This is what the Lord’s words in John mean: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I am in them” (John 6:56). “The Lord’s flesh” means divine goodness, as does “bread.” “The Lord’s blood” means divine truth, as does “wine.” Below in the chapter on the Holy Supper you will see that these are their true meaning [Sections 702-709].

It follows that the more involved we are in acts of goodwill and in truths that relate to faith, the more we are in the Lord and the Lord is in us. Our partnership with the Lord is a spiritual partnership, and spiritual partnerships take place only through goodwill and faith.

I have shown in the chapter on Sacred Scripture that a partnership between the Lord and the church and thus a partnership between goodness and truth exists in every detail of the Word, Sections 248-253. Because goodwill is goodness and faith is truth, there is also a partnership between goodwill and faith throughout the Word.

From all this it now follows that the Lord is goodwill and faith within us, and we are goodwill and faith within in the Lord. The Lord is spiritual goodwill nd faith in our earthly goodwill and faith; and we are earthly goodwill and faith from the Lord’s spiritual goodwill and faith. As the two types of goodwill and faith forge a partnership, they become a goodwill and a faith that are spiritual-and-earthly.

from True Christianity, Section 372


Sections 248-253: Published 8/23/2020-8/29/2020

c. Our Partnership with the Lord Is Reciprocal: the Lord Is in Us and We Are in the Lord (Continued)

There are two types of reciprocal partnership : one is alternating; the other is mutual. An alternating reciprocal cycle that results in a partnership can be illustrated by the lungs filling with air. We take in air, which expands our chest. Soon afterward we release the air we inhaled, which contracts our chest. This inhalation and consequent expansion are rendered possible by air pressure in this column of air. The releasing and contracting is accomplished by our own ribs as driven by our muscles. This shows the reciprocal partnership of the air and the lungs. The life of all our physical sensations and movements depends on this partnership, as we can tell from the fact that we lose both sensation and movement when we stop breathing.

A reciprocal partnership that comes about through alternating cycles can also be illustrated by the partnership of the heart with the lungs and of the lungs with the heart. The heart moves blood from its right chamber into the lungs. The lungs return the blood to the left chamber of the heart. This is how the partnership on which the life of the whole body depends becomes reciprocal.

There is a similar partnership between the blood and the heart, and the reverse. Blood from the whole body flows through the veins into the heart, and flows out of the heart through the arteries to the whole body. Action and reaction forge this partnership.

A similar action and reaction between an embryo and its mother’s womb allow their partnership to continue.

The reciprocal partnership between the Lord and us, however, is not like this. It is a mutual partnership that is brought about by cooperation rather than action and reaction. The Lord Acts. We receive the Lord’s action. We then function as if we were on our own. In fact, we function on our own from the Lord. The things we do that are inspired by the Lord are credited to us as our own, since the Lord continually keeps us in free choice. The free choice we receive is an ability to will and think from the Lord, that is, from the Word, and also an ability to will and think from the Devil, that is, against the Lord and the Word. The Lord gives us this freedom so that we can forge a reciprocal partnership and be granted life and eternal blessedness as a result–something that would be impossible without a reciprocal partnership.

A reciprocal partnership that is mutual can be illustrated by various things in us and in the world. The partnership between the soul and the body in everyone is this type of partnership. The partnership of our will and our action is of this type, as is the partnership of our thought and our speech. Other partnerships that work like this are the partnership of two eyes working together, and two ears, and two nostrils.

The optic nerve shows that our two eyes have this type of reciprocal partnership between them. In the optic nerve, fibers from both brains are intertwined, and they travel intertwined to each eye. The same is true for our two ears and our two nostrils.

There is a similar mutual reciprocal partnership between light and the eyes, sound and the ears, odors and the nose, tastes and the tongue, and tactile sensations and the body. The eye is in light and light is in the eye. Sound is in the ear and the ear is in sound. Smells are in the nose, and the nose is in smells. Tastes are in the tongue and the tongue is in tastes. Tactile sensation is in the body and the body is in tactile sensation.

This kind of reciprocal partnership can also be compared to the partnership between a horse and a carriage; between an ox and a plow; between wheels and an engine; between sails and the wind; between a flute and the air. To sum up, the purpose and the means have this type of reciprocal partnership, as do the means and the result. But there is no room to explain the above examples one by one, because the explanation would fill many volumes.

from True Christianity, Section 371 (Cont’d)

c. Our Partnership with the Lord Is Reciprocal: the Lord Is in Us and We Are in the Lord

The partnership is reciprocal. Scripture teaches this and reason sees it. The Lord teaches that his partnership with his Father is reciprocal. He said to Philip, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:10-11).

So that you know and believe that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. (John 10:38)

Jesus said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son will also glorify you.” (John 17:1)

Father, all that is mine is yours and all that is yours is mine. (John 17:10)

The Lord says something similar about his partnership with us, specifying that it is reciprocal. He says,

Live in me and I [shall live] in you. Those who live in me and I in them bear much fruit. (John 15:4-5)

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I in them. (John 6:56)

On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you. (John 14:20)

Those who do the commandments of Christ live in him, and he lives in them. (1 John 3:24: 4:13)

If any confess that Christ is the Son of God, God lives in them, and they live in God. (1 John 4:15)

If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and will dine with them and they with me. (Revelation 2:20)

The very clear passages just quoted make it evident that the partnership between the Lord and us is reciprocal. Because the partnership is reciprocal, it obviously follows that we have to unite ourselves to the Lord so that the Lord will unite himself to us. Otherwise there will be a parting and a separation rather than a partnership–not on the Lord’s initiative but on our own.

To allow the partnership to be reciprocal, we have been given free choice. With it we can travel the road to heaven or the road to hell. Our ability to act reciprocally is a result of the freedom we have been given to unite ourselves to the Lord or unite ourselves to the Devil. (The nature of this freedom and the reasons we possess it will be illustrated later on in the text when we come to free choice [Sections 463-508], repentance [Sections 509-570], reformation and regeneration [Sections 571-625], and the assignment of spiritual credit or blame [Sections 626-666.])

It is a lamentable thing that the reciprocal partnership between the Lord and us, even though it stands out so clearly in the Word, is still unknown to the Christian church. It is unknown because of theories about faith and free choice. The theory about faith holds that faith is granted without our contributing anything to acquiring it–we do not adjust ourselves to receive it or work on receiving it any more than would a log. The theory about free choice holds that we do not have even a speck of free choice about spiritual things.

The salvation of the human race depends on the reciprocal partnership between the Lord and the individual. Therefore, to prevent this partnership from remaining unknown any longer, it is a necessity that it be disclosed. The most effective way to accomplish this is through examples, because they illustrate the partnership.

from True Christianity, Section 371

b. It Is Impossible for Us to Have a Partnership with God the Father. What Is Possible Is a Partnership with the Lord, and through the Lord, with the God the Father

Scripture teaches this and reason sees it. Scripture teaches that God the Father never has been seen or heard, and never could be. As a result, nothing from him such as he is in his own essential underlying reality could have an effect on us. The Lord Says,

No one has seen God except the One who is with the Father. He has seen the Father. (John6:46)

No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son is willing to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)

You have never heard the voice of the Father or seen what he looks like. (John 5:37)

The reason for this is that God the Father is in the first principles and beginnings of all things. Therefore he transcends the entire reach of the human mind. He is in the first principles and beginnings of all things related to wisdom and all things related to love. No partnership is possible between those first principles and us. Therefore if he were to come near us or we were to go near him, we would be consumed and liquefied like a piece of wood at the focus of a huge burning mirror; or better yet like a carved statue thrown into the sun itself. This is why Moses, who longed to see God, was told that we cannot see God and live (Exodus 33:20).

The passages that I just quoted make it clear that we form a partnership with God the Father through the Lord. It was not the Father, it was the only begotten Son who is close to the Father’s heart and has seen the Father, who disclosed and revealed the things that are of God and from God. The following passages also show that we form a partnership with God the Father through the Lord:

On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you (John14:20).

The glory that you gave me, I have given them so that they may be one as we are one–I in them and you in me (John17:22-23, 26).

Jesus said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” Then Philip wanted to see the Father, but the Lord replied, “Those who see me also see the Father, and those who know me also know the Father” (John 14:6-7, and following).

Elsewhere we read,

Those who see me see the One who sent me (John 12:45)

In addition, the Lord says that he is the door, and that those who enter through him are saved, but those who climb up some other way are thieves and robbers (John10:1, 9). He also says, “Those who do not live in me will be thrown out and put in the fire like a withered branch” (John 15:6).

The reason is that the Lord our Savior is Jehovah the Father himself in human form. Jehovah came down and became human so that he could come close to us and we could come close to him, and a partnership could be forged, through which we could have salvation and eternal life. When God became human and then a human became God, he became able to draw near us in this adapted form and, as a human God and a divine Human, forge a partnership with us.

These are three stages to this that follow in sequence: adjusting to one another, coming closer together, and then forging a partnership. The adjustment has to happen before the two parties can come close together, and both the adjustment and the coming closer have to happen before a partnership can be forged. the adjustment on God’s part was to become human. God is perpetually coming closer to the extent that we are coming closer to him. And as this takes place, a partnership is forged. For each and every set of things that become one and share their existence, these three stages happen in this sequence and proceed in this order.

from True Christianity, Section 370

a. Our Partnership with God Is What Gives Us Salvation and Eternal Life

Human being were created with the capacity of being in a partnership with God. We were created to be citizens of heaven and also citizens of the world. We are spiritual so we can be citizens of heaven and earthy so we can be citizens of the world. Our spiritual self is capable of thinking about God and perceiving things that relate to God. It is also capable of loving God and being moved by things that come from God. It follows that we are able to be in a partnership with God.

Our ability to think about God and to perceive things that come from God is completely beyond the reach of doubt. We are capable of thinking about God’s unity; about God’s underlying reality, which is Jehovah; about God’s immensity and eternity ; about the divine love and wisdom that constitute God’s essence; and about God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. We are capable of thinking about the Lord our Savior, his Son, and about his redemption and mediation. We can also think about the Holy Spirit and about divine Trinity. All these things relate to God; in fact, they are God. Beyond this, we can think about God’s influence, which primarily takes the form of faith and goodwill, not to mention many things that emanate from faith and goodwill.

The fact that we are capable of not only thinking about God but also loving God is clear from the two commandments of God himself that read like this:

You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like it: you are to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39: Deuteronomy 6:5)

We are also capable of doing what God commands, which is the same as loving God and being loved by God, as the following words show;

Jesus said, “The people who love me are those who have my commandments and follow them. Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and manifest myself to them.” (John 14:21)

In fact, what else is faith but a partnership with God by means of truths that shape our understanding and thought? What else is love but a partnership with God through goodness that shapes our intensions and desires? God’s connection to us a spiritual connection that comes to an earthly plane; our connection to God is an earthly connection that comes from a spiritual plane.

The ultimate purpose in creating us citizens of heaven and also citizens of the world was this partnership. As citizens of heaven we are spiritual and as citizens of world we are earthly. Therefore if we become spiritual and rational and also spiritual-moral, we forge a partnership with God. Through this partnership we have salvation and eternal life.

On the other hand, if we are only earthly-and-rational and earthly-and-moral, God is indeed connected to us but we are not connected to him. The result of this is spiritual death (which by definition is earthly life without spiritual life), because spirituality, in which the life of God exists, has been extinguished in us.

from True Christianity, Section 369