God Alone, Consequently the Lord, Is Love Itself, Because He Is Life Itself; and Angels nad Men Are Recipients of Life

  1. In the treatises on Divine Providence and on Life this will be abundantly illustrated; it is sufficient here to say that the Lord, Who is the God of the universe, is uncreate and infinite, whereas man and angel are created and finite. The Lord also, because He is uncreate and infinite, is the Esse itself which is called Jehovah, and He is Life itself, or Life in itself. Man cannot be created immediately from the Uncreate, the Infinite, from Esse itself and Life itself — because the Divine is one and indivisible — but from created and finited things so formed that the Divine can be in them. Since men and angels are such, they are recipients of life. If any man therefore allows himself to be so far misled as to think that he is not a recipient of life, but life, he cannot be withheld from the thought that he is God. That man feels as if he were life, and therefore believes it, is from a fallacy; for the principal cause is not perceived otherwise in the instrumental cause than as one with it. That the Lord is Life in itself, He teaches in John: As the Father hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26); and that He is Life itself (John 9:25; 14:6). Now since life and love are one (as appears from what has been said above, Sections 1, 2), it follows that the Lord, because He is Life itself, is Love itself.
  2. But that this may be understood, it must needs be known, that the Lord, because He is Love in its very essence, that is, Divine Love, appears before the angels in heaven as the sun, and that from that sun proceed heat and light, and that the heat proceeding from it in its essence is love, and the light is wisdom; and that the angels in the degree that they are recipients of that spiritual heat and of that spiritual light, are loves and wisdoms; not loves and wisdoms from themselves, but from the Lord. That spiritual heat and that spiritual light not only flow into angels and affect them, but also flow into men and affect them just in the degree that they become recipients; and they become recipients according to their love to the Lord, and their love toward the neighbor. This sun itself, or the Divine Love, cannot create any one immediately from itself by its heat and by its light; for in that case he would be Love in its essence, which is the Lord Himself; but it can create from substances and matters so formed as to be able to receive heat itself and light itself — by comparison, as the sun of the world cannot produce germinations in the earth immediately by heat and light, but from the materials of the ground in which it can be present by heat and light and cause vegetation. In the work on Heaven And Hell, (Sections 116-140) it may be seen that the Divine Love of the Lord appears in the spiritual world as the sun, and that spiritual heat and spiritual light from which the angels have love and wisdom, proceed from it.
  3. Since then man is not life, but a recipient of life, it follows that the conception of a man from his father is not a conception of life, but only a conception of the first and purest form receptive of life; to which as a nucleus or beginning, are successively added in the womb substances and matters in forms adapted to the reception of life in their order and degree.

from Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, Part 1


Divine Providence and Life: Books by Swedenborg

Love Is the Life of Man

  1. Man knows that there is such a thing as love, but does not know what love is. He knows that there is such a thing as love from common conversation — as when it is said that such a person loves me, a king loves his subjects, and the subjects love the king, a husband loves his wife, and a mother her children, and conversely; also such and such a person loves his country, his fellow-citizens, his neighbor; and likewise of things abstracted from person, that a person loves this or that. But although love is so universal in speech, scarcely any one knows what love is. When he meditates about it, because he cannot form for himself any idea of thought concerning it, he says either that it is not anything, or that it is merely something flowing in from sight, hearing, touch, and conversation, and affecting him in this manner. He is altogether ignorant of the fact that love is his very life; not only the general life of his whole body, and the general life of all his thoughts, but also the life of all the particulars. A wise man can perceive this from this inquiry — If you remove affection which is of love, can you think anything, and can you do anything? Do not thought, speech, and action grow cold in the degree that affection which is of love grows cold? And do they not grow warm in the degree that it grows warm? A wise man, however, perceives this, not from the knowledge that love is the life of man, but from experience that it so takes place.
  2. No one knows what the life of man is, unless he knows that it is love. If this is not known, one person may believe that man’s life consists merely in sense and action, and another that it consists in thinking; when yet thought is the first effect of life, and sensation and action are the second effect of life. Thought is here said to be the first effect of life, yet there is thought which is more and more interior, and thought which is more and more exterior. Inmost thought, which is the perception of ends, is actually the first effect of life. But of these things hereafter, when the degrees of life are treated of.
  3. Some idea of love, as the life of man, may be obtained from the heat of the sun in the world. It is well known that this heat is as it were the general life of all vegetation on the earth. For when this heat comes forth, as in spring time, plants of every kind spring from the ground — they deck themselves with leaves, afterward with blossoms, and at length with fruits, and thus as it were they live. But when the heat departs, as in autumn and winter, the plants are stripped of these signs of their life, and wither. It is the same with love in man, for heat and love correspond to each other; wherefore also love is warm.

from Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, Part I

“Abide in Me”

Man is so created that he can be more and more closely united to the Lord. He is so united not by knowledge alone, nor by intelligence alone, nor even by wisdom alone, but by a life in accordance with these. The more closely he is united to the Lord, the wiser and happier he becomes, the more distinctly he seems to himself to be his own, and the more clearly he perceives that he is the Lord’s.

from Divine Providence, Section 32

An Instrument of Life

Man is an instrument of life, and God alone is life. God pours His life into His instrument and every part of him, as the sun pours its heat into a tree and every part of it. God also gives man to feel this life in himself as his own. God wills that he should do so, that man may live as of himself according to the laws of order, which are as many as there are precepts in the Word, and may dispose himself to receive the love of God. But still God perpetually holds with His finger the perpendicular above the scales, and regulates, but never violates by compulsion, man’s free decision. Man’s free will is from this: that he feels life in himself as his, and God leaves him so to feel, that reciprocal conjunction may take place between Him and man.

from True Christianity, Section 504

“Come unto Me”

Do you, my friend, flee evil, and do good, and believe in the Lord with your whole heart and with your whole soul, and the Lord will love you, and give you love for doing, and faith for believing. Then will you do good from love, and from a faith which is confidence will you believe. If you persevere in this, a reciprocal conjunction will take place, and one that is perpetual, indeed is salvation itself, and everlasting life.

from True Christianity, Section 484


Entire Section 484: Published 8/4/2021

The Love of His Life

When the Lord was in the World, His life was altogether the life of a love for the whole human race, which He burned to save forever. That life was of the intensest love by which He united Himself to the Divine and the Divine to Himself. For being itself, or Jehovah, is pure mercy from love for the whole human race; and that life was one of sheer love, as it can never be with any man.

from Arcanaa Coelestia, Section 2253

If We Did Lack Free Choice in Spiritual Matters, Then in a Single Day Everyone on the Whole Planet Could Be Induced to Believe in the Lord; but in Fact This Cannot Happen, Because What We Do Not Accept through Our Free Choice Does Not Stay with Us (Continued)

People who have become earthly because of false beliefs about the spiritual teachings of the church cannot help thinking that divine omnipotence is above and beyond the design [of the universe], and therefore that divine omnipotence exists outside that design. As a result they lapse into deranged thoughts such as the following.

“Why did the Lord come into the world and why was this a redemption, when God’s omnipotence could have allowed him to accomplish the same thing from heaven as he did on earth? Why wouldn’t he, through his redemption, have saved the entire human race down to the last person? After that point, why would the Devil be able to prevail against the Redeemer in us? Why does hell exist? Since God is omnipotent, why hasn’t he destroyed hell, or why doesn’t he do so now? Or else why doesn’t he lead all the devils out of there and make them all angels of heaven? Why have a Last Judgment? Is he unable to move all the goats from the left to the right and make them sheep? Why did he cast down from heaven the angels of the dragon and the dragon itself instead of changing them into angels of Michael? Why doesn’t he grant faith to both groups, assign them the Son’s justice, and so forgive their sins and justify and sanctify them? Why doesn’t he give the animals of the earth, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea the ability to speak and gain understanding, and bring them into heaven along with people? Why either in the past or now hasn’t he transformed our world into a paradise that has no tree of the knowledge of good and evil and no serpent, where all the hills are flowing with vintage wine, and yielding their own gold and silver, so that all would spend their lives as images of God there, singing and shouting and in everlasting celebrations and joy? Wouldn’t these be fitting accomplishments for the omnipotent God?” And so on.

But, my friend, all this is nonsense. Divine omnipotence is not outside the design. God himself is the design. Because all things were created by God, they were created by the design, in the design, and for the design. There is also a design into which humankind was created, which is that whether we are blessed or cursed depends on our own exercise of free choice in spiritual matters.

As mentioned above [Section 499], it would not be possible to create a human being, or even an animal, bird, or fish, that had no free choice; but animals have a form of free choice that is merely earthly, whereas people have both earthly free choice and spiritual free choice.

from True Christianity, Section 502


Section 499: Published 8/19/2021