Emanuel Swedenborg.

Angelic Wisdom Concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom online

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Produced by E-text donated by the Kempton Project, submitted
by William Rotella




Standard Edition

Swedenborg Foundation
New York
- - - -
Established 1850

First Published in Latin, Amsterdam, 1763
First English translation published in U.S.A., 1794
55th Printing, 1988
ISBN 0-87785-056-9

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 76-46144
Manufactured in the United States of America


The previous translation of this work has been carefully revised. In
this revision the translator has had the valuable assistance of
suggestions by the Rev. L.H. Tafel and others. The new renderings of
_existere_ and _fugere_ are suggestions adopted by the Editorial Committee
and accepted by the translator, but for which he does not wish to be
held solely responsible.



Man knows that there is such a thing as love, but he does not know what
love is. He knows that there is such a thing as love from common speech,
as when it is said, he loves me, a king loves his subjects, and subjects
love their king, a husband loves his wife, a mother her children, and
conversely; also, this or that one loves his country, his fellow citizens,
his neighbor; and likewise of things abstracted from person, as when it
is said, one loves this or that thing. But although the word love is so
universally used, hardly anybody knows what love is. And because one is
unable, when he reflects upon it, to form to himself any idea of thought
about it, he says either that it is not anything, or that it is merely
something flowing in from sight, hearing, touch, or interaction with
others, and thus affecting him. He is wholly unaware 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 their particulars.
This a man of discernment can perceive when it is said: If you remove
the affection which is from love, can you think anything, or do anything?
Do not thought, speech, and action, grow cold in the measure in which the
affection which is from love grows cold? And do they not grow warm in the
measure in which this affection grows warm? But this a man of discernment
perceives simply by observing that such is the case, and not from any
knowledge that love is the life of man.

2. What the life of man is, no one knows unless he knows that it is love.
If this is not known, one person may believe that man's life is nothing
but perceiving with the senses and acting, and another that it is merely
thinking; and 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 interior and more interior,
also exterior and more exterior. What is actually the first effect of life
is inmost thought, which is the perception of ends. But of all this
hereafter, when the degrees of life are considered.

3. Some idea of love, as being the life of man, may be had from the sun's
heat in the world. This heat is well known to be the common life, as it
were, of all the vegetations of the earth. For by virtue of heat, coming
forth in springtime, plants of every kind rise from the ground, deck
themselves with leaves, then with blossoms, and finally with fruits, and
thus, in a sense, live. But when, in the time of autumn and winter, heat
withdraws, the plants are stripped of these signs of their life, and they
wither. So it is with love in man; for heat and love mutually correspond.
Therefore love also is warm.


This will be fully shown in treatises on Divine Providence and on Life;
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.
And because the Lord is uncreate and infinite, He is Being [Esse] itself,
which is called "Jehovah," and Life itself, or Life in itself. 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. Consequently, if any man suffers himself to be so
far misled as to think that he is not a recipient of life but is Life,
he cannot be withheld from the thought that he is God. A man's feeling
as if he were life, and therefore believing himself to be so, arises from
fallacy; for the principal cause is not perceived in the instrumental
cause otherwise than as one with it. That the Lord is Life in Himself,
He Himself teaches in John:

As the Father hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son
to have life in Himself (5:26)
He declares also that He is Life itself (John 11:25; 14:6).

Now since life and love are one (as is apparent from what has been said
above, n. 1, 2), it follows that the Lord, because He is Life itself, is
Love itself.

5. But that this may reach the understanding, it must needs be known
positively that the Lord, because He is Love in its very essence, that
is, Divine Love, appears before the angels in heaven as a sun, and that
from that sun heat and light go forth; the heat which goes forth therefrom
being in its essence love, and the light which goes forth therefrom being
in its essence wisdom; and that so far as the angels are recipients of
that spiritual heat and of that spiritual light, they 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 they also flow into men and affect them just to the
extent that they become recipients; and they become recipients in the
measure of their love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor. That
sun itself, that is, the Divine Love, by its heat and its light, cannot
create any one immediately from itself; for one so created would be Love
in its essence, which Love is the Lord Himself; but it can create from
substances and matters so formed as to be capable of receiving the very
heat and the very light; comparatively as the sun of the world cannot by
its heat and light produce germinations on the earth immediately, but
only out of earthy matters in which it can be present by its heat and
light, and cause vegetation. In the spiritual world the Divine Love of
the Lord appears as a sun, and from it proceed the spiritual heat and
the spiritual light from which the angels derive love and wisdom, as may
be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 116-140).

6. Since, then, man is not life, but is 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 capable of receiving
life; and to this, as to a nucleus or starting-point in the womb, are
successively added substances and matters in forms adapted to the
reception of life, in their order and degree.


That the Divine, that is, God, is not in space, although omnipresent and
with every man in the world, and with every angel in heaven, and with
every spirit under heaven, cannot be comprehended by a merely natural
idea, but it can by a spiritual idea. It cannot be comprehended by a
natural idea, because in the natural idea there is space; since it is
formed out of such things as are in the world, and in each and all of
these, as seen by the eye, there is space. In the world, everything great
and small is of space; everything long, broad, and high is of space; in
short, every measure, figure and form is of space. This is why it has
been said that it cannot be comprehended by a merely natural idea that
the Divine is not in space, when it is said that the Divine is everywhere.
Still, by natural thought, a man may comprehend this, if only he admit
into it something of spiritual light. For this reason something shall
first be said about spiritual idea, and thought therefrom. Spiritual idea
derives nothing from space, but it derives its all from state. State is
predicated of love, of life, of wisdom, of affections, of joys therefrom;
in general, of good and of truth. An idea of these things which is truly
spiritual has nothing in common with space; it is higher and looks down
upon the ideas of space which are under it as heaven looks down upon the
earth. But since angels and spirits see with eyes, just as men in the
world do, and since objects cannot be seen except in space, therefore in
the spiritual world where angels and spirits are, there appear to be
spaces like the spaces on earth; yet they are not spaces, but appearances;
since they are not fixed and constant, as spaces are on earth; for they
can be lengthened or shortened; they can be changed or varied. Thus because
they cannot be determined in that world by measure, they cannot be
comprehended there by any natural idea, but only by a spiritual idea. The
spiritual idea of distances of space is the same as of distances of good
or distances of truth, which are affinities and likenesses according to
states of goodness and truth.

8. From this it may be seen that man is unable, by a merely natural idea,
to comprehend that the Divine is everywhere, and yet not in space; but
that angels and spirits comprehend this clearly; consequently that a man
also may, provided he admits into his thought something of spiritual light;
and this for the reason that it is not his body that thinks, but his
spirit, thus not his natural, but his spiritual.

9. But many fail to comprehend this because of their love of the natural,
which makes them unwilling to raise the thoughts of their understanding
above the natural into spiritual light; and those who are unwilling to do
this can think only from space, even concerning God; and to think according
to space concerning God is to think concerning the expanse of nature. This
has to be premised, because without a knowledge and some perception that
the Divine is not in space, nothing can be understood about the Divine
Life, which is Love and Wisdom, of which subjects this volume treats; and
hence little, if anything, about Divine Providence, Omnipresence,
Omniscience, Omnipotence, Infinity and Eternity, which will be treated
of in succession.

10. It has been said that in the spiritual world, just as in the natural
world, there appear to be spaces, consequently also distances, but that
these are appearances according to spiritual affinities which are of love
and wisdom, or of good and truth. From this it is that the Lord, although
everywhere in the heavens with angels, nevertheless appears high above
them as a sun. Furthermore, since reception of love and wisdom causes
affinity with the Lord, those heavens in which the angels are, from
reception, in closer affinity with Him, appear nearer to Him than those
in which the affinity is more remote. From this it is also that the
heavens, of which there are three, are distinct from each other,
likewise the societies of each heaven; and further, that the hells under
them are remote according to their rejection of love and wisdom. The same
is true of men, in whom and with whom the Lord is present throughout the
whole earth; and this solely for the reason that the Lord is not in space.


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. This results from the form of heaven,
which is like itself in its greatest and in its least parts. That heaven
as a whole and in part is in form like a man may be seen in the work on
Heaven and Hell (n. 59-87); and that thoughts proceed according to the
form of heaven (n. 203, 204). It is known from Genesis (1:26, 27), that
men were created after the image and likeness of God. God also appeared
as a man to Abraham and to others. The ancients, from the wise even to
the simple, thought of God no otherwise than as being a Man; and when at
length they began to worship a plurality of gods, as at Athens and Rome,
they worshiped them all as men. What is here said may be illustrated by
the following extract from a small treatise already published:

The Gentiles, especially the Africans, who acknowledge and worship one
God, the Creator of the universe, have concerning God the idea that He
is a Man, and declare that no one can have any other idea of God. When
they learn that there are many who cherish an idea of God as something
cloud-like in the midst of things, they ask where such persons are; and
on being told that they are among Christians, they declare it to be
impossible. They are informed, however, that this idea arises from the
fact that God in the Word is called "a Spirit," and of a spirit they have
no other idea than of a bit of cloud, not knowing that every spirit and
every angel is a man. An examination, nevertheless, was made, whether the
spiritual idea of such persons was like their natural idea, and it was
found not to be so with those who acknowledge the Lord interiorly as God
of heaven and earth. I heard a certain elder from the Christians say that
no one can have an idea of a Human Divine; and I saw him taken about to
various Gentile nations, and successively to such as were more and more
interior, and from them to their heavens, and finally to the Christian
heaven; and everywhere their interior perception concerning God was
communicated to him, and he observed that they had no other idea of God
than that He is a man, which is the same as the idea of a Human Divine
(C.L.J. n. 74).

12. The common people in Christendom have an idea that God is a Man,
because God in the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity is called a
"Person." But those who are more learned than the common people pronounce
God to be invisible; and this for the reason that they cannot comprehend
how God, as a Man, could have created heaven and earth, and then fill the
universe with His presence, and many things besides, which cannot enter
the understanding so long as the truth that the Divine is not in space
is ignored. Those, however, who go to the Lord alone think of a Human
Divine, thus of God as a Man.

13. How important it is to have a correct idea of God can be known from
the truth that the idea of God constitutes the inmost of thought with
all who have religion, for all things of religion and all things of
worship look to God. And since God, universally and in particular, is
in all things of religion and of worship, without a proper idea of God
no communication with the heavens is possible. From this it is that in
the spiritual world every nation has its place allotted in accordance
with its idea of God as a Man; for in this idea, and in no other, is the
idea of the Lord. That man's state of life after death is according to
the idea of God in which he has become confirmed, is manifest from the
opposite of this, namely, that the denial of God, and, in the Christian
world, the denial of the Divinity of the Lord, constitutes hell.


Where 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. That a soul can exist apart
from a body, and can think and be wise, is an error springing from
fallacies; for every man's soul is in a spiritual body after it has cast
off the material coverings which it carried about in the world.
* To be and to exist. Swedenborg seems to use this word "exist" nearly
in the classical sense of springing or standing forth, becoming manifest,
taking form. The distinction between esse and existere is essentially the
same as between substance and form.
** For the meaning of this phrase. "distincte unum," see below in this
paragraph, also n. 17, 22, 34, 223, and DP 4.
*** It should be noticed that in Latin, distinctly is the adverb of the
verb distinguish. If translated distinguishably, this would appear.

15. Esse is not Esse unless it Exists, because until then it is not in a
form, and if not in a form it has no quality; and what has no quality is
not anything. That which Exists from Esse, for the reason that it is
from Esse, makes one with it. From this there is a uniting of the two
into one; and from this each is the others mutually and interchangeably,
and each is all in all things of the other as in itself.

16. From this it can be seen that God is a Man, and consequently He is
God-Existing; not existing from Himself but in Himself. He who has
existence in Himself is God from whom all things are.


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.

18. That in God there are infinite things, any one may convince himself
who believes that God is a Man; for, being a Man, He has a body and every
thing pertaining to it, that is, a face, breast, abdomen, loins and feet;
for without these He would not be a Man. And having these, He also has
eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and tongue; also the parts within man, as the
heart and lungs, and their dependencies, all of which, taken together,
make man to be a man. In a created man these parts are many, and regarded
in their details of structure are numberless; but in God-Man they are
infinite, nothing whatever is lacking, and from this He has infinite
perfection. This comparison holds between the uncreated Man who is God
and created man, because God is a Man; and He Himself says that the man
of this world was created after His image and into His likeness
(Gen. 1:26, 27).

19. That in God there are infinite things, is still more evident to the
angels from the heavens in which they dwell. The whole heaven, consisting
of myriads of myriads of angels, in its universal form is like a man. So
is each society of heaven, be it larger or smaller. From this, too, an
angel is a man, for an angel is a heaven in least form. (This is shown
in the work Heaven and Hell, n. 51-86.) Heaven as a whole, in part, and
in the individual, is in that form by virtue of the Divine which angels
receive; for in the measure in which an angel receives from the Divine
is he in complete form a man. From this it is that angels are said to be
in God, and God in them; also, that God is their all. How many things
there are in heaven cannot be told; and because the Divine is what makes
heaven, and consequently these unspeakably many things are from the
Divine, it is clearly evident that there are infinite things in Very Man,
who is God.

20. From the created universe a like conclusion may be drawn when it is
regarded from uses and their correspondences. But before this can be
understood some preliminary illustrations must be given.

21. Because in God-Man there are infinite things which appear in heaven,
in angel, and in man, as in a mirror; and because God-Man is not in space
(as was shown above, n. 7-10), it can, to some extent, be seen and
comprehended how God can be Omnipresent, Omniscient, and All-providing;
and how, as Man, He could create all things, and as Man can hold the
things created by Himself in their order to eternity.

22. That in God-Man infinite things are one distinctly, can also be seen,
as in a mirror, from man. In man there are many and numberless things, as
said above; but still man feels them all as one. From sensation he knows
nothing of his brains, of his heart and lungs, of his liver, spleen, and
pancreas; or of the numberless things in his eyes, ears, tongue, stomach,
generative organs, and the remaining parts; and because from sensation he
has no knowledge of these things, he is to himself as a one. The reason
is that all these are in such a form that not one can be lacking; for it
is a form recipient of life from God-Man (as was shown above, n. 4-6).
From the order and connection of all things in such a form there comes
the feeling, and from that the idea, as if they were not many and
numberless, but were one. From this it may be concluded that the many
and numberless things which make in man a seeming one, a Very Man who
is God, are one distinctly, yea, most distinctly.


All things of human wisdom unite, and as it were center in this, that
there is one God, the Creator of the universe: consequently a man who
has reason, from the general nature of his understanding, does not and
cannot think otherwise. Say to any man of sound reason that there are
two Creators of the universe, and you will be sensible of his repugnance,
and this, perhaps, from the mere sound of the phrase in his ear; from
which it appears that all things of human reason unite and center in
this, that God is one. There are two reasons for this. First, the very
capacity to think rationally, viewed in itself, is not man's, but is
God's in man; upon this capacity human reason in its general nature
depends, and this general nature of reason causes man to see as from
himself that God is one. Secondly, by means of that capacity man either
is in the light of heaven, or he derives the generals of his thought
therefrom; and it is a universal of the light of heaven that God is one.
It is otherwise when man by that capacity has perverted the lower parts
of his understanding; such a man indeed is endowed with that capacity,
but by the twist given to these lower parts, he turns it contrariwise,
and thereby his reason becomes unsound.

24. Every man, even if unconsciously, thinks of a body of men as of one
man; therefore he instantly perceives what is meant when it is said that
a king is the head, and the subjects are the body, also that this or
that person has such a place in the general body, that is, in the kingdom.
As it is with the body politic, so is it with the body spiritual. The
body spiritual is the church; its head is God-Man; and from this it is
plain how the church thus viewed as a man would appear if instead of one
God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, several were thought of.

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Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgAngelic Wisdom Concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom → online text (page 1 of 22)