News from the Angels
A series of conversations and observations from the Spiritual World
issue no. 1

I once conversed with two angels, one from the eastern heaven, the other from the southern heaven. When they perceived that I was meditating on the secrets of wisdom concerning true marital love, they said, "Do you know anything about the sports of wisdom in our world?" When I answered, "Not as yet," they said: "There are many. Those who love truths from spiritual affection, that is, who love truths because they are truths and because they are the means to wisdom, come together at a given signal to discuss matters requiring a deeper understanding, and to form conclusions." They then took me by the hand, saying, "Follow us and you shall see and hear. Today the signal has been given for a meeting."

I was led across a plain to a hill; and lo, at the foot of the hill an avenue of palm trees stretching all the way to the summit. We entered it and ascended; and on the top or crown of the hill was seen a grove, the trees of which, growing on an elevated piece of ground, formed a kind of theatre. Within this theatre was a level space paved with small stones of various colours, around which, arranged in the form of a square, were chairs of state on which sat the lovers of wisdom. In the centre of the theatre was a table whereon lay a paper sealed with a seal.

[2] The men who were sitting on the chairs invited us to seats still vacant; but I answered them, "I have been led hither by two angels to see and hear, not to sit down." The two angels then went to the table in the centre of the level area, and in the presence of those who were seated they broke the seal of the paper and read the secrets of wisdom inscribed thereon which they were now to discuss and unfold. They had been written and let down upon the table by angels of the third heaven.

There were three secrets: FIRST, What is the image of God and what the likeness of God into which man was created? SECOND, Why is man not born into the science of any love, when yet beasts and birds, the noble as well as the ignoble, are born into the sciences of all their loves? THIRD, What is signified by the tree of life, what by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and what by the eating of them? Underneath was written: "Combine these three into one statement, write it on a fresh sheet of paper, and place the paper on the table and we shall see. If the statement appears well balanced and just, there shall be given to each of you a reward of wisdom." After reading this, the two angels withdrew and were taken up into their heavens.

[3] Those who were sitting on the chairs then began to discuss and unfold the secrets proposed to them. They spoke in order, first those who sat at the north, then those at the west, after them those at the south, and finally those at the east. They took up the first subject of discussion, namely, WHAT IS THE IMAGE OF GOD AND WHAT THE LIKENESS OF GOD INTO WHICH MAN WAS CREATED? To begin with, the following from the Book of Genesis was then read out in the presence of all:

God said, Let us make man in OUR IMAGE, after OUR LIKENESS. And God created man in HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE OF GOD created he him. (Gen. 1:26, 27).

In the day that God created man, in the LIKENESS OF GOD made he him. (Gen. 5:1).

Those who sat at the north spoke first, saying, "The image of God and the likeness of God are the two lives breathed into man by God, being the life of his will and the life of his understanding; for we read that Jehovah God breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of lives; and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). Into his nostrils means into the perception that within him was the will of good and the understanding of truth and thus the breath of lives; and because life was breathed into him by God, the image and likeness of God signify the integrity that was in him from wisdom and love, and from righteousness and judgment." Those who sat at the west favoured these views, but they added the following, "This state of integrity breathed into Adam by God is being continually breathed into every man after him; but it is in man as a receptacle, and man is an image and likeness of God according as he is a receptacle."

[4] The third in order, being those who sat at the south, then said: "The image of God and the likeness of God are two distinct things, but in man they are united from creation; and we see, as from interior light, that the image of God may be destroyed by man but not the likeness of God. This is seen as through a lattice, from the fact that Adam retained the likeness of God after he had lost the image of God; for after the curse it is said:

Behold the man is as one of us, knowing good and evil.(Gen. 3:22).

and later he is called the likeness of God and is not called the image of God (Gen. 5:1). But let us leave it to our associates who sit at the east, and thus are in superior light, to say what the image of God properly is, and what the likeness of God."

[5] Then, after a period of silence, those sitting at the east rose from their seats and looked up to the Lord. Resuming their seats, they then said: "An image of God is a receptacle of God; and because God is Love itself and Wisdom itself, the image of God in man is the receptacle in him of love and wisdom from God. But the likeness of God is the perfect likeness and full appearance as though the love and wisdom were in the man and so were his own; for man feels no other than that he loves from himself and is wise from himself, or that it is from himself that he wills good and understands truth, when yet it is not in the least from himself but from God. God alone loves from Himself and is wise from Himself because God is Love itself and Wisdom itself. The likeness or appearance that love and wisdom or good and truth are in man as his own, makes man a man and able to be conjoined to God and so to live to eternity. Hence it follows that man is man from the fact that he can will good and understand truth altogether as if from himself, and yet can know and believe that it is from God; for, according as man knows and believes this, God puts His image in him; not so if he believed that it is from himself and not from God."

[6] Having said this, a zeal from the love of truth came over them, and from this they spoke as follows: "How can man receive anything of love and wisdom and retain and reproduce it, unless he feel it as his own? And how can there be conjunction with God through love and wisdom unless there be given man some reciprocal of conjunction? Without a reciprocal, there can be no conjunction; and the reciprocal of conjunction is this: Man loves God, and is wise in the things which are of God, as if from himself, and yet believes that it is from God. Moreover, how can man live to eternity unless he is conjoined with the eternal God? Consequently, how can man be man without this likeness of God within him?"

[7] On hearing these words, all expressed their approval. They then said: "Let the conclusion from this discussion be as follows: Man is a receptacle of God, and a receptacle of God is an image of God; and as God is Love itself and Wisdom itself, it is of these that man is a receptacle; and the receptacle becomes an image of God according as it receives. Man is a likeness of God from the fact that he feels in himself that the things which are from God are in him as his own; but from this likeness he is an image of God only so far as he acknowledges that the love and wisdom or the good and truth in him are not his own and thus are not from himself, but are solely in God and thus from God."

- E. Swedenborg, CL132
Angelic Wisdom concerning Congugial (True Marital) Love

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The Second Coming and Last Judgement
Emanuel Swedenborg 1688-1772
The Theological Writings of the Lord's Second Coming
"What the Writings testify" - H. Odhner


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Updated: 01/05/13