Creation of the Universe

Third Memorable Relation

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The next day an angel came to me from another society and said, "We have heard in our society that on account of your meditations about the creation of the universe you were summoned to a society near ours, and there told things about creation which the society then assented to, and have since remembered with pleasure. I will now show you how all kinds of animals and vegetables were produced by God."

He led me away to a broad green field and said, "Look around." And I looked around, and saw birds of most beautiful colors, some flying, some perched upon the trees, and some scattered over the field plucking little leaves from roses. Among the birds were doves and swans. After these had disappeared from my sight I saw not far from me flocks of sheep with lambs, and of kids and she-goats; and round about these flocks I saw herds of cattle, young and old, also of camels and mules, and in a kind of grove, deer with high horns, and also unicorns.

When I had beheld these things the angel said, "Turn your face towards the east." And I saw a garden containing fruit trees, as orange trees, lemon trees, olive trees, vines, fig-trees, pomegranates, and also shrubs bearing berries. The angel then said, "Look now towards the south." And I saw fields of various kinds of grain, as wheat, millet, barley, and beans, and round about them flower beds containing roses of beautifully varied colors; but toward the north I saw thick groves of chestnut trees, palms, lindens: plane trees, and other trees with rich foliage.

When I had seen these things the angel said, "All these things that you have seen are correspondences of affections of the love of the angels who are near." And he told me to what affection each particular thing corresponded; and moreover, that not these only, but also all other things that presented themselves to their sight were correspondences, as houses, the articles of furniture in them, the tables and food, the clothing, and even the gold and silver coins, as also the diamonds and other precious stones with which wives and virgins in the heavens are adorned. "From all these things," he said, "the character of every person in respect to love and wisdom is perceived by us. The things in our houses that are of use remain there permanently; while to the sight of those who wander from one society to another these things change as their associations change.

These things have been shown to enable you to see, in a special example, the entire creation. For God is love itself and wisdom itself; the affections of His love are infinite, and the perceptions of His wisdom are infinite; and of these each thing and all things that appear on earth are correspondences. This is the origin of birds and beasts, forest trees, fruit trees, crops and harvests, herbs and grasses. For God is not extended, and yet He is present throughout all extension, thus throughout the universe from its firsts to its lasts; and He being thus omnipresent, there are these correspondences of the affections of His love and wisdom in the whole natural world; while in our world, which is called the spiritual world, there are like correspondences with those who are receiving affections and perceptions from God. The difference is that in our world such things are created by God from moment to moment in accordance with the affections of the angels. In your world they were created in like manner in the beginning; but it was provided that they should be renewed unceasingly by the propagation of one from another, and creation be thus continued.

In our world creation is from moment to moment, and in yours continued by propagation, because the atmospheres and earths of our world are spiritual, and the atmospheres and earths of your world natural; and natural things were created to clothe spiritual things as skin clothes the bodies of men and animals, as outer and inner barks clothe the trunks and branches of trees, the several membranes clothe the brain, tunics the nerves, and the inner coats their fibers, and so on. This is why all things in your world are constant, and are renewed constantly from year to year."

To this the angel added, "Go and tell the inhabitants of your world what you have seen and heard, for hitherto they have been in complete ignorance about the spiritual world; and without some knowledge about it no one can know, nor even guess, that in our world creation is a continuous process, and that it was the same in yours while the universe was being created by God."

After this we talked about various matters; and at length about hell, that no such things are seen there as are seen in heaven, but only their opposites; since the affections of the love of those there, which are lusts of evil, are opposites of the affections of love in which angels of heaven are. Thus with those in hell, and in general in their deserts, there are seen birds of night, such as bats and owls; also wolves, panthers, tigers, and rats and mice; also venomous serpents of every kind, dragons and crocodiles; and (where there is any herbage) brambles, nettles, thorns, and thistles, and some poisonous plants grow: and at times these disappear, and then nothing is seen but heaps of stones, and bogs in which frogs croak.

All of these things are correspondences; but as has been said, they are correspondences of the affections of the love of those in hell, which affections are lusts of evil. Not withstanding these things are not created there by God; nor were they created by Him in the natural world, where like things exist. For all things that God has created and does create were and are good; while such things on the earth sprang up along with hell, and hell originated in men, who by turning away from God became after death satans and devils. But as these terrible things began to be painful to our ears, we turned our thoughts from them and recalled to mind what we had seen in heaven.


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