It is evident that the physical world consists of space and matter. But what space and matter represent is not so evident. According to the Big Bang theory and Hubble’s law, the space of the universe is in fact expanding with time. Galaxies are receding into the outer reaches of space. Thus, although the physical universe may not be infinite, it is expanding without bounds. On the other hand, we also know that energy and elementary particles, atoms and molecules are coagulating and fusing into denser and denser structures of matter through gravitation.

In the macrocosmic world, galaxies, planets and stars are expanding out and gravitating in or exploding and imploding. This is what what causes all the rotations, revolutions and vortical motions in space. In the microcosmic world, particles, atoms and molecules are also separated by means of electricity and united by means of magnetism.

Now, if we assume that the universe is higher-dimensional and these dimensions are dimensions of mind and spirit, then we can speculate that these actions in the physical world are in correspondence with corresponding actions in the spiritual world. Thus, Expansion-Gravitation and Electro-magnetism must be in correspondence with the involution-evolution of Wisdom-Love in higher dimensions. Wisdom or Truth separates what is discordant from what is harmonious and Love reunifies what is harmonious.

The universe is expanding and gravitating because it is perpetually realizing Wisdom-Love which is God’s substance and form. Everything is emanating or involving from a singularity (the Infinite or God) and evolving or returning to the Infinite or God.

Therefore the physical universe is expanding and will continue to expand because God’s Love is infinite. And the length of physical space corresponds to the Good of Divine Love, its breadth to its Truth and its height to “the distinction between them in accordance with degrees.”

It follows from this that in the Word places and spaces, and all things that in any way relate to space, signify such things as relate to states, such as distances, near, far off, ways, journeys, sojourning, miles and furlongs, plains, fields, gardens, cities and streets, motions, measures of various kinds, long, broad, high, and deep, and innumerable other things; for most things in man’s thought from the world take on something from space and time. I will mention here only what is signified in the Word by length, breadth, and height. In this world, that is called long or broad which is long or broad in relation to space, and the same is true of height. But in heaven, where there is no thought from space, length means a state of good, breadth a state of truth, and height the distinction between them in accordance with degrees. Such is the meaning of these three dimensions, because length in heaven is from east to west, and those that dwell there are in good of love; while breadth in heaven is from south to north, and those that dwell there are in truth from good; while height in heaven applies to both of these in respect to degrees. This is why length, breadth, and height have these significations in the Word, as in Ezekiel (from chap. 40 to 48), where the new temple and the new earth, with the courts, chambers, gates, doors, windows, and surroundings are described by measures giving the length, breadth, and height, by which a new church, and the goods and truths that are in it are signified. Otherwise to what purpose would be all those measures?

In like manner the New Jerusalem is described in the Apocalypse in these words:

The city lieth foursquare, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth; and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs; the length, the breadth, and the height are equal (21:16).

Because “the New Jerusalem” here signifies a new church these measures signify the things of the church, “length” its good of love, “breadth” truth from that good, “height” good and truth in respect to degrees, “twelve thousand furlongs” all good and truth in the complex. Otherwise, how could there be said to be a height of twelve thousand furlongs, the same as the length and the breadth? That “breadth” in the Word signifies truth is evident from David:-

Jehovah, Thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy, Thou hast made my feet to stand in a broad place (Psalm 31:8).

Out of straitness I called upon Jah; He answereth me in a broad place (Psalm 118:5).

Besides other passages (as in Isaiah 8:8; and in Habakkuk 1:6). So in all other cases. Emanuel Swedenborg [HH 197]

To make it clear that the merely natural man thinks of spiritual and Divine things from space, and the spiritual man apart from space, let the following serve for illustration. The merely natural man thinks by means of ideas which he has acquired from objects of sight, in all of which there is figure partaking of length, breadth, and height, and of shape determined by these, either angular or circular. These [conceptions] are manifestly present in the ideas of his thought concerning things visible on earth; they are also in the ideas of his thought concerning those not visible, such as civil and moral affairs. This he is unconscious of; but they are nevertheless there, as continuations. With a spiritual man it is different, especially with an angel of heaven, whose thought has nothing in common with figure and form that derives anything from spiritual length, breadth, and height, but only with figure and form derived from the state of a thing resulting from the state of its life. Consequently, instead of length of space he thinks of the good of a thing from good of life; instead of breadth of space, of the truth of a thing from truth of life; and instead of height, of the degrees of these. Thus he thinks from the correspondence there is between things spiritual and things natural. From this correspondence it is that in the Word “length” signifies the good of a thing, “breadth” the truth of a thing, and “height” the degrees of these. From this it is evident that an angel of heaven, when he thinks of the Divine Omnipresence, can by no means think otherwise than that the Divine, apart from space, fills all things. And that which an angel thinks is truth, because the light which enlightens his understanding is Divine Wisdom. Emanuel Swedenborg [DLW 17]

Image Credit: Galaxy Cluster MACS 1206, NASA, ESA, M. Postman (STScI), and the CLASH Team