“No man, spirit, or angel possesses any life that originates within himself. That being so, there is nothing he thinks or wills that can originate in himself; for a person’s life consists in his thinking and willing, and his words and actions are the life that springs from them. There is only one life, the Lord’s. It flows into everyone but is received in varying ways, its reception being determined by the character a person has given his soul through the life he leads. With people who are evil therefore, forms of good and truths are turned into evils and falsities; with those who are good, forms of good are accepted as forms of good and truths as truths. This may be compared to light flowing from the sun into different objects which modify and variegate the light in many ways, depending on the form their constituent parts take, and in this way the light is converted into colours that may be either dull or bright. While a person lives in the world he is providing an outward form for the most pure substances that constitute his interiors, so that one may speak of him bringing form to his own soul, that is, fashioning its character. This form determines how the Lord’s life, flowing from His love towards the entire human race, is received. “ (Emanuel Swedenborg)
“From very much experience I have come to know that there is but one life – the Lord’s. This life flows in and gives life to man, to both good and evil alike. To that life the forms which consist of material substance correspond, and those forms – by means of a constant inflow of the Divine – receive life in such a way that they seem to themselves to live independently. This correspondence is a correspondence of the organs of life with life itself. Yet the nature of the recipient organs determines the kind of life they have. In those people who have love and charity within them that correspondence is present, for the life itself is received by them as it should be. But that correspondence is not present in those who have the reverse of love and charity within them, for the life itself is not received by them as it should be. Consequently the nature of the life received by them depends on what they are like themselves. This may be exemplified from the natural forms on to which the light of the sun falls – the nature of the forms receiving it determines the variations of the light reflected in them. In the spiritual world the variations are spiritual, and therefore the nature of recipient forms in that world determines that of the intelligence and the wisdom they have.” (Emanuel Swedenborg)
“If we look critically at human life with rational insight, it turns out to be threefold-spiritual life, moral life, and civic life. These lives are distinguishable: some people live a civic life but not a moral or spiritual one, some live a moral life but not a spiritual one, and some live a civic and a moral life and a spiritual life as well. These last are the ones who are leading heaven’s life, while the former are leading the world’s life, divorced from heaven’s life.
To begin with, then, we may gather that a spiritual life is not separate from a natural life or the world’s life but is united to it like a soul to its body; and if they were separated, it would be like a house without a foundation, as just stated.
In fact, moral and civic living is what spiritual life does, for intending well is the essence of spiritual life and behaving well is the essence of moral and civic life. If these are separated from each other, spiritual life consists solely of thinking and talking, and the intent ebbs away because it has no support. Yet intent is our actual spiritual substance.” (Emanuel Swedenborg)
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Clarke (Boston University), and Z. Levay (STScI)