Throughout the ages, human beings have had trouble determining what is REAL? Is Reality the fleeting world we perceive through our physical senses? Do our thoughts and feelings have a reality of their own? We seem to exist in two radically different realms: the outer world of our physical body and the inner state of our thoughts and emotions. In fact, our physical body can be in the most beautiful place on Earth and we can still be in the most depressed state imaginable and not appreciate the beauty around us. Our outer world can be solid but our inner world (or emotional state) can crumble. Thus, we must conclude that our inner state is even more relevant than our outer world. And, in order to discover what is real, we must also take into account inner states.
Our mental and emotional states are not just personal; they are universal. Scientists have actually discovered that physical elemental particles emerge from virtual states of possibilities or propensities. Thus, the universe must be higher-dimensional and these higher dimensions must be states of mind and spirit. In fact, we can infer from this that the physical universe must have involved and evolved from these higher dimensions of mind and spirit. Our thoughts and feelings must simply reside in these higher-dimensional realms. It would also be logical to search for Reality in higher dimensions because we are only perceiving effects in our three-dimensional world.
Now, we know that we are free to think, imagine or believe pretty much anything we desire. Our thoughts can be irrational and our emotions are also always changing. We can be joyful and loving at certain times and be sad and angry at others. And yet, we seem to have the freedom and power to also think rationally and to love others if we so choose. For some reason, in states of love and rationality, the universe seems to be more real and meaningful than when we are angry or depressed. In fact, in states of anger or depression, everything seems unreal and meaningless. But, when we are in states of reason and love, our mind seems to be enlightened and our heart seems to be enlivened by an inner Light. Could we be perceiving Reality by means of loving and rational states of heart and mind?
This is not a coincidence! The universe seems more real when we are in states of love and reason because we were created in God’s image and likeness. Our rationality is the image of Divine Wisdom or Truth and our loving heart or will is the likeness of Divine Love. And, in fact, God’s substance (Divine Love) and God’s form (Divine Truth) are REALITY itself! The physical universe emerged by involution and evolution from the higher-dimensional realms of Heaven or Reality. In fact, all the beauty that we perceive in the material world is in correspondence with the harmonious states of Heaven because Reality is Harmonic Love, Beauty and Truth.
We were all predestined to experience the Reality of Heaven and Divine Providence is always guiding us into the Reality of Heaven but the Lord also gave us the freedom to reject Reality and remain in our fantasy worlds of falsehood and selfishness (or hell) if we so choose.
The underlying divine reality is intrinsic reality, and is also an intrinsic capacity to become manifest. Jehovah God is intrinsic reality because from eternity to eternity he is the I Am, the Absolute, and the first and only thing from which comes everything that exists and to which everything owes its existence. Because of this and nothing else he is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, and the Alpha and the Omega.
One cannot say that his underlying reality comes from himself, because coming from himself implies before and after, and therefore time, and time cannot apply to the infinite underlying reality that is described as existing from eternity. Coming from also either implies another god who is the real god, and then you have a god from a god; or it implies that God formed himself. In either case God would not be uncreated or infinite, because he would have boundaries and limitations that were imposed either by himself or by some other god.
From the fact that God is the intrinsic underlying reality, it follows that God is love in itself, wisdom in itself, and life in itself. It also follows that God is the Absolute from which all things come and to which all things are connected so that they may exist. God is God because he is life in itself, as the Lord’s words in John 5:26 make clear. Likewise in Isaiah: “I, Jehovah, am the maker of all things. I alone stretch out the heavens. I extend the earth by myself”(Isaiah 44:24); and he alone is God, and there is no God except him (Isaiah 45:14, 21; see also Hosea 13:4).
God is not only the intrinsic underlying reality but is also an intrinsic capacity to become manifest. For unless the underlying reality is capable of manifesting, it is nothing. It is equally true that the capacity to become manifest is nothing without the underlying reality. Neither one can exist without the other. The same is true for substance unless it takes a form. A substance without a form has no properties or attributes, and something that has no quality is in fact nothing.
I speak specifically here of underlying reality and capacity to become manifest, not of essence and actual manifestation, because the relationship between underlying reality and essence is the relationship between something that comes before and something that comes afterward; the same goes for the capacity to become manifest and actual manifestation. What comes before is more universal than what comes afterward. The underlying divine reality has the attributes of infinity and eternity, but the divine essence and manifestation have the attributes of divine love and divine wisdom, and through them, omnipotence and omnipresence, which I will get to when it is their turn. Emanuel Swedenborg [TCR 21]