FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT >> Divine Good, Divine Truth and Proceeding Divine

FSH7 And He said, I am Jehovah the God of Abraham thy father. That this signifies the Lord, that from Him that good comes, is evident from the fact that Jehovah is the Divine   being itself of the Lord, who from the Divine good is called "the God of Abraham." (That Abraham represents the Lord as to the Divine good, may be seen above, n. 2172, 2198.) And because the Divine good is that from which are all celestial and spiritual goods, and derivatively all truths also, it is here said "Abraham the father," and indeed, "thy father," that is, the father of Jacob, when yet Isaac was his father. That in the internal sense "father" signifies good, is because good is that from which all things are in both general and particular, and truth is that through which they all come into manifestation; thus from the marriage of good and truth. Heaven itself, which consists of nothing else than the Divine marriage of good and truth, is from the Divine marriage of good and truth and of truth and good in the Lord.

[2] In universal nature also all things both in general and in particular have relation to good and truth; for there are represented in nature the celestial and spiritual goods and truths of heaven; and in heaven are represented the Divine goods and truths of the Lord. From this it is evident that good is like a father, and truth is like a mother; and that therefore in the internal sense of the Word by "father" is signified good, and by "mother," truth, and indeed the good and truth from which the lower or derived goods and truths have their birth, which are relatively as daughters and sons, and therefore in the Word are also called "daughters" and "sons" (n. 489-491, 2362). They are also relatively as brothers and sisters, as grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as sons-in-law, mothers-in-law, and daughters-in-law; in a word, as kinships and connections in every degree, and this from the marriage of good, which is the father, with truth which is the mother. (That in the heavens all things in general and particular are circumstanced according to the relationships of love and faith in the Lord, or what is the same, of good and truth, may be seen above, n. 685, 917, 2739, 3612; and that on this account the most ancient people compared each and all things to marriage, n. 54, 55; see also n. 718, 747, 1432, 2508, 2516, 2524, 2556.)

[3] That in the internal sense of the Word "father" signifies good, may be seen from many passages, as from the following. In Isaiah:

Hearken to Me ye that regard righteousness, ye that seek Jehovah; look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged; look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and I will multiply him. For Jehovah will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, and her solitude like the garden of Jehovah (Isa. 51:1-3);

where the subject is the Lord and His advent, as is evident from each particular; and who as to Divine truth is called a "rock" and a "pit"; and as to Divine good, "Abraham the father." And as the Divine marriage of good and truth is represented by Abraham and Sarah (see n. 1468, 1901, 1965, 1989, 2011, 2063, 2065, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507, 2833, 2836, 2904, 3245, 3251, 3305), it is said, "Abraham your father and Sarah who bare you." For this reason also it is said that they should "look unto the rock and unto the pit," and also "to Abraham their father and unto Sarah"; and this is why there at once follow the words, "Jehovah will comfort Zion," whereby is meant the celestial church (n. 2362), and "He will comfort her waste places, and make her wilderness like Eden, and her solitude like the garden of Jehovah."

[4] The same is signified by "Abraham" in other passages of the Word where he is called "father," as in John:

Jesus said, I speak that which I have seen with My father; and ye do the things which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's sons ye would do the works of Abraham; ye do the works of your father (John 8:38-39, 41)

And in Matthew:

Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And lo the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire (Matt. 3:9-10).

And in Luke:

When the poor man Lazarus died, he was carried up by the angels into Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died, and was buried; and when he was in hell he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom; and he cried and said, Father Abraham have mercy on me; I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house (Luke 16:22-24, 27).

In these passages it is evident that Abraham is not meant, but the Lord as to Divine good. (That Abraham is unknown in heaven, and that when mention is made of him from the Word, the Lord is understood, may be seen above, n. 1834, 1876, 1989, 3305.)

[5] That in the internal sense "father" signifies good, may be seen from the following passages. In Moses:

Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee (Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16).
That this precept, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, is true in both senses; and that in the internal sense "honoring father and mother" is to love good and truth, and in good and truth the Lord, may be seen above (n. 2609, 3690). That "days upon the land" are the consequent states of good in the Lord's kingdom, is evident from the signification of "days," as being states (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788); and from the signification of "Canaan," which is here "the land," as being the Lord's kingdom (see n. 1607, 3038, 3481); and that "to belong" is predicated of good (n. 1613).

[6] Because of this signification of "father and mother," in the representative Jewish Church many laws were enacted concerning parents and sons, in all of which in the internal sense is signified good and truth, and in the supreme sense the Lord as to Divine good and Divine truth. As in Moses:

And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, dying he shall die. And he that curseth his father or his mother, dying he shall die (Exod. 21:15, 17).


Every man that hath cursed his father, or his mother, killing he shall be killed; he that hath cursed his father or his mother, his bloods shall be upon him (Lev. 20:9).

And again:

Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother: and all the people shall say Amen (Deut. 27:16).
In Ezekiel:

Behold the princes of Israel, every man according to his arm, have been in thee to shed blood; in thee have they set light by father and mother (Ezek. 22:6-7).

In Moses:

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and though they chasten him, will not obey them; then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of the city, and unto the gate of his place; and all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die (Deut. 21:18-19, 21).

[7] In all these passages, in the sense of the letter, by "father and mother" are meant father and mother; but in the internal sense good and truth; and in the supreme sense the Lord as to Divine good and Divine truth; as also the Lord Himself teaches in Matthew:

Jesus stretched forth His hand upon His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of My Father who is in the heavens, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother (Matt. 12:49).

And again:

Be not ye called Master; for one is your Master, Christ; but all ye are brethren. And call ye not your father on earth; for one is your Father, who is in the heavens (Matt. 23:8-9);

it is not here forbidden to be called master, and to be called father on earth; but what is forbidden is to acknowledge at heart any other father than the Lord; that is, when mention is made of "master" and "father," the Lord is to be understood, who in the supreme sense is represented by them; according to what was said above (n. 3702) concerning the most ancient people who were celestial men-that whatever they perceived on earth was to them a means of thinking concerning the Lord.

[8] The like is implied in what the Lord spake to one of His disciples, who said:

Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father; but Jesus said unto him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead (Matt. 8:21-22);
for relatively to the Father in heaven, or to the Lord, a father on earth is as the dead to the living. Thus the very law concerning honoring parents is as it were dead, unless in it there are honor, worship, and love to the Lord; for that law descends from this Divine law; and hence comes that which is really living in that law; wherefore the Lord said, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead." The same is also signified by what Elijah said to Elisha:

Elijah passed by Elisha, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again; for what have I done to thee? (1 Kings 19:19-20).
That by Elijah was represented the Lord, may be seen above (preface to chapter 18 and n. 2762).

[9] In Malachi:

Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse (Mal. 4:5-6).
In Luke, the angel said to Zacharias concerning his son John:

And he shall go before His face, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons (Luke 1:17);
Here it is manifest that by "fathers" and "sons" are not meant fathers and sons, but the goods and truths of the church, which the Lord was about to restore.

[10] In Malachi:

Jehovah will be magnified from over the border of Israel. A son shall honor his father, and a servant his master. If then I be a father, where is Mine honor? If I be a master, where is My fear? (Mal. 1:5-6);

where "father" denotes those who are in the good of the church; and "master," those who are in the truth of the church; "father" manifestly denoting the Lord as to Divine good; and "master," or "lord," as to Divine truth.

[11] In David:

My father and my mother have forsaken me, but Jehovah taketh me up (Ps. 27:10);

where "father and mother" denote good and truth, which are said to have "forsaken" man when he takes note that of himself he is not able to do anything good, or to know anything true: that it is not to be understood as if David was forsaken by his father and mother is manifest.

[12] Again:

Thou art far fairer than the sons of men; the king's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is inwrought with gold. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons, whom thou shalt make princes in all the earth (Ps. 45:2, 13, 16);

where the Lord is treated of; "instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons," denotes that Divine truths shall be as Divine goods; the "king's daughter" signifies the love of truth; the "clothing inwrought with gold" signifies the quality of this truth derived from good. Inasmuch as the subject here is the Lord and His Divine Human, as is evident from the whole psalm and the particulars in it, it is evident that each and all things therein have a like predication; thus that by the "king's daughter" is not meant a king's daughter, nor that her clothing was inwrought with gold, nor that instead of fathers should be her sons, nor that these should be princes in all the earth; but that Divine celestial and spiritual things are what are signified by each expression. (That "daughter" is affection or love, may be seen above, n. 490, 491, 2362; that "king" is Divine truth,, n. 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009; that "gold" is good, n. 113, 1551, 1552; that "inwrought" is predicated of natural memory-knowledge, n. 2831; here therefore of Divine natural truth; that "clothing" is such truths as invest good, n. 297, 2576; that "sons who are instead of fathers" signify truths of good, in this case Divine truths as Divine goods, n. 264, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 1729, 1733, 2159, 2623, 2803, 2813; that "princes in the whole earth" are the primary things of the Lord's kingdom and church; that "princes" are primary things, n. 1482, 2089; that "earth" is the Lord's kingdom and church, n. 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355.)

[13] In Moses:

Jehovah had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed after them, even you out of all peoples, as at this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and no longer harden your neck (Deut. 10:15-16);
where in the internal sense "fathers" denote the Ancient and Most Ancient Churches, which were so called from the love of good and truth in which they were; from the love of good the most ancient people who were celestial men, and from the love of truth the ancient, who were spiritual men. Their goods and truths in the church are what are called the "seed which God chose." That Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his twelve sons are not the fathers here meant, and that the Israelitish and Jewish people are not the seed, is very evident; but this is said of them and to them in order that the internal sense may have some outward form intelligible to man.

[14] In Isaiah:

The child shall behave himself proudly against the old man, and the base against the honorable. When a man shall take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying, Thou hast raiment, thou shalt be a prince unto us, he shall say, In my house is neither bread nor raiment, ye shall not make me a prince of the people (Isa. 3:5-7);

where in the internal sense the perverted state of the church is treated of, when truth is no longer acknowledged as truth, and it is not known what good is. A "man taking hold of his brother in the house of his father" denotes the acknowledging of everything to be good; "raiment" denotes truth (n. 1073, 2576); "prince," the primary of doctrine therefrom (n. 1482, 2089); "there is no bread nor raiment in my house" denotes that there was neither good nor truth (that "bread" signifies good, see above, n. 276, 680, 3478; that "raiment" signifies truth, n. 297, 2576).

[15] From the representation of good and truth by father and mother, and also by daughters and sons, there were in the representative churches numerous laws which had from this what was Divine in them; as these which follow:

And the daughter of a priest, if she profane herself by committing whoredom, she profaneth her father, she shall be burned with fire (Lev. 21:9);

where the "daughter of a priest" denotes the affection of good; "father," the good from which this affection is; "committing whoredom" denotes to profane good. (What is meant by "committing whoredom" may be seen above, n. 2466, 2729, 3399; and what by "profaning," n. 1008, 1010, 1059, 2051, 3398, 3399.) Also, that if the daughter of a priest be a widow, or be divorced, and she has no seed, she shall return to the house of her father, as in her youth, and shall eat of the bread of her father; there shall no stranger eat thereof (Lev. 22:13).

[16] Likewise this law:

When thou shalt see among the captives a wife of beautiful form, and thou hast a desire unto her, to take her to thee for a woman, then thou shalt bring her into the midst of thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails, and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall sit in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a month of days; and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and shalt know her, and she shall be to thee for a woman (Deut. 21:11-13).

All things in this law in both general and particular are representative of natural truth, in that after it has been purified from falsities it is adopted by good; such truth is signified by a "wife in captivity, beautiful in form"; purification from falsities is signified by "bringing her into the midst of the house, shaving her head, paring her nails, putting off the raiment of her captivity, and bewailing her father and mother"; adoption is signified by "afterwards going in unto her, knowing her, and taking her for a woman."

[17] The laws we read of in the Word relating to marriages, that these were to be contracted within the tribe and the family; and also the laws of inheritances, that these were not to pass from tribe to tribe, also had their origin from the same source, namely, from the celestial and spiritual marriage in the Lord's kingdom, or from the marriage of good and truth, which two are signified by "father and mother"; and in like manner the laws enacted concerning the degrees of consanguinity allowed and forbidden: each law in the Word that bears on these matters has reference inwardly to the law of consociation and conjunction of good and truth in heaven, and to the consociations of evil and falsity in hell, which are separate from the former. (Concerning the degrees allowed and forbidden see Leviticus 20; concerning inheritances, that they should not pass from tribe to tribe, and concerning marriages that they should be contracted within the tribe, see Numbers 27, verses 7-9; and in other places; that in the heavens all things in general and particular are disposed according to the consanguinities and affinities of good and truth, see above, n. 685, 917, 2739, 3612.)

[18] Because the Israelitish people represented the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, and thus the heavenly order there, it was also commanded that they should be distinguished according to tribes, and according to families, and according to the houses of their fathers (Num. 26); and also that according to this order they should measure out the camp around the tent of the congregation, and likewise that they should journey according to the same order, as is written in Moses:

Every man by his own standard, with the ensigns of their fathers' houses, over against the tent of the congregation shall the sons of Israel measure out the camp; and so also were they to go forward (Num. 2:2, 34).

And therefore:

When Balaam saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes, the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered an enunciation, saying, How goodly are thy tabernacles, O Jacob, thy habitations, O Israel; as the valleys are they planted; as gardens by the river's side (Num. 24:5-6, etc.).

In this prophecy neither Jacob nor Israel is meant, but the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, and His church in the lands, which were represented by that order in which Balaam then saw them, as is manifest from the words therein.

[19] From what has been said it may also be known what is signified in the internal sense of the Word by "orphans," that is by those who are without a father; namely, those who are in a state of innocence and charity, and desire to know and to do what is good, and are not able. In such a state especially are those out of the church, of whom the Lord takes care, and in the other life adopts as sons; and because these are signified by "orphans," therefore when these are mentioned in the Word, in many passages there are also mentioned "sojourners" and "widows;" for by "sojourners" are signified those who are being instructed in goods and truths (n. 1463); and by "widows" those who are in a state of good and not so much in truth, and those who are in a state of truth and not so much in good, and yet desire to be therein. Inasmuch as by these three terms- "orphans," "sojourners," and "widows"-somewhat similar is signified in a series, therefore as before said, in many passages they are mentioned together (see Deut. 14:29; 16:14; 24:17, 19; Jer. 7:6; 22:3; Ezek. 22:7; Zech. 7:10; Ps. 94:6; 146:9). From what has been said it may now be seen what is signified in the genuine sense by "father," namely, good; and that in the supreme sense it signifies the Lord.

[20] But as most expressions in the Word have also an opposite sense, so also has "father;" and in this sense it signifies evil; and in like manner "mother," which in the genuine sense signifies truth, but in the opposite sense falsity. That this is so, may be seen from the following passages. In David:

The iniquity of his fathers shall be remembered with Jehovah; and the sin of his mother shall not be blotted out (Ps. 109:14).


They turned back and dealt treacherously, like their fathers; they were turned aside like a deceitful bow (Ps. 78:57).
In Moses:

And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity, in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them (Lev. 26:39).

In Isaiah:

Prepare ye slaughter for his sons, for the iniquity of their fathers, that they rise not up and possess the earth, and fill the face of the earth with cities (Isa. 14:21).


I will recompense your own iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together (Isa. 65:6-7).

[21] In Jeremiah:

The houses of Israel are ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets; who say to wood, Thou art my father and to stone, Thou hast begotten me; for they have turned their neck unto Me, and not the face (Jer. 2:26-27).


I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people; and the fathers and the sons together shall stumble against them; the neighbor and his companion; and they shall perish (Jer. 6:21).


The sons gather wood, and the fathers kindle a fire, and the women knead the dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven (Jer. 7:18).

And in Ezekiel:

I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations. Therefore the fathers shall eat their sons, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter unto all the winds (Ezek. 5:9-10)

speaking of the profanation of what is holy. Again:

Thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto Jerusalem, Thy tradings and thy nativity are of the land of the Canaanite; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite (Ezek. 16:3).

[22] In Matthew:

The brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father his son; and the children shall rise up against parents, and shall put them to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake. I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matt. 10:21-22, 35-37; Luke 12:49, 52-53).

Everyone that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:29; Luke 18:29-30; Mark 10:29-30).

In Luke:

If any man cometh unto Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own soul also, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:26).

[23] In Mark:

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father his children; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death; for ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake (Mark 13:12-13; Luke 21:16-17); where the consummation of the age, and the state of the church, perverted as to good and truth, is described; in that evil will rise up against truth, and falsity against good. That in the opposite sense by "father" is signified evil, is manifest from the passages already adduced, and also from this in John:

Jesus said unto them, If God were your father, ye would love Me; for I went forth and am come from God. Ye are of your father the devil, and the desire of your father it is your will to do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because the truth is not in him; when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father thereof (John 8:42, 44). [AC3703]

(4) The Human whereby God sent Himself into the world is the Son of God. The Lord frequently says that the Father sent Him, and that He was sent by the Father (as in Matt 10:40; 15:24; John 3:17, 34; 5:23, 24, 36-38; 6:29, 39, 40, 44, 57; 7:16, 18, 28, 29; 8:16, 18, 29, 42; 9:4; and in many other places); and this He says, because "being sent into the world" means to descend and come among men; and this was done by means of a human which He took on through the virgin Mary. Moreover, the Human is actually the Son of God, because it was conceived from Jehovah God as its Father (according to Luke 1:32, 35). He is called "the Son of God," "the Son of man," and "the son of Mary;" "the Son of God" meaning Jehovah God in His Human; "the Son of man" the Lord in respect to the Word; while "the son of Mary" means strictly the human He took on. That this is the meaning of "Son of God" and "Son of man" will be shown in what follows. That "the son of Mary" means the mere human is clearly seen in the generation of man, in that the soul is from the father and the body from the mother; for the soul is contained in the semen of the father and is clothed with a body in the mother; or what is the same thing, all the spiritual that man has is from the father and all the material from the mother. In regard to the Lord, the Divine that He had was from Jehovah the Father, and the human from the mother. These two united are the Son of God. This is evident from the account of the Lord's birth, as given in Luke:

The angel Gabriel said to Mary, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee therefore the Holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).

The Lord also called Himself "one sent by the Father," for the reason that sent and angel have the same meaning, angel meaning in the original one sent. For it is said in  Isaiah:

The angel of the faces of Jehovah delivered them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them (63:9);

and in Malachi:

And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in (Mal. 3:1; also elsewhere).

That the Divine Trinity-God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit-is in the Lord, and that the Father in Him is the Divine from which, the Son the Divine Human, and the Holy Spirit the Divine going forth, will be seen in the third chapter of this work where the Divine Trinity is treated of. [TCR92]




In The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Lord it has been shown, that God is one in person and essence in whom there is a trinity, and that that God is the Lord; also, that the trinity in Him is called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and that the Divine from which, (Creative Divine) is called the Father; the Human Divine, the Son; and the proceeding Divine, the Holy Spirit. This is called the “proceeding Divine,” but no one knows why it is called proceeding. This is not known, because until now it has been unknown that the Lord appears before the angels as a sun, from which sun proceeds heat which in its essence is Divine Love, and also light which in its essence is Divine Wisdom. So long as these things were unknown, it could not be known that the proceeding Divine is not a Divine by itself; consequently the Athanasian doctrine of the trinity declares that there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. Now, however, when it is known that the Lord appears as a sun, a correct idea may be had of the proceeding Divine, which is called the Holy Spirit, that it is one with the Lord, but proceeds from Him, as heat and light from a sun. For the same reason angels are in Divine heat and Divine light just so far as they are in love and wisdom.  Without knowing that the Lord appears as a sun in the spiritual world, and that His Divine thus proceeds, it can in no way be known what is meant by “proceeding,” whether it means simply communicating those things which are the Father’s and the Son’s, or simply enlightening and teaching. But inasmuch as it has been known that God is one, and that He is omnipresent, it is not in accord with enlightened reason to recognize the proceeding Divine as a Divine per se, and to call it God, and thus divide God. [DLW146]


God the Creator, together with creation, has been treated of; also the Lord the Redeemer, together with redemption; and lastly the Holy Spirit, together with the Divine operation. Having thus treated of the Triune God, it is necessary to treat also of the Divine trinity, which is known and yet unknown in the Christian world; for only through this can a right idea of God be acquired; and a right idea of God in the church is like the sanctuary and altar in a temple, or like the crown upon the head and the scepter in the hand of a king on his throne; for on a right idea of God the whole body of theology hangs, like a chain on its first link; and if you will believe it, everyone is allotted his place in the heavens in accordance with his idea of God. For that idea is like a touchstone by which the gold and silver are tested, that is, the quality of good and truth in man. For there can be no saving good in man except from God, nor any truth that does not derive its quality from the bosom of good. But that it may be seen with both eyes what the Divine trinity is, the explanation of it shall be divided into sections as follows:

(1) There is a Divine Trinity, which is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

(2) These three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the three essentials of one God, and they make one as soul, body, and operation make one in man.

(3) Before the world was created this Trinity was not; but after creation, when God became incarnate, it was provided and brought about; and then in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ.

(4) In the ideas of thought a Trinity of Divine Persons from eternity, or before the world was created, is a Trinity of Gods; and these ideas cannot be effaced by a lip-confession of one God.

(5) A Trinity of Persons was unknown in the Apostolic church, but was hatched by the Nicene Council, and from that was introduced into the Roman Catholic church, and from that again into the churches separated from it.

(6) From the Nicene Trinity and the Athanasian Trinity together a faith arose by which the whole Christian church has been perverted.

(7) This is the source of that "abomination of desolation, and that tribulation such as has not been nor ever shall be," which the Lord foretold in Daniel and in the Gospels and in the Apocalypse.

(8) So too, unless a new heaven and a new church were established by the Lord there could no flesh be saved.

(9) From a Trinity of Persons, each one of whom singly is God, according to the Athanasian Creed, many discordant and heterogeneous ideas respecting God have arisen, which are phantasies and abortions.
These propositions shall now be explained one by one. [TCR 163]

(1) There it a Divine Trinity, which is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That there is a Divine trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is made clearly evident in the Word, as in the following passages:
The angel Gabriel said to Mary, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).
Here three are mentioned, the Most High, who is God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son of God:
When Jesus was baptized, Lo, the heavens were opened, and John saw the Holy Spirit descending as a dove and coming upon Him and lo, a voice out of heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:16, 17; Mark 1:10, 11; John 1:32).
And still more plainly in these words of the Lord to His disciples:
Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19);
and still again in these words in John:
There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7).
Furthermore, the Lord prayed to His Father, and spoke of Him and with Him, and said that He would send the Holy Spirit, and He did send it. Finally the apostles in their Epistles frequently mentioned the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. From all this it is clear that there is a Divine trinity, which is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [TCR 164]

But in what manner these passages are to be understood, whether as meaning that these are three Gods, who in essence and consequently in name are one God; or that they are three objects belonging to one subject, that is, merely qualities or attributes of one God which are so named; or in some other way, the reason left to itself is incapable of seeing. What then is to be done? There is no other way than for man to go to the Lord God the Savior, and under His auspices read the Word; for He is the God of the Word; and man will then be enlightened and will see truths which reason also will acknowledge. But on the other hand, if you do not approach the Lord, though you read the Word a thousand times, and see therein the Divine trinity and the unity also, you will never understand otherwise than that there are three Divine persons, each one of whom singly is God, and thus that there are three Gods. But because this is repugnant to the common perception of all men throughout the world, to escape reproaches men have invented the notion that although there are in truth three Gods, it is indispensable to faith that one God only, and not three, be named. Furthermore, lest they should be overwhelmed with censure it was determined that on this point especially the understanding should be imprisoned and held bound under obedience to faith; and that this should evermore be a sacred principle of Christian order in the Christian church

[2] Such a paralytic birth resulted from their not reading the Word under the Lord's auspices; for everyone who does not read the Word under His auspices reads it under the auspices of his own intelligence, which is like an owl in such things as are in spiritual light, as all the essentials of the church are. And when one so reads in the Word what is said of the trinity, and from what he reads thinks that although there are three Gods they are still one, the matter appears to him like a response from a tripod, which, because he does not understand it he rolls about between his teeth; for if he should set it before his eyes it would become a riddle, which the more he tries to solve the more he involves himself in darkness, until finally he begins to think about it without understanding, which is like seeing without an eye. In short, those who read the Word under the auspices of one's own intelligence, as is done by all who do not acknowledge the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and therefore approach and worship Him alone, may be likened to children at play, who tie a bandage over their eyes and try to walk in a straight line, and even think that they are going straight ahead, when yet they turn step by step to one side and finally go in the opposite direction, and strike against a stone and fall.

[3] Such are also like mariners sailing without a compass, who run their vessel on the rocks and perish. They are also like a man walking over a wide plain in a thick fog, who seeing a scorpion takes it for a bird, and attempting to seize and pick it up with his hand receives a deadly wound. Such again are like a waterfowl or a hawk, which sees above the water a little of the back of a big fish, and darts down and fixes its beak in it, and is drawn under by the fish and drowned. Again they are like one entering a labyrinth without a guide or a cord, and the farther he goes in the more he loses sight of the way out. A man who reads the Word not under the Lord's auspices but under the auspices of his own intelligence, thinks himself a lynx and better sighted than Argus; and yet he inwardly sees not a shred of truth, but only what is false; and under self-persuasion this falsity seems to him like a polar star towards which he directs all the sails of his thought; and then he no more sees truths than a mole does, or if he sees them he bends them to favor his phantasies, and so perverts and falsifies the holy things of the Word. [TCR 165]

(2) These three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the three essentials of the one God, and they make one as soul, body, and operation make one in man. In anyone thing there are both general and particular essentials, and these together make one essence. The general essentials of the one man are his soul, body, and operation. That these constitute one essence can be seen from this-that one is from the other and for the sake of the other in an unbroken series; for man gets his beginning from the soul, which is the very essence of the semen; and the soul not only initiates, but also produces in their order all things that pertain to the body, and afterward all things that proceed from the soul and body together, which are called operations. From this production, therefore, of one from the other, and the consequent ingrafting and conjunction, it can be seen that these three are of one essence, and therefore they are called three essentials. [TCR 166]

Everyone acknowledges that these three essentials, namely, soul, body, and operation, both were and are in the Lord God the Savior. That His soul was from Jehovah the Father cannot be denied except by Antichrist; for in the Word of both Testaments He is called the Son of Jehovah, the Son of the Most High God, the Only-begotten; consequently the Divine of the Father, like the soul in man, is His first essential. From this it follows that the Son whom Mary brought forth is the body to that Divine soul; for in the mother's womb nothing is furnished except the body that has been conceived and derived from the soul; this, therefore, is His second essential. Operations constitute the third essential, since these proceed from soul and body together, and what proceeds is of the same essence as that which produces it. That the three essentials, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the Lord are one, like soul, body, and operation in man, is clearly evident from the Lord's words, that the Father and He are one; that the Father is in Him and He in the Father; and in like manner He and the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit is the Divine that goes forth out of the Lord from the Father, as fully shown above from the Word (n. 153, 154); therefore to show it again would be superfluous, and like loading a table with food after the appetite has been satisfied. [TCR 167]

When it is said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three essentials of the one God, like soul, body, and operation in man, it seems to the human mind as if these three essentials are three persons, which is impossible. But when it is understood that the Divine of the Father, which constitutes the soul, and the Divine of the Son, which constitutes the body, and the Divine of the Holy Spirit or the proceeding Divine, which constitutes the operation, are the three essentials of the one God, the statement is comprehensible. For God the Father is His Divine, the Son from the Father is His Divine, and the Holy Spirit from both is His Divine; and as these are one in essence and one in mind they constitute one God. But if these three Divine essentials are called persons, and if to each person is attributed his own property, to the Father imputation, to the Son mediation, and to the Holy Spirit operation, the Divine Essence, which in fact is one and not divisible, becomes divided: and thus none of the three is God in fullness, but each has a sub-triple power; and this a sound understanding must needs reject. [TCR 168]

 From the trinity in every man, then, who can fail to perceive the trinity in the Lord? In every man there is soul, body, and operation; so also in the Lord, "for in the Lord dwells all the fullness of Divinity bodily," according to Paul (Col. 2:9); therefore in the Lord the trinity is Divine, but in man it is human. In this mystical notion that there are three Divine persons and yet one God, and that this God, although one, is nevertheless not one person, everyone can see that reason has no part, but has been lulled to sleep, and still it compels the mouth to speak like a parrot. And when reason is put to sleep what is speech from the mouth but dead speech? When the mouth utters that which reason turns away from and dissents from, is not speech foolish? At this day human reason, in respect to the Divine trinity, is bound like a man in prison, manacled and fettered; and it may be compared to a vestal virgin buried alive for permitting the sacred fire to die out; and yet in the minds of men of the church the Divine trinity ought to shine like a lamp, since God in His trinity and in the unity thereof is the All in all the sanctities of heaven and the church. But if the soul is made one God, and the body another, and the operation a third, how does this differ from making three parts, each distinct from the other, out of these three essentials of one man? And what is that but cutting him in pieces and slaying him? [TCR 169]

(3) Before the world was created this Trinity was not; but after creation, when God became incarnate, it was provided and brought about, and then in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Christian church at the present day a Divine trinity existing before the creation of the world is acknowledged; that is, that Jehovah God begat a Son from eternity, and that the Holy Spirit then went forth from both, and that each of these three is by Himself or singly God, because each is one person subsisting of Himself. But as this is incomprehensible to all reason it is called a mystery, which can be penetrated only in this way-that these three have one Divine essence, by which is meant eternity, immensity, omnipotence, and thus an equal Divinity, glory, and majesty. But that this trinity is a trinity of three Gods, and therefore in no sense a Divine trinity, will be shown in what follows: while from all that precedes it is evident that the trinity (which is also a trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) which was provided and brought about when God became incarnate, thus after the world was created, is a Divine trinity, because it is a trinity in one God. This divine trinity is in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ, because the three essentials of the one God, which constitute one essence, are in Him. That in Him (as Paul says) dwelleth all the fullness of Divinity is evident also from the words of the Lord Himself, that all things of the Father are His, and that the Holy Spirit speaks from Him, and not of itself; and finally, that when He arose He took from the sepulchre His whole human body, both the flesh and the bones (Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:5, 6; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:11-15), unlike any other man; of which He bore living witness to His disciples, saying:
Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have (Luke 24:39).
From this every man may be convinced, if he will, that the Lord's humanity is Divine; consequently, that in Him God is Man and Man is God. [TCR 170]

Author: EMANUEL. SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

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