HUMAN SOUL >> Human Form >> Will + Understanding >> Heart + Lungs

human-soul1_500_375 As regards the soul, which - it is said - goes on living after death, it is nothing else than the actual person living in the body. That is, the soul is the person's inner self acting  in the world by means of the body and imparting life to the body. When his inner self is released from the body the person is called a spirit and then appears in a completely human form. Yet he cannot be seen at all by the eyes of the body, only by those of the spirit, to which he has the same appearance as someone in the world. He has the senses - touch, smell, hearing, and sight - which are far keener than when he was in the world. He has appetites, longings, desires, affections, and loves that are like those he had in the world yet far superior. He also engages in thought as he did in the world, but in a more perfect way, and he holds conversations with others. In short his life there is as it was in the world, so much so that if he does not stop to reflect on the fact that he is in the next life, he knows no other than that he is in the world, as I have frequently heard spirits say. For life after death is a continuation of life in the world. This then is a person's soul which is alive after death.

[2] But in order that people may not lose all idea of what the word 'soul' means because of the guessing and speculation about what the soul may be, it is better to speak of a person's spirit or, if you prefer, his inner self. For his spirit, seen there, appears just like a person possessing all the members and organs that a person has; indeed it is the actual person In a body. The truth of this may also be recognized from the angels seen by people and described in the Word; all appeared in human form. Every angel in heaven possesses the human form, for the Lord, who was seen so many times after His resurrection as a person, has that form. The reason why an angel as well as a person's spirit is human in outward form is that the whole of heaven receives from the Lord the disposition to combine into a human form, which is why the whole of heaven has been called the Grand Man. (The subject of the Grand Man and the correspondence with it of all the parts of a human being have been dealt with at the ends of many chapters.) Also because the Lord lives within each inhabitant of heaven, and through what flows in from the Lord the whole of heaven exerts an influence on each inhabitant, every angel is an image of heaven, that is, he possesses a form most perfectly human. So too does a person after death.

[3] However many the spirits I have seen, thousands upon thousands, they have all looked to me exactly like men and women. Some have declared that they are people just as they were in the world, and have added that during their lifetime they had not believed anything of the sort. Many have felt sad that the human race lives in such ignorance regarding their state after death and that they think about the soul in such a senseless and futile way, and that most of those who have thought more seriously about the soul have visualized it as something like a thin column of air, which has inevitably led to the crazy error that the soul is dissipated after death. [AC6054]

From the correspondence of the heart with the will and of the intellect with the lungs, everything may be known that can be known about the will and intellect, or love and wisdom, thus about the human soul. Many in the learned world have toiled in an inquiry into the soul. But because they have known nothing about the spiritual world and a person's state after death, they have been unable to do anything other than to construct hypotheses, not about the nature of the soul, but about its operation in the body. Of the nature of the soul they have been unable to form any other idea than of its being like some purest entity in the ether, and of the environment in which it exists as being like the ether. Yet they have not dared to make public more than a little of this, for fear of attributing to the soul some natural characteristic, knowing that the soul is spiritual. [2] Now because they have had this conception of the soul, and yet have known that the soul operates in the body and produces all its effects relating to its sensation and movement, therefore they have toiled, as we said, in an inquiry into the operation of the soul in the body, which some have said is accomplished by influx, and some by a harmony of the two. However, because by this effort nothing has been discovered that can put to rest the mind which wishes to see whether a thing is so, therefore I have been granted to speak with angels and to be enlightened regarding this matter by their wisdom. I have from their wisdom the following: that the human soul which lives after death is a person's spirit; that this spirit is in complete form human; that its soul is the will and intellect, and that the soul of these is love and wisdom from the Lord; that these two are what constitute a person's life, which comes from the Lord alone; and that for Him to be received by the person, the Lord causes the life to appear as though it were the person's. Nevertheless, to keep people from attributing life to themselves as theirs and so turning away from a reception of Him, the Lord also taught that every element of love that is called good, and every element of wisdom that is called truth, comes from Him, and nothing of them from any person, and that because these two are life, every element of life that is life comes from Him. [DLW394]

Love constitutes a person's very being (esse), and lies at the root of the life he leads. That Divine love fashions him to be an image of itself, being much like the human soul - a person's inner and essential self - which so to speak creates or moulds the body into an image of itself, so that it uses the body to enable it to act and to discern things exactly as it wills and thinks. The body is then so to speak the effect, and the soul is so to speak the cause that has the end within it, the soul therefore being the all within the body, even as the cause containing the end is the all within the effect. The soul of Divine love was Jehovah Himself, as He was the Lord's soul, since He was conceived from Jehovah; and His Human, once it was glorified, could not be anything else. [AC4727]

The human soul, because it is a superior spiritual substance, receives influx immediately from God; but the human mind, because it is an inferior spiritual substance, receives influx from God mediately through the spiritual world; and the body, because it is from the substances of nature, which are called material, receives influx from God mediately through the natural world. That the good of love and the truth of wisdom flow from God into the soul of man conjointly, that is, united into one, but that they are divided by man in their progression, and are conjoined only with those who suffer themselves to be led by God, will be seen in the following articles. [ISB7]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

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