New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 16

new church life: march/april 2017 definition, is that in the largest sense “The Word” is everything that the Lord has created or done, all of the proceeding of the Divine truth. In that sense we can call the universe, and heaven and all nature the Word. (See John 1, Divine Love and Wisdom 52, 55, and New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 11.) However, when it is said that the Word was written wholly by means of correspondences I believe that it is our written Word – the Old and New Testaments – that is meant. “By Word here, Divine truth is meant, because the Word which is in the Church is Divine truth itself, for it was dictated by Jehovah Himself, and what is dictated by Jehovah is nothing but Divine truth and can be nothing else.” (True Christian Religion 85) And who but the Lord could create such a set of stories and prophecies that could contain in their spiritual and celestial inner senses such a wealth of truths as to keep the angelic heavens busy forever? (See also Last Judgment 1, Sacred Scripture 113, 117.) We know that cities in the Word represent doctrine, and the holy city, the New Jerusalem, is sent “down from God out of Heaven.” What else can this be but what Swedenborg was commissioned to write? And because it came down from heaven, Swedenborg is well justified in calling it the heavenly doctrine and thus distinguishing it from the corresponding literal doctrine of what we commonly call the Word. Are the Writings then the Word? Yes, of course, they are: 1) they come from the Lord as Swedenborg tells us several times, and 2) they are the interior of the Old and New Testaments that we have always called the Word. Are the Writings a separate work that we are adding to the Word – a “New Word” as Mr. Ridgway calls it in the quote shown above? I don’t think so. They are what the angels understand of the Word, and those spiritual knowledges have always been inside the Word ever since the literal sense started to be written down. They may be new to our world but in heaven they go back, I think, to the Garden of Eden, and certainly to the Ancient Word. So they don’t exactly add to the Word something new; they rather open up the Word so that we can understand it better, see what has always been there, inside, as the angels do. How do we regard the Writings, as open, or as shrouded by clouds? Well, the Lord told us in John 16:25 that when the spirit of truth came he would tell us plainly of the Father. In 2 Samuel 23:4 we can read of King David’s last song: “And He shall be as the light of the morning when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds . . . ” And let’s look at the “Holy city, whose street was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” and “the city had no need of the sun to shine in her . . . for the glory of God enlightened her,” and from the throne of God in that city a river flowed, “a pure river of water of life, bright as crystal.” 82