Category — Sexual disorders
Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Concerning the sixth state of the formation of the Church we read:
“The life of Charity, acquired by the conjugial of the true of the natural in the sphere of the Lord’s Divine Human with the affection of the true of the Word and of Doctrine in the human things, and the submission to the good of the natural from the Divine Human, and the conjunction with the rational.”
The second half of the sixth day of creation is described thus.
“And God created man in His own image. Male and female created He them.” (Gen.1:27)
While the sixth day of creation is not identical with the sixth state of formation, there is a parallelism between them, and both for the first time speak of the Conjugial.
While the Church is far from the sixth state in its fulness, and few come to the sixth state, still there may be a certain image of the sixth state in the Church. Every general state of the Church has in it a week, and in its own series every state of the Church should come to its sixth state.
It is therefore appropriate to speak about the sixth state, although in its fulness we are far removed from it.
The importance of coming to a new natural has been stressed in the Church,, and the danger of skipping over the natural. How the inmost of the natural human, in ultimates, has especially to do with the relation of husband and wife. If there is no longing to come to this conjugial in ultimates, the natural is skipped over; thus the new human, the creation of man in the image of God, as male and female is not looked to. If the marriage of good and truth is alone looked to and not its ultimate in the marriage relation of husband and wife, the natural is skipped over, and man cannot come into a new human from the Lord. It is, I believe, therefore useful at this time to consider the conjugial which should exist between husband and wife.
We read: “That there is love truly Conjugial; which is so rare at the present day that its quality is not known, and scarcely that it exists.”
The above quotation is true in both its spiritual sense, and in its sense of the letter. When it is said, “It is not known at the present day”, do we think this applies only In the world, or do we think it may apply to those in the Church?
Even in the New Church it is commonly felt that if two marry in the Church and are faithful to each other, and do not commit adultery or flirt with others, and get along reasonably well together, that they are in Conjugial love. But, apart from being members of a church, the above statement applies to animals as well as persons; in fact, some animals, particularly some birds, set an example, that few human beings equal. It is evident therefore, if this is the only idea of Conjugial love, it is not known what conjugial love is, and scarcely that it exists. If a couple has not come to the relation in their marriage where they have shunned the external lusts which destroy Conjugial love, or if they have not striven for an external harmony of life, the most essential thing for them is to strive with all their power to establish such a natural basis for their life.
From the Marriage Service it is known that Conjugial love descends from the marriage of the Divine and the Human in the Lord, from the marriage of the Lord and the Church, and from the marriage of the good and the true; and it might be known that in so far as these are not present in the marriage of a man and woman, they are not in love truly Conjugial. But in this paper we will limit ourselves to considering certain aspects of Conjugial love in relation to its ultimate or natural application, that is, to Conjugial love between a husband and wife.
In so far as the husband and wife remain in the things of their proprium, in which all are before regeneration, love truly Conjugial does not exist.
The male proprium differs from the female proprium. It is only in so far as a man sees the nature of his male proprium, acknowledges it for what it is, and fights against it; and so far as a woman sees the nature of her female proprium, acknowledges it for what it is, and fights against it; that a man and woman can come first to an external order of marriage and, afterwards to love truly Conjugial.
The male proprium consists primarily in the man’s love of his own intelligence, and the female proprium consists primarily in the love of her own natural affections. Unless these propriums with the man and woman are over come, love truly Conjugial is not possible.
We read: “Every man from birth is inclined to love himself, lest from the love of himself and conceit of his own intelligence man should perish, it was provided that this love of man should be transcribed into the wife, and it is implanted from birth in her, that she shall love the intelligence and wisdom of her man and thus the man, by which means the wife continually attracts the man’s pride of his own intelligence to herself, and extinguishes it with him and vivifies it with herself, and so turns it into Conjugial love (C.L. 353)
In order that the wife may have the ability to take away from man the love of his own intelligence, “which would destroy him”, (C.L.88), a perception of the states of a man is given to the woman, as described by angel wives as follows: “You exult over us on account of your wisdom, but we do not exult over you on account of ours; and yet our wisdom excels yours, in that it enters into your inclinations and affections and perceives and feels them, you know nothing at all about the inclinations and affections of your love, although it is from these and according to them that your understanding thinks, and from these and according to them you are wise. And yet wives know them so well that they see them in their faces, hear them in the tones of the speech of their mouths, yea may feel them in their breasts, arms and cheeks.”(C.L. 206)
It is most important that a husband should not resist the effort of his wife to take away the love of his own intelligence, and her effort to turn this to love of herself; and he does this when he leaves father and mother, that is, the proprium of his will and the proprium of his understanding, and cleaves to the genuine things of his wife.
On the other hand, it is the nature of the proprium of a woman to abuse the gift of the Lord, namely, the perception of the states of her husband, and use it to have her own natural affections rule, – the fruit given by Eve to Adam, which led to the fall.
The true order of coming to Conjugial love is described as follows:
“That the woman is actually formed into a wife, according to the description in the Book of Creation. It is said in this book that the woman was created out of the rib of the man; and when she was brought to him the man said; ‘This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; and she shall be called Ishah (Woman), because she was taken out of Ish (Man)’ (Gen.2:22,23)
“By a rib, in the Word, nothing else is signified than natural truth, the breast of a man is signified that essential and peculiar thing wherein it is distinguished from the breast of a woman. That this is wisdom may be seen, in n. 187; for truth supports wisdom as a rib supports the breast. These things are signified because it is the breast wherein all things pertaining to man are, as it were, in their center. From these significations it appears that the woman was created out of the man by transcription of his own wisdom, that is wisdom from natural truth; and that the love of this by the man, was transferred to the woman that it might become conjugial love; also, that this was done to the end that in the man there may be, not love of himself, but love of his wife, who, from the disposition innate within her, cannot but convert love of himself with the man into his love to her. And I have heard that this is effected by the love itself of the wife, unconsciously to the man, and unconsciously to the woman. It results from this that no man can ever love his married partner with love truly conjugial, who from the love of himself is in the pride of his own intelligence” (C.L. 193)
“That the formation is effected in secret ways, and that this is meant by the woman’s being created while the man slept.
“We read in the Book of Creation: –
“’Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, that he should fall asleep; and then He took one of his ribs and built it into a woman’.(Gen.2;21s22) That by the man’s deep sleep and by his falling asleep is signified his entire ignorance that his wife is formed and as it were created from him, appears from what is shown in the preceding chapter, and also in this, respecting the innate prudence and circumspection of wives, lest they divulge anything whatever about their love or about their assumption of the affections of the man’s life, and so of the transcription of his wisdom into themselves.
“In order that this may be rightly done it is enjoined upon the man that he shall leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife. By ‘father and mother’ whom the man is to leave are meant in the spiritual sense his proprium of the will and of the understanding. It is the proprium of man’s will to love himself; and the proprium of the understanding is to love his own wisdom. By ‘cleave’ is signified to devote himself to the love of his wife. That these two propria are evils deadly to man, if they remain with him; and that the love of these two is changed into conjugial love in so far as a man cleaves to his wife, that is, receives her love” (C.L.194) When the above takes place, “The intellectual of the man is the inmost of the woman.”(C.L.195)
While the above coming to conjugial love is done by the Lord “unknown to the man and unknown to the woman”, still either the man or the woman or both, can prevent this formation, and usually do so; the man by refusing and resisting the giving up of the love of his own intelligence; and the woman by refusing to give up the love of the rule of her natural affections, so that the intellectual of the man might become her inmost. While the internal formation of conjugial love is done by the Lord unknown to the man and unknown to the woman, if there were no cooperation in the external on the part of the husband and wife, this would be a matter of immediate mercy apart from means.
We are taught, “that there may be conjugial love with one of the married partners (who is spiritual), and not at the same time with the other” (who is merely natural).”
Such a relation is described in the story of Judah and Tamar, and also in the story of Moses and Zipporah, the wife of Moses, where she says of Moses, “a bridegroom of bloods art thou to me,” (Ex.4:25) Moses in these verses represents the Israelitish nation and Zipporah represents the representative church. Much that is very similar is said in the Arcana Coelestia about these two stories of Moses and Zipporah, and Judah and Tamar, Judah and Moses, in these two stories represent the Jewish and Israelitish Churches which were in the externals of the church, without an internal, and whose internals were evil; while Zipporah and Tamar represent the true representative church.
Concerning Tamar we are told that she represents “the internal truths of the representative Church.” (A.C.4859)
And of the relation of Judah and Tamar we read that: “The conjunction of the internal truth with the external, or with the religiosity of the Jewish nation, is represented by the conjunction of Tamar with Judah as a daughter-in-law with a father-in-law under the pretext of the duty of a husband’s brother; and the conjunction of the religiosity of the Jewish nation with the internal of the church is represented by the conjunction of Judah with Tamar as with a harlot.”
While these stories of Moses and his wife Zipporah, and Judah and Tamar, in their internal sense treat of things which take place in the internal of every man and woman, the Word contains many series, and in one of these series it treats of the relationship of a man who is merely natural, with a wife who is in internal things. In such a relationship the wife looks to interior truths, while the husband is only in the external of the church, the Word, and of worship without an internal; although sometimes through the Lord’s working, while the wife cooperates, the man may later come to an internal. A man before regeneration is always in the external of the Word., of the church and of worship, without an internal. If the wife has come to an internal, and not as yet the husband, she with great patience, waits and longs for her husband to come to an internal; but yet she does not permit herself to be drawn down into the plane of the external without an internal in which her husband is, nor does she permit the man1s love of his own intelligence, which he is not willing to leave, rule over her.
On the other hand the man may be in internals and the wife only in externals, a state which in one of many series, is represented by the story of Joseph and the wife of Potiphar, Every woman, as to her proprium or before regeneration, has more or less in her of that which is represented by Potiphar’s wife; and if her husband should be in something of the internal (which in the fullest sense is represented by Joseph), while she is in a natural not spiritual, the enticements she uses are directed especially towards her husband.
By Joseph in this chapter is represented spiritual good, while by the wife of Potiphar is represented the truth natural not spiritual, adjoined to natural good.
We read: “Good in man is from a twofold source – from what is hereditary and hence adventitious, and also from the Doctrine of faith and charity… Good from the former origin is natural not spiritual, while good from the latter origin is good spiritual natural. From a like origin is truth, because all good has its own truth adjoined to it. Good natural from the former origin has much that is akin to good from the second origin, that is from the Doctrine of faith and charity, but only in the external form, being entirely different in the internal form. Good natural from the former origin may be compared to the good which exists with gentle animals; but good natural from the second origin is proper to the man who acts from reason, and knows how to dispense what is good in various ways according to vises. This dispensing of what is good is taught by the Doctrine of what is just and fair, and in a higher degree by the Doctrine of faith and charity. Every one who has not been regenerated, sees good from its external form, and this for the reason that he does not know what charity is, or what the neighbor is. (A.C.4988)
“To be conjoined with ones wife from lust alone, this is natural not spiritual, but to be conjoined with ones wife from conjugial love, this is spiritual natural, and when the husband is afterwards conjoined from lust alone he believes he has transgressed, and therefore no longer desires that this should be appropriated to him.” When it is said in the above, “conjoined with ones wife from lust alone”, the conjunction of minds should be seen as the primary thing; and “lust” should be regarded primarily as the lust for the conjunction of minds, apart from the conjugial of the good and the true.
To continue the number: “To benefit a friend, no matter what his quality, provided he is a friend, is not spiritual; but to benefit a friend for the sake of the good that is in him, and still more to hold good itself as a friend which is to be benefitted, is spiritual natural; and when any one is in this, he knows that he transgresses if he benefits a friend who is evil. When he is in this state he holds in aversion the appropriation of good natural not spiritual, and so with every thing else.” (A.C.4992)
We read further: “Those within the Church who are in truths natural not spiritual also say that every one is the neighbor, but they do not admit of degrees and distinctions; and. therefore if they are in natural good they do good without’ distinctions, to every one who excites their pity, and oftener to the evil than to the good, because in their knavery the evil know how to excite their pity.” (A.С. 5008)
In relation to the above we should think primarily of the relation to those in the Church, and of the “doing good without distinction.” We should think primarily of doing spiritual good.
Also in this series of numbers where it speaks of those who make no distinction in giving to the poor, to widows, to the fatherless, etc. The meaning in relation to our duty applies in the first place to “the spiritually poor, the widows and the fatherless, etc.” in the Church, And where it speaks of a judge doing charity in punishing the evil, and thereby protecting society, and, if possible, leading to amendment, we should regard the word judge as having a primary application to those in the Church who have judgment, and of punishment, in relation to those who are in the Church.
Particularly women in the Church in so far as they have not been well instructed and regenerated, tend to resist the practical application of these laws.
A woman in her non-regenerate state can find many apparent truths to support her natural good affections, which are not spiritual, including many things from the literal sense of the Word, represented by the garment of Joseph, which the wife of Potiphar took away; and, with her siren song, can entice her husband who cannot resist the appeal of her natural good affections, not spiritual natural unless like Ulysses, he ties himself fast to the mast of Doctrine.
We read in Conjugial Love: “The Church is formed by the Lord with man and through the man with the wife.” (C.L. 63)
“The church with them is first implanted in the man, and through the man in the wife; because the man receives its truth in his understanding; and the wife from the man. If the contrary it is not according to order. This however does occur; but with men who are either not lovers of wisdom, and are therefore not of the church; as also with those who depend as slaves on the beck of their wives.” (C.L. 125)
Especially in recent times, a sickness prevails in which men instead of being in love of their own intelligence, as is normal for a man before regeneration, merely love their natural affections above everything and thus become effeminate; while women who are ambitious to become intellectual and vie with men, become masculine imitations; but these are abnormalities, which indeed are becoming rather common.
But returning to the normal state of those before regeneration; it is evident that the proprium of the man will strive mightily against his giving up the love of his own intelligence; and the proprium of the woman will fight even harder against giving up the rule of her merely natural good affections; and that regeneration in relation to these loves is a life-long struggle.
In this struggle a man must discipline himself to cleave to his wife and thus permit his wife to take away from him the love of his own intelligence;, and must not resent it; but must permit her to manifest to him the presence of love of his ото intelligence in himself. The husband must especially love his wife in so far as she has become a form of truth and her womanly affections are out of this; but he must resist her with all his power in so fax as she tries to bring him under the persuasion of the apparent truths of her merely natural good affections.
And on her part, the woman, must permit the rational of her husband, if he has one, to elevate her above her natural good, which is not spiritual natural; but she must resist him in so far as he tries to lead her by a merely natural scientific rational. The road to conjugial love is therefore long and difficult, for both the husband and wife,, and can never be arrived at if both axe not in humility. A husband cannot help his wife, nor a wife her husband, unless they are both struggling; the man to overcome his male proprium and the woman her female proprium.
Here the words of the Lord apply: “Cast out first the beam that is in thine own eye, …then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)
Instead of leading men out of the love of their own intelligence, many women flatter the intelligence of their husbands, to gain power and at the same time, dominate their husband’s will by their will. Men then try to defend themselves by their scientific rational faculty, but usually without much success. The woman in such a case, will oppose the man’s ideas and at the same time flatter Ms love of his own intelligence.
In the world, and in the New Church, there are some who are in what is considered happy marriages; yet love truly Conjugial, which comes only by regeneration, is arrived at by such a narrow path, that the quotation with which we commenced this paper still applies:
“That there is a love truly conjugial; which is so rare at the present, that its quality is not known and scarcely that it exists.” (C.L.58)
For its quality can only be known by those who are in it.
Since there is a growing lack of light on these simple matters, there is a need to consider this subject in greater detail. Yet, if you are clear, that these things are contrary to the Divine Spiritual and Natural Order, you’d rather skip this page.
The nature of sodomy, homosexuality cannot be known, unless the nature of conjugial love is known:
“… THE NATURE OF SCORTATORY LOVE CANNOT BE KNOWN UNLESS THE NATURE OF CONJUGIAL LOVE IS KNOWN.
“Here, as in no. 423, by scortatory love is meant the love of adultery which destroys conjugial love. That the nature of this scortatory love cannot be known unless the nature of conjugial love is known, has no need of demonstration; it needs only to be illustrated by comparisons. For instance, Who can know what evil and falsity are unless he knows what good and truth are? and who can know what the unchaste is, or the dishonorable, the indecorous, and the ugly, unless he knows what the chaste is, or the honorable, the decorous, and the beautiful? Who can discern insanities save one who is wise, that is, Who knows what Wisdom is? Who can rightly perceive inharmonious stridors save one who by learning and study has absorbed harmonious numbers? In like manner, Who can see clearly the nature of adultery unless he has seen clearly the nature of marriage? or Who can set before his judgment the filthiness of the pleasures of scortatory love unless he has previously set before his judgment the cleanness of conjugial love? Because I have now finished The Delights of wisdom concerning Conjugial Love, therefore, from the intelligence thence acquired, I am able to describe the pleasures [of insanity] from scortatory love.” (Conjugial Love №424)
It is of use to learn about natural sodomy /homosexuality, or sodomy/homosexuality in the sense of the letter, and understand it, because the sense of the letter, which relates to life and thus to salvation, is the basis of the spiritual life, and it is from this sense that the genuine doctrine (and thus the christian lifestyle and life views) is drawn, and it is by this sense that it is confirmed.
“Doctrine should be drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word and confirmed by it. This is because in it the Lord is present, and teaches and enlightens; for the Lord never operates except in fullness, and in the sense of the letter the Word is in its fullness, as has been shown above. This is why doctrine should be drawn from the sense of the letter. Moreover, the doctrine of genuine truth may be fully drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word; since the Word in that sense is like a man clothed, with his face bare and his hands bare; and all things pertaining to man’s faith and life and thus his salvation are there naked; while the rest are clothed; but in many places where they are clothed, they show through, as objects are seen by a woman through a thin silk veil before her face. Furthermore, as the truths of the Word are multiplied as it were, by love for them, and by this love are arranged in order, they more and more clearly shine forth and are seen.” (True Christian Religion 229)
“The doctrine of genuine truth can also be drawn in full from the sense of the letter of the Word, because in this sense the Word is like a man clothed whose face and hands are bare. All things that concern man’s life, and consequently his salvation, are bare; but the rest are clothed. In many places also where they are clothed they shine through their clothing, like a face through a thin veil of silk.” (Doctrine of Sacred Scripture №55)
“…the sense of the Word which is called the sense of the letter, corresponds in its ultimates to the hair of the head, and for the rest it corresponds to the various parts in man, as his head, breast, loins, and feet; but where there are these correspondences in that sense, the Word is as it were clothed, and it therefore corresponds to the clothing of those parts, for garments in general signify truths, and also actually correspond to them. But yet many things in the sense of the letter of the Word are naked, as without clothing, and these correspond to the face of man, and also to his hands, which parts are bare. These parts of the Word serve for the doctrine of the church, because in themselves they are spiritual natural truths. Whence it may be evident that there is no lack, but that man can find and see naked truths even in the letter of the Word.” (About the Word of the Lord from experience №10)
It is not spiritually healthy to deny any genuine natural sense of the Word, which describes both the order of conjugial relationship and disorder of the scortary/adulterous copulations.
“About those who defile the blood. There are certain spirits who love to scurry around, constantly wanting to mock what they do not understand, just as spirits mock inward and very inward [truths]. There was in fact one who continually declared, “That is not right,” that is, the Word of the Lord does not mean that, but something else. Thus he could disclaim almost anything said by the Lord and elsewhere in the Word, because he had heard that the meaning of the letter was nothing, as said above about the 12 thrones, and about persecutions and miseries [1321-8]. Therefore, he maintained that nothing must be taken literally, thus ridiculing it and saying it was not right. He did this most consistently, distorting and stretching the words, and thus convincing people.
About him I was told that he related to those elements in the body that defile the blood. For if something bad and noxious flows into the blood, it then pervades the venal and arterial systems and thus defiles the blood stream. So do those who as it were cast insults upon the Word of the Lord for the reason that they do not understand its contents, loving only bodily and material things.” (Spiritual Experiences №1335)
The love of marriage of one man and one woman, or one husband and one wife, and the love of adultery, which includes sodomy/homosexuality are opposites
“… the love of marriage and the love of adultery are opposites (no. 425). The love of marriage acts as one with the church and religion (no. 130 and elsewhere throughout the First Part); hence the love of adultery, being the opposite love, acts as one with all that is against the church. That these adulterers cast off all things of the church and its religion is also because the love of marriage and the love of adultery are opposites, just as the marriage of good and truth is opposite to the connubial connection of evil and falsity (nos. 427, 428); and the marriage of good and truth is the church, while the connubial connection of evil and falsity the anti-church.” (Conjugial Love 497)
Where is in the Word is there the most general attitude towards this kind of evils?
For example, in the True Christian Religion.
“THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT. “THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY. In the natural sense, this commandment means not only not to commit adultery, but it refers also to willing and doing obscene things and thinking and speaking about lascivious things. ” (True Christian Religion 313)
How sodomy is called in Swedenborg?
“Foul conjunctions,” “foul adulteries,” “unmentionable sexual unions,” “abominable copulations” in Arcana Coelestia №3703, №4434, №4868, №6348, Conjugial Love №519, Apocalypse Explained №235, №410, №434
The thing, which happened in Sodom, what was it strictly in the sense of the letter?
Homosexual rape. This is what is meant by Sodom in the very narrow sense of the letter.
Why is then homosexuality implied when the Sodom is named?
Because it was not the rape alone, that was involved, but the homosexual acts were involved as well.
Is there any commandment regarding homosexuality in the Old Testament?
Yes. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
Why Leviticus 18:22 speaks only about males? Does it not apply to women?
It speaks thus because there is also a spiritual sense there, which is hidden within the literal sense. It also applies to women, because the principle of conjunction with the same-sex goes contary to the conjugial spiritual and natural order of conjunction, established from creation.
Is there a reference in Swedenborg to the homosexual things, as forbidden and as something evil?
Yes. “The foul conjunctions called the forbidden degrees (see Lev. 18:6-24), signify various kinds of profanation.” (AC 6348)
How does the Sodomy relate to Homosexuality?
It relates as a general to a particular, homosexuality being a particular case of the sodomy.
Why is there a focus on the love of self, when Sodom is being treated of?
Because it is not the genuine natural sense of the letter, but the internal sense is being treated of, and in this internal sense, it is the “love of self” that is spoken of, and particularly the “love of ruling”, and it is this lust which is the root of all the adulteries, that come from it: ” “Sodom” is signified the evil of the love of self. Out of this evil all evils of every kind well forth; and all evils that thus spring from it are called in the Word “adulteries” (AC 2322).
Is there anything else that should be shunned in the same way as sodomy/homosexuality, about which a person can have more light?
For example, pedophilia and bestiality, and other various abuses and foul things, which signify some particular love of self and love of the world in the spiritual sense.
Does Swedenborg do away with the sense of the letter in relation to “Sodom”, when he speaks about the internal meaning of Sodom, as being “love of self”?
In order to consider the spiritual sense, the Word skips the historic literal sense, and talks about the spiritual love of ruling, but it does not do away with the genuine natural sense of the letter, because it relates to life and thus to salvation.
The thing, happend in Sodom, in the sense of the letter, is called “adultery”, for example, in the following places:
“…adultery such as there was at Sodom; which is why they demanded the angels from Lot’s house.” (De Conjugio 86).
as “abominations” and “adultery”:
“…In the Word the abominations that well forth from the love of self are depicted by adulteries of various kinds.” (AC 2220)
Do we shun adulteries only in the spiritual sense, or in the sense of the letter as well?
We shun them in the natural sense of the letter, spiritual sense and celestial sense.
Why cannot we shun only “love of self” and not murder, thefts, adulteries of every kind, and other evils, described in the sense of the letter?
We ought to shun all of them because all of them are sins against God.
Did not the Lord make the Old Testament Law null and void in the New Testament times, or in the times of His Second Coming? Thus, did not the Lord cancel the need to fulfill the commandments in the sense of the letter, and thus to shun evils of the sense of the letter, e.g. pertaining to aduleries, by revealing their internal sense?
The Lord came to fulfill and not to destroy. The representative historic customs set up for the Jewish Church were cancelled, and mostly gathered into baptism and holy communion. Wherease the Commandments related, in the narrow and broader senses, to the Ten Commandments, always remain the same, and as they relate to life and thus to salvation, they are literally true.
Do we hate someone, who is engaged in the homosexual/sodomitic things?
We do not.
“The Christian Church is called the church militant, and it cannot be called militant except as against the devil, and thus against the evils that are from hell. Hell is the devil.
And the temptation that the man of the church undergoes is this warfare.” (Doctrine of Life 98)
Do we love some person, who is engaged in those things?
We do not love the evil in that person, but love the good in that person, if there is any good.
He who from genuine charity loves the neighbor inquires what the quality of a man is, and does good to him discreetly, and according to the quality of his good. (Charity 52).
To love the neighbor is not to love the person, but that in him which makes him the neighbor, that is, good and truth (Last Judgement 39)
TO LOVE THE NEIGHBOR, STRICTLY SPEAKING, IS NOT TO LOVE THE PERSON, BUT THE GOOD THAT IS IN THE PERSON. (True Christian Religion 417)
Those who love the person, and not that which is in him, and which constitutes him, love equally an evil man and a good man ; and do good alike to the evil and to the good; and yet to do good to the evil is to do evil to the good and that is not loving the neighbour (Heaven and Hell 390)
What is the responsibility of those who claim to have had such an inclination/misdirected sexual orientation from their childhood or youth? Are they personally responsible for such an inclination?
They bear the same responsibiliy as all others for their hereditary evils. As they are responsible for their spiritual health, they can direct their love away from the incorrect path to the correct one.
How should they regard this thing?
This must be regarded as a disease or disorder of the natural mind, which stands in the way of spiritual development, and needs be shunned as evil of sin against God.
Is there any example from Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences in the other world, where some type of homosexual relationship is described in greater detail?
Here is such a passage.
About extremely Lewd girls. Onto my head there drifted certain female spirits, causing a pleasant wavy sensation on my head, working from the forehead up to the middle of the head. Who the spirits were I did not know. Then they appeared a naked, snowy white, symbolizing that they were innocent, for the innocent are displayed as a naked, snowy white, as also are those females who are not innocent when in a state in which they imagine themselves to be innocent.  When they noticed that other spirits were present, they then began first to act on the head, as if with many hands, then turning their body around from right to left and from left to right, like a cylinder, then also wheeling themselves around horizontally like a wagon, these movements meaning that they wanted to exhibit themselves as innocent before the eyes of those who were there, and then withdraw themselves from their sight. For it is their mental imagery that is thus portrayed and the fact that in the sight of others they were displaying themselves as entirely innocent. But when they were still attacked by other spirits, they tore themselves away from their company by their customary bodily plunges, and thus extricated themselves from their society. And when the attacking spirits persisted even more, they turned themselves upside down and finally disentangled themselves from their company.
They removed themselves to the rear, saying they wanted to have nothing to do with men, and had had nothing to do with men, but that they had lived among themselves without men. But spirits who had been such in life that they burned for nothing more intensely than to have those whom they thought innocent, such as chaste virgins, and women who dwelt in monasteries, were present, and their ardor was then felt, which was more intense than that of others. When they only heard that innocents were present, they were set afire. It is this kind who are then kindled, so that only hearing they are innocent, they desire them the most. For this reason also, such women are pursued by men more than others, which is also the reason they pass themselves off as innocent, that is, so that they will be prized above others.
They were gathered at the back, seeking a place where they might be alone together, drawing back finally to the ends of the universe, but I noticed that the place was higher up at the rear, where I had previously not noticed anything. When they had reached the boundaries of the universe at the back, they then spoke among themselves, saying that there were no men present, so they should begin. But their obscenities were not shown to me, except a woman dressed like a man, then delighting themselves in that place with abominably lewd practices.
There appeared to me a pantry containing apples, citrus fruits and the like, which were their delights at that time; then large glass goblets full of wine, with sugar, showing that they then enjoyed together pleasures of that kind.
What they become thereafter, I was given to learn, namely, that once they have become captivated by such an extremely foul enjoyment, they then care nothing for, but rather loathe men, and thus the natural modes of conjunction. Consequently they also loathe and nauseate matrimonies, by which if they enter into them they are moved by no pleasure, so that marriage love with such women has been lost and become something disgusting, so that they can seldom have offspring, and if they do, they do not love them, for this follows from the destruction of marriage love. They love only their foul passions, which soothe and fill their mind with most obscene delight. Many of them become the vilest prostitutes, and are then more filthy than all others, because they care nothing for decency or outer restraint, having put away from themselves all shame. Therefore, because they are not captivated by any other excitement, they have lost all the pleasure otherwise associated with making love. That this is the case, I was given to see clearly.
“It was said to me that (those who share wives and husbands) were not far from being Sodomites, wherefore let those who are conscious to themselves of such a course of life beware, for they are not spared in the other life.”
(Spiritual Experiences 3895-3899)
Do we then dismiss what is said about the spiritual meaning of sodomy in the Word?
We do not. Here are some passages in the Word, where these things are treated of naturally and also spiritually.
“These sexual acts were much more abominable than those of the Sodomites.” (Spiritual Experiences 3768)
“All degrees of criminality correspond to such things as are spiritual sins… Those who are in the love of self, and whose love is to rule over others, are Sodomites.” (Spiritual Experiences 5939)
“The following things correspond to the acts of adulteries in the next life… Those in the highest degree of the love of ruling from the love of self, and not for the sake of use, are in Sodom.” ( Spiritual Experiences 6096)
“There are sodomitic hells for those who were in evils from a love of ruling over others from mere delight in ruling, and who were in no delight of use.” (Apocalypse Explained 1006)
Why is there a tendency to get rid of the natural sense in matters, related to life and salvation, or in matters of moral life, and care about the spiritual alone, thus why there is a tendency to dismiss, disregard all those places which speak about the lowest natural sodomy and homosexuality?
Here is the passage which gives one of the reasons.
“WHY IN THE CHRISTIAN WORLD, MORE THAN ELSEWHERE, ADULTERIES ARE NOT ABHORRED. The Gentiles wonder why in the Christian world adulteries and whoredoms are accounted allowable by many and even by most, when yet their religion from the Word of both Testaments condemns them to hell; but the reason was told, that few live according to their religion, but have embraced the doctrine that faith saves; that is, that thinking and not living [saves]; and because thus truth is conjoined with evil, thence from the influx from hell adulteries are loved and received, and also they excuse them. For the influx of hell prevails with them over the influx of heaven. The sphere of adultery also closes heaven, and when heaven is closed, hell is opened: hence its origin comes from the falsity of religions. It is otherwise with those who place religion in life and doctrine at the same time.” (On Marriage 76)
What will I be like, if I remain in these things, and do not change my life and become regenerated?
” What man is by birth, and what he would be if not regenerated, can be seen from fierce animals of every kind; that be would be a tiger, a panther, a leopard, a wild hog, a scorpion, a tarantula, a viper, a crocodile, and so on; consequently if he were not transformed by regeneration into a sheep, what would he be but a devil among devils in hell? … How many are there of the human race who are not born satyrs and priapi or four-footed lizards; and who among these, if not regenerated, does not become an ape? External morality is required, for the sake of covering up their .” (True Christian Religion 574 )
If I do not practice these thing, but consider it to be normal and allowable for myself, only abstaining from the action itself, is everything spiritually all right with me?
Not exactly. That evil should be shunned as a sin against God.
“Although he does not commit adultery, yet as he believes it to be allowable he is all the while an adulterer, since he commits adultery to the extent that he has the ability and as often as he has opportunity.” (Heaven and Hell №531)
If my son or daughter, or other young relative, who in their young age were involved in those things, and then they unexpectedly passed into the other world. If this is an evil, I hurts to think about their lot. What will it be like, hell?
God alone knows their eternal lot. Here is the passage which can be referred to all adulterous practices done by young people, if there was no knowledge of faith with them regarding what was true good and evil, and if they passed into the other life in the relatively young age.
“There are girls who have been enticed into harlotry, and thus persuaded that there is no evil in it, being in other respects rightly disposed. These, because they are not yet of an age to be able to know and judge concerning such a life, have an instructor with them, quite severe, who chastises them whenever in thought they break out into such wantonness. Of him they are in great fear, and in this way are vastated. But adult women who have been harlots and have enticed other women, do not undergo vastation, but are in hell.” (Arcana Coelestia 1113).
So, ok, I know the truth, but it is ok to practise those things, because I will be only entitled to some vastations and then will go heaven?
“…they were indeed acquainted with the truths of faith; but nevertheless they had no truths in them; for truths were then in their mouth, but not in the heart; and therefore when they have been vastated as to these truths, evil remains, and then also the falsity of evil comes forth to view which had lain hidden within them; for although they had professed truths, they were nevertheless not in truths, but in falsities. Moreover, the very profession of truth did not descend from its own beginning, namely, from good; but from evil; for they had made it for the sake of gain, honors, and reputation, thus for the sake of themselves and the world. The truths which descend from such a beginning adhere on the surface, and therefore when they are being vastated the truths fall off like scales, and when they fall off, they leave places that are foul-smelling and putrid from the falsities which exhale from the evils there. Such is the lot of those who have known the truths of faith, and yet have lived contrary to them, according to the Lord’s words in Luke: That servant who knoweth his Lord’s will, but maketh not himself ready, nor doeth his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knoweth not, though he do things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few (Luke 12:47-48). (Arcana Coelestia 7790)
“But those who know nothing about the Lord, …provided they believe in one God and live according to the precepts of their religion, are saved by their faith and life; for imputation has reference to those who know, not to those who do not know; as when the blind stumble it is not imputed to them; for the Lord says: If ye were blind ye would not have sin; but now ye say that ye see therefore your sin remaineth (John 9:41).” (True Christian Religion 107)
What if a man does not feel comfortable about himself being male or about loving the opposite sex, and a woman does not feel comfortable about herself being a woman or about loving the opposite sex, can they just not change their own ways, their nature into the opposite?
Masculine itself cannot essentially be changed into the femine. After death the male is a male, and the female is a female.
“From this primitive formation it follows, that the male is born intellectual and the female voluntary; or, what is the same thing, that the male is born into the affection of knowing, understanding, and being wise, and the female into the love of conjoining herself with that affection in the male. And because interiors form exteriors after their own likeness, and the masculine form is the form of the understanding, and the feminine the form of the love of that understanding, it follows that the male has a face, voice, and body different from the female; that is, a harder face, a harsher voice, and a stronger body, and, moreover, a bearded chinin general, a form less beautiful than the female. They differ also in their attitudes and their ways. In a word, nothing whatever in them is alike; and yet, in their single parts, there is what is conjunctive; yea, in the male, the masculine is masculine in every part of his body even the most minute, and also in every idea of his thought, and in every grain of his affection; and so likewise, the feminine in the female. And since the one cannot be changed into the other, it follows that after death the male is a male and the female a female.” (Conjugial Love 33)
“There is a love of man and man, and of woman and woman; and there is a love of a man for a woman and of a woman for a man. These three pairs of loves are entirely different from each other. The love of man and man is as the love of understanding and understanding; for man was created and thence born that he may become understanding. The love of woman and woman is as the love of affection and affection, the affection being the affection of the understanding of men; for woman was created and is born to become the love of man’s understanding. These loves, that is, the love of man and man and of woman and woman, do not enter deeply into the breast but stand without and merely touch each other; thus they do not inwardly conjoin the two.” (Conjugial Love 55)
If my life was messed-up from childhood, and I was ill-treated by father, or mother, or any relatives and just other people, and so I am not inclined to the opposite sex, and feel good and ultimates pleasures with the one of my own sex, how would I even begin loving the opposite sex, will there be any adequate pleasure in the orderly relationship with the opposite sex?
At first you begin to shun those acts and pleasures and thoughts, as sins against God, that is, as what is opposite to Him, to His Divine Love and Wisdom, to His Word, and think about the orderly delights of Conjugial Love. The greater the evil is shunned, the greater receptivity for good is created and opened. The delights of the conjugial love, are not less than those of any adulterous love, but the more a person is truly spiritually purified, the greater there is a possibility for internal spiritual delights.
“The delights of conjugial love… have nothing in common with the foul delights of licentious love. The latter are inherent, indeed, in every person’s flesh, but they are separated and removed as a person’s spirit is elevated above the sensual promptings of the body, and as from a height it sees the shams and fallacies of these below. He likewise then perceives fleshly delights first as illusory and deceptive delights, after that as lustful and lascivious ones to be shunned, and progressively as harmful and injurious to the soul, until at last he feels them as undelightful, foul, and repulsive. Moreover, in the degree that he perceives and feels those delights as such, in the same degree he perceives the delights of conjugial love as harmless and chaste, and finally as delightful and blessed.” (Conjugial Love 441)
“THAT EACH SPHERE CARRIES WITH IT DELIGHTS, that is to say, each sphere -that of scortatory love which ascends from hell, and that of conjugial love which descends from heaven -affects with its delights the man who receives it. The reason is because the ultimate plane is the same, the plane namely, wherein the delights of each love terminate, where also they are fulfilled and completed, and which makes their presence manifest by its sensation of them. Hence it is, that in outmost manifestation, scortatory embraces and conjugial embraces are perceived as being alike, although inwardly they are wholly unlike. That they are therefore unlike in their outmost manifestation cannot be judged from any sensation of the difference, for no others can sensate dissimilitudes from differences in outmosts save those who are in love truly conjugial. Evil is recognized from good but not good from evil, as neither is a sweet odor perceived by nostrils to which a foul odor is clinging. I have heard from angels that they distinguish the lascivious from the non-lascivious in outmosts, as one distinguishes a fire from dung, or burning horn with its offensive smell, from a fire of spice or of burning cinnamon-wood with its fragrant odor; and that this is due to the distinction between the internal delights which enter into the external and compose them.” (Conjugial Love 439)
My male partner was a very bad person/my female partner was a very bad person, so my life with the opposite sex is a failure, I think all the opposite sex is the same, and do not want to allow any possibility of something similar. Is it not logical and spiritually and psychologically justified now to turn to someone of my sex and give it a try?
If , in your perception, your partner was in the evil, it would not be wise to go from Skylla to even more griveous Charybdis. So, it would be christian and reasonable not to allow yourself now being mistreated by all the hellish things, related to homosexual relationships. That is, if a person then plunges into those evil things, which are opposite to Conjugial Love, he adds greater spiritual evils to the already existing life problems.
The Lord is Merciful, and so no matter what I am engaged in, He will forgive me, will forgive my sins, and bring me to heaven, provided I do not do evils to other people. Perhaps, you simply do not understand the power of His Divine Mercy and Forgiveness?
“Sins are continually being forgiven man by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but sins adhere to the man, however much he may suppose that they have been forgiven, nor are they removed from him except through a life according to the commands of faith. So far as he lives according to these commands, so far his sins are removed; and so far as they are removed, so far they have been forgiven. For by the Lord man is withheld from evil, and is held in good; and he is so far able to be withheld from evil in the other life, as in the life of the body he has resisted evil; and he is so far able to be held in good then, as in the life of the body he has done what is good from affection. This shows what the forgiveness of sins is, and whence it is. He who believes that sins are forgiven in any other way, is much mistaken.” (Arcana Coelestia 8393)
“The Lord forgives everyone his sins, because He is mercy itself. Nevertheless they are not thereby forgiven unless the man performs serious repentance, and desists from evils, and afterward lives a life of faith and charity, and this even to the end of his life. When this is done, the man receives from the Lord spiritual life, which is called new life. When from this new life the man views the evils of his former life, and turns away from them, and regards them with horror, then for the first time are the evils forgiven, for then the man is held in truths and goods by the Lord, and is withheld from evils. From this it is plain what is the forgiveness of sins, and that it cannot be granted within an hour, nor within a year. That this is so the church knows, for it is said to those who come to the Holy Supper that their sins are forgiven if they begin a new life by abstaining from evils and abhorring them.” (AC 9014)
How can I pschylogically begin to avoid those things, when I really feel great pleasure in them, and not in them alone, but in some other things as well?
“As far as anyone does not look to the Lord and shun evils because they are sins, so far he remains in them. Man is born into evils of every kind. His will, which is his proprium, is nothing but evil. Unless, therefore, a man is reformed and regenerated, he not only remains as he was born, but becomes even worse; because to the evils received hereditarily he adds actual evils of himself. Such does a man remain if he does not shun evils as sins. To shun them as sins is to shun them as diabolical and infernal, and therefore deadly, and hence, because there is eternal damnation in them. If a man so regards them, then he believes that there is a hell, and that there is a heaven; and also that the Lord can remove them if the man also endeavors to remove them as of himself. But see what has been set forth on this subject in The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem (n. 108-113). To which I will add this: All evils are born delightful; because man is born into the love of himself, and that love makes all things delightful that are of his proprium, thus whatever he wills and whatever he thinks; and everyone remains till death in the delights that are inrooted by birth, unless they are subdued; and they are not subdued unless they are regarded as sweet drugs that kill, or as flowers apparently beautiful that carry poison in them; thus unless the delights of evil are regarded as deadly, and this until at length they become undelightful.” (Charity 2)
I live in the country, that is well-disposed towards these things. I am a patriot. If I do not support these things in my country, it will hate me. So, what shall I do if I regard these evils as hurtful to myself and my country?
“For example: if I had been born in Venice or in Rome, and were a Reformed Christian, am I to love my country, or the country where I was born, because of its spiritual good? I cannot. Nor with respect to its moral and civil good, so far as this depends for existence upon its spiritual good. But so far as it does not depend upon this I can, even if that country hates me. Thus, I must not in hatred regard it as an enemy, nor as an adversary, but must still love it; doing it no injury, but consulting its good, so far as it is good for it, not consulting it in such a way that I confirm it in its falsity and evil…”
Good number of my better friends are well-disposed toward these things, if not in practice, then in theory. They are not only nice people, but are also influential and financially-independent. Some of them are my bosses. If they learn about my views, my public status will fail, I will fall out of their favour and will be deprived of all pleasures of frienship and so on. So, when I make a judgment, the judgement follows the disposition, likings and inclinations of my friends. Since it is a friendly approarch, and all frienship is good, everything is ok, right?
“Not to regard faces” signifies not to have the mind better disposed towards superiors, the rich, and friends, than towards inferiors, the poor, and enemies, because what is just and right is to be regarded without respect to person.” (Apocalypse Explained 412)
“And the works done from the Lord are all good, and are called the goods of life, the goods of charity, and good works. For example: all the judgments of a judge who regards justice as the end, and venerates and loves it as Divine, and who also detests, as infamous, judgments given for the sake of rewards, friendship, or favour”. (Apocalypse Explained 979)
“I once heard shouts which gurgled up from the lower regions as though through water; one on the left, OH, HOW JUST! … [there] were judges with an eye to friendship and bribes who were being proclaimed as just. At one side I saw something like an amphitheater built of brick and roofed over with black tiles, and it was told me that they called it the Tribunal. It had three entrances on the north side and three on the west, but none on the south side or on the east, a sign that their judgments were not judgments of justice but arbitrary decisions. In the middle of the amphitheater was seen a fire-place, into which the servants of the hearth were throwing logs full of sulfur and pitch, the flickering lights from which presented on the plastered walls pictured images of birds of evening and night. This fire-place and the flickerings of the light into the forms of these images were representations of their judgments, in that they could illumine the facts of any case with colored paints, and induce upon them appearances in accordance with their inclinations.
After half an hour, I saw men, old and young, enter, wearing long robes and cloaks. Putting off their caps, they took their seats at the tables to sit in judgment. I then heard and perceived how, with a view to friendship, they skillfully and ingeniously bent and twisted their judgments into the appearance of justice, and this even to the point that they themselves viewed what was unjust no otherwise than as just, and conversely, what was just as unjust. Their persuasions in these respects were apparent from their faces, and they came to the ear from their speeches. From the enlightenment which was then given me from heaven, I perceived the several judgments, as to whether or not they were judgments of justice; and I saw how assiduously they covered over what was unjust and induced upon it the appearance of what is just; and how they selected from the laws one that favored them and, by skilful reasonings, forced the others to their side. Following the judgments, the decisions were conveyed outside to the judges’ clients, friends, and favorers, and these, in return for their favors, were shouting all along a lengthy road, OH, HOW JUST! OH, HOW JUST!
After this, I spoke of the matter with angels of heaven, telling them something of what I had seen and heard; and the angels said: “Such judges appear to others as gifted with the most penetrating acuteness of understanding, when yet they do not see the least thing of what is just and equitable. If you take away their friendship for a party in a suit, they sit in judgment mute as statues and say merely “I agree, I adjust myself to this or that judgment.” The reason is because all their judgments are prejudices, and prejudice together with favor follows the case from beginning to end. Hence they see nothing but what favors their friend. Everything which is against him they set aside, and if they again take it up, they involve it in reasonings, as a spider its captives in the threads of its web, and distort it.* Hence it is that, when not following the thread of their prejudice, they see nothing of justice. They have been explored as to whether they can, and it was found that they cannot. The inhabitants of your world will wonder at this, but tell them that it is a truth explored by angels of heaven. Because these judges see nothing of what is just, we in heaven view them, not as men, but as monsters whose heads are made of matters of friendship, their bodies of matters of injustice, their feet of matters of confirmation, and the soles of their feet of matters of justice; and if the latter do not favor their friend, they throw them to the ground and trample them under foot. But you yourself will see how they appear to us from heaven, for their end is at hand.”
Then, behold, the ground suddenly yawned open, the tables fell one upon another, and the judges together with the whole amphitheater were swallowed up and cast into caverns and imprisoned.
The angels then said to me, “Do you wish to see them there?” And lo, they were seen with faces as of polished steel, their bodies from the neck to the loins like sculptures carved of stone and dressed in leopard skins, and their feet like serpents. And I saw the law-books which they had laid upon the tables, turned to playing-cards. Instead of sitting in judgment, they are now given the task of making vermilion into rouge, wherewith to deck the faces of harlots and thus transform them into beauties. (Conjugial Love 231)
“An interior enlightenment by man, on the other hand, is quite different. A person possessing this state of enlightenment sees a thing from one side and not from the other; and when he has affirmed it, he sees it in a light seemingly like the light described above, but it is a wintry light. Consider for example the following: A judge who judges unjustly in return for gifts or for material gain, after he has defended his decision by the laws and by arguments, does not see anything but justice in his decision. Some do see the injustice; but because they do not wish to see it, they blur it and blind themselves to it, so that they do not see it. It is the same with a judge who renders his decisions out of partiality, or to gain favor, or to be allied with his relatives. For people like that it is the same with everything that they take from the mouth of a man of authority or from the mouth of a celebrity, or hatch from their own intelligence. They are rationally blind, for their sight comes from the falsities they defend, and falsity closes up the sight, as truth opens it. Such people do not see any truth by the light of truth, nor any justice from a love of justice, but see by the light of justification, which is an illusory light. In the spiritual world they appear as faces without a head, or as human-like faces with wooden heads behind; and they are called rational cattle, because they have the potential of rationality. An exterior enlightenment by man, however, exists in people who think and speak solely in accordance with knowledge impressed on their memory. Of themselves they are scarcely able to verify anything.” (Divine Providence 168)
One person gives some passages about this being evil, other people gives other passages. I myself do not see clearly what is true or what is false, and do not really care about it. All the truth is subjective and is determined according to one’s personal likings, or, in some cases, according to the benefits, that we can gain from this or that position. Do not fancy, that anyone see the truth itself.
“After this, one of the angels said, “Follow me to the place where they shout, “O how wise!” and you will see monsters of men; you will see faces and bodies that are human, and yet they are not men.”
“Are they beasts, then?” I asked.
He replied, “They are not beasts, but beastmen; for they are those who are utterly unable to see whether truth is truth or not, and yet can make whatever they wish seem true. With us, such are called Confirmers.”
We followed the shouting, and came to the place; and behold, an assembly of men, and around about them a throng, and in the throng some of noble birth, and when these heard them prove whatever they themselves were saying and uphold it with so manifest a concurrence, they turned around and shouted, “O how wise!”
 But the angel said to me, “Let us not go among them, but call one of the assembly to us.” And we called one out and withdrew with him, and talked over various subjects; and had confirmed them one by one until they seemed to be perfectly true.
We asked him whether he could confirm things contrary to each other; and he said he could just as well as the others. He then said openly and from his heart, “What is truth? Is there anything true in the nature of things, other than what man makes true? Say what you please and I will make it true.”
I said, “Make this true that faith is the all of the church.” And this he did so dexterously and skillfully that the learned bystanders admired and applauded. I then asked him to make it true that charity is the all of the church; and he did so; and then that charity is no part of the church; and he so clothed and decorated both statements with appearances that the bystanders would look at each other, and say, “Is he not wise?”
I then said, “Do you not know that to live well is charity, and to believe well is faith? Does not he who lives well also believe well? Thus does not faith belong to charity and charity to faith? Do you not see that this is true?”
He answered, “I will make it true, and I shall see.” This he did and said, “I see it now.” But immediately he made the contrary true, and then he said, “I see that this is true also.”
At this we smiled and said, “Are they not contraries? How can two contraries both be true?”
Becoming angry at this, he said, “You are wrong; both are true, inasmuch as there is nothing true but what man makes true.”
 There was one standing near who in the world had been an ambassador of the highest grade. He was astonished at this and said, “I acknowledge that something like this goes on in the world, nevertheless you are insane. Make it true, if you can, that light is darkness, and that darkness is light.”
He answered, “I can do that easily. What are light and darkness but states of the eye? Is not light turned to shade when the eye turns from sunlight, as also when a man fixes his eye intently upon the sun? Who does not know that the state of the eye is then changed, and that therefore light appears as shade? And again, when the former state of the eye returns, this shade appears as light. Does not the owl see the darkness of night as the light of day, and the light of day as the darkness of night, and even the sun itself as an opaque and dusky globe? If a man had eyes like an owl’s what would he call light and what darkness? What then is light but a state of the eye? And if light is only a state of the eye, is not light darkness and darkness light? Therefore both statements are true.”
 But as this confirmation confounded some, I said, “I have noticed that this confirmer does not know that there is a true light and a fatuous light, and that both kinds seem to be light; yet the fatuous light in reality is not light, but compared to true light is darkness. An owl is in fatuous light; for within its eyes there is a passion for tearing birds to pieces and devouring them, and this light causes its eyes to see at night, precisely like those of cats, whose eyes in cellars look like lighted candles. It is the fatuous light arising within their eyes from the passion for tearing mice to pieces and devouring them, which produces this effect. Evidently, therefore, the light of the sun is true light, and the light of greed is fatuous light.”
 After this, the ambassador asked the confirmer to make it true that a raven is white and not black.
He answered, “That also I can easily do.” And he said, “Take a needle or a razor, and open the quills and feathers of a raven; then remove the quills and feathers, and look at the raven’s skin; is it not white? What is the blackness that surrounds it, but a shade, from which we must not judge of the color of the raven? For proof that black is only a shade, consult those skilled in the science of optics, and they will tell you that if you grind a black stone or black glass to fine powder, you will see that the powder is white.”
But the ambassador said, “Does not the raven appear to the sight to be black?”
The confirmer answered, “Are you, who are a man, willing to consider a subject from appearances? You may indeed say according to the appearance that a raven is black but you cannot think so. As for example you may say according to the appearance, that the sun rises and sets; but as you are a man you cannot think so, because the sun is motionless and the earth moves. It is the same with a raven. The appearance is an appearance. Say what you will, a raven is totally white; it even becomes white when it grows old; this I have seen.”
After this the bystanders looked at me; therefore I said, “It is true that the quills and feathers of a raven partake of whiteness inwardly; so does its skin; but this is the case not only with ravens but all the birds in the universe as well; and everyone distinguishes birds by their apparent colors; if this were not done, we might say that every bird is white, which would be absurd and meaningless.”
 Then the ambassador asked him whether he could make it true that he was himself insane; and he answered, “I can, but I do not wish to do so. Who is not insane?”
Finally, they asked him to say from his heart whether he was jesting, or really believed that there is nothing true but what man makes true; and he said, “I swear that I believe it.”
Afterwards this universal confirmer was sent to the angels, who examined his character; and after the examination they said that he did not possess a single grain of understanding, because in him everything above the rational was closed, and only that below the rational was open; above the rational there is spiritual light, and below the rational natural light; and this light in man is such that by it he can confirm whatever he pleases. When spiritual light does not flow into natural light, man does not see whether any truth is a truth, nor, therefore, whether any falsehood is a falsehood; these must be seen from spiritual light in natural light, and spiritual light is from the God of heaven, who is the Lord. Therefore this universal confirmer is neither man nor beast, but is a beast-man.
 I asked the angels about the lot of such, whether they could be with the living, since man has life from spiritual light, and from this comes his understanding. They said that such, when they are alone, are unable to think at all and therefore to speak, but stand dumb like automatons and as it were in a deep sleep; but that they wake up the moment their ears catch anything. They added that those who are inmostly wicked become such; into these spiritual light from above cannot flow, but only something spiritual from the world from which they derive their faculty of confirming.
 When this had been said I heard a voice from the angels who examined him, saying, “From what you have heard form a universal conclusion.”
This was the conclusion: That the ability to confirm whatever one pleases is not an indication of understanding; but the ability to see that truth is truth, and that falsehood is falsehood, and to confirm it is an indication of understanding.
After this, I looked toward the assembly where the confirmers were standing with the crowd about them crying, “O how wise!” And lo! a dusky cloud enveloped them, and in the cloud owls and bats were flying. And it was told me, “The owls and bats that are flying in the cloud were correspondences and therefore appearances of their thoughts; because in this world confirmations of falsities to such an extent that they seem to be truths, are represented under the form of birds of night, whose eyes are illumined within by a fatuous light, whereby they see objects in darkness as in light. Such fatuous spiritual light do those have who confirm falsities until they seem like truths, and who afterward believe them to be truths. All such have a sort of backward sight, but no forward sight.”
Why is there so much attention paid to this very subject, which is self-evident?
Because what is clear to some people, is not so clear to other people.
Please consult also the following concering the sodomy in its natural and spiritual sense: