Category — Divorce
It is needful for the Church to consider the interior causes of the laws of divorce given in the Word. By this all may come to a deeper understanding and love of the Conjugial, and of the uses of marriage, and hy this the Church may he protected against doubts and false reasonings about those laws. Doubts may arise because the laws of divorce are very strict, and in some cases their severity appears to bring much hardship on men. False reasonings about those laws may arise especially from this, that the laws of divorce in the World of Spirits are altogether different from those given for this world; from this some may suppose that in an interior state of the Church with man, the laws which apply there should take the place of the laws which apply in this world. An understanding of the interior causes of the laws of divorce will protect the Church from such doubts and such reasonings.
First we would draw your attention to the distinction between the Conjugial which must be received from the Lord in every man of the Church and the Corljugial union which may be formed between husband and wife. That there is such a distinction is well known from the teaching that Love Conjugial may be given with one married partner and not at the same time with the other. (C.L. 226, 531.) For the most part, however, this distinction has been overlooked in the past. Whenever the Conjugial, or Love Conjugial, has been mentioned, the thought with most has been only of the Conjugial union between husband and wife. As a consequence, the importance which the Word places upon the Conjugial which is to be received and formed in each man of the Church has not been noticed; many teachings which apply in the first place to the Conjugial in each man, have been applied only to the Conjugial union between the married partners.
Consider the following teachings of the Word about the Conjugial in each man:
That the Conjugial is the desire of living with one partner, and that every step made from religion and into religion is a step from the Conjugial and into the Conjugial. (C.L, 80.)
That Love truly Conjugial is from the Lord, and is with those who approach Him directly, and who love the trues of the Church and do its goods* (C.L. 70.)
That this Conjugial is inscribed on the minds of those who acknowledge the Lord and His Divine. (C.L. 338.)
That this Conjugial is the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian Religion. (C.L. 457, 458, 466, 531)
That it is chief among the essentials of human life, and that so far as a man is in this love he is spiritual, and so far as he should lose this love he approaches the nature of a beast. (First Index to Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage, under “Conjugial”, and C.L. 230.)
That this Conjugial is guarded in man, whatsoever the state of marriage he may be in. (C.L, 531.)
Read these numbers carefully and you will see that it is the Conjugial with each man that is described in them. This Conjugial is with all men who acknowledge the Divine Human of the Lord in love and faith, and who live the life of religion. It is with all such men whether they in this life are married or not, and if married, whether or not they have been blessed with a Conjugial union with their partner. This Conjugial is of the utmost importance to the salvation and regeneration of the man of the Church. It is the first thing in the natural produced by man’s acknowledgment of the Divine of the Lord. It is the connecting link and bond between the internal things with man and his natural life. It is the principal and beginning of the descent of the celestial and spiritual with man into his natural, and serves as a plane there for the reception of them. No doubt this is one of the reasons why a whole book of the Word is devoted to Love Conjugial. If this Conjugial should be destroyed in a man, nothing of regeneration would be possible.
The Lord has ordered all things of Christian marriage for the reception and protection of this Conjugial with man, and also for the forming of a Conjugial union of husband and wife. The laws of marriage and the laws of divorce are given for both of these precious things. If a man of the Church should violate the laws of divorce, he is in the danger of harming the Conjugial in himself, as well as doing harm to the Church and to society in general. This is evident from what is said about a Christian who enters into polygamy, (C.L. 339), namely, that he profanes the marriage of the Lord and the Church.
Read that number and you will see that the same danger is present with those who obtain a divorce without just cause.
One with whom there is the Conjugial strives wholeheartedly for union with the married partner. Such a one does not put away the partner, even if that union is clearly absent, nor even if it appears to be impossible, but strives for such a conjunction as may be possible. This is evident from the following teaching:
“That these conjugial simulations, with a spiritual man conjoined to a natural, savor out of justice and judgment. The reason is because a spiritual man does what he does out of justice and judgment, wherefore he does not see these simulations as estranged from his internal affections, but as joined with them. For he acts seriously, and regards amendment as the end, and if this does not follow, he regards accommodation, for the sake of order in the house, for the sake of mutual aid, for the sake of the care of infants, for the sake of peace and tranquility. To these things he is led out of justice, and out of judgment he gives them into effect. That a spiritual man so cohabits with a natural man, is because a spiritual man acts spiritually, even with one who is natural.” (C.L. 280.)
A spiritual man, that is, one with whom is the Conjugial, strives for the ammendment of life with a partner who has it not. Although he is not in a union of souls and minds with that partner, he loves the spiritual welfare of the partner, and strives for it. Such a one would never put the partner away except for the causes given in the laws of divorce. To do such a thing would be to act against the conjugial striving in himself, and thus to act against the Conjugial itself.
It should be noted that the love of the spiritual welfare of one’s married partner must lie at the heart of any marriage, for without it there can be neither the Conjugial in oneself nor a Conjugial union with one’s partner. Even in those marriages in which the husband and wife live happily together, no union of souls and minds can take place unless the spiritual welfare of the married partner is held uppermost in the marriage. Without this, marriage would have in it only a natural conjugial, an apparent conjunction of minds arising out of external harmonies alone.
From these things it can be seen that the Conjugial in each man is not endangered by a marriage in which a Conjugial union has not been effected, but that it is endangered by the putting away of a married partner without a just cause in agreement with the laws of divorce given in the Word. This is an interior reason for the severity of the laws of divorce, and for the law that matrimony is to continue to the end of life in the world even though there be colds in relation to the Conjugial.
A further reason underlying these laws is that, except in the case outlined in the laws of divorce, no final judgment is to be made on a marriage in this world, as to whether something of a Conjugial union has been or may be formed within it. This is because the internal similitudes on which the essential conjunction of marriage rests are not primarily attributes of natural birth and native compatibility, but of the new birth of reformation and regeneration. So far as possible the Lord’s Providence Works for the formation of these internal similitudes, and thus for the new creation of the husband and wife for one another, during the whole course of their life in the world. A spiritual man, even though he may see that a Conjugial union is not yet present in his marriage, still would strive toward that union, and would not make any final judgment against its possibility.
From all these considerations it can be understood why it is said in the “Statement as to the Principle concerning Divorce,” that if the Church or the man of the Church violates the laws of order in respect to marriage, the Conjugial itself, which is the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian Religion, is violated, and that then the Divine Human of the Lord, from which the Conjugial descends, cannot be present in the Church.
Respecting divorce in the World of Spirits, the Word teaches as follows:
That married partners meet after death, consociate, and for some time live together as before in the world; this takes place in their first state in the World of Spirits, while they are in external things as before in the world; that successively, as they put off external things, and enter into their internals, they perceive the quality of the love and inclination which they mutually had for each other, and thence they perceive whether they can live as one or not; that if they can live as one, they remain married partners, but if not, they separate; that there is then given to the man a suitable wife, and to the woman a suitable husband. (C.L. 47b, 48b, 49, 50.) In that world divorce is granted when there is no similarity in their affections. (Memorabilia 6027.)
The separation of unsuitable partners in the World of Spirits is according to the law of the Spiritual World that external things must altogether agree with internal things in angels and spirits. They who differ in love and faith cannot live near each other, much less live in the same house. This general law of the Spiritual World is essential to life in that world, and there can be made no exception to it. But the general law of the natural world is that here external things must remain fixed in order that internal things may be changed and formed in man. Any essential change in the spirit or mind of man must be initiated in this world. This general law for the natural world is expressed in this teaching of the Word: “Mutation of organization is given solely in the material body, and is not at all givable in the spiritual body after the former has been rejected.” (Brief Exposition 110.) This law involves the whole reason for our being bom in the natural world.. If the laws governing the Spiritual World were to be applied outwardly to life in this world, if there were no fixed external order, independent, as it were, from the internal states of men, no reformation or regeneration could take place in this life. There would be no freedom of choice possible for man, for there would be nothing by which man could reflect upon his internal things, and by which he could cooperate with the Lord in changing them.
Consider what would take place, for example, if the law that riches in the Spiritual World are in accordance with the wisdom of the angels, were to be applied outwardly in this life. If that law were to be applied here, no man would be free to reject wisdom, and no man would be free to love and receive wisdom for its own sake. If such laws were to be applied outwardly in this life, man would be compelled in the things of religion, which is against the Law of the Divine Providence, All life in this world would in such a case be impossible.
If the laws of divorce in the World of Spirits were to be applied to this world, there would be no fixed order by which the Conjugial in each man could be formed and developed in marriage. And if the Conjugial had already been formed in a man, such an application of those laws to his life in this world would be contrary to his Conjugial longing, and destructive of it. Moreover, by the application of the laws of divorce in the World of Spirits to this life, marriages here would be exposed to all kinds of phantasy and cupidity, and a truly Christian society would be made impossible.
The things brought forward in the “Statement of the International Interior Council as to the Principle concerning Divorce” are vital for the Church. May it serve to awaken all of us to the Life that is in the ’Word, and to our need of being fully instructed in that Life. The Life that is in all things of the Word is the Life of the Lord’s Divine Human. All the laws of the Word, and all things of the Church, look to the ordering of human life in order that the Lord’s Life may be present and may be received within it. It is our hope that this Statement may serve this end.
The Rev, Philip N. Odhner
President of the International Council of Priests
October 17th, I960
Statement as to the Principle Concerning Divorce
In relation to the law of divorce it is clearly stated in the Word as follows:
The only cause of divorce is confirmed adultery. (C.L.255, 468). That even though there be colds in relation to the Conjugial, and thus separation of minds, nevertheless matrimonies in the world are to continue to the end of life. (C.L. 275, 276).
The Church cannot depart from these clear statements, or from any general law of order of the literal sense of the Word, because if it should depart from them, it would depart from the Word, and thus from the Lord Himself Who is the Word. If the Church or the man of the Church violates the laws of order in respect to marriage, the Conjugial itself, which is the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian Religion, is violated, and thus the Divine Human of the Lord, from which the Conjugial descends, cannot be present in the Church.
From this it is evident that the Church cannot condone any divorce that is not shown to be in accordance with these laws, and cannot accept the idea of such a divorce.
It is an essential of the work of the priesthood to uphold the laws of order in the leading by trues to the good of life. For the preservation of the Conjugial essence of the Church it is therefore necessary to recognize as a principle that any priest who obtains a divorce without manifesting a just cause thereof in accordance with the Word, thereby separates himself from the priesthood.
Matthew 5: 31. 32. “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement; but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
Matthew 19: 3-11. “The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying unto Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And He answered and said unto them, Have you not read, that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto Him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto Him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But He said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.”
Mark 10: 11-12. “And He saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”
Luke 16:18. “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
Conjugial Love 255. “That adultery is the cause of divorce. For this there are many causes which are in rational light, and yet at this day are hidden, Out of rational light it can be seen that marriages are holy, and that adulteries are profane; and thus that marriages and adulteries are diametrically opposite to each other; and that when opposite acts upon opposite, the one destroys the other, even to the last spark of its life. Thus it is done with Love Conjugial when a wifed man out of what is confirmed, and thus out of set purpose, commits adultery. These things come into the clear light of reason with those who know anything about Heaven and hell. For these know that marriages are in Heaven and from heaven, and that adulteries are in hell and from hell, and that those two things cannot be conjoined, as Heaven cannot be conjoined with hell, and that if they are conjoined with man, immediately Heaven departs, and hell enters. Thence now it is that adultery is the cause of divorce. Wherefore the Lord says, That whosoever sends away the wife, unless on account of scortation, and leads another, commits adultery, Matth. 19:9. He says, If he shall have sent away, and shall have led another, unless on account of scortation, he commits adultery, because the sending away for this cause is the complete separation of minds, which is called divorce; but the remaining sendings away out of their causes, are separations, about which it has now been treated above; after these, if another wife is led, adultery is committed; but not after divorce.”
Conjugial Love 468. “By divorce is meant the abolition of the conjugial covenant, and thence complete separation, and after this the entire liberty of leading another wife. The only cause of this total separation or divorce is scortation, according to the precept of the Lord in Matth. 19:9. To the same cause also refer themselves manifest obscenities, which dissolve shame, and fill and infest the house with infamous allurements, out of which exists scortatory shamelessness in which the whole mind is dissolved. To these accedes malicious desertion, which involves scortation, and makes the wife to commit adultery, and thus to be repudiated, Matth. 5:32. These three causes, because they are the legitimate causes of divorce, the first and third before a public judge, and the middle one before the man as judge, are also the legitimate causes of concubinage, but when the adulterous wife is retained at home. That scortation is the one only cause of divorce, is because it is diametrically opposite to the life of Love Conjugial, and destroys this even to extermination.”
Conjugial Love 274,275, 276.’ “That external affections are those according to which matrimonies are commonly contracted in the world.” (C.L.274, Heading only quoted.) .
“But that if internal affections which conjoin minds are not within them, matrimonies are loosened within the house.” (C.L. 275, Heading only quoted.)
“That nevertheless matrimonies in the world must endure to the end of life. This is brought forward in order that there may be presented more evidently before the reason, the necessity, utility and truth that Love Conjugial, where it is not genuine, is yet to be affected, or that it may appear as if it were genuine. It would be otherwise if marriages entered into were not covenanted even to the end of life, but were dissolvable out of choice, as they were with the Israelitic nation, which arrogated to itself the liberty of sending away wives out of whatsoever cause, as appears from these things in Matthew. (Matthew 19:3-10 here quoted). Since therefore the covenant of marriage is a covenant of life, it follows that appearances of love and friendship between the partners are necessities. That matrimonies contracted are to endure even to the end of life in the world, is out of the Law Divine, and because out of this it is also out of rational law, and thence out of civil law; out of the Law Divine, that it is not allowed to send away the wife and to lead another, unless on account of scortation, аз above; out of rational law, because it is founded upon the spiritual, for the Law Divine and rational law are one law. Out of the latter and the former at the same time, or through the latter out of the former, to a great number can be seen the enormities, the destructions of societies, and the dissolutions of marriages, or the sendings away of wives out of the good pleasure of husbands, before death.”