[Next Chapter] [Table of Contents] [Previous Chapter]
432. Whoever duly considers the subject can see that as the body is material it is not the body that thinks, but the soul, which is spiritual. The soul of man, upon the immortality of which many have written, is his spirit, for this as to everything belonging to it is immortal. This also is what thinks in the body, for it is spiritual, and what is spiritual receives what is spiritual and lives spiritually, which is to think and to will. Therefore, all rational life that appears in the body belongs to the soul, and nothing of it to the body; for the body, as just said, is material, and the material, which is the property of the body, is added to and apparently almost joined to the spirit, in order that the spirit of man may be able to live and perform uses in the natural world, all things of which are material and in themselves devoid of life. And as it is the spiritual only that lives and not the material, it can be seen that whatever lives in man is his spirit, and that the body merely serves it, just as what is instrumental serves a moving living force. An instrument is said indeed to act, to move, or to strike; but to believe that these are acts of the instrument, and not of him who acts, moves, or strikes by means of the instrument, is a fallacy.
433. As everything in the body that lives, and that acts and feels from that life, belongs exclusively to the spirit, and nothing of it to the body, it follows that the spirit is the man himself; or what is the same thing, that a man viewed in himself is a spirit possessing a like form; for whatever lives and feels in man belongs to his spirit and every thing in man, from his head to the sole of his foot, lives and feels; and in consequence when the body is separated from its spirit, which is what is called dying, man continues to be a man and to live. I have heard from heaven that some who die, while they are lying upon the bier, before they are resuscitated, continue to think even in their cold body, and do not know that they are not still alive, except that they are unable to move a particle of matter belonging to the body.
434. Unless man were a subject which is a substance that can serve a source and containant he would be unable to think and will. Any thing that is supposed to exist apart from a substantial subject is nothing. This can be seen from the fact that a man is unable to see without an organ which is the subject of his sight, or to hear without an organ which is the subject of his hearing. Apart from these organs, sight and hearing are nothing and have no existence. The same is true of thought, which is inner sight, and of perception, which is inner hearing; unless these were in substances and from substances which are organic forms and subjects, they would have no existence at all. All this shows that man's spirit as well as his body is in a form, and that it is in a human form, and enjoys sensories and senses when separated from the body the same as when it was in it, and that all the life of the eye and all the life of the ear, in a word, all the life of sense that man has, belongs not to his body but to his spirit, which dwells in these organs and in their minutest particulars. This is why spirits see, hear, and feel, as well as men. But when the spirit has been loosed from the body, these senses are exercised in the spiritual world, not in the natural world. The natural sensation that the spirit had when it was in the body it had by means of the material part that was added to it; but it then had also spiritual sensations in its thinking and willing.
435. All this has been said to convince the rational man that viewed in himself man is a spirit, and that the corporeal part that is added to the spirit to enable it to perform its functions in the natural and material world is not the man, but only an instrument of his spirit. But evidences from experience are preferable, because there are many that fail to comprehend rational deductions; and those that have established themselves in the opposite view turn such deductions into grounds of doubt by means of reasonings from the fallacies of the senses. Those that have established themselves in the opposite view are accustomed to think that beasts likewise have life and sensations and thus have a spiritual part, the same as man has, and yet that part dies with the body. But the spiritual of beasts is not the same as the spiritual of man is; for man has what beasts have not, an inmost, into which the Divine flows, raising man up to Itself, and thereby conjoining man to Itself. Because of this, man, in contrast with beasts, has the ability to think about God and about the Divine things of heaven and the church, and to love God from these and in these, and thus be conjoined to Him; and whatever can be conjoined to the Divine cannot be dissipated, but whatever cannot be conjoined is dissipated. The inmost that man has, in contrast with beasts, has been treated of above (n. 39), and what was there said will here be repeated, since it is important to have the fallacies dispelled that have been engendered in the minds of many who from lack of knowledge and trained intellect are unable to form rational conclusions on the subject. The words are these:-
I will mention a certain arcanum respecting the angels of the three heavens, which has not hitherto come into any one's mind, because degrees have not been understood. In every angel and in every man there is an inmost or highest degree, or an inmost or highest something, into which the Divine of the Lord first or most directly flows, and from which it disposes the other interiors in him that succeed in accordance with the degrees of order. This inmost or highest degree may be called the entrance of the Lord to the angel or man, and His veriest dwelling-place in them. It is by virtue of this inmost or highest that a man is a man, and distinguished from the animals, which do not have it. From this it is that man, unlike the animals, is capable, in respect to all his interiors which pertain to his mind and disposition, of being raised up by the Lord to Himself, of believing in the Lord, of being moved by love to the Lord, and thereby beholding Him, and of receiving intelligence and wisdom, and speaking from reason. Also it is by virtue of this that he lives to eternity. But what is arranged and provided by the Lord in this inmost does not distinctly fall into the perception of any angel, because it is above his thought and transcends his wisdom.
436. That in respect to his interiors man is a spirit I have been permitted to learn from much experience, which, to employ a common saying, would fill volumes if I were to describe it all. I have talked with spirits as a spirit, and I have talked with them as a man in the body; and when I talked with them as a spirit they knew no otherwise than that I myself was a spirit and in a human form as they were. Thus did my interiors appear before them, for when talking with them as a spirit my material body was not seen.
437. That in respect to his interiors man is a spirit can be seen from the fact that after his separation from the body, which takes place when he dies, man goes on living as a man just as before. That I might be convinced of this I have been permitted to talk with nearly every one I had ever known in their life in the body; with some for hours, with some for weeks and months, and with some for years, and this chiefly that I might be sure of it and might testify to it.
438. To this may be added that every man in respect to his spirit, even while he is living in the body, is in some society with spirits, although he does not know it; if a good man he is by means of spirits in some angelic society; if an evil man in some infernal society; and after death he comes into that same society. This has been often told and shown to those who after death have come among spirits. Man, to be sure, does not appear in that society as a spirit while he is living in the world, for the reason that he then thinks naturally; but when one is thinking abstractly from the body, because he is then in the spirit, he sometimes appears in his society; and when seen he is easily distinguished from the spirits there, for he goes about meditating and in silence, not looking at others, and apparently not seeing them; and as soon as any spirit speaks to him he vanishes.
439. To make clear that man in respect to his interiors is a spirit I will relate from experience what happens when man is withdrawn from the body, and what it is to be carried away by the spirit to another place.
440. First, as to withdrawal from the body, it happens thus. Man is brought into a certain state that is midway between sleeping and waking, and when in that state he seems to himself to be wide awake; all the senses are as perfectly awake as in the completest bodily wakefulness, not only the sight and the hearing, but what is wonderful, the sense of touch also, which is then more exquisite than is ever possible when the body is awake. In this state spirits and angels have been seen to the very life, and have been heard, and what is wonderful, have been touched, with almost nothing of the body intervening. This is the state that is called being withdrawn from the body, and not knowing whether one is in the body or out of it. I have been admitted into this state only three or four times, that I might learn what it is, and might know that spirits and angels enjoy every sense, and that man does also in respect to his spirit when he is withdrawn from the body.
441. As to being carried away by the spirit to another place, I have been shown by living experience what it is, and how it is done, but only two or three times. I will relate a single instance. Walking through the streets of a city and through fields, talking at the same time with spirits, I knew no otherwise than that I was fully awake, and in possession of my usual sight. Thus I walked on without going astray, and all the while with clear vision, seeing groves, rivers, palaces, houses, men, and other objects. But after walking thus for some hours, suddenly I saw with my bodily eyes, and noted that I was in another place. Being greatly astonished I perceived that I had been in the same state as those who were said to have been led away by the spirit into another place. For in this state the distance, even though it be many miles, and the time, though it be many hours or days, are not thought of; neither is there any feeling of fatigue; and one is led unerringly through ways of which he himself is ignorant, even to the destined place.
442. But these two states of man, which are his states when he is in his interiors, or what is the same, when he is in the spirit, are extraordinary; but as they are states known about in the church, they were exhibited to me only that I might know what they are. But it has been granted to me now for many years to speak with spirits and to be with them as one of them, even in full wakefulness of the body.
443. That in respect to his interiors man is a spirit there are further evidences in what has been said and shown above (n. 311-317), where it is explained that heaven and hell are from the human race.
444. That man is a spirit in respect to his interiors means in respect to the things pertaining to his thought and will, for these are the interiors themselves that make man to be man, and such a man as he is in respect to these interiors.
[Next Chapter] [Table of Contents]
[Next Chapter] [Table of Contents]