3. Immutability And Sameness

The Divine is not variable and mutable as everything connected with space and time is, or as everything connected with nature is, but is invariable and immutable. Consequently it is everywhere and always the same. (Divine Love and Wisdom 77)

The Divine Being, which is in itself God, is the same; not the same in a simple way, but infinitely the same, that is, the same from eternity to eternity. He is the same everywhere, the same with each person and in each person; but all the changes and differences occur in the person who receives Him, and it is his state which causes this. (True Christian Religion 253)

The Lord is not in a greater and lesser degree of love and wisdom, that is, as a sun He is not in a greater or lesser degree of heat and light with one than with another, for He is everywhere the same. But He is not received by one in the same degree as by another. (Divine Love and Wisdom 124)

That such various things of the Lord are represented, is not because various things are in the Lord, but because His Divine is variously received by men. This is like the life in man, which flows in and acts upon the various sensory and motive organs of the body, and upon the various members and viscera, and everywhere presents variety. For the eye sees in one way, the ear hears in another, the tongue perceives in another; so the arms and hands move in one way, and the loins and the feet in a different way; the lungs act in one way and the heart in another; the liver in one way and the stomach in another, and so on; but nevertheless it is one life which actuates them all so variously, not because the life itself acts in different ways, but because it is differently received; for the form of each organ is that according to which the action is determined. (Arcana Coelestia 4206)

What flows in from the Lord is received by man according to his form. Form means here man’s state in respect both to his love and to his wisdom, consequently in respect both to his affections for the goods of charity and to his perceptions of the truths of faith. That God is one, indivisible, and the same, from eternity to eternity, not the same simply but infinitely the same, and that all variableness is in the subject in which He dwells… That the recipient form or state induces variations, can be seen from the life of infants, children, youths, adults, and aged persons; in each there is the same life, because the same soul, from infancy to old age; but as one’s state is varied according to age and what is suitable thereto, in like manner is life perceived. (True Christian Religion 366{3})

Immutability Beyond Simple Sameness: Spiritual Christianity holds that Jehovah’s immutability should not be equated with a static, monotonous sameness. Instead, it represents a constant state of Divine perfection that transcends simplistic interpretations of immutability.

Perfection in Complexity: Spiritual Christianity states that true perfection is linked to complexity and diversity. Jehovah, as the Divine Esse, embodies a perfect complexity, manifesting His perfection through the intricate and diverse nature of creation rather than uniformity.

Divine Sameness and Human Variability: Jehovah’s sameness is not uniformity but a consistent Divine nature experienced differently by recipients due to their varying states. This variability is in humans and other created beings, reflecting their capacities and conditions to perceive the Divine presence.

Dynamic Nature of the Divine: Spiritual Christianity highlights that Jehovah’s perfection is dynamic, involving infinite organization and diversity. The perceived changes are in the recipients, not in the immutable Divine Esse.

Perception of Divine Presence: While Jehovah remains perfect and immutable, human experiences and perceptions of the Divine vary based on individual states and capacities, illustrating the complex interaction between the Divine and creation.

1. What does Spiritual Christianity mean by Jehovah’s immutability?
a) Jehovah changes frequently according to circumstances.
b) Jehovah maintains a static, unchanging monotony.
c) Jehovah embodies a constant and perfect state that transcends simplistic interpretations.
d) Jehovah’s nature is uniform and devoid of complexity.
Answer: c)

2. How does Spiritual Christianity define perfection in relation to the Divine Esse?
a) As uniformity and simplicity.
b) As a static state without any complexity.
c) As a monotonous sameness.
d) As linked to complexity and diversity.
Answer: d)

3. According to Spiritual Christianity, why do variations in the perception of Jehovah exist?
a) Jehovah changes according to different environments.
b) Variations arise from the mutable nature of Jehovah.
c) Variations are effects produced by the state of the recipients.
d) Jehovah lacks a consistent nature.
Answer: c)

4. What does Spiritual Christianity emphasise about the nature of Jehovah’s perfection?
a) It is simple and devoid of variation.
b) It is found in infinite organisation and diversity.
c) It is the same as human perfection.
d) It changes in response to human actions.
Answer: b)

5. How does Spiritual Christianity’s concept of Jehovah’s immutability differ from scientific reductionism?
a) It aligns with the idea of uniformity and simplicity.
b) It suggests Jehovah’s perfection involves infinite complexity.
c) It portrays Jehovah as a static entity.
d) It views immutability as monotony.
Answer: b)

1. How does the idea of perfection as complexity and diversity challenge your previous notions of Divine immutability?
• Reflect on the implications of understanding Divine perfection through complexity and how it contrasts with simpler interpretations of immutability.

2. In what ways can recognising the variability in human perception of the Divine enhance your spiritual journey?
• Consider how accepting the differences in Divine perception due to individual states can influence your approach to spirituality and how you relate to others.

3. How can the concept of Divine sameness amidst human variability inform your interactions with others in a spiritual context?
• Think about how this understanding of Divine sameness and human variability can shape your perspective on unity and diversity in spiritual communities.

Spend 5-10 minutes each day contemplating the complexity and diversity inherent in Divine perfection. Reflect on how Jehovah’s perfection manifests in the intricacy and variety of creation.

Steps:

  1. Find a quiet place and sit comfortably, closing your eyes and taking deep breaths.
  2. Consider an aspect of nature that illustrates complexity and diversity.
  3. Reflect on how these complexities point to a higher perfection beyond simple sameness.
  4. Contemplate how Jehovah’s perfection is manifested through this dynamic intricacy.
  5. Conclude with a moment of gratitude for the richness and diversity of Divine creation and record any insights in a journal.

Choose one of the key points from the video and try to express and integrate it creatively through your senses. Pick a modality to do this through, perhaps a different one from what you have chosen previously. Consider drawing or painting, making or listening to music, poetry, exercise, gardening, cooking, or even just watching the colourful or dramatic impressions of the natural world. There are so many ways you can engage with it. Record your insights from this exercise and also document any differences in what is awakened in you with this new modality.

You will have your own personal preferences, but here are two pieces of music and art that you might like to use for inspiration to get you started…

Music

“Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré

This piece blends a serene and complex musical structure, echoing themes of Divine complexity and perfection through its intricate harmonies and textures.

Visual Art

“Juin-Octobre 1985” by Zao Wou-Ki

Zao’s painting with its incandescent centre seen beyond a dark curtain accented by strident blue, evokes contemplation on the mystical unicity between the complexity of nature and the perfection of the infinite.

Listen to the audio recording of the book Spiritual Christianity. Collected from the theological works of Emmanuel Swedenborg by Charles Augustus Tulk which is what this short course series is based on.

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