|ON ANGELIC MARRIAGES ACCORDING TO SWEDENBORG
(extendet variant from: The New Philosophy, July-Decemmer, 1995, Vol.XCVIII, Nos.3&4)
Swedenborg had quite an extraordinary view of angels. He thought that angels in heaven are involved in marrital relations. Of course, Swedenborg was a great connaisseur of the Holy Scripture and many times quoted The Gospel's Story on the resurruction of the dead: "Then come untu him the Sad'ducees, whish say there is no resurrection' and they asced him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, if a man's brother die and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were sewen brethren; and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye herefore do greatly err" (St.Mark. 12, 18-22). The World of Spirits Swedenborg declares that everything he writes about the nether World, he saw with his own eyes "The arcana now reveald in the following pages treat of heaven and hell, and at the same time of man`s life after death. The man of the Church at this day knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or about his life after death, althought they are all set forth and described in the World. Indeed, many people born within the Church even deny them, saying in their hearts, "Who has come from that world and told us?" Lest, therefore, such a negative attitude, which prevails especially with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been granted to me to associate with angels and to talk with them as man with man, also to see the things in the heavens as well as in the hells, and this for thirteen years. Now, therefore, from what I have seen and heard I am permitted to describe these things, in the hope that thus, ignorance may be enlightened and unbelief dispelled. Such immediate revelation is now made because that is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord" (HH, 1) (1). And so, what does Swedenborg as a witness writes about marriages in heaven? Before answering this question we have to retaell his views on the structure of the nether world. This world consist of three regions: Heavens, the World of Spirits and Hell. The inhabitants of these three regions are recruited from the people. God did not create angels, Swedenborg thinks, and therefore, there has never been such an event as the Fall of angels and the Creation of Hell. What is told about the Fall of angels in the Bible, according to Swedenborg, should be understood not literally, but allegoricaly: Lucifer is not a real angel, but Hell itself. After death the man gets to the world of spirits. Having died, the man gets to the first state of spiritual condition (or the first state of spirits) - the state of exteriors. In this state this spirit is different from the living person only the absence of earthly body. This spiritual body has the form of earthly body and preserves all its earthly qualities: gift of speech, hearing, thinking, feeling and etc. "So when a man has become a spirit he does know otherwise than that he is in his own body in which he had been in the world and thus does not know that he has died" (HH, 461). So, in this first state the spirits keep on living basically according to the way they used to live on Earth. The time the man lives in the first state of spirits can be as long as several days or even up to one year, depending on the degree of coincidence of the interior and exterior principals of life. According to Swedenborg, the spirit is the inner man, i.e. the man without earhly body; the inner man, in this case, is the sum of reason and will. The man (including the inner man, i.e. the spirit) is basically like this: a) What is the intention of his will, i.e. what is the subject of his love, and b) What is his faith, i.e. what he considers the existing "Because dees and works are from the will and thought, so are they from the love and faith, consequently, they are such as the love and faith are; for it is the same thing whether you say a man's love or his will, and it is the same thing whether you say a man's faith or his established thought; for that which a man loves he wills, and that which a man believes he thinks. If a man loves what he believes he also wills it and as far as possible does it. Everyone can know that love and faith are within man's willing and thinking, and not outside them, for it is the will that is kindled with love, and the thought that is enlightened in matters of faith; therefore only those who are able to think wisely are enlightened, and in the measure of their enlightenment they think what is true and will it, or what is the same, they belive what is true and love it" (HH, 473). So, the relation of the reason (the thought) and he will is such that "thought is simply the will's form, or that whereby what is willed may appear in light" (HH, 500) i.e. the reason and will are not two mechanically juxtaposed pairs. The inner and the outer may not coincide in the earthly man: the man may be evil but can do pleasing deeds or he can be ugly outside but good inside. The meaning of the first state of spirits is that it makes evident genuine essence of man. Depending on the degree of not coincidence of inner or outer the spirits can exist various spans of time in this first state. In the end of thre existense in this state the exterior of the spirits fully coincides with its inner state. And so, even by appearance is evident to what kind of man he is. The same relates to the marriage life: "I have often heard that those who have come from the world were rejoiced at seeing their again, and that their friends in turn were rejoiced that they had come. Very commonly husband and wife come tigether and congratulate each other, and continue together, and this for a longer or shorter time according to their delight in living together in the world. But if they had not been united by a truly conjugil love, which is a conjunction of minds by heavenly love, after remaining together for a while they separate. Or if their minds had been discordant and were inwardly adverse, they break forth into open enmity, and sometimes into combat; nevertheless they are not separated until they enter the second state" (HH, 494). Swedenborg thought that there is a principle of correspondence or the science of correspondences. According to this principle, every natural earthly subject is related to some spiritual subject, and so the earthly life of man and his love and faith will have the corresponding life after his death, with the same love and faith. The only fundamental difference between the spirit and the earthly man in this regard is that the earthly man can change his nature through repentance or sin, but the spirit in unable to change his nature. In the first state, in the state of exterior, the spirit lives exactly like he used to live on earth not even knowing about the existence of other spiritual realities. In the second state - the state of interiors the essence of man is revealed completely and he begins to live completely in accordance to his faith and love. His exterior image completely corresponds to his inner contens. "But afterwards, when they come into the second state, their evils become manifest, because their interiors are then opened and their exteriors laid asleep" (HH, 497), i.e. looks like the man dies once again. If through the death of the earthly man, he is deprived of his earthly body, were living in form of the earthly body, after reaching the second state, he loses even that image. His exterior is now the kind of his faith, and the contents is the character according to his love. If the man on earth lived in Good, believed in God and loved truth he becomes good spirit and behaves in a virtoues way. If he believed in evil and loved lie he becomes evil spirit and he goes mad. So, the life of the spirit in the second state is the most evident revelation of the esssence of the earthly life. In the second state inner vision is opened for the angels and they start seeing other realities besides their own existence: good spirits see Heaven and evil see Hell. In the second state the good spirits are separated from the evil. The evil spirits go to Hell, and good spirits reach the third state - the state of instruction. The transition of evil spirit from the second state into Hell is determined by the fact that he loses completely any idea of good and truth and he devotes himself fully to his hellish love. If in the second state evil spirits still recognized Good and Truth at least as means of achieving the aims, spirits in Hell deny completly Good and Truth. In the second state the spirits live and act in correing to the earthly nature. In the third state the good spirits are instructed in the heaven good and truth. Having receaved insturction the spirits becames the inhabitant of Heaven. The transition through this three states is the general rule for the spirits but some spirits whose nature is extraordinary evident after their death immediately go to Hell or to Heaven. Heaven and Hell are by themselves compossed in a sophisticated way. The maximum time the spirit can exist in the world of spirits is thirty years (HH,426). If husband and wife led on earth genuinely conjugal life then they will stay the spouses also in the world of spirits in Heaven and in world of angels. But if the man had no genuinely conjugal life on earth, then in the world of spirits the spouses are departing if not in the first state then in the second, when the real essence of spouses becomes evident. In Heaven every man can find a marriage partuer for himself and all angels are married. With the eception of those who kept to the rule of celibacy on earth, for instance monks, who wished to remain celibate after death. So, these people do not go to Heaven or to Hell, but they have a special place to dwell besides heavens. Those who were celibate on earth and wished also to a celibate after death cannot be taken to Heaven for the Heavens itself, according to Swedenborg, is nothing else but the communion of angels: "The angels taken collectively are called heaven, because they constitute heaven, but yet it is the Divine proceeding from the Lord which inflows with the angels and received by them, that makes heaven in general and in part. The Divine proceeding from the Lord is the good of love and the truth of faith. To the extend, therefore, that they receive good and truth from the Lord, in the measure they are angels and in that measure they are heaven" (HH, 7). The man who is celibate after his death cannot be by its essence the angel and cannot live among the angels, i.e. in Heaven. Marriages in Heaven In Heaven the angels live in marriges: "As heaven is from human race, and consequently the angels there are of both sexes, and from creation woman is for man and man is for woman, thus the one belongs to the other, and this love is innate in both, it follows that there are marriages in heaven as well as on the earth... Marriage in heaven is a conjunction of two into one mind. It will first be explained what this conjunction is. The mind consist of two parts, one called the understanding and the other the will. When these two parts act as one they said to be one mind. In heaven the husband acts the part called the understanding and the wife acts the part called the will. When this conjunction, which belongs to man's interiors, descends into the lower things pertaining to the body, it is perceived and felt as love, and this love is conjugial love. From this it is clear that conjugial love has its origin in the conjunction of two into one mind. This in heaven is called cohabitation; and it is said that they are not two but one. So in heaven a married pair is spoken of, not as two, but as one angel" (HH, 366-367). The result of merriage life is the fullness of being, when the deficiency of one quality (of the will or the reason) of one spouse is complemented by qualities of an other spouse: the strong reason of husband is complemented by the strong will of wife. "Everyone, whether man or woman, rejoices in understanding and will; but with the man the understanding predominates, and with the woman the will predominates, and the character is determined by that which predominates. Yet in marriages in the heavens there is no predominance; for the will of the wife is also the husband's will, and the understanding of the husband is also the wife's understanding, since each loves to will and to think as the other, that is, mutually and reciprocally. Thus are they conjoined into one. This conjunction is actual conjunction, for the will of the wife enters into the understanding of the husband, and the understanding of the husband into the will of the wife, and this especially when they look into one another's faces; for, as has been repeatedly said above, there is in the heavens a sharing of thoughts and affections, more especially with husband and wife, because they reciprocally love each other" (HH, 369). But the meaning of conjugal life is not only in the mutual complementareity of different qualities but also, in the active interaction of similar qualities, when "one wishes what is his own to be the other's, and this reciprocally" (HH, 369), there is the contents of consience, and intellect of husband should belong also to his wife, i.e. the wife had the possibility to use this intellect and the wife's will had became the quality of the husband. All this means not just the transmission of contents from one side to another or the fusiow of their contents but precisely the interaction of qualities and possibility to use other human beings quality as one's. There were degrees of perfections in love and accord to the degree the spouses can get closer and closer to God. The progress itself and the love is characterised by freedom. More over, freedom is dirived from love: "I have been shown how the delights of conjugial love advance towards heaven... The advance of the delights of conjugial love towards heaven was into states of blessedness and happiness continually increasing until they became innumerable and ineffable, and the more interiorly they advanced the more innumerable and more ineffable they became, until they reached the very states blessedness and happiness of the inmost heaven, or of the heaven of innocence, and this through the most perfect freedom; for all freedom is from love, thus the most perfect freedom is from conjugial love, which is heavenly love itself" (HH, 386). But conjugal relation on any degree of assenscion to Heaven are characterized by the fullness of being. "In the inmost heaven there is genuine conjugial love because the angels there are in the marriage of good and truth, and also in innocence. The angels of the lower heavens are also in conjugial love, but only so far as they are in innocence; for conjugial love viewed in itself is a state of innocence; and this is why consorts who are conjugial love enjoy heavenly delights together, which appear before their minds almost like the games of innocence, as between little children; for everything delights their minds, since heaven with its joy flows into every particular of their lives. For the same reason conjugial love is represented in heaven by the most beautiful objects. I have seen it represented by a maiden of indescribable beauty encompassed with a bright white cloud. It is said that the angels in heaven all their beauty from conjugial love. The affections and thought from that love are represented by diamondlike auras with scintillations as if from fiery stones and rubies, which are attended by delights that affect the interiors of the mind. In a word, heaven represents itself in conjugial love, because heaven with the angels is the conjunction of good and truth, and it is this conjunction that makes conjugial love" (HH, 382a). Marriages In Earth According to Swedenborg, between the angel and man there are no principal differences, both of them equally live their life according to divine reality for "the angels of heaven are men in perfect human form" (CL, 27) (2). The man, according to Swedenborg, just like an angels, is fundamentally a marital creature. What has been said of marriages in Heaven is good also for marriages in Earth. Marriages on earth are also union of good and truth or reason and will or love and faith, And not just coulation in such. And just like an angel is one marital couple, the man in the fullness of his being is also one marriage couple: "The male man and the female man were so created that from two they may become as one man or one flesh; and when they become one, then, taken together, they are man in his fullness. Without this conjunction they are two, and each, as it were, is a divided or half man" (CL, 37). It is easy now to understand the Swedenborgian view of the resurrection ofthe dead: Saddu-cees speak about the marriage as a social phenomenon which is releated to inheritance and not about love and marriage. This is said in one of the talks of spirits which Swedenborg were witness too "Certain men said that conjunction with a female before marriage is the same as conjunction with a wife after marriage. On hearing this, the wives were exceedingly indignant and said, "There is no similarity whatsoever; the difference between them is like the difference between the fatuous and the real," to which the men retorted, "Are you not females as before?" At this the wives replied in a louder voice, "We are not females but wives. You are in fatuous love, not in real; therefore you talk foolisly." The men then said, "If not females, you are yet married women." They replied, "In the first days of marriage we were married women, but now we are wives." (CL, 199). So, in the story of the ressurection of dead the subject is merried woman and not wife. At least none of the Sad'du-cees was interested in her real love. According to Swedenborg there is no problem is this situation: after her death this woman will be really united with the brother, whom she loved, if she loved anybody. And if she didn't love anybody then none of the brothers will become her husband. Thanks to marital love, all corporad problems in earthly marriage are irrelevant. It doen't mean that they doesn't exist, they just cease to be meaningful as far as love is concerued. Just like, for instance, the absence of capacity to fly doesn't restrict man's capacity to love. Yet in real marriage every thing is done in union is the happiness and joy be it things sexual or social. The Psychology of Conjugal Love According to Swedenborg, the married couple is the ontological prototype of angel/man (3), or, in other words, the image of angel/man is his model. If in other, perheeps in all sistems angel/man is always cousidered as a separate unit, Swedenborg's angel/man is a binary being although he is a unitary personality. This specific ontological model demands the construction of specific psychological models. The psychology of virtual realities can provide a fruitfull in this regard. This psychology preseupposes many levels of reality in which the man lives (4). The unitary man lives just in one of many possible levels of reality which is called constant. All other realities are virtual in relation to this state. The unitary man from time to time can jucup to virtual reality of higher or lower a level. From now on we are going to examin only the transitions to the higher levels of reality. These events are ailed gratual. This transition - gratual - is characterized by the following of features. The altered state of reality. In this event man/angel discovers new realiy, more enlarged than theo ordinery one and quite attractive; at the same time man/angel acquires new corporality. The altered state of personality Man/angel begins to evaluate differently himself and his possibilities and discovers in himself the feeling of power an inspiration. The altered state of conscience The sphere of conscience is greatly enlarged and the conscience is enlightened. The altered state of will There are no efforts of will in this event. Everything happens by itself. The activity becames self-activating force. So, the man/angel has the feeling that everything is done by itself and his will is given to some higher being. Another words, the personality who has discovered for itself the new reality (or new body) discovers also new possibilities of consciousness (or, in Swedenborg's terms, the reason), but the active will is absent. The psychic state of being in the constant reality is called consuetal. Unitary being, be it male or female, by necessety is either in gratual or in consuetal states, if isn't possibly to dwell in this to evens, since it is related different ways of functioning of body, personality, consciousness and will. But if two creatures have possibility of harmonizing and transmitting to each other their states, then it is possible to admit that their states can be complementary to each other. In the consuetal state one complements the gratual of another. In this case the freedom of the will of the being in consuetal state complements the freedom of conciousness of being in gratual reality. Such is the emergence of "perfect freedom" or the full freedom: the freedom of reason and will at the same time. Belonging to two different levels of reality is also the fullness or completness of being. Swedenborg, relating masculine nature to truth and feminine nature to good, notes that the union of truth and good constitutes the fullness of being, created by God. The actualisation by man/angel of this couple in himself is the fullness of being which can be achieved only in conjugal love. One of the specific qualities of the gratual state is the fact that all things the proceed living and beautiful. The examples of gratual event can be the feeling of fullness in love or the moments of suddenly revealed beauty of a tree, flower, stone, word etc. The married couple is forever dwells in gratual event, because of the cousecutive transition in to gratual of both masculine and feminine part. Then the feeling of the freshness of love is preserved forever and the same primordial feeling of beauty and goodness of being is preserved too. The binary nature of man/angel is not a pagan androgine. Androgin is a unitary being in whom masculine and feminine parts are united as left and right but angel/ man are two beings preserving the sexual identity. Androgine is a corporeal unity but man/angel will being separated in bodies represets spiritual union, this is a unitary personality, not a unitary body. Eve and Adam If we are to follow Swedenborg's idea of marriage then the world's history could be described differrently from the Bible. Let us stress once again that what is described in the Bible is a real history of humanity and not the only possible one. In the first place one should point out that the main participants of this history act on different hierarchichal levels of being. The highest level is the level of absolute fullness, which belongs to God. The next step belongs to Adam. And one step lower from Adam stands Eve. Eve was created as "a helper" of man (Gen. 2,18,20). In paradise Eve didn't have even her name, she receved your name onle after the fall (Gen. 3,20). And yet Eve was not a strange to Adam but his wife. In other words, Eve according to ontological status was equal to Adam ("And they shall be one flesh"- Gen. 2,24) but her psychological status was lower. From the point of view of the virtual reality Eve was facing the problem: to admire her hasbund who occupied the higher step on the gratual level thereby perticipating in this level, but to have no being of her own or to leave the consuetal state and on enter the reality of Adam which is achieved through knowledge of good and evel to try to acquire a full conjugal life. Eve have chosen the second way. Adam immediately leaves this reality for the second one, he has also tasted a fruit from the tree of good and evil (it looks like his reasons were the same as Eve's but this as time in a relaion to God). Yet this was already the last, the absolute, i.e. is divine reality:"And the Lord God said: Behold, the man is become as one of us, to kniw good end evil"(Gen. 3,22) and so, becose Adam and his wife exile from Paradise. According to Swedenborg, the unitary man in principal is deficient and his efforts could never help him to reach the fullness of being. It is not by chance that people who remaine celibate can never go to Heaven. On the other hand, the fullness of being secured by conjugal life is achieved already on a level of earthly life. In order to understand the fullness of being one should difference between ontological and psychilogical dimentions. Ontologically, on various levels of being (the man, the spirit in the first state, the spirit in the second state, the spirit in the third state, angel of the first, second or third heavens) of course there exists different fullness of being,there is the degree of participantion in yet psychologicaly, i.e. from the inner point of view, any level of conjugal life is experienced as the fullness of life, i.e. any level of conjugal life secures the fullness of being and the absence of deficience in man's life. What has happened to Adam and Eve from Swedenborg's point of view? Eve, being created as the feminine willing part complementary to the the masculine reason of Adam, didn't automaticaly become his spouse. This is understandabl, for God could create a woman without Adam's knowlidge, but He could not marry Adam to woman without his consent just like He could not make Eve marry Adam without her consent. In other words to became spouses they must love each other and there must be conjugal love revealed in the specific unity of husband and wife "When I had seen all this, they (5) again spoke with me; and when the husband was speaking, he spoke at the same time as though from his wife, and when the wife, she spoke at the same time as though from her husband, such being the union of the minds from which the speech flowed; and then also I heard the sound of conjugial love, that it was inwardly simultaneous and, moreover, was a sound proceeding from the delights of a state of peace and innocence" (CL, 42,5). Adam and Eve had no such unity otherwise Eve could not by her own will take the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If she were Adam's wife, she could understaud through his reason that to taste this apple would be the Fall. And Adam, in his turn. If he was a real hausband, he would foresee the Eve's actions even if she were out of his sight. Eve was just a married woman but not a wife, according Swedenborg's terms. Being created out of Adam's body, she had only corporal unity with him and not a spiritual one:"This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh"(Gen. 2.23). In his turn, Adam also quite delebaretely i.e. neglected the personality of wife makes a independent action. He also tastes the fruit of the tree of knowledge good evil. Psychologicaly Adam's sin is not that he had learned good and evil and realized that he was naked and then he would know his wife and she would becur children for him and children would give birth to the owner children etc. There was enough space for everybody in Paradise. Psychologically Adam's sin consisted precisely in the fact that had learned good and evil he delibaretely became God and not man. If Adam and Eve managed to fall in love raver with each other before the serpent appeared, i.e. before the first delebarate action of Eve, they would become spouses, the full husband and wife. And then nature as two personalities but unitary being, i.e. the inner nature of paradiasical being of spouses would completly correspond to the nature of Paradise which surrounded them. And even if they had not given birth to children afterwards, this would not interfere with their marital life, for such a life, according to Swedenborg, consists not in making love as such but in infinitely rich experience of God presence. In this case Adam and Eve had not pretention and wish to become gods and would stand by his divine throne, just like the most advanced marital couples are standing now. It is posible that Adam and Eve for same reason would have realized the corporelaty and would give birth to some children and who would also give birth to more children and in such way humanity could have been created. That would be the begining of a new history of a now humanity - the humanity where people would be people by body and angels by soul, so that would be angelic humanity the angels would possess human body. The essential point in Swedenborgians angelology is the relation of the fredoom of angel/man and his reproductive function. It is evident that man is lindowed with reproductive function. Many people think that man reproduced himself because of his earthly sinfull nature in struggle with depth or giving birth to children gives possibility to prolong the exsistence of human life whill its individual members are not immortal. In this chance reproductive funcion of eternal and sineless angels would seem quite unnessesery. Yet, according to Swedenborg, Heavenly marriages also possess reproductive function "Marriages in heaven differ from marriages on the earth in that he procreation of offspring is another purpose of marriages on the earth, but not of marriages in heaven, since in heaven the procreation of good and truth takes the place of procreation of offspring. The former takes the place of the latter because marriage in heaven is a marriage of good and truth...; and as in that marriage good and truth and their conjunction are loved above all things so these are what are propagated by marriages in heaven" (HH, 382b). In our opinion, Swedenborg talked about reproductive function of angels becouse he already said that angel in conjugal love possesses freedom, more over, the fullness of freedom. Unfree subject cannot reproduce anybody, for his action are delimited be external circumstance. Free subject has a choice to make or not to make any action. Both man and angel choose to reproduce and create or not to reproduce and not to create. It is exactly like the sinless nature of angels. Angel, according to Swedenborg, does not commit sin not because he is incapable of doing that, but because of his free choice of divine love. In this sense the fulness of being and the fulness of freedom is possibly only becouse binary structure of a angel/man. Relating the principal of binary as making of "perfect freedom" on the corporality of man, one can say that the revelation of freedom and the fullness of being in man's body must be complemented by the body of opposite sex, since the body of the unitary man does not possess the freedom and fullness of being. In this sense Adam needed a wife for realisation of his corporeal freedom or the freedom of the body, otherwise he would possess unfree body and he would not possess "perfect freedom" and fullness of being. This corporeal restriction, i.e. this submission to external circumstances made itself evident in the final acount until Adam and Eve became husband and wife, i.e. acquired the freedom and fullness of being. Of course, man, possessing the reproductive organs desposes them unvoluntary and even unthouglitfully just like a plant and even with the aim of commiting sin. Yet such usage of the body is the result of free choice and it related to free nature of reproductive function. So, the capacity to give birth is the appearance of freedom, and so the man gives birth to children not becouse he is sinfull and struggles with depth but becouse he is free and pure in soul. Swedenborg's views on angelic marriages is not just a curious example of angelology. In fact Swedenborg introduced quite a new paradigme which in this turn, makes nessesery to reevaluate many thigs in the nature of man and the nature of world.
(1) - HH - Heaven and Hell.
(2) - CL - Conjugial Love.
(3) - Because of the lack of spiceous term for singing angels and men, we are to use both genderous terms simultaneously.
(4) - Nosov N.A. Spiritual Ladder of Isaac the Sirin // Human Being, 1992, N 5. Nosov N.A. Real Unrealities // Human Being. 1993, N 1.
(5) - Angelic husband and wife - N.N.
Translated by V.V.Maliavin