Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1904

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

1904. That 'Sarai, Abram's wife, took' means the affection for truth, which in the genuine sense is 'Sarai the wife', is clear from the meaning of 'Sarai' as truth allied to good, and from the meaning of 'wife' as affection, dealt with already in 915, 1468. There are; two affections, distinct and separate - the affection for good and the affection for truth. While a person is being regenerated the affection for truth takes the lead, for it is an affection for truth for the sake of good that moves him; but once he has been regenerated the affection for good takes the lead, and it is now an affection for truth originating in good that moves him. The affection for good belongs to the will, the affection for truth to the understanding. The most ancient people established a marriage so to speak between these two affections. They used to refer to good (or the love of good) and truth (or the love of truth) as Man, calling the former 'the husband' and the latter 'the wife'. The comparison of good and truth to a marriage has its origins in the heavenly marriage.

[2] Regarded in themselves good and truth do not possess any life, but they derive their life from love or affection. They are merely the instruments that serve life. Consequently as is the love producing the affection for good and truth, so is the life; for the whole of life constitutes the whole of love or affection. This is why 'Sarai his wife' in the genuine sense means the affection for truth. And because the Intellectual desired the Rational as its offspring, and because what she says is an expression of that desire or affection, this verse contains the explicit wording, 'Sarai, Abram's wife, gave to Abram her husband' which would be an unnecessary repetition - for in themselves these words would be quite superfluous - if such matters were not embodied within the internal sense.

[3] Intellectual truth is distinct and separate from rational truth, and rational truth from factual truth, just as what is internal, what is intermediate, and what is external are. Intellectual truth is internal, rational truth is intermediate, while factual truth is external. These are quite distinct and separate because one is interior to another. With everyone intellectual truth, which is internal, or that present within the inmost part of him, is not his own but is the Lord's with him. From this the Lord flows into the rational, where truth first appears as if it were the person's own, and through the rational into his faculty of knowing. From these considerations it is clear that nobody can possibly think as of himself from intellectual truth, but from rational truth and factual truth because these do appear as if they were his.

[4] Only the Lord, when He lived in the world, thought from intellectual truth, for that truth was His own Divine truth joined to good, or the Divine spiritual joined to the Divine celestial. In this respect the Lord was different from all others. Man in no way possesses the ability to think from the Divine existing within himself as his essential self, nor can that ability possibly exist within man, only within Him who was conceived from Jehovah. Because He thought from intellectual truth, that is, from the love or affection for intellectual truth, from that truth also He desired the Rational. This is why it is stated here that 'Sarai, Abram's wife', by whom is meant the affection for intellectual truth, 'took Hagar the Egyptian and gave her to Abram her husband as his wife (mulier)'.

[5] No other arcana concealed here can be brought out and explained intelligibly because the human being dwells in very great obscurity regarding his own internals. Indeed he has no conception of these, for he identifies the rational and the intellectual degrees of the mind with the factual degree, not knowing that these degrees are distinct and separate, so distinct in fact that the intellectual is able to exist without the rational, as also can the rational, while subordinate to the intellectual, exist without the factual. This must inevitably seem absurd to those wholly immersed in factual knowledge, but it is nevertheless the truth. It is not possible however for anyone to have truth present in the factual degree of his mind, that is to say, to have an affection for it and a belief in it, if truth is not present in the rational, into which and through which the Lord flows in from the intellectual degree. These arcana do not lie open to man's view except in the next life.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church