Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 994

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994. That 'every creeping thing that is living' means all pleasures containing good, which is living, is clear from the meaning of 'creeping thing' dealt with already. The fact that 'creeping thing' here means all clean beasts and birds is clear to everyone, for it is said that they are 'given for food'. In their proper sense 'creeping things' comprise those which were the basest of all, mentioned by name in Lev 11:27, 29, 30, and were unclean. But in a broad sense, as here, they are the living creatures that have been given for food. They are called 'creeping things' here however because they mean pleasures. In the Word, human affections are meant by 'clean beasts', as has been s rated. But because no one perceives those affections except within his pleasures, so much so that he refers to them as pleasures, they are for this reason called 'creeping things' here.

[2] There are two kinds of pleasures - those of the will and those of the understanding In general there are the pleasures of possessing land and wealth; the pleasures of positions of honour and those of service to the state; the pleasures of conjugial love, and of love of infants and children; the pleasures of friendship and of social intercourse; the pleasures of reading, writing, having knowledge, being wise, and many others. Then there are the pleasures of the senses; such as that of hearing, which in general is the pleasure taken in the sweet sounds of music and song; that of seeing, which in general is the pleasure taken in various things of beauty, which are manifold; that of smell, which is that taken in pleasant odours; that of taste, which is that taken in all the delicious and nourishing qualities of food and drink; and that of touch, which arises from further joyous sensations. Because these different kinds of pleasures are experienced in the body, they are called pleasures of the body. But no pleasure ever arises in the body unless it arises from, and is sustained by, some interior affection. Nor does any interior affection ever do so unless this in turn stems from a still more interior affection in which use and the end in view reside.

[3] These areas of affection, which are interior and properly ordered, starting with the inmost, are not discerned by anyone during his lifetime. The majority scarcely know that they even exist, let alone that they are the source of pleasures. Yet nothing can possibly arise in things that are external except from those that are interior and in order. Pleasures are simply ultimate effects. Interior things are not evident during life in the body except to those who reflect. It is in the next life that they first manifest themselves, and indeed in the order in which the Lord raises them up towards heaven. Interior affections together with their joys manifest themselves in the world of spirits; still more interior ones together with their delights do so in the heaven of angelic spirits; and yet more interior ones together with all their happiness in the heaven of angels. For there are three heavens, one interior to and more perfect and happy than the next, see 459 and 684. Such is the order in which these things unfold and enable themselves to be perceived in the next life. But so long as someone is living in the body, because his ideas and thought are constantly of bodily things, those that are interior are so to speak dormant because they are immersed in bodily things. All the same, to anyone who stops to reflect it becomes clear that the nature of all pleasures is such as are the affections ranged in order within them and that those pleasures derive their entire essence and character from those affections.

[4] Since the affections ranged in order within are experienced in outermost things, that is, in the body, as pleasures, they are therefore called 'creeping things'. But these are simply bodily feelings that are the products of things within, as may become clear to anyone merely from sight and its pleasures. If interior sight does not exist, the eye cannot possibly see. The sight of the eye comes from a more interior sight, and therefore also man has the gift of sight just as much after his life in the body as during it; indeed he sees far better than when he lived in the body, though now he does not see worldly and bodily things but things that exist in the next life. People who have been blind during their lifetime have the gift of sight in the next life just as much as those who have been sharp-sighted. This also is why when someone is asleep he sees in his dreams just as clearly as when awake. With my internal sight I have been allowed to see the things that exist in the next life more clearly than I see those which exist in the world. From these considerations it is clear that external sight comes from a more interior sight, which in turn comes from sight still more interior, and so on. The same applies to each one of the other senses and to every kind of pleasure.

[5] In other parts of the Word pleasures are in a similar way called 'creeping things'. In those places too a distinction is made between creeping things that are clean and those that are not, that is, between pleasures whose joys are living or heavenly, and pleasures whose joys are dead or hellish, as in Hosea,

I will make for them a covenant on that day with the wild animals of the field, and with the birds of the air,a and with the creeping things of the ground. Hosea 2:18.

Here 'wild animals of the field, birds of the air,a and creeping things' means the kind of things already mentioned that reside with man. This becomes clear for the reason that a new Church is the subject. In David,

Let heaven and earth praise Jehovah, the seas and everything creeping in them. Ps 69:34.

'Seas and creeping things in them' cannot praise Jehovah but the things with man which they mean and which are alive, and so from what is living within them. In the same author,

Praise Jehovah, wild animal and every beast, creeping thing and winged bird. Ps 148:10.

Here the meaning is similar. That 'creeping things' is used here to mean nothing other than good affections in which pleasures originate is clear also from the fact that creeping things among them were unclean, as will be evident from the following:

[6] In the same author,

O Jehovah, the earth is full of Your possessions; this sea, great and wide, containing creeping things and innumerable; they all look to You to give them their food in due season. You givest to them - they gather it up; You openest Your hand - they are satisfied with good. Ps 104:24, 15, 27, 28.

Here in the internal sense 'seas' means spiritual things, 'creeping things' all things that live from them. Fruitfulness is described by 'giving them food in due season and being satisfied with good'. In Ezekiel,

It will be that every living creatureb that creeps, in every place the [two] rivers come to, will live, and there will be very many fish, for these waters go there, and become fresh, and everything will live where the river goes. Ezek 47:9.

This refers to the waters flowing out of the New Jerusalem. 'Waters' stands for spiritual things from a celestial origin. 'Living creature that creeps' stands for affections for good and the pleasures deriving from these affections, both those of the body and those of the senses. The fact that the latter get their life from 'the waters' which are spiritual things from a celestial origin is quite clear.

[7] Filthy pleasures as well, which have their origin in the proprium and so in its foul desires, are also called 'creeping things'. This is clear in Ezekiel,

And I went and saw, and behold, every form of creeping thing and of beast, an abomination; and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed on the wall round about. Ezek 8:10.

Here 'the form of a creeping thing' means filthy pleasures in which evil desires exist interiorly, and hatred, revenge, cruelty, and adultery within these. Such is the nature of 'creeping things', that is, the delights inherent in pleasures which originate in self-love and love of the world, that is, in the proprium. They are people's idols because they consider them delightful, love them, hold them as gods, and in so doing worship them. Because those creeping things meant filthy things such as these, in the representative Church also they were so unclean that no one was even allowed to touch them. And anyone who did merely touch them was rendered unclean, as is clear from Lev 5:2; 11:31-33; 22:5, 6.


a lit. bird of the heavens (or the skies)
b lit. living soul

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