Rational Scientific Theories from Theism
Distortions of the Divine Image
Separation of Life and Understanding How often have we read books on the spiritual life which seem clear, penetrating and relevant, only to revert into our old habits afterwards? Swedenborg says that this is because our mind is capable of seeing spiritual truths independently of the loves and habits of our life. The possibility of this separation is to enable is to grow spiritually, otherwise we would always be stuck in our old habits and ruts.
Spiritual and Physical Health: Although we may have a sick body, we are still capable of being spiritually healthy. Similarly, there are people with healthy bodies who are not very well, spiritually. Although spiritual health influences physical health, they are quite often separate from each other.
Intellectual and Emotional Growth: We all know people who are intellectually advanced but childish emotionally, and others who are mature and responsive emotionally but have little formal education. At each stage, you can receive more loves & affections, or more wisdom & thought. Both are needed, as in a marriage: love provides the motivation, and wisdom chooses how to act, for wisdom without any love is dead, and love without any wisdom is blind. Although ideally they should be united, the possibility of their separation means that the Divine image can be distorted.
We are fortunate that the way God sustains the world allows us to continue to exist even if we do not have complete integrity. The possibility of these 'separations' means that our lives can be disposed in freedom, but all lives spring from the spiritual source in some way. There are smaller side streams from which we can get life if we block off the main stream, or if we move away from flow. No-one is left deserted and dry!
What is important is that we are able to choose our own lives, either in integrity and coordination with the spiritual world, or in partial opposition to it. If, as the result of spiritual growth, we change from opposition to receiving new life from our souls, we are effectively being reborn into the spiritual world. We are then properly entering it, but this is not something that happens only once: we are continually being reborn into higher levels.
As the result of new spiritual life, the subsequent levels of affections
and thoughts become reorganised, as the spiritual level is the cause of
affections and thoughts. There may be conflicts, however, as old feelings
and habits may have been made fixed and permanent by past ultimate
events. Because history can never be undone, our character can never be
changed completely 'overnight': old habits cannot die, they can only fade
and be rearranged somewhat. Complete conversions cannot be instantaneous.
If we want to change our habits at root, and make new loves permanent,
we must bring those new loves into ultimate actions, for faith without
works is dead.
Partial Views are common when some of the discrete degrees are ignored. These are described in outline here.