Words have souls too

Once upon a time there was a teenage girl named Jenny. She was unusual for most girls her age because she would spend time each day reading the Bible.

However, she just didn’t read Scripture passively. She would often question what lesson each story conveyed. On one particular day, while reading the Genesis story of Abram, she became perplexed that Abram’s wife Sarai would allow him to sleep with the maid Hagar and bear a child, especially since the maid despised her.

God then tells Sarai to maintain her dominant position in the household. But after putting Hagar in her place, Hagar ran off into the wilderness then stopped by a fountain. The angel of Jehovah catches up to her and consoles her. She is then told that if she returns to Sarai and humbles herself, her seed will be multiplied beyond measure. As further conciliation, Hagar is informed that Jehovah has allowed her to become pregnant with Abram’s son, who is to be named Ishmael. 

Later God mysteriously changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah. Then, He sets up a special covenant with Abraham whereupon his seed will, from now on, lead to a more favored progeny that would eventually inherit all the land of Canaan.

To accomplish this, God allows Sarah, Abram’s legitimate wife—at ninety years of age—to finally bear a son named Isaac. God, although promising good things for Ishmael, would pass His special covenant with Abraham on the genetic trajectory started with Isaac. 

But before Isaac is born, King Abimeleck believes Sarah is Abraham’s sister and takes her for himself. Abimeleck, however, never gets the chance put his hands on her and commit a sin. Instead, he has a dream where God tells him to give her back or he will die, because she is a married woman. Sarah is then returned to Abraham just in time to give birth to Isaac.

As Isaac grows up, Sarah notices that Ishmael is mocking them. Sarah begs Abraham to finally cast Hagar and her son out of the house. He does. The two wander in the wilderness, but God makes sure that their water supply does not run out and again assures Hagar that from her son Ishmael, He will create a great nation.

What lesson did this story of bizarre twists and turns contain, wondered Jenny. Why did God favor Isaac over Ishmael? Didn’t Abimelech know Sarah was ninety years old and pregnant? She closed her eyes and meditated on the words of the story.  

Suddenly a voice called out Jenny’s name.

When she opened her eyes, a beautiful angel was standing before her and smiling.

“I detect that you have a sincere desire to learn greater things concerning the Holy Word. The Lord God has sent me here to help you learn about the true lesson of this story,” said the angel. “I am going to teach you how to interpret the Holy Word in the same way that angels do.”

Stunned at seeing a real angel and hearing the angel’s strange remark about reading Scripture, Jenny asks, “Angels read the stories of the Bible differently then we do on earth?”

“Very differently,” replied the angel. “We live in a world beyond space and time. Therefore we cannot understand the Holy Word in terms of physical or worldly meanings.”

Jenny responded in disbelief. “If the stories in Scripture have no worldly meanings to you, then how could they have any meanings at all?”

“The Holy Word comes from God in heaven. Therefore, its truths come from an eternal realm, before there was time or space or even a physical world,” explained the caring angel. “The only way that the Holy Word could have existed before the created world is if the Word was God as stated in John 1:1-3. And the Holy Word could not be God if it just referred to the finite things of the planet earth or to finite human individuals. That would lead to profaning its Divine Holiness. Every word and sentence in Scripture deals with God and heaven.”

“You are talking over my head,” said Jenny.

“Yes, I am aware of that,” said the angel in a more serious tone. “However, since all humans are inwardly spiritual beings, they too have the potential to understand Scripture in the same elevated way angels do.”

“Elevated,” returned Jenny? “What do you mean by elevated?”

“You must strip all the words of their physical meanings. All the stories of God’s Holy Word must be de-materialized to get at their real soul.”

The angel then moved closer to Jenny and said, “humans call this process allegory and metaphor. When angels hear Scripture being read, they instantly translate these things into their spiritual and Holy equivalent. So when I hear the story about Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac, I understand instead, the dynamics of how God made the Word flesh by coming into the world, and uniting his human essence with His Divine essence. God could not make the Word flesh unless all the characters and places in Scripture symbolized and represented aspects of what God actually experienced.”

“Could you give me an example?” asked Jenny, seemingly more lost than ever.

“For instance, Abram represents a quality of spiritual intelligence that can communicate with heaven. This communication is symbolized in Scripture by God’s talking to Abram. The Lord, while inwardly possessing this heavenly intelligence, yet being born in a physical body, had to learn just as other men on earth. But unlike men, He could increase His intelligence to become perfectly one with Jehovah God. These jumps in intelligence are represented by the births of Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael represents the birth of the rational mind—which can lead to a great country. The birth of this first rational mind comes from Hagar, who represents the first love of learning, because acquiring knowledge is a handmaid or servant to obtaining greater wisdom. 

Abimelech represents the Lord’s first quality of faith to consult the power of reasoning, which is symbolized by the false belief that Sarah is Abraham’s sister, not his wife. When he learns she is really the wife of Abraham, this represents a deeper insight by the Lord that the quality of true faith will die if it is not conjoined to its proper spiritual love, or husband. 

The birth of Isaac represents the birth of the spiritual or heavenly rational mind, which is the offspring of Abraham’s legitimate wife, who represents a love of wisdom. Wisdom takes time, which is represented by Abraham’s and Sarah’s advanced age.  Such Divine wisdom also has no need of secular reasoning and removes it, which is symbolized by Hagar and Ishmael being removed from the house. This Genesis story symbolically represents the orderly process by the Lord to completely unify His human quality with His inner Divine quality and become the alpha and omega.”

Then the angel moved even closer to Jenny’s face. “Most humans do not know this, but Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh. Every stage of His life on earth was an act to make His flesh perfectly Divine. That is why no physical body remained in the tomb. The Lord rose to heaven in both spirit and body!”

Jenny listened in amazement. Then she asked the angel, “How are other people going to learn about deeper interpretations of the Holy Word?”

“Do not worry, my dear,” said the beautiful angel. “The Lord God is currently providing a means to make the deeper soul of His inspired words available to the whole world. But only those who have not closed their minds to further revelation will be open to such amazing things.

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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2 Responses to Words have souls too

  1. joyce Schwaller says:

    This is such a beautiful story and I love the translating.
    Here is another spiritual definition of Abraham that goes right along with the story and is helpful.

    “Abraham. Fidelity; faith in the divine Life and in the eternal Principle of being.
    This patriarch illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good, and showed the life-preserving power of spiritual understanding.”
    By Mary Baker Eddy
    found in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Joyce,

    I am always pleased to find people who can embrace the idea that the stories of Scripture contain more than meets the eye.

    God’s Holy Word is a multidimensional document containing layers of “higher meanings”. These higher meanings are not only the key to understanding Scripture, they represent the descent of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem from Heaven.

    The inhabitants of this city will consist of individuals who have the key to the higher meanings contained within the mundane and literal sense of the words of Holy Scripture! Emanuel Swedenborg has passed this key on to others. He called it the “science of correspondences.”

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

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