In my previous post, entitled “Swedenborg’s illuminating interview with Cicero,” the claim was made that ancient people’s source of wisdom revolved around distilling psycho-spiritual values from physical and worldly things.
The ancients did this because they believed that the material world was a physical representation or mirror of spiritual processes. Therefore, by applying the correct psycho-spiritual equivalence (correspondence) to visible things in the world of nature they could discover heaven’s secrets.
Ancient people also embraced the idea that God’s Holy Word contained this same kind of patterning principle. In other words, all the stories of God’s revealed wisdom in the Sacred Scriptures contained higher meanings. The study of this symbolic relationship between the literal sense of Scripture and its abstracted meanings was behind the peculiar mindset of their thinking, speaking and writing.
This type of symbolic communication is evidenced by their obsession to create “myths.”
I mentioned in my last post that I would provide a simple example of how physical qualities can be abstracted to give us unexpected yet new revelations concerning the mysteries of faith and religious doctrine. I promised to use the word “water” as my example.
In the Holy Word, “water” is used to symbolize “Truth” (or its opposite in the form of storms and flooding). Truth is the psycho-spiritual equivalent of water, because:
Water quenches the thirst of the body just as truth quenches the thirst of the soul.
Water is refreshing to the body just as truth is refreshing to the soul.
Water cleans the body just as truth cleanses and purifies the soul.
Without water, the body dies. Without truth, the soul withers and dies.
It is a common expression to say that something “doesn’t hold water” if we perceive someone to be making a false statement. The ritual of baptism is a sign that we are to cleanse ourselves with God’s truth. In fact, the several biblical passages quoted below concerning “water” lend themselves to be interpreted as representing God’s truth.
Therefore, with joy shall ye draw waters out of the fountain of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
Jesus, sitting at the fountain of Jacob, said unto the woman, Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give, shall not thirst to eternity; and the water that I shall give, shall be in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life. (John 4:7-15)
To him who is thirsty, I will give to drink without cost, from the spring of the water of life. (Rev. 21:6)
What evidence is there that ancient cultures understood this higher translation of “water” better than most Christians? Well, do you remember the story about Ponce de Leon who had heard from the local Indians about a special fountain that could give one eternal life and agelessness?
I rest my case.