February 13, 2018 § Leave a comment
I think it is useful to pay attention not just to what the Heavenly Doctrines say, but also to what they do. It is my intention to post some of my observations of what the Heavenly Doctrines do. Sometimes this leads us to modify our understanding of what they say, other times it is just interesting.
I have observed that often the Writings make an absolute or categorical statement only to modify it. Sometimes the modification immediately follows the statement, other times it follows in a later paragraph or even in a different book.
Here is an interesting example of this.
The particular provinces to which angelic communities belong can be ascertained in the next life from the positions they occupy in relation to the human body, as well as from the way they act and flow in. For angelic communities flow into and act upon that organ or member in which they are located. But their flowing in and action can be perceived only by those who are in the next life. It cannot be perceived by man unless his interiors have been opened all the way through to that life, and not even then if the Lord does not impart to him the ability to reflect on the sensations he feels and to do so with perception. (AC 5171)
First we have an absolute assertion: “their flowing in and action can be perceived only by those who are in the next life.”
This absolute assertion is then repeated in a different perspective: “It cannot be perceived by man”
These two absolute assertions are then followed by an exception which also appears to be absolute: “unless his interiors have been opened all the way through to that life.”
Finally, this absolute exception is then qualified so that it is no longer absolute but contingent upon the Lord’s action: “and not even then if the Lord does not impart to him the ability to reflect on the sensations he feels and to do so with perception.” Actually, this may be a double qualification in that he has to not only have the ability to reflect on his sensations, but also to do so with perception.