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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in conscience (1)


Meditate | Am "I" Really Necessary?

“It is entirely true that the Lord governs us through spirits and angels. When evil spirits start to take control, angels put their effort into deflecting evils and falsities, and conflict results. This conflict is what we sense by means of perception, an inner dictate, or conscience” (Secrets of Heaven 227).

”On our own we cannot help doing evil and turning away from the Lord. Yet it is not we who act this way but the evil spirits present with us. And it is not the evil spirits but the wickedness itself adopted by them as their own. In spite of this, we do evil and turn away from the Lord, and we are to blame. Still, we cannot live except from the Lord.

On the other hand, we have no ability at all to do good or turn toward the Lord on our own; it is the angels who give us the power. Yet the angels themselves cannot do so. Only the Lord can. Still, we can do good and turn toward the Lord as if we were acting under our own power” (Secrets of Heaven 233).

“The heavenly marriage is something that exists in our selfhood. Moreover, it is because of the heavenly marriage that our selfhood, after being brought to life by the Lord, is called the Lord’s bride and wife…When the Lord brings it to life, our sense of self gives us the ability to perceive all the good desired by love and all the truth taught by faith” (Secrets of Heaven 155).

First, when I read how conflict is really the experience of angels fighting for the good in us and evil spirits trying to bend us toward false ideas and evil action, it makes me think that in some way I could just sit back and watch it all like a movie, confident the angels will win and good will prevail. But really, augmented by the second passage, the truth is that we must be engaged. We must choose good and give it action, as if under our own power.

The phrase “appearance versus reality” comes to mind. When I think of this phrase I want to ditch the appearance and only serve reality—because reality is better, right? Well, in relation to the ideas in Secrets of Heaven 233, appearance and reality don’t adequately capture the meaning. They might be better termed external and internal. The appearance part is our reality; it is our external experience, the “I” experience we all live in, and it is not to be ditched. As expressed in Secrets of Heaven 155, the sense of self enlivened by the Lord is the means of the heavenly marriage. So it is important to be engaged in choosing to live the “good love desires” even though we can, at the same time, recognize the true forces that are at play.