Inside Off The Left Eye

The Inner And Outer Levels of the Bible And Our Minds | NCE Spotlight

Episode Summary

There are two main levels in us: our outer self and our inner self. The inner self IS our connection to heaven. And right now in the NCE Spotlight we discuss how the Word is designed in just such a way to link the two together… stick around for fresh insights from the ongoing translation of the New Century Edition of Swedenborg’s Theological Works.

Episode Notes

Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:


The themes of the current chapter are: the sons Abraham had by Keturah; Ishmael’s sons, by name; the birth of Esau and Jacob to Isaac and Rebekah; and the birthright Esau sold to Jacob for lentil soup. Anyone can see that material like this is useful as a religious history of the era but provides little for a person’s spiritual life—and yet it is our spiritual life that the Word exists for.


I must say a few words to explain more clearly what the case is with the Word’s literal meaning. The inner meaning relates to the literal meaning the way our deeper levels (our heavenly and spiritual planes) relate to our outer levels (our earthly and bodily planes). Our deeper levels bask in heaven’s light, but our outer levels live in worldly light. . . . The difference is like that between the light of day and the shadow of night. Since we live in this shadow and do not want to know that truth from the Lord contains light, we cannot help believing that our shadow is the light and conversely that the light is shadow. We are like owls flying through the shadows of night thinking they are in the light, but when they encounter daylight, they think they are in shadow. In people like this, the inner eye, the eye of the intellect, by which we see inside, is not formed for any other purpose, because such people themselves have formed it this way. They open it when they look down to worldly and bodily concerns and close it when they look up to spiritual and heavenly concerns. For them the Word is similar; what appears in its literal sense they consider full of light, but what appears in its inner sense they consider full of shadow. We each see the Word according to our nature. 


People who focus on the narrative alone, unable to shift their minds from it, see this phrase and others leading up to it simply as foreshadowing what took place between Esau and Jacob. Subsequent parts of the story confirm them in their view. The Lord’s Word, though, is such that the narratives have their logical sequence and the spiritual contents of the inner meaning have theirs. Our outer self looks at the former; our inner self, at the latter. So the two—the outer self and the inner—correspond to one another, and the Word provides the link. The Word is the union of earth and heaven, as shown many times. So whenever we read the Word reverently, our outer self on earth unites with our inner self in heaven.