Swedenborg, Emanuel - The Infinite - Energy
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Emmanuel Swedenborg – The Infinite
As the mind … peers into and courses over finite nature, its parts and its whole, it cannot but at last arrive at the utterly unknown and inexplicable i.e. at the infinite, and the essence of the infinite; and as the infinite is identical with the non finite the mind there stops – there finds an insurmountable and impenetrable difficulty and remains involved in its Gordian knot.
And when by a thousand curious efforts the philosopher labours to know what the Infinite may be …. And what can be the nature of an essence that requires to be conceived as without end of boundary, what that something is … he then considers and enquires whether the infinite is beyond nature or the contrary, and whether its qualities are investigable by means of nature or not. For where the human mind is not hindered by circumstances, or oppressed with cares, it loves to rise and mount and the steeper the difficulty the more heartily the mind engages with it; for it burns to possess denied knowledge and to tread forbidden ground..................
[the mind passes] …. to something conceived as pure; to an entity that is not finite, that is indivisible, not extended, not consisting of parts … in a word to the pure Simple. And in this it recognises a kind of primitive, causant agent preceeding the state in which finites can exist from it and finite existences subsist,
For extended entities must originate and subsist ultimately from non extended; entities possessing magnitude, dimension, space and form, must come from entities destitute of these categories; limited beings from non limited; in a word all compounds from relative simples and these latter from pure Simples..........
Nothing of the kind could come by accident, for if it did then all the productions subsequent upon it would be similar to the accident and destitute of order. So whence this something? If again we say from itself, pray then whence this precise finite with its distinctive qualities? And here the mind again suggests that if it be finite, there must have been a time when it was ‘finited’, therefore time must enter into the case and origin also. If it came from itself, or by accident, why did it not come sooner; since it might as easily have arisen before as when it did. Therefore one does not see in this way either, how primitive nature could have existed from itself. The end is, that we conclude with reason, as nothing finite or similar thereto can arise without a cause, that primitive nature had a cause. If then primitive nature existed from a cause, the cause could not be finite, either in itself, or in its origin, for if it were, it also would considerate a cause, to finite it. We conclude therefore again with reason that the infinite is the cause of the finite...........
Our philosopher may choose to persist in asking for the cause of the Infinite itself. The answer to this from his own reason, as from the lips of Themis or from behind the veil of the temple, is to the effect that the Infinite cannot possibly admit of a foreign cause, but must have its cause in itself or be the cause of itself.
Every finite must be finited by a cause. The indefinite is only so called in relation to the finite, and has a distinctive nature that obtains its very distinctiveness by a cause … But what is infinite cannot .. be made to have a distinctive quality, it cannot be affected in one way or another, or in one time or another, because it is infinite. Prior and posterior, great and small, are not to be predicated on the one infinite. As then it cannot be finited, so being infinite, it is involved in its own cause.
And again if it be asked when the Infinite originated, the same answer must be given, that the Infinite is Infinite in point of time, also, if Infinite in one thing, it cannot be finite in another. Of the pure Simple, as not being finite neither time nor succession can be predicated; but with respect to origin it is regarded as instantaneous, yet still not eternal, but in a manner before time. And as the infinite has no cause in anything, so it can have no origin in anything for origin involves cause, as being in relation to time considered as limited by moments and as the Infinite is .. in the cause of itself so it is also in the origin of itself