In the second half of the article on the Shroud we will look deeper into the nature of how the shroud demonstrates that birthing springs from the union of the natural and the spiritual.
It is very little known if at all that previous to the resurrection God occupied the Celestial and spiritual realm, but not the natural/physical of the material world. This provides a profound insight into the state of the universe and God before and after the resurrection. Below is a quote from Swedenborg elucidating the distinguishing factor in Jesus’ state before and after the resurrection. As you read this, keep in mind that there are three levels of heaven: the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural. Also, the phrase ‘outmost of nature’ refers to material things in the natural world:
“It has been told me from heaven, that in the Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, before His assumption of a Human in the world, the two prior degrees (Celestial and Spiritual) existed actually, and the third degree potentially, but that after the assumption of a Human in the world, He put on over these the third degree, called the natural, thereby becoming Man, like a man in the world; but with the difference, that in the Lord this degree, like the prior degrees, is infinite and uncreated, while in angel and in man they are all finite and created. For the Divine, which, apart from space, had filled all spaces (n. 69-72), penetrated even to the outmosts of nature; yet before the assumption of the Human, the Divine influx into the natural degree was mediated through the angelic heavens, but after the assumption it was immediate from Him self. This is the reason why all churches in the world before His Advent were representative of spiritual and celestial things, but after His Advent became spiritual-natural and celestial-natural, and representative worship was abolished. This also was the reason why the sun of the angelic heaven, which, as was said above, is the first proceeding of His Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, after the assumption of the Human shone out with greater effulgence and splendor than before the assumption”. (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 233)
This is a magnificent insight into the nature of the Lord and His relationship with humanity before and after the resurrection. It may be a lot for the reader to absorb the full significance of what is expressed here. Indeed, I believe it is truly understood when one’s heart is filled with love and desire for the Lord – for it is then that the mind’s ability to perceive is elevated. Let us meditate for a moment on what this means.
The great distinction is that previously He was present in the celestial and spiritual levels, but not in the natural. However, by the resurrection He made his natural human divine, and He became present in all three levels. The shroud is evidence that the lowest material level, called the outmost, was made divine. The holographic nature of the shroud is part of the wholeness and correspondence that exists between the divine levels, of which the material was newly added by the resurrection. If one part of the whole is absent, then the whole is not valid; and the other side of that coin is that if one part of the whole exists then the whole must exist. After he resurrection in the Gospels the disciples are very careful to show that Jesus is alive in His body, that it had now become His divine Human. He invites the disciples to touch His body to prove to them that He rose with His whole body. He told Thomas to thrust his hand into His side (John 20:27, 28). For the same purpose, in front of the disciples, He ate fish and honeycomb proving He had natural qualities (Luke 24:41- 43). He also ‘appeared to them while the door was shut’ (John 20:19, 26). In other words, He walked through walls indicating that his body had divine qualities. Also, after He had been with the disciples for some time, suddenly ‘He became invisible’ (Luke 24:31). The Bible is laying out the attributes of the Divine Human so that all generations can know that He resurrected His human body.
Similarly, the scriptures describing the moment of His death on the cross intimate that he is entering the innermost of the natural/material world. It is told that there was a great earthquake, and that the veil of the inner temple was torn in half, and that the saints were seen being let-out from the graves. It is immutable that these should show up in the natural world because of the divine changes taking place in spiritual world. The earthquake corresponds to ‘changing of state’; in this case the structure of the universe is internally changing by Jesus entering the whole of the material world. He is making His body divine, AND at the same time entering the innermost of the fabric of reality! The renting of the veil means that the representative Jewish church is over; it no longer serves the purpose of connecting earth to heaven. For now, by virtue of entering the natural Jesus is in direct relationship with everything, especially humans. The light available has become many times brighter to the souls of people because of this, if they choose to turn to it.
Previously to the resurrection (in the Old Testament) He mediated his presence to humanity through angels and the representative Jewish Church, but after His presence with humanity became directly from Himself. This can be perfectly understood by realizing that God had never been born on the physical plain of earth before. But in the incarnation, for the first time, He fully entered the material world. He suffered Himself to be subject to the slow process of human growth from a baby to an adult. Through the process of the alternating states of humiliation and glorification, He gradually utterly purified his body of evil and filled it with infinite love. By doing this, He overcame the inertia of the material world; He overcame the laws of physics. It is the miracle of all miracles that He purified His body and raised it into the spiritual world, thus becoming the innermost of the material and spiritual world. When Isaiah says, “The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun,” and when John writes in Revelation that, “The contenance of the son of man was as the sun shineth in his strength,” they are speaking of this renewal. They mean that the light and presence from the Lord increased manifold. By entering the whole (meaning the celestial, spiritual, and natural world together), light from the Lord became exponentially brighter and more available to all things. The holographic nature of the shroud is the physical image of this wholeness in the two dimensional world.
The new and greater light available to mankind is described by David in these words, “In his days shall the righteous flourish, and the abundance of peace until there is no longer any moon” (Psalm 72:7). In the renewed state, every person has the opportunity to feel and perceive with greater enlightenment if they pay attention and make the effort. The communication between body and soul in everyone was saved and redeemed by this great work of the Lord.
The resurrection is also the ultimate birthing process. When two things come into union spiritual offspring is produced. It is wonderful to contemplate how union is like a fountain from which spiritual life springs. It is like fire that springs from wood and heat; it is like the birth of a sun when fusion ignites in its center by the immense power of gravity on the elements in its core. It is why the orgasm is the ultimate expression of love. In heaven Swedenborg tells that it is a universal principle that love between a man and woman does not produce children but spiritual offspring, an experience of immense, unique, creative joy and fulfillment. In chemical reactions union is like the catalyst that brings two elements together and produces another they could not produce on their own. Union is one with use; this means love and wisdom only become active, alive, and rooted when they are exercised in use or action. It is why there is an explosion of light in a cell when the sperm inters it, and a life is begun. In relation to the shroud union became perfect ‘body-being communication’, or the union of His body and soul, that resulted in the imprint on the cloth. In Jesus this union is infinite and perfected, so much so that His body merged with the divine. Union is the living and dynamic bonding between paradox; there is never a ‘total resolution’, but it is always an overcoming of a barrier; it is a bond that moves into ever greater and deeper fulfillment for eternity; just as the answer to Pi never resolves but goes on with decimal points forever. Spiritually an example of this kind of profound paradox that resolves in union is the following truth of heaven: ‘The more people who enter heaven the more perfect it becomes’.
It is a universal principle that all becoming, birthing, or union is rooted in the natural. The quote below from Swedenborg comes from a discussion of the meaning of the word “midwife” in scripture (In the quote, by the word ‘natural,’ he is referring to the material level of the body and nature, and all the energetic processes that take place in them):
“…the natural is like a midwife. For unless the natural assists no birth of interior truth is possible, since it is the natural that receives interior truths into its bosom once these are born; indeed it is the natural that enables them to push their way out. The same applies to instances of spiritual birth, in that reception must take place wholly within the natural. This is the reason why, when a person is being regenerated, the natural is first of all made ready to receive, and to the extent it is then able to receive, interior truths and goods are able to emerge and multiply”.
If we grasp the wholeness of this principle the Shroud is evidence that the physical body of Jesus was made divine; for its holographic qualities are an irremovable part in this wholeness. That the shroud exists is astounding, but, as is always the case, as amazing as the natural state is, the physical correspondent pales in comparison to the whole and the spiritual meaning of the resurrection, of which I have tried to give some glimpse. In the case of the Lord his body was made ready to receive by the gradual process of the glorification. He was tempted throughout his whole life and every time He overcame a temptation He removed evil from His body, and each time He did so He rose to a higher state of love. When He rose to a higher state of love the forces of evil attacked at this higher state of love – for it is a universal principal that evil attacks one’s innermost love. This process sets up an ever-increasing exponential formula that culminates in the resurrection. That Jesus said on the cross, “why have you forsaken me”, shows that He was tempted to the end; and when He says on the cross, “It is finished’, He has reached the pinnacle of the process. This process was of a rigor and intensity far beyond our ability to comprehend. We can get an image of its intensity by bringing to mind the immensity of forces that takes place in the sun. In the center of the sun there is a crucible of pressure from gravity and heat that causes nuclear fusion to ignite. The resurrection can only take place with the Lord because his soul is God, which means He possessed infinite potential and love within Him that could overcome the infinite inertia of the physical world.
(See article in this blog called, “Description of the Greatest Event in History Using Einstiens’ Physics: Great understanding of Glorification process”. )