True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 214

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214. IV

The Divine truth in the literal sense of the Word is in its fulness, holiness and power.

The Word in its literal sense is in its fulness, holiness and power, because the two prior or interior senses, called the spiritual and celestial senses, are simultaneously present in the natural or literal sense, as stated above (210, 212). But it needs to be explained further in what way they are simultaneously present. In heaven and in the world there exist two kinds of order, successive and simultaneous order. In the case of successive order one comes after and follows the other from highest to lowest; in simultaneous order, however, one is alongside the other from inmost to outermost. Successive order is like a column which spreads out in steps from top to bottom; but simultaneous order is like an object made up of cohering rings from centre to outermost surface.

[2] It must now be explained how at the lowest level successive order becomes simultaneous. It is like this. The highest levels of a successive order become the inmost parts of a simultaneous order, and the lowest levels of a successive order become the outermost parts of a simultaneous order. This can be illustrated by a stepped column subsiding to become a coherent object in a single plane. So the simultaneous is formed from the successive, and this operates in every single thing in the natural world, and in every single thing in the spiritual world. For everywhere there is a first, middle and last, and the first reaches out through the middle and advances towards its last. But it needs to be clearly understood that it is degrees of purity which determine the development of either order.

[3] Now if we apply this to the Word, the celestial, spiritual and natural proceed from the Lord in successive order, and are in simultaneous order at the last level. So that is how the celestial and spiritual senses of the Word are simultaneously present in its natural sense. Once this has been grasped, it can be seen how the natural sense of the Word is the container, basis and support of its spiritual and celestial senses, as well as how Divine good and Divine truth are present in the literal sense of the Word in their fulness, holiness and power. From this it can be established that the Word in its literal sense is the real Word, for it contains in itself spirit and life. This is what the Lord said:

The words which I speak to you are spirit and life. John 6:63.

For the Lord uttered His words in their natural sense. The celestial and spiritual senses without the natural sense are not the Word, for that would be like spirit and life without a body; and they are (as said before in 213) like a palace which has no foundations.

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