Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1555

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1555. 'From the south and even to Bethel' means from the light of intelligence into the light of wisdom. This is clear from the meaning of 'the south' as the light of intelligence, or what amounts to the same, a state of light as regards interiors, dealt with already in 1458, and from the meaning of 'Bethel' as celestial light having its origin in cognitions, dealt with already in 1453. The expression 'light of intelligence' describes that light which is acquired through cognitions of the truths and goods of faith, whereas the light of wisdom is the light of life which is acquired from the light of intelligence. The light of intelligence has regard to the intellectual part of the mind, or to the understanding, whereas the light of wisdom has regard to the will part, or to life.

[2] Few if any people know how a person is led to true wisdom. Intelligence is not wisdom but it leads to wisdom, for having an understanding of what truth and good are is not the same as being a true and good person; but being wise is. Wisdom can be used only in reference to a person's life, to what kind of person he is. To wisdom, or life, he is introduced through coming to know and being aware, that is, through knowledge and cognitions. With every person there are two parts of the mind - the will and the understanding- the will being the primary part and the understanding the secondary; and the nature of his life after death is as the nature of the will part, not the understanding part, of his mind. A person's will is being formed by the Lord from infancy on into childhood, and this is achieved through the innocence that has been instilled into him, and through the exercise of charity towards parents, nursemaids, and other young children of his own age, and through further things that he is quite unaware of and which are celestial. Unless those celestial things were first instilled in a person while an infant and child he could not possibly become truly human. In this way the first degree is formed.

[3] But because a person is not human unless he is provided with understanding as well, will alone does not make a human being but understanding and will together. And understanding cannot be acquired except by means of knowledge and cognitions, and therefore he has to be endowed with these step by step from childhood onwards. In this way the second degree is formed. Once the understanding part of the mind has been furnished with knowledge and cognitions, especially cognitions of truth and good, he is for the first time able to undergo regeneration. And when he is being regenerated, truths and goods are implanted by the Lord by means of cognitions within the celestial things he has been granted by the Lord since infancy. The result is that the ideas now in his understanding make one with those celestial things. And once the Lord has joined them together so, he is endowed with charity from which he starts to act and which constitutes conscience. This is how he comes to receive new life for the first time, something that is achieved step by step. The light of this life is called wisdom, which then plays the leading role and is set above intelligence. In this way the third degree is formed. If this has happened to a person during his lifetime he goes on being perfected in the next life. These considerations show what the light of intelligence is, and what the light of wisdom.

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