Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 50

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50. What the Most Ancient Church understood by 'the image of the Lord' exceeds everything one can say about it. Man is totally unaware of the fact that the Lord is governing him by means of angels and spirits, and that at least two spirits and two angels are present with everyone. By means of the spirits he is in communication with the world of spirits, and by means of the angels with heaven. Without this communication with the world of spirits by means of the spirits, and with heaven by means of the angels, and so by means of heaven with the Lord, a person cannot exist at all. His entire life depends upon that link, and if the spirits and angels were to withdraw he would perish instantly.

[2] As long as a person remains unregenerate he is governed in an entirely different way from when he is regenerate. As long as he is unregenerate, evil spirits reside with him, who have such dominion over him that angels, though present, can accomplish little more than simply distract him from plunging into utter evil and so divert him towards something good. Indeed they use his own unregenerate desires to divert him towards good, and his illusions of the senses to do so towards truth. At that point he is in communication with the world of spirits by means of the spirits who reside with him, but not in the same way with heaven, for the reason that evil spirits have dominion and angels simply forestall them.

[3] When however he is regenerate it is the angels who then have dominion, and they breathe into him every kind of good and truth, as well as a horror and dread of evils and falsifies. Angels do indeed lead, yet they are but servants, for it is the Lord alone who, by means of angels and spirits, governs a person. Now because this is done through the ministry of angels, it is said here, in the plural first of all, 'Let Us make man in Our image'. Yet because it is still He alone who rules and disposes, it is said in the following verse, in the singular, 'God created him in His image'. This the Lord also states plainly in Isaiah,

Thus said Jehovah, your Redeemer, He who formed you from the womb, I Jehovah make all things, stretching out the heavens Alone, spreading out the earth by Myself. Isa 44:24.

Angels themselves also profess that no power at all resides with themselves but that they act from the Lord alone.

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