Here is an interesting question: if single cell organisms can multiply by dividing, what is the origin of love and sexual reproduction? Why did life evolve into more complex life forms, and why does life evolve into male and female forms? The current scientific theories are problematic. It puzzles scientists as sexual reproduction is described as "costly" compared to asexual reproduction. They also do not know why sexual mating is "binary" and evolves into male and female forms. Also it is not clear which came first: the male and female form, or the two forms of the gametes (the male sperm and the female egg).
These questions come from those who seek naturalistic explanations. Is there a spiritual explanation, and what is the morality behind it? Here I thought I would cover the answers to these questions as shown in spiritual visions to Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, which were all guided by scripture. Instead of looking down at nature as the source for answers, lets look at higher level spiritual truths.
GOD IS LIFE ITSELF
The first point to note, is that the universe was not created from nothing. Before the material world was created, there was a spiritual world which resides outside of space and time. In the heavenly spiritual world, God is seen by angels and spirits as the central light of heaven, which varies according to one's state of love - the light can appear as a Sun, or a moon, or as a tiny star - or not at all for those who choose to turn away and dwell in darkness. The more one loves others, the brighter this central light appears. In the 18th century, Swedenborg stated that whereas all material things originate from the "natural" Sun that appears before our eyes, life originates from the spiritual Sun at the center of heaven:
"In heaven the sun of the world does not appear, nor anything from that sun, because it is all natural. Nature in fact has its beginning from this sun, and whatever is produced by means of it is called natural. But what is spiritual, in which heaven is, is above nature and wholly distinct from what is natural; nor do the two communicate except by correspondences." (Heaven and Hell, n. 116)By correspondence here Swedenborg means what we now call symbolism: all of nature is actually symbolic of higher level realities in the spiritual world. In the 18th century Swedenborg states that all things of nature originate from the natural Sun; from science today we now know that it is highly likely that all things of the universe originated from the "sun" of the Big Bang explosion.
It is from the spiritual Sun, that life flows into nature, and gives life to all living things:
"The truth is that the life of every one, both of man, and of spirit, and also of angel, flows in only from the Lord, Who is life itself, and diffuses itself through the whole heaven and also through hell, thus into every one, and this in an order, and series incomprehensible; but the life which flows in is received by each one according to his disposition. Good and truth are received as good and truth by the good; but good and truth are received as evil and falsity by the evil, and are also turned into evil and falsity in them. ...That I might know that influx was of such a nature, it has been given me to speak with the spirits and angels who were with me, and also to feel and perceive their influx; and this so often that I cannot number the times. But I know that the fallacy will prevail, namely, that men will believe that they will from themselves, and think from themselves, and thus have life from themselves; whereas nothing is farther from the truth." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2888).And in life, it is inescapable, we all must make a choice:
We, as life forms, are not life itself, but recipients of life:
"Man however is not Life, but a recipient of life, as has also been shown before; and when Life flows into a recipient of life, there is conjunction; for it is adapted to the recipient as the active to the passive, or as what is in itself alive to what is in itself dead, which thence lives. The principal and the instrumental, as they are termed, appear indeed to be conjoined as if they were one, but still they are not one; for the one is by itself, and the other is by itself; man does not live from himself, but the Lord out of mercy adjoins man to Himself and so makes him to live forever; and because they are thus distinct, it is called conjunction." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2021)This teaching is actually confirmed in the gospel of John:
In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)Moreover, Jesus Christ was different: he was not a recipient of life, but the source of life clothed in human form:
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself (John 5:26)And thus Jesus also said "I am the way, the truth and the life." And this was confirmed in the visions that Swedenborg received concerning Jesus. The word "conjunction" is used to describe the relationship between God and creations who are recipients of life. However with Jesus, the term "union" is used to describe the "union" between the Divine and human essence:
"That a more distinct idea may be had of the union of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence, and of the Lord's conjunction with the human race by the faith of charity, it may be well here and in what follows to call the former union, but the latter conjunction. There was union of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence; but there is conjunction of the Lord with the human race, through the faith of charity; as is evident from this, that Jehovah or the Lord is Life, Whose Human Essence also was made Life, as shown above, and there is union of Life with Life." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2021)The Son is the human form that was made Divine upon the resurrection. It is not a separate distinct person "born from eternity" as conceived by the former Christian churches. The Son is the image of the unseen God, and that which provides form is a property of Divine Truth (also known as the "Word"). This is one of the hidden reasons why Jehovah became incarnate in the male form and not the female form, of which see below.
GOD IS LOVE AND TRUTH ITSELF
In the highest abstract sense, where we abstract ourselves from space and time, God is Love itself, and Truth itself. And this is one of the greatest insights of the revelations given to Swedenborg, for all of scripture which is Divinely inspired ultimately relate to love and truth. For example, the phrase In him was life; and the life was the light of men - life is related to one's love, for one lives from one's love, and light is related to truth. Moreover, all things that exist in fact come into being from a marriage or union of love and truth:
"If you gather together all things that you are acquainted with, and consider them attentively, and if in some elevation of spirit you search for the universal of them all, you cannot conclude otherwise than that it is Love and Wisdom. For these two are the essentials of all things of man's life; everything civil, moral, or spiritual belonging to it depends upon these two, and without them is not anything. It is the same with all things of the life of the composite man, which is, as said above, society in a larger or smaller form, a kingdom or empire, the Church, and also the angelic heaven. Take away love and wisdom from these, and think whether they are anything, and you will find that without love and wisdom as their source they are nothing.Religions that emphasize faith or belief alone, or just enlightenment or meditation, are not complete. For truth only lives when one applies it to one's life, and it is applied by willing and doing. If a religion does not address the problem of evil inherent in our will, it is solving nothing. Any thought that is not applied to life, becomes nothing. For what survives to eternity is what is inscribed on the heart or will in how one lived.
"No one can deny that in God is Love, together with Wisdom, in their very essence; for He loves all from Love in Himself, and He leads all from Wisdom in Himself. The created universe also, regarded from order, is so full of wisdom from love, that you would say that all things collectively are that wisdom itself; for indefinite things are in such order, successively and simultaneously, that taken together they form a one. It is from this, and this alone, that they can be held together and preserved forever." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 28-29)
GOD IS WHAT IS MAN, OR WHAT IS HUMANITY
This is an important point: most modern religions think of God as an abstract energy or force without form. Look at the ancient religions, and God had human form, and as such are described as "anthropomorphic" - in other words, most think the ancients projected our image onto God. However the opposite is true - God projected and is projecting his image on us. The ultimate Divine, is something so beyond us we cannot conceive of it. However, when the Divine progresses from the infinite and eternal into our space and time, it is seen as a Divine Human in the spiritual world. Why is this? It is because the human form is the ultimate and most useful form - it is the form that results from the union of love and truth, expressed in will and thought. As Divine Love and Truth descends into matter, it seeks to express itself in the human form. Divine Love is expressed in our will, and Divine Truth is expressed in our thought. The union of love and truth - or one's intent with one's thought - leads to action, or usefulness. And the most useful form is the human form.
It is knowing God in human form that we can focus our thought. For a thought cannot be focused on anything that has no shape or form. Love and truth manifests itself mostly in the human will and thought:
"It is because the Divine Essence itself is Love and Wisdom, that man has two faculties of life, from one of which he has understanding, and from the other he has will. The faculty from which he has understanding derives all it has from the influx of wisdom from God, and the faculty from which he has will derives all it has from the influx of love from God. That a man is not justly wise, and does not love justly, does not take away the faculties, but only shuts them up; and so long as it shuts them up, the understanding indeed is called understanding, and the will is called will, yet essentially they are not so. If, therefore, these faculties were taken away, all that is human would perish — which is to think, and to speak from thought, and to will, and to act from will. From this it is plain that the Divine in man resides in these two faculties, which are the faculty of being wise, and the faculty of loving; that is, in the ability." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 30)It is said that God created man in his likeness and in his image. The truth is, we become God's image inasmuch as we are in God's love and truth. As love and truth finds its most useful form in the human form, it is for this reason that life itself will always tend to evolve to the human form where conditions allow it (see Swedenborg on the Divine Order of Human Evolution).
That God is very Man, is well known among the angels in the higher heavens:
"In all the heavens there is no other idea of God, than the idea of a man; the reason is that heaven as a whole, and in every part, is in form like a man, and the Divine which is in the angels constitutes heaven; and thought proceeds according to the form of heaven; therefore it is impossible for the angels to think of God otherwise. For the same reason all in the world who are conjoined with heaven, think in a like manner of God when they think interiorly in themselves, that is, in their spirit. Because God is a Man, all angels and all spirits are perfectly men in form. The form of heaven effects this, which in its greatest and in its least things is like itself." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 11)It is this which allowed God to become incarnate in human form, when mankind on this planet had become so separated from heaven. All of heaven, when seen as a whole, in fact makes up a human form, which Swedenborg saw repeatedly in his visions. This is described in more detail in his massive work, Heavenly Arcana.
THE MALE IS INTELLECTUAL, THE FEMALE IS VOLITIONAL
There is a well known book Men are From Mars, and Women are From Venus. The book became well known because it pointed out something that no one seemed to notice before: men and women really are different. Not just on a physical level, but on a mental level as well, and it attempts to point this out in solving relationship problems.
"It flows from this primitive formation that the male is born intellectual and the female volitional; or what is the same, that the male is born into an affection for knowing, understanding, and acquiring wisdom, and the female into the love of conjoining herself with that affection in the male. And because the interiors form the exteriors to their likeness, and the masculine form is a form of understanding, and the feminine form is a form of love of that understanding, from this it comes that the male has a different face, a different voice, and a different body from the female; that is, a sterner face, a harsher voice, and a stronger body, and withal a bearded chin—in general, a form less beautiful than the female. They differ also in bearing and in manners. In a word, nothing whatever is alike in them; and yet in every least thing there is what is conjunctive." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 33)
In typical conversations, one can recognize the difference: men want to reach a logical conclusion to end or solve the conversation, whereas women will have a tendency to repeat to express their feelings, or to focus on something that needs or should be done. For the female mind is volitional, the male mind is analytical.
From the Divine, love seeks to be conjoined with truth and vice versa, and when love and truth become one they produce what is useful. Stated in another way, when one's love or intent is guided by thought, it produces an effect in action. In the natural world this manifests as the desire for the male and female to become one, which produces offspring.
THE LOVE OF SEX, AND LOVE OF ONE OF THE SEX
The Divine flows into all life forms, and the spiritual union of love and truth manifests in its natural form as the love of sex. While humans share the love of sex with animals, true marriage love is the love of one of the sex:
"The love of sex and marriage love are spoken of [distinctively] because the love of sex is different from marriage love. The love of sex pertains to the natural man; marriage love, to the spiritual. The natural man loves and desires only external conjunctions, and the pleasures of the body from them; the spiritual man loves and desires internal conjunction, and the states of happiness of the spirit therefrom. And he perceives that these are given with one wife, with whom he can be perpetually more and more conjoined in one. And the more he is thus conjoined the more he perceives his states of happiness ascending, in like degree, and continuing to eternity." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 38)Love, at its beginning, can be just for the love of sex. But as it grows, more and more it becomes the love of one of the sex, and becomes a conjunction between two minds.
THE SPIRITUAL ORIGIN OF MARRIAGE LOVE AND SEX
The spiritual origin of this desire comes from the marriage of love and truth that emanates from the Divine, for love always seeks its truth, and truth its love:
"There are internal and external origins of marriage love; and the internal are many. The external likewise are many. But the inmost or universal origin of all is one. ...this is the marriage of good and truth,,, there is not a good without truth, nor a truth without good; consequently, that there is an eternal marriage between them; and that this marriage is the origin of marriage love." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 83)And later:
"...from the influx of the marriage of good and truth from the lord, there is the love of sex, and there is marriage love. ...good and truth are the universal of creation, and hence are in all created subjects; that they are in them according to the form of each; and that good and truth proceed from the Lord not as two, but as one. It follows from this that a Universal Marriage Sphere proceeds from the Lord, and pervades the universe from first things to last,—thus from angels even to worms. The reason why such a sphere of the marriage of good and truth goes forth from the Lord is that it is the sphere also of propagation, that is of prolification and fructification; and this is the same as the Divine providence for the conservation of the universe by successive generations. Now, as this universal sphere—which is of the marriage of good and truth—flows into subjects according to the form of each, it follows that the male receives it according to his form, that is in the understanding, because he is an intellectual form; and that the female receives it according to her form, thus in the will, because she is a volitional form from the intellectual of the man. And as this same sphere is the sphere of prolification, it follows that from this comes the love of sex." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 92)The conjunction between male and female is not only physical, but mental and spiritual:
"That the will of the wife conjoins itself with the understanding of the man; and thence the understanding of the man, with the will of the wife.—The reason is that the male is born to become understanding and the female to become will loving the understanding of the male. Whence it follows that marriage conjunction is a joining of the will of the wife with the understanding of the man, and reciprocally, of the understanding of the man with the will of the wife. Everyone sees that there is the closest conjunction of the understanding and the will; and that it is such that the one faculty can enter into the other and take delight from and in the conjunction." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 183)As marriage love is spiritual in origin, one can gauge one's spirituality by how much one values marriage. Thus Swedenborg saw that in ancient times, when there was more direct contact with heaven, they had their highest delight in marriage love with their partner. However this successively degenerated in successive ages, with marriage love becoming less the more one withdrew from one's spirituality: for the two are intimately linked to one another. In the end, Swedenborg's angelic guide on this matter expressed hope that true marriage love would be revived again among couples on earth:
"And yet I am fed with the hope that this love will be revived again by the God of heaven, who is the Lord; for it can be revived." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 78)One other revelation was given: when true soul mates find each other, their love lasts forever, even to eternity in the afterlife, where the male and female form become united as one angel.