“The Church is... where the Lord is acknowledged, and where the Word is.” - The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine §242
Kempton New Church

Week 3
Day 5

    Listen:

The Education of Children

Genesis 41:49: And Joseph piled up grain as the sand of the sea, multiplying it exceedingly, until he stopped numbering, for it had no number.

Helping children see the Lord in all things of the natural world; here, especially the stars

Psalm 147:4. He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by names.

AC 1807. Look now toward heaven. That this signifies a representation of the Lord’s kingdom in a mental view of the universe, may be seen from the signification of “heaven.” “Heaven” in the Word, in the internal sense, does not signify the heavens [or skies] which appear to the eyes, but the Lord’s kingdom, universally and particularly. When a man who is looking at internal things from external things sees the heavens, he does not think at all of the starry heaven, but of the angelic heaven. And when he sees the sun, he does not think of the sun, but of the Lord, as being the Sun of heaven. So too when he sees the moon, and the stars also. And when he sees the immensity of the heavens, he does not think of their immensity, but of the immeasurable and infinite power of the Lord. It is the same when he sees all other things, for there is nothing that is not representative.

EU 3. Any man of keen understanding may conclude from many things that he knows that there are many earths, and that there are men there. For it may be concluded from reason that such great masses as the planets are, some of which exceed this earth in magnitude, are not empty masses, and created only to be conveyed in their revolutions around the sun, and to shine with their scanty light for one earth, but that their use must be more excellent than that. He who believes, as everyone ought to believe, that the Divine created the universe for no other end than that the human race may exist, and heaven from it—for the human race is the seminary of heaven—must believe also that wherever there is an earth, there are men….

TCR 160. Once, in company with some angels, I was walking in the world of spirits … and I talked with them on various subjects, on this among others: That in the world where I am living in the body, at night innumerable stars are seen, larger and smaller. These are so many suns, but only their light reaches our solar system. And I added, “When I saw that stars are visible in your world too, I supposed them to be as numerous as those in the world where I live.”

The angels, delighted with this conversation, said, “Maybe they are, since every society of heaven, in the sight of those who are under heaven, sometimes shines like a star. And the societies of heaven are numberless, all arranged in order according to the varieties of the affections of the love of good. In God these affections are infinite, and thus [coming] from Him they are numberless. And as these [affections and societies] were all foreseen before creation, I suppose that in accord with their number, there have been provided, that is, created, an equal number of stars in the world where men were to live in natural, material bodies.”

AC 5377. The sun itself corresponds, and also the moon; for in heaven the Lord is the Sun, and also the Moon. The sun’s flame and heat, and also its light, correspond; for it is the Lord’s love toward the whole human race to which the flame and heat correspond, and the Divine truth to which the light corresponds. The very stars correspond: they correspond with the societies of heaven and their habitations, not that the societies of heaven are in the stars, but that they are in a similar order.

Questions and Comments
  1. Can we help children, and each other as adults, to see all natural things as representative of the Lord’s kingdom? How can we do this in an age-appropriate manner?
  2. Do you have difficulty with the teaching, “wherever there is an earth, there are men”? What considerations help you understand or come to terms with this teaching, or make it more difficult for you? Is this a teaching you would like your children, or the children of the congregation, to be imbued with from the time they are in kindergarten and first grade or sooner? How does this teaching affect our view of the Lord, and of the natural universe, and of ourselves?
  3. How can we help children growing up to share in the angels’ delight at the thought that the natural universe reflects the societies of heaven with their numberless affections of good and truth? How can we help them see the universe as full of the Lord’s love and wisdom?
  4. In the end of AC 5377, notice that the constellations we see are in a similar order as the order of the heavens. How do these and other teachings affect and create a truly New Church approach to astronomy and cosmology?
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