Man in God's image


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "God, image or likeness of" (search under Beings/God)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 48"
“An image of God is a receptacle of God; and since God is love itself and wisdom itself, an image of God is the reception of love and wisdom from God: but a likeness of God is a perfect likeness and a full appearance, as if love and wisdom were in a man, and consequently as if they were altogether his own; for a man has no other sensation in this case, than that he loves and is wise of himself, or that he wills good and understands truth of himself; when nevertheless nothing of all this is from himself, but from God. God alone loves and is wise of himself, because he is Love itself and Wisdom itself. The likeness or appearance that love and wisdom, or good and truth, are in a man, as his own, causes him to be a man, and gives him the capacity of being conjoined with God, and thus of living to eternity; from whence it follows, that a man is a man by virtue of this faculty, that he can will good, and understand truth, altogether as from himself, and yet know and believe that it is from God; for as he knows and believes this, God implants his image in him, which could not be done if he should believe that his love and wisdom were from himself and not from God."
 When they had spoken these words, being inspired with zeal arising from the love of truth, they thus continued their discourse: "How is it possible for a man to receive any portion of love and wisdom so as to retain it, and reproduce it, unless he feel it in appearance as his own? And how can conjunction with God, by means of love and wisdom, be effected, unless there be something of a reciprocation of conjunction on the part of man? For unless it be reciprocal there can be no conjunction; and the reciprocation of conjunction, on man's part, consists in this, that he should love God, and do the things that are of God, as from himself, and yet believe that he has the power from God. Besides, how can a man live eternally, unless he be conjoined with the eternal God? Consequently, how can a man be a man, unless he have that likeness in him?"
 To these words all present gave their assent, and said, "Let us make our conclusion in agreement with these sentiments;" which they did as follows: “A man is a receptacle of God, and a receptacle of God is an image of God; and since God is love itself and wisdom itself, a man is a receptacle of them both; and a receptacle becomes an image of God according to the degree of reception: a man, also, is a likeness of God by virtue of a sensation in himself that such things as are from God appear to be in him as his own; but that, nevertheless, from that likeness he becomes an image of God, only so far as he acknowledges that love and wisdom, or good and truth, are not really his own in him, and thus not self-derived, but that they exist only in God, and are consequently derived from God.”