The Third Round: Successive and Simultaneous Order – the structure of reality itself

How the simuteanous is formed from the successive

Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 38(2) … the simultaneous is formed from the successive; and this is so in all things both in the natural and in the spiritual world, in general and in particular. For everywhere there is a first, a middle and a last, the first passing through the middle and proceeding to the last.

Apply this now to the Word. The celestial, the spiritual and the natural proceed from the Lord in successive order, and in the ultimate or last form they are in simultaneous order; thus, then, the celestial and the spiritual senses of the Word are simultaneously in its natural sense. When this is understood it may be seen how the natural sense of the word, which is the sense of the Letter, is the basis, the containant and the support of its spiritual and celestial senses; and also how the Divine Good and the Divine Truth are, in the sense of the Letter of the Word, in their fulness, their sanctity and their power.

28… in everything that is complete there is a trine, called the first, the middle and the last; also, the end, the cause and the effect; and also being (esse) becoming, (fieri), and existing (existere). When one understands these things then also does one understand that every Divine work is complete and perfect in its last; and also that the whole is in the last, which is a trine, because the prior things are simultaneously therein.

38. In heaven and in the world there are two kinds of order, a successive and a simultaneous order; in successive order one thing succeeds and follows after another, from the highest to the lowest; but in simultaneous order one thing exists side by side with another, from what is inmost to what is outmost. Successive order is like a column with steps from highest to lowest; while simultaneous order is like a work coherent in concentric circles from the centre even to the last surface. We will now state how successive order becomes in the ultimate or last form simultaneous order. It becomes so in this manner. The highest things of successive order become the inmost of simultaneous order, and the lowest things of successive order become the outmost of simultaneous order, just as if a column of steps were to sink down and form a coherent body in a plane.

39. From this it may be evident that the Word is the Word itself in its sense of the Letter, for within this there reside spirit and life; the spiritual sense is its spirit, and the celestial sense is its life. This is meant by what the Lord says: The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63. The Lord spoke His words before the world, and in the natural sense. The spiritual and celestial senses are not the Word, without the natural sense, which is the sense of the Letter; for they are like spirit and life without a body; and they are, as has been said above in No. 33, like a palace which has no foundation.

More on the importance of the foundation as it applies to the life of the mind

Heaven and Hell 528… to receive the life of heaven a man must needs live in the world and engage in the duties and employments there, and by means of a moral and civil life receive the spiritual life. In no other way can the spiritual life be formed with man, or his spirit prepared for heaven; for to live an internal life and not at the same time an external life is like dwelling in a house that has no foundation, that gradually sinks or becomes cracked and rent asunder, or totters till it falls.

Arcana Coelestia 6487… This was illustrated by the case of houses which are to be built, in that the bricks, mortar, sand, stones serving for foundations and columns, also timbers and beams, and the like, are brought together not in that order in which the house is to be constructed, but at pleasure; and that the Lord alone knows what kind of a house may be built with these materials. All the things which are from the Lord are most essential; but they do not follow in order from necessity, but in a manner that is applicable to the freedom of man.

6486…the Lord’s Providence is in the veriest singulars of all things, but not according to such an order as man proposes to himself, because things to come are both foreseen and provided; and that the case is like that of a person building a palace, who first collects materials of every kind, and lays them together in heaps, where they lie without order, while the kind of palace to be formed from them exists solely in the understanding of the architect.

Third Round posts are short audio clips taken from Round 3 comments offered in the online Logopraxis Life Group meetings. The aim is to keep the focus on understanding the Text in terms of its application to the inner life along with reinforcing any key LP principles that have been highlighted in the exchanges.


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Kirsten Schoenberger
Kirsten Schoenberger
2 months ago

Thank you so much for the idea of picturing a tiered cake when thinking of successive and simultaneous order. That simple image is easy to remember and presents a clear idea of a complex subject.

Sarah Walker
Reply to  Kirsten Schoenberger
2 months ago

Yes, the wedding cake image always reminds me of the parts that talk about the New Church being the crown. Like the tier on top of the cake and at the same time what is innermost in it. Or like a tiara on the beautiful feminine ( the church is feminine in form – good from truth) or the final placement of the cherry :-). TCR 786. X. THIS NEW CHURCH IS THE CROWN OF ALL THE CHURCHES THAT HAVE HITHERTO EXISTED ON THE EARTH. It has been shown above that there have been, in general, from the beginning, four churches on… Read more »