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Friday
Nov062009

5.1 The Sea

Things can look a lot different from up in the mountains. Living in Los Angeles we had mountains nearby. On a somber, drizzly, overcast day we might drive up Angeles Crest Highway and be above the clouds in half an hour, enjoying a bright, sunny, blue sky. Looking down we could see an ocean of white clouds. Some-times it really looked like an ocean, and it seemed strange to recall that down below the surface of the clouds people were catching buses, checking out groceries and sitting in conference rooms—and that an hour ago we were submerged beneath the clouds, too. While we were down in the mist, we had had no awareness of the different world of sunshine and blue sky that hovered just above the clouds.

In the spiritual world, one can experience this same change of perspective. Going from a lower heaven into a higher heaven involves entering a whole new level of clarity and brightness. In fact, for someone who is not prepared for a higher heaven, it can literally feel like being a fish out of water. In fact, from a distance the lowest heaven appears like a sea, and the angels there live in a kind of watery atmosphere, and may appear at a distance as fish (see Apocalypse Revealed 878, 290). This is why the sea is a symbol of a more worldly life, or if it is a stormy or polluted sea, of hell.

The Little Mermaid in Hans Christian Andersen's tale wanted to come up out of the sea, live on land and marry the prince. The original story was not just about her falling in love, but about her gaining an immortal soul. It pictures leaving a worldly, temporal life under the sea and gaining spiritual, eternal life by marrying a human. I wonder whether Andersen knew about the symbolism of the sea when he wrote that tale. Perhaps he was inspired by images in the Bible. When the Lord sent out His disciples to bring people into His church, He called some who were fishermen and told them that they were to be “fishers of people.” They were to gather people out of their worldly, natural life, into spiritual, heavenly life.