Church and Community


The Church is all the cells that comprise what Emmanuel Swedenborg calls “the Universal Human” (or “Grand Man” in some older translations)—the Church on earth as well as in the heavens with God as the head. All the people who choose good and who reflect God’s image in their acts of love to the neighbor are the Church.

“It is worthy of note that just as heaven as a whole presents itself as one entire human being, which is therefore called the Grand Man, .. so each community in a similar way presents an image of a human being. For the image of heaven as a whole imprints itself on communities and makes them similar to itself, and not only on communities but also on the individual persons within a community. This is where the individuals get their human form from, for each person in an angelic community is heaven in the smallest form it takes. Variations in their human form are determined by the kind of good and truth with them, which explains why each spirit and angel is seen in a form exactly matching his thoughts and affections that he communicates to communities round about. This being so, the more that spirits and angels are governed by goodness and truth, the more beautiful is their human form. “~~Emmanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, n. 6605 (Elliott, trans.)

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