Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Emanuel Swedenborg

He lived during the height of the Enlightenment, a period when intellectuals rejected dogmatic religious teachings in favor of science and reason, and his theology reflects a long struggle to understand the world of spirit through investigation of the physical world.

His spiritual senses were opened and he began to interact directly with the denizens of heaven, hell, and the world of spirits between. Drawing on the works of contemporary scientists and philosophers, he describes a subtle spiritual fluid that permeates and sustains all living creatures, existing in a complicated interaction with the blood and the cerebrospinal fluid. The origin of life is a sustaining energy that pervades all of creation, and the source of that energy is God. Thus nature, in Swedenborg’s view, derives life in all its forms from that creative energy and would be dead without divine influence.
Swedenborg experienced intense dreams and visions at night. In one dream, a man appeared and asked him if he had a health certificate; Swedenborg interpreted this as Christ asking him if he were prepared to undertake a spiritual vocation. He began to record experiences of being in contact with the spiritual world. Everything written there has an inner spiritual meaning he calls a “correspondence.” The correspondence between the physical world and the spiritual world, the structure of heaven and hell and the lives of angels and devils, the interaction between the soul and body, and the interconnectedness of faith and charity.

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