Theistic Science and Theistic Psychology
by Dr. Leon James
Published in 1997. Updated: 2004; 2007
For a complete
treatment of Theistic Psychology, please see my book by that title:
The evolutionary significance of the Writings of Swedenborg is that they define and establish human rational consciousness. Until the Writings were written (1743 to1771) the human race on earth possessed only a sensuous consciousness. The mind or spirit is composed of an outside portion called the external mind, and within that, an interior portion called the internal mind. These two minds functioned in an entirely different way before the Writings and after.
Before the Writings, human consciousness was restricted to the external mind, which is entirely composed of conscious ideas built up through the senses. For instance, people's idea of God was sensuous. For God to exist in their consciousness there had to be an external physical manifestation or "incarnation" of God. This required that the infinite God was to create a portion of Himself as a physical object, natural power, and historical event to which there could be witnesses. Such was God's appearance to Moses through a burning bush and the voice of thunder; to Abraham through three angels wearing a robe and sharing a meal with him; to John through the visions of Revelation as a man on a white horse; to Paul through lights and thunder and a vision of the other world; as well as many other examples from various religions.
God did not exist to them as a rational spiritual infinite omnipresent Being. Their idea of God was restricted to a sensuous consciousness. Until the incarnation of God as the Divine Human born in Nazareth all of God's sensuous appearances to human consciousness occurred through a virtual representative of Himself -- an angel, a burning bush, a voice in the sky, visions of spiritual sights and sounds. These appearances were limited to one individual at a time who then had to tell others what was witnessed. But at the incarnation of God as the Visible Divine Human, every individual was able to see Him. Since then every individual in the spiritual world is able to see Him. But here on earth only those can see God who are willing to have a rational consciousness of Him. Sensuous consciousness of God is still sought after by some people in the form of visible miracles or a feeling of "oneness" with Him. But this is a spurious desire that is not granted to anyone since humanity is evolving towards a rational consciousness of God, this being the highest and closest form of conjunction with Him.
Today many people's ideas of heaven and the afterlife are still material and sensuous. One common idea is that heaven or the afterlife is a resurrection of the physical body in a physical world. Sometimes a different civilization and planet are involved. It is common to suppose that heaven is a place to which people are admitted or rejected depending on a variety of physical things such as one's family origin, one's religion, certain rituals one enacted before death or during one's lifetime on earth, or the state of evolution of one's spirit, etc. These are sensuous ideas of heaven because the idea of being admitted or rejected is based on the idea of a physical place -- mansion or prison.
If all the ideas of humanity on earth were catalogued and examined it will be found that they are all based on sensuous consciousness until around 1740 and from then on some of the ideas begin to be based on rational consciousness, including the idea of God, heaven, and the as-of-self (freedom and individuality). To me it is astonishing that I should be so close to the beginning of the race's greatest evolutionary step. So early that only a tiny number of people on this planet are willing to acquire this rational consciousness now available to anyone.
The external mind could not function without an internal. This is a plain necessity of spiritual biology. Sensuous consciousness in the external mind could not exist without the internal mind prepping the external mind to its consciousness. But since we did not possess any rational consciousness we could not function in our internal mind. Therefore by necessity the internal mind was taken over and operated by our spiritual associates -- angels or angelic spirits in our "vertical community." In other words, while our body is part of a horizontal community in some society on earth, our mind or spirit is part of a vertical community in some society in the spiritual world. Thus, minds live in spiritual societies in the spiritual world, while physical bodies live in physical societies in the natural world. Of course, the two are interconnected by absolute laws of correspondence. Knowing these laws allows us to discover and see the causes of events in the natural world. Every natural event or quality is called an effect, and its cause is traceable to an event or quality in the spiritual world.
The internal mind of people on earth functions through the unconscious action of the vertical community that is connected to our unconscious spiritual mind. The "vertical community" refers to the connection which our mind (or spirit) has with societies in the spiritual world, either in heaven or in hell. The vertical community connects us to the minds of those people in the spiritual world who identify with the feelings we have at any one moment. God manages the connections second by second so that our mental life appears to us with continuity and familiarity. Swedenborg was able to show by experiment that if this connection or unconscious communication is cut off from any individual, the person falls into a "swoon" or coma due to the cessation of all thinking and sensing.
Everyone is born with inherited feelings and enjoyments that connect them to particular spirit societies in heaven and hell. Their direct action or "influx" into the internal (spiritual) mind of every individual, makes it possible for the person to have sensuous consciousness in the external mind. This is how the human race existed until the Writings. Once various people started to read the Writings (1750s onward), they were able to acquire new ideas that have never yet existed in human history on this planet. These ideas include:
and many other ideas of critical importance to every human being.
These are all called rational ideas because they cannot come into the mind of sensuous consciousness. They are possible only in the rational mind. The Writings opened up a spiritual-rational form of the human mind by revealing these rational ideas. Until then these concepts were either unknown altogether or they were discussed and understood in a sensuous manner, not rational. A new theistic science was made possible by the creation of a spiritual-rational register of thinking. This form of thinking is exemplified in this article and in my book on theistic psychology, mentioned at the top of the document.
In the past, through the action of the spiritual associates in the internal mind of the individual, one could use sensuous consciousness to build an infra-structure of sensuous rationality that appeared to encompass such genuinely rational ideas as God's Omnipotence, substantive dualism, infinity, life, spirit, eternity, and so on. But when you examine these ideas from the perspective of the Writings, you will be able to see that previous ideas of God, dualism, infinity, life, etc., were merely sensuous definitions, sensuous conceptions based on the ideas of time, place, and identity. They therefore remained natural ideas, not rational ideas. The activity of the spiritual associates that were unconsciously infused into the internal spiritual mind of the people on earth, allowed these people to reason in an apparently rational manner. Hence we see the cumulative historical developments in science, industry, economics, and the justice system, all of which are based on rational methods of thinking. But this rationality was in fact hidden to their understanding which remained at a sensuous level when left reasoning on their own (without the influx of the spiritual societies).
The reasoning power of sensuous consciousness does not lie in sensuous knowledge or understanding. For this merely reproduces the level of sensory input and its abstracted properties. Such ideas and explanatory accounts are materialistic, not rational. People have often confused "abstraction" with "rational," believing that the abstracted knowledge or principle is rational, and has been arrived at through a rational process. They remained unaware that this spurious rational process they thought they were using was in fact not the genuine rational process that gave rise to the developments in science and civilization. It was the rational process of the spiritual associates that, behind the scenes, introduced the genuine rational basis of people's merely sensuous or materialistic abstractions.
But once we begin life as a spirit in the spiritual world, we become conscious of the previously unconscious spiritual mind, so that we can develop genuine rational consciousness. Once possessed of a functioning internal mind, individuals in the spiritual world can start being active in the vertical community. Thus they contribute their uses and abilities to those on earth, acting into their unconscious internal mind, thereby giving them the ability to think rationally as-if from themselves, from their own sensuous consciousness.
Rational consciousness means that we are able to see, acknowledge, and understand some rational idea or truth that is described to us. I have many rational ideas from the Writings. Many of these ideas have been described in my writings and collected into this Swedenborg Glossary of Theistic Psychology. Just as I was able to see and understand rational ideas when I read them in the Writings, in the same way others are able to understand rational ideas when someone explains it to them on the basis of one's knowledge of the Writings.
I invite you to study the Writings and see for yourself how easy it is for you to begin developing your rational consciousness. This is the true road to understanding immortality, spirituality, religion, God, and what awaits us in the afterlife.
Rational ideas, when loved, become true wisdom. With this we can lead a life of good and prepare ourselves for life in eternal bliss, conjugial joy, and community bonding.
Science in the future is going to be theistic just as it was in the past. Materialistic science is a phase of development in scientific evolution. Materialism, monism, atheism, secular humanism, naturalized, corporeal, or mystical spirituality--are all materialistic and abstracted reflections of the human mind in search of understanding reality, of actuality, of what is. The word theistic in English has two parts which can be rendered "the is" and "-tic." "The is" refers to the fundamental of being or existence. In ancient Hebrew, "the is" is rendered Jehovah which means "the I am." So the first part of theistic is a reference to Jehovah. The second part is a grammatical form "-tic" meaning belonging to or about. So theistic science is the science about Jehovah, and thus the science of what is, hence the science of reality. Materialistic or atheistic science also depicts itself as the science of truth and reality, so there is no change in theistic science as to the purpose of having science.
Theistic science is a systematic, generational, and cumulative discovery tool for reality and its truths using scientific revelations as the departing principles of deduction.
Scientific revelations are given in three layers--the surface language layer called the literal of the Word, and two invisible but deducible inner layers, as discussed below. Theistic science is the rational, methodological, communal, and generationally cumulative process of extracting knowledge from the literal of Sacred Scripture.
In the course of civilizations on this earth there have been an orderly sequence of Divine "dispensations" or versions of "the Word of God," each being given as a new revelation at the beginning of a succeeding civilization that is to mark a new evolutionary step in human consciousness. Further explication on this historical evolution of the Word will be found in this article: De Hemelsche Leer--Part 1 and Part 2.
The materialistic and atheistic position in science is not logical and cannot be justified on rational grounds. It is merely a "negative bias" for which no proof is possible. This can become clear to you if you're willing to make this thought experiment. To begin with assume that there is an infinite God Person, possessing infinite power and intelligence, who created the universe and who maintains it running in Divine order according to rational laws of order, and that this reality has been revealed in Sacred Scripture throughout the ages. Is this too much for you to assume for now? If your mind is resisting this idea by wanting to dismiss it or laugh at it as naive, etc., it's because of your current prejudicial views. We all get this prejudicial dose in our education and culture. If you continue to study theistic science you will discover why scientific revelations exist and are necessary for the growth of our consciousness. But for now, just assume it's true as a thought experiment for a few minutes or hours, while you are evaluating what I have written.
Now look at materialistic and atheistic science from this "positive bias" perspective.
What do you see? Materialistic science has made God an unwelcome concept, a non-entity scientifically, or a foolish idea of the unscientific mind. God is officially banned from science until some materialistic scientist can come up with a materialistic proof of God's existence. But this is not a rational demand. By definition, it is impossible to prove something spiritual in a materialistic way, since the materialistic bias denies anything but what is material (physical, natural), and God is not material. It is a logical fact that a material God would not be able to create a material world. The creator must be of a higher order of existence in order to be able to create the material universe of time, space, and matter.
There is an obvious fundamental flaw in the idea that the material universe could originate from itself or some material origin. Aristotle and the ancient Greeks knew this. It was brought to light again by Swedenborg. When thinking rationally, rather than sensuously, we can clearly see that there must be an infinite non-material Being, outside the parameters of time and space, who by rational design created a finite material universe of time, space, and matter. It is also evident when thinking rationally that the Creator could not create outside of Himself what was already within Himself. For instance, He could not create life, love, truth, rationality, freedom, spiritual heat, spiritual light, beauty, harmony, unity. These are called "uncreate" things or substances. They have no beginning of existence. They always existed as part of the infinite substances in God.
Hence, God could only create what is outside these uncreate things. God could only create a dead universe -- dead in endless time, dead in immense space, dead in frozen matter. But He could create these material things to be able function as receptor organs for the uncreate things. Hence the natural stars could be receptors of spiritual heat from within them, which externalized as physical heat, light, energy, ether, and matter. Similarly, dead chemical objects like biological plants and animals could be created to be able to receive and contain uncreate substances within themselves, by which they take on the appearance of living things. The same with the highest level of created things -- human minds. These organic units are specially organized clumps out of immortal fibers and neurons constructed out of the spiritual heat and light that emanates from the Spiritual Sun, permeating the entire spiritual spheres or ethers in which human minds are born and live forever.
The human mind is a spiritual organ of reception in the same sense as the physical eye is a physiological organ capable to detect and receive physical light into itself. The physical eye is transformed by reactions to the physical light it received into itself, and leads to the familiar sensation of vision in the mind. The organ of the will in the mind (affective domain) is constructed to receive within itself the spiritual heat from the Spiritual Sun. The organ of the understanding in the mind (cognitive domain) is constructed to receive within itself the spiritual heat from the Spiritual Sun.
The two organs are thereby activated and operationalized, so that we have the sensation of thinking as-of self whatever we want and reacting to things by feelings that seem our very own such as love, fear, anger, fantasy, satisfaction, determination, etc. We thus can appear to be beings who are alive, intelligent, rational, immortal. This appearance is possible as a reality because God constructed our mind as receptor organs capable of receiving uncreate things that belong to Him, and as a result, feel that they are as-if our own in us. This makes us human and immortal.
There is an endless order of progression built into this system of receiving uncreate things that are God's infinite things in us. As a result we have human consciousness, which is the reception of the spiritual light in our understanding. There is an endless continuum of improvement or elevation possible for the human mind so that the quality of its consciousness can be perfected and purified endlessly, as it approaches but never reaches the outskirts of God's consciousness. This was the purpose God had in creating the universe.
Are you still in the thought experiment? You can see from this perspective that materialistic science is forever barred from becoming conscious of this awesome reality.
Can you prove visually that sound exists? All you can do is to show correlations, as for example, when loudness increases a visual wave form on a suitable screen also increases, and vice versa. So if you insist irrationally that the existence of sound must be proven visually, in a direct way and not by correlation, then you're going to have to deny the existence of sound. So the demand to prove God's existence by physical or material proof is irrational and self-defeating. Instead, what is needed is a rational proof (not physical or material). The rational is a human form of the spiritual, and God being infinite, can easily be proven rationally. The Writings of Swedenborg contain thousands of proofs of the existence of God and His Laws of Order.
(Click here to see a List of Swedenborg's Writings and have free access to them online.)
Well then, what is the conclusion to be formed from this thought experiment? That materialistic science will give way to theistic science as soon as scientists begin to realize that the three premises of theistic science (given at the beginning) are true and correct. The Writings of Swedenborg fully establish the truth and correctness of these three premises. My purpose for creating this Glossary is to help diffuse the knowledge about Theistic Psychology as based on the Writings of Swedenborg. These Writings are scientific revelations, and the truth of this is established rationally by Swedenborg (1668-1771), one of the most respected and creative scientists of the Age of Reason (18th century science in Europe). For additional discussion on Swedenborg's view of science, see this article titled "The Fourteen Scientific Fallacies in in Swedenborg's AC 5084--Implications for Science Education" available here: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/fallacies.html
I once had the following conversation with a colleague, a scientist in the field of biochemistry and genetics. I was eager to show him that there is a rational way of defining God in science.
The point is that our automatic resistance to the idea of God in science is not based on rational considerations but on a gut reaction implanted in our education. Theistic science is freedom from that gut reaction, offering us the opportunity of a rational examination of the issue. The benefits of theistic science to humankind are immense. While materialistic science is an inductive and bottom up procedure, theistic science is a synthetic bottom down procedure. The first works in materialistic darkness and gropes for the light of understanding and wisdom; the second works in rational light and deduces from revelation various inventions and resources available for the picking. One is impotent in solving our societal problems and produces much foolishness, unhappiness, and cruelty. The other is being carried along in the Divine current that leads to much wisdom and intelligence, happiness, bliss, peace, and compassion.
Some years ago, before I started reading the Writings of Swedenborg, a student in psychology once asked me in class: "Dr. James, you've mentioned the word "spiritual" several times. Can you give us a definition of it?" Curiously I don't remember what I said exactly, or even approximately, but I very well remember how I felt about it after class when I started thinking about my inability to deliver a clear and precise answer. How could I be using a word in my lectures that I don't understand? Whatever I was able to gather from the literature that came my way as I searched around, felt inadequate to me in a fundamental sense, namely, that I remained unable to give a coherent and precise definition of what is spiritual. Everything I learned to say about it from others amounted to something vague having to do with something internal or maybe with higher consciousness. Of course it was somehow related to religion and faith and God and afterlife--but how?
What was the difference between spiritual and religious? How was spiritual related to me? Was it for everybody or only a few? Was it rational or mystical? What did magic have to do with spiritual? What about sorcery, and ghosts, and ecstasy with God? Well I could talk about these things, since I was a professor--by habit as well as by profession. But the proof that I knew absolutely nothing of what is spiritual lies in looking back at what I knew from the perspective of my current position based on Swedenborg.
What I know and discovered since I started studying the Writings of Swedenborg has solved my problem (I tell the story of my discovery here: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/499s98/shintani/logos.html ). Since that time, when I'm asked what is spiritual, I reply that
This is simple to understand, very precise, and totally accurate, as can be known from scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg. Theistic Psychology is established in the Writings through scientific revelations about the spiritual world, the laws of correspondences by which the natural phenomena are caused, the process of resuscitation that occurs with everyone as when passing from this world into the spiritual world. Resuscitation is a process of being extirpated from the physical corpse and being awakened in an immortal spiritual body. This and many other amazing and wonderful revelations about both worlds are given in the Writings. If you're eager to start reading, his entire set of theological writings are available online-- www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss/abbrev.html.
To help those readers who have come upon this without much background about Swedenborg's Writings, we can project ahead together, briefly, to the idea of a spiritual world that is not in time and space. What is it like to live in the spiritual world, into which every one must pass when the physical body becomes a corpse?
One image that might help is to think of yourself as a spirit body inside a material body. This is a temporary connection that lasts until the death of the physical body. We know that it is the cells' genetic code that directs the shaping of the organs and their mineral and biochemical composition and function. This genetic code is itself directed by your soul. It is not raitonal to say that the genetic code is built by itself or that it maintains its power to direct growth by itself. Rational thinking has to say that the genetic code must be taking its code and and its shaping function from some source that it not itself material, like the protein cells that hold the code. This higher super-material or super-natural entity is called the soul and is part of the what God creates when a human being is born. God manages the genetic code through the action of the soul upon the code and the biochemistry of the body.
Through the processes of conception and birth, both your soul and your mind (or "spirit") are created as a unique human individual. The soul receives immediately the power from the infinite Divine Human. It is like being online, where the power inflows without stop. Through the actions of the soul God determines the genetic code and the biological structures that make up the physical cells. This "mediate" action by God through other created objects, like acting upon the cells through the soul, is typical of God's way of proceeding, as you'll see when getting to know more of Theistic Psychology.
God always operates both immediately (thus retaining total control from within the inmost of something), and mediately through others. The mediate step down actions by which all things are controlled, serve to integrate the universe into a unity. The vertical community connects the human race into a one. No one is ever alone, no one does anything or think anything alone. Entire populations of human beings, comprising numerous societies, are mediately involved in the production of one of our thought sequences while brushing our teeth or looking for a parking space. It has been revealed through the Writings of Swedenborg, that in God infinite things are one. And also, that before God the entire human race is as one Grand Human.
The physical body and the mind (or spirit) grow through the oversight and control of the soul, by means of the soul's continuous (never-ending) reception of influx from God. The soul is connected to the body and the mind (or the spirit) by correspondence, not by physical presence or proximal contact. This is most important to understand and keep in mind.
To be connected by correspondence means that as the soul acts, there is a correspondential effect in the mind and body. It's not rational to say that the soul is "inside" the body in the sense that the heart is inside the chest cavity. When it is said that the soul is inside the body it makes sense only in the sense that the spiritual world is inside the natural world.
Now this cannot be a physical location (like the heart inside the chest) because the spiritual world is outside time and space and it is not possible for the spiritual to be physically located in time and space. This is a critical scientific revelation!
All along, during the past centuries of science, and millennia of literature, when it was said that the the soul or the mind, or the psyche, is inside the body or the brain, people could have no other idea than that it was physically inside. For instance, it is well known that Descartes, cited in the literature as a dualist, thought that the soul was inside the pineal gland of the brain. People often picked the brain, for the location of the soul, especially the center or inside portion of the brain. But no one had any concrete idea of what the soul was made of and no one thought it illogical to think that the soul -- a non-material object outside time and space, could be inside the brain, a material object in time and space. And yet this doesn't make sense rationally.
But now, with the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg, we have a totally new understanding of how the soul or mind or spirit, is "inside" the body or brain. It is inside not physically but correspondentially, as explained. All things in the universe are arranged in discrete degrees or levels removed from the Spiritual Sun and each other. These levels are of different substances and function and there is no possibility of a continuum between them. One cannot go directly from one level to the next. Everything is created in its own level or degree and can never exit from that degree. But the levels are functionally related so that whatever happens at one level has an effect on the next lower level, and this effect is specified by the laws of correspondence, now revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg.
For example, mental operations in the mind are in a higher degree than muscular operations in the limbs. There is no way of going from muscle to mind directly. Muscle is made of physical matter while mind is made of spiritual substance. But the muscle and the mental operation are connected by correspondence so that when I have a certain feeling (e.g., desire to get an object), the mental operation has a corresponding effect on the arm and legs, so that I begin to walk towards that object.
Another example of correspondence is the arrangement of the three heavens in the human mind, which Swedenborg was able to confirm by visiting the three heavens of the spiritual world. It was demonstrated to him what happens when a sentence is written down by those who inhabit their third heaven, and is "let down" to be read by those who inhabit their second heaven. The original sentence was written in the celestial-rational correspondences in which they think and reason who dwell in their third heaven. They are called angels or celestial minds. Nothing of the original meaning was retained and what was left was the correspondence in the lower degree called spiritual-rational correspondences. This is the level of thinking and reasoning of those who dwell in their second heaven and they are called angelic spirits.
The same thing happened when the paper on which the sentence was written was let down into the minds of those who inhabit the first heaven in their mind, called good spirits. Only spiritual-natural correspondences remained in the meaning of the sentence. This experiment proved that the three heavens in the human mind communicate with each other only through correspondences.
Another example of correspondences is the specific action of spirit societies who act into the human organism to produce its biochemistry. Swedenborg was given the opportunity to map out the character of the spirits with the symptoms of malfunction in particular organs, as well as their proper function. For a helpful compendium and commentary on these passages see Worcester's book on Spiritual Correspondences, available online: www.theisticscience.org/books/worcester/index.htm
There is thus a cause-effect synchrony between spiritual and natural phenomena, and the relationship is governed by the laws of correspondence.
These laws have now been revealed and they are fully understandable, rational, and simple. It takes no mathematics or technical knowledge to understand what they are. And this is because the laws of correspondence are the same laws that govern the relation between the mind and the body, two objects with which we are all very familiar.
Where does the mind or spirit come from?
It is built up through experience and growth. The body and mind grow under the determination of the soul. The mind experiences the natural world through the physical body's sensory mechanisms that are integrated in the brain. This integration is not under the immediate control of the soul but mediately through the control of the mind, and the mind is under the control of the soul, which itself is under the control of influx from spiritual societies, and ultimately from the Sun of the spiritual world that is made of the substances of love and wisdom inside the infinite Divine Human.
There is thus a chain of mediation from God to sub-atomic particle or force field. This chain of mediation is governed rationally by rational laws of correspondence. Remember that God's Mind is purely rational and loving to infinity. Hence it makes sense that a rational mind would create a rational universe. A rational universe is one that involves full integration under the determination of good goals or outcomes of love, with no part of it being cut or independent from any other part, nor from the the goal of love. This is a rational and loving universe because God can only think rationally from infinite love, and God's thinking is equivalent to the operational laws of reality and existence.
Another way of discussing "God's thinking" is God's Truth since only Divine Truth is involved in God's thinking. God's Truth is the basic substance out of which everything in the universe is created and upon which they all rest and have existence. Remove the Divine Truth upon which they rest, and they disappear from existence. Hence truth is the basic building block of all created objects. Truth is another way of saying God's thinking, God's rationality, or God's Divine Speech. It is by Divine Speech therefore, that God creates and rules the universe and human minds.
God's Speech descends into the discrete levels or atmospheres of the created universe. As it descends, it is transformed by correspondences into a lower degree truth. It passes through the three heavens in the human mind and builds them up. This is what creates our immortality -- the truth that constructs our mental fibers. These fibers are immortal. Without this truth no one can exist or live. The level of truth in our understanding or consciousness determines our character and the quality of our life now, and in immortality.
Theistic psychology is the knowledge extracted from Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture, using the methods prescribed there for the extraction process.
When we study this knowledge, and understand it, our rationality is enlightened and our spirituality is elevated. From a higher rationality we are capable of a higher love, and with this we reach the immortal conjugial heavens in our mind. We become wiser individuals, better citizens, conjugial partners in marriage, more effective parents, fully peaceful neighbors, creative artists.
The laws of human development operated by the Divine Human through our soul, are responsible for the birth and development of our mind or self, which is also called our spirit or spirit body. At the moment of birth we have no functioning mind because no integrated experiences occur in the womb despite the sucking of the finger by the fetus, or the response of the fetus to vibrations and noises. No doubt this revelation will be studied and understood better in the future. It is stated in the Writings that the mind as an individual that has a destiny and immortal life after passing on, begins at birth with the first breath of air entering the lungs.
This action opens the mind and from then on it will grow as an immortal spirit in eternity. If the infant dies immediately after the first breath is drawn, its mind is opened thereby, and then continues to grow to adulthood in the spiritual world where the infant is taken care of and raised by surrogate mothers from the angelic societies who receive these infants, adopt them instantly, love them, and see to their socialization and education under the auspices of Divine Providence.
When they reach a mental maturity of young adulthood (in their teens or adolescence), they appear as fully grown adults, and are then introduced to the process of marriage, by meeting, courting, getting engaged, and participating in a wedding ceremony before starting life as a conjugial couple in eternal happiness. This happens to all infants and children who pass on before they have an adult mind.
Those who develop an adult mind while tied to the physical body enter the spiritual world as adults when that physical body dies. Swedenborg has observed this many times, thousands of times: those who have passed on are called spirits or inhabitants of the spiritual world and they are able to visually see you as a spirit just like they can see each other, except that you don't interact with them. It appears to them that are sleeping. Spirits are prevented from approaching these sleeping spirit bodies by a characteristic odor which prompts them to turn away. When we are resuscitated, we seem to those already there that have awakened from a coma, and are now fully interactive with them.
What does the mind look like? What shape does it have?
This is obvious and yet only after it's stated: the mind has the shape of the spirit and the spirit has the shape of the body!
Yes, isn't that amazing!! But it's more correct and rational to put it the other way: the physical body is shaped like the mind or spirit body.
Now this makes sense because recall that the shape of the body is determined by the genetic code and this in turn is controlled by the soul through continuous influx from God. Everything God creates is in the Human shape, that is, in God's Own Image, and so it's obvious that the soul is shaped like a human, and therefore the mind or spirit body is shaped like a human, and finally, therefore the material body is shaped like a human.
The mind or spirit body is born in the spiritual world and stays there, while at the same time it is connected by correspondence to the material body out there (or below there) in the natural world. When this connectivity is broken and the body becomes a corpse, the mind or spirit body awakens in the spiritual world where it always had been since its birth, but now it is awake there, and starts its life as a spirit.
If you compared a photograph of the spirit body to its former material body in the physical world, you would see a clone or duplicate relation. But this is only true at the beginning of one's life in the spiritual world, immediately following the resuscitation process. Soon afterwards our spirit body begins to assume the outward appearance of our inner loves. If these loves are orderly and arranged in correspondence from the Divine Human, then the spirit body assumes the shape and outward appearance of a young and beautiful angel, man or woman. But if these loves are contrary to God, the spirit body assumes the shape and outward appearance of a monster or devil. The surrounding environment and quality of life also reflects the inner loves in the spirit body. Such are the laws in the spiritual world.
For a definition of Theistic Psychology and its methodology, please consult this article on De Hemelsche Leer--Part 2. See also this Glossary entry on Scientific Revelations. You might like to read Swedenborg's Letters in which he talks about his mission as revelator.
The benefits of theistic science are enormous. Materialistic science has been operating as an inductive science which means that it builds theories bottom up, based on empirical observations. This type of intellectual activity is full of error because there are numerous theories that compete against each other and there is no guarantee that any one of them is accurate. In fact, it has been recognized that most scientific theories are temporary and carry the seed of their own weakness. Scientific theories replace each other over time, sometimes within a decade, sometimes within a century. Big changes in direction are called "scientific revolutions" and "paradigm shifts." You can see that the application of these temporary and false or inadequate theories has been quite mixed so that engineering and medical research has brought both benefits and disasters where people and societies have been hurt. This pattern of false theories and injurious applications will continue into the future of materialistic science as long as it is operating in the dark, bottom up, from fact to explanation.
Theistic Psychology operates in the opposite way, namely, top down or deductively and synthetically or generatively--like linguistics and theology. This is because all the top premises and principles and theories are given in scientific revelations and the task of research is to deduce empirical applications from these truths and doctrines. There are no wrong theories or revolutions or injurious mistakes. The research is still necessary because the revelations are for the most part rational in a language of correspondences rather than natural or historical. There are numerous natural and historical revelations in Holy Scriptures and the Writings of Swedenborg, but these are limited in number and can be counted. On the other hand the correspondences and series hidden in the literal language are not limited. Probing these revelations for new discoveries can go on indefinitely into the future of theistic science. There is no limit to the possible number of discoveries that can be made or extracted from scientific revelations. Also, this mining operation must proceed through a scientific methodology.
It's important to realize the exact relationship between theistic and materialistic science. It's not the case that Theistic Psychology is just another new revolution or paradigm shift. It's more like a coming of age of science. The evolution of science must go through stages of development and materialistic science is the first growth and also the outer bark of its future growth which is more inward. Swedenborg described the process using an analogy that I diagrammed in this way:
Let the column depict the evolution of science in its full fledged development. Pre-modern science is the outermost, materialistic science is the middle, and theistic wisdom is the highest and inmost. Evolution or development starts in the outermost and proceeds inward. Modern science first evolved at its materialistic level and continues to develop at that level. With the scientific revelations given through the Writings of Swedenborg (1668-1771) the highest level has started to form. This is what I call theistic science. The above diagram appears in a related Glossary entry where further discussion will be found on relation to the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor levels of development.
Another way of representing this evolutionary growth process of science is to apply the following diagram to it:
The above diagram pictures the threefold evolution of physics in theistic science. The bottom level is pre-modern science that is limited to the world of manifestation and surface phenomena as could be observed with the senses. Modern science begins at the middle with a materialistic concept of the universe. It is the level of existence, that is, human explanations and understandings of the manifested phenomena out there in the physicalist world. It is the mind looking outward to the world as it sees it below itself, or outside of itself. This is a rational mind but it is an external rational formed exclusively of the incoming sensory stimuli from below, or out there. These sensations of the outside world the rational mind ingests and orders in rational series, and through this arrangement, discovers meaning and truth. But this meaning and truth is only external. It is the rational mind's external existence. Above the world, yes. Inside, yes. But not inmost, and not in the highest region of the mind. For this level, science needs a new growth, a new evolutionary creation of itself. This starts in the third or inmost or highest region depicted above as Level III Subsistence. This is where theistic science begins and starts growing. The difference is non-overlapping between levels II Materialistic Science as the study of Existence and III Theistic Science as the study of Subsistence. This is the study of how the laws of Divine Providence given through scientific revelations operate to create and maintain the universe. I discuss these issues further in this Glossary entry, where the above diagram appears, along with Tables showing the three phases of scientific evolution, including examples of scientific concepts at the three levels.
Here is a third diagram that illustrates the three phases to be found everywhere in all fields of theistic science, whether physical-natural or mental-rational and spiritual-celestial.
There are two phases of evolution going on continuously, one is the reverse of the other. The first is bottom up, the second is top down. The sequence 1, 2, 3 is bottom up and proceeds inductively, but the sequence 3, 2, 1 is top down and proceeds synthetically or deductively. Historically, the 1, 2, 3 sequence is known as the pre-modern stage of natural science. It was in total darkness as to the environment and self above the level of appearances. It is also the first phase of individual development which we go through from the time we get our adult teeth around age 7 to pre-teens around 13 (with lots of variation, of course). We then move into the second phase, even as our first phase continues to develop on its own. In this second stage our thinking assumes the thinking of materialistic science through which we are made ready to be citizens and lead an economically productive existence in accordance with the laws of the land. At last in middle age at some point varying with one's character and personality one can enter (or not) into the third and mature phase and begin life, that is, loving, thinking, and perceiving in accordance with Divine truths and realities. Now we reverse directions and proceed downward from being up, or, proceed outward from being inward. Knowing and loving scientific revelations, we proceed outward to scientific research of how the Divine laws apply to the maintenance of existence (the universe). This is a deductive direction: From known truths to unknown findings to be interpreted through these truths. It's the opposite of the step up from 2 to 3 which is what Swedenborg did to no avail in his search for materialistic evidence of the soul. This is what we all do as we interpret Holy Scripture according to our common sense or our materialistic science, the result of which is to lead to materialistic science, which has nothing spiritual in it, for it is below it, and outside of it.
Theistic science is the step down from 3 to 2, that is, from scientific revelations to scientific research generated by and through these revealed principles. Note that I call this scientific research materialist science, to distinguish it from materialistic science, which is natural-rational, hence not spiritual. Only the spiritual-rational is from a spiritual origin while the natural rational is from a natural origin. That which is from a spiritual origin comes into the mind from above (or within), that is, from the spiritual world into the internal rational mind (spiritual-rational). But that which is from a natural origin comes from below or outside, that is, through the senses of the physical body. This applies to concepts ass well. All concepts and theories and knowledges and sciences that are built up inductively through empirical data from the physical senses are entirely natural. Obviously, any concept about the universe, God, the spiritual, faith, revelation, etc., will also be only natural. Hence they are nothing but materialistic through and through. What is truly or actually in the universe or in any concept cannot be seen or thought of. But when the concept is deduced from scientific revelation, it is made entirely from the spiritual substances and nothing of it is made from natural existence. You can see then that scientific research in materialist science is entirely different from scientific research in materialistic science--even though both are at level 2, namely natural-rational.
So the natural-rational can be in harmony with the spiritual-rational in the top down evolution, and in this superior phase we can call it materialist rather than materialistic which is out of order and not in harmony with the truth.
Swedenborg was an exceptionally careful and worthy scientist. This is clear to anyone who studies his biography and writings.
Swedenborg's scientific interests were broad and deep. If you'd like to read a little work titled ON MECHANICAL TREMULATION, VIBRATION IN THE BODY you'll be impressed by his acuity and originality. He has many excellent demonstrations of the methodology of theistic science. I discuss this issue in several Glossary entries, for example, here (1) and also here (2) and here (3) and many other places. The methodology practiced in the scientific revelations given through the Writings of Swedenborg are scientifically mature and modern. Swedenborg's theistic science fully takes into account the scientific works of earlier insightful methodologists--Aristotle, Leibniz, Descartes, Wolff, Schwammerdam (? I need to check this), Newton--to mention some of the pillars of modern scientific thinking in biology, mathematics, psychology, and physics. Swedenborg's biographers have detailed his amazing intellect in many sciences. He made innovative contributions in scientific thinking as recognized by historians--in metallurgy and mining engineering, economic legislation, mathematics education, cosmology, physiology, psychology, and theology. His voluminous productivity left behind hundreds of works varying in length. His best known are the 57 volumes that comprise his theological Writings written after age 57 when he was suddenly precipitated into the unique state of permanent dual consciousness. A sampling of what others today are saying about Swedenborg can be viewed on the Web by clicking on the links on the Swedenborg Home Page Hawaii site.
Swedenborg's dual state was entirely different from the ordinary state we're all in, in which our state of awareness is restricted to input from the physical senses and the content of our own natural mind that is built up entirely from this sensori-motor experiencing as we grow up. We are conscious humans centered in the natural mind and we have no perception of what lies in the rational mind, spiritual mind, and celestial mind. Neither do we have perception of sensory input into our spiritual senses or organs. Therefore, since we do not have perception except of the natural mind it is not possible to know what is in the regions of the mind above the natural. Swedenborg himself diligently searched for years to obtain information from this region of his mind, but to absolutely no avail until his dual consciousness was precipitated. Once he was in a dual consciousness state, he was able to describe in natural language and description--thus for the natural mind that we are in--the entire anatomy and physiology of the human mind. Thus now we know from scientific revelations many things that could not have been known in science at this time, and possibly never, had it not been for these revelations.
It's not possible to appreciate the contributions of Theistic Psychology until one examines the idea of substantive dualism and why this is logically and rationally necessary. The body-mind distinction is at the center of it. In materialistic science the mind cannot assume real existence. Hence it is called a pseudo-phenomenon, and sometimes, an emergent phenomenon. Thoughts and feelings in the mind must therefore also be less than fully real. One is left with the idea that thoughts and feelings are effects and consequences of the primary action of the brain. But this is nonsense--merely a downfall of the departure premise of monism which is inherent in materialism. In other words, materialism is the false hypothesis that the universe is monist, that is of one constitution called space-time-mass continuum. Since this is the only existence one is forced to deny mind and God as having reality. Since mind and God have a reality, but not a material one, this reality must be denied in any system of thinking in which there is only material existence in time-space. This restricted, constricted, and false assumption has all sorts of harmful and illogical consequences which I shall discuss in many places.
Theistic science assumes a dual universe, one material and the other substantive. Similar views were also recognized by Aristotle and Plato as known from their writings. Swedenborg confirmed what is said in these writings by talking directly to Aristotle and Plato, or their immediate colleagues. Every thing that comes into existence has a dual structure: the internal structure or framework is substantive, while the outside appearance is material and exists in the phenomenal world. Only this substantive-material structure is real and rational. A substantive structure by itself could not be real or rational, nor a material structure by itself. A molecule of matter and its aggregate structures in the form of objects--physical or biological--is composed of this dual structure. What is inside a rock? Substance is inside. What is inside the brain? Substance is inside. What is inside the mind? Substance is inside. What is a thought made of? It is made of material sensory stimuli within which is substance. What is a feeling made of? It is made of substance covered over with matter. What is a dream made of? It is made of thoughts, images, feelings--all of which are substances covered over and shaped into the form of material stimuli. This notion can be made clearer by seeing how it applies to specific things we're familiar with.
When we dream substances are being formed or covered over with a material appearance. Say you dream of eating ice cream while walking on a beach and enjoying looking at the people there and engaged in all sorts of activities. We know that your brain is active and this can be measured by various instruments. But we don't want to fall into the materialistic trap and equate the dream with the brain activity. Neither do we want to say that the dream is an emergent phenomenon produced by the brain activity. Instead, we want to explain the dream using dualist concepts. This is more rational because it assumes that dreams are made of something real not something pseudo. How can dreams be produced by the brain activity? To assume this is not logical because its' not possible to obtain existence that is not in space and time from something that is in space and time. Clearly dreams are not in space and time--they have no mass, no spatial field or time by which they are limited. Dreams and thoughts have no mass and are not in space in time. But they are real, not pseudo. Their reality is substantive, outside time and space and mass. Think of the objects in your dream. You never can run out of space and content. A small rock, a huge, mountain, one dog or 10 trillion dogs--it makes no difference in terms of mass or count or limit. Clearly thoughts and reams and feelings are substantial, not material. And so is the whole of the mind, and the whole of the spiritual world.
To summarize: If thoughts and feelings are real, they must exist in a non-material world, and this is called the substantive world. The world outside time, mass, and space is the world inside time, mass, and space. The natural world could not be constructed on itself because it is finite--has a beginning point--did not always exist. But the infinite always existed--has no beginning. So it is fully rational to assume that the finite is created by the infinite from itself. The infinite is also called substance or spirit. I know this is not ordinarily recognized, but scientific revelation clearly affirm this and explain it in relation to God. God is infinite, therefore God is the only infinite. It's not rational to say that there is more than one infinite. So it's not rational to say that there is more than infinite God. So it's totally rational to say that the one infinite God is made of unchanging, eternal, and limitless substances out of which God created the material universe by giving these substances certain imposed limits. In other words, by covering up the substances by means of an external that has a built-in limitation that the substance itself does not have.
What are these infinite substances that exist within God and out of which God formed material limits? Scientific revelations identify them--they are very familiar to us--necessarily familiar because we are created in the image of God, that is, with the infrastructure of these substances within God. Among these are:
This diagram refers to the Divine substances. Divine celestial substance is love and its infinite derivatives, a few are mentioned in the table. Divine spiritual substance is wisdom and its infinite derivatives. Divine natural substance is life power or action and its infinite derivatives. Note that God has celestial substances, spiritual substances, and natural substances. Of course you need to remember that natural substances, also called the Divine Natural, is to be distinguished from natural materials or matter. In fact we can assume that matter is formed along three discontinuous degrees or levels. The matter that is most external, is most removed from substance, and thus most limited. such are the molecules and particles forming clusters of rock, sand, air, and the rest of the inert matter in the physical world. This type of matter is the most external, the most limited by space and time. Then there are clusters of less external matter, or more inward matter, and these clusters form plant growth and other plant-like operations and structures at the microscopic level such as bacteria. Then there is a final level of matter that is most inward and is made of material clusters called animal, including the bodies of humans and its sub-structures and operations called living.
Matter cannot exist at the more inward levels or degrees of existence beyond the living organisms of animals and human beings. If you consider what's there, in these more inward levels, the answer is substances. And these substances also exist at three discontinuous levels or degrees. These three inward substantive degrees are shown in the Table above: Natural Substance is the first or lowest inward level, while the second is spiritual, and the third celestial. You can see from the table how you can construct trigrammatic units of these substances. You might like to look at some additional tables like this in this file. Also, physicist Dr. Ian Thompson, discusses these levels in a more formal manner, as referenced in this file.
Additionally, the table above shows the Trinitarian construction of God's infinite substances and how it imposes a Trinitarian structure on the created universe through the mind of human beings. Our mind is an organ like the brain is an organ. The brain has many major sub-parts and billions of smaller sub-sub-parts in the form of cells, each one of these being a miniature brain that itself is composed of numberless sub-sub-parts. This construction pattern is rational and follows a principle I call synechdoche because the dictionary defines this word as conveying the idea that the whole is reproduced in the part. Thus, God's inherent, eternal, unchanging, and infinite constitution is Trinitarian, as we know from scientific revelation given by God, which asserts, explains, and demonstrates that God is rational from inmost to outmost. The table above labels the three Divine and infinite aspects by using the expressions Creative Aspect, Nurturing Aspect, and Managerial Aspect. I believe these are adequate phrases for Theistic Psychology but in various religions, the Creative Aspect of God is called the paternal aspect of the Divine, while the Nurturing Aspect of God is called the maternal aspect of the Divine. God has a paternal and a maternal essence and existence. Finally, the third and most external constitution of God is labeled the Managerial Aspect of God and, in religions, this is variously referred to as The Divine Proceeding, The Holy Spirit, The Great Seer, Lord, and various special names associated with a particular nation or ethnic group.
The maternal aspect of the Divine is also called the Holy Church or the Bride of God--also Wife, Virgin, and Daughter, though each with a variation in sub-meaning. But there has been a change since the Fall of the human race, that is, since the race entered a new evolutionary phase called The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which has to do with the loss of ability to communicate directly with those in the spiritual world. At one time in our evolution as a race direct communication was possible with those who passed on. They, as spirits (or inhabitants of the spiritual world), were able to communicate consciously with the minds of those around them who were still tied to the physical body. This communication became a threat to themselves when a new philosophy of life was gradually adopted in the land and taught from generation to generation, namely, that we act from ourselves by our mind and body, and not as the earlier generations taught, that we act from our ancestors through our mind. This is difficult to grasp and I shall continue to explain it in various places. (You may pursue this by looking up the entry on as-of self.
But to continue with the consequences of this Fall or new evolution, the affective and the cognitive domains of the mind were split, while they were united before, acting as one. Now, the will and the understanding no longer acted as one. Before this one had no choice but to act according to one's desire or affection, just as it is for animals since they act according to their motivation or need, unmodified by their thinking which helps them figure out how to achieve the goal of fulfilling their need. Their thinking is tied to their feeling and there is no freedom of action from the thought, but only from the will. Such were the first generations of the human race, according to scientific revelation. The spiritual phenomenon of the mind splitting into two resulted in the natural phenomenon of the brain also splitting into right and left brains with partially independent functions. The split was necessary to allow the recovery operation of the human race through a new freedom of decision-making that was not possible before the mind-brain split. Now people could evolve moral consciousness by first understanding what is good and evil with the cognitive understanding without the will (left brain functions), and then exercising conscious control over their will. This allowed them to act according to the dictates of their understanding or belief system even if it meant acting against the urgings of their desires. Thus was born conscience, and through the process of temptation, a new mind or spirit was being created in every individual. This new spirit was no longer in the Fall but outside of it and with this new spirit the individual was once again given the ability to exist in rational order to eternity.
Recall that with the generations that followed the Fall a Redemption Operation became necessary from the Paternal Divine, that is, a new creation. This second aspect of the Divine then was called the Son of God or Messiah because it became a healing operation that was only accomplishable through the process of Incarnation and subsequent Glorification. These notions may sound like mysteries but they are not. They are neither mysterious nor complicated, only detailed! But this is how science is, detailed! I will be discussing these issues further, as they come up in the Glossary.
The paternal and maternal aspects of the Divine are the substances out of which our soul and mind are composed. These are organs of reception made of these two substances in infinite variety. One such composition I'd like to mention here, namely, the mind of a man and the mind of a woman. Scientific revelation specifies that the male human mind is composed of the Divine Paternal (love) covered over with the maternal aspect of the Divine (wisdom). The female mind is the reciprocal of this, namely, the maternal aspect of the Divine (wisdom) covered over with paternal aspect of the Divine (love). So the minds of men and women are created of two basic substances, love and wisdom, but in reciprocal relation. The mind of a woman is inner wisdom covered over with outer love. The mind of a man is inner love covered over with outer wisdom. There is a diagram I have of this psychobiology of gender and sex (don't forget to come back here for the rest of the story).
Here is another way of representing the psychobiology of the mind in accordance with the table above:
This is a rational representation in accordance with scientific revelation. It remains for Theistic Psychology to apply this knowledge to education and counseling. As you can see, a woman from a man's point of view is inside out, and vice versa for a woman's view on man. And yet it works like the attraction of magnetic forces of so-called opposite poles or particles. Perhaps we can stop calling them opposites and refer to them as reciprocals. For opposites cannot unite inwardly, as explained in scientific revelation. Thus, a man as husband and a woman as wife can be united inwardly as to the mind or spirit. This is important because once the physical body is left off, the spirit is free and is not willing to consociate with someone who doesn't fit or is disharmonious with oneself. Since the spirit is unwilling, the two cannot maintain presence with each other but thin out and disappear. It is not like this in the physical body and spouses can remain together in external physical and legal relationship--but inward, in the mind where they are free, they are not husband and wife, and as soon as they are freed from the body they can no longer act married since they are not. The concept of inward unity of the minds of a marital couple is known as the state of One Flesh. In the spiritual world this state manifests itself externally by the phenomenon Swedenborg marveled at ant witnessed thousands of times, namely, that from a distance a spirit couple appear as one handsome person walking or standing, but as one gets nearer to the couple, they appear as two individuals. But this phenomenon only occurs with couples that inhabit the celestial regions for only they are united inwardly. We are told that in the low and dark regions of the mind called the hells, those who insist on inhabiting those regions are called by various names depending on the species of their character evils--devils, satans, genii, sirens, dragons, snakes, and other names. These people act like they think they are wild animals and as long as they intend to hurt others whom they meet in the spiritual world, they are a menace, and must be contained in prison areas and work houses for as long as they are unwilling to give up hurting others. They do this, despite the punishments and restrictions, because it so delightful that it is the delight of their life. Therefore, lest they feel that they are not alive any more, they are permitted to plot and hurt those that are willing to congregate with them and be exposed to their brutal exploitations. Swedenborg visited these sad places of the human mind, or spiritual world, and the accounts are very revealing in terms of human pathology. Blom-Dahl's observations on how this type of methodology can work for science may be found here.
The Incarnation of God had to be enacted in a male physical body because God is internal love covered over with external truth. God's essence is love and God's existence is truth, hence the externalization of the physical body must be a male man.
The male mind is composed of the same substances as the female mind but in reciprocal order. Truth that is external is different from truth that is internal. Similarly, good that is external is different from good that is internal. The Divine Maternal when in external position is intellectual truth (male) but when in the internal position, it is moral truth (female). Similarly the Divine Paternal when in external position is creative good (Father) but when in the internal position, it is nurturing good (Church or Son). Another way of saying these things is this: The male mind is the Divine Paternal Love (internal) covered over with the Divine Maternal Wisdom (external), while the female mind is Divine Maternal Wisdom (internal) covered over with Divine Paternal Love (external). Also, woman's love is external, but man's love is internal. Further, woman's wisdom is internal, but man's wisdom is external. The physical anatomy of a woman is determined entirely by her mind and reflects the anatomy of her mind. Similarly with a man so that no mental component of one can be like that of the other gender. Consequently, no physical cell in a woman's body can be like a physical cell in a man's body. The xy chromosome that is said to determine sex leaves one with the idea that only the reproductive cells or system is different between the two sexes, but as it is clear from spiritual psychobiology and Theistic Psychology, nothing in the female physical body can be like that of the male physical body, not even a single cell.
It takes three things or functional operations for God to run the universe:
God is One since logically there can be only one infinite. God's infinite nevertheless is organized into three aspects, layers, or levels, each being part of the infinite substances in God. The inmost essence or Divine Paternal is love substance. The intermediate level is God's Existence or the Divine Maternal, and is truth substance. The outermost layer of God is the natural-spiritual substance or Appearance. God is infinite in all three aspects. Each aspect is within the One God and has its particular function in relation to the other aspects.
All things created involve the three aspects of God. The Paternal love is the will that desires and intends the created object or operation and becomes the inmost essence of the created thing. Then the Maternal truth covers up the essence as it externalizes to the intermediate level called Existence. Love and truth are thus the two infinite substances that are the constructionist framework that keeps all objects in existence. Since the varieties of Divine Love and Divine Truth are infinite, the combination of different things that can exist is also infinite. Finally, the natural-spiritual substance is created as the outer covering of the other two. Now for the first time the essence and existence of it manifest and appear in the phenomenal world where it can be experienced or known through science. Thus every object or operation has these three divine aspects or substances out of which they are constructed and which forms their bulk or mass and form. It is when all three aspects are finally together that something actually exists and stays in existence by continuous re-creation. The essence of it creates itself anew through love substance; the intermediate of it comes out into existence through truth substance; and the natural-spiritual shows it up in phenomenal appearance. This three-way operation repeats itself instant by instant, or moment by moment, so that whatever is created remains in creation and in existence and in phenomenal appearance through the re-start of the process continuously. If the process were to stop for an instant, the thing created would be nil and void or non-existent.
In coresspondential symbolism, God the Father creates, God the Son redeems and maintains through truth, and God the Holy Spirit manages or regenerates through uses, that is, through temptations of what is against good and truth. Let us draw some diagrams by way of summarizing these relations.
God is one and infinite. Yet scientific revelation describes God's infinity as having a rationally organized constitution or character. This rational structure is Trinitarian and is replicated in all created things. In terms of Substance or stuff of which God's infinity is constructed, there are three kinds, levels, or layers that differ in depth. The inmost layer or substance is Celestial and is called God's infinite Essence. It is referred to as Divine Love or Divine Good. The second layer that is further removed from the Essence is Spiritual Substance and is called God's Divine Existence. It is referred to as Divine Truth or Divine Wisdom. The third and most external layer is Natural Substance and is called God's Divine Appearance or Proceeding. It is referred to as Divine Uses or Ultimates. The three layers are within each other, so that when we behold the Divine Natural Body of God, it appears as a Glorified Human Man, but within this Divine Natural is the Divine Spiritual, and within that is the Divine Celestial, just as the spirit is within the body, and the soul within the spirit.
The diagram above (number 9) shows these relations. One might wonder why the Divine Maternal at the middle layer is called both Church and Son. church is a female symbol, but Son is male. Nevertheless, by correspondence, the Son is also the Church and the Body of the Church and Heaven. This is because heaven is the spiritual body of God and when we live in heaven we live in God's spiritual body. In the New Testament, the Incarnate God is called the Son, and this is identified with maternal correspondences as in this passage:
If God were not Trinitarian in infinite structure, God would not be Human but only Divine. But God is Divine and Human, or Divine Human, and we are human because the Human image of God is in everything created. This is a rational necessity of Divine Order or Law. God is Human but an infinite Divine Human. That's just the way it is. How nice for us! That God is Human means that God is a Person. A Person is one who acts from love using wisdom to plan to do good as an expression of that love. That is the Human part of God, namely, to desire to share goodness and bestow it upon others. God created the universe so that it would be a spawning ground for creating individual human beings to endless numbers and to bring happiness and bliss to each one to eternity. And God has a plan to accomplish this end or goal. This is God's Humanity--that God acts as a Person trying to accomplish something good through a wise plan. And this Person has a mind constructed from love and wisdom in infinite substances, which God brings forth from the infinity within, and shapes these substances into the objects of the universe--natural, spiritual, celestial. God is a Person so that it makes sense to talk to God and to pray to God and to treat God as the Almighty Father. So if God is a Person then God must have an identity, a name, a history of relationship with the human race. Who is God? Is God a man or a woman? Look again at diagram 6 reproduced below:
We can use this diagram of the psychobiology of gender to decide if God has a male physical Natural Body or a female physical Natural Body. Scientific revelation in many Scriptures specifies that God's inmost essence is Love. Clearly this identifies God's soul as Divine Paternal, and it follows that when God Incarnated about 20 centuries ago on this earth, the physical Natural Body God took on was a male child. God's Natural Body was then in existence for the first time in the history and evolution of the universe. Until that time God did not Incarnate in the natural plane. God created the universe from the infinite substances within Himself, and He continues to so create and sustain. The Infinite God was not visible prior to Incarnation since infinity cannot be observed. God talked to individual human beings through other individuals. During prophetic moments of an individual's life, God creates the words in the mind of the prophet or messenger who speaks them as if from himself or herself--but they are the Words of God. After the Incarnation, God began to speak to individuals directly from Himself. God's male physical Natural Body was fully glorified or made Divine so that it is a new creation different from the physical world or the physical bodies of humans. This male physical Natural Body is called the Son and it is infinite, just as much as God's Mind is infinite, or the substances that constitute God's Mind, namely Love and Wisdom, or, Good and Truth. This means that God can appear in His infinite male physical Natural Body in any place and to any number of individuals simultaneously. Swedenborg was given to see and be held by this Natural Body. Here's the entry for his Journal dated April 6-7. 1744:
Here is another description discussing God's Natural Body:
In all religions God is One. This is the fundamental concept of all religion. It is also known as Monotheism, that is, the idea that there is one God only. Rationally and scientifically it is clear that there can be only one infinite--or else the several gods together must be infinite, in which case one of them alone is not infinite. But God is infinite, therefore God must be one.
The most important idea any human can have is the idea of God. Through the idea of God, all other ideas originate. Our relation to God is determined by our idea of God. When we are in a mental state that denies the idea of God as real, a state called atheism, we are actively limiting the relationship we can have with God, and through God, all of our other ideas, loves, happinesses, and abilities. I know this because it is described, explained, and proven in scientific revelations in great abundance and frequency and approaches. While I know this now, I did not know this a few years ago. Or more precisely, I knew it but did not understand it, and therefore I discounted it as nothing, or as something that uneducated people need to hang on to, but not me--a college graduate, a Ph.D., a famous scientist (well, not so famous, but neither obscure). My state of atheism was a kind of insanity and I fell into that state because of my insane affections or loves (perhaps lusts or fantasies might be a more accurate term for them). And my environment made it easy for me to remain in that state of insanity for several decades. My natural mind was arranged into a materialistic intellectualism allied to materialistic science. It breeds cynicism and arrogance, and thus, total perdition of character or spirit--unless one gets snatched out of the fire like a firebrand, as it happened to me (see one account of it here).
There are many states in which we can place ourselves in relation to God. We can illustrate this by considering the stages of evolution of the idea of God through the historical generations, and the stages of development of the idea of God as we mature in our individual growth. These two parallel one or another, that is, individual relationship to God recapitulates the race's evolution towards God. Scientific revelation has given us many details about both. To summarize:
Later generations gradually began to depart from the state of innocence in which they were born. This departure was a descending into lower regions of the mind. The first generations in their innocence and bliss in obeying God's order never descended to explore the lower regions of the mind. They did not go there because as soon as they started to, they felt it wasn't in the same perfect order as the state of mind they were in. But individuals in later generations descended into the lower regions despite this feeling of hesitation and warning. They started exploring different dimensions of human interaction and they started rearranging the order of their ideas into new orders. Eventually these new orderings started to veer off and depart from innocence. That is, people began to love these new orders more than God's order. And the more they tended to do this, the more God's order was obscured, covered over, and finally made of equal value to one's own. Now there was competition in the mind between self and God. Now there began to be a hesitation, even a resistance, to God's order whenever one's own order conflicted with it. At last, the orientation of the entire race was turned around, away from God, and toward self, and the downward regions of the mind. An evolutionary split of the brain then took place to reflect this new relationship to God. Henceforth all new generations had a split brain, right and left, each with a separated function which before was conjoined. The self's new life consisted of thoughts and feelings that could be separated for awhile. The thoughts corresponded to the activity of the left brain (cognitive functions) and the feelings corresponded to the right brain (affective functions). This new state of relationship to God is called the Fall.
In our individual biography we recapitulate this evolutionary stage in the history of the race. After the innocence of infancy, we are now associated with spiritual societies that are from the later generations, and they stay with us during early childhood. But they must go as well when we reach the age of reasoning for ourselves around age 7 marked by many physical correspondences, one being the adult teeth replacing the childhood teeth. This individual state parallels the state of the Ancient Church that followed the Most Ancient. This represents a new relationship with God. Often, but not always, there is a closure of our innocent mind which is effected by God to protect that region from being escalated and invaded and corrupted. This state of innocence that God protects in us, is called our remains (or remnants). After we pass into the other life, God is able to re-open these states of remains and they afford us a dwelling place in heaven to eternity. But this is possible for God to do only with the cooperation of the individual who must be willing to give up all the other states that are injurious to innocence and remains. Alas, we are told in revelation that few are willing. In fact, only those are willing who retained their respect for God in their life in the body and cooperated with God in regenerating their character on a daily basis.
As we enter adolescence and early young adulthood we are in the state of the Fall called the Jewish Church. This is an external relationship with God. I have detailed this in another article called Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg. We live in this state as adults until we're ready for a return to a more inward and innocent relationship to God. This spiritual re-awakening is called the Christian Church and is marked by a new and personal relationship with a Personal God. This new Personal God is a Divine Human God whom we call Lord and whom we make Master of our lives through a new obedience. As this stage matures, we enter the final phase called Theistic Science which corresponds to the scientific revelations of the New Church in the Writings of Swedenborg. All of this is detailed in the Moses book.
The evolution of the idea of God reaches its highest point in Theistic Psychology. In the scientific revelations known as the Writings of Swedenborg or the Third Testament, the Divine Human has been revealed and now can be approached directly. This new state of relationship between God and the human race is called The Second Coming of Christ and begins in and through the Third Testament. Now a visible God can be approached in direct relationship leading to the closest and most intimate God-human relationship that has ever been made possible in the history of the human race. Until this new phase, God the Father was approached by all religions, and still is, except for the New Christian Church that was founded upon the Writings of Swedenborg. Among Christians, God the Father is approached in the name of God the Son, but in the New Christian Church, Jesus Christ as the Divine Human is approached directly. The Father is not approached directly for the same reason that we don't talk to an individual's soul directly but to the individual's mind and body. By approaching the Divine Human as the infinite God, Theistic Psychology is made possible. The reasons for this are discussed in the article on Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg.
Rationality and liberty are the two traits that define our humanity, and all other traits follow from these two. We are created by a rational operation because God is rational and has liberty to carry out this rationality. The created universe is rational because all its operational laws are rational. All created things only exist for an instant, and then they each have to be created again. Something that stays in existence for awhile, for a long or short time, must be recreated each instant to keep that existence going. God is thus intimately involved in all existence continuously, and exercises control through rational laws of operation called the Laws of Divine Providence. This applies to atoms, galaxies, and human minds in which thoughts and feelings operate continuously as part of life. God is as active in arranging and rearranging our thoughts and feelings as in arranging and rearranging atoms, galaxies, and bird feathers. God is not out there in the universe looking down on the human race. God is in here, in every object and in every thinking sequence and feeling state. God holds the atoms together and keeps them whirling in a particular way in accordance with a particular Divine Law of Operation. God's Will is the Law of Operation. And God acts from the Will through the Understanding or Wisdom. All humans act this way--from their will through their understanding. And so God is Human. In Theistic Psychology God is also called the Divine Human.
God is in all things because God is omnipresent, but God is not present in space but present apart from space. To think that God is present in space is not rational, because space is finite and the infinite God cannot be within the space of the finite. Rationality requires that the infinite create the finite and that the infinite is always present in the finite but not in the space of the finite, but apart from space and time. This rational necessity explains God's omnipresence apart from time and space. It is the only rational definition of omnipresence. When people say "God is within me" the statement is not true if one thinks of "within" in terms of space and time. But it is true if one thinks in a concept that is not time-bound and not space-bound. "God in me" or "God within me" is not meant physically but spiritually. And the spiritual is that which is substantial, not physical. Everyone is familiar with the substantial because that is what experience and consciousness is made of. What are thoughts and dreams and feelings made of? It is not rational to say that they are made of nothing. It is inaccurate and untrue to say that they are nothing but the brain cell's operation, or a by product thereof--what's called a pseudo-phenomenon or an emergent phenomenon. This inaccurate view makes thoughts and feelings a mere by-product--which nevertheless is still a natural object, made of matter and energy in space-time.
And so rationality requires that we think in terms of scientific dualism. This means that we talk about two worlds that are in correspondence with each other, one called the natural world and made of physical matter in space and time, and the other called the spiritual world and made of spiritual substance not in space and time. This is substantive dualism. There are two worlds and we are dual citizens from birth--the body in the natural world and the mind in the spiritual world. We cannot see or observe the mind directly through our senses and technical apparatus that can probe the operations of brain cells and its biochemical and neurological actions and changes. All these are in time and space and involve some matter and energy. But the mind does not. The mind's organs and functions are made of substantive elements organized into biological organs just as the body is made of material elements and organized into the anatomy and genetics of the human body. So is the mind. In fact, the body has this anatomy and physiology solely because the mind has it first, and the mind communicates it to the body through the laws and phenomena of correspondences. And so scientific dualism talks about our dual citizenship, the body in time and space but the mind in the spiritual world out of time and space, and the two being connected by the laws of correspondences. These laws are revealed in scientific revelations and are investigated in Theistic Psychology.
How can we understand this? It's not difficult as soon as you realize once more that your mind is spiritual and outside time-space. You can clarify this for yourself by thinking about the difference between physical space and mental space. Physical space has properties like time and extension so that all objects are separated by time and extension, sometimes small sometimes enormous. At the speed of light it would take a human millions of years to reach some of the stars we can see with the naked eye in the night sky--clearly not physically possible. But in thought or imagination or planned mission, you can. Thinking is an operation not limited by time, space, or mass. You can pile up billions and trillions of thoughts in your mind but the scale you step on will not weigh more. Thoughts and feelings have no weight, they have no mass, they are not in time, they are not in space. And so mental travel is instantaneous because it doesn't take time to cross the vast mental landscape from point to point. The mind can't fill up because it is not in space. And so with our dreams. What is the food made of that you're enjoying in your dream? Could it run out? What about the beach you're lying on and the ocean in your dream? Could it spill over? What is it made of and is there room for more?
The mental world we live in is the spiritual world. This has now been revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg. I used to think that the mental is thinner, less real than the material. Consciousness wasn't somehow as real as behavior. But I thought this way because of my training as a scientific psychologist and behaviorist. It used to bother me because I was more interested in consciousness than in behavior and somehow this made me flaky as a true scientist. But that was a hurtful assault on truth. Now I know and understand that the substantial world, that is, the spiritual world, is equally real, and actually more real, than the physical world of observations and sensory phenomena. This physical world I now call the world of appearances and I see the relation between appearance and phenomenon, the two being equivalent. But there are also appearances of the physical world in the mental world, that is, in the spiritual world.
This becomes clear and obvious as soon as you think about. What is the content of your dreams and thoughts and imagination? What is all that stuff of meaning? That semantics which makes statements about things? It is all natural! Is it not? We dream, imagine, or think about things in the world, do we not? Can you think of a single something or other that is not part of the world? Does it have size? Does it have a sensory feel to it? Does it taste something? Does it move? Is it alive? Is it made of something? Does it hold together? Is it influenced by anything? The answer is Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and so forth. We know that our mental content is composed of natural things that we experience through our physical senses when we're born and it continues until we depart from the physical senses at the death of the body. When we're born the substantive organs of the mind are tabula rasa in terms of content. We are not born with any cultural or linguistic content, only the ability to acquire these through experience. A newborn who lives for 60 seconds then passes out of the body arrives into the spiritual body and world with almost no sensory content, hence no thoughts or feelings, and must acquire these through various special experiences arranged for them by surrogate mothers who adopt them and raise them as their own children. This has been witnessed and reported by Swedenborg many times.
And so the appearance of the mental world is that of the natural world. When we dream we dream of earthly things, or else imaginary places that can't escape their earthly characteristics. And so it is in the spiritual world as it is in the mental world. There is an appearance of space but no real space. The space is purely functional there. It grows if you need more and it disappears if you get yourself out of there mentally. Swedenborg traveled through the spiritual world not by train or airplane but by changing his mental states. Each mental state creates its own appearance of a surrounding where human interactions and activities can go on. If there is a conference to be held, the venue presents itself and everyone accepts this by habit, just as we do in dreams when a car conveniently appears as we have to drive somewhere. Spiritual space, or mental space, is apparent space, not physical space. And as it is true for space, it must rationally be true for time and matter--the whole natural world is re-presented in the spiritual world by correspondence. We are born with a natural mind and a spiritual mind. The natural mind is tabula rasa and is built up from sensori-motor experiences. All the ideas of the natural mind are time-bound and space-bound. Despite Korzybsky's claims, widely accepted in General Semantics literature, it is not possible to escape time and space in ideas based on experiences of the physical body. Every idea from this source will be bound and no idea can escape no matter how many people try for endless generations.
The dream world is the spiritual world because dreams are mental operations and the mind is the spirit that lives in the spiritual world. Since dreams are operations in the mind they are actually phenomena in the spiritual world, or, spiritual phenomena. Swedenborg was "in the spirit" when interacting directly with the other spirits, that is, those who have passed on and are inhabitants in the spiritual world existing in their eternal spiritual body. Swedenborg visited the cities and dwellings of those inhabitants and what he saw was what you would picture in your dreams when dreaming about heaven--beautiful hills and gardens and fountains, magnificent palaces and streets, angelic people dressed in royal clothes--that kind of thing. That's exactly what Swedenborg witnessed, though with much variation. Nature and things from earth seem to supply the content of the spiritual world! And yet it is not physical nature but the appearance of nature.
Natural objects on earth are material or physical and spiritual objects in the spiritual word are substantial or spiritual. Thus they are of different origin, property, characteristic, and function. You can see this easily when you think of nature in your dreams--beautiful beaches, the sky, houses, rooms, food, people, animals, events happening. All of these things in the dream are just like dramatic representations of the things that occur in our waking state. And how could it be otherwise? Our dreams and thoughts and mental operations are from experiences in the physical body and through the senses. When we fall asleep and our sensory apparatus is shut off, our mental freedom continues in operation using whatever content is already in the mind--hence all the natural things of the awake state form the content of the sleeping state. So it must also be when our mind is resuscitated in the spiritual body a few hours after the physical body becomes a corpse. Now as we walk around and exist in our spiritual body, what will be the content of our mind? All the natural things, of course, just as in our dreams.
In the spiritual world the outside appearance must be a correspondential reflection of the inside thoughts, affections, mood, intentions, etc. of the individual. This is a spiritual law. On earth there is a relative independence between the content of our mental operations and the physical surroundings of the body. We can be happy and act sad. We can be tired and deny it. We can be rich but live like a homeless person. We can hate someone but act nice and concerned. You can be unhappy even though there is sunshine and you can happy even in a storm. But all this is not possible in the spiritual world. Storm inside is storm outside. Hatred inside is violence outside. There is not hiding, there is no independence. Happy people always have sunshine and gardens around them, and benign domesticated and innocent animals. Unhappy people always have dark clouds and deserts and wild animals around them. Evil people appear dark and deformed with black birds and snakes around them. And so on. The same people can do both since they can be in a good state alternately with a bad state--though this type of instability doesn't last and people settle in into one or the other type.
While in the physical body, our mental anatomy comprises a spiritual mind as well as a natural mind. The spiritual mind is not opened by ideas from the natural mind. But the spiritual mind can receive spiritual ideas from influx from the spiritual world. These spiritual ideas are purely rational. They are not based on the appearances of time and space but on the universal and eternal fixed laws of Divine Providence. This is what defines purely rational, also called the inner rational to distinguish it from the external rational, the latter not being purely rational. You can see that the rational has a crucial dual role or existence and operates as an intervening mechanism between the spiritual or purely rational and the mixed rational or natural.
Since we are absolutely subject to the Laws of Divine Operation our health and happiness as individuals depends on our orientation towards these Laws of Reality and Order. Human development from cradle on a physical earth, through death and resurrection into eternal life in heaven, is being continuously provided for by the Laws of Divine Providence. Nothing is left to chance and in fact chance does not exist. All distributions, normal and skewed, are outcomes of controlled laws of Divine Operation. The existence of chance would thus weaken Divine control, and this is not rational since the Divine is omnipotent and cannot be weakened or counteracted. Even the Divine itself cannot act against the Divine Operation because this operation is motivated purely and only by Love and Wisdom. Any operation contrary to Divine Love and Divine Wisdom cannot exist or come into existence even for an instant--there just isn't a mechanism for creating it and recreating it, thus keeping it in existence.
Theistic Psychology is vital for society's welfare and individual well being and mental health. Despite many claims by holy men, gurus, teachers, preachers, healers, psychics, and the like, it is impossible to obtain information about God or the spiritual world through one's physical senses and mental operations such as meditation or communication with non-physical beings. This is not possible because it is contrary to the rational laws of Divine Operation. Instead, a spiritual mechanism has been created called influx. This is the operation of information transfer from the spiritual world into the physical world through the laws of correspondences. This is the only rational and controlled mechanism that has been provided. Influx is information entering into the spiritual mind from God and the spiritual world. However this process cannot occur until the natural conscious mind of the individual is arranged in an order to receive the influx. When not so arranged, the spiritual information in the influx does not descend outwardly into the conscious natural mind but dissipates. Thus the spiritual information cannot be obtained unless the thoughts and feelings of the rational mind are appropriately arranged to receive the influx.
It is therefore necessary that there be scientific revelations.
Scientific revelations contain information about God and the spiritual world and this is received and transmitted externally through the senses by means of oral speech or written language. Scientific revelations are not insights one reaches through a process of reflection or deduction or meditation or psychic flights. Scientific revelations are preserved in society as Holy Scripture and transmitted faithfully from generation to generation, with or without understanding of their meaning. One individual receives the scientific revelations through super-natural means, by opening up parts of the human mind that are not opened until the physical body dies and one resuscitates in a spiritual body--a process that takes about 36 hours of earth time. Following the resuscitation, only influx is then possible and all information from the physical world is cut off. So the receiving of scientific revelations is a rare event and those who have done so have been honored as holy men, prophets, and revelators. Holy Scripture has been preserved in all the major religions and is often called the Word of God.
Swedenborg's Writings represent a major new scientific revelation given in the 18th century, and the truth and reality of this is still unrecognized at the beginning of the 21st century--except by a few. Theistic Psychology is based on Swedenborg's Writings, and these in turn create a unity out of the previous revelations now preserved in the world's great religions. The scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg are fully modern in conception and strengthen the truths taught in all the major religions. No religion is rejected, but all religion is integrated universally without taking away anything from each or without trying to modify anything in each.
In another article, I discuss further the spiritual and natural, along with quotations from Swedenborg's Writings. Another article has further quotations on spiritual correspondences. For a thorough discussion consult this article: Substantive Dualism: Swedenborg's Integration of Biological Theology and Rational Psychology.
The inner or spiritual anatomy of the human male and female has been revealed. The male mind or spirit is created by laying over and covering the affective organ with a cognitive organ. If you looked at the spirit directly you would see its anatomy. For individuals created male you would see a cognitive organ inside of which there was another organ, and this is the affective organ. Affective on the inside and cognitive on the outside--that's a male human spirit. Remember that:
This is the male human mind or spirit. Are you a male man, dear reader? If so, how does this revelation feel to you? Can you see yourself as a son, husband, or father? This is what you have in common with all the other men in the universe, past, present, and future. Now consider further. What is the affective organ? It is the organ of reception of love from influx, that is, from the spiritual sun. Love substance streams forth from the spiritual sun like physical heat streams forth from the natural sun. The two correspond. Love substance is purely spiritual, not material, and so in order to be able to receive the stream of substance we need a spiritual organ called the affective organ. It is designed to receive love substance from the spiritual sun, that is, from God who is in the midst of this sun and is the all of it to infinity. This is rational. It is not rational to assume that we are alive from ourselves because life cannot be created--it is eternal and infinite, God's very essence that the Divine shares or gives to humankind. It is by this love substance that our mind and spirit can live. We live as long as we receive this love substance into our affective organ. If anything should interfere with the reception of this influx, we would cease to be alive, or even to exist. Think of how a radio ceases to give us news, music, and commercials the instant it no longer receives the wave energy that carries the information. Love substance received into the affective organ then gets transmitted throughout the rest of the mind or spirit. And this must operate continuously for every moment of our immortal existence.
And remember this: love substance is not at all like material heat from the natural sun or from some fire or combustion that consumes fuel to burn. This physical matter and energy is not alive. The radio waves that carry the human voice are not alive. But the love substance that streams into the affective organ is alive!
What does this mean? It's rational since it follows from the principle that God is indivisible. God cannot be divided because God is one and in God infinity is one. This cannot be broken or divided in such a way that one part is no longer integrated or part of the rest. There would then be something that's not part of or from God and then God would no longer be infinite. So it's not rational to assume that love substance which is in God's essence can somehow be separated from God when it is received into the affective organ. This gives sense to the expression "God in me and I in God" or "God in us and us in God." God's love substance, which is the Divine indivisible essence, is the Divine always. And so as the influx enters the affective organ, moment by moment, it is the Divine that has entered or flowed in. The Divine is then what is alive in us. It's not rational to suppose that we ourselves are alive, or that we ourselves are God. Both are irrational and to believe this is to make oneself spiritually insane--with all sorts of terrible consequences.
And now let us return to the male and female spirit. The female mind is also constructed of the two organs of reception, but in reciprocal order, like this:
This is the female human mind or spirit. Are you a female person, dear reader? If so, how does this revelation feel to you? Can you see yourself as a daughter, wife, or mother? This is what you have in common with all the other women in the universe, past, present, and future. Now consider further. What is the cognitive organ? It is the organ of reception of wisdom from influx, that is, from the spiritual sun. Truth substance streams forth from the spiritual sun like physical light streams forth from the natural sun. The two correspond. Truth substance is purely spiritual, not material, and so in order to be able to receive the stream of substance, we need a spiritual organ called the cognitive organ. It is designed to receive truth substance from the spiritual sun, that is, from God who is in the midst of this sun and is the all of it to infinity. This is rational. It is not rational to assume that we are intelligent from ourselves and know truths from ourselves, because truth cannot be created--it is eternal and infinite, God's very existence that the Divine shares or gives to humankind. It is by this truth substance that our mind and spirit can have intelligence, rationality, and wisdom. We live as immortal humans as long as we receive this truth substance into our cognitive organ. If anything should interfere with the reception of this influx, we would cease to be human, or even to think anything. Think of how a radio ceases to give us coherent sounds the instant it can no longer unscramble the wave energy into a vibratory sound made by its speakers. Truth substance received into the cognitive organ then gets transmitted throughout the rest of the mind or spirit, along with the love substance that is received into the affective organ. And this must operate continuously for every moment of our immortal existence.
So now we know that the female anatomy is different from the male anatomy in the physical body because of their differences in the mind or spirit. The physical body simply corresponds to and reflects the spiritual body, and this is what we call the mind or spirit. A woman in her spiritual body looks like a woman because of her mind's constitution. A man in his spiritual body looks like a man because of his mind's constitution. Spirit or mind is immortal because of the Divine substances of love and truth that we receive in our affective and cognitive organs. The mind is immortal because the contents out of which it is constructed are immortal and eternal since these are love substance and truth substance. So once you're created a male there is no hope ever that you can be a female, and vice versa. A male remains a male remains a male. A female remains a female remains a female. This is rational. Now look at the difference between the male and female immortal mind.
The man is inwardly love and outwardly wisdom. The woman is inwardly wisdom and outwardly love. It has been revealed that what is inward is higher and nearer to the Divine than what is outward. Since the man's love is more inward than the woman's love, it has a different function. Similarly, since the woman's wisdom is more inward than the man's wisdom, it has a different function. Man's love and wisdom have a different function that woman's love and wisdom. The woman's cognitive organ receives a higher level of wisdom than the man's cognitive organ. Similarly, the man's affective organ receives a higher love than the woman's affective organ. And yet, neither of them attains to this higher position on their own, as individuals. As single individuals and prior to any marital conjunction, an individual's love and wisdom is not fully functional because full functionality of love and wisdom depends on their conjunction. Here is another diagram that represents the same idea.
Let's look at the diagram again, but this time side by side:
The marital conjunction is between man's inner affective organ with woman's inner cognitive organ, as well as with man's outer cognitive organ with woman's outer affective organ. With this double conjunction, inward and outward, the man and woman become husband and wife. The husband is not the same psychobiological individual as the single man, and the wife is not the same psychobiological individual as the single woman. The husband-wife unit is called angelic. Swedenborg confirms that in the spiritual world couples who live in the heavens appear as one individual from a distance, but then they are two again as one approaches to talk to them. Another way of diagramming the relationship is available here: the Structure of Married Male and Female Minds.
All marriages begin with the external conjunction first, that is, man's outer truths with woman's outer love. As the marriage progresses in intimacy and trust, and both partners are striving to become one flesh, that is, one mind, or one spirit, their union moves into the internal conjunction, that is, woman's inner truths with man's inner loves. This inward union is possible only with husbands who are regenerating. Until that time there can be no inner conjunction. The resistance is the husband's, not the wife's. It has been revealed that inward conjunction with the wife is possible only when the man's love of the sex turns into the love of one of the sex. The wife receives conjugial love into her mind from influx, but not the husband. The husband then receives it from the wife, if he is regenerating. I discuss this in detail in this article with the title The Doctrine of the Wife.
The highest region of the human mind is called celestial, and it is accessible only in the conjugial state, that is, in the inward conjunction between a husband and wife. Swedenborg calls this the highest form of human rationality and love.
The human mind overlaps with the spiritual world since both are outside time and space and composed of the same substances or constituents, namely the elements streaming from the sun of the spiritual world in the midst of which dwells the Divine Human, and indeed can be visually seen there by the inhabitants of the celestial regions. Further, all human minds are in the spiritual world, whether still alive in the physical body or whether already in the spiritual body. But since there is no space in the spiritual world all the minds (or spirits) overlap. This doesn't mean there is no individuality or less individuality than what we have here in the physical body. In the spiritual world there is individuality, privacy, and mental growth. And yet the minds overlap in the sense that they have access to each other at any moment they so wish. Think of cyberspace (or the Internet and the Web) as an analogy for the spiritual world (as I elaborate in this article titled Cyberpsychology: Principles of Creating Virtual Presence). In a few years most of the people of this earth will be connected and online, just as they now are connected by phone and satellite communication devices. Instant access to each other by chat rooms or e-mail reflects somewhat the instant access available to each other in the spiritual world. Once the mind is freed from the physical body, which occurs a few hours after the body becomes a corpse, the mind or spirit is in its own world for the very first time, This means that the individual now has instant access to any other mind in the spiritual world, and this means all those on this earth and all those on all the earths in the universe who have passed on into the spiritual world where they live in eternity. Swedenborg reports conversations he had with thousands of them who were unknown to him, but also hundreds who were known to him either personally or from hearsay or as the authors from the prior generations who are known to us through their books.
One of the most exciting and profound scientific revelations of the Writings of Swedenborg is that our mental processes, both affective and cognitive, operate not on their own in our individual mind, but interconnected and in conjunction with many individuals in the spiritual world. This is what I call our vertical community to distinguish it from the horizontal community that we live in such as our country or neighborhood. The horizontal community is cultural-natural and is in time and space and history and biography. But the vertical community are the people we are connected to when we think and feel anything. What an amazing revelation! And yet it fits perfectly with the rational order of things, especially the idea that in God all things are One. God's rationality requires that the universe be integrated into a one and that nothing can exist in a disconnected state from the whole. Thus, all things have a unique place in the overall structure and no event in one locality can take place without affecting every other locality in the universe. Some people think of Jung's concept of synchronicity when they hear about this.
Another way of seeing the necessity of this is the idea of Divine Love which is infinite and omnipresent in its influence. Love is the desire to share, to make others happy from oneself, and this, by reciprocal conjunction. Another way to think of this is Divine Uses or Divine Charity. God brings good to people through the mediation of other people. This is the character of Love--it spreads the Good Stuff as widely as possible. Thinking and feeling are uses from the Divine without whom these mental operations could not exist or proceed. And so it makes sense that thinking and feeling, as all other uses, are interconnected by God to form a one. In other words all thoughts and feelings in all minds, past present and future, are integrated by God into a one. This is the vertical community. Isn't it fantastic/!
Now we are not directly conscious of these interconnections though there must be great variation. In the spiritual world the interconnections are visible and conscious, but not always. There are phenomenal laws to be studied here and discovered through the extraction of facts from the scientific revelations using Theistic Psychology methods (as discussed below). God operates the interconnections like a Divine Switchboard so to speak, moment by moment God switches the spiritual societies with which our mental operations connect and depend on. We insist on which mood or motivational focus we desire at any moment, and God connects us to the spiritual individuals who can help us conduct a particular mental operation or maintain a state of feeling we desire or endeavor to have. This process of connecting us and disconnecting us and reconnecting us continuously is therefore part of the moments of loving of all individuals.
It is known from history and literature that the ancients knew about the vertical community and talked about "muses" and "inspiration" in ways that showed they were aware of being mentally or spiritually in communication with those in the spiritual world. To us who call ourselves as the moderns, these insights remain but only in an obscure way as something inner and transporting, something higher and holier. Theistic Psychology places no credence in modern prophets, psychics, and gurus who claim or believe that they are in communication with the vertical community. There are rational and scientific reasons why such conscious operations cannot occur in the modern mind and world. One of them is that direct physical evidence of supernatural events would destroy our rationality and freedom, the two aspects that make us human. This will be discussed elsewhere.
What about uniqueness of the individual? And privacy in our self? The answer is that the vertical community insures our uniqueness and individuality and privacy because it is a condition for our humanity, that is, our rationality and freedom in our mind or spirit. God jealously guards these two precious jewels of the human mind because we cannot be reformed and regenerated except in freedom by means of our rationality. without rational thinking we cannot understand truths and without truths we cannot know about God and how to conjoin with God. Without this we cannot have eternal life and bliss. And so God guards our freedom and rationality in modern world of science and if miracles occurred directly, this entire intellectual structure would collapse, preventing us from regenerating and entering heavenly life. The pre-modern minds were able to benefit from miracles, but this has changed with modern science. Those who expect miracles as in the old will be disappointed or duped. But there are miracles all around us if perceived spiritually and by correspondences.
The mind or the spiritual world has a topology that is defined by height and orientation in relation to the sun of the spiritual world. Minds or spirits who are oriented towards the sun of the spiritual world receive influx from the sun as good and truth in infinite variety flowing in, both directly, and indirectly through the vertical community. The more individuals are capable of receiving and containing goods and truths, the higher in the spiritual world they dwell, or the closer they are to the sun. Those who brought along a negative and rebellious and disorderly character due to how they lived in the body, are not able to face the sun, but face in the opposite direction to minimize its direct influx. This is the downward orientation and away from the east where the sun is. In this orientation the influx from the sun's heat (or love) and light (or intelligence) is received in the back of the head instead of the forehead. when received in the back, the truths and goods are turned into their opposites by those individuals. They then sink down, lower and lower, eventually reaching the level called hell. There they no longer have any sanity or charity, but only fantasy, irrationality, obsession, hatred, ugliness, and misery--these being the opposite of the influx which when received in the forehead or face results in sanity, rationality, creativity, love, beauty, and blessed happiness.
The freedom we have as minds or spirits is to turn toward the sun of the spiritual world or to turn away from it and turn its influx into the opposite. When we turn toward Divine order as revealed in science and religion, we are elevated and become angels. When we turn away from Divine order, we cast ourselves downward and become devils and satans. Each individual chooses which way to turn. Swedenborg talked to many who turned downwards in the spiritual world and wanted to find out their mentality. He noted that all of them were capable of returning into a state of sanity and freedom for awhile, as they spoke with him and remembered their life before they descended downward. But soon a frenzy came upon them as they were drawn back to their lusts and insane beliefs and once more they cast themselves down where they slavishly obsessed over their fancies and lusts, unwilling to give anything up, thus remaining, each in their own hell.
The difference between self and as-of self is like the difference between hell and heaven, or like the difference between insanity and rationality. Humans are created with a sense of self otherwise we would not be human. It appears to us that we think what we want and love what we want. Unless prevented, we do what we think from what we love. This is human. If another intelligence or individual directs our thinking and willing without our cooperation, it is felt like a loss of our self. We become a robot under the will and thought of something other than ourselves. So in order to feel like a human individual we have to have a sense of self. And yet the reality of the vertical community has been revealed since the beginning, and then forgotten, and now denied. Scientific revelation once again brings us the knowledge that the self cannot act from itself but acts mediately from God. Thus, we do not have the power to love something unless we receive the love into our will from outside of it, by influx from the vertical communities to whom we are associated by God. Thus, our ability to will something from love is not our own but given to us from the Divine. It is as-if our own. Similarly, we cannot think anything unless we receive the truth into our understanding, by influx. And finally, we cannot activate our senses and muscles except from the Divine use or function.
To summarize: it seems to us that we have the power to think and to love and to act, but this is only an appearance. Swedenborg reports that the chief wisdom of angels resides in this, that they never for an instant forget that their self is an as-of self infused by the Divine. And the moment an angelic person forgets it or fantasizes that the self acts from the self, that individual is instantly precipitated downward, away from the angelic state of mind. In contrast, all those who inhabit the hellish regions of the mind laugh at the idea of the as-of self and insist that they do have power from themselves. For more discussion see the section on Freedom and Determinism below.
This sentence really gets one's attention, especially for a serious student of the Writings:
Nothing is more important to know than this! This refers to our regeneration and hence our salvation. We cannot be healed of our inherited fallen character unless we go through a healing operation called regeneration. Without undergoing regeneration the character at death remains as it was at birth, namely turned downward and toward the self. This mental state is a state of spiritual insanity and is called hell or hellish. We inherit spiritual traits such as selfishness, egotism, arrogance, irrational impulses, injurious preferences. These inherited affective and motivational tendencies then favor the development of cognitive and social traits that are consistent with these motives and feelings. The result is an individual character that is prone to selfishness, aggressiveness, irrationality, cruelty, full of hatreds and prejudices, and the denial of any power above themselves, even Divine. Such an individual resists all forms of regeneration and rejects faith in God and all major truths of reality such as our direct relationship with the Divine and the existence of the afterlife. When we reach the spiritual world upon the death of the physical body, and we are in this unregenerate mental state, we are confronted with a reality that contradicts our thoughts and feelings. This cannot be avoided because the mind and the spiritual world overlap totally and the ecology outside is the ecology inside. For example, when Swedenborg talked to many of these new arrivals, they were denying that they are in the afterlife since their mind had rejected this idea as fantasy. Eventually they have to admit that they are in the afterlife, as when they meet their "dead" relatives or when they see themselves transported to places. Nevertheless, as their mental state of insanity deepens further and further, as is inevitable, they revert to their original ingrained idea that there is no afterlife, and imagining themselves still on earth on some lost island. such is the insanity of the human character if it's not regenerated while still in the physical body.
So it's easy to see that regeneration is the most important topic for anyone who desires to be saved and avoid the miseries of insanity and bestiality in hellish mental states, and this forever! Who would not but a person in an insane mental state? And so the most important thing to know about regeneration is how the affective operations (or the will) work together with the cognitive operations (or the understanding). This is a deep and great spiritual secret, the central concept in Theistic Psychology. To anticipate the answer, it has to do with this: the inherited affective traits (that is, our natural feelings and impulses) are born injured and detrimental to ourselves and community--basically, selfish and arrogant and without pity. These negative and anti-communal feelings and motives direct cognitive development into a negative and unhealthy direction. By the time we're adults we can no longer see that our traits are injurious and we can no longer see that our thinking is false and irrational and unwise. We resist change. Thus we cannot change. Thus we die as we're born, and we bring to the afterlife a spiritually injured character or mind. We are spiritually insane and our character is then contained and repressed and our existence becomes permanently sub-human. If we know the relation between the will and the understanding we can intervene in this deadly sequence of development. And that's why "Nothing is more important than to know how the will and understanding make one mind."
The first evolution of the generations called the Most Ancient Church comprised a single brain which was the consequence of a single mind--the affective and the cognitive were not disconnected but were whole in their conjoint operation. The second phase was an anatomical splitting of brain into two, and this came about to reflect the splitting of the mind into two. The Fallen generations had two minds which led to two lives, one external, the other internal. Lying became possible, simulation and hypocrisy became possible. The internal could be a wolf while the external simulated a lamb. This split became a necessity to create the operation of regeneration. This operation consists of two phases: reformation and regeneration proper. Reformation is brought about by guilt and the desire to amend which leads to the desire to resist temptations. This is the key to regeneration: resisting temptations. God brings temptations through the mediation of the vertical community by associating our mind with spiritual societies from whom we're ready to be infused with their intentions and affections. This process is carefully calibrated as described fully in scientific revelations. God brings the individual to the brink, but never over it. God acts as the Divine Therapist or like a Divine Conductor, activating and de-activating, bringing clearly into focus and receding from it by obscuring. God also acts to distract us and to keep us from remembering certain things at certain times. This active and intimate interaction between God, spiritual societies, and the individual is continuous and unceasing. The point of all of this, the purpose and consequence, is to maintain the individual in perfect balance so that one can choose the old way or the new, the wicked self or the virtuous ideal. This is how the character is reformed and regenerated.
In this process of reformation by conscience, guilt, repentance, and regeneration by acquiring new heavenly traits, the cognitive leads the way for quite a while. It is through the understanding that we are reformed, that is, through the truths in the understanding. We must first have knowledge of God, faith, doctrine, life, duty, ideals, nobility, virtuousness. This is the life of good or the life of charity that faith, doctrine, or truth points to. First we must hear what is good and what is right. Second we must compare this to what we're used to in terms of selfishness, arrogance, and irrationality. This comparison then reveals that we are and what we have become is corrupt and injured and needs to be healed. This realization of needing to be healed would not be possible if the understanding and the will were still conjoined and could not act separately, or partially as-if separate. Our conscience tells us what's right and wrong and gives us mental pain or regret when we act contrary to its dictates. Our intellectual mind tells us what 's good in principle and what's bad and injurious. But since the will is unwilling, the knowledge of truth and good is of no effect and stays in the background, hidden like a gun in a drawer. Once in a while it is taken out and looked at and then replaced and forgotten again. Meanwhile the usual motives and delights rule the mind and rule the thoughts and the values and the beliefs and the attitudes.
Charity is the true commander but faith is the apparent elect. Faith shows the way but is powerless to move. Only passion can move the body. And so the next step in regeneration must be in the will and this is where temptations are necessary. The will is moved to passion by temptations and then the will is given an opportunity to act against itself and in accordance with the understanding. This is resistance of temptations, It hurts. It is painful. But soon thereafter, happiness returns, even elation as we realize our inner victory for good and right. Our character is changing. The old fibers are loosened and tied away to the side and circumference of our personality. The new fibers are now at the center. And this goes on until we no longer can benefit from this operation, and separation of the physical body then occurs and resuscitation in the spiritual body. God keeps every individual in the physical body until the moment when further progress in regeneration is no longer possible.
Several articles may be consulted on how the affective and the cognitive interrelate:
Eternal life in the highest regions of the human mind is called heaven. It has been revealed that there are numerous heavens or heavenly societies, each representing and corresponding to a variety of human character or spirit. This is limitless, just as two faces are never the same, even among twins, or two apples, or two words. Two moments of experience are never the same. It has been revealed that rational implies unity and that in God all things are one. There is therefore a unity of the human race--past, present, and future. It has also been revealed that perfection increases with variety and size. The universe is growing and the heavenly societies multiply in number endlessly from countless earths in the universe, since all individuals are born on some earth and pass into the spiritual world when the physical body lapses into a corpse and is no longer serviceable for the spirit's life in it. The spirit to continue its existence, must have another body. The extraction process lasts about 36 hours and simultaneously the spiritual body or mind that was there all along becomes self-consciously active. While the spirit is in the physical body, the spiritual body in the spiritual world can be observed by others there, but from a distance and without being able to interact with it.
So the purpose of every phenomenon is to serve this overall purpose of endless multiplication of heavens. This is rational.
But to every heaven there is a hell, and this is rational, though it was not known until revealed. And so, all the things God wills and desires leads to the endless aggrandizement of heavenly societies. But all the things God permits though doesn't desire and even abhors, leads to the corresponding aggrandizement of hellish societies. The perfection of heaven is matched by the degradation of hell. This is because every heavenly society is created within a new truth or doctrine or concept of understanding on the part of the inhabitants in a society who share this understanding and have a love for it. Endless varieties of truths create the endless varieties of heavens. But every truth the human mind is given to access is given in a balance of acceptance or rejection. When the new truth is recognized and loved, a new heavenly society comes into existence out of all individuals who love that particular truth. But a new hellish society is also created out of all individuals who recognized that truth but had no love for it, rejected it, and ended up hating it. Their insane passion or hatred for that particular truth creates a hellish society that counterbalances the heavenly society created out of those who love that truth.
This explains why the universe grows in perfection through the multiplication of heaven, and despite the counterpoint of the hells that match each new heaven with a a corresponding new hell. God permits this arrangement because it is used to balance the minds of all those who still live in their physical bodies on some earth, n other words, all those who are in preparation for heaven. The balance of heavens and hells in the spiritual world is the balance of feelings and thoughts in our regeneration process. Without this balance we would have no freedom of choice in spiritual matters between right and wrong and between good and evil. Without such a balance our fate is no longer our own and we are no longer human, no longer capable of conjoining with God and live forever through God's immortality. Freedom of choice means to be in a balance so that we act according to hellish societies with us or according to heavenly societies with us. It is our choice. What we choose in freedom remains with us forever. Every choice we make in freedom remains forever and every choice that we make through coercion or fear or persuasion is not free, and does not remain but floats away, or degrades and vanishes, not even a memory trace is left in the other life.
And so if we arrive in the spiritual world without things in us that were from our choices made in freedom, we would have nothing in us. We would be empty minds incapable of thinking and feeling, incapable of having a social life and incapable of feeling fulfilled through growth. This would not be human, and it would not be meaningful or happy. Therefore God ensures that we remain in freedom to accept or reject any truth that we can be led to recognize, and this is our life now, and in the afterlife. Why? Because what we choose in freedom we choose from love and love is eternal and indestructible. Anything or anytime you love something, it remains with you eternally. If you love your toothpaste and buy it and use it, that love remains with you. It is now part of your spirit, mind, or character. What if you later hate that toothpaste? It just means that you're differentiating further and further as you grow into this or that. Your loves get more discriminating and more consistent. They filter out what is not consistent with the main love and affections of your mind, spirit, or character. If you loved your toothpaste at one time then there was something in it you loved and still love and will forever love. But there are other parts of the toothpaste you don't love any more now, while earlier you were able to overlook that, or didn't pay attention to it.
Is there freedom in our mind if God intervenes constantly by switching societies we're with and keeping certain memories from popping into our consciousness, or vice versa?
Yes. Because freedom is a human trait and it is created for humans by God. Humans do not have actual freedom of their own, or from themselves, like God does. So human freedom is something God creates and maintains by means of a a rational mechanism that has been revealed. And thought we have no power from ourselves, we have freedom of choice due to God's intervention and creation. Without this close intervention and interaction we would have no freedom. We would be like animals (see next section). To summarize: eternal life in heaven depends on salvation. Salvation depends on reformation and regeneration. These depend on temptations and our free choice in resisting them. Through these free choices in temptations we are growing a new character, one that can exist in heaven. Also, through these choices we can reinforce the old character that is born injured and thus we grow a character that is monstrous and can only live in an endless hellish state. Those who end up in hell keep themselves there on their own account because when they try to ascend to higher regions of their mind they experience suffocation, panic, and mounting torture. This Swedenborg has observed many times with all those who wanted to ascend, and were given the opportunity to do so. After just a few moments or hours they could no longer hold back the panic and torture and swooning, so that they threw themselves down into the lower regions of the mind and won't ascend (except for a few who do it over and over again).
There is a fundamental rational issue to be solved regarding the relation between God's omnipotence and human freedom. How can God be omnipotent if we make some of the decisions in the universe? Even if God knows all our choices in advance, are they not our choices and not God's? Where then is God's omnipotence? Well in actuality we don't have any power whatsoever so as far as determining what's going to happen anywhere anytime--that's God's power. God cannot abdicate omnipotent power. God cannot give humans some of the Divine power. So to repeat, we humans have no power whatsoever. Think about it: If we did have any power at all, God would then not have all the power. If God has all the power, we cannot have any of it. So that takes care of determinism. God fully one hundred percent totally and absolutely determines every single event or phenomenon in the universe, in the material universe, both macro and micro, and in the spiritual world, both heaven and hell, both body and mind. This is direct intervention hands on Divine determinism.
Where then is our freedom? Why are we responsible for our decisions? The answer is that the opposite of freedom is not determinism, but slavishness.
The only freedom there is is the freedom to follow God's order, and anything else is slavishness. We understand this when we say about some people that they are slaves to their passions, or slaves to their ignorance. Also, when we say that someone followed blindly without thinking it through. It's well known that ignorance of the law is no defense. We still hold people responsible because it was their responsibility to know about the law or to be prudent and find out about it. Neither do we accept as an excuse those who drive and drink and end up killing someone in a car crash. True, their ability to drive was impaired and they were unable to avert the obstacle, and yet we still hold them responsible because they could have known that they should not be drinking and driving. We are warned as we grow up to strengthen our character, to avoid stealing, lying, or being a bully. And if we ignore this advice, we develop all sorts of bad habits. We fly off the handle and it feels like we can't help it when we're provoked. And yet we are held morally responsible for our actions and habits. What is freedom and what is slavishness?
We have the freedom to make choices, to strive for one goal or another. We don't have any of the power to do the striving or the succeeding. This power is God's acting in cooperation with our freedom of choice. It's because God gives cooperation continuously, moment by moment as we live and perceive and make decisions and choices. I can raise my hand to my head at any time and I can lower it at any time. I can raise it quickly or slowly, just as I wish. But I don't have the power to do any of this. God cooperates at every level. In our decision process, God makes sure we are balanced between the heavenly or orderly influences and the hellish or disorderly influences. God keeps us in this balance of power. God gives the balance and God gives the power. We supply no power as we choose and strive and act. We can choose in cooperation with the forces of good and order--the heavenly spirits associated with us at the time. In that case we choose right and we are in a state of freedom. Or we can choose in cooperation with the forces of evil and disorder--the infernal spirits associated with us at the time. In that case we choose wrong and we are in a state of slavishness, not freedom.
That's all there is. Freedom of choice through God's mediating power, or slavishness to our disorderly desires, also through God's mediating power. God gives us power to be good and true, and God gives us power to be evil and insane. But in that case God is turned away from us, or rather, we are turned away from God. God's immediate power is exercised unconsciously to us and carries out the determinism of God's will or order. But God's power is also exercised consciously to us by mediation through the vertical community. Between these two power functions, immediate and mediate, God achieves determinism of the universe and spiritual freedom of choice for humans.
We can give up freedom and keep ourselves enslaved to disorderly desires and ideas. In this mental state we invert the order in our mind. The Divine good and truth come from above by influx or from within, and enter the affective and cognitive organs where they are inverted into their opposites. Swedenborg has seen this demonstrated many times. Those he was talking to were in a celestial region of the mind and in that state wrote some truth on a piece of paper, and then let the paper down into the middle regions of the mind or spiritual world, and then further down into the infernal regions. Swedenborg was given to perceive how the sentences on the piece of paper were changing as the paper descended, and at last, in the lower regions the sentence was the opposite of what it started with. Here is another example of this phenomenon as demonstrated before the eyes of spirits from the lower regions who were conversing with Swedenborg and his companions from the higher regions:
Scientific revelation specifies a spiritual distinction between humans and animals. Human is defined by an individual who is capable of directing its behavior from a motive and following a rational plan to achieve it. Human goal-directed behavior is loving and rational, or else the transformation of loving and rational (or wise) into hating and irrational (or insane). Humans can keep themselves in a loving and rational state of mind, and they can also keep themselves in a corruption of the loving and the rational into its opposites. Humans can act according to love and truth, and also according to their opposites. Humans would not be able to act according to evil and fantasy if they could not first act according to good and rationality. For instance, we can't lie until we can tell the truth. Or, we can't steal until we know it's wrong. We don't know what is beautiful until we meet the ugly. To act right from freedom of choice we must first reject what we know is wrong. To be good one must first be able to reject the bad, and only after that can one be good. To recognize truth one must recognize what isn't true. And so on.
Animals do not fit this definition of human. They lack the ability to reason about truth and good. Animals cannot reject evil and falsity because they do not have the mental anatomy and spiritual psychchobiology for these functions. There is no function without substance and form. And so because animals do not have rationality and liberty they cannot be regenerated by temptations and they cannot be saved by being conjoined to God through their rationality and freedom. Those are in hellish states of mind act like wild beasts and worst than that, but they are not animals. They are still human because they cannot alter their anatomy and spiritual psychobiology, but they can transform good and truth into evil and insanity. This is because they remain human.
Swedenborg reports seeing many animals in the spiritual world--all the species he knew from earth and many new ones not found on earth. But these are not the animals born on earth who passed into the afterlife. When the animal's body dies, its spirit is removed and transformed by God (I don't have details on this right now). At any rate, the animals in the spiritual world appear instantaneously lime all other objects, in accordance with the mental states of those who are gathered somewhere. Beautiful gardens are filled with peaceful and lovely animals with which those who are there can interact. But these animals do not remain and vanish when the mental state or activity of the people there changes. For example, beautiful horses are always around when the spirits discuss or reflect upon revelations. And by the same token, the animals that appear to those in hellish mental states are wild, dangerous, cruel, scary, injurious animals and plants.
Will I see my three pet cats in heaven? I think so since I love them! I picture them being present with me in heaven when I want them around or think about them, but vanishing when I don't think of them.
Theistic Psychology gives a rational explanation and psychobiological description of the process of heaven and hell. They are each called a process because the individuals maintain themselves in either one or the other state by an active effort. The remain in one or the other state of mind as long as they maintain this active effort, hence it is appropriate to call heaven a positive self-maintenance operation, and heaven as a negative self-maintenance operation.
The human mind is the human spirit and this is the spiritual world. All humans are spirits and exist from birth in the spiritual world as a unique mind or spirit. All spirits or minds in the spiritual world overlap since space cannot separate them or distinguish them. There is no space in the spiritual world. And yet there is apparent space, just as there is in your dreams. The characters and objects in your dreams are spiritual constructions or phenomena; thus they are made of spiritual substances and they have no material mass, energy, or space. Dreams are spiritual objects and there quite obviously is apparent space in dreams. There would be no coherence to anything if they did not appear in separate spatial position. Every object its unique spatial position is also true in the spiritual world where there is no space but only the appearance of space.
The appearance of space is therefore a mechanism for maintaining coherence in our mind. Our mind is constructed of spiritual substances but the content of the experiences are natural, because built up through the sense operating in the physical world. At the death of the senses, the mind is extracted from the body and the individuals emerges in the spiritual body, that is, in itself in the spiritual world. Access to other minds (or spirits) is instantaneous because no space or time exists to separate them. Swedenborg found himself instantaneously in different places depending on his mission for the occasion, whether he was to talk to an angel or a devil, whether to a recent arrival from this earth or those who were born on earths in other galaxies.
So you can understand from this that the human mind is as vast as the spiritual world, that is, without limits. And though every individual has boundaries of self, access to others, that is, to the minds of others, and to the content of their mind, is also possible, even common and typical for some spirits. Swedenborg describes in many details how spirits go through each other memories and knowledges in an instant, like a super-fast search engine capable of indexing thousands of terabits per millisecond. Spirits who practice doing this on account of their love for it, are able to quickly filter through anything they're not interested in and go after what they are.
At his point you may like to consult a diagram of the mind and its overlap with the spiritual world--then you can come back here for the rest of the story.
You can now see that heaven and hell are states of mind. You can be in hell or you can be in heaven and in both cases you are in your mind. To the materialist thinker this idea may lead to the feeling that heaven and hell are not real, well, not as real as the world. If heaven and hell are in your mind then they are not as real as the real world, etc. etc. This type of thinking results because the materialist cannot form any idea of the non-material or the substantial. And yet the reality is that the mental world is more real than the physical world. The mental world is substantial, therefore permanent, while the physical world is temporary and disintegrates and then must be renewed. So you must first switch your orientation from materialism to dualism. Your physical body is temporary because material, but your mental body or mind or spirit, is permanent because substantial.
And so heaven and hell are permanent states in every individual's mind. But mental states are stable only in the sense that we actively keep ourselves in some particular state. Swedenborg conversed with those who keep themselves in the hells and was eager to discover why they keep themselves in such a negative and insane state of mind or spirit. He discovered that they keep themselves there by certain affections or feelings that they will not give up. They hang on to them like survivors of a ship wreck who are thrown into the water and are hanging on to a piece of wood that they may not drown. These affections are hatreds and insanities. They superimpose upon reality a mental world of fantasies in which they can perform their obsessions and compulsions upon those with whom they are connected by similarity of insanity. Swedenborg also conversed with those who keep themselves in the heavens and discovered that they keep themselves in such a positive and wise state of mind through affections of love, sociality, and mutuality with those who are like them in motivation and experience.
Swedenborg also witnessed what happens with those in the hellish state of mind who can let go of their usual feelings and insanities for awhile, and let themselves into a positive state of heaven. They feel out of place and though they show some curiosity at the new mental surrounds they quickly tire of it and begin the find it oppressive and intolerable, at which point they quickly "cast themselves down" into their former hellish state of mind. The fact is that once people are extracted from their physical body through the process of resuscitation at death, the mind can no longer feel comfortable in a mental state that the individual has not developed some positive love or affection. If we lead a life of selfishness on earth, we refuse to be reformed and regenerated, and at death in the spiritual body, we fall back into the states that we developed in the physical body. For additional discussion consult this Glossary entry on Heaven and Hell.
Heaven is not attainable through being rewarded for a good life but only through getting used to it in our mind while we still can. Hell is not a punishment for sins and misdeeds but a state of mind where we keep ourselves on account of our character. All individuals who develop a character that can stay in heavenly states of minds, do so in eternity. All individuals who develop a character that can stay in hellish states of minds, do so in eternity. It's a choice, but it's a choice that is made before we pass out of the physical body. We cannot alter this choice after we pass on because of physiological reasons. The character we form is permanent because made of substantial fibers or neurons. Our character evolves throughout our life in the physical body and becomes consistent the more it forms and grows. Choices in life are cumulative. The story of individuals who repent of their sins on their death bed is a fantasy. We always repent when we're scared, but this doesn't count because it doesn't last, like coffee in your cup when it is broken and leaks. Those who repent from fear fall right back to the familiar the moment the fear is over. When they arrive in the spiritual world they see that they are immortal and free spirits, and they quickly forget about their repentance. Now they continue to live as they always have because such is the character they developed.
When we're stuck in the material state of orientation we're not able to save ourselves until we decide to get unstuck by espousing the reality of dualism. A relative of mine, while I was growing up, used to declare about God: "Listen. I don't know if there is a God or if there isn't. I'm not saying that there is and I'm not saying that there isn't. All I'm saying is that I don't need to know about it now. If there is, and I wake up in the other life, I'll find out then." And he thought himself very shrewd as was indicated by the wink he would add at the end. But. alas, this man was not shrewd at all, for if he had been shrewd he would have said this instead: "All right. I don't know if there is a God or if there isn't. I'm not saying that there is and I'm not saying that there isn't. However, to be prudent I'm not going to wait to find out until I get to the other life because if there is a God, there is a heaven and a hell and I need to prepare myself accordingly. And if it turns out that there isn't an afterlife, well, it would not make any difference to me, wouldn't it?"
This is prudent and people who think this way are led to orient towards a Lord in their life, a spiritual or inner authority they must acknowledge. And this means to desire to find out how to relate to this higher authority as Divine. Often this leads people to religion and Sacred Scriptures where God spells out what we must do in order to prepare for eternal life in heaven. When Sacred Scripture and scriptural doctrine is approached in this way, that is, from a desire to have a relationship with God by being prepared to obey and love God, then indeed, this individual is made wise by God. Through a series of temptations that last throughout one's presence in the physical body, we are regenerated in character. This means that we develop a new characters through new motives and new truths and new habits of life and relationship. This development called regeneration is not possible without cooperation with God, the divine Therapist who brings each particular temptation into our focus and then moderates the consequences so that we may be victorious in the battle between good and evil over our soul. That is, the battle between good spirits and evil spirits in the spiritual world who are facing off each other on either side of our spirit there. They do not address us directly--that would be freaky, don't you think? But they battle it out with each other and each move on either side results in a correspondential reaction in our spirit or mind.
This is the mechanism of temptation. We are not conscious of the vertical community above us, or inside in our inner spiritual self or mind. God, our Divine Therapist, brings into this face off those particular spirits on either side of the temptation that are suitable to our current character and personality. Years before I read Swedenborg, and hence before I discovered the vertical community and the spiritual world, I was oriented to a self-perception technique which I called self-witnessing. I discovered that by verbalizing to myself what I was thinking, I became more conscious of my thought stream. It's then that I realized that I had not been aware of what I was thinking moment to moment. I coined the phrase sudden memory to refer to this phenomenon of un-awareness due to the short duration of the event. I found that by verbalizing, the thought sequence and content were transferred from sudden memory to short term memory and from there I was able to examine it, to record it, to describe, to judge it. By doing this every day in all the circumstances of the daily round, I was able to see that my thoughts occurred in terms of dialog and conversation. Sometimes I was addressing myself as "you" and sometimes as "I" and sometimes as "we." Now this really surprised me. Eventually I realized that what I called "me" actually consisted of a congregation of characters, each talking from his or her perspective, each sounding off and expressing opinions and judgments. I became curious as to the origin of these "voices" or perspectives or "characters" that constituted my ego.
After years of this self-witnessing orientation and process, I began to categorize the inner opinions and judgments and it seemed to me that these were expressions of various people I unconsciously internalized in the course of my life, and especially in childhood and adolescence. Later when I read the scientific revelations about the vertical community it became clear to me that these inner opinions and judgments were the correspondences of the good and evil spirits facing off around my spirit and participating in my decision-making process. Once I became fully conscious of this process it was much easier to put them to rest and to operate from just one source, namely, God whom I made Lord in my life. But the process returns during moments or minutes of temptations, which occur on a daily basis.
It has been revealed that the heavenly or celestial state of the human mind cannot be held on to as a single individual but only as a married couple. More details in this article on the psychobiology of couplehood.
From a materialistic perspective good and truth are either adjectives or abstract qualities. No one would have known before it was revealed that good and truth are substances, the building blocks of the universe. In fact, the universe was created by God by means of these two substances. These two substances are infinite, and hence uncreate. They have no limit, beginning or end. It is not rational to think that infinity can be divided. God cannot be divided. The infinite substances of good and truth cannot be divided. It follows that whatever is created out of these two substances still contain them for it is not possible to get rid of the constituent substances. All of the Divine is thus present in every created object or quality. The Divine is present in all as One and in each as All.
The universe is a creation not from nothing, for this is not rational. It is not rational to think that something can issue from nothing. The only rational option therefore is to say that all things created are created out of the infinite Divine substances that are in God and are God. The Divine substances therefore exist within all created things because they cannot be separated. Similarly, God dwells in us humans but differently than the manner in which God is in inanimate objects or in animals. In humans God is present in two ways--immediately and mediately. The divine presence in us immediately is like the Divine presence in all objects or events. This immediate presence is what's called Omnipresence and is related to the concept of Omniscience and Omnipotence. God constitutes, creates, rules, manages, and determines all through this immediate presence. In humans there is an additional type of presence of the Divine called mediate. This refers to the vertical community to which we are attached and constitutes our position or location within the Grand Human.
This is the idea that the entire human race before God is seen as one individual. Swedenborg traveled through the Grand Human and confirmed that its made of the heavenly societies arranged in a human form. Each society is characterized by a different genius or typical character and thinking. The societies who live in the region of the eye of the Grand Human are of a different genius than those who dwell in the heart or liver of the Grand Human. When we abandon our physical body and are resuscitated in the spiritual body, every individual begins a journey of experiences and adventures in the spiritual world which are designed to take the person to the heavenly society that is most like the individual. After some journeying through experiences of different states of mind, each of us ends up in the society where we belong. These are the societies that surrounded our spirit or mind while in the body. Our character develops through choices involving what we love and believe. These choices are cumulative and are brought about through the mediation of particular societies. The societies we are most like cumulatively, become the societies where we spend our eternity. Swedenborg reports that when people get to their society they feel like they've arrived home. They feel like they've known these people all their lives--and they have, through the vertical community as mediation.
To summarize: Good and truth are the building blocks of the universe. They are infinite substances in the Divine and they remain within all things created as God's presence in the Divine substances. God is not present in the person as some people believe, like a spirit is inside another person, a phenomenon known to the ancients as spirit possession. This idea survives today in mediums and psychics who claim to be possessed by spirits. Exorcism is also a like idea as the possessing spirit is expelled from inside the person. However these are materialistic ideas not spiritual. Spiritually there is already overlap between spirits and the spiritual world since there is no space involved. So one spirit cannot be inside another spirit as in the idea of possession or medium. Rather, one spirit communicates with another, or not. When a spirit communicates with another they are co-present through sharing a similar affective state. God is present immediately in us,that is, in the Divine substances that constitute us, but for this we have no consciousness or responsibility. God is also present in us mediately and here we can reciprocate through our response by love and wisdom.
Love and wisdom are synonymous with good and truth. Love is equivalent to the substance of good and wisdom is equivalent to the substance of truth. Our mediate relation to the Divine is through the love and wisdom we appropriate to ourselves. The substance of good streams into the spiritual organ of the mind called the will. This is also called the affective organ. The substance of truth streams into the spiritual organ of the mind called the understanding. This is called the cognitive organ. In other words, the affections we have in our will are transformations or applications of the Divine substance of good. What we will is what we love. Parallel with this process is the influx of the substance of truth (or wisdom) into our cognitive organ. In other words, what we think is what we understand.
To summarize: Good streams into the will where we appropriate it in so far as we will it or love it. Truth streams into the understanding where it becomes our thinking in so far as we believe it and perceive it. These two operations are tied to each other. The manner in which we appropriate good influences the manner in which we appropriate truth. Thus, our loves condition our thoughts. What we love and think, that is, our character or spirit, determines the way the Divine is mediately present. The Divine can be mediately present as if from a great distance or as if nearer and nearer. When we hear about a particular scientific revelation and process it by accepting and perceiving and loving and willing it, then the Divine is so near that we are conjoined. Through this conjunction the Divine can communicate unlimited blessedness. When we hear of a particular scientific revelation and we question it or do not perceive it, and thus we cannot love it, then the Divine is mediately present from a distance as it were. But remember that the Divine is equally present immediately, independently of how we reciprocate (or else there would not be omnipotence).
More discussion on this topic can be found in an article called Mental Health: The Marriage of Good and Truth.
There is an entry for male and female above, so why do we need another entry for wife and husband? The reason is that the act and process of being married changes the two spouses in internal as well as external ways. Externally, the man and woman from being each single, are now a married couple and form a new unit that did not exist before. This new unit is recognized by society in many ways such as changing names and titles, and acquiring new rights and privileges not afforded to single individuals. Internally, the two individuals begin a new life with each other. If their commitment to each other as a couple involves the desire to overlap in feelings and thoughts, then they are growing a new joint conjugal character or self-entity. This new conjoint self did not exist before. It is a new creation achieved through the mental union of the married couple. It is a psychobiological organ possessed by all who dwell in the celestial regions of the human mind. Swedenborg has visited these regions many times and has described the vast numbers of people who dwell there, having come from the vast number of earths in the universe where they were originally born. And all these people lived in distinct societies in the Grand Human spiritual geography, and all the societies were grand architectural cities in whose grand palaces of gold and jewel dwelt married couples, each couple to a grand palace. And when Swedenborg approached to speak with them, each couple appeared as one individual, but then as a husband and wife as they were near to each other.
Speaking to them, and looking at their faces in turn, the husband's and wife's, Swedenborg reports how he was struck by both their exquisite beauty and handsomeness, and their "similitude," which means the appearance of being of one mind, always in harmony from joint thoughts and feelings. It was as if he was talking to the two at once, rather than in turn to one and then the other. When he was talking to the husband he felt and saw the wife's participation as if the two had but one mental operation, one mind, one spirit. The sexual union referred to as "one flesh" is an image and correspondence of this mental union, or spiritual union.
Theistic Psychology offers powerful tools of regeneration to married individuals who desire this internal union by which they can grow a conjoint self capable of living in eternal heavenly conjugial bliss. Note the word "conjugial" here since it is different from the word "conjugal" that was used before. Marriages that are united externally by law and mutual commitment, are called conjugal. But if there is, in addition, the desire to unite mentally, that is, to grow a conjoint self, then the marriage is called conjugial. The extra "i" is to mark this distinction. Swedenborg says about his contemporaries in the 17th and 18th century Europe that the majority of their marriages were external only. This observation is probably true today in the Western democracies of the world, as indicated by the fact that the majority of marriages end in divorce. This is much more serious an issue than most people realize since there is no eternal happiness in heaven except as a conjugial couple. Those who are unable to form a conjoint self have only hell as an option. This is an astonishingly important revelation!
It sounds far fetched, ridiculous. The mind wants to squash this idea. That would be so unfair! What kind of a God would do that?
I agree. It sounds unfair, and would be, I think, if it were a punishment. But it's not a punishment. God and the celestial couples would love nothing better, testifies Swedenborg, than to admit everyone and share the bliss. And so it is permitted for any individual in any mental state, including those who keep themselves in their own hells, to change their mental state and to elevate it to the higher regions of their mind or spirit. But they cannot do this unassisted. Volunteers from the celestial couples descend into the lower regions by lowering their own mental state and assist the individual who wishes to raise their mental state. This is done by reactivating the dormant parts of the mind that were cast to the side of one's personality and unused because they were contrary to one's fantasy and insanity. Now that these saner portions of the mind are reactivated, the individual is able to ascend to the celestial couple's society. But when he or she arrives there, the consequences are not what was expected. The individual is not willing to endure the mental ecology of celestial regions.
Swedenborg describes many such visits he was given to witness and write about. The celestial region of the human mind or spirit is relatively close to the spiritual sun. The lower you go in the mind, the farther you are from this sun. As you ascend, you're bathed more intensely by the influx of the spiritual sun's influx of spiritual heat and light. Spiritual heat is the substance of love and spiritual light is the substance of truth. If your mind is constructed by prior choices, in such a way as to oppose love and truth, this closer bombardment of love and truth cannot be tolerated. The mind feels like exploding or disintegrating. The mind in the lower regions is turned outward towards the natural world and the self, but the mind in the upper regions is turned towards the spiritual sun and God from whom that sun is. Here, take a look at it again: diagram of the mind and its regions.
The conjoint self is built up by God to be able to receive the spiritual sun's influx from nearby. This is eternal bliss. The influx of good and truth from the spiritual sun is received into the conjoint self and it is from this that the two married individuals can exist and remain and thrive in the celestial regions of the mind to eternity. If you pass on after the death of your physical body and awaken in the spiritual world in a mind-body or character-body (or spiritual body) that has not evolved a conjoint self, you cannot evolve one at that point. This puts a limit to how high you can ascend and be happy there. The lower your character, the lower your dwelling place. When you're dwelling in the lower states of your mind, the parts of your mind that are capable of ascending, are laid aside and remain dormant. All the good and truth you had is laid to the side and made no longer functional. What remains is all the bad and the false, that is, all the fantasy and insanity, endlessly evolving into itself like a root bound tree in a stone pot.
Now you can see why I said that this is very serious business. Theistic Psychology gives people the knowledge of this and also a knowledge of the mechanisms by which individuals can evolve a conjoint self in a committed marriage relationship. You may want to explore several articles, which together, make up the Swedenborgian Marriage Handbook.
Who would have thought that when we at last reach heaven we will still have an occupation? And yet this is the testimony of Swedenborg from his numerous visits to the heavenly cities. Of course this would be difficult to accept if it hadn't been explained scientifically and rationally. The human mind is created to be continuously occupied with one kind of striving or another, and without this, the mind atrophies like an unused muscle or organ. After all, the mind is a spiritual organ made of substances from the spiritual sun and an organ's purpose is to be active, functioning, growing, changing, becoming more and more of what it could be, endlessly, eternally. Heaven would not be bliss and happiness if the inhabitants were idle or were occupied with nothing but standing before God and worshipping with songs and prayers and bowings. This image of heaven has been passed on by the legends of one generation to the next, but it is without foundation and understanding.
Swedenborg tells several episodes of new arrivals in the spiritual world who had this fixed idea of heaven as a place of constant worship and prayer. When they were taken to a place where this was going on, the new arrivals quickly and eagerly joined those who were there, praying, worshipping, singing in choirs, bowing down and lifting the hands towards the throne of God. But after two days of this, the new arrivals became weary and bored and their happiness vanished. The longer they stayed after that, the more miserable they were until they had to admit that this is not the kind of heaven they wanted. And another group was also taken up to a place in heaven where people were partying and feasting and being entertained by dancers and actors. But they tired of this life of idleness after just a few days and their happiness turned into drudgery and they begged to be taken away from that place. Still other parties were taken to places of their imagination such as chat rooms were beautiful and interesting people mingled in various rooms, each room devoted to a particular subject. Here too the participants got quickly tired and begged to be released.
There is no heaven in idleness but in one's occupation that one loves and by which the mind is occupied and challenged, and experiences constant learning and growth. Many details have been revealed about the kinds of occupations in heaven--see Swedenborg's book titled Heaven and Hell.
Everything in the universe has been created two-fold, having an external within which there is an internal. The external is constructed of natural materials while the internal is constructed of spiritual substances. For example, the body with its brain is the external of the individual while inside there is the mind or spirit which is internal. Similarly, a stone has a mineral exterior and a spiritual interior. In fact, all things are created from inside out, that is, first the spiritual frame is fashioned, then a material covering encases it.
But the anatomy of created things is even more complicated with humans because we have adjacent things to the external and the internal. For instance, our external has a physical or corporeal part and a sensuous part. Both are external but the sensuous is more interior than the corporeal. The natural mind is external but not the most external which is the body. The natural mind is a more interior form of the body, but not yet spiritual. In fact the next layer called external rational is also made up of things from the body and the natural mind. But when you continue to move inward, the external rational mind has within it an internal rational mind. Between these two--the external rational and the internal rational lies the true dividing zone between the natural and the spiritual. Everything contained in the external rational is natural but nothing that is contained in the internal rational is natural but all of it is spiritual and celestial. The internal rational then extends more and more inward into the spiritual mind and finally into the celestial mind which is the inmost construction of human beings. This is the mind or spirit that dwells in heaven.
But those who dwell in the corporeal regions of the mind after death, dwell in hell. And there is nothing of the rational left there.
While we dwell in the body on earth there is a relative independence of the external and internal at all levels. The body is somewhat independent of the mind as we know because we can simulate feeling or thinking one thing when we actually think or feel the opposite. A husband and wife may be united in their external natural mind and show tender love, liking, and friendship for one another. But within, in their external rational, they may be disunited and even bitter enemies. This inner disharmony shows itself from time to time by quarreling and hateful disputes that last for a short time and then they return into their externals.
Similarly, there is internal worship and external worship. External worship includes rituals and prayers and lifestyles, but if there is not internal worship in it, it is useless for salvation and regeneration. In those who are of a divided mind, the external and internal strive to destroy each other. We can be moral and obedient in one place or at one time, and immoral and rebellious in another place or surround. This is the Jekyl/Hyde pattern. When this is carried on for some time, the Jekyl part destroys the Hyde part and there is no salvation or regeneration for that individual.
By way of illustration, I will give a partial list of scientific revelations contained in the Writings of Swedenborg:
Additional listings of scientific revelations can be found in this Glossary article: I'm placing the Table of Consents as clickable links:
A list I wrote at the very start of my study of Swedenborg may be also be consulted.
Both religion and Theistic Psychology are necessary, according to the Writings of Swedenborg. These are separate things because they each have their own function to fulfill. The function of religion is to foster in people the implanted notion of God through ritual, prayer, and the study and preservation of Holy Scriptures. Every individual is born with the implanted rational idea of God, or if you prefer, receives such an idea in the understanding whenever the individual's awareness is focused above the lowest region of the mind. This level of the mind is tied to purely sensory and natural concepts, that is, concepts that are time-bound and space-bound. It is not possible to foster the idea of God as real if God is tied to purely sensory or material concepts. God is infinite and the material universe is finite. Therefore the infinite must be seen as creating the finite. Unless this idea is adopted the mind remains not yet rational, and if not yet rational, the mind cannot become spiritual, and if the mind is not spiritual, life for that individual is possible only in the lowest regions of the spiritual world--which is not really human, but beastly. Therefore it is of the utmost importance for the future life of an individual to open up the rational mind beyond the natural or corporeal levels. This opening of the higher regions of the mind is accomplished at first through religion. Religion reinforces the implanted idea of God, strengthens it, makes it official and legitimate in the life of the individual, family, and nation. As a result of the officially recognized idea of God as religion, the rational mind can be opened if the individual is willing to conquer in temptations of character. Religion is culture bound and historically anchored. As a result, there are many religions and it is revealed in the Writings that there always will be--because the evolving perfection of the human race requires this diversity of idea and relationship to God. Theistic Psychology on the other hand is not implanted and is not cultural.
Religions can come into conflict due to cultural differences and historical divisions. Theistic science is above culture, above social conflict. Theistic science scientists belong to various religions. Individuals from all religions study and practice the same theistic science. Theistic science does not proceed by pitting one theory against another and testing out which one wins out by predicting and organizing data in a superior way--as it is done in materialistic science. Instead, theistic science proceeds only by harmonious insights that cumulate in a grand rational architecture. Like an unpleasant screech of a broken string in the middle of a soft orchestral movement--that's how it would feel to reject someone's insights in theistic science where there are no competing theories. A scientist's insights would be purely rational, resonating within the mind that which was given outside the mind in the written revelations. By reading the written text, studying it, loving it, organizing it, and living it theistic scientists set their mind in rational order into which the truths of the revelations enter and form themselves into a principle or doctrine. This discovery or insight is then established through selections from the written text, thereby showing in sufficient explanations that there is agreement and confirmation. Other scientists must be able to replicate the insights and confirmations before the principle or doctrine becomes official or accepted. This effort at reaching consensus among theistic scientists on the accepted principles constitutes the research effort. This effort may be somewhat polemic and may contain some errors but the process is guided by the Laws of Divine Providence and truth will prevail as long as theistic scientists live the truths they understand for the sake of their mental and eternal health.
At the time of this writing in April 2000, the news reports that a court in Ohio struck down that state's official seal adopted some 20 years ago. (See this news article here.) The reason given was that its motto violates the constitutional requirement of separation of religion and state since it says: "With God all things are possible." This sentence is a direct quote from the New Testament where it is attributed to Jesus Christ (see Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27). Hence, the court argued, the motto is equivalent to state sponsorship religion. It's different with the federal government's official motto on coins and seals "In God We Trust" because this is not a direct quote from anywhere. The decision is being appealed by Ohio State government officials. This conflict illustrates the difference between religion and Theistic Psychology. Religion is cultural and historical, and thus potentially divisive. The constitution protects religion by insuring its freedom from government actions. This prudent attitude was passionately ingrained in the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution at the end of the 18th century given the sad history of religious persecution and wars that prevailed for many centuries in Europe and the Middle East. But Theistic Psychology does not need this kind of protection and it would be inappropriate. Theistic Psychology is universal and pan-human, independent of culture and history, and purely rational in all its principles, concepts, and methods. Theistic science is science and needs only rationality, freedom, and democracy to thrive and yield its benefits to society and individuals.
There may be the appearance that Theistic Psychology is identified exclusively with the Christian religion because Swedenborg identifies God as Jesus Christ. Surely this would not be acceptable to Jews or Moslems who have their own God. But in fact this appearance is false. Let's divide the issue of God's identity into two parts. First, the revelation that God is a Human Divine Person who is infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Second, the revelation that this God incarnated on this planet about 20 centuries ago. Neither of these two scientific revelations contradict any religion. All religions that are based on Holy Scripture, such as the Jewish, Christian, and Moslem religions, identify God by a name. For instance, Jehovah, Jesus, Allah. Since there is only on God, these are various names and conceptions of this one God. There is nothing in the Old Testament, which is the Holy Scripture proper to the Jews, that contradicts the idea that Jehovah descended and incarnated. In fact it is so predicted in many places in the Old Testament as demonstrated in the Writings of Swedenborg. The fact that Jews have refused to accept the idea that Jesus Christ is the incarnated form of Jehovah reflects and illustrates the historical, ethnic tradition of the Jewish people--but this refusal is not based on the Old Testament itself. Similarly with Allah. Swedenborg reports that those who dwell in the upper regions of the mind called heaven in eternity have not given up their childhood religion but have deepened it. Muslims in their Muslim heavens worship Allah, but they recognize that Allah is the Divine Human. Thus, there is nothing in the Holy Scriptures of the great religions that contradicts the scientific revelation that God is a Divine Human Person, and that there is only one God.
Theistic Psychology clearly demonstrates that all religions are required in heaven to perfect the human race. Theistic Psychology confirms and fortifies all the religious operations and concepts by demonstrating their rational and empirical basis--sin, temptation, regeneration, holiness, evil, charity, good, truth, faith, heaven, hell, afterlife, conscience, remorse, repentance, ritual, prayer, Holy Writ, Divine commandments, Divine Providence, Holy communion, Church, and the like. It also demonstrates irrational and false views such as predestination, regeneration without temptation or effort, the holiness and consequent worship of some human beings, eternal punishment by a displeased Deity, the rule of a devil with powers of his own, the dis-involvement or removal of God from natural laws, and the like.
Another important distinction between religion and Theistic Psychology is that religious doctrine must be based in the literal language of Holy Scripture and must be confirmed by it. This is fully explained in the Writings. But in Theistic Psychology it is the underlying meaning layers that are being analyzed and extracted. This extraction operation must follow the appropriate rules of text analysis as taught and prescribed in the Writings. Applying these principles of text analysis to the Writings allows us to by pass the the literal references to historical names, peoples, and events--thus avoiding the ethnic-historical conflicts that arise when focusing exclusively on the literal language. Thus, the various peoples mentioned such as the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, etc., do not refer to the these ethnic-historical entities but to the mind's various states. The mapping or translating of names and places to the anatomical regions of the human mind is known as spiritual geography.
Theistic Psychology marks the beginning of rational faith. Before this there were only blind faith and persuasive faith. Rational faith differs from persuasive faith like a scientist's explanation of an earthquake differs from that of a small child or uneducated person. There has been a historical attitude in Western intellectualism that opposes faith to rational science. It is common to believe that faith in God and our spiritual relationship to God are mysteries beyond science. There is even a trend to oppose or discourage those among the faithful who ask logical or rational questions about the so-called mysteries of faith. When I was in first grade in a Jewish parochial school in Rumania in the 1930s I once raised my hand when the teacher told us that God made everything. I wanted to know who made God? By way of answering, the teacher walked up to me and slapped my face, admonishing me never to ask that question again. Why was he so threatened by the question? Or maybe he wasn't threatened but wanted to scare me into not thinking about God with such questions.
It's accurate of course, that science has kept itself away from investigating God and how the universe is affected by God's order, nature, or decision. This is understandable since science has taken a materialistic course in relation to monism and has made it impossible for anyone to prove dualism. One cannot prove dualism when the proof must be materialistic. This is a logical impossibility. But with Theistic Psychology we start with the recognition of dualism and then it's easy to find all sorts of rational considerations or proofs for God's existence and how the universe is managed by God's order. Then we can move on to scientific revelations and what they describe and explain. Similarly with faith.
Mystery, like magic, "compels belief" according to the Writings where it is revealed that God no longer allows old fashioned miracles as they occurred in Bible history days. This is because the current generations are intellectually moderns and we are raised with science as the basis for knowledge about reality. Miracles are unexplainable scientifically and with the rise of materialistic science, miracles had to stop. Before the rise of modern science miracles were created by God as a means of influencing the faith of the witnesses. But as science became part of education and part of how people in society began to think, it was no longer possible for God to influence the faith of people through miracles. When modern minds are confronted with a miracle they either deny it by calling it an illusion, or they feel compelled to accept it because seeing is believing. But when they accept it, they are not prepared at the same time to explain it other than it's a mystery. But their scientific mind rejects mystery as unreal, and so over the days and months following the miracle they witnessed, their persuasion weakens and they finally end up denying God's intervention in the miracle.
Witnessing miracles today would confuse and mystify, leading finally to denial and a weakening of any faith. But it's very different with "soft" miracles, that is, with miracles where God's intervention can be seen by those who are open to God's presence and direction, but they who are not so open to God cannot see the miracle because they attribute the event to another cause.
Psychic communication with the departed and other forms of spiritism and mediumship, are not allowed by God today for the same reason that miracles are not created in the modern world--it would compel belief at first, and then would be denied or reinterpreted falsely. Similarly, prophecies of the future are not allowed, though people will make all sorts of prophecies and then claim that they are real. For the same reason angelic apparitions and spirit possessions are not allowed, and can no longer occur. Now that Theistic Psychology exists, and is based on actual and true scientific revelations, regeneration of one's character occurs through rational understanding and freedom of choice, and this is the internal mind which is above the natural mind and which determines our spiritual life.
Materialistic science has evolved into a multiplicity of specialties with only broad connections across allied disciplines. As a mater of practical scientific work, a team of specialists work together in application fields that combine technical knowledge from several disciplines. There is no connection between most of the specialties with each other, say between neurology and metallurgy, or between forensic medicine political science. This fragmentation in theory building is an outcome of inductive intellectual operations. In theistic science this orientation is reversed. Fragmentation gives way to unification. This is possible only in a deductive operation. Theistic science draws all its operational principles and goals in advance of their empirical discovery. This is well illustrated by Christen Blom-Dahl's discovery.
In Theistic Psychology, the tree-branch of disciplines is defined by the anatomy of the human mind. I have a diagram of it here, if you care to see it now. But please come back here to continue the discussion.
A molecular biologist, a crystallographer, and a social psychologist will share this view and all the basic units of their discipline will be representatives of the human mind. For instance, since the human mind has three discontinuous regions, all molecules and all sub-atomic particles will also be composed of three discontinuous structures joined together and acting as one unit. Geological formations or population distributions will also have a trigrammatic construction. You can see how much faster will the progress be in theistic science, because of this unity. Insights in one discipline will transfer immediately to all other areas. Developments are greatly accelerated. No energy is wasted going the wrong way and having to reverse direction. No energy is wasted overcoming the resistance of colleagues or collaborators. The trigrammatic system of Theistic Psychology is illustrated in research I did on ethno-semantic structures and on comprehensive discourse analysis. See also the fine work on "discrete degrees" by a contemporary physicist whose work qualifies as Theistic Psychology, in my opinion. A list of my diagrams based on trigrams, hexagrams, and enneads, may be found here.
The revelation that all planets are inhabited at some point and that this is the only industrialized planet, will help redirect scientific effort that has been motivated by the desire to meet alien beings and advanced civilizations. No one is listening to the radio waves we beam into space. The reason is rationally explained in the Writings of Swedenborg. It is part of the knowledge of theistic science. It's related to the fact that planets breed different genius of the human race, each being the source of the intellectual diversity that is required by an expanding race. It has been revealed that the perfection of the human race to which we are evolving to eternity, depends on diversity of genius, mind, intellect, character, religion. The greater the number, and the the greater the diversity that is integrated and perceived as one by God, the greater is its perfection. The universe is evolving endlessly towards its own perfection, which is a Grand Human, or, the entire race seen as one person by God. Swedenborg was given to perceive this in some measure by being "taken out far" as it were, like an astronaut in a satellite looking down on earth and ocean below, and being shown what the entire human race looks like in the eyes of God, namely a human person with all the parts and shapes and functions. He saw the numerous societies of people who dwell in the upper regions of the mind called celestial. In outward appearance they form land masses and mountains where their cities are spread out in which live the inhabitants who appear to each other as angels beautifully clad and youthful. In the eyes of God, all the individuals in all the societies are kept together in corresponding functional units in accordance with their genius or character, and all of them are integrated by correspondence. No individual can do anything in any society on any mountain or land without the corresponding co-action of all the others. This is how the body physiology works, as is known. Think of each cell in the body as a little person and all the little persons make one big person. I think this notion is important in Theistic Psychology because it reveals a fundamental character of the laws of Divine Providence by which the universe is run. Swedenborg put it this way: There is nothing disconnected, for if anything were disconnected from everything else, it would vanish from existence. See my article on the metaphysics of nothingness here (written before I met up with the Writings).
The revelation that we're born with an injured character that needs regeneration through temptations, will help redirect parenting, education, and socialization practices. The process of character reformation is a mental health issue and a public health issue. It is more, for it has been revealed that the character we grow while in the physical body remains into eternity, and that the orientation of this character determines the regions of the mind in which we're going to dwell to eternity. What's a few decades in the body compared to trillions of eons in eternity??? There is no comparison. Once this heavenly secret of theistic science becomes known and accepted, society will spare no effort in cleaning up its moral environment. It's the moral environment that determines the character we acquire. I have argued this in relation to road rage and aggressive driving--you can check out my articles listed there. Someone coined the phrase "the pollution of the I" meaning the mind's content as it's being filled indiscriminately through the media. Theistic Psychology shows that this pollution is cannot be cleaned up once the physical body is abandoned and life in the spiritual body begins (afterlife in eternity or hell). Think of your affections (or loves and interests) as a permanent glue that bonds to your character and cannot be removed. Observe that some of these bonds are injurious (or evil) and some beneficial (or good). The injurious ones are those that weigh you down and compel you to dwell in the lower regions of the mind where life is nasty and brutish. Swedenborg visited these regions of the mind and talked to those who dwell there. It's not something I would enjoy. In fact it's something that terrifies me. And it would terrify you too if you saw it objectively such as it is in truth and actuality.
Theistic Psychology is truly humanistic because it defines human as that which is the essence and structure of God and every part of the created universe. As it has been stated in scientific revelation, God created humans in the Divine image, but all things non-human are also created in this blue print. The scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg describe and identify what the Divine structure is, and therefore the structure of natural things as well. There are two basic substances from within God's infinity and they are Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. One of Swedenborg's works has this title. These two eternal, infinite, and human substances constitute God's Own Essence or Mind. It is necessary to make a distinction between two types of construction medium or "stuffs," one called matter and the other substance. Matter is physical stuff in time and space, whether particle, wave, energy field, etc. Substance is spiritual stuff not in time and space. This distinction establishes what I call substantive dualism. In other words, let's assume that there are two created worlds, one out of matter in time and space, and the other out of substance not in time and space. Remember that God is not in time and space, but infinite. When creating matter in time and space, God is in every part of it thus created, but not in any space and time. Obviously, material creation is limited as well as tied to a non-material world that is not in time and space. This tie or inter-relationship is called correspondence. In the Writings there is a new scientific revelation given about the laws of correspondences. Through these laws we can describe and understand how the physical world and its phenomena is run or managed or caused by the events or phenomena in the non-physical world (also called the spiritual world).
To summarize then, an infinite Human God made of love and wisdom as substance, and having no beginning or end, creates a material world in limited time-space by using the substances of love and wisdom as a framework outside of time and space but supporting time and space from within. One way to diagram this idea is to define every physical particle or object or field as a material structure that is constructed by externalizing some of the properties of of the two substances of love and wisdom. Another way of describing this is to think of a physical object or entity as the outside component, inside of which there is a substantive component that holds it together and gives it its natural properties and functions. This inside substance is love and wisdom. A still further way of describing this is to think of the material or natural world in time and space, and the spiritual world as outside time and space, and the two connected by the laws of correspondence. Something that happens in the substance or spiritual world triggers something that happens in the natural world. It's always one way, never the other way. The natural world is the world of effects while the spiritual world is the world of causes, and the two operate through strict laws of correspondences, fully described and revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg.
Further, the spiritual world and the world of the mind overlap. In the body-mind controversy that science has continued in every generation of its scientists, the body is of course part of the physical world of matter, as is the brain, but the mind (or spirit or soul or psyche) is part of the spiritual world. The body is made of matter, hence it is temporal. But the mind is made of substance, hence outside time, hence non-temporal--also called immortal. The mind is created at birth along with the body, and like the body inherits particular characteristics from the parents. The body characteristics have been isolated in the genes, and in the Writings the mind characteristics have also been identified in terms of affections and cognitions. In other words, feelings and thoughts are not made of matter in time, and they have no material mass. This has forced materialistic scientists to declare that these mental phenomena are really pseudo-phenomena, less than real. Obviously, real is erroneously equated here with matter. But of course substance is real, but not in time and space, but in the spiritual world. The mind with its growth of feelings and thoughts as the individual grows and matures, cannot grow and increase in material size with material stuff. Instead, the mind increases and grows with substances, that is, spiritual stuffs outside time and space, hence immortal. Every time you have a new thought or a new feeling, you are adding to the mind-structure that is you. You are this mind-structure and you begin your life within a physical body. You are not part of this physical body but only connected to it through the laws of correspondence. As your mind grows from spiritual substances, the body grows from matter. When the body no longer functions, the mind is suddenly freed from its connection to the body and leaves no trace of itself in the natural world. It cannot since it never was part of or in the natural world. Now the mind in its own spiritual substance no longer needs a material body, having matured into what is called a "spirit." Approximately 36 hours after the body is severed, the mind awakens as a spirit in the spiritual world. This process of resuscitation is described in the Writings in great detail.
Swedenborg spent the last 27 years of his life in the body in full dual consciousness. He was able to be in the body and talk with someone or eat dinner while simultaneously being in the spirit and talking there with other spirits and engaging in various activities. As a result of this dual consciousness he was able to to write down all his observations even as they were occurring, so that we can be sure of its reliability and accuracy. Nothing less than this could have sufficed for science. Further, what he described through direct and immediate spiritual observations, are the inside of the structures of the natural world as well as the mind. In the spiritual world the overlap between minds is much greater than the overlap of bodies in the natural world. Spirits can examine each other's memory for instance and they can see each other's emotions since these are also make of substances. Spirits can see substances and since the spirits are made of substances they are totally transparent to each other, like X-ray vision for matter. Consequences of this are numerous and are described by Swedenborg. For instance, when two spirits approach each other they can see from the aura streaming out what their mood is or whether they are friendly or hostile, rational or insane, etc. When a spirit desires to be in the presence of another spirit they have a relationship with, the two instantly find each other together, and vice versa, when two spirits are together and one of them no longer wishes to be there, they vanish from each other's presence.
The Writings of Swedenborg fully describe the structure of all scientific revelations. There is a unity in the language of all revelation in that they are given to us in three discontinuous but corresponding layers. The first layer is the surface language of the revelation as written down or recited by the individual through whom it was given (sometimes called "revelator" or "prophet"). This is the conscious level of the writer. The second layer of meaning is contained within the first and does not appear anywhere on the surface. One can read the first layer without being aware in the slightest that there is an underlying meaning or message. To some extent this property is echoed in myth, drama, and children stories. As children, for instance, we listen to and read stories like Pinocchio or Gulliver's Travels, or Alice in Wonderland, without being aware of the moral message or political and satirical statements the author makes in those stories. As we study these books again later as literature we suddenly perceive the moral or satirical message within the familiar childhood imagery and drama. This experience gives you the idea that written text can have a double meaning, one on the surface, the other underlying or within.
Scientific revelation is text formally organized into sets and series at three levels. Swedenborg has demonstrated this, verse by verse, phrase by phrase, and word by word, as he goes through the Books of Genesis, Exodus, and Revelations. He did this with thousands of further passages from the Old and New Testaments. Even though the books of the Old and New Testaments were given through dozens of men over hundreds of years, and even though the authors were totally unaware of anything but the surface language they wrote down, nevertheless when the two inner layers of the text they wrote out is analyzed systematically, the result reveals that the inner layers are organized by series and sets--proving of course that it is Divine Providence that dictated the sequence of words that were written down. Other wise the inner series would not have been perfectly ordered throughout the entire books, chapters, and verses of the testaments. Swedenborg has proven this thousands of times so that nothing can be more certain that this three-layered structure of scientific revelations.
The supreme importance of the insights contained in De Hemelsche Leer is that the Writings of Swedenborg are scientific revelations, and therefore every principle that is given in there about revelation applies also to itself. Without the idea that the Writings of Swedenborg have an inner meaning, they remain doctrinal books for the New Church as a new true religion among the other great religions. But when you study the Writings of Swedenborg using the analytic principles given there about how to study revelation, you're in a position to practice Theistic Psychology. And in that case three layers of information will become open for you. The first layer, which is the surface language, contains scientific revelations about the natural universe. The second layer contains scientific revelations about the human mind, which includes the spiritual world, heaven, and hell. The third or inmost layer contains scientific revelations about the Laws of Divine Providence that run the universe and about God's Mind.
Today with computers and automated text analysis it would be possible to to catalogue all the scientific revelations about the natural universe contained in the Writings of Swedenborg. You can gain some understanding of what a vast job that would be by looking at the online version of the Writings of Swedenborg. Be sure to come back here after a while so you can get to the rest of the story!
At any rate, the work of cataloguing all scientific revelations about the natural world given in the Writings of Swedenborg is practically possible, and I'm certain that it will be done. Many examples of these are included in the list above. But no such list or cataloguing is possible for the inner layers. These are spiritual layers, not natural, and they have no limit. The Writings say that every word or phrase used in revelation contains an indefinitely large number of revelations and sub-revelations that can be drawn out endlessly to eternity. And if this is true for one word or phrase, it is even more true of the entire corpus of written revelation taken together. Limitless discoveries to eternity by numberless minds will issue from the study and analysis of the inner layers of revelation.
For a definition of Theistic Psychology and its methodology, please consult this article on De Hemelsche Leer--Part 2.
For further study of these layers and how to extract information from them, you can consult various articles in the Swedenborg Glossary.
For a complete
treatment of Theistic Psychology, please see my book by that title:
Related Glossary Entries:
For a complete
treatment of Theistic Psychology, please see my book by that title:
I would be delighted to know your reactions.