Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

A Man of the Field

Forming The New Church Mind In Today’s World



Volume 1: Reformation

The Struggle Against Nonduality


Volume 2: Enlightenment

The Spiritual Sense of the Writings


Volume 3: Regeneration

Spiritual Disciplines For Daily Life


Volume 4: Uses

The New Church Mind In Old Age


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By Leon James

October 2002

(draft 17a)


Author information appears at the end. This document is in the process of being revised. Please note the draft version marked on top. To print this document, see Printing Note at the end.


A “field” means doctrine (AC 368)

A "man" signifies faith and truth (AC 427; 4823)


Volume 1


The Struggle Against Nonduality


Chapters 6 and 7


Table of Contents


Access to other Chapters and Volumes here:3

Chapter 6.4

Disconfirming Nondualist Propositions In The New Church Mind. 4

1. Introduction. 4

1. Only The Writings Have Spiritual Truth. 5

2. The Notion That “Self Is An Illusion”8

3.The Notion That  ”All Great Religions Are Equivalent”8

1. The Lord’s New Revelation Regarding All Religions. 11

4. The Notion That  “Meditation Is Spiritual”13

6. The Notion That  “We Are Already Perfect”16

7. The Notion That “Being One With Nature Is Spiritual”16

8. The Notion Of “Unconditional Love”17

1. Spiritual Events In The Inner Mind. 19

2. Everyone Is Born Into The Slavery Of An Addiction. 21

3. Good Loves And Genuine Truths. 23

4. What’s Wrong With Unconditional Self-acceptance. 25

5. Spiritual Dualities From the Writings Are To Be Loved And Lived. 27

6. Shunning Evils As Sins. 29

7. What Is Loving The Neighbor?. 31

8. What About Self-Esteem?. 33

9. A Poisonous Serpent And Cockatrice. 35

9. The New Church View On Forgiveness. 36

1. Forgiveness Is Always Granted Immediately by the Lord. 38

10. The Secular View On Forgiveness. 40

11. The Christian View On Forgiveness. 42

1. Evil Returns To The Evil45

2. Willing And Thinking According To The Letter48

Chapter 7.49

Introduction: Key Concepts In the New Church Mind. 49

1. Introduction. 49

1. New Church Education. 50

2. Teaching Integrated Concepts. 54

3. A Few Key Concepts From The Writings. 59

2. Discrete Degrees In Successive And Simultaneous Order60

Ghosts, Vampires, Aliens, “Energies” And “Vibrations”. 61

1. “After The Completion Of This Book”. 64

3.The Idea of “As-of Self”66

1. The Source Of Evil70

4. The Idea of “Salvation is by Means Only”70

5. The Idea of “Conjugial Love”72

1. Achieving An Internal Union. 74

2. Discrete and Reciprocal Relationship Between Man And Woman. 77

3. Conjugial Love Vs. Pornography And Adultery. 77

4. The Fire Of That Organ. 79

5. Casting Out Unchaste Love. 81

6. Pornography Is Adultery. 83

6. The Mind Is In The Spiritual World. 84

1. The Corporeal Sensuous Mind Tends Toward Hell86

2. Only Rational Loves Exist In Heaven. 88

3. Revelation Of Interior Rational Truths. 90

4. Where The Spirit Is. 95

5. Genuine Images and Maps Of The Spiritual World. 97

7. The Vertical Community: Spiritual Influx From Heaven And Hell99

1. We Are Created Dual Citizens In Two Worlds. 101

2. A More Effective Self-Management Technique. 104

3. Spirituality Is Not Visible In The Letter106

4. Spirituality Reenters The Human Race. 108

5. Hearing But Not Understanding. 109

6. Spiritual Meaning Of Parables. 111

7. Building Up Spiritual Doctrine In Our Mind. 113

8. The Idea of “Earths in the Universe”115

1. The Lord Would Not Want To Mislead Us. 117

End Notes and References. 120


About the Author. 128

Titles for the Abbreviated Citations in the Book. 128

Full Text Free Online Access to All Swedenborg’s Writings:129


Access to other Chapters and Volumes here:


Volume 2 is located at this address:



Chapter 6.

Disconfirming Nondualist Propositions In The New Church Mind



The New Church, which is the crown of all the churches, … will endure forever(INV 39)



Chapter 6, Introduction


1. Introduction




Our spiritual inheritance (from the father line), our natural inclinations inherited from both parents, our cultural upbringing (socialization and education), and the socio-political milieu in North America conspire together to resist the rearrangement of our mind in accordance with the Writings. This resistance is easy to witness in others when we try to interest them with what we know from the Writings. The resistance takes different forms: polite noncommittal, obvious disinterest, vehement ridicule, total rejection—all in place of: deep interest, gratitude, amazement, excitement. People don’t care to hear the revelations of the Heavenly Doctrines. It’s too inconvenient to hear all that and to take it seriously. Better it be a joke or exaggeration or the opinions of this particular genius. There are many geniuses. Besides, show me the leaders and authorities and the important people of our society who go for this stuff. Is everybody wrong and you’re right? Besides, show me the proof. Where is the proof? Why should you believe what he says? These people can really take advantage of you. Go home and lie down. Etc. This has been my experience, but it’s obvious that the Writings are not going to hit the best seller charts for a long time, maybe a very long time.


All around us substitute explanations and opinions are constantly created by the intellectual fervor of the day. We are exposed to all sorts of ideas and propositions of life that are contrary to the rational order of the New Church mind. We know that regeneration of character is our only way and hope for salvation, and yet the Lord’s Laws of Permissions (DP 234) give us the power to resist regeneration if we insist on it, thus to damn ourselves. Our regeneration goes as far as we allow it; as far as we suffer ourselves to be led in our daily lives by the ideas of the Writings, thus by the Lord. It makes good sense to become adept at disconfirming contrary ideas that come to us from our culture, tradition, or some author’s or speaker’s persuasions. The chief and most important strategy in this vigilance is this truth from the Writings that we must keep in the forefront of our conscious mind:


The defining proposition that creates the New Church mind:

Only that which is directly from the Writings can be the spiritual truth in our mind on this earth; and all that is not from the Writings is not the spiritual truth.


Educated people who are also fair-minded feel an inner resistance to this type of absolutist propositions. No, that can’t be. It’s too extreme. What about the people who never hear about the Writings? What about other valid religions that form the Lord’s Universal Church? What about scientific knowledge? What about the Bible? This activity of resistance is like troubled waters in the New Church mind. We need to witness these objections to hard sayings and analyze them. The objection of not being fair to other religions is balanced by the spiritual truth that all can be saved who live a life in accordance with their religion or their conscience (HH 506). But for the New Church mind the Writings are the only revelations given for the Lord’s Second Coming. The objection regarding the Bible is balanced by saying that the truths of the Bible is actually revealed for the first time in the Writings and that the Holiness of the Old Testament and New Testament is immeasurably strengthened by the Writings. And yet the Bible, which is the Word for the First Coming is not the Book of Salvation for the Second Coming. The Divine Human cannot reveal Himself through the Bible. Humankind had to wait 18 centuries after the Lord’s Resurrection before the Divine Human could reveal Himself to those who acknowledge the Writings as the Lord in His Word of the Second Coming.


What about science and the accumulating knowledge of the human intellect? Should we then throw away all books like religious fanatics do? The Writings answer this by revealing two things: first, it pleases the Lord to unconsciously direct the minds of scientists to bring out rational thinking; second, the products of this type of Divine tutelage is not truth but knowledges or “scientifics” (AC 5477). Truth starts in the human mind above scientifics and their only source is the interior rational which receives the truth from the Lord through the communicating heavens. There is no other source for truth. Truth descending into our conscious mind cannot be accomplished when reading any author or doing any self-discovery activity. It cannot be accomplished by reading the Bible, unless we read it from the perspective of the Writings.


1. Only The Writings Have Spiritual Truth


The Word is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord (AC 9407)


But do we not reject others if we say that only the Writings have spiritual truth? No, it is not a rejection of others to define our own mind. But we are rejecting “their truth”? No, we are only defining what the truth is for us. Can we be friends then? Yes, because people with diverse ideas and convictions can agree to share the outside world with each other in accordance with morality, the law, and an inalienable respect for every human being. However, in marriage relations, inmost friendship cannot be formed with a spouse who does not acknowledge the Writings as the Lord in His Word since then their religion is not the same (CL 241).


But what about partial truths? Can’t some author or system have some truth even if it doesn’t have the entire truth? No, because there are no partial truths or half-truths. The Writings reveal that there are only truths and falsified truths or falsities (AE 519). There may be both truths and falsities in the same mind (AC 4551) but not half-truths or half-falsities. And so we need to learn to deconstruct concepts found outside the Writings in the light of the truths in the Writings. Some of the outside concepts may give us the impression that they are similar to truths in the Writings. For example we may read in a book that there is God or that we should love the neighbor. But when you analyze the two ideas in terms of their larger context from which they take meaning, you can see that God doesn’t mean the Divine Human, hence the Lord, and that loving the neighbor doesn’t mean that our love is to be in accordance with the good in the neighbor (AC 5008).


Or we can read in a book that children respond better to rewards than to punishment. We need to see that this is not a truth but a scientific, similar to saying that intelligence facilitates success, or using fertilizers make this plant grow faster, or lowering the prime lending rate will heat up the economy. These are facts and they are either correct or incorrect. A truth or falsity would be saying that the universe has created itself, or that conscience should be suppressed, or that children do not need a caring parent, or that premarital promiscuity is not injurious to our future married life. What then is the difference between correct/incorrect (facts or scientifics), and truth/falsity (rational propositions)? The difference is that facts are about the outward world and truths are about the inner world’s relation to the outward world. The Writings present truths in every word and sentence (SS 35) and are the only source for genuine intelligence:


Read the Word,' the angels said to this, 'and believe in the Lord, and you will see truths which will be your guides to faith and life. All Christian people draw their doctrines from the Word as being their one and only source.' (TCR 621)


The only source of wisdom is from Divine truths analytically arranged by means of the light which falls on them, coming from the Lord. Nor is there any other source of human intelligence, if it is truly intelligence. (TCR 350) (See also: NJHD 257; AC 8939; TCR 340, 347; SS 111; SE 5961).


After debunking all this, we come back to the defining proposition of the New Church mind: Only that which is directly from the Writings can be the spiritual truth in our mind; and all that is not from the Writings is not the spiritual truth. Only the New Church mind can see spiritual truths in the Writings. Others who read the Writings see only natural things in it:


Even if these matters were described they would not be understood except by those who see with heavenly perception; nothing at all would be understood by those who see with merely natural perception. For those who see with heavenly perception dwell in the light of heaven which comes from the Lord, a light that holds intelligence and wisdom within it. But those who dwell in natural light do not possess any intelligence or wisdom except insofar as the light of heaven flows into that natural light and uses it in such a way that things belonging to heaven may be seen - as in a mirror or in some representative image - within things belonging to natural light. For natural light does not render any spiritual truth visible unless the light of heaven is flowing into it. (AC 4302)


Every proposition of life is a spiritual truth or falsity. We are exposed to many propositions of life through culture, the media, and personal communication. Nothing that is about the spiritual must be admitted into the mind except from the Writings. Sometimes we admit ideas that lie in our memory, unexamined and unstamped, which can then become like leaven that gradually spreads through the entire dough. Mental pollution or spiritual contamination is real. Here is a cognitive rule that governs our mental reasoning:


If we admit a concept, we also admit all its presuppositions and implications.


If we do not examine carefully what we admit, the assumptions that are necessarily tied to all concepts, secretly exert dynamic influences on our reasoning and our readiness to undergo regeneration.


Since the Second Coming is a rational faith and science, this activity of deconstructing incoming concepts and propositions is entirely different from the sectarian notion that this or that object or idea is to be banned or suppressed. Dogmatic censorship and intolerance are not from the Writings. Instead, by deconstructing incoming concepts and attitudes we are putting them through the filter of rationality as this is revealed and defined in the Writings. We are not intolerant of or prejudiced against other people’s ideas, traditions, or values. We give all others the freedom we claim for ourselves. And this freedom is to examine in the light of one’s rational faith and science every single concept and attitude that one is exposed to. We encourage and approve of this universal freedom for all, not just for the New Church individual.


The following is a sample of nondualist propositions that can creep into the New Church mind. As a matter of mental discipline (see Volume 3), we should prudently examine the content of our memory and become adept at marking and isolating ideas and attitudes that are contrary to our chief daily task on this earth: namely, to cooperate with the Lord in rearranging our mind to become a fit abode for the genuine good and truth He gives us solely and exclusively through the Writings.


Chapter 6, Section 2


2. The Notion That “Self Is An Illusion”


This is an impediment to regeneration because it weakens our resolve to change ourselves. We know that we must change or be regenerated because we are all born infernal with only the liberty or possibility of becoming human and celestial (DP 87, AC 3928[2]). The opposing view formulated in the David Loy quote above is: “the sense of a within apart from the world is the self-delusion that needs to be overcome.” If self is an illusion and heaven and hell are within us, then heaven and hell are an illusion. Further, good and evil are then somewhat similar, and as a consequence, we don’t have to give up all our loves, only some. Yet the reality is that there is zero similarity or overlap between heaven and hell. And the fact is that if we allow a single overlap, we are doomed, for falsity and truth in the same mind, when commingled, destroy all truth and good (AE 519). Self is real because it is the unique proprium that the Lord creates for each individual. All that the Lord creates is real and remains unique as itself forever (DLW 226). We must not let ourselves doubt the reality of self. This is not a matter of individual preference or a matter of tolerance towards other traditions. It is a matter of rationality and reality in our own mind.


Every person, as long as he lives in the world, treads a path mid-way between heaven and hell; and he is in equilibrium, that is, he has free will to look up to God or down to hell. If he looks up to God, he acknowledges that all wisdom comes from God, and his spirit is really present among the angels in heaven. The person who looks down, as everyone does whose evil puts him under the power of falsities, is in his spirit really among the devils in hell. (TCR 69)


Chapter 6, Section 3


3.The Notion That  ”All Great Religions Are Equivalent”



It is commonly supposed that those born outside the Church, who are called heathens and gentiles, cannot be saved for the reason that they do not possess the Word and so do not know the Lord, without whom there is no salvation. But that gentiles too are saved may be known from the single consideration that the Lord's mercy is universal - that is, it reaches out to every individual human being. For gentiles are born human beings the same as those within the Church, who are a relative minority; and they are not to blame because they do not know the Lord. Consequently the nature of their state and condition in the next life has in the Lord's Divine mercy been shown to me. (AC 2589)


The Lord in the Word of His Second Coming has now revealed His relationship to all religions. This relationship is determined not by religious membership or affiliation but by the genuineness or purity of the spiritual truths anyone has of Him from Him.


Good is in essence a single entity, but it acquires a specific character from the truths implanted in it and in this way is made various. The truths that are seen by gentiles as truths are in general the idea that they should worship some God from whom they seek their own good and to whom they attribute it - though they do not know so long as they live in this world that that God is the Lord; also the idea that they should adore their God under images which they hold sacred; besides many other ideas. But these ideas do not make it any less possible for them to be saved than for Christians, provided that they lead lives in which love to their God and love towards the neighbour are present. For by leading such lives they have the ability to receive interior truths in the next life … (AC 3778)


This passage, along with many others, teach that people’s relationship to the Lord is fixed to a position of closeness that depends on the idea they have of Him. All good or love is from the Lord for He alone is Love itself (AC 2500, AR 58). Clearly then, anyone anywhere on any planet at any time, has love or good from the Lord and belongs to the Lord. But people’s relationship to the Lord can be distant or close. That is, the amount and purity of the good or love an individual can receive from Him is proportional to the idea one has of Him. The more interior is the idea of the Lord we have, the more good and love we can receive from Him. This is indicated by the fact that people’s habitations or societies in which they live in the afterlife, are arranged at various distances from the spiritual Sun, in which the Lord is, and from which He Proceeds into the universe and the minds of people.



What the formofheaven is can be seen in some measure from what has been shown in the preceding chapters; as that heaven is like itself both in its greatest and in its least divisions (n. 72); that consequently each society is a heaven in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 51-58); that as the entire heaven reflects a single man, so each society ofheaven reflects a man in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 59-77); that the wisest are at the center, and the less wise are round about even to the borders, and the like is true of each society (n. 43); and that those who are in the good of love dwell from the east to the west in heaven, and those who are in truths from good from the south to the north; and the same is true of each society (n. 148, 149). All this is in accord with the formofheaven; consequently it may be concluded from this what this form is in general. (HH 200)


This passage shows that people’s relationship to the Lord is variable, and consequently religions are not equivalent since they each form a different idea of the Lord. Such as this idea is, such is their relationship to the Lord. It is said that “the wisest are at the center, and the less wise are round about even to the borders.” There is thus a spiritual geography of the inhabitations in the afterlife (see LJ 48), and the closest to the spiritual Sun are called wise, but not the others. Since spiritual truths cannot be discovered or invented by people, it is necessary that the Lord provide revelations of Himself in order that people may have a true idea of Him. The Lord effects this communication process through the Word. Those who are willing and able to draw spiritual truths from the Word, and live accordingly in their daily willing and thinking, they are called the wise, and they are the closest to Him. That is, they are capable of receiving more love and good from the Lord than others.


But man has severed this connection with heaven by turning his interiors away from heaven, and turning them to the world and to self by means of his love of self and of the world, thereby so withdrawing himself that he no longer serves as a basis and foundation for heaven; therefore the Lord has provided a medium to serve in place of this basis and foundation for heaven, and also for the conjunction of heaven with man. This medium is the Word. How the Word serves as such a medium has been shown in many places in ARCANA CAELESTIA, all of which may be seen gathered up in the little work on THE WHITE HORSE mentioned in Revelation; also in the APPENDIX TO THE NEW JERUSALEM AND ITS HEAVENLY DOCTRINE, from which some notes are here appended.


And it [the Word] is accommodated both to men and to angels at the same  … And it is a means of uniting heaven and earth  … The conjunction of the Lord with man is through the Word, by means of the internal sense … There is conjunction by means of all things and each particular thing of the Word, and in consequence the Word is wonderful above all other writing … Since the Word was written the Lord speaks with men by means of it …


The Church where the Word is and the Lord is known by means of it, in relation to those outside the Church where there is no Word and the Lord is unknown is like the heart and lungs in man in comparison with the other parts of the body, which live from them as from the fountains of their life … Before the Lord the universal Church on the earth is as one Man … Consequently unless there were on this earth a Church where the Word is, and where the Lord is known by means of it, the human race here would perish. (HH 305)


1. The Lord’s New Revelation Regarding All Religions


It has now been revealed regarding all religions that closeness or conjunction with the Lord does not depend on religious membership or on religious behavior and piousness. It only depends on the purity and genuineness of the idea we have of Him regardless of one’s religious or other background. And since no spiritual idea of Him can ever be discovered from society or self, there is no other way provided by which anyone can have a genuine idea of Him except through the Word.


The Word in the heavens.

The Word exists in all the heavens, and it is read there as it is in the world, and sermons are based on it. For it is the Divine Truth which is the source of the angels' intelligence and wisdom. For without the Word no one knows anything about the Lord, love and faith, redemption, and all the other secrets of heavenly wisdom. In fact without the Word heaven would not exist, just as without the Word there would be no church in the world, so that there would be no linking with the Lord. I demonstrated above that natural theology is impossible without revelation, and in the Christian world without the Word. If it is not granted in the world, neither would it be granted after death. For the nature of a person's religious belief in the world dictates its nature after death, when he becomes a spirit. (De Verbo 14. XIV)


The Lord has now provided a New Word in His Second Coming. This new revelation is the Writings. An entirely new history has now begun for the human race, past, present, and future. The Writings are on this earth in a natural language, but in the spiritual world they are in a spiritual language. In the Number quoted from above (HH 305), it is said about the Word that


it is accommodated both to men and to angels at the same time (n. 1769-1772, 1887, 2143, 2157, 2275, 2333, 2395, 2540, 2541, 2547, 2553, 7381, 8862, 10322). (These Numbers refer to AC)


No other means of conjunction is possible for the human race but through the Writings. In the Writings the Lord has revealed Himself in a way not previously possible in the history of the human race. The conjunction with Him is not by owning the books of Swedenborg but by the spiritual truths and concepts we form in our mind about what is written therein.


Truths drawn from the Word have to be marshaled into doctrine in order that they may be put to use. The marshalling must be done by those who see things in light received from the Lord; and those so enlightened when they read the Word are people who desire truth for its own sake and for the sake of goodness of life, not those who desire it for the sake of self-glorification, reputation, or gain. Doctrine drawn from the Word is wholly essential for understanding the Word, see 9025, 9409, 9410, 9424, 9430; and those who gather doctrine from the Word must see things in light received from the Lord … (AC 10105 [2] )


In what is internal there are thousands and thousands of things that appear in what is external as one general thing … Consequently as thought and perception are more interior they are clearer (HH 267)


In the New Age and henceforth to all times, conjunction with the Lord takes place through spiritual truths in our mind from the Writings. The more interior these truths we can form for ourselves, the closer we can be conjoined to the Lord. This is why the inhabitations and societies in the afterlife are arranged in a spiritual geography that has a center and a direction marked by the spiritual Sun, as discussed above (LJ 48). Those who have acquired for themselves more external ideas of the Lord are further from the center and away from the direction of the spiritual Sun. This is because reception of the Lord’s love and wisdom is obscured to various extents depending on departures from genuine ideas of Him. The Writings henceforth are the only source of genuine ideas of Him, supplanting all previous ideas given to the human race:


Revelations have succeeded one another from the most ancient ages to the present time; and that at this day revelation is given solely through the Word … The Lord is the Word itself, because the Word is Divine truth, and Divine truth is the Lord in heaven, because it is from the Lord. (AC 10355)


Knowledge and consequent acknowledgment of God are not possible without revelation; nor are a knowledge of the Lord … It is by the revelation given to man that he is able to approach God and to receive influx, and thereby from being natural to become spiritual. … A man's knowledge of God is his mirror of God, and … those who know nothing about God do not see God in a mirror with its face toward them, but in a mirror with its back toward them; and as this is covered with quicksilver, or some dark paste, it does not reflect the image but extinguishes it. (TCR 11)


This new church is the crown of all the churches which have up to now existed upon earth (TCR 786)


This New Church is the crown of all the churches that have hitherto existed on the earth, because it is to worship one visible God in whom is the invisible like the soul in the body. Thus, and not otherwise, is a conjunction of God with man possible (TCR 787)


The New Church … is the crown of all the churches, and … will endure forever (INV 39)


Chapter 6, Section 4


4. The Notion That  “Meditation Is Spiritual”


It is believed by some that raising spiritual consciousness can be achieved by performing prescribed physical or mental acts such as sitting in meditation or undergoing spiritual imitation acts of the following types:


q       being touched

q       having visions

q       being anointed with oil

q       going through vibrational levels

q       performing a visible miracle feat

q       feeling energies

q       verbalizing a secret mantra

q       predicting of events through divination

q       chanting ritually

q       possessing special energy that perform psychic powers

q       walking on hot coals

q       omnipresence in physical space

q       bathing in a special river

q       practicing certain sexual acts

q       burning incense

q       sticking to a prescribed diet

q       lighting candles

q       going into a trance

q       enduring pain


The Writings teach that nothing can contribute to our salvation except regeneration through temptations (AC 227). The practice of meditation involves a particular use of inner sensations one can have. According to the Ching Hai quote above: “when we meditate, we use the technique to tune into the Kingdom of God.” If meditating contributes to our salvation then temptations are not the only means by which we can be regenerated and saved. This falsity allows another false idea to creep in: that we don’t have to fight so hard with all our temptations since there is an alternative. Even if I fail to fight this or that temptation, according to my choice or inclination, I can still be saved by compensating for them with meditation or other physical or mental practice.


At first it appears to the uncritical New Church mind that meditation could be claimed to be a spiritual activity since it involves focusing on the mental world in oneself. And “mental” in the Writings is used with a similar meaning to “spiritual.” After all, one might suppose, the mental world is the mind, and one’s mind is the spirit in the spiritual world. But this connection between meditation and mental/spiritual is in fact limited to the lowest spiritual state there is in the human mind—the corporeal state (SE 2829). In the spiritual world all who are in corporeal spirituality are in hell (HH 481). To be able to exist above the hells the spirit or mind must contain rational truths. These rational truths in the mind give the spirit the power of consciousness to exist in genuine human states associated with the three Heavens (De Verbo 3). This is the meaning of higher consciousness to the New Church mind. And in order to acquire the power of higher consciousness one must take in and assimilate rational truths. These are found only in the Writings (HH 455).


The Lord's Kingdom is within you (Luke 17:21; see AC 9305). The New Age agrees! So can we reach it by meditation? Can we close our eyes and thread a mental labyrinth to a great inner light? Can we see God in ourselves, in others?


It is through the Word that the Lord is present with a man and is conjoined with him, for the Lord is the Word, and speaks with the man in it. The Lord is also Divine truth itself, as likewise is the Word. The Lord is indeed present with a man through reading of the Word, but He is conjoined with him through the understanding of truth from the Word; and in the same proportion the church is within man. This is what is meant by the Lord's words, "The kingdom of God is within you" (SS 78).


So the kingdom of God is only within you if the Word of the Lord is. If someone wants to be closer to God, the method Is not meditation, but a greater understanding of the Word. There is no oneness with God without it. If a euphoric oneness is felt, it can just as easily be with one's proprium, the golden idol. It cleverly represents itself to our desires. We therefore hoodwink ourselves if we think having spiritual experiences is superior to the Word: Evil people can have spiritual experiences as well as good people, since they leave our evils untouched! (cf. De Verbo 29) Good people shudder at the mere thought of any divinity within oneself demonstrated by supernatural experiences. Conversely, only good people can see more deeply into Scripture, since it alone has the power to remove evil.


The Lord's Kingdom is within us when the truth of the word is lived. A growth group activity is a useful exercise of the as of self in our salvation. But it is not by self that evil is removed. It is by truth. … Only from the Writings can heaven, the Lord's kingdom, come on earth.

(Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom, The New Age and the New Church (Part Two). New Church Life, June 2002, 251-260)


In the new era of the Second Coming there is only one source for rational truths—the Writings of Swedenborg. And we appropriate these rational truths from the Writings to the extent we love them, that is, live daily according to them and suffer ourselves to undergo temptations (AC 227). It is impossible for the New Church mind to obtain celestial consciousness by any physical act such as sitting in meditation or being initiated by a special person. The same applies to physical and mental disciplines, diets, or initiations. The only way to raise consciousness for the New Church mind is to perform our regular daily duties and roles with a spiritual affection:


But affection of use in general is of two kinds; there is the spiritual affection of use and there is the natural affection of use. In external form the two are alike, but in internal wholly unlike; for this reason they are not known the one from the other by men in the world, but are readily known by angels in heaven; for they are wholly opposite, since the spiritual affection of use gives heaven to man, while natural affection of use, without the spiritual, gives hell; for the natural affection of use looks only to honors and gains, thus to self and the world as ends, while spiritual affection of use looks to the glory of God and to uses themselves, thus to the Lord and the neighbor as ends. (D. Love 17:2)


The process of character regeneration involves our motives or affections in the will, our thoughts or ideas in the understanding, and our actions or uses to others (works of charity). The Lord takes charge of this process by allowing us to fall into those kinds of temptations that challenge the beliefs and ideas we hold dear. We then fight as-of-self against our character, winning only when we call upon the Lord to give us the power to overcome, realizing that by ourselves we have zero power to fight any temptation (AC 47, 233, 1712, 2877, 5664, 10299; NJHD 148; DP 102; CL 82; SE 5958; LJ 299; AE 864).


Regeneration of one’s inherited spiritual character is a psychobiological process of spiritual growth, consequently the only way to salvation and heaven for the New Church mind. For those on this planet who do not have a New Church mind the process is entirely different (AC 3812[6]).


Consider the statement in the above quote by Dr. Miller : “Experiencing nonduality is the path of welcoming all that is.” In the New Church mind this proposition runs contrary to the idea in the Writings that our salvation depends on learning to hate the evil and to love the good (DLW 270). We are commanded to treat the neighbor with a difference in proportion to the good we can see in an individual or cause (AC 6023). We must not welcome “all that is” for this would be perdition. Altruistic tolerance and respect for all races and creeds must not be turned into ”welcoming” their ideas into our mind. We must grant to anyone the liberty of “experiencing nonduality” (Miller quote above) if they so wish, by “welcoming all that is” (Miller’s words)—but we cannot ourselves desire to do this once we understand the implications of nonduality. And this is our liberty to do.


Chapter 6, Section 5


5. (to be completed)



Chapter 6, Section 6


6. The Notion That  “We Are Already Perfect”


Consider the assertion in the Miller quote above: “We are already perfect as we are.” This notion may be taken in through a variant form that sounds more acceptable to Westerners: Everyone is basically good. This idea is opposite to every truth we gather from the Writings where it is revealed that everyone is born infernal and with only the potential of becoming human (AC 3928). The human spirit is heavenly or spiritual but the spirit we’re born as is infernal. One must therefore allow the Lord to surgically remove the infernal character and to create in us a new spirit that is heavenly. This process of new creation is called regeneration and is achieved only through undergoing temptations throughout our life in the body (AC 227).


To admit into the New Church mind that we are already perfect becomes a fatal impediment to the necessary regeneration we must undergo. Similarly with admitting the idea that everyone is basically good, for then regeneration becomes a falling off of the external evil and leaving behind the good interior. But the opposite is the case. Evil remains in the internal even if good covers it over in the external (AC 8932). First, evil must be removed as-of-self in temptations, and then good can be implanted by the Lord (AC 227).


Chapter 6, Section 7


7. The Notion That “Being One With Nature Is Spiritual”


“Relating to nature in a respectful and loving way, and to its mountains, plants, and all its creatures, is a spiritual act that raises one’s consciousness to divinity.” This feature of nonduality is very attractive to many Americans (see the Jerry Katz quote above). The New Church mind may be tempted to admit this idea since the Writings teach that all natural events or objects are correspondences to spiritual things and that these spiritual things are within the natural things as the cause is within its effect (AC 6275). This is true. But it doesn’t follow that loving nature and being respectful to its plants and creatures, is a spiritual act. Rather, the spiritual act is performed ONLY when we rationally (not sensually) identify the natural event or object as a physical consequence representing a spiritual truth. There is no spiritual value to nature in itself, only to nature as a vessel or containant of spiritual things. It is the same with the Word. There is no sacredness in the literal of the Word, but only in the literal of the Word within which lies the spiritual, and that is what makes the literal holy. When the literal is rationally taken as the vessel, and what is contained within it as the holy, THEN the literal is holy (TCR 200). But not the literal by itself. Similarly with the Communion Bread and Wine.


Conservation and nature-loving is eminently laudable, but it is not a spiritual act in itself. The spiritual must be added rationally through knowledge of the spiritual within. This can be done not merely with the pleasant things of nature but all things of nature including natural disasters, plant diseases, and destructive animals (AC 1632, DLW 338).


All things of nature are like sheaths around spiritual things (TCR Additions 1)


Chapter 6, Section 8


8. The Notion Of “Unconditional Love


A potentially harmful form of nonduality has swept across America through pop psychology though it originated with health professionals and is widely practiced by therapists and counselors. People are chanting the theme of unconditional love: “Love me for who I am.” Variations include: Love me, not what I can do for you. Or: Love me unconditionally, whether I’m good or bad. Or: Don’t try to change me—accept me as I am. Health professionals echo the call for unconditional love and acceptance of self and others as signs of psychological maturity and personality adjustment. It is a life philosophy that promulgates an attitude of acceptance for lifestyle differences and choices even when they are clearly harmful things. Since they have the right to choose what they want, therefore we should not disapprove but accept their choices. This attitude is advocated for self and self-acceptance is the equivalent of unconditional love for others.


But there are critics of this popular approach who see in it a mere convenient excuse for rejecting traditional values of good and bad and legitimizing a philosophy of convenience over self-improvement.


“Vile Suggestion, Vain Imagination, and Strong Delusion” (1999) (Accessed on the Web in May 2000 at


We keep on deceiving ourselves in regard to our faults, until we at last, come to look upon them as virtues. (Heine)


The recovery movement rather than a path to healing is a sham and actually promotes "victim mentality" and chronic dysfunction. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people, attend emotional support groups for all types of behavioral problems such as: overeating, gambling, codependency, sexual addiction, alcoholism, incest survival, manic depression, adult children, etc.


The idea of supporting one another is not a bad one, but the basis on which they relate their conduct to the disease model rather to lack of self control is misleading and destructive. Furthermore, there is a lot of blaming of others, especially parents, within these groups, even those with so-called Christian perspectives.


Necessary rebukes, in love, go unsaid. False idols are allowed to be worshiped without any call for necessary repentance. Bad advice, however, is allowed to filter through to the group. One hears, "Divorce him! You deserve better! You must be a codependent. Don't speak to your parents anymore. They are evil. You should always trust your feelings."


Unconditional love as put forth by psychologists and therapists and espoused by all 12 step recovery groups is a deceptive and destructive concept. What passes for unconditional love is not real love. It is flattery and cruel when what is really needed is a rebuke from a friend who does not mince words.


Only God has unconditional love.


Even God does not accept people unconditionally. He loves all men but he does not accept them without condition. He points out their sins and demands they come into line with his standards. He tells them to go and sin no more. Recovery groups which discard godly standards for right behavior and thought are more in line with Satan than they are with God.


The anonymous author of this remarkable insight also points out that health professionals continue to practice a medical model of mental malfunctioning: “Psychiatrists Thomas Szasz and E. Fuller Torrey have discussed these wrong uses of the medical model in depth.”


The New Church mind has a higher vantage point on any psychological issue because of our knowledge of regeneration from the Writings. We not only read the theory in the Writings but we are witnesses to the process to the extent that we apply the knowledge to our daily and hourly behaviors and thoughts. This gives us an objective point of view since it is based on observed facts in ourselves. From this rational perspective the medical model of mental functioning rests on a nonduality model of the mind and is therefore fundamentally opposed to all the dualities of the Writings. The medical model recognizes only a continuous degree between the body and the mind. Psychosomatics refers to this continuity. One obvious error in this is the notion that the body influences mind and mind influences the body. We know that this bi-directional influence operates only in continuous degree. It is impossible for it to cross the discrete degree. Therefore influx is always unidirectional: from the higher or spiritual to the lower or natural (AC 9110). Or: from events in the mind outward (or down) into the events of the body. At the same time the higher is affected by the lower in that the higher finds itself fulfilled when the lower acts in correspondence with it, but not otherwise.


1. Spiritual Events In The Inner Mind


Body diseases such as alcoholism and other physiological addictions or sensitivities are the effects of inner spiritual events in the mind. The mind is not an isolated or independently functioning entity. Our mind is among other minds in the spiritual world. Those who are already there can see the spirit-body of those who are still on an earth, though there is no conscious and direct interaction (TCR 475).



Sometimes man appears as to his spirit among others there. They said that they sometimes see them, and nevertheless know that it is not a spirit as yet after decease from the world, from certain signs. But it happens only with those who think inwardly in themselves more deeply than the rest. At the time, with him, his thought is withdrawn from the sensual of the body, and he appears thus. They, however, who think only in their sensual, and do not raise their thoughts above it, never appear. Nor do spirits know anything about man, where he is; inasmuch as the corporeal does not appear before their eyes, as spirits do not appear before men's eyes. (SE 5645)


The sphere of the other spirits all around and closest to our spirit-body exert a strong influence on us through their proximity. The Lord determines instant by instant which spirits and spirit societies are in spiritual proximity to our mind. The Lord’s purpose and procedures in this ceaseless process have been revealed through the Writings and they are detailed throughout under the general topic of regeneration (NJHD 183-6). The principal purpose of all revelations is to give us the knowledge by which we can cooperate with the Divine in our regeneration. No other method has been created for regeneration, a process whose outcome determines our eternal place in heaven or in hell. Therefore nothing can be more important to know than this.



During a whole night, while I was asleep, I was tormented in hell, in order that I might know the nature of the state [of those] there; for they fell upon me, inasmuch as they were then able to torture the spirit; but, still, I had no consciousness of a dream. It was a continual torture, one [of them] after another. [Persons] are there placed upon tables, and are miserably torn asunder, and their lust of ruling is called forth, and, as long as that cupidity lasts, they are tortured until it abates. [They are treated] thus, by one devil after another, as [they pass] from one part of hell to another, upon the tables. When the lust abates, then a little respite is given, so that they may be able to be in some cupidity of their own. Thus is the head of the serpent trampled under foot. (SE 4698)


We are unconscious of all this activity and it is not possible to discover it by any method known to science: introspection, cat scans, psychiatric profiles, medications, meditation, imagination, delusion, psychic “powers,” reasoning, luck. The reality of spiritual societies can be known in only one way—revelations from the Lord. We know therefore that the main outward problems that plague our society are caused by inward mental or spiritual states of mind: alcoholism, wife abuse, road rage, pedophilia, criminality, drug addiction, high divorce rate, chronic depression, racial prejudice, absence of compassion, avarice, scortation, poverty, maladjustment, ignorance, incompetence, and mistakes and blunders. All of the negativity that fills our day is caused by the spiritual societies with which we are in communication. (DLW 343, NJHD 277)


This is equally true of all the good things, which come to us through good spirits and angelic societies with which the Lord puts us in correspondential connection. (HH 304)


As a first reaction we might cry out in innocence: Why doesn’t the Lord keep us connected to the angelic societies all the time—surely that would be so much better.


Of course! Yes it would be very convenient for us—if only He could. It would be the Lord’s greatest desire to instantly regenerate every person and keep everyone in connection with angels from birth on earth until arrival in one of the heavenly societies (DP 329). The Writings explain that indeed this is how the Lord creates the earths in the universe, and our earth was no exception. The life of the early generations on this planet, called the Most Ancient Church (EU 87), is described, and their mental disposition was such that they were conscious of the angels they were connected to. Their regeneration was mild and brief, and their societies were free of disease and maladjustment. But eventually they declined and lost this pristine innocence by misusing the inherent liberty every person is given by the Lord, which is the liberty to resist and oppose Divine law and order. The Lord cannot take away this liberty without voiding human happiness and rationality.


This liberty is part of creation and of what is human-ness. It is always there to eternity (AC 5354). The angels have it and the instant they stop cleaving to the Lord’s Proprium, their old proprium from earth is resuscitated from the outer limits of their personality and they cast themselves out of heaven down into the spiritual world or lower into hell (DLW 25, SE 2555). Clearly then, regeneration is always necessary for the human race. Regeneration cannot start once the spirit is no longer connected to the physical body, but once it starts before we pass on, it will then continue to eternity as we are continuously perfected by the Lord to eternity (AC 5354). You can see therefore that nothing is more important for us to know than how we must regenerate before it is too late.


And the knowledge of regeneration is what is needed to repair society from its mental malfunctioning. From it will also come liberating society from its plagues and the body from its diseases, for this comes from that. This knowledge cannot be invented by science or the professions. Revelation in the Writings is the only source for it (NJHD 257; AC 8939; TCR 340, 347, 350; SS 111; SE 5961). . This is why the Writings are called the greatest miracle the Lord has granted since the beginning of the world (INV 43).


2. Everyone Is Born Into The Slavery Of An Addiction



All the infernals induce diseases, but with a difference according to the part to which they are attached, so that they may act from the opposite, to wit, in opposition to those in heaven, to whom the parts of the body correspond - for there are opposites to every society in heaven; for, as angels or angelic societies preserve in connection and soundness all things in man, so infernals, from the opposite [side], divide them. But it is only permitted them to inflow into the cupidities and falsities pertaining to man - not into man's organs. Only when man falls into disease, then they inflow also into those [organs] in man where the disease is; for nothing ever exists with man, save by a cause from the spiritual world.


Man supposes that such things exist in him, and that there is nothing outside him that acts; when, yet, every natural has its cause from a spiritual, otherwise it would be without a cause; but, still, this does not interfere with the fact that they can be, and also ought to be, cured, or made sound, by natural means. The Lord's providence then concurs with such means: and thus, also, man is kept the longer away from faith concerning a providence in the minutest particulars; for, if he should believe this, and afterwards deny it, he would profane a sacred truth, which is itself a most dreadful hell.

(SD 4585)


First, note that the activities of the disease process in the body are caused by the evil spirits whom the Lord allows to inflow by correspondence, which is a dualist concept. This is not at all like demon possession or voodoo magic which are nondualist concepts. The inflow is not into the body directly but into the “cupidities and falsities pertaining to man.” Second, note that medical and natural remedies heal the disease, or stop the action of the evil spirits, when the Lord heals the disease. The action of healing is initiated and remains in the natural world (by the Lord) and there is no direct influence on the spirits since the two are in discrete duality. This is not at all like the nonduality of Christian Science that puts the healing directly into the spiritual realm. They have this notion from the idea that matter is not real and only Spirit is real (nonduality). (See discussion in Chapter 3 Section 5.)


It’s important to avoid a wrong conclusion that inevitably occurs to the mind, namely that people who are more sick than others are more wicked—this is an error in thinking. The societies the Lord connects us to are those that make our inherited life. Until we become an adult and are ready to begin our regeneration we are in the life of what we inherit and what is all around us. The Lord attempts to disconnect us whenever we allow it to allow us to grow some new life that is spiritual, rational, and in Divine order. Were He to disconnect us from many or most of our hereditary connections to spiritual societies, the result for us would be to feel like we are dying and the ebb of life is flowing out of us. Obviously we cannot make progress in our regeneration if we are in this lifeless state. So the Lord must wisely manage the rate at which He can disconnect us from evil societies and connect us to good spirits and angelic societies. The more we consciously cooperate with Him, the faster, shorter, less painful, and more thorough regeneration is.


It’s important to avoid the pitfall in the idea that because something like alcoholism or drug addiction is a disease therefore the individual is not responsible for failing to control it. A Eulogy given at the memorial service for a neighbor’s young adult son said in part:


He suffered through this life battle the same as his uncle and cousin. He was not alone. Ten percent of Americans are alcoholics. For years people with alcohol problems were perceived as morally defective. He struggled with this disease that is treatable but not curable. He struggled with this demon since high school. This demon took his youth, his future, his health. He fought the demon and lost. It took destroying himself to destroy the demon. Thus he gave his family peace. Accept his gift of peace.


All of us are born into the slavery of an addiction, character malfunctioning, or personality and behavior disorder. There are no exceptions (AC 5280). There is an immense diversity of these disorders due to the inherited accumulation of countless disabilities in our spiritual genetic line. Every generation adds to this pool as they acquire and develop new disabilities and pass them on to their offspring on top of what was passed on to them (CL 202). In this way all the growing population of the hells and evil spiritual societies experience their “pleasures” or infernal delights. This is their life. Without their being connected by the Lord to our disabilities and bad luck, which they cause, they would have no life of their own:


(((There are also spirits, not far from thence, who infuse cold, and, thereby, paroxysms of cold fever:))) ((which it was also given me to know by living and sensible experience. In that region are the most malicious, the most skilful of all in the art of destroying others and the human race:)) (they study nothing else; they continually seek after new things of such a character whereby they can injure; and they put them into act amongst themselves, so that they may know - for they can induce infirmities; they can [effect] such things as disturb the mind, and deprive man of his external vitality:) hence he is as if inclined to fall, just as in sickness, when he begins to come near [them], etc. In a word, they are most malicious:


They separate interiors and exteriors, in various modes, and fill up the exteriors with offensive things, injurious to man: hence, when interiors fall into [exteriors] of such a kind, they are turned into shocking and deplorable things; for, if the recipient forms are perverted, whatever falls therein is perverted also. In such a manner, also, are interiors disunited from exteriors; and, when this is done, man is no longer of a sound mind - as, also, is the case in fevers. [Their] operation is principally into the stomach, and also into the biles, both of the pancreas and the liver; and, from thence, arise such effects [as have been described] and also vomitings, whereto they excite an endeavor. They are indescribably obstinate; they never desist unless they are driven away.


((There are in hell very hot places, which it was also granted me to feel, for the sake of knowing [where are] such as induce fevers. They know almost everything; and from those places they throw forth that impure and merely corporeal heat, separate from vitality; for, in the other life, [evil spirits] know how to transfer such things skillfully, and they likewise know by what shifts they can determine them into the body. Such [spirits] are of the most pernicious character, so obstinate as never to desist unless driven away by the Lord; and when they are driven away, immediately the febrile heat ceases. Wherefore, they also speak truly who have been sick when they ascribe their recovery of health to God, and give thanks to Him; although very many do this only from a custom derived from infancy, and, when left to themselves, ascribe it to nature.)) (SE 4572)


3. Good Loves And Genuine Truths


Regeneration is the slow process by which we acquire good loves and genuine truths and apply them to our daily activities. The Lord always maintains in equilibrium: He arranges that we always have a good choice or an evil one, second by second, all day long. The good spirits surrounding our mind in the spiritual world come nearer and drive away the evil spirits as we choose good; the evil spirits come nearer and the good spirits retreat, as we choose bad. The good spirits choose to retreat not from weakness but from loving fear that they might not deprive us of “pleasures” which make our current life. Thus when we choose evil, they look away, and patiently wait until we are ready to make a good choice.


This process of equilibrium is described as follows:


Good exists from creation, and it varies in degree from the highest to the lowest. When its lowest degree reaches zero, evil arises on the other side. So there is no relationship or progress of good to evil, but it relates and progresses to what is more or less good. Evil relates and progresses to what is more or is less evil, because these are opposites in every single detail. Since evil and good are opposites, there must be a mean point distinguished by equilibrium, where evil acts against good; but because it is not stronger, it cannot advance beyond making the effort.


'Everyone is brought up in this state of equilibrium; and since this is between good and evil, or what is the same thing, between heaven and hell, it is a spiritual equilibrium, and this confers freedom on those who enjoy it. As the result of this equilibrium the Lord draws all to Himself; and if a person freely follows Him, He leads him out of evil into good, and so to heaven. (CL 444)


This is the process of regeneration, and progress depends on our cooperation. (DP 114) Cooperation means that we (a) acknowledge some truth from the Divine and (b) strive to live according to it. To live it means to think and will accordingly (AC 10638). This is painful in the beginning our reformation because the feeling one experiences when avoiding the bad that we enjoy, is that we are giving up our life. This is done with regrets, doubts, and relapses. The drug addict, pedophile, rapist, or habitual criminal experience the feeling of loss of life when they contemplate giving up what they are used to and what forms the basis of their current living. Similarly with personality and behavior disorders. The angry man, the abusive husband, the promiscuous teenager, the depressed neighbor, the annoying practical joker, the negligent worker, the intolerant sectarian, the secular atheist, thus all of us--find ourselves in malfunctioning mental states because we remain connected to evil societies, each having their own brand of disorder they inflict on us and enjoy.


Those of us who seem to have more problems than others are not sicker or more wicked. It only means that the character of the disorder we inherited are more prominent in visible directions (CL 202). When you consider the dyadic relations in our society, like doctor and patient, psychologist and client, judge and convict, victim and abuser, it appears that one is better off than the other in terms of good and bad, truth and delusion. But this only an appearance related to what is visible and what is beneath the surface of behavior and mental state. When this spiritual content is looked at, there are no exceptions according to role, status, or success. Everyone is connected to evil societies upon which their unregenerated life depends for happiness and normalcy. Each one must undergo the same process of regeneration.


The question then arises: Who then gets to regenerate and how?


The answers are given in the Writings (NJHD 186). Those who are not in the New Church can be regenerated by the Lord to the extent that they will respond to His inner and unconscious promptings through conscience. The Lord sees to it that heredity and socialization provide the individual of every society with a conscience. Anyone of any religion or philosophy who acts from conscience acts from the Lord even if unbeknownst. Therefore when these get to the afterlife they are instructed by the good spirits and angels about the Divine Human and His role in their life. Since they are already acting from the Lord, now they become conscious of this, and they acknowledge and worship the Lord. This brings them to life in heaven.


For the New Church mind regeneration is conscious and cooperative. We already know the Divine Human as the Lord and we form a relationship with Him through our cooperation in regeneration of which He is in full charge (DP 114).


The nonduality of unconditional love assails the New Church mind in several ways, acting in opposition to regeneration. The politically correct attitude in our society for educated and tolerant individuals is to refrain from judging a diversity of behaviors and beliefs. The New Church mind can conform to this expectation for the sake of citizenship and peace, but without allowing it to creep inside. The Lord gives us the power to separate our external forms of behavior from our rational thoughts and affections. In an ideal angelic state such as are the inhabitants of heaven there is no such leeway. The outward behavior must conform to the inward states. But for the sake of regeneration in an earthly society it is permitted us to simulate and put on outward poses that do not reflect our inner conscience, conviction, or understanding. But there are definite limits set on the type of put-on or simulation that might be appropriate.


Faking for the sake of selfish gain and manipulating others against their good is hypocritical and evil. It destroys the person who does this by habit and justifies it by philosophy or reasoning. But put-ons and simulations motivated by the desire to keep the peace and to protect others from needless distress, is good and is the love of neighbor and God.


4. What’s Wrong With Unconditional Self-acceptance


Unconditional love is not part of the good put-on for the sake of peace because it is promoted as an inward process, outlook, or state of mind, not outward. Psychologists, counselors, and teachers promote the idea that unconditional love is the result of unconditional acceptance. This is defined as an absolute legitimization of one’s own self and the self of all others. From the New Church perspective this is the elevation of self to the status of an idol. The expression “love yourself” is heard as advice from psychiatrists, comedians, talk show hosts, actors, sports heroes, and the popular songs played by the next door neighbor’s teenager. Health professionals teach the rationale that if you can love yourself as you are, you can then love others. “As you are” is the key issue and that’s how it is hooked up to unconditional self-acceptance as the basis of unconditional love.


The culture of unconditional love and self-acceptance is an ideal that is not practiced, as it is obvious from the many plagues that beseech our society, as already discussed. National surveys and polls show that the majority of people hate their neighbors, disapprove of many things about them, hate their co-workers and complain about many of their traits, and can make a long list of what they would change about their partners if they could. Nevertheless acknowledging the culture of unconditional love as a creed or orientation makes it easier to open the door for other concepts of nonduality. Acceptance unguided by categorical dualities gradually erodes the power of one’s conscience, making it weak and hardly audible. One then leads life in slavery attracted by this, impressed by that, pulled in contradictory directions so that one’s moral integrity breaks up and one loses the way.


Consider the people around you, the successful business men, the famous lawyers, the political leadership, the admired artists, the experts who have a reputation of being brilliant at what they do, in short the most competent and intelligent people of our society. Despite their goodness in their area of operation they show many weaknesses and evils in private life. They get into rage and depression, alcoholism and drug addiction. They are overweight and unhealthy. They engage in fraud and they lie. They make promises they don’t intend to keep. They get divorced, abuse their wives, are active in secret lusts, and love themselves more than others. Their intelligence and superiority in many traits do not lead them to avoid these hereditary evils we all have. Nonduality legitimizes this commingling of good and bad loves as natural or human rather than as abnormal and animal. Unconditional love and self-acceptance are similar mechanisms for legitimizing the commingling of good and evil loves.


Clearly the New Church mind wants to be armed against the nonduality of self-acceptance and unconditional love. The love of self is our chief love, inherited and practiced until regeneration is far along in adult life and old age. The lifelong battle against the love of self must be won or there is no entrance to heavenly life (DP 100). That celestial level of our mind cannot be reached while we are in the love self because this love is in the corporeal level of our mind (AC 6310). We are where our love is (DLW 1, HH 192). If our love is in things that are in the lower level, that’s where we are. This state in itself is called infernal (AC 3928[2]). The corporeal-sensual is delivered from that infernal state and saved for heaven when we remove from it the love of self and make it obedient to the love of neighbor and the Lord. Only this love is rational and sane because each of us is created for others and no one for themselves (DLW 308).


The interiors of man are distinct according to degrees by means of derivations, and according to these degrees are also the lights. The internal sensuous, which is nearest the sensuous things of the body, has the most gross light. This light it has been given me to discern by much experience, and I have noticed that whenever I sank into this light, falsities and evils of many kinds presented themselves, and even things scandalous against heavenly and Divine things, besides things filthy and foul. The reason is that this light rules in the hells, and by means of it chiefly do the hells flow into man. When a man is in this light, his thought is in nearly the same light as that in which is his external sight, and is then almost in the body. (AC 6310)


Thus the love of self must be completely put to sleep if we are going to love the neighbor instead. We are where our love is, and when we love the neighbor we are in the celestial regions of our mind because love of neighbor and the Lord is only there and cannot descend below. It is stuck in its discrete degree. The idea of “love yourself” is a nonduality allied to self-acceptance and unconditional love. The Writings teach the opposite in the form of interrelated dualities:


Love of self is the opposite of love of neighbor (AC 6023, HH 558b). We are born into the love of self and must remove that love or go to hell (DP 102). We remove the love of self by non-acceptance of its traits (AC 3147). We must examine ourselves, find our sins, judge them, repent from them, refrain from them, and finally, hold them in deep aversion (AE 1164). Everyone who does this is an angel; no one who fails to do this can be an angel, in which case one is a devil with nothing in between. (AE 971[4])


5. Spiritual Dualities From the Writings Are To Be Loved And Lived


These absolute dualities are in the New Church mind to the extent that we live the Writings. Our all important regeneration proceeds to the extent that these dualities are loved and lived. The last thing we want to do is to love ourselves or to accept ourselves. Yes, we must take care of ourselves so that we are physically healthy and mentally informed and educated. This is our civic and family responsibility, which we must love to perform as a use. We need to study from daily life how to distinguish between taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves. This all important knowledge is taught in the Writings under the topic of “love of neighbor” (AC 6023) and “love of uses” (D.Love 13, D.Wis 10-11), the two being equivalent. Here is one feature of the topic in the Writings that relates to how people associate with each other, form partnership, and act like they accept and love each other:


Nearly all people in the natural world can be associated together in respect to their outward affections, but not in respect to their inner affections if these differ and become apparent. The reason is that in the world a person is invested with a material body, and this is filled with urges, which in it are like dregs that settle to the bottom when newly fermented wine is being clarified.


From such elements come the materials of which the bodies of people in the world are composed.  As a result, inward affections that belong to the mind do not appear, and in many cases scarcely a trace of them is visible. For either the body swallows them up and immerses them in its dregs, or from a habit of dissembling learned from early childhood, it hides them deep within and conceals them from the sight of others.


This also enables it to enter into the state of some affection which it observes in someone else, and to attract the other's affection to it, so that they form a relationship.  They form a relationship, because every affection has its delight, and delights are what join hearts together.


It would be different, however, if inward affections were like outward ones, visible in the expression of the face and gesture and audible in the sound of the speech, or if their delights were noticeable to the nose and smelled, as is the case in the spiritual world. If these affections were then dissimilar to the point of friction and conflict, they would separate their hearts from each other and part, removing themselves to a distance commensurate with their perception of antipathy.


It is apparent from this that nearly all people in the natural world can be associated together in respect to outward affections, but not in respect to their inner affections, if these differ and become apparent.

(CL 272)


The first duality we need to hold up to ourselves is the separation between the outer self and inner self, as explained in the quote above (CL 272; see also AC 5354). The outer self is what we appear to be to others by means of our personality traits and habits. The inner self is private and we alone have access to knowing what is there. When we are being sincere and feel secure, our external visible self reflects what is in our private inner self. We sit loose and let it all hang out, as the saying goes. But when we are insincere or fear persecution our outer self no longer reflects our private life, but is only a convenient put-on designed to cover up what is in our private inner self. Note that both the inner and outer self are in the natural mind. Above this natural mind is the spiritual-rational mind which is in a discrete degree higher. It too has an inner and an outer self (AC 5354). It’s important not to confuse the private inner self of the natural mind with the spiritual mind. Meditation, for instance, take place in the private inner self of the natural mind, and therefore it is not spiritual in and of itself. But all that takes place in the spiritual-rational mind is spiritual in and of itself.


Now consider the relationship between two married partners, two close friends, two co-workers who get along well together, people who share entertainment and recreation activities and enjoy each other’s company. All these relationships may be based on the external self of each getting along with the external self of the others. This is what creates law and order in a community. But what happens when they suddenly slide into interacting from the inward self, as it sometimes happens due to circumstances and Divine laws in action. Internecine warfare—that’s what happens. I looked up the definition of “internecine” and it is composed of these words: destroy, slaughter, kill, conflict, violent death, mutual destruction. That describes accurately how these friends, co-workers, and amusement partners feel toward one another in the inward self. There is never any unconditional love or neighborly love or charity and compassion in the inner self when this is still unregenerate (AC 977). It is against our nature to love the neighbor before we are reformed and are undergoing regeneration (Charity 210).


The unregenerate man has no conscience, or if any, it is not a conscience of doing good from charity, and of thinking truth from faith, but is based on some love that regards himself or the world, wherefore it is a spurious or false conscience. (AC 977)


In addition to the distinctiveness of the outer and inner self, the second duality we need to hold up is the discrete categories of neighbor whom we are to love (AC 6023, 2425). Consider the Second of the Two Great Commandments: Love your neighbor at least as much as yourself or more than yourself (Luke 10:27, AC 548). Initially we understand the meaning of this as commanding us to love everyone equally. The Writings point out that this is not rational nor practical and would destroy the fabric of society (Charity 52, NJHD 106). Few there are in our society who love the thief who got into our house or the homeless we pass by on the streets. We do not love them as much as we love ourselves, our family members, our friends, our neighbors, the people in our Church, and so on. To be rational as well as practical we must love the neighbor with a difference (AC 6023, A2425).


6. Shunning Evils As Sins


Anyone, from the principle that it is Christian not to do evil to the neighbor, also does not do it. He, however, who from that principle only does not do evil to the neighbor and does good to him, still does not love him. It is from obedience to the Divine laws that he does not do evil to him, and not from an affection of love towards the neighbor. No one knows anything of this affection but he who shuns evils as sins, that is, who does not love evils. Such a man comes into the affection of that love.


For it is one thing not to do evil but good from obedience, and another not to do evil but good to him from an affection of love towards the neighbor. (Charity 210).


Scientists cannot discover this striking principle on their own since it is spiritual and must be revealed to be known. The principle is that love of neighbor cannot exist in the mind that still loves mixed affections, some good, some bad. If we allow ourselves a few bad feelings or intentions towards the neighbor we love evil, sometimes. The natural mind filled with nonduality wants equity and balance in judging a person. It’s common for people to say: He is a good man. He’s got a few bad traits, but in the balance he is among the good. Etc. This idea involves the model by which “being a good man” is something that you measure on a continuum, figuring out the balance between good and bad, and their seriousness. This approach works only in terms of the external person’s behavior and performance. It is suitable and practical for running society or a business but not for assessing spiritual content.


The Writings reveal that the good we do when we allow both good and bad in ourselves, is not good to begin with and can never become genuine good (DP 14). It is only an appearance of the outward behavior. Society could not survive without this appearance which compels people to withhold themselves from doing more evil and to put-on good behavior most of the time. But this outward good that keeps society running is not spiritually good because as soon as the individual arrives in the afterlife, all pretense of good is thrown off, and only the evil inside remains (AC 7790, HH 499).


Therefore love of neighbor is genuine good love only when one is being regenerated. This happens to the extent that we shun evils and thereafter do good (Charity 210). Reformation consists of self-examining our thoughts and feelings, finding the selfish and evil ones, judging them, repenting of them, and struggling constantly not to repeat them. This struggle sets up the process of starting our regeneration. To the extent that we shun denigrating thoughts and hurtful motives toward others, to that extent we can start doing good that is genuine good, or spiritual good. It must be an absolute duality in our mind. Not a single evil can be allowed, once detected to our awareness. The process of uncovering evils to our awareness is carefully managed by the Lord who brings those evils to our attention that we are willing to shun at any one time (DP 278).


We have discussed two dualities: the separation between outer an inner self, and the degrees of love for the neighbor. The third duality is needed to connect to these two relates to regeneration: a person is either regenerating or unregenerate. We are in an unregenerate state prior to beginning of our regeneration, a state called reformation (TCR 571). Until we begin our reformation we are in a discrete degree separate from the spiritual mind which begins with regeneration.


Putting the three dualities together we have this thesis about unconditional love and self-acceptance:


When we are in an unregenerate state our outer self is in its loves within “the dregs” of the body and the corporeal-sensuous mind. Though we declare unconditional love as our operating system, this is nothing but the love of self. Our inner self is in the hatred of all people except a few who favor us and whom we can exploit for our needs. But the moment they stop favoring us or serving our needs, our inner self holds them in hatred. What lies inside unconditional love is therefore unconditional hatred, one in the outer self, the other in the inner self (SEM 4717; SE 409; HH 377; CL 365; AE 624).


When we undergo repentance and reformation of life and turn ourselves sincerely to regeneration, the inner self is first modified so that the hatred which reigns in it is suppressed, judged, and exiled to the far reaches of one’s character. This is called “crucifying the flesh” by Paul (Gal. 5:24; AR 639; Charity 210). To the extent that we do this to that extent the outer self is also modified (Charity 210, AC 5354). Once regeneration begins the outer self and the inner self are aligned so that the Lord can rule them both through our interior rational mind which is a discrete degree above the natural mind which contains the outer self and inner self.


A remaining issue is the kind of love that we must show to the neighbor.


7. What Is Loving The Neighbor?


Every man is indeed the neighbor, but each one with a difference; that he is most the neighbor who is in good, and this also with a difference according to the quality of the good; that the origin of the neighbor is from the Lord Himself, so that the nearer any are to Him, that is, the more they are in good, the more they are the neighbor; and the more remote they are from Him, the less; and also that a society is more the neighbor than an individual man, and a kingdom in general more than a society, but our own country more than other kingdoms; that the church is still more the neighbor than our country, and the Lord's kingdom still more; and also that the neighbor is loved when anyone discharges his office aright for the good of others, or of his country, or of the church; and so on. (AC 6023)


From these doctrinal things they also knew what charity is, namely, the affection of being of service to others without any end of recompense; and also what is the neighbor toward whom there should be charity, namely, all in the universe, but still each with discrimination. (AC 3419)


The quality of the love determines who is the neighbor. (AC 6711)


The origin of the neighbor must be drawn from the Lord, therefore the distinguishing differences of the neighbor are according to the Lord's presence in good, thus according to the quality of the good. (AC 6707)


They who are in evil are indeed the neighbor, but in quite a different respect; and for this reason they are to be benefited in a different way. (AC 6708)


The idea that we must show the same love to everyone is a nonduality. Henry James, Sr. made this idea a cornerstone of his “Christology” (see Chapter 4 Section 2). Christians tend to interpret the Lord’s Commandment of “Love your neighbor” as loving everyone equally. This too is a nonduality. Jews interpret this Commandment from the Old Testament as meaning that they should love all Jews, not just one’s family or tribe. Secular Christians or humanists often quote Jesus to support their view that all human beings must be loved and treated equally on account of their being human. But the Writings teach a more differentiated and distinct idea of who the neighbor is, as in the quotes above, and this one:


Those who are in the love of self … acknowledge as the neighbor those who love them the most; that is, insofar as they are theirs; thus are in themselves. These they embrace, these they kiss, these they benefit, and these they call brethren; nay, because they are evil, they say that these are the neighbor more than others. (AC 6710)


To love the neighbor does not consist in loving his person, but in loving that with him from which he is, consequently good and truth (n. 5028, 10336). They who love the person, and not that which is with him from which he is, love evil as well as good (n. 3820). And they do good to the evil as well as to the good, when nevertheless doing good to the evil is doing evil to the good, which is not loving the neighbor (n. 3820, 6703, 8120). (NJHD 106)


From these and many other passages it is made clear to the New Church mind how to obey the Lord’s Great Commandment. The months following the 9/11 attack on the United States the American military captured several hundred terrorists in Afghanistan and brought them to the American military base in Guantanamo, Cuba. A national debate ensued as to how these prisoners should be treated and what their rights were. There were plenty of hotheads who suggested we torture them, or starve them, or withhold from them medical care or their religious books, etc. But the U.S. President stressed that we must treat them with due rights, and they were given proper medical care and freedom to engage in their religious rituals. This is then the proper love of the neighbor, namely, to treat individuals according to the level of their rights, which everyone understands varies from situation to situation. One of the captured individuals called the “American Taliban” was a U.S. citizen and his rights were greater than the foreign prisoners. He was kept in a U.S. jail and given full due process in his trial.


It’s a practical matter as well. Everyone understands that the homeless person to whom we serve a meal cannot expect to move in with the benefactor. The Salvation Army truck driver who comes to pick up give away clothes doesn’t expect you to give them your new clothes but only the discards. An acquaintance who goes bankrupt in his business cannot expect you to support him but must find some other permanent arrangement. Your wife and children come before your uncles and cousins when it comes to allocate your budget. A neighbor who won’t curb his aggressive dog will get sued by the other neighbors. Likewise with a client who received services or goods for a fee and will not pay up. The judge who “punishes the evil that they may be amended, and that the good may not be contaminated by them, loves the neighbor” (NJHD 106). A friend who turns out to engage in criminal activity must not be treated in the same way as other friends who are law abiding. An employee who is devoted and responsible is loved more than one who is insincere and irresponsible. People who are found to have special talents are to be encouraged and helped in developing them, for all talents are goods from the Lord and it is the good in people from the Lord that we must love, not their person.


We conclude therefore that unconditional love for all is neither rational nor good, but conditional love according to the situation is rational and good.


8. What About Self-Esteem?


A well-liked sermon by Rev. Douglas Taylor on the subject of self-esteem explores the conflict in the New Church mind between love for the neighbor and love for self:


The idea of self-esteem is a difficult one for many New Church people. It makes them feel uneasy; they are inwardly resistant to it. The reason is that they recollect so many passages in the New Revelation which say that mankind is nothing but evil, that the human proprium (what is one’s own) is essentially evil, and the love of self is the source of all evils (see DP 139:7)


(…) If we have nothing but such evils, how can we possibly have any self-esteem, any feeling of self-worth? How can we love those qualities in ourselves? They are directly opposite to the heavenly qualities that we wish for.

(“Self-Esteem—A Sermon by Rev. Douglas M. Taylor” New Church Life March 2002 v.CXXII No.3 pp. 99-105)


Rev. Taylor draws a valid distinction between the inherited qualities we have in the unregenerate state, on the one hand. And on the other, the qualities of good that we receive from the Lord as we are regenerating. We cannot have a legitimate love for the evil affections we inherit and acquire ourselves in daily living. But we are commanded to love those heavenly qualities we have from the Lord because it is to love the Lord. These good affections are not from our proprium, and neither are they ours. They are the Lord’s since whatever is from the Lord remains the Lord’s and can never be ours. If we angels would forget for one instant they are the Lord’s in them, they would immediately cast themselves out of their heaven. For to attribute anything that is the Lord’s to our self is meritoriousness, which is damnation itself (AC 4174).


The good affections in us that are the Lord’s are unconsciously implanted by the Lord starting in infancy and beyond. These  Divine implants in us are called “remains.”


What remains are, has been stated and shown above …, namely, that they are all the states of the affection of good and truth with which a man is gifted by the Lord, from earliest infancy even to the end of life; which states are stored up for him for the use of his life after death; for in the other life all the states of his life return in succession, and are then tempered by the states of good and truth with which he has been gifted by the Lord. The more remains therefore that a man has received in the life of the body, that is, the more of good and truth, the more delightful and beautiful do the rest of his states appear when they return.


That this is really so may be evident to everyone, if he will consider. When a man is born he has not a particle of good of himself, but is wholly defiled throughout with hereditary evil, and all that is good flows in, such as his love for his parents, his nurses, his companions; and this from innocence. Such are the things that flow in from the Lord through the heaven of innocence and peace, which is the inmost heaven, and thus is man imbued with them in his infancy.


[2] Afterwards, when he grows up, this good, innocent, and peaceful state of infancy recedes little by little; and so far as he is introduced into the world, he comes into its pleasures, and into cupidities, and thus into evils; and so far the celestial or good things of the age of infancy begin to disappear; but still they remain, and the states which the man afterwards puts on or acquires are tempered by them. (AC 1906)


As the New Church mind undergoes reformation, then gradual regeneration, the remains are activated by the Lord and their growth constitutes the new spiritual mind that is being prepared for heavenly life. The life of the angels consists of acting not from their own (which is quiescent), but acting from the Lord’s Own or Proprium (AC 3813). While being regenerated on earth the New Church mind learns to act more and more from the remains that are growing in our spiritual mind. We must love these remains as we love the Lord since these implanted affections are the Lord’s affections not our own. And this is the unshakable rock bottom self-esteem and self-worth that the New Church mind has.


Everyone who heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and everyone that heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man who built his house upon the sand ([Matt.] verses 24, 26). (Life 2)


However, very few can apprehend with the understanding that the acknowledgment of the Lord, and the acknowledgment that all that is good and true is from Him, are what cause a man to be reformed and regenerated.


But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth. Luke vi 46-49.

(DP 91)


The New Church mind is built on a solid rock foundation. This is the Lord. That is, the remains from the Lord in us. This is our self-esteem and self-worth. We do not have this on account of what is our own, like it had been claimed by the psychology of unconditional love and self-acceptance (see above in this section). What is our own is but sifting sand but what is the Lord’s in our mind is solid rock. Self-love is the love of what is our own, and this love is nothing but the love of dominion from the love of self and the world (NJHD 65-80). True and valid self-esteem is the knowledge and confidence we have in our remains implanted by the Lord as we regenerate. Apart from this we have nothing but illusion and slavery to wickedness from the hells.


9. A Poisonous Serpent And Cockatrice


Self-esteem in the New Church mind is worth gold, but self-love in the unregenerate mind is a poisonous serpent and cockatrice:


The reason why the "serpent" means all evil in general, and specifically the love of self, is that all evil has had its rise from that sensuous part of the mind, and also from that memory-knowledge [scientifica], which at first were signified by the "serpent;" and therefore it here denotes evil of every kind, and specifically the love of self, or hatred against the neighbor and the Lord, which is the same thing. As this evil or hatred was various, consisting of numerous genera and still more numerous species, it is described in the Word by various kinds of serpents, as "snakes" "cockatrices" "asps" "adders" "fiery serpents" "serpents that fly" and "that creep" and "vipers" according to the differences of the poison, which is hatred. (AC 251; see also TCR 487)


The self-esteem we derive from knowing about remains and loving them as from the Lord also applies to the love we have for our employment and country. Our employment and other uses we perform daily such as parenting and being a spouse, are also a source of legitimate self-esteem and a feeling of self-worth because all uses are also from the Lord and our performing them sincerely constitutes love of neighbor and the Lord (TCR 744). Patriotism can be merely a natural love or spiritual. The patriotism of the unregenerate mind is natural without any spiritual in it. The love and loyalty for country is like unconditional love discussed above in this section. One loves the country merely because it is our country of birth or naturalization. This love is to love what is one’s own regardless of the good that is in it or absent—“My country right or wrong.”


Spiritual love of country is the love of the good that is in the country. This good is from the Lord. We can love the civil good that is in the practice of its laws and judiciary. We can also love the moral good which is in the virtues in its values and institutions. We can also love its spiritual good which is in its life of religion and freedom of worship that it safeguards for all its citizens. To love the different kinds of good in the country—civil, moral, spiritual—is a spiritual love. This love has within it the love of the Lord and the idea that it is He that governs the country, and from this alone can its citizens have genuine self-esteem with regard to self and their country.


Chapter 6 Section 9


9. The New Church View On Forgiveness


The Lord … said that people were to forgive their brother not seven times but seventy times seven, Matt. 18:21, 22. By this He meant that they were to forgive as often as he sinned. Their forgiveness was to know no limits, that is, was to be eternal and timeless, which is holy. (AC 433)


I have heard from heaven that the Lord forgives to everyone his sins, and never takes vengeance nor even imputes sin, because He is love itself and good itself; nevertheless, sins are not thereby washed away, for this can be done only by repentance. For when He told Peter to forgive until seventy times seven, what will not the Lord do? (TCR 409)


In the exercise of charity man should see clearly whether he is acting from justice, and this he sees from judgment. For a man may do evil by deeds of beneficence; and by what appear to be evil deeds he may do good. For example: One who gives to a needy robber the means wherewith to buy a sword, by a beneficent act is doing evil; although the robber in begging the money did not tell what he would do with it. So again, if one rescues a robber from prison and shows him the way to a forest, saying to himself, It is not my fault that he commits robbery; I have given succor to the man.


[15] On the other hand, a man may do good through what appear to be evil deeds. Take as an example a judge who acquits an evil-doer because he sheds tears, pours out words of piety, and begs the judge to pardon him because he is his neighbor. But in fact a judge performs a work of charity when he decrees the man's punishment according to the law; for he thus guards against the man's doing further evil and being a pest to society, which is the neighbor in a higher degree, and he prevents also the scandal of an unjust judgment. Who does not know also, that it is good for servants to be chastised by their masters, or children by their parents, when they do wrong? The same is true of those in hell, all of whom are in the love of doing evil. They are kept shut up in prisons, and when they do evil are punished, which the Lord permits for the sake of their amendment. (TCR 459)


The New Church mind seeks the Writings for the Doctrine which we are to extract from the Writings so that it resides in our understanding and from there directs our willing and thinking in daily activities. Forgiveness is discussed in many places with the related ideas of love of neighbor and charity. Here are some summary points of passages in the Writings about forgiveness:


q       The Lord always forgives anyone, no matter what

q       There are no limits to forgiveness--always forgive, no matter what

q       To forgive people does not mean that we should do nothing when we are victimized by them or that they are not required to face responsibility for their actions

q       To forgive ourselves does not mean that we are not required to shun our evils and weaknesses


In the prior discussion on unconditional self-acceptance it was pointed out that such an attitude would be disastrous to the New Church mind. The basis of reformation is the engineering of a behavioral and cognitive turnabout from the self we are now to its opposite traits. We begin our life of self with evil traits inherited from the family line and added on to it by our life choices. (CL 202) Then in adult life we can rethink our situation and opt for a life of regeneration, which means to suffer ourselves to be changed by the Lord to the extent we let Him. This activity is gradual and long term because it involves fixing damaged organic fibers or growing new ones. Organic fibers are spiritual substances from the spiritual world by which our mind (or spirit body) is formed into an functioning organ. There are two such organs: the will and the understanding, known in psychology as the affective and the cognitive, though very little is known about their difference and almost nothing their constitution.


The inherited mind, strengthened even more by our life choices, is formed by spiritual fibers called affections and thoughts. These fibers can be seen in the spiritual world. Swedenborg reports that the unregenerate mind is twisted into coils that spiral in the opposite direction of the spirals in the regenerate mind (DLW 275). In the spiritual world the coils remain such as they were on arrival in the afterlife (xx). To start one’s regeneration is possible only on earth because in that state, while attached to the physical body, it is possible for the mind to grow a new shoot engrafted in the spiritual portion of it that is tilled and implanted by the Lord. This implanting, or opening of function, is achieved only to the extent that we voluntarily and consciously change how we think and what we intend all day long. The new spiritual mind is not tinted in any way by heredity or personal sin. It is the Lord’s dwelling through Divine Truth implanted in accommodation to our unique individuality. This Divine Truth must come to us from the external rational mind, that is, through the senses, by reading and hearing the Writings and its Doctrines as being Divine Truth.


The opening of the spiritual mind is within the Doctrine from the Writings that we took up into the conscious rational mind (external rational).


1. Forgiveness Is Always Granted Immediately by the Lord


When you reflect on this process of regeneration and spiritual growth you can see that the issue in salvation is not to get the Lord to forgive us our sins. His forgiveness is granted immediately to everyone without having to ask (TCR 539). Yet this does not remove the sin! Similarly, you can forgive yourself for the things you willed and thought, yet you still are required to reform from those things. Sin is evil willing and false thinking. Therefore, neither the Lord’s forgiveness of our sins, nor our own forgiving ourselves, removes the sins. In a state of corporeal spirituality prior to our reformation we hang on to the idea that being forgiven removes sin. This is really convenient. But it’s false. Sin remains after forgiveness.


Sin is to will evil, in other words to accept evil affections such as selfishness and its corrupting derivatives, and the love of dominion, and its cruel derivatives. To accept these affections is to love them. Not to love them is to shun them (AE 971[2]). So the only way sin is removed is to shun these affections of evil in us (LJP 350). Shunning them means to resist them and to strive to put them aside with the help of the Lord’s power given to us for that purpose. Once we shun evil affections, the Lord puts them aside, and gives us new affections by putting us in communication with good spirits.


Sin is a state of connection to evil spirits. The Lord cannot forcibly remove these connections, for if He did, we would feel like our immortal spirit is quickly dying. And so we would because our aliveness is nothing else then our affections (DP 279). Hence the Lord cannot remove our evil affections forcibly for that would be removing our life with nothing left to replace it. But if we shun these affections, then He can remove the spiritual connections. Why? Because we as-of self shun them, reject them, don’t want them around any more.


So, as the evil affections are being removed, we can accept the new life that flows in through the new spirits. Our spiritual life doesn’t feel like it is dying, but growing, through the new good affections which give us far more intense and elevated life than the evil affections ever did. But we don’t get to find this out until we’ve made the switch. This is why we must trust and love the Lord, or else we are unable to make the big jump into the unknown.


Now you can see why unconditional self-acceptance is so deadly to the New Church mind. Such an attitude would prevent us from shunning our evil affections, and therefore the Lord could not remove them and we could not be saved from eternity in hell. This may sound like an exaggeration or extreme dogmatism, but it is the truth supplied by the Writings. It is a rational truth, not a dogmatic one. We are given rational explanations of how it comes about that we cannot be saved from hell unless we shun evil affections we acquire in our willing and thinking. It’s a matter not of Divine forgiveness but spiritual psychobiology. The counter-direction of the spirals in which are embedded evil affections are not capable of receiving rational truths. Without rational truths the human mind sinks down into animal corporeality, and this is what is called hell. In this sorry state of mind the truth from the Lord comes in from within, as with the angels, but then it gets accommodated to the counter-directional spirals of the affections that constitute the mind.


Thus what animates the fibers is the opposite of the truth that came in. The unregenerate mind in the afterlife is like an anti-truth machine. It transforms every truth into its opposite. Swedenborg reports numerous conversations he had with such people and they appear normal when taken out of their madness by the action of good spirits, But very soon they precipitate themselves forcefully back into the madness of their hell states. And this over and over, forever. It is organic. There is no possibility for learning except in limited ways by extreme punishments carried on for a long time (TCR 796). But there never is any real progress because their inherent madness pulls them back into themselves.


The idea of forgiveness as spiritual psychobiology is an interior or spiritual view. People recognize two venues for forgiveness—outward and inward. Outward forgiveness refers to behavior and conduct. For example, if you forgive someone something bad they did to you, you will be expected not to mention it again (except maybe in good humor), and you will be expected to act like it never happen. People often say, “Forget it. It’s OK. I forgive you.” But everyone knows that inwardly there may or may not be forgiveness, and instead, there may be resentment, ill will, and the desire for revenge. This inward forgiveness is more difficult to achieve than outward behavioral forgiveness. And yet there is another level, even more inward, which is spiritual. This level is more rational and involves justification and confirmation of our forgiveness or resentment.


This more interior level can look down upon the natural inward or private level, and assess it, whether it is from hell or from heaven. It can see that the motive for forgiveness is equity, fairness, or self-esteem. This is from self, therefore from hell. Or, it can see that the motive for forgiveness is the understanding that resentment or revenge are corrupting motives and lead us to hell. This is a spiritual motive, not social or moral or psychological. Spiritual motives are a discrete degree higher in rationality than the others because spiritual motives involves the idea of God while the others involve the idea of nature, evolution, culture, humanism, and the like (xx). These are natural-rational, while the idea of God is spiritual-rational, and what is spiritual is more rational (TCR 369[3]).


Further aspects to the New Church role of forgiveness will be seen as we discuss the secular and Christian views below.


Chapter 6 Section 10


10. The Secular View On Forgiveness


A contemporary version of secular forgiveness may be examined in the following statements:


Forgiveness is completely letting go of the past, its pain, anger, and grief. Forgiveness is operating in the here and now - where this event is no longer occurring.


Forgiveness focuses you on the reality of what happens and asks you to accept it as karma to engender your evolution to a higher level. You need to learn from your bad karma and begin to understand how your actions helped bring this change to your world. If you hold onto it, seek revenge, or refuse to let go, you are ADDING your current strength and power to this negative memory.


As long as you hold on to the anger, victimization, and pain, you will have this negative energy locked inside you making you ill - mentally, spiritually, and physically.


What is forgiveness?

It starts in your heart with understanding, a heaping measure of love, acceptance of the truth, the truth of the light of consciousness, God's grace - or whatever you wish to call it - and is followed by healing actions. Any ongoing conflicts, such as lawsuits, arguments, or refusals to communicate must be resolved. Words of resolution should be communicated either in person (preferably), by phone, or with a nice letter. It must be heart-felt, not mechanical, not just an act of going through the motions. Fake it until you make it - that's a start. It can lead to a transformational experience if repeated often enough, but the results will be slow until it is truly from your heart. The more you focus your attention on this healing, the faster your pain and the chaos you cause in everything around you, will dissipate.

(“The Power of Forgiveness” by Brian Sheen on the Web at Accessed June 2002)


Forgiveness is not Condemnation. Forgiveness does not mean you agree with what the other person did to you. It does not mean you can change what happened or erase what they did. What’s done is done. All you can do is release yourself.


Forgiveness is Not for Them, It’s for You. Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else, but to free YOURSELF from the continuation of pain and anger. It is a gift to your peace of mind, your self esteem, your relationships with others, your future.

Why forgiveness?


(“Why Forgiveness? Forgiveness is a way of releasing ourselves from the pain we have experienced at the hands of others...” By Kenneth Cloke on the Web at Accessed June 2002)


Summarizing the secular view of forgiveness, we can make the following list of items:


  1. Forgiveness is a current process in the mind that involves memories of past events that are no longer occurring
  2. Forgiveness is the process of letting go of the negatives we have today from the past (anger, grief, resentment)
  3. Forgiveness involves the acceptance of the reality of events—it did happen, it’s reality
  4. Forgiveness is the recognition that to be human is to have karma—bad events are unavoidable but they have a positive function in bringing us further along in our evolution
  5. Holding on to resentment and the desire for revenge adds to the negative consequences of the bad event—this is something we add ourselves, making it worse
  6. If you don’t let go of anger and resentment you lock in the negative energy which will make you sick—“ mentally, spiritually, and physically”
  7. Forgiveness starts with understanding and acceptance of the “light of truth,” or the “light of consciousness,” or “God's grace - or whatever you wish to call it”—this brings on the healing process or recovery from feeling like a victim and being a victim
  8. Once the healing process starts it is to be followed with healing actions—resolution of conflicts through communication and statements of forgiveness that are heartfelt and sincere, not a mere social put on—“ Fake it until you make it,” so it may be a gradual process of progressive healing
  9. Forgiveness does not imply that you agree with the bad thing done by someone, but you withhold yourself from condemning the person for it—this doesn’t erase the crime but it releases you from the crime
  10. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not for the perpetrators you forgive—“It is a gift to your peace of mind, your self esteem”


Chapter 6 Section 11


11. The Christian View On Forgiveness


The first step in forgiveness is to recognize your resentment against an enemy. You must understand who the enemy is and what he has done to hurt you. Then you must consciously say, "I forgive that person for the following wrongs against me." Then repent of your feelings against your enemy and ask God to forgive you, even as "we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us" (Luke 11:4).


After that, begin to pray actively for your enemy's good. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and that doing this will help to fill us with love for them.


When you pray for your enemies, asking God to meet their needs and manifest Himself to them, you are overcoming evil with good. Instead of fighting negative thoughts in your mind, you are filling your mind with positive thoughts. You are now on the side of your enemy; you have a spiritual stake in his well-being. If God answers your prayer, which you want Him to do, the person prayed for will be blessed, and you will learn about redemption--the ultimate form of forgiveness.


Keep in mind that if you ask God to bless somebody, God will bring that person to a condition where blessing is possible. God will not bless an evildoer until he or she repents of sin, provides restitution where necessary, and gets right with God. So if you ask God to bless someone who has wronged you, the result may well be a repentant sinner and a new brother or sister in the Lord!

Pat Robertson. “Ethics: A Christian Viewpoint Commandments, virtues, vices, employees and more” on the web at Accessed June 2002)


The Christian view of forgiveness as seen today in the light of the Lord’s Word of the First Coming, or New Testament, can be summarized in these points based on the interpretation by Pat Robertson, a well known and intellectually influential Christian TV broadcaster:


(1) “The first step in forgiveness is to recognize your resentment against an enemy.” This requires that we monitor our thoughts every day to discover when and how we have resentful feelings and thoughts. Without self-witnessing the many particulars of the feelings and thoughts we have every day, the step of repentance cannot be taken, hence forgiveness is put out of the mind and doesn’t show itself.


(2) “Then you must consciously say, "I forgive that person for the following wrongs against me.” This act conforms to the Lord’s Commandment to Peter, who had asked Him, how many times he should forgive his enemies. This exchange during the Lord’s First Advent, is interpreted in the Lord’s Second Advent, as follows:


And when Peter asked Him how many times he should forgive one who sinned against him, whether it should be as many as seven times, He replied:


Not up to seven times, I tell you, but up to seventy times seven times. Matt. 18:21, 22.


I have been told from heaven that the Lord forgives everyone his sins, and never punishes him for them, or even imputes them to him, because He is love itself and good itself. Nevertheless the sins are not wiped away by this, for it is only by repentance that they can be wiped away. For if he told Peter to forgive up to seventy times seven times, is there anything that the Lord Himself would not do? (TCR 409)


To forgive our enemies is a Commandment. By declaring that we forgive means that we can fight against the temptations to come, by which we fall back on the desire for revenge and punishment. In that evil state we can focus on the fact that we pronounced forgiveness, and thus no longer have a just claim for retaliation. But note that even this declaration will not stand in future temptations, unless it is accompanied by repentance. We must repent since we broke the Commandment prior to our declaration of forgiveness. During the days, hours, minutes, or seconds prior to the our declaration of forgiveness, what we were we doing in our willing and thinking about the enemy who did us wrong? We were breaking the Commandment. Not until the moment of declaring forgiveness, and not yet until we feel repentance, can we say that we have at last compelled ourselves to follow the Lord’s Commandment.


The Lord forgives immediately when we sin against Him. There is no intervening moment of anger, and then repentance for Him, despite what the Old Testament says about Jehovah, that He was angry, did evil to the people, then repented Himself. This is written by correspondences, and the literal only reflects the perspective of the unregenerate mind (xx). Neither do angels wait an instant to forgive, so that they would then have to repent, but they avert their eyes and their focus from the evils in the spirit for whom they provide services. But while we are regenerating on earth our inherited and acquired evils are full of revenge, hatred, and rage against the enemy, whom we define as anyone who doesn’t favor us and accept what we do or think. In that unregenerate state we will be raging and hating, so that we must compel ourselves to forgive, which comes as soon as we repent of our raging and hating because it is a sin against the Lord.


(3) “After that, begin to pray actively for your enemy's good. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and that doing this will help to fill us with love for them.” This is most difficult to do, and cannot be done on our own, hence we must begin to pray. By praying, we acknowledge that we have no power and all power is the Lord’s. So we beg Him to give us the power to be sincere about wishing the enemy well. why did the Lord command us to pray for our enemies?


Before the Lord came into the world hardly anyone knew what the internal man was or what charity was. This is why in many places He taught loving care, which is charity; and this is a difference between the Old and New Testaments (or Covenants). The Lord taught that kindness should be done out of charity to an opponent or enemy in this passage of Matthew:


You have heard that the men of old were told, You are to love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who hurt and persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in the heavens. Matt. 5:43-45.

(TCR 409)


How does praying for our enemies fill us with love? Some might think that when we pray for our enemies, we must also love them, as we love our countrymen, neighbors and friends. But this is not the case, as anyone may know who has prayed for the enemy who is a murderer, a rapist, or a terrorist. No love for them fills our heart like the pity we feel for the victims. Nevertheless we must pray for our enemy because the Lord commands it. And when we obey the Lord’s commandment He fills us with His Love, and it is this Love that we feel. This love in us chases away the evil spirits who urge us to hate the enemy. This love protects us from hating the enemy even as if we kill them in a battle. For to kill them may be necessary to protect our country and neighbor, and not to kill them, is to hate our country and neighbor whom we should protect and not leave defenseless. Similarly with bringing the criminal to justice—the Lord wants us to pray for them, even as we administer due process. And this also means that in this process of executing justice or waging defensive war, we must not be cruel and arrogant. To pray for the enemy will prevent us from falling into the evils of cruelty and arrogance.


(4) To quote Robertson again:


“Keep in mind that if you ask God to bless somebody, God will bring that person to a condition where blessing is possible. God will not bless an evildoer until he or she repents of sin, provides restitution where necessary, and gets right with God. So if you ask God to bless someone who has wronged you, the result may well be a repentant sinner and a new brother or sister in the Lord!“


This reminds me of what angels do. They have the strong desire to share their love and their truths with everyone. Nothing makes them happier than to bring another human being into their heaven where they can share its goods and truths (xx). They also know that those who reject the heavenly goods and truths are taken care of by the Laws of Divine Providence and Permissions. Nothing in the universe is loose, but everything is tied inexorably by these Laws. Evil returns to the evil and no one gets off with anything (xx). Hence it is not up to people on earth or angels in heaven to insure the spiritual punishment of the evil, for the Lord takes care of that.


1. Evil Returns To The Evil


Then thou shalt give soul for soul. That this signifies the law of order that thou shalt do to thy neighbor as thou wouldest have another do to thee, consequently that what thou doest to another shall be done to thee, is evident from the fact that "to give soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth," and so forth, denotes that as thou hast done to another so shall it be done to thee.


The reason why this law was given to the sons of Israel, is that such is the law in the spiritual world. He who there does good to another from the heart, receives the like good. Consequently he who does evil to another from the heart, receives the like evil. For good that is from the heart is conjoined with its reward, and evil that is from the heart is conjoined with its punishment; consequently there is heaven for the good, and hell for the evil.


That this is so, it has been given me to know from much experience. The case herein is this. With him who does good from the heart, there inflows from heaven on every side, good into the heart and soul of him who does it, and by inspiring inspires it; and then at the same time the affection of love for the neighbor to whom he does good is increased, and with this affection a delight which is heavenly and unutterable. The cause of this is that in heaven the good of love from the Lord reigns universally, and constantly flows in according to the degree in which it is practiced toward another.


The case is similar in respect to evil. With him who from the heart does evil to another, there inflows from hell on every side evil into the heart of him who does it, and by exciting excites it; and then at the same time the affection of the love of self is increased, and with it the delight of hatred and revenge against those who do not submit themselves. The cause of this is that in hell the evil of the love of self reigns universally, and constantly flows in according to the degree in which it is practiced toward another. When this occurs, the punishers are at once present, who ill-treat the offender; and thereby the evil with its delight is restrained.


[2] These things are so for the reason that the laws of order in the other life are not learned from books, and stored up therefrom in the memory, as with men in the world, but are written on hearts, the laws of evil on the heart of the evil, and the laws of good on the heart of the good. For every man carries with him into the other life that which by his life in the world he had set in his heart; namely, evil with the evil; and good with the good.


[3] The law of order from which these things flow is that which the Lord taught in Matthew:


All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; this is the law and the prophets (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31).


Order is from the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord. The laws of order in heaven are truths from good, and in hell are truths separated from good. They are said to be separated, not by reason of the Lord, but by reason of man. Good is separated by the nonreception of it.


[4] The law which is called "the law of retaliation," is thus described in Leviticus:


He that smiteth the soul of a beast shall restore it, soul for soul; if a man shall cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he shall cause a blemish in a man, so shall it be rendered unto him. He that smiteth a beast shall restore it; and he that smiteth a man shall be killed (Lev. 24:18-21).


As evil carries with it its penalty, it is therefore said by the Lord that "evil must not be resisted," and at the same time in the following words in Matthew it is explained how the case is with this law in the spiritual world, with those who are in good, relatively to those who are in evil:


Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, Resist not evil; but whosoever shall strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man would drag thee to law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him twain. Give to everyone that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away (Matt. 5:38-42).


[5] Who cannot see that these words are not to be understood according to the sense of the letter? For who will turn the left cheek to him who deals a blow on the right cheek? And who will give his cloak to him who would take away his coat? And who will give his property to all who ask? And who will not resist evil? (emphases added)


But no one can understand these words who does not know what is signified by "the right cheek" and "the left cheek," what by "a coat" and "a cloak," also what by "a mile," and likewise by "borrowing," and so on. The subject there treated of is spiritual life, or the life of faith; not natural life, which is the life of the world. The Lord there opens, and also in this chapter, and the following, the interior things that belong to heaven, but by means of such things as are in the world.


The reason why He did so by such things, was that not worldly men, but only heavenly men, should understand. The reason why worldly men were not to understand, was lest they should profane the interior things of the Word, for by so doing they would cast themselves into the most frightful hell of all, which is the hell of the profaners of the Word. Therefore it is said by the Lord in Luke:


Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables; that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not hear (Luke 8:10).


And in John:


Isaiah said, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they may not see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and should convert themselves, and I should heal them (John 12:39, 40).


It is said "lest I should heal them," because they who are healed and return again to falsities and evils, commit profanation. These are they who are meant in Matthew 12:43-45.


[6] But it shall now be told what is meant in the internal sense by the words of the Lord above quoted. (emphases added)


In this sense it there treats of those who wish to destroy by means of falsities the truths of faith, thus the spiritual life with a man when he is in temptations, and in persecutions; and in good spirits when they are in infestations by evil spirits. By "the cheek" is signified the affection of interior truth, by "the right cheek" the affection of truth from good; by "dealing a blow" is signified the act of injuring this affection; by "coat" and "cloak" is signified truth in the external form (AC n. 4677, 4741, 4742); by "dragging to law" is signified the endeavor to destroy; by "a mile" is signified that which leads to truth, for the like is signified by "a mile" as by "a way" (that "a way" denotes that which leads to truth, see AC n. 627, 2333, 3477); by "lending" is signified to instruct. From this it is plain what is signified by "giving to all who ask," namely, to confess all things of one's faith in the Lord.


The reason therefore why evil ought not to be resisted, is that evil does no harm to those who are in truth and good, for they are protected by the Lord. (emphases added)


[7] These are the things which have been hidden under the above words of the Lord; and this being the case, the Lord only says, "Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," but says no more; because by "an eye" is signified the interior truth of faith; and by "a tooth," the exterior truth of faith, as will be seen in what follows.


From all this it is evident in what manner the Lord spoke when He was in the world, namely, that He spoke, as everywhere in the Word of the Old Testament, at the same time for the angels in heaven, and for men in the world; for His speech was in itself Divine and heavenly, because it was from the Divine, and through heaven. But the things which He spoke were presented by means of such things as corresponded in the world. What they correspond to, the internal sense teaches ... (AC 9049)


2. Willing And Thinking According To The Letter


Throughout this Volume I use the expression “willing and thinking in accordance with the Letter of the Writings,” and related phraseology. How to accomplish this is the subject of Volume 3 where I discuss specific techniques for monitoring one’s motives and thoughts and holding them up to the light of the understanding we have of the Letter of the Writings.


The discussion on the spiritual sense of the Writings continues in Volume 2.



Chapter 7.

Introduction: Key Concepts In the New Church Mind


The spiritual sense of the Word has been disclosed by the Lord through me(INV 44)


Chapter 7, Introduction


1. Introduction



The Lord confers these benefits, which are meant by the sending of the Holy Spirit, on those who believe in Him. That is to say, He reforms them, regenerates them, renews, quickens, justifies and cleanses them from evils, and so eventually saves them. (TCR 149)


Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are to receive those spiritual benefits, because He Himself is salvation and everlasting life. He is salvation, because He is the Savior, for this is the meaning of His name Jesus; He is everlasting life, because those in whom He is, and who are in Him, have everlasting life. This is why He is called everlasting life in 1 John 5:20. Now since He is salvation and everlasting life, it follows that He is also every means which leads to salvation and everlasting life. Thus He is the whole of reformation, regeneration, renewal, quickening, sanctification and justification, cleansing from evils, and finally salvation. In the case of every single person the Lord confers these benefits, or rather, He attempts to impart them; and when a person makes himself ready and suitable to receive them, He does impart them. The activity of readying and making oneself suitable comes from the Lord too, but if the person does not receive them with spontaneity of spirit, then the Lord cannot go beyond the attempt to introduce them, and this attempt is constantly kept up. (TCR 150)


A person acquires faith by approaching the Lord, learning truths from the Word, and living by them. (TCR 343)


The Writings are the Crown of all revelations, the Word of the Second Coming, never to replaced by a future revelation (TCR 787, INV 39).


This New Church, truly Christian, which at this day is being established by the Lord, will endure to eternity, as is proved from the Word of both Testaments; also it was foreseen from the creation of the world; and it will be the crown of the four preceding churches, because it will have true faith and true charity. (CORONIS 0)


The Writings make up the last portion of the Word of God to be given to humankind. They therefore contain all the particulars the human race needs to know in order to become celestial minds to eternity. One can count the number of pages, sentences, words, and characters in the Writings, and this is not an astronomical number! It is revealed that the Writings is of such an infinite Divine structure that each idea and word in it has infinite things contained within it that cannot be discovered to eternity by the entire human race on all the earths and in all the heavens (AC 6620). This is infinity!


This surpasses all the revelations that have hitherto been made since the creation of the world. (INV 44)


For the New Church mind the Writings are the third and final portion of the Threefold Word given in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Recall that these were the three languages used for the sign “King of the Jews” that was placed on the cross of Jesus (John 19:19-20). “King” with reference to the Lord denotes Divine Truth, which is the Word (AC 9144). This is why it is written that He was the Word and the Word was made flesh (John 1:1, 14). To the New Church mind the Writings makes the Crown of the Threefold Word, and they are the Lord in His Second Coming, about which He foretold that it would be the last for all times (Matt. 24:3, 30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27). Hence the New Church is called the Crown of all Churches—no future Church can come into existence to replace it, as it will endure forever (TCR 787, INV 39).


It is clear therefore that the Writings contain infinite knowledge for the future of humankind.


How amazing! For more discussion on this issue see Chapter 8 Section 4.


1. New Church Education


A special advantage for children who can attend New Church schools is that scientific thinking and history will be taught in a dualist context or, intellectual environment grounded in the Writings. However, the instructional curriculum used there may be such as to separate by class or course when secular science and critical thinking is taught and when religion classes are taught. I inquired about this with an instructor at Bryn Athyn College, and the response was:


All of the faculty like to think that they incorporate Swedenborgian ideas where they deem appropriate. Some do it more than others. Some areas lend themselves to this treatment more than others. However, we are also mindful that many of our students transfer and we do need to prepare them for whatever the next step is. However, I think if you did a survey of our students you would find that most think the faculty does bring ES ideas into their course. (June 2002)


In my opinion, New Church education needs to give more formal support for the development of the New Church mind. The current model described in the quote makes it easy for children to keep scientific and religious ideas separate in their mind. When duality reigns in religion classes and worship, and nonduality reigns in other classes, the separation in the mind of the two opposing intellectual orientations is almost insured. Under these conditions the New Church mind contains many impediments to regeneration. The individual must then wait till adulthood, overcome intellectual resistance in oneself, study the Writings, and rearrange everything in the mind from nonduality to duality (AC 3518). Nevertheless it makes sense to facilitate this process in the New Church mind from childhood onward. No doubt this is desired by parents, why then the separation described in the current model?


The quote above points to the concern that “many of our students transfer and we do need to prepare them for whatever the next step is.” As an educator and a scientist myself, in my role as a long time college professor, I do believe that is quite feasible to integrate the Writings into every course of the curriculum, and not impair in any way the capacity of the students, most of whom complete their education in a public or secular facility. Further, they will be able to do their job and be successful in their career without the slightest disadvantage or weakness in the eyes of co-workers, clients, and supervisors. Integrating every course into the framework of the Writings gives the New Church mind special benefits and advantages in all life situations (see Chapter 7).


This process of integrating courses should not wait for education generally to catch up with the Second Coming, for this will take many generations. Rather, the integration should proceed as far as the instructor is capable of doing it. This requires some training, on one’s own or more formally by the preparation and certification process. Right now this is not done because it is not considered crucial. What is considered crucial is that (1) the students retain their commitment to the New Church religion and (2) the students be adequately prepared to function in the public education and career zone. I agree that these are necessary goals for New Church education. I think both goals would be more effectively served by course integration, achieved through official commitment and adequate preparation of instructors. This book presents many details on the New Church mind that support the integrated instructional model to forming the New Church mind.


To apprehend this more clearly the instructor needs to think of the content or concepts in every course in relation to their “subordination” to the intellectual order of the Writings in the mind:


In a man who is in the Lord's kingdom, or who is the Lord's kingdom, there are celestial things, spiritual things, rational things, memory-knowledges, and things of sense; and these are in subordination to one another.


Celestial and spiritual things hold the first place, and are the Lord's; to these rational things are subordinate, and are subservient; to these again memory-knowledges are subordinate and subservient; and lastly the things of sense are subordinate and subservient to these, that is to memory-knowledges.


The things which are subservient, or which serve, are relatively servants, and in the Word are called "servants." That there is such a subordination, the man who thinks only from sense and memory-knowledge is ignorant; and he who knows anything of them nevertheless has a most obscure idea, because he is still in corporeal things. (AC 2541)


When a concept is introduced in a course, the instructor needs to place it in front of the students on a subordination line up or hierarchical embedding. First, is this concept from sensory or empirical observation? What precisely is the observation and what was the purpose of making this observation? Second, how is this observation or factual knowledge to be subordinated to higher order concepts? What are these higher order concepts? The instructor needs to identify what these higher order concepts are. In secular and materialist education these higher order concepts are often specified as Principles or Explanatory Theories. The New Church instructor needs to identify these principles and explanations from the Writings. To what rational concepts from the Writings is this observational fact or knowledge to be subordinated? This is the instructional process that integrates empirical memory-knowledges from the world into rational concepts from the Writings. These rational concepts are called external rational (AC 4570). Because they are from the Writings they are subordinated to spiritual and celestial concepts—these are called the interior rational.


Through this integrated instructional process, young persons develop an orderly rational mind which is in the highest portion of their natural mind. These become suitable cognitive “vessels” for receiving spiritual and celestial things from the Lord through the angels inflowing. It is not necessary nor practical for New Church education to wait till the outside intellectual climate changes form materialistic monism to theistic dualism. Even if the instructor has no formal materials or textbooks written in the integrated approach, the course can be conducted in the integrated manner by supplying the integration with every concept being introduced. To be able to do this requires adequate preparation. This book is an illustration of what some of this preparation should be—see in particular Chapter 8, Sections 3 and 4, and also Chapter 6.


When man is being instructed, there is a progression from memory-knowledges to rational truths; further, to intellectual truths; and finally, to celestial truths, which are here signified by the "wife." If the progression is made from memory knowledges and rational truths to celestial truths without intellectual truths as media, the celestial suffers violence, because there can be no connection of rational truths-which are obtained by means of memory-knowledges-with celestial truths, except by means of intellectual truths, which are the media. (AC 1495)


By “media” is here meant intermediary concepts or truths. Only some natural-rational concepts can be elevated to the spiritual-intellectual level of thinking. They are the concepts that are subordinated to the dualities in the Writings from the celestial top to the sensory bottom. The instructional approach matters. Appropriate conceptual intermediaries need to be spelled out and provided in the course. This is what I mean by the integrated approach.


Some principles may be considered regarding how the integrated model is to be presented by the instructor.


[2] That it may be known how these things stand, something shall be said respecting order. The order is for the celestial to inflow into the spiritual and adapt it to itself; for the spiritual thus to inflow into the rational and adapt it to itself; and for the rational thus to inflow into the memory-knowledge and adapt it to itself.


But when a man is being instructed in his earliest childhood, the order is indeed the same, but it appears otherwise, namely, that he advances from memory-knowledges to rational things, from these to spiritual things, and so at last to celestial things.


The reason it so appears is that a way must thus be opened to celestial things, which are the inmost. All instruction is simply an opening of the way; and as the way is opened, or what is the same, as the vessels are opened, there thus flow in, as before said, in their order, rational things that are from celestial spiritual things; into these flow the celestial spiritual things; and into these, celestial things.


These celestial and spiritual things are continually presenting themselves, and are also preparing and forming for themselves the vessels which are being opened; which may also be seen from the fact that in themselves the memory-knowledge and rational are dead, and that it is from the inflowing interior life that they seem to be alive. This can become manifest to anyone from the thought, and the faculty of judgment.


[3] In these lie hidden all the arcana of analytical art and science, which are so many that they can never explored even as to the ten-thousandth part; and this not with the adult man only, but also with children, whose every thought and derivative expression of speech is most full of them (although man, even the most learned, is not aware of this), and this could not possibly be the case unless the celestial and spiritual things within were coming forth, flowing in, and producing all these things.

(AC 1495)


Children need to be taught the meta-order of their own learning process. They need to gain an understanding of the outwardly appearing order of learning and the actual order that enlivens it from within. These two orders can be labeled inductive and deductive. Inductive learning is the appearance from bottom up. This order yields concepts that are in themselves dead or, without any spiritual in them. The spiritual inflows within them, in a discrete degree by correspondence, so long as they are suitable cognitive vessels. This refers to the dualities from the Writings. If nonduality concepts are taught from secular textbooks without proving that they are false in orientation, the resultant external rational cognitions will not be suitable for reception, and will remain dead and useless for life and regeneration—yea, they will be impediments (see Chapter 5).


2. Teaching Integrated Concepts


Instructors can gauge whether they are teaching integrated concepts (suitable cognitive vessels) or separated concepts (unsuitable cognitions) by keeping track of their verbal stream in the classroom (a recording would greatly help in this assessment). Are the concepts linked from top down, where the top is the Lord in His Laws of Divine Providence, and the bottom is the empirical fact or observation being discussed? Intermediaries need to be introduced at the right age level. It is easy to simply discuss the concept from the textbook and to go on to the next concept, and so on. But this won’t take care of the integration. It is not sufficient to mention the integration at the beginning of the course, in the middle, at the end, and once in awhile in between, here and there. The integration must be spoken of in all instances where the concept is discussed. This models for the students what their New Church mind is to become.


It helps for teachers to think of certain criteria to help assist them in constructing integrated concepts. For example, consider these five criterial dualities that have universal application to all subject areas in school:


(1) external and interior portions

(2) uses

(3) successive and simultaneous discrete degrees

(4) natural-spiritual parallelisms or correspondences

(5) top down integration from firsts to lasts through a network of intermediaries


(1) External and interior portions:

When introducing a concept or phenomenon, the teacher needs to be specify what is its external portion and what is its interior portion. For example, when instructing about a mineral sample or stone, the idea of rock formation at a slow pace is mentioned. This is to be labeled its external portion, whose parts include the outward shape and touch at the macro level, and at the micro level, the outward chemical compounds held together by the atomic forces between its constituent particles. Now the internal portion of the mineral sample should be taught. What are those atomic forces? How are they maintained in place so that the object continues to subsist in its hard form and shape? The interior portion of the mineral sample is the cause that maintains the rock in its continued subsistence. Every object has an interior portion that is not visible or measurable by outward measuring instruments.


Instruments that measure the outward portion of the rock sample include sizing, weighing, compressing, photographing, crushing into a powder and analyzing how the powder reacts to heat and chemicals, and other such measures, all of which are instruments for measuring the outward portion and construction of the rock. Instruments that measure the interior portion of the rock sample include uses, discrete degrees, correspondences, and intermediaries.


(2) Uses:

Determining the uses of an object is to measure or identify its interior portions. It is the use of the rock sample that brings into existence. An object is maintained in existence as long as it continues to make uses of itself available. If an object ceases to make uses available with itself, it ceases to subsist and disintegrates, unable to maintain itself in existence.


Uses create objects because the created universe has a use that enters into every created object. Unless there were a use for something, it could not come into existence. The Law of Creation For Uses is a Divine Law.


All uses are human uses because the creator of uses is the Divine Human. Everything the Divine Human creates must necessarily be an image of Itself, therefore be an image of the Human. The idea of Human is the idea of truth acting from love. In other words, the idea of our understanding (truth) acting from our will (love). The Divine Human creates something from a purpose. No human creates anything without a purpose. The purpose defines the use in advance. Once this purpose or motive exists in the will, the understanding then produces the object in such a way that it has the uses that serve the purpose. This is why all objects exist or are caused by their uses. And if the uses are removed, there is no purpose that maintains the object in existence.


Every object has multiple uses, and new uses or applications are found by discovery and experimentation. For instance a rock sample can be used for these purposes: a source of its minerals, a paper weight, a missile or weapon, a carving, a block for building, ballast in a balloon, a gift to a friend, and many other uses.


(3) Discrete degrees:

The rock sample is an object of use with an outward and an inward portion. The outward portion is described by physical measures, and the inward portion is described by rational measures. An example of a rational measure of the rock sample is the specific relation its uses have to the uses of other objects. For example, rock samples of many sizes and shapes are produced by geological and weather conditions and events. There is therefore a relationship between the uses of geological and meteorological events and the uses of rocks of various shapes and sizes. These relationships between uses are rational measures.


Similarly, successive and simultaneous degrees are rational measures of the interior portion of an object. The rock sample exists and is maintained in existence by its properties at two levels of existence called spiritual and natural. There are also sub-levels within these two main discrete degrees. The spiritual portion that forms the interior of the rock is made of substances from the spiritual Sun. The rays streaming out of the spiritual Sun go out into the entire spiritual world and make up the objects there. The spiritual portion of the rock sample is located in the spiritual world. Therefore this portion is made of elements that originated in the spiritual Sun.


We need to apply rational measurement to the rock sample in two ways called successive and simultaneous. When the rock sample came into existence, it first popped into existence in the spiritual world, formed and created to make available specific uses. Once the interior portion of the rock was created and existed in the spiritual world, it caused the geological and meteorological events that created the formation of the physical rock. This is called successive degrees of creation because the physical rock follows after the spiritual rock is created. In addition to the spiritual portion of the rock, the spiritual portion of the geological and meteorological events, also had to co-act in order for the physical rock to be created.


Once the physical rock is created, the outward portion and inward portion exist as one within the other. The interior portion of the rock that existed prior to the external portion is now within the external portion. This relationship of “within” is by discrete degrees, not by physical location. When we look at this rock we therefore think about its external portion and its interior portion. Without rationally knowing the interior portion, we cannot explain the external portion. But knowing both, we can explain why this rock has been formed, how, and what maintains it in existence.


(4) Correspondences:

Another rational measure of an object is to determine its correspondence. The measure of correspondence gives us information about the relation between the external portion of the rock and its interior portion. Its interior portion is spiritual and determines the uses which create the spiritual rock. The external portion of the rock therefore points to, or is an image of, the spiritual uses which keep it in existence. For instance, if you look up in the Writings the correspondence for a rock you will find things like this:


As the truth of faith is signified by "stone" and "rock," it is the Lord's spiritual kingdom that is also signified, for this is in the truth of faith, and from this in good. (AC 6426)


"A rock" denotes the Lord as to the truth of faith, is because by "a rock" is also meant a bulwark against falsities; the bulwark itself is the truth of faith, for combat is waged from this truth both against falsities and against evils. (AC 8581)


From these passages, and many others that can be cited and examined, you can see that the interior portion of a rock relates closely to the uses of truth and faith in the Lord. Rock corresponds to the power of the truths that we have in our understanding. Wits truths in our understanding we can do battle against falsities and against evils that are tied to us by heredity. The interior portion of a rock is rationally related to the interior portion of water, because water also corresponds to truths of various kind—natural truths, rational truths, spiritual truths, and so on. A mountain is a giant rock formation, therefore mountains correspond to the Lord since He is the source of all truth.


(5) Top down integration through intermediaries:

A rock’s external portion and interior portion are held in place by means of the intermediary spheres that constitute each level, one above the other, or, one within the other. What is within is also called above when thinking in terms of discrete degrees.


Nothing can exist by itself. Everything created is created into an order in relation to other created things. There is a chain of creation that starts from the rays of the spiritual Sun streaming out into the universe, first the spiritual world, then the natural world. The chain of creation from the spiritual Sun to the rock is called in the Writings “From Firsts to Lasts:”


From the fact that greatest and least things are forms of both kinds of degrees, there is connection between them from firsts to lasts, for likeness conjoins them. But yet there can be no least thing which is the same as any other. Consequently, there is a distinction of all the singulars and of the veriest singulars. There can be no least thing in any form or among any forms the same as another for the reason that there are like degrees in greatest things, and greatest things consist of least things. When there are such degrees in greatest things, and in accordance with those degrees, perpetual distinctions from top to bottom, and from centre to circumference, it follows that there cannot be any lesser or least of these, in which are like degrees, which are the same as any other. (DLW 226)


God is omnipresent from the firsts to the lasts of His order. God is omnipresent from the firsts to the lasts of His order by means of the heat and light of the spiritual sun, in the midst of which He is. It was by means of that sun that order was produced; and from it He sends forth a heat and a light which pervade the universe from firsts to lasts, and produce the life that is in man and in every animal, and also the vegetative soul that is in every germ upon the earth (TCR 63)


These passages, and many others like it, teach that there is a chain of being from the Lord to the rock sample, and this chain cannot have any broken links, or else the rock sample cannot come into existence. The rock sample is an object that came into existence as result of this chain of formation, starting form the rays streaming out of the spiritual Sun, and descending successively by discrete degrees, until at last, the geological and meteorological events that shaped and formed the rock sample. The inmost portion of the rock sample is therefore the spiritual Sun, or its rays made of the substance of love exteriorized as truth. This spiritual substance, descends successively through the highest or celestial heaven, then through the second or spiritual heaven, then through the first or natural heaven, then through the world of spirits, then through the physical sun, then through the atmospheres and the planets, then through the geological and meteorological events, to large rock formations, then to the rock sample, and finally to the classroom where the rock sample is being used for instruction. This chain of being holds the sample rock that you can see on this table and hold in your hand and use in various ways.


This example of teaching the integrated idea of a rock sample in the classroom, can be applied equally to every concept in all subjects. For example, if you teach about the branches of the government, you can consider the president or the head of state in terms of its external social portions and in terms of its interior spiritual portion. A head of state or governor is discussed in the Writings under the idea of “king” and “governors.”


"Kings," "kingdoms," and "peoples," in the historical and the prophetical parts of the Word, signify truths and the things which are of truths (AC 1672)


When I informed them that on our earth He is named Christ Jesus, and that Christ signifies Anointed or King, and Jesus, Savior, they said that they do not worship Him as a King, because royalty savors of what is worldly, but that they worship Him as the Savior. (EU 65)


"The king" signifies the truth of the church (TCR 219)


The reason why "governors" signify generals, is that it is generals in which and under which are particulars ...; by "princes" however are signified primary things (AC 5290)


"Governors and rulers" signify principal truths, and "those riding upon horses" signify the intelligent. (AE 576)


These and similar passages reveal that the interior portion of “the President of the United States” consists of uses that relate to governing a country by means of principles of truth. Every act of government represents and flows from the head of the government, as indicated by a well known saying by a U.S. president: “The buck stops here.” Every act of government is held in place by the laws and the constitution, which are orderly statements of how truth applies to the social acts of the citizens. These acts are arranged in a hierarchy from general to particular in the same way as there are general truths and under those, particular truths.


And many such things can be developed by the teacher in presenting lessons about rocks, government, art objects, or football rules and training for playing under them.


For further discussion on how to integrate monist and dualist science, see Chapter 4, Sections 7.


3. A Few Key Concepts From The Writings


I selected seven key concepts from the Writings that are fundamental and enter into our daily choices in all the areas of our life—relationships, occupation, science, aesthetics, philosophy, politics, recreation, lifestyle, physical and mental disciplines. Thus everything of our life on this earth. These key concepts are rational and dualist. They hang together as a unit because they are central issues discussed in every work of the Writings where every concept is reciprocally tied to every other concept in a fully rational system of thinking. There are no exceptions or contradictions, an insight understood only by those who see the Writings as the Lord in His Word of the Second Coming, thus a Divine Work.


The concepts to be described are:


1.      The Idea of “Discrete Degrees” in Successive and Simultaneous Order (keeps nonduality out)

2.      The Idea of “As-of-Self” (keeps depression and meritoriousness away)

3.      The Idea of “Salvation by Means Only” (protects from the idea that we are saved without having to accomplish the works of regeneration)

4.      The Idea of “Conjugial Love” (orders our life in preparation for heavenly bliss)

5.      The Idea That The Mind Is In The Spiritual World (gives us a scientific understanding of dying, the afterlife, and the unity of the human race)

6.      The Idea of The Vertical Community (giving us knowledge of spiritual influx from heaven and hell)

7.      The Idea of “Earths in the Universe” (giving us a true perspective on the starry universe that puzzles everyone else)

8.      The Idea of “Theistic Science Revelations” in the Writings (protects us from the nonduality of materialistic science)

9.      The Idea of the “Spiritual Sense” of the Writings Demystified (avoiding New Church idolatries by learning how to extract the spiritual sense form the Letter)


Chapter 7, Section 2


2. Discrete Degrees In Successive And Simultaneous Order




The angelic idea of the universe created by the Lord is as follows. God is the center, and He is Man; and if God were not Man creation would not have been possible; and the Lord from eternity is that God. Of creation: The Lord from eternity, that is, God, by His Divine proceeding created the universe and all things in it; and as the Divine proceeding is life itself, all things have been created from life and by means of life. The Divine proceeding that is nearest to the Lord appears before the angels as a sun; this appears to their sight fiery and flaming; this is so because the Divine proceeding is the Divine love and the Divine wisdom, and these so appear at a distance.


(The angels add that the Divine proceeding is what the ancients represented by golden or shining and pure circles about the head of God, which modern painters still retain from the ancient idea.) They said that from that sun as a great center proceed circles, one after another and one from another even to the last where their end is subsisting in rest. These circles, of which one is from another and one after another, appearing as spread out in breadth and length, are spiritual atmospheres, which are filled with the light and heat from their sun, and through which the light and heat extend themselves to the last circle; and in this last circle by means of these atmospheres, and afterwards by means of the natural atmospheres from the sun of this world, the creation of the earth and all things on it which are for use was accomplished, and this creation is afterwards continued by generations from seeds in wombs or in eggs.


The angels who knew that the universe so created was a continuous work from the Creator even to ultimates, and that being a continuous work it depends upon the Lord, who is its common center and is moved and governed by Him as a single continuous chain, said that the First which proceeds is continued even to ultimates through discrete degrees, just as an end is continued through causes into effects; or like a producing agent and its products in a continued series; also that the continuation is not only in but also around from the First, and so from everything prior into everything posterior, even to the postreme; and thus that the First and the posterior from it exist together in their order in the postreme or ultimate.


From this continuity as a one they have their idea of the Lord, that He is the All in all, that He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, that He is infinite and eternal; and also their idea of the order according to which the Lord, through His Divine love and Divine wisdom, arranges, provides, and governs all things. (D. Wis. 12)


Scientists have tried to solve the problem of how the universe came into being and what keeps it going. After centuries of research and theory no one claims to know the answer, and multiple contradictory and incomplete hypotheses have been advanced. Only the New Church mind contains the true and complete answer. The scientific revelations in the Writings are the greatest boon for the human race since they reveal God’s explanation of how He created the universe, how it is put together, and how He operates it and maintains it in order. At the core of this explanation is the concept of discrete degrees.


Every object or event is brought into existence through three successive discrete degrees that correspond to


originating source à instrumental cause à ultimate effect


These three also correspond to three heavens in the spiritual world (De Verbo 3). Further, the three successive degrees are present simultaneously in the object or event so that its subsistence (or continued existence) is maintained by the three successive degrees. In short, existence is perpetual recreation moment by moment.


This rational concept in the New Church mind prevents any concept of nonduality from commingling because nonduality’s core principle is that there are no discrete degrees, but only one continuous degree (as reviewed above). But according to theistic science from the Writings, the natural and the spiritual are in discrete degrees and communicate only by correspondence. Matter or energy (natural) and spirit or rationality (spiritual) can never become one substance or one reality. Self is an object created and held in existence by three degrees. Self can never become one homogeneous substance or consciousness. Self cannot vanish as an illusion or appearance for even these are real objects produced and maintained in discrete degrees.


1. Ghosts, Vampires, Aliens, “Energies” And “Vibrations”


If we see any claim that involves a spiritual force acting directly and physically on someone’s body or house, we know automatically that is not to believed. This applies equally to ghosts, vampires, aliens, or “energies” and “vibrations.” Similarly with those who try to prove that they have psychic powers by moving physical objects from a distance, or seeing what happens in another location. The New Church mind sees clearly through these subterfuges and imaginations merely by applying the knowledge of discrete degrees and that they interact by correspondence only. Nevertheless, it is possible for human beings to communicate with spirits, but the Lord does not allow it for the protection of the individual:


It is rarely granted at the present day, however, to talk with spirits, because it is dangerous. For then the spirits know, what otherwise they do not know, that they are with man, and evil spirits are such that they hold man in deadly hatred, and desire nothing more than to destroy him both soul and body, which indeed happens with those who have so indulged themselves in fantasies as to have separated from themselves the enjoyments proper to the natural man. (HH 249)


Man can speak with spirits and angels, and the ancients on our earth frequently spoke with them (n. 67-69, 784, 1634, 1636, 7802). But at this day it is dangerous to speak with them, unless man is in true faith, and led by the Lord (n. 784, 9438, 10751). (EU 1)


Nowadays when people say they saw a ghost they usually do not mean that they spoke to a spirit. It is a visual impression that feels real. Further, the concept of discrete degrees gives the New Church mind a clear view of why it is impossible for anyone to physically see a “ghost” (departed soul) or spirit. since spirits are in the spiritual discrete degree, which interacts with the natural only by correspondence, not by direct sensory observation. In order to see the angels or the Resurrected Lord the shepherds and disciples had to have their spiritual eyes opened—meaning that they did not see the heavenly visions with their physical eyes. Those who looked on with physical eyesight saw nothing but the usual tree, stone, or house. Furthermore, the speech of spirits is so different from natural language that a dialog could not be understood between them:


Since that is what the speech of angels is like, and what the speech of people is like, therefore their forms of speech are so different that they have nothing in common. They are so different that a person cannot understand any word an angel says, nor an angel any word a person says.  (…)


It can be seen from this what a difference there is between natural, spiritual and celestial things-that the difference is such that they have no accordance at all except by correspondences. This, too, is the reason that people do not know they have an association with spirits, and spirits that they have an association with people, when in fact there is a constant association. For a person could not live one minute without being in the midst of spirits in respect to his thoughts and affections, nor could spirits and angels live a moment without being with people. The reason is that there is a continual connection extending from first things to last things, thus from the Lord to mankind; and from creation the connection was established by correspondences, one that flows in through angels and spirits. Everything celestial flows into something spiritual, and everything spiritual into something natural, and it terminates in the last of this, which is physical and material, and there abides. Without such a final abode for intermediates to flow into, there would be no other permanence than that of a house built in the air. The human race is therefore the base and foundation of the heavens.

(De Verbo 7)


It was allowed to Swedenborg to communicate directly with spirits and angels, but he was a unique exception, described in the Writings as the “greatest” of all miracles ever granted by the Lord on any planet since the beginning. Unbeknownst to Swedenborg, his mind was prepared for his mission since his earliest childhood (TCR 850). Here is what he wrote at the beginning of Heaven and Hell:


The arcana revealed in the following pages relate to heaven and hell, and also to the life of man after death. The man of the church at this date knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or about his life after death, although all these matters are set forth and described in the Word; and yet many of those born within the church refuse to believe in them, saying in their hearts, "Who has come from that world and told us?" Lest, therefore, such a spirit of denial, which especially prevails with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been granted me to associate with angels and to talk with them as man with man, also to see what is in the heavens and what is in the hells, and this for thirteen years; so now from what I have seen and heard it has been granted me to describe these, in the hope that ignorance may thus be enlightened and unbelief dissipated. Such immediate revelation is granted at this day because this is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord. (HH 1)


Note that this is called an “immediate revelation” which refers to Swedenborg’s ability given him to be present with his senses in the spiritual world, heaven, and hell. This was only possible as the Lord intervened moment by moment to allow his natural mind to use his mother tongue of Swedish. The spirits and angels responded in Swedenborg’s own language. Spirits do not know Swedish or any other natural language, so for the conversation to be meaningful, the Lord had to translate as it were what each said to the other. The Lord did this in such a manner that they each spoke as usual, but the other heard it in their own language. All spirits speak a universal human thought-language that we automatically know when we awaken in the afterlife (HH 236).


That Swedenborg’s authorship of the Writings was brought about by the greatest miracle in history--past present and future, may sound at first unjustifiable since we are so close to it in history-- we live no more than 231 years and three thousand miles from this unique and momentous event in the history of the universe—when Swedenborg had completed his task of publishing the last work of the Writings (True Christian Religion, 1771).


The manifestation of the Lord in person, and introduction by the Lord into the spiritual world, both as to sight and as to hearing and speech, surpasses all miracles; for nowhere in history do we read that such an intercourse with angels and spirits has been granted from the creation of the world. For I am there with the angels daily, even as I am in the world with men, and now for twenty-seven years. Evidences of this intercourse are the books published by me concerning Heaven and Hell, and also the memorable relations in the last work, entitled THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION; further, what has been there related concerning Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, and concerning the inhabitants of a number of kingdoms; besides the various evidences which are known in the world, and, in addition, many others which are not known. Say, who has ever before known anything concerning heaven and hell? Who has known anything concerning man's state after death? Who, anything concerning spirits and angels? etc., etc.  (INV 43)


2. “After The Completion Of This Book”


Swedenborg was the first individual in human history to have formed a New Church mind within himself. After being called to his mission as revelator of the Second Coming he realized that the Lord had prepared his mind since early childhood (TCR 850). After he completed the last book of the Writings he appended the note that on this day, June 19, 1770 the Lord had sent out the Twelve Apostles into all parts of the spiritual worlds with a copy of this book called The True Christian Religion, to preach the Gospel of the New Church, the Crown of all Churches (TCR 791). It is called the Crown of Churches to indicate that is the last portion of the Word to be given to humankind, and thus that it will endure forever (De Verbo 7:8; INV 43). That the Lord’s Apostles were sent out to preach Doctrine from the Writings means that from that day on, merely two centuries ago, anyone in the human race could form a New Church mind in themselves through the new revelations that have been given in the Writings of Swedenborg.


The New Church mind refers to any individual who is motivated to study the Writings as Divine Truth, and to love it by willing and thinking according to one’s understanding of it.


Through this activity we become spiritual to the extent that we arrange our choices every day in accordance with what we know from the Writings. In this way we are cooperating with the Lord in our regeneration and our celestial mind (called “interior rational”) is gradually opened for influx from the Lord through the angels (HH 430). This process continues until we pass on, and then it continues to eternity as a conjugial couple (AC 5354).


'I am an angel in heaven, and I have now been living with my wife for a thousand years, and all that time I have been in the prime of life, just as you see me now. This is the result of the conjugial love I share with my wife. I can assure you that I have had, and still have, perpetual ability. (CL 355)


For more discussion on how the Writings are the Word and how to study it systematically, see Chapter 8, Sections 3 and 4.


A few months after finishing TCR, Swedenborg entered the spiritual world never to return again. He had been granted that unique privilege for 27 years. His mission had been accomplished. This is the note he appended to that work:



After the completion of this book, the Lord called together His twelve disciples, who had followed Him in the world; and a day later He sent them all forth throughout the spiritual world to preach the Gospel, that the Lord God Jesus Christ is king, and His kingdom shall be for ever and ever, as foretold by Daniel (7:13, 14) and in Revelation (11:15):


Blessed are they who come to the wedding supper of the Lamb Rev. 19:9.


This happened on the nineteenth of June in the year 1770. This was meant by the Lord's saying:

He will send his angels, and they will gather together His chosen people from the bounds of the heavens on one side as far as the bounds of the heavens on the other. Matt. 24:31.

(TCR 791)


It is understandable that it was the greatest of all miracles since it ushered in the last New Church of which there had been a string since the beginning, each ending badly with the vastation of its generations and the consummation of all spiritual truths. Thus the Lord had to raise another New Church and give new revelations suitable to its genius. And then again…until the Crown of the Churches, given birth by the Second Coming (TCR 772). These new revelations will stand unchanged for the rest of the universe’s history, or forever. Human evolution has been at last completed. All its prior history was an evolutionary development whose goal was to open up the human mind from the bottom to its top, from the corporeal to the celestial. This is how the human mind is created, to contain the capacity to be opened by interior rational truths through the choices in life that are motivated according to our doctrine from the Writings. Humankind now possesses the ultimate knowledge of the future. The Lord has revealed it all in order that we may consciously and with full cooperation be regenerated through truths from the Writings that we take up into our mind.


No prior generation before Swedenborg could have understood this knowledge hence there was no way they could be revealed until Swedenborg and the beginning of the modern age. Why not? Because the human mind is created with three discrete degrees arranged from bottom up: natural (corporeal, sensual, external rational), spiritual (interior rational), and celestial (inmost rational). It took untold thousands of generations on this planet to reach the highest point of development of the natural mind, which his the external rational level of consciousness and reasoning. This completion of the natural mind ushered in the Age of Reason and Swedenborg’s intellectual environment. Now for the first time human beings were able to consciously understand interior rational truths. These are purely spiritual and the natural mind is not capable of receiving it because it is of a lower discrete degree than the spiritual truth. But now the next discrete degree of the human mind could be opened by these interior rational truths from the Lord. Hence the final revelations could be at last given to humankind. These are the Writings.


He [Swedenborg] wrote from the Lord while he was reading the Word (TCR 779). He found that everything in heaven which he himself found impossible to express, could nonetheless be expressed to the rational comprehension, in natural language. Angels cannot inspire such writings; but the Lord can! (De Verbo 4-6: 3.2-3.4)

(Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom, The New Age and the New Church (Part Two). New Church Life, June 2002, 251-260)


For additional discussion on discrete degrees see Chapter 5, Section 6.


Chapter 7, Section 3


3.The Idea of “As-of Self”


Clinical depression affects one in five Americans and if you add ordinary depression, unhappiness and anxiety, you will have included four out of five, and more likely five out of five. Our culture and society, our science and education, has not shielded its population from unhappiness, depression, and rage. This sorry psychological state of affairs has one cause or mental virus: the ego or “proprium.” The proprium (or corporeal self) is incapable of rationality and is born tied to a feeding pipeline from hell (AC 1049). Swedenborg was given to see what the proprium looks like—like burned black bone, deformed and ugly, without any spiritual life, thus appearing dead (SE 2250). The proprium or ego cannot be saved and is under eternal damnation. This is a psychobiological fact of human evolution, not a Divine punishment for sins (DP 287). There were other races before this one and they died out (AC 765, 4519). Those who base their salvation on improving the ego or making it stronger are doomed since they develop the delusion that a dead thing can be made alive by mental medicine. Thus they produce delusions that they take for reality. For the dead proprium can only produce delusions.


The New Church mind is liberated from the delusions of the dead proprium by taking in the concept of as-of-self and using it as the operating system (AC 47, 233, 1712, 2877, 5664, 10299; NJHD 148; DP 102; CL 82; SE 5958; LJ 299; AE 864). The celestial mind experiences a delicious and exhilarating sensation: the perception of influx of the Lord’s Proprium into the as-of-self:


[11] There are two things which make life, love and wisdom; or what is the same, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. These flow in from God, and are received by man, and are felt in the man as in him; and because they are felt by him as in him, they also proceed as from him. It is given by the Lord, that they should be thus felt by the man, in order that what flows in may affect him, and so be received and remain. (AR 875)


The Lord alone possesses Proprium. By His Proprium He has redeemed man and by His Proprium saves him. The Lord's Proprium is Life, and from His Proprium man's proprium, which in itself is dead, is given life. (AC 149)


The Lord’s Proprium within the as-of-self activates it so that it feels, thinks, and acts no different from the self of the natural mind. We are actually feeling, thinking, and acting from the Lord yet it appears to us that we are feeling, thinking, and acting entirely from ourselves. Thus we have celestial loves, celestial wisdom, and celestial sensations that are from the Lord (as uniquely adapted to each individual angel). The perception of the influx and the sensation of acting as-of-self is heavenly bliss itself and the purpose of human evolution.


In the arena of religion the as-of-self concept is as far above the ego concept as the Second Coming is from the First. The Writings reveal that the Christian Church established by the Lord when He was on earth was well on its way to consummation and vastation by the year 325 AD when the Nicene Council of bishops manufactured the idea of a “Son from eternity” rather than the concept that the Apostolic Church had had, which is a “Son born in time” (TCR 137). The result of this false idea was the Church was hijacked by a new heresy called “Three Divine Persons in One Godhead.” The Writings reveal that this idea completely destroys the idea of One God, One Lord. One of the tragic consequences of this abnormal growth is the implantation and strengthening of the idea that salvation is not by works but by faith alone (TCR 391). This falsity immeasurably strengthens the ego so that the individual cannot acquire the motivation to regenerate. Since salvation is guaranteed by faith alone, sins and lusts are said to be forgiven, and though it’s better to be good and not to sin, it’s not possible to achieve this. Hence one remains damned without any faith in the other world (LJP 170, 202).


In my discussions with Christians today I observed that they have a vigorous passion for isolating and killing the idea taught in the Writings that one is saved through works of faith. Their strong aversion comes from their deep phobia of meritoriousness which is warned against as damning in both Old and New Testaments. To them salvation by works of faith inevitably involves appropriating to oneself the merit of Christ, a most damning thing to do. And indeed their implanted instinct is correct in that meritoriousness is most damning:


A person looks below himself when he channels towards himself truth and good flowing in from the Lord. And one who channels towards himself the goodness and truth flowing from the Lord sees self and the world in front of him. He does not see the Lord or His goodness and truth because these are behind his range of vision and come to be so indistinct that he pays no attention to them and eventually denies their existence (AC 7817).


But the revelation regarding the as-of-self makes all the difference. The New Church mind is completely immune to meritoriousness as long as the as-of-self develops and strengthens daily through the study of the Writings and a life according to one’s understanding of that doctrine. Now at last in the Crown of Churches, within the celestial mind, we can consciously do the works of faith, knowing that this is done not from our ego but from the Lord’s Proprium within our as-of-self. This confidence comes from the Lord.


When I discuss the as-of-self with others the reaction I get is negative or nonplussed. People cannot get excited by the idea that our ego is dead and monstrous and that the ultimate human state is to be activated by God in our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This reluctance and aversion is understandable to the New Church mind because it has an alternative which the natural mind does not. The as-of-self is celestial and blissful as demonstrated by the life of the angels which is described in much wonderful detail in the Writings (HH 284ff). We do not have regrets for the died out ego because we do not identify with it. We have a much better alternative! The Writings attribute this reluctance to the unregenerate ego:


But all such persons are incensed, indeed they are repelled, when told that they do not live of themselves. Self-love is what causes this. (AC 3743)


The concept of as-of-self gives us the benefits of a superior psychology that we can apply to manage our life here on earth. The New Church mind in this life is regenerating until the death of the physical body. The as-of-self won’t be completed to function in a celestial degree until we arrive at the gates of our heaven. While we are regenerating in the physical world the as-of-self and the ego will be engaged in mortal combat (DLW 260). The highlights of the battles are called spiritual and celestial temptations (NJHD 187-201). These are assaults by the hells which the Lord allows in a controlled way like a Loving and Wise Divine Therapist. As we accumulate victories, the ego loses power and is extinguished to the extent that we compel our corporeal mind to realign itself and be obedient to the interior rational. This is the “new man” or celestial person in the making.


As it is desirable that the origin of perception, internal dictate, and conscience, should be known, and as at the present day it is altogether unknown, I may relate something on the subject. It is a great truth that man is governed by the Lord by means of spirits and angels. When evil spirits begin to rule, the angels labor to avert evils and falsities, and hence arises a combat. It is this combat of which the man is rendered sensible by perception, dictate, and conscience. By these, and also by temptations, a man might clearly see that spirits and angels are with him, were he not so deeply immersed in corporeal things as to believe nothing that is said about spirits and angels. Such persons, even if they were to feel these combats hundreds of times, would still say that they are imaginary, and the effect of a disordered mind. I have been permitted to feel such combats, and to have a vivid sense of them, thousands and thousands of times, and this almost constantly for several years, as well as to know who, what, and where they were that caused them, when they came, and when they departed; and I have conversed with them. (AC 227)


Therefore the New Church mind will experience depression, anxiety, stress, lust, and lapses of conscience, prudence, and charity. But the method used to manage these plagues in our character will be entirely different from what psychology or popular culture offers. For the latter are for the ego and its management. People are told “Love yourself and you can be more happy” or “Accept what’s around you, be realistic and you will thrive.” Etc. But this approach cannot be taken up by the New Church mind for it clashes with the as-of-self that is developing and gaining strength daily. This gaining in momentum is proportional to taking things up from the Writings on a daily basis. The more rational truths we have and understand and the more we are motivated to align our choices with them, the more the as-of-self grows in strength and spiritual vision and power. Soon it can crush any demand or revolt by the corporeal mind, merely by being able to look down from above (DP 16). The as-of-self being rational (not natural) is a discrete degree higher than the corporeal (spiritual degree is higher than the natural degree). A person


can from wisdom above view the love that is below, and in this way can view his thoughts, intentions, affections, and therefore the evils and falsities as well as the goods and truths of his life and doctrine; and without a knowledge and acknowledgment of these in himself he cannot be reformed. (DP 16)


The as-of-self as reinforced by daily things from the Writings has no use for depression for it is in bliss and joy. It has no use for anxiety for the Omnipotent Lord is in it. It sees no disappointment and feels no envy for it is filled with appreciation and love. Negativity of the ego cannot rise and cross the discrete barrier of the interior rational. As we grow in age and regeneration the as-of-self becomes more and more active. Our personality shows it outwardly in the form of gentleness, compassion, creativity, responsibility, intelligence, prudence. Whereas the ego is a ferocious beast and wolf, oftentimes a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the as-of-self is a lamb for the Lamb Himself activates it and is in it (AC 3994).


1. The Source Of Evil


The as-of self can also be the source of evil!


However, I replied, "Man was so created that everything he wills, thinks and does appears to him as being in him and thus from him. Without this appearance a person would not be a human being, for he would be unable to receive anything of good and truth or of love and wisdom, retain it, and seemingly adopt it as his own.  Consequently it follows that without this, as it were, living appearance, man would not have any conjunction with God, and so neither any eternal life.  But if as a result of this appearance he persuades himself to the belief that he wills, thinks, and thus does good of himself, and not from the Lord (even though to all appearance as though of himself), he turns good into evil in him, and so creates in him the origin of evil.  This was Adam's sin. (CL 444)


Looking to the Lord and attributing all good to Him protects us from falling into Adam’s sin, and this, the more so as we remain conscious of this attribution in all our willing and thinking all day long. A general declaration that all good is the Lord’s is necessary but not sufficient. We must make that declaration to ourselves in our mind many times in a single hour! The angels do so second by second so to speak (AC 1038).


Chapter 7, Section 4


4. The Idea of “Salvation is by Means Only”


A man may know, think, and understand much; but what does not agree with his love, he casts away from himself, when meditating alone by himself. Hence also he casts off these things after the life of the body, when he is in the spirit: for that alone which has entered into a man's love, remains in his spirit; the rest is looked upon, after death, as foreign, and because it does not belong to a man's love, it is cast out of the house. It is said "in the spirit," because after death, a man lives as a spirit. (NJHD 113)


Christianity, Judaism, and Islam take the point of view that God must forgive our sins before we can be saved. In the mind of the Jewish people of old, being corporeal and sensuous, forgiveness of sins was accomplished by rituals, sacrifices, and disciplines of repentance (fasting, putting ash on the head, not washing, etc.). Sacrifices are not sanctioned for Jews today but they are in the hope that sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem will be restored by Messiah when He comes. They currently practice rituals of atonement that they deem equivalent to the sacrifices of old. In Christianity forgiveness of sins is attributed to the “blood of Christ.” This idea allows them to avoid the dangers of meritoriousness, but it also makes it harder for them to be motivated to regenerate. The New Church mind is totally immune to the idea of cleansing by ritual sacrifice. We are protected from this deep seated quagmire by the concept of salvation by means only (TCR 340).


This is a totally rational idea that is consistent with the concept of discrete degrees. First we allow that the Lord forgives everyone even as they sin or remain in a state of sin. This we attribute to His infinite mercy and love of the human race. We cannot think that the Lord would withhold His forgiveness on account of not making some ritual sacrifice and we turn away from the idea that the Creator of heaven and earth is angry with the human race and needs to be propitiated by the sacrifice on the cross of His innocent Son (xx). Or that on account of Christ’s blood our own sins are washed clean and God no longer sees them as long as we declare our faith in the Son who then intercedes on our behalf. Instead of these notions the Writings give us the scientific description that the Lord operates from firsts to lasts through intermediaries or means (DLW 304; TCR 63).


Forgiveness of sins is automatic. Next is repentance of sins and reformation of life. There is no salvation without reformation no matter how much we believe we have faith. Regeneration is a psychobiological process of new growth to replace the dead ego. Day by day, year by year, the Lord makes our new as-of-self grow and develop in proportion that we cooperate, compel ourselves in repeated temptations, and gain victory by aligning our corporeal self to be obedient to our rational from the Writings.


This idea of salvation by means also protects us from pessimism as we look around and see how few there are who have a New Church mind and how many those who don’t want it. We may be puzzled as to why the fruits of the Second Coming have not spread much in the 200 years since the Writings were given. But if we remember that the Lord operates the universe by successive means rather than by fiat (“Let everyone be saved now”), we do not fall into false expectations of imaginary salvations. There will never be a time when the Lord can impose His Divine Human upon the people for this can be done only gradually as generations evolve and pass on new hereditary tendencies to the offspring.


Chapter 7, Section 5


5. The Idea of “Conjugial Love”


What an amazing relief to know the following—and what extraordinary spiritual benefits we derive from knowing it!



As heaven is from the human race, and angels therefore are of both sexes, and from creation woman is for man and man is for woman, thus the one belongs to the other, and this love is innate in both, it follows that there are marriages in heaven as well as on the earth. But marriages in heaven differ widely from marriages on the earth. Therefore what marriages in heaven are, and how they differ from marriages on the earth and wherein they are like them, shall now be told. (HH 366)


Especially does a love for the opposite sex remain, and in the case of people coming into heaven, namely, people who become spiritual on earth, conjugial love.  A love for the opposite sex remains in a person after death for the reason that a male is then still a male, and a female still a female, and masculinity in the male is masculine in the whole and every part of him, likewise femininity in the female, and there is a capacity for conjunction in every detail - indeed, in every least detail - of the two sexes. (CL 37:4)


The angelic spirits replied with a smile, 'Sexual love among the angels, the kind of love there is in heaven, is still full of the most intimate delights. It is an extremely pleasant feeling, as if every part of the mind were expanded. This affects all parts of the chest, and inside it is as if the heart were playing games with the lungs; and this play gives rise to breathing, sound and speech. These make contact between the sexes, that is, between young men and girls, the very model of heavenly sweetness, because it is pure.


Since in heaven the husband is wisdom and the wife is the love of wisdom, both being spiritual, they cannot have any but spiritual children conceived and born there. This is why these delights do not leave angels depressed, as some on earth are, but cheerful; this is due to the constant inflow of fresh strength to replace the former, at once renewing and enlightening it. For all who reach heaven return to the springtime of their youth, recovering the strength of that age, and keeping this for ever.' (CL 44)


No one knows this heavenly secret but the New Church mind. All others who hear about it, do not believe it, yeah, cannot believe it.


Our cultural milieu is profoundly antagonistic to the Christian idea of marriage for life. Though people marry in the Church and take the vow of “until death do us part” more marriages are ended by divorce than marriages that last for life. Modern ideas of individual freedom and the psychology of love yourself are factors that fuel failed marriages. The New Church mind is immensely advantaged in the ability to make marriage last forever as long as one undergoes regeneration and to that extent. There is no protection without the daily study of the Writings and the application of its doctrine to how one lives daily life. The special protection from failing in marriage is bestowed on us by the concept of conjugial love, if this concept is lived rather than merely memorized.


The Writings reveal that conjugial love is the chief of all the loves in the universe (CL 64, 222). In other words, conjugial love is the goal of creation and all things are created to be in support of this love. Conjugial love is the love that creates a conjugial couple, which is an angel (CL 42[2]). A conjugial couple is united from within. This united status is brought about by means. It requires adequate preparation and gradual development. The Lord gives permission for the husband and the wife to experience a long sequence of temptations in which the natural love they have for one another is transformed into a spiritual and a celestial love. When we marry we are in our external state. External marriages can be outwardly harmonious or disharmonious. The couple can be friends or intimate enemies. But as we take up daily things from the Writings we have the internal union more and more at heart. Everything that is motivated by this interior idea of growing into an angel couple, is blessed and forms the internal union. Without this motivation for an internal union they remain in an external relationship, which is dissolved in the other life:


All, as soon as they come into the other life, are recognized by their friends, their relatives, and those in any way known to them; and they talk with one another, and afterwards associate in accordance with their friendships in the world. I have often heard that those who have come from the world were rejoiced at seeing their friends again, and that their friends in turn were rejoiced that they had come. Very commonly husband and wife come together and congratulate each other, and continue together, and this for a longer or shorter time according to their delight in living together in the world. But if they had not been united by a truly conjugial love, which is a conjunction of minds by heavenly love, after remaining together for a while they separate. Or if their minds had been discordant and were inwardly adverse, they break forth into open enmity, and sometimes into combat; nevertheless they are not separated until they enter the second state, which will be treated of presently. (HH 494)


1. Achieving An Internal Union


To achieve an internal union that lasts the husband must have the conscious motive for rearranging his mind and modifying his behavior in such a way as to be capable of being united to his wife in eternity. There is special spiritual power in this motive. With it we can resist the things that otherwise would make us fail. Conjugial love motivates us to put the partner ahead of oneself for the sake of interior union. This is the key-- for the sake of interior union. Without it there is no power and we succumb to the usual forces of darkness: anger, male chauvinism, dominion, ego, opposing loyalties, adultery, gender politics, arrogance, selfishness, foolishness, meritoriousness, self-pity, cowardice, cruelty, and so on. No other motive but heaven or eternity can be high enough in the mind to trump all other motives. If a husband has this motive he can overcome all the plagues in him from birth and culture. Therefore he can suffer himself to be regenerated by the Lord. He can stick out and not quit.


The enduring motive for conjugial love vanquishes all natural resistance for it is the highest love in the universe since creation (CL 64, 222). All other loves are beneath it, under its command. So if a man hears of this love and develops a rational understanding of it, he puts it at the very top of his motivational hierarchy, right there with the Lord Himself. For the Lord is Conjugial Love in Itself from which all conjugial love exists and has its being. If a man puts conjugial love as high as the Lord because the Lord is Conjugial Love in Itself, then the Lord can empower the man to win victory over all his temptations. Only through victory over temptations can a husband let go of his ego and culture.  He cannot avoid the suffering and the pain that comes with voluntarily giving up and shunning the hereditary loves (or affections of lust). But the idea of conjugial love renewed daily by the study and application of the Writings remains a steadfast goal within which there already is some anticipatory feeling of heavenly elation and bliss. For the Lord shows us our progression and this gives us full confidence in the process that He supervises and oversees in far greater detail than we ourselves can operate from.


New Church men are specially situated today to make an especially important contribution to society, culture, and religion, not just for the current generation, but all future ones. We are only the sixth generation of the Second Coming (since 1771 with say 39 years per generation). Remember that this is the start of a never ending civilization (xx). The Writings have been given as the last of all revelations to all the generations to come with no end (xx). Do you not see that this makes our responsibility special? The next generation will inherit the ideas we take up from the Writings, and the Doctrine of the Church will get passed on to the generations after that (CL 202). We are part of the transition generation that functions as intermediary between natural marriages and conjugial love. The ultimate transition of the generations from natural external to celestial internal depends on us achieving victory in our mind against the forces that want to prevent conjugial love from entering the human race.


When man is being instructed, there is a progression from memory-knowledges to rational truths; further, to intellectual truths; and finally, to celestial truths, which are here signified by the "wife." (AC 1495)


The highest rational-spiritual level we can attain is called “celestial truths” and these are represented in the Word as “wife,” not husband! The struggle is in our mind as we compel ourselves to shun male prerogatives and the love of dominion in every interaction we have with our wife all day long. This is not something that depends on our image and impression management techniques. Every thought we have, every preference and intention, fights against internal union because this union means that the husband compels himself to act from the wife and not from himself (see Chapter 9). Some men are willing to give up their external independence for the sake of something they want more. But no man is willing to give up his internal independence except for eternal union rationally understood.


New Church husbands today have available spiritual disciplines to win their battle for conjugial love and change the line of inheritance for the male human race from scortatory to chaste. Conjugial love is a boon to young people whom I think of as “pre-marrieds” since the deep seated idea of conjugial love comes implanted in Christian girls from nativity (CL 216, 457). Single men who have the New Church mind never see themselves in any other way than a husband-to-be, and look upon every girl they see as someone’s future wife. The knowledge that one has a spouse in heaven is of tremendous advantage in how one looks upon sexual behavior. The idea that sexuality does not exist in heaven is injurious if it leads to the confirmed conviction that sexuality cannot be spiritual. This idea blocks the normal development of conjugial love.


A young man becomes or is made a husband, because a husband possesses elements taken from his wife, which increase his ability to receive love and wisdom; these he did not have as a young man. These effects take place in the case of those who enjoy truly conjugial love. (…)


I was convinced of the fact of this from the following experience in the spiritual world:

Some men said that the relationship a man has with a woman before marriage and the relationship he has with his wife after marriage are similar. When they heard this, their wives became very offended and said, "They are not at all alike! The difference is as the difference between fantasy and reality."


To this the men retorted, "Are you not women as before?" To which their wives responded with rising voice, "We are not 'women' but wives!  The love you feel is a fantasy love and not a real one; therefore you speak in fantasy terms."


The men then said, "If you are not 'women,' still you are married women."  But they replied, "In the early days of marriage we were married women; now, however, we are wives." (CL 199)


Note that three expressions are used in this quote to refer to women: (1) women, (2) married women, and (3) wives. The husbands had to learn these distinctions from their wives. “Woman” is a general term like “female” and “girl.” But “married woman” is a more interior reference to women and therefore is of a higher status. “Wife” is the most interior reference to a woman and therefore is the highest status she desires from the inmost psychobiology within her. This is because “wife” is used for her conjugial state in heaven, the highest state her desire can support. A young man ought to look at all women as undergoing these three states. When he sees a young unmarried girl he ought to say to himself, She is someone’s wife in the future, therefore she is a wife even now, in her inmost, for what is our future is in our inmost now since what is successive is also simultaneous (see Chapter 5, Section 6). A “married woman” is the state of a woman who is married and her husband is not in love with the conjugial. The marriage is an external union without an internal with it. But later, when the husband is regenerating and is preparing for conjugial love, she is called “wife” which denotes their internal conjunction that is growing within their external marriage. Knowing these secrets gives a young man a great advantage since it gives him a stronger motivation to avoid scortations that prevent the conjugial from developing within him.


I sometimes wondered how it came about that the ultimate textbook on the marriage relationship was written by a man who was never married while on earth. Swedenborg did desire to marry but the woman he chose had another marriage proposal she chose to accept (xx). There is no record I know of that he thereafter ever tried to marry again. And yet it was his Divinely appointed mission to write the ultimate textbook on the subject of marriage. One relevant idea that came to me about it was when I read what Swedenborg wrote about objectivity in his scientific approach:


I found, when intently occupied in exploring the secrets of the human body, that as soon as I discovered anything that had not been observed before, I began (seduced probably by self-love) to grow blind to the most acute lucubrations and researches of others, and to originate the whole series of inductive arguments from my particular discovery alone; and consequently to be incapacitated to view and comprehend, as accurately as the subject required, the idea of universals in individuals, and of individuals under universals. …

I therefore laid aside my instruments, and restraining my desire for making observations, determined rather to rely on the researches of others that to trust my own. (EAK 18)


Swedenborg’s mind was organized to be objective rather than following his own biases. He realized that everyone has self-love and this leads the scientist to love his own centrality through the centrality of his explanations, beliefs, and persuasions. Rather than following objectively what is required for rational analysis, one falls into the distortions of one’s own interpretations. I can apply this to a partial explanation for why Swedenborg never got to be married on earth when he had to compose that portion of the Word titled in full Delights of Wisdom Relating to Conjugial Love Followed By Pleasures of Insanity Relating to Licentious Love (First published 1768). Other translations use Scortatory for Licentious.


2. Discrete and Reciprocal Relationship Between Man And Woman


This is a book about the human mind as divided into two discrete races—male and female. There is nothing in one that is the same as in the other (CL 46). The book presents not his own observations, but his careful reports about angel couples and the men and women in infernal co-habitations. These two types of coupling between a male human and a female human are both present in our mind while on earth. Swedenborg would have missed the relevant facts had he studied the behavior of couples on earth as many researchers have done since. He would not have had access to the internal life of the couple where the affections are and the causes of union and disunion. The only objective and scientific access possible to these inner facts about coupling is to observe and interview angels and spirits of both sexes. This is what Swedenborg was given access to by the Lord.


Studying the book Conjugial Love gives us access to amazing information about ourselves as men or women, and about how one can establish an internal union with each other. If we succeed in this attempt we are guaranteed eternal happiness and peace with our spouse. If we fail in this attempt we are guaranteed endless misery forever. What a choice! And believe it or not, the majority choose “guaranteed endless misery forever”! This amazing and sad result is due to our ability before reformation to deny and ignore the reality of this choice. Friend, give it much thought: When will you begin your reformation? Why not now?


See the related discussion on the Doctrine of the Wife in Chapter 9, Section 1.


3. Conjugial Love Vs. Pornography And Adultery


Lascivious and obscene thoughts are adulteries(AE 803)


Woman is the life of wisdom. … To women is given a perception of the delights of conjugial love; and because their whole body is an organ of that perception (CL 56)


Love of the married partner does not result from the sexual embrace, as with adulterers, but the sexual embrace from the love of the partner; so that the love of the partner does not depend on the fire of that organ, but the reverse. The love of the partner is full of delights, irrespective of sexual intercourse, and is a delightful dwelling together. Between that love apart from the sexual embrace, and the sexual embrace itself, there is a determination, just as there is between that which a man thinks from the will, which is intention, and act, or speech. Between these, intervenes determination, which is as it were the opening of the mind to doing a thing, like the opening of a door. (SE 6110)


The New Church mind affords a special advantage in knowing about conjugial love. It makes it easier to be objectively and rationally convinced that sex or sexuality is something we want to reserve for marriage only. The reason for this is psychobiological, relating to the organic composition of the will (affective organ) and the understanding (cognitive organ). Sexuality between conjugial partners is accompanied by corresponding inner growth of spiritual fibers that build up the conjoint self in the mind of each (see Chapter 9, Section 9). This internal union in angelic partners (the conjoint self) is different from the individual self of either of them, and is an indescribable delight and bliss to both (CL 213; SE 4156). Young people who understand this rationally are able to overcome temptations because their motive comes from a deeper source if they know the spiritual psychobiology of the conjoint self and how it is built up by sex between husband and wife. Faced with temptations young people can immediately see that since sex between unmarrieds does not have Divine sanction it will not produce the conjoint self, but rather interferes with it by producing psychobiological growth formations opposed to conjugial love.


If a man concentrates his love upon his wife, by shunning adultery as sin, then love with its potency increases daily; but if men take from that love and consume it with harlots, conjugial love becomes like chaff, and dies. (SE 6110)


The Writings warn that we must guard ourselves from the influx of sexual feelings from anyone not our spouse (AE 1004[5]). Obviously this will also lead young people to want to avoid the many forms of “unchaste love” (CL 147): pornography, sexually explicit entertainment, lyrics of promiscuity, and acting in a sexually provocative manner in public. Besides the lyrics the social context of pop culture is to lock the mind into corporeal consciousness. Mass gatherings, swaying together, screaming, identifying with performers, admiring their gross conduct, being a fan, participating in crowd behavior, dressing in a certain way, wearing icons, making them the topic of discussion and focus, everything done as participant in this sub-culture closes down the rational, freezes out the conjugial, erodes morality, justifies permissiveness. And with this comes impotence in men and their aversion for sex in particular and women in general.


There are some in excrementitious hells who are addicted to variety [in sex], and by it have extinguished the conjugial; and at the same time are voluptuous; they are in the province of the intestines, under the former, where are everywhere sinks and a foul odor; and everywhere there are caverns from which such an odor exhales. (De Conj 94)


4. The Fire Of That Organ


In recent years there has been a tremendous demand by millions of men for a new drug that helps restore what the Writings call “the fire of that organ” (quoted just above SE 6110). But this is only a temporary slow down of the inevitable permanent impotence and aversion for women that lies hidden within (CL 247). The rise of the impotence drug is matched by a corresponding rise in the production and marketing of pornography on the Web. I do not think this is merely an accidental correlation. The causes of both phenomena are interrelated spiritually. One has to do with hatred for innocence and the other with hatred for conjugial love, which is also a hatred for chastity (CL 304[2]). This inherited inner aversion for women can be laid aside in reformation and gradual regeneration. The New Church mind is chaste and therefore avoids the causes of impotence and racial gynophobia in men (CL 241).


Scortatory love makes a person less and less human and virile, and conjugial love makes him more and more human and virile. (CL 432)


Consider that participating in sexually provocative situations will result in something sexual entering the mind from a third person, thus not from the wife. The Lord in the Writings warns us against this (AE 1004[5]). This is a matter of cause-effect. Sexual activity is always spiritually caused. Allowing oneself to be aroused by a sexual affection that is not from the wife is a spiritual act with psychobiological consequences. Those who know that this is hurtful to the development of their conjoint self (see Chapter 9, Section 9), will not want to engage in such activities. Their aversion will come from within, out of their freedom of choice and prudence in protecting their conjugial remains.


At first we may be motivated to be chaste from an outward motivation to obey the wishes of parents and authority figures. This outward social motive is in conflict with another cultural motive, which is to experiment with and explore one’s sexuality. The conflict frequently is won by the side that leads to scortatory sexuality. This love is in agreement with inheritance, culture, and the popularization of the unchaste. But the studious New Church mind will develop a rational understanding of this spiritually hurtful involvement. This now provides an inward motivation for chastity and conjugial love. Chastity is the sexual exclusivity of one’s married partner; that is, the spouse alone can be allowed to be connected to anything sexual.


(5) All the delights of truly conjugial love, even the end delights, are chaste.  This follows from the foregoing considerations explaining that truly conjugial love is the essence of chastity.  And delights make the life of this love.


I have indicated earlier how the delights of this love ascend and enter heaven, and on the way permeate the joys of heavenly loves experienced by angels of heaven.  I have also recounted how these delights ally themselves with the delights of conjugial love in angels. Moreover, I have heard from angels that they perceive these delights to be heightened in them and to become fuller as they ascend from chaste married partners on earth.  And in response to some bystanders, who were unchaste - in reply to their question whether they also experienced the end delights - the angels nodded and quietly said, "What else?  Are they not delights of conjugial love in their fullest expression?"

    (Regarding the source of the delights of this love and what they are like, see no. 69 above and what is said in the narrative accounts, especially in those that follow.) (CL 144)


Chastity in marriage does not come about through renunciation of licentious relationships unless this is done in accordance with religion. The reason is that a person without religion does not become spiritual, but remains natural. And if a natural person renounces licentious relationships, still his spirit does not renounce them. Consequently, even though it seems to him that by renouncing them he is chaste, nevertheless unchasteness still lies hidden within, like putrefaction in a wound only superficially healed.

    As seen above in no. 130, conjugial love depends on the state of the church in a person.  More on this subject may be seen in the exposition of point (11) which follows below. (CL 149)


We say that fornication is a product of sexual love because it is not sexual love, but arises from it. Sexual love is like a spring from which both conjugial love and scortatory love can be drawn; and they can be drawn by fornication, or without it. For everyone has sexual love in him, and it either emerges or it does not. If it emerges before marriage in relations with a woman of loose morals, it is called fornication; but if it does not emerge until he has a wife, it is called marriage. If it occurs with another woman after marriage, it is called adultery. Therefore, as stated, sexual love is like a spring from which a rivulet of chaste as well as unchaste love can flow. But it will be revealed in the following pages how much caution and how much prudence is needed for chaste love to develop through fornication, and how much imprudence for unchaste or scortatory love to develop through it. Can anyone draw this conclusion, that a person who has fornicated cannot be more chaste when he is married? (CL 445)


5. Casting Out Unchaste Love


Web pornographic sites have proliferated by the thousands to such an extent that government and industry had to introduce filtering software for parents, schools, and libraries, to reduce the facile access to pornography on the Web. The overwhelming majority of these millions who access online pornography are men. They look at photographs, watch videos, engage in scortatory chat room discussions, pay to be allowed to watch “live cams” in the apartments of women who sadly have been persuaded by men to earn a living in this way. The word “sex” is by far the most frequent word entered into Web search engines.


Deliberate adulterers are those who do so at the pleasure of the will. Confirmed adulterers are those who do so through a wrong intellectual belief. Adulterers on purpose are those who do so by being entrapped by the senses. Adulterers with no purpose are those who have not the ability or freedom to consult their intellect. It is the first two types of adulterers who become less and less human; the second two types become human, as they renounce their errors and then behave wisely. (CL 432)


Women are forced by husbands and boyfriends to accept pornography as a normal thing for men to do. Women are made to feel guilty and are punished by their partners when the women express disapproval of their husband’s or boyfriend’s consumerism of pornography. Society has put into place a culture of pornography designed for women—movies, videos, nightclubs, magazines, TV shows that depict and encourage, and try to normalize the idea of gender equity in pornography. These are examples of how widespread and intense is the fight against the conjugial in the culture around us. The New Church mind must understand these goings on, to see in them the silent conspiracy against the conjugial, and thus to become consciously  immunized against it.


Conjugial love cools as soon as it becomes divided, and the growing coldness causes it to die, it being the heat of unchaste love that kills it. For two opposing feelings of warmth cannot exist together at the same time without the one casting out the other and depriving it of its vitality. (CL 147)


The casting out of unchaste love must be a categorical and absolute stricture, at least in our commitment and ideal, and the Lord will see to it that eventually nothing of it is left. But if we allow it as “exceptions” from time to time, here and there, the purity of the goal is compromised and injured. We cannot hide it under the carpet or behind the cabinet for it will be found out in the afterlife and shouted on the rooftop, to the embarrassment and shame of the couple. Even if the couple is angelic otherwise, they are both ejected from heaven each time the husband’s unchaste love returns to the forefront of his mind. The Lord works to exile it to the far recesses of his mind but this takes a lengthy and painful course. (xx)


It’s important to keep in mind consciously and never forget what happens when we allow ourselves to develop a taste for the lascivious and scortatory:


They who in the life of the body think lasciviously, and give a lascivious turn to whatever others say, even to holy things, and this even in adult and old age when nothing of natural lasciviousness incites, do not desist or think and speak differently in the other life; and as there their thoughts are communicated, and sometimes come forth into obscene representations before other spirits, they give offense.


Their punishment is, that in the presence of the spirits whom they have offended they are thrown prostrate and rapidly rolled over and over like a roller from left to right, and then transversely in another position, and so in another-naked before all, or half naked, according to the nature of their lasciviousness, and at the same time they are inspired with shame. Then they are whirled about by the head and feet, horizontally, as upon an axis. Resistance is induced, and at the same time pain; for there are two forces acting, one whirling around, the other backward, so that the punishment is attended with the pain of being torn asunder.


After undergoing these penalties, an opportunity is afforded the miserable sufferer of withdrawing himself from the sight of other spirits, and a sense of shame is instilled into him. Yet there are those who try him to see whether he still persists in such things; but so long as he is in a state of shame and distress he is on his guard. Thus he seems to himself to be hidden, although they know where he is. This punishment appeared in front, at some distance.


There are also boys, youths, and young men who from the madness and hot desire of their age have conceived abominable principles: as that wives, especially those that are young and beautiful, ought not to be for a husband, but for themselves and their like, the husband remaining only head of the household and educator of the children. These are distinguished in the other life by the boyish sound of their speech. They are behind at some height there. Those of them who have confirmed themselves in such principles, and in actual life conformable thereto, are grievously punished in the other life, by having their joints put out of place and back again, or twisted one way and the other, by spirits who can by their art induce upon them the fantasy of being in the body, and at the same time make them feel bodily pain. By these violent alternations, together with their struggles in resistance, they are so rent that they seem to themselves as if dismembered and torn to bits, with frightful pain; and this time after time, until being struck with horror at such principles of life they cease to think in that way. (AC 829)


Better not to attach ourselves to what is adulterous, pornographic, scortatory, or lascivious. Since we feel attraction and delight at these things, we must constantly identify these delights and condemn them, thus not allow ourselves to accept them as allowed, legitimate, or harmless. It’s interesting to note how common one hears the declaration that prostitution is a victimless crime. Pornography and salacious entertainment are usually considered mild sins by most Church going people. But you can see that they lead to a terrible fate.


Adulterers progressively become less and less human, as the witness of my own eyes has proved most clearly to me, having seen them in hell. There they are demons, and when seen in the light of heaven, their faces are like boils, their bodies hunchbacked, their conversation coarse, and their gestures theatrical. (CL 432)


6. Pornography Is Adultery


Accepting in ourselves the delight of pornography is adultery. In the young who are not yet married it can be called pre-adultery. The latter leads to the former.



The angels of the third heaven are those who are in celestial marriage more than others, for they are in love to the Lord, and thence in the marriage of good and truth; whence also they are in conjugial love more than other angels, and in innocence and chastity. These walk with a cincture around the loins when abroad, and without the cincture when at home; and yet in their nakedness, they look upon the consort as a consort, nor is there anything lascivious therein. They say that to look at a consort clothed detracts from the idea of marriage, and what is wonderful, nakedness does not excite or stimulate; it is, however, as an internal bond of conjugial love.


In bed they lie conjoined as they were created, and sleep so. They say that they cannot do otherwise, because conjugial love itself, which is perpetual, conjoins; thus also the life of the one is communicated with the life of the other, and the life of the husband becomes appropriated to the wife; that it may be as we read of Adam when he saw Eve his wife: "Behold my bone and my flesh," and also that "they were naked and not ashamed," that is not lascivious; but as soon as Adam through his wife receded from love to the Lord, which is meant by "the tree of life" in Paradise (of which there, and Rev. 2:7), which happened because they acted from themselves and their own proprium, namely, from the science and delight of the natural man, then the marriage of good and truth perished, then nakedness became lascivious, and the chastity of marriage failing, they were ashamed of nakedness, and were clothed with fig-leaves, and afterwards with woolen garments; thence by nakedness in the Word is meant lasciviousness, like that of adultery. (De Conj. 66)


For more discussion on this subject see all of Chapter 9, and especially Sections 1 through 11.


Chapter 7, Section 6


6. The Mind Is In The Spiritual World


Every man as to his spirit is in the spiritual world in some society there (DP 296)


The world of spirits, which is in the midst between heaven and hell, and into which every man first comes after death, and is there prepared, corresponds to the stomach, in which all the things put in are prepared either to become blood and flesh, or to become excrement and urine, the latter having a correspondence with hell, but the former with heaven. (AR 204)


“Every man as to his spirit is in the spiritual world in some society there” (DP 296) What a tremendous revelation to the human race! “Every man” refers to all those who are born on some earth in the universe. The entire human race on the numberless earths in the universe is of a dual constitution at birth: a spirit born in the spiritual world in some spiritual society there, tied to a physical body born in the natural world in some earthly society there. This dual citizenship is the first phase of the life of a spirit. When the tie to the physical body is broken, the spirit awakens in a spirit-body in the spiritual society they have been all along. The spirit grows up along with the physical body. Children who pass on prior to maturity, wake up in a child’s version of a spirit-body and go through the experience of growing into mature adults under the care of angel parents and teachers (xx). The spirit is nothing else than the mind.


Whether you say “my spirit” or “my mind” it is the same (xx). The spirit, or mind, is an organic body constituted of spiritual substances. The shape and anatomy of the spirit-body is identical to that of the physical body, so much so, that newly awakened spirits at their arrival in the afterlife, cannot at first see a difference, except that it is healthy and functional beyond what the physical body was. The mind’s anatomy and physiology can be studied scientifically by studying the anatomy of the physical body and considering each detail of structure and function as a correspondence for organic components of the spirit, or mind. For example, the mind’s two organs called the will and the understanding, can be studied by applying correspondences to the interaction between the heart and lungs, and supporting systems, considered in their integration (xx).


The Lord has now revealed to the human race that our mind is born and lives in the spiritual world and is called a spirit. We are told that the purpose of this revelation, known to the most ancients but long forgotten by the later generations, is that we may be able to take charge of how the mind matures while tied to the physical body. We live our eternal life in the spiritual world by means of the spirit-body, which houses our mind and its organs and leveled portions within that. This means that the content of our understanding and loves determine the quality of our life in eternity!


And furthermore, as the following passage instructs, the content of the spirit cannot be changed once it breaks the tie to the physical body.


The state of man's spirit that immediately follows his life in the world being such, he is then recognized by his friends and by those he had known in the world; for this is something that spirits perceive not only from one's face and speech but also from the sphere of his life when they draw near. Whenever anyone in the other life thinks about another he brings his face before him in thought, and at the same time many things of his life; and when he does this the other becomes present, as if he had been sent for or called. This is so in the spiritual world because thoughts there are shared, and there is no such space there as in the natural world (see above, n. 191-199). (SS 494)


That in respect to his interiors man is a spirit can be seen from the fact that after his separation from the body, which takes place when he dies, man goes on living as a man just as before. That I might be convinced of this I have been permitted to talk with nearly everyone I had ever known in their life in the body; with some for hours, with some for weeks and months, and with some for years, and this chiefly that I might be sure of it and might testify to it. (HH 437)


New arrivals in the world of spirits are called “novitiate spirits” (CL 461). They are of two kind. Those who can acquire at least the first degree of spiritual-natural concepts (or interior-natural)—they can enter one of the three heavens, depending on the interiorness of their rational concepts. The second kind of spirits that awaken in the afterlife, are not capable of acquiring any interior concepts of rationality. It is said that they are not capable, but not because they lack something, but because they are unwilling. They will enter one of the many hell societies, depending on the corporeality of their material ideas. Corporeal concepts are below the moral level of thinking, hence it is animal rather than human. The moral level of thinking is intermediate between the corporeal-sensuous and the natural-rational. Civil life requires that we think at the moral level, though many individuals can get by in society by faking moral behaviors purely by imitation, rather than conviction. In that case, they are operating below the moral level.


Above the moral level is the external rational level called the natural-rational. this is not yet spiritual.


The human rational as to truth is of such a nature that it cannot understand what the Divine is, for the reason that that truth is in appearances; and therefore that which it cannot understand, it does not believe; and by that which it does not believe it is not affected. (AC 2203)


Above the natural-rational is the interior-natural—this is purely spiritual and can live in heaven. Above the interior-natural (or spiritual-natural) is the spiritual-rational also called the interior rational. This is the spiritual mind. This is where the genuine human begins (xx). The spiritual and celestial angels in the second and third heaven, live in this genuine human consciousness and life.


The interior-natural level of thinking is based on spiritual ideas only, and nothing from natural-rational ideas, which are based on self-intelligence and the world. But the interior-natural mind is filled with content by the laws of correspondences, thus giving us a spiritual consciousness by correspondence, of heavenly light and ideas. This level can think spiritually of spiritual topics such as the Divine Human, spiritual love for the neighbor, conjugial union, discrete degrees of correspondences, the Divine Laws of Permissions, and many more. Until the interior-natural level is reached in our thinking, we can only think naturally of spiritual topics such as heaven, the Divine Human, or discrete degrees. Thinking of heavenly and religious topics naturally leads to a worship without any spiritual interior, so that in the afterlife the individual is unwilling to continue such worship, rejects the religious topics altogether as false or delusionary. The consequence for them is that they keep themselves forever in the spheres of hell. Hence it is necessary for the mind to be regenerated while tied to the physical body.


This regeneration involves learning to detest our old sensuous loves and leaning to love new rational loves. For hell is within sensuous loves and heaven is within rational loves. Sensuous loves in themselves are sub-human. They become human when they are animated, or infilled, by rational loves. In the unregenerate spirit, sensuous loves rule from themselves and resist all attempts to be infilled by rational loves. Thus, inherited sensuous loves want to remain infernal at all cost, since this is their only life from themselves. They are not willing to be “subordinated” to rational loves, even though by creation, they are intended to be subordinated, or else, we turn into sub-human life called “infernal” or the level of life called “the hells.”


1. The Corporeal Sensuous Mind Tends Toward Hell


God gives every unregenerate individual the power to compel sensuous loves to be subordinated to rational loves. This power is exercised and centered in our conscience. When we are willing to compel our sensuous loves to become subordinated to rational loves, we are regenerate and begin life as a genuine human being called the celestial state. There are three discrete degrees of the heavens, corresponding to the three discrete degree in the human mind. Each degree of heaven in the human mind is constructed out of rational truths we are willing to believe and accept as the basis of our thinking. The source of every rational truths is the Writings (xx). The three heavens are constructed out of the ideas of angels there, as they study and understand the Writings (xx). Heaven in the outward form in which Swedenborg visited them, is a rich sensuous place of celestial beauty and delight far greater than its natural representatives on earths, which are gross in comparison, and far less intense and pleasurable than the heavenly sensuous life.


The heavenly sensuous life is a spiritual sensuousness, while the infernal sensuous life is a corporeal sensuousness. The latter is infernal, the former is celestial. Giving up corporeal sensuousness for the sake of heavenly sensuousness is a rational thing to do. Trying to hold on to corporeal sensuousness reduces the consciousness of our spirit to the infernal level, condemning ourselves to a life in hell to eternity. Regeneration is the process by which we reject the corporeal sensuous dominion, by which it wants to rule the entire spirit, turning our life into the sub-human level. This corporeal self is an usurper. It has hijacked our entire mind, taken over the navigation of our soul, and leading it down the road to hell and eternal misery.


The corporeal mind takes over the entire spirit, allowing in only that kind of rational concepts that foster its dominion, and spits out all rational ideas that would compel it to give up dominion, and accept a status of obedience to rational loves.


Rational loves can only live or exist in us when given an outward body or “vessel” in our understanding. Consider for example, the love of not wanting to injure the neighbor. This love can exist in our will only if it has a support in the understanding. We might for instance realize a truth of spiritual reality by reflecting on what our conscience directs. We might think that it is the voice of God that we can hear through our conscience; or we might think that it is an angel or higher spirit in company with us and speaking through our conscience. Or we might know the Writings and read that conscience is the Lord speaking with us (xx). In all these instances, the love of not hurting others can have an outward form of existence in life. This outward form is the ideas we have about conscience, or the Divine commandment not to hurt others selfishly. These are rational ideas because true, and only truths are part of reality. Falsified truths create an unreality of delusional life, which is infernal.


2. Only Rational Loves Exist In Heaven


Rational loves are in accordance with reality since reality is created by means of Divine truths within which is Divine Love (xx). When we desire to be rational enough to live in accordance with revealed truths, we are being regenerated for heavenly life. Our reward is a sensuousness far superior in quality and quantity to the meager pleasures and delights of corporeal sensuality that is not yet subordinated to rational loves. This is quite obvious when you consider that everyone who wants to be a first class athlete has to worked hard for hours every day, at conditioning the physical body and sensuous mind. Exactly this logic applies to the mind, and in order to become a first class human mind, we must think it worthwhile to spend hours a day working for its development.


These concepts about the spirit or mind, and the subordination of sensuous loves to rational loves, are completely incomprehensible at the level of thinking called corporeal or natural-sensuous. When these spiritual topics are defined for them they deny that such things exist, or they reinterpret them in strictly corporeal terms. Heaven cannot exist inside our sub-rational ideas, hence they who remain in these corporeal and sensuous ideas, cannot approach any of the three heavens when they arrive in the afterlife. The lowest heaven is created out of interior-natural ideas, also called spiritual-natural ideas (xx). Any concept in our interior-natural mind is spiritual, whereas any concept in the natural-rational mind, is natural. The natural-rational idea we have of spiritual topics is entirely a natural conception. It is nothing but a pure correspondence of the spiritual idea.


The human rational as to truth is of such a nature that it cannot understand what the Divine is, for the reason that that truth is in appearances; and therefore that which it cannot understand, it does not believe; and by that which it does not believe it is not affected. (AC 2203)


The spiritual idea cannot be derived from the natural idea (xx).


In the same way, the ideas based on sensuous experience from the world are “material ideas” (xx). Those who are in these ideas when they arrive in the afterlife, cannot support any other sphere of life but that which exhales form the hells (xx). All things above the hells in the spiritual world are rational. The natural heavens are created out of the interiors of the material ideas of those who arrive in the afterlife with habits of good behavior out of conscience or religion (xx). These interiors are called interior-natural thoughts, or the spiritual-natural level of consciousness. But those who do not come with habits of good behavior out of conscience or religion, are not capable of receiving interior-natural ideas.


For them heaven does not exist (AC 4622). Should they be brought there, they see nothing, hear nothing, and then are quickly seized by dread and agony, and they feel that life is draining out of them (AC 4416). Thus they immediately cast themselves down, that is, down into their corporeal concepts, where they feel revived. You can see how important it is therefore to acquire and hold on to rational concepts of conscience, religion, and theistic science.


Those who are immersed in material ideas as a profession or life philosophy are called in the Writings “the learned.” They more than others suffer from the tyranny of their material ideas. Their life consists of trying to cope in a spiritual world with ideas that apply only to the natural world. They are therefore insane, even though they have all the knowledges and expertise they brought with them in their memory. They are seen riding horses backwards and trying to guide them in futility by pulling on the horse’s tail (xx). They are seen walking on their hands with feet up in the air like gymnasts (xx). The are able to make a logical argument to prove what is false, like the statement that white is black and black is white (xx). Under the weightiness of their material ideas and consciousness, they gradually sink down into their own hells from which they refuse to emerge to eternity, such is the self-hatred that the unregenerate proprium has. No one can be regenerated by material ideas (xx).


All humans are born in a society where they are socialized. It has been revealed that the Lord sees to it that every child is exposed to rational ideas of religion, God, heaven, morality, conscience, love, truth (AC 3494). These ideas are “remains” in the interior mind that the Lord isolates, protects, and preserves for life in heaven. As they grow up many reject the rational dualities they received as children. They confirm themselves in their rejection of God by willing and thinking daily without acknowledging God. They silence the voice of conscience within. They avoid and hold in aversion rational dualities. When they arrive in the world of spirits they are instructed in rational dualities, but they are unwilling to accept them. They are therefore prepared for the “second death” (AC 853) by which they enter one of the hell societies.


All this process would not make sense unless we kept in mind this all important fact: Every concept or truth is the external form of some affection to which it is coupled. No concept exists in the mind unless it is so coupled to an affection. It is the affection (or love) that animates the concept and makes it alive in our understanding. So when we consider the spirits who reject and avoid rational concepts (or rational truths) we must focus on the “avoid” part. This is the affection. It’s the hatred for truths, or the love for falsities, by which spirits send themselves to hell, and keep themselves there to eternity. For any time they stop hating the truth, they can rise, even to heaven (AC 8945[4]). Hell is not a punishment for past sins, but a state of mind that hates truths. And heaven is within truths. Hence hating truths means hating heaven. And to be in heaven,  one must love truths, for heaven is the state of mind when in truths, that is, in the affection for truths.


The spiritual world refers to heaven, hell, and the world of spirits where we first arrive upon death of the physical body. The Lord insures that everyone who arrives has some rational remains. Even those who killed their conscience and acquired an aversion for God and truths, still have trust and affections of innocence in their remains. Furthermore, all socialized ideas and education have some rational concepts in them. Natural language has a syntax that is based on rational rules so that when we learn to talk we also acquire rational concepts. Those who deny truths are still able to become scientists, doctors, and leaders in society. This is possible because they retain the rational concepts in their external mind so that they may appear normal and be successful. But in their interior mind, they reject these rational truths and love to think insanely (HH 482). When they arrive in the world of spirits they discard the external mind, and what is left, is their affection for falsity and evil. They cannot approach heaven, and they sink down into the lower regions of the mind called the hells. There they meet others with who they live in a society of misery and insanity together.


Since the spirit is the mind (TCR 156), the spiritual world is in accordance with the mind, or if you prefer, the mind is in accordance with the spiritual world. All the degrees of the spiritual world are also the degrees of the mind. Therefore rational concepts (or spiritual truths) become the power of navigation in the afterlife. Higher levels of mind require more interior rational concepts of the Lord and His Laws. We are conjoined to the Lord through rational truths or concepts, and the more interior these concepts we understand and live by, the closer is the conjunction, that is, the closer we can get to the spiritual Sun where the Lord is (xx).


3. Revelation Of Interior Rational Truths


In the Second Coming the Lord has revealed interior rational truths that He could not yet reveal to His disciples (AE 815[7]).).The human barely begins with the external rational level, as this is only the outer court yard of the human mind (AC 978, 4286; AE 355:14). The genuine human doesn’t begin until we reach a state higher than the external rational:


The human commences in the inmost of the rational … (AC 2666)


The Divine Human … begins in the rational … (AC 2827)


The external rational contains things from the natural mind and the spiritual mind, but the interior rational contains only things from the spiritual world. This is the spirit that can function in the afterlife, not loaded down by natural things which adhere to the external rational mind. Every truth in the Writings is from the perspective of the spiritual world not from the natural. This is why it abhors all nonduality whose ideas and concepts are from the natural mind. When the natural mind adheres to the spiritual mind (or interior rational), the spirit in the afterlife sinks to the lower regions of the spiritual world and cannot support the atmospheres at higher levels. Therefore nothing can be taken up from the Writings by the New Church mind that is below the interior rational:


It is only suggested here how the Lord thought concerning the appearances that had engaged the attention of His first rational, namely, that they were not to be trusted, but Divine truths themselves, however incredible these might appear in the view of that rational. For such is the case with all truths Divine; if the rational be consulted respecting them, they cannot possibly be believed, for they surpass all its comprehension. For example: that no man, spirit, or angel, lives from himself, but the Lord only; and that the life of a man, spirit, or angel is an appearance of life in him; this is repugnant to the rational, which judges from fallacies, but still it is to be believed because it is the truth. (AC 1936)


But when others read the Writings the appearance to them is that much of it is natural and sensuous (AC 3310). For instance the many Memorable Relations that appear and reappear in most of the works are seen by the natural mind as natural—like a movie about Shangri-La or 20,000 leagues below the ocean, perhaps as science fiction or fiction and philosophical allegory. But in the New Church mind the story details are infilled with spiritual meaning because they are rationally interpreted. Partly this comes from knowing correspondences, but mostly from knowledge of the rational system in the whole of the Writings. For instance, if angels are mentioned, we think of people born on earth who led a life of good and are now alive in heaven. This is a rational concept, as opposed a sensuous one: an angel is a special creation to serve and glorify God sitting on a throne. There is nothing abstract about this concept. It lacks the idea that angel stands for a spiritual level that we can attain by struggling to be regenerated.


Consider another example. Some may read in the Writings various details presented about Swedenborg’s spiritual encounters in the spiritual world, meeting various spirits from various planets and galaxies (EU 1). The natural mind takes this up in a similar way to a movie like Star Trek or Star Wars or the newspaper articles about aliens and flying saucers. But the New Church mind is the level of thinking that starts above the natural or external rational. Here we do not rest on any idea of space and time and distance. We recognize that Swedenborg’s “displacements” in the spiritual world denote his states of mind that were altered by the Lord through intermediary spirits, so that he was able to be conscious of the life of spirits who rested at that level. This is a highly abstract idea that cannot be understood by generalizing from what is in the natural mind. The interior rational is beyond comprehension to the natural mind which sees only darkness and allegoric hyperbola in these interior rational ideas and realities.


Another example is the description of a frequent event in the spiritual world: debating conferences where certain particular spirits are invited or appear together. The natural mind only sees men of various backgrounds and beliefs arguing against each other, every one from his convictions. Further, what they argue about is banal and obvious. But the New Church mind infills these details with the interior rational ideas from all over the Writings. We are not just watching scenes of people at a debating conference but states of mind we go through and the persuasions and motivations that activate us. We are reading spiritual psychology or the details of how our affections generate our thoughts and how we are held in mental states through them. We see the debates as spiritual road maps of what to strive for or to avoid in order that it be well for us.


The same applies to the abstract theology in the rest of the Writings. The natural mind is bored, disinterested, repelled by these complications of our reality. Why try to figure out how God is in us and we are in God and still we are not God or near God. Why break the head with figuring out all those thousands of correspondences about little insignificant things like what Aaron the High Priest of the ancient Hebrews wore on his robe, on his chest, on his head, and the sizes of this or that stone or wall in an ancient temple in Jerusalem that no longer exists.


'There was so to speak a work of sapphire [stone]' means that it is translucent with inner truths on that level, and that all things in it are translucent from the Lord. This is clear from the meaning of 'a work of sapphire' as the character of the literal sense of the Word when the internal sense is discerned within it, that is, when Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, as it is in heaven, shines through it.


For the Word is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord. In origin it is Divine, but as it passes through the heavens it is celestial in the inmost heaven, spiritual in the second or middle heaven, spiritual-natural in the first or lowest heaven, and natural and worldly in the world; this last is its character in the sense of the letter intended for people there. From this it is evident that the sense of the letter, which is the lowest in order, contains a spiritual and a celestial level of meaning, and inmostly the Divine Himself. And since these inner levels are contained in the lowest or literal sense and are seen by those who understand the Word in a spiritual manner, that sense is represented by 'a work of sapphire', which lets rays of heavenly light through, that is, which is translucent. (AC 9407)


This passage clearly teaches that the Word of the Second Coming “is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord.” Divine Truth coming down from the Lord must pass through several stages of perception and understanding in our mind. This Divine Truth is contained in the inmost of the sentences of the Writings. As the passage above says, “the sense of the letter, which is the lowest in order, contains a spiritual and a celestial level of meaning, and inmostly the Divine Himself.” The inner spiritual and celestial levels within the literal “are seen by those who understand the Word in a spiritual manner.” Prior to our reformation in adult life, we understand the Writings in a natural manner, but after reformation, in a spiritual manner.


The Writings explain how we can perceive the inner sense contained in its literal language by means of a comparison:


[2] To give some idea of that translucence, let human speech serve to illustrate it. Such speech has its origin in the end a person has in view which he wishes to make known through speech. This end is his love; for a person has what he loves as his end in view. From that end arises the person's thought, and finally his speech. Anyone who stops to think properly about this can see and discern the truth of it.


The fact that the end is the primary component of speech is clear from the general rule that all intelligence has an end within it, and devoid of the end it is not intelligence. And everyone knows that thought is a secondary component arising from the first, for nobody can speak without thinking or think without having an end in view. The fact that spoken words ensue from this, and that these are the final component, which is properly called speech, is also well known.


All this being so, when a person pays attention to what another utters he pays attention not to the words the speaker uses but to the meaning conveyed by them which is present in the speaker's thought. And one who is wise pays attention to the end in view that has given rise to the thought expressed in speech, that is, he pays attention to what the speaker's aims are and what it is he loves. These three components are present in human speech, in which the spoken words serve as the outward form. 


In other words, if someone says to me, “I need to talk to you right away,” my interpretation is not that the person needs to talk to me, but rather, that the person needs to solve some problem and thinks that I can be of help. I must extract a different sentence from the original in order to understand the individual’s goal or motivation: “He has a problem I can help with.” this extracted sentence is more interior than the external literal: “I need to talk to you right away.” In a similar manner, the literal of the Writings might say, “Woman is the life of wisdom” (CL 56). A more interior perception of this sentence is obtained when we think that “woman” represents the Church (xx) and “wisdom” represents a man who is being regenerated by the Lord (xx). And so “Woman is the life of wisdom” means spiritually that the Church is what makes the intelligence of a regenerated man. And “the Church” refers to the spiritual Doctrine in our understanding (xx). Wisdom refers to our spiritual understanding. Hence, the sentence “Woman is the life of wisdom” means that our spiritual intelligence comes from the spiritual Doctrine in our understanding.


Continuing with the Number quoted above:


[3] This comparison enables one to gain some idea regarding the Word in the letter. For those in heaven pay attention to the Word in the letter and perceive things there in exactly the same way as anyone is accustomed to perceive a person's thought as it presents itself in spoken words, or in the inmost heaven as anyone is accustomed to perceive a person's aims or end in view. But the difference is that when someone reads the sense of the letter of the Word this is not heard or understood in heaven, only the internal sense, because in heaven they perceive solely the spiritual and celestial levels of the Word, not the natural level of it. The one sense accordingly passes over into the other, for they correspond to each other and only things which have a correspondence have been used in the writing of the Word. (AC 9407)


Thus, as we read the sentence “Woman is the life of wisdom” in Conjugial Love 56, the angels with us are not thinking of a woman but of the Church, or, of the spiritual Doctrine that is from the Word. In heaven they do not at all perceive the literal of the Writings, but only its spiritual sense, even though the Word in heaven is written down in a script. The angels read the Word and enlightened by the Lord as to the inner sense contained in the letter. They do not attend to the literal of the Word they have, but to the meaning contained within. This is where their love is, in spiritual meanings that cannot be expressed in the letter of either a natural or a spiritual language. As we are being regenerated by the Lord, the spiritual sense of the Writings are more and more revealed to us by enlightenment, so that we perceive like the angels, and not like the unregenerate natural man who reads the Writings. Prior to our reformation in adult life we are unregenerate and cannot believe that the Writings have an internal sense:


But a person who is unable to think on a higher level of understanding, that is, on a level altogether above material things, cannot grasp any of this, not even the idea that it is possible for a sense to exist in the Word other than the one perceived in the letter. If that person is told that the letter holds within itself a spiritual sense which has to do with truth, and that this in turn holds within itself a celestial sense which has to do with good, and also that these senses shine through the literal sense, he will be taken aback at first, then dismiss the idea as nonsense, and finally ridicule it. Actual experience has shown me that this is what people are like in the Christian world at the present day, especially the learned, and that those who reason against that truth boast of being wiser than those who uphold it. (AC 9407:[4])


The reference here to “the Christian world” is to our unregenerate state, regardless of our religious background. Prior to reformation we are called “Christian” but after reformation we are called “true Christians” (AC 1141; TCR 342; BE 5). In our unregenerate state we are also called “the learned” who reason against the spiritual sense of the Writings. “If that person is told that the letter holds within itself a spiritual sense, ... he will be taken aback at first, then dismiss the idea as nonsense, and finally ridicule it.” But note well this warning:


Henceforth the spiritual sense of the Word will be imparted solely to him who from the Lord is in genuine truths. The reason of this is that no one can see the spiritual sense except from the Lord alone, nor unless from Him he is in genuine truths. For the spiritual sense of the Word treats solely of the Lord and His kingdom; and this is the sense in which are His angels in heaven, for it is His Divine truth there. To this sense a man can do violence if he has a knowledge of correspondences, and wishes by means of it and from self-intelligence to investigate the spiritual sense of the Word. For through some correspondences with which he is acquainted he may pervert the meaning of it, and may even force it to confirm what is false, and this would be doing violence to Divine truth, and also to heaven. And therefore if anyone purposes to open that sense from himself and not from the Lord, heaven is closed; and then the man either sees nothing, or else becomes spiritually insane. (SS 26)


We cannot see the spiritual sense of the Writings merely by applying correspondences we have learned in the literal, because “the spiritual sense of the Word will be imparted solely to him who from the Lord is in genuine truths.” This a protection the Lord provides to insure that the spiritual sense be not “violated” and “perverted” by those who proceed form self-intelligence, and we proceed by self-intelligence when we are not yet reformed.


4. Where The Spirit Is


When the Writings are read by the natural mind, one does not see where the spirit is. The natural mind wants to make up a different spirituality than the rational, and invents for itself a different route to heaven, that is, to imaginary heavens. R. Waldo Emerson, was the founder or promoter of transcendentalism and author of many profound Christian sermons that are still being read by many people today. In his well known book Representative Men he chose Swedenborg as the greatest mystical philosopher of all times. But even Emerson could not see any use for these detailed explanations about the temple, the sacrifices, the rituals, etc. that fill the pages of the 12-volume Arcana Coelestia. He just couldn’t see the spiritual in it, just a very elaborate semantic scheme called correspondences, somewhat like poetry.


Even if these matters were described they would not be understood except by those who see with heavenly perception; nothing at all would be understood by those who see with merely natural perception. … For natural light does not render any spiritual truth visible unless the light of heaven is flowing into it. (AC 4302)


When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. (Matthew 13:19)


He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables (Mark 4:11)


Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20)


He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, " 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'[ 8:10 Isaiah 6:9] (Luke 8:10)


To be the Lord’s disciple means to believe in His Word. This is the beginning of all wisdom and sanity. When reading the Writings not as the Word, it appears devoid of spirituality. For instance, Emerson remained unimpressed by Swedenborg’s Memorable Relations about his encounters with the angelic and hellish societies. The angels sounded too much like Swedenborg himself, he said. It was a literary device, or trick, to discuss his theological ideas.


Concerning this, Bishop W. F. Pendleton in his book “Topics From the Writings” (Academy, 1928), mentions that it is on account of this that Emerson cast doubt on the entire works of Swedenborg as genuine revelation. Pendleton also refers to Swedenborg’s reply to those who urged him not to publish the Memorable Relations included in his doctrinal writings for fear that readers would discount the rest for dismissing this as imaginative fantasies. Swedenborg wrote to Count Hopken that he was commanded by the Lord to publish them (Documents, I: p.66; II: 409, 416). Pendleton points out that the Memorable Relations are the “historicals of the literal sense, which are the first introduction to the spiritual truth of the Word. It may be said that the Memorabilia are the historicals of the spiritual world.” (p. 1).


The Memorable Relations give us a spiritual-geographic description of the human mind as well as the spiritual world. In addition to their amazing content they function as heavenly gate keepers or Cherubim (TCR 260) to all those who end up rejecting the Divinity of every word and sentence (SS 35). The Lord foresees this and provides for them that they may not be spiritually injured through profanation, a fate worse than any other evil (AC 8882). Children are admitted because they believe everything and the Memorable Relations helps them form an attraction to the Writings. For the New Church mind the Memorable Relations are essential for allowing us to form a rational and definite idea of the spiritual world. Anything vague and obscure in the mind sinks and dissolves away like a house without foundation surrounded by a storm river. A vague picture of heaven and hell cannot survive in our mind full of winds of doubt. Only certitude with clarity can stand any onslaught. Through the Memorable Relations the Lord gives us a clear and definite picture of the world of eternity, that it may stand like a solid house built on rock.



There are spirits who are averse to anything being said concerning the things revealed [to me], but it was replied that they are instead of miracles, and that without them men would not know the character of the book, nor would they buy it, or read it, or understand it, or be affected by it, or believe it - in a word, that they would remain in ignorance [of the whole subject] nor would wish to hear anything respecting the interiors of the Word, which they regard as mere phantasies. Such as are simply men of learning will for the most reject them. - 1748, December  9. (SE 4123)


The style of the language of angels in the Memorable Relations does sound like Swedenborg talking and thinking. Pendleton asks: “Does Swedenborg reproduce the language of the angels in relating the arcana of the spiritual world?” He points that angels and spirits make use of the language of the individual to whom they speak (AC 1637, HH 255, DLW 275, SD 3157, etc.). And so the transcript of the dialog between Swedenborg and the inhabitants of the world of spirits is through the natural mind of Swedenborg.  In one place he says, “I collected into a summary these things from their discourse” (CL 183), making it clear that a natural transcript of a spiritual dialog is going to sound like the individual who records it.


The important focus for the New Church mind is that every word that Swedenborg wrote down must have an internal sense with infinite things in it (SS 35). And also, that each sentence must be interconnected or contextualized in rational series that are infinitely complex (AC 6620). The issue is not, Did the angel say that particular word or sentence?, but that the Lord said it in having Swedenborg write it out. This is what it means to say that the Writings are the Word. And the Word is the Lord (AC 10215, 8200; CL 516).


5. Genuine Images and Maps Of The Spiritual World


Bishop Pendleton refers to Apocalypse Explained 410 where we read that only those can understand the internal sense of the Word who have formed for themselves genuine images of the spiritual world. Only in this way can one understand rationally what the Word teaches concerning the required sequence of stages in the regeneration of the human mind. The mountains, the caves, the dragons, the lakes, the scorpions, the heavenly mansions, resuscitation, the enemies of God, the spiritual species and sub-species of the human race, and many more things are mentioned and discussed in the Old Testament and New. Outside the New Church no one knows what these things refer to. It is generally believed by educated people that the Bible uses floral language embellished by metaphor and allegory in the style of the ancients. There are numerous passages referring to these details in Moses, the Prophets, Psalms, Gospels, Revelations—thus throughout the Bible. The New Church mind reading these details immediately apprehends them as spiritual-geographic descriptions of the spiritual world and the human mind.


These are the things that are to be found in the spiritual world. The Old Testament and New give many details about the spiritual world and the human mind. We would not be able to know this or to imagine it from the doctrinal parts of the Writings alone, without the Memorable Relations.


A few years ago I made a one time semester-long attempt to teach about the inner sense of the Bible as a college course in a State institution of higher learning, thus in a non-religious context. Students had to learn to read a book from the Writings and write a report on it from the perspective of psychology and human behavior (see Note 10 at end). No one was willing to take the Memorable Relations in their literal sense and presentation as actual events Swedenborg participated in. Only the New Church mind is capable, because willing, to see that the Memorable Relations are real events equivalent to the historicals in the Word about which the Writings say that they fully accurate by the Lord’s Providence (AC 2135). The New Church mind is therefore like the mind of a child who is innocently willing to believe the literal of a story—for to receive the Kingdom of God we must be like little children:


And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)


Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  (Matthew 19:14)


A wonderful little book titled “The Bible That Was Lost, Now Found” started out as a long letter to his family written by John Bigelow (xx). He tells about being held up by a storm in a hotel on a  trip during which time a man showed him a copy of Arcana Coelestia, which he read with intense interest and amazement. The result was that he suddenly regained his respect and love of the Bible which he had given up over the years. He was a scholar, the founder of the New York Public Library, which has a superlative reputation among historians of early librarianship (xx). He was troubled by numerous passages in the Holy Book that portrayed God like a petulant human king and the passages that made no sense or were repulsive and dogmatic. Besides, were not most of the Ten Commandments invented by societies long before Moses brought them down from Mount Sinai? And what about the differing versions of the Four Gospels? Etc. These doubts introduced by logic and human scholarship was a general trend of modernism so that one could say that the Bible was lost. But now, with the Writings and the rational explanations it gives, we can say that the Bible was found again.


The Writings give a tremendous advantage in understanding the Bible. The literal of the Old and New Testaments are such that they cannot survive the blow of modernism in the mind. One can eject modernism from the Sunday mind on the basis of conviction and persuasion. This is done by Christians today. But we know from the Writings that persuasive faith is useless in the other life for it drops off as it is unattached to our inner loves (NJHD 118). And so without the Writings the Bible may indeed be lost. The New Church mind understands the Bible from correspondences. No longer a problem, those strange and repulsive visions of God inviting the saved to a feast of eating the flesh of horses (Rev 19:18, AR 298). No more doubts about a God who is a stern Father figure rather than a loving mother hen (Matt. 23:37, AR 245). The Writings explain it all, and the exegesis is fascinating and marvelous.


The New Church mind sees the Writings as the Lord in His Word of the Second Coming and understands that it contains enough secrets to supply endless trillions of future generations with new knowledge not yet extracted from it or known. This is the meaning that it is the Crown of Churches and there will not be a future revelation (De Verbo 7:8; INV 43). Where then will all the new knowledge come from? Obviously it is all contained in the Writings. Such are the characteristics of the Word (AC 9280). The idea that endless knowledge can be extracted from the Writings strengthens the conviction that it is the Word for all future generations. This deeper relationship to the Writings allows us to receive more interior truths from the Lord, who is the Word. The more interior the truths we can receive the more the Lord can bestow on us the celestial goods—bliss, confidence, wisdom, compassion, gentleness, beauty, power, and the more perfect humans we become.


For additional discussion on the Writings as the Word, see Chapter 8, Section 4.b.


Chapter 7, Section 7


7. The Vertical Community: Spiritual Influx From Heaven And Hell


So it is that the dwellings of angels are in heaven, to all appearance separate from the places where people on earth live; but the angels are still present with human beings in their affections for good and truth. Their being seen to be apart is an appearance, as can be established from the section in HEAVEN AND HELL dealing with space in heaven ... (LJ 9:[4])


Consider this fundamental duality of the New  Church mind: Every event and every thought or feeling is either from heaven or from hell (TCR 115; AC 904). This principle has universal application. This is so simple that every child can understand it. It is the core of human rationality. Why? Because every event in existence is controlled and sustained by the Lord, from firsts to lasts, by means of intermediaries, and in accordance with the Divine Rational (DLW 304; TCR 63). Perforce therefore only that can exist which is rational. The Lord has now revealed to the New Church mind, through the Writings, that this is what is rational: that everything that exists is either from the Lord by heaven, or it is from hell (DP 306). This immensely simplifies things. It eliminates all the doubts that assail the mind that is not New Church, built by the Writings. The New Church mind is being regenerated and it can contain this fundamental duality: every individual event, thought, or intention, is either from heaven or hell.




Nonduality of various types assail and oppose this simple duality. One opposition thinks that it’s not simple but simple-minded to think in either/or categories and always advocates shades of good and shades of evil, shades of truth and shades of fantasy. The absoluteness of the duality is beyond belief to the natural mind informed by the sensuous data of the physical world. Another opposition is that it’s dogmatic to place one’s beliefs in the heaven category and other people’s beliefs in the hell category. Actually, what the Writings do is to specify that all belief systems are from hell except those of genuine religion in which revelations were given through Sacred Scripture. This is on account of the fact that the human race has turned away from revelation and turned to people made reality based on materialism.


This insanity led to the appropriation of evil to the individual by doing the opposite of the good that flows in from the Lord into every human being. This influx from the Lord by heaven is turned into its opposite and the result is willing evil and thinking falsities that go with those evils. The way evil is appropriated is by loving it. Our loves constitute the mind just like wood constitutes the table. Take away the wood (substance), and there is no table (form). Thus the wood cannot be taken away from the table. Similarly with the mind: love is the substance in it; thoughts are the many forms it takes. Take away the substance (love) and there are no forms (thoughts). But without thoughts there is no life in the mind for our thoughts make our conscious self and the comprehension of our reality. Without thoughts there is no human life (xx).


So the evil loves cannot be taken away from the human race without destroying it. Culture and heredity transmits these evil loves across the generations. All new evil loves acquired by an individual is added to the transmission. You can see that after thousands of generations on this planet the evil loves have so permeated the human race that it cannot be saved for heaven except by rebirth and regeneration. Those who do not suffer themselves to be reborn and regenerated remain with their evil loves. When they reach the afterlife these evil loves causes them to sink lower and lower in their mind until they settle in states of mind called hell. The Writings describe these states in great detail. The Lord obviously wants the New Church mind to be fully aware of what is hell. But those who suffer themselves to be regenerated through struggles against their loves, are regenerated by the Lord who creates a new will in their reformed understanding. This new will allows them to live in heaven, and so they are saved.


So we don’t keep any of the dilemmas we struggle with before we are reformed and regenerating. These struggles prior to reformation are entirely different from the struggles of regeneration. The natural struggles prior to reformation are the struggles of insanity and myths while the struggles after the reformation are the struggles of wisdom. This is a discrete duality—before and after reformation. Nothing is the same. The struggles of wisdom are those we have when we think from knowledge and principles we take up from the Writings. Then we fight from rational truth against the insane beliefs of nonduality in the natural mind. This battle is from heaven. But in the struggles of insanity we fight false beliefs by means of other false beliefs, thus never getting to sanity and truth. Because sanity and truth cannot go with evil loves—a Law of Divine Providence, hence reality.


And so it simplifies things for the New Church mind: anything is either from heaven or hell, either good or evil. And whatever is loved from heaven leads the person to heaven, and whatever is loved from hell leads the person to hell. Simple. Rational. True. Because from the Writings.


Everything celestial flows into something spiritual, and everything spiritual into something natural, and it terminates in the last of this, which is physical and material, and there abides. Without such a final abode for intermediates to flow into, there would be no other permanence than that of a house built in the air. The human race is therefore the base and foundation of the heavens. (De Verbo 3, LJ 10)


Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits, for the reason that the spirits with whom he is in company in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, while his own spirit thinks and speaks naturally so long as he is in the material body; and the natural man cannot understand or perceive spiritual thought and speech, nor the reverse.


This is why spirits cannot be seen. But when the spirit of man is in company with spirits in their world, he is also in spiritual thought and speech with them, because his mind is interiorly spiritual but exteriorly natural; therefore by means of his interiors he communicates with spirits, while by means of his exteriors he communicates with men. By such communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If it were not for such communication, man would have no more thought or other thought than a beast, and if all connection with spirits were taken away from him, he would instantly die. (TCR 475)


1. We Are Created Dual Citizens In Two Worlds


The New Church mind knows of people’s dual membership (“man was created a denizen of either world” TCR 14): one, in a “horizontal” community and the other, in a “vertical” community. The horizontal community is cultural, geographic, and natural; it is spread out horizontally across localities on earth, like a map. The vertical community is spiritual and is arranged by the Lord in a vertical hierarchy through which the influx passes, beginning from Himself as the spiritual Sun, and ultimating or resting in the minds of an individual on earth. (TCR 115).


The presence of angels and spirits with human beings and in their affections has been granted me to see a thousand times from their presence and dwelling with me. But angels and spirits do not know with which human beings they are, neither do human beings know with which angels and spirits they live; the Lord alone knows and arranges this. (LJ 9)


Everyone is in his spirit associated with people like himself in the spiritual world, and is so to speak one with them. I have often been allowed to see the spirits of people still alive, some of them in communities of angels there, and others in communities of hell. I have been allowed to talk with them for days, and I was astonished to find that the person, who was still alive in the body, knew nothing at all of it. (TCR 14)


People understand horizontal communities because it fits a nonduality or continuum from closer regions to farther regions of interaction between communities and nations. But only dualism gives one a knowledge of the vertical community connecting the minds of those in the spiritual world and the minds of those still in this world. The Lord manages these connections through the Laws of Correspondence and from an absolute and total perspective that has all events in view in their repercussions to eternity.


The Lord uses these interconnections between minds to animate them and give them life for no mind has life in it but only flowing into it, as an organ of reception. Hence the principle that no one is born for self only, but everyone is born for others as well. Every individual’s unique contribution to the perfecting of humankind is thus foreseen by the Lord. Through these endless interconnections of each mind with all other minds, the Lord gradually creates and builds up the Grand Human, which is all of humankind seen as one created Individual, united into a perfection of integration. As this perfection of the Grand Human increases the bliss, happiness, goodness, wisdom, and humanity of it increases. And this means that the bliss, happiness, goodness, wisdom, and humanity of every individual in the Grand Human also increases to the same degree. This is what’s at stake in our daily choices for regeneration while we are on earth. We either join the Grand Human and see our bliss and humanity increase in perfection to eternity; or we do not. And that means joining the Grand Monster which is outside the Grand Human and incapable of becoming part of it. The Grand Human is made of all the societies of heaven; the Grand Monster is made of all the societies of hell. The Lord gave Swedenborg the ability to observe and see both (INV 52).


Does this not simplify everything for the New Church mind?


The New Church mind understands that the horizontal community establishes one’s personality characteristics such as language, accent, demeanor, loyalties, preferences, and attitudes. Our thoughts, emotions, values, and reactions are culture bound and standardized. This commonality in the population allows communication and contact to take place. Similarity in language, thoughts, and attitudes, allows for closer communication. But people do not know that they also share a spiritual commonality with unseen others and it is this unconscious vertical communication that influences their unique individuality which makes every individual to be different from anyone else. (LJ 15) This unique self is called one’s character, will, or spirit.


The New Church mind thinks from the idea of spiritual influx that they know enters into the mind of every individual and brings about by correspondence what is going on there—what thoughts and reasonings take place. For instance, when I feel overenthusiastic about something, I begin to experience alienation from those around me. I then realize that I must be in the company of spiritual societies from whom the excessive enthusiasm originates. I can then turn to the Lord and ask to be delivered even as I reflect upon the evil nature of this kind of enthusiasm. Thus I repent of it and the Lord then switches vertical societies with whom I’m in communication. This applies to all feelings or states as soon as I become aware of them from my interior rational.




Man's mind is his spirit, which lives after death; and his spirit is constantly in company with its like in the spiritual world, and at the same time by means of the material body with which it is enveloped, it is with men in the natural world. Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits, for the reason that the spirits with whom he is in company in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, while his own spirit thinks and speaks naturally so long as he is in the material body; and the natural man cannot understand or perceive spiritual thought and speech, nor the reverse. (…) (TCR 475)


Every man from infancy even to old age is changing his locality or situation in that world. When an infant he is kept in the eastern quarter towards the northern part; when a child, as he learns the first lessons of religion, he moves gradually from the north towards the south; when a youth, as he begins to exercise his own thoughts, he is borne southward; and afterwards when he judges for himself and becomes his own master, he is borne into the southern quarter towards the east, according to his growth in such things as have regard interiorly to God and love to the neighbor. But if he inclines to evil and imbibes it, he advances towards the west. (TCR 476)


But it must be understood that the Lord does not transfer man to this or that place, but man transfers himself in different ways. If he chooses good, he together with the Lord, or rather the Lord together with him, transfers his spirit towards the east. But if man chooses evil, he together with the devil, or rather the devil together with him, transfers his spirit towards the west. It must be noticed that where the term heaven is here used, the Lord also is meant, because the Lord is the all in all things of heaven; and where the term devil is used, hell also is meant, because all who are there are devils. (TCR 476)


If every thing that a man thinks flows into him from others the fault seems to rest with those from whom it comes. Nevertheless, the fault is in him who receives, because he receives it as his own; and he neither knows nor desires to know otherwise. For everyone desires to be his own, and to be led by himself, and especially to think and to will from himself; this is freedom itself and it appears as his proprium in which every man is. Therefore, if he knew that what he thinks and wills flows in from another he would seem to himself to be bound and captive and no longer master of himself; and thus all the delight of his life, and at length his human itself, would perish.


[3] That this is so I have often seen proved. It was granted to some spirits to perceive and to feel that they were being led by others. Thereupon they were so enraged that they became as it were demented; and they said they would rather be kept bound in hell than not be allowed to think in accordance with their will and to will in accordance with their thought. Not to be allowed to do so they called being bound as to life itself, which was harder and more intolerable than being bound as to their body. Not to be allowed to speak and act in accordance with their thought and will they did not call being bound; because the delight of civil and moral life, which consists in speaking and doing, acts as the restraining influence and, at the same time, mitigates the restraint. (DP 294)


The wicked, while still in the world, the Lord governs in hell. This is because man as to his spirit is in the spiritual world and in some society there, in an infernal society if he is wicked, and in a heavenly society if he is good; for man's mind, which in itself is spiritual, cannot be anywhere but among the spiritual, into whose company he also comes after death. (DP 307)


2. A More Effective Self-Management Technique


Knowledge that the Lord associates us with a vertical community moment by moment (AC 4329, 227; TCR 14; DP 288, 290) bestows upon the New Church mind a more effective self-management technique. Obviously, since the vertical community exists and is a mechanism the Lord uses constantly, not knowing about it is living in unreality, but knowing about it is living in reality. Again, this special advantage is proportional to the extent to which we take up truths from the Writings on a daily basis. It is required that we apply the perspective of the Writings to every activity, and especially to mental activity such as our habits of reaction to others. Do we think critical and nasty things? Do we blaspheme in our  thoughts? Do we enjoy lusts secretly and privately in the mind? Are we loyal to what we claim? Do we desire unfair advantage? Are we filled with arrogance, pride, scortations? These are the things that are in our mind that come from spiritual influx.


Thus we must read the Writings daily to discover what are the truths we must apply to each of these things that enter us by the thousands every hour. The unexamined life cannot be saved. The Lord strives constantly to subtly bend or influence our thoughts through switching around the societies from which we receive influx moment by moment (AC 8794, AE 1164). But the Lord can speak to our conscious mind only through the Writings (xx). Hence our mind needs His Divine Dialogue like our body needs water every few hours.


The Lord is continually speaking with man, but quite differently with one man than with another. With those who suffer themselves to be led away by evil spirits, the Lord speaks as if absent, or from afar, so that it can scarcely be said that He is speaking; but with those who are being led by the Lord, He speaks as more nearly present; which may be sufficiently evident from the fact that no one can ever think anything good and true except from the Lord. (AC 904)


As it is desirable that the origin of perception, internal dictate, and conscience, should be known, and as at the present day it is altogether unknown, I may relate something on the subject. It is a great truth that man is governed by the Lord by means of spirits and angels. When evil spirits begin to rule, the angels labor to avert evils and falsities, and hence arises a combat. It is this combat of which the man is rendered sensible by perception, dictate, and conscience. By these, and also by temptations, a man might clearly see that spirits and angels are with him, were he not so deeply immersed in corporeal things as to believe nothing that is said about spirits and angels. Such persons, even if they were to feel these combats hundreds of times, would still say that they are imaginary, and the effect of a disordered mind. I have been permitted to feel such combats, and to have a vivid sense of them, thousands and thousands of times, and this almost constantly for several years, as well as to know who, what, and where they were that caused them, when they came, and when they departed; and I have conversed with them. (AC 227)


For additional discussion on the vertical community see Note 13 at end. See also the discussion in Chapter 8 Section 1.


3. Spirituality Is Not Visible In The Letter


In the Writings the spiritual refers to what is in heaven and the Church on earth. For instance:


It is well known that the Word is spiritual, but this spirituality is not visible in the letter, for the content of the letter is worldly, especially in the historical sections. But when it is read by man the worldly content in it becomes spiritual in the spiritual world, that is, among the angels. For the angels are unable to think except in a spiritual way about anything whatever, and so cannot think of 'dwelling in the land' except in a spiritual way. Thinking in a spiritual way is thinking about the things that belong to the Lord's kingdom, and so about those that belong to the Church. (AC 4480).


An acceptance of and belief in what is true, together with a life of goodness, since these two come from the Divine, constitute true spirituality within rationality, whereas an acceptance of and belief in what is false, together with a life of evil, are the opposite. For the fact that wholly sensory- and bodily-minded people are like this, see 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949. (AC 6971)


The meaning of spirituality in the Writings is similar to the use of the word “holy.” Everything that is from the Lord is holy, while anything from self is false and not spiritual. Whatever is called “spiritual” in nonduality is therefore a misuse of the idea. I coined the phrase “corporeal spirituality” to refer to the use of spirituality in nonduality systems. This phrase would be a contradiction in terms in the New Church mind since only that is spiritual which is from the Lord and false ideas cannot be spiritual. But the phrase may be useful to designate the so-called spirituality people discuss in the three systems of nonduality described in this and other chapters—Eastern, Western, psychological. I qualify their spirituality as corporeal to show the clear contrast with New Church duality where spirituality is applied only to the rational that is above the corporeal-sensuous portion of the mind. All forms of “corporeal spirituality” are purely natural as shown by the terms used describe it within nonduality: energy, divine consciousness, ecstatic union, feeling of oneness, nothingness, emptiness, vision, light, fire, soaring upward, etc.


No such descriptions are given in the Writings about the spiritual and spirituality. As it clear from the quote above “An acceptance of and belief in what is true, together with a life of goodness, since these two come from the Divine, constitute true spirituality within rationality” (AC 6971). Spirituality is within rationality, not corporeality or sensory experience. Knowing and believing truth from revelation—this is spirituality. And within this true spirituality there are degrees of interiorness or closeness to the Lord. The most external form of spirituality (the lowest) is that within the external rational. This is in the natural mind and the only spirituality possible there is what is called “a representative of the Church.” (AC 4288) When the Jewish Church was established through Moses and Aaron, a “representative of a Church” was created by the Lord with that people.


Their level of thinking could not rise above the sensual and before they could believe in a God they needed to be shown sensuous proof of the Divine power in the commandments of their conduct and the in Church rituals. Their idea of spirituality was this physical demonstration of power in relation to themselves. The Lord had to appear visibly to Moses as a burning bush and on Mount Sinai. The people had to hear a Voice from Heaven. There had to be the power magic in the Stick of Moses, the Egyptian plagues had to witnessed, the Ark’s holiness was proven when miracles were brought about with it and through it, and they had to be promised to become a great nation. Sacrifices of animals were visible proof to their eyes and stomachs that their sins were taken away and laid on the animals. They were promised that the Messiah that would save the world would come from their own bloodline. These were the tangible demonstrations of proof needed at this level of thinking.


But when the natural mind is elevated to its highest portion called the external rational, the level of thinking is at a more abstract and universal level. When the Lord came to establish the Christian Church he taught the Jews of the day that they must think more spiritually if they’re going to be saved. And He taught them what the spiritual is: rational thinking about Him. Even His closest disciples, who were closest because they understood the most, were unable to comprehend his plain words about Himself, as for example, that He and the Father are One and that seeing Him was the same as seeing the Father.


He also taught them rational things by simple parables that were easy to understand literally, but had a rational message to be extracted. He also taught that the spiritual world or heaven is not a place but a state of mind. And when He taught them that He would return, they were not look for Him outwardly or sensuously, but within them, thus within their spiritual mind, which is rational. Similarly with the giving of the Holy Spirit as Himself, thus as His Presence within every individual’s mind.


The shift from the Jewish to the Christian level of thinking is a discrete degree more rational. The early Christians were not yet able to make this shift complete and they retained a mixture of the external rational in the natural mind, and the internal rational in the spiritual mind. That which they retained from the external rational was of sensuous origin—they saw the Lord, they touched Him, they touched His wounds after the Resurrection, they heard the Voice from Heaven, they saw the miracles of Jesus. But they also had with them what the Lord gave them by opening their spiritual mind, represented by the Dove and the knowledge of the Holy Spirit within their mind.


4. Spirituality Reenters The Human Race


This mixture elevated the level of their thinking to spirituality. For the first time in human history since the Fall, spirituality had reentered the human race. Now the level of thinking was capable of believing and understanding spiritual revelations from the Lord and about the Lord. There was nothing of natural origin in these new ideas.


To be specific about the teaching which will now follow, that too comes from heaven, because it is from the spiritual sense of the Word, and that sense is the same as the teaching which exists in heaven. For there is a church in heaven just as much as on earth. There the Word is to be found, and teaching from the Word; there are church buildings there, and sermons are preached in them. There too are to be found church and secular systems of government. In short, the only difference between things in the heavens and those on earth is that everything in the heavens is in a higher state of perfection, because all the people there are spiritual, and what is spiritual is immeasurably more perfect than what is natural.


These facts can make it clear what is meant by the holy city, New Jerusalem, being seen to come down from God out of heaven. But I shall now proceed to the actual teaching intended for the new church. Since this has been revealed to me from heaven, it is called heaven's teaching; for it is the aim of this book to convey this. (NJHD 7)


These new ideas originated from heaven, not from earth. This is what made them spiritual. The earlier level of thinking that relied on the demonstration of visible material power, was reduced and eventually eliminated. The Lord was reluctant to perform miracles to those who had “little faith,” because their level of thinking needed to be elevated from the sensuous to the rational. From now on faith had to be built on rational revelation, rational ideas. Genuine spiritual-rational ideas exist only in the spiritual mind, which is a discrete degree above the natural mind and its external rational. These true spiritual ideas can be represented at the natural level, but only by correspondences. Rational thinking is required to see the spiritual things within correspondences.


The parables the Lord taught, like the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13), represented spiritual things—and He could explain what they are in words:



10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.


18 "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." (Matthew 13)


The Lord refers to “the secrets of the kingdom” which are spiritual truths from heaven, not from earth. For instance, He revealed to His disciples that He was the Word and He came to fulfill the Old Testament, so that a New one can be given. And many other such rational things that He revealed to them, like His Oneness with the Father or that heaven and hell are in the mind not in a place. The knowledge of these heavenly secrets “has been given to you, but not to them” which means that the understanding of these revelations do not make any sense to the external rational mind (“them”). These new knowledges can only be understood in our spiritual-rational mind, which is where the “seed” (heavenly truth) is implanted by the “sower” (the Lord). It must be implanted by the Lord, not by the individual. The individual cannot invent or discover any of these spiritual truths. We must therefore bow to the Lord, acknowledge Him, look to Him, and then He can implant the seed. Not otherwise.


5. Hearing But Not Understanding


The Lord says, “14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” He is referring to the knowledge in our external rational mind, which is natural. At that level of thinking we can read the message but we cannot see or perceive the spiritual meaning in it. We allow the Lord to elevate our level of thinking when we see Him as the Divine Truth in His Word. He can then proceed and open the spiritual mind, which is a celestial garden, and implant in it the individual truths. These truths are in our conscious mind as correspondences, not as direct awareness. But because they are animated from within by the Lord, the conscious meanings are infilled with perception of the spiritual within the correspondences (D. Wis. 2).


It makes a discrete difference whether we read revelation in the Writings by ourselves or with the Lord. Reading by ourselves is to look to self for understanding and reasoning. Reading with the Lord is to look to the Lord for understanding and reasoning. The first He calls “them” and the second He calls “you.” Prior to reformation we are in the first phase called “them” in relation to the Lord; after reformation we are in the second phase called “you” in relation to the Lord whom we face or acknowledge. This duality of “them” and “you” is discussed elsewhere when I contrast “secular Swedenborgianism” and “religious Swedenborgianism” (see Chapter 4, Section 2). It may appear to some that this contrast is unjustified or dogmatic (see Note 6 at end). I should make it clear that I’m speaking about forming the New Church mind. I presented this definition on page 1 and subsequently:


The New Church mind in this book refers to any individual who is motivated to study the Writings as Divine Truth, and to love it by willing and thinking according to one’s understanding of it.


Religion, or the Church, is created by the Word and in no other way (AE 195). This is not my idea, hence it is not dogmatism. The New Church mind therefore cannot be formed in any other way but by the Word. If the Writings are considered the Word for the New Church mind, then the Writings are not a human work but a Divine one. They are the Divine Truth, and each sentence and each word in the Writings are therefore in an infinite internal series (TCR 209). Anyone who acknowledges this has a religious connection to the Writings as defined by the Writings. Many worthy others have also a relationship to the Writings, and it’s fair or accurate to designate that relationship as secular. They are forming their mind partly from the Writings and partly from other sources. Is it justified to deny this orientation as “religious”? The answer must be obtained from the Writings. And regarding this we are taught that there is only one true religion, while all others may be called religion but are not genuine (xx). And the only true religion that the Writings specify is that which acknowledges the Writings as the Lord in His Word for the New Church. In other words, as Divine Truth.


There is liberty to anyone to call whatever they wish as religion. This book discusses the religion that is defined in the Writings. From this religion, the New Church mind is formed.


Spiritual truths can be represented in natural language with explications, as the Lord did in the many parables He taught. But only when we read them as the Lord Himself in Divine Truth can our spiritual mind perceive the truth and animate our conscious understanding of the representations. In the parable of the sower, the spiritual meaning of “seed“ is “truth as the Lord.” Seed is natural, “truth as the Lord” is spiritual. The natural level of thinking about a seed can be corporeal-sensuous such as in commerce where seeds are produced, sold, and bought. Or, at a higher natural level called the external rational, seeds can be described scientifically, economically, and symbolically. But it doesn’t start to be spiritual thinking until “the seed” disappears in your mind and you see instead the idea of


“truth as the Lord from the Lord descending from the spiritual mind into the natural mind, and fructifying it by multiplying the external rational truths that lie therein which can be extracted therefrom.”


This level of thinking is animated from the spiritual mind, not the natural. One can read this statement at the natural level of thinking—what will it mean when viewed from that level? Only obscurity or imaginative elaborations, similar to philosophy, poetry, or art criticism. For instance the affirmation “truth as the Lord from the Lord” has no natural meaning. It sounds like a line in a poem we’re supposed to make something of, each of us according to how the Muse strikes us. Correct? There is no determination of meaning, only fluid interpretation of excess meaning. Another example is the affirmation of truths “fructifying.” The natural mind can only see this as a figure of speech or analogy. But in actuality, it is not a figure of speech but a literal description of the organic substance within truth, of which truth is the external form. The idea of truth as made of love-substance within, has no meaning to the external rational mind.


6. Spiritual Meaning Of Parables


How many of the Lord’s listeners were able to give a spiritual meaning to His parables? Even when He explained them in natural language? Similarly today, as we grow up and acquire an adult mind, we go through stages of levels of thinking, starting with the corporeal-sensuous, like the picture books of Jesus or the movie of Moses. Later in childhood and adolescence we are capable of more rational levels of thinking, though they remain mixed for awhile. Then in adult life we freely decide to undergo reformation and this process involves the opening of the spiritual mind, closed until then (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]). For the first time in our life we begin to think at a genuine spiritual level in the process of applying truths from the Word to our willing and thinking. This is the process of spiritual discipline for the New Church mind, as discussed in Volume 3. Conscience can be secular or religious. If we act according to conscience from humanism or corporeal spirituality we are not acting from religion. If we act according to conscience from religion or rational spirituality we are then acting from religion. All religion that is genuine is from the Lord and all that is from the Lord comes to us only with the rational.


As we read the Writings from childhood on, or as an adult, during the initial phase, we operate at the level of thinking of the literal of the Writings. This is the external rational scientifics of the Word (AE 560, NJHD 51). It is not yet spiritual, thought it is an abstract idea of the spiritual. This abstract understanding is similar to one’s understanding of academic subjects like engineering, philosophy, physics, and biology. But later, as we complete our reformation and begin our regeneration, the Lord opens our spiritual mind so that we can recognize the interior meaning that is purely spiritual in the events of our willing and thinking. Now we read the Writings not merely in their external rational but also in their celestial or interior rational, such as the thinking of the angels with whom Swedenborg talked to.


Rev. Edward Hyatt (1854-1906) discussed this idea in detail in his many sermons on the topic:


In the Writings as well as other forms of the Word truths are clothed in appearances, though in rational appearances which agree with the truth itself if only they are understood in their own light. But if men accept those appearances only according to the light of the natural they will only serve to confirm their natural rational states, and where those are thus confirmed by the Word spiritual adultery is committed. (p. 196)


Therefore if a man regard the truths of the Word as given in the Writings only from their external, he will but confirm himself thereby in a state of subservience to his natural rational. Natural rational confirmed by the Word is thus a distinctive evil infesting the New Church, which must be met by recognizing the necessity of purifying the truth as it appears, until the earthly dross which clings to its external form is purged away. (p.228)


Thus to acquire knowledges of truth even from the Writings and to acquire the spiritual sense are two distinct things. As has been shown before, the spiritual sense is not given to any but those who are in enlightenment from the Lord, and this notwithstanding that knowledges of truth are open to all. (p.229)

(Rev. Edward S. Hyatt, Sermons on the Word. Swedenborg Genootschap, 1935)


It makes sense to think that the Writings are written at the external rational level because that is the highest level of thinking in the rational mind. Everyone reads and studies the Writings by using the external rational intelligence we apply to academic studies and science. Nothing of science or literature or art can be understood at the sensuous level of thinking. All art criticism or engineering applications of science involves abstract reasoning that is above the sensuous observations and measurements of data. Laws, principles, explanations, hypotheses—these require external rational thinking and the motivation which gives rise to it and drives it along. So the Writings by necessity had to be written in the external rational language and reasoning. Interior rational things cannot be expressed directly in natural languages.


The meaning of spiritual truths cannot be obtained by reading explanations of them. This is obvious when you consider that words may be used at all levels of thinking. The word God has been used by many to mean the self--as discussed in this book. Others use it to denote the “Spiritual in the Universe” and even “the Universe.” Similarly with the use of words like truth, sin, salvation, trinity, natural, spiritual, angel, etc. People can pass a test about correspondences and they may know that seed corresponds to truth, or the number 12 to all things in a complex, or that Abraham represents the Lord in His Childhood, and many such things from the Writings. The level of thinking that reveals spiritual meanings about these relations is unavailable to that person. One can teach a course on the Writings, or on particular Numbers, and the instructor will only understand the content at the level of thinking he or she has reached in regeneration.


Those who are enlightened may try to write about the meaning they see. But the natural language so written will not be able to enlighten a reader who reads these explanations. This is because the explanations are in natural language. Readers will only understand at the level of their thinking at the time. Further, we can be enlightened about one passage and not at all about other passages, even if they are side by side. Finally, we can be enlightened about some passage in one state of mind, but minutes or hours later, one can no longer see the interior meaning seen before. Even if you read your own explanations, or listen to your own verbal recordings, you will not be able to see the meaning you saw while writing the explanations. Our level of thinking vacillates in accordance with our level of willing, that is, the good or evil of our affections that are active at any one time. As regeneration progresses there is more and more stability of enlightenment, and also, spread.


7. Building Up Spiritual Doctrine In Our Mind


What in particular concerns the doctrine that now follows, is that it also is out of heaven, because it is from the spiritual sense of the Word; and the spiritual sense of the Word is identical with the doctrine which is in heaven. (NJHD 7)


In this kind of spiritual development it is helpful to read what others have written from enlightenment. It helps to build up Doctrine in our mind, which is in the natural language of the external rational. Doctrine refers to the reasoning we do in accordance with spiritual principles from the Writings and from commentators of the Writings who write things from enlightenment.


Rev. Hyatt quotes TCR 277 to confirm the idea that the spiritual sense is always about one’s willing and thinking, about our evils, first, and then the truths that we need to fight those evils. This is how the Lord gives enlightenment, even as we apply what we understand from the Writings to our willing and thinking. First we observe what we are willing and what we are thinking in each situation all day. Second we match it up with relevant Doctrine in our understanding and we see suddenly see the meaning of the Doctrine or sentence from the Writings. This meaning is new, not seen before when that sentence was read or that Doctrine reflected on. This new meaning is more interior than what we could understand before. It is called enlightenment or illustration to refer to the new light from heaven that illumines the meaning so that more things are seen in it than before. And this process never stops, so that as regeneration progresses, our willing and thinking is illumined with progressively more interior light. Now our willing and thinking is matched to the new more interior Doctrine we have from the illumination. This is followed by still more interior revelation. The angels of the third heaven are far more along on this progression than the angels of the second heaven, so much so that not a single idea of the higher angels can be understood by the lower angels.


As we advance in our regeneration our level of thinking in our willing and reasoning becomes more and more interior, meaning, more and more spiritual. This is the same as saying, closer and closer to the Lord. The celestial angels of the third heaven who dwell in the center of their societies and are their governors are the closest to the Lord. This closeness is due to the their capacity to understand more interior truths from the Lord and since the Lord Himself is in these truths they can then see Him outwardly before them in the midst of the spiritual Sun. This Sun is the origin of all the truths that come into the mind and elevate the level of thinking and reasoning.


That that sun has been seen by me, and also the Lord in it, may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (HH n. 116-140); and in the work on The Planets and Earths in the Universe (EU n. 40-42). (D. WIS. 12)


You can see then the religion or spirituality we begin with is our Jewish state of mind, which is a representative of spiritual truths. Later in adolescence and early adulthood we enter a level of thinking that may be called Christian. This is a natural-spiritual level sometimes called the interior spiritual. Later in adulthood as we undergo reformation we enter the level of thinking that is the level of the external rational which is the literal of Writings. Then, as we progress with regeneration we enter the genuine spiritual level of thinking called the interior rational or the spiritual-rational. Spirituality is therefore a reference to one’s level of thinking with regards to the rational.


Corporeal spirituality is not genuine spirituality. It is not even a representative of spirituality, as in the Jewish phase of forming our mind. It is only a spirituality in the fantasy, as in the many forms of nonduality reviewed in this and other chapters. One should keep in mind that this way of understanding spirituality is not a condemnation or ridicule of those who see their philosophies and experiences as their spirituality. To them, perhaps this is the beginning of a less materialistic way of thinking about life, the universe, and themselves. If they are given the Writings to read, they do not see anything in it except a few things here and there that agree with their beliefs and ideas. Thus they deny any real value to the Writings. The New Church mind that is based totally on the Writings, they see as a demented mind. Thus, there cannot be a reconciliation, but only good will, political liberty, and social respect for each other as human beings.


For more discussion on stages of religious thinking within the New Church mind, see Note 7 at end.


The sun of heaven, in which is the Lord, is the common center of the universe; all things of the universe are circumferences beyond circumferences even to the last; these He rules from Himself alone as one continuous thing, but the intermediates He rules from the ultimates; these He perpetually animates and makes active, as easily as a man from his understanding and will animates and makes active his body; influx takes place into uses, and from uses into their forms. (D. Wis. 12)


Chapter 7, Section 8


8. The Idea of “Earths in the Universe


Where the Lord is, there is heaven(LJ 9)


Surely one of the most astonishing of the scientific revelations in the Writings is that planets are created solely for the purpose of raising human beings for life in heaven after they depart from this world. Therefore innumerable planets in the galaxies are inhabited with human beings:


By the Lord's Divine mercy I have had my interior faculties, which belong to my spirit, opened, so that I have been enabled to talk with spirits and angels, not only those in the vicinity of our earth, but also with those near other worlds.  Since therefore I was desirous of knowing whether there were other inhabited worlds, and what they and their inhabitants were like, I was allowed by the Lord to talk and mix with spirits and angels from other worlds. (EU 1)


For the New Church mind the Writings answer the deepest puzzles many people have about the universe and our place in it. Some people long for this knowledge so intensely that they fall prey to persuasions that are false and injurious. They begin to wonder if flying saucers exist. It’s amazing how many people claim to have seen them. Some enthusiasts come forward with stories about being temporarily abducted by aliens. Researchers spend millions on beaming radar messages to outer space in case some civilization is listening out there. A popular form of entertainment are the books and movies that depict alien “encounters” with the human race. But the New Church mind knows that these are fantasies. Our civilization on this planet earth is the only one in the universe that builds machines:


Afterwards I talked to spirits who had come from that planet. I told them a number of things about our planet, for example, the existence here of branches of knowledge that are not found anywhere else, such as those of astronomy, geometry, mechanics, physics, chemistry, medicine, optics, and philosophy; and in addition to these, the existence of skills unknown anywhere else, such as those of ship-building, metal-casting, writing things on sheets of paper, printing and publishing these things, and in this way communicating them to all throughout the planet, as well as preserving them for thousands of years to come. I told them that by these skills the Word received from the Lord has been so published and preserved, and that the revealed Word is therefore going to remain forever on this planet, see 9350-9360. (AC 9793)


It is on account of our industrialized societies that the Lord created the succession of revelations in the written Word, followed by His Incarnation on this earth. Now the Writings are spread across the planet by means of the production and trade of translated volumes and the Internet has now greatly magnified its availability to millions. The books of the Writings are also made available in the spiritual world in the form of spiritual writing, as witnessed by Swedenborg:


But as I withdrew I saw under a green olive tree around which a vine had entwined itself, a cedar table on which there was a book. I looked and lo, it was a book written by me, entitled Arcana Coelestia and I said that it was fully shown in that book that man is not life but an organ receptive of life; also that life cannot be created and when so created be in man, any more than light in the eye. (TCR 461)


The Writings give details about the character and appearance of people on other planets. There is a fascination in reading them and all sorts of questions are raised in one’s mind when we read about the people on the moon and other planets around our sun. What are we to make of these things? It provides us with profound intellectual challenges in the face of what we know from modern astronomy and space travel. This issue is discussed by several General Church ministers whose articles can be accessed on the Web at


Wilson Van Dusen suggests that the passages relating to earths in the universe in Arcana Coelestia are intended to convey a spiritual meaning and that the literal details described by Swedenborg in his encounters with spirits are to be taken naturally by those who are in the natural and spiritually by those who look for that (Studia Swedenborgiana January 1976 v.2 n.1 pp.7-33). By looking for the spiritual meaning the more sophisticated reader can merely ignore the details as not necessarily meant in the literal. This would then solve the awful problem of how can Swedenborg think he talked to spirits from the moon which has never been inhabited and can’t be.


Similarly with what is being said about the spirits who come form Mars, Mercury, Venus, and the others in our solar system. Bishop Philip Odhner of the Lord’s New Church also suggests that Earths in the Universe need to be spiritually understood. By avoiding the literal sense of these passages we guard the Writings from being attacked by outdated scientific hypotheses that existed at the time Swedenborg wrote the Writings (xx).


1. The Lord Would Not Want To Mislead Us


We cannot think, as Van Dusen and others have suggested, that Swedenborg used some or all of the stories about his interactions with spirits as a sort of literary device to pass on spiritual knowledge that is difficult to be described directly. This implies that he is the perpetrator of a great hoax at the expense of humankind. Why would the Lord want to mislead us by having Swedenborg write it as true events:


Since therefore I was desirous of knowing whether there were other inhabited worlds, and what they and their inhabitants were like, I was allowed by the Lord to talk and mix with spirits and angels from other worlds. (EU 1)


Consider the Word of the First Coming which consists of the New Testament that includes many historicals. The Writings say that they are all accurate (xx) and yet the Four Gospels do not present exactly the same history. How can they all be accurate and still be different? This is similar to asking about the Writings: How can they be fully and entirely accurate if they run against known science? These are things we must resolve in our mind in a rational way, but without consulting the external rational (AC 2519). At no time can natural science invalidate scientific revelations since whatever is true in science comes not from us but from the Lord, and that which comes from the Lord never contradicts the Word. Search the Old Testament and the New Testament and see if you can find a single wrong fact that contradicts what is known. The same is true for the Writings. Those who find “errors” in Swedenborg’s science in the Writings need to think of how known science can be altered so that these are no longer to be considered “errors.”


Some have pointed to Creationism as an example of what can go wrong if we take what the Bible says about the natural world as science. But the Writings clarify this fully by showing how the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not historicals but propheticals Moses copied form the Ancient Word which was written purely in correspondences, thus not as historicals. Creationism is absurd because the creation story is mistakenly taken for historicals.


I do not think we need to worry about such things that might happen to the reputation of the Writings in the world, but is there a concern for the New Church mind? The danger comes when we disregard the warning that we must not consult the external rational in judging about what we read in the Word (AC 1072). We are taught that the historicals of the Word are all accurate even though they all have an internal spiritual meaning (xx). Also that only those historicals are retained that correspond to a series and are so arranged by Divine Providence. Swedenborg’s descriptions of his travels in the spiritual world are obviously part of the historicals of the Writings. Though they have an internal sense—being the Word—they also have an historical accuracy. Both must be preserved in the New Church mind.


All sorts of scientific revelations have been made in the Writings about how the world came into being, about planets, about hereditary transmission, about discrete degrees, about the causes of natural phenomena, about the brain, about diseases, and numerous others. It is easy to understand how the Lord made sure that only those events occur to Swedenborg that are scientifically correct. Our rational response must be to work to develop a theistic science that is congruent with the literal of the Writings. (See Chapter 4, Section 7)


Swedenborg mentions that the moon has no atmosphere and therefore the moon spirits have a different way of breathing and verbalizing than we do and do not expel air from the lungs (EU 111, 87). Some have suggested that Swedenborg was not aware that the moon is uninhabitable. Of course he knew that it is uninhabitable by people with our physical properties since we depend on air. Some of the planetary inhabitants have only an internal respiration and converse with each other by an internal speech that to us would appear as psychic powers (AC 10587). Some live in an environment where they do not build houses but live in trees that the Lord makes grow into suitable habitations for them (xx).


Everyone knows that science does not have knowledge about where humans can exist except those who are built physically like us (EU 87). I would say to scientists: Use the Writings as clues for what life is possible where, and create theories that incorporate these revelations; then test them out by whatever research is available at that time. This more rational approach would yield a great improvement in the ability of science to help humankind throughout the range of reality—from natural to spiritual to celestial. (For other discussion on this issue see Note 1 at end).


It is not possible for the New Church mind to deny the literal of the Writings and to accept the spiritual within it. We cannot take Van Dusen’s advice to let the “physical scientists” take care of the literal descriptions of earths in the universe while we will focus on its spiritual meaning. If we were to do this, we would be assailed by innumerable falsities. One example is the interpretation Van Dusen gives of the spiritual meaning of passages he selects to analyze from Earths in the Universe.


As I came to describe the meanings of the earths in the starry heavens I found myself more and more reluctant to describe all the meanings apparent there. … It was as though affective, sacred religious experience was being elaborated. I didn’t want to reduce it to a simple formula. ... I too left out much of what is apparent in these planets. Swedenborg, writing two centuries ago in an age much less practiced in describing inner states, may have felt the same reluctance for all the planets, but especially for the later ones….But I warn, just as he did with the first earth in the starry heaven, that these are matters to be entered into, experienced, and not simply for cognition. (Van Dusen, 1976, Studia, ibid, p.28).


He sees a similarity of process between his writing about inner states and Swedenborg’s authoring the Writings. We know that this is quite impossible since Swedenborg had to have his eyes opened in a unique way unavailable to anyone. The result was that what Swedenborg wrote down was the Word of the Lord, not Swedenborg’s word. He was the revelator through whom the Lord gave the Word in its infinite internals. No human authorship can accomplish this (AC 5). It is a devastating nonduality for the New Church mind to think that there is a continuity between Swedenborg’s Writings and anyone else. Most of the spiritual content of what Swedenborg wrote was not available to Swedenborg himself since this internal is the infinite Divine Wisdom of the Lord. Neither is it possible for the New Church mind to think that Swedenborg was limited in any way in describing inner states since the we know that the Lord opened his interior eyes and everything Swedenborg wrote out was from the Lord and not from himself or from angels (TCR 779).


Finally, Van Dusen’s suggestion that “these are matters to be entered into, experienced, and not simply for cognition” is a nonduality between Swedenborg’s experiences as author-revelator and ours, as readers. We know that there is an absolute duality between the two that can never be crossed. Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences were sensuous and in his conscious mind. His rational was within the spiritual sensuous. He actually was there in spirit (or spirit-body). He didn’t try to imagine it, for he could not, and no one can. The only access to the spiritual that the Lord provides for the New Church mind is rational consciousness, not sensuous (see Chapter 5 Section 3).


This is why today the Lord does not allow miracles or communication with spirits (AC 7290). Neither will the Lord appear to our senses but only as the “Holy Spirit” which refers to His opening of our rational mind and His presence there within the rational concepts we take up from the Writings. Meditation or “experiencing the Dharma” etc., is not a legal or possible entrance to rational spirituality, the only spirituality that exists with the angels (xx). For the New Church mind the rational is the only possible approach to the spiritual (see Chapter 5 Section 1).




End Notes and References


Note 1


A directory of all my publications, with full text access to most of them, is available on the Web at


Leon James. “Substantive Dualism: Swedenborg's Integration of Biological Theology and Rational Psychology”


Leon James. “Scientific Dualism.”


Leon James. “Religious Psychology or Theistic Science: A Guide to Spiritual Self-examination”


Leon James. “Swedenborg Glossary of Theistic Science”


Leon James. “Do the Writings Contain Scientific Revelations?” New Church Life , July 1995, 115(7), 325-330.

Also available on the Web at


Leon James. “Dualist Science and the Writings of Swedenborg” New Church Life , June 1995, 115(6), 264-270.


Leon James. “Overcoming Objections to Swedenborg's Writings Through the Development of Scientific Dualism” New Philosophy 2001 v.CIV n.3 & 4 pp. 153-217. Available online at:


Leon James. “The Fourteen Scientific Fallacies in AC5084: Implications for Science Education.” New Philosophy, July-December, 1996, XCIX(3 & 4), 439-450


Examples of promoting dualism in science in New Church literature include:


Gregory L. Baker, Religion and Science: From Swedenborg to Chaotic Dynamics (New York: The Solomon Press, 1992)


Linda Simonetti Odhner, The Bread of Life With Honey From the Rock: A Chaste Union of religion and science New Church Life March 1989, pp. 117-122


Leon James, Swedenborg's Religious Psychology: The Marriage of Good and Truth as Mental Health Studia Swedenborgiana December 1993, Vol.8, No-3, pp. 13-42


Ian Thompson, Foundations of the Theory of Spirit, Mind and Nature from Theism


Note 2


W. F. Pendleton Topics From the Writings (Academy, 1928)


Note 3


Leon James. “My Pre-Swedenborgian Discoveries and Inventions (1960-1980)”


Note 4


Mark Carlson. “Evolution, the Limbus, and Hereditary Evil (Part 2)” New Church Life June 1990, pp.259-275.


Note 5


Barry C. Halterman. “Swedenborg's Influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1883)”


Jane K. Williams-Hogan. Swedenborg: A Biography Available online here:


Leon James “Swedenborg Revolution in the Social Sciences”


Leon James “Spiritual Psychology”


Note 6


Wilson Van Dusen, The Distinctiveness of the Church of the New Jerusalem New Church Life March 1994, 112-114.


Peter Rhodes, Gurdijeff’s and Swedenborg General Church Sound Recording Library, Bryn Athyn, 1976.


Leonard Fox, Gurdijeff’s: Guide to Heaven or Hell? New Church Life June 1993; (see also his reply in the October 1993 issue.)


Note 7


Leon James “Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg, or Ritual, Faith, and Theistic Science: The Three Phases of Religious Behavior”


Leon James “Religious Behaviorism”


Note 8


Leon James “De Hemelsche Leer--Part 1--Degrees of Consciousness”


Leon James “Spiritual Geography--Graphic Maps of Consciousness for Regeneration”


Note 9


Leon James “Overcoming Objections to Swedenborg's Writings Through the Development of Scientific Dualism” New Philosophy 2001 v.CIV n.3 & 4 pp. 153-217.  Available online here:


Note 10


Dr. James’ Student Reports on Swedenborg are listed in this directory:


Note 11


Leon James, “Genes of Consciousness: Spiritual Genetics for Regeneration”


Note 12


Ian Thompson, Foundations of Theistic Science The Theory of Spirit, Mind and Nature from Theism (containing several articles)


Note 13


Leon James, “Vertical Community”


Note 14


Leon James, “The Will and the Understanding or The Affective and the Cognitive or Good and Faith or Heart and Lungs or Internal and External Mind”


Note 15


Leon James, “Affective and Cognitive Resistance to a More Healthy Lifestyle


Note 16


Leon James, “Notes on the Doctrine of the Wife:


Note 17


See our Web site at


List of Media Interviews with Leon James and Diane Nahl


Articles on Driving Psychology by Leon James and Diane Nahl


Leon James and Diane Nahl. Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare (Prometheus Books: New York, 2000).


Leon James and Diane Nahl. Heaven on Wheels: Principles of Christian Driving Psychology


Leon James. “Drivers Behaving Badly: DBB Ratings”


Note 18


Hatfield, E., & Rapson, R. (1996). Love and sex: Cross-cultural perspectives. New York: Allyn and Bacon.


Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Note 19


Leon James “The Universal Modes of Enactment in Human Experience: A Self-Witnessing Account of the Discovery of Sudden Memory and My Interpretation of Its Significance for the Human Race”


Leon James “Autobiography: Sudden Memory as the Integrating Mechanism on the Daily Round”


Leon James “Objective Autobiography: Sudden Memory”


Leon James “Radicalist Empiricism. The Universal Modes of Enactment in Human Experience. A Self-Witnessing Account of the Discovery of Sudden Memory and My Interpretation of Its Significance for the Human Race”


Leon James “The Hexagram of Sudden Memory “


Leon James “Discoveries and Inventions--Sudden Memory”


Leon James “The Hexagram of Sudden Memory” (excerpts)


Leon James “Pre-Swedenborgian Discoveries and Inventions (1960-1980)”


Leon James and Diane Nahl “Workbook for the Study of Social Psychology”


Leon James “The Analysis of Transactional Engineering Competence”


Leon James “Community Archives in Social Psychology”


Leon James “Understanding Discourse: From Ethnosemantics to Transactional Engineering”


Leon James “Genetic Culture: Primacy of the Affective over the Cognitive”


Leon James “Lectures in Social Psychology (directory of chapters)”


Leon James “Lecture Notes on The Psychology of Knowledge: The Discovery of Sudden Memory“


Note 20


Leon James “The Method of Self-Witnessing”


Leon James “Religious Psychology or Theistic Science: A Guide to Spiritual Self-examination”


Leon James “Self-witnessing our emotions in daily life”


Leon James “General Instructions for Your Research Project: The Four Options--Customizing My Daily Emotional Spin Cycle”


Leon James “Temptations entry in the Swedenborg Glossary”


Leon James “Self-Witnessing the Threefold Self”


Note 21


Rev. Ray Silverman teaches at the New Church Academy in Bryn Athyn. He and his wife Star are the authors of a successful book Rise Above It! – “a curriculum for spiritual growth based on the Ten Commandments.” A seminar program is based on the book and is called Touchstone Seminars: A Life-changing Experience. See Web site at


Note 22


Harrie G.D. Groeneveld “The Second Coming of the Lord in the Doctrine of the Church” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, 38-43, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8) Available online at See also its reprint version in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague)


Rev. Ernst Pfeiffer “Elucidation of Mr. Groeneveld's Address” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, p.82-95; 127-131, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8) Available online at See also its reprint version in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague)


Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The second Education” De Hemelsche Leer, Third Fascicle, p.22. 1935 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8; Chapter 8 Section 3) (Available online at )


James, Leon (2002) “The Substitution Technique: A Method for Extracting What the Writings Say About Themselves as the Word” De Hemelse Leer, Vol. XIV No. 2 (April 2002), 103-109.


Note 23


The following New Church ministers are quoted in this book:


Rev. Donald L. Rose, Sermon titled “The Colt Loosed For the Lord’s Service” General Church, Bryn Athyn. Undated (quoted above in the Introduction to Volume 1)


Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom, The New Age and the New Church (Part Two). New Church Life, June 2002, 251-260 (quoted above in the Introduction to Volume 1; Introduction to Chapter 2; Chapter 4 Section 6; Chapter 6 Section 3; Chapter 7 Section 2)


Rev. Mark Carlson. “Evolution, the Limbus, and Hereditary Evil (Part 2)” New Church Life June 1990, pp.259-275. (quoted above in Chapter 3 Section 7).


Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman’s review of Henry James, Sr. in Arcana 1996 v.2 n.4 p.56 (quoted above in Chapter 4 Section 2 and Section 3)


Rev. Grant R. Schnarr “Swedenborg And The Near Death Experience” on the Web at Accessed June 2002 (quoted above in Chapter 4 Section 5)


Rev. Douglas M. Taylor “Self-Esteem” New Church Life March 2002 v.CXXII No.3 pp. 99-105 (quoted above in Chapter 6 Section 7)


Rev. Edward S. Hyatt, Sermons on the Word. Swedenborg Genootschap, 1935 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8)


Rev. Hugo Lj. Odhner, “The Transition from Human to Divine Philosophy” Written in 1921. Published in The New Philosophy 1974; 77:43-71. Available online at: )

(quoted in Chapter 7 Section 8)


Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The second Education” De Hemelsche Leer, Third Fascicle, p.22. 1935 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8; Chapter 8 Section 3) (Available online at )


The Letters and Memorials of Emanuel Swedenborg. Translated and Edited by Rev. Alfred Acton (Bryn Athyn, PA. Swedenborg Scientific Association, 1948) (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8)


Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard titled "The Transformation of a Man into a Husband and a Woman into a Wife through Marriage" appeared in New Church Life, June 2001 issue, pages 243-248. (quoted above in Chapter 9 Section 1)


Rev. Ernst Pfeiffer “Elucidation of Mr. Groeneveld's Address” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, p.82-95; 127-131, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8)






I wish to thank Dr. Ian Thompson for his invaluable editorial assistance with several drafts and for supplying many of the citations to the Writings (see Note 12 above ). I also wish to thank Rev./Dr. Ray Silverman who spent much appreciated effort reading and critiquing an earlier draft (see Note 21 above). Rev. Robert Junge made critical comments on several key issues that greatly improved my discussion of them. I am very grateful for their contribution. Their astute observations helped me to avoid critical errors and to strengthen the presentation in numerous places.



About the Author


The author, Dr. Leon James, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii. His Web site and information on his professional background is located here:


A directory of articles and books by Leon James, with full text access is available here:


For comments and questions, I welcome your email: 


The Web address of the latest version of this document is:



Titles for the Abbreviated Citations in the Book



Arcana Coelestia


Apocalypse Explained


Apocalypse Revealed


Brief Exposition


Conjugial Love




De Verbo


Divine Love and Wisdom


Divine Providence


Divine Wisdom


Earths in the Universe


Doctrine of Faith


Heaven and Hell


Invitation to the New Church




Doctrine of Life


Last Judgment


Last Judgment (Posthumous)


Doctrine of the Lord


New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine


Spiritual Experiences


Specimen and Sketch


True Christian Religion

TCR Additions

True Christian Religion (Additions)


White Horse


Nine Questions



Full Text Free Online Access to All Swedenborg’s Writings:


The Web site includes a search engine and a key to the Bible. It also carries many articles on Swedenborg and the New Church.






















Source pages

Authors: Leon James &  Diane Nahl Webmaster: I.J. Thompson