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
Please note: This page will take about 25 to 30 seconds to load. I’ve been working on the problem but haven’t found the solution yet. Sorry for the delay!
By Leon James
Author information appears at the end. This document is in the process of being revised. Please note the draft version marked on top.
A “field” means doctrine (AC 368)
A "man" signifies faith and truth (AC 427; 4823)
Because 'field' means doctrine anyone receiving any seed of faith, whether the individual, the Church, or the world, is called a field. (AC 368)
Extracting The Spiritual Sense of the Writings
Theistic Science Revelations in the Writings
Table of Contents
Every one has intelligence according to his affection for the sciences (CL 207)
There are many scientific revelations in the Writings. To mention a few:
1. There are two worlds: spiritual and natural (D. Wis. 12)
2. Every physical object is constructed from three discrete degrees (DP 32)
3. The human brain was not split in the early generations on earth (AC 607)
4. Only the father contributes to the spiritual inheritance line (TCR 103)
5. Both parents contribute to the inherited inclinations they pass on (CL 202)
6. Our thinking cannot go on without mediation from the spirits as intermediaries (DP 50)
7. Resuscitation of the spirit takes place within 36 hours of death (LJ 15)
8. The most ancient people on this planet did not have a split brain (xx)
9. The will and the understanding are organs in the mind (TCR 279)
10.All phenomena on earth are effects whose causes are in the spiritual world (D. Wis. 12)
11.All planets are formed by God to be inhabited (EU 1)
12.Space as vacuum does not exist, but is in fact made of a thin material substance called ether (xx)
13.The smallest contain the same degrees as the largest (DLW 222-229)
14.The smaller some thing or operation is examined, the greater is its perfections and the more it contains sub-parts (“the more interiorly things are viewed, the more marvelous the wonders that occur”) (DLW 201)
15.The simpler substances contain more things than the compound (DP 6). The simplest substance is that from the spiritual Sun, is perfect, and contains infinite things, so that it can be compounded into infinite other less simple substances. (DLW 226)
16.The natural degree contains within itself a representation of the discrete degrees in the spiritual world. (DLW 201)
17.Sensation is not effected by or in the brain but in the mind corresponding to brain activity (TCR 785)
18.Books written on earth appear in the spiritual world (xx)
19.Every child who dies is raised in the spiritual world and enters heaven (DP 324)
20.Jesus was born from a virgin (TCR 337)
21.There are no machines or engineering sciences on any other inhabited planet in the universe (EU 136)
22.The natural world will never end (LJ 13)
23.Human diseases are caused by different spirit societies (SE 4648)
24.The relationship between the lungs and the heart match exactly the relationship between the will and the understanding (DLW 407)
25.The micro-world is more perfect than the macro, and therefore the smaller a thing is the larger the number of parts it contains (TCR 280; AC 9666)
26.Infinity is not that which has no end but that which has no beginning (DLW 76). Thus time and numbers may be endless, but they have a beginning, thus they’re not infinite.
27.The spiritual elements from which are constructed the physical elements are infinite and uncreate, having no beginning. They include: love, truth, light, heat, endeavor, and eternity. These spiritual substances are more and more distanced from the spiritual Sun whence they proceed, and progress by discrete degrees (not continuous) outward into the created universe.
28.The successive discrete degrees by which the world is created exist in simultaneous degrees in the created object. Thus, an atom, rock, and seed still carry within themselves the spiritual elements that created them and without which they would fall back into uncertain. The uncreate substances maintain the existence of the created elements. This is equally true of the goals in our actions through intentional plans (ISB 17)
29.People on this earth can only be regenerated by science and the sciences of faith (SE 4663)
30.Etc. etc. This is but a small sample!
This list is enough to show that some scientific revelations are far ahead of scientific knowledge in society today, and some appear to contradict the current scientific knowledge. And most importantly, note from the list that it is not possible in the Writings to separate what is scientific relating to natural things and what is theological relating to spiritual things.
For instance, is the Virgin Birth a scientific revelation or a spiritual one? What about the proposition that physical phenomena are all effects whose causes lie in the spiritual world? This is at the core of almost any other fact or principle in the Writings and is called “the Science of Correspondences.” (AC 9407; SS 9; TCR 202) Is this a scientific or spiritual revelation? Clearly we cannot separate scientific explanations from spiritual because one is actually within the other, and they are mutually interdependent—what happens to one must happen to the other in predetermined correspondential relation.
The eye sees the universe, and the mind thinks about it, first that it was created and afterwards by whom it was created. The mind that thinks from the eye thinks that it was created by nature; but the mind that does not think from the eye thinks that it is from God; while the mind that takes the middle path thinks that it is from an Entity of which it has no idea, for it perceives that something cannot exist from nothing. (D. Wis. 12)
The material monism of science is a nonduality that Swedenborg fought against in all his works prior and subsequent to Arcana Coelestia. The science that he practiced was always dualist or theistic, and the New Church mind cannot but be thoroughly dualist also. We may at first feel obliged to pick and choose our monism and dualism on the basis of professional roles and days of the week: On Sundays, or when we read the Writings, we are going to think like a dualist. But on weekdays at work we will act like a monist and nondualist, writing articles and giving lectures in a non-New Church environment.
From a practical and political standpoint we may not have an overt choice since our colleagues are dead set against dualism and our job performance may depend on not mentioning anything from the Writings in our scientific work and teaching. This I can understand. Note that this is a political issue about academic freedom and the suppression of ideas in relation to survival and one’s career. It may not hurt us to hide or to remain private in order to avoid persecution or rejection, but it does hurt the New Church mind if we confirm scientific monism as a stand in our thoughts about science. In other words, if we deny that the Writings are scientific revelations. This denial hurts the New Church mind, as will be discussed below.
Regarding science and philosophy, Swedenborg gave this sad description to spirits who were not familiar with our planet:
Spirits from another earth were with me for a considerable time; and I described to them the wisdom of our globe, and told them that among the sciences pursued by the learned is that of analytics, with which they busy themselves in exploring what is of the mind and its thoughts, calling it metaphysics and logic. But I said that men have advanced little beyond terms, and certain shifting rules; and that they argue concerning these terms-as what form is; what substance; what the mind; and what the soul; and that by means of these general shifting rules they vehemently dispute about truths. I then perceived from these spirits that when men inhere in such things as terms, and think concerning these matters by artificial rules, they take away all sense and understanding of a subject.
 Learned men of our earth were present, and could not in the least comprehend these things, although in the life of the body they had discoursed much on such subjects in a philosophical way; and when the spirits just referred to in turn perceived their thoughts, in that they inhered in mere terms, and were inclined to dispute on every point as to whether it is so, they called such things feculent froth. (AC 3348)
In the New Church mind there cannot be a nonduality in science just as Swedenborg found it impossible to acknowledge or adopt materialist science from his earliest education and onward. He took the natural facts and information available through observation by scientists who worked within a materialistic orientation. But he did not take their interpretations or theories cast in the nonduality mode. He built up a theistic science to interpret their facts.
There is a danger to the New Church mind when confirming scientific nonduality, something that may occur when we think to ourselves that science is nondualist and is to remain immersed in material monism, while the Heavenly Doctrine is dualist or theistic, and is to remain separate from science. As long as we keep the two from interacting, segregating them in our mind, we experience no conflict. And yet we need to consider that the mind cannot contain opposing ideas without the two warring against each other, so that nonduality eventually destroys all duality (xx). Scientific nonduality denies the supernatural world that is affirmed by the duality of the Heavenly Doctrines. In the duality of the Writings there is no separation possible between science and theology just as it is impossible to discover the causes of natural phenomena without invoking spiritual correspondences since the spiritual is the cause of the natural (HH 567).
Swedenborg has clearly modeled for us how to understand science and theology together as one unit. He collected all facts that others obtained by scientific observations. Empirical and experimental work can be carried out by anyone, a materialist or a dualist, and the success of both are solely from Divine Providence, not from the intelligence of the monist or dualist. Swedenborg the scientist created scientific explanations for the facts obtained by other scientists. These scientific explanations are rational and verifiable as consistent with the facts or inconsistent. Also, as consistent internally or contradictory. His scientific explanations were always within a theistic framework.
Being introduced into the spiritual world, Swedenborg also presented new scientific facts that were never available to any other scientist on this earth, monist or dualist. Still, they were not subjective unverifiable facts like the religious proposals of other theological systems. The empirical facts presented by Swedenborg are actual observations he made during his spiritual “travels.” These facts are objective and shared with thousands of other people who were present and part of the experiment or interview. Swedenborg’s facts were public and verifiable to all those who were present, including spirits, angels, and devils. He also presents observational results of many experiments he was allowed to witness as a participant and observer, so that he may have no doubt as to the reality of this or that phenomenon. One type of experiment is the removal of a belief system in a spirit or angel in order to see the result on his reasoning and perception (CL 216, Mir 7).
Other experimental procedures he describes include:
q resuscitation under controlled conditions (xx)
q memory probes (xx)
q therapy for personality disorders (xx)
q communicating from a distance (xx)
q translating between natural and spiritual language (xx)
q creating special effects for the education of children (xx)
q recreating special effects with light and sound
q noting the conditional presence of animals or objects in relation to topics being discussed on reflected on (xx)
q and many more.
Not all facts in science are available to a single person which is why scientists use each other’s facts for building explanations. Some facts are unique or infrequent and cannot be observed except once. Others require elaborate instruments to which some scientists have no access. Many facts reported by Swedenborg are not available to other scientists on earth because the Lord imposes restrictions on anyone accessing the spiritual world directly, Swedenborg being a unique exception for the sake of his mission as revelator. But the facts become observable when the scientist passes on and begins life in the spiritual world. These facts were also observable by the early generations on earth (AE 739) and may be observable once more in the future (HH 250).
The New Church mind cannot be different from the mind of Swedenborg because what issued from his mind is the actual arrangement of things in the universe. This is what it means to say that the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming revealing the Divine Rational by which reality is ordered and maintained. It would be a major break in the system to take the position that scientific and doctrinal explanations are not interrelated. Clearly Swedenborg didn’t do this but commingled the science he knew from education and research, and the heavenly doctrines he was explaining rationally. In Swedenborg’s mind the two types of explanations could not be rationally separated. This was possible because Swedenborg’s science was dualist and theistic, in contrast to those who did much of the research he admired.
The Word is not understood except by a rational man (WH 7)
The Writings provide scientists with empirical observations and data that are beyond the natural senses. This is called the “interior science” and is a systematic description of the character and quality of the spiritual world. There is no rational justification for scientists to reject the facts and observations presented in the Writings. The rejection is an automatic expression of a learned historical tradition or prejudice. It Is not made on the basis of rational justifications or objections. The benefits of science to society would be immeasurably enhanced if the simplistic and self-contradictory monist attitude were to be replaced by theistic science.
Among New Church people the reasoning is sometimes heard that the Lord leaves science for people to discover through organized knowledge acquired from the natural senses and arranged into rational propositions and consistent explanations. There is a belief that the purpose of the Writings is to make new theological revelations, and these are infallible because from the Lord as the Word. This belief includes the notion that the many illustrations Swedenborg wrote about scientific and natural things represent his attempt to make the theological ideas better understood. These scientific illustrations are not considered to be part of the theological revelations, but as part of a dated scientific outlook and limited knowledge that has no direct impact on modern science and should not be compared with it.
You can see that this type of thinking begins to carve up the Word into two parts: the part that our self-intelligence designates as “Swedenborg’s outdated science” and the part that we designate as “enlightened revelation for all times.”
But upon more reflection one can see that the Writings cannot be divided into two parts because it is the Word in full, not in part. The Writings say that the Word has an internal series of truths arranged in an infinite Divine order (AC 6620) and that not a single word or concept can be taken away from the literal without breaking the series (AC 9163, AE 545). As a result we accept the awkward expressions and sometimes revolting images in the literal of the Old Testament. We can see by correspondences what spiritual truths they refer to. Similarly, with the Word of the Writings we have a fixed literal text that serves the internal meaning. The Letter of the Writings cannot be divided any more than the Lord’s garment, which were not allowed to be divided by the Roman soldiers (AC 9093; John 19:23-24, Ps 22:18).
The literal of the Writings is the Lord’s Divine Rational laid down in the Divine Natural that exists in our natural-rational mind. We behold the Lord spiritually, when we read the Writings as the Word, for the Word is the Lord Himself (LORD 2). But this spiritual is only apparent to us by correspondence, since nothing spiritual can exist in the natural-rational mind. But the Lord creates an interior-natural mind within our natural-rational understanding. What is in this mind is the operation, or reaction by correspondence, to the particular spiritual truths the Lord is implanting in our unconscious spiritual mind.
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)
What is called the “human rational” here is the natural-rational mind. It is to be distinguished from the “spiritual-rational.” The “human rational” or natural-rational is from self-intelligence and is the result of the as-of self effort to understand and appropriate the truths of the Writings. The human rational of the natural-rational consists of natural-rational correspondences which “is of such a nature that it cannot understand what the Divine is.” But the spiritual-rational correspondences in the interior-natural mind are not from self-intelligence. They are from the Lord and heaven and they are capable of understanding the Divine.
After reformation we are granted this dual perception or consciousness of the spiritual. In our natural-rational mind, we are conscious of spiritual truths in a natural-rational way, but in our interior-natural mind, we are conscious of these truths in a spiritual way. This spiritual understanding is also by correspondence and not by direct sensuous perception, as is the case with spirits and angels. Following reformation, we know that the sentences of the Writings contain a literal meaning and a spiritual meaning, but we cannot perceive this at the beginning. We know it because we read what the Writings are saying about the Word, and we apply it to the Writings. But later when we are regenerating, we are enlightened by the Lord and we can now for the first time perceive that there is a spiritual sense.
Since we know that the spiritual meaning is arranged in Divine Rational Series (xx), it would be impossible to think that we could use our self-intelligence to break up this Divine Series and to cut out portions of the Writings by calling it “Swedenborg’s outdated science used only for illustration and not part of the theology of the Heavenly Doctrine.”
Not a single word, nor even a single iota, in its original language, can be taken from the sense of the letter of the Word, without an interruption in the internal sense (WH 11)
Instead we need to ask how we can intellectually repair the appearance that these are outdated modes of science. We must consider whether materialistic science as practiced today can really be credited for scientific and engineering achievements. Or are these achievements brought about by the Lord despite the reliance on materialistic thinking? The Writings teach that the learned who are confirmed in rejecting dualism, and rely their thinking only on material ideas, arrive handicapped in the spiritual world and are more “stupid” than the unlearned (AC 4156). Their confirmed materialism prevents them from receiving rational truths in the afterlife, as a result of which they lead themselves into insanities and a tragic life in hell.
Clearly we should be asking how to reform materialistic science into dualist science in our mind. We need not wait for the rest of society but can already make the changeover, if not professionally, then personally. In the light of this new context in our mind, how are we to understand the scientific details that appear outdated or in error from the earlier materialistic context? This kind of inquiry will lead us to theistic science.
It is most important therefore that we be prudent and withhold ourselves from breaking up the Word. We must acknowledge every word, phrase and sentence as Divine Truth, even the numbers of the paragraphs.
The ultimates of the Word are its props and supports; indeed, each word is a prop and a support to its celestial and spiritual truths. (SS 35)
A New Church reader of an earlier draft of this book made the following comment regarding this section:
Let me take a more moderate view on this. I do believe that much of the science taught in the Writings could be studied quite usefully and lead to some important breakthroughs on the natural level. For example, olive oil corresponds to celestial love, and we are discovering important medicinal uses for olive oil today. Lowering meat intake, and eating fresh fruits and vegetables (like the most ancients) also seems to improve the quality of our health. But these are secondary. Our spiritual development, and the shunning of evils as sins against God should always be primary. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I agree that teaching correspondences from the Writings could be useful to secular scientific enterprises, including psychology, medicine, biology, physics, mathematics, history, art, and others. Swedenborg’s mind was prepared by the Lord since his early childhood (see below). He was able to acquire scientific knowledge in many fields and contribute to them his own theistic interpretation and explanations. Swedenborg was guided in his theistic interpretations by the Lord as much as he was guided in his theological books. When Swedenborg wrote out the Writings he was fully under the guidance of the Lord. It is not possible to think that some portions he wrote by himself, separate from the Lord, while others he wrote from the Lord. So it makes sense to think that Swedenborg’s theistic science was guided by the Lord since the beginning of his education. Thus Swedenborg produced a theistic science that was suitable for being included in portions of the Word he was to write later.
No doubt you have noted two portions to the theistic science in the Writings: natural scientifics and spiritual scientifics, as discussed below. The theistic science about “natural truths” (ISB 20) are those facts and principles that were imported into the Writings from the Scientific Works. The theistic science about “spiritual and celestial truths” (DLW 237) are those facts and principles that were gathered by Swedenborg from his systematic observations and controlled experiments in the spiritual world. The spiritual and celestial truths are within the natural truths in simultaneous order (TCR 360). It follows from this that the literal of the Writings is composed of these two sub-types of theistic science, and future research in theistic science might succeed in extracting dual concepts, that is, integrated concepts that are natural truths within which are spiritual-celestial truths.
An example of this type of dual concept is illustrated in the following passage which also shows the experimental or scientific character of Swedenborg’s observations in the spiritual world:
As in the world it is quite unknown that there is a correspondence of heaven or the Grand Man with all things of man, and that man comes forth and subsists therefrom, so that what is said on the subject may seem paradoxical and incredible, I may here relate the things that experience has enabled me to know with certainty.
Once, when the interior heaven was opened to me, and I was conversing with the angels there, I was permitted to observe the following phenomena. Be it known that although I was in heaven, I was nevertheless not out of myself, but in the body, for heaven is within man, wherever he may be, so that when it pleases the Lord, a man may be in heaven and yet not be withdrawn from the body.
In this way it was given me to perceive the general workings of heaven as plainly as an object is perceived by any of the senses. Four workings or operations were then perceived by me. The first was into the brain at the left temple, and was a general operation as regards the organs of reason; for the left side of the brain corresponds to rational or intellectual things, but the right to the affections or things of the will.
 The second general operation that I perceived was into the respiration of the lungs, and it led my respiration gently, but from within, so that I had no need to draw breath or respire by any exertion of my will. The very respiration of heaven was at the time plainly perceived by me. It is internal, and for this reason is imperceptible to man; but by a wonderful correspondence it inflows into man's respiration, which is external, or of the body; and if man were deprived of this influx, he would instantly fall down dead.
 The third operation that I perceived was into the systole and diastole of the heart, which had then more of softness with me than I had ever experienced at any other time. The intervals of the pulse were regular, being about three within each period of respiration; yet such as to terminate in and thus direct the things belonging to the lungs. How at the close of each respiration the alternations of the heart insinuated themselves into those of the lungs, I was in some measure enabled to observe. The alternations of the pulse were so observable that I was able to count them; they were distinct and soft.
 The fourth general operation was into the kidneys, which also it was given me to perceive, but obscurely. From these things it was made manifest that heaven or the Grand Man has cardiac pulses, and that it has respirations; and that the cardiac pulses of heaven or the Grand Man have a correspondence with the heart and with its systolic and diastolic motions; and that the respirations of heaven or the Grand Man have a correspondence with the lungs and their respirations; but that they are both unobservable to man, being imperceptible, because internal. (AC 3884)
This passage indicates the nature of Swedenborg’s experimental observations: “I may here relate the things that experience has enabled me to know with certainty.” Swedenborg sometimes refers to the fact that he can’t go further with a topic since it is not allowed him to say more (SE 621), and at other times he mentions that he is allowed to say something for the purpose of clearing up an erroneous belief that is harmful or, uplifting our hope from pessimism (SE 228). In the above passage, he is allowed to describe his sensuous observations in order to dissipate the feeling people have about the Grand Human that it is “paradoxical and incredible.” The rational consciousness we have of the Grand Human remains obscure until we are given the sensuous consciousness of it through Swedenborg’s observations and sensations. The rational within the sensuous completes the idea of the Grand Human so that it may be seen in clear light.
The Memorable Relations have a similar function. They give us a sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world within which our rational consciousness of Doctrinal things can rest as an ultimate and be completed in our understanding. Much research lies ahead in the future of theistic science, which extends to the distant future of millennia! Cumulative theistic science research will uncover the layers of meaning in the above passage, and others like it. It stand to reason that these sensuous details are all infilled with rational principles and truths that we can extract through appropriate methods that rely on illustration from the Lord. This enlightenment is given to anyone who reads the Writings as the Word, and to the extent that one is being regenerated through it.
Today, a wicked and wily man can be equally a good scientist as a moral and sincere man. The private lives and biographies of great scientists can be filled with good and with evil. The Lord gives natural truths to the good and to the evil. These natural truths are acquired as-of self by self-intelligence and effort so that not the Lord’s Providential actions are seen in them, but our own prudence and ingenuity. But it is entirely different with the acquisition of spiritual and celestial truths, that is, with theistic science. These truths are revealed by the Lord to each individual to the extent that the Lord is acknowledged as the author and giver of the truths.
To the extent that we ascribe to the Lord our understanding of spiritual truths, and none of it to ourselves, to that extent the Lord can give us more spiritual truths, and more interior celestial truths. With these more interior rational truths we can clearly see that the earlier natural truths we acquired as-of self were also given from the Lord and not from self-intelligence. We then attribute the marvelous achievements of engineering and medicine not to the rationality or wisdom of material science but to the Lord. The success of science cannot therefore be extended to the usefulness of materialism. Abandoning materialism for dualism is not a loss to the power and utility of science, but an immeasurable gain.
The next two passages reveal that the heart beat of animals and people on earth is controlled by the cardiac pulsations of the spiritual angels, which in turn are caused by the speech of celestial angels:
I then seemed to myself to be in heaven with my head, but not with my body. In this state it was likewise given me to observe the general respiration of heaven, and what was its nature; it was interior, easy, spontaneous, and corresponding to my respiration as three to one. It was also given me to observe the reciprocations of the pulsations of the heart; and I was then informed by angels that each and every creature on the earth has pulsations of the heart and the consequent respirations; and that the reason why they take place at dissimilar moments is that both the cardiac pulsation and the pulmonary respiration which are in the heavens pass off into something continuous, and thus into endeavor, which is of such a nature as to excite these motions variously in accordance with the state of every subject. (AC 3885)
But be it known that the variations in the heavens in respect to pulsations and respirations are manifold, being as many as are the societies; for they are according to the states of thought and affection with the angels; and these are according to their states of faith and love; but the general pulsation and respiration are as above described. Once also it was given me to observe the cardiac pulsation of those who were of the province of the hinder part of the head, and to note one by one the pulsations of the celestial and those of the spiritual in that province. The pulsations of the celestial were tacit and gentle; but those of the spiritual were strong and vibratory. The intervals of the pulsation of the spiritual were to those of the celestial as five to two; for the pulsation of the celestial inflows into that of the spiritual, and thus goes forth and passes into nature.
And wonderful to say the speech of the celestial angels is not heard by the spiritual angels, but is perceived under the form of a pulsation of the heart; and this because the speech of the celestial angels is not intelligible to the spiritual angels, for it is produced by affections which are of love; whereas that of the spiritual is produced by intellectual ideas (see n. 1647, 1759, 2157, 3343); and the former belong to the province of the heart, but the latter to the province of the lungs. (AC 3886)
These passages illustrate Swedenborg’s scientific sensuous observations of which he made a record in terms of empirical measurements, such as the 3 to 1 ratio of “tacit breathing” between the natural and spiritual mind, and the 5 to 2 ratio of intervals of vibratory cardiac pulsation between celestial and spiritual levels of the mind. These theistic science facts are about spiritual-celestial truths. These breathing rhythms and cardiac pulsations in the spiritual mind were caused by the celestial mind. In other words, celestial speech causes spiritual phenomena by correspondence, and these two “go forth and pass into nature,” which means that they are the cause of all natural phenomena. To put it still another way, the phenomena of nature on earth are created by the speech of angels in the celestial heaven through the ideas of the angels in the spiritual heaven.
These facts and considerations can be applied to natural truths since these are created by the speech of celestial angels. What is created in a sequential order of discrete degrees also exists in a simultaneous order in natural events or “motions” (TCR 214). Knowing the causative sequence of action from celestial to natural allows us to inspect and analyze natural phenomena in their simultaneous order of structure and motion, or existence. Dr. Ian Thompson’s articles discuss many details of this process and has created a taxonomy that identifies the systematic of these causal sequences (see Note 12 at end).
Readers of the Writings will notice two types of content in it. The accounts given from his direct observations or interactions with others, serve for the opening of sensuous consciousness in the spiritual mind. These include:
q the Memorable Relations
q the experiences Swedenborg had in heaven and hell
q the travels in earths in the universe
q his conversations in the spiritual world with historical figures and acquaintances
q his observations of people being resuscitated
q his visual perception of the form of the Grand Human
q his view of the spiritual Sun and the Lord appearing amidst it
q the organic structure of the mind, its levels of thinking, and its parallelisms with the respiratory and circulatory systems of the body
q his observation of correspondences while reading the Word in the form of environmental representations
q his experiments in which he systematically introduces or removes some element from a spirit and notes the results
q his drawings of spiritual regions
q systematic interviews with spirits and angels to determine their knowledge on some topic
As is evident, sensuous consciousness in the spiritual mind consists of facts and data from the many observations and experiments Swedenborg made in the spiritual world. These may be called spiritual scientifics in parallel to natural scientifics. One is the scientific knowledge and research in the spiritual world; the other the scientific knowledge and research in the natural world. The New Church mind acquires a sensuous and scientific knowledge of the spiritual world by learning these facts about it, in the same way that we acquire such knowledge about the physical world. One might say that the learning about the natural world (natural scientifics) is our first education while learning about the spiritual world (spiritual scientifics) is our second education.
The New Church mind must have both inasmuch as it is a dual citizen, like Swedenborg. The celestial people of the era of the Most Ancient Church, prior to the Fall, were also dual citizens, that is, had access to facts from both the natural and the spiritual world (AC 597). Sensuous consciousness of the spiritual has been retained with the inhabitants of the other planets (see discussion below). After the Fall, sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world was closed off by the Lord with the people on this earth, the brain was split, and a new way was made for the salvation of all coming generations on this earth. This regeneration is by means of the sciences, as discussed and shown below.
Sensuous consciousness to the spiritual mind being eliminated, people had to develop a rational vision of the spiritual world, of the Lord and of heaven. This new rational consciousness is called the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is Divine truth, proceeding from the Lord, which flows in with man, both immediately from the Lord Himself and mediately through angels and spirits (AE 183)
The Holy Spirit signifies strictly the Divine truth (TCR 139)
The Divine truth which then proceeded from Him is called the "Paraclete," or "Spirit of Truth."
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete,* that he may abide with you to eternity, the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, for it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he abideth with you, and is among you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come unto you. These things have I spoken unto you while abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, he shall teach you all things (John 14:16-18, 25-26).
By the "Comforter," the "Spirit of Truth," and the "Holy Spirit," the Lord meant Himself … The reason why the Lord breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," was that all the breathing of heaven is from the Lord. For angels as well as men have breathing and beating of the heart; their breathing being according to their reception of wisdom from the Lord … (LORD 51)
The word "spirit" is used in many passages in the Word, and when said of man, by his "spirit" is signified the good and truth that have been inscribed on his intellectual part, consequently there is signified the life of this part. (AC 9818)
The Book of the Writings that angels behold and read is a spiritual sensuous fact before their eyes. This is through the sensuous spirit-body in which everyone awakens in the afterlife. Swedenborg lived a dual life for 27 years so that he was able to objectively describe for us the details of the spiritual sensuous life. These facts about the spiritual world are called the “interior science” (or spiritual scientifics), and constitute the sensuous consciousness of our spiritual mind. In this sensuous consciousness we behold the Divine Human in the Writings, though only by correspondence in the interior-natural mind. We behold the Divine Rational of the Divine Human when we read the literal of the Writings, but only to the extent that we understand it spiritually. We are not conscious of the spiritual mind while tied to the physical body, but we are conscious of the interior-natural mind that the Lord forms within the natural-rational understanding. We then perceive by higher correspondences, which means that we perceive spiritual topics spiritually. Prior to reformation we can only perceive spiritual topics naturally, since our interior-natural mind isn’t opened until we undergo regeneration.
The descriptions we study in the Writings serve for the opening of rational consciousness of spiritual things. These include:
q the correspondences in the Old and New Testaments
q the Laws of Divine Providence and Permissions by which the Lord manages all events
q the history and evolution of Churches applied to the development of the individual’s mind
q identification of who the Lord is in relation to His Threefold Aspect
q how infinite distinct things in the Lord make a one
q the connected series of instrumental causes from the spiritual Sun down to molecules
q discrete degrees in the universe and in the human mind
q life disciplines needed to be reformed and regenerated through temptations
q conjugial love in heaven and the spiritual biology of men and women
q the vertical community and how the Lord associates every individual to spirits
q explanations about infinity, chance, vacuum, color, natural language, diseases, etc.
q the structure of all created objects
q inheritance of psychological and spiritual traits
q what is uncreate
As a result of our Second Education, these natural-rational things in the Letter become spiritual-rational truths, as reflected in our new reasonings, understandings, and levels of thinking. They are what infills the sensuous consciousness in our spiritual mind, though this process is still unconscious. Both must be present in the spiritual mind in order to be prepared for life in the New Heavens (TCR 1). The Writings provide both for the up building of our spiritual mind. From the Writings we acquire both sensuous and rational consciousness of the spiritual world. The sensuous consciousness is not accessible in this life, but will be in the afterlife. Rational consciousness by itself would not be determined to anything real if it did not have sensuous consciousness to settle in as an ultimate (AC 1476). These two types of consciousness, or level of thinking, are in discrete duality, the rational within the sensuous and interacting only by correspondences (D. Wis. 2).
In Heaven and Hell we read:
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)
When the Word is opened the Lord appears (AE 612)
Swedenborg’s science published as his Scientific Works was first written in his natural mind separated from the spiritual mind. But afterwards, his science was written in dual mode, having been given direct sensuous access to both worlds. The two versions of theistic science he wrote are structurally related so that he first wrote the external theistic science of the sensuous world on earth, and later, the interior science of the sensuous aspects of the spiritual world.
The Writings contain two visible types of subject matter in its literal sentences: the external theistic science from Swedenborg’s Scientific Works, and the interior theistic science of the spiritual world. The two are intermingled. The external theistic science in the Writings are scientific revelations about the natural world that were not known before. The interior theistic science consists of revelations about the spiritual world, also not known before. Note well: the external theistic science and the interior theistic science both appear in the literal, and therefore only a natural understanding is possible from these descriptions. A spiritual understanding of them is possible only by enlightenment, as discussed in Chapter 1.
The science written in the Writings, both external and interior, contains a sensuous and a rational portion. Similarly, the natural version of science in the Scientific Works contain a sensuous and a rational portion. Swedenborg uses the facts and experiments of certain “gifted and talented” scientists to gather accurate data of natural objects and phenomena. He then analyzes this factual database by means of rational principles of reasoning, that he also describes (xx). This is the rational consciousness of the natural world, or the natural-rational level of thinking. This precise approach in the natural mind yields cumulative progress and is without the errors of conjecture or bias (xx).
The Scientific Works were composed through the natural-sensuous mind, which is the middle portion of the external natural mind. The Writings on the other hand, were composed through the natural-rational mind which is in the upper portion of the external rational mind. The Writings were written by the Lord through the conscious as-of self mind of Swedenborg. There is no other way that the Word can be written. As a result of the Writings being written by the Lord, it has infinite series of truths in its internal sense. The study and research of these infinite series in the internal sense of the Writings is called the interior theistic science.
Clearly then, the Scientific Works used by the Lord in the Writings had to be created by the Lord through Swedenborg’s unconscious mind in such a way that they later could serve as contaminants of the infinite series of the Word.
The Lord would not have included anything from the Scientific Works had these Works not also been prepared by the Lord to be appropriate vessels for writing the Word of the Writings.
The natural external scientifics of the Scientific Works are imported by the Lord and woven into the literal framework or fabric of the Letter of the Writings. At the level of the Letter of the Writings, or its literal meaning, the spiritual interior scientifics of the Memorable Relations and of the Doctrinal expositions are commingled by the Lord with the natural external scientifics of the Scientific Works. The matrix and fabric of the Letter makes these two types of scientifics an integral part of each other. One cannot subsist without the other. It is not possible to take away the natural scientifics of the Writings since it was woven by the Lord into the Letter of the Word.
It was necessary therefore that Swedenborg’s Scientific Works, in their minutest detail, be directed, selected, and actualized by the Lord independently of Swedenborg’s own will and understanding. Swedenborg went through the intellectual effort of as-of self organization and interpretation of data and the creation of theory and rational explanatory accounts. But he attributed the success of his findings or the merit of his explanations solely and entirely to the Lord (xx). The Lord was responsible for the direction and fruitfulness of his reasoning and thought sequences.
The two types of scientifics (natural and spiritual) which make up the literal meaning of the Writings are both Divine because every detail of the Word is Divine (xx). The surface words, expressions, and sentences are arranged in a perfect and infinite series so that nothing can be taken away without destroying the series that is within (xx). It’s obvious that an infinite spiritual-rational series must be present within the finite natural-rational expressions of the Letter.
The literal of the Writings in heaven is not the same as the literal of the Writings on earth. The difference is that which exists between natural languages and spiritual language (xx). Still, the inner series within the literal of both is the same because this is the Lord’s Divine Rational.
The external and interior theistic science that is written in the literal of the Writings, contain the spiritual-rational truths or correspondences that are in our spiritual mind, but we are conscious of it by correspondence in our interior-natural mind that the Lord creates within the natural-rational when we undergo and complete our reformation.
The New Church mind is first built up by the theistic science in the Writings through the details we read in its external and interior science in the Letter. If we try to understand the Scientific Works prior to our understanding of the Writings, we only get a materialistic understanding of the Scientific Works. What was written first by Swedenborg can only be understood appropriately when being studied second. This is because the natural is to be understood by infilling it with the spiritual, and not the other way round, which is compared in the Writings to “drunkenness”:
They are called "drunkards" who believe nothing but what they apprehend, and for this reason search into the mysteries of faith. And because this is done by means of sensuous things, either of memory or of philosophy, man being what he is, cannot but fall thereby into errors. For man's thought is merely earthly, corporeal, and material, because it is from earthly, corporeal, and material things, which cling constantly to it, and in which the ideas of his thought are based and terminated.
To think and reason therefore from these concerning Divine things, is to bring oneself into errors and perversions; and it is as impossible to procure faith in this way as for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. The error and insanity from this source are called in the Word "drunkenness." Indeed the souls or spirits who in the other life reason about the truths of faith and against them, become like drunken men and act like them (AC 1072)
To investigate the spiritual from the perspective of the natural is not permitted and leads only to false and insane notions about the spiritual world and about the Lord. Instead, we must investigate the natural from the spiritual. To understand the Scientific Works properly, which is about the natural world, we must consider them from the spiritual-rational perspective. This perspective is the internal sense of the Writings. In other words, to investigate the meaning of the Scientific Works that forms portions of the Letter of the Writings, we must treat them as having an interior meaning since the Lord made them part of the Word. The extraction of the interior meaning of the Scientific Works in the Letter is a major area of research for theistic science. But this is true of all the portions of the Letter such as the Memorable Relations and the Doctrinal expositions which are interior scientifics. Theistic science research teaches the appropriate method of extracting the Spiritual Doctrine from these Doctrinal expositions.
In other words, sensuous consciousness of the natural world cannot be used to investigate sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world (see also Volume 1 Chapter 4 Section 5 on “near death experiences”). Similarly, the rational principles within the sensuous facts written in the Scientific Works cannot be properly understood without first knowing about the rational principles of the spiritual world written in the Writings and called the interior scientifics. Our first education in childhood is the natural-sensuous knowledge of the two worlds that we acquire through the school curriculum and religion. Our second education begins when we start reasoning from ourselves about the two worlds, thus developing our rational consciousness.
Sensuous consciousness of the natural world is at first learned from materialistic science in the school curriculum. At this point there is a clash in our mind between this materialistic sensuous and the spiritual sensuous facts and truths we learn from the Writings. We do not resolve this contradiction, we just lay it aside or ignore it. But at some point the contradiction must be resolved in order to enter heaven. There needs to be a changeover in the adult New Church mind from materialistic science to dualist science. The Scientific Works are essential for engineering this cognitive makeover or fundamental paradigm shift. When this makeover begins, then for the first time we are learning and investigating theistic science.
Prior to this, our sensuous and rational consciousness of the spiritual world from the Writings is only in a natural form. It cannot be completed until the interior-rational of the spiritual mind is opened. This opening activity is then consciously experienced by correspondence in the interior-natural mind. Then for the first time, we can behold the Divine Human in completion, even if only by correspondence. This is the deeper meaning of the Second Coming, namely, the infilling of the First Coming in the New Church mind by means of the Second Coming in the New Church mind.
Swedenborg’s Scientific Works can be called “theistic science,” but not in full. The Scientific Works are the external portion of theistic science. The internal portion is the interior science about the spiritual world, to which Swedenborg had no access while he wrote the Scientific Works . Together they complete theistic science in the same way as the First and Second Coming of the Lord together constitute the completion of the human race. Now everything has been given to the human race by which we can form theistic science as the genuine and ultimate science. I predict that as theistic science grows in recognition and participation, only those parts and aspects of the current materialistic science will be retained which have the character identified by Swedenborg in the Scientific Works (e.g., EAK Preface, xx).
Note that the Scientific Works of Swedenborg cannot be classified together with the science of any of his contemporaries. Newton’s and Swedenborg’s book by the same title, Principia, illustrate the difference. Newton’s Principia is monist or nondualist, even though he acknowledges that the mechanical laws he has described have been created by God and it is to God that one needs to pay homage for nature’s orderliness and rationality. Having made this religious confession at the outset, God then disappears from the rest of the system that he builds. Although Newton was a believer, his intellectual attitude was that natural science has its own sphere of operation and laws that must be discovered by research and God should be left out of the equations. This view has continued with modern scientists like Einstein, and contemporary scientists who are New Church members—as will be illustrated below. In contrast to this “scientific monism” Swedenborg’s Principia is a “scientific dualism” that keeps God around and puts the spiritual into every equation, if not mathematically, then rationally (xx).
Note that the Lord allowed Swedenborg to carry his theistic science into every book of the Writings, interweaving spiritual facts with natural facts, as for example when he discusses the exact parallelisms between mental organic functioning and physical, between how the will and the understanding interact and the parallel interaction between the heart and lungs. This structural integration was not merely an analogy, though they are used for “illustration” (xx). The particular scientific details of how the circulatory interacts with the respiratory are precisely parallel to the details of how the will and the understanding interact. This strict methodological operational parallelism between spiritual and natural phenomena is a structural integration in theistic science. The Science of Correspondences is such an integration. The principle that individual psychological development recapitulates racial history is also a strict parallelism that is integrated into the fabric of the Word and its three layers of internal meaning (AC 1024). Also, that the regeneration of the individual on earth affects the regeneration of the Grand Human and of people on other earths—as discussed below under the Perizonius Thesis.
There was no break in Swedenborg’s relationship to the science written in the Scientific Works and the science given in the Writings. The first was the external portion of the second, as discussed above. We can note that he continued to distribute copies of The Economy of the Animal Kingdom (EAK) after his spiritual enlightenment, and after he resigned his government office as senior mining assessor on June 2, 1747. In his resignation letter to the King of Sweden, Swedenborg gave this reason for his early retirement:
But as I find myself in duty bound to complete a work which I have commenced, therefore it is my humble request that…
And thus, that permission be graciously granted me to betake myself to a place abroad where I can complete the important work which I have now in hand.
(The Letters and Memorials of Emanuel Swedenborg. Translated and Edited by Alfred Acton (Bryn Athyn, PA. Swedenborg Scientific Association, 1948)
This was three years after the Lord appeared to him and informed him of his mission as revelator.
The manifestation of the Lord in Person, and the introduction by the Lord into the spiritual world, both as to sight and as to hearing and speech, surpasses all miracles; for we do not read anywhere in history that such interaction with angels and spirits has been granted from the creation of the world. For I am daily with angels there, even as I am in the world with men; and now for twenty-seven years. (INV 43)
Swedenborg had spent the intervening time, while still active in his government post, to learn Hebrew and to prepare an extensive index of the Bible. Later Swedenborg acknowledges that he had been led by the Lord in the Scientific Works (xx). This makes complete sense because he was to incorporate this science into the Word of the Second Coming. Swedenborg was the first human mind prepared by the Lord since early childhood to become a New Church mind.
Since it is the Lord who composed the Writings through Swedenborg’s mind, and since the Lord had prepared his mind for this purpose since early childhood, therefore it is easy to see that the inclusion of the Scientific Works in the Writings is not something we can attribute to Swedenborg, any less than we can attribute to him the inclusion of the Heavenly Doctrine. Every word and expression of the Letter of the Word contains infinite series connected together so that nothing of the literal can be taken away without destroying the inner series (xx). This insures that the Scientific Works included in the Writings are scientific revelations in the Letter, within which there are endless deeper scientific truths that can be extracted and will be extracted in future theistic science. All truths that our mind on this earth can grasp are scientific. Our rational consciousness develops and evolves through our acquisition of ever more interior scientific truths about the Lord and the Grand Human.
About his preparation since childhood, Swedenborg wrote this:
I was once asked how, from a philosopher, I became a theologian; and I answered, "In the same manner that fishermen were made disciples and apostles by the Lord: and that I also had from early youth been a spiritual fisherman." (ISB 20)
I will now give you an account of my first youth: From my fourth to my tenth year I was constantly engaged in thought upon God, salvation, and the spiritual affections [passiones spirituales] of men; and several times I revealed things at which my father and mother wondered, saying that angels must be speaking through me. (Letters 17)
From my sixth to my twelfth year I used to delight in conversing with clergymen about faith, saying that the life of faith is love, and that the love which imparts life is love to the neighbor; also that God gives faith to everyone, but that those only receive it who practice that love. I knew of no other faith at that time, than that God is the Creator and Preserver of nature, that He imparts understanding and a good disposition to men, and several other things that follow thence. (Letters 17)
I knew nothing at that time of that learned faith which teaches that God the Father imputes the righteousness of His Son to whomsoever, and at such times, as He chooses even to those who have not repented and have not reformed their lives. And had I heard of such a faith, it would have been then, as it is now, above my comprehension. (Letters 17)
The theistic science Swedenborg was building was free of conjecture that leads to error and fallacy. Its development was cumulative and relied on God for its wisdom, as will be shown below. Theistic science contrasts discretely with materialistic science in this respect. One is from God; the other is from the fallacies of self-intelligence (AE 654). The theistic science built up by the New Church mind is always in a continuous progression, while the materialistic science built up by human beings acting from their own intellectual resources, is discontinuous whereby each major advance is built by destroying the previous paradigm. Swedenborg recognized that exceptional men of science in the history of science since Euclid, had a genius or talent for producing observational and experimental facts that do not contain “fallacious, vague, and empty speculations.” These data will never become outdated and “will forever continue to be of practical use to posterity” (EAK 17). He mentions the works of “Eustachius, Malpighi, Ruysche, Leeuwnhoek, Harvey, … Nuck, Bartholin, Bidloo, and Verheye” (ibid).
In the Appendix to volume II of the Principia Swedenborg looks back on the theistic science he was given to create:
If the principles I have advanced have more of truth in them than those which are advocated by others; … and … should I not gain the assent of those whose minds, being prepossessed by other principles, can no longer exercise an impartial judgment, still I should gain the assent of such as are able to distinguish what is true from what is untrue, if not in the present, at least in some future age. (Principia, V.II, p.365-6)
Swedenborg knew therefore that his science was to endure. Which makes sense since (a) it was Providentially managed in its details, and (b) it was included by the Lord in the Letter of the Word of the Writings.
Placing Swedenborg’s Scientific Works along a continuum with other people’s books creates the idea of a nonduality between these two approaches—between science by conjecture from self-intelligence versus theistic science enlightened by the Lord. Remember that Swedenborg was the first New Church mind prepared by the Lord since his early childhood. This was a new creation, a new fundamental duality in the evolution of consciousness in the human race. The Scientific Works that Swedenborg wrote were products of this New Church mind. This duality does not threaten the traditional Canon of the Writings for the New Church as a religion, and is not opposed to the Canon. I’m not suggesting we change the traditional Canon. There needs to be an understanding (apart from the Canon) that Swedenborg’s Scientific Works created a new kind of science that did not exist before, a science for the future of humankind. Swedenborg describes it this way:
I was once asked how, from a philosopher, I became a theologian; and I answered, "In the same manner that fishermen were made disciples and apostles by the Lord: and that I also had from early youth been a spiritual fisherman." On this, my questioner asked, "What is a spiritual fisherman?" I replied, "A fisherman, in the Word, in its spiritual sense, signifies a man who investigates and teaches natural truths, and afterwards spiritual truths, in a rational manner."  On his inquiring, "How is this demonstrated?" I said, "From these passages of the Word …
 On hearing this, my questioner raised his voice and said, "Now I can understand why the Lord called and chose fishermen to be His disciples; and therefore I do not wonder that He has also chosen you, since, as you have observed, you were from early youth a fisherman in a spiritual sense, that is, an investigator of natural truths: and the reason that you are now become an investigator of spiritual truths is because these are founded on the former." To this he added, being a man of reason, that "the Lord alone knows who is the proper person to apprehend and teach those things which belong to His New Church (ISB 20)
It is said here that the Writings (spiritual truths) are “founded on” the earlier Scientific Works (natural truths).
Note that that Swedenborg calls himself a “fisherman” and defines it as investigating and teaching natural truths, “and afterwards” spiritual truths.The two types of sciences are structured together in the one idea of “fisherman.” His statement is fully justified by the idea that the Lord prepared his mind from childhood and that it is the Lord Himself who did this in order to establish His New Church. Swedenborg’s Scientific Works were produced prior to his access to the spiritual world, prior to his ability to enter the spiritual world. Hence the progress of his Scientific Works had to be managed by the Lord in order for it to become perfectly suitable as the external vessel for the spiritual rational revelations to be given later in the Writings.
Swedenborg’s mind was prepared not merely in the general sense pointed out by the man who was questioning Swedenborg in the quote just above (ISB 20): “"What Christian theologian does not study philosophy in the schools, before he graduates as a theologian? From what other source has he intelligence?” This is the acknowledgement of a general preparation of Swedenborg’s mind through “natural” science (including history, biology, psychology, economics, etc.), which allowed him to develop his intelligent capacities, like any other person. But more deeply understood, his universal preparation as revelator rests on his specific preparation in this or that scientific discipline (xx). This specific preparation are effected through the Scientific Works and ideas that he produced to create a theistic science entirely different form the science of those whose observational and experimental facts he borrows and appreciates.
The Scientific Works that Swedenborg produced from his New Church mind show us what we need to re-create in every New Church mind from now to eternity. This follows from knowing that the New Church is the last of the revelations, wherefore it is called the “Crown of Churches” (TCR 787).
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)
It follows that there will never be another New Word given to the human race. The evolution of the human race has at last flourished and come into its own. We now have before us, revealed by the Lord, everything the human race will ever need to know in order to attain to its highest possible level of existence and being. The Second Coming thus marks the beginning of the last age in human history. At last, the creation of the race is completed.
The mind of Swedenborg was the human context by which this momentous event was accomplished by the Lord. A traditional view in the New Church has been that the Second Coming was a religious event. One points out that the revelations began when Swedenborg was introduced to his special calling and special ability, whereupon he wrote and published the first Volume of Arcana Coelestia. This traditional view does represent the historical appearances as Swedenborg describes them, especially in Journal of Dreams, The Word Explained (WE), and Spiritual Experiences (SE). Note that this view does not imply anything about Swedenborg’s Scientific Works written prior to his enlightenment as revelator. There is no contradiction in these two ideas:
(1) The Writings are the Word of the Second Coming and the New Church
(2) The Writings are the revelations of theistic science
Swedenborg’s Scientific Works cannot be separated from the Writings because they have been included by the Lord as part of the Letter of the Word of the Second Coming.
Such is the order in which those kinds of truths stand in relation to one another in man. Until a person has become adult therefore, and through sensory and factual truths possesses matters of doctrine, he is incapable of being regenerated, for he cannot be confirmed in the truths contained in matters of doctrine except through ideas based on factual and sensory truths - for nothing is ever present in a person's thought, not even the deepest arcanum of faith there, which does not involve some natural or sensory idea, though generally a person is not aware of the essential nature of such ideas. But in the next life the nature of them is revealed before his understanding, if he so desires, and also a visual representation before his sight, if he wants it; for in the next life such things can be presented before one's eyes in a visual form. This seems unbelievable but it is nevertheless what happens there. (AC 3310)
It is said here that “the deepest arcanum of faith involves some natural or sensory idea.” As indicated before, this is the same idea that spiritual truths “are founded” on natural truths. This also denotes the relationship between rational and sensuous consciousness, discussed elsewhere. It is the basis for understanding correspondences.
The above passage also refers to the relationship between external and internal scientifics. When applied to the Writings, the external scientifics refer to the literal text of the Word, which in itself, is natural (xx). The Writings can be taught to anyone, such as a college course in psychology to students who are not part of the New Church, as I have done in one of my courses at the university (see Note xx at end). Similarly, the Wirings can be taught as a course to those who were born in New Church worship. In both cases what is taught is the literal of the Writings and what is learned is also the literal. Those who learned the literal can go on to become experts and teach the literal to others, yet all this educational and scholarly activity remains in the natural level of thinking for the literal of the Word in itself is natural. This means that the literal of the Writings is written natural-rational correspondences.
The same is true about doctrines taught in sermons and classes. What is taught and learned is the literal of the Heavenly Doctrine. This literal in itself is also natural. Hence the reasoning that is used to understand what is in the Writings and the Heavenly Doctrine is called natural-rational which is in the external natural mind. When the Lord was growing up in the world He too started with this natural-rational understanding of the literal of the Word He was studying, and it is represented by Ishmael (AC 1893). And the Lord warned Himself from the internal man who was Jehovah (AC 2083), that this natural-rational level of thinking about the Word is not the true “inheritor” or possessor of the genuine Doctrine, but Isaac is, who represents the spiritual-rational or interior rational.
The Lord's first rational was represented and signified by Ishmael, born of Hagar the handmaid treated of in the preceding chapter (16). The second rational, treated of here, is represented and signified by Isaac who was to be born from Sarah. The former, that is, the rational represented by Ishmael, was the rational that was afterwards expelled from the house; but this second rational, represented by Isaac, is that which remained in the house, because it was Divine. But concerning this rational, of the Lord's Divine mercy we shall speak in the following chapter, where Isaac is treated of. (AC 2066)
The genuine Doctrine, or Spiritual Doctrine, is spiritual of celestial origin (xx) while the understanding of the Writings from the natural external literal meaning is not the genuine or spiritual Doctrine. The Spiritual Doctrine is the internal of the literal, that is, its spiritual meaning arranged in a coherent system. This spiritual meaning cannot be seen in the literal except by those who are enlightened by the Lord, that is, by those who have undergone reformation and are being regenerated. These can see the inner sense of the literal while they are reading the Writings (xx). The spiritual meaning of the Writings are conveyed by means of spiritual-rational correspondences. These operate in the interior-natural mind and cannot be perceived in the natural-rational mind, which is external. The interior-natural is opened and operated by the Lord in correspondence with the opening of the spiritual mind, which is unconscious while we are on earth.
The natural-rational level of thinking and reasoning about the literal of the Heavenly Doctrine, is what’s called “scientifics” in the above passage (AC 3310 and elsewhere). In contrast, the spiritual-rational level of perceiving the inner sense is called in this passage “doctrinal matters.” Note well that “doctrinal matters” or the genuine Doctrine does not refer to the literal of the Writings, but to its internal sense.
The internal sense is itself the genuine doctrine of the church … They who understand the Word according to the internal sense, know the true doctrine itself of the church, because the internal sense contains it (WH 11)
We have therefore two phases of understanding the Writings. First we understand its scientifics; then we perceive the genuine or Spiritual Doctrine.
These two phases are separated in time until we undergo reformation as an adult. After reformation, we can be enlightened in conjunction with our regeneration, which can then begin. When regeneration begins it proceeds by continuous steps and never ceases (xx). These steps can only be made by enlightenment from the Lord. Each point of genuine Doctrine must be revealed by the Lord to the individual undergoing regeneration by means of the Word of the Writings. Once revealed, the individual perceives the inner sense and has this perception within the interior-natural mind, not the external natural mind. Therefore when the individual attempts to explain or write out this inner perception, what comes out in natural language is nothing but the literal that others can read and understand. But the inner sense it points to or contains, cannot be seen in the literal meaning but only when the literal expressions are read as correspondences.
At no time therefore can genuine Doctrine appear in natural language. It can only be perceived in the spiritual mind which does not use natural language (xx).
The Word is not understood, except by those who are enlightened. The human rational faculty cannot comprehend Divine, nor even spiritual things, unless it be enlightened ... Thus they only who are enlightened comprehend the Word … Enlightenment is an actual opening of the interiors of the mind, and also an elevation into the light of heaven (WH 7)
Spiritual things cannot be seen by the natural mind, but only by the spiritual mind: “In the Word interior things are expressed and signified by exterior things” (AC 2072). Natural ideas about spiritual things are of course possible because “truth is the chief characteristic in man's rational” and the “rational is formed by means of the knowledges of truth, for by no other means can anyone ever become rational” (AC 2072). But at first this is a matter of reasoning naturally, not perceiving spiritually. Which is why angels of the Third Heaven do not ordinarily engage in thinking, but only have affections by which they perceive. Thus, thinking is short-circuited in the celestial mind and does not proceed as it does in the natural mind (xx). The spiritual angels in the Second Heaven do reason and think, but they are unable to perceive anything whatsoever that the angels of the Third Heaven perceive.
The things relating to the internal sense of the Word fall into such things as are of the light of heaven, thus into angelic perception (WH 10)
In the internal or spiritual sense of the Word there are innumerable arcana. The Word in the internal sense contains innumerable things which exceed human comprehension ... It also contains things ineffable and inexplicable (n. 1965). Which are manifest only to angels, and are understood by them (WH 11)
The passage quoted earlier (AC 3310) also indicates that doctrinal matters, which are in the spiritual and celestial mind, can be made visible to their external spiritual senses. In other words, angels are surrounded by a sensuous environment which is an outward representation of their affections. These affections constitute their rational consciousness, while the things they experience through the senses constitute their sensuous consciousness. The sensuous consciousness of angels is called “perception” (xx) while their rational consciousness is called “conjunction” (xx).
In the natural mind there is also a sensuous and rational consciousness, both being natural, wherefore they are called “scientifics” with reference to the Writings. In the natural mind, sensuous consciousness is called “sensation” while rational consciousness is called “reasoning” (xx). The two together, or, rational within sensuous consciousness, is called “sensory factual truths” (AC 3310).
The above considerations can be summarized in a diagram for clearer understanding:
As the Chart shows, sensation and reasoning constitute the scientifics of the literal of the Writings in the natural mind. Perception and conjunction constitute the doctrines of the inner sense of the Writings in the spiritual mind.
The arrow indicate the actual sequence, while the broken arrows indicate the apparent sequence. When we study the literal of the Writings in the natural mind it appears to us that we are focusing on the meaning of the sentences in the literal text (“SENSATION”), which gives us a sensuous consciousness of the outward form of the Divine Word. This is how a child listens to the Memorable Relations in the Writings. This is how we read the entire description of the spirit world, heaven, and hell. This is also how we understand the Heavenly Doctrine and the explanations about the correspondences in the Old and New Testaments. From a child we become a scientist, and in both cases we remain in the literal language, which is natural and sensuous. The angels who are with us while reading the Writings in this way, do not see anything that we see, since they do not see the natural things in the Word.
As we get older we develop our external rational through education, observation, and reasoning based on these. Now when we read the Writings we get past the mere sensory content of the text and reason about its “message” with regards to the Church, Doctrine, and regeneration (“REASONING”).
Following these first two phases, called “SCENTIFICS,” reformation takes place in our early adulthood or midlife. Reformation is the struggle to reorient everything in the mind from “scientifics of the Writings” to “DOCTRINES of the Writings”. This is a crossing point and a turning point. Now we enter the last two phases, called “doctrines,” the first of which is called “perception” in reference to the higher angels who are said to have perception of spiritual truths without having to reason it out to prove to themselves that it is true (xx). The lower angels do feel the need to reason about spiritual truths in the Writings, and they are happier when they can do so. Therefore it is granted by the Lord. In our spiritual development, we recapitulate these relations between the lower and higher heavens.
The first state is represented in the life of every person by his infancy and childhood, until he becomes a youth, adolescent and young man. This state is marked by humility before his parents, obedience, and being instructed by masters and underlings. The second state is represented by the same person's state when he becomes his own master, can make his own decisions, or follow his own will and his own understanding; at this stage he has control in his own house. (TCR 106)
After completing reformation in young adulthood or beyond, we begin our new life of regeneration, which consists of applying the literal (“scientifics”) of the Writings to ourselves. Our motive power is to consider the literal to be Divine Commandments by which we must guide our life. Then, for the first time, the Lord gives us enlightenment, and we can perceive beyond the natural sense into the spiritual sense that lies within it (“PERCEPTION”).
This conscious perception is the activity by the Lord of opening our interior spiritual mind, of which we are totally unconscious while in the physical body. The perception of spiritual meanings within the literal is a conscious perception, therefore it occurs in the natural mind. The upper portion of the natural mind, called the natural-rational, is where the “vessels” are located within which this perception can occur. The perception is the operation of the interior-natural mind by means of spiritual-rational correspondences. These vessels are the scientifics of the Writings that we have taken up into our conscious understanding. They are located in the natural-rational mind in the form of natural-rational correspondences. Now the Lord animates and enlivens these vessels from within so that we are not directly aware of his activity in the spiritual mind, but sense the result of it in the animated vessel. We can now clearly see by this resultant enlightenment, that there is a new way of applying the literal. This is perception of the spiritual sense. This perception is nothing but the perception of spiritual-rational correspondences within the natural-rational correspondences from the Letter.
The operations in our unconscious spiritual mind descend by correspondence into the interior-natural mind where we become conscious of a new meaning we see in the sentence we are reading or considering. This happens only to the extent that we are applying our natural reasoning from the literal to ourselves, that is, to our willing and thinking in a particular situation or at a particular time. Once we have perception on some topic or sub-topic, we can reason about it in our natural mind, write it out or discuss it with others. However, this new literal produced by our thinking and discussing is not the spiritual content of the perception but its natural correspondence.
Finally, as we are given perception of the inner sense by enlightenment from the Lord we are conjoined to Him to the extent that we love what we are perceiving in that sense (“CONJUNCTION”).
This is the apparent progression indicated by the broken arrows. But in reality, the sequence is the reverse. In the natural mind sensation is the result of reasoning activity (xx). If you take away reasoning, all of it, no sensation is possible (xx). This is similar to the sequence in vision and the eye: vision is what creates and empowers the eye because vision precedes the eye in creation (xx). The eye was created for vision (dualism) not “vision arose as a function from the eye” (materialism). And so there must be human rational reasoning within our sensations, or else they are not meaningful sensations that we can experience in the normal way we are used to doing. But this does not yet complete the situation.
The natural mind cannot function by itself, but every process in it is an effect produced by correspondence from the spiritual mind. But since the spiritual mind is not yet open for us, not yet available to our awareness, it is occupied or animated by the angels through influx (xx). We are unconscious of all influx. And so there is no other possibility but the illusion of the appearance that our natural mind functions by itself in itself. However, once we are undergoing regeneration and applying the literal to ourselves, the enlightenment we are given by the Lord becomes clearly and wonderfully obvious to our awareness. The Lord creates an interior-natural in our mind, which is spiritual not natural. This new interior-natural is capable of reacting by correspondence to what is going on in the spiritual mind. We are conscious of this reaction in our interior-natural. Now we are able, more and more, to perceive consciously the descent or exteriorization of the spiritual meaning into our natural mind. Now we can see that the apparent sequence, which we thought until then was the actual sequence, is not, but instead the reverse is the actual sequence. We feel the conjunction with the Lord as He gives perception in the spiritual mind, and then we are able to see and understand the literal in its fullness, by vivid contrast between its outward form and its inward glory.
The entire process depicted in the Table above from Firsts (the Lord) to lasts (natural sensation and reasoning) can be represented in simultaneous order within concentric circles. Conjunction is at the inmost or closest to the spiritual Sun, or the Lord. First, conjunction is effected not by physical or sensuous contact but by spiritual rational consciousness, that is, Divine Truth. Then, perception is given, which is sensuous consciousness or the outward form of spiritual rational consciousness in the spiritual mind. Third, reasoning is given in the natural mind, that component of it called the understanding, which is rational consciousness in the natural mind. And finally, at the outmost of this process, sensations given, which is natural sensuous consciousness of the literal or physical environment.
The first two steps (perception of the inner sense and conjunction with the Lord) are in the spiritual mind, while the last two are in the natural mind (sensation from the physical body and reasoning with the external rational). You can see then that the actual process is from the spiritual mind into the natural mind, but the apparent order of learning and regeneration is the reverse. Initially we learn the literal of the Writings and the Heavenly Doctrine in the natural mind as scientifics, and after reformation, when regeneration begins, we perceive the inner sense in the spiritual mind, and this in proportion to our progress in regeneration. This perception is what’s called enlightenment from the Lord while reading the Writings (xx).
During man's regeneration, the light of heaven is instilled into natural light, and at the same time the heat of heaven; these two constitute, as it were, the new soul, through which man is formed by the Lord. This light and heat are instilled through the higher mind, which is called the spiritual mind. By virtue of this instilling, or insertion, man becomes a new creature, and becomes more enlightened and more intelligent in matters of the church, and consequently in the reading of the Word. This also is the new understanding and the new will. Afterwards the man is led by the Lord through the above light and through the above heat, and from natural becomes spiritual. (INV 2)
Some in the New Church have thought that because the letter of the Writings, as it were “vanishes,” therefore the literal meaning is not actually true, but an appearance due to the natural correspondences or “vessels.” For example, since the word “priest” corresponds to doctrine, how are we to take this passage:
There are two things which ought to be in order with men, namely, the things which are of heaven, and the things which are of the world. The things which are of heaven are called ecclesiastical, and those which are of the world are called civil. (NJHD 311)
In the spiritual sense this passage teaches that the Writings contain two types of “order” or reality that we must relate to. “The things of heaven” are the doctrinal things of the Church, called “ecclesiastical,” and “the things of the world” are the scientifics of the church, called “civil.” In the next number, we are given further particulars:
Order cannot be maintained in the world without governors, who are to observe all things which are done according to order, and which are done contrary to order; and who are to reward those who live according to order, and punish those who live contrary to order. (NJHD 312)
Seeing through a deeper meaning, we are taught here that we are to obey our “governor” in the natural mind, when we undergo reformation by means of the scientific of the Writings. Our “civil governor” refers to the sensuous and the rational in our natural mind. We are to punish ourselves when we “live contrary to order,” contrary to the scientifics of the Writings in our mind. In other words, we must realign everything in our external mind to conform to the order described by the literal of the Writings. And the same applies to the doctrinal things after reformation:
Governors over those things with men which relate to heaven, or over ecclesiastical affairs, are called priests, and their office is called the priesthood. (NJHD 314)
In a deeper sense, this means that we are to obey our “priest” in the spiritual mind, when we undergo regeneration by means of the doctrinal things in the Writings, called “ecclesiastical affairs.” Putting the two together, we must obey the external order in our natural mind in accordance with the scientifics of the Writings, and we must obey the internal order in our spiritual mind in accordance with the spiritual doctrines of the Writings. And further:
With respect to the priests, they ought to teach men the way to heaven, and also to lead them; they ought to teach them according to the doctrine of their church from the Word, and to lead them to live according to it. Priests who teach truths, and thereby lead to the good of life, and so to the Lord, are good shepherds of the sheep; but they who teach and do not lead to the good of life, and so to the Lord, are evil shepherds. (NJHD 315)
Here it is said that the way to heaven is taught by the doctrinal things in the mind from the Writings. The doctrinal things are the spiritual things in the spiritual sense, for only these lead to heaven, and are heaven. Our “priest,” as before, refers to the doctrinal things in our spiritual mind that we have from perception when we are enlightened by the Lord. This spiritual perception leads to the “good of life” which is the work we do in our regeneration. When we do not obey this doctrine, our doctrine is not called a “good shepherd” but an “evil shepherd.” The enlightenment we had received now vanishes away, and we are facing the darkness and delusions of our hell. Good doctrine is the true doctrine that is applied to our willing and thinking, by which we learn to reject evil affections and detest them instead of being delighted by them, as before.
Dignity and honor ought to be paid to priests on account of the holy things which they administer; but they who are wise give the honor to the Lord, from whom the holy things are, and not to themselves; but they who are not wise attribute the honor to themselves; these take it away from the Lord. (NJHD 317)
This means that the spiritual doctrine in our spiritual mind is the Lord Himself, also stated in many other places (xx, xx). We can attribute the scientifics of the Writings in our mind as something we have gathered ourselves, by expending effort and diligence in whatever we choose on our own to study, this or that portion of the Writings, as we freely decide. But the doctrinal or spiritual things in our mind must not be called our own, but the Lord’s within us. We contributed nothing in the gathering of the spiritual truths. These truths are from the Lord, by enlightenment, who animates the vessels we gathered seemingly by ourselves. To attribute these spiritual perceptions to ourselves would be to “take away from the Lord.”
Priests ought to teach the people, and to lead them by truths to the good of life, but still they ought to compel no one, since no one can be compelled to believe contrary to what he thinks from his heart to be true. He who believes otherwise than the priest, and makes no disturbance, ought to be left in peace; but he who makes disturbance, ought to be separated; for this also is of order, for the sake of which the priesthood is established. (NJHD 318)
The spiritual perceptions from the Lord, called doctrines in our spiritual mind, ought not to compel us by external means but only by internal. To compel ourselves by external means is to obey the doctrines in our life from a motive of reward or merit. To compel ourselves by internal means is to obey the doctrines in our life from a motive of love unto the Lord. The Lord must be recognized as this Doctrine in our mind, because this Doctrine is from the Lord, and what is from the Lord is Divine Truth with us. External obedience to spiritual Doctrine is called a “disturbance.” It ought to be “separated” which means that we must desist from performing this type of obedience. But if we do not feel this love for the Lord, our external mind ought to be “left in peace,” which means that we fall back on the earlier phase of regeneration, and are to continue our struggle for reformation. The “priesthood is established” for the sake of “separating” the “disturbance” with regard to the spiritual things in our mind. This means that the spiritual doctrine the Lord gives us by enlightenment, is for the sake of distinguishing in our mind between the literal sense and the spiritual sense of the Writings. We obey the literal sense when we undergo reformation, but the spiritual sense when we undergo regeneration.
From these inner considerations of what the Word says about ecclesiastical and civil government, one might be tempted to conclude that therefore it is not required that the community establish a priesthood or a county government. This follows from the notion that the literal is not to be attended to when perceiving the inner sense. But this is a mistaken conclusion, for it is stated that “order cannot be maintained in the world without governors” (NJHD 312) and the Church cannot be maintained without a priesthood organized into an ecclesiastical order—“priests are appointed to administer those things which relate to the Divine law and worship” (NJHD 319). Clearly then, the literal sense of the Writings is not less true or less real, just because there is a spiritual sense within it. The two are independently true and real. This principle is taught when we are told in the Writings that everything in the Word of the Old and New Testaments are historically accurate, by Divine Providence whom these historicals signify. The historicals of the Old Testament are all accurate and true, notwithstanding that they contain a spiritual meaning. The journeying of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob represent the Lord’s glorification series in much detail, point by point, as is made clear in Arcana Coelestia, and yet every detail is historically real and accurate (xx).
It wouldn’t be rational to believe that the Lord can’t manage to bring about those historical events that represent and signify His Glorification Series as described in Arcana Coelestia. Only those details of those events were recorded in the Word that fit into a rational series recorded by the Lord in a natural human language through men He has chosen and prepared for receiving the unconscious dictation. This inner Voice of the Lord appeared in their conscious mind in the form of natural correspondences. They saw visions and heard things that were natural correspondences of the Lord’s Words. The Lord’s Divine Truth is contained within the sentences written down by the prophet or revelator. Obviously, the literal of the Word is as important for the Lord to manage as the spiritual meaning within it, for the internal and the external are held in an exact and invariable position relative to each other. They make one construction as our skeletal structure makes one with the voluntary muscles when we walk or work. Take away the skeleton, and the muscles for walking are useless weight as we lie in a heap on the floor. Take away the literal sentences written by Lord through the revelator, and the spiritual truth we receive from the Lord pours out in a heap, and vanishes. This is true both of the Written Word, and the Word taken up in our understanding.
Think about this Word that is taken up in our understanding. It is an awesome think to behold. The Spiritual Doctrine within the Letter of the Writings is the Divine Human Himself, as He presents Himself in His Divine Rational. He is the Divine Truth that creates all things by Wisdom from Love. He is now in our mind, in the place where we have the Spiritual Doctrine, whose outward correspondences are the literal sentences in the Writings that we have taken up in our memory. In other words, from our memory of the literal sentences, we apply them to ourselves as we proceed in willing and thinking hour by hour. This results in a flash of enlightenment during which we perceive the inner spiritual sense. This sense is our spiritual understanding of the Writings and is called our Spiritual Doctrine. It’s in this Doctrine that the Lord has come to visit us, indeed, to dwell with us.
It makes sense because the Lord visiting us means adjunction to Him by means of Divine Truth in our Spiritual Doctrine (xx). His dwelling in us means conjunction with Him by means of Divine Love which He plants into the Divine Truth (xx). Note carefully that the Lord could implant Divine Love into us in anything that is from us or self (xx). Therefore the Lord can dwell in us in only that which is His in us (xx). He cannot implant Himself in us while we are looking away from Him, towards hell. But when undergo reformation, we turn ourselves away from hell and towards the Lord. This is the reformed life in our mind. Then as we suffer ourselves to undergo temptations and regeneration, the Lord adds spiritual heat to the truth we see in the literal of the Writings. This animates that truth and makes it spiritual. This spiritual Doctrine is by enlightenment, just as prophecies and revelations are by enlightenment. One cannot attain this by oneself because the spiritual is beyond attainment by self.
This spiritual Doctrine is from the Lord in us, and therefore is the Lord with us since He is the all in all of spiritual Doctrine (xx). The Divine Truth in the Spiritual Doctrine is the Lord with us. The Spiritual Doctrine is in us to the extent that we undergo regeneration by means of the literal of the Writings. To that extent also, we are adjoined and conjoined to the Lord. Now can we love Him in ourselves, whereas before reformation and regeneration, we loved ourselves in ourselves. This love we have for Him in us, is conjunction with the Lord because in this love He enters with His Divine Love, and we become a receptacle of His Proprium. This is the celestial human being He has created to which He longs to bring every human being. To deny the spiritual sense of the Writings is to deny entry of the Lord into the knowledges of the Writings in our understanding. This is because the Lord dwells only in what is Divine, and so He must have our cooperation in acquiring as-of self, by intellectual effort, the sentences of the Writings, and striving studiously to understand them. This is the effort required to put the literal of the Doctrine into our rational mind.
Once it is there, we only need to apply it to our willing and thinking. As soon as we begin this discipline, we are enlightened by the flash and clearly perceive the inner sense within the literal. This clear perception is from the Lord, and therefore is the Lord. Now He has something of Himself in us, the spiritual Doctrine which we have acquired by our as-of self effort, and with which we can think and by which we choose to order our life. This spiritual Doctrine from the Lord is nothing but the Divine Truth in us, placed in our mind by means of the literal sentences of the Writings and its literal rational meanings, also called “dualities” in Volume 1. This Divine Truth can now serve for containing His Divine Love, and there is then a Divine Marriage within our mind that fructifies into more and more interior truths, higher and higher heavens and celestial bliss and power. This Divine Marriage is called the marriage of good and truth (xx).
From these considerations you can see that we need to have a right idea of the relationship between the literal sentences of the Writings in our external mind, and their spiritual sense in the interior mind.
It is interesting to note that in 1930. Rev. Theodore Pitcairn wrote a paper in which he discussed the spiritual sense of the last Chapter in NJHD dealing with ecclesiastical and civil government. If you read his description of these numbers along with what I present just above, you’ll see that they are not the same, and yet they are compatible with each other. I would say that a single passage in the Writings can be analyzed with regard to its internal sense in numerous different way, but they will all agree with each other as long as there is enlightenment from the Lord while working out the interpretation. This makes sense since we know that in every sentence of the Word there are innumerable spiritual things hidden within (xx). I should also note that Rev. Pitcairn clearly saw that both the literal and the spiritual must be honored as true:
“The position that have been set forth in this paper are not meant to indicate that the literal sense of the Writings is not completely true in itself. This chapter on the government of Church and State, in its literal sense is truth, and we take it as our law of order for the organized Church. But it has been shown how the internal government of the mind as to good and truth, and the external government of Church and State, make a one by perfect correspondence.”
(Theodore Pitcairn. “The Internal Sense Of The Chapter On Ecclesiastical And Civil Government In The New Jerusalem And Its Heavenly Doctrine, March 1930. Published in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, pp. 83-91. Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague)
Rev. Pitcairn also saw that there are numerous possible descriptions of the spiritual sense of any passage in the Writings, all of them genuine and Divine, when from enlightenment rather than self-intelligence:
In the foregoing exposition expressions have been used such as “this signifies,” this represents,” or “this is the spiritual sense of these words,” and it is to be noted that such terms are used according to appearances. The very spiritual sense of itself, of this chapter, is the Doctrine of the Lord as it is received in heaven by angles, when such a chapter as this is read. It therefore contains myriads of things which have never entered the apprehension of man; and when we say “this is the spiritual sense of these words,” we mean that is a step toward the spiritual or heavenly understanding of the passage. (ibid, p. 90-91)
It should also be understood that there is an inherent difficulty in writing down the spiritual sense in a natural language. For when this is done, the writer can see the spiritual sense that is discussed in the sentences he wrote down. But his perception of the spiritual in his sentences is not in the literal of the sentences but in their underlying sense. The reader cannot automatically detect the underlying meaning the sentences contain and refer to. In order to have a perception of spiritual things in a spiritual way, we must already be enlightened by the Lord regarding the spiritual Doctrine within the Letter. Before we are enlightened any discussion about the spiritual sense within the Letter sounds vague and mystical. One cannot see what it is or that it is different from the Literal. Therefore on doubts it or objects to such an idea.
But once the Lord has formed an interior-natural within our natural-rational, everything changes about our perception of the Letter. We first must take up the Letter of the Writings in our memory and understand them in our natural-rational mind.
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)
This is prior to reformation. Then, when we undergo reformation sometime in adulthood, and begin regeneration, the Lord responds in two ways. He opens the spiritual mind that is above the natural, and creates the interior-natural portion within the natural-rational mind. Reformation is therefore a biological process in both the natural mind and the spiritual mind. We have no consciousness of the activity in our spiritual mind. The spiritual truths implanted there by the Lord, as a seed in the field, will be of service to us in the afterlife. But what He does in the interior-natural of our mind, is of immediate service to us. We can actually perceive what is in the interior-natural mind, while we cannot perceive what is in the spiritual mind.
We thus gain a new spiritual consciousness when the interior-natural mind is created by the Lord within our natural-rational mind. So we need to understand anatomically, the structural relation between the unconscious activity of the spiritual mind and the conscious activity of the interior-natural mind.
Remember where the interior-natural mind is created, namely, WITHIN the natural-rational. In other words, prior to reformation, we acquire ideas from the Writings and build up our understanding in the natural-rational mind. This understanding is a natural view of the spiritual topics in the Letter of the Writings. It is necessarily a natural understanding because it is based on the natural language of the sentences and their ideas. We continue to gather more and more from studying the Letter of the Writings and have it available in our conscious thinking all day long as we go about our activities. At this point the Lord has not opened our spiritual mind, and neither has He created an interior-natural component in the natural mind.
Later we undergo reformation by means of our motive to regenerate and rearrange our ideas and life in accordance with the Writings. We accomplish this reformation by applying to our willing and thinking whatever we have acquired form the Writings in our memory and understanding. To the extent we do this, the Lord can now implant an interior-natural mind within our natural understanding. Now we are a new man, a new birth, and we possess something we did not before. We possess an interior mind within the conscious understanding. This is called the interior-natural mind. The activation and animation of this interior-natural mind gives us the ability to perceive the spiritual sense within the Letter. The understanding that existed in our mind until then is suddenly illumined by this new spiritual consciousness that we have in the interior-natural mind.
The spiritual perception in the interior-natural mind is not the same as the spiritual perception of the higher angels. They have perception from the spiritual mind. The angelic spirits of the First Heaven have a spiritual consciousness from their interior-natural mind. This is the highest spiritual consciousness we are capable of while still in the natural world. But it is enough in that it makes such a tremendous difference. The spiritual perception from the interior-natural is conscious. The content we perceive from this spiritual perception is a correspondence to the content implanted by the Lord in our unconscious spiritual mind. There is therefore a structural relation between the conscious interior-natural mind and the unconscious spiritual mind which is a discrete degree above it. This unconscious spiritual mind has the genuine spiritual content, which is called the spiritual-rational.
The relation between the conscious interior-natural and the unconscious spiritual-rational is one of correspondence.
Now we can undergo regeneration by means of these tow minds being in correspondence. Each time the Lord implants a new spiritual truth in our unconscious spiritual mind, we become conscious of its correspondence in our interior-natural mind. Now when we read the Letter of the Writings and apply it to our willing and thinking, we perceive the spiritual sense within the Letter.
When we try to write down the spiritual meaning in our perception, we can only do so in a natural language. Others who then read these sentences only perceive them naturally and are left wondering, Where is the spiritual? Or else, they read the Letter discussing spiritual topics, and suppose that the meaning they understand is spiritual. But after reformation, they can actually empirically perceive the spiritual within the Letter. When they read the descriptions of the spiritual Doctrine they can perceive and understand its spiritual things spiritually, like the angelic spirits. But prior to reformation they only see and understand the spiritual things in a natural way.
The Lord is the Word, and the Word is Divine Truth (DP 256)
The Lord is the Writings, and the Writings is Divine Truth
The First Coming was the Incarnation. The Lord called Himself “the Son of Man’ to represent the idea that He was the Word (xx). But the external natural mind cannot understand this idea. How can a Person be a Book, even if both are called Divine? Ask some children and young people in the New Church religion, “What does it mean to say that the Writings are the Lord?” They will tell you something like this: “To say that “the Lord is the Word” is to talk in metaphors, since the Lord is the Lord and a book is a book. But since the Holy Book contains the Lord’s messages to us, it is said that “the Lord is the Word.” This is a natural-sensuous conception of the Word and the Lord.
But when you ask someone who thinks from the natural-rational level, the answer will be rational, hence closer to the spiritual meaning: “The Word contains hidden Divine Truths in every word and sentences. These spiritual truths are from the Lord alone and remain the Lord’s wherever they are. Therefore when our mind takes up spiritual truths from the Word, it is actually the Lord dwelling in these truths that are now in our mind. Hence the Word is the Lord.” This is a spiritual conception of the Lord and the Word. This spiritual conception is not located in the external-rational mind but within it, the portion of it called the interior-natural or the natural-spiritual mind. This is the interior mind that the Lord creates within the individual during reformation. This interior-natural mind is part of our conscious awareness and it mirrors the unconscious activities going on in the spiritual mind during reformation and regeneration.
The spiritual mind is located a discrete degree above the natural mind and cannot be accessed consciously while we are still attached to the physical body. Therefore, to allow us to have a spiritual consciousness of spiritual truths from the Writings, the Lord must create the interior-natural within the external-natural. In the afterlife, angelic spirits in the First Heaven live their conscious life in the interior-natural mind they obtained for themselves during life on earth. But the angels of the Second and Third Heavens live their life in the spiritual mind that was opened by the Lord without our consciousness while we were being regenerated during our life in the body.
The word therefore is written by mere correspondences (EU 119)
To understand this issue in a fully rational way, we need to understand the structural relation between the Lord’s First Coming in the New Testament and His Second Coming in the Writings. Once understood, this structural relation can be applied to understanding how the Letter of the Writings contains the Spiritual Doctrine within it. We must draw a rational parallelism between the Lord’s Coming and the Word’s two senses—outer natural and inner spiritual or celestial. This parallelism can be confirmed from many places in the Writings, and they ought to be confirmed by each individual personally as part of one’s study of the Writings. Then it can be truly seen, and therefore, loved.
Remember that a description of the parallelism in natural language and script, such as I give here, is actually a natural-rational correspondence of the spiritual truths we are discussing. And, as discussed several times before, the natural-rational understanding of the Writings is made of purely natural correspondences by which spiritual and celestial things are represented and signified:
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)
This natural correspondence serves as a cognitive vessel, or mental containant, for receiving spiritual enlightenment whenever we apply the correspondences to our willing and thinking.
Unless we build up as-of self these natural-rational correspondences, we cannot be enlightened by the Lord. It’s crucial to remember that the discussion of the parallelisms, as with all spiritual truths, is not identical with the spiritual truths that are being discussed. The actual spiritual truths are in the interior-natural mind, not the external-rational mind that does the discussing of it!
What you see on paper or computer screen is in natural language or text, hence the spiritual truths are necessarily expressed in natural correspondences. This is not a matter of opinion or mystery, as some allege, according to what I have read. It’s a matter of rational necessity, logic, and consistency. All things in the universe must have a sensuous outward portion and a rational interior portion within it. Similarly with the Word. The Writings have a Letter which represents the Divine Corporeal of the Lord. thought we acknowledge the Divinity of the Divine Corporeal, we do not worship it in itself, for this would be idolatry. Instead, we worship the Lord in His Divine Rational which is within His Divine Corporeal. The Letter in itself is dead (xx), but with the spiritual sense within the literal sense, the Letter comes alive and is animated from within. It is the spiritual sense of the Writings that gives us the spiritual-rational truths we must have to regenerated. We cannot find out these spiritual-rational truths by using our natural-rational intelligence to figure out the literal meaning of the Writings.
This is because such figuring or reasoning will remain figuring and reasoning about natural correspondences. At no time can the figuring and the reasoning lead us to the spiritual truths within these natural correspondences. This is more difficult to believe about the Writings than about the Old and New Testaments. We have no difficulty seeing that the Old and New Testaments are written in pure correspondences. Our natural-rational level of thinking accepts this idea. With the Writings, our natural-rational mind is bothered by the idea, disturbed by what it might imply. One senses a threat from the vagueness of the idea. One senses a rebellion against the Lord: Why did you mislead me? All along I thought I was reading the real stuff, the rational stuff, and now it turns out that it was all just natural correspondences for the real thing. Why wasn’t I told this? What is this, a return to mystery and inspiration? And many such things that are a stumbling block.
All these objections cannot stand their way as we reflect rationally and with confidence, knowing the Lord is leading every detail of our insight and analysis, as long as we rely on Him. To the extent we stop relying on our self-intelligence to figure it out, to that extent we rely on the Lord to enlighten us. Accept the idea that enlightenment is something real, actual, and individual. Accept the idea that enlightenment is nothing but a biological mechanism the Lord is using for the spiritual surgery called regeneration of character. Regeneration of character is by means of the enlightenment of the understanding as we begin to look upon the expressions of the Letter as natural-rational correspondences for spiritual understandings.
What does it mean to look upon the expressions of the Letter as natural-rational correspondences?
It means two things:
First, to say to oneself: This particular word I’m considering, or this phrase, sentence, paragraph, or Number, is a correspondence. The literal meaning of it that I understand with my natural-rational mind, is a correspondence.
Second, to apply the Letter to the Letter as a way of figuring the literal meaning of the correspondences. Applying the Letter to the Letter means to search the Writings for passages that explain what the correspondences are in an explicit literal definition. Now you substitute the new segments for the old so that a new sentence or paragraph is constructed. This new text is also the Word, also the Letter, and also laid down in a natural-rational correspondence. Nevertheless, this new text is a discrete degree above the original text. This cannot be seen unless enlightened by the Lord. Otherwise the new text, also being a Letter, is seen as no different from the original text.
Nevertheless, our understanding of these new derived sentences can be spiritual to the extent that our interior-natural mind has been opened by the Lord. This is done at reformation. The interior-natural mind responds from the Lord, not from self. The interior-natural mind is animated by the new derived sentences, not by the old original text.
This enlightenment is produced by the Lord at the moment we apply the new derived sentences to our willing and thinking.
If we try to apply the old original text to our willing and thinking, we do not receive enlightenment, and we do not perceive the spiritual sense. Instead, we continue to believe that the natural-rational meaning is the spiritual sense. This appearance is due to the similarity between the literal meaning of the Writings and the spiritual sense.
We do not have this similarity with the Old and New Testaments. Their literal meaning is far away from their spiritual content. Who would think that a fiery flying serpent means a false belief based on the scientifics of the Word (xx)? But when the Letter of the Writings discusses the human mind and the heavens in discrete degrees, or a wedding ceremony in heaven witnessed by Swedenborg, it appears logical to us to think of these as spiritual topics, not natural correspondences, as in the Old and New Testaments. We object to the implications. When we read about Abraham’s journeys in the Old Testament, we can see that they represent the Lord’s glorification series while He was in His childhood after His Incarnation. So Abraham represents the Lord. But what about the Lord? Is He then a pure natural correspondence when He is discussed in the Writings?
Therefore in order to remove all doubt as to such being the character of the Word, the Lord has revealed to me the Word's internal sense. In its essence this sense is spiritual, and in relation to the external sense, which is natural, is as soul is to body. This sense is the spirit which gives life to the letter; it can therefore bear witness to the divinity and holiness of the Word, and convince even the natural man, if he is willing to be convinced. (SS 4)
We must face what the angel said in Swedenborg’s presence: The Word in its Letter is dead (xx). The literal things that are said about the Lord are nothing but natural correspondences about Him! For instance, it is said that in the Lord infinite distinct things make one (xx). Each of these words are pure natural correspondences. “The Lord” is a Holy Name only when spiritual meanings are contained within this expression. Numerous people regularly use the Lord’s Holy Name to cuss and blaspheme. But they cannot profane it because they are merely using the natural correspondence in the cussing. Should they think about their cussing, they still will only think about it in a natural way. Similarly with the expression “distinct things” which is a natural correspondence for the spiritual idea that no two created things can ever be the same on account of the Lord’s infinity which is necessarily represented by the impossibility of two things not being distinct to eternity.
Note carefully that the spiritual sense of “distinct things” which is here specified, is laid down, or expressed, in a natural language. The literal meaning of this description is about the spiritual sense but it is not the spiritual sense itself!
But as already explained, this description of the spiritual sense contains the idea of the correspondences in the original expression. In fact, if you reread the spiritual sense of “discrete degrees” it sounds like just a more elaborate way of describing it. The original Letter and the spiritual sense of it, appear at the same level of thinking. And yet they are not.
This is because the new text containing the correspondences of the original text serves a totally different use. The new text is for our enlightenment. The old text is for our reformation and regeneration. The two are inseparable, yet must be distinguished on account of their separate uses in regeneration.
Observe what happens when you apply the Letter to the Letter. Consider these various segments of the Letter in which the Lord is discussed in the literal sense:
(1) The Lord does not condemn anyone (AC 2335
(2) All order begins in Jehovah, that is, in the Lord (AC 2447)
(3) Light is Divine Truth going forth from the Lord (HH 180)
(4) The Lord also was taught like any other child (AC 1457)
(5) In the inmost sense of the Word the Lord alone and His Kingdom are treated of (EU 119)
(6) It is from that correspondence that in the Word the Lord is not only called a "Sun", but also "Fire" and "Light". And by "Sun" is understood Himself as to Divine Love and Wisdom together, by "Fire", Himself as to Divine Love, and by "Light" Himself as to Divine Wisdom. (DLW 98)
(7) the Lord is the Word, and the Word is Divine Truth (DP 256)
Now let’s apply the Letter to the Letter by making substitutions with correspondences. This new Letter is called the extracted passage. Substitution by parallelisms is illustrated in many places in the Writings and is recommended as a method of lawful extraction of the Spiritual Doctrine from the Letter (xx).
(1) Divine Truth does not condemn anyone
(2) All order begins in Divine Love and Wisdom together
(3) Divine Wisdom is Divine Truth going forth from the spiritual Sun
(4) The Lord also was taught like any other child
(5) In the inmost sense of the Word the Writings alone are treated of
(6) It is from that correspondence that in the Writings the Lord is not only called a "Sun", but also "Fire" and "Light". And by "Sun" is understood Himself as to Divine Love and Wisdom together, by "Fire", Himself as to Divine Love, and by "Light" Himself as to Divine Wisdom.
(7) The Lord is the Writings, and the Writings is Divine Truth
Following my standard procedure, I have substituted “the Writings” where the original says “the Word” (see Volume 2 for details). Consider the results when you apply an original passage to something you’re willing and thinking. Let’s take passage (6) and (7) and combine them into an extracted passage that will then be called the Spiritual Doctrine:
(6) It is from that correspondence that in the Writings the Lord is not only called a "Sun", but also "Fire" and "Light". And by "Sun" is understood Himself as to Divine Love and Wisdom together, by "Fire", Himself as to Divine Love, and by "Light" Himself as to Divine Wisdom.
(7) The Lord is the Writings, and the Writings is Divine Truth
We can apply these two passages to our current discussion, by treating the expressions as correspondences for what we are discussing.
“Fire” is the Lord Himself as to Divine Love. Since love is celestial (xx), and since the Lord is the Word (xx), and the Writings are the Word, therefore the inmost sense of the Writings treats of the Lord as love. Similarly, the spiritual sense of the Writings treats of the Lord as wisdom. In the Letter of the Writings, “Sun” represents the outmost sensuous or literal meaning of the Writings. The Letter of the Writings represents the Lord as to Divine Love and Wisdom together.
The Lord called Himself “the Son of Man” when He was referring to His infirm human body which He had put on Himself by hereditary birth from a virgin woman from among the tribe of David, as foretold in the Old Testament (xx). He allowed this merely human physical body to undergo growth from childhood, or be socialized by means of religion and the Word of the Old Testament (xx). He allowed this infirm body to be crucified so that He may fulfill the Word of the Old Testament. The relationship His followers had with Him was natural-sensuous for the most part, and to some extent it was also interior-natural or natural-spiritual. Even His closest disciples, who acknowledge the Lord’s Divinity, had an external relationship to Him, as represented by Peter’s denial of knowing the Lord when he was in temptation, trying to save his own skin. Peter repented later, and though this repentance was fully sincere, it was not possible for Peter and the others to get closer to the Lord than His external, infirm human body! Their acknowledgement of Him as the Messiah and Son of God was in their natural consciousness, not yet genuinely spiritual, for the true spiritual only begins in the spiritual-rational mind, and this mind in the human race had not yet been opened by the Lord. Hence He said that He has to come again to complete His Divine Work of Redemption.
Remember that closeness to the Lord depends on love, which is why it’s called “conjunction” with the Lord, as love is what conjoins (xx). The disciples were able to love the Lord only from a distance, as it were. To love the Lord’s Presence in a Physical Body, is to love only His outer parts, called the Divine Natural. This is not yet loving and knowing the Divine Human who is within His Divine Natural. They were incapable of forming an idea of the Divine Human since the Lord had not yet provided a way. So the Lord’s First Coming served to build up the race’s sensuous consciousness of His Divine Natural. The Second Coming of the Lord revealed what is invisible inside His Divine Natural Body, namely, His Divine Rational Mind.
You can see why this second and final step was necessary and crucial, without which His First Coming could not endure as a means of saving the human race. He had to reveal to the race what was within His Divine Natural Body. How can we love a body without its mind? Only in a distant way, without conjunction by love. To love the Lord as to His Divine Natural is to love Him as to the Person—which we are warned not to do (xx), and to keep expecting His physical arrival again, after He has long arrived in His Divine Rational. He has arrived in His Second Coming, which is in His Divine Rational, through the Writings. This is the revelation of the invisible that lies inside His Divine Natural--invisible to the sensuous consciousness, but visible to the rational consciousness of the human race.
And now the human race knows Him for all times because to know His Divine Rational is to know Him as the human race was created to know Him in its perfection. Prior to now this was not possible, but now the final completion of the human race has taken place as the Second Coming. The way is now provided for the human race to become a celestial mind and to live in eternal conjugial happiness in the New Heavens made out of the Lord’s Divine Rational Truths given in the Writings. The details have now been revealed about the Lord’s Divine Rational Mind, how He governs the universe and the human mind through the Laws of Providence and Permissions, and how He creates the universe through the Order of Discrete Degrees, from Firsts to Lasts by means of His Divine Truth from His Divine Love.
To know this and to love it by living according to it, creates the new celestial mind, the highest possible state of conjunction between the Lord and the individual human being. All the angels who live in the New Heavens now exist in this new perfection. And so shall we, when we arrive there.
Knowing that the Letter of the Writings is written by rational correspondences is to look for the Lord’s Divine Rational within the Letter. Believing that the Letter of the Writings is the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments is to avoid acknowledging that the Writings are the Word in the full sense, and therefore it must be written in correspondences or it could not be the Word (xx). We may know correspondences of the Old and New Testaments by studying the Letter of the Writings. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that therefore by knowing the Letter of the Writings we know the spiritual of the Old and New Testaments. The only thing we know are scientifics and memory-knowledges of the Letter. These are Divine, but dead in themselves just as the Letter of the Word is dead without the spiritual sense within it.
Clearly then we must look for the spiritual sense behind the rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings. Then we can elevate our thinking and understanding above the natural-rational by a discrete degree, and then for the first time we think spiritually of these topics. Until then we think only naturally of these spiritual topics. But the instant we acknowledge that the Letter of the Writings are written in rational correspondences, we are enlightened by the Lord. Only a little at first, but gradually growing in intensity. Once this reformation has begun, we can look down on the natural-rational level of thinking we do by being in the Letter of the Writings. The level from which we look down is a higher level of thinking than the level we achieve with the natural-rational level of the Letter. This higher level is from the interior-natural (or spiritual-natural) that the Lord creates within the natural-rational, a discrete degree above it.
The content of this interior-natural is of spiritual origin, from heaven from the Lord. This content consists of higher correspondences than the rational correspondences of the Letter. They are called spiritual correspondences. The consciousness of spiritual correspondences is called rational consciousness and is the level of seeing that creates the celestial mind. The awareness of this higher spiritual consciousness is called the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind. This Doctrine is Divine because it is spiritual of celestial origin (xx).
Only those can love the Divine Human who can receive His Love, and His Love can be received only in the spiritual-rational truths that inflow into the spiritual mind, and from there descend into consciousness as spiritual correspondences in the interior-natural mind. Hence it is absolutely necessary that we develop as-of self our rational understanding of the literal sentences of the Writings. These rational vessels that we form as-of self by study and scholarship, are then animated by the Lord and made alive. This enlivening, or new birth from above, is the spiritual that is entering our conscious awareness.
Not carefully that the spiritual enters our consciousness through interior-rational truths that are contained in spiritual correspondences!
These interior-rational truths are not accessible through rational correspondences in the natural-rational mind. Only spiritual correspondences in the interior-natural mind can give us this higher consciousness. This is why it’s necessary that we look upon the Letter of the Writings as rational correspondences, and that we search them out to extract the spiritual correspondences. “Spiritual correspondences” are also referred to as “the spiritual sense” of the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter. Also, the “interior meaning” of the Writings.
As we struggle in regeneration, trying to modify our willing and thinking according to the Letter, the Lord implants spiritual truths in the unconscious spiritual mind. This action has the result of appearing in correspondence in our interior-natural mind, which is a discrete degree below the spiritual mind but a discrete above the natural-rational mind. The interior-natural mind can react by spiritual correspondence to what the Lord is implanting in the spiritual mind.
Note well: We can be consciously aware of the content of our interior-natural mind, though we cannot write it down or describe it in natural language since this is external from the natural world, not internal from the spiritual world. When we attempt to write it out or describe it, what comes out is a correspondence in the natural meanings of material ideas. We look at the sentence and it appears vague, as if we need to supply something to it to make it meaningful and coherent. What we supply is not the spiritual, but more of the natural-rational. Thus we remain outside the spiritual. The spiritual can only be accessed consciously in the interior-natural mind, and the contents of this mind are expressible only in spiritual language, such as every individual automatically possesses upon awakening in the afterlife (xx). The Letter of the Writings on earth is written by natural-rational correspondences, but the Letter of the Writing sin heaven is written by spiritual correspondences. Even these spiritual correspondences, as read by the angels, are relatively exterior compared to the deeper layers of interior-rational truths. Angels continue daily to improve in wisdom by perception of ever deeper interior-rational truths, and this, to eternity (xx).
As we read the Writings we are first conscious of the literal sentence and words. We memorize them textually or store them in memory through concepts and principles we reflect on as we study. Then, the next day, or the next minute, we are doing something or thinking about something within our daily routine of activities. Now we recall the literal sentence or stored principle from the Writings and apply it to what we are willing and thinking in that situation. If we do this for the purpose of finding our evil affections and interests, the Lord gives us instant enlightenment. He accomplishes this by simultaneous order. He places a spiritual truth inside our unconscious spiritual mind, which is also called the spiritual-rational mind. Truths are rational entities and can only live in a rational substance and biological organ. This is the organ called the understanding.
The understanding can function at three discrete levels of thinking within the external-rational mind, as indicated in the Table of Anatomy presented in this chapter. The sentences of the Writings we have understood, memorized, or stored as a principle, can only reside in the highest portion of the natural mind. As we apply these rational principles from the Writings to our willing and thinking, in that moment, we receive the enlightenment of what they mean spiritually. We now perceive consciously a portion of our mind that was not accessible before, while we were reading and studying the Writings. This new perception is now spiritual-rational, though only by correspondence, and lives in the interior-natural mind that the Lord forms for us. This interior-natural mind is of spiritual origin and has nothing of ourselves, or the natural in it (xx). Hence it is Divine Doctrine in our understanding. This perception in our interior-natural is what’s meant by “the internal sense of the Word” and why it is said that this sense “is written on the heart” (xx). It cannot be written on paper, but only its outward correspondence.
The Lord’s Divine Rational Mind is within His Divine Natural Body, as already discussed. They are in discrete degrees just as our mind lives in the spiritual world while the physical body is animated by correspondence in the natural world. The mind and the body influence each other by correspondence only, not by direct continuous contact, which is not possible across discrete degrees (xx). The Lord’s Divine Natural Body is not like our physical body, which is not glorified, and therefore disintegrates at its death. But the Lord glorified His infirm human body and re-created it into His Divine Natural Body. When He is said to have “ascended to Heaven,” the process of glorification had been completed (xx). Recall that the Lord referred to His Divine Natural Body as a Temple, and as the Word. By this we understand that it was Holy, because Divine. In His Second Coming He has revealed that His Divine Natural Body contains a Divine Rational Mind, and we learn the character of His Rational through many details and principles in the Writings. This is of crucial relevance to understanding how we are to cooperate with the Lord in our regeneration. Our salvation and eternal happiness depends on it!
When we acknowledge that the Writings are the Word of His Second Coming, we at first acknowledge this only as to the Lord’s Divine Natural Body. This is a sensuous idea of the Lord, not yet rational. The Literal of the Writings is Divine because His Natural Body is Divine. This is as far as our mind is willing to go. We are not willing to acknowledge that the Writings have an internal sense which is the Lord’s Divine Rational Mind. We prefer to think that the Literal of the Writings is the Lord’s Divine Rational. This is the phase of the First Coming of the Lord to the New Church mind. It’s the First Education in spiritual truths. It is at the level of thinking and consciousness called the natural-rational, and is the highest level of the external rational mind, the mind we ourselves have built up and feels like our own. It is at this level that we relate to the Lord, from sensuous consciousness, not yet rational consciousness. then as we begin our reformation in young adulthood, things change.
Prior to reformation we think of the Word of the Writings only of its external literal sentences and in terms of the understanding of those sentences. This is the stage parallel to the Lord’s First Coming of making His Natural Body Divine. We are willing to think that the Writings are the Lord’s Divine Natural, but not yet that they are the Lord’s Divine Rational Mind. This is because we don’t see anything except the literal of the Writings. It doesn’t matter if we believe that the Writings are a Divine Rational Revelation. This acknowledgement and belief does not give us the capacity to see the Divine Rational within the Divine Natural. We suppose that what we acquired from the Writings are spiritual truths on account of their subject. Indeed, the topics we read are spiritual topics, which is why they are called “the Heavenly Doctrine now revealed.” But we only understand these spiritual topics in a natural way because they are written in a natural language.
But after reformation, we perceive these spiritual topics in a spiritual way, and thus from being natural people we become spiritual. At that point the Lord has arrived in our mind in His Second Coming. Now when we read the Writings we know from perception and experience that they have an internal sense, even if at first, we can’t even describe it in our natural language. But our certitude remains because it is a recurrent experience as we continue our regenerating, and even, becomes a daily event. What a joy, what a peace, it brings to balance our life, I can testify to that to some extent. Now at last we can see the Lord face-to-face, though only in correspondence, in the interior-natural mind. But this perception is clearly and consciously seen as not from self but from the Lord. Its purity and spiritual heat is a distinct awareness, It enriches the content of our thinking enabling to look around life and culture and to see things spiritually in relation to self, others, the Lord, regeneration, and conjugial love in heaven. This spiritual sight continues to improve with regeneration and we become more and more interior people, activated by the Lord’s Truth within which is His Love.
It is by Divine Providence that we go through these two phases. We cannot jump to the Lord’s Second Coming in His Divine Rational before we have lived a First Coming of the Lord’s Divine Natural. The outside body must be formed first, and then the mind. A toddler or young child has a well developed sensorimotor life and skills, but no ability to think and reason beyond something vague and general. The rational mind, which is above the sensuous, only develops gradually with years of experience and education.
Similarly with our understanding of the Lord’s revelations. We at first need to be convinced that the Letter of the Writings is the Lord’s Divine Natural Body. In this state we do not see the difference between “discussing spiritual topics naturally” and “ discussing spiritual topics spiritually.” Therefore we read about spiritual things called the Heavenly Secrets and Doctrines and we take these descriptions to be spiritual. If we understand these descriptions, we believe that we understand spiritual things. Later, during reformation, we begin to pay more attention to things we neglected before. For instance, we read that the Word is written by pure correspondences (xx) but we don’t say to ourselves, “the Writings are written by pure correspondences.” But at reformation, these statements about “the Word” catch our attention, so that we begin to think “the Writings” when we read “the Word” (see Discussion in Chapter 8 Section 4). This is a sign that the Lord is creating an interior-natural mind within our external-rational thinking. We begin to perceive obscurely at first, that there is a spiritual meaning. Thus, while the literal says “the Word” we think “the Writings” and learn of something about the Writings we didn’t know before. New we begin to see that everything the Writings say about “the Word” applies to the Writings. We begin to see the Writings spiritually. We can perceive that it’s really true that “the Word” is merely the literal meaning, while the spiritual sense is “the Writings.”
Later in regeneration we begin to see still more things, such as the parallelism between the Lord’s Divine Natural Body and the Divine Rational Mind within it, on the one hand, and on the other, the Divine Literal of the Writings and the Divine Rational meaning within it.
This parallelism mutually enhance each other in our understanding. Prior to reformation we study the Writings as the Word. By this we acknowledge the Divine Natural Body of the Lord. We take up these natural language sentences and ideas into our rational understanding. By means of these scientifics of the Word the Lord is present with us in the conscious external mind. This is the beginning, the First Education, the First Coming of the Lord in the New Church mind. We are adjoined to the Lord by means of truth from the Writings in our understanding, but not yet conjoined to the Lord by means of love. Relationship to the Lord by means of His Divine Truth is the first phase, and relationship with Him by means of Divine Love from Him is in the second phase.
In the literal sentences of the Writings we can only love the Lord outwardly, by means of His truth, from a distance as it were. It is like the comparison in understanding between the angels of the spiritual heaven and the angels of the celestial heaven. The light in the spiritual heaven is like the light of the moon in comparison to the bright sunlight at midday, which is the light by which the celestial angels see truths. The First Coming of the Lord to us in His Divine Natural of the Literal of the Writings is like seeing things in the light of the moon at night. The Second Coming of the Lord to us in His Divine Rational within the Literal of the Writings, is like seeing things in the light of the sun at high noon.
When we are regenerating we are continually enlightened by the Lord when thinking from the literal sentences and applying them to our willing and thinking life. Then for the first time we can perceive the spiritual meaning within the letter. This means that for the first time we can perceive the Divine Rational Mind of the Lord within His Divine Natural Body. To perceive the Divinity in the Letter of the Writings is to see the Lord’s Divine Natural Body in the understanding. To perceive the Divinity within the letter, in its spiritual meaning, is to see the Lord’s Divine Rational Mind in the understanding. Then for the first time we can have a right idea of the Divine Human. Then we can begin to love the Lord and be conjoined to Him, not from a distance as before, but close up. The celestial angels think truths from this conjunction between the literal of the Writings in their heaven and the infinite spiritual meanings hidden within their script (xx). The spiritual angels do not perceive the spiritual within the natural of the Writings, so they have to reason about it and be instructed. They then know it from instruction, but not from perception. This is like the light of the moon in comparison to the light of the sun. We are in this relatively obscure spiritual light in the early stages of our regeneration.
The Second Coming takes place in the New Church mind when we understand rationally that the Writings have a Divine Natural within which is a Divine Rational. The Divine Natural is seen as the Literal of the Writings, which discusses spiritual subjects expressed in a natural language. The Divine Rational is seen as the Spiritual Doctrine within our understanding when enlightened by the Lord. We then see the literal sentences, as before, but think of them as correspondences, as appearances of the spiritual laid down in the natural. The spiritual meanings we perceive within the correspondences are the Lord’s Divine Rational. This is what the angels think or perceive when reading the letter.
The Lord opens our spiritual mind by means of the spiritual sense in our natural conscious mind, which is perceived gradually in a more and more interior way as regeneration progresses. But this perception does not come from our external-rational thinking, but from the interior-natural organ that is created by the Lord within this external-rational level of our mind. It’s important to view this process in a scientific or process-oriented way, in order that we may understand it in detail, not merely in general. The New Church mind desires to figure out of the details of what is explained in the literal of the Writings. The details gives us the particulars of the spiritual process. The understanding of these particulars and their relationships, gives us a conscious understanding of the inner sense. This is a spiritual consciousness within our natural mind, and is called the interior-natural, or the spiritual-natural. This level of consciousness corresponds to the level of willing and thinking of the angelic spirits in the First Heaven. Our conscious awareness in the natural mind is therefore capable of perceiving spiritual truths. The truths that we are thus perceiving are not from this world or from ourselves. This is most important to understand and acknowledge.
Those who are set within the materialistic orientation of the world cannot believe or understand what such an interior-natural might be and why it is called “spiritual.” It is a discrete degree above the natural. In other words, one cannot go from the natural to the spiritual-natural. One cannot insert oneself within the interior-natural by means of experience, discipline, mental effort, intelligence, creativity, or power. All these things originate in the natural world and natural mind. They are each a creation in the natural world. Once created in the natural, it dies and vanishes in the natural since all natural things are in time, therefore temporary. But everything created in the spiritual is immortal and outside time and space. The human mind is created and born in the world of spirits and remains attached by correspondence to its physical body located on some earth.
When the physical body is no longer able to function, the mind is freed from the attachment, and our conscious awareness of self awakens suddenly in the world of spirits. The outside of our mind is called the spirit-body, and the inside is the threefold self at the three levels, as indicated in the Table of Anatomy just below. The outside portion called the spirit-body appears visually to self and others as a perfect human form, similar in size and looks to the physical body we had at our best age, which is late adolescence or young adulthood. As our life in the spirit-body progresses, its outward appearance reflects more and more the content of the threefold self. Those who are oriented to heaven become more and more beautiful, but those on their way to the hells become more and more monstrous and deformed.
Those who spend their lifetime with loves, beliefs, and habits that are in the “corporeal mind” become fully corporeal in the afterlife. This is because, in the spiritual world, the lowest affections of the mind is able to cast out every other affection that is higher than itself. Our life on earth is more mixed since the higher affections occupy the mind along with the lower, and they take turn influencing our willing and thinking in different situations. But in the spirit-body this commingling is not possible. The lower casts out the higher because our attachment to it is stronger than our attachment to higher affections. To live a life of corporeal consciousness while on earth is a guaranteed ticket to hell in eternity. In the afterlife, all those who have a corporeal spirituality live in hell (xx). Angelic spirits and angels do not have an active corporeal mind. Their basis of life rests in the sensuous and the rational, never going below that.
Reformation begins in the sensuous mind where higher affections dwell. Regeneration begins in the external-rational mind in which the Lord can create an interior-natural mind that can contain by correspondence, the spiritual truths the Lord implants in our spiritual mind as we are regenerating.
The breach between the natural and the spiritual is an eternal and absolute duality (xx). This is why our mind is born in the spiritual world and remains there as we grow and mature physically (xx). Upon the death of the physical body, we suddenly become conscious within a spirit-body in the world of spirits (xx). The mind is this spirit-body and all its sub-structures. Angels can visually see the mind’s organs and the activity of willing and thinking that proceed within it (xx). To some extent all spirits have this ability to see into each other, the highest angels seeing more deeply and in greater detail than others (xx). People’s “aura” in the spiritual world is also visible and changes in color and shape in accordance with the affections and thoughts of the spirit (xx).
From all this you can better see that the spiritual sense of the Writings we perceive when enlightened by the Lord, is something from the Divine Rational of the Lord in our interior-natural mind and consciousness. Nothing whatever of this spiritual consciousness can be filtered through our own self-intelligence and reasoning power. If this were done, we would instantly be catapulted out of the interior-natural sphere into the external-natural. Whereupon the spiritual consciousness would vanish from our awareness, leaving behind only a descriptive memory of it. Eventually the description itself becomes obscure and something vague or incorrect. Spiritual consciousness in our natural mind can only exist in the interior-natural portion of it.
The conclusion is clear: Everything in our interior-natural mind is of spiritual origin, not natural. Therefore everything in the spiritual-natural portion of the mind is holy from the Lord. It is never permitted to be tainted or commingled with anything from the world or self-experience.
The following Table is a description of the three levels of the natural mind. these three levels represent the levels of the spiritual world—the three heavens, the world of spirits, and hell. These spiritual levels are not in the natural mind, but a discrete degree above it, in the spiritual mind. Nevertheless, the levels of the spiritual world are reproduced in representative form in the natural mind.
Please take time to read and figure out the Table. Try to see and distinguish between the three levels. Try to see in what way it is accurate or in agreement with what you know of society and yourself. It helps to familiarize oneself with such an organizational Table of the Anatomy of one’s external natural mind.
Our conscious awareness and level of thinking takes place in the natural mind as long as we are attached to the physical body. The external natural mind is the mind we are allowed by the Lord to build up for ourselves as-of self, through study, experience, and interests. Note that the highest level of the external natural mind is the place where we have the understanding of the Writings and our loyalty for them in the literal. This loyalty and understanding is natural because in the external natural mind. This loyalty is for the literal meaning of the Writings and our understanding of it. These are the necessary vessels we must build in our natural mind in order for the Lord to be able to open our spiritual mind. Our spiritual mind cannot be opened in the absence of such rational vessels in our external natural mind, vessels that we have acquired by studying the literal of the Writings.
But there is also a secret part to the anatomy depicted above. It is the interior part, which cannot be shown in the external natural. This interior part is called the spiritual-natural because it is of spiritual origin. Everything in the external natural mind has its origin from the world and self-experience through as-of self effort. But everything in the interior-natural mind has its origin from the spiritual world and heaven. This is truly amazing. It’s as if we are able to become conscious of actual spiritual things in a direct way. But of course we are not perceiving the spiritual in a direct way, but by correspondences. We experience these correspondences in our interior-natural mind. We are aware of them we understand them, we are delighted by them, and we can use them in our daily life. The interior-natural responds to what’s happening in the unconscious spiritual mind. There is much activity there from heaven and the Lord as our spiritual mind is being opened, grown, and prepared for our life in heaven.
All this activity in the spiritual mind is detected by correspondence in our interior-natural mind. This we are conscious of, if we want to be. Now our consciousness is enlightened because the correspondences are within us, not something outside in a sentence that we read somewhere and understand in our external-rational mind. Now this new found consciousness continues to grow with our regeneration, and we become consciously aware of the spiritual sense within the natural. Now we can see that what we find in the Writings about “the Word,” is about the Writings. We are conscious of this from the correspondences that are activated in our spiritual mind, which is being gradually opened by the Lord. Also, we have a new spiritual perception of Doctrine. Until now we only have read and understood in our external-rational mind, from as-of self effort. But now we are conscious of the correspondences animated and activated in our interior-rational mind, which is of spiritual origin. The changeover occurs with reformation. In other words, reformation is the opening of the interior-rational mind. This is the same as saying that, from being natural we have become spiritual.
Our unconscious spiritual mind is now being gradually opened by the Lord, in a fashion similar to the organic growth process of a plant or tree. The anatomy of the spiritual mind is also given by the Writings in great detail. In brief, we can recall that the spiritual mind corresponds to the Lord’s Two Kingdoms in the Heavens, one spiritual and the other celestial. The celestial is more interior or higher because it is based in our love for the Lord, and thence for truth. The spiritual is more external because it is based on our love for truth, and thence for the Lord (xx). We must remember that the spiritual mind that is being grown by the Lord, is entirely inaccessible to our awareness here on earth (xx). It remains an unconscious process as long as we are attached to physical body.
Our spiritual mind is being opened by the Lord as we apply what we have understood from the literal of the Writings, to our daily willing and thinking. There are thousands of such episodes in one day, though we manage to receive enlightenment in only a few in any day, if that much! Nevertheless, as we progress in our regeneration, and cope successfully with our many temptations, the Lord opens our spiritual mind more and more interiorly. Every instance of such opening is perceivable in the conscious natural mind, but only in the interior of it, and only by correspondences. But it is enough! It is like a flash of lightning, or a streak of heavenly light, in which we perceive the spiritual sense of the literal understanding. The literal is still true in our mind, but something new is also true, namely, the spiritual understanding of Doctrine. This spiritual understanding is conscious and is located in the interior-natural mind. It does not originate from the world or the natural mind. This is most important to understand.
Consider what the Lord said to Peter when he confessed that the Lord is the Messiah:
When some had said that Jesus was John the Baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah or another of the prophets, Jesus said to the disciples, But whom say ye that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jonah; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father who is in the heavens. And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens (AE 820).
The Lord indicates that Peter’s conscious perception “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” was not discovered by Peter in his external rational thinking. For the Lord says, “flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father who is in the heavens.” This refers to conscious perceptions of spiritual truths, which are located in the interior-natural mind, not the external. The Lord is the Father in the Heavens (xx) and He puts those spiritual truths into the interior-natural of the mind. when He can do this for us, we are called “blessed” because these spiritual perceptions are the foundation for our regeneration and heavenly life—“the keys of the kingdom of the heavens.”
It appears from this event, and some others like the giving of the Holy Spirit (xx), that the Lord’s disciples were capable of receiving spiritual truths into the interior-rational. Had the race then not falsified the Word again, it could have been regenerated as to the natural-rational of the mind, not just the natural-sensuous. But this possibility was extinguished by the falsified dogmas of the Church in the ensuing centuries. this door being closed of the human race, the Lord had to effect a new Coming, a new revelation capable of regenerating the external-rational mind. Henceforth the Writings will be the sole means by which the external-rational mind can be regenerated. To the extent that we consciously cooperate with the Lord in our as-of self efforts in the natural mind, to that extent He can open the spiritual mind to serve as the basis for our willing and thinking. Whatever happens in the spiritual mind can now be perceived by correspondence in the interior-natural mind. These conscious spiritual perceptions are the means by which we are regenerated. It is the spiritual Doctrine of Life in our mind.
This new spiritual perception in the interior-natural mind, is called “perceiving the spiritual sense within the letter of the Writings.” This perception is in greater or lesser proportion in accordance with our regeneration. It is not something we have discovered, for this is not possible for any human being on earth. It is something spiritual and celestial in our interior-natural mind, formed there by correspondence to the actual spiritual and celestial truths implanted by the Lord in our unconscious spiritual mind.
This new presence in our conscious awareness is the Divine Human in His Divine Rational, as discussed above. It is the Second Coming in our New Church mind. The First Coming was our loyalty and understanding of the Divine character and origin of the Writings. Now, after reformation, the Second Coming in the Divine Rational of the Lord arrives into our consciousness in the interior-natural mind. This consciousness of the Lord’s Divine Rational, is a representative of the spiritual consciousness in our unconscious spiritual mind. This spiritual consciousness will become conscious when we exit from this earth and live in our spirit-body in the spiritual world. But in the meantime it is present in our conscious awareness by correspondence in our interior-natural mind.
Note carefully that this natural consciousness is from spiritual and celestial origin, therefore it is a holy thing in our mind.
Our natural consciousness of things in the natural mind is from the world, from self, and experience. This is not holy because not from the Lord and heaven. But the spiritual consciousness of the spiritual truths within the Writings, is not from the world and self. It is from heaven and the Lord, hence holy. This is amazing! It indicates that there is something in our natural mind and awareness that is not from this world or from self, and is holy. This spiritual consciousness in our natural awareness can only come from acknowledging the literal of the Writings as the Lord’s Divine Truth, studying it, and being loyal to it as we are loyal to the Lord Himself.
The anatomy of the external natural mind corresponds to the history of the Threefold Word, since individual biography recapitulates spiritual history (xx). The Word of the Old Testament was historically given to regenerate the corporeal mind of the human race which had fallen spiritually to its lowest possible level. This bottoming out of the intellect at last completed the slide downward which started when the Most Ancient Church was destroyed by profanations of the holy and abuse of their dual citizenship—natural minds tied to earth, being able to see into the spiritual world and heaven (xx). After the Fall, the human race on earth had to be regenerated in order for individuals born on earth to be able to become angels. Our spiritual character is inherited so that we are born with the spiritual mentality, or level of consciousness, of our parents and ancestors up the blood line.
Every individual today, regardless of religion or culture, has to be regenerated in order to be prepared of heaven and angelic life. As the Table shows, the three levels of the external rational mind are different, which means that they each have to be regenerated by a different method. Since the means by which everyone is regenerated is the Word, the Lord gave the human race a Threefold Word. Each Testament was given in a style and content that was suitable to regenerate the threefold self. The Word of the Old Testament was given historically to regenerate the corporeal mind of the human race. When Moses established the Jewish Church with the children of Jacob, the human race was in a corporeal consciousness. Their idea of spirituality was corporeal, unable to raise their understanding and belief in what was above the corporeal mind. You can see from the Table what are the characteristics of the unregenerate corporeal mind. The letter of the Old Testament is written in a view of God and religion that is believable and suitable to the regeneration of the corporeal mind.
At the Lord’s First Coming, the corporeal mind had been regenerated as shown by the civilizations of the time. Though barbaric from modern standards, they were far more sophisticated and civilized the savagery and idolatry of the Old Testament days. The societies of the New Testament were more rational in their civil government, science, education, city works, indicating that the external sensuous mind was ready to be regenerated by means of a New Word. The New Testament was given for the regeneration of the sensuous mind, whose character you can see in the Table. The characterization in the Table is more suitable to today’s cultural environments, but you can see how you could give a characterization that is more historically suitable.
And of course, we already know that the Writings were given for the regeneration of the external rational mind. The Word is always given in a natural language. The Writings were written by Swedenborg in Latin (or ”Neo-Latin”). The New Testament, in Greek, and the Old Testament in Hebrew-Aramaic. It is always the literal that is given, never the spiritual. The Literal of the Word refers to the sentences, words, letters, and tittles. This literal is called the Divine Natural Body of the Lord (xx). Within this external literal is the spiritual sense, the spiritual truths, the spiritual Doctrine that is needed for salvation.
Now the question arises as to why the Lord doesn’t present the spiritual as well as the literal? The answer is that the literal is presented in a physical book on earth, and in heaven, in a visual script on pages that are made of spiritual substance, not natural. We need spiritual truths to be regenerated, yet these cannot be presented in a book, cannot be written out in a natural language. Which is why that those who remain in the literal of the Word cannot be regenerated (xx). How then do we obtain the spiritual truths we need for New Church mind? The answer is that we obtain them from enlightenment by the Lord while we read the literal of the Writings. When this occurs, then the literal contains the spiritual within it in simultaneous order, and this has power to regenerate. The literal of the Word in our mind without the spiritual in it cannot regenerate. Hence the spiritual must be placed into the natural in our mind. This cannot be done in the external mind, for all its contents are from this world. Therefore the Lord creates an interior-natural mind within the external. This allows our conscious awareness to base itself on thinking from the heaven, and not from inheritance, culture, and self. This is regeneration, crating a new mind whose content is from heaven alone. This mind can then live in heaven.
You can see form this that the Threefold Word was given to regenerate the human race in its historical development. In each case the literal was given, not the spiritual. The spiritual had to be achieved individually, by each person who was undergoing regeneration by the Lord. The literal of the Word can be falsified, but not the spiritual, since it does not exist for those who are regenerating. Anyone can read the literal of the Word and draw anything they wish from it, justifying it cleverly. But they are not profaning themselves in this way since it never enter above their natural mind nor within. But if they could get hold of the spiritual itself, when not hidden within the literal, they would be able to profane it, and thereby make it impossible of them to regenerate. They would then pass on this deadly persuasion to their offspring, and it would continue corrupting the natural mind of the entire human race.
The spiritual sense of the Writings cannot be profaned because it appears only in the interior-natural consciousness. Whatever is in that mind is solely from the Lord and heaven. It is holy. They are the spiritual truths we can perceive consciously. The interior-natural reacts by correspondence to the Lord’s gradual opening of our unconscious spiritual mind. These gradual changes involve the accumulation of more and more interior truths. Each interior truth is implanted by the Lord, one by one like a seed in fertile ground. Every such act if implanting evokes by correspondence a reaction in our interior-natural mind, which is spiritual solely form the Lord. We are conscious of this correspondential reaction, and from it we can perceive through the letter into the spiritual of the Writings.
You can now see why the spiritual sense cannot be falsified, while the literal sense can, and is.
The regenerating New Church mind recapitulates the historical steps of the Threefold Word and depicted in the Table. The external natural of the New Church mind must be regenerated in order. First we are regenerated in our corporeal mind. Second, we are regenerated in our sensuous mind. And third we are regenerated in the external rational mind. Different parts of the Writings will accomplish each of these three changes. Future research will be able to describe which parts of the Writings are for which level of the mind. It’s also the case that the same part of the Writings, e.g., Memorable Relations, can serve for the regenerating of all three portions of the mind, but in different way.
When we reason about spiritual things, as in the context of this discussion, we are able to form a better understanding of them in our external rational mind. This is a necessary and gradual process. But remember that this gradual improvement in the natural mind cannot become spiritual reasoning or spiritual perceiving no matter how much it improves, because the natural and the spiritual cannot run into each other as they are in discrete degrees. Therefore discussing and reasoning about doctrinal things, about spiritual things, about the Lord and the angels, can only improve our natural understanding of these matters or truths.
Let us review what the literal of the Writings tell us about the use of the priesthood for our religious life and salvation:
There are in human beings two sets of things which need to be well ordered: those of heaven and those of the world. Those of heaven are called church affairs, those of the world affairs of state. (NJHD 311)
As for priests, their duty is to teach people the way to heaven, and also to guide them. They must teach them in accordance with the teaching their church derives from the Word, and guide them to live in accordance with it. Priests who teach truths and by their means guide people to lead good lives, and so bring them to the Lord, are good shepherds. Those, however, who teach, but do not guide people to lead good lives, and so bring them to the Lord, are bad shepherds. (NJHD 315)
Priests must be given status and honors because of their sacred functions. But those of them who are wise ascribe the honors to the Lord from whom what is holy comes, and not to themselves. Priests, however, who are unwise attribute the honors to themselves, and so take them away from the Lord. (NJHD 317)
Priests must teach the people and guide them to lead good lives. But still they must compel no one, since no one can be forced to believe what is contrary to what he thinks in his heart to be true. Anyone whose belief is different from the priest's should be left in peace, provided he does not make trouble. If he does make trouble, he should be expelled, for this too is in accordance with order for which purpose the priesthood exists. (NJHD 318)
In the Word too priest and priesthood mean Divine good (TCR 114)
First let’s acknowledge that these literal sentences have a literal meaning and a spiritual meaning. The literal meaning is at the level of our external-rational, the highest point in the natural mind. This means that the literal meaning of the Writings applies to all our thinking below it, and governs it. If you recall from the Table of Anatomy above, everything done in society is from a level of consciousness below the top level. The top level governs all other levels in a consistent and harmonious system of effects from top down. This is also the case in any good organization. This is how the heavens are administered. So it would make no sense to skip the literal meaning of the Writings and be interested only in the spiritual content within it. We must honor the literal of the Writings as much as we honor the spiritual of it--in the same way as we must honor the Divine Natural Body of the Lord equally with the Divine Rational within the Divine Natural. But note the following condition:
There is a necessary distinction we must make between the literal meaning of the Writings and how it is applied in any specific life situation.
If this condition were always followed there would be no possibility of disagreement and warfare in ecclesiastical or civil government.
Consider part of the quoted passage just above:
Priests must teach the people and guide them to lead good lives. But still they must compel no one, since no one can be forced to believe what is contrary to what he thinks in his heart to be true (NJHD 318).
First, let’s acknowledge that the literal meaning of this statement is to be applied to the specific Church of which someone is a member. Second, let’s acknowledge that the spiritual meaning is also true, namely, that the spiritual Doctrine in our interior-natural consciousness must be used to guide and arrange our willing and thinking every day. It says that we cannot compel our external natural mind by means of this spiritual understanding. The reason is that our affections are not yet purified and from these, we think false thoughts and falsified truths. The spiritual consciousness from our interior-natural is not believable to the external-rational. In other words, the external rational should not be consulted in spiritual things that must be seen spiritually (xx). Instead, we consult only the interior-rational consciousness, which is from the Lord alone.
The sentences in the quote have therefore a natural meaning, and a spiritual meaning with the natural. The natural meaning applies to the natural life, whether or not the spiritual meaning is perceived. but note this: The natural meaning of the Writings can be turned to support many different types of government, and so disagreement and warfare arises in the organization because each fails to distinguish between the natural meaning and the application of it to life. By confusing these two one falls into the illusion that we are on the correct side of an argument, and those who disagree are on the wrong side. This illusion is so powerful because it is based on the literal meaning of the Divine Word.
But this is entirely prevented when the natural meaning and the spiritual meaning are both considered simultaneously as part of the issue at contention. For example, some members of the Church specific may raise the heretical issue that I discussed in Volume 1 when reviewing the secular Christology that Henry James Sr. built on the literal of the Writings (Chapter 4 Section 2). This group of members disagree with the worship practice of reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings, as part of introducing the Day’s sermon. Their argument is that the Old and New Testaments are not the Word for the Second Coming, but only the Writings. In reply, the other members of the Church could say that this is true, nevertheless the Old and New Testaments remain the Word for the New Church, which is why so much of the Bible is quoted and analyzed in the Writings.
To this, the smaller group could reply that precisely because so much is explained in the Writings about the Bible, it is a clear indication that the Old and New Testaments cannot be understood by the New Church except as the Writings interpret them. Therefore they have a Divine Presence with us through the Writings, but not by themselves. Otherwise the Second Coming was not necessary since the Lord could have saved us by means of the Bible. Consequently it is not right for New Church worship to read from the Bible, but only form the Writings, which contain plenty of passages from the Bible, so that when such a Number is read in the Church, the Old and New Testament passages will also be heard, but this time, contextualized from the Writings, not independently on their own.
And so on. You can see from this illustration that there is a distinction that must be made between the literal meaning of the Writings and its application to a government procedure in life. You can see this from the fact that the disagreement does not arise from the literal of the Writings. Each side, as illustrated above, makes a point that can be confirmed in the literal of the Writings. This proves that the points in the literal meaning of the Writings are not in contention. It leads to the difficult situation where each side believes its position is justified by the literal. But now look at where the disagreement starts. It always starts when the point from the literal is applied to the organizational behavior or procedure in a specific situation. In this case the procedure is the reading of the day’s lesson in the Church.
It’s obvious that the disagreement in the Church cannot be about the literal or from the literal, but only in one’s departure form the literal, as it is being applied to life. If the worship service procedure were specified in the literal, there could not be a disagreement about in the Church. There is a disagreement precisely because it is not something the literal language of the Writings deals with or mentions or prescribes. Contrast this to worship procedures that are commanded in the Writings, such as Baptism (xx), Holy Supper (xx), and Weddings (xx). There may be differences in culture as to how to enact these commandments, but there cannot be a disagreement anywhere in the Church about whether or not there should be Baptisms, the Holy supper, or religious weddings officiated by a priest (xx).
The conclusion is that the literal meaning of the Writings must not be used to justify a government procedure that is itself not mentioned in the literal.
This is what it means in the quote above that the priest must not compel the members to follow this or that procedure. To compel obviously means to establish by authority of the office and by quoting the literal of the Writings. Neither must be used to compel for they are not from the Writings, but from self under the illusion that they are form the Writings. The illusion comes from not making a distinction between what is in the literal and how it is applied to the Church organization. The literal has Divine authority, but the application of to life only has one’s own authority with nothing Divine in it.
What practical solution is there? To me, it’s obvious that organizational warfare and hostility can be totally avoided when we apply to the Church government the principles we apply to ourselves in regeneration. This is the principle that the literal and internal sense must be put together in the application to life. The organizational warfare is possible only in a context where the literal is applied to a situation, while the spiritual is not even mentioned, as in the illustration above regarding the Reading from the Bible at New Church services. But consider what happens to the disagreement if the internal sense is also considered.
The side that wants to stop others from reading from the Bible would reflect that charity is primary in the Church (xx). If their disagreement is “causing a disturbance in the Church” they ought to be “expelled” which means that they should desist from consulting their external-rational in spiritual things. This was explained above. If they cease consulting their external-rational they instantly cease their motivation to disturb the Church. They focus on charity being primary in the Church. They desist from making faith the primary thing in the Church. They lose the desire to fight for the change in procedure.
Consider the other side that wants to continue reading from the Bible at Church services. They too can apply the spiritual sense along with the natural sense. They can see in the combination that it is not any outward ritual that makes the holiness of any detail of worship. The details of worship become important only to the extent that they have a spiritual meaning. What then is the spiritual meaning of reading from the Bible rather than from the Writings? If they think, “Well, symbols are important in worship. Look at the details given to Aaron and the children of Israel in the sacrifices, temple measurements, specific clothes, specific gestures of the hand, etc. Each of these had a spiritual meaning explained in the Writings.” This is accurate. But they could then realize that the details of the Jewish Church worship were specified in the literal of the Old Testament. This is not the case with the details of worship in the New Church. These details are man-made and superadded. Therefore we must keep the peace in the Church, for this is making charity the primary thing.
As a result, it doesn’t matter how the issue is resolved. But the warfare is over.
One might think: “But what if a faction suddenly suggests something outlandish to the members, such as a rock band accompanying services, to mention one illustration. If we learned from the prior illustration, we can easily see the solution to this one. It’s not a spiritual decision, but a democratic one. Every organization in our country has a legal status, including the Church specific which must be registered with civil authorities. And the activates within the Church must not violate the law of the land. Police can lawfully enter a Church, interrupt the service, and arrest the priest for a crime. Every democratic organization ought to be governed by democratic principles. And so whatever is going on in the Church that is not something specified explicitly in the literal of the Writings must be decided in the way that is appropriate for making decisions in that organization.
Every member should obey to the democratic procedures of due process. To be expelled from the Church must therefore be a democratically followed process, not a decision by the priesthood justified by doctrinal argument based on the literal. A procedure that is not explicitly mentioned in the literal of the Writings is automatically a decision by due process in the organization. A Church organization that ignores democratic due process in all such cases, is not a true Church, and the priests are “bad shepherds”:
Priests who teach truths and by their means guide people to lead good lives, and so bring them to the Lord, are good shepherds. Those, however, who teach, but do not guide people to lead good lives, and so bring them to the Lord, are bad shepherds. (NJHD 315)
Priests, however, who are unwise attribute the honors to themselves, and so take them away from the Lord. (NJHD 317)
Bad priests are those who do not lead the good of life. The good of life is charity and the works of charity (xx). To deny due process by exerting authority on any issue is to make faith primary. Unwise priests are they who steal authority form the Lord by making their own preference or understanding primary, and the literal of the Writings secondary. They elevate their understanding to the level of the Lord’s Word in the Literal, as the above quote indicates.
Priests must teach the people and guide them to lead good lives. But still they must compel no one, since no one can be forced to believe what is contrary to what he thinks in his heart to be true. Anyone whose belief is different from the priest's should be left in peace, provided he does not make trouble. If he does make trouble, he should be expelled, for this too is in accordance with order for which purpose the priesthood exists. (NJHD 318)
To compel Church members is to quote from the literal of the Writings in order to exert authority over them. Instead, priests ought to rely on teaching and enlightenment of the members. The members must freely go along from their own understanding of the literal. If they fail to go along, they “should be left in peace.” This means there should be a ceaseless effort to teach and convince by rational means, not by mere authority. If the thing in contention is written explicitly in the letter, all members will freely go along. Those that wont’ go along with something explicitly mentioned in the Literal are creating a disturbance and must be expelled, as indicated in the passage. But when the issue at contention is not explicitly state din the literal, the members who don’t go along must not be compelled by quoting passages that support one side or the other. “Support” means that it is not stated explicitly, for if it is, there cannot be a disagreement.
Odor or scent is nothing else than a sort of smoke, consisting of minutest substances separated from the various matters. This separation goes on continually, and the loss is made up by the addition of new particles. The particles which are thus cast off become the volatile aura [sphere] of their subject. This appears clearly from the magnet, and from the dogs used in hunting, which pursue hares, stags, and game of different kinds by their smell. (TCR Additions 9)
The inhabitants of the earth Jupiter have also a vocal speech, but not as sonorous as ours. (EU 54)
With respect to the sun of that earth, which to us is a star, they said that it appears to the inhabitants of the size of the human head, of the color of flame; that their year is two hundred days long, and that a day is equal to nine hours of our time, which they were able to infer from the length of the days of our earth as perceived in me (AC 10834)
I have been informed by the angels that the first speech of all in every earth was a speech by means of the face, and this from two origins in the face-from the lips, and from the eyes. (AC 8249)
Humankind is viler than the beast, not knowing on their own the laws of order and of society, but having to learn them, and even then, they grasp at falsities as if they were truths, unlike beasts. For this reason, they must be regenerated (SE 39)
Spirits and demons control a person's reasoning power through feelings. (SE 48)
How are we to view the numerous passages in the Writings that provide scientific facts of the natural world and the psychology of the natural mind—as in the above passages? These are natural science facts since they are observational or sensuous details about the natural world and the natural mind—things such as what odors are made of, the relative size of the sun on some distant planet, the relation between the face and speech, the sonorous speech of the inhabitants of Jupiter, the difference between animals and humans, or how feelings control reasonings. To this we may add things from other passages about the structure of the natural world and its objects in discrete degrees, the relation between the heart and the lungs and the causes of it, the inheritance of mental traits, the micro-world is more perfect than the macro, etc. (see list at the beginning of this section).
Swedenborg never repudiates his general principles of creation even after the Divine philosophy was formulated by his pen; although he restates the doctrine of degrees into a trinal system and condemns some of the concepts which he had apparently accepted in the earlier works, e.g. the mathematical point and simple substances. It must be pointed out that the philosophy used in the Writings was Swedenborg's own philosophy in its matured form ...
(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:
The natural science facts are an inseparable part of the scientifics of the Writings and they form the literal text equally with the doctrinal parts, the two constituting the scientifics of the literal. Try to see if you can find a single Number that does not contain some natural scientific elements—is this even possible? Even a brief Number such as the following involves something being said about how things are “today,” which is a historical fact:
This last state of the church of today has been brought about by that faith, and this is what is meant in the Word by 'the consummation of the age', and 'the abomination of desolation'. (SPECIMEN 15)
Some facts appear well known to everyone, while others are new scientific facts about the natural world or the natural mind, new revelations about the world not known before. What is the relationship between the scientific revelations in the Writings about the natural world, and Swedenborg’s Scientific Works prior to his dual consciousness in both the natural and spiritual worlds? He could not have engaged in the study of natural sciences in itself, as a natural science, if his mind and thinking had had direct conscious contact with the spiritual world. In his new state of “dual citizenship” Swedenborg had access to direct sensuous observations from both the natural and spiritual worlds. In his earlier state he only had access to natural sensuous observations, that is, to the natural sciences. He called these natural observations “facts” or “data” and attributed them to human observers that had a love and talent for accuracy and precision (see above).
From these observations he built up a system of rational explanations that constitute a model or description of the universe. His Scientific Works are this rational system of the universe that was built up from natural observations alone. He relied on the facts and data observed by these talented scientists. His task was to create the rational model that can be called theistic science.
Note that Swedenborg’s theistic science cannot be considered part of natural science today. When people compare Swedenborg’s science with modern science today it is inevitable that one comes to the conclusion that, no matter how brilliant and seminal, it is nevertheless outdated science from a previous century. But if we put together the Scientific Works and the Writings as being united, we begin to see that Swedenborg’s science is not outdated natural science but theistic science, that is, science as it will be in the future. Swedenborg reaffirmed his Scientific Works in the Writings by using it everywhere, though not all of it. He was a keen student of the history of science and he knew that science progresses, century by century.
He also knew that the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming and called his work as revelator “the greatest miracle” in human history (AC 1880). He also saw his books of the Writings in the spiritual world, shining like only the Word does there (xx). And he asserts that he wrote nothing in the Writings except from the Lord Himself (TCR 779). And yet in this Divine mission he sprinkled throughout the Writings the ideas, concepts, and thinking of his Scientific Works. Dr. Ian Thompson, who has advised me on many topics in this book, wants me to retain the possibility that some of Swedenborg’s extensive writings, from his adolescence onward, may have been false starts or faulty notions.
The conclusion is inevitable that the Word of the Lord that was given to all future time henceforth must contain only those natural scientifics that are applicable to all times and will never be outdated. Hence Swedenborg’s Scientific Works must have a formal or structural relationship to the Writings—to the extent these earlier works are reproduced or implied in the Writings. My view of this structure is that the Writings are the internal scientifics of the external scientifics that were written prior to his enlightenment, and then worked into the fabric of what he wrote after his enlightenment.
Consider what Rev. Theodore Pitcairn has written about this relationship:
Before passing on let us consider briefly the place of what is called Swedenborg's scientific works. From what has been said it can be seen that it is only in so far as these works are seen as spiritual scientifics that they have a rightful place within the borders of the Church, that is in so far as the corresponding spiritual scientifics are seen within the apparent worldly scientifics of their letter. In Providence the scientific works were not written to give, man a literal or factual account of the physical world; but to act as an ultimate basis for the giving of the Writings. The scientific works were given because they contain natural scientifics which correspond to spiritual scientifics. In the future no one will think of even discussing the point as to whether the scientific works agree with the facts of worldly science; for to do so brings the mind down to the sensual corporeal plane; just as now a New Church minister does not discuss whether the account of creation given in Genesis agrees with the actual mode of the creation of the World, for to do so brings him into the sphere of the perverted Christian church.
If viewed from within, the Writings and philosophic works will indeed be seen to be in agreement with the true scientifics of the world, but not if viewed from without, or from the scientific.
(Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The second Education” De Hemelsche Leer, Third Fascicle, p.22)
Rev. Pitcairn recognizes here that the Scientific Works and the Writings are structurally related. The content of the Scientific Works are included in a summary form within the Writings. The Scientific Works are to be seen in the same light as their summary form in the Writings, that is, correspondentially:
Much is said in the Writings concerning science, scientifics, and scientific truth. Scientific truth is the second degree of truth, it is a discrete degree above sensual truth, and it is below the higher forms of truth.
There are two kinds of scientifics, the scientifics of the letter of the Word including the Writings, and the scientific of the world. Scientifics when used in the Writings, usually refer to the scientifics of the Word, or as they are called the scientifics of the Church. The scientifics of the world are only useful as a scaffolding while the mind is being built up; as they are beyond the borders of the Church they have no permanent place in the human mind.
Nevertheless the scientifics of the world correspond to the scientifics of the Church, as is evident from much that is said in the Writings concerning them, especially in connection with the science of anatomy. The scientifics of the world are mentioned in the letter of the Writings only for the sake of the representation of interior things and have no part in the internal natural sense of the Writings. To illustrate: when the Writings speak of optics and mathematics as being useful sciences, the Angels of the natural heaven can only think of the optics of the spiritual world, that is, the laws governing spiritual light and the spiritual eye, that is, the laws of truth, and how truth is accommodated to the understanding, by reflection and refraction. Likewise when mathematics are mentioned they can have no idea of number such as have the mathematicians of the world, but of the things that correspond thereto.
The useful spiritual scientifics of the Church are the spiritual science of astronomy, geometry, optics, chemistry, mechanics, history, anatomy, medicine, civil law, and such things also as are called philosophical (MEMORABILIA, CODEX MINOR, 4657), and above all the science of correspondences, the science of sciences.
If we consider these sciences correspondentially, it is clear that this is a description of the Writings in their letter: astronomy is the science of cognitions, geometry the science of degrees, optics the science of the influx of truth, chemistry the science of means, history, the science of progression of state, medicine the science of repentance and reformation, civil law the science of the government of truth, and philosophy the science of cause and effect. (Rev. Pitcairn, Ibid, pp. 17-18)
It is possible to take a very narrow definition for the “natural scientifics” in the Writings, referring merely to a few things that strike us as outdated, such as the description of plants as all male while earth is the female (TCR 585). Of course this is not what is meant in these descriptions of plants, as Swedenborg was a biologist and gardener and knew the elementary things that everyone else knew. Theistic science in the future will be able to give a more meaningful account of what was meant. But these details do not constitute the substance of the natural scientifics in the Writings. In addition to these smaller details we should also include as natural scientifics everything that is written in the Writings about discrete degrees, marriage relations, animals, speech and language, history of civilizations, human evolution, earths in the universe, and correspondences. These things make up a substantial portion of the Writings in terms of content, but even more significantly, they make up the outward lattice or framework for the theology in the Writings. It is possible to separate the theology form the natural scientifics.
The human race has now been given the new idea of theistic science. It is a natural science within which there is a spiritual science. In other words, natural truths within which are spiritual truths. Of course this has always been the case, unrecognized and unrecognizable. All natural science that has survived the progress of science is genuine and has had within it spiritual truths. But now since the age of the Second Coming, there can be a recognizable relation between the spiritual truths in the genuine natural truths. This is the deeper meaning of Nunc Licet (TCR 508). This new attitude, perception, and method is what we can call theistic science. The theories and explanations we build within theistic science are always coupled in the spiritual/natural structure. Theories that include only natural truths or concepts are not part of theistic science but are part of the earlier phase of the human rational.
We know that the Word in its fullness is written in internal series that cannot be broken and it is how the angels read the Writings. There is not a sentence or idea in the Writings that is not part of this unbreakable inner series of spiritual rational concepts. This conclusion follows if one acknowledges the Writings as the Word, unless one thinks that what the Writings say about the Word does not apply equally to itself as to the Old and New Testaments. But if the Writings are the Word, they must be the Word in full. Our knowledge of the character of the Word is from the Writings. From this we also know the character of the Writings as the Word. Rev. Hugo Odhner expresses this idea as follows:
Now we discern in these Writings, not only a body of Divine Doctrine, but the story of a man's spiritual experiences, his narrative of journeys into the world of spirits and into heaven. Signs are not wanting of his growth in insight and depth during the progress of his twenty-six years of instruction in the other world. He tells us of memorable things, of conversations with angels and devils. Some of his friends thought this personal feature of his books marred the whole, but he made it clear that the Lord, who had revealed the doctrine, also inspired the narrative element. Both therefore are equally the Lord's message. And coming from the Lord's mouth, this revelation is written in a Divine style, with a meaning which reaches into infinity.
In its complete aspect, it becomes a spiritual epic of symbolic significance - a ,story prophetic of the pilgrimage which all New Churchmen should make, and involving at the same time the glorification of the Divine Truth in human thought. The appearance in the Writings of a personal and narrative and scientific element which forms a background for the abstract doctrine of the internal sense, constitutes the "letter" of the new revelation.
By correspondential expressions the Divine Rational Truth is presented in the rational "appearances of truth." The Writings, no differently from any other revelation, ought therefore to be held superior to any invalidating criticisms founded on references to superficial errors whether textual or scientific. Such charges cannot invalidate our revelation; to think that it would implies, to my mind, only an ignorance of the character of revelation. (Hugo Odhner, ibid)
Some biographical essays about Swedenborg imply that after his enlightenment he “gave up his scientific quest for the soul” and devoted himself solely to his mission as revelator of the Heavenly Doctrines. But Swedenborg states that he was led by the Lord to develop his mind since his early education (TCR 850). From the letters Swedenborg wrote during the period leading up to his transition phase, it is clear that he did not give up his scientific undertakings as misguided or fruitless. As Acton points out
In the middle of April , Swedenborg received his call as Revelator, and at once dropped all plans which he had contemplated with respect to continuing his anatomical and mineralogical works. Henceforth, he devoted himself entirely to the new work to which he had been called. (Acton, ibid, p.500)
Through this decision Swedenborg was obeying the Lord who was about to introduce him sensually into the spiritual world. It was not on account of a failure of his science. Swedenborg states explicitly that the science he has written prior to enlightenment is to endure forever, and that the science he presents after his enlightenment is the same science as he wrote before (xx).
Note this statement:
To a knowledge of the causes of things, -- in other words, to truths – nothing but experience can guide us. (EAK 11)
A “knowledge of the causes of things” refers to rational consciousness or understanding, while “experience” refers to sensuous consciousness. The rational always exists and operates within the sensuous (AC 5128). The Writings are constructed on this reality, as discussed above. Note that there is no Heavenly Doctrine without the rational and sensuous combined! Only a secular Swedenborgiansim can excise the Memorable Relations and the Spiritual Experiences from the Writings and dismiss them as the “dramatic imagination” of the author (see Chapter 4). The New Church mind cannot be formed without a sensuous understanding of the spiritual world, within which there is a rational understanding. Scientific facts and accurate observations in experience must “guide us,” as Swedenborg says, to Heavenly Doctrines. These are the “knowledge of the causes of things.” Without experience one “is obliged to wander beyond experience into the regions of conjecture” where the mind falls into “errors, and errors of errors” (EAK 12, 11).
Particular experience, or that which strictly comprehends or immediately refers to one and the same object, however rich in detail such experience may be, and however enlarged by the accumulated observation of ages, can never be sufficiently ample for the exploration of nature in the sphere of causes; but if, on the other hand, in exploring each particular object, we avail ourselves of the assistance of general experience, that is to say, of all that is known in anatomy, medicine, chemistry, physics, and the other natural sciences, then, even at the present day, we appear to be abundantly supplied with means for the undertaking. (EAK 12) (Emphases in original)
“Particular experience” refers to sensuous science and “general experience” refers to rational science. This is made clear in the paragraphs that follow and throughout the book. This passage tells us that genuine scientific advances cannot be achieved by merely sensuous science no matter how much progress is achieved into the far future. The materialistic nonduality of science today (and in Swedenborg’s days) is merely sensuous science. To get to the understanding of causes we need to contextualize sensuous knowledge within the framework of dualism (spiritual rational understanding). This is called “general experience.” Sensuous science refers to empiricism and experimentalism (EAK 1-28 or throughout the Introduction). Empirical facts and experimental results are always about particular conditions and objects of observation and measurement. These particular facts must then be illumined by a rational holistic framework called “general experience.” This higher mental activity cannot be derived from the empirical facts but must be supplied by a spiritual framework of rational sequences and relations from lasts to firsts, which is the Lord.
Natural science or truths constitute the Lord’s Natural Sensuous External Man, which was also made Divine (AC 2083), while spiritual scientifics or truths constitute the Lord’s Rational Internal Man, or Divine Rational. “The Lord” refers here, as elsewhere, to the Divine Human.
Just as the rational internal man is within the natural external man, so is spiritual scientifics or truths within natural science or truths. The two cannot in reality be separated. In Chapter 1 of Principia I, Swedenborg connects rational analysis to empirical observations, and the two together constitute a scientific explanation. Neither is able to yield valid accounts without the other (p. 10-13). The theistic science Swedenborg created takes valid observations and explains them in terms of valid principles. These principles are from his New Church mind prepared by the Lord since childhood—they were not fallible conjectures that are almost always proven wrong in the forward march of science.
The Writings were written from the perspective of the spiritual world as the causal source of the events in the natural world. Swedenborg made direct sensuous observations of the spiritual world and the outward conversations he carried on with angels and spirits. This outward portion of the spiritual world was in actuality the inward portion of the natural world. In the Writings therefore, Swedenborg gave an interior account of the natural world and the natural mind. What’s important to note is that the science in the Writings is the same science as in his earlier works. Clearly therefore, the science of his earlier work is in a discrete degree different from the science of all others. Swedenborg’s New Church mind was formed by the Lord since his childhood (TCR 850). It makes sense therefore to think that the scientific works are part of theistic science and that this type of science never gets outdated.
Swedenborg explains this in Chapter 1 of Principia I which is titled:
On the Means Which conduce to True Philosophy, and on the True Philosopher
Notice the idea of True Philosophy, that is, True Science. Later, the Writings will be called True Religion (as in the last work The True Christian Religion). Swedenborg was led by the Lord in all that he wrote and understood. Swedenborg therefore had the Divine warrant to name the science he created “True Science” and to name the theology he created as “True Religion.” In both cases, the True Science and the True Religion are form the Lord, and are the Lord. In the publication of the books of the Writings, every work contained both True Science and True Religion. They cannot rightfully be separated, one as the Word, the other as outdated works.
Consider some principles Swedenborg presents in Principia I for the True Science. One is that all things exist from a prior thing and that the first elements are more subtle than the later elements that are “successively more gross” (p.10). Later, the principle is repeated in the Writings in many places:
But in what has been set forth in my works respecting creation it has been shown that God first rendered His infinity finite by means of substances emitted from Himself, from which His nearest surrounding sphere, which constitutes the sun of the spiritual world, came into existence; and that then through that sun He perfected the other surrounding spheres, even to the outmost, which consists of passive materials; and in this manner, by means of degrees, He rendered the world more and more finite. This much has been said to satisfy human reason, which never rests until it perceives a cause. (TCR 33)
Yet although the heavens are so distinct that the angels of one heaven cannot have association in their affairs with the angels of another, still the Lord conjoins all the heavens by immediate and mediate influx-by immediate influx from Himself into all the heavens, and by mediate influx from one heaven into another.# He thus makes the three heavens to be one, and all to be in such connection from the First to the last so that there is nothing that is not connected. Whatever is not connected through intermediates with the First does not continue in existence, but is dissipated and becomes nothing.##
# Influx from the Lord is immediate from Himself, and also mediate through one heaven into another; and the Lord's influx into the interiors of man is in similar order …. Immediate influx of the Divine from the Lord …. Mediate influx through the spiritual world into the natural world …
## All things come into existence from things prior to themselves, thus from the First, and in like manner they continue in existence-because continuing in existence is perpetual coming into existence-and therefore there is nothing unconnected …
Another principle in Principia I is that the more subtle is the medium of transmission the more distinct the information perceived in it (p. 10). This principle is reinforced in the Writings in numerous places:
At length there in flowed more interiorly, from that height, such, or a similar principle, still more subtle, so subtle that at first I did not perceive that subtlety; so that it was within the former subtle [influx]; and when the mediate spirits perceived it, they wished to seize hold of it, as is their habit, and so admit it to injure me; but they could not be other than distinct [from the subtle ones]; for they who are their subtlest, could not enter into the exterior subtle ones, nor these into the interiorly subtle. (SE 3312)
Creation itself cannot be explained to human comprehension unless one removes from his thinking any thought of space and time. But if these are removed, it can be comprehended. Remove if you can, or as far as you can, thought of space and time, and keep your mind intent on an idea abstracted from these. You will then perceive there to be no difference between a large interval of space and an infinitesimal one, and in that case you cannot but have the same idea of the creation of the universe as of the creation of particular elements in the universe. (AC 155)
One can also see that the rational consciousness we obtain from the Heavenly Doctrines is situated within the sensuous consciousness we obtain from the memorable relations, the spiritual experiences, and the scientific illustrations and revelations in the Writings.
[General experience] is experience in its widest meaning, or in its whole course and compass.” Particular experience in itself leads to obscurity and conjecture; general experience leads to “connection, communion, and mutual relation of all things in the world and in nature, beginning from the first substance and force; … it is only in succession that its clouds are dissipated and its light emerges. … [we] must not tarry at the starting post, but measure the entire course. Now if we proceed in this manner, we shall find that at the present day we are possessed of a sufficient store of facts, and that it will not be necessary to wander beyond experience into the field of conjecture.” (EAK 13, 14).
This is the new dualist science introduced by the New Church mind of Swedenborg. This is also the same dualist science that is to be found throughout the Writings. Swedenborg was able to fully confirm this dualist science after he had been enlightened and introduced into the spiritual world. Now a whole new set of particular experience was given him in sensuous consciousness. He suddenly had access to facts no scientist had ever been able to obtain. Science had been changed forever. Now while they are still on earth, scientists can scrutinize the empirical and experimental results recorded by Swedenborg. The rational scientific ideas that Swedenborg had developed prior to his new sensuous observation post, were now fully confirmed by new ocular observation and laboratory experiments. His scientific observations and experiments with the psychology of spirits and the geography of the spiritual world are faithfully and painstakingly described in every volume of the Writings.
Swedenborg was especially faithful in maintaining the principle of “the general within the particular” for which he passionately argued and practiced in his pre-enlightenment works. His greatest hope was to be able to put aside his own conjectures and “to view and comprehend, as accurately that the subject required, the idea of universals in individuals, and of individuals under universals.” (EAK 18) Also this:
We never have a distinct perception of anything unless we either deduce it from, or refer it to, a common fountain and universal principle. This mode of proceeding indeed accords with the original and natural condition of the senses, and of the animal and rational mind. (EAK 8)
At last, through his newly given observation post in the spiritual world, Swedenborg was able to give many previously unsuspected particulars facts about reality and its causal framework. He discovered the sensuous observational basis for the rational principle he always knew about: that the Lord rules the universe “from firsts to lasts and from lasts to first.” Prior to his intromission into the spiritual world Swedenborg’s New Church mind saw that it was the Lord who managed this “chain of causes.” Speaking about dualist scientists Swedenborg says that “they ascribe all to the Deity, and regard Him as the source from whom all true wisdom descends” (EAK 19). Another foundational principle he created is that “all things exist for the sake of man” (EAK 4). Later he was able to fill in many more particular facts, including his ocular inspection of the Grand Human and the Divine Human.
Swedenborg also established the principle that human development proceeds by stages from the sensuous to the rational.
We are born in dense ignorance and insensibility. Our organs are opened only by degrees; the images and notions at first received are obscure, and, if I may so speak, the whole universe is represented to the eye as a single indistinct thing, a formless chaos. In the course of time, however, its various parts become comparatively distinct, and at length are presented to the tribunal of the rational mind; whence it is not till late in life that we become rational beings. (EAK 8)
The modern person may wonder: “How can Swedenborg’s ideas from the 17th and 18th centuries be as advanced as the scientific ideas today and those of tomorrow? Surely what he didn’t know he must have been wrong about.” But Swedenborg’s science was not like the science of others, full of conjecture destined to be labeled outdated by the march of history and progress. You can see that Newton’s science was not supplanted by Einstein’s science, though the latter represents a quantum jump over the former. Rather, the field of application of Newton’s science was now better understood as to its limits and conditions. Some aspects of science do not get outdated. Newton’s application was general, while Einstein’s was more universal. This is how Swedenborg views his own science in the Introduction to the Economy of the Animal Kingdom:
Being unable as yet to deliver any other than generals and universals, I foresee that many of the remarks I shall have to offer, will appear to be mere conjectures or paradoxes. They will so appear, however, to none but those who have not gone through a complete course of anatomy, physics, chemistry, and the other arts and sciences; or to those with whom preconception and prejudice forestall their judgment, and who make some one particular govern all the rest; or again, to those who have no capacity for comprehending distinctly the series of connection of the subject. …
The result, then, must show, whether or not those statements, which at first perhaps appear like obscure guesswork, are in the end so abundantly attested by effects, as to prove that they are indeed the oracular responses of the truth. (EAK 9)
This passages gives a summary of the categories of objections to dualist science, which in the passage are referred to as “the remarks I shall have to offer”:
q Dualism in science is rejected outright (“conjectures or paradoxes”)
q Opposition is formulated prior to considering the entire proposal (“not gone through a complete course”)
q Dualism is rejected from bias rather than rationality (“preconception and prejudice forestall their judgment”)
q Being unwilling to let go of the materialist paradigm (“make some one particular govern all the rest”)
q Rejecting the rational principle that all things in the universe form an interconnected chain of causes, from God to ultimates and back (“comprehending distinctly the series of connection”)
Theistic science will make use of many new facts and experiments that are accumulated by every generation of scientists. Swedenborg made use of the facts and experiments of talented scientists inspired by the Lord to follow valid procedures. Eventually the theistic science will replace the current materialistic or anti-spiritual framework that is being taught in schools and in the training of scientists and engineers.
Swedenborg saw that it is the Lord who conducts the progress of science. He saw that the first phase of human science was the intelligence and integrity of the ancients who
Surpassed us in wisdom, in the art and perfection of distinguishing things, and in their shrewdness of their conjectures respecting the occult. For with no instruction save their own, they laid the foundations of numerous arts and sciences upon which their posterity afterwards built; nay, from the resources of their own genius, and without being under any intellectual obligations to the past, they raised the superstructure to no inconsiderable height. (EAK 23)
Modern science brought new particular experimental facts which confirmed and were built into the more general framework of ancient science. The idea that modern science has supplanted ancient science is a spurious idea of self-aggrandizement of the moderns, “seduced probably by self-love” (EAK 18). There is an orderly progression in science from its basic foundation or nomenclature given to the ancients, to its increased experimental knowledge given to the moderns. This experimental knowledge will never be outdated but “will forever continue to be of practical use to posterity” (EAK 17). Progress is the integration of modern science within ancient science to produce the third and final step: dualist science, what Swedenborg calls “the wisdom that is yet to come” (AEK 24).
Modern science need not be materialistic. Nothing in dualism obviates the wide accumulation of modern experimental knowledge. It is contrary to the rational to argue that materialistic science is real in its own sphere of application—the physical world and the body. This attitude works with the specious rationale that the “spiritual realm” is for theology and is outside its sphere of application, hence it’s fine for science to be monist—no clash then ensues between science and theology. But this argument is rejected and repeatedly shown to be false in the pages of every work of the Writings. What is noticeable to all of us is that Swedenborg continued this theistic science in the Writings. This can only be possible if this science is rational and true.
The phenomena that are considered in the Writings are of central interest to materialistic science also: the structure of natural objects, the causes of physical phenomena, the formation of nations, atoms, cells, and galaxies. But the explanations are discretely different. In the Writings they are dualist—the spiritual cause within the natural effect. In materialist science the explanations are monist—the natural contains all its own causes.
The New Church mind needs to see the structural relation between the two sets of books Swedenborg wrote known as scientific or pre-enlightenment, and theological. The expression “the Writings” is restricted to the theological Works starting with Arcana Coelestia (AC) and ending with True Christian Religion (TCR). Along with this definition there is an allied view that one can have full confidence in the theological parts of the Writings—as the Word itself, but less confidence in the parts of the Writings that present illustrations from Swedenborg’s scientific, philosophical, and historical knowledges of his day and century. These are considered only illustrations to help the reader understand the spiritual and rational doctrines that are revealed. Only the doctrinal matters are considered as actually spiritual, essential, and infallible, while the scientific illustrations are not. It is supposed that they reflect the limited knowledge the revelator himself had (1668-1772) and the illustrations he presents may not be fully accurate in the light of scientific discoveries made since.
Some among those who acknowledge the Writings as “divinely inspired” may yet have reservations about some Memorable Relations and experiences, especially those Swedenborg describes concerning spirits from other planets in our solar system (EU 1). In some of these he was able to see actual planetary events through the physical eyes of some of its inhabitants (xx). Reluctance to accept these descriptions as real events stems from the idea we have from materialistic science that the natural world everywhere has but one kind of biological reality, that which we know on this earth. And so, according to this view, if Swedenborg says he was talking to spirits who were inhabitants of the moon, he must have been misled, mistaken, or deliberately using a provocative literary device to put across a difficult spiritual distinction. Others however who acknowledge the Writings as the Lord in His Word see clearly that everything said in it is true literally, historically, scientifically, as well as containing the infinite Divine Rational of the Lord. They see this because it is so stated in the Writings about the character of the Word (xx).
Every New Church mind needs to struggle to resolve this issue rather than put it on the back burner, being satisfied that one will find out the truth when we get to the afterlife. This intellectual passivity may be an impediment to our regeneration. It is certain that the Lord wants to lead every New Church mind to a faith that is saving in the afterlife. But the Lord can do this only to the extent that the individual is willing to come to faith with certainty and full confidence. “Nunc Licet” doesn’t just mean “it is now permitted to enter rationally into the mysteries of faith” (TCR 508). A deeper understanding is that we ought to do so because our love to the Lord is mediated by how interiorly we can enter into His spiritual rational truths. One must take control of vacillating between “Yes, it happened as told by Swedenborg” and, “No, I’m not sure if it is literally true.” This alternating effect is discussed in the Writings as normal for those who are being regenerated:
Whenever man is in his corporeal and worldly things, there is then no faith and charity, that is, there is "cold" for then corporeal and worldly things, consequently those which are his own, are at work, and so long as the man is in these, he is absent or remote from faith and charity, so that he does not even think about heavenly and spiritual things. The reason of this is that heavenly and corporeal things can never be together in a man, for man's will has been utterly ruined. But when the things of man's body and will are not at work, but are quiescent, then the Lord works through his internal man, and then he is in faith and charity, which is here called "heat." When he again returns into the body he is again in cold; and when the body, or what is of the body, is quiescent, and as nothing, he is then in heat, and so on in alternation. (AC 933)
Various considerations can help debunk a “lukewarm” attitude towards the Writings in its totality as the Word. First, is it consistent with the Writings to allow us to edit the Word? In other words, to allow us to use our natural mind (external rational) to pick portions here and there and designate them as incorrect? The answer is, No. The Writings explain that we must refrain from doing this or it will destroy everything in our faith. For instance:
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; see also: AC 4760)
Note well: The “rational” mentioned here is the external rational, which is the upper portion of the natural mind, hence not yet spiritual(AC 978, 4286; AE 355:14). It obviously does not refer to the interior-rational or spiritual-rational. It says that we should not consult the external rational as to whether something in the Writings is correct or incorrect. Instead, the external rational must be in an affirmative set when reading anything in the Writings (AC 1072). Everything in the Writings is true, Divine Truth, but we only understand some of it at any one time, in proportion to progress in our regeneration. When we come across something in the Writings we do not understand, we must go on and beg the Lord that eventually we will understand it:
The Word, therefore, by means of doctrine is understood, and is like a lamp stand with its lamp lit. Man then sees more things than he had seen before, and he also understands those things which he had not understood before. Things obscure and out of agreement he either does not notice and passes over, or he sees and explains them as in agreement with doctrine. (SS 54)
Being Divine the Word contains within itself things that are infinite which come from its first source, and as a consequence contains things beyond description such as constitute angelic wisdom; but in its lowest form it contains only such things as those that man is able to grasp. … Entering into scientifics from the truths of faith, is agreeable to order; but, conversely, entering into the truths of faith from scientifics, is contrary to order …
Whoever is in a principle of negative doubt, which in itself is negative, and who says that he will not believe until he is persuaded through scientifics, will never believe.
The starting-point ought to be made from truths of doctrine which are from the Word, and they ought first to be acknowledged; it is permitted afterwards to consult scientifics in order to confirm these truths, which are corroborated in this manner (NJHD 51)
An absolute duality applies between the external rational and the interior rational. Therefore also an absolute duality applies to any theory or author and the Writings, because the Writings are the Word and anything else is not.
Enlightenment is the influx, perception, and instruction people receive from the Lord when they read the Word. (AC 10215)
There is no spiritual enlightenment possible when we read other writings since the Writings is the only source of spiritual truth for the New Church mind. This is what it means to say that the Writings are the New Word for the Second Coming and therefore the only source for the truths of the New Heavens. The Word is always the only source for spiritual truths (De Verbo 6). This duality between the Writings and any other books must not be crossed or fudged in the New Church mind. Our external rational reasoning process from science and the natural mind are absolutely separate and distinct from the interior rational that is built up only by the Word of the Writings (AC 978, 4286; AE 355:14).
One tends to reason this way: “The Old and New Testaments have been given as spiritual revelation not as a science text. We would not want to rely on the Bible for our science. God allows these two things to be separate. Besides, it’s obvious that since the Word is inspired and given through men, there are limitations imposed on their knowledge and understanding. That’s why we should look for the spiritual meaning in the natural events or explanations.” This is our external rational thinking about the Word. And going one more step in this direction is to find “errors” and “outdated” things in the Writings. These passages with “errors” in them, are therefore not considered Divine Truth equally with the other passages. In this way self-intelligence ends up deciding what is Divine and what is not in the Letter of the Word.
Nevertheless, despite what our external rational wants to say about errors in the Writings, we are warned that we must not allow this activity in the New Church mind for it threatens its integrity. (AC 1936) (See note 1 for additional treatment of this issue.) Things in the Writings we do not yet understand should be “passed over” or “not noticed” rather than be declared “erroneous” in some way:
The Word, therefore, by means of doctrine is understood, and is like a lamp stand with its lamp lit. Man then sees more things than he had seen before, and he also understands those things which he had not understood before. Things obscure and out of agreement he either does not notice and passes over, or he sees and explains them as in agreement with doctrine. (SS 54)
Swedenborg’s mind represents the reformation of the human race by means of rational consciousness, thus the reformation of the mind of each individual thereafter. Everything that Swedenborg wrote was written by this new “New Church mind” that the Lord is creating in the human race. Hence it is that the Writings are called the Word of the Lord in His Second Coming. The expression “New Church mind” does not imply that religion is involved in the same sense that angels do not see themselves as having a religion but a direct relationship to the Lord. The Lord is their reality, not the life of religion. That Swedenborg had a New Church mind does not imply that he was of a particular religion. Religion was not the life of Swedenborg. His life was his relationship to the Lord. This was his reality and therefore, his science, which is the rational understanding of one’s reality.
The Writings say that the Lord is establishing a New Church by means of the new revelations of the Writings given through Swedenborg and that this New Church will be the Crown of Churches and never cease like the prior Churches (xx). This means that the Writings are the last Testament, or the last portion of the Threefold Word. No new Word will ever be given again anywhere in the universe.
The expressions “New church” and “the Word” are usually taken to indicate the Christian religion. The last Work of the Writings, published in 1771, is called “The True Christian Religion” (TCR) and marks the historical completion of the Second Coming. This Work presents a summary of the New Church and its Heavenly Doctrine. A new translation renders the title as “The True Christianity.” In many places the identity of God is given as “Jesus Christ” who is called “the Divine Human” and most often, “the Lord.” It would appear from this that the New Church is a religion and that the Writings are the Word of this new religion. Furthermore, this religion is called Christian and names God as Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless the New Church mind can see that this is not a religion in the same sense as it is said that Christianity today is a religion, or that Islam today is a religion, and so on. One proof that the New Church is not a religion like the Christina religion, is that after 200 years of much publicity regarding the Writings in Europe and North America, the Writings are utterly unknown, and its Heavenly Doctrine is utterly opposed by those Christians who act as gatekeepers for the rest. Similarly, the Writings reject the Christian Church of today with all its dogmas and practices, describing it as an utterly consummated or vastated religion. Similarly with all other religions. No religion established prior to the Lord’s Second Coming has remained in its integrity. All religions on earth have been vastated. The New Church is therefore a new beginning and a new definition of Church and God.
Church in the Writings refers to both the historical Churches since antiquity and the individual church that is the mind. The individual’s mind is called a church because it is the place where Divine seeds are implanted by the Lord. This sense of church is medical and scientific. There is no necessity or requirement that the New Church mind define “Church” as religion.
As already discussed elsewhere, the human race on this earth could not be regenerated except by sciences (SE 4663). Hence a written revelation of science had to be given in the Writings as the Word of the Second Coming. That God is discussed does not mean that religion is therefore being discussed. The Writings can be taken by some as a religious text, and by others as a theistic science text. In materialistic science, God is excluded, let alone the name of God as a historical figure. In such a system, talk of God means the exit from scientific talk. This is why Swedenborg’s works have been off the science list for every generation of scientists since the publication of the Writings. I am an exception to this near universal rule! I have considered the Writings as theistic science since the very first time when I started reading them. Later, I discovered the existence of the New Church organizations as religions founded on the Writings. This proves that reading the Writings in and of itself does not mean that one must define it as a religion. The alternative is that they are science revelations. And I see no contradiction in these two positions, each being compatible with the other.
Theistic science is implied in the expression the “New Church mind” because the New Church mind is formed exclusively by means of the Writings (see Volume 1). We can say that theistic science is the knowledge and understanding of reality because the natural scientifics forms the lower portion of that mind, while the upper portion is formed by spiritual scientifics. As already pointed out, Swedenborg’s Scientific Works are the outward framework for the more interior content of the spiritual scientifics in the Writings. The two complete each other just as rational consciousness completes sensuous consciousness when it is within it (AC 4618). Heaven to all angels exists within this integrated framework, namely, outside of themselves and surrounding them, as their sensuous consciousness of heaven and the Lord.
This outside framework or appearance is supported by and dependent on what lies within it, namely, the angels’ rational consciousness, which is their wisdom. The Writings as the Lord’s Divine Rational cannot exist except within something sensuous, which is its literal content. This literal content is about sensuous things that can be observed in the natural and spiritual worlds—lands, people, places, events, geography, migrations of peoples, sayings, beliefs, tents and sacrifices, rain and shine, famine and abundance, oceans and stars. This is the sensuous content of the literal of the Writings. Within this spiritual sensuous is the spiritual rational which gives it life from above (or from within), and competes it.
The literal content of the Writings is the theistic science of the Word of the Second Coming. This theistic science contains two portions, as already pointed out. The sensuous portion which is its natural scientifics, and within this, the spiritual rational portion, which is spiritual scientifics. In theistic science a reference to the Lord or to heaven and hell is not a reference to religion. It is a reference to reality, as the angels know it, for they have a New Church mind. The expression “New Church mind “ is appropriate for theistic science and for angels because “New Church” is the expression used by the Word to refer to the new age of the Second Coming. The mind that is formed by the Word of the Second Coming is thus properly called the New Church mind .Again, religion is not implied and people from any religion can be theistic scientists.
Of course the reality of theistic science from the Writings identifies the Lord rather than some other God. The last book that completes the Second Coming is titled True Christian Religion, and we know that the end of something encapsulates all of it (LJ 9). But this is not choosing one religion over another. The Christian religions was specifically rejected (TCR 108) as were all others. The Second Coming gives humankind the “true Christian religion” but not in the sense of “Christian” vs. “Muslim” vs. “Jewish” for these religions refer to the development of the regenerating mind regardless of religious background (see also Chapter xx Section xx for the discussion on anti-semitism in the Writings). “Christian” in the Writings is used in relation to history, the birth in time of Jesus of Nazareth as the foretold Messiah God. This has a historical and religious significance outwardly, which disappears however, when considered inwardly. The “true Christian religion” inwardly is the Divine Human. And this new revelation of the Divine Human is for the entire human race and for all religions on all planets.
The reality in theistic science challenges the ideas of one’s religion. This is inevitable as well as helpful because only that religion which we understand rationally can be of service to us in the afterlife (TCR 719). Ideas of religion that one accepts as a mystery by authority is called “persuasive faith” and is of no effect in the afterlife since it is merely corporeal and natural, not rational (NJHD 118). I predict that as theistic science grows in practice and education throughout the world, it will create a realignment of all religions so that they may become truly genuine and consistent with theistic science. A variety of religions will continue to exist on this earth because religion is a cultural mechanism that serves to train the mind of children for the love and worship of God.
Without the scientific revelations in the Writings dualist science would not be possible because we cannot make observations with our senses regarding what is outside the natural discrete degree. This has to do with the limitations of the natural senses and must not be imposed on the scientific description of the universe and reality.
The Writings characterize the human race from this earth in relation to the race from other planets. We represent the skin of the Grand Human while the race from other planets and solar systems represent the remaining parts of the human body (xx). The skin represents the external sensuous of life (xx). It includes the sensory involvement of the skin with the natural environment by means of the sensory organs. It also involves the respiratory functions of the skin, and its digestive functions in incorporating particles from the air. The skin also includes the external portion of internal organs. In a more remote sense, the skin represents the surface of objects in contrast to their interior. In the most general sense, the skin and its sensory represent the natural world while the spiritual world is represented by the interior of the body and of organs. Due to this specialized focus of our genius this planet is the only one among the numerous inhabited earths in the universe, to have a writing system:
Since they wondered that such things can be described in writing, I spoke with them concerning our earth: that such things are known in our earth; and that, so far as is yet known, it is not so in other earths; also, that in this earth are sciences, which are increased by being capable of inscription in writings, and so left to others and to posterity, and that hence are many arts in this earth, as for example, the art of constructing ships, and many other things.
It was granted me to tell them the reason; [namely], that, from the earliest times, those in this earth wished to be wise in such things, and that this was represented by the tree of knowledge in paradise; and that, because they had eaten thereof, therefore they cannot be made healthy [spiritually] by other means than by sciences, thus by the scientifics which are of faith.) (SE 4663)
From this we know that our earth is the only one in the universe that has an advanced civilization by means of technology and culture. This is marked by the fact that in no other earth is there a writing system, and therefore a culture of knowledge that is cumulative over the generations. Here it is revealed that we inherit this character by birth. It is part of our hereditary constitution. As a result we cannot be regenerated by sensuous consciousness, as is the rest of the human race. It is said:
therefore they cannot be made healthy [spiritually] by other means than by sciences, thus by the scientifics which are of faith
which is a reference to regeneration, since regeneration is to be made healthy in spirit. This is indeed an amazing revelation about our race on this earth!
The only way we can be regenerated is by means of science!
You can see why the Writings could not have been written prior to the modern age of rationality and science. Also, you can now see why the Writings are called “the scientifics of faith.” Another expression for “scientifics of faith” is “theistic science.” You can also see why the Writings are a scientific revelation. Also, why the revelator had to be a scientist rather than a priest. Every expression of the Writings is an expression from science, or theistic science. These expressions are nothing else than natural-rational correspondences of Divine Truth.
We are given further particulars about our race on this planet:
(In this earth, more than in other earths, there are sciences and arts quite unknown elsewhere: [the following] sciences, to wit, the physical sciences in general, chemistry, medicine, optics, astronomy, geometry, and philosophy, whereof they know nothing at all elsewhere; [the following] arts, for example, the smelting of metals, the art of sculpture, of painting, music, the art of constructing ships, carriages, magnificent buildings and palaces out of stone and marble, and mirrors; besides very many arts, which are for use and pleasure. Not only are they [in this earth] skilful in these, but they also have communication, by means of ships, with distant regions; and the gains of different regions are distributed to others.
Similarly with the arts, and also with the sciences. These, when invented and known by one person, are communicated, by means of books and writings, to all others; and the things which are known in one region are likewise communicated to those who are in another; and those things which the ancients knew, are also known to posterity; for writings remain.
For which reason also, and especially, the Word and the truths of faith, could be given in this earth, because [they could be known] in many [places] at the same time, and successively through the ages; and so could be multiplied, which could not happen elsewhere.) (SE 4663)
Here it is revealed that the culture of science on this earth was the very reason why the Word exists here and on no other planet, though we know it exists in the heavens where a spiritual script is used for the Letter of the Word (xx). But in the natural world, this is the only planet where there is a written Word. Further particulars are given:
(It was then told me, by the angels, that the Lord willed to be born in this earth, where divine truths are handed down by means of writings even from the earliest times, because, in this manner, the truths of faith could here be multiplied and preserved better than with others: but, with others, these truths are only learnt from parents, and so retained in the memory, and then very many things perish in the lapse of time; but, here, it is not so.
Thus, also, the angels of heaven are able not only to be perfected from the Word, but also to perceive blessedness and happiness of life: for the Word, read in this earth, passes, by correspondences, even into heaven, as was shown. Thus, also, can the truths of faith be communicated to the angels of other earths. This is the reason that the Lord willed to be born here, and to become, while he was in the world, the Divine truth, that is, the Word, and afterwards the Divine Good, that is, Jehovah.) (SE 4663)
“From the earliest times” divine truths in the form of science have been handed down to the civilizations on this earth. Faith itself had to be revealed, presented, and practiced as a science. The Threefold Word is written in scientific correspondences at progressively higher levels. The Old Testament is written in natural-corporeal correspondences, The New Testament is written in natural-sensuous correspondences. The Third Testament is written in natural-rational correspondences. The Word is given for the regeneration of the people of each Church and its language and ideas are adjusted to be appropriate to each era or civilization. The Last Testament, which is called the Crown of Churches, is written in natural-rational correspondences. This level of thinking was attained by the human race when it reached the modern era of science and technology in the 17the century. The revelations of the Writings then became possible because understandable by the modern mind.
Revelation, science, and regeneration are therefore inextricably tied.
You can see the relationship between science and regeneration through the idea of rational consciousness of the Lord. The passage discussed above (SE 4663) reveals that a duality between those of the human race on this earth and all the other earths in the universe. This distinction is permanent and absolute for all creation and unchangeable, as seen by the historical fact that the Lord chose this earth for His Incarnation and that this is the only earth that possesses a written Word. The New Heavens which the Lord created out of the truths of the Second Coming are interior rational loves never before available to angels or the human race. The angels have these celestial rational loves from the Third Testament, which is the source of all their wisdom (xx).
The new rational loves out of which the new heavens are created are the highest form of conscious spirituality the human race is capable of. The race was created to be in this highest celestial state. Regeneration is the means by which the race is brought into that state. The process of regeneration consists of a duality: those of the human race who are from this earth vs. those from other earths. These two varieties of regeneration form a discrete duality. Future research will no doubt reveal more details about this duality and what it means for the evolution of the human race.
Science is a mental discipline and involves a rational type of thinking and reasoning. Science relies on observations or experimental data, and this empirical approach sometimes leads to the incorrect notion that science is sensual. But science sees not by its data but its theories! The Greek root of the word theory means to inspect or to see better. Science sees by its theories while the data are merely the objects it sees. The seeing is done by the theory, which is also called the explanation for the behavior of the data.
So, while data are sensuous “givens,” theory is rational seeing, or rational consciousness.
Clearly then, data and theory make a duality like the natural world and the spiritual world. Data is a sensuous consciousness, while theory is a rational consciousness. The human race on the other planets communicate with heaven sensuously, by observation and data, while the human race on this earth communicate with heaven rationally, by ideas and interconnections.
But what does it mean to see the Divine by ideas and interconnections?
The answer is: CORRESPONDENCES!
We know that correspondences are appearances of truth (xx). We know that truth descends from the Lord in successive degrees, each degree being a type of correspondence or appearance of truth.
We see the Divine, that is, communicate with heaven, by means of rational consciousness. Our regeneration consists of the development and evolution of our rational consciousness. Science is rational. Hence we regenerated by science, that is, by the scientifics of faith, which is theistic science. Theistic science is the process of extracting scientific knowledge from the Writings. In the Writings this process of extraction is described and commanded. The result of this extraction process is called the Spiritual Doctrine. The Spiritual Doctrine is a coherent arrangement of the spiritual meaning we extract from the Letter of the Writings. Hence the Spiritual Doctrine is theistic science by which we are to be regenerated.
The higher the form of theistic science practiced by a New Church mind, the more deeply one can be regenerated. Some are regenerated only to the first degree of the Natural Heaven. Others are regenerated to the second degree of the Spiritual Heaven. And others to the third degree of the Celestial Heaven. The theistic science of the celestial angels teaches them how to love the Lord. The theistic science of the spiritual angels teaches them how to love truth. The theistic science of the natural angels teaches them how to love the neighbor through uses.
Rational consciousness on this earth is protected by the Lord since it is necessary for regeneration. Sensuous communication with the spiritual world is not allowed, as it is on other planets. Miracles in the Age of the Second Coming are no longer allowed by the Lord because they encourage sensuous consciousness of the spiritual and close down rational consciousness. The Lord will not come in the clouds and no voice from heaven will sound, for these would destroy our rational consciousness, the only means for the race on this earth to be regenerated into a celestial mind.
The salvation of the human race on other planets is dependent on us on this planet. This is another amazing revelation! They can continue in integrity to evolve and exist in sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world, but their progress depends on our progress in rational consciousness by means of the written Word. Quoting again a piece of the passage discussed above:
Thus, also, the angels of heaven are able not only to be perfected from the Word, but also to perceive blessedness and happiness of life: for the Word, read in this earth, passes, by correspondences, even into heaven, as was shown. Thus, also, can the truths of faith be communicated to the angels of other earths. This is the reason that the Lord willed to be born here, and to become, while he was in the world, the Divine truth, that is, the Word, and afterwards the Divine Good, that is, Jehovah.) (SE 4663)
It is revealed here that “the Writings, read in this earth, passes, by correspondences, even into heaven. Thus, also, can the truths of faith be communicated to the angels of other earths.” The “truths of faith” are the results of theistic science research on this earth. These are the truths that are multiplied by the cumulative generations, as the passage about our earth indicates earlier: “divine truths are handed down by means of writings even from the earliest times, because, in this manner, the truths of faith could here be multiplied and preserved better than with others.” The multiplication and preservation of truths refers to theistic science research cumulated over the generations. These are the truths that are “communicated to the angels of other earths.” Since angels communicate with the people on their planet of origin, you can see that advances in our regeneration and science on this earth are communicated and shared with the people on all planets.
Consequently, rational consciousness on this planet feeds the sensuous consciousness of people on other planets. The entire human race, on the numberless earths in the universe and in the numberless heavens, is like a perfectly matched and integrated system, like the intricate root system that sustains of crawling plant expanding in a field or garden. But its shape is not that of a crawling plant or tree. It is the noblest of all shapes—the form of the human body. This is the shape of the entire human race viewed from genuine perspective, seen by the highest angels and confirmed by Swedenborg. Hence the human race is called the Grand Human (or Grand Man). The spiritual and psychological character of the human race is integrated but variable, matching the integration and specialization of function of the body’s organs and systems of interaction and exchange. Every shape, structure, and process in the human body, in its least detail, is a representative of the correspondential component or detail in the mind. This is obvious when you consider that NO DETAIL of physical form or operation in the body can operate or exist from another physical detail or form in the body. Every physical detail in the physical body is nothing but a physical effect caused or produced by the action of a spiritual or mental detail.
Clearly, the spiritual or mental detail must occur PRIOR to the physical detail since the latter is the product of the former.
Everything about the physical body, and everything about the physical world, is nothing by itself, unable to come into existence or to maintain its existence once created. This is just like a log that cannot become a chair by itself and from itself. An external physical force, guided by someone’s motive, combined with know how, is required to make a chair out of that log. Similarly every structure and function in the physical or natural world can only come into existence, and be maintained in that existence, by something outside the natural world, something that must be higher than it, in order to create it or be the cause of it.
Regeneration represents the process of spiritual evolution of the human race. Everything in the universe takes its shape, quality, and direction from this human process of regeneration since every detail of creation is for the sake of a human race in heaven, and this Divine goal of creation is managed and brought about by regeneration.
The regeneration of the human race proceeds through a duality between this earth and the other earths in the physical universe, as explained in the prior sub-section. The Written Word was given only on this earth and the Lord’s Divine Natural Body was born and raised on this earth. The Letter of the Writings contains the revelations of the Second Coming, which is the final completion of the creation of the human race. The Word of the Writings serves for the regeneration of humankind.
All three portions of the Word were given on this earth. Each portion of the Word marked a new evolutionary step in the consciousness of the human race. The Hebrew Word marked the elevation of the race’s consciousness from superstition and savagery to rational faith and civilization. This is the beginning of human civilization. Before then it is potentially human, but not yet human. The beginning of human is the rational (see Volume 1). This elevation from savagery into humanity was accomplished by the Letter of the Old Testament. This portion of the Word is written in corporeal correspondences.
New rational truths now became available to the human consciousness. Through these truths, the human race was conjoined to the Lord to a closer degree than was possible before. This closer relationship allowed new good to be received from the Lord, not possible before. Thus the human race evolved further with new powers, new understandings, new motives, new virtues. The development and multiplication of truths given through the Old Testament was communicated to the angels, and through them it was passed along to the human race on the other planets. This reception by the race on the other planets was different than our reception, which is rational and scientific, while theirs is sensuous. In this way, both the sensuous consciousness of the Lord and the rational consciousness of the Lord was growing and evolving in the human race.
The second evolutionary step in the consciousness of the human race, came with the Letter of the New Testament which is written in sensuous correspondences. People who started thinking with sensuous correspondences had a discrete degree higher consciousness than people still thinking with corporeal correspondences. The new thinking of the New Testament was a higher form of thinking than the old. It was more rational. The corporeal correspondences of the Old Testament allowed people to have representative ideas of God and heaven, not rational ideas. Animal sacrifices and Divine acts of miracle were required to allow people to maintain faith—such was their thinking and vision—immersed in corporeal correspondences of the Divine. This allowed a vision of heaven as another earth.
The religions immersed in corporeal correspondences have an outward worship, but not yet an internal. Internal worship cannot be based on corporeal correspondences, but only on rational correspondences. Not even the New Testament could bring a genuine vision of the Lord, but only of the Sensuous or Natural portion of the Lord called the Divine Corporeal and Natural. Sensuous correspondences are far superior to corporeal correspondences. Thinking in sensuous correspondences allows a form of representative rationality far more powerful than the form of representative rationality when thinking with corporeal correspondences.
For instance, the idea of sin and regeneration expressed in corporeal correspondences locks up their meaning at the sensorimotor level of ideas. Sin is something you act out that offends God and forgiveness is obtained by appropriate behavioral rituals such as prayers and sacrifices. At this level of consciousness, the willing and thinking is not part of the religious equation. This also shows how thinking in corporeal correspondences cannot lead to rational ideas and explanations but only to superstition and delusions. Only the crudest form of science is possible at this level of reasoning.
But when the race started thinking in sensuous correspondences from the New Testament the meaning of sin and regeneration was elevated to a more rational form, closer to the genuine rational and human. Now people could think about sin as something in their willing and thinking, and they could think of regeneration in terms of metaphors like plant growth. People could think of spiritual faith as something alike to plant growth, and so they could think of regeneration as a gradual process, not an instantaneous process of being forgiven by sacrifice or holy sprinkling by the priest. Further, they could think that God, as the Holy Spirit, was actually within their spirit, operating there, being active there in their unconscious, just as the nutrition and the heat of the sun, is operative within the plant and makes it grow and develop its powers and virtues. This was the level of thinking possible by means of sensuous correspondences.
Further, this level of thinking allowed the development of a rational science. Sensuous correspondences fall into discoverable shapes and arrangements by means of the inner operation of spirits and angels that are in communication with the individual. Science could grow gradually by cumulative little steps on the part of many generations of scientists. The discovery process itself remained a mystery at this level of thinking. It was the action of the angels within the unconscious spiritual mind that allowed the natural mind, immersed in sensuous correspondences, to formulate rational theories of science. It was not yet the rationality itself of the scientists that led to successful discoveries, theories, and applications.
Scientists and theologians, thinking in sensuous correspondences advanced until the 17th century, after which they could advance no longer. Their rationality had already taken a down turn, with a tendency for science, art, culture, and lifestyles to become atheistic, consequently irrational, delusional, fallacious, and cut off from the source of rationality and good. At this point the human race was taken to its next highest level of thinking—rational correspondences.
This was accomplished through the modern mind of Swedenborg, whose thinking was immersed in the natural-rational correspondences of his culture, history, science, and society. Swedenborg’s mind was the first of the new race called the New Church mind. His mind was to serve for the communication of the new rational loves of the Second Coming. Swedenborg’s rational consciousness was elevated above the sensuous consciousness of his contemporaries. Before he could be introduced into dual citizenship, his rational consciousness had to develop and mature so that he could give sense and coherence to the sensuous vision of the spiritual world.
Swedenborg’s direct sensuous vision or presence in the spiritual world was possible only by means of his natural-rational concepts, ideas, and understanding.
Swedenborg therefore, in miniature, recapitulates the duality of the state of the human race. Rational correspondences of the Divine are multiplied in the consciousness of the race on this earth. This is then communicated to the race on the other earths, as discussed above, infilling their sensuous correspondences with our rational correspondences. This universal process is called the Universal Church of the Lord (xx). Swedenborg was given to recreate the Universal Church within himself through his dual citizenship.
His dual citizenship means that his prior natural-rational correspondences, acquired from his efforts in science and theology, were infilled and animated by spiritual-rational correspondences when his eyes were opened to both worlds simultaneously. Swedenborg’s scientific natural-rational correspondences became suddenly infilled with spiritual-rational correspondences which was the level of his thinking when being consciously present in the spiritual world. What he saw and felt from experience, as reported in the Writings, are sensuous confirmations of rational ideas. This is the feature of the Second Coming that makes it a theistic science.
Science is the rational explanation of sensuous observations called data. The sensuous facts are therefore connected to the rational explanations. The rational explanations in the Writings could not have been a science without Swedenborg’s direct sensuous observations in the spiritual world.
Without a science, the Writings could not have been the “scientifics of faith” that is required for regeneration on this earth (as already discussed above). And without theistic science on this earth, the rest of the human race could not receive the rational truths it needs to animate people’s sensuous consciousness of the Divine. Regeneration of the entire human race has now been insured by the Lord by means of natural-rational correspondences. These are the new rational loves in which the race needs to immerse its thinking from now on, so that it can continue to elevate its rational consciousness of the Divine Human.
The evolution of consciousness in the human race is by means of rational truths which are given in progressively more interior degrees. On this planet, truths are given by means of a written scientific revelation of God and the spiritual world. Regeneration is by means of rational consciousness of the Divine. On other planets, regeneration is by means of sensuous consciousness. There is no written scientific revelations. However, their sensuous consciousness is not sufficient in itself to regenerate them. They depend on the rational consciousness evolved on this earth.
There is also an effect on us from the sensuous consciousness of the other planets. This is not shown in the diagram. Future research in theistic science may uncover the details that have been revealed for the mechanism of this interaction. These details are still to be uncovered, extracted, realized by the New Church mind as it continues to regenerate forever.
The diagram also reinforces the idea that we regenerate not just for ourselves but for others as well.
The spiritual-rational correspondences revealed to each New Church mind on this earth constitute cumulative additions to the overall consciousness of the human race. Regeneration is a process of enlightenment by means of spiritual-rational correspondences. These are called “interior truths” because their origin is not self and world but heaven and the Lord. Regeneration is progressive enlightenment to higher levels of interior rational truths called celestial truths. This enlightenment of every individual is communicated to heaven, and through it, to the rest of the human race on other planets.
We receive truths not just for ourselves but for others as well. The genuine truths each individual loves are communicated to the others throughout the universe.
Truth is not static. The written Word is not static. The truths form the Writings evolve and cumulate over the generations. The truths of the Letter are multiplied over time and history. Truth is evolutionary, meaning that it continues to elevate to ever higher levels of consciousness and thinking. Truth is compared to a seed by the Lord because He implants something from himself into our mind where it grows and is appropriated to ourself along with its benefits of life, consciousness, and feeling.
The truth that is implanted by the Lord in our mind is Divine Truth accommodated to each individual in a totally unique way. The consciousness of this truth in our mind is expressed by means of the content of our thinking. The content of our thinking is called meaning. There are three discrete levels of meaning. Each level of meaning is made of correspondences—that is, of appearances of truth accommodated. The Word is a composition in language whose content is made of expressions that are descriptions or references to correspondences.
The three levels of correspondences, or appearances of truth, are called corporeal, sensuous, and rational. As already discussed, the Threefold Word is made of these three discrete levels of correspondences, or appearances of Divine Truth from the Lord.
Correspondences in the mind provide content and organization. The New Church mind is aligned to the Divine order of creation by containing the correspondences of the Writings. These correspondences are rational correspondences, both natural and spiritual. Natural-rational correspondences refer to the content of the literal meaning of the expressions in the Writings. Spiritual-rational correspondences refer to the content of the spiritual meaning within the literal meaning. The natural content can be written out in language, but not the spiritual. When the spiritual meaning is written down in natural language, the resulting text is not spiritual but rational. The writing down process automatically translates the spiritual-rational correspondences into natural-rational correspondences.
This is why the spiritual meaning only exists in the understanding (xx). As discussed in this Chapter, the anatomical locus of the spiritual-rational correspondences is in the interior-rational mind, which is a discrete degree above the natural-rational mind. What is from above cannot exist in what is below, but it can exist within it, that is, interact functionally by correspondence relations. When you compare the content of spiritual-rational correspondences with the content of natural-rational correspondences, you are looking at the contrast between the natural and spiritual meaning. Many illustrations are given in this Volume to show what the Writings teach regarding the method of translation between natural correspondences and spiritual correspondences. It is the task of theistic science research to uncover more and more of this relation.
The achievement and significance of the Second Coming is the elevation of consciousness of the human race to the celestial level. This is the final completion of the creation of humankind. From now on the human race can be consciously present in heaven as on earth. This was indeed the state of life of the Most Ancient Church prior to its fall (xx). At that time, the generations on this earth were in direct communication and contact with the angels in heaven, by whom they were educated in spiritual things and prepared for the conscious transition from conscious life in the physical body on earth and conscious life in the spirit-body in heaven. It was not a “death” but a transition as they “arrived” home, the place they knew spiritually when still tied to the physical body.
This celestial mind had its integrity of creation and was filled with the innocence of good from inheritance and childhood. They loved the neighbor, they lived in conjugial love with one wife, they loved their children, and they admired and worshipped the Lord as a Man, seeing Him in the correspondences of nature and in the intimate events of every moment of their life. It was a grand life, happy, peaceful, wise, without the influence of any hells from hereditary evil. Their knowledge was connected to their love since the will and the understanding were united as one in their celestial mind. This means that whatever curiosity or intellectual desire came to them, they received an answer, vision, or comprehension in an instant, as it were, though not without some slight intellectual effort, which however was always successful, always coming up with the solution. Such was the life surrounding the celestial societies on earth.
The Lord maintained this environment for them as a foretaste of heaven where all things surrounding them are created instantaneously by the correspondences of the thoughts and affections of the spirits and angels at any instant in their life. Life on earth was a paradise and the Church on earth was a true containant of heaven. The Word of Divine Truth was not written down since they had no technological civilization, but a rustic one, surviving innocently from the produce of the earth that loved them as a mother.
But then it all ended with the Fall of the Most Ancient Church. The reasons and details are described in Arcana Coelestia (xx-xx). Our split-brain race then came upon the scene on this earth following The Flood. The Church of Noah were the first generations called the First Ancient Church. It received a written Word, for the sake of which the civilization on this earth developed into technological societies. When this ended, the Second Ancient Church was brought about by the Lord for the salvation of the human race. It was called the Church of Eber. The generations of this Church received the Word of the Old Testament which was written in corporeal correspondences. This was the actual level of thinking of the human race at that time. The Divine Truths laid down as corporeal correspondences elevated the level of consciousness of the human race.
People were now able to think of one God of Creation, who was invisible to the eye, yet someone with whom an individual can have a personal relationship, like Abraham and Moses and David and Isaiah.
Suddenly a new giant step was taken in the consciousness of the human race, that is, in its level of rationality. This level of rationality is determined by the level of meaning an individual has of the Divine. That is, the level of meaning an individual receives and as it is accommodated uniquely to the individual’s genius. Truth in one individual can never be identical with truth in another individual (xx). Yet all genuine truths are only from the Lord in whom infinite discrete truths make a one. Clearly then, the uniqueness of Divine Truth with each person is such that it is integrated with the truths with all other people in the human race. This is the meaning of the Universal Church of the Lord (xx).
The new split-brain race started with the generations of the First Ancient Church. How were we different than the prior human race called the Most Ancient Church? The difference was that they were born on earth a celestial mind, while we are born on earth a spiritual mind (xx). The celestial mind has a united will and understanding, as represented by their having one brain without fissure or split. The spiritual mind has a divided will and understanding, as represented by our split-brain into right (will) and left (understanding) hemispheres. This spiritual physiology was the Lord’s preparation of the new generations for their regeneration. Only a united celestial mind can live in heaven. Since we are born spiritual split-minds, we must be regenerated into a united celestial mind. The process of regeneration takes many years since we are born with numerous hereditary ties to the hells. These ties must first be voluntarily given up, before the Lord can cut them from the self, since what is loved, is part of the self, and to cut them, is to kill the self.
How are people going to compel themselves to give up what they delight in and love?
The Lord provided for a way to our voluntary cooperation in regeneration. The sensuous consciousness of heaven available to the celestial mind was cut off with the human race so that split-brain generations were incapable of any sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world. All conscious contact and communication with spirits was cut off by the Lord. The human race was plunged into spiritual darkness. This is why it is called The Fall of Humankind.
Upon the ashes of the old, a new human race emerged to inherit this earth. Every individual of this race is born in total spiritual darkness. Only the physical universe is tangible. The spiritual world, heaven, God, life after death, sin—become rational ideas. These ideas can be discounted and disproved by self-intelligence. Freedom to act is now placed in the individual. The individual becomes as a little god, knowing what it needs to know, or being able to discover what it needs to know. Generations after generations of total darkness ensued, and the human race descended into a life and existence barbarism and savagery, ignorance and superstition, filled with atrocious worship rituals to idols, incapable of understanding anything rational or spiritual.
The Old Testament Word was then given to raise the level of the human race to corporeal correspondences. This established the idea of one God with whom any individual can have a personal relationship. It established a level of thinking about sin and regeneration that was acceptable to the generations, and thus understood and loved. These were the animal sacrifices and other physical and behavioral rituals prescribed in the Old Testament. As long as people obeyed these rituals and procedures because they were Divine commanded, they were able to immerse their consciousness in corporeal correspondences. By this they were able to be regenerated.
The rational consciousness of the new human race had climbed to its first evolutionary plateau. It made a civilization possible, made of cities and nations, governed by the laws of the Land and the rituals of the Church founded on the Word. The human race was now on the comeback. The fallen darkened spiritual mind now received a new glimmer of light, able to reflect on God as real, though invisible to the senses.
Something real that is invisible to the senses!
This was the great breakthrough to a higher discrete level of thinking and consciousness. Being able to believe, know, and understand that something can exist that is not visible in this world. It was the birth of the spiritual world in the mind of the human race on earth. It was the beginning of rationality once more in the fallen race. A glimmer of true reality was now visible to the human race on earth. The era of darkness and barbarism had ended.
When this phase was fully consummated, a new step became possible for the human race. The Word of the New Testament was given. This Word was written in natural-sensuous correspondences. They are a discrete degree above natural-corporeal correspondences. The light that shines in the mind of the human race on earth had suddenly been inundated like a bright golden shower on a glorious spring morning. Now for the first time a consciousness of the Divine was available in sensuous correspondences. The human race after the fall had no other way to be regenerated than by rationality and the sciences. Sensuous consciousness could no longer serve for preparing the mind for heaven. Instead, sensuous consciousness of the spiritual had been utterly perverted by the love of self and megalomania. Children born in that state could no longer be prepared for heaven. Hence sensuous consciousness of the spiritual had to be cut off and another way provided by the Lord. This other way is regeneration by rational consciousness of the Divine.
This is accomplished gradually. First, elevation of the human consciousness to corporeal correspondences of the Divine. This was a giant step up from the earlier phase of darkness immersed in superstition and falsities. Second, elevation of the human consciousness to sensuous correspondences of the Divine. This necessitated the absolutely unique event in creation called the Incarnation. On this earth, in recorded history, the Lord was born a member of the race. This was a new creation of the Divine within the natural human body. This sensuous correspondence was a living proof and demonstration of the infinite God in a visible body on earth. This was the final proof needed by the human race on earth that God existed, that there was a reality in the afterlife, in heaven and in hell. Spiritual sight had completely returned to the human race. God and heaven were now part of official history and science.
The level of thinking of the human race when immersed in natural-sensuous correspondences was a new plateau, bringing the spiritual mind closer and closer to the celestial mind. Science became possible and cumulative. The Word of the New Testament was published and spread, being the foundation of the Church. Eventually however, men of renown came along called philosophers, scientists, and educators who started denying the new light of consciousness. Historical facts became hypotheses, and the Word became outdated religion from old. The human race was on its way to darkness again. Materialistic science and secular humanism became culturally acceptable substitutes or alternatives to sensuous understanding of spiritual truths. Since there was no sensuous perception or consciousness of the spiritual in the human race, it was only the sensuous correspondences of the New Testament that held people back from sliding into atheistic humanism and materialism.
The Lord did not however permit the human race to slide back. He effected His Second Coming by which He completed the work started at His First Coming. The Lord now provided the race with a new Word, this time a scientific Word, one written in natural-rational correspondences. This level of thinking is the level of thinking reached by modern science in the 17th century. This level of thinking is the highest possible for the natural mind. In other words, the race’s consciousness of the Divine reaches its pinnacle in natural-rational correspondences. No future revelation can be given that is higher. This is why the revelations of the Writings are called the Crown of Churches.
The Divine can now be understood by the human race in a scientific way, in a fully rational way.
All the vision that was lost through the fall, had now been regained. The new rational consciousness of the Divine allowed the next evolutionary step in the elevation of the human race to its final plateau. These historical facts are represented in the following chart.
Rutger Perizonius has made a useful study of how the regeneration of the New Church mind affects the Grand Human. His article written in 1980, was published in the restart magazine of the De Hemelse Leer, July/October 2002 issue (see Note 22). I will summarize Perizonius’ thesis.
The human race on this earth is in a special position with regards to the other earths in the universe. I have already referred to the duality between this earth and the other earths in terms of the skin of the Grand Human, which represents the regenerated human race on this earth. In other words, the skin of the Grand Human is the New Church mind. It is an ultimate for the entire Divine Truth revealed to the human race. The race on this earth is the ultimate exterior of the entire human race. The New Church mind is a celestial mind. It is the mind of the human race on this earth when it is filled with nothing but spiritual-rational correspondences. This is what constitutes the skin of the Grand Human. The Grand Human is the Universal Church, the entire regenerated human race in accumulation to eternity. The New Church mind is the ultimate foundation for the Grand Human, therefore, for the angels and the race on all the other planets.
There is therefore an interesting paradox to be resolved by theistic science, which I think is fully answered by Perizonius’ Thesis. The paradox is that on the one hand, we are the most exterior of all spirits in the human race, hence we are said to be the skin of the Grand Human; and on the other hand, we are the Crown of the Churches, and the Word of the Writings we have contains the inmost truths that the human race can receive from the Divine?. How can the inmost of all the successive Churches in human evolution, be at the same time constituted out of the portion of the human race that is the most external?
The paradox is nothing but a reflection of the principle that the last phase in external development, which is the highest phase, contains the inmost of internal things.
A fruit is the last phase of the external development of a tree, and this is its highest use. The highest use is tied to the last ultimate of development just as the ultimate goal that motivates an act contains its delight. In successive order, the last of the developing Churches is the New Church, and this it has an inmost use, more interior than the prior Churches. Indeed the New Church is called the Crown of the Churches because it is the containant for the inmost truths the human race can receive from the Lord.
You can see this relationship by considering the functions of the skin in the physical body, which it has from the functions of the skin in the Grand Human. The skin is not only an external covering and ultimate for the rest of the body, but much more. The skin enters into the inmost parts of every organ by forming its interior lining (xx). It is the skin that holds an organ in its shape and integrity. All organs are held together by the skin, which offers not only the conveniences of enclosure, protection, and shape, but also modulates and manages the highly significant exchanges that must take place between the interior parts of an organ and the exterior, exchanges necessary for the well being of the organ and its continued development. Clearly then, the spiritual function which the race on this earth provides for the rest, is that of interior truths in the New Church mind from the Writings.
The race on this earth is regenerated by the sciences and the sciences of faith, as discussed in the previous section. The regeneration on this earth must be by means of science because we are of the genius by which we are unwilling to believe and love what we do not understand with our natural mind. This is what makes us the most exterior of all the spirits in the race. The spirits not of this earth have not experienced a Fall such as the human race on this earth. They are still a one-minded race like the Most Ancient Church on this earth. Their will and understanding are united, and therefore they are a celestial mind that is in direct sensuous communication with the spiritual world. They never experienced the darkness or extinction of the ability to see and hear the things in the spiritual world. Therefore they are regenerated by a written Word but directly, by sensuous consciousness of spiritual things.
But the race on earth that was like that, ceased with the most Ancient Church, and was replaced by the current spiritual mind that is a split-mind as reflected by a split-brain. The will and the understanding have been separated in this new race for the sake of our regeneration. Henceforth the human race on this earth had to be regenerated by rational consciousness of the spiritual world and of spiritual things. This was a totally new human race. It went through an uninterrupted series of gradual elevation, by means of the Threefold Word. First, corporeal correspondences in the Old Testament; then sensuous correspondences in the New Testament. Finally, rational correspondences in the Writings. By this means the consciousness of the human race on this earth was elevated to its highest possible level from creation. Hence the New Church mind that is formed exclusively by the Writings is called the Crown of Churches.
The giving of the Letter of the Writings to the race on this earth makes it possible for the entire Grand Human to see the Lord. This was not possible prior to the completion of the Second Coming when the Lord sent out the Twelve Disciples that had followed Him in the world, but this time, in the spiritual world, with a copy of the True Christian Religion in their hand (xx). The Writings were thus promulgated throughout the Grand Human.
The human mind on this earth reached a pinnacle of intellectual development in its scientific and cultural developments leading up to the 17th century. The modern mind developed on this earth was the only human mind in the universe capable of understanding and loving the natural-rational correspondences that compose the Letter of the Writings.
As the New Church mind is reformed, enlightened, and regenerated by means of the Writings, the human race becomes empowered to receive all the Divine truths that the Lord wishes to disclose to it. The old heavens have been reformed into the new heavens for the entire future of the race. The new heavens are the interior truths of the Writings. These are the interior truths that the race can receive within its spiritual-rational correspondences, that is, within the Spiritual Doctrine.
The New Church mind extracts the Spiritual Doctrine from the Letter of the Writings, as discussed throughout this Volume. This Spiritual Doctrine is now in the mind of the regenerated of this earth, both on earth and in heaven. Thus, the Spiritual Doctrine now permeates the entire Grand Human through its layers of skin, both external and interior. Every society of the Grand Human now receives enrichment and development of life from the interior truths of the Spiritual Doctrine.
Hence it is that the paradox mentioned first, is resolved. The ultimates of the Grand Human contain the inmost conjunction with the Lord, just as the Letter of the Writings contain the inmost celestial truths about the Divine Human and from Him. Hence it is said that the Last shall be First.
Perizonius presents a number of citations to confirm his thesis regarding the regeneration of the Grand Human by means of the interior truths of the Spiritual Doctrine in the New Church mind on this earth. I can summarize them.
First there is the idea that the history of successive Churches on this earth represents the successive steps of regeneration for every individual on this earth. This idea was developed by H.D.G. Groeneveld, with full confirmation from the Writings, in a series of important articles published in the original magazine of De Hemelsche Leer in the 1930s and reproduced in the restart issues by Rutger Perizonius. The regeneration of the successive Churches on earth, culminating with the New Church, represents the progression of conjunction of the Lord with the human race, that is, with the Grand Human.
But conjunction with the Lord is by means of the spiritual sense only. Hence the inmost conjunction of the human race with the Lord is possible only through the spiritual sense of the Letter of the Writings. This spiritual sense is now available to anyone from anywhere anytime who is willing to form the New Church mind in themselves by means of the Writings exclusively. This formation of the New Church mind is the process of regeneration and goes through four phases of development matching the four phases of development of the successive Churches on this earth. The details of this progression were reviewed in the previous Section. Each phase of regeneration comes about when the previous phase is consummated and a new revelation is needed to restart the progression at a higher plateau. Each plateau of elevation of human consciousness represents a discrete degree above the prior one. As reviewed in prior sections, these phases of elevation of the human race were:
1) Sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world (Most Ancient Church)
2) Rational consciousness of the spiritual world through spiritual-rational correspondences (First Ancient Church)
(the Fall. Closing down of sensuous consciousness of the spirit. Human race (on this earth only) is plunged into darkness as to the spirit and the afterlife. Creation of the split-brain race.)
3) Rational consciousness of the spiritual world through natural-corporeal correspondences (Word of the Old Testament)
4) Rational consciousness of the spiritual world through natural-sensuous correspondences (Word of the New Testament)
6) Rational consciousness of the spiritual world through natural-rational correspondences (Word of the Writings)
The last plateau is also the final elevation of human consciousness provided for by creation. This level is the celestial mind immersed in spiritual-rational correspondences. Note that the sixth item in the listing above is the level thinking of the New Church mind formed by the Writings. The Letter of the Writings is composed entirely from natural-rational correspondences, as discussed throughout this book. After we undergo reformation sometime in adult life (see Volume 1), we are enlightened by the Lord in the ways described in this volume. Enlightenment means that we see the spiritual-rational correspondences within the natural-rational correspondences of the literal expressions. I have given a number of different illustrations and demonstrations of this method. This is the process of “scrutating” (a word used by Rutger Perizonius) the Letter of the Writings and extracting from it the spiritual meaning. I have illustrated this extraction process showing that there is nothing mysterious about it. The Writings give clear and specific directions on how to perform this process.
Yet, it is not this intellectual process itself that yields the actual spiritual meaning.
These intellectual procedures merely get us to the entry grounds of heaven, while the entrance gates are somewhere else. The actual spiritual meaning cannot be written down in natural language. This is why the Threefold Word is written in pure correspondences: corporeal (OT), sensuous (NT), rational (TT). These correspondences form a progression in the successive history of the Churches and match exactly the progression of successive levels of thinking of the New Church mind while being regenerated.
Prior to our reformation in adult life, we are in the state of consciousness that can be called the Old Testament level of thinking about the Writings. Our thinking is then immersed in corporeal correspondences in our daily life and we simply apply that level of thinking to what we read in the Writings. For instance, as children we are at first most involved with the Memorable Relations rather than with Doctrine. Why? Because Doctrine is meaningless when viewed from the perspective of corporeal correspondences. But the Memorable Relations are like wonderful stories from a far away place, one to which we are traveling and will eventually get there. Our level of thinking is then immersed in corporeal correspondences of the Lord, heaven, sin, forgiveness, and the afterlife. We read about the “as-of self” but can see it only as “the self.” We are committed to loving the Lord, but only as an omnipotent external God who rules the universe we are in. In this state we worship the Divine Corporeal of the Lord because we see the appearances of Divine Truth in corporeal correspondences.
When we begin our reformation we are in a state of fervor and new enthusiasm for the Writings. We are struck by a new realization of their sacredness, holiness, and Divinity. We begin to allow the idea in our mind that the Writings are not just merely the Word but that they are the Word principally and mainly for the New Church mind. This is the mental ferment that starts reformation. We now have started a new relationship to the Writings. Prior to this moment, we worshipped the Divine Corporeal of the Lord as the Letter of the Writings. This was a dead worship for it had no internal (xx). But now a new consciousness is dawning in the mind, like a new morning dawning on the consciousness of the human race. Now all of a sudden our thinking is immersed in natural-sensuous correspondences. We can look down upon the former level of thinking which was immersed in corporeal-sensuous correspondences and see it clearly like seeing two villages in the valley from a mountain ledge above them. The natural-corporeal correspondences puts our vision at the street level in one of the villages, while the natural-sensuous correspondences puts our vision at the level of the mountain ledge above the two villages.
This new phase of consciousness may be called the New Testament level of thinking about the Writings. As our reformation proceeds we clean up our mental concepts, our belief systems, our principles—everything in the conscious adult mind must be deconstructed and laid aside. Only new formations from the Writings are now allowed in. Nonduality is replaced by duality, without a single exception. During this process the Lord floods our mind with a conscious awareness of the many things that lurk in the corners, in the background assumptions, in the unquestioned beliefs, the unreasoned stances, the illogical justifications, the self-serving biases—everything is revealed by the Lord to our eyes like the morning sun reveals the rooftops of the houses that lay hidden during the night.
Now we no longer worship the dead Letter of the Writings. We stop looking for the Lord in the tomb. The Lord is no longer this external omnipotent God who has inspired Swedenborg’s mind to compose the Writings. The Lord is right here within. He is the Holy Spirit. Our task is to conjoin with Him. The Letter of the Writings is now alive. We begin to apply it to ourselves! What a wonderful and awesome experience when this begins! It ends the state of reformation by bringing on the morning light that breaks the darkness and splashes its mighty colors all over the sky, between the clouds, above them, and beneath them, inundating the roof tops and the high flying birds carried with wings spread and carried by the breeze. This is our new consciousness of spiritual things. It is not a view that is filled with content and detail. It is a grandiose view of Divine Truth in terms of self or the individual.
When this phase is also consummated, we enter the phase of regeneration proper. This is the last phase and may be called the Third Testament level of thinking about the Writings. Our level of thinking is now immersed in the natural-rational correspondences of the Writings. We are now occupying a higher plateau of vision than before on the same mountain. Now we are aware of a third village we could not see before, and several more villages beyond that can be seen very faintly. We can also see the ledge upon which we were standing before, while our thinking was immersed in natural-sensuous correspondences. The Lord is no longer simply the omnipotent God ruling the universe we live in (Old Testament phase of the New Church mind). The Lord is no longer simply the living Divine Human to which we are to be conjoined (New Testament phase of the New Church mind). The Lord is now our partner from within, managing our thoughts and affections through other spirits mediately, as well as by Himself immediately (Third Testament phase of the New Church mind).
Regeneration is therefore the progressive immersion of our level of thinking about the spiritual, through corporeal, sensuous, and rational correspondences, or appearances of Divine Truth uniquely accommodated to each individual.
Yet, spiritual consciousness itself is not possible by means of the natural-rational correspondences in which our thinking is immersed in this state. There must be enlightenment given by the Lord. This means that the Lord must create a spiritual organ within our mind that is capable of giving us a new perception that is not possible with our external natural mind. As I have explained above by means of anatomical diagrams, this new physiological formation is called the interior-natural mind that the Lord creates within the natural mind. This is the first time that the New Church mind becomes a genuine New Church mind. It is only a New Church mind in preparation until the interior-natural mind is formed and opened by the Lord. Now the genuine Third Testament level of thinking about the Writings can begin. The Lord activates the operation of the interior-natural mind.
This operation functions to give us a conscious awareness and perception of something new called spiritual-rational correspondences. These spiritual-rational correspondences are now seen within the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings. Now for the First time the human race on this earth can perceive the spiritual sense within the literal meaning of the Third Testament. This brand new perception is the new vision of the Lord by the human race in the Grand Human. Now for the first time the Grand Human can have a conscious sensuous vision of the Lord as the Divine Human. Therefore it is that our regeneration is not just for ourselves, but for its beneficial effects on the Grand Human.
The regeneration of the Grand Human is the greatest of all uses, and it is the Grand Human that we are commanded to love as the neighbor in the highest degree (TCR 416), in a higher degree than the Church (AC 6823). Every single thing created is therefore ultimately created for the sake of the Grand Human (SE 3420). By regenerating and forming the New Church mind in ourselves we are incorporating ourselves into the Grand Human (SE 3114). Our fate is therefore inexorably connected to the fate of the Grand Human. Our individual steps of regeneration, our individual struggles against temptations, are actually taken upon a Grand stage witnessed by the entire human race in the universe, in this world and in heaven. There may be privacy in our mind, and uniqueness, but there is no isolation or independence. We are actually part of the an integrated functioning organ or body. Each person is a unique part or segment, with a unique function that enhances the whole. The love and truth of each is communicated to everyone else. This is the mechanism by which the consciousness of the human race can be enlightened more and more by means of interior truths. Spiritual-rational correspondences are capable of interiorizing to infinity. In this manner the Lord has provided an endless progressive path for the elevation of the human race.
We are part of the Grand Human, specifically, the skin to the external body and the interior organs.
The Grand Human is the Lord’s likeness and image, and all its parts and details correspond to the human body. Therefore, we exist from the Grand Human (AC 3883). We die and resurrect as the Grand Human dies and resurrects (TCR 762). The Grand Human is the whole of which we are the part, along with the rest of our vast humanity (AC 6807). The nature of the inter-communication between the segments of the human race varies. Conscious communication or “consociation” between spirits from different planets is possible only between angels in the highest heaven, that is, human minds whose thinking is immersed in higher order interior truths within their spiritual-rational correspondences (AC 6701, 7078). The angels in the two lower heavens are separated according to their earths of origin. The thinking of these angels and angelic spirits are immersed in lower order spiritual-rational correspondences, and at this level of resolution they are not directly compatible with each other, and so do not afford a means for communication.
It is a historical irony that the Copernican revolution that started the new intellect of modern science, removed from the race the idea that earth was the center of the universe for the sake of which the world was created. This new era of science was the beginning of the long haul back to enlightenment for the human race. What I find ironical is that the end goal of regeneration or enlightenment is to restore the special position that earth occupies relative to the rest of the created universe. I already discussed the duality of this earth and the other earths as the duality between rational consciousness of spiritual things and sensuous consciousness of spiritual things.
 And the spirits were told, further, that when plain experience declares a fact, they ought not to doubt, and still less deny it, on the ground that it does not so appear to the senses, and that they do not perceive it. For even within the realm of nature there are many things that are contrary to the fallacies of the senses, but are believed because visible experience teaches them. For example, the sailing of a ship around the globe: they who suffer themselves to be carried away by the fallacies of the senses, might believe that ship and sailors would fall off when they came to the opposite side, and that the people at the antipodes could never stand upon their feet. Such also is the case with the subject before us, and with many things in the other life that are contrary to the fallacies of the senses, and yet are true-as that man has no life of himself, but from the Lord; and very many other things.
By these and other considerations, incredulous spirits could be brought to believe that the case is as we have stated it. (AC 1378)
Our role in the Grand Human is for our regenerated ideas from the Writings to infill the sensuous consciousness of the rest of humanity. Only this earth has fallen and therefore the regeneration of its people is by the evolution of a new rational consciousness by means of correspondences that progress to more interior perceptions of Divine Truth. It is within these more interior perceptions that the good from the Lord can be inserted. The Grand Human needs to be fed by the interior truths of the Writings in order to maintain its integrity of vision and life. The New Church mind is the source within the Grand Human for this interior truths it needs for its well being and continued evolution.
The rest of human kind in the Grand Human and on the other earths, knows that the Lord is Man and worship Him as Man, but they do not know that He was born a Man on this planet, and do not know that the interior truths of this Divine Human are transmitted generationally to the people on this earth by means of a written Word which is a book of science. Thus science and history on this earth proves that God became a Man. This conscious scientific awareness on our earth is needed by the rest of humanity and is transmitted to them by means of the operations within the Grand Human EU 113, 115, 116; SE 4781). Unless the new rational truths given to the New Church mind are communicated to the rest of humanity in the Grand Human, the Divine Truth on other earths is perverted and perishes (EU 120).
Now all future theistic science research will be self-consciously aware that its results are to be used not only by our institutions on this earth, but also by the immense human race spread out on the numberless earths in the universe.
Every New Church mind is to be a priest to those on the other earths who do not have a means of receiving the good from the Lord except within the rational truths. They depend on us to obtain and develop these rational ideas of the Divine Human. Without our input they become vulnerable to attack by the hells corresponding to their heavens. The New Church mind is being formed by the sciences of faith in the Writings. The New Church mind is immersed in the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings, within which are contained the spiritual-rational correspondences of the interior-natural mind. This is the highest organic arrangement created in the human mind. It is so elevated that it is capable of holding and appropriating all the Divine Truths that the human mind can hold from creation. Therefore it is said that in the New Church mind the Lord has completed the creation of the human race. This is what it means to say that the New Church mind is the Crown of Churches and shall endure forever (xx).
The Divine Corporeal of the Writings is fixed and material. But everything above it is spiritual and alive. The literal meaning of this Divine Corporeal is conveyed to our mind by means of natural-rational correspondences. Our modern educated mind is immersed in natural-rational correspondences from science and education. Therefore when we read the Writings and figure out the literal meaning of its sentences, our everyday thinking from science and education matches perfectly the level of thinking in which Swedenborg composed those sentences. The Writings are written in natural-rational correspondences because they are to convey the Divine Rational of the Lord as a ferry boat conveys its passengers across a river. The vehicle of conveyance must be suitable for its passengers or type of cargo. Only natural-rational correspondences could convey spiritual-rational correspondences, and it is the latter by which the Writings effect regeneration.
It is by spiritual-rational correspondences that the Lord regenerates the New Church mind.
Heaven is created out of spiritual-rational correspondences. We must have these in our mind to enter heaven. The purpose and mechanism of regeneration is to equip our mind with spiritual-rational correspondences. These are implanted, operated, and activated solely by the Lord. It is a Divine operation within our interior-rational mind. It is the greatest contribution the New Church mind can make to the entire humanity. This is why this earth occupies a special position in the universe and why the Lord loves this earth more than the others, so that He willed to be born here (xx). Because we can be regenerated only by the sciences, our regenerated material ideas are capable of receiving interior truths more easily than other spirits. This is Perizonius’ Thesis.
Henceforth into the endless future, the evolution of rational consciousness will continue with the human race on this earth by means of the cumulative never ending intellectual mining of the Writings, which will remain as an endless source of scientific revelations. From this ever evolving theistic research in the New Church mind, the generations of this earth will begin to accumulate the Divine Doctrine that is now with the human race through the Writings. The more interior the truths that will be received in the various New Church organizations on this earth, the closer will the race be conjoined to the Lord, and the higher the good that He can bestow upon the race universally.
The Perizonius Thesis multiplies our motivation and desire for regeneration.
When we acknowledge the Perizonius Thesis we are enlightened in a new way. We then have a distinct rational consciousness of the Grand Human in relation to ourselves.
Prior to our acknowledgement of the Perizonius Thesis, our ideas about the Grand Human are immersed in natural-rational correspondences from the Letter of the Writings. We see the Grand Human as something external to ourselves. We see it as a home around us, since we know that our heaven is situated somewhere in the Grand Human. But the instant we acknowledge the Perizonius Thesis we are enlightened in a new way, being able to rationally perceive the spiritual-rational correspondences within the meanings we had before for the Grand Human. Now the Grand Human is no longer something outside of us, like a home. We now see the Grand Human interiorly.
This new internal vision of the Grand Human comes from the acknowledgment that our willing and thinking while we are regenerating here on earth, is part of a larger process called by Perizonius “the regeneration of the Grand Human.” The thousands of private and intimate acts of our willing and thinking, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, creates a permanent universal record or trail that is conveyed to all of the human race in the heavens and on the earths.
How awesome it is for the New Church mind to consciously know and be aware that the mental choices we make in our willing and thinking every day, are not merely private and individual, but communal and universal.
Suddenly our new enlightenment shows us rationally what actually is the mechanism of our regeneration. Our individual regeneration has a higher use to serve than the use for ourselves. This one idea is redeeming, can you see it? The regeneration of the Grand Human is the greatest of all uses. All other uses are subordinate to it. Hence the use of our individual regeneration for ourselves becomes subordinate to its use for the regeneration of the Grand Human. By this relationship, the fallen race on this earth is redeemed.
There is now a new order established by the Lord which will remain forever. This permanent order is stabilized by the mutual dependency forged in the duality of this earth versus all the others, that is, the duality of sensuous vs. rational consciousness in the human race. The new consciousness of the Second Coming is the New Church mind. It is a celestial mind, redeemed and reintegrated into the Grand Human. This work of redemption was accomplished through theistic science without which the human race on earth was unwilling to believe and love the Lord. The Lord had to prove His existence to us by appearing in physical reality, science, and history. The human race was being prepared by the Lord to receive His Divine Rational within the Divine Sensuous of His Divine Natural acquired in the world and glorified.
With the giving of the Writings to the modern scientific mind on this earth, the Lord has created a rational vehicle for conveying the rest of the new Divine truths about Himself, for which He created the human race. Only be receiving and understanding these new Divine truths was it possible to effect a closer conjunction with the human race. The closer this conjunction the higher the form of good that the Lord can bestow on the race. Henceforth to unending time, theistic science research will insure an endless source of new Gifts from the Lord to the individual Churches on this earth.
Rutger Perizonius restarted the publication of De Hemelsche Leer, a Dutch magazine in the 1930s, that brought into this world a new living portion of the Divine Doctrine that is with the human race on this earth. That Doctrine was the new enlightenment available to the New Church mind the moment we apply to the Writings everything the Writings say about the Word. When the work of the midwives and architects of the Dutch Thesis was finished, that publication ceased. For a brief decade or two, the spiritual Sun was shining brightly into the New Church mind on this earth, illuminating the entire spiritual territory of the universe and our place within it. The Perizonius Thesis is a rekindling of that bright spiritual torch, symbolized by his publication of the restart magazine. His motive in restarting the magazine follows his idea that the Lord has commanded every New Church mind to be a priest unto the other earths, in the sense discussed above regarding the Perizonius Thesis.
The redemption of the human race on this earth is to continue and endure as the New Church mind which is formed by the Writings exclusively. This is our individual task. This is the commandment--that we are to make spiritual Doctrine for ourselves in order to be able to regenerate. Perizonius wants to remind us through the new De Hemelse Leer that no day must go by without “scrutating” the Writings for its spiritual sense, then arranging the spiritual sense into a coherent system called the Spiritual Doctrine. This is what effects our regeneration, nothing else.
Perizonius therefore reminds us of the double function or use that our regeneration serves. First, it serves the regeneration of the Grand Human, bringing interior rational truths from our regenerated mind, conveying them to the rest of the heavens and the earths that are in sensuous consciousness. They depend on this reception for their continued progress and integrity. Second, our regeneration serves for our own individual redemption, by which we can receive conjugial love through being united to our wife (see Volume 3).
Everyone thinks from affection, and no one without affection (AC 2480)
The Lord enlightens the New Church mind for the sake of its regeneration. Enlightenment refers to the elevation of the conscious understanding into heavenly light, which means to immerse our level of thinking in spiritual-rational correspondences. For this new power of seeing to operate, the Lord must provide an organic ultimate. He creates a new portion of the natural mind that was not there before enlightenment. This new organ within the external natural mind is called the interior-natural mind, and also, the spiritual-natural mind. The operation of this new organ gives us the new power of seeing spiritual-rational correspondences in full conscious awareness.
This method is provided by the Lord for the sake of regeneration. Our split-brain race arose after the Fall of the race on this earth. Whereas our ancestors were celestial minds, our race was a spiritual mind. They were prepared for heavenly life by direct sensuous consciousness of spiritual things—their departed relatives, angelic teachers, visions of the spiritual world, seeing spiritual-correspondences within the natural objects and events around them. For our race, a new method of preparation had to be provided since we lost the power of sensuous consciousness or perception of the spiritual world.
The Lord provided a method of regeneration by which we can form a new mind that is fit to live in heaven. This new mind is created within rational consciousness which is a state of mind that can see correspondences by rational scientific perception. Our race can only be regenerated by means of the sciences, as shown above, since our genius is immersed in material ideas. But rational consciousness is capable of sensing interior truths by means of correspondences. By developing and evolving the rational consciousness of the race on this earth, we are able to sense ever more interior truths. As a result, our race can multiply truths of the Writings endlessly and be a source for more elevated sensuous consciousness for the other part of the race that has never experienced the Fall. They depend on the development of rational consciousness in our race on this earth. And we depend on them in ways that will be uncovered from the Word by future research in theistic science.
The elevation of the New Church mind to rationally perceive spiritual-rational correspondences may be contributing to the regeneration of the Grand Human, but it is not contributing to the regeneration of the individual. This paradox is resolved when you recall that it is not Doctrine that saves but a life according to it (xx). Our individual enlightenment produces benefits to the rest of humankind, as was discussed regarding the Perizonius Thesis above. But in order for enlightenment to be beneficial to the enlightened individual, one must apply the new truths seen in enlightenment, to oneself, one’s daily and hourly willing and thinking.
We need to understand the reason for this in a scientific way.
Recall that we are the split-brain race. In other words, we are born with a divided mind. Our will and our understanding are no longer united, as they still are with the rest of the human race. The separation was provided by the Lord so that we can be enlightened with the understanding, even though we are still in hell as to our affections in the will.
The Lord provides us with new good within the truths we see in enlightenment. This new good is what creates our new self, our regenerated mind that can be prepared for heaven. It is in this new good that we will exist in heaven. Whatever is provided within this new good will be the state of our life in heaven. All the affections and delights that we need to be in angelic bliss come from this new good and are located in it. Clearly, then, if we receive this new good through enlightenment, but then do not learn to love it, it cannot remain.
The new good we receive into our mind from the Lord by enlightenment cannot remain or become operative unless we appropriate it, care for it, live it, use it, apply it.
This is why it is said that enlightenment is not sufficient for the individual to be saved. It is necessary but not sufficient. A second step is necessary to make it sufficient. This is to bake it of one’s life, that is, to apply this new good to our willing and thinking.
But the use and application of this new good is not possible as long as the old affections in the old will hold sway in our natural mind.
This is then what sets up the battle for our eternal fate in heaven or in hell:
Will we lay aside the old affections in the old will? Will we compel ourselves to monitor our willing and thinking by the hour, and desist from willing and thinking what is contrary to our enlightenment? This is the grand battle for our soul, to be fought every day, every hour and minute that the Lord keeps us tied to the physical body.
Regeneration is the daily systematic step by step procedural filtering of our moments of willing and thinking. Every item we can catch from sudden memory is a fish to be looked at and examined in heavenly light. Does it appear dark or light? Is this act of willing from heaven or from hell? There’s is no in between—this we know from enlightenment. So the judgment is simple—Yeah, Yeah or Nay, Nay. Thousands of acts of willing and thinking every day are accumulated in our book of life, in the permanent spiritual grooves of our will and understanding. Nothing whatever, no thought or desire or satisfaction, is ever unrecorded in those permanent grooves and coils that constitute the organic shape and structure of the organs that operate everything in the mind.
Once judged by the light of the truth of Doctrine in our understanding, the act of willing and thinking must be marked, isolated, watched every minute like a fanatic terrorist ready to spring out of restraints to cause mischief and mayhem. They are there in our will, but we keep them in shackles. They are there tempting us with their soothing familiarity, satisfaction, and pleasure. Regeneration is the process of keeping these hereditary affections in restraint by consciously judging them, rejecting them, and desisting from doing them again. To the extent that we do this, to that extent the Lord closes down the effective operation of the old affections, one by one. The old will is laid to rest like an old computer whose plug has been pulled permanently. The new will contains the new good we receive from the Lord within the truths we perceive, understand, and apply.
Note that for regeneration to continue and progress we must continue to feed the New Church mind with the Spiritual Doctrine. The Spiritual Doctrine in our mind must ceaselessly be cared for. It must be nurtured by means of the Letter of the Writings. The Spiritual Doctrine is our enlightenment and this cannot last unless it is applied, as just discussed. And one of the areas of application is obviously the Spiritual Doctrine. Our enlightenment continues only if it is fed on a daily basis. The daily study of the Letter of the Writings with a view to extract the spiritual sense, is what is required to continue enlightenment, which in turn is what is required to continue regeneration. And unless regeneration continues and progresses continually, it stops or is perverted. Knowing this, if we fail to study the Writings every day, are we not to repent and change our behavior?
And especially it is to be remembered that our regeneration leads to conjugial love as its central goal.
Conjugial love is the highest of all loves for the sake of which all other loves exist (xx). Angelic perfection is not possible as a single individual, which is why the heavens in the Grand Human are populated only by married couples. The married couple is the unit of life in the celestial mind. The unity between the will and the and the understanding within an individual represents the unity between the wife and the husband in an angelic couple. There are thus two types of unity, one, within the individual’s mind, and the other, within the interpersonal couple. Both form a unity, but in different ways. This unity is called the “marriage of good and truth” and is the basis of the creation of every distinct object in the universe. Conjugial love signifies this unity between good and truth, which is present infinitely in the Lord, and streams out of the spiritual Sun to create and maintain the universe.
Regeneration is therefore the integration of the individual into the Grand Human, just as the body integrates food substances into itself by digestion.
The Doctrine of the Wife is a collection of insights regarding the process of achieving internal unity with the wife (see Volume 3). The model of integration is described by the joint and reciprocal action of the heart and the lungs in the body. In the conjoint couple, the regenerating husband strives to think and act from his wife rather than acting from self, as in the unregenerate state. When the husband loves to act from the wife, then her will makes the everything in him, even as his wisdom makes the everything in her understanding. In this way they are united and make a conjoint couple even as their bodies were surgically connected so that her heart doubles in function as also his heart, and his lungs doubles in function as also her lungs. This conjoint spirit is the unit of human life. The angelic couple is the genuine celestial mind which humans were created to become after birth on an earth.
Representatives convey rational consciousness of spiritual things, while significatives convey sensuous consciousness of spiritual things. Thinking at the level of representatives is natural and by itself has no information about spiritual things. But thinking at the level of significatives is spiritual and carries information about spiritual things. The spirits from this earth are born split-minded and are regenerated by material ideas from science. Our genius is to think by means of representatives, while the spirits of other planets think by means of significatives, as did the Most Ancient Church on this earth prior to the Fall. Since we think in representatives the Lord has to provide a means for conjunction with our split-brain race that lacks sensuous consciousness of significatives. This new method of conjunction is rational consciousness, which the spirits of this earth are able to receive more easily than those of the other earths, as already discussed above.
Representatives can serve for regeneration and conjunction because they form a series by means of correspondences.
The elevation of the human race by means of the Threefold Word was discussed above. The progression involved corporeal correspondences (OT), sensuous correspondences (NT), and rational correspondences (TT). At last, the human race was capable of understanding natural-rational correspondences, at which time the Writings could be given. The Writings are written in natural-rational correspondences. When this Letter is taken up in the understanding and forms the level of our thinking, we are then immersed in natural-rational correspondences. We now have the appropriate cognitive and semantic framework to receive enlightenment, which is the reception and conscious perception of spiritual-rational correspondences within the natural-rational correspondences we have from the Letter of the Writings. This method of enlightenment is provided for the Lord for our regeneration.
We have also discussed how the sensuous consciousness of the rest of humanity interacts and makes use of the elevation of rational consciousness on this earth, and that the interaction is reciprocal, like the systolic and diastolic movement of the heart and circulation.
Regeneration of the race on this earth is by means of the elevation of rational consciousness of spiritual things. Rational consciousness is built up by the sciences and the “scientifics of faith” from the Word (xx). This build up is a psychophysiological process fed and maintained by our level of thinking. Rational consciousness evolves when our level of thinking is raised to a higher discrete degree of operation. The Threefold Word was given in a written form for the regeneration of our race on this earth. Each Word elevated the rational consciousness to a higher discrete degree by means of the correspondences in which its Letter was written. The rational consciousness of the human race on this earth was gradually elevated as people progressed in level of thinking from being immersed in corporeal correspondences (OT), to sensuous correspondences (NT), and rational correspondences (TT), as frequently mentioned in prior discussions.
That the Word is written in this style may be seen from this and similar passages:
Fruitful trees and all cedars, the wild animal and every beast, creeping things and flying fowl, let them praise the name of Jehovah (Ps. 148:9-10, 13).
The "fruitful tree" denotes the celestial man; the "cedar" the spiritual man. The "wild animal" and "beast" and "creeping thing" are their goods, as in the history before us; the "flying fowl" is their truths; from all of which they can "praise the name of Jehovah." By no means can the wild animal, the beast, the creeping thing, and the bird do this. In profane writings such things may be said by hyperbolism, but there are no hyperbolisms in the Word of the Lord, but things significative and representative. (AC 776)
“Things significatives” and “things representative” are the correspondences in which the Word is written. By immersing their thinking in the correspondences of their Word, the successive generations were able to cumulate and develop a scientifics of faith by which they were conjoined with heaven and could be thereby regenerated. The rational consciousness of the race reaches its highest discrete degree of development or elevation, when we immerse our thinking in the natural-rational correspondences of the Third Testament. We thereby prepare our mind with appropriate external rational containants that can receive within themselves more interior or higher correspondences from heaven. These are called spiritual-rational correspondences and are capable of being interiorized and perfected to eternity. Hence it is that the Writings are of a character to contain interior truths in an endless Divine series.
But rational consciousness of spiritual things is not perfected by the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings. We are therefore commanded in the Writings that we extract the Spiritual Doctrine from the Letter, and then apply this new interior understanding to our willing and thinking. This process of extracting the spiritual sense from the Letter of the Writings is the vehicle itself of regeneration for the New Church mind.
This process of rational consciousness begins by acknowledging that the literal meaning of the expressions in the Writings are representatives and significatives. This acknowledgment is to be based on confirmation in the Letter of the Writings. One illustration is given above in the sentence “there are no hyperbolisms in the Word of the Lord, but things significative and representative.” And also that “All the historicals of the Word are significative and representative” (AC 1189). In other words, all the Writings contain only things representative and significative. And further: “In the internal sense of the Word, are signified spiritual things, which are truths” (AC 1678). In other words, the spiritual truths in the Writings are expressed in the internal sense of its expressions and sentences. And again: “All things in the sense of the letter of the Word are representative and significative of what is in the internal sense” (AC 3349).
Clearly, then, the elevation of rational consciousness of the race on this earth is henceforth going to be effected solely by means of the spiritual sense of the Letter of the Writings.
The Most Ancient Church, which was celestial, looked upon all earthly and worldly, and also bodily things, which were in any wise objects of the senses, as being dead things; but as each and all things in the world present some idea of the Lord's kingdom, consequently of things celestial and spiritual, when they saw them or apprehended them by any sense, they thought not of them, but of the celestial and spiritual things; indeed they thought not from the worldly things, but by means of them; and thus with them things that were dead became living. (AC 1409)
This is the perception we lost with the Fall of the human race on this earth. The new split-brain spiritual mind was no longer capable of seeing the celestial things within the natural objects around us. The only thing we can do is to have a rational understanding of interior truths, but not a direct seeing of spiritual things. Our level of conscious thinking cannot escape the natural mind which is fallen, that is, which is not capable of perceiving the spiritual world and the things in it. They could directly perceive, with sensuous consciousness, the celestial and spiritual things within the natural so that “with them things that were dead became living.” But we can only achieve this state of spiritual awareness or consciousness by means of progressively more interior correspondences. These progressively more interior correspondences are conveyed to our understanding by means of representatives and significatives by which the Writings are written.
 The things thus signified were collected from their lips by their posterity and were formed by them into doctrinals, which were the Word of the Ancient Church, after the flood. With the Ancient Church these were significative; for through them they learned internal things, and from them they thought of spiritual and celestial things. But when this knowledge began to perish, so that they did not know that such things were signified, and began to regard the terrestrial and worldly things as holy, and to worship them, with no thought of their signification, the same things were then made representative. Thus arose the Representative Church, which had its beginning in Abram and was afterwards instituted with the posterity of Jacob. (AC 1409)
After the Fall, the remnants of the old and the forerunners of the new race were called the Ancient Church. That race was a transitional race between the old and the subsequent generations. The Word of the Ancient Church were written in significatives, which means that they were able to immerse their thinking in the spiritual things that significatives denote or refer to. This was thus a direct sensuous perception of spiritual things. But the brand new split-brain generations could no longer do this. The Word that they received were written in representatives. The consequence of this was that spiritual things could no longer be seen in significatives, which now turned into mere representatives. They became a “Representative Church, which had its beginning in Abram and was afterwards instituted with the posterity of Jacob.”
The “posterity of Jacob” received the Word of the Old Testament through Moses and the prophets, a process that took several centuries of history and evolution.
From this it may be known that representatives had their rise from the significatives of the Ancient Church, and these from the celestial ideas of the Most Ancient Church.
 The nature of representatives may be manifest from the historicals of the Word, in which all the acts of the fathers, Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, and afterwards those of Moses, and of the judges and kings of Judah and Israel, were nothing but representatives. Abram in the Word, as has been said, represents the Lord; and because he represents the Lord, he represents also the celestial man; Isaac likewise represents the Lord, and thence the spiritual man; Jacob in like manner represents the Lord, and thence the natural man corresponding to the spiritual.
 But with representatives the character of the person is not considered at all, but the thing which he represents; for all the kings of Judah and of Israel, of whatever character, represented the Lord's kingly function; and all the priests, of whatever character, represented His priestly function. Thus the evil as well as the good could represent the Lord and the celestial and spiritual things of His kingdom; for, as has been said and shown above, the representatives were altogether separated from the person. Hence then it is that all the historicals of the Word are representative; and because they are representative, it follows that all the words of the Word are significative, that is, that they have a different signification in the internal sense from that which they bear in the sense of the letter. (AC 1409)
Note the sentence: “Because they are representative, it follows that all the words of the Word are significative, that is, that they have a different signification in the internal sense from that which they bear in the sense of the letter.” (AC 1409) From this we can know that the Word of the Writings are written in natural representatives within which are spiritual significatives. We cannot see the spiritual things in the significatives except by rationally extracting them from the natural representatives.
The natural representatives in the Writings are called its Divine Corporeal and Sensuous. The significatives within them are called its Divine Rational.
Enlightenment refers to perceiving the significatives within the representatives. This perception is a rational perception, a rational consciousness. The level of this rational consciousness matches the level of the interior truths we perceive. The level of our enlightenment is determined by the degree of our progress in regeneration, which is gradual from reformation as an adult, all the way to the end of our life in the body, but with a difference after we reach old age (see Volume 4).
The vehicle for the elevation of rational consciousness is therefore our thinking with correspondences that are progressively higher in the series that lead to Divine Truth.
As in the world it is quite unknown that there is a correspondence of heaven or the Grand Man with all things of man, and that man comes forth and subsists therefrom, so that what is said on the subject may seem paradoxical and incredible, I may here relate the things that experience has enabled me to know with certainty. (AC 3884)
It is said here that it is “experience that enables us to know with certainty.” Experience here refers to direct sensuous observation of facts for the purpose of understanding their causes. This confirms that the split-brain race on this earth can only be regenerated by the sciences of the spiritual, or theistic science.
Swedenborg’s direct sensuous consciousness of spiritual phenomena constitutes the scientific observations by the senses that we require in order to be able to believe, understand, accept, and appropriate by love, all the spiritual things that our mind needs in order to be prepared successfully for life in heaven.
The rational consciousness by which we are regenerated is based in its foundation and interior origin in sensuous consciousness of the rest of the human race that has not fallen. Swedenborg’s dual citizenship was necessary if our race was to get hold of scientific sensuous evidence of the existence of heaven and hell. It is not necessary, possible, or healthy for each of us, or even many of us, to have access to the sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world that Swedenborg enjoyed. This would weaken and dissolve the development of rational consciousness which we must have in order to receive the interior truths out of which our heaven is constructed. Hence the Lord does not permit this kind of weakening effect that would be spiritually injurious.
It is the same with the Lord’s birth on this earth. It is a historical, scientific, and legal event—yet unique that cannot repeat itself. It is not necessary that it be repeatable for us to know it with certainty because it is a scientific and historical event. We do not require that the Second World War repeat itself in order to accept it as a scientific and historical event. In fact, all events are unique, so that science is the understanding of unique events. Repeatable events are actually abstractions of unique events when the distinguishing features are deliberately omitted or ignored in grouping together a class of events. Science is the rational organization of unique events and involves the construction of explanatory accounts for those events.
The various facts of an event are located in the external memory, while the rational account of their interrelations is located in the upper portions of the natural mind. The lower portion of the mind is called external while the upper portion is called internal. This is a relative usage since what is internal in the natural mind is more external than what is in its interior. This is like the function of the skin in the body. The external skin on the surface of the body has an internal lining. This internal lining is still external relative to the skin lining around the organs. But the outer covering of the liver is different from the covering that wraps around the internal cells of the liver. And of course, the inmost lining of the skin in all the organs or cells is still physical, and therefore external relative to the skin and organs of the spirit-body within the physical.
It is not necessary for us to have lived in the times of the Lord’s presence on earth, in order to believe with certainty that He had come. All that is necessary is that we believe rationally in the evidence of history and science. Similarly, we need to believe or acknowledge rationally that Swedenborg did indeed have the experiences and observations that he describes in the Writings.
This acknowledgement allows us to have certainty as long as we see the Writings as theistic science.
Once, when the interior heaven was opened to me, and I was conversing with the angels there, I was permitted to observe the following phenomena. Be it known that although I was in heaven, I was nevertheless not out of myself, but in the body, for heaven is within man, wherever he may be, so that when it pleases the Lord, a man may be in heaven and yet not be withdrawn from the body. In this way it was given me to perceive the general workings of heaven as plainly as an object is perceived by any of the senses. . (AC 3884)
Again, note that what establishes the certainty of the scientific evidence Swedenborg presents is his ability “to perceive the general workings of heaven as plainly as an object is perceived by any of the senses.” But scientific evidence exists at different levels of rational consciousness and thinking. When the mind is immersed in sensuous correspondences of the Divine, scientific evidence or proof consists in sensory measurements or observations. This is why the Lord tells us through Thomas, that we
A sensual man finds it impossible to believe that such is the state of man after death, because he cannot comprehend it; for a sensual man must needs think naturally even about spiritual things; therefore, anything that does not appeal to his senses, that is, that he does not see with his bodily eyes and touch with his hands (as is said of Thomas, John 20: 25, 27, 29) he denies that it is. (HH 461)
The surface content of the sciences remain in the external memory. It is the corresponding activity of the internal memory that stays with us in the afterlife.
Seeing that men after death are in the interior memory (which has belonged to their rational) therefore those who in the world have been preeminently skilled in languages, cannot call forth even one syllable of them; and they who have been preeminently versed in the sciences cannot call up anything of their knowledges, and are sometimes more stupid than others. But whatever they have imbibed by means of the languages, or of the sciences, this they bring forth into use, because it has formed their rational. The rational they had so procured is that from which they think and speak. He who has imbibed falsities by means of the languages and sciences, and has confirmed himself in them, reasons from nothing but falsities; but he who has imbibed and confirmed truths, speaks from the truths. (AC 2480)
The literal content of the knowledges we have from culture and the sciences are no longer with us—we “cannot call up anything of our knowledges.” But the rational mind that we formed by means of these knowledges is present and operative in the spirit-body. This is the rational that we have “procured from which we think and speak.” This level of thinking is called the natural-rational and is the upper portion of the natural mind we bring with us into the afterlife. It is the level of thinking when our consciousness is immersed in natural-rational correspondences of truth. It is the level at which the literal of the Writings is composed.
Those who have knowledges of the sciences in an abstract sense that does not involve their use for a noble purpose, have not developed their rational mind and are “stupid” in the afterlife because their rational is inoperative. Only the rational is capable of containing genuine spiritual and celestial, consequently human, ideas. Spirits who are “stupid” are therefore unable to be instructed in spiritual things, which alone can support heavenly life.
The Writings are a source for scientific facts about spiritual phenomena. They are therefore a theistic science source book in which we find scientific revelations. One of many illustrations can be given, as in the following passage about the relation between our respiration and heartbeat and that of the Grand Human:
Four workings or operations were then perceived by me. The first was into the brain at the left temple, and was a general operation as regards the organs of reason; for the left side of the brain corresponds to rational or intellectual things, but the right to the affections or things of the will.
 The second general operation that I perceived was into the respiration of the lungs, and it led my respiration gently, but from within, so that I had no need to draw breath or respire by any exertion of my will. The very respiration of heaven was at the time plainly perceived by me. It is internal, and for this reason is imperceptible to man; but by a wonderful correspondence it inflows into man's respiration, which is external, or of the body; and if man were deprived of this influx, he would instantly fall down dead.
 The third operation that I perceived was into the systole and diastole of the heart, which had then more of softness with me than I had ever experienced at any other time. The intervals of the pulse were regular, being about three within each period of respiration; yet such as to terminate in and thus direct the things belonging to the lungs. How at the close of each respiration the alternations of the heart insinuated themselves into those of the lungs, I was in some measure enabled to observe. The alternations of the pulse were so observable that I was able to count them; they were distinct and soft.
 The fourth general operation was into the kidneys, which also it was given me to perceive, but obscurely. From these things it was made manifest that heaven or the Grand Man has cardiac pulses, and that it has respirations; and that the cardiac pulses of heaven or the Grand Man have a correspondence with the heart and with its systolic and diastolic motions; and that the respirations of heaven or the Grand Man have a correspondence with the lungs and their respirations; but that they are both unobservable to man, being imperceptible, because internal.
These scientific revelations are rational accounts that expand the understanding of the human race of spiritual truths about the universe and its foundations. Future theistic science research will be able to build on this account and make use of it for science and culture on this earth. This evolving theistic science will elevate the consciousness of the race on this earth, and this will be communicated to the other earths and throughout the numberless societies of the Grand Human.
THE CONJUNCTION OF THE BODY AND THE SPIRIT IN MAN IS THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF HIS HEART AND LUNGS, AND A SEPARATION TAKES PLACE WHEN THESE MOTIONS CEASE.
That this may be comprehended it is necessary for some things to be premised which may as it were bear a torch in advance. The truth will appear from the following propositions:
1. The spirit of man is equally a man.
2. It has equally a heart and pulsation therefrom, and lungs and respiration therefrom.
3. The pulsation of its heart and the respiration of its lungs flow into the pulsation of the heart and the respiration of the lungs with man in the world.
4. The life of the body, which is natural, exists and subsists through that influx, and ceases by its removal, thus by the separation.
5. Man then from natural becomes spiritual.
1. The spirit of man is equally a man.
Of this you will find many proofs in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 73-77, 311-316, 445-452, 461-469); also that every man as to his interiors is a spirit (n. 432-444).
To this it may be added, that everything spiritual is in its essence man, thus everything of love and wisdom that proceeds from the Lord, for this is spiritual. Everything spiritual, or everything that proceeds from the Lord, is man because the Lord Himself, who is the God of the universe, is Man, and from Him nothing can proceed except what is like, for the Divine is not changeable in itself and is not extended, and that which is not extended, wherever it may be, is such as it is. From this is the Divine omnipresence.
Man's conception of an angel, of a spirit, and of himself after death, as something like ether or air without a human body, comes from the conception of the sensual learned, which is derived from the term spirit, as meaning the breath of the mouth, also from their being invisible, and never evident to the sense of sight; for the sensual think solely from the sensual-corporeal and from what is material, and also from certain passages of the Word not spiritually understood. Yet they know from the Word that although the Lord was a man as to flesh and bones, still He became invisible to the disciples, and passed through closed doors. They know also from the Word that angels have been seen by many as men, who did not assume a human form, but they manifested themselves in their own form before the eyes of their spirits which were then opened.
That man, therefore, may no longer remain in a fallacious idea respecting spirits and angels and his own soul after death, it, has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit, and to permit me to converse face to face with angels and men that have died, and to observe them and touch them, and to say many things about the unbelief and fallacies of men who are still living. With these I have had daily association from the year 1744 to the present time, a period of nineteen years. From all this it can be seen that the spirit of man is equally a man.
 2. The spirit of man has equally a heart and pulsation therefrom, and lungs and respiration therefrom.
This shall first be confirmed by experience, and afterwards by reason.
By experience:-The angelic heaven is divided into two kingdoms, one called celestial and the other called spiritual. The celestial kingdom is in love to the Lord, and the spiritual kingdom is in wisdom from that love. Heaven is thus divided because love and wisdom in the Lord and from the Lord are two distinct things, and yet are united; for they are distinct as heat and light from the sun are, as has been said above.
The angels of the celestial kingdom, because they are in love to the Lord, have relation to the heart of heaven; and the spiritual angels, because they are in wisdom from that love have relation to the lungs of heaven; for the whole heaven, as has been said above, is in the Lord's sight as one man. Moreover, the influx of the celestial kingdom into the spiritual kingdom is like the influx in man of the heart into the lungs. Thus there is a universal correspondence of heaven with these two motions, that of the heart and that of the lungs, in every one. I have also been permitted to learn from the angels that their arteries have a pulsation from the heart, and that they breathe the same as men in the world do; also that with them the pulsations vary with the states of love, and the respiration with the states of wisdom. They themselves have touched their wrists, and have told me so, and I have often perceived the respiration of their mouth.
[] As the entire heaven is divided into societies according to the affections which belong to love, and as all wisdom and intelligence is according to these affections, so each society has its peculiar respiration distinct from the respiration of any other society, likewise its peculiar and distinct pulsation of the heart; therefore no one can enter from one society into another that is separated from it, nor can any one descend from a higher heaven into a lower, or ascend from a lower into a higher, without causing the heart to labor and the lungs to be oppressed; least of all can any one ascend from hell into heaven; if he ventures to ascend he pants like one in the agony of death, or like a fish lifted from the water into the air.
[] The most general difference in respiration and pulsation is according to the idea of God, for from that idea the differences of love and of wisdom therefrom spring; and for this reason a nation of one religion cannot approach nations of another religion. I have seen that Christians could not approach Mohammedans on account of the respiration. The most easy and gentle breathing is enjoyed by those who have the idea that God is Man; and from the Christian world those who have the idea that the Lord is the God of heaven; while those who deny His Divinity, as the Socinians and Arians do, have a hard and rough breathing. As the pulsation makes one with the love of the will, and the respiration makes one with the wisdom of the understanding, therefore those who are about to come into heaven are introduced into angelic life by harmonious respirations; and this is effected in various ways; and from this they come into interior perceptions and into heavenly freedom.
[] By reason:-The spirit of a man is not a substance that is separate from his viscera, organs, and members, but it cleaves to them in close conjunction; for the spiritual goes along with every fiber of these from outermosts to inmosts; and thus with every fiber and filament of the heart and lungs; consequently, when the bond between man's body and spirit is loosed the spirit is in a form like that in which the man was before; there is only a separation of spiritual substance from material. For this reason the spirit has a heart and lungs the same as the man in the world, and for the same reason it has like senses and like motions, and also speech; and there can be no senses or motions or speech without heart and lungs. Spirits also have atmospheres, but spiritual. How greatly, then, are those deceived who assign to the soul a special seat somewhere in the brain or in the heart, for the soul of man, which is to live after death, is his spirit.
 3. This pulsation of its heart and the respiration of its lungs flow into the pulsation of the heart and the respiration of the lungs with man in the world.
This, too, must be confirmed by experience and afterwards by reason.
By experience:-It is not known that during his life in the world man has a double respiration of the lungs, and a double pulsation of the heart; because it is not known that man in regard to his interiors is a spirit, and that a spirit is equally a man. But it has been granted to perceive sensibly that these two motions exist continually in man, and that these two motions of the spirit flow into the two motions of the body.
I was once admitted into these motions when certain spirits were with me, who from a strong power of persuasion were able to deprive the understanding of the faculty of thinking and at the same time to take away the ability of breathing. That this might do me no harm I was brought into the respiration of my spirit, which I then plainly felt to be harmonious with the respiration of the angels of heaven. And from this it was clear that heaven in general and every angel there in particular breathes; also that so far as the understanding suffers, the respiration also suffers; for the power to persuade that is possessed by some evil spirits in the spiritual world at the same time suffocates, consequently this power is called suffocative in reference to the body, and destructive in reference to the mind.
On one occasion it was also granted to the angels to control my respiration, and to diminish and gradually withdraw the respiration of my body until only the respiration of my spirit remained, which I then sensibly perceived. Moreover, I have been in the respiration of my spirit whenever I have been in a state like that of spirits and angels, and whenever I have been raised up into heaven; and oftentimes I have been in the spirit and not in the body, at other times both in the body and in the spirit. See the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 449) for an account of the removal of the animation of the lungs and of the body, while the animation of my spirit remained.
[] By reason:-From these living experiences it can be seen that since every man enjoys a double respiration, one within the other, he has the power to think rationally and also spiritually from his understanding, and by this is distinguished from the beasts; also that as to his understanding he can be enlightened, raised up into heaven, and respire with the angels, and thus be reformed and regenerated. Moreover, where there is an external there must be an internal, and the internal must be in every action and in every sensation; the external supplies the general and the internal the particular, and where there is no general there is no particular.
For this reason there is in man both an external and an internal systolic and animative motion, and external which is natural an internal which is spiritual. And thus the will together with the understanding can produce bodily motions, and the understanding with the will can produce bodily sensations. General and particular pulsations and respirations exist also in beasts but with them both the external and internal are natural, while with man the external is natural and the internal is spiritual. In a word, such as the understanding is such is the respiration, because such is the spirit of man; and the spirit is what thinks from the understanding and wills from the will.
That these spiritual operations may flow into the body and enable man to think and will naturally, the respiration and pulsation of the spirit must be conjoined to the respiration and pulsation of the body, and there must be an influx of one into the other; otherwise no transfer is effected.
 4. The life of the body, which is natural, exists and subsists through that influx, and ceases by its removal, thus by the separation.
A man after death is just as much a man as before death, except that after death he becomes a spirit-man, for the reason that his spiritual is adjoined to his natural, or the substantial of the spirit to the material of the body, so fitly and unitedly that there is not a filament or fiber or smallest thread of them in which the human of the spirit is not in union with the human body. And as the life of the whole and the life of the parts depend solely on these two most general motions, the systolic motion of the heart and the respiratory motion of the lungs, it follows that when these motions in the body cease, natural things, which are material, are separated from the spiritual things, which are substantial, because they are no longer able to do the same work together; and in consequence the spiritual which is the essential active withdraws from the particulars acted upon, which are natural, and thus the man becomes another man. This, therefore, is the death of man and this is his resurrection, about which some things from living experience may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 445-452, 453-460, 461-469).
[] It is known that when respiration ceases man seems to be dead, and yet man is not dead until the motion of the heart also ceases, and this commonly takes place later. That until this the man is not dead is shown by the life of infants in the womb, and by the life of adults in swoon or suffocation, in which the heart maintains its contractions and dilations, while the lungs are at rest, and yet they live, although without sensation and motion, thus without any consciousness of life. The reason of this is that the respiration of the spirit then continues, but there is no corresponding respiration of the body, and thus no reciprocation between the two vital motions, that of the heart and that of the lungs; and without correspondence and reciprocation there is no sensitive life, neither is there any action.
What is true of the natural life of man's body is true also of the spiritual life of his mind. If the will and understanding, or love and wisdom, do not act conjointly, no rational operation can take place. If the understanding or wisdom withdraws, the will with its love becomes as it were dead; nevertheless, it continues to live, though with no consciousness of itself, so long as the understanding only ceases to act, as takes place when memory fails. But it is otherwise when the will or love recedes; then all is over with the mind of man, as all is over with him when the heart stops beating. That the separation of the spirit from the body generally takes place on the second day after the last struggle I have been permitted to know from the fact that I have talked with some deceased persons on the third day after their decease, and they were then spirits.
 5. Man then from natural becomes spiritual.
A natural man is wholly different from a spiritual man, and a spiritual man from a natural man; the difference is so great that they cannot be given together. One who does not know what the spiritual is in its essence may believe that the spiritual is only a purer natural, which in man is called the rational; but the spiritual is above the natural, and as distinct from it as the light of midday from the evening shadow in the time of autumn. The distinction and the difference can be known only to one who is in both worlds, the natural and the spiritual, and who can change alternately from one to the other, and be in one and then in the other, and by reflection can look at one from the other.
From this privilege, which has been granted to me, I have learned what the natural man is and what the spiritual man is who is a spirit. That this may be known it shall be described briefly.
In all things of his thought and speech, and in all things of his will and action, the natural man has as his subject matter, space, time and quantity; with him these are fixed and permanent, and without them he can have no idea of thought and speech from it, and no affection of the will and action from it. The spiritual man or the spirit does not have these as subjects, but only as objects.
[] The reason is that in the spiritual world the objects are altogether similar to those in the natural world; there are lands, plains, fields, gardens and forests, houses containing rooms, and in them all useful things; moreover, there are garments for women and for men, such as are in the world; there are tables, food, and drinks, such as are in the world; there are also animals both gentle and destructive; there are spaces and times, and numbers and measures. All these things have such a resemblance to the things that are in the world that to the eye they cannot be distinguished, and yet all these are appearances of the wisdom belonging to the understanding of angels, and perceptions of loves belonging to their wills; for these objects are created in a moment by the Lord, and in a moment are dissipated.
They are permanent or not permanent according to the constancy or inconstancy of the spirits or angels in the things of which they are the appearances. This is why these things are merely objects of their thoughts and affections, while their subjects are those things of which these are the appearances, which, as has been said, are such things as relate to wisdom and love, thus spiritual things. For example, when they see spaces they do not think of them from space; when they see gardens containing trees, fruits, shrubs, flowers, and seeds, they do not think of these from their appearance but according to the things from which these appearances spring; and so in all other cases.
[] In consequence of this the thoughts of the spiritual, and their affections also, are wholly different from the thoughts and affections of the natural, and so different that they transcend natural ideas and do not fall into them except in some measure into the interior rational sight, and this in no other way than by withdrawals or removals of quantities from qualities. This shows clearly that the angels have a wisdom that is incomprehensible and also ineffable to the natural man. As their thoughts are such so their speech is such, and so different from the speech of men that they do not agree in a single expression. The same is true of their writing; although as to its letters this resembles the writing of men in the world, no man in the world can understand it. Every consonant in their writing expresses a distinct meaning, every vowel a distinct affection. The vowels are not written, but pointed. Their manual employments, which are innumerable, and the duties of their callings, likewise differ from the employments and duties of natural men in the world, and cannot therefore be described in the terms of human language.
[] From these few instances it can be seen that the natural and the spiritual differ from each other like shadow and light. Nevertheless, there are, various differences; there are some who are sensual-spiritual, some who are rational-spiritual, and some celestial-spiritual, also there are the spiritual evil and the spiritual good. The differences are according to the affections and the thoughts therefrom, and the appearances are according to the affections. From all this it is clear that man from natural becomes spiritual as soon as the. lungs and heart of the body cease to be moved, and by this means the material body is separated from the spiritual body.
(D. WIS 7)
End Notes and References
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 www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/nfile2.htm
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 www.TheisticScience.org
W. F. Pendleton Topics From the Writings (Academy, 1928)
Leon James. “My Pre-Swedenborgian Discoveries and Inventions (1960-1980)”
Mark Carlson. “Evolution, the Limbus, and Hereditary Evil (Part 2)” New Church Life June 1990, pp.259-275.
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”
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.)
Leon James “Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg, or Ritual, Faith, and Theistic Science: The Three Phases of Religious Behavior”
Leon James “Religious Behaviorism”
Leon James “De Hemelsche Leer--Part 1--Degrees of Consciousness”
Leon James “Spiritual Geography--Graphic Maps of Consciousness for Regeneration”
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:
Dr. James’ Student Reports on Swedenborg are listed in this directory:
Leon James, “Genes of Consciousness: Spiritual Genetics for Regeneration”
Ian Thompson, Foundations of Theistic Science The Theory of Spirit, Mind and Nature from Theism (containing several articles)
Leon James, “Vertical Community”
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”
Leon James, “Affective and Cognitive Resistance to a More Healthy Lifestyle
Leon James, “Notes on the Doctrine of the Wife:
See our Web site at www.DrDriving.org
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 www.aloha.net/~dyc/articles/christ.htm
Leon James. “Drivers Behaving Badly: DBB Ratings”
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.
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” www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/tec.html
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“
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” www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss/temptations.html
Leon James “Self-Witnessing the Threefold Self”
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 newearth.org/user/touchstone/
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 www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan1.html 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)
Rutger Perizonius. “The Regeneration of the Grand Man.” De Hemelse Leer July/October 2002 Issue, pp. 135-151.
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 www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan2.html 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 www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan8.html )
Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The Internal Sense of the Chapter on Ecclesiastical and Civil government in “The New Jerusalem And Its Heavenly Doctrine. (March 1930)” Discovered recently and published in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, pp. 83-91. Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague) (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8 and 9; Chapter 8 Section 3)
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.
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 www.newchurch.org/faq/indepthfaq/swedenbNearDeathExperience.html 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: http://www.newchurchissues.org/SR/hlo74.htm )
(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 www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan8.html )
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)
Articles by Leon James involving the use of the ennead matrix:
The Genes of Consciousness:
The Dimensions of the Mind According to Emanuel Swedenborg:
Theistic Science: Introduction and Overview
The Ennead Matrix of the Threefold Self: Affective, Cognitive, Sensorimotor:
Overcoming Objections to Swedenborg's Writings Through the Development of Scientific Dualism:
A Conceptual Framework for Explaining Information Behavior
The Will and Understanding:
The Heart and Lungs:
Good and Truth
Comprehensive Discourse Analysis and Its Applications:
Phases of Development in Becoming Internet Literate:
The Ennead Matrix In Psychotherapy:
The Threefold Self:
Symbols and Drawings:
Topical Organization in Social Psychology:
Titles: Psychological Characteristics And Document Retrievability :
Resistance to Health Behaviors:
Language Teaching :
Cross-cultural Atlas of Affective Meanings:
Swedenborg's Theory of Trisubstantivism:
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 in an exchange of correspondence 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.
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: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/leon.html
A directory of articles and books by Leon James, with full text access is available here: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/leonarticles.html
For comments and questions, I welcome your email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Web address of the latest version of this document is:
The Web site includes a search engine and a key to the Bible. It also carries many articles on Swedenborg and the New Church.