Selections from Theistic Psychology: The Science of Immortality
"Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech" is a higher concept in rational thinking than "Divinely inspired writings." If a writer is Divinely inspired, maybe another writer is too. And then we have a multitude of writers who claim that they are Divinely inspired, and no doubt sincerely believe so, and others also believe it. But this type of reasoning is far below in rationality to that which sees that Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech filtered down to earthly minds, and from there written down by the writer as one writes down someone's dictation. The idea of "Divine Dictation" is higher than the idea of "inspired revelator"-- higher in the sense of being more scientific in the explanation of the process. "Inspired" is a vague explanation, while "dictation" is a direct explanation.
Swedenborg did not consciously receive dictation from the Divine Human though he reports that the Divine Human was present with him while writing out the text of the Writings. In some places he records that the Divine Human did not allow him to go further with some explanations or descriptions. He also states that all that he has written down are not objectively his sentences but the dictation of the Divine Human with him. In other words, Swedenborg was conscious of the fact that he was writing Divine Speech. He knew therefore that the sentences he wrote out contained infinite Divine truths that his mere human mind could not even approach to understand. He knew that this infinite truth is contained within the correspondences of the literal he wrote out in Latin.
And yet it was not a process of conscious dictation. Swedenborg subjectively felt himself to labor intellectually under the effort of composing the sentences as he was striving to express what the Divine Human wanted him to write out. He would have proceeded and produced something totally different, and invalid, had he pursued his own intelligence regarding how he should write about the required topics. But for Swedenborg to merely take dictation, word for word, would have been an instance of what is called "automatic writing" by those who are involved in spiritism (see Section xx). It is a mindless thing to do and is demeaning of human intelligence and dignity, which is to speak and write according to one's own mind, not the mind of another.
Divine Speech formed by correspondence the sentences that Swedenborg wrote down as-if from himself. There are people who have examined the photographs of the original handwritten folios written by Swedenborg that are preserved in London and Stockholm museums. I have seen some of the photographic reproductions. It is quite evident that Swedenborg wrote some things that he later crossed out, and he sometimes inserted new text within what he had already written. In fact he abandoned his first attempt at presenting the Writings to the world. He wrote 6 volumes before he abandoned the entire project and began again from scratch. I have examined these volumes which were published posthumously by those who went over his writing notes under the title The Word Explained. In his second attempt he called the work Arcana Coelestia (= Heavenly Secrets in Latin).
The difference between the two attempts is striking. In his first attempt Swedenborg appears somewhat confused, mixing current ideas with earlier ideas before he became a dual citizen and conscious in both worlds. Clearly, what he wrote down in those first attempts were not Sacred Scripture. You can see this from the perspective of the Arcana Coelestia where no confusion occurs. Evidently it took a couple of years for Swedenborg to adjust his mind to the Divine mission. He was struggling at first to encompass coherently the vastly new experiences that were confronting him.
These details help you to see what the process was of preparing Swedenborg's mind to be a perfect unbiased vehicle for transmitting Divine Speech to humankind.
Divine Speech in itself contains infinite truths and principles in every Word as well as in its whole message.
As it proceeds from the rational mind of God, Divine Speech enters the human mind at its highest point of rational consciousness or meaning. This is called the "third heaven" in our mind and it operates by means of celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech. It then enters the "second heaven" in our mind, where there is a filtering process that take place or, translation process by correspondence. The Writings of Swedenborg demonstrate exactly what this translation process is, and it is called the method of correspondences with enlightenment. This spiritual concept of correspondences refers to the universal laws that govern the interaction between the natural and spiritual worlds. Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was given to discover these laws by being allowed to become conscious in the spiritual world while he was still living in a physical body on earth (see Section xx).
This was an unprecedented event in the history of creation. Swedenborg calls it "the greatest miracle the Lord has ever granted." For 27 years, from age 57 to 84 (1745-1772), Swedenborg was a dual citizen -- conscious simultaneously in both the natural world and the spiritual world. He was able to carry on his normal duties in Sweden as a respected mining engineer and science writer and publisher, even as he was writing pages and pages every day about his other worldly experiences, observations, and experiments. His reports and notes have been published and translated in different languages. In English they occupy nearly 30 volumes. They are known collectively as "the Writings of Swedenborg." Now they are also available online in a searchable form: www.theheavenlydoctrines.org
Now that the style of Divine Speech has been revealed, along with the code of correspondences between spiritual and natural meanings, we are able to reconstruct the meaning of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture. This is the primary purpose of "extractive" research in theistic psychology.
What is the content of Divine Speech when reconstructed? What is God talking to us about?
The religious content of Divine Speech is presented at the surface literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. The scientific content of God's Speech is contained or hidden in the correspondences of Sacred Scripture.
The written "Word of God," is Divine Speech descending into a natural language through the natural mind of a prophet. The mental layers of Divine Speech through which it descended or exteriorized, can be reconstructed successively using the method of correspondences with enlightenment. Divine Speech originates and maintains human consciousness. Divine Speech enters every human mind simultaneously and descends successively across its organic layers. The discrete layers of the mind operate by means of correspondences that are appropriate to each degree or level of thinking. The level of correspondences at each level define and delimit consciousness and rationality levels. The highest human rationality is called the celestial level or third heaven. This consciousness level is attained by anyone who thinks with celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech.
Note that there is no religion, culture, or history in Divine Speech itself. These natural conditions and events are introduced for the first time when Divine Speech has exteriorized into the physical world in the form of Sacred Scripture. At this level of thinking, Divine Speech no longer makes mention of spiritual topics but only of natural topics. Swedenborg confirms by observation that the people who dwell in the third heaven of their mind do not have religion, nor do they know what it is. This is because all their thinking is done through celestial-rational correspondences, and these can only express celestial meanings.
Celestial consciousness relates everything that is thought and done, to the love and goodness of the Divine Human, whom they view as the source and object of their ruling love. No thought exists at this level which is not connected to the Divine Human as a central feature of its meaning and contention point (see Section xx). The power of celestial-rational correspondences in the mind is truly awesome. When your thinking level operates at the celestial-rational level you never have to go through learning steps. You never have to search for information or knowledge. All knowledge exists in the omniscient mind of the Divine Human, thus in Divine Speech. When you think with celestial-rational correspondences of Divine speech your conscious understanding is given instant access to the Divine Human's omniscient database. Anything you want to know or anything you are curious about, instantly pops into your conscious awareness and comprehension. The mental activity of the celestial angels induces by correspondence, the inmost unconscious feelings and inclinations people have on earth.
Divine Speech exteriorizes to the next layer of the mental world called the spiritual or second heaven. When we are in this consciousness level, everything that is thought and done, is related to the Truth and Rationality of the Divine Human. This consciousness level is maintained by thinking with spiritual-rational correspondences of Divine Speech. Swedenborg reports that the people he talked to in the spiritual or second heaven, who are called angelic spirits, are in this mentality, and they too are pretty impressive. Thinking in spiritual-rational correspondences of Divine Speech gives them the ability to construct many sciences that are unknown on earth. They are experts in the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture. The mental activity of the angelic spirits in the second heaven, induces by correspondence, the unconscious rational syntax upon which is based our ability on earth to think logically, to learn to speak a natural language, and to create abstract systems that give us a modern civilization.
Finally, Divine Speech exteriorizes to the next layer of the mental world called the natural or first heaven. When we are in this consciousness level, everything that is thought and done, is related to performing activities that are useful to others in their community and benefits them in some way. This consciousness level is maintained by thinking with spiritual-natural correspondences of Divine Speech. Swedenborg reports that the people he talked to in the natural or first heaven, who are called good spirits, are in this mentality. Thinking in spiritual-natural correspondences of Divine Speech gives them the ability to invent and put into practice many types of social activities that are unknown on earth except as ideals. Good spirits excel in all the things that people on earth aspire to do well -- sports, business, art, crafts, civics, music, dance. Of course their involvement in these activities is on their spiritual focus while ours on earth is on their natural focus (see Section xx). The mental activity of the good spirits in the first heaven, induces by correspondence, the variety and diversity of conscious interests people have on earth which prompts them to create culture and nation.
From this brief description you can see how closely and ubiquitously Divine Speech affects human consciousness and life. You can also see that the layers of humanity are completely integrated across degrees of variety and capacity. Any mental operation of the will and the understanding at one layer automatically induces a corresponding effect at a lower layer, keeping the minds of every human being integrated with all other minds. All this is accomplished by Divine Speech through pre-established correspondences or meanings, also called, truth. The truth in each layer of the mind is different, yet all the layers are integrated by correspondence. Hence it is that Sacred Scripture also differs in the three heavens of the mind, each mentality level having its own meaning and content. On earth we are given the ability to reconstruct in our conscious natural mind all the three layers of correspondences in a virtual form, as discussed above. This ability of reconstruction is based on the extractive research of theistic psychology which analyzes the text of Sacred Scripture by applying successively higher-order correspondences, as they have been revealed in the literal meaning of the Writings Sacred Scripture.
The prophets of the Old Testament were unaware that what they wrote down had layers of meaning they wouldn't be able to understand, or that someday, this hidden meaning would come to light in a scientific form accessible to all human beings. The style of the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture is always natural, historical, and poetic. It talks about God in these terms and it quotes God also in these terms. God appears to be partial in selecting a particular race or historical culture ("My Chosen People forever"). This is the first level of rational consciousness we attain as human beings. Every religion teaches the same basic message by which people are enabled to discover dualism and God. Through religion we begin to understand that we are immortal "spirits" living in a temporary material body. When we lose the material body we live in the spirit in either heaven or hell. Through religion we learn that we can influence our spiritual and eternal fate -- heaven or hell -- by either obeying or disobeying God's Commandments given in the literal language of Sacred Scripture.
This is the first level of rationality and it is based on the natural correspondences or meanings of Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech. Philosophical atheism or scientific materialism both deny this first level of rationality, and thereby deny the entire basis and validity of theistic psychology. Hence their system of explanations is restricted to physicalistic ideas about God and eternity, not rational ideas (see Chapter 1).
These new dualist concepts from Sacred Scripture make us rational and truly human. We now have a rational consciousness of God, of the spiritual world, and of the rational consequences of our choices during life on earth. Before this rational knowledge we were intelligent higher apes, incapable of making choices on the basis of our spiritual future, both on earth and in the continuation of our life in the spiritual world. Note that the literal sense of Sacred Scripture raises the rational level of civilization as well as that of the individual. Legislation, education, and morality could not be developed and maintained except through the rationality we gain from the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. As civilization evolves, so does the level of rationality of its laws and its science. Individuals who are raised in a civilized society indirectly acquire the rationality that originates from Sacred Scripture even if they are not taught Sacred Scripture directly. A symbol of this idea is that the motivation for inventing and using the printing press was to enable mass publication of the Bible. This symbolism continues in our days when we consider that the Bible is printed with more copies every year than any other book.
Sacred Scripture has been able to increase human rationality to give us the vast changes from wheel to computer. It is not officially recognized that this rationality in science is due to Sacred Scripture entering the human mind and consciousness. Nevertheless it can now be seen that it is so, as demonstrated in the new scientific revelations called the Writings of Swedenborg. The evidence and rationale is presented and critically reviewed in theistic psychology.
The rationality of science until now has been kept natural, based on the sensory order of events in the physical universe and their abstractions into formal systems. This level of rationality may be called "corporeal-sensuous rationality." A higher level of rationality than materialism is achieved in jurisprudence (law) and in the rules of ethics (morality), because these systems of thought work with higher, more universal and more spiritual issues, concerns, and solutions. Even this intermediate level of rationality is still natural, because it relates to and duplicates the temporary physicalistic world, rather relating to the spiritual world which involves concerns and issues regarding the eternal future consequences for each individual of one's emotions, intentions, thoughts, and acts.
Theistic psychology is at a still higher level of rationality since it is dualist in scope and uses Sacred Scripture to extract scientific revelations. The first reconstruction or understanding is at the level of operation called the "first heaven" in our mind through spiritual-natural correspondences. Then, by continuing to apply correspondences to our willing and thinking in daily life, we can reconstruct Divine Speech at the next higher level of rational consciousness called the "second heaven" and which involves thinking in spiritual-rational correspondences. Finally, we can reconstruct Divine Speech to the highest rational level of our mind called the "third heaven" by thinking with celestial-rational correspondences (see Section xx).
This approach of reconstructing Divine Speech through successively higher correspondences is called the "scientific meaning of Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech." Theistic psychology is based on the reconstruction of Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech by extracting its scientific meaning through the methods revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg.
What is then the specific content of Divine Speech?
This is the content of Divine Speech when Sacred Scripture is reconstructed in its scientific meaning.
Divine Speech is therefore the highest form of scientific revelations given to humankind for the purpose of raising our rational consciousness of God and our understanding of true reality.
God Speaks to the human race out of His love to be reciprocally and consciously conjoined with every created human being. Through this conjunction God can give us immortality, conjugial happiness, and true wisdom., thus, true humanity.
This scientific knowledge of the reality we actually live, could not enter into the human mind in any other way but through scientific revelation by means of Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech.
Knowing and understanding the content of God's scientific revelations allows all people to raise their rational consciousness to the highest level of the human mind -- which is called "celestial-rational correspondences" or meanings. God's purpose for creating the universe is no other than (1) to create endless numbers of immortal human beings on innumerable earths in the universe, and (2) to bring every person to the heaven in their mind, where the entire human race congregates together and lives to eternity in maximum possible happiness for each and all. This knowledge is therefore the highest rationality human beings are created to achieve. Though this ultimate "heavenly secret" may sound like a childish story in its simplicity, do not be fooled. You will see the amazing rational complexity involved as you enter deeper into the details and how they relate directly to influence and determine your feeling and thinking, second by second, from birth to eternity.
As discussed earlier, theistic psychology has three branches of research and development -- extractive, predictive, and applied.
"Extractive research" is the systematic and cumulative rational effort to extract scientific meaning from Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech by using the method of correspondences with enlightenment.
"Predictive research" is a similar effort to construct rational theories and doctrines to which our understanding leads us. Our understanding of extractive research leads us to expand on what is already extracted and known, to new areas of interest and need for society and the individual. These new theories or doctrines are at first unconfirmed since they are not direct extractions from Sacred Scripture. But more extractive research can eventually confirm these new theories and doctrines. Until a predictive proposal is confirmed by extractive research, its status remains ambiguous.
"Applied research" uses the knowledge from extractive and predictive research to improve various critical areas of need in society and the individual (see Section xx).
It should be made clear again that the "Threefold Word" in its literal sense is specific to the Judaeo-Christian tradition and Western history. But in its scientific sense, Sacred Scripture is universal and independent of culture, history, and religion. The Threefold Word as Sacred Scripture cannot be adopted or incorporated into other religions when considered in its literal-historical meaning, but when the scientific meaning is reconstructed, all religious and historical content vanishes, leaving only what is universal to the human race -- thus, science.
Theistic psychology is therefore a universal science of the human mind, independent of historical and religious differences that are expressed in the literal sense of Sacred Scripture.
The Incarnation Event that took place on this earth two thousand years ago is in itself not a religious event (see Section xx). Think of the religions that have worshipped the sun, or the moon, or some animals. The fact that the sun, moon, and animals are made to be the basis of some religion obviously does not change the reality status of these natural objects. The sun remains everybody's physical sun, regardless of how many religions consider it a god. The Incarnation Event was the creation of a new mind for every human being regardless of the religion or culture in which an individual is raised. The mind is an organic object having many interacting parts made of spiritual substances. Like the physical body, the mind also evolves by major steps of Divine creation or evolution. The Incarnation Event was a method used by God to create the next phase of human evolution (see Section xx).
God is universal since there can be only one omnipotent infinite God. The creation and evolution of the organic human mind is universal. Once the scientific details of creation and evolution become known, the Incarnation Event will no longer be identified with a particular religion. The Divine Birth of God as the Divine Human on this earth is an act of universal creation and evolution. Three religions have based themselves on this Event -- the Catholic Churches, the Protestant Churches, and the New Christian Churches. This means that these religions are using a universal scientific event as their basis and justification. Christianity as a religion does not in any way change the status of the Incarnation Event as a universal scientific, biological mechanism, for the evolution of the human mind. Theistic psychology is therefore independent of religion and remains a science.
Similarly with Sacred Scripture. The literal level of reading the "Threefold Word" -- the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings of Swedenborg -- appears to be associated with the Judaeo-Christian religions and the cultural history of the "Western" world and its intellectual perspective. It seems to exclude all other religions on the planet. But theistic psychology is not founded on the literal sense of Sacred Scripture, but its internal universal, scientific meaning extracted through correspondences. Sacred Scripture as history and culture disappears when its strict scientific symbolism is interpreted by correspondences that have been revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg. Divine Speech is universal for all humankind, and its meaning descends into all minds simultaneously by successive correspondences.
Theistic psychology introduces a new era in science. It has been 233 years since the publication by Swedenborg of the last book of the Writings in 1771. Although his name is somewhat known in literary circles, Swedenborg is completely unknown in science. History of psychology textbooks mention many names from the past leading up to modern psychology, including Descartes who is cited for being a mind-body "dualist." Swedenborg's dualism is unknown. The reason is obvious. None of the authors that are mentioned in the history of psychology have ever claimed that their ideas are based on interviews with spirits, devils, and angels, or with individuals from the past like Aristotle or Luther, who are now living in the spiritual world. None of the other authors have claimed to visit heaven and hell and to possess knowledge about the history of the earliest people on the planet. None of them claimed to have talked to people born on other planets. Swedenborg is such a strange case when we read such details, that history of science writers could not assimilate him into the lineup of past contributors to the knowledge of human behavior. This, despite the fact that Swedenborg wrote a book titled Rational Psychology in 1742, long before psychology officially entered the scientific age in 1879. In this book Swedenborg attempts to develop a synthesis between the soul, mind, and body, with excellent results that still await recognition from neuroscience and medicine (see Section xx).
At age 57 Swedenborg, a reputed scientist in Europe, suddenly found himself conscious "inside" the human mind that no one on earth is conscious of. The spiritual world and all its people became present to his conscious awareness. That began 27 years of observation and experimentation of the type that science has never seen before or since. Through theistic psychology, the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg are today entering the mainstream of normal science in the 21st century. This book was first used as a textbook in a psychology course in a public university in the year 2004.
This historical footnote is worth mentioning because until now no one has figured out a legitimate way of discussing God in a science textbook. Theistic psychology demonstrates that a public school curriculum can teach about God without infringing on the separation of Church and state concern that animates the political life in the United States especially, and elsewhere in the Western world. There is a strong political desire to separate religion and government in Western democracies due to their past history of religious wars, persecutions, and hatreds of each other. Public schools are identified with government or state, while God is identified with religion. It follows by political and legal necessity that a religious God must be excluded from public instruction in democratic societies.
Theistic psychology is independent of religion. Therefore teaching about God through theistic psychology does not infringe in any way on the political desire to keep state and religion apart in public life. Religion will remain a private interest and sub-culture. The state will continue to refrain from partisan religious involvement. Theistic psychology will be taught as a science. God is one of the scientific concepts being studied. The fact that theistic psychology is based on the Sacred Scripture claimed by several religions, is not an actual factor because the literal and historical references in Sacred Scripture all disappear -- not a one is left!
Besides this historical footnote, the importance of this work is that it introduces into the science of modern psychology an alternative perspective to the current atheistic psychology. Theistic psychology provides scientists with a new paradigm which I call "the positive bias in science" (see Section xx). The current perspective of atheistic psychology may be called "the negative bias in science."
The positive bias in science allows for the existence of what may be called "substantive dualism." This is unlike former proposals of dualism because no one had known about the spiritual world until the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg. In general, dualism is the scientific theory that the mind and the body are not of the same matter or substance, and that mind is non-material, like the spirit or soul. Nothing whatever was known about the soul or the spirit, or what their relationship was to the mind. Since the Writings of Swedenborg, all this has been cleared up by his direct observations of both worlds. Furthermore, prior formulations about dualism did not introduce God as part of the definition of dualism. Substantive dualism establishes an objective spiritual world that is governed by one Spiritual Sun and in which objective observations and experiments are possible. Other dualisms have been speculative and inventive while substantive dualism is objective, observational, empirical, and experimental (see Section xx).
Descartes, Newton, and Darwin helped create modern atheistic science, despite the fact that they believed in God. In contrast, Swedenborg introduced God as a concept in his scientific books decades before he suddenly found himself with the ability to be conscious of the spiritual world at age 57. Along with the concept of God, Swedenborg had introduced the concept of the Spiritual Sun which no one before him had thought of. And how the Spiritual Sun acts on the natural world through Divine love and truth. This did not make any scientific sense to other scientists at the time. But when Swedenborg at age 57, began his new direct observations of the spiritual world, he was able to confirm empirically, his prior suppositions. Historically, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) must therefore be considered as the founder of theistic science, as well as theistic psychology.
"Substantive dualism" and "theistic psychology" are phrases that I made up to help introduce Swedenborg's Writings to modern psychology. Another phrase I made up is "rational ether" which refers to the sphere of the spiritual world. I also made up a phrase to reflect the relationship between the spiritual world and the mind:
I also made up the phrase "religious behaviorism" which is the scientific study of the mental mechanisms that are activated by religious practice. Other neologisms I had to create to discuss the topics of theistic psychology include
These new ideas are explained in this work.
You will note that I repeat a topic in slightly different ways in different contexts. I do this to respond to the rational flow of the presentation, making sure that readers have access to a completely logical treatment of the topic, regardless of their familiarity with other parts. It also helps the student and scholar who strive to acquire the language and register of theistic psychology, not merely become familiar with its statements. The study of theistic psychology will allow you to acquire a new register for thinking and reasoning. This new rational thinking register enlightens the mind, elevates the consciousness, and improves our character. Theistic psychology provides a channel of contact with the living God who is operating our thoughts and feelings, and longs to have us return His love by loving Him. In this reciprocation of love, God is able to give us true and full humanity to eternity.
God has provided that our love for Him develop gradually through our increasing rationality. The Writings say that God first opens our spiritual consciousness while we are studying Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech from Himself. When we consider Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech, and Divine Speech as the Divine Human Himself, then God's Divine Truth is the knowledge and the doctrine that we extract from it. God wills it that what is His Own, appear to us as-if it were our own (see Section xx). By this mechanism, God can impart to us Divine good which He wills to unite to the Divine truth that we have taken up in our understanding and doctrine. This unition of the Divine good with the Divine truth in our mind is called the "heavenly marriage" of regeneration, and it is through this that we prepare our mind for eternal conjugial happiness in heavenly life (see Section xx).
Our knowledge and love of God may remain a religious issue but this does not change the fact that the knowledge and love of God are scientific issues as well. God is a co-participant in every physical event and in every decision of the mind. How can God be left out of a valid scientific account? How can immortality be left out from a valid scientific psychology? How can the quality of life after death be ignored by medicine, education, and psychology? All the usual objections that have been raised so far against the scientific study of God are no longer believable objections in view of the Swedenborg reports (see Section xx).