Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

Theistic Psychology: 
The Scientific Knowledge of God
Extracted from the Correspondential Sense
of Sacred Scripture

by Dr. Leon James
Professor of Psychology
University of Hawaii
Published on the Web in 2004
Last Update: 2006

For Permissions Note and Conditions of Use see Volume 18

The Topical Index to Sections and Reading List is in Volume 18

This is Volume 2

Q&A on Theistic Psychology

(version 46b)

2.0  Q&A on Theistic Psychology

2.1.  What’s the difference between religion and theistic psychology?

2.2.  What about evil, sin, hell, devil, and heaven in relation to theistic psychology?

2.3.   Is theistic science really science?

                2.3.1  Criteria for non-theistic Psychology as Science
                2.3.2  Criteria for Theistic Psychology as Science

                2.3.3  Can an atheist be an expert in theistic science?
                2.3.4  Who is to tell us what are good traits and what evil?  

2.4.   What about the spiritual world and the afterlife—how can that be researched?

2.5.   Is it possible that Swedenborg made it all up or was delusional?

2.6.   What's the relation between the body, the mind, and the spiritual world?

2.7.   Theoretical Implications of God's Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence

2.8.   What is God's Role in the Evolution of the Human Race

2.9.   What is Divine Truth in relation to scientific revelations in theistic psychology?

2.10. How is the mind or consciousness related to the spiritual world?

2.11. What do surveys show about beliefs in God, heaven, hell, miracles, afterlife?

2.12.  What About Creationism and evolution?

2.13.  What is "Substantive Dualism" in theistic psychology?

2.14.  What is Applied Theistic Psychology?

2.15.  How is Theistic Psychology different From Mysticism, Spiritism, Psychic Research?

2.16.  How is Spiritual Psychology Related to Theistic Psychology?

2.17.  How Can You Do Research on God in Psychology?

                 2.17.1  The As-of Self Revealed to Humankind

2.18.  Swedenborg's Rational Psychology

2.19.  In What Style did Swedenborg Write the Writings?

2.20   Christian Psychology vs. Theistic Psychology

                 2.20.1  The Inner Scientific Sense of Divine Speech

2.21.  Where can I read Swedenborg’s Writings and collateral works?

2.22.  Why doesn't God Give Proof of His Existence by Showing Himself Regularly at Conferences
           and on TV?

Back to Overall Table of Contents

2.1.  What’s the difference between religion and theistic psychology?

The difference is that between mystical and scientific. Mystical systems depend on blind faith or credulity and as a result, there are a variety of mystical systems, or religions, and each believes to have the real truth while thinking that the others do not. This is why religion depends on declared membership, on affirmations of a common creed, and dependence on the willingness to believe something that cannot be explained in a scientific manner. As a result, when we examine religions in a rational or scientific way, we cannot arrive at a conclusion since the creed or faith resists breakdown and rational analysis.

On the other hand theistic psychology is not a religion but a science. Theistic psychology contrasts with non-theistic psychology which automatically excludes God as an explanatory concept. Theistic psychology automatically includes God as a concept in all explanations about human behavior and dynamics. While religion depends on creed and faith, theistic psychology depends on rational and scientific explanations of the laws and mechanisms by which God causes every event and behavior to occur. Therefore theistic psychology advances by cumulative research and critical analysis of all models, theories, and data.

The idea and knowledge of God in theistic psychology is not based on direct experience. If this were the case, it would cease to be a science because one individual's experience of God is not the same as another's, and neither has access to the other. Sensuous consciousness of God is rightly categorized as mystical. Theistic psychology is based on rational consciousness of God. This means that no one can make up what God is or is not, or what God wants or does not want, or how God manages the created universe, or what our fate is in the afterlife. No one can know these things. They can invent them, but those are mere hypothetical and imaginative portrayals. I for one was never attracted to anyone's idea of God or experience of God because I had no way of verifying their notions. Unless I could understand God from my rational perspective as a trained and practicing scientist, I was unable to get involved, or be interested for very long, in other people's theories and systems.

Rational consciousness of God is based, not on human imagination and intelligence, but on Divine revelation of Himself by God.

This is clearly the only possibility. God created human beings with a mind that can comprehend God's Truth. Truth is rational, hence God's basic character or nature is a Being who is rational. All the laws of nature we have discovered are rational, and the whole fits together rationally. Therefore, to know God rationally is the only way to know God in truth. God is a rational Being. Obviously, God created human beings to possess a rational mind that is capable of knowing and understanding God. From this knowledge we are able to love God if we so choose. This is what God wants, that we love Him more than anything else He has created. Why?

Because by loving God He is able to give us what we were created for, but not otherwise. The purpose God had in creating human beings is that they be born on some physical earth, develop a rational mind, and at death, be resuscitated into an eternal world of conjugial happiness called heaven. This is a noble and loving purpose and we can appreciate it by feeling gratitude. So it makes rational sense to say that the rational mind God creates in us needs to be given information about God so that we can know God and love Him more than anything else we know. This information comes to us through Divine Speech or Sacred Scripture dictated by God. This is the same as Divine Truth which gives us the facts about God and true reality, rationally understood. Divine Speech must be the source of all information for theistic psychology.

Clearly, if information about reality, God, and the universe is made up as someone's theory, we will never know the real reality, the real truth, which only God the Creator possesses. Obviously, the human mind is created to receive communication from God as Divine Speech. If this were not the case science would never know about true reality. It doesn't make sense to separate reality into two parts, one that we can test and another we can only speculate about. Reality is integrated and cannot be separated. If you separate reality into non-overlapping components you can never understand reality rationally, which it is. God is rational and runs the universe rationally as shown by the rationality of laws we can discover about the physical universe and the rationality of God's revelations.

Theistic psychology is therefore based exclusively on Divine scientific revelations. Nothing is added to it that is from another source.

Theistic psychology was created by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) who was given the unique ability in modern history to be conscious simultaneously in this world and in the spiritual world. This special ability, which he had between the ages of 57 and 84, was given to him by God who elevated his rational consciousness all the way to the highest level of thinking possible called the "third heaven" in the human mind. He was thus given the unique task of authoring the third component of Sacred Scripture which took several thousand years of human evolution to deliver to our conscious mind (see Preface). Today the Western tradition has received the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings of Swedenborg. These three components of Sacred Scripture have been given to humankind in order to allow us to have a rational consciousness of God. Theistic psychology is based exclusively on these three collections of revelations, also known as the "Threefold Word."

The Writings reveal and demonstrate that all Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech transformed into a natural language.

The Writings reveal a rational method of reconstructing the original content of Divine Speech before it was transformed and written down in a natural language. We need to do be able to do this reconstruction or recovery, since the natural version of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture is mostly natural in content and appears as history and prophecy. The spiritual information about God, the afterlife, or God's management laws of the universe, are hidden from the literal sense of Sacred Scripture. And yet it is the spiritual information that we need in order to form a rational understanding of God and how God runs the universe. We cannot invent hypothetical interpretations and hope to be fully right. Then we won't know when we are right and when wrong, and our spiritual progress will end in contradiction and conflict. Therefore God must reveal to us a rational method for recovering from Divine Speech what He tells us about the spiritual world and the rational laws He uses to manage the universe.

The Writings of Swedenborg are therefore a scientific revelation because they give us rational methods for discovering what God has been telling us through Divine Speech encoded and transformed into a natural language. Theistic psychology is the knowledge we can extract from these scientific revelations. Whatever is thus extracted must follow the laws of extraction set forth in Divine revelation. If we use other methods of extraction we get nowhere towards the truth.

This is why God revealed to us precisely what methods of extraction must be followed.

Sacred Scripture must therefore be viewed in both its literal historical meaning and its correspondential or universal meaning. This is the meaning we extract or recover when we apply the method of correspondences as specified in the Writings. When viewed in its literal meaning, Sacred Scripture discusses religion and history. But when viewed in its universal meaning derived from the science of correspondences, Sacred Scripture is science. Both positions--religious and scientific-- are legitimate and do not contradict each other. Literally, the Writings appear to be written for the New Christian Church prophesied in the Book of Revelation at the end of the New Testament of the Bible. The Writings are therefore a continuation of that revelation but at a more rational level of presentation as suitable to the modern scientific mind.

Religion is always bound up with culture and history, while theistic psychology is universal, of relevance to all religions and cultures and times. Different religions have different and contradictory explanations for the same phenomenon, while there is only one theistic psychology. Within theistic psychology there cannot be any disagreement or contradictory scientific theories since its knowledge base consists solely and exclusively of the scientific revelations given in the Writings of Swedenborg--a one time event in history that cannot repeat itself. The reasons why there cannot be new additional revelations in the future are fully explained and established in the Writings. Therefore the giving of these scientific revelations mark the beginning of a new evolutionary path for the human race.

This new state of development is made possible because of these Divine rational revelations. A biological analogy might be this: when a new breed of dogs or species of flowers is engineered, the new breed is permanently altered and is different from all previous breeds. Similarly, the new comprehensive scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg create a new elevated state for the human mind since the revelations give us knowledge of causes of the events in this world. Our consciousness and awareness are therefore permanently altered allowing for new lives, new lifestyles, new societies, and also, new heavens and hells in the continuation of our lives after the death of the physical body. This is most important since our life in the spiritual body is eternal and immeasurably longer than our relatively short life in the physical body.

Theistic psychology is possible only when one can read the Writings of Swedenborg and understand them rationally. That rational understanding gives readers the perspective that it is a true account of what Swedenborg saw and heard. Readers who doubt the validity of Swedenborg's reports and analyses give themselves no other choice but to reject them as delusional or made up. As scientists we cannot accept the observational reports of another scientist unless we can fit them into a rational and coherent structure that is not contradicted by what we ourselves can observe.

As a scientist I have read the Writings of Swedenborg thoroughly more than once, and I was able to understand them rationally. There were no contradictions with anything that I already knew. Neither were there any internal inconsistencies in the Writings even though they cover many topics in some 30 volumes in English. I've also read the opinions of hundreds of commentators and experts on Swedenborg and his life (1688-1772). Not one of them was able to find a single inconsistency or omission. They all acknowledge the rationality and consistency of Swedenborg's explanations. But those readers who merely read some of the Writings and could not understand them, rejected them as the delusions and fantasies of an unusual genius.

Theistic psychology is a science and therefore cannot depend on belief, faith, or personal preference. As we study theistic psychology it's important to proceed by what is rational and makes sense at every step so that nothing is based on mere acceptance by persuasion, authority or fancy. When an apparent contradiction arises in the mind, it's useful to trace the contradiction to our existing beliefs and assumptions. It's necessary to stick with the issue in the mind until we are able to see that Swedenborg's explanation is rational and consistent while our own former beliefs are fragmentary, of unproven validity and doubtful rationality. In this way we are able to continue building up in our mind the concepts of theistic psychology. At every point we must examine each issue rationally, consistently, and without rejecting what is not yet fully understood. This will allow the orderly and cumulative growth in our knowledge and understanding of human behavior, along with their enormous benefits to society and the individual, both in this world, and in our immortal life in the spiritual world.

If you examine the doctrines and dogmas of religions today you will see that the level of thinking is not fully rational and not scientific. This doesn't prove that religions are wrong about their beliefs, especially since they are based on revelations. But the level of explanation and rationality is not scientific. For instance, "creationism" is not a scientific theory but a religious interpretation of the literal meaning of the first few Chapters of the Bible. In the Writings of Swedenborg, the ancient Science of Correspondences is once more revealed to humankind. When you apply this code to the literal sentences of the Bible you can see that the Bible was written at two levels--literal and correspondential. Religions are based on the literal of Sacred Scripture while theistic psychology is based on the correspondential meaning of revelations (see below the answer to Question 12).

Note carefully: The symbolic meaning of revelation is decoded by applying the code that has been revealed. If this revealed code is not used, but some other one invented or preferred by someone, the result is not science but pure conjecture and imagination of the author, as you can know by reading dozens of books people have written on "Bible exegesis" or Bible codes. The only way science can be maintained is by using the science of correspondences revealed in the Writings. This makes the decoding process fully rational and empirical. It's essential to understand that this unique code called "correspondences" is not something Swedenborg invented. It is called "science" of correspondences because each correspondence or symbolic representation, is a universal scientific law that governs the interaction between cause and effect in the universe. This is fully explained and demonstrated by Swedenborg. For 27years he was able to be conscious simultaneously in the natural world through his physical body, and in the spiritual world through his spiritual body. I can only imagine what that must have felt like! But he kept a daily Journal and wrote all his observations down. He was thus able to provide empirical evidence for the laws of correspondences through which all Divine revelation is written. I have examined all of the Writings and there is no doubt in my mind that anyone who has scientific literacy can read the Writings and confirm that they are rational, scientific, universal, empirical, objective, and applied.

Theistic psychology encompasses religion that is based on the literal sense of revelation. While religion defines God in personal and historical terms, theistic psychology provides a rational account of the mechanisms or rational procedures that God uses to manage every cause and effect. Theistic psychology therefore has a scientific explanation for the terms and concepts used in religion, e.g., omnipotence, Divine Providence, sin, salvation, heaven, hell, angel, devil, regeneration or rebirth, prayer, sacraments, and so on. Every religious practice and idea is given a scientific explanation in theistic psychology. This is possible because these scientific revelations were embedded or hidden in the literal sense of revelation. There they lay for many centuries unsuspected by all those who studied and wrote about revelation and the Bible. But now that the science of correspondences has been revealed, we have available to us a vast source of new facts about God and how the universe is managed. Sin is real but what makes it real and how does it injure us? Heaven and hell are real but they exist as states of our mind. Miracles are real but they are no different from ordinary every day phenomena in terms of how God makes events happen. No event can occur except that God makes it happen in that particular way. This is the rational consequence of the concept of "omnipotence" and "infinity" as applied to God.

But to believe that God is omnipotent is religion. To show rationally and in empirical detail how God exercises this omnipotence, is theistic psychology. This is fully accomplished in the Writings of Swedenborg and it is understandable and confirmable by anyone who has the motivation to make the effort.

Consider this amazing fact in relation to proving the premises of theistic psychology:

The Bible was authored by dozens of "prophets" who claimed to receive Divine revelation which they wrote down. These authors were completely independent of each other, separated by many centuries. What they wrote down was some history, some visions of the spiritual world, and some quotes from God who was speaking to the them as messengers to go to the people and report God's words. They did so. Now two thousand years later along comes another prophet or Divine revelator whose name is Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). From his revelation, this author now reports that all the previous authors of the Bible over the centuries were inspired to write down history and visions, not knowing that in every sentence and every word there was hidden through a secret code, another meaning which was universal or spiritual. This hidden meaning was actually a scientific revelation about the anatomy of the human mind and its relationship to heaven and hell; also, about how God runs the universe through rational laws; and also many other scientific revelations about the structure of the universe, about cause and effect relations, about communication between the inhabitants of earth and the spiritual world, about plants, animals, history, and many more things.

On the one hand, if Swedenborg merely invented these scientific revelations and claimed to see them in the ancient language of the Bible, there world be no scientific or rational reason to believe him. He may simply have been a great genius who believed that  these scientific explanations and facts came from his reading the Bible. But why should we necessarily believe him? There is no compelling reason just on account of his own beliefs.

On the other hand, the situation is completely different if Swedenborg can show and prove how these independently written Bible chapters do contain the same code. Furthermore, he needs to prove that this code is related to reality by empirical and experimental observations and facts. Finally, the code must make rational sense so that anyone can use the code to explore, analyze, and extract the scientific revelations that are contained in Sacred Scripture. And all this must be done by independent researchers or scientists who must then agree on the results.

This is exactly what Swedenborg has accomplished, according to my own analyses over several years, and as well, the independent analysis of hundreds of other scholars and scientists. Therefore we can say rationally that the premises of theistic psychology are provable.

The most obvious difference between religion and theistic science is the explanatory level of phenomena or events. In religion God is personal, historical, and cultural or ethnic. God rules the world like a King with super powers. He speaks, and things happen. He commands and physical things obey. He gets angry when disobeyed but He also forgives and loves with mercy and grace. If you beg Him through prayer, He relents and does what He is asked. He has His favorites in people. He can be placated by sacrifices. He sometimes changes His mind. In short, for religion, God is a super-Man with human emotions and sometimes acts inconsistently with His prior decisions for the sake of some person or people. In all this there is very little science that can be obtained. All of it is based on the literal sense of history and visions of "chosen" prophets. Let us accept that the religious and historical things said in Sacred Scripture are completely true, since it is Divine Speech.

At the same time, let us realize that there is a universal meaning beneath the literal meaning, since this is a characteristic of all Divine Speech. It's not until the 18th century that God saw fit to reveal how to extract this universal meaning from the literal of Sacred Scripture. This new revelation had to be done by some person or through that person's rational mind. God's Divine Speech to humankind goes through many layers of understanding and meaning (see Section xx). When the rational mind finally came into existence in18th century Western science, the new revelation was given through the mind of a man in Sweden who had been prepared for this universal mission since his early childhood.

Using the now revealed code of correspondences we are able for the first time to know what spiritual or universal content is hidden within the literal sentences of Divine Speech. This inner sense can be extracted rationally, logically, and systematically by applying the method of correspondences. What is thus obtained is a vast collection of new scientific revelations that were hidden in the literal sentences of the Bible, and those of the Writings. Through this new spiritual knowledge we can piece together a more advanced scientific explanation of how God operates. We discover that God does not operate by merely speaking commandments to physical objects, who then obey, for this is not a scientific explanation of how it happens. It turns out that God operates every physical event by means of natural-spiritual laws of interaction called the laws of correspondences. There is a chain of logical cause-effect events that proceed from God through various stages of externalization or transformation, until the bottom of the chain is reached with physical events.

This is no different than what we are used to in managing our every day affairs. How does the Congress rule the country? First there is debate and passage of a law. Then there is monitoring and enforcement through various levels including inspectors, judges, lawyers, police, etc. It's a complicated chain of events that is rational and scientifically describable, understandable, and controllable. Similarly, how are cars possible in our society? It's through a complex chain of events that includes mining and transporting iron and aluminum to smelters, shaping the metal, adding other materials made of rubber, glass, etc., assembling together, selling the cars, maintaining them, and driving them. If you ask a child or illiterate person how we have cars, the answer would be unscientific and unworkable in reality. We have a similar distinction between the idea of God in religion, which does not go into rational and logical mechanisms, and the idea of God in theistic psychology, which shows the logical intervening steps of how events take place from God's Will downward to the created world.

These cause-effect intermediate steps are completely unknown and undiscoverable by science, which is why God needs to make scientific revelations, bringing the knowledge and the facts to us. Once the facts are known from revelation, they can be explored, confirmed, extended, and applied just like we do with other scientific facts and explanations.

Once again note that the scientific revelations are not opposed to the religious perspective. In fact, the scientific approach confirms the religious one, and goes further in explicating the reality of God.

2.2  What about evil, sin, hell, devil, and heaven in relation to theistic psychology?

Look at the Chart or model of theistic psychology (above). At level 2, mystical religion, heaven and hell are defined personally: "Those who are faithful to their religion are rewarded with a new life in a heavenly environment; others are punished with a life in hell." This level is not yet universal even though it is more rational than materialistic science (level 1) which prohibits the scientific use of heaven and hell in explanations about human behavior. Since, according to theistic psychology,  there is a heaven and a hell, to deny its existence or refuse to include it, is not rational. But there needs to be a level 3 thinking in order to properly make use of heaven and hell as universal scientific concepts for explaining all human behavior, regardless of times, religion and culture.

Level 3 thinking about heaven and hell, as formulated in the Writings of Swedenborg, raises the rationality of these concepts to a universal pan-human, and timeless level. "Those who modify their character to become altruistic and rational continue life to eternity in heaven; others in hell." (see Chart above) The Writings present a precise description of the anatomy of the human mind as a spiritual-biological organ located in the spiritual body which Swedenborg studied and observed daily for 27 years. These details indicate that the human mind has two major levels, each level having its particular organs of the affective and cognitive operation.

The lower level is the natural mind with two sub-levels: the corporeal-sensory mind (receiving input from physical sensations reaching the brain), and above this, the natural-rational mind (receiving input from the corporeal-sensory mind, and deriving abstract ideas from it). The natural mind is also called the "external" mind.

The higher level called the spiritual mind, also has two sub-levels of physiological operation: the rational-spiritual mind and the rational-celestial mind. The spiritual mind does not receive input from the natural world, as in the case of the lower external mind.  The higher spiritual mind operates with input from the spiritual world only. It cannot receive input from the natural world. The operations of the spiritual or "interior" mind are unconscious while we are connected to a physical body. Upon death of the physical body, we are cut off from input from the natural world. At that point we "awaken" and become conscious in the spiritual mind (see "resuscitation" in Chapter 1). Once fully resuscitated (about 30 hours after death), we are able to observe the environment in the spiritual world, which we could not do before. At that point we begin to observe and confirm what Swedenborg was able to see and hear for 27 years prior to his death in 1772.

Upon "death" the spiritual mind continues its operation and serves for our immortal life in the spiritual world. You can see that the quality of the spiritual mind that we each bring "with us" determines the quality of our life in the spiritual world.  The spiritual mind is the containant of our inner character--what we love more than anything--the hierarchy of our motives and satisfactions. The quality of the human mind is defined by the level of its affective and cognitive functioning. The quality of the "external" natural mind is determined by the quality of our experiences and knowledge, built up over years of development and growth. The affective organ operates our feelings and motives, while the cognitive organs operates our thinking and reasoning. According to theistic psychology, there is a built-in  hierarchy of functioning in the human mind so that our thinking and feeling can be rational and altruistic, or by deliberate inversion,  irrational and selfish.

Irrational and selfish thinking and feeling in the external conscious natural mind prevents the interior spiritual mind from developing within the conscious natural mind. On the other hand, rational and altruistic thinking and feeling in the external conscious natural mind allows for the full development of the interior spiritual-natural mind. When we "awaken" to our immortal life in the spiritual body, it is the quality of this spiritual interior mind that determines our fate forever. In level 2 religious thinking, hell is a place of punishment for "sins" while heaven is a place of reward for faith and charity. But at level 3 thinking, theistic psychology gives a rational, medical, and scientific definition for sin and hell. Sin refers to the conscious lifestyle we choose when we acquire habits of thinking and feeling that are selfish and irrational. Sin is therefore a personality habit evaluated in terms of the anatomy of the human mind and its built-in structure and operation.

Swedenborg interviewed many individuals in the world of spirits whose permanent residence was called "the hells." They are called "devils," "satans," and "genii," depending on the specific forms of their evil lifestyle. Reading these interviews, one can recognize their habits of thinking and motivation, which tend toward extreme forms of irrationality, egocentrism, and delusion.  By contrasting novice arrivals with those who had been there for a long time, Swedenborg was able to show that the longer you live in the spiritual world, the more advanced becomes the form of your character. If the interior spiritual mind with which you arrive contains rational and altruistic habits of operation, then you continue to grow in that direction. Swedenborg interviewed inhabitants of "the heavens" who have been there a long time and found superior forms of intelligence and community with them. Likewise, Swedenborg found large individual differences among the inhabitants of the hells, so that these are actually arranged in layers of "degrees of evil." The inhabitants of the heavens are called "angels," and they are similarly arranged in layers of "degrees of good."

Given these anatomical descriptions of the human mind you can see that a major purpose of theistic psychology is to help individuals develop rational and altruistic habits of character. Nothing in this life on earth can be more important since how we train ourselves during a few decades here on earth, determines how happy or miserable we will be forever in our immortality. Note that heaven and hell refer to mental states or operations. The human mind is an organ built from immortal substances of the Spiritual Sun just like the brain is built from temporary matter from the physical  suns or stars in our galaxy.  

When we operate at the lowest level in our mind, our conscious awareness is flooded with "hell," that is, with feelings and thoughts that are irrational and selfish, like aggressiveness, rage, cruelty, prejudice, discrimination, injustice, unfairness, depression, envy, fear, anxiety, compulsion, destructiveness, disrespect for others, etc. Living or experiencing these negative mental operations is called "being in hell." Conversely, when we operate at the higher level in our mind, our conscious awareness is flooded with "heaven," that is, with feelings and thoughts tat are rational and altruistic, like compassion, cooperativeness, respect for others, obedience to moral norms, rational cumulative knowledge, inventiveness, industriousness, peacefulness, honesty, sincerity, etc.

Note that while we are still living attached to the natural world we are able to operate in both heaven and hell in our mind, though not at the same time. Everyone experiences moments of terror, depression, selfishness, or insane hatred and rage, just as everyone experiences moments of sincerity, self-sacrifice, and respect for others. You cannot be simultaneously in heaven and in hell, but you can alternate and take turns rising to the upper level of your mental functioning and dropping to the bottom. But this bimodal or ambivalent mental functioning radically changes when we are cut off from the physical body and begin functioning in the spiritual body in the world of spirits.  We are called "spirits" when we lose our physical body and awaken in our spiritual body. After a brief period of rapid change, we continue life permanently either as "devils" living in our lower states of mind ("the hells"), or as "angels" living in our higher states of mind ("the heavens").

It's extremely important to realize and understand that the spiritual physiology of the mind does not allow mixing of lower and upper states of thinking and feeling. Once we become "spirits" there is no possibility of mixing or alternating our mental operations from low to high, or high to low, as we do  while we are still conscious in the physical body. Swedenborg reports a number of experiments he conducted in which he was able to observe what happens when some "devils" living in their lower mind were experimentally introduced in the "heaven" of their mind. In other words, the entire range of their mental potential was artificially activated and made operational. Within a few moments these subjects reported that they can see the heavens and the angels there and they were able to feel what it's like to be an angel. Swedenborg observed them carefully and noted that they started feeling very upset and were soon filled with such terror and agony that they lost consciousness. They were then returned to their normal mental state of hell, upon which they immediately started feeling normal. These experiments clearly prove that it is not possible to switch from hell to heaven or vice versa, once we become spirits.

The explanation is that the mental physiology that is predominant becomes the only operation of life in the spiritual world. Swedenborg describes the hellish portion of the mind as containing masses of neurons and networks  that curl counterclockwise, the opposite of the neuronal pathways of our heavenly mind. Either one or the other must predominate and then eliminates or silences the function of the other.

2.3. Is theistic psychology really science?

 Theistic psychology is science because it meets all the requirements of science.

(a) It is based on cumulative research by independent scientists who can rationally evaluate each other’s work.

(b) It employs empirical methods for extracting knowledge from the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1772). These include

  • data on the spiritual world,

  • observations of experiments in the spiritual world,

  • interviews with large samples of individuals who are living in the afterlife,

  • descriptions and models of the anatomy of the human mind which becomes visible in the spiritual world, historical details about pre-historic life on this planet,

  • descriptions of life on other planets,

  • the science of correspondences, and

  • a rational model of God’s management techniques.

(c) Systematic application of revealed principles to the description of events and behavior. Theistic psychologists do not invent their own theories as in non-theistic psychology, which has ended up with a potpourri of contradictory explanations of portions of human behavior. All theories in theistic psychology must be drawn from these scientific revelations and must agree with them. Other psychologists must be able to corroborate the theories in two ways:

            (i) theoreticalany new theory must not contradict the rational structure that has already developed by lawful extraction from the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg . Instead, it must enrich it by explaining more than what has been explained so far about any topic in human behavior. Other psychologists must be able to comprehend and corroborate the new theory by confirming  it with the Writings of Swedenborg for consistency and acceptability.

            (ii) predictiveevery theory or model must also be able to predict new data about human behavior and must explain related data that other psychologists may bring in.

Given these prerequisites of science, theistic psychology meets all of them.

Further, new knowledge about human behavior can come into existence when the scientific revelations are used as predictive models for empirical research. New applications can be discovered through the self-witnessing approach which consists of self-study, self-observation, self-monitoring in the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor areas of behavior (see Section xx). The mental states and their changes come about as a result of being influenced through the vertical community. Knowledge of the vertical community described in the Writings of Swedenborg allows theistic psychologists to trace the effects to particular mental states. This approach opens up new effective advances in therapy, education, and behavioral engineering.

Of course if one rejects the idea that the Writings of Swedenborg are Divine scientific revelations, there is then no basis for most of the assumptions and explanations in theistic psychology. This would be a negative bias associated with non-theistic science. But it is rational to take the positive bias and accept as a premise that these are Divine scientific revelations. Those who claim that the very idea of "Divine scientific revelations" is unscientific and irrational cannot prove this point because the idea of Divine scientific revelations is rational and scientific. Since either position is possible in science this course examines the consequences of adopting the positive bias in science.

Consider this: Many writers have come up with various ideas they claimed to be scientific, but they were not. How did people know that they were unscientific? Several instances are discussed in the history of psychology. For instance, people introduced phrenology as a science based on the theory that  "as the skull takes its shape from the brain, the surface of the skull can be read as an accurate index of psychological aptitudes and tendencies... For example, a prominent protuberance in the forehead at the position attributed to the organ of Benevolence was meant to indicate that the individual had a "well developed" organ of Benevolence and would therefore be expected to exhibit benevolent behavior" (quoted on the Web at ). Phrenology failed as a science because of two reasons. One is that it made factual claims that were proven wrong. The other was that it lacked internal consistency. This means that it was not a rationally integrated system, so that if one extended one explanation to its logical limit, it would clash with other explanations already given.

Another example of rejecting the scientific claim made by some people is the "science" of the paranormal. The Skeptics Society on the Web gives numerous examples, of which I shall quote just one:

clairvoyance or second sight
Clairvoyance is an alleged psychic ability to see things beyond the range of the power of vision. Clairvoyance is usually associated with precognition or retrocognition. The faculty of seeing into the future is called "second sight" if it is not induced by scrying, drugs, trance, or other artificial means.

People can predict the future. We do it all the time, but we usually, if not always, do it by taking into account our experience, knowledge and surroundings. Some predictions by psychics come true. So do some predictions by non-psychics. No doubt much of our anticipation of the future is unconscious and second nature, but it is based on quite natural and mundane abilities not on mysterious or supernatural powers. (The Skeptic's Dictionary at ).

In other words, the claim to science by the paranormal investigators failed because their explanations for the facts they observed did not make a coherent system and other already existing explanations were available to explain the observed facts.

In the case of theistic psychology these problems are not present. There are no better explanations for the facts Swedenborg reports. Those who deny that these facts are real have no explanation for them other than that Swedenborg was delusional or deceptive. This is the negative bias. In fact there have been many independent biographical investigations on his life and it was universally determined that Swedenborg was a reputable, honest, sincere, and moral person with strong religious convictions all his life. Swedenborg is recognized as a great genius from his literary works and scientific inventions. The explanations he offers for the facts in his reports are rational and scientific because that's who he was. And he is so successful that nothing can be found in his 30 volumes that is inconsistent with something else. Instead of contradictions we find richness of meaning so that we can investigate specific topics or concepts by comparing passages and cumulating what is said about that topic. Unexpected new understanding comes from such "extractive" research (see Section xx).

2.3.1  Psychology as Science

In terms of evaluating Swedenborg's explanations and principles, consider that many theories and concepts exist in psychology today that have never been proven to be valid or correct, and many that have been proven false or incorrect. It is not easy to prove that a scientific theory is correct or incorrect because a theory leads to multiple predictions and not all conditions can be controlled or accessed. Further, several contradictory theories can yet explain the same facts, though not all the facts. Hence the "science" of psychology is a diverse collection of theories and concepts that are not consistent with each other. It's common for psychologists to have disagreements about methodology so that some psychologists see themselves to have proven something, while their critics do not.

Consider further what is considered proof in scientific psychology today. For example, the history of psychology is replete with studies showing a significant positive correlation between intelligence and performance on many types of tasks. Some of the best correlations go up in the .80's. Now what kind of proof is this? A correlation of .80 means that (.80x.80x100)=64 percent of the variance in performance is due to intelligence. Clearly, intelligence influences performance but in one third of the process it does not. Is this therefore a scientific explanation? Yes, even though it's not provable. Science is so complex that it's not accurate to describe it as consisting only of that which is provable. I would venture to say that the majority of concepts used in the scientific journal literature today, is probably not provable.

Take another example. Experiments have been done that prove that people who have been abused as children, later become abusers themselves. Yet there is always a certain percent of people that do not fit the proof (people who have been abused as children but have never abused anyone).

Take another example. Clinical psychologists are strongly research oriented yet they justify certain practices even though there is no scientific proof for them. For instance, sex therapists advice some of their clients to improve their marital sex by fantasizing being with others while the married couple is having sex. The unproven theory is that fantasy is harmless because it's just in the mind. It's not like having an affair. In theistic psychology much is known about the mind that is not known to clinical psychologists. Fantasy is in fact more real than having an affair, so that both are destructive of married love, which is based on permanent exclusivity and totality (see Section xx).

Freud is consistently selected today among the greatest psychologists who have helped create the science of psychology. Yet Freud's theories were never proven to be correct. Mush research exists in the field of "psychodynamic psychology" yet no one has been able to prove that the unconscious exists, nor the ego, nor the superego, nor the sexuality of children, etc.

In the area of "educational psychology" mush research has been done on theories and methods of instruction, yet many of them are contradictory to each other, and none of them are effective enough to benefit many children. Clearly, theories of learning in instruction are not proven to be correct yet they form part of the science of psychology. Similarly with theories about parenting and about criminal behavior--research that is heavily supported by the federal granting agencies. None of these theories are proven to be correct and the research continues as theories come and go.

In fact there is little we can find in the science of psychology that gives proof of any theory or hypothesis. Instead, we have probabilities obtained with samples and we accept the 95 percent or 99 percent cut off point. In other words hardly any proof of any theory exists in the science of psychology. All that exists is probability, sampling, and conventional limits of acceptance. Clearly, the concept of God is kept out of the science of psychology today not because there is proof that it is an invalid concept or model, but because there is an agreement to keep it out, and all its related topics. This is the negative bias.

To argue that the science of psychology proceeds only by proof is therefore an oversimplified and inaccurate view. What does make psychology scientific?

To understand this issue we need to look at it historically. Looking at history from the Western perspective, psychology as a specialized knowledge goes back thousands of years to Aristotle and Plato, and some before that. In the 18th century, at the time Swedenborg was publishing the books of the Writings, psychology as an academic discipline was mixed with philosophy. It' not until the end of the 19th century that psychologists were given their own department and filed of science. It was necessary to make a quick and sharp break with philosophy so that psychology can become a science and join the rapidly growing sciences in all fields of society.

Psychologists formed themselves into a distinct profession at the beginning of the twentieth century. At that time there were just a few hundred psychologists. by the time I joined the American Psychological Association in 1959 it had 20,000 members. Today APA membership is around 100,000. You can see more details about APA growth in this article:

The science of psychology is a science today not because it works only with scientific proof of its theories, but because it follows rational methods of inquiry. Since psychology is defined as the study of human behavior, following rational methods of inquiry means that we have methodological procedures for collecting facts about human behavior. We are able to set up data collection procedures under certain stated conditions, and we then cumulate the results from independent researchers, forming rational and consistent explanations at both the level of the data collected and its integration with other data. This is what makes psychology a science.

Contrast psychology with the fields of philosophy or religion. Neither of these two academic disciplines claim to be a science because they do not have methodological procedures for collecting data that some theory predicts. Neither are they committed to the idea that all theories in philosophy or religion should fit together into one rational and integrated system.

2.3.2  Criteria for Theistic Psychology as Science

Theistic psychology is a proposal to allow God as a scientific concept as long as it meets scientific, rational, and logical criteria, as follows: It must

(1) be rational, coherent, internally consistent, comprehensive, understandable, capable of representation in models and diagrams

(2) not contradict common sense and scientific reasoning

(3) have a factual empirical basis of systematic observations and experiments

(4) be capable of supporting normal scientific cumulative research by a generational scientific community

Are there others that are not included here? Any scientist like myself can study the Writings of Swedenborg and critically evaluate them on the basis of these four essential criteria for what constitutes a scientific proposal. I have done so for a number of years and I have concluded that the Writings of Swedenborg conform fully to these four criteria.

Note this important observation: Many scientists feel free to reject the proposals of theistic psychology without having read the Writings of Swedenborg. Thus, they do not make a rational analysis, nor an informed conclusion. This is the negative bias. There are hundreds of professional scientists and philosophers who have made a thorough examination of the Writings of Swedenborg and have come to a similar conclusion that I have, namely, that they are valid and rational explanations of God, the mind, the spiritual world, the afterlife, natural-spiritual correspondences, revelation, and many more topics (refer to the Reading List).

Swedenborg's name has been excluded from the history of psychology because the field of psychology struggled to become accepted as a full fledged science in the 20th century, and to include Swedenborg's unique experience about another world, and his claim to have talked to Aristotle, the Virgin Mary, Newton and many others, would have threatened the ability of psychology to achieve the status of science in the eyes of materialistic scientists.  Excluding Swedenborg, regardless of his genius, appeared necessary for self-preservation. This is known to have actually happened in the case the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a contemporary of Swedenborg. According to the dictionary  he was a German philosopher who "developed critical philosophy determining the nature and limits of knowledge, categories of consciousness and their ethical and aesthetic consequences." Kant had heard of some strange powers possessed by Swedenborg and placed an order for one of his books with a publisher. The letter he wrote has been published in biographies of Kant and it shows that Kant asked the publisher not to tell anyone that he had ordered a Swedenborg book because he thought that to be associated with Swedenborg might hurt his chances of getting a professorship he was hoping for at the university. Kant's reputation as the founder of "critical philosophy" had to be maintained as rational and scientific, as defined by the materialistic course that science was setting for itself in the 19th century.

Psychology was trying to separate itself from philosophy. History of psychology literature and textbooks invariably trace the birth of scientific psychology to Wundt in 1879. This momentous event is founded on actually something very small -- a little room in the building where Professor Wundt was teaching in Leipzig, Germany, which he officially designated as a "Psychology Laboratory." It contained some tables and chairs and a few pieces of equipment to measure vision, perception, and hand movements. That's it. How could this be taken to be the beginning of scientific psychology? It seems so modest and insignificant for such a momentous claim: In 1878 psychology was not yet a science. In 1879 psychology became a science.

But this attitude can be understood if we put it in the context of psychology in the 20th century wanting desperately to be accepted as a full fledged science. Where can 20th century psychology as a science trace its roots to? It makes sense to pick an event that highlights psychology's involvement with a methodology based on physical measurements. That's what Wundt's action did. He declared to the world that psychology from now on was going to be allied to physics, chemistry, and anatomy. Note that Swedenborg's psychology antedates Wundt by more than 100 years, but Swedenborg disqualified himself by talking about the spiritual world, Sacred Scripture, and heaven and hell. This is what psychology wanted to run away from so that it may independent of religion, theology, and philosophy.

Kant was influential in the development of scientific psychology but he himself was a philosopher and Kant appears mostly in the history of psychology books rather than in psychology books. What happened to Kant regarding Swedenborg happened to another philosopher who was even more influential than Kant in the development of 20th century psychology. His name is William James (1842-1910). You can see a useful chronology of his life here: He belonged to a well known literary family. His brother was the famous poet and novelist Henry James, and his father, Henry James, Sr., was a well-known literary figure and critic. Henry James had read Swedenborg before the birth of the two sons, and he was so taken and passionate about the Writings that he wrote two books and dozens of magazine articles trying to convince people of the uniqueness and greatness of these Writings.

Henry James home schooled his two sons Henry and William so I expect that the boys grew up familiar with Swedenborg's ideas through their father. And yet here is the remarkable fact: neither Henry nor William James ever mention the name of Swedenborg in their many famous and influential publications. How can this be? My answer is that referring to Swedenborg in circles of materialistic science at the end of the19th century would have been the kiss of death for their career. William James received a professorship at Harvard University and having studied in Germany it was natural for him to create a laboratory of psychology and a department of psychology separate from the philosophy department.

Before that William James actually got and MD degree at Harvard and taught courses in anatomy and physiology. His first course in psychology was taught in 1875, four years prior to Wundt's famous laboratory. He was appointed professor of philosophy in 1885.  He published his famous two-volume book Principles of Psychology in 1890. This is considered to be the first textbook of the science of psychology.  William James had chapters on habit, attention, perception, association, memory, reasoning, instinct, emotion, imagination, psychological methods, hypnotism, consciousness, and self. He relied heavily on laboratory research data and excluded concepts that could not be tied down to laboratory measurements. William James showed the rest of the 20th century psychology how to transform philosophical ideas like attention, consciousness, instinct into materialistic concepts that were measurable under controlled conditions.

One can understand therefore that William James did not want to refer to the name of Swedenborg in a book he hoped to be the world's first scientific textbook in modern psychology.

But what about his subsequent books, that are equally well known, even today: The Will to Believe (1897), Talks to Teachers (1899)  and especially, Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), which discusses why people believe in God and what emotions and feelings are involved in their relationship to God. His approach is strictly objective, somewhat like the literature on the psychology of religion is today and has been since the 1950s. Swedenborg is not mentioned anywhere.

In 1900 the science of psychology stood at a critical crossroad. The fateful dilemma facing the field was represented by two American psychologists, one at Harvard by the name of William James and the other at Cornell by the name of Edward B. Titchener. Both had studied in Germany with the great Wundt at Leipzig who created the first laboratory of psychology. Both came back and enjoyed a following of admirers. Both were doing research on consciousness, perception, and learning. Titchener based his research on the method of introspectionism while William James based his research on materialistic measurements such as Wundt and Fechner had invented. The science of psychology decided to stake its scientific future with the functional behavioral methodology of William James, Watson, and Skinner. Introspectionism as a method of studying the human mind was eliminated. By mid century in the 1950s when I began the study of psychology, it was no longer an option for Ph.D. graduate students to do their research using the method of introspectionism.

Now, a century later, as we are launching ourselves into the 21st century, theistic psychology emerges on the horizon of the science of psychology. One can only wonder what psychology would be today had the field picked Titchener to follow instead of William James. It strikes me as a historical irony that non-theistic psychology counts William James as its American founder given that William James was home schooled by Henry James, Sr., one of the staunchest and well known 19th century supporter of the Writings of Swedenborg.

The systematic exclusion of Swedenborg from the development of psychology can therefore be understood as the attempt to maintain a strict and pure negative bias regarding God in materialistic science. Along with God, psychology excluded almost every concept Swedenborg wrote about -- heaven, hell, spirits, immortality, angels, devils, resuscitation, revelation, sacred scripture. All these ideas were lumped together as either religion, superstition, or fantasy, but not science. Thus, although Swedenborg's Writings were well known and influential in the literary intelligentsia of 19th century life, he was totally unknown to scientists in the 20th century.

Nevertheless there were dozens of scholars who studied Swedenborg and kept translating the Writings into modern languages and publishing articles and books on him. At the end of the 20th century, and today, at the start of the 21st century, a steady new trend has begun in the halls of science. I call this new trend in science "the positive bias." This new attitude will allow more scientists, especially psychologists, to approach Swedenborg's Writing's in order to critically examine it as psychology, rather than to dismiss them automatically without critically examining them. It is noteworthy that theistic psychology uses a methodology called self-witnessing (see Section xx). This consists of self-monitoring activities that are essentially "introspective" and whose purpose is to allow us to know the content of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations. William James rejected both introspectionism and the theistic psychology of Swedenborg. But a century later both return to science through this textbook.

For a less pessimistic view of William James' relationship to Swedenborg, see the interesting article by Dr. Sonia Werner, a contemporary Swedenborgian scholar (see Reading List).

For additional details on my perspective of behaviorism and the history of psychology, consult this article on the Web:

2.3.3  Can an atheist be an expert in theistic science?

This is an odd question. It is similar to this: Can an overweight psychologist be an expert in weight loss methods? Can a three times divorced marriage therapist be an expert in marriage therapy? An atheist retains the negative bias towards the Writings. This bias will influence the interpretation given to every sentence. Reading the Writings in the negative bias orientation guarantees that its facts will be dismissed as having been made up by Swedenborg. The rationality that is so obvious and enlightening in the positive bias orientation, will not be apparent in the negative bias mode of reasoning. Failing to see the coherence and the rationality, one is then left to the wishy washy conclusion that has been often voiced by mystical enthusiasts--"Swedenborg was one of the greatest geniuses of all times and he traveled to realms of human experience few have reached." I refer to this as wishy washy in the sense that it doesn't settle the issue. We are thrown right back into something inconclusive from the perspective of rational understanding.

We are not convinced by anything we cannot fully understand. If there is anything about an account that we do not fully understand, yet we accept it as true--then we are being mystical. We are turning into a mystic. We will be doing either of these two things, or alternately both: (a) not believe anything and remain in the negative bias; or (b) believe anyway even though it is a "blind faith." Some mystics even assert that blind faith is the only genuine and true faith since you have to believe in what you don't understand and what is a mystery to the human mind. Also, that God is beyond human understanding, hence blind faith is greater than any faith based on what we can understand. This is what I call an anti-intellectual argument. It is based on questionable assumptions, and in fact the opposite is the case, as demonstrated in the Writings.

Swedenborg was in the unique position of interviewing thousands of novitiate spirits (or new arrivals) in the spiritual world, as well as how they changed in the course of their transformation in the second death, which is the phase where we undergo total separation between our hellish and heavenly traits. It is clear when you read his reports that inevitably all those who arrived with a blind faith, which is also called a "persuasive faith," did not have enough power of rationality to acquire the rational truths that every spirit must acquire in order to retain the heavenly traits and let go of the hellish traits. This is the second death, and the result is that people are either awakened in the heaven of their mind, or in the hell of their mind. a fateful phase that is irreversible to eternity!

Why? Or better, how does this happen? What are the specific mechanisms by which this fateful separation is carried out? Theistic psychology can speak rationally to these issues.

Think of how a computer is run by its program or how an awards banquet is run by the host. Each step is followed by the next step as dictated by the program or protocol. Now consider what happens when a disorderly guest decides to follow another order than what is prescribed. There is a disruption created and if the guest insists, he or she is removed by force so that the program or protocol can run its course. Consider now what happens in rational ether in which our mind exists, and from which its organs are made. The affective organ is different from the cognitive organ and both are different from the sensorimotor organ. They each have their own working rationality, which refers to the program or protocol that creates and activates their operations. But all three organs must operate, if they operate, in rational ether.

The “expanse” of the spiritual world may be called rational ether which is also the expanse in our mind. It is like the grammar of the language you speak. The grammar is made up of an integrated collection of rational rules called "syntax." Linguists have given precise mathematical descriptions to these abstract higher order psycho-linguistic units in language. Everyone thinks in terms of rational categories imposed by the structure of the mental organs in which thinking takes place. Now if you arrive into the spiritual world you must be able to function rationally, or else you are an irrational person living in a rational world. And that produces a hell in the mind. In this world one can be irrational in many things and be rational in some other things. This is because our heavenly traits are all rational while our hellish traits are all irrational. Traits are kept in place by the affective organ where our loves and motives operate and live. Good loves or altruistic loves can only unite with rational thoughts, while hurtful loves or selfish loves can only unite with falsified truths which, if believed, make us irrational.

This is then the mechanism by which we rise to our heaven or fall into our hell. It is a predetermined and unchangeable universal law for all humans, just like pregnancy and birth are. While we are still in this world we can alternate between rational and irrational states, which means also, that we can alternate between good loves and bad. But this alternation is impossible in the spiritual world where opposites destroy each other if brought together. The only way heavenly and hellish character traits can both survive forever, is by strict and total segregation, never to be brought together again. Nothing of the bad can ever enter heaven, any more than a house can pass through the pores in your skin. Nothing of the good can enter hell, any more than an ice cube can survive under the heat of a torch. This is quite clear if you consider the psycho-physiology and biochemistry of the spiritual body (see Section xx). It would be similar to opening a door lock by turning the key clockwise, which is the way it was closed in the first place. It is mechanically, logically, and rationally not possible. Not a single injurious or selfish trait can live, operate, or survive in the sphere of rational ether purified, as it is in the heaven of every human being.

2.3.4  Who is to tell us what are good traits and what evil?

There are two possible sources for information on good vs. evil, one human, the other Divine. Any theory developed by another human being is fallible and potentially erroneous, as seen when more of the facts come to light. Hence whatever people have said about good vs. evil over the generations was up for debate between followers and antagonists of the theory. Evidence is often uses in these debates but is not foolproof evidence and the other side can always question it on this or that ground.

The second source to tell us what is evil vs. good is Divine revelation in the form of Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech which enters the conscious natural mind of a chosen individual who was prepared for receiving it. The individual writes it down accurately word for word. A collection of such Divine dictations has been given several times in the history of peoples and cultures on this earth. Divine Speech is the source of our rational ideas, ideas that are based on spiritual reality, not natural appearances. This is how the succeeding generations knew that there is God, heaven and hell, and what we must do to avoid hell and enter heaven. These revelations can be called scientific because they are rational truths about the natural world and how its phenomena are dependent on the spiritual world. In the history of scientific revelations, only the Writings of Swedenborg come to us through the rational mind of a scientist and engineer with an impeccable reputation and admirable accomplishments--and not through mystical dictation not understood by the prophet, as in the case of the Old and New Testaments.

Theistic psychology as science was not possible prior to the Writings of Swedenborg because only mystical theories and subjective speculations were available about a supposed spiritual world. We had to be satisfied with someone's incomprehensible claims about mystical experiences such as a "feeling of oneness with the All," etc. This never really impressed me because I had no interest whatsoever in believing anybody's theory or experience. It seemed useless to me in terms of my own mental development. But when I fell upon the books of the Writings in our university library in 1981 I left my beliefs behind and focused totally on the unprecedented state of clear rationality, page after page, and book after book. Belief and faith are nothing to me while understanding rationally is everything. Rational understanding is a relief that is difficult to imagine in advance. We get used to living in a negative bias that is filled with half-truths and incomplete understandings of the major issue in our lives--love, truth, heaven, hell, marriage, God.

Now as one enters into the rationality of scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg, a  cognitive dense fog lifts from the mind and is replaced by crystal clear mental vision of all the important things in life, and especially what is a good trait in our mind and what is a bad trait. Upon this distinction our eternal future is based. It's a practical or pragmatic issue for all of us. Nothing can be a more vital issue. Can you think of anything more important?

2.4  What about the spiritual world and the afterlife—how can that be researched?

 Theistic psychology investigates the overlap between the mental world and the spiritual world by means of the laws of correspondences revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg. These scientific revelations indicate that we are born dual citizens in the natural and spiritual world, living in both worlds simultaneously. Our physical operations in the brain and its physical body parallel exactly our mental operations in the mind and its spiritual body. Our brain is active in correspondence with our mind—what we think and feel. The mind is in the spiritual body while the brain is in the physical body, and the two are tied by scientific correspondence laws. When the physical body dies, the connection is broken, and the person becomes conscious in the spiritual body. This is what Swedenborg was able to experience many times, but prior to the death of his physical body. When we awaken in the spiritual world a few hours after death, we can begin the process of corroborating directly everything that Swedenborg was able to perceive.

Before the death of the physical body, the individual’s conscious awareness is in the natural mind, which receives input from the physical senses, and therefore what we see around us is the natural world on the planet. But upon the death of the physical body we lose our conscious awareness of the physical world, since our natural senses are no longer functioning. Instead, we now have conscious awareness of the spiritual world through the senses of the spiritual body or mind. Now we live an immortal life in this spiritual world. The character of this life and the laws of the spiritual world are described in detail through the direct observations of Swedenborg for 27 years of daily living in both worlds. His conscious awareness was working for both his natural mind and his spiritual mind so that he could observe how the two interact. This kind of dual ability was not granted to any scientist since the beginning of history.

He could also report what he noticed about people when they were recent arrivals in the spiritual world. He was able to make a comparison between their external mind, which they had at arrival, and their internal mind, which became visible when their external mind was made functionless (the "second death"). You can corroborate the existence of your two minds by practicing self-witnessing or self-monitoring of the stream of your thoughts and feelings all day long. As you practice you can notice that your mind is organized at two levels. The internal mind is able to perceive the thoughts of the external mind so that you can be conscious of what your "lower self" is thinking and intending. Often our external mind is civilized and polite while our internal mind is furious and resentful. Most people are not aware that they are radically different on the inside, below their subconscious. Sometimes we surprise ourselves by thinking or feeling something, and that's because we don't really know our inner feelings and thoughts. Once we awaken in the spiritual world at the death of the physical body, everyone is able like Swedenborg, to observe how new arrivals in the spiritual world cast off their outer personality of being nice and reasonable, and suddenly become ugly, aggressive, and irrational. And sometimes the reverse also happens.

We can therefore investigate the life after death through Swedenborg's data, and also, investigate how our current behavior is influenced by the behavior of those who come into contact with our spiritual body in the spiritual world--the vertical community (see Section xx). Swedenborg was able to talk to an acquaintance from Sweden while he was being buried at the funeral, and he was amazed that the mourners thought of him as being dead. He was not able to be conscious of events in the physical world, as Swedenborg was, so he was relying on what Swedenborg was seeing by being present at the funeral.

In the spiritual world there is no physical space but only the appearance of space, as in dreams. Mentally we can travel to any distance instantaneously and therefore in the spiritual world, which is like the mental world, all "travel" is instantaneous and depending on the state of mind. When you change your thinking or your mood in the spiritual world, the surrounding environment completely changes to reflect your new mental state. Stability and localization in spiritual space depends entirely on your mental state. Two individuals who are in an entirely different mood cannot approach each other or be in the same "space" for contact. The spiritual world is thus a map of the mental world, and vice versa. This correspondence offers various methodologies for research which we will explore (see Section xx).

We may wonder in what way Swedenborg was special that he was able to be conscious simultaneously in the natural and spiritual worlds. Could this happen to anyone else?

In terms of human anatomy there was nothing special or different about Swedenborg. Every human being possesses at birth a spiritual body and mind, which is an organ with three sub-components able to operate at three separate levels of feeling, thinking and sensing. The first level of the mind is called the natural mind and it forms our normal consciousness every day. Its content is our socialized life on earth. When educated, the natural mind can ascend in consciousness to abstract thinking about self and the world. This level of thinking is called the natural-rational level of thinking. Above this natural mind we have our second mind which is the middle mind. This spiritual mind is the intermediary between the outer natural mind and the inmost celestial mind, which is the third and highest mind.

The middle mind is called the spiritual mind and our thinking at this level is called spiritual-rational thinking. This type of thinking is rational but it differs from the rational of the first level called natural-rational thinking. What's the difference? The rationality of the natural mind is a rationality based on sensory input through the physical senses. This natural-rational way of thinking leads to atheism and materialism unless redirected by our spiritual-rational mind which takes input from the inmost celestial mind. The inmost celestial mind takes input solely from the spiritual world. Its content is from what is happening in the spiritual world surrounding our spiritual body. For diagrams depicting the anatomy of the mind see Section 5.1.

You can see from this anatomical description of the mind that every human being is capable, like Swedenborg, to receive input from the spiritual world through our celestial mind. If we would be able to be conscious of this input, we would be walking around in the spiritual world like Swedenborg. The only difference is that we are not conscious of the operations in our celestial mind while Swedenborg was allowed to be conscious in both his natural mind and in his celestial mind. He records an encounter with the Divine-Human that happened when he was 57 years old. The Divine-Human identified Himself as God and told him in advance what's going to happen and for what purpose, also implying, that He had been preparing Swedenborg for this mission since early childhood. Swedenborg now, at age 57, had acquired scientific knowledge, a rational way of thinking, and deep reverence for God. He was ready to have his consciousness opened in the celestial mind. He was able to see what we also experience when we lose connection to the physical world and become spirits in the rational ether of the spiritual world.

It took Swedenborg several months to get completely adjusted to this new state of dual citizenship, but he then settled down to the enormous task of writing scientific reports about what he saw and heard with his celestial mind, of which he was conscious. He could therefore record who he talked to in the spiritual world, what details he noticed in the environment, what the geography was like, the language people speak when they become spirits, whether families or spouses reunite in the "afterlife," how the spirits interact with us, and many more details. The Writings of Swedenborg constitute about 30 volumes in English translation.

Today no one else can be given the ability of conscious awareness in the celestial mind without spiritual injury, for reasons explained rationally in the Writings. Therefore we must rely on the only source of objective data about the spiritual world. This is far better than to speculate or to rely on what some people claim to be visions of the spiritual world. Theistic psychology is therefore defined exclusively in terms of the Writings of Swedenborg, the only source of objective data.

See also Section 5. 4 called  The Mental Technology of Spiritual Self-Witnessing.

2.5  Is it possible that Swedenborg made it all up or was delusional at times?

 Science is structured so that whatever theory is being offered by someone must meet the requisite criteria for science. First, other psychologists must be able to understand and corroborate every explanation or conclusion based on the theory. Second, the theory must be rational with coherent parts that fit together, and each part agreeing with what is already known and accepted. Third, the theory must lead to accurate and verifiable predictions about human behavior.

Swedenborg’s explanations in his Writings about God and the spiritual world fully meet these three criteria. First, I am an independent psychologist reading the Writings more than two hundred years later, translated into English from Latin, and am able to understand and corroborate every explanation or conclusion he presents. Second, I can corroborate that it is a rational system, that all parts of it fit together in a coherent and logical fashion, and that its conclusions agree with everything that is already known about human nature, though it disagrees with invalid theories, of which there are very many in materialistic psychology. Third, I have incorporated some of the ideas into my research in psychology, and I discovered that it offers good predictions regarding those aspects of human behavior that constitute my research specialty. Some of this research is listed in the Reading List.

Further, I expect that as theistic psychology grows, more research on applied theistic psychology will be generated in human areas of great need--addictive behavior, parenting, instruction, marriage, relationships, anger management, depression, therapy, and others (see Section xx). This research will stem from Swedenborg's many observations of how the human mind works. He was in a unique situation to be able to observe empirically people before and after they had died. Ordinarily the thoughts and feelings of people can only be inferred indirectly by various techniques that are rudimentary in psychology and neuroscience--like personality tests and cat scans of the brain. But none of this leads to a direct observation of a person's actual mental world of thoughts and feelings.

But when scientists wake up in the spiritual world shortly after the death of their physical body and brain, they are able to directly observe and corroborate what Swedenborg observed when he was permitted to have conscious presence simultaneously in the natural and spiritual worlds. This special ability was given by God to Swedenborg for the purpose of making it possible for him to deliver the scientific revelations in the Writings. These revelations show why it is not permitted for other scientists to have the same observation platform. Direct conscious observation of the spiritual world is an ability that every human being is born with. This dual awareness or consciousness was available to the earliest civilizations on this planet, according to Swedenborg's interviews with the people in the spiritual world who lived on this earth in those early days. But, as fully explained in the Writings, this dual awareness was made neuro-biologically inert in subsequent generations in order to allow for the evolution of rational spirituality (see Section xx).  If direct awareness of the spiritual world were allowed today, it would destroy the rational evolution to which the human race is being taken.

Hence we cannot corroborate Swedenborg's data by our own direct observations of the spiritual world while we are still in this world. Some people argue that because of this limitation, theistic psychology cannot be a true science. But I do not agree with this argument, and I have brought forward many reasonable considerations showing that this type of direct  corroboration is not a requirement for scientific proposals to be valid, as long as the other criteria I specified are in force.

There are hundreds of other scientists like myself who have been reading Swedenborg and have investigated his rationality, his credentials, his honesty. There is a near unanimous agreement by these investigators that Swedenborg was fully rational, sane, and honest and that his Writings are among the deepest and most important literature ever written.

2. What's the relation between the body, the mind, and the spiritual world?

Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

CONTINUATION CONCERNING SITUATION AND PLACE, AND ALSO CONCERNING DISTANCE AND TIME, IN THE OTHER LIFE. I have frequently conversed with spirits concerning the idea of place and of distance among them-that it is not anything real, but appears as if it were, being nothing else than their states of thought and of affection, which are thus varied, and are in this manner presented to view in the world of spirits; but not so much so in heaven among the angels, since these are not in the idea of place and time, but in that of states. But the spirits to whom bodily and earthly ideas adhere, do not apprehend this, for they suppose that the case is exactly as they see it to be. Such spirits can hardly be brought to believe otherwise than that they are living in the body, and are not willing to be persuaded that they are spirits; and thus scarcely that there is any appearance, or any fallacy, in relation to the matter, for they desire to live in fallacies. Thus do they preclude themselves from the apprehension and acknowledgment of truths and goods, which are as far as possible from fallacies. It has been shown them many times that change of place is nothing but an appearance, and also a fallacy of sense. For there are two kinds of mutation of place in the other life; one is that which has been spoken of before, when it is laid that all spirits and angels in the Grand Man constantly keep their own situation therein; which is an appearance. The other is that spirits appear in a place when in fact they are not there, which is a fallacy. (AC 1376)

I have been informed, both by conversation with angels, and by living experience, that spirits, as spirits, in regard to the organic forms which constitute their bodies, are not in the place where they are seen, but may be far away, and yet appear there. I know that they who suffer themselves to be carried away by fallacies will not believe this, but still the case is so. This has been illustrated to those spirits who have believed nothing to be true that they did not see with their eyes - even if this were mere fallacy - by the fact that something similar is exhibited among men in the world. Take for instance the sound of a speaker's voice coming to the ear of another person: if the person who hears it did not know to the contrary, by the discriminations of sound, learned by experience from infancy, and did not see the speaker at a distance, he would have no other belief than that the speaker was close to his ear.

So with a man who sees remote objects: if be did not at the same time see intervening objects, and know from them, or judge of the distance by what he knows, he would believe a distant object to be near his eye. Much more is this the case with the speech of spirits, which is interior speech; and with their sight, which is interior sight.

[2] 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)

Swedenborg's observations and experiments are unique in the history of science because he was able to be simultaneously aware of the natural and spiritual worlds.  His data rationally demonstrate that every event in the natural world is preceded by a corresponding event in the spiritual world. In other words, what happens in the physical body (natural world) corresponds one to one with what happens in the mind (spiritual world). Recall that in the spiritual world the mind is visible just like the physical body is visible in the natural world.

Here some facts we need to know in order to understand the relation between "physical body" and "spiritual mind" (see the concept of "substantive dualism" in Chapter xx).

    (1) The scientific laws of correspondence between natural events and their spiritual causes were known in prehistoric times on this planet, but were subsequently forgotten due to evolutionary and ecological changes described in the Writings (see the "Science of Correspondences" in Chapter xx). Now that they are revealed and accessible again, psychology can use it as a methodology for body-mind investigations. For example, there is a correspondence between the circulatory system of the body and the affective mind, and between the respiratory system and the cognitive mind. This parallelism indicates that the mind is a biological organ and has an anatomy that can be described. The mind has two organs made of spiritual substances (not natural). Spiritual substances originate from the Spiritual Sun of the spiritual world, while natural substances originate from the natural sun near each planet. There is an exact correspondence between how the natural sun produces the heart and the lungs, and how the Spiritual Sun produces the affective and cognitive mind.

Future research in theistic psychology will be able to discover the detailed relationships between body and mind. Since the physical body is visible to our instruments and measurements, its known physiology becomes a model for the mind's psychobiology that cannot be observed with physical measurements.

    (2) Every human being is born simultaneously with a physical body and a spiritual body (see "dual citizenship" in Chapter xx). The physical body is located in the natural world while the spiritual body is located in the spiritual world. Swedenborg reports that the spiritual body of those who are still alive on earth, is visible to the inhabitants of the spiritual world, though no direct conscious communication is possible until the person awakens in the spiritual body as soon as the physical body is functionally dead (becomes a corpse). The mind with its affective and cognitive organs is located in the spiritual body while the brain is located in the physical body. Whatever happens to the physical body on earth we can sensate and feel in our spiritual body in the spiritual world. Since sensations. thoughts, and feelings are not physical objects, they cannot be located in the material brain which is physical. Non physical objects, that is, spiritual objects, must be located in the spiritual body in the spiritual world. Sensations, thoughts and feelings are spiritual objects and events.

    (3) Natural objects, like the physical body and brain, have a temporary life or existence, but spiritual objects, like the mind or spiritual body, are permanent (immortal or eternal). In other words, sensations, thoughts, and feelings are immortal parts of human beings. Thus every thought and feeling we have is recorded permanently in our interior memory, which is in the spiritual body. Swedenborg demonstrated that people in the spiritual world are able to recall every single detail of their lives on earth.

    (4) When people awaken in their spiritual body (shortly after death of the physical body), they begin their new life in eternity. What kind of life is it? Swedenborg reports visiting the lands and cities where people congregate there. Social life there depends on the character or interior personality of the individuals. People whose character is in altruism and mutual love, congregate together and see their environment as some heavenly appearance that corresponds to their altruism and mutual love. They appear young, beautiful, and ecstatically happy in their condition of eternal conjugial life. Nothing is lacking. Everything is supplied before them, whatever they want or fancy, which is all good.

But people who are selfish, cruel, and dishonest in their character or interior personality habits, congregate in different places that appear like hell cities in their atrocities, cruelties, and hatreds for each other. In this way human lives are spent in eternity, either in heavenly conditions or in hellish conditions, depending on people's character, which is the quality of the mind, of the thoughts and feelings they have and constitute their living, or very life. These cannot be taken away or substituted for other thoughts and feelings without destroying the very self or basis of the individual as a unique human being.

Hence it is that theistic psychology is so important for humanity for it can give everyone the tools and motivation needed for character change here on earth, so that we may become altruistic and live in mutual love. Nothing can be more important to each of us than this, assuming Swedenborg's reports to be true. If one rejects all the evidence recorded in Divine scientific revelations as untrue or delusional, then none of this preparation for the afterlife can make sense or be important. But if these revelations are indeed Divine and true, then nothing can be more important. To decide whether it is true or not, it is necessary to examine all the evidence that Swedenborg brings forth. It should not be rejected out of hand just because it doesn't fit the negative bias of non-theistic science today.

2. Theoretical Implications of God's Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence

The concept of God in theistic psychology has logical implications that must apply to all explanations and models.

God is the only concept that implies infinity.

In the Writings of Swedenborg it is revealed that "in God-Man infinite things are one distinctly" (DLW 22). This means that God is the unifying concept that explains how the universe is integrated in a coherent whole. No detail, event, or quality in the dual universe (natural and spiritual) can exist detached from this whole. "Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence " are logical implications that follow from the definition of God as infinite, which means that God has no beginning or end. Rationally, there can be only one infinite. Two infinites are not possible--it's a logical contradiction since infinite means no limits, and if there are two infinites, each is limited, and this is illogical. Therefore only God can be infinite.

Infinity has several logical implications, besides there being only one infinite. Since God is infinite He cannot remove Himself from anywhere, since there cannot be a limit to God's infinity. Every attribute one can assign to God must be infinite. To say that God is infinite is the same as saying that whatever is in God is infinite. We know from God's revelations to humankind that there are many things in God, and they can be summarized as Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. Divine Love includes God's Goodness, Mercy, Grace, Benevolence, and Sympathy for the human race. God loves every human being endlessly, passionately, and maximally all the time. Divine Wisdom includes God's Truth, Rationality, Intelligence, Omniscience, and Inventiveness. Clearly, God is a Human since He Has all the Human traits we know of. People have these traits--love, sympathy, intelligence, rationality, etc. But in fact these traits are God's traits in people.

This is a logical necessity implied by the concept if infinity. Infinity cannot be limited or be absent. Nor can infinity give something away since it would then have less than before, which is putting a limit on infinity, and this is illogical. Hence God cannot give away His Humanness to people He creates. God cannot give away some of His love, some of His life, some of His rationality, to people. However God created a method that achieves a result that appears similar to giving His Divine infinite things away.

This is the method of appearances.

In other words, God makes it look like He is giving away some of His Humanness to individual human beings that He creates.

Birds fly and look for food and raise a new generation of birds. It seems that they are each doing it from themselves. A plant grows, becomes a tree, gives fruit we enjoy, and provides for its the survival of its own species. Galaxies burst apart into pieces that cool down and evolve into planets that are governed by natural laws. God is hidden from these events, short like a Brownian motion of electrons, or long like the formation of new galaxies. God has not removed Himself from these natural events, for this would put a limit to His infinity, something which is illogical. God cannot be removed from anywhere. But God is managing things from within what is visible. God is present within every sub-atomic particle of the created universe, and from that omniscient and omnipotent position, God activates each component of an atom, integrates the many motions of a living cell, and brings about the galactic developments of the expanding universe.

God has not given away anything to natural laws and therefore natural energy and lawful action is not the action of "nature" but the action of God who is within the inner framework of every motion and energy. To me it is clear that one would be foolhardy and irrational to say that there is some force or energy or power that is not God's or that God has removed Himself from it. In other words, nothing can run by itself, but God makes it look like it does by acting from within the visible plane of events or objects.

It's common for people to say: Well, if there is a God, why can't you prove it to me? Or: If you can prove that there is a God I will believe it. Until then I don't have to.

But from the discussion above we can see that "believing in God" is not the issue! We don't have a rational choice to believe or not to believe. We must examine the issue rationally and we choose the outcome of the rational investigation, for this is what makes sense. Do we have a choice about whether the earth is flat or round? It's not a question of belief, but fact, proven in many ways. Similarly, it's not rational to limit God's infinity by what we believe. We have to think logically, starting with the scientific concept of infinity, as explained above. Infinity must exist. Infinity cannot be divided. Infinity includes all human traits like love and rationality or intelligence. Therefore these traits are in infinity, not in ourselves, which are finite. The infinity that has these human traits must therefore be Human. A Human infinity is called God. Hence God is referred in the Writings as the "Divine-Human" or "God-Man."

Just as the Divine-Human makes it appear that the world runs itself, He also makes it appear that human beings run themselves. God not only synchronizes the action of brain cells, but He also manages the operations of the mind--our thoughts, memories, dreams, motives, loves, and enjoyments. God synchronizes the precise one-to-one relations between operations in the mind and in the body. God blocks your memory at times, so you can't remember something or forget something. At other times, God makes you recall something or notice something. God is therefore a "hands on" manager of your mind. Clearly He doesn't let us see His management. It appears to us as if we are managing ourselves. This is why the Writings use the expression "as-of self" instead of the "self." This may sound disturbing at first.

What, we don't have a self? It's only an illusion? We are really robots caught in a Divine Matrix?

We don't have life of our own but only god's life in us. We don't have intelligence of our own, but only God's intelligence in us. The choice is not between "we are God or we're robots." There is another rational alternative. We are not God, for this illogical. We are not robots, for this is would unloving, and we cannot say that God is unloving, for then His love would have a limit, and this is illogical. The rational alternative is to say that we are "human as-of selves."

We are human because we are created in the "image of God" who is the Divine-Human, the only humanness there is. To be created "an image" refers to the "human as-of self." This is an actual creation. It is not a robot, for a robot is not human. Humanness must come from God in the created object. Only people have humanness because only people are created with the organic structure for receiving human traits from God. "Receiving" refers to the appearance of as-of self to our conscious awareness and rational thinking. It is necessary to have conscious awareness and rational thinking in order to operate the as-of self in every individual human being.

In the Writings of Swedenborg God has revealed the method He uses to operate the as-of self. It consists of connecting the mind of every human being with every other human being in a vast network across space, time, and world. I call this our "vertical community" (see Section xx). Simultaneously, God controls the communication or mutual influencing process, so that different types of people influence a person at different times. In a single episode like cutting a slice of bread, there may be several societies of people in the world of spirits whom God brings into more direct contact with our mind as our hands handle the knife and the bread on the counter. Our as-of self is the conscious agent who manages the cutting. We become aware of thoughts from one society: "Be careful. Focus." These thoughts are joined to the rational motive of prudence and self-preservation. We also become aware of thoughts from another spirit society: "Wasn't that fun last night." and "Oops, I'm late." These thoughts are joined to the irrational motive to want to save time by being careless. We, the as-of self agent controlling the hands, are not conscious of these societies which activate some of our thoughts and motives. We are only aware that the thoughts somehow suddenly occurs to us. We are less aware of the motives that direct these thoughts, though we can become conscious of them through self-witnessing (see Section xx).

If we cut our finger, are we responsible?

Yes, because it is the as-of self agent who is given power by God to accept or reject the societal influences of the vertical community. Accepting one amounts to rejecting the other. God makes certain that the balance between accepting and rejecting a spiritual influence on our mind, always remains focused between a choice for either heavenly traits vs. hellish (see Section xx). This is the mechanism God uses to keep us developing into a mind that can mature and live in our immortality of heaven. Because this mind can only grow through free choice we make, God also gives us the power to choose to follow the motives and thoughts of evil spiritual societies. In this way we are responsible for our character, whether it is good or bad, that is, altruistic and heavenly, or selfish and hellish.

As you can see, God is a rational concept that is not up for believing or disbelieving. 

Omnipotence refers to the fact that no power exists in the dual universe that is not God's power. This is true at the macro and micro levels of events, e.g., the formation of galaxies, the motion and path of an electron, the falling of a fruit from a tree, the results and events of a war, the random distribution of raindrops on a leaf, the weather or cloud formations,  a car crash and the particular injuries, the trigger finger firing a gun, the sequence of words in any sentence, the answers someone gives on a quiz or test, something remembered or forgotten, something felt or sensed, etc. Every event or property requires power to exist and God is therefore that power without any exception.

Omniscience refers to God's infinite knowledge and intelligence. The Writings of Swedenborg reveal that to God all the past, all the present, all the future is present to view simultaneously (e.g., "for in Him the past and the future are present" (AR13). And: "God is omniscient, that is, He perceives, sees and knows down to the tiniest detail everything that happens according to order; and from these things also what happens contrary to order." (TCR 49). Note also that Omnipotence and Omniscience logically imply that God is an intelligent Person with Divine-Human qualities that are infinite. This implies that God has motivation, intention, and purpose in the exercise of His Omnipotence. Through scientific revelations God has made it known to the human race what His purpose is for creating the universe. According to the Writings of Swedenborg: "This mighty system which is called the universe is a single unit coherently organized from beginning to end, because God had one end in view in creating it, to create from the human race a heaven of angels. The means to this end are all the things of which the world is composed; for he who wills the end, wills also the means. (TCR 13).

In the Writings the uppermost regions of human consciousness and life is called heaven and people who reach that state are called angels. God's purpose in creating a universe is to form a basis or environment for supporting the life and existence of human beings in that state of heaven to eternity. This purpose is also called Divine Love.

Omnipresence refers to God's "presence" everywhere through His Omnipotence and Omniscience. Omnipresence is the logical consequence of Omnipotence and Omniscience. Because of being present everywhere, God can be addressed by human beings wherever they are and talk to Him, knowing that He is present, listens, and cares. Note that Omnipresence cannot be a physical presence because physically the same object cannot be present in more than one location. That would be illogical. Therefore it's not rational to expect to see God physically or to hear His voice through sound waves. Instead, Omnipresence refers to spiritual presence. Within every physical object  the underlying framework is spiritual. Another way of saying this is that the spiritual world of no space is within the natural world of space. This becomes understandable if you know that spiritual=mental. There is no space in our mental world. Instead, there are mental "states" in our mind. Our thoughts and feelings change, not by moving around, but by changing state.

At first we think that the finite is within the infinite because the finite is small and the infinite is large--so the small must be within the large, not the other way around. But this is physical or materialistic model. It does not apply to the mental or spiritual. Think about having a large sum of money in a dream you have. How much money can you have in that dream? There is no limit. You can imagine that you have an infinite amount of money and that all the money in the world is yours. There are no limits to quantity or space when you are in the spiritual or mental world. And yet the mind is within the physical, though not part of the physical body. What is limitless can be "within" what is limited because they are each in their own non-overlapping planes of existence, one natural, the other spiritual or mental.

Another example is that of Sacred Scripture which, when written down in a natural language, is of a specific limited length consisting of x number of words. And yet, within this limited number of sentences, there is an infinite number of hidden spiritual truths. This is the character of Divine Speech because the Divine is infinite and everything in itself is infinite. When Divine Love or Divine Truth radiate outward from the Spiritual Sun the love and truth that enters human minds is infinite. God cannot divide Himself into parts, with one part given to one individual, and another part to the next individual. God is infinite, therefore indivisible. But every individual human mind is unique in its form and structure, and therefore the infinite Divine Love and Truth streaming in, is received differentially and uniquely by every human mind.

As the Writings of Swedenborg reveal: "God is present in space apart from space and in time apart from time. (CAN 34).

The concept "apart from space" refers to the spiritual or mental world in which there is neither time nor space. Any object or event in the natural universe is an effect whose cause is in the spiritual world. The two worlds are thus tied together as cause and effect are tied together, one for one. Space, time, and motion are events in the natural world. Therefore each has its cause in the spiritual world. These cause-effect relations are called correspondences and have been revealed in the Writings. God's Omnipresence is therefore in the source and cause that lie within each created event, object, or quality. Since it is the cause that creates all of the effect, and controls it, God is present in every event that occurs in space and time, but He is present  apart from space and time, in a different plane of existence. In theistic psychology there are two planes of existence--natural and spiritual, or in other words, physical and mental.

God is in the mental or spiritual plane of existence, which is the underlying framework of the physical or natural plane of existence. This is what's really different in substantive dualism, namely that God in the spiritual world is the same thing as God in the mental world. This sounds strange at first because we are trained to think about the mind in materialistic terms, so that it seems to us that "mental world" is less real than "physical world." But the opposite is actually the case since mental world=spiritual world, and the spiritual is the cause of the natural. This makes sense when you consider that God is an infinite Spiritual Being without beginning. So the spiritual substances in God are eternal and were there before God created the physical world. God's mental world is the origin of all physical things. Another way of saying this is that God creates everything out of Divine Truth, which is a permanent immortal rational substance with infinite power to instantiate or create physical objects and space.

To understand this more clearly, consider the sentences you say when you talk. The grammar of the language is omnipresent in all your sentences. But note that  this omnipresence of the grammar is not in the physical sentence spoken or written, for if we look there we only see or hear words, syllables, letters, sounds--but not grammar. It cannot be seen physically though it is omnipresent. Further, the grammar is also omnipotent because it completely determines the sequence of the words and their phonology or script. Where then in the sentence is the omnipotent and omnipresent grammar?

The grammar is a rational or spiritual object that is  within the sentence yet apart from the physical sentence. "Within" refers to a "discrete degree" which means that the grammar is not present physically but rationally (or spiritually). The grammar is the cause of the word sequence and it shapes the sentence.

The cause of any natural event is always in the spiritual world, not the natural world. Hence the idea that God's Omnipresence is "apart from" physical space and time, or not in space and time, means that it is the spiritual or rational presence as the cause, and through the cause in the effect, but not directly in the effect. God control every physical event or space through its spiritual underlying cause or framework.

Another example might help still further. When we dream of walking on the beach or flying an airplane, there is only the appearance of space, but no physical space. The appearance of space that looks and acts just like space is called the spiritual or mental world. When we arrive in the spiritual world immediately after the death of the physical body, we awaken in the spiritual body which appears to move in space, just like we're used to on earth. But actually there is no physical space that separates people or objects, only the appearance of space. This is because the spiritual world is the world of the mind and imagination, of thoughts and feelings. These cannot exist in physical space.  Our mind lives in the spiritual world which is why we can have thoughts and feelings in the mind. Thoughts and feelings are not possible in the physical body or brain for they support only electro-chemical events, and these are not thoughts or feelings. All rational things like the mind exist only in the spiritual world and are made of spiritual substances radiating from the Spiritual Sun, in the midst of which the Divine-Human can be seen by the inhabitants of heaven.

Since there is no physical space or location in the mental or spiritual world, objects and events there are distinguished by their quality or state.

This is why the quality of your thoughts and feelings determine your existence in eternity (life after death). If you arrive with a hellish character, your living environment will be just like an endless nightmare called "hell." If you arrive with a heavenly character, your living environment will be just like an endless dream of wonder and conjugial happiness. This would not be possible in a physical world but only in a rational or spiritual world.

It's important to understand the full rational implications of God's omnipotence and omnipresence. Is it possible for God to remove Himself from what He created? For example, intelligent scientists like Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and others, have acknowledged that God created the universe, but that after creating Nature, God is no longer directly in charge of routine events but the laws of nature are. And therefore we can study and understand natural laws without any reference to God. It is surprising that these scientists, so used to rational and logical thinking, are yet able to think illogically when it comes to God.

It is not rational to say both of these statements:

(a) God is omnipotent and omnipresent.

(b) Natural laws are running things in the physical world.

This is a rational contradiction. If (a) is true, (b) cannot be true. If (b) were true, God would not be omnipotent and omnipresent.

A student using this book in a course wrote this about the idea that all details are administered directly by God, including a little thing like the healing of a scratch on the finger.

I don’t believe this to be so, I think the lord has created nature to be able to take care of itself to a certain extent in matters of simple scratches at least. The lord has a hand in much of life but I think he created an immune system to take care of the trivial minor details, at the same time if that scratch were to get infected and get gang green and the person dies then god had a hand in that because it was that persons time to go. I think god has bigger fish to fry, but if you wanted the lords help in healing your scratch and asked for it then he may help you or, just for asking and believing in him. I therefore believe in the healing power of god, medicine and our immunity.

The idea of this student, in company with some of the great scientists in history, is that God created nature "to take care of itself" in "trivial minor details." Swedenborg points out that God could not determine the overall course of history or the universe unless He determined every single detail, no matter how small. This is because the whole is made by the parts and if you don't control the parts you cannot control the whole.

Therefore it's a rational necessity to say that God's omnipotence means that He controls every detail. And also, that there is no such thing as something that runs by itself. For instance, what controls the pattern of a wind current? It's not a random motion but the resultant of many separate contributing factors. Each contributing factor must be controlled by God since nothing can run by itself from itself. What causes the electrons to flow between two points that vary in potential? One can say that it's a natural law, or one can say that every electron must be kept in flow by God's omnipotence and omniscience. If God is omniscient, there cannot be a single electron flow that is not known to Him, and if God is omnipotent, there cannot be a single electron flow that i snot controlled by Him.

So it's a matter of rational necessity to be consistent about the idea of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Whatever God created has no power to move or to have life. All things are dead and inert. God moves every particle, energy field, or galaxy. Every neuron in the brain that we use for thinking and sensing, and every spiritual fiber in the mind, is operated by God to reach a specific goal-state. There are endless levels of specific goals that God brings out through these motions, events, and states. There are universal goals like the endless evolution of creation. There are general goals like the outcome of a war between nations. There are particular goals like the Dow Jones average at closing time on a Monday. At all levels of goals God must manage every event to bring about the goal.

Every human being is born immortal. God must manage every detail of the endless sequence that makes up the days of one person, and all human beings to eternity. God has universal goals for an individual such as the inherent quality of the mental states one ends up in at the second death, which is unchangeable and forever (see Section xx). Some goals for an individual are general like the events in our biography. Some goals are particular, like what we remember at any one moment, or what we enjoy.

2.What is God's Role in the Evolution of the Human Race?

Theistic psychology has a vantage point to know the laws of evolution that create our future. This is especially significant since the Writings of Swedenborg present valid proof of the existence of the afterlife in the spiritual world. We are therefore born immortal individuals. Only the physical body is temporary. The spiritual body or mind is immortal because it is constructed out of substances from the Spiritual Sun, and these substances are not in time or space, hence they are permanent. This knowledge greatly enhances our ability to prepare for our future.

The scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg specify the levels of evolution of the human race from beginning (birth on a planet) to eternity (immortality in heaven or hell). These facts about the spiritual world and the afterlife may not be harmonious with various religions and philosophies. It then becomes a challenge to reconcile the earlier belief with the new scientific data from the spiritual world. I believe this is possible and that theistic psychology is culture-free rather than sectarian. This is a necessity since sectarian beliefs or religions tend to be divisive of the unregenerate human race, rather than unitary, as science is. The rational spirituality of Theistic psychology offers this pan-cultural approach to God. It is revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg that the quality of a person's life after death--whether in the heavenly part of our mind or hellish, depends not on religion or belief, but on having developed a heavenly character or hellish. This may done whatever one's religion.

The scientific revelations now given by God to the human race specify that the first generations of our race were heavenly altruistic people, peaceful and gentle. Swedenborg interviewed several of them now living in their own heavens and was able to report on the personality and character they have in eternity. They reported to Swedenborg that at some point in their civilization on earth, more and more of their people turned their spiritual knowledge to selfish pursuits, until the entire generation was thus corrupted due to inherited tendencies from earlier generations. Society eventually broke down and they became extinct on this planet. A new race then arose out of the changed genotypes of a few people ("remnants").

This second phase of evolution of the human race was less spiritual, more natural and materialistic. Tribes and nations were formed out of different enclaves of the population. Thus arose culture, religion, commerce, science, and nation building. This phase of human evolution was characterized by a mixed natural-spiritual awareness so that people had knowledge of the spiritual world even though they were no longer able to communicate with it directly, as had been the first generations. Eventually this phase of evolution also faded until the vast majority of people on earth became materialists (see Section xx).

In this third phase of human evolution, all knowledge of the spiritual world was lost. They were replaced by non-rational belief systems, mystical religions, and persuasive or blind faith . During this phase, people became warlike, cruel, and irrational. Divine guidance and intervention operated to prevent the total and brutal self-destruction of the human race on this planet. The minds of the subsequent generations were prepared for acceptance of rational spirituality through scientific revelations about the spiritual world that was no longer accessible to direct observation. Hence Divine scientific revelations became the only way to have knowledge about the spiritual world.

The scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg mark the entrance of a new phase of human evolution--our last.  New knowledge has been revealed so that people can adopt a rational spirituality for their life of preparation for eternity. This Divine knowledge has the power to give us rational understanding of the universe and our place in it. Now we can really choose what way we are going to spend our immortality--in the parts of our mind called heaven or hell.

Every individual is born with a mind that can be made functional from top to bottom. The top of our mind is called heaven while the bottom is called hell. While we are still attached to the physical body we have the ability to develop our mind in both directions through our experiences, our motivations and goals in life. We can build a strong love or attachment to thoughts and feelings that are altruistic, rational, honest, fair, and productive. Or, we can build a strong attachment to thoughts and feelings that are selfish, destructive, cruel, unfair, dishonest, cold, and irrational. When we are cut off from the physical body and awaken consciously in our spiritual body, we undergo a process of psycho-biological change. We feel compelled to choose either the heavenly or the hellish part of our mind, since both have been active. We cannot keep both sets of traits, as on earth. We don't want to. We have complete freedom to do what we want. So we reject the good, if we prefer the bad, and we reject the bad, if we prefer the good. No one can talk us out of doing what we want, once we are resuscitated in the spiritual world. No rule or fear of punishment can hold us back any more.

This process of forced change involves shutting down either the upper part or the lower part of our mind. Some people are able to shut down all the selfish and harmful feelings, desires, and motives, and remain happy only in the heavenly thoughts and feelings. They are called angels and live happily in the heavenly regions of the spiritual world. Others are unable to live happily in such regions because they are really much more attached to the selfish and irrational thoughts and feelings. They then are compelled to shut down their heavenly regions and continue life in the hellish regions of the spiritual world. Remember that the spiritual world and the mind overlap, so that "region" in the spiritual world is the same thing as "state" of mind in our thoughts and feelings.

This is the great benefit of theistic psychology for it allows us to work on developing a good character for our future in eternity and to avoid the horrific life of insanity and cruelty which we are also capable of.

2.9  What is Divine Truth in relation to scientific revelations in theistic psychology?

Theistic psychology is based on the Writings of Swedenborg. With this premise in mind, consider what is said there. The universe has no life in itself. Therefore every object must be moved from within by God who is the infinite Divine-Human Person and the creator of all that exists in the universe. The logical implication of this premise is that all events and all human behavior are powered by God, and this includes thinking and feeling moment by moment. An erroneous conclusion from these facts would be that we are biological robots animated from within by God the Creator. To prevent such a wrong idea the Writings introduce the concept of "as-of-self," perhaps the most crucial concept in theistic psychology (mentioned above; see also Chapter xx).

When we think and act moment by moment in daily life we have the distinct and strong sense that we are acting in freedom from ourselves. As soon as we lose this feeling of freedom to think and feel, we are no longer human. We are a zombie, controlled or possessed by an outside agent against our own will. No one can be happy or human with a lack of sense of inner freedom. One may be controlled from an outside agent by force, threat, or reward. One can be imprisoned or tied down, but in all these conditions we remain internally free to think and feel as we choose. So this sense of inner freedom is essential to being human. One cannot be happy in heaven in immortality without this freedom. Therefore without this inner freedom to think and feel as we choose, God's purpose for creating the universe would be defeated.

This is why God is maintaining in us the sense of as-of-self agency and freedom of action. It's called "as-of-self" to distinguish it from "self." The idea of the self as having its own independent life and power is therefore an irrational and unscientific view, given the premise of theistic psychology. The as-of-self concept allows us to understand reality in a rational way. As the Writings put it:

As far as anyone takes cognizance of and knows what sins are, so far he can see them in himself, confess them before the Divine-Human, and repent of them. This follows from all that has now been said. Therefore in order that a man may see what sins are, the first of the Word was the Decalogue; and therefore also the Decalogue is a complex of the whole Word, for which reason it is called the "ten Words," and by "ten words" are signified all truths in the complex. For a like reason there are similar precepts among all nations in the world which have religion. And the man who knows that they are Divine laws, and that therefore he who acts contrary to them acts contrary to God, or commits sin, can receive Divine influx, and at the same time also the will and effort as of himself to abstain from sins and repent of them.

Confession of one's sins before the Divine-Human effects conjunction with Him, and reception of influx from Him. And then the Divine-Human accomplishes the work, and yet gives man to act as if of himself. Otherwise man could not act. The Divine-Human at that time operates in him, through inmost things even to the outermost, and removes lusts, which are the roots of evil. This a man could not do of himself. Of himself man operates only in the outermost things; and yet the inmost things produce these. If therefore man removed evils of himself, he would still remain in them. (Charity 206)

In other words, the Ten Commandments are given to all humankind as a life strategy for personality development. God says that if we want to develop to our full human potential we must modify our behavior to fit the Divine Commandments. Clearly, Divine Commandments in general are psychological self-modification techniques for creating a heavenly character within our mind. All Divine Commandments must therefore be considered as a scientific revelation since they tell us about real facts regarding psychology and human behavior. Following the Commandments creates one kind of general mental state called conjugial heaven in eternity, while not following the Commandments creates an inverted or opposite general mental state called hell.

The passage quoted above uses the concept of "sin" to refer to our inherited negative habits that interfere with the development of a heavenly character--which is altruistic, peaceful, community oriented, compassionate, rational, and so on. These positive human traits are called "heaven in our mind." We also possesses negative traits such as selfishness, egocentrism, envy, proneness to anger and violence, and many injurious habits and life styles such as dishonesty, pessimism, cynicism, compulsions, obsessions, cruelties, and irrationalities. Self-modification motivated by self-improvement, is the only possible method by which we can transform our character from hellish to heavenly. If we fail to transform our character "as-of-self," by our own psychological effort, we arrive in the afterlife in a spiritually defective state of mind which is permanent and cannot be altered to eternity. Hence, if theistic psychology is correct,  it becomes most important and totally vital that we learn the scientific revelations about how to modify ourselves.

In addition, if the premise of theistic psychology is correct, then we must depend on scientific revelations about the universe, reality, and how God rationally manages the universe moment by moment. These too have been revealed to the human race by God. Divine scientific revelation is necessary since the human race has no other way of knowing the facts that cannot be observed by natural science, especially when it is non-theistic in outlook.

Scientific revelations are called Divine Truth because their origin is God and not human beings. To know and understand Divine Truth gives an individual the power to arrange the mind's thinking and feeling in accordance with true reality. This power allows us to fix the problems that plague the human race that have not been solved by non-theistic science, such as habitual criminal behavior, the practice of injustice and discrimination, and the preference for egotistical feelings over altruistic, thus hurting community and relationships. The result of these negative habits is that the majority of people live a life below their potential. The consequences to every individual are enormous and eternal. Nothing can therefore be more important than to be right about God. Everything else in our happiness and future depends on it.

It is worthwhile therefore to make this inquiry in this course of study. You are not told to believe anything or to accept anything by authority or persuasion. Instead, we are making an open and unprejudiced analysis of the rationality of theistic psychology. Some people might agree and some might disagree. This is not what you are being graded for as students in the course. Rather, you are being graded for your efforts and success in making your position clear in writing--whatever it turns out to be, and to move from a general and vague notion of God to a more specific and scientific one, so that you may decide the issue on rational considerations only.

2.10  How is the mind or consciousness related to the spiritual world?

In theistic psychology events in the natural world are effects whose causes are in events that occur in the spiritual world. This one-to-one cause-effect relationship is called the Law of Correspondences and its details were known to the ancients but later forgotten. Now they have been revealed once more in the modern age to an18th century scientist who recorded them in the Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1772). These scientific revelations describe the inner or underlying structure of the natural world. Since we cannot observe the spiritual world directly, this new knowledge would not be available to modern science unless it had been revealed by God to an individual who could then report it to others.

Now we know that the infra-structure of natural objects is not constructed of material particles and space. This is logical since no matter how many sub-layers of physical structures we can discover, the last layer of material objects or energy would not be able to rest in nothing. For these smallest or finest of physical layers and locations to exist they must be built on an underlying inner framework that is itself not material, physical, or natural. This new underlying framework is of a different "degree" of existence so that you cannot go, or "slide into," from one to the other, no matter how much one develops. Yet there is a lawful connection, functionally, between the material external framework and the non-material internal framework. This non-material framework is called spiritual or mental. Thus, existence of events is always taking place on two correspondential planes of simultaneous existence, one physical, the other spiritual or mental.

In the history of psychology this distinction has long been recognized as the mind-body issue. The degree of the physical body and physical world has been distinguished from the degree of the mind and mental world. In theistic psychology the "mental world of the mind" is equated with the "spiritual world." Ask yourself this: What is the mental world made of?

A good answer might be that it is made of feelings and thoughts. But then the next question: What are feelings and thoughts made of? One bad answer might be that they are not made of anything. This is not rational or logical since every thing that exists must be made of something. Another bad answer might be that feelings and thoughts are made of the electro-chemical activity of the brain. This is not rational either since electrical and chemical mechanisms are physical not mental events. To equate the mental with the physical is materialism in the negative bias of science.

A good answer would be that feelings and thoughts are not physical objects but spiritual objects. This answer requires the prior assumption of "substantive dualism," that is, that God created two interlocked worlds, one natural in space and time, and the other spiritual, which has no material (physical, natural) objects or states like space or time. But the spiritual world has the "appearance" of space, time, and matter. What are these spiritual appearances made of? They are made of spiritual substances derived from the Spiritual Sun, which Swedenborg saw, just like everyone who is a spirit after death living in a spiritual body in the spiritual world. Swedenborg was able to see the spiritual body of people who were still alive in their physical body on earth, just as everyone there can.

However, under normal circumstances there is no direct communication taking place between someone in the spiritual world and  someone on earth. No conversation was possible for Swedenborg in the spiritual world with someone still alive on earth in the physical body because this kind of communication would have harmed the persons involved. The only communication he was allowed was with those who are already living as "spirits" in the afterlife. At the death of the physical body the person awakens in the spiritual body that had been there all along in the spiritual world. At that moment direct communication with those there becomes possible while communication with those on earth is rendered unfeasible.

Now you can answer the question of what feelings and thoughts are made of. They are actual real appearances in the spiritual world constructed out of real substances in the rational ether that makes up the expanse of the spiritual world.

When we dream about walking on a beach and holding hands with our loved one, what is the beach made of? There is no actual physical space involved, nor actual physical touch of the hands, yet we experience the event as real, and even more realistically and powerfully than real. Swedenborg was able to go to sleep when he seemed to himself  "traveling"  in the spiritual world. When he awoke from dreaming he saw other people ("spirits") around him and by having an exchange with them he discovered that it was they who created the dream for him by using his memories and producing visual and sensory appearances that felt entirely real. If a spiritual video camera had been present, or when other spirits were present and watching, the dream was clearly visible to all, proving that dreams are real scenes produced in the spiritual world. Therefore when we dream we are observing scenes in the spiritual world, scenes that are produced by others who are in indirect communication with the sleeping person.

Exactly the same effects were produced by Swedenborg through his knowledge of correspondences. He observed that when he was reading the Bible here on earth and thought about the meaning of a verse, there were present with him different "spirits" in the spiritual world. He was able to codify the relationship between the natural meaning of a verse with its spiritual events. The natural meaning came first and within it came the spiritual meaning and events. The spiritual meaning produced the scenes around him in the spiritual world. These experimental observations repeated thousands of times led to the scientific conclusion that natural events are produced by means of spiritual events and that spiritual events are the same as mental events. In other words the underlying framework of a natural object or event is a spiritual event or object. The spiritual event is the same as the mental event.

How is this possible?

It can be understood rationally when you consider that the spiritual world is produced by the substances streaming out of the Spiritual Sun, where God can be seen as a Divine-Human appearing in the midst of that Sun. In God, infinite things are one. What is streaming out of God through the Spiritual Sun produces and creates spiritual events, which in turn produce natural events. God produces natural events through the intermediary of the Spiritual Sun. Therefore everything in the mind is also produced by means of the substances streaming out of the Spiritual Sun. In other words, all mental events are produced in the spiritual body by the Spiritual Sun. Feelings and thoughts are nothing but states of organic objects made of these substances from the Spiritual Sun.

There are two major substances streaming from the Spiritual Sun:  spiritual light and spiritual heat. Spiritual light is called Divine Truth and spiritual heat is called Divine Love. In other words feelings and thoughts are made of spiritual heat and light streaming into the organ of the mind in the spiritual body. The affective organ is a receptor for the spiritual heat, while the cognitive organ is a receptor for the spiritual light. The infrastructure of natural objects is therefore the same substance that is the infrastructure of mental objects or events. Divine Truth received in our conscious understanding produces consciousness.

Consciousness is the cognitive understanding of meaning. Meaning is the mechanism or vehicle by which consciousness is activated as spiritual light. Consciousness is spiritual light in our spiritual body, light received from the streaming Spiritual Sun. The level or power or spiritual quality of our consciousness at any moment is determined by the quality of the meaning we understand and interiorize as our own thinking.  If we think with low level meanings, our consciousness is low. We can raise our consciousness to the highest level possible by climbing the ladder of meaning, as long as it is genuine meaning rather falsified meaning. Genuine meaning is the understanding of Divine Truth which is the reception of spiritual light in the mind.

You can see from these procedures God uses that scientific revelations are necessary in order to raise the consciousness of human beings from the world of effects to the world of causes. Scientific revelations are arrangements of Divine Truth in particular order so that the understanding of it would raise our consciousness to the highest level called "heavenly perception" and "heaven." Anyone can raise their consciousness to any level by studying and understanding Divine Truth given in scientific revelations.

You can see that human minds are amazingly powerful, having the ability to produce the events of the natural world by conscious understanding of the spiritual world. Consciousness is the rational understanding of Divine Truth and Divine Truth is contained or transmitted or communicated  through the meanings that we consciously understand. Divine Truth produces the world through meaning in human minds. What an amazing fact! You can now see from this that rational spirituality is necessary for the consciousness that can produce heavenly life for the individual. This heavenly life is amazingly powerful and good, as well as eternal, forever increasing endlessly.

Theistic psychology helps people realize what's at stake in this life. If we do not develop a genuine consciousness from scientific revelations we fall into distorted meanings which produce not a heaven, but a hellish life. People need to be educated and taught the ability to understand scientific revelations in a rational way. Then their mind becomes a heaven and they live out eternity in a heaven. Heaven in eternity is produced by Divine Truth in our rational mind. Without this genuine meaning, understood rationally, there is no heaven, but hell instead. Hell resides in distorted meanings of reality. If you arrive in the other life with distorted meanings, you discover that these distorted meanings are powered from within by disorderly feelings and motives called "evils." Those who are unwilling to give up their distorted thinking are stuck with the evil feelings attached to them.

Swedenborg observed that no one is willing to give up their distorted thinking because they feel intense enjoyment from the evil feelings that are joined to the distorted thinking--feelings such as hatred, revenge, greed, love of promiscuity, and dishonesty. Therefore it becomes crucial for people to give up these evil enjoyments while conscious in the physical body. In fact this is the purpose of our few decades on earth, namely, to clean out our distorted thinking with their supportive evils, and to adopt instead genuine truths from Divine scientific revelations. Distorted thinking with their supportive evils are inherited and transmitted across the generations in a cumulative line. As an example of culturally transmitted distortions and evils, think about how materialistic science today maintains that there is no heaven and hell. Or, think of the many people who don't care that they are selfish, unfair, or dishonest and subscribe to false philosophies that lead society to breakdown, crime, depression, violence, abuse, fear.

The laws of the spiritual world are the same as the laws of the mind since they are both constructed of the same substances from the Spiritual Sun. You can see this overlap when you consider the appearances we see when we dream. Where are the scenes we dream of -- a beach, a city, a game, a horse? You can say that these things are nowhere since they don't really exist, being just visions of the imagination. But this is not a rational way of thinking about it. Think of the characters in a novel. They are fictitious, not real, but the novel is real, the book or the movie. So the book or the movie is the venue where the characters exist and interact. Similarly, dreams must have a mental or spiritual venue to exist in our mind. In other words, speaking more scientifically we can say that dreams are real operations of the mind involving real organic fibers that carry the dream sequences we are aware of.

Now we can ask what are things in the dream made of -- the flowers or the food we are smelling? We now know that these dream events are real, that they are real operations in the spiritual fibers of the mind. Since dreams are real operations in the mind and since the mind and spiritual world overlap, we can predict (or expect) that dreams will be visible in the spiritual world. As we dream in our beds on earth those who observe our spiritual body in the spiritual world should be able to see the dreams we are having. Swedenborg confirms this prediction by dozens of observations where he was able to talk to "spirits" who were near him when he awakened from a dream. They were able to describe his dream precisely and in detail.

Further, Swedenborg observed that spirits (what we are called when we awaken in the spiritual world) can produce visions or dreams by means of knowledge of correspondences. In the spiritual world  we have the ability to produce dreams and visions around us by what we think. For instance if you put yourself in a bad mood the environment reflects this by getting darker and wild and dangerous animals make their appearances. When we believe something rational and true, the environment around us becomes a garden with good smelling flowers and luscious fruits (that can be eaten, by the way). When we think of attacking someone we hate, the environment around us turns into stormy weather and caverns filled with snakes, scorpions, and foul smelling marshes. In other words dreams, thoughts, imaginative visions, etc., are real appearances produced in the spiritual world while we have those thoughts. Our thoughts can be seen by others in the spiritual world since thoughts are real visible phenomena.

Now when you consider the laws of the mind or thoughts and dreams, you can have a good idea of what it will be like to live in the spiritual world. For instance: instantaneous travel anywhere. This is because you can travel in thought any distance and it takes no time. Also: when you want to talk to a friend who lives in the spiritual world somewhere, all you need to do is become conscious of your desire, and you are instantly in each other's presence. If you're talking to someone unpleasant, they vanish from your sight. If you want to eat something luscious, or change clothes, you only need to imagine what you want, and there it is. In other words, wishes become real appearances in the mind, and therefore, in the spiritual world. Every one of these phenomena was carefully observed by Swedenborg many times in his 27 years of daily dual consciousness, that is, being conscious in both worlds simultaneously.

2.11  What do surveys show about beliefs in God, heaven, hell, miracles, afterlife?

Here is a summary article from the Washington Post that reviews a number of different surveys:
Washington Post Polling Director
Monday, April 24, 2000

Do Americans believe in miracles? Is Heaven a real place? What about Hell? Is God a He or a She?

The answers: Yes, Yes, Maybe and None of the Above, according to a fascinating compilation of recent national surveys on God, religion, religious beliefs. It appears in the forthcoming issue of Public Perspective magazine, which is published by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut.

The special section titled "Beliefs" touches on issues both weighty—one article by Michael Shermer is titled "Why People Believe in God"—and findings that are, well, merely interesting. For example, more than eight in 10 Americans agree that "even today, miracles are performed by the power of God," according to a survey conducted last October by the Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Pew Research Center. Slightly more than one in three adults—36 percent—say they personally "experienced or witnessed" what they considered a miracle, according to a CBS News poll last year.

Heaven isn't just in your mind: It's a real place, say 88 percent of a national sample of adults interviewed in 1997 by Opinion Dynamics for Fox News. A more telling commentary on our beliefs is the finding that far fewer Americans—71 percent—believe in hell.  

Americans are even less certain about God's sex. An ABC News survey in 1997 found that fewer than half of those interviewed—44 percent—believed that God was a man, while just as many—43 percent—said God didn't have a gender. Only 1 percent thought God was a woman, while the remainder weren't sure.

Overall, the center's survey of surveys confirms that America truly is one nation, under God—or at least Americans say it is. In survey after survey, overwhelming majorities say they believe in God. More than nine in 10 Americans—95 percent—told ABC News polltakers that they believe in God. A Gallup Organization survey for CNN and USA Today last December found much the same thing: Nearly nine in 10—86 percent—said they believed in God, while another 8 percent said they believe in some form of "Universal spirit or higher power."

What's more, nearly eight in 10 adults—78 percent—say they've always been believers, and another 6 percent say they hadn't believed but now do.

Most Americans firmly believe in God. Throughout the 1990s, the National Opinion Research Center's authoritative General Social Survey asked people about their belief in God. They found that nearly two in three—64 percent—said they "know that God really exists and I have no doubt about it." Another 17 percent acknowledged they were believers, but expressed some doubts, while 4 percent were deeply ambivalent, finding themselves "believing in God some of the time, but not at others."

Women are far more likely to be True Believers than men. An analysis of five separate GSS surveys between 1988 and 1998 found that believers were far more likely to be women (58 percent) than men (42 percent), while nonbelievers were more likely to be men (63 percent) than women (37 percent).

What's more, belief in God may be getting stronger. In 1987, a Gallup poll found that 60 percent of those interviewed "completely agreed" with the statement, "I never doubt the existence of God." Last October, the proportion expressing a similarly strong belief in God had grown to 69 percent, according to a poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research. (While nearly everyone believes in God, only 63 percent of all Americans believe there is a devil, according to the Opinion Dynamics survey.)

The Public Perspective retrospective is just one of several recent poll-driven analyses of Americans' religious attitudes. The latest issue of The American Sociological Review contains compelling evidence that belief in life after death is increasing—even among Americans who don't identify with any organized religion, writes the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley, a University of Chicago sociologist, best-selling novelist and a Catholic priest, and his research partner, Michael Hout of the University of California at Berkeley.

The big surprise is that Jews are leading the trend. (That's surprising, because the concept of an "afterlife is rarely discussed in Jewish life, be it among Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox Jews," writes the Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in his popular reference book "Jewish Literacy.")

But belief in life after death is growing among Jews, according to data collected in the General Social Survey conducted annually by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. In the 1970s, 19 percent of Jews said they believed in life after death.

Twenty years later, 56 percent said they believed in an afterlife. The percentage of Catholics who said there was life after death rose from 74 percent to 83 percent during the same time period.

Even Americans who say they have no religious preference are expressing greater belief in the hereafter—63 percent today, compared with 44 percent three decades ago. Overall, the proportion of Americans who believe in life after death rose from 77 percent in 1973 to 82 percent in 1998, reported Greeley and Hout. (There has been only a slight increase among Protestants in recent decades—but only because the overwhelming majority have always believed in heaven, hell and eternal life.)

Richard Morin is director of polling for The Washington Post. "What Americans Think" appears Mondays in The Washington Post National Weekly Edition. Morin can be reached at © Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

Summary Table based on the above article:

Percent of Americans who believe in the existence of:







Miracles (general)


Miracles (personal)


God as a Man


God as having no gender


Considering these percentages it is obvious that the non-theistic psychology of today is totally out of step with what people believe to be reality. B.F. Skinner stated that people's beliefs in God and the power of prayer is nothing but "superstitious behavior." There is no scientific justification for making such a statement and to most people it merely reflects Skinner's bias against dualism and the reality of God. Theistic psychology is more in line with the reality people accept. I'm still looking for statistics for scientists, but for now, I predict that the majority of scientists fall in the general pattern shown above, which is based on a general population sample, and therefore includes scientists.

Please email me if you find statistics for the religious views of scientists ( ) I found an article by an atheist organization that reports similar survey findings, though the tone is less neutral--see here: Religion Profiled By Global Millennium Survey "God" Important, Not Primary For Many. Web Posted: December 17, 1999

The question remains: is it possible for psychology to become "theistic" and still remain a science? If the answer is yes, then such a new psychology will be more in line with the reality people recognize. To teach non-theistic psychology to millions of high school and college students may not be to their benefit since it contradicts their view of reality. Theistic psychology shows that reality is based on God and therefore a belief in God is realistic. It may be harmful to flatly contradict reality because of a negative bias in science.

Until now it has been the general view, for both scientists and religious people, that to bring God into science will hurt both religion and science, and therefore they should be kept separate. But this view of thinking may no longer be correct. In this book we are exploring the theistic psychology found in the Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1772) and examining the claim that this approach is rational, scientific, universal, objective, empirical, and applied. If indeed this is a correct assessment, then theistic psychology can be fully as scientific as non-theistic psychology has been, and more so in fact since it includes a larger view of reality, of the human mind, and the methods by which God governs the universe.

2.12  What About Creationism and Evolution?

It is important to recognize that "Creationism" is based on a literal reading of the Bible story in Genesis of how God created the world. This passage in Genesis is not a scientific revelation about how God created the universe. Instead, as Swedenborg demonstrates, it is written allegorically in a style similar to the other visions and prophecies in the Bible (see Section xx). The Creation story in Genesis was decoded by Swedenborg using the method of correspondences. This is fully documented and proven so that anyone assessing his proof can understand it rationally. Once understood, we can use this method to read anywhere in Sacred Scripture and extract its universal meaning (see Section xx). It turns out that the actual content of the Creation story is the regeneration of the human mind. Swedenborg discovered that Moses had copied the first eleven Chapters of Genesis from an ancient version of Sacred Scripture that was still known by some people, like the people of Midian with whom Moses lived for twenty years.

The Ancient Word, as it was called, was written by means of spiritual correspondences still known to the people at that time. When they were writing about the human mind and its anatomy and function, they used natural correspondences to express the spiritual meanings. They were dualists and they knew that the causes of events on earth were spiritual events in the spiritual world. When these spiritual meanings are thought of by people in the afterlife, there appears around them natural visions or scenes and actual appearances of things that are found on earth. When you awaken in the world of spirits a few hours after death, you discover that your thoughts produce these natural appearances around you. Others who are present can also see them. Two people talking about theistic psychology in the world of spirits produce appearances around them that shows to the bystanders what the two are talking about. Topics become natural things. As soon as the topic changes these things disappear. But, amazingly, while they are around you can touch them, feel them, hear them, smell them, play with them, or eat them! So the appearances are real, but they come and go instantaneously by correspondence to the topics mentioned or thought of.

In the Creation story, the ancients are discussing theistic psychology. For instance, the a "day" of creation refers to the creation of a new state of mind. There are seven "days" or phases of spiritual development as our mind is being regenerated, which means that our spiritual mind is being created. These steps are universal so they apply to every human being as well as to the evolution of the human race. The reason animals are mentioned is because each animal species corresponds to a specific mental state. Similarly, gardens, lands, oceans, and stars are mentioned because they each correspond to specific mental state or phase of development as we regenerate.

This is what the Creation story is actually about. To take it literally, and to claim that it is a scientific account, is a misconception due to not knowing the special style in which all Sacred Scripture is written (see Section xx). This was not known by anyone until the Writings of Swedenborg were published in the 18th century. Nor is it known by many people today because the Writings of Swedenborg have been kept away from knowledge by the negative bias in science and education.

But the theory of how the universe came into existence, which is given by non-theistic science taught in schools, cannot be considered scientific either. Neither creationism nor evolution theory nor the Big Bang theory can be considered rational and scientific. They are hypothetical guesses based on many false premises. But if we examine the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg with a positive bias, as in this book, then the superiority of theistic science becomes evident.

Quoting from Swedenborg regarding the language in which Sacred Scripture is written (the numbers in parentheses refer to numbered paragraphs in the same book):

For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth and the sea. That this signifies the regeneration and vivification of those things which are in the internal and in the external man, is evident from the signification of "six days," as being states of combat (of which just above, n. 8888), and when predicated of Jehovah, that is, the Divine-Human, they signify His labor with man before he is regenerated (n. 8510); and from the signification of "heaven and earth," as being the church or kingdom of the Divine-Human in man, "heaven" in the internal man, and "earth" in the external man (n. 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535), thus the regenerate man, that is, one who has found the new life and has thus been made alive; and from the signification of "the sea," as being the sensuous of man adhering to the corporeal (n. 8872).

[2] In this verse the subject treated of is the hallowing of the seventh day, or the institution of the Sabbath, and it is described by the words, "In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested in the seventh day; wherefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." They who do not think beyond the sense of the letter cannot believe otherwise than that the creation which is described in the first and second chapters of Genesis, is the creation of the universe, and that there were six days within which were created the heaven, the earth, the sea and all things which are therein, and finally man in the likeness of God.

But who that takes into consideration the particulars of the description cannot see that the creation of the universe is not there meant; for such things are there described as may be known from common sense not to have been so; as that there were days before the sun and the moon, as well as light and darkness, and that herbage and trees sprang up; and yet that the light was furnished by these luminaries, and a distinction was made between the light and the darkness, and thus days were made.

[3] In what follows in the history there are also like things, which are hardly acknowledged to be possible by anyone who thinks interiorly, as that the woman was built from the rib of the man; also that two trees were set in paradise, of the fruit of one of which it was forbidden to eat; and that a serpent from one of them spoke with the wife of the man who had been the wisest of mortal creatures, and by his speech, which was from the mouth of the serpent, deceived them both; and that the whole human race, composed of so many millions, was in consequence condemned to hell.

The moment that these and other such things in that history are thought of, they must needs appear paradoxical to those who entertain any doubt concerning the holiness of the Word, and must afterward lead them to deny the Divine therein. Nevertheless be it known that each and all things in that history, down to the smallest iota, are Divine, and contain within them arcana which before the angels in the heavens are plain as in clear day.

The reason of this is that the angels do not see the sense of the Word according to the letter, but according to what is within, namely, what is spiritual and celestial, and within these, things Divine. When the first chapter of Genesis is read, the angels do not perceive any other creation than the new creation of man, which is called regeneration. This regeneration is described in that history; by paradise the wisdom of the man who has been created anew; by the two trees in the midst thereof, the two faculties of that man, namely, the will of good by the tree of life, and the understanding of truth by the tree of knowledge. And that it was forbidden to eat of this latter tree, was because the man who is regenerated, or created anew, must no longer be led by the understanding of truth, but by the will of good, and if otherwise, the new life within him perishes (...)

[4] From all this it is evident that the historic narrative of the creation and the first man, and of paradise, is a history so framed as to contain within it heavenly and Divine things, and this according to the received method in the Ancient Churches. This method of writing extended thence also to many who were outside of that Church, who in like manner devised histories and wrapped up arcana within them, as is plain from the writers of the most ancient times. For in the Ancient Churches it was known what such things as are in the world signified in heaven, nor to those people were events of so much importance as to be described; but the things which were of heaven. These latter things occupied their minds, for the reason that they thought more interiorly than men at this day, and thus had communication with angels, and therefore it was delightful to them to connect such things together. But they were led by the Divine-Human to those things which should be held sacred in the churches, consequently such things were composed as were in full correspondence.

[5] From all this it can be seen what is meant by "heaven and earth" in the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis, namely, the church internal and external. That these are signified by "heaven and earth" is evident also from passages in the prophets, where mention is made of "a new heaven and a new earth," by which a new church is meant (...)

From all this it is now plain that by, "In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth and the sea," is signified the regeneration and vivification of those things which are in the internal and in the external man. (AC 8891)

What is called here "regeneration and vivification of those things which are in the internal and in the external man" refers to the psychological principles of character reformation. The "external man" refers to the lower levels of the natural mind (corporeal and sensuous levels), while the "internal man" refers to the upper level of the natural mind which is called the natural-rational mind (see Section xx). The creation story in the Book of Genesis has two separate meanings, one literal, the other correspondential. The literal meaning serves for religion while the correspondential meaning serves for science. For instance, the religious meaning is that God created the universe and that it was a good creation until human beings disobeyed God's commandments, the results of which was to introduce evil and suffering into life. This level of meaning serves the purposes and needs of religion, as long as one takes it to be a general statement about God, and not a scientific description of how the physical world came into existence. But the correspondential meaning is about the scientific facts regarding the human mind and how it can be "regenerated" or "created anew" given that it has lost its original state of spiritual well being.

The six days of creation discuss the six phases of mental development by which we can heal our inherited character through character reformation efforts. In other words, the correspondential meaning of Sacred  Scripture constitutes scientific revelations that allow us to reverse the inherited process of character degeneration.

The cruelty and suffering of people in the world indicates that character regeneration is indeed needed. Without these revelations no one would know how to be regenerated or even that we need to be regenerated. When we arrive in the world of spirits at death without having been regenerated, we sink down into the lowest form of human life which is called hell. But with regeneration we are able to be raised to the highest form of human life called heaven. Hence you can see how important it was for God to give these revelations. But they could not be presented literally as science because no one would have been able to understand it, hence accept it as the Word of God. It was necessary therefore that Divine revelation be given  at two levels simultaneously, one religious, which could be understood by everyone, and the other correspondential or scientific, which could only be understood much later, when the age of modern science makes it possible for people to understand the scientific level. Throughout all the intervening centuries the "heavenly secrets" lay hidden in Sacred Scripture. Now they have been revealed so that the modern mind can accept them rationally.

A new evolutionary phase of human rationality now begins in theistic psychology. It is called the "celestial consciousness." Not every individual will ascend to this level, but every individual has the potential to do so. The more theistic psychology becomes public knowledge and education, the more people will have the opportunity to make a free choice as to whether they want to make this celestial consciousness their own through regeneration.

Sacred Scripture is therefore not merely revelations for religion but also for science, though not in its literal sense, but in its decoded "correspondential" sense (see Section xx). If the literal sense of the Bible is used for science, as in Creationism, then one obtains no scientific theory or facts about the physical world since it is only an allegory written in the symbolism of correspondences. Swedenborg demonstrates that all parts of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are written in this correspondential style, unbeknownst to the authors themselves who wrote the histories and visions. Scientific revelations are given in this secret way and they are unveiled when the human mind is prepared to understand it rationally. Until the coded scientific revelations are unveiled the literal sense serves for religion. The literal sense is therefore written for religion while the hidden underlying universal sense is written for science. This was not known until Swedenborg's Writings (1688-1772) were published by him in Latin and later  translated into many languages. Now more scientists like myself are beginning to look at them seriously as works of science (see Readings and References).

For more discussion on this topic see the answer to Question 2.1 above and Section 3.8 called Divine Speech or Sacred Scripture as the Source of Scientific Revelations in Chapter 3.

See also Section 1.8.9. Theistic Science: The Scientific Alternative to Creationism and Intelligent Design

See also this article: A NEW CHURCH RATIONALE FOR EVOLUTION Rev. Dr. Reuben P. Bell available here:

See also the articles by Swedenborgian nuclear physicist, Dr. Ian Thompson, founder of

Thompson, Ian J. (1988). Swedenborg and Modern Science. Network Newsletter of The Scientific and Medical Network, 36 (1988) 3-8. Available online:

Thompson, Ian J. (2002) Foundations of the Theory of Spirit, Mind and Nature from Theism. Available online:  

Thompson, Ian. (2003). Swedenborg’s Revelations of Dualism and Nondualism. Notes for a talk at the Meeting "Esoteric Perspectives on a Science of Consciousness"  On the Web at:

Thompson, Ian. (2003). Layered Cognitive Networks at:

Thompson, Ian J. (2004). Metaphysics. Various articles. Available at:

Thompson, Ian. (2004). Theistic Science and New Dualism Web Sites with various articles. Available at: and

Thompson, Ian. (2004). Internal Senses of the Bible  compiled by Dr. Thompson at

Thompson, Ian. (2004).  Dualism in Descartes and Swedenborg On the Web at

Thompson, Ian. (2004). Spiritual Meaning of Words in the Bible Based on Swedenborg's Correspondences, Compiled by Dr. Thompson at

Thompson, Ian. (2004). Spiritual Meaning of Parables in the Bible, Based on Swedenborg's Correspondences, Compiled by Dr. Thompson at

Thompson, Ian. (2004).Theistic Science Web Site at

Thompson, Ian. (2004).Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness: A Causal Correspondence Theory at

Thompson, Ian. (2005)  Discrete Degrees. (Divine Structure, Threefold Structure of the Universe, Recursive Structure, The 9 created subdegrees within the exterior mind). Online at

Thompson, Ian. (2005)  The Connection between Mind and Body in Theistic Physics. Available at:

Thompson, Ian. (2005)  Spirituality Approach to some concepts of Theistic Science. Available at:

Thompson, Ian. (2005)  How to distinguish the Natural and Spiritual. Available at:

Thompson, Ian. (2005)  What is Enlightenment without Paradox? Nondualism from a theistic perspective. Available at: :

Thompson, Ian. (2005)  Biological Evolution in Theistic Science. Available on the Web at:

2.13  What is "substantive dualism" in theistic psychology?

In history of psychology textbooks, dualism is always discussed in relation to the "body-mind issue," which has been debated by every generation of philosophers and psychologists since Aristotle and Plato. Ordinarily it is Descartes who is identified with the body-mind dualism, since he argued that mental phenomena are not physical and belonging to the brain, but spiritual belonging to the soul which was immortal, unlike the body which was temporary. This outlook was traditional for European philosophers who were almost always of Christian upbringing and schooling (including Newton, Darwin, Locke, Hume, Wundt, Emerson, William James, Herbert Mead, Jung, Carl Rogers, etc.). Although they were all dualists by culture and education, in their scientific writings they were very careful not to admit dualism, but to keep it away from their science. This is why an non-theistic science and an non-theistic psychology literature has developed. Since we teach from this literature there has been a strong and unified tradition in every generation to exclude dualism from courses, journals, books, and grant proposals. The effort has been very intense to eradicate the concepts of God and the afterlife from science.

What I'm doing in this book is therefore pertinent as an entry in the history of psychology records since I am a normal scientist teaching at a public state university in a psychology department that is behaviorally oriented. Of course I'm not claiming that my colleagues would agree with me, but I think this is because they are not in a position to examine all the evidence, namely the 30 volumes called the Writings of Swedenborg. But even if they examined just one volume in full, I would predict that it would be sufficient to realize that theistic psychology is a serious scientific proposal. On the surface it sounds outlandish in the science of psychology to speak about God, heaven, hell, the spiritual world, the science of correspondences in the Bible, Divine scientific revelations, and so on. But this surface impression is only because psychology has become thoroughly non-theistic and materialistic. There is no proof for atheism, or for materialism, hence this dedication to atheism and monism is a traditional prejudice that resists the future growth of psychology into the highly beneficial knowledge of regeneration and rational spirituality.

Theism in psychology is an approach that has valid rational proof in the Writings of Swedenborg. My purpose in this book is to examine some of this evidence with a view to showing their validity and breadth of understanding. It would be extremely beneficial for public schools to teach theistic psychology throughout the school grades in all countries of the educated world where science is understood. One of the applied theistic psychology research projects I look forward to is to create theistic science concepts for children all grade levels. For instance, the concept of "God" has to be introduced differently at each grade level so that students can think of the next step in their rational consciousness of God. The more children grow in rationality the better they can understand the infinitely complex idea of God. The more we understand the idea of God the more we can love Him and the more we can receive from Him--the ability to change character, immortality, unlimited conjugial happiness, all the virtues, unlimited intelligence and knowledge.

Any scientist or educated person can read the Writings of Swedenborg and look at this evidence since it is presented rationally by a superb scientist. To reject this offhand, without examining it, is a negative bias that is transmitted by non-theistic science taught in schools and normalized in a secular press. Hence many college students react to the idea of bringing God into science, as being a bad idea or an impossible one. The majority of students believe in the actual real existence of God running people's lives and the world. But they have been exposed to non-theistic science since kindergarten where teachers are reluctant to mention God given the legal issue of separation of Church and State. It is not uncommon for teachers to interpret this official separation to mean that they are not allowed to mention God in class. And of course the textbooks they use do not mention God either. But this is a profound misunderstanding that teachers carry from their own education and upbringing. The fact is that theistic science is not Church or religion. God is neither religion nor church. To connect them is only from this misunderstanding propagated by non-theistic science.

I've had students tell me that importing God into science is a bad idea because they have been abused by a priest as children. Others have said that they refuse to believe in God since religion is so corrupt. Others have said that you are not allowed to bring God into education. All these types of objections are based on the common misunderstanding that religion and God are the same. This idea has been promoted by non-theistic science. But in theistic psychology it is clearly seen that God and religion are different concepts that must be distinguished. Religion cannot be scientific, but God is. Sacred Scripture in the literal historical sense is religion, but the underlying correspondential sense is universal science (see answer to prior Question). Theistic psychology gives people the freedom and knowledge to separate their problematic religious experiences from the scientific concept of God.

Theistic psychology is science--universal, empirical, rational, objective, applied. Religion and Church on the other hand, are historical-cultural-institutional entities, and therefore political. But theistic psychology is not political but rational and panhuman. By rational definition there can be only one God, since God is infinite, and to talk of two infinites is illogical. Hence there can be only one infinite God. God's relationship and interaction is with each individual, not with a cultural form of this or that religion. Further, God's relationship and interaction with atheists is not less than the interaction with people of religion and faith. Hence the way God manages and influences each person's thoughts and feelings is universal, not religious or cultural. This is what makes science theistic. To deny God in science is a disservice to humankind and a belittling of the usefulness of science. To deny religion in science is an appropriate thing to do, just as we deny politics in science (e.g. facts by Democrats vs. facts by Republicans--there is only one kind of fact recognized in science).

Perhaps there ought to be a relaxing of the veto power against the use of God in psychology. Instead of being dead set against it, why not see where it leads? Especially since the proposal is made by a regular professional scientist like myself, along with dozens of others like myself who are active scientists (see Reading List).

The concept of "substantive dualism" is far more advanced than the dualism of Descartes which was hardly different from St. Augustine's theology centuries earlier, who had based his idea on the scientific revelations contained in the New Testament. The scientific revelations on dualism contained in the Writings of Swedenborg are completely objective and empirical. Swedenborg was given the special and unique ability of "dual citizenship," which means he was able to be conscious in both the physical body and the spiritual body. For 27 years on a daily basis he kept notes of his extraordinary observations in the spiritual world. No one in the history of science has had such a direct access to the spiritual world and its inhabitants.

Swedenborg kept track of his interviews with thousands of people who arrived into the spiritual world within 30 hours after the death of the physical body (see "resuscitation" section in Chapter 1). He carried out many experiments with the help of those there who had the power and knowledge to assist him. And much other evidence besides this on hundreds of topics and areas of human behavior--the anatomy of the mind, ethnic differences, psychotherapy, education, marriage, child development, religion, resuscitation of the dead, physics, chemistry, physiology, anatomy, synergy, love, truth, conscience, consciousness, meaning, language, and much more.

You can see from these considerations that Swedenborg's substantive dualism is far more advanced than that of Descartes or anyone else before or since. It makes sense since no scientist of reputation has had direct observational access to the spiritual world and the process of the resuscitation of the dead. Descartes and others may have had the idea that God exists, that God created the soul, and the soul is immortal. But since they had no access to the spiritual world they wrongly assumed that our immortal life will take place in this world after its destruction and re-creation by God. Upon that re-creation, all the souls that have been deprived of a body will then be re-embodied into new physical bodies that will last forever. But all this is a fantasy. They had no empirical evidence no observation platform. But with Swedenborg's special introduction into dual citizenship it became immediately evident by observation that everyone whose physical body dies is immediately resuscitated and reappears in a spiritual body in the spiritual world.

So the essence and basis of substantive dualism is the direct evidence from Swedenborg that there is a spiritual world and that our mind or spiritual body is born there and stays there. The physical body and the spiritual body, or mind, develop together and mature together. But whereas the physical body gets old and deteriorates to death, the spiritual body remains as a young adult, and forever so.  When the physical body is dead, the conscious mind switches during resuscitation into the spiritual body and from then on our sensory input is solely from the events in our spiritual (or mental) environment. This life then continues to eternity outside time and place.

You can see therefore that theistic science, theistic psychology, and substantive dualism are all connected and based in the Writings of Swedenborg. Remove these scientific revelations and we fall back into Cartesian dualism or some of its modern versions in neuroscience. This is purely speculative since the brain contains no clues about the mind, but only about its own electrical and chemical firings, which belong to the brain, not the mind. The mind is a spiritual organ containing parts and sub-parts, just like the brain and body. In the Writings of Swedenborg we find a complete anatomy and spiritual physiology of this organ.

Further definitions and descriptions of substantive dualism are given in the Reading List, including theistic science, spiritual geography, spiritual psychobiology, spiritual psychology, spiritual psycholinguistics, and others.

See also previous Section and Readings there.

2.14  What is Applied Theistic Psychology?

The goal in applied theistic psychology is to enhance the life of individuals and society by teaching people how to think rationally about themselves and their projects. To think rationally is defined in accordance with the content of theistic psychology. In other words, reality is constructed by God on a rational basis. When thinking rationally people modify their thoughts and feelings as they proceed with daily activities and involvements. This systematic self-modification process is called the "regeneration of character."

A rational or spiritual character is of great benefit to every individual. Remember that "rational" is not what the individual defines it is, or some philosophy or belief system that someone invented or read about. In theistic psychology rational is defined on the basis of scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg. These revelations are unique and cannot occur again for reasons of evolution explained in the Writings. This can be explored by searching the Writings at:  Therefore, theistic psychology must obtain all its data and knowledge from these scientific revelations. This makes sense if these are unique revelations and if they are scientific, as argued in this book.

Assuming for now that this new knowledge is valid, you can see that every individual would greatly benefit by rearranging their belief system about God, the afterlife and eternity, to be in accordance with the scientific revelations. This is obvious and logical as long as the premises of theistic psychology are valid. In this book we are examining the issue of validity by adopting a positive bias. This means that we are allowing for the possibility that the premises of theistic psychology might be valid. The negative bias would be that we are denying the possibility that the premises of theistic psychology could be valid. If we adopt the negative bias we are quite limited in the kind of assessment we can make of the evidence. For example, we can read the Writings in order to find passages with which we disagree. After examining all the passages with which we disagree, we can come to the conclusion that the premises of theistic psychology are not valid.

But this is a bogus assessment, not an objective one, not a rational one, not a fair one. And that's because right from the start and before the evidence was examined, the conclusion was already reached. In a court of law this would be rejected and prohibited. In science this assessment of validity would be rejected also because the data was not properly evaluated. If you look at the history of psychology you will find examples where one school of thought (e.g., behaviorism) examines the data published by those who are of another school of thought (e.g., Gestalt psychology). The psychologists in the opposing "schools of thought" were unable to agree on the validity of the data, nor on the proofs in the experiments. The behaviorists rejected the data gathered by the Gestaltists and vice versa. This and other historical cases shows that the negative bias disallows data from the other side.

But if we allow the possibility of theistic psychology as a valid scientific field, then the data brought forth in the Writings of Swedenborg can be fairly and rationally assessed.

Applied theistic psychology depends therefore on theistic psychology being valid. The process of "regeneration of character" is a primary goal of applied theistic psychology. The evidence brought forth in the Writings indicates that the psychological traits that constitute human character are inherited. In other words selfishness, cruelty, resentment, rebellion against moral imperatives, insensitivity, laziness, carelessness, and other negative character traits, are inherited tendencies that do not need to be learned. In the absence of learning these habits, they still develop from internal compulsion or motivation. It is a biological mechanism that is part of the property of human minds. It is well known that physical traits are inherited such as color of skin, eyes, and hair, as well as body build and biochemical characteristics like sensitivities or allergies. The mechanisms of how these physical traits are transmitted to offspring is fairly well known in modern science. However, less than nothing is known about the transmission of affective traits and tendencies, and these are the traits of character.

The reason less than little is known about the transmission of character traits is that little is known about the mind that is valid. This is because modern psychology has opposed dualism so that the mind is defined as an operation of the brain. In other words, according to this materialistic or monistic view, sensations are the electrical and chemical firings of nerve cells; cognitions or thoughts are the pattern of these electro-chemical operations; and feelings are the location and pattern of the firings. But none of this has been proven and it is utterly hypothetical and fantastic. Therefore nothing of valid substance is known about the mind in modern non-theistic psychology or medicine.

In the scientific revelations of the Writings it becomes clear what is the substance and what is the anatomy of the mind. The mind is a spiritual organ constructed out of the substances of the Spiritual Sun just as the brain is an organ constructed out of the materials of earth's natural sun. These "earthly" materials and constructions are temporary -- in time and space. but the spiritual substances of the mind are from the spiritual world and in the spiritual world. They are permanent and immortal constructions. The mind is an immortal, indestructible organ because its physiological fibers and nerve cells are made of immortal spiritual substances.

You can see therefore, assuming this is correct, that your memories, thoughts, feelings, emotional reactions -- are actually spiritual fibers coiled in certain ways, like the cells of the brain and its neuronal networks. In fact, the brain acquires its form and structure from the form and structure of the mind. The two are tied together functionally by the laws of correspondences and they must reflect each other in form and structure. When a child is conceived from the father's sperm cells there is transmission not only of the physical mechanisms but spiritual as well because the two cannot be separated, one dependent on the other for life and growth. In fact when we are born we have two bodies, one physical in the natural world, and one spiritual in the spiritual world. The two are functionally and uniquely tied to each other. As the spiritual body grows, so does the physical, the two growing together. When the brain in the physical body fires in reaction to sensory input, the mind in the spiritual body reacts by correspondence, producing sensations that are specific to the sensory input into the brain. The process is automatic and irreversible so that it appears to us psychologically that the sensations we are experiencing is in the physical body. But we know that this is impossible because sensations are operations of the spiritual body (or mind) and cannot exist as electrical activity. The same is true about thoughts and feelings.

Given this physiology we can see that the semen contains both physical matter and spiritual substance that is within it at the spiritual degree. This is the case with every physical object, for unless an object has a spiritual substance within it, or tied to it correspondentially, it cannot come into existence nor continue in existence or subsist. The brain therefore has a spiritual substance within it and it is this spiritual substance that produces sensations, thoughts, and feelings. The affective traits of the father are contained in the semen like a spiritual DNA package and they  become active as the infant grows into adulthood. It should be observed that both bad and good spiritual tendencies are inherited in this way. Hence it is that teaching the principles of theistic psychology can help individuals in separating from their inherited character those affective traits that are injurious to self and society.

Regeneration is the most important area of concern for every individual given that every human being born today inherits many negative affective traits. As stated earlier, affective traits are spiritual, and therefore permanent. When the physical body "dies" and is separated from the mind (or spiritual body), conscious awareness is then originating with the spiritual body. The spiritual body is surrounded by a spiritual environment and every individual continues life in that state forever. Growth of the mind never stops to eternity, a characteristic that insures never-ending improvement and the contentment and happiness that are thereby engendered. This is called the "heavenly" state of mind. Heavenly life is fundamentally or inherently opposed to the opposite state of mind called "hellish." These two destroy each other like matter and anti-matter. Therefore there must develop a new state in which the bad and good traits in our affective character are separated. They both cannot survive together in one person in the spiritual world because that world is segregated into heavenly and hellish states of mind or life.

While our conscious awareness is tied to the physical body there is tolerance for both good and bad affective habits. For example, we can feel anger and resentment in one moment, and a little later we can feel compassion and peace, and still later we may be depressed, and later happy again, and so on. The same person can be nice at the office then get in the car and drive like an abusive maniac. A policeman who enforces the law may yet be himself a thief. A person can be fair in one business transaction but cheat in another. An honest official can break down and take a bribe, then turn around and be honest again. Sometimes we work diligently and do our best while at other times we make mistakes or loaf on the job. In other words we are mixed good and bad. But once we lose our physical body our mind loses the ability to contain active elements that are affective opposites.

This uni-valenced aspect of the spiritual world and the spiritual body (or mind), makes it crucially important to build up good affective traits because we will no longer be able to depend on our ambi-valenced comfort that we have while still attached to the physical body. Having lost the ability to be ambi-valent -- good and bad, we are then propelled either into our heavenly state of mind or into our hellish state of mind. If we are propelled into the heavenly state of mind we will grow in those good traits we have, and this endlessly to eternity. But if we are propelled into the hellish state of mind we will grow in those evil traits, endlessly to eternity. Swedenborg observed and described the life of both these human states under the title "heaven" and "hell."

Applied theistic psychology can therefore be of great usefulness to every individual in preparing for that crucial separation of our heavenly and hellish states of mind. Each contains affective traits that we have inherited -- cruelty and compassion, laziness and industriousness, selfishness and altruism, deceptiveness and honesty, treachery and patriotism, rebellion and obedience, etc. These are pan-human character traits sometimes classified as "vices" and "virtues."  Everyone is familiar with them. What they don't know is why they should work hard to eliminate the "vices" and increase the "virtues." This is not known because non-theistic psychology is compelled to take an "amoral" position that excludes the idea of "evil traits" or "bad traits" and attempts to justify healthy personality traits by natural goals such as better performance or better adaptation to situations. But this is a relatively weak motivator compared to the reality of heaven and hell in eternity.

Every person who is taught theistic psychology and understands it in a rational way, will be super-motivated to undergo the process of character regeneration, insuring for themselves a heavenly eternity. The self-modification process involves the threefold self -- affective traits, cognitive reasonings, and sensorimotor operations. Many of the current ills that plague society would thus be eliminated for the most part -- criminal activity, violence, abuse, fraud, deception, and conflict. Health behavior will improve since the affective compulsions that lead to being overweight will be less dominant and resistant to control. The cognitive level of operation will rise in society with more people thinking at the rational level because heavenly motives produce rational ideas and principles while hellish motives produce irrational ideas and principles.

Parenting will improve as the balance of distribution of traits shifts from hellish to heavenly. Children inherit these positive tendencies  acquired by the parents as a result of their character regeneration efforts. In this way there is a gradual shift towards heavenly human traits in the population. Marriage will improve as couples shift from the dominant and equity models of marriage to the unity model (see Section xx).

2.15  Theistic Psychology vs. Mysticism, Spiritism, and Psychic Phenomena

It is important to distinguish the science of theistic psychology from other endeavors that fall outside of rational science. An effective way of distinguishing rational spirituality from mysticism and spiritism is to determine whether the spiritual information being provided is based on direct sensory input from the spiritual world or God. If yes, then it cannot be scientific. This is because, theistic psychology is based exclusively on the Writings of Swedenborg which is the only original source of scientific information on the spiritual world. Swedenborg's ability to engage in direct communication with the inhabitants of the spiritual world was a unique doorway specially opened for the one individual who is to be the participant-observer of scientific revelations about the spiritual world. The Writings give a coherent and complete account of human development and when this is understood rationally it is clear that no direct communication is possible across the two worlds simply because such communication would be harmful to the individual in a modern world. Scientific revelations were given through one person for the benefit of everyone else.

Consider what would happen if one rejected the idea that the Writings of Swedenborg are the only source of scientific information about the spiritual world. Complete chaos ensues and theistic psychology becomes null and void as a science. All coherence and integration would be lost. Theistic psychology would become a hodge podge of different theories and claims, one more weird than another, about what people claim they saw or felt about the spiritual world, spirits, demons, God, etc. Direct sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world is not possible for anyone today because it would go in the opposite direction of our evolution. The human race has been given scientific revelations in Sacred Scripture for thousands of years in order to allow the gradual elevation of the human mind to rational consciousness.

Sensuous consciousness, or direct communication with spirits and God, was the original state of mind of the earliest generations on earth (see Section xx). By the time the New Testament was given two thousand years ago, all sensuous consciousness of spirits and God ceased. The Incarnate Divine-Human was the last step in this evolutionary progression. A new evolutionary era was begun which took the human race into the phase of rational spirituality. The Writings say that the heavens were reconstructed and new heavens came into existence out of the old. In other words, the upper regions of the human mind were changed into rational heavens. Henceforth anyone who is to be elevated to the heaven in their mind must do so by means of the elevator of rationality, that is, by means of the understanding of rational truths about God and the spiritual world.

The human race has been set on a rational course to reach the rational heavens. Clearly then, people claiming to talk to spirits, or have visions of the spiritual world as in the olden days of the  prophets, are claiming something that is contrary to the evolutionary course in which we are set. There may be all sorts of reasons why people claim to have a sensuous consciousness of God or the spiritual world. But the point is that it doesn't matter what their reasons are, even if they themselves sincerely believe their own claims. Neither is it a valid argument to say that if Swedenborg talked to spirits than others can also. Swedenborg was commissioned by God to be the revelator of the Final Testament of the Threefold Word. This is a unique event just as the giving of the Old and New Testaments were unique events, each marking a new evolutionary phase for the human race.

Note also that Swedenborg's ability given to him for this mission was not at all like what others are claiming when they say they have psychic powers or can talk to the dead. Swedenborg could not foretell future events, for God gives no one that ability (see Section xx). Swedenborg did not go into a trance to be taken over by spirits, like a medium or shaman. Swedenborg was fully awake and conscious in both worlds simultaneously for 27 years non-stop. Swedenborg's basis of all that he reports is Sacred Scripture. He is not bringing us snippets of this or that, but a comprehensive integrated scientific account.

Spiritism is harmful because it inhibits the development of rational spirituality in an individual. Swedenborg observed that individuals who first awaken in the spiritual world ("novitiate spirits") are unable to continue believing anything they do not understand. Their own science and religion are rejected except that which has been understood by them while still on earth. This is because the spiritual world is a rational world, being the world of the mind, the world of understanding and feeling, the world of goodness and truth, as well as their opposites. The light that proceeds from the Spiritual Sun is rationality itself (called Divine Truth), and the heat within it, is Divine Love. In substantive dualism, rationality is a substance, while in non-theistic materialism rationality is nothing except some way of thinking about topics, and thinking is nothing but the result of brain activity of a certain kind. But in theistic psychology thinking is an operation of the spiritual organ called the mind (or "spirit") which is permanently constructed out of spiritual heat and light and formed into a shape and structure that can enter human states of feeling and thinking.

From these and similar considerations explained in the Writings, one can understand why direct communication with the spiritual world is made impossible today when rational scientific revelations have been given as the source of information about the spiritual world -- the only source. The impossibility of spiritism, psychic phenomena, mysticism, magic, faith healing, mediumship, shamanism, etc., rests on this rational explanation given in the scientific revelations presented in the Writings of Swedenborg. This impossibility is not a negative bias because of the rational explanation of why it is not possible. It is different with the negative bias against Swedenborg's Writings because those who adopt this bias are not able to prove rationally  that Swedenborg's reports are invalid. That's because they are valid and you cannot prove that something valid is not rational.

Direct communication with the spiritual world would be possible if our consciousness was able to be elevated into the interior mind which is called the spiritual or celestial mind. The celestial mind is in the spiritual world and therefore can communicate with the inhabitants there, those who have "died" and now live in their spiritual body. But we do not have consciousness of the operations of the interior mind while we are still tied to the physical body. This is what makes "communication with the dead" impossible. It is the same with psychic powers that depend on sensing directly the spiritual world or phenomena. It is the same with mystical experiences of God or "oneness with All" which depend on direct sensory input from the spiritual world, that is, from the interior mind, of which we are unconscious and cannot sense anything. No one would have known this without the revelations in the Writings. Thanks to them, we can be free of these false and distracting ideas and theories. That's another great benefit of knowing theistic psychology.

The only source of scientific information about the spiritual world today lies in the Divine scientific revelations of the Writings of Swedenborg. Those who reject these revelations are cutting themselves off from the only source of valid information about the spiritual world. They are then exposed to all sorts false ideas and made up information that has no validity in reality, hence they are misleading. This is quite dangerous since all our future in eternity depends on our character regeneration by means of rational truths that can prepare our mind for immortal life in the rational heavens of eternity.

2.16  Spiritual Psychology

Starting in 1737 Swedenborg worked on several writing projects on the human mind, one of them titled Rational Psychology. This was several years prior to his ability to be conscious in both the spiritual and natural worlds simultaneously. Swedenborg's psychology antedates Wundt by more than a century. Later, when Swedenborg began his life as a dual citizen, he was able to expand and deepen his psychology. In his 12-volume work called Arcana Coelestia (or "Heavenly Secrets"), published between 1745-1749, his direct observations of the spiritual world provide a new basis for understanding how the human mind works.

Recall that the spiritual world is the same as the world of the mind, which is the mental world of feelings, thoughts, and sensations, organized into a unique personality. It would be similar in the field of dream analysis if you can imagine that they find a technique for putting you into someone's dreams. I saw a movie once with that imaginative theme. Once inside the dream of this dangerous madman, the woman investigator was able to see the mind of the patient, the things he was afraid of, the things he imagined himself to be, and so on. She was able to discover these things about his mind because she had gotten inside his his daydreams and fantasies.

Although that was a fantasy, what happened to Swedenborg was reality. His consciousness was opened all the way into the interior mind called the celestial mind. We all have this portion of the mind but we cannot be conscious of it until death. If we gained consciousness of it, we would be able like Swedenborg to see and interact with all those who had been born on this earth and have passed into the spiritual world. Swedenborg discovered that the most ancient people on this planet had their consciousness opened all the way to the celestial mind, and thus were able to communicate with their parents and ancestors in the spiritual world. But in later generations this ability was closed off by evolutionary changes that affected the brain and the mind. These historical events are revealed in the hidden correspondential meaning of the Old Testament, which can be extracted through the method of correspondences described in the Writings. Swedenborg goes through a verse by verse and word by word analysis of the Books of Genesis and Exodus in the Old Testament. This is done in the 12-volume Arcana Coelestia.

Modern psychology traces its short scientific history to the German psychologists who first built a laboratory of psychology, especially Wilhelm Wundt (1879). Scientific psychology has progressed in the area of external behavior but not so much in the area of internal behavior called the mind, the behavior of feeing this or that, or the behavior of thinking this or that. The restricted development is due to the unavailability of direct observational access to the feelings and thoughts. The closest modern psychology has come to feelings and thoughts has been the GSR and the cat scan. In other words nothing but chemical and electrical physiology of the physical body. Nothing at all abut the mental body or the mind. At worst, psychology has tried to fudge the line between the mind and the brain. Many psychologists have written and taught that thoughts and feelings are nothing else than these chemical and electrical operations inside the brain and body. As a result, nothing is known today in psychology about the anatomy, structure, and function of the real mind which is a spiritual organ constructed out of spiritual substances from the Spiritual Sun.

But now theistic psychology has access to the direct observations, reports, and experiments to be found in the Writings of Swedenborg. The essential issue is whether a psychologist wishes to remain in the negative bias, or to adopt the positive bias in order to make the relevant data available for inspection and rational analysis (see Chapter 1).

Spiritual psychology is an area within theistic psychology. It may also be called rational psychology. Swedenborg is able to describe the anatomy of the mind because it is the same as the geography of the spiritual world. For example, by "traveling" throughout the spiritual world Swedenborg discovered that there are three "heavens" that were connected to each other in a sequence relative to the Spiritual Sun. The closest heaven is called the Third Heaven and refers to cities in which lived people whose mind was opened to the celestial degree. In other words when the consciousness of an individual rises to the uppermost regions of the mind, the experience of life is that of a heavenly conjugial paradise where only good and truth exist in endless abundance. Everyone who is in this state of consciousness experiences themselves to live with others like themselves in an eternal conjugial heaven. Clearly, what makes the Third Heaven that Swedenborg visited is nothing else than the celestial mind. The two completely overlap in existence.

Those who had their mind opened to the second level, called the spiritual degree, appeared to themselves to live in cities with others similar to themselves, but the content of their thoughts and feelings was entirely different from the thoughts and feelings of those in the Third Heaven. Those in the First Heaven were still further away from the Spiritual Sun and the inhabitants had thoughts and feelings at the natural level of rational consciousness. The three heavens are actual mental planes that exist in every human being's mind. At the spiritual level all human minds are in the same location called the spiritual world. The only reason we can't see this is because we are tied to the physical body and our spiritual mind is not in a conscious state. But as soon as the physical body dies and the mind is resuscitated, we become conscious of all the people who are also there in their mind called the world of spirits.

There are people who are conscious in their natural mind--us here on earth. We see all those who are also conscious at this level of the mind (natural mind). Those who are conscious in the spiritual mind (after resuscitation) see everyone who is also in that state of mind. If you elevate your mind to the celestial degree, you become conscious of all the people who have elevated their consciousness to that level and abide there to eternity.

The human mind is therefore a spiritual organ having three major portions or sub-organs -- natural, spiritual, and celestial. The operations inside each sub-organ are radically different so that they have nothing in common. Nevertheless the three parts are integrated into one functioning unit by means of the laws of correspondences. First, influx streams into the celestial mind at the top producing the syntax and basis of rationality and intelligence. This influx is conscious for those in the Third Heaven but not for those below or more distant from the Spiritual Sun. This influx is processed by the celestial mind through "celestial-rational correspondences" of Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). There is a correspondential or functional reaction in the spiritual mind which thinks by means of spiritual-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture. Swedenborg observed how some particular ideas thought about in the Third Heaven were received in the Second Heaven and he was able to confirm what the differences were. Celestial thoughts and feelings are about the origin of all things from love and affection. Spiritual thoughts and feelings are about the causes of things by means of truth. Natural thoughts and feelings are about the effects played out in natural things of spiritual causes and celestial sources or origins.

Spiritual psychology is the study of how our mind develops and grows. We begin conscious life at birth when physical sensorimotor input and activity gets organized by the spiritual or rational mind. Unless the rational mind ordered the sensory input into a rational arrangement or meaning, there would not be a development of human consciousness. We would remain at the level of consciousness of animals, which lacks rationality and is based on instinct or built in mental reactions to particular physical stimuli. But because human beings have an interior rational or spiritual mind, we are able to arrange the natural sensory input into a rational order that makes sense and corresponds to actual reality.

It is the same with learning to talk. The child is exposed to the language of the parents but this would be as useless as for the cats and horses we interact with and talk to. Children can learn to talk like the parents only because their rational mind organizes the streams of sounds they hear and associate with what's happening around them. This built in cognitive syntax has been called by modern linguists the innate language acquisition device (LAD), and it has been shown to be rational in current research by linguists (see especially the work of Noam Chomsky).

We are capable of learning knowledge and culture only because we have a spiritual mind that is completely rational and organizes the events we experience in the natural world around us. The outside natural world comes into our senses and is organized by the rational mind. In this way we grow up to be intelligent adults able to think rationally, to plan our goals, and to modify our character to be more and more civilized, human, and angelic.

Swedenborg observed that our thoughts and feelings are influenced by those who are in communication with our spiritual body that houses our thoughts and feelings. The character of the influence was determined by the character of the individuals or "spirits" who were in communication with our spiritual body (see "vertical community" Chapter xx). Swedenborg also realized that there is a purpose and mechanism involved in these spiritual interactions. The purpose had to do with regeneration or character reformation. Every individual is put into the position of undergoing regeneration since this is necessary for ascending to the celestial regions of life. Our level of thinking and feeling is at first natural. Then, as we undergo regeneration of character, our thinking and feeling becomes spiritual. Thus our consciousness is raised form natural to spiritual. As we continue character regeneration we are raised in our consciousness to the celestial level, along with the thoughts and feelings proper to that state of life.

This process of character regeneration involves the necessity of making free choices out of love for what we choose. At first we love evil things which are animalistic rather than human, such as selfishness, cruelty, savagery, violence, deception, vanity, resentment, anger, and so on. These types of thoughts and feelings or motives need to be freely rejected, which is not easy because we experience positive reinforcement and pleasure out of them. We love to be egotistical and dominate others for our benefit, convenience, or pleasure. It's hard to give them up freely. Therefore we are given special opportunities to give them up. These are called temptations. During a temptation our spiritual body is interacting with both evil and good "spirits." Our thoughts and feelings reflect this ambivalent influence, one moment wanting to resist, another moment wanting to give in, then fighting again, and so on. We have many different temptations as we grow more rational and celestial and they are each made available to us by the specific individual spirits who are permitted to interact with our spiritual body.

You can explore these spiritual mechanisms further through the Reading List.

The basic tenet of theistic psychology can be seen when you consider this definitional and methodological formula:

mental = rational = spiritual = immortal and eternal

I start with "mental" because this is something we are very familiar with. Mental refers to the operation of the mind. In familiar psychological terms we can say that mental, or mind, refers to the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor behavior of every individual. In other words, our feelings or motives, our thoughts or understandings, and our sensations and motor impulses. Another way is to say that "mental" is our self or ego. We can also talk about the "mental world," referring to the content of our mind -- our thoughts and feelings and sensations and perceptions. The mental world is very familiar to each of us and we can also call it our conscious awareness, the "I" in what we speak (e.g., "I want one of those.").

The first part of the spiritual psychology formula says that the mental world is the same as the rational world. In other words our thoughts and feelings do not operate or exist in a vacuum or in nothing, which would be impossible. Feelings, thoughts, and sensations operate in a rational atmosphere or "ether" which is called spiritual ether or atmosphere -- the third part of the basic formula. In other words, if we put the three parts together, we can say that the mental world with which we are so familiar, is actually a spiritual world in which we operate as individuals, and in which other individuals operate through their rational atmosphere or ether.

By seeing the identity between the mental world and the spiritual world we enter the age of dualism, or substantive dualism. In other words, we begin to recognize and understand that we are dual citizens, members of two worlds, the natural world and the mental world, which is not natural, but spiritual. The word "super-natural" has also been used by some people to refer to the spiritual world. But the people who use the word "supernatural" may not realize that it means mental or rational.

It may be surprising to hear that first, that there is a spiritual world, and second, that we are so familiar with it since it is nothing else than the mental world. We might even have a tendency to think that this is not a big revelation since it doesn't seem so real. We have been educated in a monist intellectual climate so that "mental" sounds less real than "physical" or "concrete." In psychology especially we have been trained to think of mental as "behavioral" and behavioral as "overt" and "concrete." There is therefore a negative bias against the idea that "mental" = "spiritual" = immortal and eternal. In our every day life we have the experience that thoughts and feelings come and go and that when we are thinking of a million we don't have, it is not the same thing as having the million in the bank. We say, that's just a fantasy, just empty thoughts. So we can acquire the bias that the physical world is more real than the mental world. But the opposite is the actuality or reality.

The rational ether in which the mental world exists is actually an atmosphere, a substance, in the same way that physical space fields make up the framework for the stars, planets, and atoms or cells. The first amazing idea that hits us is that there is only one mental world since there is only one spiritual world and only one rational world. It follows, amazingly, that your mental world is the same as my mental world, and the same as the mental world of every human being that has ever existed. And amazingly, it also follows, that the mental world is immortal and eternal, since the spiritual world is eternal and the two overlap or are an identity having the same laws and the same substance.

In other words all of the human race is together in one mental world called the spiritual world. Since thoughts and feelings are spiritual, they are immortal and eternal. Unlike rocks, and wood, and the physical body and brain, the mind is immortal, the individual conscious self is immortal because it is constructed of an immortal substance called rationality ether.

Although these definitions have not yet been proven to be true in what I have presented above, it is clear that they are rational, which is an essential requirement for them to be part of science. If you do not reject the data Swedenborg has collected through his observations of the spiritual world, then they constitute scientific proof for these definitions that are also rational. I have analyzed and studied Swedenborg's data for a number of years now and I experience no conflict as a scientist and psychologist in accepting it as valid. Further, it enriches the knowledge and application of psychology to such an extent that it ushers in a new bright phase for science, society, and humankind.

Swedenborg's ability to be conscious in both worlds simultaneously is not so far fetched when you consider the basic formula of spiritual psychology presented above. When we are conscious of our thoughts, or when we daydream or imagine something, we are actually "traveling" like Swedenborg throughout the spiritual world. What we see in our thoughts or imaginations are actual scenes being observed by the spiritual mind. Similarly, when we dream we are actually observing scenes in the spiritual world and others who are present with us can also see these scenes all around them--something that Swedenborg has verified and observed many times. This confirms that dreams are not mere nonexistent figments of nothing but actual appearances in the spiritual world--as long as you're not going to reject Swedenborg's reports out of hand as something impossible or unbelievable, which is the negative bias (see Chapter 1).

With Swedenborg there was conscious presence in the spiritual world so that he could not only see the appearances and events, but have conversations with the people there. This we cannot do while we are attached to the physical body because it is harmful to our spirit, throwing us back into sensuous consciousness and removing all higher forms of rationality. Swedenborg was protected from injury on account of his special Divinely commissioned assignment of authoring the Writings and its scientific revelations. Once we get to the world of spirits after resuscitation, we are able to fully confirm ourselves all that Swedenborg has reported.

But to make sure the proposal is rational, let's look at the basic formula again:

mental = rational = spiritual = immortal and eternal

In what way are our thoughts and feelings immortal or eternal? Recall that the Spiritual Sun is the source of all substances in the mind just as the physical sun is the source of all matter on this planet and in our brain. Physical objects constructed out of this matter are temporary and sooner or later disintegrate back into the elements. Even the planet has a limited lifespan of a few billion years. Why are things in the natural world temporary in existence? It's because the materials or elements out of which they are constructed are temporary in existence. Think of what happens when a flower is constructed out of substances from the Spiritual Sun. This flower is timeless and has an endless existence--as long as the human emotion or thought that created that flower retains its connection of love or use with that flower. It is the love or use of the flower that creates it and maintains it in existence. This fact Swedenborg has witnessed numerous time, and so shall we, when we get there.

It is different here on earth where flowers are made of matter. Try to wish a flower into existence and you will fail. This is because matter is inert and does not respond directly to human wishes and purposes. All matter ultimately exists because it is useful to humans in some way since everything God has created was for the sole purpose that it serve some human use. This is true of the entire universe as a whole and of every detail or part that makes up the universe. Clearly, the universe is a human universe, serving human purposes, the chief of which is that people be born on one of the numerous earths, develop a heavenly character, then pass on to heaven where they are to live in conjugial bliss to eternity. This is the purpose God had in creating the universe, as revealed in the Writings.

Once we move on to the spiritual world we are truly in our human element. Not so much on earth, because this is merely a controlled training ground for our spirit or mind. Here, our awesome power to create by emotion and thought, is limited to indirect effects on inert matter. We can build machines and houses, bridges and satellites. We force our human will upon the inert matter, turning it into our purposes or uses. Look how much effort it takes to chop some wood for the fire, or to learn how to run the four-minute mile. But once we are in our rational ether in the spiritual world our awesome human powers are instantly visible, and we create the surrounding environment by our wishes and needs--palaces, art, food, clothes, animals, fountains--anything you want, instantly created for you by the Divine-Human. This is heaven. This is the purpose for which the Divine-Human created the world. It is an act of Infinite Love and Wisdom.

You might think that this sounds more like a wonderful fairy tale than science. The purpose of theistic psychology is to give you the opportunity to examine this apparent fairy tale and to see that it is the actuality. And you can only see this rationally, by your own understanding. If your understanding cannot clearly see it after examining the evidence, it will remain a fairy tale in your memory. When you get to the world of spirits, you will remember the fairy tale and will be surprised, very surprised, to see that it is the reality. Either way you will see this reality, whether later when you are resuscitated, or now, when you study theistic psychology. As you will see from future chapters, there are powerful reasons why we are far far better off seeing this now than later.

2.17  How Can You Do Research on God in Psychology?

Even when we adopt the positive bias in science regarding dualism and God, there still remains some doubt about the feasibility of such an approach. How can theistic psychology be scientific if you cannot do research on the spiritual world or on God? Many students are initially bothered by the fact that they have to believe all this solely on the word or experience of one man. But actually you don't have to believe anything. It would be useless to find the Writings of Swedenborg in the library one day, as I have, and to believe this author because he says so. An old acquaintance to whom I was telling about Swedenborg, kept replying to every detail, "But why do you believe this strange man from another century?" From his point of view it was "believing" but from my point of view it was "understanding" and "seeing." This is what's really wonderful about the Writings of Swedenborg, that there is nothing to believe but only to understand.

It's important therefore to go further with the details of the dualist approach to see how God and the spiritual world can be incorporated in valid research.

Actually the task is not as difficult as one might at first think as soon as we consider that the spiritual world overlaps completely with the mental world, and that God reveals many facts about the spiritual world and about how the world is managed through the universal laws of rational correspondences. Theistic psychology cannot be seen as a reasonable and valid approach if one does not allow the dualist concept of "scientific revelations" by God. The scientific revelations God has given in the Writings of Swedenborg give us the details about how God intervenes in phenomena and manages them according to strict laws of rational order.

The idea of "scientific revelations" at first strikes us as preposterous. This is because we begin with the negative bias, with the unproven assumption that the physical world runs itself through natural laws. Also, we hold on to the unproven assumption that science is a human enterprise involving human intelligence struggling to understand a complex universe. These two ideas are unproven. The physical world does not run by itself -- that's the positive bias, which is also unproven to begin with. The enterprise of science is not run by human intelligence acting on its own from self, but God intervenes in its course--this too is the positive bias and unproven as yet.

There is no other choice: One must be willing to let go of the negative bias and to adopt the positive bias in order to investigate rationally the concept of "scientific revelations."

The negative bias says: No need to investigate this, no need to adopt the positive bias, just remain in the negative bias.

The positive bias says: There is a need to investigate this, one must let go of the negative bias to do it.

There is no other choice! You must choose between one or the other.

(See also the section on the positive bias above.)

The concept of scientific revelations makes rational sense in the positive bias mode of thinking. Most people, scientists including, already believe in God. What is it they believe about God? The dictionary defines God as "the supreme or ultimate reality; the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe." There are three main elements in the definition of God:

(1) God is the ultimate reality;

(2) God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good;

(3) God is worshiped as the ruler of the universe.

God is worshiped by the majority of scientists as the omnipotent ruler of the universe and the ultimate reality. Does it make sense then to deny God in science? No. Remember that as scientists we are trained to follow an intellectual tradition, which is the negative bias in science. Some scientists voice the belief that this is justified because you can't do research on God, or because you don't need to do research on God since God leaves nature to run itself by means of the natural laws that God created at the beginning of creation.

This assumption is shattered when you read the Writings of Swedenborg. Here for the first time, a scientist of renown has been given the ability to be conscious in a part of the mind that we are ordinarily not conscious of until we become "spirits" in the afterlife. Swedenborg was able to observe thousands of individuals undergoing the 30-hour process of resuscitation when the heart stops and the brain is dead. Upon completion of the process we seem to ourselves to be awakened and we now continue as immortal "spirits" a life in the spiritual world, also called "eternity" because there is no sense of time or aging.

Further, what Swedenborg saw and heard, every individual sees and hears when our conscious awareness switches venue from the natural mind to the spiritual mind. The natural mind contains the experiences built up through our physical body interacting with the natural world. The natural mind and the brain are closely tied functionally by the laws and mechanisms of correspondences. But the spiritual mind receives input from the spiritual world. though we are unconscious of its operation. The spiritual mind has a strong influence on the rational mind, which is intermediate between the natural mind and the spiritual mind. The rational mind is capable of assimilating information from both the natural mind (and world) and the spiritual mind (and world). When fully developed, the rational mind has two components, outer and inner. The outer component is called the natural-rational mind while the inner component is called the spiritual-rational mind.

Because the rational mind can operate with both physical and spiritual information, it becomes the basis for theistic psychology. Swedenborg wrote a book titled Rational Psychology in 1742 but starting in 1743 he found himself suddenly capable of being conscious of his spiritual mind as well as his natural mind. While this took some getting used to, he quickly adapted to his new dual citizenship and for the next 27 years he recorded his daily observations and experiments in the spiritual world. He wrote enough to fill nearly 30 volumes in English translation. This amazing record is totally unique in the history of science. No other scientist has been given this special ability while still tied to the physical body. No other source of scientific information is available about God and the spiritual world. Swedenborg also gives an integrated rational scientific theory or explanation of all of his reports. Nothing is left out of this comprehensive account.

In the past 200 years many people known in literature have referred to Swedenborg (see list below).  There are three types of reactions that I noticed in the literature -- religious, psychiatric, and scientific. The religion based on the Writings is called the "New Church" or the "New Christian Church" and  is well established today with several branches worldwide, though quite small and little known. The psychiatric reaction varies from "he was totally delusional" to "he was a mystic genius." The scientific reaction is only now being felt through a few forerunners in science like myself. I have coined the phrase "scientific revelations" to designate the content of the Writings of Swedenborg when looked at from a scientist point of view in the positive bias.

My point is simple and logical: Since God is the ultimate reality and ruler of the universe (see definition above) it's not logical for science to ban the concept of God from the study and description of reality.

Other attempts to link "religion and science" -- like Creationism or Christian Science -- are not serviceable to science because they are based on a subjective interpretation and perspective, or are contrary to the basic methods of science. Similarly, what is known as the literature on "the psychology of religion" does not study God and the spiritual world but people's religious practices and beliefs (see Volume 4). Swedenborg's Writings is the only empirical source of information about God and the spiritual world, and they contain the only explanatory accounts that are rational and universally serviceable to science. This is not an assertion you have to believe, since this would be useless in science. It is an assertion you can confirm rationally by evaluating the evidence.

Consider that we are more familiar with the spiritual world and God than with the neighborhood we live in or even our own kitchen or car. What is the most familiar thing you know, the most common and repeated experience in your life? It is not eating or walking or talking. It is feeling, thinking, and sensing. These are the things we do constantly even as we do other things like eating, walking, or talking. The constant in our daily living is the mental world we experience, see, and know from within.

In other words we are more familiar with the spiritual world (or mental world) than we are with the physical or natural world.

Now consider how familiar you are with God. Human beings in all cultures know that God is infinite, which means omnipotent (all power is God's power), omniscience (knows and is aware of everything), omnipresent (is present everywhere). Although this is known about God by most people, it doesn't mean they understand it rationally. For instance, consider omnipotence. People might have the idea that the power they have to move, eat, or think has been given to them by God, but now that they are living creatures, they have this power themselves, even if it originates from God. But this way of thinking is not fully rational. If God gives away some power to living creatures then God is no longer omnipotent since something else than God has power after God gives the power away.

So it's not possible for God to give some power away as long as God is omnipotent. This is a rational conclusion as part of the definition of omnipotence.

The implications are staggering. It means an individual human being has no actual power to eat, walk, talk, think, remember, or choose a preference. That would mean that we are actually biological and spiritual robots activated by the one power there is. But this would not be a perfect world, would it? You would not want to be a spiritual robot or a natural one, for we would then lose our humanity and no longer be human beings. Therefore God had to create a method or mechanism by which human beings could actually be human even though they have no power of their own.

2.17.1  The As-of Self Revealed to Humankind

In the Writings of Swedenborg God reveals this method. It is called the "as-of self." In other words we do not actually have a self that has its own power, but we do have an as-of self, which is the real feeling that we act freely, from our own will, and not from God.

To understand this more clearly, think of an analogy where a similar situation arises. When you are taking care of a toddler at home, or the beach, or in a park, your way of interacting is an analogy with the way God interacts with us. The toddler doesn't like to be constricted and wants to roam at will, exploring, moving around, looking, sticking the fingers here or there, laughing, and so on. The toddler is most happy when having the feeling of being completely free. It doesn't like you to stand in front of the fire place to prevent it from touching the fire. It doesn't like you to prevent it from sticking its finger in the electric plug. But you are around, sometimes blocking the way, sometimes hiding something from view, sometimes pushing slightly to change the child's direction of motion, or redirecting the child's focus by sticking something before its face. And so on. In other words you exercise all power to keep the child from getting hurt. The child can accept this as long as it feels like it retains control and freedom. Meanwhile you also provide shelter and food and clothes and insurance and a college fund for that child, arranging the child's life in particular ways. None of this care and arrangement and control comes to the awareness of the child.

In a similar way God provides and intervenes at all levels of action and environment. No detail whatsoever is possible without God's immediate control. This is true of the motion of an electron, the flight of a bird, the rolling of a stone, or what an individual remembers or forgets moment by moment. To remember something takes power and to hold something in memory takes power. To plan your next hour takes power, and to perform your plan takes power. You can see from this that since God is the only power, and since God cannot give away power, therefore God is the most intimate partner we can ever have, far more intimate than any friend or family member.

This amazing intimate relationship with God does not change or diminish whether the individual acknowledges God's partnership or not. An atheist claims not to believe in God's existence or in scientific revelations from God and laughs at those who know of God's existence and role. Viewed from the perspective of dualism, an atheist has the illusion of possessing power from self or from nature, but all along, God must be present participating in the atheist's thought processes and attitudes, because it takes power to have an attitude and to live according to it, and all power is God's power.

This raises an enormous puzzle that authors have discussed for millennia. It is the question of why, if God is omnipotent, does God provide power to the atheist to deny God? Or, why does God provide power and intelligence and skill to the terrorist who kills innocent people? Why does God create a natural disaster that kills many people? Why does God permit wars, crime, rape, abuse, children as sex slaves, deception, lies, depression, sickness? Why does the omnipotent God allow these evil injurious events to take place? -- especially since God is defined as pure Love and pure Truth.

Many people have used the presence of evil, the suffering of the innocent, and the success of dishonest  people, as a rationale for disbelieving God or dethroning God in their mind. People have attempted various solutions to this basic puzzle but real progress could not be made until God provided scientific revelations to explain how the world is managed and run. The "as-of self" is absolutely essential for our happiness as human beings and for eternal life in heaven. Through the "as-of self" we can take responsibility for what happens because God cooperates in maintaining that sense of as-of self freedom.

Rationally and logically we know that God is pulling the strings of events and sequences, but experientially we feel completely free, moving and thinking from our desire or motivation.

Consider how a minute amount of power from your finger can move ten mighty men aside. The athletes are pulling on a rope, two teams against each other, and they are perfectly matched. You know they are perfectly matched because the rope is not moving in any direction, stuck in the balance of power. Now you come along and you pull the rope with two fingers. What happens? The ten strong athletes come tumbling down, losing the perfect balance of power with which the two teams matched each other.

You can see from this kind of idea how we can make decisions without any power of our own, and yet be responsible for those choices. The scientific revelations describe our thinking process as a mental operation in which other people participate, in a similar way that the two teams of athletes were pulling the rope in opposite direction. God retains power over what happens by influencing the steps of our thinking, moment by moment, all day long. This influencing process is not direct and immediate, like pulling a rope, but indirect or mediately through others with whom we are brought into communication by God (see "vertical community" in Chapter xx).

Our train of thought is influenced by the spirits, or people in the spiritual world, who are allowed to communicate with our spiritual body in the spiritual world. It's almost like a debating society with a winner and a loser. One team of spirits have disposition or desire X while another team of spirits are brought near who have disposition and desire Y. Whatever thoughts come into our awareness are through the influence of the character of the spirits then in communication with us.

We are aware of the effect of their approach but not the actual influx or influence. We are aware for instance of a particular thought or memory that we recognize as part of our past experience, and we are aware of a sequence of thoughts that come to us about an issue or plan, but we are not conscious of where these thoughts come from or why these thoughts now enter our mind instead of some other thoughts. Yet the sequence of thoughts is governed by God by means of a continuous switching around of what spirits are in communication with our mind moment by moment.

If we were aware of the spirits and their influence on our thinking we would not be pleased. We would not feel free, ever, and no longer be actually human, since the foundation of being human is to act rationally to carry out desired goals. To act from freedom according to reason is the hallmark of the human being. This is one of the reasons why God does not allow a mystical or sensory awareness of other spirits or of God until we are no longer tied to the physical body and live our life in a rational universe called the spiritual world.

But then are we free or not?

Yes we are. God maintains the perfect balance of power in every feeling, thinking, sensing and moving. We do these things without our own power and yet because of the balance of power we can act without power as long as God cooperates and participates in every detail at every moment from conception to eternity. As a result of this we can continue to develop our as-of self character and always feel that it is us in freedom that creates it. At the same time God warns us in scientific revelations that we must not attribute this freedom and power to ourselves but only to God. In this way God can develop our mind and character to its full human potential. But when we deny that God is the participant-operator of all our life and experience, we fall into unreal and injurious states of mind called "hell" and our character becomes enamored of illusions and delusions that eventually lead us to a hellish life from which we are unwilling to escape to eternity. So much is at stake whether we accept reality as it is revealed by God, or whether we reject rational revelation and construct our own world of unreality, illusion, and suffering.

Because God and the spiritual world are so intimate, close, and familiar to us in daily living, it is possible to research God and the spiritual world using the methods of theistic psychology. I should note that some people have formulated some type of research about God that cannot work, so that the inevitable conclusion will always be, "there is no valid proof." For instance suppose you set up a research study in which you randomly assign subjects to two conditions, the "prayer group" and the "no prayer group." The prayer group is instructed to pray every day morning and evening for what they need or want at that moment, while the no-prayer group is instructed to read a novel at that time. The researchers keep track of the individuals for one year and add up the successes of each group. Will they find a significant difference? No, they will not.

But this is not a valid experiment about prayer and God. It is only a test of people's idea of prayer. People do believe that praying for X often brings X to them, and they thank God for it. There is no harm in proceeding in this way for it validates the reality that we are dependent on God moment by moment to continue life. But from the scientific research point of view this kind of experiment cannot be used to study God's ways, but only people's belief systems. Hence it belongs to the non-theistic psychology of religion, not to theistic psychology.

The only method by which God can be studied scientifically and rationally is through the scientific revelations God has given to humanity. Through the Writings of Swedenborg God reveals that events are not produced by human intervention because that would mean that God is not omnipotent and fully in charge. If praying could influence events directly, what would happen in a football game where each team prays for victory? Or in a war, or in a lottery, or when someone is sick. God obviously cannot give over any power to someone praying. It is still God who has to make the decision as to what is going to happen, regardless of the prayer. This is shown by the fact that many successful and happy people never pray, and many people who pray keep praying and not getting what they pray for. Prayer is good because it is speech with God. But prayers cannot direct God's decisions (see Section xx). Hence any research on the "effectiveness" of praying does not belong to theistic psychology.

God encourages human beings to pray, but not because their input is needed in the management of events. It is God who gives an individual the power to pray in the first place, as well as what to say and think, and so praying cannot have an effect of God similar to what happens when you beg someone to do this or that for you. The begging may change their mind and agree to do it, but the praying to God cannot change God's mind for this is impossible. And yet when you read the Old and New Testaments in the literal sense you are told to pray and ask God for what we need, and that if we do this, God will grant it to us. Hence it is a religious Divine Commandment that we should pray, as taught in the plain words of Sacred Scripture.

In theistic psychology we do not contradict this Commandment. But we go deeper into it. In the Writings it is explained why God gives us the Commandment to pray--not in order to influence Him, but in order to arouse our love for Him and our conscious awareness of His presence with us as a co-Participant in every detail of thought or deed. Through this love of God we enter a mental state in which we can receive a higher understanding of the truths in Sacred Scripture. Through this higher understanding of Divine reality we are able to face deeper temptations and to effect the regeneration of our feelings and thoughts all the way to the celestial level of mental operations. In this way God works to insure our ability to acquire a heavenly mind. This is why He has commanded us to pray. You can see that this rational explanation is far more detailed and scientific than the religious view that prayer influences God.

Therefore other methods will need to be developed in theistic psychology in order to study God and how the mind and the world is managed by Him (see Section xx).

2.18  Swedenborg's Rational Psychology

Swedenborg's book Rational Psychology (1742) marks the historical beginning of theistic psychology. It was followed by the 12 volume series called Arcana Coelestia (or Heavenly Secrets) which was the first time in the history of science that a scientist reported his empirical observations and experiments in the spiritual world. There followed two dozen books until 1772 when Swedenborg ended his life in the physical body. The collection of some 30 books are known today as the Writings of Swedenborg (see Reading List below). Swedenborg is well known as a literary figure of influence (see list below), but totally unknown in science and psychology. Not even the history of psychology textbooks mention him even though they mention other major figures as well as many very minor names no one has ever heard of. Why this omission?


As discussed in other places, the negative bias in science and psychology is so powerful an orientation, so persuasive and compelling, so politically strong and historically established, that the name of Swedenborg cannot gain entry into established circles in education and research (see Chapter 1). Mine is the first modern attempt by a professional scientist in a public institution of higher learning to make a concerted effort to spell out in detail the case for the positive bias regarding the Writings of Swedenborg (see Web site at: ).

In Rational Psychology Swedenborg had attained the ultimate scientific level of thinking possible for him using only the scientific data available in his time in anatomy, physiology, neurology, philosophy, and psychology. It is only after he completed writing Rational Psychology that he suddenly developed the ability to be conscious in his spiritual mind. It is therefore interesting to see how far psychology can go without using the data on the mind and the spiritual world that Swedenborg records in the Writings. One of the outlines found in his notes shows the following table of contents:

1. The Body in General

2. The Soul in General

3. The Animal Spirit ("animal" is used in the sense of "physiological")

2. The Blood

5. Sensation and Motion [Action]

6. Imagination and Memory

7. The Rational Mind

8. The Soul

9. Concordance of Systems

10. Death and Immortality

11. The Soul After Death

12. Heaven

13. Divine Providence, Predestination, [etc.]

12. Appendix. Passions of the Animus

(based on Alfred Acton, Preface to Rational Psychology (1742)  Swedenborg Scientific Association, Philadelphia, PA 1950)

Note that Swedenborg had already discovered on his own that the soul lives after death, that the spiritual mind is rational, that our immortality starts right after death, that there is a heaven, that God intervenes in all details, that the body reacts to the mind or soul. Elsewhere he deduces the existence of the Spiritual Sun from the Bible and his own rational premises about God. When Swedenborg suddenly developed his dual consciousness at age 57, he was able to confirm by direct observation what he had rationally deduced earlier. In addition, he was now able to add many details he had no way of figuring out ahead of time.

Swedenborg had several volumes in mind under the series title of Psychological Transactions. A listing of Swedenborg's works with dates are given here: Access to the Writings online is available here:

The Table of Contents of Rational Psychology (1742) covers many of the topics in contemporary psychology textbooks:

I. Sensation or the Passion of the Body

II. Touch

III. Taste

IV. Smell

V. Hearing

VI. Sight

VII. Perception, Imagination, Memory, and their Ideas

VIII. The Pure Intellect

IX. The Human Intellect: Intellection, Thought, Reasoning, and Judgment

X. The Commerce [Interaction] of Soul and Body

XI. Harmonies and the Affections Arising Therefrom. Desires in General

XII. The Animus and Its Affections

XIII. The Animus and the Rational Mind

XIV. The Formation and Affections of the Rational Mind

XV. The Loves and Affections of the Mind

XVI. Conclusion as to What the Animus Is, What the Spiritual Mind and What the Rational Mind

XVII. Free Decision, or the Choice of Moral Good and Evil

XVIII. The Will and Its Liberty, and What the Intellect is in Relation Thereto

XIX. Discourse

XX. Human Prudence

XXI. Simulation and Dissimulation

XXII. Cunning and Malice

XXIII. Sincerity

XXIV. Justice and Equity

XXV. Science, Intelligence, Wisdom

XXVI. The Causes Which Change the State of the Intellect and Rational Mind, that is, Prevent or Perfect It

XXVII. Loves of the Soul or Spiritual Loves

XXVIII. The Derivation of Corporeal Loves from Spiritual, and their Concentration in the Rational Mind

XXIX. Pure or Divine Love Regarded in Itself

XXX. The Influx of Animus and Its Affections into the body, and of the Body Into the Animus

XXXI. The Influx of the Rational Mind Into the Animus, and by the Animus Into the Body; And the Influx of the Animus Into the Rational Mind

XXXII. The Influx of the Spiritual Mind or Soul, and the Animus Into the Spiritual Mind

XXXIII. The Influx of the Spiritual Loves of the Soul Into the Rational Mind, and the Reverse

XXXIV. Inherited Characteristics

XXXV. Death

XXXVI. The Immortality of the Soul

XXXVII. The State of the Soul After the Death of the Body

XXXVIII. Heaven or the Society of Happy Souls

XXXIX. Hell, or the Society of Unhappy Souls

XL. Divine Providence

XLI. Fate, Fortune, Predestination, Human Prudence

XLII. A Universal Mathesis


It is quite amazing to see Swedenborg's grasp of psychology long before Wundt, Freud, , the Gestaltists, Hebb, and Skinner. His focus covers what today is divided in several sub-fields of psychology-- physiological psychology, social psychology, educational psychology, general psychology, psycholinguistics, Gestalt psychology, dynamic psychology, and clinical psychology. It is a good definition of what will become modern theistic psychology. It is truly remarkable that he achieved this foundation solely by means of the data available in science at this time (middle of the 18th century in Western Europe), plus the Bible. Swedenborg included God and Divine revelation in all his major scientific works.  The Bible is written in an ancient style yet it reveals many facts about God, the human mind, death, and the spiritual world. Swedenborg was able to understand and to extract these facts from the Bible through his amazing rational intellect. Shortly after he wrote Rational Psychology he found himself suddenly conscious of his spiritual mind, giving him unprecedented access to the spiritual world.

The Bible records the spiritual visions of dozens of prophets and apostles, yet not one of these visions was equivalent to what Swedenborg experienced, namely, full fledged conscious awareness in the spiritual world, uninterruptedly for 27 years

Let's examine what Swedenborg said about death before he was able to be conscious in the spiritual world. He therefore used the same data as any scientist had access to then (1742) or today (2004). In Rational Psychology Swedenborg uses the term "soul" to refer to what later he calls the "spirit." He identifies both terms with "the mind" which is a term still active today. I call Swedenborg's approach "substantive dualism" because he specifies that the body and the mind (spirit, soul) are of different substances belonging to different worlds. The body is made of chemicals on the planet from the sun. The mind is made of a "spiritual form" by which he meant structure or anatomy.

Swedenborg formulated the rational principle that I can summarize as: No function without structure. By this I mean that if you define the mind as capable of some operation (e.g., thinking, remembering, analyzing) then the mind must have a structure or organic anatomy that can perform these operations.

The dualists that are mentioned in history of psychology textbooks, like Descartes, have not proposed what the substance might be that forms the mind or spirit. Swedenborg began an entirely new idea about dualism by making it substantive. This is what makes theistic psychology possible in modern science. Swedenborg always specified the mechanisms by which God operates the world from top down through intermediary substances and forms, atmospheres and correspondences. Swedenborg specified several anatomical and functional levels of the operations of the mind. These were rationally derived from research published by others on the human body in physiology and anatomy. A couple of years later, when he suddenly acquired the ability of being conscious in the spiritual mind, he was able to empirically confirm by direct observation of the mind's anatomy, which is visible in the spiritual world in which he suddenly became conscious on a permanent basis.

Swedenborg was able to conclude that the mind is immortal on the basis of his rational understanding of the functions of the mind and the anatomical discoveries of the 17th and 18th centuries. Later he was able to confirm his conclusions directly by observation, watching thousands of people enter the spiritual world at the death of their body. What he did not know ahead of time is that the people would appear in their normal physical appearance -- same body, same clothes, same memory and identify.

Still later he figured out that these were only appearances, similar to the bodies that appear in a dream. In other words, the mind or spirit, upon arrival in the world of spirits, projects its feelings and memories upon the environment. The laws of the spiritual world dictate that minds that are different do not meet or are not aware of one another, while minds that are similar in memory and motivation automatically find themselves congregating together. This means that the memories and motivations projected by minds that are together are able to socialize within their common mental projections. This is similar to people appearing in your dream. The difference is that the dream ends and the characters are fictitious and forgotten. But in the spiritual world the projections do not end but are maintained in place as long as the motivations and memories are constant. The result is that many new arrivals called "novitiate spirits" are able to continue city life as they know it, in company with those who share the same memories and lifestyles from earth.

At first this may sound disappointing in that our eternity in the afterlife is just a dream. But this is a wrong interpretation. As we know, dreams can be and often are more powerful than waking experiences. We can experience pleasure or terror far more intense than in waking life. The intensity of sensation is determined not by the physical body but by the mind. The mind experiences pleasure or fear when the body is stimulated in particular ways. The sensations are not in the brain because the neural activity is electrical and chemical, not sensory. All sensations are located in the mind, not the body. This is why we can experience intense pleasure or pain while dreaming, even though the body is inert. When the mind (or spirit) is cut off from the physical body upon death, the mind is freed from bondage or constriction, and now appears in the spiritual world ready to interact and take up a new life and a new lifestyle.

We cannot be born in the spiritual world but only in the natural world on a planet. This is because an empty mind cannot live and the mind is filled by experiences of the body. Once the mind is ready, the body can be separated, and the conscious mind is now in the spiritual world. The body that we have in the spiritual world is called the spiritual body. This is the same spiritual body we had right from birth, and it grew along with the physical body  since the mind must have a body to exist, even in dreams. But we do not have conscious awareness of this spiritual body until we drop the physical body, and from consciousness in the natural mind, we now gain consciousness in the spiritual mind. The spiritual body is immortal and stays with the mind forever.

Swedenborg figured out many of these details which he was able to confirm later by 27 years of direct observation in the spiritual world.

As regards the pure intellectory to which belongs the pure natural mind, this indeed seems also to die or be dissolved, but only after delaying for a long time; for it is a celestial form, and there are no forms at hand which can destroy it; but as to the length of the delay, this is not for us to determine. Thus the mind or animus survives long after death, but is not able to operate, in that its common or external form is dissolved, and it cannot as yet acquire for itself a new form. But let us dismiss these matters as among things wholly unknown; to wit, whether the human animus is to survive the life of its body until the Last Judgment...But into these arcana, let us not penetrate. (Rational Psychology 495)

Only three years later Swedenborg published the first Volume of the Arcana Coelestia (Heavenly Secrets). He had suddenly found himself capable of staring into the afterlife. For the next 27 years he kept daily records and explanations publishing the results in nearly 30 volumes that have become influential in American and European thinking in theology, art, and literature. Now the time has come to extend this amazing treasure into the science of psychology.

Consider how Swedenborg was able to reason in a direction that landed him on the truth, as empirically confirmed a little later. The central feature that impresses me as a modern psychologist is that he was completely loyal to the principle, stated above: No function without structure. By consistently following this rational scientific principle, he was led to fill in the details on the basis of only a little data. To paraphrase his reasoning: No function without structure. The mind has well known functions and operations such as thinking, reasoning, perceiving, sensing, imagining. Also, feeling, needing, willing, loving, intending. The mind must therefore have an organic structure, which means it is an organ, like the brain. But the operations of the mind like sensations and thoughts cannot possibly be in the physical world because thoughts and feelings are immaterial. He was very familiar with the Bible and the scientific revelations in the Old Testament and the New Testament provided him with data on the spiritual world and life after death, about heaven and hell, and the resuscitation of the mind or spirit, immediately after death.

Putting these scientific revelations together with his up to date knowledge of the human sciences, Swedenborg was able to predict that the organ of the mind consists of spiritual fibers coiled in a harmonious direction which he inferred would be vortical, spiral, round, angular, counter-clockwise networks of fibers -- somewhat like what we know today the brain looks like underneath its surface. He called this harmonious network of fibers "the heavenly form." He further inferred that there must also be a "hellish form" which has fibers that run in the opposite direction. When we pass on at death the mind arrives such as it had been built up over the individual's biography. A mind that has a well developed hellish "bent" feels tortured when entering the heavenly sphere, and vice versa. Therefore every individual must undergo a second death sometime after arriving in the world of spirits at the "first" death. Swedenborg did not find a way of predicting how long this would last. When he was introduced into the spiritual world by suddenly becoming conscious  of his spiritual mind, he was able to observe that this intervening period ranged from hours to months, with an average of about two months. Then the "second" death occurred.

It is the general opinion that after the death of the body, the soul [mind or spirit] is at once separated and, flying away, abandons its carcass. But when we consider that the universal form of the body is from [spiritual] substance alone, being the soul [mind or spirit], that is, from the soul; there being nothing which is not from the simple fiber, and the simple fiber being from the simple cortex, and so on; and consider that the soul, being a real essence and substance, from which comes the universal organic form of the body, is the all in every part thereof; and also that it resides inmostly therein and in the centers, as it were all parts thereof, and in the blood itself, whose principal essence is the soul which is within it; it follows that the whole soul does not fly from the body at the moment the life of the body is extinct, but that remains for some time until the several parts wherein it is, are dissolved. (Rational Psychology 512)

Here you can see how Swedenborg reasons regarding what he later called the "resuscitation" process, which he was able to observe in detail (see Section xx). He was able to observe that it lasts approximately 30 hours and described the particular sequence of steps in which an individual is awakened for consciousness in the spiritual body.

In Rational Psychology Swedenborg's theory of personality is presented in detail. Where did he get his data at that time? Very little was known, if anything, about emotions and personality beyond what Aristotle wrote centuries earlier. Swedenborg had not yet entered his dual consciousness status so the only source available to him was his own self-witnessing of himself (see Section xx). His ability to discover principles of personality from self-observation was remarkable, and then to extend the observations to others, finally to formulate a rational account that consistently explains the whole data. Here he is discussing "avarice" as a personality disorder:

How great a sickness, insanity, and irrationality of mind, avarice is, and how utterly sordid, can be sufficiently apparent from its effects; for the more deeply enrooted it is, the more are all other loves dulled and extinguished. When perpetually occupied by this idea, the mind is suffocated, as it were, and is immersed, not in the body, but in the earth; thus it is not possible that it can be elevated toward things superior, or that the spiritual can flow into so gross a natural. (...)  All love of society is wholly rejected from the mind of a miser, and so likewise friendship, and also the love of those who are his own, which yet is an utterly natural love. (...) thus what rules him is the supreme love of self. (...) (Rational Psychology 235)

Later when he got to his spiritual observation post Swedenborg was able to confirm that an individual comes into the spiritual world with a mind that is ordered according to its "affections" or "loves," what we would call today "motives" and "intentions." Selfish motives oppose altruistic motives and fight against them until they are paralyzed and tucked away in the mind, rendered non-operational. then only pure selfish loves rule the mind and its behavior. Therefore it is necessary to battle against selfish motives before they take over the mind and become dominant. People can show altruistic behavior for selfish reasons, in which case they only appear altruistic, and as soon as the personal gain is removed from the altruistic behavior, it ceases, leaving only the selfish behavior to show.

Survival of society depends on altruism overcoming selfishness. For example patriotism and sacrifice in war is not possible if selfishness rules our mind. Decency, compassion, and honesty are ways of behaving that a selfish person can only simulate when convenient or of benefit to self. A selfish person hates being honest, decent, or fair and tries to avoid behaving in this way whenever possible or safe. Friendship and love between couples are not present when one or both partners are selfish. Selfishness is the motive to love oneself above others in all situations. Altruism is the motive to love others above self in all situations. We remain with mixed motives until we grow in the spiritual aspects of our personality, but we gradually incline more towards one or the other, so that we end up being thoroughly selfish in most situations or completely committed to becoming wholly altruistic.

Character self-modification is achieved by a higher motive compelling or restricting the field of action of a lower motive. If we are strongly committed to becoming altruistic we constantly look for opportunities to change our normal reaction from selfish first, to altruistic first. A decent person is one who always puts the other's rights ahead of one's own desire to violate it. A loving husband is one who always puts his wife's desires and requests ahead of his own preference or habit. Honest employees never cheat or loaf, and if they do, they feel guilty about it and try not to do it as a habit. But a selfish person will try to get away with as much loafing as is safe, not caring for either the employer's rights or society's interests.

Our ability to reason is located in the portion of the mind called "pure intellect" which is the understanding -- "pure" in the sense of rational rather than sensory. In modern terms we would call this the cognitive domain of behavior. Swedenborg reasoned that there is a mechanical connection between the individual brain cell and the "pure intellect" so that what the mind thinks and what the brain does correspond to each other perfectly. One cannot go on without the other without producing breakdown. Each cell in the cortex of the brain operates like a mini-brain so that the human brain is actually billions of brains acting together -- an image similar to what we would call today "distributed computing" where thousands of computers are interconnected to increase their capacity for a very large operation.

Swedenborg formulated this universal principle: The smaller an organ or object gets, the more perfect must be its internal structure and function. Hence the mini-brains inside each cortical cell is more perfect than the brain itself, and on to smaller units which at last are spiritual rather than natural. Spiritual substances are far superior to natural matter in the sense that they are the source of natural properties and qualities, which in themselves are only effects produced by the spiritual substances in their interior structure.

Later Swedenborg was able to specify three non-overlapping degrees of existence: The natural, the spiritual, and the celestial. The human rational mind is capable of operating at each of these three levels and the properties of the operation become more perfect as one goes from natural, to spiritual, to celestial. The highest type of operation in the human mind is called heavenly (altruism and its consequences), while the lowest is called hellish (selfishness and its consequences). We determine by our character or personality  habits whether we spend immortality in happy rational states of mind, or the opposite, since the mixed state is no longer possible once the mind enters the afterlife as a "spirit."

In Rational Psychology Swedenborg refers to Plato's self-witnessing as reported in Aristotle:

Often when my soul, leaving the body, has been in contemplation, I seemed to enjoy the highest good, and this with incredible pleasure. Therefore, I was in a manner struck with astonishment, perceiving that I was a part of a superior world, and feeling myself to be endowed with immortality under the highs degree of light. (Plato in Aristotle).

Later when Swedenborg enjoyed dual consciousness, he was able to stay in the spiritual world for as long or as often as he focused on it. Unlike Plato and more modern mystics who discuss meditation as a way of higher perception, Swedenborg's perception into the spiritual world did not depend on mediation but on direct experience of all his senses, so that he could see, hear, touch, discuss, and move around in the spiritual world, whereas those who reach for mystical experiences are unable to do this. The reason is that entering spiritual consciousness in this life cannot be done by direct sensing, as in meditation or forms of ecstasy, but only through rational thinking and understanding of Sacred Scripture and its scientific revelations. Swedenborg's rational psychology and theistic science always strove to keep all explanations harmonious with scientific revelations in the Old and New Testaments.

But keep in mind what has been stated in previous sections about Creationism and about mysticism (see Section xx). Swedenborg did not rely on merely the literal stories of the Bible. When he began his conscious observations of the spiritual world he had to learn the laws of that world so that he could move around and interpret correctly what he saw and heard around him. In this way he came to know in detail the laws of correspondences between the natural and the spiritual. He was able to study them empirically since what the mind feels and thinks is observable in the spiritual world with one's senses. It's as if you were able to enter in my dreams so that I could see you and you could see what I'm dreaming about. You would be able to see my thoughts and feelings projected into the dream scenes and their emotional quality. For instance when the mind is despondent, the surrounding area in the spiritual world turns dark with dark menacing looking clouds appearing. When someone burns with hate against you there is a fiery flame visible in the midst of their head or other part of the spiritual body. When two people discuss something about truth, horses appear. When a man and a woman look at each other with love, suddenly gardens appear around them with fragrant odors that anyone present can see and smell.

And many such examples that Swedenborg describes. Once he learned the laws by which natural appearances are produced by the mind's activity, he was able to read the Old and New Testaments in a new way, by going from the literal meaning of some historical event or behavior, to the spiritual correspondence in terms of the mind.

2.19  In what Style did Swedenborg Write the Writings?

You can read and search the English text of the Writings online at this Web address:

When I first found the Writings in Hamilton Library in 1981 I started reading Warren's extra thick Compendium Volume, which gave large chunks of text from each of the "theological" Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). It's been traditional to divide Swedenborg's overall literary work into two collections or periods of his life-- his "Pre-Theological Scientific Works" (about 20 volumes) and his "Theological Works" which are called "the Writings of Swedenborg" (about 30 volumes). However, in theistic psychology the "Theological Works" are called "Scientific Revelations.

Since the Writings are given to humankind as a rational revelation from the Divine, their content is universal. I appear to be the first Swedenborg scholar to see the Writings as scientific revelations, and the first scientific psychologist to attempt to present the Writings as part of the science of modern psychology. However, scientists from other fields have occasionally referred to Swedenborg's Writings as containing information of interest to science, see especially the articles on the Web site of physicist Dr. Ian Thompson at:

When I completed reading the Compendium, I was so amazed and delighted that I continued to read the entire text of each volume, 27 in all. When I had finished, I started reading several of the volumes again and again. I was making plenty of notes in the margins of the books each time I read from them. This helped me keep track and formulate contact points between psychology and the Writings as these amazing scientific revelations came to my awareness for the first time. This was in 1981.

In subsequent years I was able to continue my studies and my attempts to come up with formulations that were possible for the modern field of psychology, given its sensitivity, even defensiveness, about being "scientific."  I have worked, performed, and thrived in this intellectual environment since 1962, thus 42 years today (2004). I am well qualified to attempt this integration between psychology and the Writings of Swedenborg. This book represents my first attempt to make a global and explicit formulation. It comes after 22 years of serious study and research on the Writings ( see my intervening articles in the Reading List).

You will see various quotes from Swedenborg throughout this presentation. I provide several quotes in which Swedenborg affirms that what he is writing is a collection of books which "have been commanded by God" and that he only wrote down what the Divine-Human intended for him to write down. On some occasions he stops in the middle of a subject and writes that he "is not allowed" to go further with that subject. Sometimes he writes in the margin: This was dictated by the Divine-Human whom he often called "the Lord." Swedenborg was raised as a Christian and he had a lifelong love for the Bible. At age 57 Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him he had been prepared for a Divine mission, and now it was ready to start. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE -- his task as a scientist was to write a collection of books, and to publish them, regarding what he sees and hears in the spiritual world or the world of the afterlife, and furthermore, to write them as a scientific work that will reveal to humankind all the secrets hitherto unknown about God, the afterlife, and our necessary preparation for it.

Actually, it only appears as a mission impossible, but in reality, Swedenborg could not fail because this was a Divine Mission which had been foretold precisely in the Book of Revelation, the last work that makes up the New Testament. It is known among Christian scholars that the subject matter of these visions is the Second Coming of Christ. It was written by John, the author also of the Fourth Gospel in the New Testament. He was Jesus' closest disciple. Jesus had announced that He must "come again." For more than two thousand years every generation of Christians have been waiting for the Second Coming, since this marked in their expectations, the beginning of paradise on earth--the final destination of all the faithful.

Imagine how impossible a task Swedenborg was given. His consciousness in the spiritual mind was suddenly opened so that he became a double person. In his natural mind, he was in his physical body carrying out his complex duties and responsibilities every day. In his spiritual mind, he was exploring the spiritual world accompanied by many other people from there with whom he carried out a constant stream of conversation. He interviewed them, he visited their cities, houses, or caves, and he was given the power to create experimental conditions for investigating the thinking process of those who were there. Meanwhile he was also taking care of business on earth. He was a government engineer with administrative responsibilities for the development of the Swedish mining industry. He was a publisher of scientific journals and wrote many of them himself--articles that were acclaimed by other scientists as original, inventive, and brilliant.

But now at age 57, as he had to divide his attention in two, he thought it best to resign his official duties and lived on his pension. He was traveling frequently to Amsterdam and London to publish each book as he finished them--27 in all from age 57 to 82. He was active all the way to the end, publishing his last book in 1771. A few months later, having accomplished his mission impossible, his physical body was removed, and his dual consciousness ceased. Now he is lost somewhere in the ocean of people in the heavens. He wrote that people after their "second death," which is when we enter either heaven or hell, lay aside their external memories of earth and are no longer conscious of their earthly life. I suppose that today he is reading the Writings that he wrote, not knowing that he wrote them!

This is especially the case because he wrote the Writings in a natural language, which was Neo-Latin--the common language in which European authors published their scientific works in the 17th and 18th centuries. The language and script in heaven are entirely different, as described in the Writings, and so are the sentences and words, though their meanings correspond to each other (see Section xx).

The Writings explain that scientific revelations are given by God to humankind by means of Divine Speech which is given in correspondences so that human beings could understand it. Divine Speech enters the highest portion of the human mind called "heaven." When we are at that level of consciousness we think by means of celestial-rational correspondences. So Divine Speech enters the human mind by means of celestial-correspondences. These cannot be understood by those who are at a lower level of thinking and rational consciousness. They understand Divine Speech by thinking with spiritual-rational correspondences. But hose who are in a still lower level of thinking, understand Divine Speech by means of spiritual-natural correspondences. Finally, when we still think in terms of materialistic concepts from nature we think in sensuous or natural-rational correspondences. This is the level of thinking in which the literal sentences of Sacred Scripture were dictated or inspired to the prophets and revelators.

Divine Speech is from the Divine Rational Mind of the Divine-Human, which is infinite (see Section xx). Therefore it cannot be understood in itself by finite human beings. But the Divine-Human provides a mechanism of transformation for Divine Speech by which it is translated into rational correspondences that the human mind can understand. The human mind operates at four major levels of rational consciousness. Therefore God had to create four levels of correspondences for Divine Speech so that its message could be understood by those who are at each of these levels. In this way Divine Speech enters the full range of the human mind and can be understood by every human being.

Note however that what people understand when they read Sacred Scripture varies with the level of their thinking and rationality. The literal meaning is written in terms of sensuous and natural-rational correspondences of the Divine Speech. When it is brought down to this level of thinking, what God says seems to be addressed to a particular ethnic group at a specific historical time. From this level of correspondences, religion is formed, and therefore religions are tied to local, ethnic, historical groups who then sometimes try to spread their religion to wider regions. But as soon as you go one level of thinking higher, into spiritual-natural correspondences, everything ethnic, historical, and sensuous disappears from view, and instead only spiritual topics are understood. Instead "Abraham" Divine Speech actually says the Divine-Human, and instead of "Jerusalem" Divine Speech actually says "doctrine" or "principle of behavior" (see Section xx). The higher the level of correspondences in which we think, the higher is our understanding of Divine Speech. The Writings show that we are able to think with progressively higher correspondences as we regenerate our character from hellish to heavenly (see Section xx).

Theistic psychology is based on the scientific revelations of Divine Speech, and therefore one's understanding of theistic psychology is proportional to the level of thinking one performs when studying it.

Divine Speech is available to us in the written form in which the prophet took the dictation or described a vision. This written form is called Sacred Scripture. The Writings say that Sacred Scripture was provided for every civilization since the beginning of writing, and even before that, in an oral form that every generation passed on to the next. The Writings also say that the content of Sacred Scripture has changed with every subsequent civilization or era. This is because the human mind is being evolved by God to higher rational consciousness or "heaven in eternity." Every time a new Sacred Scripture was given to some ethnic group or limited region, new and higher rational ideas were provided at the lowest literal level. As a result, the level of thinking of that civilization was raised a notch on the ladder of rational consciousness.

Theistic psychology is based on three sets of Sacred Scripture given at three different historical epochs in Western tradition--Europe and Middle East. The first is called the Old Testament. The second is called the New Testament. And the third is called the Writings of Swedenborg.

The Writings were not dictated like the sayings and visions of the prophets in the Old Testament. Mental and spiritual dictation from the Divine was acceptable to people's understanding in those days. But today in the age of modern science, a dictation from God would have no effect except a negative one such as casting doubt on the validity of the "dictation.". Strange as it may seem, even if God appeared at an international conference in New York and was videotaped and shown on the news around the world, even then science today would not be much influenced. The Writings are a Divine revelation for the modern scientific age. This statement makes no serious sense in the negative bias of scientific reasoning. But in the positive bias it arouses immediate intense interest. In theistic psychology we get to know God as a scientific subject of study. This will feel like a sense of relief to many people who are bothered by the fact that their science and education is God-less.

In order for Swedenborg to accomplish his mission impossible, he had to be given the external freedom to write like a scientist, author, and publisher. His intellect had been developed at the level of genius and he had been prepared for 57 years in a science profession as mining engineer, inventor, writer, and publisher. Swedenborg had to write in a way that other scientists wrote, but about a vastly different subject and from a dualist perspective. Every sentence of the Writings was carefully crafted by Swedenborg, mindful that he was writing Sacred Scripture in which Divine Speech was hidden at four different layers of correspondences. He wrote nothing without Divine permission and God arranged for him to have the right kind of spiritual experience or observation at just the right time, so he could write about it in just the right way, word for word.

The Divine-Human is present with every person, guiding thoughts, and arranging experiences (see Section xx). So there was nothing extraordinary or special about what happened to Swedenborg. But what was special and unique, was Swedenborg's spiritual experiences--his ability to be conscious in both worlds simultaneously. This too is special only because he was still alive in this world, but not special in the sense that all of us will be able to verify his reports when we are resuscitated shortly after the death of our physical body.

Swedenborg wrote the sentence "Nunc Licet" (Latin for "now it is permitted") in his last work published in 1771. This phrase has been taken up as a slogan by the community in Bryn Athyn, PA that has formed a religion and school system around the Writings (if interested in details, type "New Church" in any search engine). But Nunc Licet  is also a phrase appropriate for theistic psychology in the positive bias. In other words, now that these Divine scientific revelations have been given to humankind in the modern science format, every interested individual can inquire into the former mysteries of religion, theology, philosophy, psychology, and literature. This scientific inquiry into the former mysteries of religion is now allowed, that is, it has now been made possible by the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg.

These revelations could not have been made prior to the 18th century when scientific knowledge was entering its modern phase. In order for Swedenborg to comprehend what he observed in the spiritual world for 27 years he had to have a rational understanding of science and a knowledge of anatomy,  physiology, chemistry, metallurgy, astronomy, physiology, psychology, theology, philosophy -- along with the new scientific instruments and measurement techniques. Much of this had been unavailable to prior generations. Swedenborg's scientific inventiveness is recognized by all his biographers and there is some current interest in his neuroanatomical theories and in his theories of astronomy. However, remember that Swedenborg's considerable scientific knowledge of the age was completely powerless by itself to give him a single solid piece of information about the spiritual world and how it is related to the human mind and the natural world. He only had theories he deduced from the Bible, but no proof or solid data and experiment.

He strove to make up formal hypotheses and universal principles about the unknown and invisible spiritual world and how it determines the events of the natural world. Much of this information he obtained not from science, but from the Bible, such as, there is God, God creates and manages the universe, there is a spiritual world for souls and natural world for bodies, God intervenes in history and individual lives, the Bible is written in a historical style that contains spiritual principles or universal laws. He then wove together this information about the spiritual world with what he learned from science about the natural world. Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was therefore the first theistic scientist, substantive dualist, and theistic psychologist.

He admitted in several of his earlier scientific books (written prior to age 57), that his argument or scientific account was theoretical and inductive, not observational and experimental. Hence only the most general statements could be made scientifically about God and the spiritual world. But when he started being able to be conscious in both worlds, this all changed. Now he had the observation post and the laboratory to confirm these general principles empirically, and to fill in the details which could not be accessed before.

The style of the Writings reflects Swedenborg's rational mind trained and steeped in Western philosophy, theology, history, literature, and science. He was a well respected individual in Sweden and abroad where he frequently traveled. His contemporaries admired him for his tremendous ability to take data and observations made by others, like experts and scientists, and to weave them together into a new and inventive way that was impeccably rational, complete, polished, and comprehensible. He had the amazing ability of explaining in a simple way, highly abstract and complex ideas about the Infinite Divine and the spiritual laws by which God governs all natural and mental phenomena.

In the Writings Swedenborg used no diagrams and charts, or technical explanations that required more than a high school education level of thinking. He numbered paragraphs consecutively within each book so that he could refer back to topics he had already discussed. Most topics are discussed several times in different places within a book and across the books. When a topic is introduced he cites the prior Numbers that discuss that topic, briefly summarizes the main points already made, then adds the new material to that topic. In this way readers can keep track of topic development within and across books. When he summarizes a topic discussed earlier there is a feeling of recognition and familiarity, yet there is also something new in the summary that highlights and deepens particular features of a topic. There is an amazing consistency throughout the Writings in how a topic is handled and how the topics interrelate with each other to present a complete whole. When one learns this complete whole, one is able to apply, justify, and teach these topics, as I am doing here in this book

Remarkably, every time I reread Numbers over the years, or compare Numbers for research, I see something new in the old familiar paragraphs. Clearly there is a functional relationship between the mental process of the reader and the content of the topics. Swedenborg was able to confirm that when someone on earth is reading scientific revelations, and acknowledge them as Divine, there is a connection established between the natural mind of the reader and the spiritual mind of the inhabitants of heaven. This connection is different when one reads something that is not Divine scientific revelation. A special relationship is established between "heaven" and "earth" when someone reads Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech. 

Swedenborg was able to show this connection experimentally by reading the Old Testament in his house in Sweden, verse by verse, and simultaneously observing who was around and connecting with his spiritual mind in the spiritual world. Amazingly, he discovered that every sentence of the Old and New Testaments connected with a different celestial "society" of inhabitants that came around him when he read a verse. The overall heaven is vast expanse in the shape of the human body, and contains large populations of people in every region or "organ."  These celestial populations live in cities and conglomerations of cities called "heavenly societies." Each society is connected to a different verse in the Old and New Testaments. By learning which society connected with which verse Swedenborg was able to communicate with them by visual presence and verbal interaction in the universal language that is innate in all "spirits" or inhabitants of the immortal afterlife.

Swedenborg observed that each religion has its own heaven because many people in the afterlife bring their religious ideas with them and are unwilling to give them up. People have therefore a choice between entering heaven at the religious level of thinking, or entering heaven at the level of theistic psychology. At this level they give up their religious views in favor of theistic psychology which is more universal and includes all religions. The heavens of those who are still in religious ideas are segregated from each other since religions tend to disagree with each other.

In the 12-volume Arcana Coelestia ("Heavenly Secrets"), Swedenborg goes through the first two books of the Old Testament -- Genesis and Exodus, verse by verse, phrase by phrase, and word by word. It may sound like this is boring or difficult reading, but the opposite is the case on every page. Throughout his presentation he proves his points by quoting many other verses throughout the books of the Bible to show the consistency of the code of correspondences in which all Sacred Scripture is written as Divine Speech. The Divinely inspired authors of these visions, prophecies, and histories were completely unaware that what they were seeing and hearing, and writing down, had two meanings, one visible, the other, hidden. The visible meaning, called "the literal sense," was such that anyone could understand and paraphrase, though it didn't necessarily make sense. In many places the Old and New Testament verses appear figurative, poetic, or just strange images heaped upon one another and making no sense.

All this strangeness is due to the fact that it is written in a secret "heavenly" code and the inner invisible meaning of the sentence dictates what the outer literal expressions are going to be. Half of the time the outer literal meaning makes sense and is useful for religious teachings and worship. The Writings reveal that the literal meaning of the historical parts of the Bible is accurate in every possible detail. . But the other half of the time the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture appears meaningless, impossible to decipher, and easy to speculate almost anything about its message. Readers who acknowledge the Bible as Divine revelation don't know what to make of the parts that are strange and incomprehensible. Some people are unimpressed by the Bible because they see these meaningless passages, sometimes contradicting each other. They wonder how a Divine book could contain so much meaninglessness, so many contradictions, so much blood and gore, so much prejudice and racism, in addition to the positive, universal,  and reassuring parts which it also contains. It is this mixture that is responsible for many people doubting that the Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech.

Because Sacred Scripture is written in this style, a number of religions and denominations have derived dogmas based on the parts that were not clearly comprehensible and logical. As a result different and contradictory dogmas arose, all of them based on Sacred Scripture. These differences led to conflict among religions and splinter-groups, and even cruelty, war, and savagery, as they tried to destroy one another. All of this was done not in the name of true religion but in the context of irrational dogmas derived from the passages that could not clearly be understood at the time. These contradictory dogmas would not have resulted in conflict were it not for the fact that the people were evil and were using Sacred Scripture to pursue their evil even further. Hence the failure of religion has prompted some people to give up God altogether.

Now the Writings have put a final end to religious dogmas since they present, for the first time, a rational account of all the mysterious passages in other Sacred Scripture that could not be understood before. Now it is permitted ("Nunc Licet") that everyone read these new scientific revelations and understand those obscure passages in Sacred Scripture that made them doubt or be puzzled. But in addition to this, Swedenborg recorded numerous facts he gathered from the spiritual world and its connection to the mind, and to prior Divine revelations such as the Old and New Testaments, and the Sacred Scriptures of earlier civilizations called the Most Ancient Church and the Ancient Church.

It is legitimate to view Swedenborg's Writings as theology and a new religion. It is also legitimate to view the Writings as scientific revelations. The two are not opposed to each other but complement each other.

When we view the Writings as science, then science becomes theistic. It can never be non-theistic again. Theistic psychology is universal and describes all cultures and all human minds. In the literal historical sense, Sacred Scripture is marked by time, culture, and religion. This is also true of the Writings. Its focus on Judaeo-Christian revelations in the Bible and the historical figure of "Jesus Christ as the One God of Heaven and Earth," may at first be puzzling to people with non-Western cultural and religious background such as Hinduism and Buddhism. How can this form a universal science that all can work within?

The resolution to this apparent difficulty is however not difficult. As shown in the Writings, all Divine revelation is given to people on earth and to people in the celestial heavens. This presents the necessity to write Divine revelation in a spiritual code. People on earth understand and relate to the historical and scientific details in the text of Sacred Scripture, while people in the heavens understand and relate to the spiritual and celestial details visible when higher-order correspondences are known (as discussed above).

This code of correspondences is called "heavenly secrets" because it is the normal innate way we think when we are in heaven. For instance when we read about the culture-bound details of a Jewish person called Jacob in Genesis, those in heaven think, not of "Jacob" but of "the natural mind." And when we read about "Isaac" they see, not Isaac, but details about "the rational mind." Or, as another example, when we read that the Jewish people wandered aimlessly in the desert for 40 years, the celestial inhabitants see the details of "temptations" which we encounter when we are regenerating our character as a way of preparing for heavenly life. These temptations come to us in a definite developmental series, first natural, then spiritual, then celestial, and those passages in Genesis are describing this mental development (see Section xx).

Similarly with the cultural historical figure of Jesus Christ, who in the Writings is called the "Divine-Human." Swedenborg studied what happens to people from different religions who arrive into the world of spirits at the death of their body. He observed that people from the same religion congregate together on account of the compatibility of their ideas an their life style preferences. Everyone is thus further instructed in thinking about their religion in such a way that the universal ideas of theistic psychology can illuminate them within their own religion.

The Writings declare that God does not pressure or require anyone to change their religion in the other life.

But in fact religion becomes less and less a focus as the mind grows to its heavenly potential. In the highest heavenly regions of the human mind there is no longer a religion but a direct and individual rational consciousness of God through God's Divine Truth. Even science is of no significance in that state of mind because we receive instant enlightenment from God on any subject we wonder about. This enlightenment is from within, while knowledge from science is from without. Think of the wonderful state we can look forward to--instant knowledge about anything we wonder about and want to know or understand rationally!

Swedenborg rediscovered the universal code of correspondences in which Divine Speech is given to humankind. This Divine code was known to the earliest civilization on earth. They knew of it because they had direct perception into the spiritual world, as Swedenborg had. Subsequently this capacity died out and with it, the knowledge of the code of correspondences. This code specified how spiritual causes determine natural events. By applying the code of correspondences to verses of Sacred Scripture one can extract the inner senses by reconstructing the levels of correspondences contained within it (as discussed above).

What does the inner secret sense of Sacred Scripture talk about?

Not so surprisingly--theistic psychology.

The Bible has been familiar to generations for thousands of years. Bible exegesis or interpretation is one of the largest topics one can find in libraries. And yet not one author or commentator in all these centuries suspected the existence of the code of correspondences in which it is written.

The literal sentences of Sacred Scripture are limited to a number of paragraphs, chapters, or books. The Writings of Swedenborg are also limited in size, less than 30 volumes. If Sacred Scripture were the only source for theistic psychology from now until the everlasting future, there would remain little new information after a few generations of research. But since the inner sense of Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech, which is infinite, there is no limit to the number of topics and facts that can be extracted to the endless future. Sacred Scripture is therefore the method God provides to the modern age for discovering the scientific knowledge it needs to progress and evolve towards the celestial mind. There is no limit to the amount of knowledge that can be extracted from Sacred Scripture if one uses the methods of extraction prescribed in Sacred Scripture.

Theistic psychology would be destroyed if it admitted any concept or principle from some other source than Sacred Scripture.

You can see why this is true, if you are in the positive bias towards Sacred Scripture. If you maintain this law of exclusivity you avoid introducing merely human ideas from human experience. This is what lead psychology to its current composition of several contradictory theories and approaches. Everyone was allowed, and encouraged, to make up any contradictory theory they wished, as long as they followed the prescribed rules of methodology. In fact, psychologists often state that the science progresses by contradictory theories shooting each other down and being replaced by still others, endlessly. This is seen as the legitimate mechanism for scientific progress.

In theistic psychology we do not have this kind of self-promulgated intelligence wars between researchers. All theory and explanation in theistic psychology is deductive, that is, extractive from Divine Speech using extraction methods that are Divinely prescribed in Sacred Scripture. This makes perfect sense since it would be chaos if everyone were allowed to invent their own methodology for interpreting Divine Speech. God insures that theistic psychology remains pure and valid by prescribing (a) the text from which it is to be extracted (Divine Speech), and (b) the method by which the extraction process must be made (revealed correspondences).

It is important to understand that Swedenborg did not invent the code of correspondences just as no one invented the DNA code in genetics. It was discovered by analyzing data on cells. The DNA code is a natural law. Similarly, the code of correspondences is a spiritual law that specifies which spiritual events cause a particular natural event. Swedenborg discovered this code, or spiritual law, by observation of the appearances in the spiritual world that were correlated with or coincidental with, spiritual or mental events. By repeated observation and experiment Swedenborg put together a rational description of the code of correspondences and applied it to decoding Sacred Scripture.

It is not surprising that Divine scientific revelations, or Sacred Scripture, are written in the same code as that which governs the interrelation between natural events and their spiritual causes or source. Recall that spiritual=mental, and therefore physical events in the body are caused by spiritual events in the mind.

For instance every animal species and every characteristic of each individual animal are natural expressions of human emotions. Wild, dangerous, ferocious, or poisonous species correspond to savage emotions in humans like rage, hatred, deception, abuse, etc. Every harmful or "animalistic" emotion that exists in the human race, creates a species of animals whose characteristics and behavior pattern represent this emotion. The same is true of chemicals that are harmful to life, as well as natural disasters like earthquake, hurricanes, forest fires, famines, disease, etc. The opposite relationship holds in the case of beautiful pleasing things like flowers and butterflies, or like juicy fruit and chocolate beans -- each corresponds to a human emotion that is "heavenly" or good -- altruism, self-sacrifice, industriousness, decency, obedience, love of truth, love of children, love of innocence, love of marriage, love of God, etc.

In other words everything that can be found in the natural world has been created by God to represent or correspond to emotions in the human race. This is true theistic humanism!

During the earliest generations on earth, natural disasters, dangerous animals, and noxious chemicals did not exist because there were no negative and hellish emotions in those generations. But as they began to decline in spirituality and rationality, they increased in materialism and atheism, in selfism and machiavellism, which are "evil" spiritual human emotions that correspond to the hellish things on earth. Swedenborg reports that in the world of spirits this connection is immediate rather than delayed since animals and weather are produced there instantaneously by the emotions of the people present. It doesn't take long evolutionary eras, as on earth, to produce a new species. By the same token these rational ether body animals in the world of spirits disappear instantly as soon as the mood or topic changes. Their existence does not continue as on earth.

2.20  Christian Psychology vs. Theistic Psychology

From a student report:

During my investigation on the web, I came across a number of attempts at the integration of science/religion, or God and psychology. One interesting web site I found was at  . In this site there is a discussion of whether psychology can be considered a science or a religion. It first discusses the idea of psychology as a science. This site, organized by a Christian group, considers psychology to be a mess, which is far from science. However, when the site discusses psychology it is mostly just discussing psychotherapy. Its objections to psychotherapy are not valid to other fields of psychology such as cognitive, behavioral neuroscience, etc. The field of psychotherapy is considered a pseudoscience. It is filled with contradictory theories and techniques, all of which communicate confusion rather than anything approximating scientific order. To the creators of this site, psychology, most specifically psychotherapy, is not a science.

In this site psychology is seen as dealing with the exact same issues as religion. It is focused on behavior, attitudes, moral issues, character development, basically, how to live life. According to Christianity, or followers of the Bible, the Sacred Scriptures are what we need to refer to for these problems. Psychology and science, however, look toward scientific substantiation.

According to the developers of this site, psychology has slowly been replacing the role of religion. The site states, the cure of souls, which once was a vital ministry of the Church, has now in this century been displaced by a cure of minds called psychotherapy. True Biblical counseling has waned until presently it is almost nonexistent. Psychology, in its essence, is just a religion gone astray. It is the investigation for how to live and develop one's life, both behaviorally and mentally. The problem with psychology [they say] is that it regards anything that involves God and religion as mythical and irrational. When in fact, revelations are the most helpful source for how to live life.

Throughout the rest of the site there is a discussion of how the Bible tells us to live our life. The site stresses that the Bible should be used as our true psychology, because psychology is merely a pseudoscience without any real validity.

I feel that this site is quite interesting and informative. I believe that the creators of the site are correct that psychology has gone astray. Most of its theories are not very valid. They are just theories that have given the false name of science. Psychology, in its essence, attempts to perform the same use as religion. The problem is that it tries to remain entirely natural, and at the same time it is dealing with something spiritual.

This site does a great job describing how psychology, specifically psychotherapy, is in great need for religious incorporation. However, the site's main flaw is not in its theory, it is in its content. Its discussion of how the Bible tells us to live is not synchronous at all with what psychology tells us. In order to adapt the Christian psychology discussed, there needs to be a complete abandonment of psychology [they say].

Theistic psychology is under a similar motive as that discussed in this web site. It is an attempt to incorporate God and spirituality into science and psychology. Whereas the Christian Psychology site does not deal with incorporation of religion into science. It is the abandonment of science for religion [that they propose]. Theistic science is different. It gives us specific means for understanding the spiritual (God and religion) and natural (psychology and science) relationship through tools such as the science of correspondences. The Christian Psychology discussed on that site does not give us an idea of how observations of body and brain are related to spiritual matters. Theistic science tells us how the two are related through correspondence. This is true incorporation. This does not jeopardize science the way the Christian Psychology does on that site.
(From a student report: )

I agree with this student's comments and evaluation. Christian Psychology is often based on the idea that the literal meaning of the Bible gives us enough science of psychology to replace the current practice of psychotherapy in non-theistic psychology. But this is impossible because the authors of the Books of the Bible lived in a prior era and civilization. Since then modern science has happened to the human race. It has completely altered the rational basis of how human beings think on this planet. We cannot go back to an earlier form of science and thinking. It is the same with Christian Creationism, which is based on the idea that we are given Divine Science in the Creation Story in the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Bible. But as fully shown and proven by Swedenborg, these eleven Chapters were copied by Moses from the Ancient Word which was written in an earlier civilization whose style of writing was by correspondences of natural appearances to spiritual realities (see Section xx).

No modern science can be based on the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. But we can find modern science in Sacred Scripture--in its scientific meaning. The Writings of Swedenborg are written in a modern scientific context but I don't think this context will remain unchanged. How will people read the Writings of Swedenborg several centuries or millennia from now? I cannot predict in detail, but in general I would expect that they will rely more on the correspondential meaning of the sentences than on the literal. Today it is still highly relevant to rely on the literal of the Writings. Doing so makes us more rational and intelligent. So there is less pressure or motivation today to dig into the underlying meanings within the sentences of the Writings, but this may change in the near future as more researchers become involved in theistic psychology. To review what research has been done so far on this front, consult volume 2 of my book A Man of the Filed, available on the Web at:

Swedenborg demonstrates how we can extract many scientific revelations from the hidden inner sense of the Old Testament. In fact, all Divine Speech is given through natural correspondences when it reaches the script of a natural language on earth. The Writings of Swedenborg are Sacred Scripture ushering in the new age of the Second Coming, as discussed above (see also Chapter xx). As Swedenborg shows, the Second Coming could not occur in the natural world because it refers to a new evolutionary phase for the human race, an evolution of the human rational mind. This is where the Second Coming must take place, not in the physical world, as it took place in the First Coming or Incarnation (see Section xx).

The Second Coming is the completion of the creation of the human mind. This is achieved by the Divine Truths that are revealed in the form of scientific revelations of endless proportions for the new age of theistic science, that is, science turned theistic. This book is an early example of it  for the field of psychology.

2.20.1  The Inner Scientific Sense of Divine Speech

Many scientific secrets are revealed in the Old Testament about God's methodology for creating new mental pathways for the regeneration of the human race. Regeneration refers to the formation of a new heaven within our rational mind. This is the heaven that contains our eternal life. Anyone entering this heaven in their mind becomes an immortal angel living in conjugial bliss to eternity. This rational revolution did not exist prior to their creation by the Divine Incarnation.

Christians realize that this new creation of the Divine-Human constitutes the salvation of the human race, but they do not yet know the scientific explanation of how it constitutes salvation. This has been revealed by God in the Divine Speech that He created through the minds of selected prophets and revelators. But not in the natural historical meaning that constitutes the content of Sacred Scripture. This natural history serves for religion, which is a cultural phenomenon that God uses to teach about Himself, worship, commandments of living, heaven, and hell. The scientific part had to remain hidden until the human race was ready to understand it and accept it in a rational way, based on one's understanding and perception. This hidden science of the mind has now been revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg, which constitute the rational revolution. Now anyone can develop ordinary rational skills through cultural and scientific literacy. This was not possible before. With this modern scientific rational mind we can comprehend the Rational Mind of the Divine-Human that was created through the Incarnation.

Seventeen centuries passed before the Second Coming could be created as a rational revolution in the mind of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) who was the first human to enjoy dual consciousness since the Fall of the race (see discussions above). The Writings now give us a knowledge of the long lost Science of Correspondences, which contains the functional interconnections between the actual spiritual cause of an event in the natural world. The natural and spiritual worlds are tied by complete determination, event by event, one on one. Divine Speech is expressed in a Divine Rational language, which descends by the laws of correspondence, to the human mind, first in the celestial regions, then in the spiritual regions, and finally in the natural regions, where we are conscious of it as natural language and Sacred Scripture.

2.21  Where can I read Swedenborg’s Writings and collateral works?

 All of the Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1772) are accessible online and hundreds of articles and books about them. The links are found on the author's Swedenborg Web site:

Swedenborg Online is available here with a search engine for topic lookup:

 As well, consult the Reading List in Volume 18.

from Kurt Simons, editor, Swedenborg and His Revelation: An Anthology (2005)

Table of Contents


Part I.  General Overview

What the Writings Testify Concerning Themselves: A Compilation of Teachings from the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

The Necessity of Swedenborg’s Introduction into the Spiritual World

The Method of Giving Revelation

The Spiritual World: June 19th, 1770

The Writings as the Word: A Study in the History of Doctrine

What is Meant by the Divine Authority of the Writings?

Paradigms of Revelation

The Essence of Swedenborg’s Philosophy

Affirmative and Negative States

Why Only Genesis, Exodus, Revelation?

The Crucial Years: 1743-1748

The Authority of the Writings

Emanuel Swedenborg.  The Relation of His Personal Development to His Work as a Revelator

Swedenborg's Affections

The Brief Exposition

Swedenborg's Preparation as to the Will

The Divine Inspiration of Swedenborg

The Nature of Swedenborg's Preparation

Swedenborg: The Modern Prophet of the Lord

The Transition from Human to Divine Philosophy

Qualifications of the Seer

The Truth: Seen and Heard

Two Advents: One Divine Process

The Points in Hebrew Letters

A Challenge to the Authority of the Writings

Dreams, Vision and Sleep:
II. The Dreams and Visions of the Most Ancients
III. Old and New Testament Dreams
IV. Visions of the Old and New Testaments

V. The Use of Dreams and Visions in Preparing for the Lord's Second Coming

Swedenborg the Revelator

The Divine Inspiration of Emanuel Swedenborg

Swedenborg’s Claims – Can We Accept Them?

Swedenborg – Unlike Mediums

"Emanuel Swedenborg. Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ"

The Charge Against Swedenborg as a False Prophet: Is There Any Substance to it?

A "Mystic" in the Good Sense of the Word

Swedenborg – A True Philosopher

John and Swedenborg and the Second Coming of the Lord

This Book is the Coming of the Lord

Internal Respiration

A Source Analysis of Emanuel Swedenborg’s Philosophical and Theological Ideas

Leibniz and Swedenborg

Swedenborg and Wesley

Part II.  The Insanity Question (from a special issue of The New Philosophy 1998;101: (whole number))

Editorial Remarks: The Madness Hypothesis (Kurt Simons, Ph.D.)

Henry Maudsley on Swedenborg's Messianic Psychosis  (John Johnson, M.D., reprinted from The British Journal of Psychiatry 1994; 165: 690)

Swedenborg's Alleged Insanity (Brian M. Talbot, B.A., Dip. Ed.)

"Henry Maudsley on Swedenborg's Messianic Psychosis": Some Comments (Kurt Simons, Ph.D.)

Swedenborg's Contemporary Insanity Accusers; Also Reflections on the Underlying Cause of Insanity Charges  (Rev. Erik Sandström, Sr.)

Emanuel Swedenborg (Elizabeth Foote-Smith, Ph.D. and Timothy J. Smith, Ph.D., reprinted from Epilepsia 1996;37: 211-218)

Diagnosing Emanuel Swedenborg (James L. Pendleton, M.D.)

Emanuel Swedenborg, Prophet or Paranoid? (Thomas W. Keiser, Ph.D.)

"Emanuel Swedenborg": Some Comments (Kurt Simons, Ph.D.)

Seizures of a Spirit-Seer?  (Rev. Dr. Reuben Bell, D.O., M. Div.)

        2.22  Why doesn't God Give Proof of His Existence by Showing Himself Regularly at Conferences
           and on TV?

This would put an end to the currently endless debate about whether or not there is a God. Besides this, God could open a permanent office in some neutral country where scientists can come to interview Him and check out His answers. Very soon after this happens God will be part of science, especially if God cooperates to the extent that He participates in experiments they set up to verify that He indeed is causing it all to happen.

Why doesn't God do this?

The surprising answer, revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg, is that God did do just that!

Swedenborg interviewed some of the people who had lived on earth during the first few generations of human beings on this planet. Swedenborg referred to them as "the Most Ancient Church" or civilization. Our earliest ancestors on this planet now live in segregated heavens reserved for their pristine mentality. Swedenborg visited with them on several occasions. He describes them as having a "celestial mind" which was undivided in the will and the understanding. In other words, they could not think one way and act another. Deception was impossible. They communicated with each other by a lip language, moving tiny muscles which our race of voice talkers no longer possesses in the lips. To reflect their undivided mind, they were born with a whole brain, not divided into right-left hemispheres like our is.

That original human race had a mind similar to ours, with one deep difference. Our spiritual mind is unconscious while we live in a body on earth. Once the body dies, we are resuscitated in our mental body and become fully conscious in our spiritual mind. We can then see and talk to anyone already in the afterlife of their immortality. But the original celestial human race on this earth had the spiritual mind conscious since birth. They did not have to wait like we do until the body is dead. They had direct communication and visual contact with all their deceased family and their ancestors were their teachers and instructors in all things pertaining to preparation for life in heaven. Since they were conscious in the spiritual world they could see the Spiritual Sun but they could not see the Divine Human until the Incarnation, long after they had arrived in the spiritual world.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

8118. I have been told by the angels that the most ancient people on this earth dwelt in like manner, that is, distinguished into nations, families and houses; that they were all content with their own goods; and that to grow rich from the goods of others, and to exercise dominion, were then quite unknown. On this account, the ancient times, and especially the most ancient, were more acceptable to the Lord than the succeeding ones; and such being the state, innocence also then reigned, and with innocence, wisdom. Everyone then did what is good from good, and what is just from justice. They did not know what it is to do what is good and just with a view to self-honor, or for the sake of profit. They did not then speak anything but the truth; and this not so much from truth, as from good; that is, not from the understanding separate, but from the will conjoined. Such were the ancient times, and therefore angels could then have interaction with men, and lead their minds home to heaven in a state almost separated from bodily things, and could take them round, and show them the magnificent and happy things there, and likewise communicate to them their own happinesses and delights. Moreover those times were known to ancient writers, and were called by them the Golden and also the Saturnian Age.

[2] Those times were of this nature, because, as before said, they lived distinguished into nations, and the nations into families, and the families into houses, and each house dwelt by itself; and because it never then came into anyone's mind to attack the inheritance of another, and thereby get for himself wealth and dominion. Far removed then were the love of self and the love of the world, and everyone rejoiced at heart by reason of his own good, and not less by reason of another's.

[3] But in the succeeding time this scene was changed and turned into the opposite, when the lust of dominion and of possessing the goods of others invaded the mind. Then for the sake of self-defense, the human race gathered into kingdoms and empires. And as the laws of charity and conscience, which had been written on hearts, ceased to operate, it became necessary to enact laws to restrain acts of violence; in which laws, honors, and riches were the rewards, and the deprivation of these were the penalties. When the state was thus changed, heaven removed itself from man, and this more and more, even to the present age, when it is no longer known whether there is a heaven, and consequently whether there is a hell, and when it is even denied that these exist. These things have been stated, in order that by the parallelism there may be illustrated the quality of the state of those who are on the earth Jupiter, and whence comes their good disposition, and also their wisdom, of which more will be said in what follows. (AC 8118)

The celestial race lost the ability to be conscious in the spiritual mind while still living in the body on earth. This happened because there began among them various occult practices intended to gain control over nature by using the Science of Correspondences which they had developed through their dual consciousness in both the natural mind and in the spiritual mind. This practice was a mental sickness that only a few started, but once it took hold in a few, it was transmitted by heredity. Eventually the entire civilization was plunged into a culture of magic and superstitious practices.

When these people got into the afterlife they continued their anti-theistic practices, developing the art of magic into wicked and powerful instruments by which they could capture and captivate the minds of others who were follish enough to fall into their seductive traps. They had to be separated in the afterlife of eternity and placed into cut off areas in the spiritual world called the "hells." Swedenborg visited these hells and his detailed descriptions show how atrocious they are -- disturbing and  frightening.  These hells took hold of the minds of all the new generations born on earth. It was no longer possible for the new generations to free themselves from hellish control so that freedom of choice was taken away from all humans born on this earth.

Clearly, God had to intervene to provide a way for the human race to be free of these awful hells. God's purpose for creating the human race was to get every individual born on earth to join eternal happiness in heaven. But the only way to have a heaven in the mind of our immortality is to become a celestial mind while still on earth. This celestial mind is rational and good, acknowledging the Divine Human as the source of all their power, love, and rationality. Now that the human race was "Fallen" spiritually, a new way had to initiated for raising up human minds into the celestial state.

This new method was the creation of the new spiritual race. That's us. Our brain is split, so I refer to us as the "split-brain" race. The old celestial race had died out and a new biological race came into being and populated the earth. Every individual of this new spiritual race was corrupted at birth. This is known in some religious discussions as "original sin." Swedenborg explains that this expression has a scientific meaning when considered in its hidden higher-order correspondences (see Section xx). It refers to an inherited character that has spiritual ties to those who are in the immortality of their hells. God interconnects the entire human race in given lawful patterns that are conducive to the good of all concerned (see "vertical community" in Section xx). Every individual of the new spiritual race was born with a natural mind connected to the hells.

But unlike the earlier celestial race, we have a divided mind, as reflected by a split brain. The right hemisphere corresponds to the affective organ of the mind called the "will," while the left hemisphere corresponds to the cognitive organ of the mind called the "understanding." Swedenborg was the first of the modern scientists to propose this type of right-brain specialization in function. To have a divided mind means that we receive influx into the natural mind that is divided into two independent organs. Spiritual heat from the Spiritual Sun enters the mind and is received in the affective organ. Spiritual light, entering at the same time, is received by the cognitive organ. These two appear to act independently, unlike how it was with the celestial race.

This independent functionality between our thoughts (cognitive) and feelings (affective) means that we have the capacity to simulate. For instance, we may feel like taking away your toy, but we don't because we know we'll get punished. In other words, we have a conscience.

The celestial race did not have a conscience to tell them what's good and bad for the will to intend. Instead they had direct perception of heavenly things, and from that, what was not heavenly, which they immediately rejected with horror. But the spiritual race does not have celestial perception or sensuous consciousness of heaven and hell. Our spiritual mind is completely unconscious, and only our natural mind is conscious while we are still in a body on earth. As a result, we are able to be modify our inherited character by undergoing spiritual temptations. These are crises of conscience we experience when wanting to do something that we know is bad. We then must freely choose to give up what we want and to choose what we know is right. The instant we make this choice, God removes the hells that are associated with that particular area of our inherited loves. In other words, we are no longer attracted to that specific form of evil, like we were before.

This choice making process has to be kept up daily for many years since there are many areas of our loves to modify, one by one. The entire process is called "regeneration" of character.

So God provided the new race with an effective procedure for regeneration. Every individual who is regenerated prior to entering the spiritual world, is "saved," which means that the person can start immortal life in heaven.

Clearly the, God could not do anything major to interfere with this new effective process for protecting people's ability to prepare themselves for a heavenly life. It would be cruel, hence impossible, for God to interfere with this process. And yet, this is what would happen if God suddenly made Himself visible and provable to people on earth.

If I can see God face to face in some office building or on TV, I could not deny His existence. I could not deny the Laws and Commandments God gives to every human being. The I can have two types of choices. On the one hand, I can follow the Commandments because I feel compelled by the physical proof. On the other hand, I can rebel and see how far I can push God and test His limits of justice, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. In both cases I would be in deep spiritual trouble.

Whether I am compelled to follow God's rules and order by physical proof and punishment, or whether I rebel against them, has similar consequences for my life immortality.

Swedenborg saw what happens to those who arrive in the afterlife with either of these two attitudes towards God. They tend to resist instruction about the Divine Human and end up denying God's existence altogether. This is because the external physical proof of God's existence does not build up in any way the internal rational understanding and love of God. This effect is well known in non-theistic psychology as well regarding the development of morality. Forced compliance to rules without internal rational support for them, leads to conditional obedience habits. Individuals in that mode will obey rules as long as they believe they are being under surveillance. but as soon as they believe they are no longer under active surveillance, they cannot make themselves obey the rules. They break them. But individuals who internalize moral rules do not depend on external surveillance for compliance.

A similar mental dynamic is going on with obedience and acceptance of God and God's rules of order and rationality. As children we learn about God as an omniscient Being who sees everything we do. We still disobey rules but we tend to feel guilty or afraid of God's punishment. But if we continue to internalize the rules rationally as the right thing to do for a good person, then even if if later we convince ourselves that there is no God's punishment to be feared, we still obey the moral rules we internalized. If God should appear visibly and give physical proof of His existence and power, He would be incorporated into science, and people would learn about God externally, like we learn about the stars, rocks, trees, and life in a fish tank. God would be an external agent in our environment we must adjust to, like snow in the winter or computer viruses in our email. God would not exist in our mind except as a concept of the outside world. And when this is the relationship people have with God, they cannot love Him, they cannot give up their flawed ego life for the sake of the perfect heavenly life from the Divine Human.

This is why God does not appear at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association. Only by developing in our mind a rational proof of His existence can we benefit from heavenly existence in our life of immortality.

Theistic psychology gives you a rational proof of God's existence. In addition, it presents a physical proof through the witness of Swedenborg, the reputed scientist who was given access to consciousness in the spiritual mind while still living in the body on earth. This physical proof of God and the afterlife through Swedenborg's reports does not harm the development of our rational consciousness of God, but helps it and nourishes it with facts and rational explanations of how they fit together. One is free to reject Swedenborg's reports, whereas one is compelled by the physical appearance of God on earth. Once we establish a rational consciousness and understanding of God through the scientific study of Sacred Scripture, we make ourselves ready for the sensuous consciousness of God. When we are resuscitated we awaken in the spiritual mind and in that state we can see the Spiritual Sun, and the Divine Human in the midst of it. Swedenborg was told by those who inhabit the highest heaven that the Divine Human sometimes appears to them outside the Spiritual Sun as well, and they can talk to Him face to face, as it were. Such is there actual experience. This sensuous perception and direct communication with the Divine Human is possible for them because they have reached the highest rational level in the human mind.


The Writings of Swedenborg are available on the Web in a searchable format at:  

A definitive and well respected biography of Swedenborg is:

Sigstedt, Cyriel (1952) The Swedenborg Epic. The Life and Works of Emanuel Swedenborg (New York: Bookman Associates, 1952) Available online:

The Reading List identifies basic collateral works on the Writings by Swedenborg scholars.

The Topical Index to Sections and Reading List is in Volume 18

This is the End of Volume 2

Source pages

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