Rational Scientific Theories from Theism

Spirituality Approach to Theistic Science

Is Nondualism the way to go beyond the physical?

Swedenborg's answer.
From a recent book review.

Many of us yearn to understand what is ‘beyond the physical’, and simultaneously hope that science will itself be extended to include this understanding. Swedenborg explains how the spiritual that is sought here is not itself physical, but is constituted by our very loves, affections, wisdom and ideas. The spiritual world is not another dimension or frequency or grade of the natural world, but is constituted by those loves themselves. The spiritual is thus not imaginary but substantial, not energy but formed of deep loves, and discretely related to the natural.   (more...)

Many of us are dissatisfied with traditional religion. Swedenborg gives us the means to replace mystery and blind faith with (the possibility of) understanding and rational comprehension. He is particularly critical of Christian justification by faith, vicarious atonement, irrational trinities, and resurrection of physical bodies. He explains the general principles and detailed explanations of those religious ideas which should replace these errors. Some of us lean toward Eastern advaita philosophy, in which only the Divine is ultimately real and all else is eventually dissolved into illusion. Swedenborg explains, by contrast, how there is always something ‘fixed and permanent’ about natural actions which terminates and contains spiritual life. This explains how, after experiences of complete unity that appear to support advaita metaphysics, our individual life always returns. He provides a comprehensive framework of ‘discrete degrees and correspondences’ that always maintains dualist distinctions, while still explaining the details of the many interconnections that sustain the spiritual and natural worlds together.

Swedenborg writes of his experience of simulated dying, and these descriptions have been often taken up in comparisons of near-death experiences. He did not just see these introductory phases, but talked extensively to (and argued with!) all kinds of inhabitants in many parts of the spiritual world, both those recently arrived, and well-known and ordinary characters from the past. Swedenborg explains the reasons for the structure of what he sees, and how this follows from his presented general principles.

Science has on the whole ignored Swedenborg’s ideas, and in our new age he is sometimes criticised for writing ‘too much’ about heaven and hell (perhaps he thereby fails to allow readers to preserve their favourite prejudices?) Whether we regard his ideas as revelation from God, or as a source of interesting and possibly true ideas, we have still much to learn from this man and his writings if we have any interest in the nature of human spirit and body and their connection.

See also the next page, Loving Others.


www.TheisticScience.org Author: Ian J. Thompson, Email: IanT at TheisticScience.org