Rational Scientific Theories from Theism

Emanuel Swedenborg: synopsis

Who he was:

Swedish philosopher, theologian, chemist, anatomist, and visionary, fluent in eleven languages (1688-1772). Swedenborg devoted the first half of his life to scientific investigations. After 1744 he turned his full attention to theology, metaphysics and started to scientifically explore visionary experience. Swedenborg's most popular book is Heaven and Hell. During his life, Swedenborg published over 50 works.

How you may have heard of him:

  1. Philosophical antagonism by Immanuel Kant’s Dreams of a Spirit Seer (1766)
  2. Often mentioned in support of spiritualism in the 1800’s. Swedenborg had several publicly-verified clairvoyant episodes.
  3. His spiritual writing influenced Emerson, Goethe, Henry James Sr., Dostoevsky, and William Blake.
  4. Raymond Moody in Life after Life (1976) relates Swedenborg’s descriptions of stages after death.
  5. His ideas are the basis of the small New Church.

What Swedenborg thought he was doing after 1744:

  1. Presenting the internal sense of the bible.
  2. Being a dual citizen of the natural and heavenly worlds, in order to tell us the basis and reasons of a new rational spirituality.
  3. Participate in production of new spiritual freedom since 1760.
  4. And hence the new religious, artistic, political & scientific freedoms since then.

Spiritual Philosophy

  1. Summary from swedenborg.net, and another summary.
  2. A reader's introduction at Amazon.
  3. This website! And websites linked from here.

 (for more detail see the next page, and also online books here, here and here).

  • Primary Theological Works
    Arcana Coelestia (sometimes translated as Heavenly Secrets) 1747-1756 An extensive verse by verse explanation of the deeper levels of meaning of Genesis and Exodus describing the spiritual development of a human being and the nature of the Divine. (Published in 12 volumes.)
    Spiritual Diary (sometimes called Spiritual Experiences) 1747-1763 The personal notebooks kept by Swedenborg of his experiences in the Spiritual World and reflections upon them. They were unpublished until the mid 1800s.
    Heaven and Hell 1758 A description of the structure and phenomena of the Spiritual World.
    Earths in the Universe 1758 Conversations Swedenborg had with people in the Spiritual World who said they were from other planets in the universe.
    The Last Judgement 1758 Description of events in the Spiritual World preparing the way for the establishment of the New Church.
    The White Horse 1758 A brief explanation of the meaning of the white horse with its rider from the Book of Revelation chapter 19 as the Divine truth of the Lord's Word.
    The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 1758 A brief summary of the fundamental doctrines of the New Church with extensive references to the Arcana Coelestia for further reading.
    The Doctrine of the Lord 1763 A brief work summarizing the teachings about God - His Divinity and Humanity - with extensive references to the Old and New Testaments.
    The Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 1763 A brief work summarizing the teachings on the nature of revelation.
    The Doctrine of Life 1763 A brief work describing the qualities which comprise a life of good which leads to heaven.
    The Doctrine of Faith 1763 A brief work explaining the nature of faith and its role in the life of regeneration.
    A Continuation Concerning the Last Judgement 1763 A continuation describing various erroneous beliefs about the Divine and the path of spiritual development.
    Divine Love and Wisdom 1763 A philosophic treatment of creation - how the Divine finited Himself to produce the natural world and the human race.
    Divine Providence 1764 A thorough explanation of how the Lord leads people in freedom to become angels in heaven; also, why He allows evils to occur.
    Apocalypse Revealed 1766 A two volume, verse by verse treatment of the Book of Revelation.
    Conjugial Love (or Marital Love) 1768 An explanation of the sources of love in marriage and a practical guide on how husbands and wives can grow ever closer forming an eternal union.
    A Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church 1769 A point by point comparison of fundamental Catholic and Protestant doctrines with the teachings of the New Church.
    Inter-relationship of the Soul and Body 1769 A brief description of the relationship and interaction between the spiritual and natural realms.
    True Christian Religion 1771 A comprehensive overview of the fundamental doctrines of the New Church, including the Lord, the Ten Commandments, Faith, Charity, Repentance, Reformation, Regeneration, Holy Supper, Baptism, and the Second Coming.
    Primary Scientific and Philosophical Works
    Principles of Chemistry 1720 Swedenborg's first effort at explaining creation.
    Miscellaneous Observations 1722 A second attempt at explaining creation.
    The Principia 1734 Swedenborg's full explanation of creation, including an introduction on the means leading to a true philosophy.
    The Infinite and Final Cause of Creation 1734 A philosophical argument for the existence of God based upon the order in nature.
    The Economy of the Animate Kingdom 1740-1741 An anatomical work looking at the blood, embryology, etc., seeking an answer as to how the soul operates in the body. This is Swedenborg's first clear articulation of the doctrines of discrete degrees and correspondences.
    The Fiber 1741 Contains Swedenborg's doctrine of physical forms.
    The Rational Psychology 1743 An exploration of the workings of the mind as a "mixed intellect" between the soul and the "animus."
    The Animal Kingdom 1744-1745 A second effort at explaining how the soul operates in the body. Includes material on the five senses and generation.
    The Worship and Love of God 1745 An allegorical depiction of creation by God.
  • All of Swedenborg's writings are available online at

    A list of his publications is in a US sales catalogue, and in the UK Swedenborg Society web site. CDROMs containing his works are available from New Church Outreach.

    Standard Abbreviations to Swedenborg's Writings:
  • AC: Arcana Coelestia 
  • AE: The Apocalypse Explained 
  • AR: The Apocalypse Revealed 
  • BE: A Brief Exposition Of The Doctrine Of The New Church 
  • CJ: Continuation Concerning the Last Judgment 
  • Canons: Canons Of The New Church 
  • Charity: The Doctrine Of Charity 
  • CL: Conjugial Love 
  • DLW: Divine Love And Wisdom
  • D.Love, D.Wis: On The Divine Love And On The Divine Wisdom 
  • DP: Divine Providence
  • EU: Earths In The Universe 
  • Faith: The Doctrine Of Faith 
  • HH: Heaven and Hell
  • I: Invitation To The New Church 
  • ISB: Interaction Of Soul And Body 
  • LJ: The Last Judgment 
  • LJ(Post.): The Last Judgment (Posthumous) 
  • Life: The Doctrine Of Life 
  • Lord: The Doctrine Of The Lord 
  • NJHD: The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine
  • PP: Summaries Of The Internal Sense Of The Prophets And Psalms 
  • SD: The Spiritual Diary (Spiritual Experiences) 
  • SS: The Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 
  • TCR: The True Christian Religion 
  • Tremulation
  • WH: The White Horse 

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