A misunderstood Swedenborgian detail

babyThose who have studied the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are aware that human beings have an internal (spiritual) reality and an external (natural) reality. However, so much emphasis has been placed on love, good works and usefulness, that an important detail in personal spiritual regeneration has become overlooked.

Swedenborg also made a further delineation within the natural human itself as also having an internal and external. This additional split has become clouded over the years and has made genuine spiritual transformation much more difficult to understand.

Few Swedenborgians (even ministers) can give an adequate account of the doctrine of “remains.” These sacred remains are secretly implanted in us by the Lord God during our early years, when we are in an infantile and youthful state of innocence. They serve as a plane or matrix for God’s heavenly influx to take hold in our natural lives.

God carefully places these heavenly remains among the hereditary evils and flaws lurking in our natural mind (insane will). Without these remains we would actually morph into monsters (for the remains are the true source of our humanness).

However, we all know that we lose our innocence as we grow up and learn pretense from the ways of the terrestrial world. Through habit, a feigned personality eventually “covers over” our original psychic reality (like the bark of a tree) with a false and corporeal consciousness. Before that, one’s remains were on the surface, but later they become “driven below” as a part of one’s subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is what Swedenborg calls the internal natural mind—not the internal spiritual mind! It is this internal natural mind that must be dealt with (because the true internal spiritual mind is closed off and protected from negative qualities—and doesn’t need any changing).

Therefore, if the internal natural mind is not changed, we are not changed!

Modernity is unaware of this predicament and all its best efforts at making a better world are simply snatched up by the external human mind, which has come to the forefront, and which society has wrongly come to accept as our real consciousness and selves. This process cuts us off even further from our God-given remains and allows all our worldly good deeds to become infected by vanities of all kinds. It also inoculates us from true regeneration through our preference for comfort, hugs and validation instead of building the endurance to look deeply and sincerely into our personal flaws.

Even the potent new truths of Swedenborgian doctrine are not immune from this predicament of the split human natural mind.

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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2 Responses to A misunderstood Swedenborgian detail

  1. clark echols says:

    Ed,
    I do see many shallow people, thinking that they can DO something and their lives will be better. However, in my role as a mental health therapist, virtually every client gets that it is their “internal natural mind” that needs changing! So I am hopeful!

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