Divine Symbolism 101

Over several of my posts I have mentioned that the Holy Word contains a hidden quantum language whereby all the “terrestrial” words of its narratives can be elevated and expanded to communicate more profound spiritual secrets. The scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg called this quantum vocabulary the Science of Correspondences. It is a science because it represents a relational precision between such distinct realities (ontological discontinuity) as spirit and nature, or mind and body.

We are all capable of gaining access to these higher meanings but it requires us to make a mental quantum leap from our habitual mind to a higher cognitive function. If we succeed, then the visible world of nature will suddenly reveal to us the wonderful and invisible dynamics operating in the realm of the spirit.

It is actually not that hard to do.

As an example, let’s use a tree and its growth cycle to see if it allows us to recognize a similar order and patterning principle for higher-level, non-physical phenomena – like the growth of mind.

A tree starts as a seed. When conditions are right, the seed sends its root into the ground. The seed contains the entire concept or “blueprint” for the future tree. Its growth literally involves taking elements from mineral world and reconstituting various molecules into a higher-level structure or bio-complexity. The seed’s operation can be said to raise-up and exalt the mineral kingdom. This process becomes more refined as the developing tree produces branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit, resulting in the creation of new seeds.

The human intellect follows these same steps of process.

Ideas come to us as seeds. Some take hold and some don’t (as in the Lord’s parable of the sower). Successful “idea-seeds” take root in our values, that is, our ideas take root and grow out of the principles we most believe in (which constitutes the “ground” we stand on).

Principles we are grounded in now “come alive,” that is, ideas in our memory become vivified, and gain more life through the operation of human thought. Thinking draws out and recombines elements of our memory in the same way plants draw out and evolve elements from the soil into new living structure.

From there, our thinking branches out and we gain greater understanding and enlightenment in the same way a maturing tree spreads out, producing more leaves. Enlightenment corresponds to a growing tree’s increased capacity to absorb greater amounts of light from the sun.

Flowers, from which fruit emerges, represent all the mental joys and delights of anticipating the positive result or fruit of our labors. Fruit is sweet in the same way that other people can enjoy the sweetness of our unselfish actions and the sharing of our talents – from a spiritual principle of love. From this sincere helpfulness and acts of kindness we plant similar seeds in the minds of others.

What all this is leading up to is that when an angel in heaven reads the word “tree” from the Lord’s Holy Word, he or she does not think about a physical tree, but rather, its psycho-spiritual equivalent. In fact, trees in the spiritual world correspond to the quality of spiritual thoughts coming from those occupying its various regions. Spiritual trees can only consist of spiritual things (and can express beauty far beyond that of physical flora).

In Scripture, the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden represents the original quality of love and wisdom that was flourishing within the human psychoscape (one’s inner reality) when it was in perfect innocence and harmony with God’s divine order and spiritual principles.

How else could Scripture represent the Infinite wisdom of God if it did not contain such depth of meaning? How else could we verify (beyond blind faith) the sanctity and authority of the Sacred Word?

Website: http://www.innergardening.net


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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3 Responses to Divine Symbolism 101

  1. fierybones says:

    an interesting idea. certainly the symbology is there, but i don’t think you can call it a language or invoke science to “translate” it. spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

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  3. thegodguy says:

    I am glad that you find these ideas interesting. Yes, spiritual things are spiritually discerned and one does not need to invoke science to make “rarefied” translations. However, there is a real lawful relationship between physical reality and spiritual reality. The correspondences between these two distinct realms are not ambiguoius or the product of a person’s subjective or creative interpretation. It is how God reveals His nature to us. Correspondences are built into the “layered” architecture of Scripture. The way to prove such a thing is to show that a deeper, quantum interpretation runs consistently throughout its narratives. The scientist/theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg, has accomplished this feat.

    Unfortunately, these ideas cannot be given justice in a short blog – that is why I am writing a book that explores these ideas more deeply (and how they can help unify science with theology). If you really find these Ideas interesting I would recommend that you contact the SWEDENBORG FOUNDATION and order the first volume of Emanuel Swedenborg’s great theological work entitled, “Arcana Coelestia” (Secrets of Heaven).

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