Last Spring I delivered a talk to the Swedenborg Scientific Association (SSA) on the topic of God’s Ecology and Spiritual Gardening. It was based on the ideas and discoveries of scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
Why would a theological topic be interesting to an audience with a scientific orientation? The reason is that if a non-physical realm like heaven has real ontological status, it must represent a full-blown ecosystem operating beyond the constraints of time and space.
Knowing that physicist John Wheeler put forth the idea that space and time were derived from a “pregeometric” condition. and that researcher Michael Heller was currently seeking to find how the laws which govern physics on the most fundamental level may well involve processes abstracted from their involvement with time and space, I felt that heaven’s ecology consisted of the same non-local and non-temporal processes that some pioneering scientists were pursuing. In other words, when you strip physical processes of their relation to spaces and times you get spiritual dynamics.
What is unknown to most of the academic world is that God’s Holy Word actually addresses the ecology of the spiritual world and its non-physical biosphere. This preeminent ecosystem is the proper domain of the human mind and spirit. (Many scientists believe the mind operates beyond physical space.)
I had already written a book, Sermon From The Compost Pile – Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden which shows how, when you abstract the Seven Day Creation Story in Genesis from its spacetime dynamics (literal meaning), you get the psycho-topological features of the human intellect and how its inner landscape of ideas can be organized by God into a beautiful garden of heavenly order and wisdom.
An individual finds true wisdom only when one’s ideas are ordered and orientated from spiritual principles. (When Adam and Eve ate the “forbidden” fruit they chose to ignore spiritual principles and were removed from wisdom to a “place” that contained weeds and thistles – hurtful ideas).
One’s soul is the soil of a heavenly garden or a wilderness.
On a deeper fundamental level, the Genesis story actually depicts the formation of the inner ecosystem of the human heart and mind. So human evolution continues beyond terrestrial constraints through following God’s precepts. Religion is God’s lawful strategy to extend the biosphere and bio-complexity into a spiritual realm (called heaven) through the higher-level cognitive functions of the human race. (The Lord’s parable of the “sower” also addresses this non-physical reality and the proper planting of spiritual seeds within a person’s heart and mind so that God’s truth takes root and is properly cultivated within an individual’s life or inner garden).
Heaven is not some place you go to, it is something you become. What you sew you reap!
Without the knowledge that the Holy Word can be interpreted as symbolically representing the spiritual cultivation of our human mental processes, much of the Lord God’s revealed wisdom will remain hidden from us. These deeper revelations will both clarify the doctrinal “mysteries of faith” and allow theology to be put into rational scientific language!
Causal processes proceed from a primal and real spiritual environment, which gives law and order to the natural world, its biosphere, and the human potentials for love.