Renowned religious scholar and author Karen Armstrong believes that Paleolithic cave art, ancient mythology, and biblical stories like Adam and Eve were similar symbolic styles that conveyed an early form of psychology.
Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg took this idea even further. He believed that “mythos” and symbolism was more than an early form of psychology—it was a sacred language direct from heaven and given to man by God. This language is also “hidden” within the various ceremonies and rituals of modern life.
For instance, the wedding ritual of a bride wearing a veil before she is conjoined to her husband in marriage contains deep psychological meaning. On the highest level, brides and bridegrooms represented the sacred marriage of God’s Love (essence) with God’s Truth (form), by which all things in the universe were created (just as husband and wife can procreate).
On another level, the marriage between a man and a woman represented the evolution of the human intellect. The bridegroom represents the love of goodness and the bride, the love of truth. The bride and bridegroom portray the two functions of the human intellect called will and discernment. In the human mind, intellectual growth occurs through the accumulation of knowledge, which while residing in the memory, represent only partial or obscure truth. Such knowledge in the human memory becomes “unveiled” and shows its true beauty when it meets up with genuine goodness, which is its true partner.
Similarly, when a bride lifts her veil this symbolizes that she no longer views her husband obscurely but sees him more clearly and perfectly. Psychologically speaking, this is the same thing that happens when the ideas of our mind recognize their true love (truth of goodness). Ideas become special when they come nearer to goodness. All creativity comes from matching up or marrying our ideas with our true feelings.
In Genesis 24:65, this is the actual psycho-spiritual meaning behind Rebekah “veiling and covering herself” as she and Isaac are approaching each other (getting closer in heart and mind).
Swedenborg wrote many books showing how the stories of Scripture contained this symbolic style of writing. Through God’s Infinite Wisdom, even the historical parts of Scripture were cleverly written to contain this deeper language.
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