Spiritual Complexity Theory

One of the newest branches of study is the science of complexity. Some call it a scientific revolution in the making. Complexity theory deals with study of how simple elements in nature spontaneously organize into complicated structures, ranging from galaxies and ecosystems to the human brain.

As physicist M. Mitchell Waldrop, author of the book Complexity puts it, nature has an “incessant compulsion for self organization.” It is as though the universe has a yearning for order. Order means rational and intelligent structure.

While complexity theory poses a challenge for a science that embraces a materialist philosophy that rules out purpose in nature, it offers very little knowledge about how the natural world can help us discern the glory of God.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg may well have provided the theological dynamics behind nature’s endeavor to grow structure spontaneously. He stated that “endeavor” was a spiritual force and not a force that could be ascribed to inert matter.

Even more profound, Swedenborg claimed that order, structure and complexity glorified God’s Divine Love and Divine Wisdom.


If we contemplate organized structure, we will observe that all complexity consists of two opposing and ridiculously improbable functions supporting each other—differentiation and unity.

Complexity evolves into new orders of structure, as new things become both increasingly distinct and increasingly unified. Differentiation and unity exalt each other. Put another way, complexity involves subordination and coordination of successive (differentiated) process that gives birth to the dynamics of simultaneity (uniformity). All group structures (systems) consist of successive events creating wholes.

Swedenborg showed that this scheme displayed God’s divine nature and character because Truth distinguishes and Love unites. So nature’s endeavor towards self-organization is creation becoming a more perfect image of the Creator. Even the human mind follows this design because the human intellect both discerns information (thinks) and unifies what it values (loves) into real structure called a belief system or worldview.

This is where religion enters the picture of complexity theory. Swedenborg goes even further by stating that the purpose of religion is to allow for the human heart and mind to self-organize into non-physical bio-complexity capable of living in a spiritual realm (heaven). When we adopt Gods tenets of truth and love into our lives, we create spiritual bio-structure. This new structure serves as a spiritual body for the soul and survives the death of the physical body.

Swedenborg’s spiritual complexity theory takes the trajectory of evolution all the way to the spiritual world (sorry Darwin). God’s PURPOSE in creation is to create a heaven from the human race. Human evolution exalts God’s Love and Truth by creating angelic bio-structure.

This is just one of the challenging issues I address in my upcoming book Proving God in my humble attempt to unify science with theology.


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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4 Responses to Spiritual Complexity Theory

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your post.

    Swedenbourg has much in common theologically with Piere Teilhard De chardin who spoke of the cosmic evolution toward the hypothetical Omega Point of final convergence in the Godhead, the process of pleromenization (or the tendency toward fullness in the natural world) and complexification.

    He took this notion of complexification to the point of describing love and the union of disparate parts to form a greater, stronger new whole: two atoms forming a molecule, molecules forming protein chains, and onward. He suggested as well that relationships among people add further heightened energy to the process whereas divorce and disaffection represents a “miscarriage” of opportunity and potentiality.

    Thanks for the stimulus to revisit these ideas.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear harriedmystic,

    Yes, Swedenborg and Piere Teilhard De chardin had similar insights. However, Swedenborg is the first to address complexity in the non-material spiritual world and its inhabitants using a new theology that lends itself to scientific language.

    Existence is relationship – which is an analog of LOVE.

    Swedenborg showed how their could be living structure and action (from spiritual beings) abstracted from, and totally removed from, physical time and space.

    I am happy that you will revisit these ideas!

    Spiritually yours,

  3. somerandomguy says:

    Was thinking about your statement about differentiation and unity and how the two concepts support one another. It brings to mind the word “cleave” used in the Bible to represent both. Cleave immediately brings to mind the separation or differentiation of man into male and female; however, the same word is used to signify unity. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. Interesting Read. Thanks.

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