Believing in unseen things

Science contends that it only believes in things that it can observe (empirical method) while religion believes in an invisible God who lives in an invisible realm (spiritual world).

When one contemplates a bit he or she will see that the human mind has a unique  aptitude for exploring invisible realms. The mind has the unique capacity to see things that nature does not showcase. For instance, the invention of the wheel involved visualizing something not created by nature but then imposing this imaginative idea on materials found in nature.

Also, higher abstract mathematics is used by scientists to describe things that are neither observable nor testable. The higher dimensions of string or membrane theory are a good example of a scientific model that is embraced by many of the world’s the best scientists but cannot be taken as true science—according to its own definition.

So science, like religion, places its faith in unseen things!

Even more ironically, when science probes deeper into fundamental reality, phenomena becomes less physical and less under the constraints of time and space. Whether you ponder the essential Singularity from whence came the Big Bang or a quantum vacuum, the laws of physics seem to have their origins in an unseen and non-physical realm.

Could the unseen things of science have their equivalence in the unseen things of religion?

How do laws and forces act and behave in such a pre-natal universe or void? If religion is correct, this would be the same realm, beyond time and space, in which God eternally lives.

It would seem, therefore, that if the laws and forces that govern physics on the fundamental level exist in a pre-geometric state, they could be theological as well. Thanks to the voluminous works of scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, I have been able to find a rational nexus or causal link between God’s spiritual nature and the laws of physics—between the Infinite and the finite. This seven-year project has been put into a new book titled Proving God. The book is now available to the public. The future of science and religion is in their ultimate unification!

For more details see: http://www.provinggod.com

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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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5 Responses to Believing in unseen things

  1. Roger says:

    I think the existence of the unseen – God, the human spirit etc. are quite obvious to anyone with familiarity with modern physics or with the Near-Death Experience studies in the past 35 years.

    So it is not whether the unseen exists, but what is the nature of the unseen that humanity is confused about. There are so many ‘revelations’ and so many interpretations of each set of ‘revelations’. It is like the blind men trying to parse an elephant in http://www.noogenesis.com/pineapple/blind_men_elephant.html.

    Swedenborgians claim they have THE answer. I will agree that it is the best answer so far, but is it THE answer? I am not sure. There are things in Swedenborg’s Writings that throw me off, but there are other things which make a lot of sense and answer questions that I’ve had for a long time. This is one of the reasons why I have not joined a Swedenborgian church. I have remained within the Roman Catholic church of my baptism. I am a Swedenborg reader who cherry-picks concepts but not a Swedeborgian, I guess. By the same token, I do not agree 100% with Catholic doctrine either. How arrogant of me to raise my voice before giants! What gall to imagine that my own views might be better than those of great! Frightening over-confidence on my part!

    Roger

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Roger,

    Your point of view is valid. Swedenborg himself would tell you only to embrace the ideas that you can verify for yourself. I too was baptized Catholic. I too do not belong to any official denomination of the Swedenborgian Church. Swedenborg did not intend to start a Church but hoped that various churches and religions would adopt some of his ideas.

    My new book “Proving God” even challenges current Swedenborgian thinking. So “they” indeed do not have all the answers. Swedenborg also admits to not being shown everything in the spiritual world plus he was not allowed to share all his information. I believe there will be more revelations in the future as men and women evolve spiritually (regenerate).

    Perhaps if you could share with me some of Swedenborg’s ideas that throw you off I could turn that into a new blog post. I would like the challenge!

    Thank you for contributing!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  3. Roger says:

    Dear Edward,

    I do think that this vast physical universe has intelligent life elsewhere. And since the same ‘patterns’ exist uniformly throughout the universe, I do think that intelligent alien life is quite humanoid – and not like some of the caricatures we see in science fiction movies. So far, I am in sync with ES.

    I get thrown off by ES’s records of human beings living on the moon and on some of the other solar planets. We know that there are none. Explanations that they are not perceivable by our senses are lame apologies. At best, Swedenborg’s experience of these inhabitants of the solar system was a dream. We all dream weird things , and we probably have had genuine experiences of the spiritual world in our dreams. In this case, Swedenborg might not have been able to distinguish between dreams and real experiences of the spiritual world. Any “depth experience” such as an NDE and any “hypnogogic experience” such as deep meditation probably provides nuggets of gold mixed with a lot of dross of our own imagination. The trick is to have the ‘metallurgical skill’ to separate the two. That is what the shamans and smiths of ancient times were trained to do – shamans and smiths come from the same nest (http://phoenixandturtle.net/excerptmill/santillana5.htm#Ch8). How does one do that once one returns from one’s otherworld journey? (By the way, our normal perception of normal physical reality is also a mix of objective reality, racial projection (as in the human race) and personal projection.) Swedenborg seems to have, by and large, done a good job or separating subjective dreaming from objective otherworld experience.

    Other details such as the statements that Muslims worship Muhammad which are patently untrue now as it they were then, or that the Muslims believe that Jesus is the Son of God indicate his own personal lack of knowledge in this area rather than a divine revelation about Muslims.

    Do worms and panthers originate from ideas in hell? No, they are all a part of God’s creation. Worms, owls, panthers and bats are as much a part of terrestrial ecology as are donkeys, sheep and cows. Tigers are as much a part of our present ecosystem as are cows and pigs. However, Swedenborg reflects the pre-ecological awareness of 18th century humanity where our collective goal was to clear the marshes, cut down the forests, kill of wildlife and have more farms and cities – and more people. So in ES we have two biospheres and not one. The first is a divine ecology of flora and fauna that must be cultivated, and the other is a wild, demonic ecology of flora and fauna (nettles, snakes, bats, owls) that must be exterminated. Again, this is an example of 18th century bias getting mixed with real spiritual insights. I do believe that eco-enlightened humanity will project a different spiritual ecology post-mortem. Maybe we will project pets, farms and orchards in our immediate vicinity, but also dense rain forests and animal-filled savannahs to view, visit and enjoy from a distance. Those who slavishly follow ES will indeed have a Manichean/Zoroastrian view of creation where some sub-human creatures are heavenly while others are hellish.

    I love symbolic interpretations of the Bible – how could one do otherwise? However, Swedenborg’s ‘code’ or ‘dictionary’ of symbols seems a bit artificial and inconsistent at times. Carl Jung is more intuitive in the set of symbols he proposes to interpret dreams, myths and rituals. In other words, I accept the idea of correspondences in principle – it is only the specific set of correspondences that Swedenborg has defined in such detail that I have issues with.

    Roger

  4. Roger says:

    I am probably wrong about one observation. Swedenborg did not say that the Muslims worship Muhammad. But he did say that the Muslims believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Anyway, the point is that there are technical inaccuracies in the Writings. But even if every line and word is not literally true, I have come to accept that the Lord used Swedenborg to communicate with humanity just as he used Moses at an earlier time.

    Roger

  5. thegodguy says:

    Dear Roger,

    I am trying to think of a way to address your thoughtful questions without having to write a book. Again, Swedenborg would tell you not to believe in anything you cannot verify for yourself. Beyond that, I think it is a healthy practice to keep our minds open since we continuously learn new things throughout life.

    As far as intelligent life on other planets and moons, this has become a real problem for Swedenborgians. However, Swedenborg only observed spirits who claimed to have come from these terrestrial orbs. Some Swedenborgian scholars suspect that Swedenborg might simply have been fooled by mischievous spirits. With that said, scientists are discovering that the planets of our solar system are more geologically active than once believed and that there may be the possibility of simple life forms on some planets or even moons. In other words, the needle on the scientific meter is moving slowly in Swedenborg’s direction. I obviously cannot comment on planets and moons that I am unable to personally explore, however, scientists are finding the universe to be more mysterious than ever imagined – not less so. One more point, Swedenborg describes spirits from the planet mercury traveling as “orbs” (kinda like ball lightning). How are we to understand a “ball of energy” as a manifestation of the human form (Remember, the astrological sun represents God’s form – divine love or heat and wisdom as light).

    If we are to believe Swedenborg, he claimed that the Lord guided his scientific career
    so that he would be prepared to make rational observations of the phenomena in the spiritual world. He went back and forth between the physical and spiritual worlds for almost 30 years which allowed him to double check and verify his findings. I would put Swedenborg’s internal talents and visionary insights up against those of any shaman or smith.

    I only remember from Swedenborg’s writing’s that Mohammad certainly wanted to be worshipped. As for NDEs, Dr. Raymond Moody claimed that most Muslims he interviewed and who experienced near death episodes, claimed to see Jesus not Mohammad!

    Swedenborg’s view was profoundly ecological (and was the inspiration for my first book “Sermon From The Compost Pile”). The famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus was married to the daughter of Swedenborg’s uncle. Swedenborg applied Linnaeus’ system of categorizing plants and animals into genera and species to the “inner ecology” of human thoughts and affections! God does not permit anything to exist unless it promotes the Divine Scheme. Predatory animals maintain the balance of nature’s biosphere just as hell maintains the balance (equilibrium) in a person’s inner ecosystem (spiritual reality). When a wolf snatches a baby calf it can serve as a symbolic representation of what happens when a negative or evil compulsion snatches away (and rips to pieces) our more innocent thoughts of goodness. Evil thoughts and compulsions are indeed predatory within the psyche (mental landscape).

    Swedenborg would be appalled by people who slavishly follow his writings. He wanted people to use their noggins. My blog was partly written to challenge this slavishness!

    Carl Jung was influenced by Swedenborg. However, Swedenborg took the symbolic language of correspondences to a level of interpretation beyond that of dreams, myths and rituals. God’s Holy Word has a third distinct level of symbolisim which describes the details of the Lord’s process of Glorification while He lived on earth. According to Swedenborg, ancient myths, while they incorporate symbolism and correspondences do not contain this innermost level of interpretation. That is why they are not sacred and holy or represent God’s Word. Swedenborg states that the canonical biblical story of Job in the Old Testament is an example of ancient writing that lacks this third rung of meaning!

    So Swedenborg’s difficulty is that he was trying to convey much more meaning than Jung. For instance, the inner meaning of the Sacred Word also contains a grand metaphor for all the organic processes of the human anatomy!

    As I read Swedenborg’s Bible interpretations I learn new things with each pass. Ten years from now I will no doubt notice things that my cognitive abilities had completely missed!

    That is all I have time for now. Thanks for your questions.

    Spiritually yours.
    TheGodGuy

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