The Circle Of Life

One of the least talked about (and least understood) concepts that Swedenborg shared with the world was his model of causal process called “The Circle of Life.” This concept represented Swedenborg’s “Theory of Everything” which unlike modern science’s naïve notion of simply unifying the so-called four fundamental physical forces (which actually are not fundamental) is a formula that includes theology and the patterning principles of all comprehensive wholes (systems).

Even Swedenborg’s notion of correspondences cannot be fully appreciated without studying them within the context of the circle of life. For instance, most explanatory models of correspondences and divine order show us only half of the story.  This top-down process is usually described as end, cause and effect and is depicted in a static relationship where one level of reality or term sits above the others. But reality is much richer and more dynamic than that.

Swedenborg insisted that this top-down process (after manifesting in its outward or ultimate effects in the spatio-temporal arena) then begins an ascent back to its ends or first principles. Each step is connected like a chain of causal links (uses) making a gyre or orbit. Swedenborg calls this orbit both the circle of life and divine intelligence itself (Mind). Each causal link of this process is itself made up of some smaller gyre.

This process is not only circular, it is organic. And, it is fine-tuned by God’s Infinite Wisdom—for it must determine all its forces into action through a mathematical intuition of Ends! This living model of process represents a complex of means that operates in all comprehensive wholes and keeps the universe unified by maintaining a common equilibrium among all its actions and mediate causes.

This harmonic and omnipresent unifying first principle is spiritual love. So Swedenborg’s Circle of Life can also be called the Circle of Love, whereby love designs the means through which it can perpetually conspire and reach its goals and return to itself. A simple example of this circular process in nature is a seed growing into a tree and the tree creating seeds. This pattern is the reason why the universe is coherent and intellectually knowable.

Even the narratives of Scripture contain this circular (organic) patterning principle!

Swedenborg’s Circle of Life is where theology makes full contact with science! But its full comprehension will only be given to those who become God’s true angels. Meanwhile, I have offered some unique insights into Swedenborg’s Circle of Life in my new book Proving God to get you started.

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
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2 Responses to The Circle Of Life

  1. mitch says:

    I wanna be an angel.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Me too! It takes more than just being good. We humans must clean out all the garbage we carry within us before God’s love can flow into our lives and take hold.

    Spiritually yours,

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