One of the reasons the Swedenborgian movement has failed to capture the world’s imagination is that it has placed most of its poker chips on Swedenborg’s theological writings. Unfortunately, science rules the debate in our post-modern world.
Sensing this, some adventurous Swedenborgian scholars and writers have attempted to show how Swedenborg’s unique theology is harmonious with the New Paradigm science (relativity theory, quantum physics and in my case, also superstring theory). But all they have really done is to embrace these scientific accomplishments and provide nothing new to improve their theories.
Because of the emphasis on Swedenborg’s theology, many Swedenborgian scholars have overlooked the current value his scientific discoveries. From where I stand, it seems that no one can quite believe that Swedenborg could have discovered things beyond his era (18th century). He was a man of his time.
But Swedenborg himself stated that the Lord had “prepared” him in the natural sciences so that he could better grasp the non-physical phenomena of the spiritual world. Should the Lord have waited at least until the 20th century before revealing spiritual secrets to a scientist? I think not. A careful look at Swedenborg’s science shows models that demand more profound mathematical abstraction than today’s multi-dimensional solutions for string theory!
He had already ascertained that multiple levels of reality existed that had no finite ratio relative to each other—which is critical for theistic science in that it must demonstrate how an infinite God can act in a finite world through lawful causal links. Swedenborg not only identified a cosmic absolute like Einstein did with the speed of light, he also extended this idea of relative invariants beyond physical spacetime and applied them to mental and spiritual realities.
Swedenborg also looked at gravity as being parceled into distinct units (today this is called quantum gravity and remains unsolved among contemporary physicists).
It was Swedenborg’s science that brought him to the idea of correspondences—even before the Lord had “officially” opened his spiritual eyesight! In fact, Swedenborg was meditating on the secrets and deeper meanings within Holy Scripture during the time that he encountered the Lord at the Inn in England.
If Swedenborg was simply a man of his time, why would he sadly state, concerning the scientists of his era, that “They see everything but understand nothing”? Why would he shrug his shoulders while writing the book Worship And Love Of God and say that it was “a work not for the men, but for angels” if he was not frustrated by the output of his peers?
Swedenborgians have been showered with enough cutting-edge thinking that they should represent the spear point of today’s discussions on both theology and science. My new book Proving God will hopefully help the Swedenborgian movement find a new gear when interfacing with the world.