A Spectral Analysis of Holy Scripture

Warning: This blog post represents an advanced distillation of Swedenborg’s theology by which one can find rational evidence that God’s providential activity in the universe and a final scientific theory of causal process are actually identical.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg disclosed that God’s Holy Word contains three distinct levels of meaning—a literal (natural) level, a higher spiritual level (which addresses human salvation), and a highest or celestial level (which addresses the Lord’s Glorification when in the world).

Those of the Swedenborgian Church are well acquainted with these discrete levels of communication by which the Lord reveals deeper truths concerning Himself, as well as, the orderly process by which He leads the human race towards obtaining the heavenly kingdom and eternal happiness. These deeper levels are addressed in Swedenborg’s amazing 12-volume work entitled the Arcana Coelestia (Heavenly Secrets).

Within Swedenborg’s multi-leveled exegesis (exposition) of the Holy Word one can actually tease out a theistic model of science that embraces both top-down causality and a theory of universal process with real explanatory and predictive powers.

Physicists know that all things in nature can be submitted to spectral analysis. What they have yet to discover is that all holistic, coherent and organized process follow the same series of patterns based on octaves. These universal patterning principles have emerged out of the living Word of God, which contains these same rules of order within the layered architecture of its narratives.

Here is an example of a holy octave (Divine order) represented in Genesis, chapter 39: 1- 23 (and hinted at by Swedenborg).

(First Stage) Potiphar takes Joseph down to Egypt. He observes that God is with Joseph and that everything he does prospers.

(Second Stage) Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chamberlain, seeing that Joseph is blessed, gives him rule over his house.

(Third Stage) Potiphar’s wife tempts Joseph. He resists.

(Fourth Stage) Potiphar’s wife keeps up the pressure. Joseph continues to resist the intensified temptation.

(Fifth Stage) Potiphar’s wife grabs Josephs outer garment when they are alone. Joseph flees, leaving the empty garment in her hand.

(Sixth Stage) Potiphar’s wife makes up a lie to the other members of the household and cries out that Joseph had made advances towards her and that she had his garment as proof.

(Seventh Stage) Potiphar’s wife saves the garment for her husband’s return.

(Eighth Stage – Full Octave) Potiphar returns. His wife shows him the garment and kindles his anger. Potiphar then takes Joseph to another place—prison, yet he still prospers. Evidence that this scenario represents a repeating octave is the return of Potiphar to the story and again taking Joseph somewhere and he continues to prosper. The first stage therefore returns full-circle to a corresponding but new situation—just like one octave leads to another and a new orderly process begins (thus it is both explanatory and predictive—the two major elements in the formulation of a plausible scientific theory).

This biblical story represents a comprehensive whole whereby all the different stages and trajectories (successive order) produce unity through common equilibrium (simultaneous order). This circular pattern becomes even clearer to human comprehension when the higher spiritual and celestial levels of meaning are addressed and applied to the biblical narrative. Instead of describing physical events, the biblical narrative now “jumps” to a higher octave describing changes of mental states. It was through these higher meanings that Swedenborg was able to grasp and recognize the orderly series, by which all the biblical narratives unfolded themselves into holistic systems.

Each stage of the biblical story shown above represents a lawful transition by which a trajectory finds its gravitational equilibrium. This necessitates that all the stages of a story (on all three levels) advance with mathematical precision in order to bring the full series into a common equilibrium (comprehensive whole) and set up a corresponding beginning for a new series to unfold. In other words, God’s Holy Word contains the secret to the big mystery of gravitational order—how the universe generates coherent structure instantaneously (self-organization) through the dynamics of gravitating systems.

Gravitational order gets its marching orders from Divine order.

I offer this information to show how far human academia, even today, falls short of the knowledge of angels. Thankfully, the Lord God is now providing the means by which humankind can gain access to this sacred and potent knowledge.


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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18 Responses to A Spectral Analysis of Holy Scripture

  1. Sue says:

    I agree with your main point that “Gravitational order gets its marching orders from Divine order.” But I totally don’t see why the 8 thing is not arbitrary. Why octaves? Couldn’t you just divide the story into as many parts as you wanted? Seven? Or nine?

  2. Glenn says:

    A lexical analysis of Swedenborg’s analysis of Holy Scripture–which on the one hand is alleged above to spectrally follow the pattern of octaves, but is also said to have only three senses–reveals that one or another aspect of said Holy Scripture is said by Swedenborg to have these senses:

    abstract sense, bad sense, best sense, broad sense, broadest sense, close sense, closest sense, corresponding sense, deeper sense, determinate sense, eminent sense, especial sense, extended sense, exterior sense, external sense, general sense, genuine sense, good sense, heavenly sense, higher sense, highest sense, historic sense, holy sense, individual sense, inmost sense, inner sense, interior sense, internal sense, internal historical sense, literal sense, lower sense, mystic sense, narrow sense, natural sense, particular sense, primitive sense, proper sense, proximate sense, relative sense, remote sense, representative sense, restricted sense, strict sense, supereminent sense, supreme sense, ultimate sense, universal sense, wide sense, widest sense.

    (To be more precise, the lexical analysis is not of Swedenborg’s analysis, but of English translations of Swedenborg’s original analysis in the Latin.)

    Poor Augustine of Hippo–some 1200+ years before Swedenborg, he managed to identify but a mere four senses of scripture: the literal sense, the allegorical sense, the tropological or moral sense, and the anagogical sense.

    According to one Alister E. McGrath, Martin Luther noted in 1515 that, “In the Scriptures no allegory, tropology, or anagogy is valid unless that same truth is explicitly stated literally somewhere else. Otherwise, Scripture would become a laughing matter.”

    Swedenborg seemed to be in agreement with the assertion of Luther’s first statement, as he himself noted in 1763 that Doctrine is to be drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word, and to be confirmed by it.

    However, it is only fair to say that it is little known whether Swedenborg likewise asserted the equal necessity of confirming in the literal sense of the Word, so-called predictive scientific truths allegedly extractable from its internal sense.

    That aside, and re the so-called ‘eighth’ or ‘octave’ stage,

    o It is known that a man learns many things in infancy and childhood for the sole use that by them as means he may learn those which are more useful; and successively by these such as are still more useful, until at last he learns those of eternal life; and when he learns these, the former are almost blotted out. In like manner when a man is being born anew by the Lord, he is led by various affections of good and truth which are not affections of genuine good and truth, but are of use merely to enable us to apprehend these, and then to enable us to become imbued with them; and when this has been done the previous affections are forgotten and left behind, because they had served merely as means. AC 3982.2

    Which is why so few people program in assembly language anymore–it has been superseded by other programming languages assembly language was used to create. And some of these other programming languages have themselves been superseded by scripting languages these other programming languages themselves were used to create.

    So it goes.

    No matter how far one travels, no matter the level or height to which one attains, all that has really occurred–in one genuine and real (if not also metaphorical) sense–is that a new starting point has been reached.

    o We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. — T.S. Eliot

  3. thegodguy says:

    As far as identifying predictive scientific truths within the pages of Holy Scripture is concerned, Swedenborg claimed that the living Word of God was organically structured in a manner analogous to all the organs, tissues and systems within the human body. Swedenborg also called the human body the “temple of all sciences.”

    A few Swedenborgians can confirm this concept from the sense of the letter in Holy Scripture – but most cannot. However, those who cannot should resist asking those who can from offering exhaustive evidence without any exchange of legal tender.

    Spiritually yours,

  4. Glenn says:

    Swedenborg also claimed that:

    A) Any assumption adopted (even if falsity itself) can be confirmed in countless ways and so be presented to outward appearance as though it were the truth itself;

    B) The pages of Holy Scripture are of such a nature as to be capable of application to any love whatever, and to any principle thence conceived, and also can be confirmed by it; and,

    C) Any dogma, even the most heretical, can be confirmed from or by the sense of the letter.

    If asked to, I’ll be happy to provide unimpeachable evidence that my claims of what Swedenborg claimed are true. I’ll even do so free of charge.

    Be that as it may, Swedenborg’s meaning of the term “scientific truths” and modern-day scientists’ understanding of the term “scientific truths” are not quite one and the same.

    However, ignoring the equivocation you never care to resolve (at least free of charge), Swedenborg also pointed out that truths of sense and memory knowledge must precede an understanding of knowledges more internal.

    So, assuming the correctness of what Swedenborg has to say about the matter, you actually are in debt to modern-day scientists for working so diligently to ensure that such truths are available for the partaking by all. If scientists did not do what they do so well, you’d not have had available the material for your book. You accept the fruits of their labor, yet scoff and belittle the laborers themselves.

  5. Glenn says:

    Also, Sue’s question–Couldn’t you just divide the story into as many parts as you wanted? Seven? Or nine?–has a simple answer: Yes.

    All descriptions of ‘states’ (be they heavenly, hellish, or somewhere in-between) are provisional, and such states can be descriptively portrayed in many ways. The categorical slicing and dicing which invariably go along with such descriptions, while not necessarily arbitrary, is nonetheless not at all the one-and-only-way to divvy things up.

    Swedenborg was well aware of this. But he also was away that people need something to sink their intellectual teeth into, so to speak, and so sought to wield with great dexterity and skill the Aristotelian knife when carving things up.

  6. thegodguy says:

    Dear Glenn,

    You are extremely intelligent but do not grasp what I am saying. If Scripture is organized like the human anatomy then indeed its narratives describe divided yet harmonious organic activities. For example, the mouth leads to the stomach which then leads to the small intestines, etc. These are not arbitrary divisions of labor but are precise and lawful fractions of a whole system.

    I have provided additional info on this topic in my new book “Proving God.” I make my living as a Swedenborgian writer and I think my 470 blog posts testify to my willingness to share lots of info for free. However, when it comes to new insights my readers should not expect “roast pigeon to fly into their mouths!”

    Spiritually yours,

  7. Glenn says:

    Quick note ere I cease interrupting your roasting of pigeons–the appearance you refer to as “extremely intelligent” used to be referred to as “common sensical”.

  8. Sue says:

    Part of the reason I’m calling the 8 division arbitrary is that you weren’t previously talking octaves (or else I didn’t see that post). I’ve heard of threes and pairs and sevens and twelves and a few other numbers used to divide concepts in Swedenborgian thinking. But octaves is a new one. Oh, I just looked and see that Gurdjieff was into octaves. So, you are combining Sw’s and Gdjf’s concepts.

    Fine – I do that too with Catholocism and Swedenborg. But if you read back over your post, do you see where ‘octaves’ just appeared out of nowhere?

  9. thegodguy says:

    Dear Glenn,

    I have always maintained you are intelligent – especially concerning Swedenborg’s theological ideas. Where we find some friction is in my exploration of teasing out new insights from his scientific and theological works and attempting to try more imaginative ways to express Swedenborgianism in the world. I am certainly an acquired taste!

    Spiritually yours,

  10. thegodguy says:

    Dear Sue,

    The phrase “spectral analysis” refers to octaves.

    In Swedenborgian theology the number “eight” refers to a new beginning – after a full series (the holy number seven) has unfolded itself. The octave represents how a full spectrum (cycle) returns to a corresponding new beginning that allows another series to unfold itself.

    Swedenborg wrote in his scientific notes that “all concord is from octaves.” Octaves allow for the the physical universe to be run by harmonic principles. These harmonic principles (octaves) have their origins in the spiritual principle of love!

    Spiritually yours,

  11. Sue says:

    Ok, I see what you mean – octaves have more to do with seven than with eight. Seven, and then another seven and so on.
    Very cool – groups of sevens. Sevens that march. Sevens that have movement as a group.
    That does sound Swedenborgian.

  12. thegodguy says:

    Dear Sue,

    Yes! Yes! That is why “seven” is a holy number and why Noah saw a rainbow upon finding safety. There are seven different notes in a musical scale but it is called an octave because you start with “Doh” of one scale and end with “Doh” of the next scale.

    Each note or step (or change of mental state) within a holistic process represents a gravity center where each unfolding stage of the process finds its precise equilibrium. Swedenborg observed that the changing chemistry of our blood caused it to move towards different centers of gravity. All holistic process (Circle of Life) represents a trajectory moving through seven nodes or gravity centers to find its new beginning (eighth step or octave). I will stop here since I know how you feel about “hungry” octaves.

    Spiritually yours,

  13. Sue says:

    You say, “What they [physicists] have yet to discover is that all holistic, coherent and organized process follow the same series of patterns based on octaves. These universal patterning principles have emerged out of the living Word of God, which contains these same rules of order within the layered architecture of its narratives.”

    It could be that what we humans see as holistic or coherent or organized comes from the Word’s octavational patterning. Maybe the processes don’t, just our perception does.

  14. thegodguy says:

    The ultimate laws of nature come from God’s spiritual laws, which are contained within the layered narratives and architecture of Holy Scripture. This is why all things that were created were created from the Word (John 1:1-3).

    Angels not only grasp the higher levels of meaning of God’s Holy Word but have a perception of all process as comprising comprehensive wholes. These comprehensive wholes reveal God’s living (organic) patterning principles and Divine order. I am convinced that during the descent of the Holy City, The New Jerusalem, into the hearts and minds of men and women on earth, the Lord God will challenge some individuals to suffer themselves to acquire this angelic perception.

    Spiritually yours,

  15. Glenn says:

    According to Wikipedia, In Greek mythology, the rainbow was considered to be a path made by a messenger (Iris) between Earth and Heaven.

    Here are two pigeons gliding along that path.

    Alas, I think the air traffic controller (ATC) must have been sleeping on the job, as the pigeons are about to fly over a smokestack.

    (Or perhaps GG was the ATC that day. “This is perfect! I’m running low on pigeons to roast!”)

    Humor aside, that there appear to be only seven colors in a rainbow, and that the colors are distinct, is an artifact of human perception. The reality is that there are many more colors, and that they range continuously rather than discretely.

    Perception fools the human mind yet again.

  16. thegodguy says:

    Dear Glenn,

    I hate being fooled by Swedenborg! With that said, I do not remember ruling out other colors (and other octaves).

    (By the way, Swedenborg claimed that Greek Mythology represented the remnants of an Ancient Word, which contained correspondences. Also, Swedenborg described three discrete levels of “blood” within the human body. Food has to go through seven distinct changes before it can create all three! This is why the numbers “three” and “seven” have the same symbolic meaning!)

    Spiritually yours,

  17. Glenn says:


    I hate being fooled by Swedenborg!

    Remember not long ago, something about how even evil kings can represent the Lord? Well, Swedenborg sometimes used continuous things to represent discrete things.

    Also, he wrote that appearances are the first things out of which the human mind forms its understanding, and that these appearances cannot be shaken off except by way of an exploration into causes.

    While Swedenborg delved into and unfolded many ’causes’, he also not infrequently (and knowingly) spoke in terms of appearances.

    With that said, I do not remember ruling out other colors (and other octaves).

    I too don’t recollect that happening.

    Someone is looking out for you!


  18. thegodguy says:

    Dear Glenn,

    Thanks for covering my back! However, reality is a miraculous mixture of perfecting unity through increased distinction. This unity and distinction has its analog in the human heart and mind. Even the angels (who are still finite beings) see God’s world only from appearances. However, without making distinctions we can never hope to come closer to finding the Lord God’s Truth.

    Truth distinguishes. Love unites.

    Spiritually yours,

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