Swedenborg was a rascal

Imagine sitting at a table across from someone who claimed to have conversations with human souls in the Spiritual World. Such an unlikely scenario actually took place. Furthermore, the person who made such a claim could not be simply ignored, because he was a highly regarded scientist and ennobled by a queen.

This man was Emanuel Swedenborg.

His reputation (throughout Europe) of having a double-sight made him a popular “party guest” during the mid-1700s. People who had found themselves sitting at the same table as Swedenborg would obviously ask him questions from their burning curiosity about the afterlife.

In one case, a guest asked Swedenborg about the status of his dead grandparents. Swedenborg informed the questioner that his grandfather had re-married—to someone other than his grandmother.

In another case, a questioner was told that an acquaintance of his was living among the damned.

I first became interested in Swedenborg when I found out he boldly dropped names of those who suffered similar fates. In my studies of Swedenborg’s theological writings I have come across about 44 names of people who were living out their eternity in Hell. Some of these names were quite surprising.

Obviously, Swedenborg was not concerned with being politically correct. That is what I liked about him. I figured that he was either a mad man or was given divine permission to divulge such uncomfortable tidbits. I chose the latter and have studied both his scientific and theological writings ever since.

Swedenborg did not pull punches. But this seems to have caused a problem for those who currently belong to the Swedenborgian Church—at a time of rapidly changing social sensitivities. My own personal experience with the Swedenborgian Church is that it has formed a culture designed to remedy this. They have castrated the poor fellow.

This castration is most notable when it comes to communicating the unflattering details of genuine human salvation.

(Farmers castrate their pigs to make them easier to handle and make their meat tastier. Similarly, Swedenborg’s ideas have been made both easier for the world to handle and more appetizing to the post-modern ego.)

My God-given purpose in life is to give Swedenborg his balls back.



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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14 Responses to Swedenborg was a rascal

  1. David Brown says:

    Any interest in leading a workshop in CA sometime this year? ‘Live Theatre’ is always a different experience than the written word.

  2. Cortland Bell says:

    Mr Sylvia.

    I seem to be a bit confused about your statement because it appears to be a little vague. I guess what I am trying to say is that is the man Swedenborg even relevant to what he was put here to do? After all, he himself did not start a New Church so that the Lords message would not be obscured by his gift. And when you say he was a rascal and you wish to give him his balls back are you speaking of his entertaining others by his sharing his experiences in the spiritual world or of his personal experiences along the spiritual realm being kept a “secret” by some “Swedenborgians”? I do consider myself in the process of regeneration and thereby a member of the New Church so my question may be what are vague because I am not familiar with the Doctrine of “Swedenborg” (my attempt at humor lol!).

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Cortland,

      Swedenborgians have challenged some of Swedenborg’s own ideas. For instance, some strongly reject the idea that hell is for an eternity. There has also been a trajectory of moving away from the study of correspondences. I have a new book coming out soon that warns Swedenborgians that they should not assume they are regenerating because they possess his writings or attend church service. Have you read “Proving God”? It looks at regeneration from novel and scientific angles.

      If you are indeed regenerating you have nothing to worry about! But perhaps the biggest clue that Swedenborg’s balls have been cut off is the fact that the various churches based on his revelations are not growing. Some are even shrinking!

      Spiritually yours,

  3. Cortland Bell says:

    Wow! Thank you for clarifying. I know personally what happens when you believe that the knowledge and study of New Church doctrine alone will suffice in spiritual evolution and can testify through living experience that one is better off leaving them alone if they do not intend on living a life according. Personally I don’t understand how anyone can believe the Divine truth of what Swedenborg wrote as a fountain of the Lord and try and interpret it or deny any part of it. Although I believe (in my limited knowledge)that Swedenborg was one of the most noble men known to the modern world, I guess this is what happens when one tends to revere and follow the writings of an individual rather than the substance of what is written. Furthermore it seams that to have teach “Swedenborg” without correspondences is like having water without the wet. I will definitely read your book as Swedenborg also states that we should find confirmations of Divine truth outside of the Word. I will also follow up on the reference you gave me earlier about self publishing. Thank You!

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Cortland,

      Swedenborg’s writings shocked the European mindset when they were first published a little after the mid-1700’s. Today’s Swedenborgian Church, wishing to grow by offending nobody, and promoting regeneration as an easy process, has tip-toed around anything that people might find disturbing.

      One of the shocking disclosures Swedenborg made (in his book “Conjugial Love”) was that an African (in the Spiritual World) understood God’s truth better than the Christians.

      (Swedenborg’s doctrines really need to be shared throughout the Black community!)

      Spiritually yours,

  4. Kenny Rumrill says:

    Hi Edward,
    What’s your opinion of the notion that “the hells are eternal” but spirits move in and out them as they need to for the most efficient regeneration? And that there are spirits who simply “like it there” ?

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Kenny,

      Thank you for following my blog. Swedenborg stated that the hells are eternal and those who gravitate there indeed find it compatible with the inner quality of their hearts. God’s justice always moves inwards.

      Spiritually yours,

  5. Cortland Bell says:

    It is truly amazing how the Lords providence works. I was actually introduced to Swedenborg in within the process of my journey to search for the “truth” in regard to “my people” which lead me to a truth beyond anything I could even Imagine at the time because I was a self proclaimed atheist. I did not believe there could be any-type of loving God who would allow Black Folks to suffer the injustices they have endured since the slave trade emphasized race. I believe the only reason that I have not finished my book(it is about 75% done) is because I need to have more humility by means of my external being conjoined with the internal so that I might not cause damage(by my desire to be significant) to any good that it might bring to my peers or whomever it might effect. Thank you again, this time for your inspiring words because I tend to have doubts which Is evidence of my regeneration which, i also have doubts about. The Lord alone keeps me moving forward.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Cortland,

      What makes us all equal is our potential for spiritual growth – nothing else. In spite of all the inhumanity in the world this is a mere “blip” when compared to eternal spiritual life. In fact, there is no finite ratio between terrestrial life and life in the Lord God’s heavenly kingdom!

      All the rules change in the spiritual world!

      Spiritually yours,

  6. Ed,
    You must be aware that there is no single “authoritative” Swedenborgian Church, since Swedenborg did nothing to begin any church organization. So there are numerous organizations world-wide that accept his works. Not all of them have toned down Swedenborg to fit Western social expectations.
    Jeremy Simons

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Jeremy,

      Thank you for your comment. (I have an idea who you are.) I can only speak from personal experience which includes having attended seminary and being an active member of the Swedenborg Scientific Association (SSA). There may well be a Swedenborgian organization somewhere that has NOT toned down his doctrines. However, the intent of the Lord’s new dispensation is to create a “Crown of all Churches.” This is what each organization must aspire to be! Swedenborg stated that a “dead” church was one that was no longer enjoying new revelations from God. I feel that in America Swedenborgianism has gone flat. My suspicion is that REAL regeneration is not taking place in the way Swedenborgians are assuming that it is – mainly because they do not have a full grasp of the obstacles (like hypnosis). My past and future work will continue to explore these obstacles. Creativity is also lacking in the spreading of New Church doctrines. (That is why I started my own publishing company.)

      I also chose not to take the path of ordination because I felt I could be more effective as a creative writer and promoter of Swedenborg’s unique theology. My last book “Proving God” (available at the Cathedral Bookstore in Bryn Athyn) won three awards from non-Swedenborgian organizations. I was not afraid to leave the safety of the church walls in order to interface and share very challenging concepts with the outside world.

      I know you to be a good man. And your dedication is genuine.


  7. Roger P. Noah says:

    Dear Ed,

    I do not accept everything in Swedenborg literally. And I consider myself a Swedenborgian. For instance, I do not believe that King David and St. Paul are in hell. When the Heavenly Doctrines indicate that they are in hell, I intend that to mean that certain people who Swedenborg identified by the archetype of King David or the archetype of St. Paul are hell-bound until they regenerate. These archetypes were artifacts of Swedenborg’s life experience and are not equivalent to the historic holy personages.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Roger,

      I am glad you put some thought into this topic – instead of giving a knee-jerk reaction. However, I find it curious that you will defend the integrity of an individual but not whole groups of people who represent their “archetypes.” Thank goodness I do not have to worry about Calvin’s eternal fate. Yet, I will try not to become his archetype!

      We are all hell-bound until we regenerate. But how do you give such a concept real “teeth” if those who fail to regenerate are always put into vague and obscure groups?

      Spiritually yours,

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