I often wonder how future revelations on the wisdom of ancient writing styles will play in the post-modern world with its new social (and liberated) conscience and political correctness.
Take feminism for instance. I am sure that the Bible story of Eve tempting Adam and causing humankind to ultimately descend into sin or that female sirens in Greek mythology tempted sailors and their ships towards destruction doesn’t sit well with liberated women thinkers. In the past, many bad things seemed to be blamed on the female gender!
While this may seem unfair and unjust to emerging worldly (terrestrial) values, according to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, these ancient stories consist of a deeper and forgotten symbolic language. Swedenborg called it the science of correspondences. It was considered a “science” because it was based on universal truth and laws—not individual preferences or social sensitivities.
In his investigations of the human brain and its psychology, Swedenborg had discovered that what a person loves most represents that which is most beautiful to his or her mind. Since women are prettier than men, their beauty was used to signify what a mind finds seductive and alluring. The mind is attracted to certain ideas in a way that is analogous to men being attracted to certain women.
This is why physicists will describe Einstein’s equations as being “beautiful.”
Ancient writers made use of this dynamical symbolism in their storytelling. Humans could be seduced by ideas that were either destructive or beneficial (the pregnant woman on top of the moon in the biblical chapter of Revelation represents a beneficial aspect of the human heart. So does Athena. The Statue of Liberty, by using the female form, represents the love and desire for true liberty).
Swedenborg was made conscious of this symbolic use of gender in his dreams. For instance, he recorded a particular dream in his journal in which he would leave one woman for another, more beautiful woman. This was not just a literal message that he was “playing the field.” On deeper contemplation, he interpreted this symbolic communication as representing his changing interest—which was moving from one topic of study to another. In each case, Swedenborg found that he was becoming more interested in and attracted to deeper topics concerning ultimate reality. (The inner trajectory of Swedenborg’s scientific investigation was symbolized in his dreams, by a stream of more beautiful “women” entering into his psychical arena.)
This symbolic language loses its universal meaning and potency when gender becomes muddled in unisexual or metrosexual notions.
My biggest fear is that emerging worldviews and values will cause contemporary people to ignore the wisdom of ancient symbolism and falsely believe that they have become the spear-tip of evolutionary consciousness.
In fact, a major element of the Lord’s Second Coming is the reintroduction of this ancient symbolic language to the human race!