Beyond thermodynamics

Thermodynamics means “heat” dynamics. The term is used to express the physics of various structural systems and their relation to heat energy. The more energy in a system tends to determine the degree of organized complexity of a physical system.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg brought a psycho-spiritual element into the laws of dynamical systems. While his ideas are far from being accepted by the post-modern world, everyone seems to have an innate understanding of non-physical “heat.”

For instance, there is a phrase in common usage that supports this premise. We will often say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Here, “heat” is tacitly understood as an influence affecting our mental state. And there are many more examples of this psychical elevation of our language

When situations become tense, people say they feel the “heat.” We also refer to this heat as a “trial by fire.” When criminals feel that law officers are closing in they refer to them as the “heat.” Unfortunately, we do not pay close enough attention to the fact that physical terms lend themselves perfectly to psycho-spiritual phenomena. If we did, theological concepts could be easily unified with the physical sciences.

Swedenborg claimed that there is an analog (correspondence) between physical thermodynamics and spiritual dynamics. Spiritual heat is God’s divine love. When God gains a closer relationship to us we can experience a similar process as when you put mineral ore closer to a heat source—it becomes purified, and more valuable elements are extracted out of the ore. Same with God’s presence in our lives, although the process of purification takes place in one’s heart and mind—releasing more valuable elements that were locked deep within one’s character.

The 20th Century seer George Gurdjieff also made use of this correspondence and called the situation of physical objects brought closer to a heat source the “remorse of matter.” In other words, God’s approach within our lives heats up our conscience, where it is put to the test. What else could be purified within the human spirit?

The reason why I bring this up is that science can then be used to help us clarify theological and doctrinal tenets. I believe that God’s love has been misinterpreted lately by the faithful, because hope has replaced lawful process. For instance, even though God loves us all, we cannot assume (or hope) that a divine presence will affirm our self-importance, make us feel warm and cuddly, and somehow excuse us from the purification process. Rather, our spiritual transformation is more like a heated battle, where undesirable aspects of our character are removed only through a personal “trial by fire.”

Swedenborg observed in the spiritual world, many good people suffering the long and painful process of purification before finally being led into heaven (because they had side-stepped this important issue while on earth). Sorry.


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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4 Responses to Beyond thermodynamics

  1. Debbie Huntze says:

    Purgatory again! Salvation through works! Marriage and sex in heaven! Denial of the Trinity! Swedenborg was no Lutheran! Swedenborg was no Protestant! He was a closet Muslim! That makes you a closet Muslim too, Ed!

    • thegodguy says:

      Huh? How did you distill that info from “Beyond Thermodynamics”? Please stay within the topic of the discussion. If you do not believe science and faith can be unified then simply move on.

      Spiritually yours,

      • mitch eddy says:

        I think she was fishing for a reaction….which makes her what internet lingoists have dubbed a troll.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear mitch,

    I covered her (Debbie’s) theological concerns a good two years ago under different blog headings – including the Holy Trinity, marriage and sex in heaven and salvation by good works (even Pauline doctrine points out that charity (love and good works) trumps faith and hope (see his words in 1 Corinthians 13:13). Swedenborg is indeed not a Lutheran, Protestant or Catholic. He represents the New Jerusalem!

    Spiritually yours,

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