All three men mentioned above were famous pioneers. Christopher Columbus, as well as other 15th and 16th century explorers challenged the idea that the world was flat. However, even proving the terrestrial earth was round preserved it as a continuous plane.
Centuries later, Albert Einstein expanded this idea of continuous structure and curvature to spacetime. Although spacetime was curved it still represented a continuous plane—called the spacetime continuum. Spacetime could stretch and warp but it seemed unable to create a quantum entity (matter). This problem still perplexes scientists.
In between the lives of these two great explorers (1688-1772) lived the amazing scientist/theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg. He developed a cosmology in which spacetime consisted of distinct inner levels of structure and substances with less limitations on their geometry and action. This “sandwiching” of reality (in which limitations are lawfully removed within process) made discrete leaps, like a ladder, all the way to God, Divine Love and the non-material structure of the Spiritual World!
Theology aside, Swedenborg’s model of reality (discrete degrees) is needed by contemporary physicists in order to rationally merge Einstein’s relativity theory with quantum mechanics, in which gravity is described in terms of non-continuous quantum units. This makes Swedenborg’s contributions truly unique within the history of human ideas!
Swedenborg was a legitimate academic and scholar. His multi-leveled model of reality had both explanatory and predictive powers since the discrete levels of structure making up the cosmos corresponded to each other (a mimetic analog which requires mathematical precision). In this way all the physical processes found in the natural world are an image and likeness of the non-physical processes operating in heaven; Swedenborg found a way to keep the laws operating on these distinct levels self-consistent!
Again, these constants of law could also be applied to spiritual revelation. Swedenborg even went on to provide ponderous evidence that this cosmic template of universal order is secretly hidden within the sacred architecture of the Bible narratives. One of the unique benefits of grasping such a multi-faceted doctrine of divine reality is that God can reveal deeper theological mysteries while also solving deep scientific mysteries. (Successful evolution even requires humankind to elevate their minds towards receiving such new discoveries of unity.)
So, as science seems to be challenging faith-systems, Swedenborg used science as a means in which spiritual faith could be restored and even exalted. I have written about this new science/theological synthesis in my award-winning book, Proving God. It is a great book for exercising your brain and stretching your worldview!