When “means” become “ends”

1-3-2All religions have strategies to battle “sin” and “wrong-doing.” But how does a rationally thinking person verify what is really (objectively) a sin?

“Sin” and “evil” can be understood scientifically as doing something against true order. But if you do not know what the true order in the universe is (and there is order in the universe), you won’t know when you are transgressing its laws.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg provided a simple view of universal order as “ends, causes (means) and affects.” The “end” is in the cause, and both are in the affects. (The “affect” brings the “end” into the manifest world as a formal result.)

However, when this order is challenged and changed, hazard (evil) enters into the process. For instance, when we become more interested in the means or causes than in the affects, we are uprooting universal order.

This uprooting of order can best be seen with sexual intercourse, whose designed purpose in nature is obviously to continue the species. But if we strive for the pleasure of sex as our only goal, this order is uprooted and we have taken part in thwarting nature’s grand “end-design” for our mere personal satisfaction.

In such a sexual process, where pleasure is sought for more than reproduction, the “means” takes over the function of the real universe’s “ends.”

Over history, humankind has similarly switched this divine order in almost everything they do. This is why worldly success, money, celebrity and status trump being a genuinely good person.


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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4 Responses to When “means” become “ends”

  1. ws says:


  2. Theodora says:

    How are we to understand instances of homosexuality (found in nature/as part of the Natural Order e.g. in the Animal Kingdom – obviously to a less common extent than male/female sexual pairings)? What about in Human Society, in the instance of Radical Feminism and ‘choosing’ to be a lesbian as part of one’s spiritual as well as political practice (as the two may be inextricably connected)?

    Maybe these questions/musings are a little unclear. However I care a lot about the ‘Order’ of The Universe and genuinely feel unsure about the implications of what you wrote about reproduction. I think about overpopulation issues, or the fact that children are being born into bad conditions and raised with abuse (etc); I also think about all the people with health/infertility issues which mean they are childless not by choice; as well as those who have no calling to procreate or raise children but who perhaps see their sexuality as a means by which they can live spiritually.

    But I am so bad at explaining – so will just leave it at that, even though it’s all way too vague! And too long – apologies! I’m really enjoy reading your blog.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Theodora,

      Because of our split consciousness (internal and external natural minds) we are not who we think we are. Also, the problems you mention concerning our physical existence are resolved in the non-material universe of the Spiritual Realm. Sexuality cannot affect spirituality positively in a dual mind. Swedenborg, as he developed spiritually, lost interest in physical sex – turning that creative energy towards the Lord, thus unifying his heart and intellect. Read my upcoming books – this is a huge topic.

      Spiritually yours,
      The God Guy

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