chapter I. The Spiritual and the Natural.

< PART I. The Regeneration of Man.


THE whole natural universe is but a vast series of effects, produced under God from the whole spiritual world as a world of causes, each thing from its own cause. The natural body is formed by the spirit and is subordinate to it. The spirit is superior to the body and rests upon it as a house on its foundation. This successive order from above downward is the order of the original creation of the universe and of the subsequent formation of things from created substances, and is universal. To indicate this order, one degree is placed above another, in these diagrams. The spiritual is drawn above because it is first in order, purer and more perfect than the natural, and produces the natural from itself.

The natural sense of the Word is represented by clouds, its spiritual sense by the light of the sun. Accordingly C representing the natural body and the natural world, is here drawn in dark, and B representing the spiritual body and the spiritual world, in light. B may also represent the spiritual sense of the Word, and C its natural sense.

There is another order, the order of subsistence and preservation, in which things created exist simultaneously and one within another; this is simultaneous order. This order results from successive order, and like successive order is universal. When lower things have been produced from higher, the higher are in the lower, remain in them, and perpetuate their existence.

To indicate this order some of the diagrams are drawn as all might be: one degree within another: -In this order the spirit is within the body, is of the same human form as the body, is present in every part of it, imparting life, maintaining its form and order, and thus preserving it. So the whole spiritual world is within the whole natural world, maintaining its form and order and imparting life, force and motion. And while the higher and highest are in the outmost, perpetuating it, the outmost holds the interior and inmost in form and order and thus sustains and preserves them; as the rind, the interior and inmost parts of the fruit, or as the skin, the interior and inmost of the body. Hence in simultaneous order all parts-first, middle and last, are mutually preserved and perpetuated.

Welcome to Beginning Theistic Science

Saturday, April 4, 2009
Welcome to Beginning Theistic Science

Welcome to the first post of the Beginning Theistic Science blog, the goal of which is to introduce, examine and discuss topical ideas of Theistic Science.

For 8 years I have kept a general website TheisticScience.org in which various approaches to, and consequences, of Theistic Science are given.

This blog arises because I am starting to write a new book Beginning Theistic Science, and have just made a separate website BeginningTheisticScience.com at which its proposed form and content are shown. The book aims to give a more closely reasoned presentation of logic and ontology underlying Theistic Science, especially since many people these days doubt that this is possible.

So feel free to discuss anything on TheisticScience.org or BeginningTheisticScience.com. I will blog about updates to the sites. I will also periodically discuss other articles, websites, blogs and books that appear relevant to Theistic Science.

The Second Coming Is NOW!

 

I am deeply involved in the growing movement of theologians and scientists who are seriously attempting to unify science and religion. In fact, the results of my own labors will become available later this year in an ambitious book entitled “Proving God.”

The Apostle John (1:1-3) tells us that everything in the manifest universe was created from the Holy Word. However, a mere literal interpretation and exegesis of Scripture is inadequate for providing us with the rational evidence for such a belief (beyond simple faith).

The Holy Word is a multidimensional document with layers of meaning that are abstracted from any involvement with time and space. These rarefied narratives transcend the spatio-temporal arena and describe events taking place in the psycho-scape of the human heart and mind. In other words, they refer to spiritual realities creatively concealed within our ordinary language.

Even historically correct events in Scripture portray these deeper scenarios (so archeological discoveries are not the way one goes about proving or disproving the authority or inerrancy of Scripture).

This “layering of meaning” is the patterning principle behind the hierarchical scaffolding of the universe and solves many of the touchy issues arising from our post-modern world-view. For instance, the deeper narratives contained within Scripture offer concepts that are timeless and thus more personally relevant to contemporary life (as opposed to addressing the simple needs of ancient goat-herders).

Without this multidimensional architecture, God’s Infinite Wisdom could not be contained within a finite Book. Nor could it offer us any coherent explanation of how the laws of nature could have logically emerged from our Lord God’s Divine Nature.

The hidden “quantum” vocabulary of Scripture is what will be revealed at the Lord’s Second Coming. The reason I can tell you of these things is because the Second Coming is taking place NOW!

Do these ideas seem anti-intuitive to you? Why?

P.S. If you would rather not wait for my book to come out, you can gain some additional information from several of my previous posts. Better yet, seek out the Swedenborg Foundation. Emanuel Swedenborg’s scientific and theological writings have provided me with the inspiration for my own projects.

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Are we a victim of circumstance?

Do you believe you are a victim of circumstance? This attitude can develop when you feel out of control of your life? That events and the situations around you  dictate how you feel. That your appetites or fears are in charge of you rather than you being in charge of them. That you are not free to break away from their hold and that life is a powerful current that you are helpless to swim against. victim of circumstanceMany have wondered about just how free anyone is to determine one’s personal destiny. Are you a victim of circumstance or have you the freedom to transcend it?

Limiting factors

We are all only too aware of the way personal freedom is restricted by lack of money, demands of parenting, or the economic recession, to mention just a few limitations commonly encountered in everyday life. From an academic viewpoint, scientists point out the myriad of factors which influence our behaviour and thus curb our liberty to do and be what we want. These factors include — to name just a few — your bodily constitution and family upbringing, any physical impairment, the chemical effects of medication and the social values of our culture. According to some scientists we are all each to some extent a victim of circumstance.

Reciprocal determinism

Yet, although the environment can be seen to determine behaviour, psychologists also talk about how we shape our own individual environment. This they call ‘reciprocal determinism’. One example is the experience of mass media. People can affect this by what video and television they individually choose to watch and what magazines they  choose to read. Another example is to do with personal interactions. We have all come across those people who seem to cope well with problems. They can be easy individuals to be with because of their rewarding conduct and charming and sincere way of dealing with others. They predictably bring about a positive social atmosphere wherever they go.

In other words although the environment around them may play an important role in determining what they do, nevertheless to some extent they make this environment themselves in how they interact with it. Perhaps we have some say in controlling our lives after all.

Inner versus outer freedom

Another reason for supposing we have more chance to take control over life is the sense of inner freedom we can experience. For example how you choose to think is something you are free to inwardly do regardless of your outward activity. You can  manufacture a self-fulfilling prophecy by the way you look for the worst or the best in others, or in the way you focus on the threats or the opportunities in any new challenge.

My favourite Greek once said:

I must die. I must be imprisoned. I must suffer exile. But must I die groaning? Must I whine as well? Can anyone hinder me from going into exile with a smile?” (Epictetus)

Not even the god Zeus could conquer his inner freedom of will.

A patient of the psychotherapist Irvin Yalom had a serious physical deformity. She believed that life without a love-sexual relationship with a man was without value — that one is either coupled or one is nothing. So she shut down many options for herself including a close non-sexual friendship. Through therapy she eventually realised that although she was not free to escape her deformity, nevertheless she was inwardly free to adopt a different attitude towards it.

Illusions of freedom

We can get ourselves caught up by negative attitudes and corrupting habits. Fears and obsessive cravings can become reinforced if repeatedly adopted. The sufferer does not realise how much of life is dictated by these feelings.

Some people drift into self-centredness. They can be caught up in the desire to exercise manipulate and control, to get even with anyone who does not please them, and get hold of anything that they fancy having by foul or fair means.

When one wants to carry on in this way it seems like one is acting freely. But I would suggest that anyone who has allowed bad desires and self-delusional thinking to predominate is actually in a state of spiritual slavery. When you are carried away with delight in something it seems like you are a free person to have chosen it. But this is self-deception.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Real freedom

According to philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, real freedom is something very different. It is having the heavenly state of mind and character to be able to receive the spiritual life unspoilt by all the negative stuff that blocks out the heat of love and light of wisdom.

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.
(Buddha)

As long as we remain attached to envy, greed, resentment and other selfish attitudes we are not free to experience deep happiness. The negative stuff first needs to be set aside if we are to gain unfettered access to the divine source of all that is good.

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

Why am I not healed?

Conventional modern medicine has made great strides, the main progress having been focussed on specially formulated chemical substances and sophisticated surgical
techniques with their high-tech electronic aids.

This has led to some truly amazing advances, but it has also resulted in specialisation and an approach to the whole subject of ‘health and wholeness’ which has been increasingly concerned with the ‘point of pain’ rather than the ‘person in pain’. This can result in the treatment of symptoms whilst an underlying cause may go undetected.

The person in pain

The human spirit that thinks, feels and experiences is neither chemical nor
computerised, but a living consciousness with non-physical (as well as
physical) dimensions. The realisation that beauty is more than skin deep is
equally true of health. The whole person is more than the outer physical shell.
There is increasing reason to question the underlying conviction of
conventional medicine that ultimately all disorders have a physical cause that
can be treated by surgery or chemistry.

Emanuel Swedenborg maintained that there is an intimate relationship between the human spirit and the human body; between the spiritual plane and the natural plane of
life. The spiritual plane is the plane of causes; the natural that of effects.
For anything to come into being it will have a spiritual origin. In the case of
diseases this can be due to a spiritual condition within ourselves or the
spiritual environment around us, or a combination of both. This is not to say
that it is all in the mind; very far from it.

A magnificent cathedral is not only in the mind, but its origin was in the mind. Its bricks and stones are a natural expression of those who built it; their sense of a sacred space – a
deeply felt spiritual reality of feeling, thought and imagination. If this is true of the buildings we inhabit, is it not very probable that it is equally true of the bodies we live in – the temple of the human soul?

To change a house to suit our needs requires thought and imagination as well as the right materials. It is surely reasonable to expect that both physical and spiritual action are needed to complement each other in health care too.

 Inner and outer health

Emanuel Swedenborg, writing during the time of the early beginnings of conventional
medicine, whilst accepting it has value, points to deeper spiritual causes:

“Things existing in the natural world are nothing else than effects; their causes exist
in the spiritual world. … If the natural part of a person’s being were
separated from the spiritual part it would be separated from the entire cause
from which it has its being and so from all that brings it life. Even so, this
does not make it impossible for a person to be healed by natural remedies, for
the Lord’s providence works in co-operation with means such as these.”
(Arcana Coelestia sections 5711, 5713)

For some, the priority is physical health, with health and wholeness of spirit,
whilst acknowledged as important, seen as of lesser importance. Swedenborg
takes a very different view. He looks at the larger perspective of life that
only has its early beginnings on the earth-plane of existence. He seeks to show
us the over-riding importance of the health and wholeness of the spirit or soul
which lives on long after our bodily outer shell.

Divine Providence, he maintains, is concerned with our physical health, but this is of secondary importance compared with the inner needs of the heart, mind and life itself
which are not material at all, but spiritual.

The placebo effect

Modern medicine well recognises that disease, stress and anxiety are significant
health risks, and the list of ‘stress-related’ illnesses includes digestive,
coronary and cancerous conditions. Too often, however, the positive placebo
effect, where recovery takes place through faith in the treatment, even if
phoney, is simply seen as something to eliminate in a clinical trial. With
notable exceptions few have looked at this as a means of healing, when it is unquestionably
powerful in its potential effect.

In looking to use and understand this ‘effect’, a constantly recurring theme in
Swedenborg’s writings needs to be reconsidered. He maintains there is a
corresponding link between spiritual and natural levels of being. Many
recognise that effects emanating from our inner state, very similar to the
placebo effect, work in a variety of ways on our health.

Consider how the ‘spiritual pollution’ of personality caused by unresolved conflicts, worry,
hatred, envy and grief undermines not just spiritual well-being but, in time, physical health also. On the positive side few deny the effects of love, humility, forgiveness, peace and prayer in the promotion of health at all levels of our being. It is high time we accepted the challenge to outgrow the myth that our state of health is no more than the state of of the molecules of which the body is composed, and face the importance of developing inner health and wholeness. Diet has its place, but so does devotion, faith and forgiveness.
It is not a case of ‘either/or’ but the holistic ‘both/and’ that accepts and affirms the spiritual dimension in healing.

Those who are not healed

To penetrate the problem of those who ‘do the right things’ yet still do find
healing, whilst others do, we need Swedenborg’s clearer understanding of
underlying causes, and the relationship between inner and outer, between
spiritual and material. Spiritual growth and the unfolding of the real meaning
of our lives involves light and dark, good and bad, health and dis-ease.

All our experiences serve a use and for the many who cry ‘why me’ there are a few,
who like the Christ, say ‘why not me’. Whilst Swedenborg does not maintain
‘these things are sent to try us’, he is clear that they are only permitted if
it is possible for some eternal benefit to our spiritual health to result.

Copyright 2012 Clifford Curry

Posted on4th August 2012CategoriesMeaning of life, SufferingTags,, , , , , , , , ,