The True and False Theory of Evolution

The Swedenborg Digital Library. Books about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

from Chauncey Giles, The True and False Theory of Evolution (Philadelphia:  William H. Alden 1887)

A pertinent-as-ever elegant analysis of the evolution theory in the light of the teachings of the Second Coming

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The True and False Theory of Evolution

by Rev. Chauncey Giles

Table of Contents

Introduction

Lecture I: The True And The False Theory Of Evolution

Lecture II: The Origin And Nature Of Life

Lecture III: The Descent Of Man

Lecture IV: Heredity

Lecture V: Environment

Lecture VI: Degrees And Correspondence

To Lecture I
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Putting the “squeeze” on Jesus

The Lord’s life on earth represented the ultimate Valentine’s Day message and gift. He came into the world and assumed a human body because he loved us all.

However, the need for God to take on a human body for the sake of salvation is not clearly understood. Theologically, the current central Christian belief is that God the Father sent to earth and sacrificed His beloved Son. While the Father was touched by this sacrifice there were still contingencies—Jehovah God would only save those individuals whom Jesus gave the nod to (called the “elect”).

This means that only one of the Gods of the Holy Trinity loves us while another has serious misgivings—or at least, whose love is conditional. There is something anti-intuitive about any Divine quality of love being conditional and therefore, not embracing Infinite Mercy.

Emanuel Swedenborg had another idea about all this. He boldly claimed that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh! Before your head explodes consider this—even in the current elaboration of Trinitarian doctrine, Jesus is considered equally a God with Jehovah. If this is true why does Jesus show signs of human fearfulness towards His impending crucifixion at Gethsemane?

The Lord knew ahead of time not only of the crucifixion but also of the triumphant outcome and glorification. Why would someone who was equally a God in the Trinitarian scheme be frightened or lack any confidence from a sure thing? An easy answer might be that because the Lord had a physical body he was susceptible to pain and human fear.

I can buy into that.

However, at Gethsemane, when Jesus was sweating blood because of the intensity of his impending crucifixion, why would the Lord need to pray for the Father’s help? And why would the Lord need an angel to give Him confidence to move forward? Could Jesus not tap into His own divine powers?

Swedenborg says He did! Since Jesus and Jehovah were actually one and the same Deity, the Lord praying among the olive trees was simply a communication between His imperfect human nature (the flesh) and His perfect Divine Nature (Jehovah). Jehovah represented the Lord’s Divine Soul but having taken on a physical body, Divine and Holy things were mixed into the human gene pool (from Mary). This was the means by which the Lord could take on humanity’s sins and conquer them. Jesus made His flesh comply perfectly to the dictates of the Father’s will (the Lord’s Divine Soul) through a life of victories over human temptations and compulsions. The word “Gethsemane” means “olive press.” Which is a fitting term for someone who was being “squeezed” and feeling the cosmic “pressure” to succeed.

This is why there was an empty tomb—the Lord made His flesh equally holy with His Divine Essence (Jehovah). This process of glorification allowed the Lord to gain power over heaven and earth.

When we approach the Lord to guide our lives, we gain access to this holy power in overcoming our own temptations and compulsions. I like Swedenborg’s theology because it shows that Jehovah God has an eternal and endless love for the human race. He came into the world to make His Truth visible to the world of men and women. Divine Truth is the only begotten Son of Divine Love. Truth puts Love on display, just as Jesus’ life on earth put His Father’s (His divine spirit’s) infinite love and mercy on display.

The true message of our Lord’s life on earth is the world’s greatest Valentine’s Day message in history!

http://www.provinggod.com

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Alternations of NO Life and of REAL Life in Regeneration

A portion of a passage from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
When man is being regenerated, he receives life from the Lord; for before this he cannot be said to have lived, the life of the world and of the body not being life, but only that which is heavenly and spiritual. Through regeneration man receives real life from the Lord; and because he had no life before, there is an alternation of no life and of real life, that is, of no faith and charity, and of some faith and charity; no charity and faith being here signified by “cold” and some faith and charity by “heat.”

As regards this subject the case is this: Whenever man is in his corporeal and worldly things, there is then no faith and charity, that is, there is “cold” for then corporeal and worldly things, consequently those which are his own, are at work, and so long as the man is in these, he is absent or remote from faith and charity, so that he does not even think about heavenly and spiritual things. The reason of this is that heavenly and corporeal things can never be together in a man, for man’s will has been utterly ruined. But when the things of man’s body and will are not at work, but are quiescent, then the Lord works through his internal man, and then he is in faith and charity, which is here called “heat.” When he again returns into the body he is again in cold; and when the body, or what is of the body, is quiescent, and as nothing, he is then in heat, and so on in alternation. For such is the condition of man that heavenly and spiritual things cannot be in him along with his corporeal and worldly things, but there are alternations. This is what takes place with everyone who is to be regenerated, and it goes on as long as he is in a state of regeneration; for in no other way is it possible for man to be regenerated, that is, from being dead to be made alive, for the reason, as already said, that his will has been utterly ruined, and is therefore completely separated from the new will, which he receives from the Lord and which is the Lord’s and not the man’s. Hence now it is evident what is here signified by “cold and heat.”

That such is the case every regenerated man may know from experience, that is to say, that when he is in corporeal and worldly things, he is absent and remote from internal things, so that he not only takes no thought about them, but feels in himself cold at the thought of them; but that when corporeal and worldly things are quiescent, he is in faith and charity. He may also know from experience that these states alternate, and that therefore when corporeal and worldly things begin to be in excess and to want to rule, he comes into straits and temptations, until he is reduced into such a state that the external man becomes compliant to the internal, a compliance it can never render until it is quiescent and as it were nothing.

The last posterity of the Most Ancient Church could not be regenerated, because – with them the things of the understanding and of the will constituted one mind; and therefore the things of their understanding could not be separated from those of their will, so that they might in this manner be by turns in heavenly and spiritual things, and in corporeal and worldly things; but they had continual cold in regard to heavenly things and continual heat in regard to cupidities, so that they could have no alternation.

(Arcana Coelestia 933)
January 13, 2015

Swedenborg and Life

Swedenborg Foundation

Featured on our offTheLeftEye YouTube channelSwedenborg and Life is a weekly web series that explores life and death through the uplifting perspectives of eighteenth-century spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Each week, host Curtis Childs from the Swedenborg Foundation and featured guests explore an intriguing new topic from Swedenborg’s afterlife explorations, which could include anything from Bible interpretations to modern near-death experiences and more. Tune in every Monday night at 8 p.m. ET, or catch up now by watching our most recent episodes below.

Learn more about the Swedenborg and Life production team or find ways to show your support for the web series in Fan Resources!

This Week’s Episode:

Watch live on Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET by tuning in to our YouTube channel. Not available then? Subscribe to offTheLeftEye and save episodes to your Watch Later list by clicking the “+Add to” button.

Why Are Spiritual Things Hard to Believe?

Aired Monday, May 1, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. ET

Our minds deal with physical illusions all the time. How might we apply this capacity to our spiritual journeys?

Watch now or use the “+Add to” button on YouTube to Watch Later

Read a recap of this episode


Previous Episodes:

Watch pre-recorded episodes from this past month’s topics below.

View our entire Swedenborg and Life Playlist on YouTube.

  • 10 Early Signs of a Spiritual Awakening

    Aired Monday, April 24, 2017

    Delving into Swedenborg’s dream journal gives a rare insight into the two-year process of his spiritual awakening—and some hints about what it might be like for others.

    Watch now or use the “+Add to” button on YouTube to Watch Later

    Read a recap of this episode

  • Why Did Jesus Suffer and Die?

    Aired Monday, April 17, 2017

    What was the significance of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus? Swedenborg offers us a different way to understand how Jesus bore our sins and saved us.

    Watch now or use the “+Add to” button on YouTube to Watch Later

    Read a recap of this episode

  • Spiritual Questions Answered 10

    Aired Monday, April 10, 2017

    Our philosophically-minded panel is here to discuss your questions about God, existence, religion, spirituality, the afterlife, and more!

    Watch now or use the “+Add to” button on YouTube to Watch Later

    Read a recap of this episode

 

 


  • About Swedenborg and Life

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    Host Curtis Childs from the Swedenborg Foundation and featured guests explore topics from Swedenborg’s eighteenth-century writings about his spiritual experiences and afterlife explorations and discuss how they relate to modern-day life and death in a lighthearted and interactive live webcast format.
    View the entire Swedenborg and Life Playlist

  • About offTheLeftEye

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    When we wake up in heaven, Swedenborg tells us, angels roll a covering from off of our left eye so that we can see everything in a spiritual light. The offTheLeftEye YouTube channel uses an array of educational and entertaining video formats to look at life and death through an uplifting spiritual lens.
    View our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel 

    http://www.swedenborg.com/

Forgiveness, mercy, and justice

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison, and then waiting around for the rat to die.” (Anne Lamott)

Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things you’re faced with.

It could be about forgiving yourself, or about forgiving someone else for some horrible deed. It’s hard, but not impossible. But forgiveness is not about excusing what someone has done. It’s about letting go of it, and moving on with your life.

Forgiveness, mercy, and justice

What do you do when forgiveness is called for?

Some scenarios:

  • Someone recklessly cuts in front of you on the highway, almost forcing you off the road.
  • Your friend still has not paid back the fifty dollars he “borrowed” a year ago.
  • Your family has been criticizing your life-style.
  • You find out that your spouse has been unfaithful.

What do you do in situations like these? Can you forgive them? Should you forgive? Or should you “Give them what’s coming to them”?

We all know that the Bible teaches us to forgive others. But sometimes it seems like it is impossible to forgive, because the wrong that has been done is so great. Sometimes it seems like it just wouldn’t be fair to be merciful.

Mercy

When there seems to be a conflict between mercy and justice, it may be that we do not clearly understand the nature of genuine forgiveness and mercy. The Bible teaches us to show mercy in a way that lets us be both fair and genuinely useful to all involved.

One reason we sometimes get confused about mercy, is that we tend to replace mercy with artificial substitutes. Essentially, mercy is a Divine quality. “To You, O Lord, belongs mercy.” (Psalm 62: 12) Divine Mercy has nothing in common with the petty revenge and “get-even” kind of “fairness” that tends to occupy our thoughts. And it has little in common with the superficial pardon or even condoning of evil that is sometimes passed off as mercy. The Lord’s thoughts are far more merciful than ours. It is in speaking of His mercy that the Lord says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways.” (Isaiah 55: 7-9)

One of the things that distinguishes true mercy from its substitutes is its constancy. Peter came to the Lord asking, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18: 21, 22) A truly forgiving person will not show mercy one moment and malice the next, because the two cannot mix together. For example, to forgive your friends but not your enemies is not true mercy, because it would be done for the sake of some favor you might get in return. “Love your enemies…. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?” (Matthew 5: 44-46) We can only be truly merciful by completely rejecting any desire for malice or revenge.

This perfectly reflects the way the Lord shows mercy to us. We tend to think that the Lord is changing His mind when He forgives us, as if He decided not to punish us after all. Of course He does not really change His mind at all. He knows and foresees all things. He does not desire to hurt one day and heal the next. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1: 17) He is always a loving and gentle Father. “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103: 17) “`For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Isaiah 54: 10) Thus forgiveness is not the Lord changing His mind about us. Rather, it is the Lord changing our minds about Him.

Another quality that marks genuine mercy is that it involves helping the person who has wronged us. Sometimes we think that a person should earn our forgiveness. We refuse to give up our bitter feelings unless the other person makes an effort to earn our good will. This gives us an excuse to feel sorry for ourselves and to neglect helping the other person do better. However, the time to help a person is when he needs it. Mercy and forgiveness involve helping a person who has done wrong do better, not waiting until he does better and then helping him. That’s why the Lord said, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5: 44, 45)

Another way we sometimes avoid helping those who have hurt us is by misapplying the phrase “forgive and forget.” It is good to forget your own malice. Is is something else to forget that the other person may need our strength or discipline. We might think that forgiving implies forgetting that evil was ever committed. However, the Bible does not tell us simply to forget about the evil in other people. Rather, we are to actively help others face their faults and overcome them. “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him: and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17: 3) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, your have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18: 15) “Brethren, if a person is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6: 1)

Helping others over their faults is not inconsistent with mercy. It is part of mercy. In fact that is exactly how the Lord forgives us. He is always willing to help us do better. “I will cleanse you from all your filthiness…. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.” (Ezekiel 36: 25, 26) Notice how the Lord showed mercy to the woman taken in adultery: He said, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8: 10, 11) He didn’t forget her sin — He encouraged her to overcome it. In fact, we would never be able to overcome our faults without the Lord’s power. If we had to earn His mercy we would be lost. The Lord says, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.” (Isaiah 1: 16)a And yet this is something that is accomplished only by His mercy and forgiveness, because He is the one who can put away our sin and remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 65: 3; Psalm 103: 12)

The Lord asks for us simply to do for others what He does for us. “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6: 36) Our forgiveness should be constant and unconditional because He forgives us that way. Yet in our mercy we may confront others with their evil in order to help them become better people, just as the Lord in His mercy confronts us with our evil so that we may overcome it and accept the love and mercy He offers.

Forgiveness of sins

The Lord immediately forgives us of everything thing that we ever do that is wrong because He is love and mercy itself. The premise is that we have to stop doing a questionable behavior in order for the forgiveness to mean anything, because until we stop the Lord’s love and mercy can not enter in and find a place with us. It is never that the Lord is not willing to forgive us, but that we are unwilling to change our behavior and let His forgiveness have effect in our life.

by Rev. John Odhner
Author of A Light Burden

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“Love to God and love towards the neighbor are the whole of the Word.”

True Christian Religion 287

Falsity

New Christian Bible StudyNew Christian Bible Study

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We know, in a general sense, what “false” means. It’s the wrong answer on a “true or false” test; it’s saying 2+2=5; it’s saying that the sky is green and the clouds are orange.

That simplicity, however, comes from applying the idea of “truth” to simple, concrete facts. It gets much trickier when we try to apply the idea to the things we love and feel.

Consider, for instance, the idea that “you’ve got to look out for yourself, because no one else is going to.” Is that true- It feels true in a way, and seems to apply to a lot of real-world situations. To some degree, no matter how high-minded we might be, we have to take care of ourselves if we’re going to be any good to anyone else. But if we take that idea and make it central to our lives, will it help us be loving people- Or will it encourage selfishness, which is pretty strong in most of us anyway- Clearly the answer is the latter.

Swedenborg would label that a “falsity,” because it is ultimately a description of how to be selfish. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” would, by contrast, be labeled a “truth” because it is a description of how to be caring and kind. Basically, statements describing or springing from love of the Lord and love of the neighbor are “truth” and those springing from love of self or love of worldly things are “falsity.”

You might wonder why that is. The fact that “look out for yourself” is selfish doesn’t make it necessarily untrue; it’s a selfish world!

But in Swedenborg’s theology, the universe and reality itself are direct products of the Lord’s infinite love, and are thus ultimately expressions of love. The only reason selfishness exists is that the Lord created us with freedom, which includes the ability we have to reject His love and turn it toward ourselves instead. The Lord’s every intention and purpose is to get us turn away from ourselves and toward Him; if we do that, reality can fulfill its loving purpose.

True reality, then, is completely loving, and expressions that reflect and support that loving nature are “true” – they are aligned with reality in its purest, greatest and intended form. Statements that reject and deny that loving nature are “false” because they are contrary to reality’s true form.

But there’s an argument: Couldn’t someone use the idea that “you’ve got to look out for yourself, because no one else is going to” to become strong and self-reliant, in a better position to help others, and use it to be a better person- Yes, they could ᾢ ideas that are essentially false can at times be used for good purposes. In a broad application, religious systems can have false ideas about the Lord, but still lead people to good lives and ultimately to heaven. On the flip side, ideas that are essentially true can be used for evil purposes (“love thy neighbor” could prompt giving aid to someone engaged in evil, for instance). “Truth” only becomes truly real when it is married to the desire for good; “falsity” only becomes truly real when it is married to the desire for evil.

(References: Apocalypse Explained 734; Apocalypse Explained 526 [1-2]; Conjugial Love 428; Divine Providence 318; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 171)

http://newchristianbiblestudy.org/

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Terrorists – How to respond to them?

terrorists
Celebrating a terrorist’s death

Bin Laden’s death after a decade on the run unloosed a national wave of euphoria in the USA mixed with memory of the thousands who died in the Sept. 11th 2001, from attacks by terrorists. Crowds celebrated throughout the night outside the White House and at ground zero in Lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers once stood. Thousands of students in many college towns spilled into the streets and set off firecrackers to mark the moment.

Killing unarmed terrorists

Although details of the raid remain sketchy, one can’t help wondering if the US could have tried harder to capture bin Laden alive and put him on trial rather than carrying out a summary execution. We don’t know to what extent if any there was any danger to the attacking forces bursting in on bin Laden of him detonating a hidden explosive device. The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Williams, said: “I think the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done.” Few pundits have resisted the opportunity to ridicule him for this. Were they right to do this or was he right in what he said?

Just how should we react to terrorists? How should we deal with those who murder or incite murder?

Punishing terrorists

We all need to live and work without fear in a fair and peaceful society. Those in authority must protect us from violence. The ideal of course is to prosecute such people in the courts of justice with a view to secure custody for all our protection. Many people believe that the threat of punishment sometimes deters violence and murder. Even if crimes of passion cannot always be deterred, as perhaps is the case with some terrorists, at least punishment teaches the rest what is unacceptable behaviour.

But punishment is also viewed as ‘them getting what they deserve’ – in other words, retribution. I can’t help wondering if the motive for the Americans trespassing on another country’s sovereign territory and engaging in assassination was rather like an act of revenge – a natural response but hardly a spiritual one. It smacks of getting one’s own back for wounded pride and asserting one’s dominance.

Hatred for terrorists

Spiritually speaking, hatred is not a healthy emotion – it burns up relationships, families and communities. And so it might be argued that responding to violence with violence just feeds violence and that Bin Laden is more dangerous dead than alive. After all Al-Qa’eda is no longer a mere organisation but a global franchise that now has a martyr helping recruitment to its cause. He will become a murdered unarmed hero in the eyes of those in the Middle East experiencing deep rage against the West.

Many justify assassination as ‘rough justice’ when the alternative of arrest and prosecution is not available – as a justifiable act of ‘war on evil’. But terrorists justify their violence as an act of war on the evil of the West.

Judging actions and character of terrorists

Are both sides not making a mistake? Is it not simplistic to see human behaviour only in terms of good and evil? According to this view we can say terrorism is evil but not conclude that a specific terrorist is evil. Why not? Well if we think about it, we realise that there are people who do not seem to believe that acts of terror are wrong. Mind you, they must realise nearly everybody believes this to be true. However, knowing what society says is wrong is different from understanding why it is wrong and acknowledging one should not do it. It is different again from wanting in one’s heart to turn away from wrongdoing. If a young person has grown up among adults who habitually fight members of other tribes and are proud of their warrior status, we can hardly expect him or her to realise that such behaviour is really bad even if one is not caught.

If we brand someone as evil, we neglect our own faults. We get so taken up with condemnation that we neglect what it is about our own behaviour that requires examination, like the decadence in parts of Western culture, our uncritical support for Israel against the Palestinians, and our support of Arab autocrats for the sake of oil.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-LacyAuthor of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems