Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg would blow the doors off of Charles Darwin’s foundational book on evolutionary biology The Origin of Species. Rather than approaching evolution from a materialist or naturalist position, Swedenborg’s model was both theological and scientific.
Everything in nature has order and orientation. That is why life can be classified into coherent genera and species (general and specific categories). That all life is rationally organized into orders with orientation is evidenced by the fact that life evolved towards interconnectedness, interrelatedness and interdependence. The biosphere is organized into a unified ecosystem consisting of profound relationships.
The ecosystem supports each of its species just as each species supports the whole ecosystem. This organic template is continued within each species’ internal bio-structure, where each organ and cell support the bodily system and the bodily system supports each organ and cell. In fact, all organic function is a harmonious orchestration of tasks and utility (division of labor).
Swedenborg would not only challenge the notion of natural selection, but the notion of anything physical as being foundational. He claimed that the special harmonious arrangement and endless complexity in nature was a physical analog or mirror image of a deeper reality—of God’s infinite goodness (the essence of love is to unify through cooperation and reciprocity).
God’s goodness, being infinite, comes in many, many non-material forms—all of which can be classified into real genera and species with order and orientation. Because God is ultimate life, these spiritual forms are living forms of utility seeking realization as outcomes of measurement in time and space. Nothing is created in nature unless it can represent some measurement and quantification of goodness and usefulness. God can lawfully act in the finite world because divine qualities of love can flow into and maintain forms of goodness that are oriented to an eternal plan (God can even flow into and allow evil if it can serve the divine eternal plan—but that is another topic).
According to Swedenborg, the different species of God’s goodness find and create their physical equivalence and analog in the different relationships of nature’s various and orchestrated genera and species. The appearance of the human race in nature was to serve God’s evolutionary purpose of creating a spiritual biosphere (called heaven). When an individual embraces God’s tenets and spiritual values, he or she takes the process of evolution into a non-physical realm by organizing their feelings and ideas into a nobler order (genera and species) and orientation (a heaven-bound life).
After the death of the physical body, individuals find themselves in the spiritual environment and ecosystem that they fashioned—an environment perfectly reflecting all the qualities of their heart and mind (which is one’s spiritual reality)!
If you don’t believe that there can be living organization in a non-material realm, simply contemplate the fact that human understanding is dependent on the real organization, order and orientation of one’s ideas and knowledge—this is non-physical structure and complexity! The human mind and first-person experience (consciousness) certainly is not under the same constraints as physical matter, and human memory is not limited like physical water in a certain size bottle.
This topic needs a whole book to explain. So I have done just that. I have written a new book entitled Proving God. It is just days away from being available on Amazon.
A daring work that unifies Science and Theology
by challenging many of the world’s current beliefs about both