A scandal worth emulating!

I once had a strange encounter with a man who lived a scandalous life. As a young fellow going out into the world to seek his fortune he happened to fall in love with his uncle’s younger daughter. I have to admit she had a great body and was quite beautiful to look at.

His uncle, rather than being appalled by this, turned the situation to his own benefit. He convinced his nephew to do chores for him for seven years before he would allow such a marriage. Then, at the end of the seven years this despicable uncle managed to trick his nephew into sleeping with his not-so-beautiful older daughter.

The story gets worse. The uncle then makes a deal for the young man to finally let him have his younger daughter as well. The young man, while having being tricked, makes the most of it and marries both cousins. He also has hanky-panky with both cousins, but only succeeds in impregnating the older of the two sisters, who gives birth to six male children and one girl.

Then the unimaginable happens. Both sisters fight for the young man’s attention. Since these sisters came from a well-to-do family (owning lots of livestock) they each go out of their way to offer their female maidservants as additional sexual partners for him.

What is a young man to do? Well, he had sex with all of them! More babies resulted. In fact, he finally managed to impregnate the more beautiful younger sister and she bore him a son. What a mess!

I looked at this man’s life and began to make a character judgment about him. He knew what I was thinking then made an unexpected defense for all his actions. He communicated to me that if I wanted to become more spiritual and grow closer to God I had better follow his exact same steps in life!

He was so convincing that I am now trying to follow in his footsteps and emulate his lifestyle.

His name was Jacob. I encountered him and his unique life-story in the pages of the Old Testament. However, Jacob’s story was anything but scandalous when I encountered him again and he was able to convince me of his honorable intentions within the pages of Emanuel Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia (Secrets of Heaven). This is where I was able to view Jacob’s life and actions on a whole new and more profound level. His story is actually my story and your story!

All the characters of this biblical narrative actually represented different qualities of a person’s heart and mind who begins the process of spiritual salvation. In other words, Jacob’s life is a story of how the human mind and spirit advances through stages of spiritual development. Each of Jacob’s encounters with women represented a new advance of the heart and mind. Each advance gave birth to new children, which signified bringing a new quality of spiritual activity into the world (the offspring of spiritual development).

This is why Jacob was so intimate with his relatives—they all related to qualities and the pedigree of his spiritually evolving heart and mind. They represented the progressive changes (genealogy) taking place within his inner being and all things serviceable to it. So Holy Scripture is relevant and timely, even to modern human life and society—if we know how to distill higher meaning from its stories. And there is much more spiritual detail to be distilled from the biblical narratives.

Emanuel Swedenborg offers us intellectual access to these higher meanings, without which many of the stories of God’s Holy Word offer only wacky scenarios and offer us no real guidance. God is not wasteful or trivial when it comes to the salvation of the human race. God’s message goes deep and challenges us to go beyond our habitual and everyday minds.


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Is Science Proving Swedenborg’s ideas?

A physicist friend recently sent me a link to a New York Times article called Abstract Thoughts? The Body Takes Them Literally. You can access it at:


Recent scientific research seems to validate the amazing discoveries of the 18th Century scientist/theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg claimed that there was a causal link between physical and spiritual realities. He called this link correspondences. The essential idea of correspondences is that the natural world is a physical analog (metaphor) of the spiritual world. Since an individual’s heart and mind is a man or woman’s spiritual reality, the physical body is lawfully designed to respond to one’s feelings, thoughts and mental abstractions (higher order realities) in a corresponding (embodied) way.

Apparently, this topic is part of a growing and highly popular field in Psychological Science called embodied cognition. I will share several examples from the article.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen discovered that when participants were asked to contemplate future or past events, their bodies had measurable and corresponding reactions. Those who thought of the future leaned slightly forward while those thinking of the past leaned slightly backward. In other words, an abstract concept such as time found its physical equivalent in body posture.

At Yale, a test was conducted where participants were each given a packet of information concerning an imaginary person. Group A was given a warm cup of coffee with this packet and Group B received iced coffee with the packet. You guessed it. Group A had warmer feelings towards the imagined individual while Group B’s impression was frosty. Furthermore, at the University of Toronto, participants who were asked to recall memories of times when they felt socially snubbed seemed on average to believe that the room they were in was five degrees cooler than those who were asked to recall times of feeling social acceptance.

Swedenborg claimed, two centuries earlier, that psychological love corresponded to physical heat. We even use this similitude in our language—such as experiencing a “warming of the heart” or feeling the “heat of passion.”

This psycho-physical parallelism even extends into issues of morality. Another study showed that participants who dwelled on personal bad behavior such as adultery were more likely to ask for an antiseptic cloth afterwards (to cleanse themselves) than those who dwelled on their good deeds.

Swedenborg took the idea of embodied cognition (correspondences) into theology and biblical interpretation (exegesis). He claimed that the sacred rite of Baptism was a symbolic language for depicting a cleansing of one’s negative inner qualities. In fact, the entire Holy Word had this symbolic language of correspondences incorporated into the structured scaffolding of its narratives.

In another experiment researchers determined that the sensation of “weightiness” influenced the importance participants placed on certain issues. Those holding heavier objects placed more importance to the issues that their minds were being associated with. It is a common lexicon that things we perceive as important carry more “weight.” Weight and importance correspond. Powerful ideas affect the human spirit just as natural objects—with lots of mass—can affect the physical body.

Similarly we can feel miles apart from people who are physically close and very near to those who are miles away. What this means is that the body and mind are aware of another reality that makes use of an entirely different kind of metrics (standard of measurement). Swedenborg boldly stated that the spiritual world contained these non-physical metrics—measurements, boundaries and parameters that represent the quality of one’s love and its derivative thoughts (non-material trajectories).

My first book Sermon From The Compost Pile shows the reader how to employ this symbolic language of embodied cognition or correspondence to all things in the physical world of nature so that one can find spiritual wisdom right in their own garden or backyard.

My second book Proving God offers further insights to where this new science of embodied cognition can take us. It is the lawful and rational means by which science and theology will be ultimately unified!




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Do We Underestimate God’s Intelligence?

We often describe our lives as having peaks and valleys. No one misinterprets these words as meaning geological formations. Metaphor, that is, using physical objects to represent psychological qualities is a common part of our language. It is an example of the human cognitive function of thinking in abstract terms.

Why is it that we do not ascribe this ability of abstract thought to God, who reputedly possesses Infinite Wisdom?

For instance, in Genesis 11:2, we are given a scenario in which a population of people journeyed from the east and settled into a valley in the land of Shinar. It is in this valley that the people begin the construction of a tower that would reach up into heaven itself.

This biblical story is taken as historical truth by most theologians, clergy and the laity.

But a funny thing happens when we look at this story as a metaphor. It becomes much more theological, more doctrinal, and provides a much more potent lesson that is relevant to our lives.

So let’s put on our thinking caps and move beyond our habitual minds. Let’s look at Scripture with an eye to seek out not simply historical truth but deeper, psycho-spiritual truths.

In ancient times people would turn to the east to worship God. Since the sun rose in the east, this gesture symbolized orienting oneself to God’s enlightening truth. Therefore, when we read Genesis 11:2, journeying from the “east” means people putting distance between themselves and God. In fact, it symbolizes turning one’s back on God.

Settling in a “valley” represents that they had settled into a lower form of worship with a diminished and inferior understanding of religion. In other words, the worship of God hit a new low, and had sunken to a new level.

It is from this low and inferior level of faith that they decided to build an edifice that could reach heaven. Such an edifice was founded on a worship built on incorrect and false principles. This false worship is further underscored by their choosing to build the tower with bricks. Since bricks are man-made, they signify worship made artificial, that is, a fabricated worship.

Like bricks fired and baked hard in a kiln, all false principles are forged from the “fire” of self-love and self guidance – further evidence of a people putting psychological distance between themselves and God.

Bitumen was used for the mortar. Bitumen is a sulfurous or inflammable substance. It denotes the passion of self-love that can burn in people’s hearts. Self-love is in opposition to loving God and the neighbor. Only true spiritual love keeps things connected and glued. Therefore, the mortar (bitumen), which represented the quality of their selfish love, could not hold their edifice of perverted doctrine and worship together. As a result, they became a confounded people and were at variance with each other.

If you do not think that God would stack levels of deeper meaning within the words of Holy Scripture then you are most certainly underestimating the true nature of Infinite Wisdom.


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The pregnant woman standing on the moon

woman on moonOne of the most ultra-fantastic scenes portrayed in Holy Scripture is in the Revelation chapter (Apocalypse) where a pregnant woman is standing on the moon and a Great Dragon is threatening her (see Rev 12: 1-3).

Here, faith runs up against reasoning. Such a situation seems impossible to our rational minds, and therefore the Bible cannot be inerrant (always true).

Why would the Creator promote such nonsense? Perhaps this scenario (and all the others in the Lord’s Word) is designed to address a higher spiritual mind, which angels enjoy, but terrestrial humans only have as a potential ability.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg proved this was indeed the case, and with the Lord God’s guidance, was able to interpret the Bible’s narratives from higher, corresponding meanings, which were contained within the literal words and used to communicate its stories.

Nothing new about religious doctrine will ever be distilled from Scripture without penetrating beyond our literal thinking.

For instance, a pregnant woman standing above the moon represents a love for truth from its source (God). This orientation “stands” above the more external or reflected knowledge of one’s intellect and memory (the moon reflects the sun’s light—which she is clothed in, thus elevating her quality).

The reason for her pregnancy is that the quality of such an affection and love will give birth to a new understanding of spiritual matters. Her pregnancy pain represents that this new spiritual offspring will meet big resistance among the status quo thinking of the world. The Great Red Dragon represents this big resistance. The Dragon symbolizes a population of people who feel threatened by this birth (a new spiritual dispensation) and who want to put an end to it, before it changes the world’s current institutions and paradigms.

So, the shocking revelation here is that the Great Red Dragon could be represented by our life’s actions! So be on your toes. Because it also seems that this new, more dynamic thinking about spiritual realities will be coming to a neighborhood close to you!

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