Can God play a governing role in a universe maintained by scientific laws?

 

The quick answer is “yes.”

But the problem with such a question is that it assumes that scientists have got it right. According to scientist/theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg, God is law and order itself. Therefore, God does not violate scientific laws (even with miracles) when acting in the world. Swedenborg proposed a different model of scientific law that included many of the elements found in relativity theory, quantum physics and multi-dimensional string theory but were more in tune with God’s Holy nature.

Swedenborg’s approach to the physics ruling the universe on a fundamental level is based on spiritual laws operating in a non-physical realm. The closest thing modern science has to this idea of causal process is the notion of pre-geometry.

While scientists have a big problem grasping how dynamics and action can take place in a realm whose laws are stripped of their normal involvement with time and space, Swedenborg had no such difficulties.

Swedenborg stated that the future (God’s eternal goal) is present in all finite and temporal events. All finite events refer to a universal trajectory—so God’s Infinite and eternal activity can be involved completely at every point in space and sequence in time to promote this continuity of law and process.

Differential and integral calculus offers mathematical support for such laws of continuity within a universe in process. An action (real-valued function) converges to a limit. In mathematics, numbers do the tending. But in God’s scheme, endeavor or spirit seeks to become fixed within spacetime constraints. The nature of continuity is that action results from the endeavor (force) of a function adapting trajectory and finite form precisely to the endeavor’s disposition and quality. Each recovers the other as a correspondence or similitude. Just as there is a reciprocal relationship between action and its derivative form, there is reciprocal relationship between a particular (which commands the function) and a holistic event. Even in quantum physics, all action comes in wholes (Quanta or parcels). But in quantum physics the particulars become fuzzy and unobservable.

The current measurement problem in quantum physics is due to scientists finding no causal kinship by which quantum tendencies (probability distributions) could generate actual results through the principle of resemblance and affinity. In other words, the outcomes of measurement in quantum physics are not seen as represented through any form of self-similarity from this indeterminate substrate and microscopic scale. Some physicists have speculated that a principle of correspondence is involved by which quantum physics gives way to, and transforms into classical physics on the larger scales we can directly experience. On this larger scale, it is profoundly obvious that nature is on an incessant course towards self-organization. If there is self-consistency and continuity working in the laws of nature (as scientists believe) then this endeavor towards increased complexity in the universe must be inherent in first principles (and thus also apply to quantum physics).

From everything discussed so far, this means that if God is ruling things, all process, coherent structure and complexity in the manifest universe must recover a spiritual and unifying first principle. The universe is indeed unified.

Swedenborg claimed this spiritual first principle and primal (a piori) creative substance is LOVE. The essence of love is to unite through reciprocation and cooperation. All coherent organization consists of reciprocal functions in both the orderly motions of star systems and in the evolved and orderly processes of bio-complexity. So all orderly things in the universe are an analog and expression of God’s infinite love.

God can therefore lawfully act in the world by focusing infinite action at every point in space and sequence in time to recover spiritual love as an ultimate goal through an evolutionary trajectory. This is why religion has been given to the human race—which has the intelligence and psychical capacity for promoting sincere mutual love.

These are some of the topics my upcoming book “Proving God” addresses.

http://www.provinggod.com

Posted in god, love, metaphysics, Reality, religion, science, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Causes

HR90 The Science Of Correspondence

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                                                                                                           CAUSES
Ca784That natural things represent spiritual things, and that they correspond, may also be known from the fact that what is natural cannot possibly come forth except  from a  cause prior to itself. Its cause is from what is spiritual; and there is nothing natural which does not thence derive its cause. Natural forms are effects; nor can they appear as causes, still less as causes of causes, or beginnings; but they receive their forms according to the use in the place where they are; and yet the forms of the effects represent the things which are of the causes; and indeed these latter things represent those which are of the beginnings. Thus all natural things represent those which are of the spiritual things to which they correspond; and in fact the spiritual things also represent those which are of the celestial things from which they are. [AC2991]

The correspondence of the will and understanding with the heart and lungs cannot be abstractly proved, that is, by mere reasonings, but it may be proved by effects. It is much the same as it is with the causes of things which can be seen rationally, yet not clearly except by means of effects; for causes are in effects, and by means of effects make themselves visible; and until causes are thus made visible, the mind is not assured respecting them. In what follows, the effects of this correspondence will be described. But lest any one should fall into ideas of this correspondence imbibed from hypotheses about the soul, let him first read over carefully the propositions in the preceding chapter, as follows: Love and wisdom, and the will and understanding therefrom, make the very life of man (n. 363, 365). The life of man is in first principles in the brains, and in derivatives in the body (n. 365). Such as life is in first principles, such it is in the whole and in every part (n. 366).  By means of these first principles life is in the whole from every part, and in every part from the whole (n. 367). Such as the love is, such is the wisdom, consequently such is the man (n. 368). [DLW375]

Ends are in the first degree, causes in the second, and effects in the third.

Ends   Who does not see that the end is not the cause, but that it produces the cause, and that the cause is not the effect, but that it produces the effect; consequently that they are three distinct things which follow in order? The end with man is the love of his will, for what a man loves, this he proposes to himself and intends; the cause with him is the reason of his understanding, for by means of it the end seeks for mediate or efficient causes; and the effect is the operation of the body from them and according to them. Thus there are three things in man, which follow each other in order, in like manner as the degrees of altitude follow each other. When these three things appear in act, then the end is inwardly in the cause, and the end through the cause is in the effect, wherefore the three coexist in the effect. On this account it is said in the Word, that everyone shall be judged according to his works; for the end, or the love of his will, and the cause, or the reason of his understanding, are together in the effects, which are the works of his body; thus the quality of the whole man is in them.

They who do not know these things, and do not thus distinguish the objects of reason, cannot avoid terminating the ideas of their thought in the atoms of Epicurus, the monads of Leibnitz, or in the simple substances of Wolff, and thus they close up their understandings as with a bolt, so that they cannot even think from reason concerning spiritual influx, because they cannot think concerning any progression; for the author says concerning his simple substance, that if it is divided it falls into nothing. Thus the understanding stands still in its first light, which is merely from the senses of the body, and does not advance a step further. Hence it is not known but that the spiritual is a subtile natural, and that beasts have a rational as well as men, and that the son is a breath of wind such as is breathed forth from the breast when a person dies; besides many things which are not of light but of thick darkness. Since all things in the spiritual world and all things in the natural world proceed according to these degrees, as was shown in the preceding article, it is evident that intelligence properly consists in knowing and extinguishing them, and seeing them in their order. By means of these degrees, also, every man is known as to his quality, when his love is known; for, as was said above, the end which is of the will, and the causes which are of the understanding, and the effects which are of the body, follow from his love, as a tree from its seed, and as fruit from the tree. There are three kinds of loves, the love of heaven, the love of the world, and the love of self; the love of heaven is spiritual, the love of the world is material, and the love of self is corporeal. When the love is spiritual, all the things which follow from it, as forms from their essence, derive their spiritual nature; similarly if the principal love is the love of the world or of wealth, and thus is material, all the things which follow from it, as derivatives from their principle derive their material nature; likewise if the principal love is the love of self, or of eminence above all others, and thus is corporeal, all the things which follow from it derive their corporeal nature. The reason is, because the man who is in this love regards himself alone, and thus immerses the thoughts of his mind in his body. Wherefore, as was just now said, he who knows the ruling love of anyone, and at the same time the progression of ends to causes and of causes to effects, which three things follow in order according to the degrees of altitude, knows the whole man. Thus the angels of heaven know everyone with whom they speak; they perceive his love from the tone of his speech; and they see his image from his face, and his character from the gestures of his body. [ISB17]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/causes.htm

Copyright © 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

Higher Meaning

 

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 Welcome to

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INTRODUCTION
to Higher Meaning web site.

What do we mean by “higher meaning”?

Symbols (such as words or phrases) are meaningless without some association with contexts (such as definitions). The contexts give the symbol its meaning.   A word can be used in a number of contexts that correspond to its obvious, literal sense.

How “high” a meaning is depends on the importance, or value, of its context.    In order to measure the relative height of corresponding meanings we need to agree upon a value scale.  Of course that is impossible. Not everyone can agree on what is of most value.  However, we can be more objective if we take a global view and consider what is most important to the welfare of the largest number of people. Better yet, let’s take a cosmic view.  The Creator of heaven and earth set the values by creating a universal heaven composed of angelic humans from all globes.

The context values thus proposed in descending order of height are as follows:

o     God in the highest.
o     Next, that which relates to conjunction with Him in heavenly love.
o     Then that which relates to His angels in mutual love.
o     That which relates to human society in the spiritual world.
o     That which relates to human society in the natural world .
o     That which relates to the human mind and those who develop it.
o     That which relates to the human body and to those who stay bound to it.

What do we mean by “correspondence”?

     The term “correspondence” of two symbolic meanings is used frequently in this Higher Meaning web site and generally refers to the mutual symmetry, harmony, correlation, and communication of the symbolic contexts.  For more discussion on definitions of correspondence please see the following:

o     Emanuel Swedenborg, Teachings about Correspondences,  from The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine Index.
o     ANC Anthology, Bringing Correspondences Into the Curriculum, under the subtopic of DEFINITIONS of correspondence.
o     Browse the Papers button on the navigation bar.  All the books and essays have some reference to correspondence(s).  That web page also has a search engine.

http://www.highermeaning.org/

 

Scripture – Is it uncivilised dogma?

scriptureOn the face of it, much of the Bible and Qu’ran is dogmatic and sometimes unintelligible. Scripture contains scientific misconceptions. Also it has outmoded rules of living for example about food consumption and animal sacrifices.

There are references to historical events that seem unrelated to being alive today. One also notices all sorts of horrible things. In parts of the Bible, we can find a punitive deity and barbaric acts of inhumanity .

So, you might wonder what kind of divine authorship is supposed to be behind this scripture?

Myth in scripture

scriptureOne point of view is that just because a book is old it doesn’t have to be outdated. Philosophers read Aristotle and Plato and find lots of contemporary human interest in them. There’s no reason why the moral insights of religious texts like the general commands about honouring one’s parents, not killing, or not stealing should be any different. The so-called Golden Rule is that you should treat others as you want to be treated yourself. This you find in all sorts of religious texts. You see versions of that in Aristotle.

For many people the creation story in Genesis is a myth. But I would like to suggest that the word myth should not be understood as meaning something that is not true. Doesn’t a myth convey something of a deeper truth about the human condition – something not supposed to be taken literally?

One can likewise wonder whether there is also wisdom beneath the surface of other parts of scripture: – its historical narrative, visionary material, prophecy, and poetry. If present, it has usually remained hidden to many.

Attitude to reading scripture

My own experience is that when I have try to focus my mind on a text and slowly reflect on its possible meaning, only then can I start to sense a deeper message. I feel a personal relevance.

The truth that what you will find in the text depends on your commitment you show to the text, why you’re reading it and what you want to find in it.” (Anonymous teacher of Judaism – British Library website)

A danger lurks here. I can find myself proudly claiming I now know what scripture says and I want to tell others what to think.

“Our understanding of God’s word will be fallible because we are finite beings. It is arrogant to raise our interpretation to infallible truth and thus start to deny the truth that other people hold in their interpretation.” (anonymous Muslim speaker – British Library website)

If there is a God – an infinite Being beyond full human understanding – then a bit of humility from me is called for. Perhaps I have only partly had a glimmer of the truth and what is true for me works a little differently for you.

Spiritual Teaching

Mind you, I’m not saying scripture is the only source of wisdom. We value what we have learned from parents and teachers who have been part of our upbringing and education. They can convey deep guiding principles. For example the ideas that:

  • A realm of consciousness of spirit exists that is not limited by space or time.
  • There is a divine spark of love present with us which is the source and foundation of all reality.
  • The improvement of one’s moral character is the biggest aim of one’s human existence.

I feel these ideas help me to find some sense in scripture.

Nasty side of scripture

The Old Testament prophets are good at threatening punishments of the people. Applied to myself, I feel these to be a warning about the troubles I can bring on myself if I were to stray from the right path in life.

The people of Israel fought gory battles against various tribes living in the land of Canaan. I wonder whether these battles are symbolic of the inner conflicts within myself in my daily life. Generally speaking, there is a clash between a selfish thought and considering the needs of someone near me.

What about animal sacrifices urged upon the people of the Old Testament? To my mind these mirror the things I need to give up, or at least cut down. What seems like a personal sacrifice at the time however can later become something of no matter.

Correspondence and scripture

There is one big idea I find useful in understanding sacred writing. This is the concept of correspondence.  The philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about a deeper level of meaning within the literal sense of scripture. Each object, person, and event depicted in scripture is said to correspond to this spiritual sense. Sometimes this is clear but often it is hidden. One has to employ one’s deeper perception to notice it.

 “The spiritual sense …  does not appear in the sense of the Letter: it is within it, as the soul is in the body, as the thought is in the eyes, and as affection is in the countenance. ” (Emanuel Swedenborg, philosopher)

Enlightenment and scripture

Some religious believers say one shouldn’t criticise sacred writing but should take it as final authority. However, there is another attitude to scripture which I think is a little bit different. It is one that does involve a questioning and searching attitude. Such an approach involves reflection and a sense of responsibility for applying what is learned.

According to Swedenborg enlightened people are :

Those who love truths because they are truths, and who apply them to the uses of life.”

Conclusion about scripture

In Hinduism and Buddhism there isn’t the same tradition, as in the Western world, of an infallibility of one particular religious text. Rather, believers draw upon a whole body and collection of spiritual writing. They use these in order to understand their religion better.

I feel no individual writers of scripture of themselves could have infallibly grasped what is eternally true. After all they were only finite human beings. Nevertheless, I do sense a divine inspiration in their writing that has universal application.  Could they not have been instrumental in revealing the wisdom of an infinite loving Being? A message that is the Word of God?

I would suggest there is only one way for you to answer this question to your own satisfaction. Why not try to read parts of scripture you have never visited,  and look for what you had never previously suspected was present?     

Copyright 2016 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

 

Sacred things – Do they matter?

Ordinary life is filled with cares and concerns. We each get taken up with earning a living, the needs of our family, the problems of where we live or whatever. Don’t you sometimes yearn to re-discover a sense of balance and composure? Many people do this by re-connecting with a magical place where they have experienced a special moment. A place they have come to regard as sacred.

The word ‘sacred’

The word ‘sacred’ is a religious word. Whether you are a member of a faith tradition or none, any place can be seen as sacred if it is especially important to you. One person’s religion may be another’s superstition or folk belief, eg good-luck charms or religious relics may be imbued by some with mystical powers.

According to spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, in the distant past, ancient people would be reminded of inward human qualities by physical things e.g. a heart – representing love; a snake – sensory pleasure; a sword – integrity in fighting for what is right. But in the course of time, he says, this symbolic knowledge was lost. Later generations mistakenly assumed there was supposed to be something inherently holy in such things and thus began to superstitiously revere them as idols.

What is sacred

What you regard as sacred doesn’t have to be what you have you been told by others but what you experience within. It is a very personal matter. It might not be a place at all but rather an activity, an object or even an idea.

“What is sacred can refer to something that one cherishes, that is precious” (Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist)

sacredPerhaps it is something you respect that is so different from what is ordinary & mundane that it is beyond language to describe. This might be because it makes you feel safe. Or perhaps it reminds you of your deeper values. Or perhaps it inspires a sense of wonder and awe that touched your soul. And so you want to keep whatever it is unspoilt and pure.

Sacred activity

What is a blessing to you might be a walk in the woods that you love. It could be meditating – there is a sacred space in the mindful moment. Maybe its when listening to that special piece of music or reading that favourite book that deeply affects you.

Some say you know what it is when you feel connected with a sense of what is profoundly good and wise.

“Whether we’re religious or not, a prayer is the acknowledgment of something greater than ourselves. It is a ritual that allows us to create space for hope even in the tiniest prison, including the prison of our mind.” (Tim Leberecht, spiritual writer)

Sacred ideas

What is revered by you might simply be an idea that you value and regard as precious; for example a specific thing that reminds you of the principle of honesty with your life partner, the innocence of childhood, your sense of vocation, or the value of social justice. When you recall the idea, it stands apart in its significance for you giving a renewed sense of purpose and hope.

Why we need something sacred

Don’t we all need to get in touch with something, in our heart of hearts, that is really dear to us and worth dedicating ourselves to? Something that goes beyond the self and that is very real and powerful, pure and good. Imagine a life in which nothing was consecrated for you – or to anyone else. To me, such a life would be empty and sterile.

Responding to the sacred

Whatever it is that you feel is worthy of veneration why not return to it? You can then get to know what it is like to be touched by it. I happen to believe that by setting aside a little time to do this, on a regular basis, you can be taken away from your ordinary concerns so that your mood and mind is lifted to a higher plane.
I really believe there is something divine in everything if you want to find it. Whether it’s in the smile of a child, the handshake of a stranger, the sound of birdsong, or the newly opening buds of a snowdrop.

Copyright 2016 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author Heart, Head & Hands

 

Colour – Why does it affect us?

People vary as to their awareness of colour around them. When my wife and I moved house, she surprised me by stating she couldn’t sit in our lounge because of its green furniture and purple coloured walls. I’m probably a bit unusual but, beyond my initial impression, I hadn’t really noticed. However, I must admit, after the walls had been repainted cream, I appreciated the improvement. As interior designers know, different colour schemes have their effect on people. The field of colour psychology attempts to identify the effects of colour on human emotion and activity. So why does colour affect us the way it does?

Colour association

colourWarm colours are made with orange, red, yellow and combinations of them all. Used in interior design or fashion, a warm colour is said to arouse or stimulate the feelings of the viewer. A cool colour such as blue, green and light purple is thought to have the ability to calm and soothe.

Modern surveys in the United States and Europe show red is the colour most commonly associated with strong feeling.

To “see red” is to be angry or aggressive. To “have red ears / a red face” is to be embarrassed. To “paint the town red” is to enjoy the feeling of pleasure, usually with a generous amount of eating, drinking, dancing. To show “a red rag to a bull” is to cause someone to be enraged.

Esotericism and colour

According to science, the pure colours gained from the light spectrum form a continuous range of hue. The number of colours that the human eye is able to distinguish in a spectrum is in the order of 100. The apparent discreteness of a few main colours is due to human perception. This subjective human experience of discrete colours suggests there is a deeper process at work than mere physics.

Some would argue that the significance of colour is part of a higher degree of reality. This esoteric view is expressed by the well known maxim ‘As above, so below‘ which derives from the following ancient text:

“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” (Hermes Trismegistus, pagan prophet)

One way of thinking about above and below is to consider the higher and low mind – the higher principles of life and the base emotions. Many people are open to a spiritual dimension to existence and are awake to phenomena that go beyond what the body notices. They perceive and respond to the enlightening experiences of the higher mind. However the worldly-minded materialist will only see life in terms of the physical and natural side of life.

Although many have an intuition that a colour they see relates in some way to something of spirit, they do not consciously understand what it represents. To learn about this it helps to consider more about the higher and lower mind.

Colour and planes of mind

Natural emotions of the lower mind it is argued arise from an independent sense of selfhood – a self-orientated attitude to life in which the person is prone to emotions of embarrassment, fear and anger. In contrast, spiritual feelings may arise from an awareness of a one higher divine reality – emotions for example of joy, guilt, and trust.

In line with this point of view, how a specific colour affects us will depend on what part of our mind is engaged at the time. I have already pointed out that the colour red for example appears to be associated with strong feeling. But the passions of the lower mind are different from those of the higher mind. It is thought that the former come from self-orientated feelings e.g. self-consciousness, conceit, greed etc: the latter are ethical feelings of care and concern for others and the community. The former can be seen as natural whereas the latter as spiritual.

Colour and correspondence

Emanuel Swedenborg, 18th century spiritual philosopher, writes that there is a correspondence between things on different levels of reality. When he noticed something like a colour, he was alive to what deeper qualities this might universally mirror and reflect. He would say there is a consistent way in which each colour has an inner significance. For him the effect of different colours derive from their correspondence with aspects of the one divine source of Love and Wisdom.

He emphasises the two colours of red and white as the pure representation of the good of love and the truth of wisdom. So if there is some love and light shown in our actions i.e. when we are not just self-orientated, some variation of the colours red and white can be relevant.

Because of this Swedenborg says that colour can be of significance in the world around us and in sacred writing.

The colour white

colourThere is more than a hint of this when one looks at the way culture deals with white. According to surveys in Europe and the United States, white is the colour most often associated with innocence, perfection, purity, honesty, and cleanliness i.e. qualities to do with what is true, e.g. to whitewash something is to conceal an unpleasant reality and a white lie is an innocent lie told out of politeness.

Black is the opposite of white. If white corresponds to what is perfect and true so black would signify what is imperfect and false. In western popular culture, black has long been associated with evil and darkness. A blacklist is a list of undesirable people or entities; the black sheep of the family is the ne’er-do-well and black propaganda is the use of known falsehoods, or partial truths to confuse an opponent.

Colour in the spiritual world

Swedenborg also says that the colours seen by people who are conscious in the after life of spirit depend on their inner state of mind and character. The sphere of an individual is due to what good of love and truth of wisdom are reflected in that person’s character – their degree of virtue. He reports that in the spiritual world this determines the colours seen as an aura around a person where inner states of heart and mind are represented visually. Colour is something simple and yet profound.

Copyright 2015 Stephen Russell-Lacy

Author Heart, Head & Hands

Ancient Knowledge: Lost & Found?

Ancient people had knowledge that was lost and this is fairly obvious to most people. We only need to look at the Egyptian pyramids, Mayan pyramids, Stonehenge etc. to become aware of this. If you have an open mind in my view you can easily find out how this knowledge has been rediscovered and recorded in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. My challenge is that you look for yourself at what he claims.

Swedenborg maintains that there is an ancient science which eclipses all natural sciences and this has been recorded throughout ancient history in the form of what we call symbolism. He calls this symbolism “the language of correspondences” (a correspondence is defined as the Divine reflected in nature.) Further; he has presented in his writings what I believe to be the very keys to opening this ancient language of correspondences.  He also points to the idea that much of this symbolism remains with us today but we have simply lost the ability to read it. Kings and Queens wear crowns and symbolic garments, ministers and priests have garments and rituals, judges and lawyers wear funny wigs and gowns and many other surviving ancient organisations have initiation ceremonies loaded with symbolism. But who knows what they all mean? No one does, because the knowledge of what they represent has been lost. But this day I offer you the proposal it has been revealed to us once again!

Let me give just one example here to get you started. We know there are two kinds of sight. One is the physical eye, the other is the eye of the understanding; and we are very much aware of this. Why else would we say “I see what you mean” or “Isn’t she bright” or “let me shed some light on the subject so you can see it more clearly”. If we did not have inner eyes, which correspond with our physical eyes, why would we say these things? It is the same with the light we shed on the problem. It’s not physical light because it lights up our understanding. So it corresponds to physical light.

In fact, Swedenborg claims that everything that exists in the outer world is a correspondence of something within and this is the ancient knowledge that was lost – the science of correspondences – but is now to be rediscovered. Why not consider seeking it out for yourself and feeling free to come back and commenting/questioning here if you want to?

Copyright 2011 Jack Dunion

Posted on23rd June 2011CategoriesMeaning of life, SymbolismTags, , , , , , , , ,