A chariot in the Bible is not a chariot!

Because Holy Scripture describes ancient battles and warfare, chariots are often mentioned. But according to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, the driver, the horses and the chariot all refer to—and symbolize—qualities of the human mind and spirit!

Say what?!!!

Swedenborg claimed that Holy Scripture contained deeper levels of meaning. These deeper levels addressed the spiritual story of human salvation and God’s secret steps for securing human salvation. Symbolically speaking, a chariot represents one’s body of knowledge, worldview and faith-system (or doctrine of life). In other words, it represents the exterior “housing” (memory-data) which carries our beliefs and preferences.

The horses represent an individual’s emotional world, affection and love. Swedenborg stated that horses represent the love of learning—which carries one’s worldview to new “places.”

The rider or driver represents the intelligence and the wisdom of a person to maneuver their emotions and knowledge in the most advantageous and strategic way. The archer in the chariot represents the wisdom and intelligence by which an individual defends his or her worldview and attempts to convince. The archer’s arrows are “arguments” forged to make a sharp point in order to penetrate opposing views.

So the chariot, horses and riders symbolize various and distinct cognitive functions of the human psyche. But what about the connections between these mental functions that allow them to be subordinated, coordinated, and act in a unified manner? What do the connections correspond to?

Some people have asked me why I would mix the teachings of George Gurdjieff with those of Emanuel Swedenborg. Well, they both agreed that ancient civilizations employed this symbolism and allegory into their style of writing. But for me, Gurdjieff brought something new to the table. He said that the connections between the various cognitive functions were the flow of blood. Furthermore, Gurdjieff insisted that humans consisted of three distinct (discrete) species of blood!

This further insight can be applied to the symbolism of the chariot. The shaft that connected the chariot to the horse was the red blood. The reins that connected the driver to the horses was a “purer” blood, which modern science would describe as the electro-colloidal fluid/energy that courses through the nerve fibers. Finally, God was connected to the driver and archer through the “purest” blood or external blood of the soul.

Those who have read Swedenborg’s scientific and anatomical work know that he also classified blood into three similar and distinct species. And if one reads this material more closely it can be verified that these bloods do indeed connect the human body, mind and soul together.

I am sharing this unique information with you because my current book project Proving God seeks to unify science and religion. Most people know that religion offers us with ways to purify the heart. But there is also a scientific angle to salvation. When we apply God’s spiritual tenets to our lives, it affects the quality of our blood. Living a heaven-bound life actually cleanses and purifies the red blood and the purer blood (which Swedenborg called the animal spirit).  Evil intentions and behavior particularly corrupts the purer blood (Arcana Coelestia, n. 4227).

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A daring work that unifies Science and Theology
by challenging many of the world’s current beliefs about both

Proving God


Can we believe the Bible?

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When the Lord speaks to us in His Word, infinite Divine truths are expressed in human terms that our simple brains can comprehend. The fact is that infinite truth can only be expressed to finite minds through analogy, comparisons,metaphors and parables. We cannot understand the infinite as it is in itself, but we can compare and contrast the infinite with finite things, seeing a reflection or image of the infinite in the allegories.

Does that mean that we can’t trust what the Bible says? No. We can trust the Bible. We can trust the Lord’s Word to reveal deep truths that will bring us closer to the Lord and closer to one another, but we don’t see those truths by staying on the surface. If you get a can of food from the store, it will have a label saying “peaches,” or “corn.” Most likely there will be a matching picture of peaches or corn on the label. Before you eat, you will have to open the can and take out the nourishment inside. The words and pictures are true because they correspond to what is inside, but if you never open up the can, or still worse if you open the can and keep it, throwing away the food, you will never get real nourishment from it, and the labels themselves become useless.

Scripture Points to Its Own Deeper Meaning

The literal meaning of Scripture is a container for the deeper meaning within, and just like a box that says “open here,” Scripture itself points the way to the deeper meaning. Jesus told His disciples that the Old Testament was about His own life:

“Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27)

“He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45)

He compared Himself to the Manna from heaven (John 6:32), the brass serpent lifted up in the wilderness (John 3:14), Jonah and the whale (Matt 12:40), and the Temple in Jerusalem (John 2:19-22).

Furthermore, Jesus’ own words were symbolic. He told so many parables that it says “He didn’t speak to the people without a parable” (Matthew 13:34, Mark 4:34). Even alone with His disciples He said, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father” (John 16:25).

Paul, too, warned us not to take everything literally: “We should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6). “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Early Christians learned that many of the earthly things described in the Old Testament were a “copy and shadow of heavenly things…symbolic for the present time” (Hebrews 8:5, 9:9, Colossians 2:16, 17).

We can see that there are many, many statements in the Bible itself that direct us to look for a deeper meaning. And on the other side, there is not a single passage anywhere in the Bible that directs us to take everything literally. There is nothing on the box that says, “Do not Open.”

Other Symbolic Stories

There are many stories that are made up in order to teach a deeper truth. The many parables in the Bible are examples. We find further familiar examples in Aesop’s fables. No one imagines that the Tortoise and Hare were literal animals that talked and raced against each other. They obviously represent types of people, or attitudes that people have. The story is not literally true, but conveys an essential truth: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

In the parable of Adam and Eve it is not a tortoise or hare that talks but a snake. Though the story says that the snake was just a beast of the field, no one takes this literally. Anyone can see that the snake was not a literal snake but a symbol of the devil, a personification of evil itself.

Another made up story is Pilgrim’s progress, a story about a man who happened to be named “Christian,” who has friends named “Pliable” and “Obstinate” and is on a journey from his hometown the “City of Destruction” through the “Slough of Despond” to the “Celestial City.” With names like these no one would suppose that it to be a literal story about an actual individual. It is clearly intended as a symbolic story about anyone who might happen to be a Christian.

Again, the ancient Greek myth about the love between Cupid and Psyche was never intended to be taken literally. Cupid means “Desire.” Even today Cupid is a common symbol of love. And Psyche means “Mind,” as in psychology. Cupid or Desire loves Psyche (Mind) but remains invisible to her. Only after going through many challenges can Mind be be married to Desire, and have a daughter named Pleasure (“Voluptas”). No one thinks these were literal people. In ancient times virtually all writing about deeper things was done through symbolic stories such as these.



“The Lord’s Divine Providence is present within the smallest details of a person’s life.”

Arcana Coelestia 10774


How to turn a rib into a woman!

It is actually a very simple thing to do. All it takes is to convince yourself that you are more important than God.

Of course, this will mean that you will have to close your eyes and be asleep to the truth, but that is precisely what happened to Adam when he was feeling lonely in the Garden.

In that famous biblical story, Adam was put to sleep and a woman was miraculously formed out of his rib. This story is actually a metaphor for any person who begins to favor self-guidance over God’s guidance.

To favor our own prudence in all things is to put oneself into a metaphysical snooze. In this diminished mental state of self-delusion, something relatively dead is turned into something beautiful to behold. Our imagined importance becomes what is most attractive to us, even though when compared to God, it is not nearly as vital.

A rib is a bone in the chest—an area also occupied by the vital organs. A rib bone is less vital and less animate than a heart or lung. Therefore, to create a woman from a rib is the psycho-spiritual equivalent of putting lipstick on a false assumption. It represents attraction to a belief in something of little importance to our eternal welfare.

Eve represents choosing self-love and self-worship as our life-long partner.

Such profound insights and revelations contained in Scripture are hidden to those who insist that Scripture is only to be interpreted from the literal sense of the words. This will NOT keep us from going astray—every Christian denomination has resulted from different interpretations of the very same words.

Theologian Emanuel Swedenborg wrote twenty volumes of work solely to reveal to humanity the deeper levels of meaning contained within Holy Scripture. These deeper interpretations will provide more rational evidence for the authority and sanctity of God’s Word, provide more relevant theology for the modern world, and finally, provide a higher vantage point by which all can have a similar understanding of spiritual truth!

Oh, I left one important thing out. Exposure to these higher levels of meaning will make you less likely to have your rib go through such a transformation. The only thing that can come from a “rib” is a parody—a feeble or ridiculous imitation.

Posted on October 23, 2008by thegodguy


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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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A personal God for thinking about

Spiritual Questions & Answers

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Personal GodMany people believe there is a higher spiritual energy they call God that transcends the mundane material world. This for them is not a personal God but rather a higher power that ensures there is order in nature the laws of which can be discovered by science.

Idea of a personal God

Another view is that God is the origin for all that is humanly good in the universe — the  higher principles of ethical living, human virtue, creative inspiration, depth of the human soul and its capacity for wisdom and compassion and so on.

Those who favour a personal God suggest that any idea of God as as an infinite force or abstract law behind the facts of science, that is anything other than a Divine person, actually makes God something less than we ourselves.

It is argued that without our sense of God’s human dimension there would be no point to looking for the benefit of communication through prayer and no chance of sensing God’s personal presence.

But if God is to be thought of as a personal God ie divinely human, is God merely an image of us or are we an image of God?

Literal or symbolic understanding of God

David Wulff has pointed out that many religious people interpret images and rituals in a symbolic way. Many others, however, interpret such things in a literal manner. Most Evangelical Christians will say that the whole Bible should be taken as factually true, but even they will accept that ‘the mountains skipped like rams’ (Psalm 114:4) is not a factual description of a major earthquake; it’s a poetic metaphor.

But where do you draw the line? How much is factual? Did Jesus do miracles? Was his a virgin birth? And so we find different attitudes towards the Christ of history: either a view that the truth about the Divine needs to be metaphorically or figuratively expressed (if it is to be communicated at all) or an acceptance that Christ was literally ‘the Son of God’. Do we have to have to believe in the Chirst of history as divine in order to be able to relate to a personal God?

The interpretation of Christ by Carl Gustav Jung as a central archetype is an example of the symbolic orientation. This is because Christ’s quality is said to be intimately related and continuous with the figure of the Father. This is probably an easier position to accept because Jung was not talking about any God but rather our image of God: he was writing as a psychologist and not a theologian.

There are many mainstream Christians who although not requiring that all the events and sayings in the Bible are literally true, nevertheless,

“… just want so much to be told that at least this one really happened, that at least this one saying was really uttered by Jesus. They do not want to hear that stories are legends or that they emerged from the consciousness of the primitive church.” (James Barr)

Personal God of church dogma

Apparently a lot of Christians are still prepared to go along with church dogma about Jesus as part of a Divine Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Others are searching for a more rational understanding. For example in their rejection of what they see as an illogical doctrine of the Trinity, Unitarians deny that Jesus is their personal God.

A different so-called Christian heresy, Monarchianism, which began before AD 200, also rejected the Trinity, holding that there is only one God, not three divine persons of the Godhead. It saw Trinitarian belief as polytheism. Instead it claimed that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one being, simply performing three different roles, like an actor playing several parts and thus implied that the Father suffered on the cross.

Swedenborg’s idea of a personal God

Something similar to this view of a personal God is found in Swedenborg’s books. Here we find a new concept that of Divine Humanity, a central feature of God, which became fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ.

According to this view, in Jesus, God took on a human nature, which could bring the Divine into more direct contact with every individual member of his human family. Jesus was to grow up as a normal human being. He could grow weary, become angry and weep. But because his paternal heredity was divine, he never gave in to temptation but grew in love and wisdom. The tendencies towards being self-centered, that he had along with us, were gradually removed, until he fulfilled his divine potential.

And so the position is that before the days of Jesus there was no direct link or bridge between the infinite and the finite, between the perfect and the imperfect. But after his life he was fully human and fully divine and a more direct link was established so that people could approach the Lord Jesus in prayer as the one person of God in whom there is a heart of compassion (symbolised by Father), a head of wisdom (symbolised by Son) and hands of power (symbolised by Holy Spirit).

“Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair ” (Blaise Pascal)


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

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An incomplete metaphor

gm-monarch-hatchingout_24312_600x450One of the most familiar metaphors used to depict human spiritual growth is that of a lowly caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly.

While it is true that we all can manifest greater beauty in our lives, it is wrong to assume that the process itself is a painless and purely beautiful experience. The caterpillar doesn’t just grow colorful wings—it completely dies (in the tomb of its cocoon)!

This death must be included in the metaphor and is more challenging and painful than one might expect, because it deals with some old principles that we are usually slow to let go of—like our own self-importance.

But real beauty always deals with those who have chosen to live for the sake of others by making themselves to be less important. Unfortunately, we remain as caterpillars if we help others without acquiring genuine innocence, that is, to increase our status, reputation or bank accounts through the art of pretense.

It is genuine innocence that is hard to come by and its beauty only appears after the death of our “caterpillar” or “old self.”

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