Nature — How should we value it?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

naturePeople need to economically make use of the world of nature by hunting for fish, growing crops, felling trees, and quarrying and mining for minerals etc. Humanity cannot survive unless food is eaten and shelter is built. Yet, in recent decades we have come to realise the insidious damage to ecosystems due to industrialisation, extraction of raw materials and modern transportation.

Natural habitat has been changed endangering some species of plant and animal: deforestation and desertification have taken place: waterways and land have been chemically polluted and there has been a rise in greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. There has been a failure to consciously consider the environmental impact of our industrial lifestyle on the children of future generations as well as on the people of the non-developed  world.

The effect on nature of excessive consumption

The priority of most politicians of the richer countries seems to be on economic growth even though 20% of the world’s population consume 80% of the world’s resources. Reliance on ever expanding technology and material comfort continues as if happiness were to come from a life of excessive consumption. Once the initial thrill of purchasing something is over, we feel empty again. Materialistic aspiration also seems to be due to unnecessarily seeking social status by trying to show by one’s possessions one’s own importance and success in the eyes of oneself and others.

Environmentalists have assumed that scientific support for their viewpoint would lead to fundamental political change. However some of them are now saying that the underlying environmental problem is one of selfishness, greed and apathy and that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.

Here are some spiritual ideas that can help us face this eco-spiritual crisis

The sacred in nature

In the industrialised world we find ourselves more and more enclosed in artificial buildings surrounded by fascinating technology and are separated from the world of nature. It is thought that we need to do something about this in order to be more in touch with the natural rhythm of life: to feel naturally grounded rather than alienated from meaningful reality.

One emphasis for many people is on seeing the sacred in nature. It is argued that a richer experience of the natural world can help us find a sense of identity relating us to a larger design. In other words mankind is part of nature and will find wisdom and well-being only in harmony with nature’s mysterious powers.

According to religious philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, nature can be seen as a theatre expressing in a symbolic way all that is deeply good and true. He claims that in ancient times people could see something spiritual in everything belonging to the natural order. There was a respect for God’s creation. Something of this can be seen in the way indigenous tribal peoples even today take for granted the existence of souls or spirits in animals, plants and rocks they encounter in daily life.

Nature reflecting the spiritual

However, there has been an unfortunate error found in religion. By focusing on human spiritual well-being, religion has often placed human beings at the centre of the universe and at the head of a hierarchy of living creatures. Many Christians have supposed that when the book of Genesis states that mankind is to have dominion over the creatures of nature that this statement is to be taken as literally true. On the other hand, there has also been the view that the Genesis story is a myth with an illuminating message rather than a textbook on history, law or science.

According to Swedenborg the creation story in Genesis is about the re-creation of a person as fit for heaven — in other words it is all about spiritual transformation of the individual rather than any  prioritising of people over animals and plants. For Swedenborg, mankind symbolises what he regards as the Divine Humane Spirit operating within the spiritually growing individual. He maintains it is this spiritual source that can come to dominate the way such a heavenly person naturally thinks and feels: the fish, birds and animals correspond to our ideas — illuminated or not, our understanding — enlightened or not, and our intentions — unselfish or not. All these can be symbols of spiritual and natural consciousness rather than things of nature to be exploited. And so reference to humanity having dominion over nature is really about what is divinely good and right in our higher mind ruling our natural ways of thinking and intending.

Bringing heaven into the world of nature

Bishop James Jones has pointed out that unfortunately within religion there has also been those who say our destiny is to escape the world and find a place in heaven or the equivalent. For them what is natural is even sinful and to be avoided. An alternative Christian view is that humanity is “a part of creation” and not “apart from creation”: that in acting as stewards of the earth serving and conserving God’s creation, salvation is about bringing down heaven on to earth.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Lord’s Prayer)

The Quran talks about the Creator embracing creation and that the animals that swim, fly and crawl are creatures like us we have to respect.

Valuing nature

I would conclude by suggesting that valuing nature means using and enjoying natural things but doing this by neither abusing nor exploiting them: whether they be animals we rear, the wild side of nature we can respect and try to live in harmony with, or the nature of our own bodily needs.

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

Posted on10th October 2013CategoriesEthics, Ethics & Environment, Ethics & LifeTags, , ,  Leave a comment

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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
Search The Swedenborg Digital Library

http://www.swedenborgdigitallibrary.org/index.html

Click Here to See the Books of Jesus Christ's Second Coming, Published by Emanuel Swedenborghttp://www.swedenborgdigitallibrary.org/index1a.html#can

divine nature

divine nature

sun

If there is a God – a creative Divine Source to our life – then surely the Divine nature must contain within itself, at the very least, qualities of what is highest, purest and best to be found in the Divine design of creation: Love, Wisdom, Goodness, Truth etc. Otherwise, we would be looking still higher for the source of such qualities.

The search for the true or actual God is then the search for what we can conceive of as being the highest, purest and best in life, followed by an intuition that the Divine Source itself must be the measure of that perfection, and have unlimited potential for expressing aspects of that perfection in countless creative ways. We can then say, for example, that God is Love.

Use the links below to explore the Transcendent/Personal nature of the Divine, the Oneness of God, God as a Parent, Pathways to God and what is meant by Providence and much more.

honenessgod our parentpathways to god

Before the Lord’s Omnipresence and His Omniscience can be Comprehended

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Spaces and times must be removed from the ideas before the Lord’s omnipresence with all and with each individual, and His omniscience of things present and future, can be comprehended. But inasmuch as spaces and times cannot easily be removed from the ideas of the thoughts of the natural man, it is better for a simple man not to think of the Divine omnipresence and omniscience from any reasoning of the understanding; it is enough for him to believe in them simply from his religion, and if he thinks from reason, let him say to himself that they exist because they pertain to God, and God is everywhere and infinite, also because they are taught in the Word; and if he thinks of them from nature and from its spaces and times, let him say to himself that they are miraculously brought about. But inasmuch as the church is at present almost overwhelmed by naturalism, and this can be shaken off only by means of rational considerations which enable man to see what is true, it will be well by means of such to draw forth these Divine attributes out of the darkness that nature induces into the light; and this can be done because, as has been said, the understanding with which man is endowed is capable of being raised up into the interior light of heaven if only man desires from love to know truths. All naturalism arises from thinking about Divine things in accord with what is proper to nature, that is, matter, space, and time. The mind that clings to these, and is unwilling to believe anything that it does not understand, cannot do otherwise than make blind its understanding, and from the dense darkness in which it is immersed, deny that there is any Divine providence, and thus deny the Divine omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, although these are just what religion teaches both within nature and above nature. And yet these cannot be comprehended by the understanding unless spaces and times are separated from the ideas of its thought; for these are in some way present in every idea of thought, and unless they are separated man cannot think otherwise than that nature is everything, that it is from itself, and consequently that the inmost of nature is what is called God, and that all beyond it is merely ideal. And such, I know, will wonder how anything can possibly exist where there is no time or space; and that the Divine itself is without them, and that the spiritual are not in them, but are only in appearances of them; and yet Divine spiritual things are the very essence of all things that have existed or that exist, and natural things apart from these are like bodies without souls, which become carcasses.

Every man who has become naturalistic by thoughts from nature continues such after death, and calls all things that he sees in the spiritual world natural, because they are similar. Such, however, are enlightened and taught by angels that these things are not natural, but are appearances of natural things; and they are so far convinced as to affirm that it is so. But they soon fall back and worship nature as they did in the world, and at length separate themselves from the angels and fall into hell, and cannot be taken out to eternity. The reason is that their soul is not spiritual, but natural like the soul of beasts, although with the ability of thinking and speaking because they were born men. And because the hells at this day more than ever before are full of such, it is important that such dense darkness arising from nature, which at present fills and closes up the thresholds of the understanding of men, should be removed by means of rational light derived from spiritual.

(Apocalypse Explained 1220:2)
January 2, 2015

God – Is there really one?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Creator God
God as Creative Force

Many people sense that there is a deeper aspect of reality. A spiritual force behind the universe.

To my mind this divine level of what is real is pure love and the source of all that explains the meaning of life. It is wisely working away in our hearts and minds. This is the infinite and eternal God of religion, beyond gender, beyond the bounds of space and time, and beyond our full comprehension.

Christ as God

According to much western world religion, this mighty spiritual force is manifest as the Christ within the human soul who inspires our feelings and thoughts with his altruistic love and higher intelligence. A new way of expressing this is as follows. We are an image of Christ’s divine humanity who like us has heart, head and hands – although in his case it is a heart of compassion, a head of wisdom and hands of power.

This is the Christ with whom we can pray and relate to on a personal footing; the divine that flows into our conscience to guide us towards the ethical and moral life. Of ourselves we do not have the ability to inspire and illuminate our lives. But cooperating with the Christ within we can find the divine life as if it were our own.

Intervention of God

Many people can accept that there is no dark side to God and that human suffering and what is evil is caused by some human beings turning away from the values of mutual care and instead focusing exclusively on self-orientation. In my view the Divine is all-loving, all-knowing and whilst present everywhere is beyond time and place. It respects our freedom to decide for ourselves what kind of life we want to lead and so does not intrude to control human affairs.

This deity does not stop suffering, and like loving parents does allow us, the offspring, to learn the lessons of life the hard way whilst at the same time it counter-balances what is bad by providing what is good. Parents continue to provide for and support their children throughout their difficulties and misfortunes. When God does this for all of us, it is called the work of loving providence.

I would say that Divine life flows invisibly into the world to offset disease with healing, temper hate with love, and moderate despair with inspiration. This is done in relation to the smallest detail of life and so despite how things appear, nothing actually happens by chance. If the work of providence were obvious then we would not be free to believe or disbelieve in the divine as the spiritual origin of our lives.

According to this view, God is concerned with long-term goals not short-lived happiness. Only in retrospect can we hope to see the way traumas and suffering has functioned as growth points in our spiritual learning.

Evidence for God

One cannot prove the existence of God which is invisible. But there is evidence to support the Divine nature. Unless God were revealed, humanity would only have a dim awareness that the divine within comes from a higher power creating all that is good. And so I would say that God is manifest as the Christ of history. Also facets of the divine are shown both in the world of nature and in the sacred scriptures of the world’s religions.

Nature is said to be red in tooth and claw. But it also shows a positive side. There is beauty as well as ugliness in plant life, affection as well as cruelty in the animal kingdom, and safety as well as danger on land and sea. What is good in nature symbolically shows the qualities of the divine in our thoughts and feelings. What is bad mirrors the corrupting influence of humanity’s self-orientation.

The Divine is widely acknowledged as revealed in sacred writings of especially inspired individuals. Beneath the various authentic religious traditions and customs there is a common core of spiritual teaching. This is not surprising if they have a common source. What is revealed is what all religions teach i.e. :-

  • Human beings experience two realms of reality, the world of physical objects and the world of spirit, the latter being the realm of consciousness.
  • We have a centre of transcendent awareness and are able to relate intimately to the divine spark, which is the foundation of all reality.
  • Realising our spiritual nature is the highest goal and greatest good of human existence.

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-LacyAuthor of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

 

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th July 2010CategoriesMeaning of life, ReligionTags, ,, , , , ,, , , , , ,, , ,  Leave a comment

The Science Of Correspondence

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[Home] [DICTIONARY] [HEAVEN] [EARTH] [DIVINE HUMAN] [THE WORD] [PLACES] [PERSONS] [ANIMALS] [PLANTS] [MINERALS] [NUMBERS]
RELIGION SCIENCE PHILOSOPHY PSYCHOLOGY
CELESTIAL HEAVEN
Good | Love
Love of God
REALITY
Energy / Freedom
6-D Unified Field
PURPOSES
Good Intentions
Substance
CELESTIAL
CONSCIOUSNESS

Innocence | Peace
SPIRITUAL HEAVEN
Truth | Wisdom
Love of Neighbor
POSSIBILITY
Law / Force / Propensities
5-D Harmonic States
CAUSES
Eternal Truths / Rational Ideals
Form / Structure
COSMIC
CONSCIOUSNESS

Unselfishness
NATURAL HEAVEN
Faith | Charity
Love of Uses
ACTUALITY
Time / Cycles / Waves
4-D Spirit
USES
Useful Actions / Meaningful Events
Process
SELF
CONSCIOUSNESS

Conscience
WORLD OF SPIRITS
Free Choice
Lower Earth / The Pit
MATERIALITY
Space / Mass
DNA / EARTHS
EFFECTS
MATTER
Earth
EGO
CONSCIOUSNESS
Persona
HELLS
Love of Abuses
MOLECULES / PLANETS ABUSES
Useless Actions / Events
SUBCONSCIOUS
Shadow
FALSITY
Love of the World
ATOMS / STARS IRRATIONALITY
Fantasies / Vanities
UNCONSCIOUS
EVIL
Love of Self
QUANTA / GALAXIES
Electro-Magnetism
Radiation-Gravitation
MISCHIEF
Hatred / Greed / Lust
DARKNESS

…all things of nature, and likewise of the human body, and also every single particular in them,
correspond to spiritual things. Hitherto, however, it has not been known
what correspondence is, although in the most ancient times this was very well known;
for the science of correspondences was then the science of sciences…
— Emanuel Swedenborg  DSS 20.

…he who grasps the idea of correspondence in its amazing sweep, and sees its infinite bearings,
will find not only in the Bible a new revelation, but the whole outward world will be changed.
Nature will become a sublime poem. Mountains and valleys, trees and forests, rivers and lakes,
and all living and moving things, will be words and letters full of heav­enly import, he will live
and move in a new earth, and beneath new heavens. Every object he beholds will re­mind him
of something spiritual. Earth will wear new charms, for all its forms of beauty are but the
counterpart of things that exist beneath the sun of a higher sky. — W. F. Evans

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth : . . .
and he will show you things to come. — JOHN xvi. 12, 13.

… The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say,
Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
— Luke 17:20,21

… But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says YHVH:
I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more everyone their neighbor,
and every man his brother, saying, Know YHVH;
for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says YHVH:
for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.
— Jeremiah 31

I have been instructed that the men of the Most Ancient Church (The Golden Age)
were of a genius so heavenly that they spoke with angels of heaven,
and that they were able to speak with them by means of correspondences.
From this the state of their wisdom was rendered such that whatever they saw in this world
they thought about not only in a natural way, but spiritually also at the same time,
so that they thought unitedly with angels.  — Emanuel Swedenborg DSS 21.

The church in specific is where the Word is and where the Lord is known because of it,
so it is where divine truths from it have been revealed from heaven.
The Lord’s Church exists throughout the whole world with all people who live in good according to their religions.
All people who live in good according to their religions and acknowledge
something divine are accepted by the Lord, wherever they are. — Emanuel Swedenborg HH 308

…truths with man are what pray, and man is continually in such prayers when he lives according to truths.
— Emanuel Swedenborg AE 493

…good is the essence of truth, and truth is the form of good, and without form there can be no quality.
— Emanuel Swedenborg TCR 753.

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
— Psalms 12.6.

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Copyright © 2007-2014 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

God wants to be loved, too!

I am not trying to imply that God has joined a lonely-hearts club or has a pitiful existence. It is simply a divine necessity for a God of Infinite Love.

Love needs a subject. This is clear to all of us when we reflect that our desires, passions, and intentions must be focused on something real – something that exists outside of us.

God created the external world as a focus for divine love. This does not mean that God creates matter so that quarks, atoms, and molecules could be “admired.” Rather, God focused divine love in a way that allowed its spiritual force to take form in concrete physical things.

In other words, all matter is a recipient form of God’s influence.

The Infinite occupies finite things according to reception. This is why nature displays a profound endeavor toward self-organization and complexity. Nature organizes itself into new levels of order as an increased response to God’s love.

The essence of love is to unite. Even a physicist will admit that the universe is obviously unified. There is no physical principle for why nature becomes so rationally ordered and coherent. Going a step further, there is no reason why the laws of the physical universe are so fine-tuned towards bio-friendliness.

Nature goes beyond the organization of galaxies and solar systems. Nature creates bio-structure, culminating in the profound structure of the human brain. What is not taken into consideration by the physical sciences is that this process of creation and evolution is the exaltation of love.

God’s love in the universe increases as structure becomes more complex. Everything is organized for cooperation and utility – which expresses God’s goodness. It is God’s love that attaches usefulness to various combinations of matter and their increasing complexity.

But ultimately, love needs more than a subject. Love is perfected and exalted when it is reciprocal.

Love wants to love and be loved in return.

This is the reason why evolution has led to the emergence of the human race. Humans have the cognitive ability to recognize the Creator and love God back – by applying spiritual values to their lives. Religious tenets are the means by which humankind becomes the ultimate recipient form of God’s love. Thus humankind indeed becomes an image and likeness of God.

Humans have an inner reality not shared by other creatures, called first person phenomenal experience. This inner psycho-reality allows evolution and bio-complexity to continue into a non-physical realm.

How?

The arrangement and ordering of human experience in the human heart and mind is a real organic process that creates real non-physical bio-structure, or spiritual body. This innermost body of the spirit is formed from one’s life choices and values, and, can survive physical death and the tyranny of time. (One’s choices and values are one’s spirit and are derivatives of love.)

Heaven is not to be thought of as simply a place that one goes to for being “good.” Heaven is beyond time, space, and physical law. It is something you become – inwardly. Heaven is a state of love – and the non-material organic form it takes from the quality of our personal response to God’s divine love.

This is the real purpose behind religion – to create a covenant between God and the human race through love finding its ultimate fulfillment.

God needs us to bring this wonderful plan to fruition.

Posted on September 3, 2008by thegodguy

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