The Organic Bible

While there is a growing movement to attempt to unify science and theology there is also a healthy fear on both sides of this important endeavor. Scientists do not want biblical faith to distort science. Theologians do not want science to distort biblical faith.

Since I belong to this new movement, I would like to provide some helpful suggestions.

The universe is not static. Everything is in process. But it is a process by which change creates constancy. For instance, all the wonderfully distinct organic processes and changes taking place in the human body maintain its integrity and stability. This dynamic of change creating constancy is called a system. All systems are subordinated and coordinated through successive and simultaneous order.

The universe is unified. Existence is relationship. Everything finds its distinctiveness through togetherness. This cosmic scheme seems worthy of a God of Love.

Does Holy Scripture portray such an ecological wisdom?

The faithful hold that God created the world with all its laws and processes—from the Word. Therefore, does the Bible contain the same divine “envisagement” as there is in the scheme of the created universe?

If so, what kind of proof can there be? Current Christian theology and doctrine is hopelessly inadequate for meeting such a profound challenge. Scripture seems to only offer us historical events, some of which are farfetched and require a suspension of the laws of physics.

This is the challenge I am taking up in my next book, Proving God.

Thanks to theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, we have the necessary material for showing that the Holy Word and science are indeed one! He maintained that the Holy Word transcended historical fact.

The Bible is a multi-level document that contains higher meanings abstracted from the literal sense of the words. In the same manner in which today’s scientists understand top-down causation, these higher levels of meaning flow down and terminate into the words of ordinary terrestrial language.

Without having access to these higher meanings, it is impossible to detect the universal patterning principles of process and order hidden within the narratives of Scripture. Scripture conveys the same repeating cycles in its stories that we find in the circular progression of time and the reproductive cycles of organic life.

For example, unless one has a knowledge of these higher meanings (called correspondences), there would be no intelligible means for understanding how the separation of the waters on “day two” of Genesis corresponds to Lot being separated from Abram, which also corresponds to discernment in human cognition, and, the breaking up of food stuffs in the process of biological digestion. Each of these examples represents a “step two” in the divine order of some whole-part process.

My upcoming book will make these things clear and show that the reason why the laws of nature are so bio-friendly is because they have emerged from the dynamics of the Lord God’s living Word.

Is there a “defining essence” in all this similitude of coherent and interrelated process?

Yes—love!

Website: http://www.provinggod.com

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The next great religion will have science agreeing with faith

       God has been working to share with the human race a new, unifying paradigm between   science and religion for more than two hundred years now. The problem with this new heavenly revelation is that it is anti-intuitive and will catch most people by complete surprise—because it will challenge both current scientific and theological models of reality.

Rather than people widely embracing this new heavenly dispensation, God’s divine effort to correct humankind’s flawed ideas of fundamental reality will be seen as a threat by most of those who have a vested interest in defending contemporary institutions. This defensive thinking will have to be pushed to the wayside in order to make room for new ideas coming from heaven. And that will cause an intense battle over entrenched worldviews (reputations and careers will be on the line).

Most scientists shun religion because they despise any kind of “truth system” which simply requires mere belief rather than rigorous testing and rational discernment (blind faith). Theologians, on the other hand, believe that there is an invisible, spiritual and metaphysical element to the design of the cosmos.

This division means that both approaches to reality have flaws.

In order for there to be a rational system for uniting science and theology together, all new universal laws have to be discovered in which both truth systems can share an inner consistency. In other words, both systems will have to point to similar first causal principles.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg made a lifelong search for these inner consistencies. He discovered that universal scientific truth contained and reflected doctrinal and theological concepts—like a mirror. In terms of causal links between heaven and earth, spiritual truth flows into and terminates into scientific/natural law (one is prior and the other posterior). In other words, correct scientific constructs correspond perfectly to spiritual constructs. Swedenborg called this unifying model of top-down causal reality the science of correspondences.

This is not only a difficult notion to sell to contemporary thinkers but it has also caused some confusion among many Swedenborgian academicians. The reason is, that although these scholars accept Swedenborg’s theological discoveries as superior to other faith systems, many feel his science is dated. They will point to the fact that Swedenborg only had 18th century ideas and calculus to work with rather than the New Paradigm mathematics of quantum mechanics or multi-dimensional string theory.

Wrong!

In my award-winning book Proving God I challenge this notion because Swedenborg was not satisfied with the scientific thinking of his era and developed some of his own new scientific doctrines to help him find a causal link between the physical human body and the human soul (who is trying to do that today?). To accomplish this great feat, he took the mathematics of his time (calculus of fluxions) and elevated it through ever-new analyses of infinities. This brilliant and primogenital approach to multi-level fluxions and kinetics allowed him to lawfully remove spacetime limitations to various processes and trajectories until they became non-material! This orderly approach is how he discovered the dynamics of correspondences and the inner consistencies between physical, mental and divine activity.

All process obeys the same rules!

Swedenborg claimed to have had God’s help and guidance throughout his life. This amazing claim, while counter-intuitive to our terrestrial sensitivities, cannot be easily dismissed when you consider that he put all these ideas into a wide bookshelf’s worth of publications for everyone to carefully scrutinize. He also cannot be easily dismissed because he designed the first true fixed-wing aircraft as a young man and later contributed important discoveries in brain science, including the first brain cell (neuron) theory.

He had even anticipated the newest leanings in modern neuroscience that emotion and feeling (loves) drove the human mind and that the human brain and neuron has even deeper levels of structure, where the higher operations of abstract thought and reasoning take place. As I hinted earlier, Swedenborg didn’t stop there. He provided a multi-level model of neural substrates in the cerebrum that continued into the non-physical domain of spiritual process!

Then he was chosen by the Lord God to make actual observations of the spiritual world. These unprecedented observations took place for almost three decades and were recorded in dozens of books!

His approach to theology later in life was always as a critical scientist and offered lots of rational evidence that God’s Holy Word also contained a multi-level architecture that provided the template for top-down causation in the human mind and the created universe—as well as new revelations concerning God’s continuous efforts at human salvation.

Studying his ideas will change the course of your life!

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PROVING GOD

 

Proving God

Swedenborg’s Remarkable Quest
For The Quantum Fingerprints Of Love

by Edward F. Sylvia, M.T.S.
with a foreword by Ian J. Thompson, Ph.D.

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

Proving God

Forget what both scientists and the clergy have told you about the ultimate reality. This extraordinary book explains how scientists have misinterpreted the laws of the physical universe and how theologians have misinterpreted the revealed wisdom of the Lord God’s Holy Word. Fasten your seatbelt and prepare yourself for the new laws of physics and the new theology that will fulfill God’s promise of making “all things new”!

978-0-9702527-1-5

432 pages | pb | illustrations | index | glossary



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Introduction
PROVING GOD:
Swedeborg’s Remarkable Quest for the Quantum Fingerprints of Love

by Edward F. Sylvia, M.T. S.                                                 
                                                                                      ©2009 Staircase Press. All Rights Reserved.

Unifying science and religion is a high-risk venture. Landmines and dangers are everywhere on both sides of the issue. Yet, the history of human exploration is full of individuals who have risked even death to find what they are seeking. The passion of the human mind and spirit is such that visionary people will always feel it is worth making the attempt to explore the unknown.

For that very reason, there is growing interest among scientists, theologians, and laypeople to explore another uncharted region and resolve whether science and religion can both answer the same questions about reality and have real points of interaction. I like to think of myself as a part of this exciting and mentally stimulating movement. This book is my contribution to this discussion.

Both religion and science make truth claims about ultimate reality. Science deals with facts and religion deals with values. Because of this, some people feel that science and religion address different issues and should be kept apart.

But, can these two powerful endeavors ultimately satisfy the human psyche by keeping them apart? Einstein said in 1941 that, “science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.” Religion is weak on the how of creation, and science is weak on the why. In other words, science shuns teleology or purposefulness in the universe as a legitimate category of explanation. In place of a purposeful creation, scientists embrace the concepts that fundamental reality consists of irreducible chance and that everything must be describable exclusively in physical terms and physical quantities.

Many scientists also believe that metaphysical principles cannot be a part of real science because such principles and philosophies make claims that are not testable. Ironically, physicists who have jumped on the bandwagon of string theory and a multidimensional universe have embraced concepts that also cannot be tested. Checkmate.

If God created the world, then God created the laws of nature as well as the tenets of virtuous living. But theology offers us no further rational help here. It offers only faith and expects belief. Does God create one set of laws for nature and another set of laws for the human heart? Or are God’s laws wholly self-consistent? (Inconsistency implies imperfection.) If the ubiquitous law that everything in the universe proceeds by the most economical means flows out from the action of the Creator, then there must be a top-down causal link between God’s nature and the laws of nature.

This book attempts to show that the laws of nature emerged out from God’s spiritual principles and values. That is, the laws of nature and its forces are actually spiritual laws and forces extended into spacetime constraints. While this is daunting and challenging enough, it is not the only challenge of this book!

Many other tricky problems are associated with attempting to write a book like this. Each of these problems is one more landmine ready to explode when stepped on. In spite of this, I have decided to step everywhere and not purposely avoid any dangers. The first big landmine is best expressed by the quote:

 
“ I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you
the formula for failure: which is: try to please everybody.”

– Herbert B. Swope

I did not write this book to please anyone. People have different and strong opinions about things. Theologians argue with theologians, scientists argue with scientists, and theologians and scientists argue with each other, often bitterly. In science, we have competing theories, even within the realm of quantum physics. In religion, we have competing theologies, even within the realm of a single “ism.” For instance, did God create the world and let it run on its own (Deism) or is God continually active in the world (Theism) and interested in our personal happiness? If the latter is true, which interpretation of quantum mechanics do I use (assuming one is correct) for demonstrating how God acts in the world?

So, in my attempt to unify science with religion, I must answer the question: which scientific model do I use and which interpretation of theological doctrine do I use? Two wrongs do not make a right, and my attempt will surely lead to an enormous backlash, since most of my readers will have their oxen gored no matter what choices I make.

In our post-modern world, it is taboo even to suggest in any way that one religion or worldview is “superior” to another (and I would do this if I picked one). But there is a big difference between respecting everyone’s deepest beliefs and suggesting that these belief systems can be improved upon; few people are experts concerning their own faith systems anyway. Does any theology excel over others in addressing scientific issues? Does any theology even adequately address such issues as the virgin birth, miracles, the resurrection, the Second Coming, and the nature of heaven from a scientific perspective? (I have already tipped my hand that I will try to unify science with Christian theology.)

Even if I enjoyed special enlightenment and chose the best interpretation from science to describe reality and the best interpretation from theology, the problem still exists that science and theology use wholly different languages. The differences must be addressed and bridged. And, unless I plan to sell this book only to a handful of intellectuals, I also need to reach the understanding of normal but serious-thinking laypeople while still challenging their minds.

Another problem is that God will stand in the way of my ultimate success. I believe God does not want to be proven in any way that would threaten a person’s freedom of thought and discrimination. Otherwise God would use coercion and constantly interfere with all our daily activities. And what constitutes proof? For instance, if experiments reveal that prayer and worship have a positive effect on one’s health (and they do), is this proof of a Divine Architect? One might just as easily explain that faith is an evolutionary strategy of selfish genes to calm the human mind from stressful thoughts about the inevitable fate of one’s death and enable us to live longer and have more chances at reproduction. So even if such an experiment in faith were repeatable, it would still be open to interpretation.

I have also put myself in the uncomfortable position of going against the experts. Therefore, I run the risk that this work will be summarily dismissed. However, since none of the experts has all the answers, I have invited myself to the table.

 
“A leader must have the courage to act against the expert’s advice.”
– James Callaghan

My calling is to go against the advice of the experts, to shake things up and stir up the dust. I come to the table with the wish to stimulate healthy discussion. I have not shied away from making choices, and you will find my choices to be quite unexpected; in many cases they will be quite new to you.

I have chosen to use the scientific and theological ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg, an eighteenth-century scientist, philosopher, mystic and theologian. Using the ideas of a little known eighteenth-century thinker to straddle complex twenty-first century issues may seem like intellectual suicide. But I have studied this extraordinary man for more than 35 years, and I am confident that he has provided the world with scientific ideas that have yet to be grasped (like quantum gravity) and a theology that is most suited to interface with the discoveries of modern science. My undertaking will live or die on that choice.

Who is he? Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is one of the most overlooked thinkers in human intellectual history. His theology, while Christian, is radically inclusive and teaches that all those who sincerely live according to their religious beliefs and conscience and strive to do good from spiritual principles are welcomed into heaven. He states:

 
 
“ All people who live good lives, no matter what their religion,
have a place in heaven.”

This universal idea of the essence of religion to seek goodness in one’s life was shared by Einstein, who said:

 
 
“ True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all
one’s goodness and righteousness.”

Swedenborg’s Christian theology was so universal that Buddhist scholar T.S. Suzuki wrote a book about him, comparing his ideas to Buddhism and calling him the “Buddha of the North.” Swedenborg demonstrated that similar universal principles could be found at the heart of all the world’s religions.

His most remarkable idea is that God’s Holy Word was more than a historical account of the human predicament. It was a scientific and multi-dimensional document. The Holy Word, which encompasses God’s wisdom, not only teaches us how to live, but also contains deeper levels of meaning that offer insights into the true nature of God and the scientific principles, laws, and symmetries that emerge from this Divine nature and Divine order.

God and science are one.

All true knowledge is connected because it leads to Love and Wisdom. Knowledge that does not lead us to wisdom is incomplete and disconnected from the bio-friendly laws of the universe. This idea of the ultimate interconnectedness of knowledge is not simply New Age drivel or philosophical naiveté. Real Science seeks knowledge for the goodness and benefit of society. How else is human achievement to be a blessing? How else can human society reach true greatness? Again, Einstein:

 
 
“ All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
All these aspirations are directed towards ennobling man’s life,
lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading
the individual towards freedom.”

Also:

 
 
“ Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelationship of means and ends.
But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends.
To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations
and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual,
seems to me precisely the most important function
which religion has to form in the social life of man.”
 

Swedenborg underscores Einstein’s sentiment that knowledge must lead us beyond head-intelligence and move toward the heart:

 
“ To understand and to be wise are two altogether distinct things,
for we may understand and still not be wise; but one leads us to the other,
namely, science to the cognition of truth (veri) and truth (veritas)
to the cognition of good, and it is the good which is sought for.
But in order that we may be wise, it is necessary,
not only that we should know and thus understand what truth and good are,
but that we should also be affected with the love of them.”

– Worship and Love of God, Part 3, footnote b

Love is an emotion, and only recently has neuroscience begun to look at the importance of emotion within human cognitive function and consciousness. All human thought links itself to some emotion, appetite, desire, intention, volition, or derivative of love, and emotion is now recognized as a vital part of human reason. In other words, the neural networks are subservient to affection, which modifies the activity that animates, focuses our attention, and shapes our very thoughts and memory.

Swedenborg anticipated these “modern” ideas about the brain more than 250 years ago, even taking these ideas into deeper structures within the neuron. He believed that passion, emotion, intention, and love modified the neural structures of the brain, and the resulting modifications represented the analogs, ratios and equations that produce human thought. Thoughts are the outer forms of our intentions. Said another way, emotions and affections are the inner life of our thoughts, and from these thoughts come our speech. No information, idea, or subject can connect itself to our personal lives without some affection. Our worldview is an internalization of our loves.

The importance of emotion in all this is that it links neuroscience to personal-level experience and contributes an important link between hard science, the human heart and a heavenly God of Love.

In spite of all the problems that come with writing a book like this, there is a way out of the challenge of pleasing readers. Everyone responds to Love. This book is about Love! Therefore, no matter what beliefs you hold, you are invited to experience a most pleasant surprise—that Love is the ultimate reality. I am not a betting man, but I wager that, quietly, you will root
me on!

                                                                               – Edward F. Sylvia, M.T.S.


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Foreword
by Ian J. Thompson, Ph.D.                                                  

 

It is well known that there are many severe problems yet unsolved in the foundations of physics, not least the question of whether and how to unify the dynamic geometries of general relativity with the superpositions of quantum mechanics. There are even more difficult problems when it comes to understanding minds and how they can be related to the physical world. Most scientists these days want to accept some kind of “non-reductive physicalism,” but there are still persistent debates about whether such a view is even internally consistent. And there is always the question of how to God can possibly be understood, and how anything Divine can be related to the physical world. Can we say anything scientific, for example, about how God could influence the evolution of life on earth? Most scientists and philosophers want rather to accept some kind of “dual magisteria,” whereby science and religion are allowed to peaceably coexist within their own realms, and as long as they are not allowed to disturb each other.

 

These commonly held views are all based on the desire to leave science alone; to let it proceed autonomously and not to disturb it. However, the views are all based on ignorance of connections. They all reflect the fact that we do not yet have any scientific knowledge that connects general relativity with quantum mechanics, or connects minds with the physical world, or connects anything Divine with the universe. They are all therefore susceptible to revision if we do have some good theory about any of these connections. Many today say that there are no connections, but that again is from ignorance. If someone does propose a theory for these connections, then that proposal should be worked out as best as possible, as it may be a chance for solving our severe problems.

 

Developing such a connecting theory is what Ed Sylvia is trying to do in this book, based on some neglected ideas found in the works of Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg, a Swede who lived from 1688 to 1772, claimed to have received extensive instruction in philosophical, spiritual and theological knowledge after his “inner sight was opened” in his 50s. Before that stage, Swedenborg had demonstrated a very independent and penetrating scientific mind, and published a Principia to explain his theory of how physical objects may be constructed by the rapid spiral motions of microscopic points.

 

This is not the place to discuss the entire veracity of Swedenborg’s writings, but his ideas do certainly appear to be relevant to all our contemporary problems as listed above. This book starts by using Swedenborg’s early physics ideas to see how a more modern account of how a “pregeometric” realm might be constructed. Ed then works to link that account with Swedenborg’s later ideas about how a spiritual realm might exist, and how such a realm might function in relation to the physical world. In a most interesting manner, Swedenborg and Sylvia see the spiritual world as continuously existing “alongside” the physical, and continually generating the physical world to sustain it in apparently stable forms. This, they argue, gives the appearance of physicalism, as the world functions “as if” from its own powers; but the powers are themselves derived from some other (spiritual) cause. And it would go some way to explain the apparent autonomy of the physical world.

 

Of course, anyone can make such claims: the proof is in the details. And there are certainly many details known today about the world that could not have been known in the 18th century. It is therefore a challenge to present Swedenborg’s ideas again in relation to what we now know about physics, biology and neurology. Sylvia certainly rises to that challenge.

 

 

Ian J. Thompson

 

 

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
and Department of Physics, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom.

Aug 28, 2009.

Order now on Amazon or request from your local bookstore. If you’d like to receive updates on when/where this book will be available, send an email to books@staircasepress.com with PROVING GOD as the title. To protect your privacy, we will NOT share your information with anyone.

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