Biblical Science vs. Reductionism

Traditional science has worked under the assumption that reality can be reduced to smaller and simpler elementary parts. This is called reductionism.

However, some pioneering thinkers have taken the view that nature is complex even on its most fundamental levels. Physicist David Bohm believed that quantum entities contained subtle and complex inner structure.

Theologically speaking, if the universe was created by an Infinite God, then it must have had its beginning in unfathomable complexity.

This raises an interesting question. If the Word, which existed before creation was God, and all things in the created world came from the Word (John 1:1-3), does Scripture contain a pre-space and non-physical substrate that is infinitely complex?

Like science, traditional theology believes that the biblical stories are reducible to the simple meaning of its words. But, if the Holy Word was communicated to the human race from God in heaven, shouldn’t its stories contain deeper and more complex ideas?

This is exactly what scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg actually discovered. The Holy Word, like the physical world it generated, contained a similar patterning principle and template, whereby the deeper one probes, the more wonderful the spiritual message becomes – gaining new powers of abstraction until its message finally transcends the comprehension of mortal men and women.

Angels can grasp these more intricately beautiful teachings woven into Scripture, but its deeper levels of God’s truth and divine wisdom ultimately transcend angelic comprehension as well. Angels call the Holy Word “the great deep.”

Swedenborg suggested, that because all earthly men and women are interiorly spiritual beings, they too possess the higher levels of mind that angels enjoy. But these higher cognitive functions only represent latent powers, which need to be opened up through a willingness to learn deeper spiritual truths and a commitment to spend some effort on training the mind to think in new ways.

Swedenborg labored nearly thirty years of his life to help people acquire this deeper knowledge through extraordinary books that challenge and exercise the mind to distill higher meaning from mundane language. If this interests you I recommend that you contact the Swedenborg Foundation and order Vol.1 of Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia (Secrets of Heaven).

It is a wonderful opportunity to make your life more valuable to the Lord God in heaven and to humanity on earth.

Posted on January 8, 2009by thegodguy

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Only One Fountain of Life

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeFrom Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me, ye can do nothing. John 15:4, 5.

… from that one fountain of life, which is the Lord, nothing proceeds except Divine Good and Divine Truth which affect each one in accordance with the reception. Those who receive them in faith and life find heaven in them, but those who reject and suffocate them turn them into hell, for they turn good into evil and truth into falsity, thus life into death. The fact also that everything of life is from the Lord … all things in the universe have reference to good and truth – the life of a man’s will, which is the life of his love, relating to good, and the life of a man’s understanding, which is the life of his faith, relating to truth. Therefore, since everything good and true comes from above, it follows that so does everything of life.

This being the belief of the angels, they refuse all thanks for the good that they do and are indignant and withdraw if anyone attributes good to them. They are astonished that anyone believes that he is wise from himself or does good from himself. Doing good for one’s own sake they do not call good because it is from self; but doing good for the sake of good, they call good from the Divine, and they say it is this good that makes heaven because this Good is the Lord.

Such spirits as have confirmed themselves during their life in the world in the belief that the good that they do and the truth that they believe are from themselves or are appropriated to them as their own – which is the belief of all who attach merit to good actions and claim righteousness to themselves – are not received into heaven. The angels avoid them, regarding them as stupid and as thieves, stupid because they continually have themselves in view and not the Divine, thieves because they would take away from the Lord that which is His. These are opposed to the faith of heaven that the Divine of the Lord present with the angels makes heaven.

(Heaven and Hell 9-11)
April 26, 2017

Why Swedenborg Says You Don’t Have to Be Christian to Be Good

Swedenborg Foundation

By Karin Alfelt Childs

No bones about it: Emanuel Swedenborg was a Christian. He states in his books that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God and that Jesus Christ is the one who saves people and brings them to heaven. Swedenborg also wrote that people do not have to be part of the earthly Christian belief system to go to heaven. How do we reconcile these two seemingly opposite statements?

The important thing, from Swedenborg’s perspective, is to be someone who inwardly follows Christ, not outwardly. Someone can belong to the Christian religion and profess a belief in Jesus Christ and yet live in a way that’s totally contrary to Christ’s teachings. Those people, Swedenborg tells us, cannot get into heaven. That is why Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

blog_christian

On the other hand, there can be people who have been born into a religion that worships the Divine by a different name, or who have become so turned off by hypocrisy in the earthly Christian religion that they cannot find God there. But such people can nevertheless be living in the way Christ taught us to live: by loving God and their neighbor (Matthew 22:36–40); by refraining from judging others (Matthew 7:1–5); by resisting evil in their actions, thoughts, and feelings (John 8:34, Matthew 5:22); by working out their differences with others before coming before God (Matthew 5:24); by treating others the way they themselves would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12), etc. Regardless of their outer, earthly beliefs, they are inward followers of Christ, and after death they will recognize the Lord as the one they have been following all along. Swedenborg’s experiences led him to understand that when the Bible talks about the “name” of Jesus Christ, it means the quality or character of Christ. That is what we must follow in order to be able to recognize the Lord after death.

That’s why on earth, we should be paying attention not to someone’s outer belief system, but rather to the kind of life they are leading. This is what is looked at by the Lord and the angels after death, says Swedenborg, and this is supported by others who have had spiritual or mystical experiences. For example, in Lance Richardson’s near-death experience story “The Message” he also describes good people from many different earthly faith traditions having no problem with recognizing the loving presence of the Lord after death. The variety in earthly religion is something that the Lord is pleased with, because the Lord’s love is not petty and exclusive, wanting people to “get it exactly right.” If so, none of us could make it! In fact, Swedenborg saw many Christians in the afterlife unable to get into heaven because they were so sure they already “had it right” that they were unable to open their minds to learn the ways in which they were mistaken about God (which, of course, can happen in any religious belief system).

Swedenborg tells us that God looks at the heart, the intent, the effort. The Lord’s love is big and all-encompassing and all-inclusive. The Lord wants people to be able to follow whatever earthly religion suits them best as being a tool for forging a relationship with God, according to background, circumstances, and disposition. Christ is not the exclusive character that he is often made out to be. Christ is the embodiment of God’s love for the whole human race.

http://www.swedenborg.com/

The Divine Ransom of Love

While I have never been an atheist, if I had not come across the unique concepts of theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, I would have rejected all official systems of belief. I certainly would have rejected, and still do, all ideas by the traditional Christian Church that faith trumps enlightenment.

There is something wrong when millions upon millions of hungry and curious neurons occupying the human brain are asked to have “faith” and “belief” at the expense of knowledge and rationality.

What really makes my neurons cringe is the doctrinal idea that God is “three Persons” and that Jesus ransomed His life to appease the wrath of His Father. Such doctrinal notions implore us to suspend all reasoning and blindly believe that by some kind of divine hocus-pocus (called a divine mystery) Jesus magically took all our sins and guilt to the cross with Him, and by dying on the cross, put the Father into the right mood and loving frame of mind to again be interested in human salvation.

Besides this scenario making Jehovah God look temperamental and subject to moods, I am at a loss as to how anyone’s bad behavior can be transferred and credited to Jesus, or how the Father can then credit us back with righteousness. This is “voodoo” redemption and implies that Christians are spared from living a life according to the Commandments.

It also suggests that God is glorified in the same way men wish to be glorified—by being served rather than serving, since good works play no part in our redemption.

Jesus was not a ransom for an angry Father-God. If this were so, then Jesus would not have started a ministry and gone to great lengths to share new teachings. While on earth, what Jesus did ransom was His human inclination to exercise command and dominate others. Instead, He choose to wash the feet of the seemingly unworthy. This self-induced humbling action is how God was glorified. The Lord attained greatness through humility rather than through a show of force or might.

“It shall not be so among you; but whosoever would be great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:26-28, Mark 10:44,45)

The Lord took human sin upon Himself by coming into the world and acquiring an imperfect physical body through a human female and real human ovum. In this way, He acquired humankind’s defects and hereditary inclinations towards evil. During the Lord’s life on earth He was given the medium through which He could be influenced by and defeat evil, until He succeeded in perfecting His human nature and uniting it with His divine nature (which was Jehovah). Jesus was Jehovah, and became the Alpha and Omega.

This process of the Lord uniting his human nature with His divine spirit, or Jehovah, was one of perfect humility (exinanition) that reached its ultimate intensity on the cross where the human flesh cried out to be spared from this indignity and be treated specially. Instead of coming down from the cross and showing His true power, he fought to stay on the cross. He brought His flesh under the complete control of the divine will. He showed His ultimate power that divine truth ruled over the selfish and anxious impulses of human flesh.

There is nothing more contrary to heavenly love than the love of self.  Therefore, what was ransomed by the Lord’s life on earth was the human compulsion to be served by others for the sake of self and demand obedience.

If the Lord had come off the cross and taken full control, He would have compelled humankind to worship Him. Only humans compel others and force them into submission.

But coercion is not the strategy of God’s Infinite wisdom.

Love is God’s strategy. This includes His first Advent and Second Coming.

Posted on December 9, 2008by thegodguy

 https://thegodguy.wordpress.com/

 

http://www.provinggod.com

Posted in god, Inner growth, Life after death, love, Reality, religion, spirituality, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Scripture and the structure of reality

Those who have a faith-based worldview believe that God created the manifest universe. In fact, John 1:1-3 informs us that everything in the created world has its origins in the Holy Word.

If we contemplate John’s words rationally, rather than simply as a faith requirement, Scripture seems to be implying that the structure of the universe is patterned after the structure of God’s revealed wisdom.

Many physicists now believe that we live in a multi-dimensional or multi-leveled universe. As you move up this hierarchical ontological ladder, things are not only becoming more fundamental, they are becoming more abstract, expanded, non-local and non-physical.

In my upcoming book, Proving God, I argue that God’s Holy Word—which existed from eternity, was sent down from heaven, where its message found embodiment in the terrestrial words of human language. This divine order was the template for the multi-dimensional structure of the universe. Scientists call this order top-down causality.

Few theologians have considered the fact that if God’s Word came down from heaven, its original dynamics could not have been worldly, terrestrial, or physical. In other words, Scripture, on its most fundamental level, could not have described spatial qualities or physical events.

Heaven is certainly a non-spatial and non-physical realm. Therefore, for the Holy Word to exist in such a rarefied pre-space realm, before creation, it must have contained more abstract, expanded narratives with non-physical meanings. In fact, these higher meanings could ONLY treat of things referring to God’s holy qualities and the holy qualities of the Lord’s heavenly kingdom.

In the same way that energy and process can transition downwards into forms of stabilized matter, God’s Holy Word is a multi-dimensional document by which its primal sacred meaning descends into the constraints of time, space and matter, and its message takes on the appearance of a book containing literal history.

Reversing this top-down divine process through the human mind’s ability of symbolic abstraction while reading Scripture is what leads to spiritual enlightenment.

In other words, in the same way that matter and energy become more dynamic as the constraints of physical law are removed in higher levels of activity, the meanings of the stories in Scripture also become more dynamic when the constraints of the literal meanings of its words are removed.

That God intended for us to distill higher levels of meaning from the Holy Word is evidenced by the fact that Jesus spoke in parables only!

The Book of Revelation informs us that we will see the Lord in all His glory when He returns in the midst of clouds. If we remove the constraints of the literal meaning of the words “coming with the clouds” to its higher, psycho-spiritual equivalent, we will understand something deeper. Clouds symbolize mental obscurity.  God’s “return” will involve His breaking through our mental obscurity and doctrinal fog by revealing these higher levels of meaning to the human race.

The process of revealing these higher meanings is happening right now in the world. These higher meanings will shake things up for both scientists and theologians. The Second Coming is going to be an earth-shaking paradigm change.

Posted on December 6, 2008by thegodguy

https://thegodguy.wordpress.com/

http://www.provinggod.com

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Blind faith – Science or religion?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

blind faithEmotions can run high in the debate between religion and science. Just take a look at  the high-profile campaign in the United States to teach ‘Intelligent Design’ in schools. But is conflict inevitable because both sides are showing blind faith in their own version of reality?

Blind faith of scientists who deny a purposive life source

Despite the victory of Darwinism over creationism, it is hard to see how adaption from something like a single cell through natural selection can give an account for the development of human self-reflection, courage, honesty, ethical insight, ideology, altruism, and resistance to temptation. This is not to deny the truth about the facts of nature that science can reveal. But should we not also acknowledge the deeper side of human life revealed inwardly to those of a spiritual bent. To my mind, human consciousness derives from the human soul absent in other forms of life.

Those who believe that the origin of human existence is a spiritual Life Source are aware however that science firmly favours Darwin’s evolutionary theory, which is based on natural selection and chance factors in reproduction. Survival of the fittest means all human beings together with all animal life have descended from some one primordial form. Science it seems has no room for spiritual ideas such as a purposeful human creation.

Blind faith of creationists

The Darwinian view has easily seen off the creationists, who to my mind have failed
to notice the allegorical nature of the Genesis story. By this I mean that the story of the beginning of the world and the Garden of Eden is not a physics and biology lesson but rather a psycho-spiritual one.

Some modern theologians see the first few chapters in Genesis as a symbolic representation of the origin and dynamic development of the human psyche and
its consciousness in relation to its Source; an ageless model of each of us created in the image and likeness of God. Thus arguably the Garden of Eden is a picture of the state of trust in and obedience to God and the fall of humanity into reliance on self-intelligence and self-orientation.

To my way of thinking the Bible as a whole, if inwardly understood, shows the spiritual journey of humanity returning to a state of innocence. We have a tree of life in the first book Genesis and in the last book Revelation, both I think representing the reality seen through the depths of one’s spirit.  Understanding about life

‘coming from a God-given rationality, structured yet full of vitality and dynamism.”
(Helen Brown Do spiritual symbols mean anything today?)

According to this view trust in the Source is not one based on ignorance but is one with rational understanding — no blind faith but rather a realistic perception about meaning and purpose that takes into account all our understanding about life as a whole.

More people these days are rejecting the blind faith of religion expressed in traditional superstitions and unreasonable dogmas. People are more likely to want their spiritual intuition to be confirmed by rational discussion. Only the creationist will assume scripture is always literally true. I am arguing that people want answers to life’s issues informed by scientific education and the reasoning of common sense, as well as by spiritual knowledge and insight.

When theological doctrines such as creationism are seen to lack realistic sense, then I guess religion will start to be side-lined by those who use their rational minds.

Blind faith in scientific theories limited by naturalistic assumptions

I notice that likewise some scientists claim that random processes created human
life rather than any creative design. Is this not because there can be no scientific instruments to observe purpose and meaning? And because science is limited by its assumption that knowledge is limited to natural things like fossils and genes? I can’t imagine how there might be any scientific proof that science is the only means of acquiring valid knowledge.

Likewise when scientific theoretical concepts appear unlinked to the results of research then even to scientists they will seem more like fantasy than reality.

I wonder if you would agree with the following statement? In its naturalistic explanations and focus on the question ‘how?’ science deals with the level of thinking of the external rational mind, whereas, religion, with its focus on meaning and the question ‘why?’, appeals to the inner rational mind.

In other words when rationally presented, perhaps both science and religion are useful for communicating  different aspects of human knowledge and understanding: science for the outer, time-related, natural life and religion for the inner timeless spiritual life.

Blind faith due to arrogance

Does trouble not arise when some theologians or some scientists believe they know it all? Religion got it wrong in the past about the earth being at the centre of the solar system and today creationists claim the world was made in seven days despite all the evidence of science to the contrary.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” Galileo Galilei (1600–1670)

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Albert Einstein (1879–1955)

Scientists as much as religious people can fall into the trap of blind faith.

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

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on16th November 2011CategoriesMeaning of life, Religion, ScienceTags, , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

The Opening of the Spiritual Mind

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Something shall now be said about its [the spiritual mind’s] formation. The spiritual mind is formed from those things that are in man’s memory from the Word; for the memory is the storehouse … but these things are elevated therefrom in this manner:
First, there is given to man the affection of truth, which is called the spiritual affection of truth, which is that man loves truth because it is truth. This affection of truth is then given because when evils are removed man is in goods from the Lord, and good loves truth and truth good, and the two will to be conjoined. This affection is given by the Lord alone, because the Lord in heaven is Divine truth; and it is given by the Word, because the Lord in the church is the Word.

Secondly, those things that are from the Word in man’s storehouse … are drawn forth and purified by the Lord, and genuine truths are there discriminated and separated from falsities; for man’s spiritual mind can be formed only out of genuine truths, since heaven is in no other.

Thirdly, those truths are elevated by the Lord in a wonderful manner, and become spiritual; this is effected by the influx of heaven, and thus of spiritual things corresponding to natural; and these truths are there disposed into a heavenly form.

Fourthly, the truths that are elevated into the spiritual mind are not in a natural but in a spiritual form. Truths in a spiritual form are such as are in the spiritual sense of the Word, but truths in a natural form are such as are in the natural sense of the Word…. For this reason, when man after death becomes a spirit and his spiritual mind is opened, he no longer thinks and speaks naturally, but spiritually.

Fifthly, so long as man is living in the world he is wholly ignorant of what he thinks in the spiritual mind; he knows only what he thinks from that mind in the natural; but after death the state is changed, and he then thinks from the spiritual mind, and not from the natural.

(Apocalypse Explained 790:8)
April 16, 2017