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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Science, Religion and Enchantment

I belong to a growing group of individuals who are seriously interested in trying to unify science and theology. Certainly, if God created the world, He knows what quantum physics is.

I am attempting to show in my next book, Proving God, that the scientific laws of the universe have their origins in God’s laws of Divine LOVE.

It will be beneficial to describe to you the current state of affairs, as simply as possible.

Physicists now believe that fundamental reality consists not of physical “stuff,” but of pure potentials, called quantum possibilities. These possibilities, or tendencies to exist, represent dynamics that do not fit into classical descriptions of motion. A quantum entity can be in many places at once, almost as though it were a non-physical wave representing a range of possibilities striving to find tangible physical existence.

So nature, at its fundamental level, is a world of striving and pure endeavor. The wonderment in all this is that when quantum potentials become real events in time and space, they create coherent and stable structures. These structures gain in complexity over ages and ages until nature has brought forth the human brain with all its intelligent functions and profound self-awareness.

Science refuses to see this process of moving from potentiality to actuality, from actuality to stable structure, from stable structure to complexity, from complexity to consciousness as purposeful. At the quantum level, they believe reality consists of irreducible chance. This is because science feels it must describe reality from physical principles only (naturalism). Scientists will even concede that if reality has emerged from a metaphysical principle, then the mystery of agency in the universe will not be considered a real scientific topic.

So science is not necessarily as concerned with truth as it is with finding materialistic models that will offer predictable and testable explanations.

Traditional religion, while believing that the universe has its origins in a metaphysical principle, still offers us little help here. Religion concerns itself with God’s laws of salvation and God’s covenant with humanity. Current theology offers few rational insights as to how the laws of salvation or spiritual evolution might be connected to physics. God simply creates one set of laws to run the physical universe and another set of laws to save our souls. This thinking is as equally wrong as scientific thinking.

The only way to unify science and religion is to find a similarity between physical nature and God’s nature. Dissimilarity points to imperfection. But if God is Infinite Love and Infinite wisdom, no imperfection can be predicated of God. Besides, the ubiquitous law that nature always proceeds in the most economical way requires a top-down causal link between God’s nature and physical nature. (Unless you favor deism and believe in an impersonal Creator.)

Since we have been discussing fundamental reality from both a scientific and theological perspective I would now like to jump into the mind of a child who sees reality as enchanted. We often see children drawing pictures where they put a “smile” on the face of the sun. Children see everything in the world as being “alive.” That is why children respond to stories where animals, trees, and even rocks can talk.

As Jesus pointed out, we must become more like little children. While this refers to the spiritual challenge of adults returning to a state of innocence, the Lord is not implying that we should also abandon intellectual pursuits. Getting to heaven is not a move away from an intellectual grasp of the ultimate reality, but to be enlightened by it.

A scientist sees fundamental reality as being dead. A child sees reality as fundamentally alive. Who is more enlightened?

If a living God is at the center of the universe then the universe must, at its very heart, be alive! This is why the laws of the universe are so bio-friendly. The laws of nature have emerged from, and are analogous to, God’s Divine Nature. This Divine Nature is Infinite LOVE!

Can the dynamics of LOVE represent an exact science? Yes!

As I stated above, physicists see fundamental reality as a striving, or propensity. Love is also a propensity and endeavor, but it is a conscious, living endeavor. Scientists also say that quantum possibilities “collapse” into stable forms of matter, which lead to greater complexity and ultimately to larger scales of organized systems (unities). Love also seeks to unify things in the same way nature pursues a course of self-organization.

In this century, humanity will come to understand that LOVE is the creative psychical force and ultimate formative substance of the world, and the reason why everything in the universe is non-spatially and non-temporally interconnected.

This is just a small taste of what I will be covering in my soon to be published book, Proving God.

Posted on December 3, 2008by thegodguy

http://www.provinggod.com

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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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What Quantum Physics Can Tell Us about the Afterlife

Swedenborg Foundation

Quantum physics is weird. To begin to understand it, you have to set aside everything you thought you knew about space and time and develop complex, abstract models of a universe in which the tiniest divisions of matter exist in constantly changing states and where the normal rules of action at a distance don’t apply . . .

Oh, wait. That’s Emanuel Swedenborg.

Spiritual concepts have nothing to do with space. They have to do solely with state, state being an attribute of love, life, wisdom, desires, and the delights they provide—in general, an attribute of what is good and true. A truly spiritual concept of these realities has nothing in common with space. . . .

However, since angels and spirits see with their eyes the way we do on earth, and since objects can be seen only in space, there does seem to be space in the spiritual world where angels and spirits are, space like ours on earth. Still, it is not space but an appearance of space. It is not fixed and invariant like ours. It can be lengthened, shortened, changed and altered; and since it cannot be defined by measurement, we here cannot grasp it with an earthly concept, but only with a spiritual one. Spiritual concepts are no different when they apply to spatial distances than when they apply to “distances” of what is good and “distances” of what is true, which are agreements and likenesses as to state. (Divine Love and Wisdom §7; see also Heaven and Hell §§154–55)

quantumcrop

Swedenborg emphasizes that space in the spiritual world is nothing like ours: he describes angels traveling over huge distances in an instant to reach someone who is thinking about them, communities of angels who are bound together by similarities in their states of love and wisdom, and surroundings that change in response to people’s thoughts and emotions. During the eighteenth century, when Isaac Newton’s laws of physics were still brand new, this must have been hard to imagine. Today, quantum physics is giving us new ways to think about the universe that have interesting parallels to what Swedenborg described.

Take the principle of quantum entanglement, for example:

Entanglement occurs when two quantum particles interact with each other so that their quantum states become interdependent. If the first particle is in state A, say, then the other must be in state B, and vice versa.

Until a measurement is made of one of the particles, its state is undetermined: it can be regarded as being in both states A and B simultaneously, known as a superposition. The act of measuring ‘collapses’ this superposition into just one of the possible states.

But if the particles are entangled, then this measurement also determines the state of the other particle—even if they have become separated by a vast distance. The effect of the measurement is transmitted instantaneously to the other particle, through what Albert Einstein skeptically called ‘spooky action at a distance’. [1]

In other words, if two particles are entangled, they function together as a single system. An action taken to affect one will also affect the other, no matter how far away they are. You could visualize this on a larger scale by imagining a pair of dice: if the dice were entangled in the same way that particles can become entangled, then when rolled simultaneously they would always turn up matching numbers, even if one die was on the opposite side of the planet from the other.

Entanglement between particles can happen as a result of almost any type of interaction, as long as they are close enough to affect each other. The effect can be almost unmeasurably brief (for example, when produced in a lab, as described in the article referenced above) or it could last indefinitely.

Compare this to the way that Swedenborg describes interaction between souls in the afterlife:

All motion in the spiritual world is the effect of changes of inner states, to the point that motion is nothing but change of state. . . .

This being the nature of motion, we can see that drawing near is likeness of inner state and moving away is dissimilarity. This is why the people who are nearby are the ones in a similar state and the ones who are far away are in dissimilar states. It is why space in heaven is nothing but the outward states that correspond to the inner ones.

This is also why in the spiritual world one individual is present to another if only that presence is intensely desired. This is because one person sees another in thought in this way and identifies with that individual’s state. Conversely, one person moves away from another to the extent that there is any sense of reluctance; and since all reluctance comes from an opposition of affections and disagreement of thoughts, there can be many people appearing together in one place as long as they agree, but as soon as they disagree, they vanish. (Heaven and Hell §§192–94)

In Swedenborg’s case, the interaction between two souls is a thought or feeling—an emotional or spiritual state that can either draw individuals closer or drive them apart. This works not only for individuals, as described above, but for communities of angels in heaven, who are bound together by similarities in the things they love (Heaven and Hell §§41–44). And, like quantum particles, two individuals can align either briefly or indefinitely, depending on their internal qualities.

Of course, the similarity isn’t perfect; as far as scientists know today, quantum entanglement can’t be used to move objects or information through space. But the idea of two objects being so aligned that they can affect each other regardless of the distance between them is one that has a powerful resonance in Swedenborg’s thought.

If we use quantum entanglement as a model, we see love as the glue that connects people together. In fact, in many places, Swedenborg observes that love is life itself (for example, the very first sentence of Divine Love and Wisdom). If that’s true, then when people share a common love, they share a common life—a common existence that stretches from this world to the next.

There’s one more very intriguing way in which quantum entanglement parallels Swedenborg’s thought. When building mathematical models of the universe based on quantum theory, researchers have found that entanglement is necessary to the existence of, well, everything:

Mark Van Raamsdonk, a string theorist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, likens the holographic concept [of the structure of the universe] to a two-dimensional computer chip that contains the code for creating the three-dimensional virtual world of a video game. We live within that 3-D game space. . . .

In 2010 Van Raamsdonk proposed a thought experiment to demonstrate the critical role of entanglement in the formation of space-time, pondering what would happen if one cut the memory chip in two and then removed the entanglement between qubits [quantum bits of information] in opposite halves. He found that space-time begins to tear itself apart, in much the same way that stretching a wad of gum by both ends yields a pinched-looking point in the center as the two halves move farther apart. Continuing to split that memory chip into smaller and smaller pieces unravels space-time until only tiny individual fragments remain that have no connection to one another. “If you take away the entanglement, your space-time just falls apart,” said Van Raamsdonk. [2]

Swedenborg says something very similar about the spiritual universe:

If you look at the created universe with an eye to its design, it is so full of wisdom from love that you might say everything taken all together is wisdom itself. There are things without measure in such a pattern, both sequential and simultaneous, that taken all together they constitute a single entity. This is the only reason they can be held together and sustained forever. (Divine Love and Wisdom §29)

Bringing these two ideas together gives us a new way to think about loving others: If there was no love connecting us as individuals, connecting individuals into communities, and connecting communities into a larger and larger whole, then our spiritual universe would fall apart. Loving everybody might seem like a difficult goal, but loving the people closest to you just might be the first step in the process of bringing all of creation a little bit closer together.

http://www.swedenborg.com/

***

For even more parallels between quantum mechanics and Swedenborg’s writings, watch “Spiritual Physics” and “How to Travel in the Afterlife,” two episodes of our weekly webcast Swedenborg and Life on the offTheLeftEye YouTube channel.

You can also download all of Swedenborg’s writings, including the two works mentioned above, from our bookstore.

References

[1] Philip Ball, “Entangled diamonds vibrate together,” Nature, December 1, 2011, http://www.nature.com/news/entangled-diamonds-vibrate-together-1.9532

[2] Jennifer Ouellette, “How Quantum Pairs Stitch Space-Time,” Quanta Magazine,April 28, 2015, https://www.quantamagazine.org/20150428-how-quantum-pairs-stitch-space-time

 

The Ultra, Ultra Miracle Of Life

Scientists are truly astonished that the laws of nature are bio-friendly—fine-tuned to allow for the emergence of life. When one considers that life has evolved in complexity to give us the human brain and personal-level experience (consciousness) things get even more astonishing.

While many scientists see an “apparent” intelligent direction in evolution, this direction is not deemed purposeful or designed. Rather, this is all the result of the contingency of random or chance mutations. Life is the result of a cosmic throw of the dice. Ironically, this cosmic crapshoot allows entities to appear with functions that express a mastery of science (which humans and their brains do not possess).

Furthermore, when you take into account that nature seems to display an incessant compulsion for self-organization, one can only assume that the dice are loaded.

In spite of modern science’s reluctance to embrace purposeful design, every organic process and structure serves a distinct purpose. Why is this significant? Well, science knows that anything put into motion seeks out its equilibrium. The miracle of life is that myriads of distinct actions are set in motion, yet all seek a common equilibrium! Every process and organic function must be coordinated and subordinated according to successive and simultaneous order.

This coordinated distribution of action is a bit much to ask of merely gravitating matter. Matter is not smart enough to orchestrate such a cooperative effort, whereby things gain distinction through togetherness.

Now fast-forward to the evolution of the human race. Here, a similar principle seems to apply. Individuals in society gain distinction from their selfless service to the common good of others.

Hmmm?

Even quantum physics is offering clues that existence is relationship and that matter is not the fundamental “stuff” of the universe. What is fundamental in nature is now seen by scientists as the “tendency to exist.” This tendency emerges from a non-spatial and non-temporal realm.

Hmmm? What possible non-physical dynamic could be represented by a “disposition” that endeavored to take concrete form through relationship and cooperation?

The answer is LOVE.

The essence of love is to unite. Love is psychical—a disposition of mind—and therefore a non-physical principle of agency.

Love is God.

This is just a small taste of the issues I will be tackling in my upcoming book, Proving God. My strategy is to put naturalism on its head, and show how time and space, plus all law and force in the universe, emerged from love’s dynamical nature.

In God’s universe, Love is not simply a passion or lively enthusiasm. Love is the ultimate science.

Posted on November 13, 2008by thegodguy

Posted in god, love, metaphysics, psychology, Reality, religion, science, spirituality, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Internet Sacred Text Archive

Emanuel Swedenborg Swedenborg

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish philosopher and scientist who, at 56, had a spiritual awakening and wrote numerous books on his theological views and related topics. He advocated a version of Christianity where works count as much as faith, with the trinity existing in Jesus, instead of three separate entities. Swedenborg derived inspiration from dreams and visions, and claimed to be able to visit heaven and hell at will. His works were widely read after his death and highly regarded by poets, writers and mystics such as Blake, Baudelaire, Strindberg, Balzac, Yeats, Jung, and William James.

The following electronic texts have been converted automatically for sacred-texts by a volunteer. Swedenborg’s writings are indexed by paragraph number. Each of the texts have been arbitrarily separated into 50-paragraph files.


Spiritual Diary
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1747-65] tr. by George Bush, John H. Smithson and James F. Buss [1883-9]

Arcana Coelestia
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56] tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10]

Apocalypse Explained
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1757-9] tr. by John Whitehead [1911]

Last Judgment Posthumous
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1757-9] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Last Judgment
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758] tr. by John Whitehead [1892]

Last Judgment Continued
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758] tr. by John Whitehead [1892]

Heaven and Hell
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758] tr. by John C. Ager [1900]

White Horse
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758] tr. by John Whitehead [1892]

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758] tr. by John Whitehead [1892]

Earths in the Universe
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758] tr. by John Whitehead [1892]

Athanasian Creed
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1759] tr. by Samuel H. Worcester [1885]

De Domino
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1760] tr. by Samuel H. Worcester [1885]

Prophets and Psalms
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1761] tr. by J.E. Schreck [1900]

De Verbo
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1762] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Divine Love
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1762-3] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Divine Wisdom
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1762-3] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Divine Love and Wisdom
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763] tr. by John C. Ager [1890]

Doctrine of Faith
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763] tr. by John F. Potts [1904]

Doctrine of Life
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763] tr. by John F. Potts [1904]

Doctrine of Sacred Scriptures
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763] tr. by John F. Potts [1904]

Doctrine of the Lord
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1763] tr. by John F. Potts [1904]

Divine Providence
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1764] tr. by William Frederic Wunsch [1851]

Apocalypse Revealed
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1766] tr. by John Whitehead [1912]

Charity
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1766] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

De Conjugio
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1766] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Conjugial Love
by Emanuel Swedenborg [1768]

God the Savior
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1768] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Canons
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1769] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Brief Exposition
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1769] tr. by John Whitehead [1892]

Interaction of the Soul and Body
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1769] tr. by John Whitehead [1892]

True Christian Religion
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771] tr. by John Whitehead [1906]

Coronis
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]

Invitation to the New Church
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771] tr. by John Whitehead [1914]


The Gist of Swedenborg
by Julian K. Smyth and William F. Wunsch [1920]
A little anthology of Swedenborg’s writings

http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm

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