Beginning Theistic Science

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Thinkers or Lovers? Anthropology for Persons

R.J. Snell, here, asks in the blog of the Society for Christian Psychology:

Is “love” enough around which to re-habilitate the necessary edifice of human self-understanding and normativity with any level of exactness and perspicacity?

I’d suggest yes, if, and only if, an exploration of love reveals something (1) intelligible, (2) normative, (3) structural, (4) self-referentially consistent, and (5) defining of our anthropology. To put it another way, I’m not suggesting we examine love abstractly, but that we examine our own concrete selves and subjectivity as the access point, and in so doing will discover human nature and human norms, but in a way less guilty of reifying our identity into “thinkers,” and without the tendency to force our own selves into correspondence with any theory about human nature. At the same time, it seems right to me that the basic impulse of the Western tradition—which is to identify a basic isomorphism between the way we are (our natures) and the way we ought to be (teleology)—is valuable and true. Ethics not rooted in the way we actually are is either groundless or ideological or both; politics out of keeping with our nature is either false or violent or both; accounts of flourishing unmoored from human nature tend to be unserious or oppressive or both.

The task, then, is to discover human nature as it actually is, and as it actually is in our own concrete empirical selves, and to rehabilitate normative accounts of our well-being and flourishing. And to do so by an analysis of love, but an analysis which is concrete, intelligible, and differentiated.

Something of a steep task, I suspect.

I have begun to describe work on this task:

And Section 20.4 (Persons and their Identity) of my book (Starting Science From God):
The system of discrete degrees that comes from an analysis of theism suggests a possible solution to the problem of continued personal identity. In Section 6.5 we saw that, within an ontology of multiple generative levels, there was a sense in which the continued identity of a person could be attributed to some prior degree, especially if this prior degree were relatively unchanging. So, if the prior degree were strictly unchanging during a person’s lifetime, then we would have a means of identifying our personal identity both during our growth and changes in this life and possibly also after the death of our physical bodies. There would then be a core in us that would be the basis of our continued existence, and that could said to be our ‘true self’.
This core, according to our basic theism, is our most fundamental love. For God this core is the divine love. That is clearly his core and the basis of his continued divine identity. For us, it is the love that is the most prior generative degree that can be said to be ‘us’ rather than ‘someone else’. That love is the most constant underlying disposition in our life. It is like Plato’s ‘self-moving soul.’ Let us call this most constant underlying disposition our principal love. Because the principal love produces our life, it is recognizable by its effect of producing a ‘theme of our life’. We agree with Hume that this identity is not immediately apparent to our introspection, but that does not make it any less real. Along with dispositions in general, our principal love can be tested by examining skills, character, and performances when there are few or no external constraints, by examining affections in action and in the voice, and so on. Just as physicists test dispositions by experiments and not by mere inspection, so our own identities could be inferred by examining all our characteristic actions more easily than by introspection.
This concept of personal identity as principal love would be most useful to psychology and theology if that love were completely unchanged during our lifetime: from birth to death and even after bodily death. This would require it to keep all the same intrinsic properties even though its effects and relations may vary. Its relation to us will certainly vary as we grow up and later die. It would also be most useful if we could assume that no two people had the same principal love. Then we could be sure not to confuse any two people. Theistic religions claim that we have some kind of continued identity that survives bodily death. I offer the concept of principal love as a candidate for the needed kind of identity.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Charles Tart, on “Toward a Post-Materialistic Science”

Charles Tart has a recent post “Toward a Post-Materialistic Science – Materialism and Science“, discussing a recent “small, working conference” he went to, and the ideas there for trying to improve science.He reminds us

that Promissory Materialism is not a scientific theory, because scientific theories are generally required to be capable of falsification, and there is no way you can falsify the belief that anything will be explained in material terms someday.

So, in am important sense, the description in “post-materialist science” is redundant! He thinks science, by its ‘true’ nature, can deal with the new topics needed. Though, of course, there might still be “denial [that] can reach the level of the unethical and/or pathological”. He gives a good example.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Is Naturalism a Conclusion from Science, or was it Presumed at the beginning?

David Tyler has been been commenting on a paper by Massimo Pigliucci about issues in the theory of evolution.We should pay attention to Tyler’s conclusions:

A science that presumes naturalism MUST necessarily end up as an atheistic science. It fails as science because this approach presumes what it then claims science has confirmed. This means that naturalistic science is not objective and is not able to follow the evidence wherever it leads. For example, this is why the advocates of abiogenesis focus their efforts on chemical evolution, as this is the only avenue that naturalistic science permits researchers to follow. Consequently, the information characteristics of life are underplayed and they hope for information to arise by currently unknown emergent processes. The evidence however, points to complex specified information being fundamental to life, which naturalistic science cannot concede. By contrast, theistic science does not prescribe or predetermine outcomes, but it can handle natural processes as well as recognise intelligent agency. We will make progress when multiple working hypotheses can be tested without prescribing philosophical presuppositions for science. This is where education should be heading, not enforcing naturalism as the essence of science.

In particular, we do need ‘multiple working hypotheses’: some based on naturalism, and some based on theism. This is to include the theistic science I have already suggested.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Evolution by Natural or Theistic Selection?

I have previously discussed how biological evolution can occur within a theistic framework, in my post Theistically Filtered Evolution and Theistically Driven Evolution.I now recommend that you read a very useful discussion about the adequacy of natural selection (Darwinism) as the sole means of evolution (after mutations, drift, and other natural processes). This is from The OFloinn, who often takes a refreshing view of old issues.  (See, for example, his detailed history of the astronomies of Ptolemy and Galileo: “The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown“)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Is God Simple?

The question of whether God is ‘simple’ is recently being discussed, again.We all agree that ‘God is One’, and has an essential unity. The issue is whether there is any kind of internal structure to God.The discussion started with David Bentley Hart’s recent book The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss.  One reviewer summarizes Hart’s view as

First, there was a consensus among ancient philosophers and theologians regarding the simplicity of God. Divine simplicity can be stated in many ways, but it basically means that God has no parts. Or you could just say that God is immaterial (since anything material can be divided). Second, this consensus was shared by nearly all the world’s oldest religions. Third, this consensus is crucial for the Christian faith. It is, in fact, the only way to make sense of God, and thus it is fundamental for everything that Christians believe and say about the divine.

This kind of view, Vincent Torley reminds us, is a theological consensus. Torley quotes the Thomist philosopher Edward Feser:

As I have indicated in earlier posts, the doctrine of divine simplicity is absolutely central to classical theism. To say that God is simple is to say that He is in no way composed of parts – neither material parts, nor metaphysical parts like form and matter, substance and accidents, or essence and existence. Divine simplicity is affirmed by such Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thinkers as Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Maimonides, Avicenna, and Averroes. It is central to the theology of pagan thinkers like Plotinus. It is the de fide teaching of the Catholic Church, affirmed at the fourth Lateran council and the first Vatican council, and the denial of which amounts to heresy. (Classical theism, September 30, 2010.)

It should be noted that not only Christians, but Jews and Muslims, have traditionally affirmed the doctrine of God’s simplicity. According to the article on Divine Simplicity in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “the roots of [the doctrine of God’s] simplicity go back to the Ancient Greeks, well before its formal defense by representative thinkers of the three great monotheistic religions— Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” It adds:

…representative thinkers of all three great monotheistic traditions recognize the doctrine of divine simplicity to be central to any credible account of a creator God’s ontological situation. Avicenna (980–1037), Averroes (1126–98), Anselm of Canterbury, Philo of Alexandria, and Moses Maimonides (1135–1204) all go out of their way to affirm the doctrine’s indispensability and systematic potential.

I [Torley] might add that the doctrine of Divine simplicity isn’t an invention of medieval theologians. It actually predates Christianity:

Christianity is in its infancy when the Jewish theologian Philo of Alexandria (c. 30 B.C.E.– 50 C.E.) observes that it is already commonly accepted to think of God as Being itself and utterly simple. Philo is drawing on philosophical accounts of a supreme unity in describing God as uncomposite and eternal.

However, is it true?

Let me quote from George Porteous’s book Emanuel Swedenborg: As a Philosopher, Metaphysician, and Theologian (text here), written in 1874:

Metaphysicians, since the sixth century, have all agreed that the Divine Being “is without body, parts, or passions,” that He is a divine simplicity, divine essence or unity. The assertion that God is without parts, passions, and a form, amounts to the bold and blank declaration that “there is no God.” It is this doctrine of the metaphysicians that is the basis of all that extreme imbecility exhibited and generated by the school-men and book-men respecting the nature of God and the faculties of man. The only hopeless mystics have been these metaphysicians. Though they lost the play of wisdom and insight, they endeavored to retain its gravity. They clutched at the reputation of being wise on the subject of Deity, and still they profess to know nothing of Deity! They built upon denials and assertions; and, in the words of the incomparable Droll—

     “They knew what’s what, and that’s as high As metaphysic wit can fly.”

To every human note of inquiry they answered—”Mum!” To the painful utterances of struggling souls—to the voice wailing after God, “O that I might find Him,” these cold men of the schools replied, “The substance of all our knowledge concerning God is the knowing what he is not, rather than what he is,” and more modernly expressed by Bishop Beverage, “We cannot so well apprehend what God is, as what he is not.”

God is represented on the one hand as a “pure idea,” and on the other as a pure divine simplicity; now, as a “luminous abyss, without bottom, without shore, without bank, without height, without depth, without laying hold of, or attaching itself to anything—pure infinity then as a “formative appetency,” a “metaphysical ens,” an “infinite point,” “the great ether of the universe.” And solemnly let us repeat it, the framers of these definitions maintain that we cannot do better, when thinking (?) of God, than to think of Him after the fashion indicated above! Think of a luminous abyss, of a bottomless, fathomless, shoreless, bankless, depthless being! Truly this is mockery to the thought.

In striking contrast to this medley of absurdities, Swedenborg comes as a liberating angel, giving us, if not the absolutely true or final views, at least such views of God as redeem the nature of the Divine from the misapprehensions of a dull, scholastic theology, and an imbecile metaphysics, and show how God in himself exists, and what attitude He maintains to man. He clearly demonstrates that a being without body, parts, or passions, is not a being at all. His reasoning on this point, though more profound and less rationalistic and materialistic than John Locke’s, is substantially the same. This great and gifted English philosopher has stated that whatever “has no form and parts has no extension, and having no extension, has no duration, and thus no existence.” This is the severe logic of material reasoning: but it contains a spiritual application. Apply this reasoning to the doctrines currently taught about God. If God is without body, parts, or passions, He has no existence; for, as before observed, that which has no form, extension, and no duration, has no existence—no being—is not. When we say, ” Our Father who art in heaven,” we are, according to the stem logic of the preceding argument, addressing a nonentity. Do not mistake us. We are not insinuating for a moment that God has material parts or passions; all we are bent on advocating is, that God is a personality—is the infinite Divine Substance—is the only real substantial Being, with parts, and affections, and form, in ever hallowed and sublime activity. And this is Swedenborg’s doctrine; yet without a knowledge of his doctrine of discrete degrees, and the nature of life, influx, and form, it is impossible, in the brief space allotted to a lecture, to give you anything approaching a clear and candid view of his position. Sufficient, however, has been advanced on the nature of God, as stated by Swedenborg, to quicken thought, and suggest volumes for your meditation.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why was I repelled by ideas of God and Spirituality?

I think back to when I was a teenager ‘in the grip of scientism’, and how I felt various reactions to proposed ideas about mind or spiritual things:

I remember feeling almost a gut distaste when those things were mentioned. I felt ill! I felt I had stomach ulcers! It was like feeling that the whole ground you are standing on is about to give way. It was like seeing your life’s problems in front of you as a terrible tangle that I could never solve even in a lifetime.
I thought that there were indeed some terrible ideas that science had managed to banish from everyday life (eg. witchcraft, magic, I thought), notions that should be banished, on peril of making the world worse. (This is similar to Sagan’s later banishing the ‘demon-haunted world’).

I do not feel that it was ‘group think’ as such. I was scientifically oriented, but knew that I could still change things in science by new discoveries. I could imagine changing the way the group thinks, just like my heroes of Faraday, Maxwell, Einstein, etc. (I may have been naively optimistic about the likelihood of that, but I knew it possible, so I was not committed to group think.)

For the same reasons I was not just about preserving the status quo, as such. I could change that. Perhaps I was still preserving science or scientism, though at the time I did not see it.

On reflection now, I conclude:

Each of us has adopted some various ideas as unconditionally true (whether about science, or religion, or agnosticism, or whatever). And that these ideas become attached to our manner of feeling what is good and what is distasteful. We develop a feeling for those ideas as good, and ‘good’ becomes defined as what agrees with those ideas. Conversely, any opposing ideas give rise to distaste and unease and uncertainty and anxiety. So we fight back! That is what the pseudo-skeptics are doing. They are fighting back against ideas which (in their own minds) are upsetting.

 

What should we do?

You may well ask whether this is the correct way that our affections and ideas should be organized? Should we be able to become so emotionally attached to ideas which have (in the end) a high chance of being wrong? Should not we keep some kind of flexibility?

Now in my life I can generalize that each of us, as we grow up, is seeking for something to be taken as ‘unconditionally good’. Something that be a foundation on which to build one’s life. It may be religion, or science. It may be ‘creativity as such’ (it was for me at one point), or art, or community commitment, or saving the whales, or whatever.

 

Theistic View

Even taking a religious viewpoint, this is necessary. We have to make some kind of commitment or other: some kind of affirmation of trust in what is good and faith in what is true. On a religious view, humans are ‘designed’ to have to make such affirmations: preferably to what is good in God and true from God of course. 

Though, as we see so often these days, these same kind of commitments are now being made to other things that should not be affirmed in the same way. Nowadays, there is so much seemingly-angry commitment to atheism or materialism or science. We are intended to make some commitment.

Adapted from a skeptiko post

A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (Revised)

ABBREVIATIONSCONCERNING GODImportance of a Just Idea of God
God is One
God is very Man
God is not in Space
The very Divine Essence is Love and Wisdom
The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom are Substance and Form
God is Love itself and Life Itself
The Nature of the Divine Love
The Infinity and Eternity of God
The Omnipotence of God
The Omniscience of God
The Omnipresence of God
Knowledge respecting God only possible by RevelationCREATIONGod created the Universe from Himself, not out of Nothing
All Things in the Universe were created from the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom of God-Man
Two Worlds, the Spiritual and the Natural
Two Suns, by means of which all Things in the two Worlds were created
Atmospheres, Waters, and Earths, in the Spiritual and Natural Worlds
The Origin of Matter
The Divine Object in the Creation of the Universe
All Things of the Created Universe viewed from Uses, represent Man in an Image

MAN

What Man is
What the Internal and External Man are
The very Inmost of Man
The Life of Man
The Origin of Vital Heat
The Primitive Condition of Man

THE FALL OF MAN

The Nature of the Fall
Loss of Internal Perception by the Fall
The Image of God not actually destroyed in Man
External Respiration, and the Origin of Verbal Language by the Fall
The Fall was Gradual and Successive
The Nature and Extent of Hereditary Evil

THE DOCTRINE OF THE LORD

The Divine Human from Eternity
The Lord’s Appearance on Earth before the Incarnation, as an Angel
The very Infinite cannot be manifested otherwise than by the Divine Human
The Incarnation
Jehovah God descended as to Divine Truth, and was said to be Born Yet did not separate the Divine Good
Reasons for the Incarnation
Why it is said that Jesus proceeded forth and came from God, and was sent
The Lord’s Hereditary Evil
The Lord made His Human Divine by His own Might
The Glorification
The Glorification was fully completed by the Passion of the Cross
The Lord, in Glorification, did not transmute or change His Human   Nature into Divine, but put off the Human and put on the Divine
The Lord did not acknowledge Mary as His Mother, because He put off the Human derived from her
The Lord’s Whole Life was a Continual Temptation and Victory
The Lord was Tempted even by Angels
How the Lord bore the Iniquities of All
The Use of the Lord’s Temptations
The Lord’s Glorification is imaged in Man’s Regeneration
The Resurrection
The Redemption
The Lord thus redeemed not only Man, but the Angels
Without Redemption Wickedness would spread throughout all Christendom in both Worlds
Redemption could not be effected but by God Incarnate
False Views of the Atonement
The True Meaning of Mediation, Intercession, Atonement, and Propitiation
How the Lord fulfilled the whole Law
All Power in the Heavens and on Earth given to the Lord
Meaning of the phrases Son of God and Son of Man
Various Names of the Lord
Practical Use of a correct Idea of the Lord
The Recognition of the Lord as God sheds Light upon every particular of the Word
Jehovah Himself, in His Divine Human, is the only Savior
Why Jehovah is nowhere named in the Word of the New Testament, but the Lord instead
The Reason why these Things concerning the Lord are now first publicly made known
Why the Lord was Born on this Earth

THE HOLY SPIRIT

General Doctrine
The Holy Spirit not mentioned in the Old Testament

THE DIVINE TRINITY

General Doctrine
Before the World was created there was no Trinity of God but an Ideal or Potential One
A Memorable Narration concerning the Divine Trinity
Importance of a Right Idea of the Trinity

THE SACRED SCRIPTURES

General Doctrine
There is a Spiritual Sense in the Word hitherto unknown
What the Spiritual Sense of the Word is
The Word was written by Correspondences
Loss of the Knowledge of Correspondences, and Origin of Idolatry
Why the Spiritual Sense of the Word was not revealed before
The Spiritual Sense is in each and all Things of the Word
Six Degrees of Divine Truth, the Letter of the Word being the Lowest
The Literal Sense of the Word is the Basis, the Containant, and Foundation of its Spiritual and Celestial Senses
The Literal Sense of the Word is a Guard to the Truths concealed within it
In the Literal Sense of the Word Divine Truth is in its Fulness, in its Holiness, and in its Power
By means of the Literal Sense of the Word Man has Conjunction with the Lord and Consociation with the Angels
The Marriage of the Lord and the Church, and hence the Marriage of Good and Truth, is in every part of the Word
Doctrine should be drawn from the Literal Sense of the Word, and confirmed by it
Appearances of Truth in the Letter of the Word
Genuine Truth in the Literal Sense of the Word, which the Truth of Doctrine must be, appears only to those who are in Enlightenment from the Lord
How Heretical Opinions are derived from the Letter of the Word
Which are the Books of the Word
Four Different Styles in the Word
The Word of the Old Testament
The Apocalypse
The Word is in all the Heavens, and the Wisdom of the Angels is derived from it
The Historical Parts of the Word were given especially for Children
Delightful Perception by Angels of the Internal Sense of the Word when devoutly read by Men
And especially when the Word is read by Children
By means of the Word Light is communicated to the Nations out of the Church
Revelation and Inspiration
Previous to the Word which now exists in the World there was a Word which is lost
The Sin of Profaning the Word and the Holy Things of the Church
Different Kinds and Degrees of Profanation
The Effects of Profanation
Memorabilia respecting the Divine Word in the Heavens

SIGNIFICATION OF VARIOUS TERMS AND SUBJECTS IN THE WORD

The Days of Creation
Enoch
The Giants
Repentance of the Lord
The Flood
The Resting of the Ark upon the Mountains of Ararat
The Bow in the Cloud
Ham
Ishmael
Laughter
Borrowing from and Spoiling the Egyptians
The Anger of the Lord
Apparent Contradiction as to the Number of Years which the Israelites dwelt in Egypt
Divine Truth, Pacific and Tumultuous
Boring the Ear with an Awl
The Breaking of the Tables of the Decalogue by Moses, and his hewing out other Tables
Signification of the Jewish Sacrifices
Magic, Sorcery, and Enchantments
Spiritual Drunkenness
Miracles
Spiritual Fermentations
Prayer and Worship
Why it is the Lord’s Will to be Worshipped
The Lord’s Prayer
The Spiritual Sense of Numbers
Measures and Weights
Alpha and Omega

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

General Doctrine
The First Commandment
The Second Commandment
The Third Commandment
The Fourth Commandment
The Fifth Commandment
The Sixth Commandment
The Future State of Adulterers
The Seventh Commandment
The Eighth Commandment
The Ninth and Tenth Commandments
Offending in One Commandment offending in All

FAITH

What Faith is
The Essence of Faith is Charity
Cognitions of Truth and Good are not of Faith until a Man is in Charity
The Truths of Faith are first in Time, but Charity is first in End
Faith never becomes Faith till the Truths of it are willed and done
Insofar as any one shuns Evils as Sins he has Faith
Faith is the first Principle of the Church in appearance, but Charity is actually the first
How Faith is formed from Charity
Truth rooted in the Mind by doing it
The Errors and Blindness of those who are in Faith alone
The Lord’s Providence over those who are taught the Doctrine of Faith alone
Many of the Learned who were in Truths of Doctrine are in Hell, while others who were in Falsities are in Heaven
Of Persuasive Faith
No one ought to be persuaded instantaneously of the Truth
The Source of Spiritual Light
Every Man may see Spiritual Truth who desires it Why Saving Faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ
Of the Faith by which Diseases were healed by the Lord Confirmations
Difficulty of extirpating Falsities that have been confirmed by Evil Life Man cannot search into the Mysteries of Faith by things known
Of the False Assumption that nothing is to be believed until it is understood
Affirmative and Negative States of Mind
Nature and Spiritual Use of Outward Acquisitions of Knowledge
Memorabilia concerning Faith Fruits of Faith and Capability of Receiving it in the Other Life

CHARITY AND GOOD WORKS

Who is the Neighbor
The Degrees of the Relationship of Neighbor
What Charity is
The Delights of Charity are according to the Greatness and Importance of the Use performed
The Delight of doing Good without a Recompense
The Internal Blessedness of Love and Charity perceptible in this Life
The Criterion of Character
Love to the Lord and Love to the Neighbor distinguished
Love to Enemies
The Presence of the Lord with Man is according to Neighbourly Love or Charity
Self-Love and Mutual Love contrasted

FREE WILL

General Doctrine
What Free Will is
A something analogous to Free Will in all Created Things
How Man is in Freedom from the Lord alone
Why in Freedom Man feels and wills as of himself, when it is not of himself
Man ought to compel himself, and in this Compulsion is the highest Freedom Heavenly Freedom and Infernal Freedom

REPENTANCE, REFORMATION, AND REGENERATION

Repentance
The Nature of Man before Regeneration, or as to what is properly his own (Proprium)
Man’s great Tendency to Evil
Why Man is born in Ignorance
Reformation and Regeneration
A Sign of Reformation and Non-Reformation
The Course of Regeneration and of Progress to True Wisdom
The Six States of Regeneration
Regeneration progresses through successive Cycles
The Cycles of Regeneration are one with the Cycles of Man’s Life
Understanding separate from the Will is given to Man that he may be regenerated
Correspondence of Natural Birth to Spiritual Birth
During Regeneration the Lord governs Man by means of Angels
Regeneration is foreseen and provided for from Eternity Regeneration is effected by means of Remains
Regeneration cannot be effected suddenly
Every one may be Regenerated, but each differently
In order to have Regeneration the Natural Man must be entirely subdued
Even the Sensual Man must be Regenerated
All things in Nature represent Regeneration
Regeneration is effected by combats in Temptation
Combat may be waged even from Truth not genuine
The Use of Temptations
How Temptations are excited by Evil Spirits
Evil is not exterminated by Regeneration, but only separated to the Circumferences, and remains to Eternity
Temporary Quiescence of Evils
Difference between the Regenerate and the Unregenerate
What the Heavenly Proprium is
Man is first in True Freedom when he becomes Regenerate
Ignorance of the Church at the Present Day concerning Regeneration
It is not difficult to Live a Good Life
A Monkish Life is not consistent with Regeneration
A Man’s Life and Actions are governed by the End proposed

IMPUTATION

The common Doctrine of Imputation
The Origin of the Doctrine of Imputation
Imputation not known in the Apostolic Church
Imputation of the Merits and Righteousness of Christ Impossible
The True Doctrine of Imputation

THE CHURCH

The Church Universal
The Specific Church, and its relation to the Church Universal
Where the Specific Church is
Who constitute the Specific Church?
The Church is one thing and Religion another
Who are meant by Gentiles?
The Good and Truth among the Gentiles is not constituent of the Church
The Necessity that there should always be a Church
The Church in Heaven could not subsist without a Church on the Earth
There have been in general four Churches on the Earth
General Character of these four Churches

THE FIRST OR MOST ANCIENT CHURCH

General Character
The Worship of the Most Ancient Church
The Most Ancients performed Holy Worship in Tents
The Most Ancient Church composed of several Different Churches
Perception in the Most Ancient Church
Dignities and Riches among the Most Ancient Men
The Food of the Most Ancient Men
A Remnant of the Most Ancient Church in the Land of Canaan

THE SECOND OR ANCIENT CHURCH

General Character
The Ancient Church was in Representatives and Significatives
The Worship of the Ancient Church
The Ancient Style of Writing
The Decline of the Ancient Church
The Second Ancient Church, called Eber, and origin of Sacrificial Worship
Sacrifices were at first offered to Jehovah, and afterwards became Idolatrous
All Nations which adopted Sacrificial Worship, called Hebrews
Others of the Ancient Church abominated Sacrifices, and abominated the Hebrews on account of them
Gradual Descent of the Hebrew Church to Idolatry
Idolatry of the House of Terah, while there were other Hebrew Nations that retained the Worship of Jehovah
The Name and Worship of Jehovah again lost by the Posterity of Jacob in Egypt
Why Sacrificial Worship, in itself not acceptable to the Lord, was yet commanded to the Children of Israel
The Externals of the Ancient Churches were restored in the Israelitish Church
When the Children of Israel first constituted a Church
Egyptian Hieroglyphics were perverted Representatives of the Ancient Church

THE THIRD OR ISRAELITISH CHURCH

General Character
This was not a true Church but merely Representative, or the Representative of a Church
The Difference between a Representative Church and the Representative of a Church
The Representative of a Church could not be established till all Knowledge of Internal Things had been lost
The Jewish Church, with all Things appertaining to it, was Representative of all Things of the Church in Heaven and on Earth
Illustration of what a Representative Church is, and why it is
What it is for the Lord to be present representatively
What the Kingdoms of Judges, Priests, and Kings signified, and why the Jews were divided into two Kingdoms
Why the Jews above all others could act as a Representative Church
Why it is believed that the Jews were chosen above others for their Goodness
The Jews were not chosen, but were urgent to be a Church, from the Love of Pre-eminence
Why the Jews are called in the Word a Holy People
Why the Jews have been Preserved unto this day
The Land of Canaan, in respect to the Churches there
Why the Israelites were expelled from the Land of Canaan

THE FOURTH, OR FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH

General Character
The primitive Condition and subsequent Degeneration of this Christian Church
The present State of this Christian Church
The End of the First Christian Church

THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD

General Doctrine
This Second Coming of the Lord is not a Coming in Person, but in the Word, which is from Him, and is Himself
This Second Coming of the Lord is effected by means of a Man, to whom the Lord has manifested Himself in Person, and whom He has filled with His Spirit, to teach the Doctrines of the New Church from Himself, through the Word
How the Lord’s Advent becomes effective in the Individual Man

THE FIFTH, OR NEW CHRISTIAN CHURCH

General Character
This New Church is signified by the New Jerusalem
The New Heaven and the New Earth
All Things made New
The Vision of the Holy City
The City Four-square
The City pure Gold
The Twelve Foundations
The Twelve Gates of Pearl
The Temple of the City
The Tree of Life in the Midst of the City
The Leaves of the Tree for the Healing of the Nations
Seeing the Face of the Lord
The Light of the City
The New Jerusalem the Bride and Wife of the Lord
Memorabilia concerning the Tabernacle and Temple of the Holy City
The New Church in the Heavens signified by the Woman clothed with the Sun
The New Church is first Established among a Few
The Doctrine of the New Church is from Heaven, because from the Spiritual Sense of the Word
All the Doctrines of the New Church are Essentials
This Church is to be the Crown of all the Churches, and is to endure forever
Formation of the New Heaven
The New Church from this New Heaven is to be Distinct from the former Church
The New Church at first External
The Necessity of Order, Internal and External

BAPTISM

General Doctrine
Baptism Commanded
The First Use of Baptism
John’s Baptism, an Illustration of the Effect of the Sign of Baptism in the Spiritual World, and thence upon the Baptized on Earth
The Second Use of Baptism
The Third Use of Baptism
Baptism with the Holy Spirit

THE HOLY SUPPER

General Doctrine

THE PRIESTHOOD

A Priesthood and Ecclesiastical Governments in Heaven
A Priesthood and Ecclesiastical Governments likewise on Earth
That there is to be a Priesthood in the New Church typically shown in a symbolic Temple
The Priestly Office Representative
Inauguration into the Priesthood by a Representative Rite
The Falsity nevertheless of the Dogma of Apostolic Succession
The Gifts and Offices of the Priesthood
Charity in the Priest
Charity towards the Priest

MARRIAGE

The Nature and Origin of Marriage
The Distinction of Sex is in the Spirit
The Love of Sex, and with those who come into Heaven Conjugial Love remains after Death
Marriages in the Heavens
The Lord’s Words concerning Marriage in the Heavenly World
No Procreation of Offspring in Heaven
A Marriage Ceremony in Heaven
A Conjugial Pair in Heaven
The State of Married Partners after Death
True Marriage looks to what is Eternal
Conjugial Love is perfected to Eternity
They who are in Love truly Conjugial feel and see themselves to be a united Man
Marriages induce upon the Souls and Minds another Form
The Woman is actually formed into a Wife according to the Description in the Book of Genesis
Conjugial Love is Fundamental to all Loves, and the Treasury of all Joys and Delights
Wisdom and Intelligence are in proportion to Conjugial Love
The Qualifications for receiving Conjugial Love
Obstacles to Conjugial Love
Difference of Religion incompatible with Conjugial Love
Conjugial Pairs are born for each other
True Conjugial Love is scarcely known at this day
Semblances of Conjugial Love
Second Marriages
The Nature of the Intelligence of Women and of Men
The Wife should be under the Guidance of the Husband
The Beauty of the Angels originates from Conjugial Love
A Likeness of Marriage in all Created Things
Origin of the Love of Infants
Different Quality of the Love of Infants and Children with the Spiritual and the Natural
The Recession of Infantile Innocence and hence of Parental Love

DIVINE PROVIDENCE

General Doctrine
The Lord’s Divine Providence has for its end a Heaven from the Human Race
Divine Foresight with the Divine Providence
Divine Providence is Universal and Particular
In all that it does the Divine Providence looks to what is Infinite and Eternal from itself, especially in the Salvation of the Human Race
The Law of Divine Providence respecting Man’s Freedom and Reason
The Law of the Divine Providence respecting the Removal of Sins in the internal and external Man
The Law of the Divine Providence respecting Compulsion in matters of Faith and of Religion
The Divine Providence unseen and unfelt, yet is to be known and acknowledged
The Divine Providence seen from Behind and not in the Face
The Divine Providence and Human Prudence
The Divine Providence respecting temporal Things
The Divine Providence respecting the Reception of Truth and Good
Permissions of the Divine Providence
Permissions of Providence with respect to Worldly Possessions and Honors
Permission of Providence with respect to Wars
Permission of Providence with respect to the Religions of the various Nations
Permission of Providence with respect to the Mohametan Religion
Permission of Providence with respect to the limited prevalence of the Christian Religion
Permission of Providence with respect to the Divisions and Corruptions of the Christian Religion
The Permission of Evils
The Divine Providence is equally with the Evil and the Good
The Divine Providence in withdrawing Man from Evil
Every Man may be reformed, and there is no Predestination
The Operations of Providence for Man’s Salvation are continual and progressive
Reason why the Divine Providence operates invisibly and incomprehensively
Fate
Fortune and Chance
Accidents
Care for the Morrow

THE HUMAN SOUL

Prevailing Ignorance respecting the Soul
What the Soul is
Origin of the Soul
Discrete and Continuous Degrees
Successive and Simultaneous Order of Discrete Degrees
Three Discrete Degrees of the Mind
In each Degree there is a Will and an Understanding
A yet interior Region of the Understanding, above the Celestial, in the Inmost Man
The Rational and the Natural Mind
Evils and Falsities reside in the Natural Degree of the Mind
The Action and Reaction of the Natural and Spiritual Mind
The Closing of the Spiritual Degree of the Mind
A Man is perfected in the other Life according to the Degree opened in the World
The Will and Understanding are Organic Forms
The Understanding can be elevated above the Will
The Will rather than the Understanding constitutes the Man
Thoughts and Affections are Variations of State and Form of the Organic Substances of the Mind
Ideas of Thought
The Appearance of Understanding in Brutes – Difference between them and Man
How the Spirit dwells within the Body

INFLUX, AND INTERACTION BETWEEN THE SOUL AND THE BODY

Former Hypotheses concerning the Interaction between the Soul and the Body
There is one only Life which flows into and vivifies all Forms
Influx from the Lord is both Immediate and Mediate through the Heavens
General and Particular Influx
The Influx into and through the Heavens is in Successive Order, from the First to the Ultimate of Nature
The Influx into Man is also in Successive Order, according to the Discrete Degrees of the Mind
The Influx is into the Will and Understanding, and through these into the Body
Influx illustrated by the Sight of the Eye
In true order Spiritual Influx would guide Man into all Intelligence and Wisdom
The Influx into the World of Nature
Origin of Noxious Animals, Plants, and Minerals
How the Soul acts into and by means of the Body

THE ETERNAL WORLD

All Angels and Spirits were once Men
The Immensity of the Spiritual World
Outward Aspect of the Spiritual World
The Book of Life
The Eternity of Heaven and Hell
Why the Wicked cannot be saved after Death
Scriptural Explanation of the final State
The Universals of Hell and of Heaven

THE INTERMEDIATE STATE OR WORLD OF SPIRITS

General Doctrine
The Resurrection and Last Judgment of every one is immediately after Death
The Process of Dying, Resurrection, etc
Three Successive States of Man in the World of Spirits
The First State of Man after Death
The Second State of Man after Death
The Third State of Man after Death
Indiscriminate earthly Friendships hurtful after Death
The Character of every one is perceived in the other Life from the Sphere that encompasses him
Conversation and Language of Spirits
The Case of those who have only Natural Hereditary Good
The Delights of every one are changed into the corresponding Delights after Death
Unconscious Association of Angels and Spirits with Man
Why there are two Spirits and two Angels with every Man
Such Spirits and Angels are subject Spirits of some Heavenly or Infernal Society
The Angels associated with Man, or Guardian Angels
Only Good Spirits and Angels are with Infants
The Lord’s Providential Guardianship of Man from Evil
Spirits in Sleep
The Danger of Conscious Interaction with Spirits
When Angels or Spirits speak with Man they speak in his own Language, from his Memory
Visions and Dreams
What is meant by being in the Spirit
What it is to be taken out of the Body, and to be carried by the Spirit into another place
The Difference between a State of Vision and direct Revelation from the Lord
Extension of Man’s Thought into the Spiritual World
How Spirits can be enabled to see into this World
How long Men remain in the World of Spirits
Purgatory a Fiction

HEAVEN

Heaven is Divided into Two Kingdoms
There are three Heavens
The Heavens were not Three before the Lord’s Advent
In each Heaven There are Innumerable Societies
The Universal Heaven is in the Form of a Man
The Correspondence of Heaven with all things of Man
The Correspondence of Heaven with all things on Earth
The Sun and Moon in Heaven
The Heat and Light of Heaven
The Four Quarters in Heaven
Changes of State in Heaven
Time in Heaven
Space and Distance in Heaven
Representatives and Appearances in Heaven
The Garments of Angels
The Habitations and Mansions of the Angels
Governments in Heaven
Divine Worship in Heaven
The Power of Angels
The Speech of Angels
Writings in Heaven
The Wisdom of the Angels
The Innocence of Angels
The Peace of Heaven
The State in Heaven of the Nations and Peoples out of the Church
Infants in Heaven
The Rich and Poor in Heaven
Eternal Rest
The Occupations of Angels
Heavenly Joy and Happiness
The Aged return to the Spring-time of Life in Heaven
The Immensity of Heaven
Heaven is never filled, but more Perfect by Increase

HELL

The Origin of Evil and of Hell
The Lord governs the Hells
The Lord casts no one into Hell, but the Spirit casts himself therein
All in the Hells are in Evils and Falsities
Infernal Spirits are the Forms of their own Evils
The Nature of Self-Love
The Fire of Hell, and the Gnashing of Teeth
The Profound Wickedness and Nefarious Arts of Infernal Spirits
The Torments and Punishments of Hell
The Use and Effect of Punishments in Hell
Appearance, Situation and Plurality of the Hells
Equilibrium between Heaven and Hell
Freedom of the Infernals
Evil Spirits are restrained from plunging into greater Depths of Evil than they had reached in the World
The Deadly Sphere of Hell

THE LAST JUDGMENT

What the Last Judgment is
The Last Judgment does not involve the Destruction of the World
The Earth and the Human Race will abide for ever
When the Last Judgment takes place
The Last Judgment must be in the Spiritual World
The Last Judgment of the First Christian Church has been accomplished
The Former Heaven and its Abolition
Of those meant by the Sheep, the Saints that slept, and the Souls under the Altar
The State of the World and Church, after, and in consequence of, the Last Judgment

THE EARTHS IN THE UNIVERSE

Innumerable Earths are inhabited
Permission to discourse with the Inhabitants of other Earths
The Possibility of such Converse, and how effected
The Planet Mercury
The Planet Venus
The Moon of our Earth
The Planet Mars
The Planet Jupiter
The Planet Saturn
Earths of other Solar Systems
Of a Second Earth beyond our Solar System

MISCELLANEOUS EXTRACTS

Conscience
The Lord’s Favor to Man’s varied Conscience
The Pleasures of Life
The Origin of Human Speech
The Church cannot be raised up anew in any Nation until it is entirely Vastated
Organic Function, the ground of Correspondence of Heaven with all things in Man
The Church passes through the stages of Life like an individual
A Man’s Mind is the Man himself