I've made comments regarding this guy in the past few weeks on other threads, and haven't seen anything else published on ATS recently with any info
on him, so figured it's a good time to promote his life, works and ideas to a modern audience. I believe he is credited with one of the top twenty
highest IQs ever evidenced / attributed. With this thread, I particularly wish to draw attention to his 'religious' beliefs and experiences - the
experiences of a true 'Christian mystic'.
Emanuel Swedenborg: b.1688 - d.1772
Voltaire said that the most extraordinary man in recorded history was Charles XII. I would disagree: the most extraordinary man - if we admit such
superlatives - was that mysterious subject of Charles XII, Emanuel Swedenborg'. —Jorge Luis Borges
A summary of Swedenborg's beliefs:
Acknowledging the Divine in some form and a life of love, or charity, towards the ‘neighbour’ are the means of salvation, not adherence to
rigid creeds. Although an 18th-century Protestant, Swedenborg was, in effect, one of the first ecumenical Christians, living in an age when that term
had not been invented. Looking beyond the Christian church, he saw that God’s mercy was universal. He saw that the heart of all religion transcends
the boundaries of creeds, cultures and times. All who act in the ‘good’ that they know will be saved. This is not a matter of adherence to
a set of rules, but of searching, of trying, of reaching for the ‘one life’ that is above all religions..
SOURCE: Swedenborg Society UK
I would greatly encourage you to view that source website - it provides a really comprehensive and well presented background to his life and works.
Of course, I will make further additions to this thread from several sources, but the above is a good place to start.
Also try: Wilson Van Dusen; mystic psychiatrist
More on Van Dusen later.
So... Who was Swedenborg?
He was one of those rare intellectual giants with an ability to apply their gifts to a plethora of different scientific topics. Constantly advancing
the areas of study he worked in, one feels that everything he touched 'turned to gold'. If he'd stopped working after only ten years of his
professional endeavours, he would still remain a noted figure in the history of science.
As it happens, once he'd mastered the sciences of the day (having spent decades at the top of the game) he turned his intellectual rigours inwards,
and engaged upon a shamanic journey of the soul, which led him to vast universal discoveries - all of which he recorded in the minutest detail in his
incredible collection of written works.. Much of what was written on this journey was done under a pseudonym, as 'A Servant of The Lord'.
Eventually he was rumbled, and came out in the open (somewhat reluctantly - he didn't want to be given any credit for the work, which he acknowledged
as a gift of revelation from the Lord)...
Swedenborg was a man who spoke of the Bible as a quasi-literal work written in a type of Divine Code of symbolism. He held that there were both
literal meanings, and at least two sub-text layers of figurative (or allegorical) meaning associated with EVERY verse in the Biblical canon. One
layer of his interpretation focuses on God 'spelling out' the psycho-spiritual experiences that each and every human will potentially/ actually
encounter during their lifetime, and what may/ will occur as a result.
His explorations of the 'science of the soul' were carried out via a self-developed process that would nowadays be called 'phenomenology'
(studying and describing the shape of human psychological experience). He was ultimately granted literal
access to the alternate realities of
the various heavens and hells, experiencing much contact with angelic and demonic beings, as well as the souls of the departed. He reported that he
was instructed directly by the Lord in matters of Universal Truth - he was granted the gift in order to convey Truth regarding poorly understood
spiritual concepts (divine judgment, the nature of salvation, the experience of heaven/hell).
His masterwork was the Arcana Coelestia
. Another of his well-known works was the descriptive
and cautionary 'Heaven and Hell'
. Have a read of Heaven and Hell if you don't feel
up to an in-depth exposition of Genesis and Exodus (the initial part of Arcana Coelestia).
This thread will be written under the assumption that God is real, that He can be known, that He does reveal Himself to people who seek Him
diligently, and that all power and authority under Heaven is held in the Divine personage of Christ. The trinity is represented and present in
Christ, and as such He is referred to as 'The Lord'.
If you don't yet hold the same views, please read on, and see what you think about the information that Swedenborg laid out, over 250 years ago.
To be continued...