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Swedenborg: a vastly underrated 'Christian Mystic'

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posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 04:00 PM

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...

posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 04:24 PM
I love reading his work...

WHOSOEVER IS IN FAITH KNOWS AND PERCEIVES THAT HE DOES NOT LIVE FROM HIMSELF. As relates to perception, see elsewhere; but knowledge teaches the same thing, to wit, that man by no means lives from himself, as I also today demonstrated to spirits by a universal idea; for since man is a mere particle in the Grand Man, and there is nothing in the individual man to which there is not something corresponding in the Grand Man, it obviously follows that he lives not from himself but from the all and singular things of the angels in heaven and in the world of spirits, who excite the things which man thinks; and since all are merely organic beings, and the Lord alone is life, it obviously follows that man lives not from himself. Besides this [it is shown] by living experience, that when they with whom a spirit is most intimately associated are withdrawn, he is then, as it were, dead, and can neither think nor do anything. - 1748 March 28.

Talk about quantum mechanics being simplified. Whoa! This guy was awesome and should be treated like a global treasure.

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