I. The Belief in Immortality
a. Brief history
Ethnic religions of
ii. Mohammedian Faith
iii. Old Babylonian
iv. Egyptian and Graeco-Roman religions
i. Resurrection & judgment on mental/physical world
ii. Evil are condemned forever in a “hell” with Lucifer or Satan in the dumps of the world
1. Occurs after death and before judgment for the departed spirit for the many sins they have commited
2. However, there are those who go immediately to hell from life if they have committed a mortal sin.
1. A place for souls who have been released through prayers and intercession of saints.
2. Where good spirits will rejoin their bodies and be in joy with others and will continue to the pursuit of knowledge
i. No belief in purgatory or another world
1. No angles/spirits/resurrection
ii. Belief that heaven is on earth and there is no separation of heaven and hell
iii. Mission is social and moral reform
d. No concept
i. Of what the souls is/what the spiritual world is/what of heaven or hell?
1. no clear distinction between natural and spiritual
iii. What causes ignorance is that we think “sensually” about our soul and life everlasting and cannot associate real vs. beyond space and time: “For a person in their though has not penetrated beyond the interior or purer things of nature. And for this reason many have placed the abodes of angels and spirits in the ether, and some in stars, thus within nature, and not above or outside it…”
II. Swedenborg’s Purpose
i. Think spiritually about the after0life
ii. Examples in Old and New Testaments_cloud of witnesses
1. Jacob saw msgrs of God ascending and descending ladder b/w heaven and earth
2. Moses saw pattern of the tabernacle in heaven
3. Spirit of Samuel spoke with Saul through the witch of Endor
4. prophets experienced many visions of spiritual judgments and angelic throngs
1. Believed that Sheol (invisible underworld) was where the dead relived their memories as shades of what they were before.
1. Knew little of the spiritual world
2. Didn’t believe that they would life after death
3. Resurrection of the body on the last day
c. Conceptualize Idea
i. Every human being has the ability to do business with spirits
ii. There are spirits in the mind continuously operating through the physical body, and the spirit is unconsciously surrounded by other spirits
iii. Spirits who actually communicate with people with permission from the Lord say just a few words, and don’t attempt to instruct.
III. Process of Swedenborg being chosen
a. No desire
i. Didn’t want to interact with spirits or associate with unknown mysteries due to mere curiosity
ii. When called upon didn’t know why he was chosen or what his mission was
b. He dreams
i. First of—symbolic references to the studies he was then making in physiology; experienced clarity of mind, and confirmatory lights
c. Felt the presence of spirits affecting his senses followed by moods of temptation, despair, and horror
d. Spirit addresses him directly of a subject that Swedenborg was thinking and he became afraid implying that the spirit could read his thoughts
e. Met with spirits but taught by the Lord
f. Told to record everything in a daily Diary; knowledge gained was gradual.
a. Death is a fact
i. Bodily functions become inactive
ii. Physical body still remains,
b. Fount of Immortality
i. Belief in the Lord
1. “People are created that as to their internal they cannot die.” Because “he can believe in God and also love God and thus be conjoined to God by faith and love; and to be conjoined to God is to live to eternity.”
ii. The Lord is in everyone’s soul
1. Everyone has the potential of believing and loving God
2. His love never ends, and he never takes back what he gives; even from the devils of hell.
c. The Two Conditions of Immortality
i. Possession of the human internal
1. That humans can join God
2. Humans are responsible for using this option.
ii. Person is born into natural world
1. No one can be created immediately into the spiritual world
2. The soul is of a person forms its body
3. A passage from Arcana Coelestia: “a person’s internal is that from which he is a person…By means of this internal they live after death and to eternity as a person…”
iii. The Lord’s creative process always continues—“the soul is a spiritual substance which does not have extension but impletion and from which there is no taking away of a part but a production of the whole withouth any loss of it, this can be done innumberable times, generation after generation.
d. Creation of the Human Mind
i. Consciously receiving life for the purpose of building up its spiritual soul
1. Can only come into being by the soul forming itself into a human mind, which it also “reacts in freedom”
ii. Rationality and liberty
1. Two concepts go hand in hand, and without it can have no reciprocal conjunction with God, and no permanent individuality
e. Birth and Immortality
i. A child’s soul is…
1. Understood as an “offshoot from the soul of the father”
2. Second beginning in the ovum of the mother
ii. First Breath
1. Respiration of the lungs is a condition of consciousness
a. Where consciousness operates
b. Stimulated by oxygen into lungs and carried to the brain through the bloodstream
f. Memory & Personality
i. Limits or finite’s one’s life
ii. Makes everyone unique
iii. Preserves the heritage of each and every individual forever
g. The Limbus
i. From the inmosts of nature
ii. Through isolation corporeal memory was reduced to serenity so that the basic concepts are not used in during the thinking processes of the spirit (only thoughts during the natural state of the mind).
V. Death and Resurrection
a. Necessity of Death
i. Needed for humans to be happy
ii. Purpose of Creator lengthens the reality of a goal that surpasses death.
iii. Consciousness stops in the body prior to the heart stopping; and until the heart stops death isn’t done.
b. Physiology of Death
i. Process of release of the spirit
ii. Body is unable to operate relationship between the spirit and its bodily commands.
iii. Heart is where the operation of natural body and spiritual body coincide so when death approaches that connection is void.
iv. Mind becomes vacant
v. “the spirit of a person is in their body, in the whole and in every part of it; and it is its purer substance, both in its organs of motion and in those of sense, and everywhere else; and the body is the material part that is everywhere annexed to it, adapted to the world in which he then is.”
vi. Nothing of that person remains in his/her body all of its qualities are left to its spirit to roam in the spiritual world.
i. Process of Resuscitation
a. A gradual change of state
b. A process of gradual adjustment of spirit from natural world to eternal world.
2. Quiets all of person’s affections and thoughts are drawn out (i.e. anxiety, impatience, revenge, lust, ambition, confidence, etc.).
ii. 3 Stages of Resucitation
1. Received by celestial angels
a. Introductory period of review of spiritual history of that person’s life
b. Reorientation of spirit around the celestial and spiritual remains and surviving moral states of good and bad in the person’s mind.
c. 2 Celestial angels appear seated near head of deceased
d. “inducing their faces” onto the spirit, and when their thoughts are recognized as theirs the angels realize that the spirit can be taken from the body; however they keep that person’s final thought because unless this is done that person’s identity may be lost during the transition period.
2. Spirit requires spiritual warmth
a. To revive the motivation originated at birth when heart first begun to beating
b. Spiritual sight—feeling is comparable to commencement of a new life, and they can also see new things of high spirituality.
3. Spirit travels to society of good spirits
a. Sinking back to the state of life before death took place.
b. Resuscitation incomplete unless they have fully returned to their previous “sphere of thought”
VI. The World of Spirits
a. Relation of Spirits to the “Greatest Human”
i. Heaven marks the end of Creation
ii. Heaven mirrors all the functions of life which make living worthwhile
iii. WOS (World of Spirits) is outside of the Greates Human
1. state is not permanent
2. An entrance/preparatory gate for the physical body
3. Not a physical place
iv. What spirits undergo in the WOS
1. Externals: similar to the world
2. Internals: interior confirms what of the spirit’s life can manifest into spiritual being; good separated by the wicked
3. Instruction: only for good, and prepares one for an “angelic society”
4. Summary comparable to the process of digestion
b. The Intermediate World
i. Place where spirits are investigated and prepared
ii. Preparation of a spirit for heaven is often made during his/her life on earth
iii. Spirits live in social places—communities like towns or cities
c. Function of Memory
i. Main factor which determines how we live our life on earth
1. “solid ground on which the house of our life is built”
ii. Marks the borderline of each person’s consciousness; widened by new experiences and teachings.
iii. Unchangeable once something is implanted
iv. Biased in the sense that memory is prejudiced by our own beliefs.
v. We choose which memories to dwell or which to attempt to forget.
vi. Without it we would have no continuity into the afterlife.
vii. No spirit on earth has a corporeal memory
1. obsession would encompass the world
2. Eventually the human race would die
3. Confusion would result in people’s minds
d. Spirits of Men
e. Cities in the Other Life
i. Not identical to the cities of the physical world
ii. Lord selects which environment closely resembles spirit’s mental state
1. Houses constantly change and built by the Lord but form is determined by the character of the individual.
2. Similar spirits at the same juncture build common natural affections
iii. First settle in cities in which they are in their own nationality, race, or religious practice then seek occupations related to what they were doing on earth
iv. Each “city” is a network of similar uses and activities
v. No language and instead thoughts flow spontaneously into the the universal spiritual language of ideas.
f. Meeting of Friends in the Other Life
i. Any mutual affection can bring acquaintances together since no space or distance in spiritual world.
ii. Face/tone of voice/dress/manners/opinions are the same and therefore can be recognized by others.
g. Friendship of Love
i. Friends remain together and continue to explore each other’s affections.
ii. In a marriage of truly conjugial, partners “think and breathe what is eternal”
1. so even when one dies the spirit still dwells
iii. A man who has married again meets his partners in succession and may resume his life with the first wife while in the state of externals
iv. The love of sex so strongly dominates some spirits that they cannot await the other consort, whether male or female, but are conjoined meanwhile to another spirit who simulates the partner’s.
h. Communication of Thought and Speech
i. The sentient mind lives above the physical changes within the sensories of our brain
ii. The mind is the interpreter and supreme judege of the world of outward sense
iii. Stands within its memor-world , and evalueates its meaning, accepting its testimonies or rejecting
iv. When mind becomes a spirits its horizon is no longer confined to space, but opens to extensions limited only by the finite affections in accordance with which the spirit selects his or her objects of thought
v. There are no barriers of ignorance because it was lowerd in the other life>new community of affections
vi. Spirits and Angels also have speech
1. “before a spirit speaks it is known from the thought alone what they intend to say; for the thought inflows more quickly than the speech.”
2. Law of spiritual world that no one can speak except as they think
3. Though is freely communicated among spirits in a variety of ways esp. when there is a community of affections
4. Speech is necessary to convey a thought as coming fron another
5. Speaking is a bodily function, but spiritual speech is different
a. Not one of material words, but spiritual words which are ideas modified into words in a spiritual aura
b. Speech of ideas in universal among all spirits good and evil of every age and habitable spot
6. Speech is unlearned and instinctive with all human beings
7. People think in ideas which may or may not fall into corresponding words
8. Ideas of a person’s mind are like vast spheres associated concepts within every word we use; and they become quite distinct and “discreted” or divided up into untold particulars when man becomes a spirit.
9. Law of spiritual world that one must “speak as one thinks” as yet a person may choose to be silent.