Course: Psychology 459, Spring 2007, Generation 26
Instructor: Dr. Leon James
Introduction to Theistic Psychology  at
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Instructions for this Report:


My Introduction to Theistic Psychology

by Mariann Major

Report 4 for to 1.5


Answers to Questions 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4


Answers to Questions 10.1, 10.2, 10.4, 10.5



Question 9.1


(a)    Explain how Divine Speech descends through the three discrete degrees of our mind.

(b)    How do you react to this knowledge?

(c)     How do your friends react to this knowledge?

(d)    What is your conclusion?


Answer 9.1


(a)  Explain how Divine Speech descends through the three discrete degrees of our mind.


Talking through the mind


(a)  Divine Speech first comes in a form that is so different from the natural mind that people have no way of understanding it.  It is the language of God, and it is made up of truth and good.  He speaks it to our spiritual-rational mind, but since we cannot comprehend it, we only get a sense of it as our conscience.  Our conscience uses the truth and good from God to give us internal signals as to when we are doing things wrong.  It is hopeful that we avoid doing things that are wrong because if we indulge in these behaviors we are developing the hellish aspects of our mind. 


The speech continues to trickle through our mind until we create another form of communication with God which is the Sacred Scripture.  The scripture is basically the written form of Divine Speech, but in the natural form.  This form takes the shape of historical stories, in which God’s correspondences are found.  We must sift through the stories to find the true meaning of what God is telling us.  Only then can we truly understand and know God and what He wants for us.


(b)  How do you react to this knowledge?


What does this mean to me?


(b)  I think that this is really cool because even if we don’t read the bible, we still have an almost fool-proof method of understanding how to live our lives morally by using our conscience.  This is most beneficial to me because I was raised without reading the bible, so essentially I am ignorant of what it is I should be doing here on the physical plane in order to prepare my mind for an afterlife in eternity.  Fortunately for me, I still have my conscience, which is my internal guidebook to life. 


(c)  How do your friends react to this knowledge?


What do YOU think?


(c)  My friends think that this is pretty interesting, and probably the most believable aspect of Theistic Psychology.  It is a little hard to grasp that there is a mental eternity that we will all continue to survive on that is both heaven and hell encompassed within your mind.  However, pointing out that perhaps there are hidden meanings to what is written in the bible and that our conscience is God’s way of letting us know what is right and wrong for those of us who are not exposed to scripture is a little easier to believe because we have experience using our conscience and many people have some knowledge of sacred scripture. 


(d)  What is your conclusion?


So this means…


(d)  Basically it is a lot easier for people to believe something when they have physical, concrete, proof.  Have you ever had someone tell you: “Oh yeah?  Show me!”  I feel as if I am a lot in that mindset because I am very skeptical about a lot of things.  This is why I am an advocate of science, because it is something that I can see.  It is hard for me to put faith in things that could or could not exist; it is in the “could aspect that people give hope to, that people place their beliefs in.  The fact that something cannot be proven, yet can’t be unproven is something that has always stuck out in my mind.  However, something concrete or physical and can be shown to someone, or something that someone has actually experienced, is much easier to explain and much easier for others to accept because it gives one a chance to see the item and use their own thoughts to analyze it, rather than being told that this is how it is and there is no other way.


Question 9.2


(a)    Explain correspondences in relation to Sacred Scripture.

(b)    What is your reaction to your new knowledge?


Answer 9.2


(a)  Explain correspondences in relation to Sacred Scripture.


The Sacred Codex


(a)  The science of correspondences is based on the premise that anything that exists is based on the premise of something else.  Swedenborg gave us the answer to this when we were taught about substantive dualism and God’s correspondences.  For everything in the mental world, there is a counterpart in the physical world.  Sacred Scripture is the physical counterpart of God’s Divine Speech.  Also, it is the only version of Divine Speech that we can understand with our natural minds.  Swedenborg discovered that Sacred Scripture had correspondences by going into the mental world and seeing that Sacred Scripture changed into the Divine Speech and he was able to read it for what it really was.  He did this by going to each level of the mind and comparing the Sacred Scripture to the one from the level before.  Thus he was able to translate all of the correspondences.  Sacred Scripture comes to us through a transformation of Divine Speech.  The light goes through the cognitive organ and moves down to the natural layer.  Each level of the mind affects the level after it.  There are four Sacred Scriptures:  The Old Testament, the New Testament, the written scriptures and the Koran. 


We can only read the Sacred Scripture that we’re ready for, if we do not understand Divine Speech then we will be overwhelmed by it.  We continue to learn in the mental world, and this is proven by the fact that there are Sacred Scriptures found in the mental world.


Correspondences are what Sacred Scripture is all about!  In the literal sense it seems as if the bible is just a written historical account of what happened during the first thousand years of Christianity, however, if we look at it with our correspondential sense, we see that behind every story there is a hidden meaning.  These hidden meanings are what God has intended us to use as a guidebook for living and how to prepare our minds for the mental world.  It is very useful, especially in conjunction with our conscience.


(b)  What is your reaction to your new knowledge?


Tell me what you think


(b)  This isn’t exactly new knowledge to us if we have been reading our notes over the past nine weeks.  This is what we have been taught since day one, that the bible and other Sacred Scriptures are written with secret messages behind them, and that until Swedenborg, people didn’t understand the secret meaning because they had no idea what correspondences were.  However, after Swedenborg, people began to see the correspondences in the literature and some created churches, whereas others began to study the bible as a science with the positive bias, such as Theistic Psychology and Dr. James. 


I think that having the Sacred Scripture as a supplement to your conscience is pretty cool because it gives you an in-depth look at how to live your life, and also an explanation on how to know and understand God.  It describes how God is the Divine Psychologist, which makes a lot of sense since he controls our behaviors, our thoughts, feelings, and actions, which are all essentially things that psychologists are trying to do, except that since he is the Divine Psychologist he really does control everything without exception.


Question 9.3


(a)    Show how correspondences influence the way we think in daily life.

(b)    Search the Web for what people know about correspondences and explain what you found.


Answer 9.3


(a)  Show how correspondences influence the way we think in daily life.


You make me sick


(a)  Emotions in the natural world are not something that is really tangible in the natural world, it’s a feeling that we experience in the mental world, which is spiritually substantive.  Because our bodies as we know it are simply a physical shell, all of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are occurring in the mental world.  We feel things and think things with our cognitive and affective organs, which correspond to our chest area or our cardiovascular system in our physical bodies. 


Unfortunately, anything we think that could be construed as hellish begins to create our mental hell brick by brick.  Also, any thought, no matter how small, is recorded forever in eternity.  This means that if we think a hellish thought, no matter how small it is, sinks us a little farther away from heaven and a little closer to hell in our minds..  The only remedy is to try and live a better and more heavenly life from then on, to prevent any other parts of our mental heaven from sinking any lower in our minds..


It is taught that all of the anguish and bad feelings in the mental world correspond to an evil animal on the physical plane, and all of the good feelings correspond to a good animal on the physical plane.  Evil thoughts could have spawned snakes, spiders, and cockroaches.  Nice thoughts could have spawned butterflies and puppies.


There are other kinds of correspondences that influence the way we think such as Sacred Scripture.  Sacred Scripture is simply a book written in correspondence, in which certain words really mean something else.  It must be read carefully in order to find the hidden meaning.  This meaning is where God shows himself as the Divine Psychologist and he gives us guidelines for living and explains about the mental world.  He also helps us prepare our minds for the mental world. 


Our conscience is another form of correspondence, but a spiritual one in which God’s Divine Speech is transformed into emotions through our spiritual-internal organ (our conscience) and we can live our lives more morally because of it.  This is mostly for people who are not exposed to Sacred Scripture, in order to still give those people a method for living morally and heavenly.  Unfortunately it doesn’t really catch every single thing you do, such as thinking hellishly.  The conscience mostly works to catch physical actions, even though hellish thoughts also affect your mental heaven.


(b)  Search the Web for what people know about correspondences and explain what you found.


Google It


(b)  When I searched, I found a number of sites related to theistic psychology such as,, and  These websites talk about how even though we feel love, love isn’t anything physical, it is a combination of good and truth energies that we are utilizing from the spiritual sun, and all of this is done by our affective organ on the mental plane.  These sites pretty much sum up what we have learned from Swedenborg since they are based on the same information.


I thought the theistic Satanism website was the most interesting.  It talks about different parts of books and how certain words correspond with things about Satan to give us a better understand of what he was about.


Question 9.4


(a)    Many people uncritically believe that “God is energy.”  Give a rational proof that this is illogical.

(b)    Then compare the logic of the opposite idea that “God is a person.”

(c)     In your opinion, why is there opposition to the view that God is a person?


Answer 9.5


(a)  Many people uncritically believe that “God is energy.”  Give a rational proof that this is illogical.


By the Power of God


(a)  Many people believe that God is time, energy, is space.  Theistic Psychology says that this is false.  How can God BE the things that he has created?  Naturalistic ideas say that God is in the world around us.  The ideas are natural and not rational or spiritual.  Since people assume that God has an ultimate source of power; that he must essentially be power in itself.  None of this is logical at all.  We must consider God from the view of Theistic Psychology as we read through the correspondences of Sacred Scripture.  Only then can we truly understand and know God.


(b)  Then compare the logic of the opposite idea that “God is a person.”


What if God was one of us?


(b)  We compare this knowledge to the idea that God is a person.  God was outside of the universe of Time and Space which means that he was outside of the time and space to create it.  To create something, you must be outside of that thing to create it, much like making a meal.  Where is God?  God is in (and outside of) the mental world in eternity.  We have no understanding of the outside of eternity.  However, we can understand God within his own creation.  He is the source of all truth and goodness.  In the Sacred Scripture, it says that God created man in the image of himself.  This means that we look somewhat like the “divine” human.  Therefore we have some proof that God is a human and not something else.  Swedenborg asserts that fact in his writings.


(c)  In your opinion, why is there opposition to the view that God is a person?


Are you sure?


(c)  I think that there is a lot of opposition to the view that God is a person because many people imagine God to be exactly like a human, and not as a Divine human.  This means that although his image is like a human’s image, he possesses more power than the average human.  People do not attribute things that look like people to have much power because they have no experience of other humans having power as great as God’s.  People assume that God is energy or some other unfathomable being because if God was a human then it would make him too “ordinary.” 


People want to believe that something out of this world has come to save us, something amazing and unordinary.  A human is too ordinary.  In the average person’s mind, something ordinary cannot really create something extraordinary, like the natural world, the universe, the mental world, or the time-space and spiritual planes.  We always attribute great acts in the natural world to something extraordinary.  People who invent things or discover mathematical possibilities we attribute to their “genius.”  People who are exceptionally good at art have some sort of outstanding creative ability.  In this way, we attribute acts that are above average to something out of the ordinary.  God being a human is too ordinary to be extraordinary.  It’s hard for people to grasp because we’re so used to believing that it takes someone great to create something great.


Part Two

Section 1.3.2 to 1.5


Question 10.1


(a)  Explain the concept of “discrete layers of substances” in the mental world.  (b)  What is the role of correspondences?


Answer 10.1


(a)    Explain the concept of “discrete layers of substances” in the mental world. 


Like a parfait?

(a)  If you want to have the highest level of rational thinking when it comes to theistic psychology, you must understand the concept of discrete layers of substances.  This means that within everyone are little layers which begin and end, but are not connected to each other at all.  Nothing can cross between them because they are separated by the law of correspondences.

The layers are arranged like circles within each other.  The outermost circle and going inward are made of natural substances in the time-space plane, then they begin to become things from the mental world like our feelings and thoughts, and finally the innermost circle is made of Good and Truth from eternity and the Spiritual Sun.  Essentially, God is the innermost layer which is why it is often said that God is “in” all things created.

Anything we see on the physical-time/space plane is basically a physical expression of something the God has thought; essentially we are all thoughts of God expressed physically.  As we move through the layers found within our physical shell, we find mental layers that increase in clarity as you go further and further within.  I like to think of it as one of those rocks with the crystals growing inside.  The outside of the rock is very dense and not very beautiful, but the very center is a glowing crystal or gem that is very beautiful to look at.  Each layer corresponds with a level of the mental world.  There are seven levels of the mental world.  The highest mental level is the Divine Human, or God, and since our innermost layer is also elements of God, it could be said that God exists in all things.

(b)  What is the role of correspondences?


(b)  Correspondences work for any object in the physical world and for the mental world.  Even though we cannot sense it, we share the mental world with everyone who has ever existed or will exist.  The mental world was created in correspondence with God’s thoughts.  Our mental world is created of both our thoughts and the world we live in.  We don’t become conscious of it until thirty hours after death.  Swedenborg was lucky to have become conscious of it years and years before he died, so he had a better picture of how it all worked and what he would have to do to prepare for life after death on the physical plane.  For ever discrete layer in the physical body, there is a correlating level in the mental world.  Things that are physical are the product of causes in the mental or spiritual layers in the mental world.  Because the utmost layer IS God, it is said that everything is caused by God. 

I think that this information makes me feel really insignificant because it seems as if I am simply a product of someone’s imagination.  I understand that we are taught that the reason for our existence is because God loves us, but at the same time, it feels as if he has so many playthings that how could he really truly love ME for who I am?  Especially since he already knows everything about me, but I know nothing about Him?

 Question 10.2


(a)    Explain the meaning of “space” in the mental world of eternity.

(b)    What is there in your own experience that gives you a sense of space in the mental world? 

(c)     What creates this appearance of space where there is none?


Answer 10.2


(a)  Explain the meaning of “space” in the mental world of eternity.


Space, the final frontier


(a)  In the mental world of eternity, there is no space.  Space would be an aspect of the time-space-physical plane, hence the name.  In the mental world there is just an illusion of space.  We are provided with this illusion because that is what we feel comfortable with, since that is what we had in the physical world.  This also allows us to interact with others in the mental world.  The reason I say that space is an illusion in the mental world is because it doesn’t work like space in the physical world.  In the physical world, if I wanted to walk to my house, it would be a 25 mile walk.  This distance never changes.  My house will always be a 25 mile walk from the dorms that I live in.  I won’t be able to think about my house and automatically be there because it isn’t possible in the physical world.  However, in the mental world, you can just think about someone or somewhere and automatically, you are there.  Places shift, nothing is concrete.  You still have your own area, but the location of that area is not guaranteed to always be in the exact spot you think it’s in. 


(b)  What is there in your own experience that gives you a sense of space in the mental world? 

From what I understand..

(b)  We use our thoughts to get around, which is why space doesn’t really exist in the mental world.  The people around us in the mental world are people who are in the same mental states as us.  People seem to be grouped into areas of the mental world based on mind states and attitudes.  In the physical world, there would be no way that I could think myself to 25 miles away.  That would be called teleportation, and whoever figures it out will be a genius and will be revered in science and history for all time.  The world would be so different.  This means that mental teleportation is something we’ll have to get used to in the mental world.  Will this make us lazy?  Also, I wish the mind state thing worked in the physical world because then I wouldn’t have any problems finding my conjugal unity partner!  

(c)  What creates this appearance of space where there is none?


What IS space?   

(c)  So if there is no space in actuality in the mental world, what is it that gives us the illusion of space?  Space is essentially a figment of OUR imagination.  Because we’re so used to it in the physical world, we don’t doubt that it exists, we continue to “see” it in the mental world.  It’s like having a dream.  You understand that there is some element of space, but you can control it, so you can go from flying to jumping off cliffs to walking around a city all within a sleep cycle.  This is probably the coolest part of the mental world, besides living forever, that you get some control of the world or environment around you.  You get to be around people that are on the same wavelength as you and at the same time be wherever you want whenever you want.

Question 10.4


(a)    What is your idea of a vacuum as you learned it from science classes? 

(b)    Describe the encounter between Swedenborg and Newton where they discussed the meaning of a vacuum.


Answer 10.4


(a)  What is your idea of a vacuum as you learned it from science classes? 


Not your average Hoover…


(a)  In science classes we learn that a vacuum is something that sucks in everything yet has no waste or end product.  For example, look at a black hole.  A black hole is a type of vacuum where things are sucked into it but the items don’t go anywhere.  The items just cease to exist.  There are supposedly pictures and things from outer space that are reputed to be black holes or vacuums but I’m not sure how valid all of the information is since it is just pictures from millions of miles away.  In all actuality, since I’ve never really learned about vacuums, I have the feeling that a vacuum is just a theory, one that cannot be proven or unproven, kind of like God.  However, God is the complete opposite of a vacuum since He is the essence of everything while a vacuum is the essence of nothing.  This is really confusing to me because I’m pretty sure that all of this information is theoretical.  How could it be possible for something to go into a hole and then automatically cease to exist?  Where did it go? 


(b)  Describe the encounter between Swedenborg and Newton where they discussed the meaning of a vacuum.


Ask Newton


(b)  Swedenborg found Sir Isaac Newton in the mental world.  He asked Newton about the existence of vacuums.  Newton told him that in the world he lived in on the physical plane, people believed in vacuums.  However, on the mental plane, angels turned away at the thought of a vacuum because they cannot bear the idea of nothing.  They think that when there is the idea of nothing, the essence of anything perishes.  When this happens, the idea of thought, understanding, affection and love will all perish as well.


The idea that everything is created from Good and Truth with God’s love detracts from the idea that nothingness can exist, because everything is made out of some spiritual substance.  If you believe in nothingness, then you deny God and anything that represents rational thinking.  If you believe that vacuums exist, then you believe that everything good does not exist because in a vacuum, life does not exist, since life is powered by Good and Truth.


Newton ended the conversation by telling Swedenborg that once a person got to the mental world, he or she would stop believing in things like vacuums because they would see that there is absolutely no way for something like that to exist in the world of God.


It’s pretty cool that Swedenborg thought of contacting great scholars and minds in the mental world to see their thoughts on topics, and if they still feel the same way they felt about it all before.  I’m not sure I would have thought to do that, but since Swedenborg had 27 whole years to romp around the mental world, it was good that he put those years to good use in order to make his claims more valid.  I would have talked with Newton about gravity and things like that, because I’m not so sure how well spread the knowledge of vacuums were back in those days.


Question 10.5


(a)    Explain the difference between the concept “God as He is in Himself” vs. the concept “God as He is outside of Himself.”  What’s the importance of making this distinction?

(b)    How does this increase or change your understanding of God?


Answer 10.5


(a)  Explain the difference between the concept “God as He is in Himself” vs. the concept “God as He is outside of Himself.”  What’s the importance of making this distinction?


He’s the boss.


(a)  There are several differences between “God as He is in Himself” and “God as He is outside of Himself.”  The first difference is the idea of omnipotence, in which God is omnipotent by creating and overseeing the university and the continuously running it.  When someone mentions God, they are thinking with the mindset of “God as He is in Himself.”  Even in the mental world, the highest level which is God and the Spiritual Sun is also “God as He is in Himself.”  “God as He is in Himself” is the God that runs the world and keeps it running every second of every day or for eternity in the mental world.  He is the Divine Human, the one who created everything and everyone, and loved them so much that after their physical death, he created a way for them to continue living in a mental heaven.


“God as He is Outside of Himself” is the idea of God being a part of everything he has created and having a very close relationship with everything he has created, especially humans since we are created “in his form.”  Good and Truth are forms of “God as He is Outside of Himself,” as well as when people mention the “Holy Spirit.” 

“God as He is Outside of Himself” is the innermost layer of everything that has ever been created.  It is the Good and Truth that create us and power our correspondential organs.  It allows us to use our conscience.  “God as He is in Himself” is the idea that God is the creator of everything.  “God as He is Outside of Himself” is the idea that God is a part of everything, separate pieces of the whole.  He is also referred to as the Divine Psychologist, who helps shape and guide our minds and behaviors. 

(b)  How does this increase or change your understanding of God?

He made the puzzle with himself

(b)  I think that it is pretty cool that God not only created us, but he put a little piece of himself into everything that he’s ever created.  This is probably the best example of showing how much he truly loves the things that he creates.  The best way for me to explain it is like when an artist creates a masterpiece, and his or her “sweat and blood” go into his or her work.  It’s kind of like giving every thing he has created a little gift, a gift of pure Truth and Good so that at the core of everything, even the most evil of creatures or people, there is a little bit of hope.  It makes me wonder how huge God is, if he can put a little bit of himself into everything ever created, and still have enough substance for everything yet to be created.  That information is what makes me question the fact that he is in the form of a human or a person, yet has so much spiritual substance that he can do everything and anything.  It seems very ludicrous to me.