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


By: Krista Pritchard

Report 4 For Section to 1.5

I am answering Questions 9.2, 9.3, 9.7, 9.9, 10.3, 10.6, 10.7, 10.9

Study Questions: to 1.5 (Report 4)

I am answering question 9.2.

(a) Explain correspondences in relation to Sacred Scripture.

Hidden Meaning

Correspondences are a way to connect the physical world interpretation of Divine Speech which is called Sacred Scripture, with its original meaning as it came from the spiritual substance.   Now these correspondences are not just connections but actual meanings in addition to the literal meaning of the Sacred Scriptures.  There are literal meanings that are also true and meant to be lived by but the raw, original and deeper correspondential meaning is hidden in the correspondences.  Swedenborg created a code or a map that will help one navigate and understand the correspondences within the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture.

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

The Bible 

This was interesting to me because I learned to read with the bible.  Ever since I was able to sound out a word to my parents they have taught me to read with the Bible.  Along with learning to read I was taught to live by what it said. When I was young the literal meaning to everything was all that I knew.  Obviously when one is younger deeper meanings are very hard to come by.  There is one chapter in Proverbs that talks about wisdom, it says that those who seek me find me.  This was and is verse that I have always read the Bible with it in the back of my mind. 


To better understand what I mean by that is that although growing up I may have not known about the correspondences written by Swedenborg himself, I was very aware that there was discernment and knowledge that I was gaining from reading the Bible that was much deeper than the literal meaning.  I knew that cognitively and in my heart.  This is  interesting to contrast with the ideas of what we have read in the readings only because although it teaches that you are able to extract the correspondential meanings of Sacred scripture without knowing full well of Swedenborg, it only talks about these things at the level of the mind.  I do not know exactly how it works, but I was taught that Jesus lived in my heart.  Although I have logical and rational knowledge of Jesus Christ and God and eternity I also have a knowledge in my heart that never stands on its own but it compliments and affirms what I know in my mind. 

I am answering question 9.7.

(a) Explain who is Swedenborg.


Swedenborg was a well known and respected scientist who wrote Sacred Scripture.  He also wrote the correspondences which teach us how to extract the hidden meaning of that scripture from the literal meaning.  He was the only human that was ever able to be conscious in both the natural world and the mental world at the same time.  He was able to do this for some time in his later years before his death.  During this time he spoke with people from the past, present, and future.  He was also able to communicate with people from other worlds, because although there are different physical worlds all of those worlds share the same mental world. 

(b) Contrast the rational perspective on Swedenborg with the mystical perspective that some people have.

Rational or Mystical

The difference between the mystical perspective of Swedenborg and the rational perspective is terminology and answers behind that terminology.  The mystical believers often use words like miracle, magically, and mysticism because that is all that they know.  When I read about a church that was in this mystical perception I believe that they would have agreed with much of Theistic Psychology, but they did not have the rational or the logic to understand Swedenborg at that level.  They often think of him as a profit and take his words all in the literal sense, while Theistic Psychology and the rational perspective dissects and analyzes the recordings and of this mans writings on a scientific methodological level.  The biggest difference I see is that the while mystics believe in the writings of Swedenborg, they may not understand it fully and may only understand the literal meaning.  Theistic Psychology on the other hand, and the rational perspective looks at information that can be studied, analyzed and understood.

(c) How do you relate to both of these perspectives?

Fine Line

I think the hardest thing for me is that my grandfather was a follower of Swedenborg, but I would say in more of the mystical perspective.  When I first entered this class I was very skeptical because much of the information I knew from my grandfather was skewed in the mystical way, and did not match much of what I believed as a Christian.  There were two problems with what I knew before, one was that my grandfather did not speak very fluent English and none of Swedenborgs writings at the time were translated in Samoan, and two my grandfather was the pastor of a Christian church. 

Although many of the concepts and principles behind Swedenborgs teachings sounded similar to me, I had never heard about him in my Sunday school classes and my parents were also skeptical of his teachings.  This class has enabled me to see Swedenborg not only in the positive bias, but also in the logical perspective.  One of my favorite writers again is C.S. Lewis who is the most logical and rational writer that I know in the Christian faith, and when I was able to look at Swedenborgs writings, Sacred Scripture, and all of Theistic Psychology how he looks at information I was much more open to the ideas. 

I am answering question 9.9.

(a) Discuss the book or movie Matrix in relation to theistic psychology. See for example:    or
Alternately, you can choose the movie What Dreams May Come. See for example:   or
If you prefer another choice, email the instructor or discuss it in class.


There are a few things about the Matrix that are similar to or may be analogous to Theistic Psychology.  One of the more obvious ones is the separation of the worlds by consciousness.  In the Matrix there was a physical world where people were being harvested and used, and then there was the Matrix where the people lived out there lives only in their mind.  Now I would say that to compare this to theistic psychology you would have to change the concept or the titles of the worlds.  In theistic psychology the physical world is less real and more of a prison than the mental world of eternity.  I think that in the movie it is understood that getting your mind out of the Matrix and awake in the physical world is the goal, in Theistic Psychology the goal is to obtain consciousness in the mental world of eternity which in fact is more real, concrete, and eternal than the physical world. 


The next comparison was made between the character of Neo and in Theistic Psychology Swedenborg himself.  I would say there similarities are that they are both one of a kind.  They both had a specific and important purpose, and possibly they were both able to so something that no one had done before or would ever be able to do again.  Most importantly they were both able to travel consciously between these two worlds and were chosen to somehow change the perception or knowledge of these worlds for the rest of its inhabitants.

Along with these similarities there were some differences.  The biggest difference is that in the story of the Matrix Neo was looked at as some kind of savior that would rescue the human race from a life of imprisonment.  Neo had some type of super power that no other human had.  He had a super ability in the physical world.  Although Swedenborg was able to be conscious in the mental world before he was gone from the physical world, he had no such “super power.”  Instead Swedenborg was given the opportunity to be aware in higher levels of the mind.


I am answering question 10.3.

(a) Define sensations, thoughts, and feelings in terms of spiritual substances.

Spiritual Substance

Often in science especially in psychology we study thoughts sensations and feelings as they occur in the physical brain.  In theistic psychology we define sensation, thoughts, and feelings in terms of their substance in the mental world.  Sensations, feelings, and emotions are made of the mental substance called "Divine good."  This substance flows from the Divine Human's Mind in infinite variety and enters the receptors.  The receptors are those that were talked about in the mental anatomy.  The affective organ and the cognitive organ.  The affective organ receives spiritual heat which is also known as divine good.  The cognitive organ receives spiritual heat which is also known as divine truth. The influx of divine good or spiritual heat from the divine human’s mind is immortal and enters our receptors through the affective organ.

The two mental organs specialize as receptors of divine influx.  Each of these organs accepts different substances one for heat and the other for love.  The cognitive organ may also be known to encompass the thinking process, or to be the cause of the neuron synapses that we understand in psychology to be “thinking.”  The cognitive organ is able to conduct this operation by the influx of spiritual light.  We are able to think because of this influx of the truth substance.  This enables us to be rational.  The reading states that, “the inflowing substance of truth into our cognitive organ causes our rational understanding and our human consciousness and awareness in the here and now.”

 (b) Explain this concept to a friend or two. What difficulty do they run into as they try to comprehend this new idea?

Other perspectives

I was able to explain this to a friend that has had to suffer through many of my explanations during this semester.  When I explained substantative dualism to her, and specified the spiritual substances she agreed that it logically followed what she had previously heard.  The one thought that she did have was about the claim that spiritual substance of the mental world is the cause of the effects in the physical world.  For example she asked about emotions.  She said that she had learned that emotion center in the brain was the amygdala.  Then she asked that if the cause of those emotions was in fact in the mental world, than why would brain damage in the physical world, affect the presentation of those emotions.  

(c) What is your conclusion?


My thoughts back to her were that although we may not be able to see the emotions in the activity of the brain it may not mean that she is not having them in the physical world.  The lesions or damage in the physical world may be just the inability of one to express or show emotion in this world, but not to actually have those emotions.   

I am answering question 10.6.

(a) Explain the concept "being consciously in the Presence of God."


Because we are in and around a world that was created by God and represented by spiritual substances that flow from the divine human we are all unconsciously in the presence of God.  The infrastructure of our mind makes our thoughts and feelings immortal which also makes us unconsciously in the presence of God.  To be in the conscious presence of God is a level of our mind.  This level in our mind makes our thoughts and feelings heavenly.  When we are living in our heavenly traits were are able to be in the conscious presence of God.  The reading says that, “Heaven is an organ of life where God is present consciously.   

(b) Select a convenient day to practice being consciously in the presence of God.
You can do this in various ways, as you see fit, but it should involve talking to God in your mind, expressing your appreciation for all that you have and enjoy as things coming from Him.  Also, by expressing regret to Him when you think or do something that is not heavenly, like swearing, denigrating others in your mind, not doing what you know you should, procrastinating, doing something that's harmful to yourself or others, etc.
You can do this exercise regardless of what your views are about God. Just enact the role of the positive bias in science. After you had a successful day doing the above exercise, write it up by describing what you did and what the results were.

First Try

During my first try at this feat I chose Sunday.  I wanted to try to compare and contrast feelings, thoughts, and emotions about being in the presence of God the same way that I had always done that.  When I chose to do this and report back to the class it was not exactly what I was supposed to do.  Instead of concentrating on each thought, emotion, and aspect of my day and relating and filtering everything through God I tried to just talk to God all day like I usually do, especially on Sundays.  I decided to try this one more time.

Second Try

During this try I tried to be very aware of God’s hand in each and every moment of my day.  I was also very attentive to my reaction to those little moments.  I tried to focus on expressing my heavenly traits as often as I could, when I could.  This was most difficult when there were multiple thoughts and feelings going through my head.  I was not always sure in what priority to take care of hellish traits, and when to more fully express heavenly ones.  I believe that my being aware of this was a big step in of itself.

(c) What is your overall conclusion?


I decided that being in the presence of God is a conscious decision I must make each and every moment of my life.  I have to have enough self control and discipline to pay attention to the small things, and manage every area of my life as if God was actually present in the physical world in front of me.  I also realized that being aware of the need to do this, and making a decision to try is a big step.  A big step and one that is very important in the development of consciousness in the mental world.

I am answering question 10.7.

(a) Explain the benefits of studying theistic psychology. For each item you mention, explain also how you relate to that particular benefit.

Self-Control and Heavenly Traits

With all the reading about being consciously in the presence of God, and living in your heavenly traits I have found that living in the truth of theist psychology takes much self control to be able to live in your heavenly traits all of the time.  I also know that there are great benefits to being able to be aware of your thoughts and actions.  I think that it is a great advantage to actively and consciously taking responsibility for everything you think and do all of the time, and being able to connect that to your ability to be in the presence of God makes it ever more worth it.  I know for myself I am now more aware of all the little things around me and my reaction and relation to those things.  This will definitely help me to shape and mold my character even if it is not exactly parallel to the teaching of theistic psychology it will definitely make me more conscious of how I treat other people and how I live out my Christian faith. 

Positive Bias

The second benefit has definitely been the ability to learn about the positive and negative bias.  I was not even aware of this terminology and the notion that went along with it before this class.  I knew that there was something along those lines going on, but I was never able to define what exactly that was.  Learning about these terms and how to enable myself to think and study in the positive bias.  I believe that this will not only help me to be open minded to new ideas, but also help me consciously and purposefully analyze and break apart all information that I study and read in my educational career.  I think that this is one of the most important tools I have learned in this class.

Correspondential Meaning verse Literal Meaning

Learning about the correspondences has been an interesting experience for me.  I have always read the Bible and learned about the literal sense.  I knew that God spoke to me some how in other ways through his word but I was not always exactly sure how that worked.  Although I may not use the correspondences used in this class at least I have a basis to start examining what I believe behind the hidden meanings in sacred scripture.  I will now be able to read the Bible and really try to extract from it more than just the literal meaning, and I will know that that is possible. 

(b) Are you planning to continue studying theistic psychology on your own? Explain your thinking about it.

Seeking Truth

I am a person that seeks ultimate truth.  I do not think that, relativity in terms of truth and God is rational, so I have always been in search of truth.  For this reason I know that until I know truth perfectly, which is never in this world, I will definitely continue to dissect and examine Theistic Psychology.  I think I will go about it a little differently and try to compare and contrast it with things I know are truth for me already, but I will definitely make sure that I know truth. 

I am answering question 10.9.

(a) Google Swedenborg. What is your impression of the activity around his name. Give examples.

Early Pages

The earliest examples that I found on the first few pages of google were biographies and definitions.   Although many of the definitions and biographies used words that may not have described Swedenborg correctly or authentically in the rational sense all of the background information about his life was correct.  The information regarding the period of his life in which he wrote the Sacred scripture is often described as mystical or religious. 

This is the wikapedia definition of Emanuel Swedenborg.  Emanuel Swedenborg  was born January 29, 1688 – March 29, 1772 was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, Christian mystic, and theologian. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. At the age of fifty six he entered into a spiritual phase, in which he experienced dreams and visions. This culminated in a spiritual awakening, where he felt he was appointed by the Lord to write a heavenly doctrine based on a reformed Christianity. He claimed that the Lord had opened his eyes, so that from then on he could freely visit heaven and hell, and talk with angels, devils, and other spirits. For the remaining 28 years of his life, he wrote and published 18 theological works, of which the best known was Heaven and Hell (1758), and several unpublished theological works.


Later Findings

Later in the search I found some other activity like corporations and churches that centered around and taught the teachings of Swedenborg and sacred scripture.  One of these corporations was called the Non-Profit Corporation Dedicated to the Teachings of the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.  When I read the thoughts and principles around this, “Second Advent of Jesus Christ  I found that this is what they taught to call the teaching of Swedenborg.  This was interesting to me because I have not read anywhere in the readings that Swedenborg was supposed to be the second Jesus.  I am not sure exactly what they teach at this corporation but from what I read it did not sound the same as what I am learning and reading in Theistic Psychology

Some of the other things I found were, Churches for the reformation of Christianity.  This seemed to circle around the idea that Swedenborg some how re-shaped the Christian faith.  And that this church taught those teachings.  I also found a site that called the sacred scripture of Swedenborg the Heavenly Doctrines.  There was one comment about Swedenborg that I found very interesting and very logical and in line with what I have learned thus far about him.  The bibliography about Swedenborg stated that, “He never disputed on matters of religion, and if obliged to defend himself, did it with gentleness and in a few words.”