A Personal View on

Swedenborg's Divine Love and Wisdom

Robert Cooksey
PSY 499
Dr. James
May 9, 1991


Emanuel Swedenborg

Emanuel Swedenborg was born on January 29, 1688. He studied mathematics and astronomy first. Then Metallurgy, geology, chemistry and was an Assessor on the Board of Mines in Sweden. He wrote several books on the physical sciences which made him well known. He then pursued the fields of physiology and psychology and thus began his search for the spirit or soul. Swedenborg began to study religion more to get to the real meaning of life, the mind, and after-life. Then on April 5, 1744, he had a vision of Jesus. He instructed Swedenborg of what he was to do. Swedenborg was given the gift of being able to be in the spiritual world while still being in the natural world. Through this gift he was to write of his experiences in the spiritual world and explain the true meaning of the Word. He went on to write 28 books all with help from the spiritual world. Swedenborg died peacefully on March 29, 1772 at 5: 00pm just as he had expected.


To understand what life is one must first understand what is love. Even though we use the word love in many different contexts we do not really understand what it means. Some may think of love, when they reflect on what they think it is, as a love of or for something and how it affects them. But what is love? Is it that which one receives from the senses, the affect, or is it more? To understand what love is you need to look at it as a whole in that it is all that you are. It is all your life in general, meaning your whole body and mind, but also all the "particulars". If you think of life without emotion or affection, there is no love. Wouldn't everything grow cold without emotion? All that you say, do, how you work, play, even how you read a book, all have emotion influencing you. So, this "emotion" is life, and life is love because love is the source of all emotion. Just as the sun is the source of warmth and growth for plants, love is the source of emotion and life, meaning love is life. 1

This appears to be true to me because I see love as the strongest thing that exists and to say that it is the core of life itself appears to be true. If we have God, who is the creator of all things and is pure love, within us then it should be clear that love is the greatest and strongest state in all existence.


If your beliefs are that the universe was created from a "big bang", that bang still had to be created from something it had to have a source. So, there must have been some Divine intervention to get the creation of the universe started. And if you look at God as the creator, He is "life", and God is love. God created man out of love; he created heaven, earth, and all in them, out of love.


Science tries to explain

Today in the world, many scientists are trying to explain the beginning of the world, how organisms function, and what happens to them when they die? Scientists have learned much about the world and the function of many of its inhabitants, large and small. However, much of what has been learned has been explained via physiological observation and experimentation. If scientists believe they know everything about an organism, then they would be able to predict its every action. But this is not possible, so there must be some other force that precedes all physiological responses.

Another Force involved in Function

What is this force that governs all that happens in t] world? The only force that is able to control a finite world is a force that is infinite. Because that which is created is finite has limitations, meaning it would not be able to control everything around it. Therefore, it could be safe to say that a Divine force is the source for all living things, making the Divine exist within each organism. This force is able to communicate and control the organism through the organism' s mind. The mind is what connects the divine with the physical world or natural world via immediate and mediate influx. 4 The diagram shows the correspondence:

All living organisms have a mind which is a "natural mind" that helps the organism survive. This natural mind is what scientists call "instinct". They say "instinct" because they are unable to explain, through observation and experimentation, natural behaviors organisms perform.

By understanding the corresponding circles I can see how all living things can be governed by the spiritual world. The idea that even animals have a mind (a natural mind) could explain many questions about behaviors in the animal kingdom. I like the idea that all we do is governed by the Lord and is according to His will as long as we choose to accept Him.

The Correspondence

From the spiritual world comes information that is rationalized in the mind, then the spiritual mind is able to communicate that information into the natural brain or the natural world. This is a continuous correspondence. But remember that nothing spiritual can enter the physical world, and nothing physical can enter the spiritual world. The communication is through correspondences.

More then just Chemicals

The Divine force, or God, is the source of all things; meaning everything is from God. God is in everything, and governs all living things through its mind. God is love, God is the affect or emotion. When someone touches you and it makes you feel happy, that touch or the chemical responses that occur in your brain and body are not happy, they are just chemical responses. The emotion you feel is from your mind, and the mind gets that happy emotion from the spiritual world. Without the correspondence of these two, the chemical response from the natural world and the emotion from the spiritual world, we would not feel emotion. The rational mind is the barrier between the spiritual world and the natural world. The information coming into the mind from the natural world has to correspond with what is from the spiritual world, or the event will not be understood.

The above point was hard to accept at first because it was not something I could see or feel. But the more I think about it, the more it sounds true. Emotion is not within our bodies, it is a spiritual substance not in time/space.


Love and Wisdom

Love and Wisdom are the two things that constitute human life, and apart from these two life is nothing; there is nothing. Love and Wisdom together are the very essence of God. God loves everyone from love in Himself, and He leads everyone from wisdom in Himself. From these two, people have understanding and will l . People have understanding from the influx of wisdom into the rational mind from God. People will from the influx of love from God. Through Divine Love and Divine Wisdom man is able to have affections and ideas that are from God. 30 This is very pretty to me because to understand that our love is from God Himself makes me feel even more special. This makes all humans special. So, we see that what scientists have learned is only a part of life that is easily explainable. The true source of life is one that is not easily explainable but can be clearly understood if explained with the corresponding circles and each one's role.

Substance and Form

The life a person lives is via correspondences, as stated above, with the spiritual world and the natural world. Divine Love and Divine Wisdom are also substance and form. Some believe that love and wisdom are outside of the subject acting upon it. "The truth is...that love and wisdom are the real and actual substance and form that constitute the subject itself." 40 Love and Wisdom are substance and form that are unobservable through the physical world. These are our thoughts, perceptions, and affections. No one can deny that love and wisdom, as substance, do not exist, because even though we cannot touch or see them, we do feel them. This shows love and wisdom do exist but not with us physically. All we understand is the correspondence. 41-42

I see the love that we share is what makes up our souls and what guides us in good and truth throughout our lives.


We see that there is a correspondence that helps the two worlds "communicate". If a correspondence occurs in both worlds for someone, then that person is able to understand that which is present or before them. Once again we can refer back to the corresponding circles above. When a correspondence occurs there is understanding and existence of the event meaning that the correspondence from the natural world is the same as the correspondence from the spiritual world. If this correspondence is not the same, the event ceases to exist.

Correspondence is unconscious

Therefore, human beings are in correspondence with all that is created in the natural world, but also with the spiritual world. But much of this correspondence with the spiritual is unconscious. Because God created all in the spiritual and natural world, He has correspondence with all things and vice versa.

There is no question that God is in contact with everything created and all that we have is due to him but if we begin to think that our feelings or thoughts are our own then we are denying that God is in our life. And of course this is not true, He is in our life.


The connection between the spiritual and natural world is one that is not clearly understood by most in the natural world. What has to be understood is, first, that God is Love and Wisdom, and from Him all things were created. He is uncrated and infinite, and every-thing from Him is created and finite. Yet, the created "exhibits an image of Him from whom it has being and has form." 52 Second, there is a constant correspondence between the spiritual world and the natural world which guides our lives. 52 However, we are unable to understand the spiritual world in full until we enter it after death. Only man is capable of rationalizing. Things below man such as the lower animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and mineral kingdom are not able to rationalize. 58

This is understandable because humans are more advanced than any other creature on earth, therefore I can understand that we are able to rationalize. I can also believe that we are from an infinite being. These are other ways I feel that we are special.


There are degrees to where these kingdoms ascend with humans being at the highest order in the natural world. These will be discussed later. With the natural world in constant correspondence with the spiritual world, humans can learn the good and truth of God, because "all things of the created universe are recipients of the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom of God." 57 I believe that through these writings of Swedenborg we will be able to understand and accept the Lord more and also receive Love and Wisdom more openly.

Is of Him but not Him

The created universe is not God, but it is from God. The created universe has the image of God in it. For example, a man looking in a mirror sees himself but he is not the mirror or in the mirror, he only sees his reflection which is created from him. Because we are from Him, Divine Love and Divine Wisdom are our guide to following God's will. 59 This is a nice analogy to show that we are created in the image of God.

Natural World Ascension

In this natural world, God has created an ascending order of all created things. the "last things" are the lowest order and the "highest thing" are humans in the ascending order. The "last things" are the minerals which could be considered the end and beginning of uses in life. The minerals give to the next order, the "middle order", what are needed to survive. The "middle things" are the vegetable kingdom which are every kind of grass, shrub, plant, and tree. These use the minerals to grow and flourish and be able to provide for the "first things" which is the animal kingdom. Within the animal kingdom there is an ascending order as well. the smallest are in the lowest order (worms, insects, etc.), and finally the highest order are the humans. this is the ascending order of created things in the natural world. The "last things" are the out-most degree and on down to human being being the in-most degree. 67

This could be or is the reason humans are the most dominant animals in the natural world. We have a power within us that created all living things and we can rationally understand this power, but only if we accept it.

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A Personal View On Swedenborg's Divine Love and Wisdom
Human Behaviors and Human Spirits: Quest for the Good and Truth
Function Without Structure
Rationalism. Topic: Do We Have Free Will or Not?
Heaven Is A Place On Earth: A Religious Self-Examination Experiment
Topical Index
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