New Christian Education: Where?

This is just a brief post, but it could be the start of an interesting line of research; there’s actually a lot of interesting history at the intersection of New Christian thought and educational philosophy. For a sneak preview, you might want to look up Friedrich Froebel, Alice Putnam, Helen Keller – all educational pioneers.

However, in this post, we just wanted to point out this list of New Church schools in the US, Canada, Ghana, South Africa, and the Philippines:

Kirven’s “A Concise Overview of Swedenborg’s Theology” is now online

A scholarly but highly readable study guide, with discussion questions and organized readings.

From the Introduction:

” This course is an “overview”that it involves a somewhat cursory view of the theology found in the whole body of Swedenborg’s theological writings, and also in the sense that this content will be seen as much as possible as a whole—with some attention to the structure of the theological system that is found in those volumes. It is something like a map-maker’s photograph of the earth from a high-flying plane or a satellite: it should provide a perception of enough detail that every part of the system can be recognized for what it is, but at the same time all the parts can be seen together, emphasizing their relationships to one another.”

The Lord God Jesus Christ on Marriage In Heaven

Positive marriage-related teachings or images are cited repeatedly throughout the Bible. God created man, male and female, in His “image” and “likeness.” (Genesis 1: 26-28) God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and created a companion for him and this explains why a man leaves his parents and is joined to his wife and the two become one. (Genesis 2:18-24)

The heavens tell of God’s glory and the sun bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom. (Psalm 19:5)

Isaiah tells of joy in the Lord Who has dressed him in clothing of salvation and the robe of righteousness like a bridegroom and bride adorned. (Isaiah 61:10)

God loves Zion and gives it a new name, Bride of God, and rejoices over Zion as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. (Isaiah 62:1-5)

When the people return to God, the sounds of joy and voice of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again and people bringing thank offerings to God. (Jeremiah 33:11)

When the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, He quoted Genesis about man leaving parents and joining his wife and added that no one should separate what God had joined together.  When the disciples said the teaching about divorce and adultery was hard, He said that not everyone can accept it but those can whom God helps. (Matthew 19:3-11)

The Kingdome of Heaven is like a king who made a wedding for his son and invited guests to the wedding. (Matthew 22:1-14)

The Kingdom of Heaven is like the story of the wedding with the five wise and five foolish virgins and only those enter the wedding who have oil of love for their lamps. (Matthew 25:1-13 and Mark 10:2-12)

Jesus also performed His first miracle at a wedding. (John 2: 1-11)

John describes the marriage of the Lamb and his wife and how blessed they are who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev. 19:7, 9)

John saw the Holy City descending from God prepared as a bride for her husband and heard that the home of God is now among His people….An angel told John to come and see the bride, the wife of the Lamb and showed him the Holy City descending and filled with the glory of God. (Revelation 21:1-3, 9-11)

Why then would Jesus apparently turn around and say to the Sadducees that there is no marriage in heaven in answer to their story about the woman married to seven brothers in succession as each died? (Matthew 22:29-30; Mark 12:18-25; Luke 20: 34-37)

The picture clarifies when the audience Jesus was talking to is made clear.  In the culture of that time, women had a very low status. Women could be “given” in marriage (Luke 20:27-33) like a piece of property as the women married to seven brothers. Women could be bought and sold as was Leah who was substituted for Rachel to marry Jacob (Genesis 29:14-30), Ruth was bought by Boaz (Ruth 4:9-10), and Hosea buying back his wife. (Hosea 3:2) And women were subject to polygamy as with Esau’s numerous wives. (Genesis 26:34, 28:9, and 36:2-3) Marriage as the people of that time understood it does not exist in heaven.

Those who have been spiritually regenerated, i.e. worthy of being raised from spiritual death, or hell, won’t have the kind of relationship, the legal-contract external marriage, His audience of Sadducees thought of as marriage. These people will experience the true internal spiritual marriage love of the angels.

Direct evidence that true marriage does occur in heaven is provided by Swedenborg’s experience there, where he saw weddings (e.g. Marriage Love 1,19-21, True Christian Religion 746-748) and spoke with married couples (e.g. Marriage Love 42, 137, 208, 355), wives (e.g. Marriage Love 293, 55) and husbands (e.g. Marriage Love 156c, 355).

Swedenborg tells us that “A spiritual wedding means being linked with the Lord, something that happens on earth, and if it has taken place on earth, it has also taken place in heaven. (Marriage Love 41:2)

“There are weddings in the heavens as there are on earth, but only for those for whom good and truth are married, for no others are angels. So it is spiritual weddings, the marriage of good and truth, which are meant by this passage….. So it is said of the five foolish maidens, who were also invited to the wedding, that they could not go in, because they lacked the marriage of good and truth; for they had no oil, but only lamps. (Matthew 25:1-13)  Oil means good and lamps truth; and being given in marriage is entering heaven, where that marriage is.” (Marriage Love 44:10)

Do angels fly?

It has long been thought, and illustrated in many biblical paintings, that angels have wings and fly.  This interpretation appears to be inspired by the representational, or symbolic, images of a flying angel mentioned in the book of Revelation (8:13, 14:6), though there is no mention of wings.  Swedenborg cites these passages in several places in his published works (Arcana Coelestia 1925, Apocalypse Revealed 245, 387,  415, 626).  More significantly here, he personally saw angels fly at least twice  (Marriage Love 2, 136, True Christian Religion 731) , one of whom flew down and landed right next to him (Marriage Love 2).  Swedenborg also mentions seeing “a number of young people …, flying down as if from heaven” (True Christian Religion 736).  The “as if” makes the statement somewhat ambiguous, however, as to whether it is merely symbolic  or  representational rather than being a report of “real” flying.  In any case, in Heaven and Hell 183 Swedenborg  says that “angels are men, they have homes and dwellings, and do not fly about in the air.”  The tone of this statement is admonitory, also indicated in the rest of this sentence – “It might be known …that as angels are men they have dwellings and places of abode, and do not fly about in air, as some think in their ignorance, which the angels call insanity.”  So it seems plausible that the point of this statement was to dismiss any idea of the fantastic here.

One question that arises here is, Why would angels need to fly?  There is no time or space as we know it in heaven (Heaven and Hell #162, 191). Change is controlled by the mental state a person puts themselves  in. If, for instance, a person thinks about seeing a friend, that friend appears, instantaneously. (Heaven and Hell #92) No change of position is involved. In summary, there would appear no need for angels to fly since they have a much more rapid means of travel available.