Questions: About angels, free will, the snake, “light fallen from heaven,” salvation, sons of God and…

 On Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 5:56 PM, queckie1@aol.com wrote:

Re:  A Quesion

 Hello  Swedenborg project.

Swedenborg is a interesting fellow, I have been studying him, on my own, for a few months. I recently became interested in him and am still learning much.

My question,

Swedenborg states that angel’s are former humans, and not a separate form from man, Do, I understand that correctly?

but, if Eve was tempted in the Garden by the snake, which is usually explained as Satan, how could this evil spirit be in the garden since no  humans where yet born from Adam and Eve?

When was the angel of the evil snake created since Swedenborg states that angels are former humans? There could not have been any humans , as yet, been born or died.

Who is the “light fallen from Heaven” that Jesus say’s he saw fall?

Since man had not produced any off spring for anyone to be a fallen angel.

If a person is transformed to a angel, after death and is in heaven. Could he still be cast out if he decides, by free will, to challenge God as satan had at his fall?

if free will is given to all, will free will be active in heaven?

 thank you for your reply.

David

—–Original Message—–

From: The Swedenborg Project <info@swedenborgproject.org>

To: queckie1 <queckie1@aol.com>

Sent: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 5:02 pm

Subject: Re: A question

Hi David,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’ve attempted some answers to your questions.  I’ve also included a few citations in case you want to look up any of this material in the Writings themselves, which I recommend!

>>My question,

>> Swedenborg states that angel’s are former humans, and not a separate form from man,

>>Do, I understand that correctly?

Yes.  Every inhabitant of the spiritual world, good and bad, lived first as a human being in free will in the physical world. The difference between the two worlds is that on this planet we live in physical reality, in the other world in spiritual reality.

>>but, if Eve was tempted in the Garden by the snake, which is usually explained as Satan, how could this evil spirit be in the garden since no humans where yet born from Adam and Eve?

One of the particularly interesting teachings of Swedenborg’s revelation is that the Bible had a predecessor in the early days of the human race, a book called the Ancient Word (True Christian Religion 279). Moses copied from that book what became the first 11 chapters of Genesis (Arcana Coelestia 482, True Christian Religion  279, Doctrine of the Sacred Scriptures 103).  The rest of the Ancient Word is now lost, although the teachings of the Second Coming make a brief comment that it may one day be found (See Apocalypse Revealed 11, True Christian Religion 265, 269). It might be noted that later books of the Bible mention the Ancient Word’s books of Jasher, or The Book of the Upright (ibid., Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18) and the Wars of Jehovah (Numbers 21:14).

The significant aspect of the Garden of Eden story for your question is that the Ancient Word was not actual history but an allegory, with a spiritual inner meaning.  In contrast, the rest of the Bible is a combination of spiritual allegory and actual history.  For example, at the allegorical level the snake is a symbol of our five senses.  Those senses are what put us in contact with the physical world, symbolized by a snake slithering along in direct contact with the ground.  The temptation involved in the story is to base our principles of life on worldly values because we think we know better than God what principles are best.  However “…God knows that on the day in which you eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3: 5) Choosing to do this is spiritually fatal, as the story of the two trees in the garden symbolizes (Genesis 3: 3).

This is a big subject and if you’d like to go into it further I’d recommend the 8th chapter of  Swedenborg’s True Christian Religion and the first volume of his Arcana Coelestia.

>>When was the angel of the evil snake created since Swedenborg states that angels are former humans? There could not have been any humans, as yet, been born or died.

Again, we are looking at an allegory teaching spiritual principles, not actual history. There is no such angel.

The story in Genesis also says that there were “sons of God” and “daughters of humans” (Genesis 6; 1-4).  Where did they come from if Adam and Eve were literally the first two people?  Genesis doesn’t tell us. The whole story is an allegory (see Arcana Coelestia 569).

>>Who is the “light fallen from Heaven” that Jesus say’s he saw fall?

I assume you’re referring to Luke 10, particularly verses 17 and 18.  The explanation that makes most sense to me is that Jesus is here telling his 70 disciples that He can see the results in the spiritual realm of the casting out demons that they had been doing.

>>If a person is transformed to a angel, after death and is in heaven. Could he still be cast out if he decides, by free will, to challenge God as satan had at his fall?

No one, angel or devil, changes their basic spiritual direction in the other nor would they want to.  They have built up a heaven or hell orientation over the whole course of their life in this world and do not want to change it once they reach the spiritual world. Furthermore, far from being cast out of heaven, people go to and stay in heaven or hell of their own free will to be with others like themselves with whom they are comfortable.

>>if free will is given to all, will free will be active in heaven?

A big question.  As I understand it, free will refers to the opportunity all through life on earth to build  heaven or hell in ourselves, and this all comes out into the open in the other world after death.  On the other hand, the angels choose to keep learning ever more about Jesus’ teachings into eternity, and so deepening their faith, and they can do this because they are in freedom to do so.  So in that sense freedom continues in heaven.

I hope this provides some food for thought.

Personally, I try to focus as much as I can on the many uplifting and insightful teachings of the Second Coming.

Best wishes,

Kurt

On Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 8:07 PM, <queckie1@aol.com> wrote:

Hello Kurt

thank you for your reply to my questions.  Swedenborg is interesting and I am studying more of his thoughts.

an other question for you,

Swedenborg teaches that all that follow their “religion” can gain heaven , but if this is true, what is the point of Jesus coming to earth?

Can a person find salvation in the old Roman gods and Greeks, salvation in pagan faiths of today and those that deny God and Christianity? What would be the benefit for someone to be baptized a Swedenborgian if all religions can find salvation?

  Is Swedenborg viewed as an equal with Matt, Mark , Luke and John? and with Old Testament prophets?

thank you for your reply

David

—–Original Message—–

From: The Swedenborg Project <info@swedenborgproject.org>

To: queckie1 <queckie1@aol.com>

Sent: Mon, Jan 3, 2011 12:08 pm

Subject: Re: A question

>>Swedenborg teaches that all that follow their “religion” can gain heaven

That is, assuming they acknowledge a Divine being and live a life of charity (Heaven and Hell 338, Arcana Coelestia 932, 2590, 10765).  For overview, see section starting at Heaven and Hell 318.

>> but if this is true, what is the point of Jesus coming to earth?

Jesus came because the existing church had become so corrupt that it was interfering with people’s ability to get to heaven.  He reordered the whole spiritual world to fix the problem.  For details here, I’d recommend Chapter 14 of True Christian Religion (starting at number 753) and The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed, particularly Section VI, published in the book entitled Miscellaneous Theological Works.

>>Can a person find salvation in the old Roman gods and Greeks, salvation in pagan faiths of today and those that deny God and Christianity?

I think the pertinent teaching here is that  “Saving faith is faith in the Lord God the Saviour Jesus Christ” (Chapter VI of True Christian Religion, starting at number 337) and “Those who are outside the Church, and yet acknowledge one God, and live according to their religion in a kind of charity toward the neighbor, are in communion with those who are of the Church, because no one is condemned who believes in God, and lives well” (Arcana Coelestia 10765).

>> What would be the benefit for someone to be baptized a Swedenborgian if all religions can find salvation?

Let me say to begin with that I don’t like the term “Swedenborgian.”  Followers of the teachings of the Second Coming are Christians, just like all other Christians.  Other Christians would not refer to themselves as “Matthewists,” for instance, but just “Christians.” So the followers of the Second Coming are not “Swedenborgians,” but Christians as well.  Turning to your question, then, my understanding, based on the numbers cited above,  is that what we are talking about here is a matter of degree.  A person not taught Christian truths and not baptized into the Christian church will not be have the basis for as much of the happiness built on those two things as the person who gets the whole package. 

>>  Is Swedenborg viewed as an equal with Matt, Mark, Luke and John? and with Old Testament prophets?

Swedenborg was, like those predecessors, a revelator.  However, he was able to be aware of the process rationally, which those predecessors were not.

In closing, I would note, if you’re not already aware, that it appears that the books of Swedenborg’s theology are not always authoritative divine revelation. Only the books Swedenborg published himself are.  For details on the matter see “Which of Swedenborg’s books are Divine Revelation?” online at

http://swedenborgdigitallibrary.org/contets/books.html

Best wishes

Kurt