Rational Scientific Theories from Theism


Emanuel Swedenborg was born on 29 January 1688 in Stockholm, Sweden. The family was ennobled after his father, Jesper Swedberg, became Bishop of Skara. At the University of Uppsala, Swedenborg was educated in philosophy, mathematics, and science, as well as in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

In 1710, a year after completing his university training, Swedenborg began a period of travel, during which he studied physics, astronomy, and other natural sciences, as well as learning watchmaking, bookbinding, cabinetmaking, engraving, brass instrument making, and lens grinding. Over the next few years, he acquired all the knowledge that the early eighteenth century had to offer in the fields of cosmology, mathematics, anatomy, physiology, politics, economics, metallurgy, mineralogy, geology, mining engineering, and chemistry. He wrote extensively on many of these subjects, and was the first person to propound the nebular hypothesis of the solar system. He made numerous original discoveries in a wide variety of scientific disciplines (such as the functions of the cerebral cortex and the ductless glands, and the respiratory movement of the brain tissues), some of which have been confirmed only in the twentieth century. Swedenborg's inventive genius led him to develop plans for a glider-type airplane, a submarine, an air gun, a slow combustion stove, and a mercury air pump, among others.

Swedenborgs glider
Swedenborg's glider-type airplane design

Throughout the period of his scientific work, Swedenborg had always maintained his interest in spirituality. The aim of much of his research in human biology was to find a rational explanation for the operation of the soul.

During the years 1744 and 1745, Swedenborg experienced a series of visions which had a profound effect on him. Eventually, his spiritual senses were fully opened, and he was able consciously to exist simultaneously in both the natural and the spiritual worlds. He believed that he had been called by God to give a new revelation to humanity, and for the next twenty-seven years, until his death in London at the age of 84, he devoted himself almost exclusively to writing the thirty volumes of theological works which comprise that revelation. In the last month of his life, several of his friends asked Swedenborg to make a final statement regarding the veracity of what he had written. He replied: "I have written nothing but the truth, as you will have more and more confirmed all the days of your life, provided you keep close to the Lord and faithfully serve Him alone by shunning evils as sins against Him and diligently searching His Word, which from beginning to end bears incontestable witness to the truth of the doctrines I have delivered to the world."

Swedenborg himself never attempted to establish a separate ecclesiastical institution, but shortly after his death a small group of people in England organized the Church of the New Jerusalem, also known as the New Church, in order to study, preserve, and disseminate the teachings of the revelation that had been given through him. Today, there are New Church congregations throughout the world, and Swedenborg's theological writings have been translated into a large number of languages.

Click here to read more about Swedenborg's philosophical and spiritual teachings.

www.TheisticScience.org Author: Ian J. Thompson, Email: IanT at TheisticScience.org