THE SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATIVE UNIVERSE
In Emanuel Swedenborg's Doctrine of Correspondence, there is nothing that exists in this material natural world which is not a representative, or symbol, of something in the spiritual world:
...there is never anything in the created world which has not correspondence with the things existing in the spiritual world, and which does not thus in its own manner represent something in the Lord's kingdom; from this is the existence and subsistence of all things. If man knew how these things are, he would never attribute all things to nature, as is usually done. Hence it is that all things and every single thing in the universe represent the Lord's kingdom; even so that the universe with its heavenly constellations, its atmospheres, and its three kingdoms, is nothing else than a kind of theatre representative of the Lord's glory which is in the heavens. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2999-3000)Here I am going to cover some symbolism, ranging from scripture, to ancient myths, a bit of astrology...to modern science. I am going to focus on the subatomic world, the second plane of existence in Young's Reflexive Universe. This goes a bit all over the place....but that's the nature of the microcosm, or a holographic universe, where the part explains the whole.
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE FOUR FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE
Swedenborg wrote that the natural forces of this world correspond to that which is spiritual which proceeds from God:
In everything spiritual there are three forces, an active force, a creative force, and a formative force. The active force, because it is spiritual, proceeds from the fountain of all forces, which is the sun of heaven, and that is the Lord's Divine love, and love is the active itself, from which the living force which is life proceeds. The creative force is the force that produces causes and effects from beginning to end, and reaches from the First through intermediates to the last. ...The formative force is the last force from ultimates, for it is the force that produces animals and plants from the ultimate materials of nature, which are collected in the earth. The forces that are in nature from its origin, which is the sun of the world, are not living forces but dead forces. ...They do not differ from the forces of light in the eye, which simply cause the mind, which is spiritual, to see by means of its organ, the eye. The light of the world sees nothing, but the mind by the light of heaven. The same is true of plants. He who believes that the heat and light of the sun of the world do anything more than open and dispose the things proper to nature that they may receive influx from the spiritual world is very much deceived. (Apocalypse Explained, n. 1209.2-3)We now know more about the natural forces of the universe, which Swedenborg described above according to the knowledge of his time. There are four universal forces: gravity, electromagnetic (light), the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force:
THE SYMBOLISM OF LIGHT
So what do these four forces mean in the spiritual world? Light - the carrier of the electromagnetic force - is the easiest: it corresponds to Divine truth, that which enlightens us spiritually. There are many passages of scripture which use this symbolism:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:4-9)
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12)
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5)
For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. (Ps. 18:28)
The LORD is my light and my salvation (Ps. 27:1)
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle. (Ps. 43:3)The above passages, by the way, show the equivalence between Jesus as LORD, and Jehovah as LORD in the Old Testament. That's because Jesus is Jehovah in human form - one and the same. There is no such thing as a trinity of three persons as invented by the Nicene council in the 4th century A.D. But that is another subject I have brought up in other blog entries. It is problematic, as that is the underlying assumption in the theology of most Christian churches.
THE SYMBOLISM OF GRAVITY
From the correspondence of light to Divine Truth, its easy to figure out what gravity corresponds to: it corresponds to Divine Love. Anything that has mass is attracted to another body that has mass. The higher the mass, the stronger the attraction. Gravity is a property of space. The stronger the love, the closer we feel to another person. There is not, of course, a direct reference to gravity in scripture, but there is to weight or burden:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Swedenborg saw that in the other life, space and distance are appearances: there is no space and time in the spiritual world. Spirits and angels will be closer or farther from each other dependent on their love:
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30)
...in the spiritual world one appears in presence to another, if only he intensely desires his presence; for thus he sees him in thought, and presents himself in his state; and conversely, one is removed from another so far as he is averse to him. And because all aversion is from contrariety of affections and from disagreement of thoughts, it comes to pass in that world, that several who are in one place are seen by one another so long as they agree, but as soon as they disagree they disappear. When also any one goes from one place to another, whether it be in his own city, or in courts, or in gardens, or to others out of his own society, then he arrives more quickly when he eagerly desires it, and more tardily when he does not—the way itself being lengthened and shortened according to the desire, although it is the same: this I have often seen to my surprise. (Heaven and Hell, n. 195-195)
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE WEAK AND STRONG NUCLEAR FORCES
Gravity and light are well apparent and obvious to many, but it is only within the last century that science has becomes aware of two other forces: the weak and strong nuclear forces. If gravity corresponds to love, and light to truth, then what about the weak and strong nuclear forces? These were not known in Swedenborg's day. However, in the psychology of the human Swedenborg describes a progression from the celestial (Love) to the spiritual (Truth) to the rational, and from the rational to the natural. Or to put it another way, the will is one's love, one's understanding is one's truth, then comes the rational, and the outward external body is the natural. Swedenborg describes our rational self as the medium between our internal spiritual self, and our outward bodily self:
The rational also pertains to the external man and in itself is a kind of medium between the internal and external; for through the rational the internal operates into the corporeal external (Heavenly Arcana, n. 268)
Properly speaking, the sensual man, that is, he who thinks from sensual things, is the external man, and the spiritual and celestial man is the internal man; but the rational man is mediate between the two, and by this, or by what is rational, there is communication of the internal man with the external. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 978.3)Throughout his writings, Swedenborg calls the inner spiritual self the "intellectual", there is a medium called the "rational" and the lowest degree are mere knowledges of the memory:
There are three degrees of the intellectual faculties in man; the lowest is the knowing faculty; the middle is the rational; the highest, the intellectual. These are so distinct from each other that they should never be confounded. But man is not cognizant of this, for the reason that he places life in what is of sense and knowledge only; and while he cleaves to this, he cannot even know that his rational is distinct from the knowing; and still less that his intellectual is so. And yet the truth is that the Lord flows through man's intellectual into his rational, and through his rational into the knowledge of the memory. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 657).These planes of the human soul were known to the ancient Egyptians: in the hieroglyphs, Egyptologists have been puzzled by the separate terminology the Egyptian priests gave to the human soul, self or body. But that is another topic.
Knowledges of the memory are in the lowest degree, as they are obtained through the bodily senses from the outward world. The progression of human growth is from knowledge, to reason, to things spiritual, which regards use as their end:
It may be evident to any one, if he gives attention to the matter, that the learning of knowledges is nothing else of itself than means whereby a man may become rational, and thence spiritual, and at last celestial; and that by them his external man may be adjoined to his internal; and when this is done, he is in use itself. The internal man regards nothing but use. For the sake of this end, also, the Lord insinuates the enjoyment which childhood and youth perceives in acquiring knowledge. But when a man begins to place enjoyment in knowledge alone, it is a corporeal desire which carries him away. And so far as he is thus carried away, or so far as he places enjoyment in knowledge alone, so far he removes himself from the celestial, and so far does the knowledge shut itself up towards the Lord, and become material; but the more the knowledge is acquired for the end of use — as for the sake of human society, for the sake of the Lord's church on the earth, for the sake of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, and still more for the Lord's sake — the more is it opened towards Him. On this account, also, angels, who are acquainted with all knowledges, and indeed to such a degree that scarce one part in ten thousand can be presented to the full apprehension of man, still esteem such knowledge as nothing in comparison with use. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1472.2)So, if everything in the natural world corresponds to the spiritual, we can tentatively guess the symbolism of the four forces known is physics as follows:
1. Gravity = Love, or the will.Gravity and light as symbols of love and truth is more commonly known to people as we experience these everyday: gravity we feel, and light we see. Likewise we feel love, and we see things by the truth. The strong force, as it binds quarks together to form atomic nuclei, makes sense as a symbol for outward knowledges gained from the natural world. That leaves the weak force as a symbol of the rational - which will sound a bit strange at first. The weak force combines with electromagnetism (light) to create the electroweak force. The weak force also ensures atoms have balanced protons and neutrons, atoms that do not go through radioactive beta decay. It is responsible for the decay of heavy particles into lighter particles. It plays a large role in hydrogen fusion, and luckily its weak or otherwise our sun would have burned out long ago. But this is not an association most would make, without a knowledge of the internal planes that humans must pass through to achieve their full potential. So for now, let's assume that the symbolic association for the weak force is true.
2. Light = Truth, or spiritual understanding, the higher "intellectual" (conscience).
3. Weak force = the Rational
4. Strong force = knowledges, the outward natural man, from sensory perceptions.
THE FOUR ANIMALS OR LIVING BEINGS
If everything is symbolic of something spiritual, the four forces which govern the entire universe must be symbolic of something rather important. Without these forces, nothing would exist. Is there something in scripture related to these four forces? For that, one of the strangest passages of the Bible came to mind: the vision of the Apocalypse, where the apostle John sees four living creatures surrounding the throne of God:
Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.The prophet Ezekiel had a similar vision of these four living creatures or angels:
The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: " Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" (Rev. 4:6-8)
Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.Ezekiel continues later in his description:
Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.
Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings.
Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze.
The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings.
Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.
As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. (Ezek. 1:4-10)
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning.The reference to the wheels are interesting. We know all the force carriers have intrinsic spin, or a discrete angular momentum.
And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.
Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces.
The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. (Ezek. 1:13-17)
These bizarre passages of scripture are highly symbolic, and as such, I could find no adequate explanation of this symbolism until I encountered Emanuel Swedenborg. Only Swedenborg goes down to the level of detail where he describes the symbolism of the calf, lion, man, the eagle, and all those other small details that most ignore. But before we get into the meaning of these four living creatures, I would like to note that these four guardians are ancient symbols of a stellar religion which preceded Judaism. Some time during the astrological age of Taurus (4th and 3rd millenium B.C.) - or earlier - these four guardians were assigned to the four quarters of the heavens, as follows:
1. The sign of Taurus = the calf, or bullThis symbolism was probably assigned during the astrological age of Taurus, for in that time during the vernal equinox the sun rose in the sign of Taurus, the summer solstice occurred in Leo, the autumnal equinox occurred in Scorpio and the winter solstice occurred in Aquarius.
2. The sign of Leo = the lion
3. The sign of Scorpio = the man
4. The sign of Aquarius = the eagle
Some have seen this association before, but do not know why this is the case. Preceding Judaism there were former heavenly visions, and in the Middle East some of this knowledge can be seen in the way the symbols of the zodiac were created. Thus some of these animals can be seen as guardians to ancient temples. Some of this ancient knowledge is very Messianic in nature - they knew in early times, a Saviour, half-man and half-God, would be born of a virgin to save the human race.
Most, who have seen this association, assign Scorpio to the eagle, and Aquarius the water-bearer to the man. But, I want to point out why this is incorrect. Why would a man be used to symbolize the sign of Scorpio, which is a scorpion? I believe that this man is signified by the constellation of Ophiucus, the serpent bearer. Ophiucus is a huge man who is treading on the Scorpion. And this provides a clue as to the meaning of the living animal who has the face of a man:
I have seen some speculate that Ophiucus is the healer Asclepius in Greek myth. This symbol was used by Moses to save the people from the bites of poisonous serpents (Num. 21:6-9). Here is the rod of Asclepius - in North America the symbol of the caduceus is confused with this symbol:
Mythology of the constellation Aquarius:
[Aquarius] is the eleventh zodiacal sign and one which has always been connected with water. To the Babylonians it represented an overflowing urn, and they associated this with the heavy rains which fell in their eleventh month, whilst the Egyptians saw the constellation as Hapi, the god of the Nile.Here is a Roman mural showing Ganymede being carried off by an eagle:
Greek legend, however, tells of Ganymede, an exceptionally handsome, young prince of Troy. He was spotted by Zeus, who immediately decided that he would make a perfect cup-bearer. The story then differs - one version telling how Zeus sent his pet eagle, Aquila, to carry Ganymede to Olympus, another that it was Zeus, himself, disguised as an eagle, who swept up the youth and carried him to the home of the gods. ...Ganymede, often riding on Aquila and always carrying the golden cup, accompanied the great god on his travels, impressing him with his kindness. This was made manifest when, realising how in need of water the people on earth were, he pleaded with Zeus to be allowed to help them and was given permission to send down rain. Eventually he was glorified as Aquarius, god of rain, and placed amongst the stars.
Despite the fact that most symbols of Aquarius show a water bearer, and not an eagle, will be seen to have no difference as water and eagle symbolize something very similar in the spiritual world.
THE SPIRITUAL SYMBOLISM OF THE FOUR ANIMALS
These four living creatures are very ancient symbols. So what, exactly, is the spiritual symbolism of these four animals? For that, we look at what Emanuel Swedenborg had to say - for it was to him that the internal spiritual sense of scripture was opened in visions, which took place in a period of over 25 years:
And in the midst of the throne and around the throne were four animals, signifies the Lord's Word from first things to ultimates, and its guards. I know that men will wonder that it is said that the four animals signify the Word: but that this is their signification will be seen in what follows. These animals are the same with the cherubs in Ezekiel. There also, in chapter first, they are called animals; but in the tenth chapter, cherubs: and they were, like these, a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. In the Hebrew language they are there called chajoth, which word indeed signifies animals; but it is derived from chaja, which is life; from which also Adam's wife was called chaja (Gen. iii. 20). Animal also, in the singular number, is called chaja in Ezekiel, hence those animals may also be called living beings. Nor is it extraordinary that the Word is described by animals, when the Lord Himself is here and there in the Word called a lion, and often a lamb; and they who are in charity from the Lord are called sheep; and also the understanding of the Word is called a horse in chapters that follow. That by those animals or cherubs the Word is signified, is manifest from the fact that they were seen in the midst of and around the throne; and in the midst of the throne was the Lord: and because the Lord is the Word, they could not be seen anywhere else. They were also around the throne, because they were in the angelic heaven, where also the Word is. That the Word and its guards are signified by cherubs is shown in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 97); where are these words: "The literal sense of the Word is a guard for the genuine truths which lie hid within; and the protection lies in this, that that sense can be turned hither and thither; that is, be explained according to one's apprehension, and yet the internal of the Word not be injured or violated by it. For it does no harm for the sense of the letter to be understood by one otherwise than by another; but it does do harm, if the Divine truths which lie hid within are perverted: for by this is violence offered to the Word. Lest this should be done, the sense of the letter acts as a guard; and it is a guard with those who are in falsities from religion, and do not confirm those falsities; for these do not offer any violence. This guard is signified by cherubs, and is also described by them in the Word. (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 239)
...the cherubs was signified a guard, that the Lord, heaven, and the Divine truth, such as it is interiorly in the Word, should not be approached immediately, but mediately through the ultimates (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 239)So, the four animals signify the Divine Truth in their ultimate form. For Swedenborg, this was the sense of the letter of scripture. For us, we are focusing on the ultimate form of the Divine Truth as it appears in nature, specifically the four known forces. Nature in itself is a theatric representation of spiritual matters: when in ancient times they knew this, they had no need of a revelation in the written form. These ultimate forms of the truth act as a guard to the ultimate truth: for they are symbols, and those who only dwell on appearances only will be stuck on the appearance. The "guards" to the higher Divine truth are also planes of development: we must pass through the lower planes of development before reaching a higher plane. Here is the symbolic meaning of each of the four living creatures, or angelic cherubs:
1. Animal like a calf (Taurus) = The Divine Truth as to affection, or loveI won't cover each of these symbolic meanings right now (this blog is a bit longer than I expected). Observe how similar the above symbolism is with the four forces of the universe:
2. Animal like a lion (Leo) = The Divine Truth as to power
3. Animal with face of a man (Scorpio/Ophiucus) = The Divine Truth as to wisdom (= Rationality)
4. Animal like an eagle (Aquarius) = The Divine Truth as to knowledge
1. Gravity = Love, or the will.In ancient myths, the leg of the Taurus is the Big Dipper, the location of the pole star around which the heavens rotate. This rotation, of course, is due to gravity. Light as a force is signified by a lion - the closest thing the ancients had to our abstract concept of "force" were of course strong animals. Leo ruled over the summer, the time when the power of heat and light from the sun was at its strongest. As for the man signifying wisdom or rationality, this is due to the fact that males are forms of intellect, whereas females are forms of the volitional will. Thus the man can signify the rational. But why is the constellation of Ophiucus associated with a scorpion? This has to do with the symbolism of scorpions:
2. Light = Truth, or spiritual understanding, the higher "intellectual" (conscience).
3. Weak force = the Rational
4. Strong force = knowledges, the outward natural man, from sensory perceptions.
By a scorpion is signified a deadly persuasive power, and by a scorpion of the earth persuasive power in matters of the church; since the earth signifies the church. For a scorpion, when he stings a man, induces a stupor upon the limbs, and, if it is not cured, death. Their persuasive power induces the like upon the understanding. Such also is signified by the scorpion in these passages: Be thou not afraid of them and of their words; they are thorny; thou dwellest among scorpions; they are hard of face and obstinate of heart (Ezek. ii. 4, 6). Jesus said to the seventy whom He sent forth, Behold, I give unto you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke x. 19). (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 425).Thus the image of a man battling with a poisonous serpent or scorpion is true reason, fighting against false persuasive arguments. Only rationality, guided by spiritual truth, can fight against the arguments people come up with against God and religion. Unfortunately, rationality is not so developed in those who are in blind religious belief. Earlier I associated the symbolism of the weak force with rationality. The weak force causes heavier particles to decay into more light particles. And the funny thing is, the weak force causes beta decay: and this radioactivity is poisonous, similar to the bite of a serpent or sting of a scorpion.
On another point of symbolism, both the eagle and water signify knowledges. That water also signifies knowledge in certain contexts, can be seen from the following passages:
Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge; Their honorable men are famished, And their multitude dried up with thirst. (Isa. 5:13)
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:9)
Thus, in ancient times, Aquarius the water-bearer was associated with the eagle: both are symbols of knowledge. Without understanding this symbolism, these ancient myths will make no sense whatsoever.
THE PROGRESSION OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
Whereas the progression of the Divine is from love into ultimates, the progression of each man or woman proceeds in the opposite direction: from knowledge, to reason, to spiritual understanding, to love. Young knew he was onto something in his philosophy explained in The Reflexive Universe. Here we covered the symbolism of some of the subatomic particles, which lies in the second plane of existence. The seventh plane is the plane of spiritual development: by understanding the symbols of these discrete degrees of order, we can gain a better understanding of the spiritual world. In the second plane, there are actually seven substages:
1. Graviton. Mediates gravity.
2. Photon. Mediates electromagnetism.
3. W/Z bosons. Mediates weak force.
4. Gluons. Mediates strong force.
5. Quarks. Forms the basis of baryon matter.
6. Baryons (photons, neutrons). Composites of quarks.
7. Leptons (electrons...).
I have only covered the first four forces, and not the fermions. Honestly I am still thinking about this one. Nothing can exist, unless there is an acting force, and something to act upon. In this case matter is the passive body upon which the forces act upon. In all human progression, there is end, cause, and effect. Or in other words, there is one's intention, one's thought on how to perform that intention, and then the effect or act. In other words, one's thoughts or intentions does not become "living" or "real" unless it is applied in one's life, or in one's activity. What does this imply? That the entire universe, is intentional, that every movement, is an action. The view of the universe as a mechanical machine falls apart, when we realize that at a quantum level, everything is a probability - giving room for all the universe to be a manifestation of One Being to act in an intentional way.