In his visions of the afterlife, Swedenborg encountered many who had departed from this earthly life, and for over 25 years he was allowed to explore the spiritual world. But there is one observation he made that even took him by surprise: not all of the humans he encountered came from this planet earth. When examining critiques of Swedenborg, this is one of the points that always comes up - his opinion that other planets, especially those of our solar system, were (once?) inhabited. We now know that all the planets of our solar system are definitely uninhabited, so since Swedenborg was wrong on this, the logic goes, he was wrong on everything else. Book closed, people move on. It is unfortunate, for people take this one issue and based on that reject everything else. Shouldn't we all reject Swedenborg's visions as a part of his imagination since he falsely concluded other planets in our solar system were inhabited? Obviously, I know of this opinion of Swedenborg, and I blog on other topics concerning the revelations on Christian theology, so what gives?
For one, I know that there are certain branches in the military that take UFOs seriously. It is a classified subject, but much information on this has leaked out, from people in the military and scientists who have worked with them. I will mention one big leak that came out: The Day After Roswell, by U.S. Army Colonel Philip J. Corso. At one point the book was going to be endorsed by a U.S. Senator but that was blocked by the government. There is one race in particular that Swedenborg encountered that may correspond to these UFO reports, but that is another subject. For me, it is a matter of curiosity, and I consider theological and spiritual principles to be more important. But since critics of Swedenborg take this one issue and reject everything else altogether, I thought it was time to address this now. I think these accounts were shown to Swedenborg for a reason, and in the near future, when we do realize there is human life on other planets, people will see Swedenborg in a new light.
Secondly, let us take a look at the past to see how narrow minded people have been on this subject: first, we thought the earth was the center of the universe. Then we realized we revolved around the sun, and everything does not revolve around us. Then we realized we were part of a galaxy, where our sun revolves around a distant galactic center. Then we realized there are many galaxies. It used to be taught that our solar system was "probably the only one that has planets." And today, we keep discovering many other solar systems with planets. So it is quite narrow minded to think that our planet is the only one with life on it. Every time we make this small box, some evidence then pops up that forces us to make a bigger box to fit the universe in it.
Thirdly, Swedenborg derived this information that other planets in our solar system were inhabited from encounters he had with spirits in the afterlife who were not from our earth. It should be noted, that Swedenborg cautions that he could not see the actual planet to determine if it was inhabited or not, he was only aware of spirits that were associated with that planet:
It is to be known that the sun of the world does not appear at all to any spirit, nor any of its light. The light of that sun is to spirits and angels like thick darkness. That sun remains only in the perception of spirits, from their having seen it while in the world, and is presented to them in idea as something dusky and this behind at a considerable distance, in altitude a little above the plane of the head. (Earths in the Universe, n. 42, part of the work, The Final Judgment)The other thing to note is, even though Swedenborg saw spirits associated with different planets of our solar system, that still does not mean anything. For he repeats this over and over: in the spiritual world, everything is abstracted from time and place. What is seen in the spiritual world corresponds with our earthly ideas. So when Swedenborg thinks of a planet, in the spiritual world that could mean any group of spirits that happened to live on a similar planet. Moreover, angelic communities tend to dwell with others who have had a similar life and mindset, thus communities tend to form based on what planet the spirit originated from. Communities are associated with each other based on similar loves, and these extraterrestrial communities appear in fixed positions relative to the earthly community. Why are they closely associated with us? For one, life on our earth has become extremely unbalanced. We are unbalanced in that we tend to be highly materialistic, and only believe what we see with our eyes. Scientific knowledge is elevated above spiritual knowledge. With this kind of unbalanced mindset, other communities are needed from other earths to balance it out, to make heaven more complete and perfect. It is worse in the Western world, where people are much more individualistic than in other countries.
THE CASE FOR LIFE ON MARS
Although Mars is a dead planet, our view of that planet has changed dramatically in the last few years. As recently as 2005, it was demonstrated that Mars has water. Not only that, but in March 12 of this year, NASA scientists have stated that Mars once had conditions where it was able to support life. From a news article entitled Life on Mars:
On March 12, John Grotzinger and a team of NASA scientists made a stunning announcement: Mars once had the right conditions for life, with flowing surface water so benign we might drink it. This finding comes courtesy of the Curiosity rover, which drilled and analyzed a rock sample from an ancient stream bed at Gale Crater on Mars. It’s the first habitable environment we know of, other than on Earth. As the first primitive forms of life were emerging here, it now seems possible life might have been taking hold on Mars, too.This was just last month...I completely missed this news item. There is also evidence that Mars had oceans billions of years ago. Although the atmosphere of Mars is composed now primarily of carbon dioxide, scientists now also think that Mars had a heavier atmosphere in its distance past. This may have included oxygen. As to why Mars now has a thinner atmosphere, the following reasons have been suggested by scientists:
- Gradual erosion of the atmosphere by solar wind, possibly helped by Mars's magnetic-field irregularities;
- Catastrophic collision by a body large enough to blow away a significant percentage of the atmosphere;
- Mars's low gravity allowing the atmosphere to "blow off" into space by gas-kinetic escape.
Another mystery concerning Mar's atmosphere: it contains methane. That may be evidence of an active biological process on Mars. As I was researching this, a Disney movie came to mind: Mission to Mars, which came out in the year 2000. It talks about the discovery of water on Mars, several years before it was detected by scientists. It also contains an interesting theory concerning the origin of life on earth. I will not reveal the ending, but there is some information contained in this movie that is related to what I am going to say below. In fact, it made me wonder where those script writers got their idea. Part of our "public education" perhaps? (sometimes fictional movies or books are released in order to acclimate public opinion on extraterrestrial life).
SWEDENBORG ON MARS
So, when Swedenborg said that there was other life on planets in our solar system, he was wrong, right? Was he wrong in every case? And remember: he is in the spiritual world, and we should keep in mind that he cannot see the planet in the physical plane. He just knows there is other human life that does not originate from our own planet. He was allowed to explore the spiritual world at will, to let people know there is life after death. So that brings up the possibility that the planet may have once been inhabited in its distant past. So, is it possible that Mars was once inhabited? So far scientists are only going as far as microbial life. So what did Swedenborg have to say about Mars? He said this:
The spirits of Mars are the best of all among the spirits who are from the earths of our solar system; being for the most part celestial men, not unlike the men who were of the Most Ancient Church on this earth. (Earths in the Universe, n. 85, part of the work, The Final Judgment)This statement I find very interesting. For Swedenborg, "The Most Ancient Church" is the period of time of the earliest church on earth, in which man had direct contact with heaven. In the Bible, this is represented by the time period from Adam to the Flood. Not only that, but Swedenborg discovered they have a similar way of breathing and communication to those that lived before the Flood of Noah:
It was shown me by an influx which I cannot describe, what kind of speech they had who were of the Most Ancient Church — namely, that it was not articulate, like the vocal speech of our time, but tacit, and effected, not by external breathing, but by internal; thus it was the speech of thought. I was also able to perceive what their internal breathing was, that it proceeded from the navel toward the heart, and so through the lips without being sonorous when they spoke; and that it did not enter into the ear of another by the external way, and beat upon what is called the drum of the ear, but by a certain internal way, and in fact by a certain passage now called the Eustachian tube. It was shown that by such speech they could much more fully express the feelings of the mind and the ideas of the thought, than can ever be done by articulate sounds or sonorous words; which speech is in like manner directed by breathing, but external; for there is no spoken word, nor indeed anything in a word, which is not directed by applications of the breathing. But this was done much more perfectly with them, because it was effected by internal breathing, which is the more perfect, as being more internal, and more applicable and better conformed to the very ideas of thought...The breathing of the spirits of Mars was also communicated to me; and it was perceived that it proceeded from the region of the thorax toward the navel, and thence flowed upward through the chest with an imperceptible breathing toward the mouth. From this, as also from other proofs of experience, it was made plain to me that they were of a celestial genius; thus that they were not unlike those who were from the Most Ancient Church on this earth. (Earths in the Universe, n. 87, part of the work, The Final Judgment)Of all the races Swedenborg reported to have encountered, only spirits of Mars are similar to the people who lived before the Flood, and only those from Mars have a similar type of breathing. They were able to have some kind of "internal breathing" - a way of respiration, where they were not so dependent on the air of the atmosphere. So it got me wondering: could these spirits of Mars, and the people who lived before the flood of Noah...be one and the same? And that is why my suspicion was raised concerning that Disney movie, Mission to Mars, as the ending may contain an element of truth in it.
And here is what got me thinking: when Swedenborg speaks of the Flood of Noah, he speaks of it rather symbolically, and that there was no actual universal flood that occurred over the entire earth that wiped out the inhabitants. What he did say was this: the people who lived before the Flood were wiped out because they suffocated from lack of air. The way he described this is that since they had direct contact with heaven, similar to some Yogis they were able to suspend their external breathing for days on end: instead they had a way of "internal breathing". But when this link with heaven was broken off due to their evil, for some reason they could not change where they could breathe externally: they suffocated (this is described in detail in his work, Heavenly Arcana). But is there something more to this statement that Swedenborg makes concerning those who lived before the Flood? Could it be, that the atmosphere was depleted, and all living life forms of the planet died...on Mars?
In which case, the Biblical story of the flood of Noah contains information that is very, very ancient. Important enough to preserve for future generations, but worded in such a way where the people of the time could understand it. In another blog post, I discuss the astronomical information that is encoded in the chronology of the 10 patriarchs who lived before the flood, and this information lines up with it.
It is a bizarre, very speculative thought. But the ending to that Disney movie Mission to Mars...and now water on Mars, and now evidence Mars had a thicker atmosphere...well maybe there is some truth to this after all. Our government certainly thinks so: they are, after all, spending billions of dollars right now searching for life on Mars.