Thursday, May 21, 2015

Extraterrestrial Contact, Christianity, and the Divine Human




If we were to make public extraterrestrial contact, how would it effect Christianity?  This hypothetical situation poses some interesting questions, and for many they would be unprepared for such a contact.

At the heart of the matter, Christianity is based on restoring humanity back to God after the fall of Adam. In the New Church, Adam represents the first spiritual race on this earth, from whom we are descended.  This race had direct contact with heaven, symbolized by the Garden of Eden.  However at some point they were tempted by external material things, and the desire to know things from one's own selfish ego, and this caused Adam's separation from heaven. As time progressed, we all became separated from God immersed in self and material things. It is for this reason that it became necessary for God to become incarnate in visible form to save the human race.

So, what about those extraterrestrials who are not descended from Adam?  There is this interesting article How Would Christianity Deal with Extraterrestrial Life?, which proposes several solutions to the problem:
  1.     Jesus' death and resurrection on Earth covers all beings on all worlds and at all times.
  2. Jesus goes through a similar process of life, death, and resurrection on innumerable planets to save innumerable beings and creatures.
  3. Human beings, as galactic missionaries, will ultimately colonize the universe and spread the Word of God to heathen ETs.
  4. There are other mechanisms to attain salvation on other planets.
  5. Salvation is not offered to other beings and creatures on other planets.
  6. There are no other sentient beings on other planets anywhere; humans are utterly unique.
  7. The human race on earth is in a unique position, having fallen into such evil and darkness to have required an extreme form of redemption - the incarnation.

Which of these is correct?  Most will agree that option #5 is unreasonable and should be excluded.  Option #6 is false - there is strong evidence, suppressed by intelligence agencies and the media, that we have been contacted by extraterrestrials since the explosion of the atomic bomb (see Reanalysis of the 1965 Heflin Photos for one strong case among many). Moreover, Emanuel Swedenborg, who had clairvoyant visions that were highly accurate and validated, encountered other extraterrestrials humans in his visions. If option #5 is false, and #6 is true, then option #4 exposes the theological falsehood that one must belong to a religion in order to achieve salvation. For that reason, narrow minded religious leaders may have issues in acknowledging any extraterrestrial existence. Option #2 is interesting, let's discuss that first:

CAN THERE BE MULTIPLE INCARNATIONS OF THE DIVINE?

Could God could choose to become incarnate multiple times, when necessary?  Something similar to this is described in an alleged contact by the extraterrestrial Ummites (see The Extraterrestrial Christianity of UMMO), where in their letters they were shocked to find someone like Jesus Christ to have been born on our planet, as He was similar to a prophet of theirs born on their planet. I at first dismissed this case entirely, until I found internal evidence in the letters that could not have been faked.

Eastern religions with their multiple avatars would probably say yes to multiple incarnations due to their belief in reincarnation, a common concept I have discussed earlier (see Christianity, Reincarnation and Emanuel Swedenborg and The Origin of the Soul, the Group Soul and Reincarnation). The answer from most Christian theologians would probably be negative to this proposal, for different reasons.  While the older Christian churches follow the Nicene Creed which conceives of a Son of God "born from eternity," the New Church states that the Son of God is the human that was born to the virgin Mary in time, fulfilling the prophecy of Ps. 2:6 - "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." That there is no such thing as a Son of God born from eternity, but only one born in time to Mary, is shown in Luke 1:35 where the child born to her would be called the Son of God as the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. This is the doctrine of the New Church.

In the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, he was told that while the soul of Jesus was Divine which He had from the Father, He inherited a body from his human mother that had sinful tendencies, The Divine soul within Jesus resisted these sinful tendencies through which the hells attacked Him until He overcame the hells and made His human Divine.  In this process, the Lord successively put off the human from the mother, and transformed the body into a "Divine substantial" body, one derived from His very soul.  As such, after the resurrection, Jesus was no longer the son of Mary, but a glorified Divine Human.

Before assuming a human body, in His pre-existent state Jesus was one and the same with Jehovah.  Before the incarnation, Jehovah did appear in the angelic heavens under a human form:
"Before the coming of the Lord there was a Divine Human of Jehovah in the heavens, for by passing through the heavens He presented Himself as a Divine Man before many on earth. But at that time the Divine Human was not so one with the Divine itself, which is called the Father, as when the Lord made it in Himself altogether one." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6000.7)
This suggests that the incarnation was a one time event.  But what was this Divine Man of heaven that preexisting before the incarnation? Swedenborg explains this later: before the incarnation Divine influx proceeded to humanity through the angelic celestial heaven, which ended after Jesus made his body Divine:
"Before the coming of the Lord into the world, there was influx of life with men and with spirits from Jehovah or the Lord through the celestial kingdom, that is, through the angels who were in that kingdom, and hence they then had power. But when the Lord came into the world, and thereby made the Human in Himself Divine, He put on just that which was with the angels of the celestial kingdom, thus He put on that power. For, the Divine that had flowed through that heaven had before been the Divine Human; it was also the Divine Man, which was presented when Jehovah so appeared; but this Divine Human ceased when the Lord Himself made the Human in Himself Divine." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6371.2)
The pre-existent Divine Man was thus dependent on angelic societies for communication with humanity. In the spiritual world, when good and truth flow into a human being, it takes on the form of a human, for the human form is the external representation of good and truth itself. The reason why it was superceded, is by the time Jesus came into the world the power of hell had become dominant over humanity, to such an extent that it even threatened the lower angelic heavens as well.  Communication between heaven and humanity was being cut off, which is the means by which good and truth flows into each human being. Thus the incarnation was a necessity for saving the human race.

However, this still may not answer the question. Can the Divine become incarnate in human flesh multiple times? From the visions of Swedenborg, we know that the humanity he had from Mary was replaced with a Divine Human, derived from the soul so that the Father (soul) and Son (body) truly became one and Divine. But to first answer this question, one must understand that there are three degrees or planes of the Divine that are infinite and uncreated:
"That there are three infinite and uncreated degrees of altitude in the Lord, is because the Lord is Love Itself and Wisdom Itself, ...and because the Lord is Love Itself and Wisdom Itself, therefore also He is Use Itself; for love has use for its end, which it produces by means of wisdom. For love and wisdom without use have no boundary or end, that is, they have no home of their own; wherefore it cannot be said that they are and exist unless there be a use in which they are. These three constitute the three degrees of altitude in the subjects of life. These three are as the first end, the middle end which is called the cause, and the last end which is called the effect." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 230)
These three degrees or planes exist in each human as the will, the thought, and the action of the will as conceived by the thought.  This is in fact where the Trinity originates - not as three distinct persons as defined by the 4th century Nicene Creed, but as three planes of the Divine which exists in one person. But in his waking visions, Swedenborg was told what changed when the Divine chose to become incarnate in a human:
"I have been told from heaven that in the Lord from eternity, Who is Jehovah, before the assumption of the Human in the world, there were the two prior degrees actually, and the third degree in potency, such as they are also with the angels; but that after the assumption of the Human in the world, He put on also the third degree, which is called the natural, and that thereby He became a man similar to man in the world, with the difference, however, that this degree, like the prior degrees, is infinite and uncreated in Him, while these degrees in angel and in man are finite and created. For the Divine which had filled all spaces without space (n. 69-72), penetrated also to the ultimate things of nature. But before the assumption of the Human, the Divine influx into the natural degree was mediate through the angelic heavens, but after the assumption immediate from Himself. And this is the reason why all the churches in the world before His coming were representative of spiritual and celestial things, but after His coming became spiritual-natural and celestial-natural, and representative worship was abolished. This too was the reason why the sun of the angelic heaven, which, as was said above, is the first proceeding of His Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, after the assumption of the Human shone forth with a more glorious radiance and splendor than before the assumption. This also is meant by these words in Isaiah: In that day the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days (xxx. 26). This is said of the state of heaven and the church after the Lord's coming into the world. And in the Apocalypse: The face of the Son of Man was as the sun shineth in his strength (i. 16; and elsewhere, as in Isaiah ix. 20; 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4; Matt. xvii. 1, 2). The mediate enlightenment of men through the angelic heaven, which existed before the coming of the Lord, may be compared to the light of the moon which is the mediate light of the sun; and because this light after His coming was made immediate, it is said in Isaiah that "the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun;" and in the Psalms: In His days shall the just flourish, and abundance of peace until the moon be no more (lxxii. 7); this also is spoken of the Lord." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 233)
So the answer, it would seem, is conclusive: the incarnation of the Divine was a singular unique event.  Either that, or our human civilization on this planet happens to be the only one that has sunk so far downward into the evil of the selfish ego and external materialism. As the Son of God is the human born in time to the virgin Mary, who pre-existed as Jehovah, and if this can only happen once, then the cost of the sacrifice is very clear: it can only happen once. And this is why Jesus is called the "only begotten" -
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
The only begotten Son is not another person, but rather, the only begotten Son is His human form in the external natural world. But there is one more item that makes the answer even more clear and definitive. In his work, Earths in the Universe, Swedenborg explored other spiritual societies of extraterrestrials in his visions, and explained the reasons why the Lord was born on our earth and not on another.  Because of this, I believe that either we will eventually explore other solar systems, or the extraterrestrials will come to visit us.

Other extraterrestrial societies may have only had the experience of a prophet or messenger that guided them in the past, but they are just that: a prophet or teacher. If not spiritually enlightened, similar to Islam they may confuse Jesus with a prophet, master teacher, or angelic avatar.  

ONLY THE HUMAN RACE ON EARTH HAD NEED FOR A VISIBLE INCARNATION

So, turning back to the list of possible reactions of Christianity to extraterrestrial contact, what about option #7, which states that the human race is in a unique adverse position which required the incarnation of the Divine in human form for salvation?  Is this true?

In the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, the answer to this question is a definite yes.  Of all societies in the universe, the human race on earth is perhaps the worst, and required that the Divine become incarnate in visible form.  This view was also proposed by the theologian Thomas O'Meara at the University of Notre Dame.  Jesus did not come to save everybody.  He came to save those who were lost, those who were sinners.  The visions of Emanuel Swedenborg was more clear - the most ancient church, also known as the "celestial" church, was not in need of this form of redemption. The ancient antediluvian celestial church was in love or union with God, and as they had complete communion with heaven, there was no need for a Divine incarnation to restore it, However after the fall, the later "spiritual" church, which was cut off from direct contact with heaven unlike the ancient celestial church, had need for this:
"The Lord did not come into the world to save the celestial, but the spiritual. The Most Ancient Church, which was called Adam, was celestial. If this had remained in its integrity, the Lord would have had no need of being born man. Therefore as soon as this church began to decline, the Lord foresaw that the celestial church would wholly perish from the world; and on that account the prediction was then made concerning the Lord's coming into the world (Gen. iii. 15). After the time of that church, there was no longer a celestial church, but a spiritual church; the Ancient Church, which was after the flood — spoken of many times in the First Part — was a spiritual church. This church, or they who were of the spiritual church, could not be saved unless the Lord had come into the world. This is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew: They that are strong have no need of a physician, but they who are sick. . . . I came not to call the just, but sinners to repentance (ix. 12, 13). Also by these words in John: And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd (x. 16). Also by the parable of the hundred sheep, in Matthew (xviii. 11-13)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2661.2)
The parable of the 100 sheep is quite clear: out of one hundred, we are the only ones who have gone astray in the way that we have.  This means that is quite likely that should we ever have an extraterrestrial contact, they are more likely to have higher ethical and spiritual values.  As such, open contact between our society and an extraterrestrial society would be harmful for the extraterrestrial society, and they will take a defensive and anonymous position against our hostile military and warlike behaviour.  Thus our earth may be marked as "off limits" or "under quarantine," until we do something sufficiently and collectively stupid enough to learn our lesson.  Perhaps the exception to this rule would be to ensure we don't kill ourselves and destroy the planet in the process.

THE STRANGE STORY OF DR. STRANGES OF THE STRANGER AT THE PENTAGON

Some may now be reminded of one particular stranger at the Pentagon, a German scientist named Dr. Strangelove, who concocted a strange plan for human survival by living underground in case of a nuclear war:



However we are not talking about Dr. Strangelove here. That's just an inside joke.

In the 1950s, one Howard Menger claimed to have had extraterrestrial contacts, and held meetings on the topic at his home in New Jersey.  At one of those events, one Air Force photographer noted that one of the men was acting differently, and was able to speak in several languages.  His name was Valiant Thor, here is one of the photographs he took:


The photographer eventually gave a copy of the photograph to one Dr. Frank Stranges, a Christian Minister.  Through a round about way, Dr. Stranges eventually found out that Valiant Thor was staying at the Pentagon for a three year period from 1957-60, and met him there.  Valiant Thor claimed to be from Venus, where they have an underground base.  Dr. Stranges eventually wrote a book on the encounter entitled Stranger at the Pentagon. Frank Stranges stated that he kept in touch with Valiant Thor up to his death in 2008.  Here is a summary of the case and the witnesses who were involved:



So, why do I bring this up?  There is one particular conversation Frank Stranges had with Valiant Thor that I would like to quote:

The only thing he said that troubled me was his use of the expression "when the time is right" in response to my question as to whether or not I would see him again. His lack of fingerprints intrigued me as I had been involved as a private investigator for quite some time, even working at times on loan to some of the Government agencies.

I had learned the science of fingerprints ...with the impression of the lines and whorls on the inner surface of the last joint of each finger on the human hand. He told me that all Earth people were thusly marked since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, during the very dawn of civilization as we know it today.

He began to prepare me for the road which lie ahead. It would not be an easy one. There would be adversities, organized attempts to both discourage and discredit me, but the rewards have proved to outweigh these trials which continue even to this day.

We discussed the merits of Jesus Christ ... how He gave His Life freely... so that men could enjoy the benefits of eternal life. I questioned him about a Bible on Venus and he assured me that a personal unbroken fellowship with the "Author" did not necessitate the printing of a "book". He found it amusing that many theologians attempt to discredit both Jesus Christ and The Bible. The very God many have said is "dead" continues to lavish them with all good things. Perhaps they will, in time, permit the spark of Divine Light to again illuminate their troubled hearts.

In answer to my question of what he thought of Jesus Christ, he said,
"I know that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of yours and everyone else's faith. He today has assumed His rightful position as the ruler of the universe and is preparing a place and a time for all who are called by His Name to ascend far above the clouds to where His Power and Authority shall never again be disputed.

"I believe that Jesus Christ is the wonder of wonders and changes not. No, not forever and forever."
As he spoke these words, my own heart burned within me and tears filled my eyes. He turned to the window and said, "Frank, it will not be long. Contend for the faith, and you will never miss the mark."

I asked him if there is life on other planets.
 
His reply was,
"There is life on many other planets of which people on Earth know nothing. There are more solar systems for which man has not even given God credit. There are many beings that have never transgressed the perfect laws of God. Man does not possess the right to condemn the whole of God's creation because he himself has broken the perfect laws of God through disobedience."

So there we have it.  There is apparently another branch of humanity, not descended from Adam, dwelling on other planets who have an unbroken fellowship with their Maker.  Since they have an unbroken fellowship, there is no need to go backwards and learn what they know in the heart from a book.  In Swedenborg's writings, it would be unnecessary for humans with an inner celestial perception to engage in an outward form of knowing.  For many on earth, religion is a matter of belief only, and not about how one lives. For these extraterrestrials, it is about living according to God's commandments.

These other interesting point is that these alleged extraterrestrials from Venus know who Jesus Christ is.  In Swedenborg's visions, although many extraterrestrial societies were aware that God is a Divine Human in heaven, they were unaware that He had chosen to become physically incarnate.  They had found attempts to "convert" them confusing, as they did not understand Christianity due to the falsehoods that had become the foundation of much of the theology. However, Swedenborg stated that those from Venus were one of the few societies who already knew who the Lord was.  For those who follow Jesus Christ, an extraterrestrial may say this:
"We are God's celestial army."
And yet they are human, and perhaps may say something like this as well:
"The principles of good and evil are universal."
SO WHY THE INCARNATION?

If the principles of good and evil are universal, and inasmuch as one does good by the truth that one knows one approaches God and heaven, then why the incarnation?  The issue for our planet, was that the spirits of hell became dominant over the angels of heaven, bringing things out of balance. Free will of humanity depends on the equilibrium between heaven and hell.  To correct this, God took upon human flesh which could be tempted, and through that human fought against the temptations of hell. Upon the resurrection, all of heaven and hell were brought into order. To remove sins, it is still necessary to repent. There is no such thing as an "automatic transfer" of sins from one person to another.  Salvation did not change, but now with the Christian revelation we recognize it is God's spirit flowing into us that allows us to turn away from evil, and commit ourselves to His will. The Lord continues to save, but only through the process of repentance.

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