Thursday, December 27, 2007

Love, Wisdom, and Utilitarianism

What is Utilitarianism? It is a philosophical way of thinking, determining how you act. According to wikipedia:

"Utilitarianism is the ethical doctrine that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome—the ends justify the means. Utility — the good to be maximized — has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), though preference utilitarians like Peter Singer define it as the satisfaction of preferences. In simpler terms, it's for the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Like most ethical theories, utilitarianism primarily evaluates proposed actions and courses of action, rather than virtuous or character traits"

This way of thinking was first made popular by John Stuart Mill's essay on Utilitarianism, published in 1861. I remember learning this in a course on philosophy, and of all the things presented in philosophy this seemed to me the most "useful" or practical way of thinking. According to John Stuart Mill:

"The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure."

Utilitarianism was made popular by Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century, but it has often been traced back to the Greek philosopher Epicurus. It is criticized by the Catholic Encyclopedia as a modern form of "hedonism" - devotion to self pleasure, but this is clearly a distortion of the values this mode of thinking presents. The "love of self" can indeed explain most people's behaviour.

Another criticism of Utilitarianism is that it measures morals by their outcomes, rather than by their intent:

"Utilitarianism has been criticized for only looking at the results of actions, not at the desires or intentions which motivate them, which many people also consider important. An action intended to cause harm but that inadvertently causes good results would be judged equal to the result from an action done with good intentions. However, many utilitarians would argue that utilitarianism applies not only to results, but also to desires and dispositions, praise and blame, rules, institutions, and punishment. For instance, bad intentions may cause harm (to the actor and to others) even if they do not result in bad acts. Once this is recognized, supporters argue that utilitarianism becomes a much more complex, and rich, moral theory, and may align much more closely with our moral intuitions.

Furthermore, many utilitarians view morality as a personal guide rather as a means to judge the actions of other people or actions which have already been performed. In other words, morality is something to be looked at when deciding what to do. In this sense, intentions are the only thing that matter, because the consequences cannot be known with certainty until the decision has already been made."

So is Utilitarianism yet another philosophy worthy to be ignored? Or is it mere hedonism, a rule for self pleasure? Actually before Utilitarianism became popular, before this philosophical school of thought even existed, Swedenborg espoused a form of it as a general moral rule for all humanity.

In this account, while in a vision Swedenborg overheard a discussion among angels concerning the origin of marriage Love:

The angels replied that love and wisdom without application to useful purpose are only abstract and theoretical ideas, which, even after being entertained for a time in the mind, eventually pass away like the winds. "But love and wisdom are brought together in application to useful purpose," they said, "and in this they become a single entity which is called actual. Love cannot rest unless it acts, for love is the active force in life; nor can wisdom exist and endure unless it does so from love and together with love whenever love acts, and to act is application to useful purpose. Therefore we define application to useful purpose as the doing of good from love through wisdom. Application to useful purpose is what good is.

Since these three elements - love, wisdom, and application to useful purpose - flow into people's souls, we can see why it is said that all good is from God. For all action from love through wisdom is called good, and action includes also application to useful purpose.

Love without wisdom - what is it but a kind of foolish infatuation? And love accompanied by wisdom, but without application to a useful end - what is it but an airy affectation of the mind? On the other hand, love and wisdom together with application to a useful end - these not only make a person what he is, but they also are the person. Indeed, what may perhaps surprise you, they produce the person. For a man's seed contains his soul in perfect human form, clothed with substances from the finest elements of nature, out of which the body is formed in the womb of the mother. This useful end is the supreme and final end of Divine love acting through Divine wisdom. (Conjugial Love, 183)

Descartes is famous for saying, "I think, therefore I am". The angels would say: "One is what he does according to thought". Your very inmost nature is defined by one thing: what you love the most. Moreover, Utilitarianism is incomplete in that it only consideres the useful outcomes. There are three emanations of Being: (1) Love (2) Wisdom, and (3) useful application. Or what is the same: (1) End (Intent) (2) Cause (Thought) and (3) Effect (Action). Most are just familiar with the principle of cause and effect.

This Triad of Being manifests itself in the human as soul, body and spirit. This is what the Trinity truly is.

As for the criticism that Utilitariansim can be used to support Hedonism, it is well founded, unless one distinguishes the Love of Heaven from the love that originates from hell:

"Spiritual and celestial love is love for the neighbor and love toward the Lord, while natural and sensual love is love of the world and love of self. By love for the neighbor we mean a love of useful services, and by love toward the Lord we mean a love of performing useful services, ...These loves are spiritual and celestial for the reason that to love useful services and to perform them from a love of them is divorced from a person's love of his own self-interest. For one who loves useful services spiritually regards not himself but others apart from himself, being affected by a concern for their welfare. Opposed to these loves are loves of self and the world, for loves of self and the world have regard for useful services not for the sake of others but for the sake of self; and people who do this invert Divine order, putting themselves in place of the Lord, and the world in place of heaven. Consequently they look away from the Lord and heaven, and to look away from them is to look in the direction of hell." (Divine Love and Wisdom, 426)

Useful application is brought about by love and wisdom. Belief without action is utterly worthless. Thus in the Near Death Experience, many people have reported encountering a great white light, full of Love, who asks them just one question: "What have you done with your life?"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The End of this World Age - the Last Days of Matthew 24


History is cyclic, and mankind has passed through several world ages. These are also known as dispensations of the church. Mankind is in constant need for progressive revelation, and such revelations are given at the end of each age and the beginning of a new one. Emanuel Swedenborg, who received visions from heaven while in a sort of trance, a wakeful state, explained that the end of this world age will be fulfilled by the Second Coming - the reappearance of Divine Truth to humanity. It is at the end of the age where a Last Judgement takes place - not here in the material world, but among the dead in the spiritual world, in a spiritual region known as Middle Earth, between Heaven and Hell. And when that happens, a change of consciousness occurs among those born on earth, and a new spiritual community is born. A new age begins with a new revelation. Swedenborg stated:
"Most men believe that when the Last Judgment comes, all things in the visible world will be destroyed; that the earth will be consumed by fire; the sun and the moon dissipated; that the stars will vanish away; and that a new heaven and a new earth will afterwards arise. They have conceived this opinion from the prophetic revelations in which such things are mentioned. ...the Last Judgment is nothing else than the end of the church with one nation, and its beginning with another, which end and beginning occur when there is no longer any acknowledgment of the Lord, or what is the same, when there is no faith. There is no acknowledgment, or no faith, when there is no charity; for faith is impossible except with those who are in charity. That at such a time there is an end of the church, and a transference of it to others, is plainly evident from all the things the Lord Himself taught and foretold in the Evangelists concerning that last day, or consummation of the age (Matt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3353)
Here is a summary of the different phases of this world age as foretold by Jesus in the book of Matthew as revealed to Swedenborg - one will see that it can apply to progressive states for an individual as well as our current world age. In particular, it can apply to those who have lost faith, have left their religion, or who have recognized that the religion they have been taught is false. It also describes the states of those who are made blind by false religious doctrines. For the truths revealed here are universal.


Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matt. 24:1-2)

A beautiful strong building represents the initial stage of revelation: it is perfect in form uncorrupted. A rock represents a solid truth that one can stand on: one lives by it. The walls are doctrines which defend against what is false. The temple is our body: it begins as a new born babe, we reach our prime: but then there is a decline as it approaches death, after which there is a spiritual rebirth. As it is with an individual, so it is with an organization, even that of a world age: it begins with a new revelation, but then enters into a period of gradual decline.


"The disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age? And Jesus answered and said unto them, See that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray."

"Christ" simply means the Divine Truth, for Jesus is the Divine truth incarnate, which is also known as the Word. As knowledge of the original revelation is lost, people who think they know the truth start to proclaim their own false ideas. This then leads to debates and arguments about what is truth and false, leading to confusion:

"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall be stirred up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. But all these things are the beginning of sorrows." (Matt. 24:3-7)

Wars and rumors of wars are spiritual wars: they are debates and fights concerning spiritual matters. When a false idea is proclaimed, if there is not enough knowledge to oppose it, another false idea is proposed to fight against it. The nations and kingdoms refer to different divisions within the church (or a group of people) that hold onto selfish purposes or false ideas which influence their opinions. This leads to a "famine" of knowledge among the people. As it takes a single fly to ruin a glass of good wine, truth is wasted away by what is false and becomes worthless: this is a spiritual "plague" or "pestilence". This leads to a change of state: this change is represented by "diverse earthquakes".


"Then shall they deliver you into tribulation, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall deliver up one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray. And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the charity of many shall wax cold. But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole inhabited earth, for a testimony unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt. 24:8-14)

The second state is reached when debates end: and a false idea is accepted as true. This becomes "Orthodox", and anything opposed to this idea is declared a "heresy". But it is simply a false construct of the mind that has nothing to do with the original revelation. In this state, there is no debate: people simply reference the opinion approved by the majority and declare other ideas "heresy". This leads to "tribulation" or consternation to those who hold onto the truth. To "kill" someone spiritually means to utterly reject and deny them, to "hate" is to hold in aversion. "False prophets" who lead many astray are simply those who teach what is false: this refers to the religious leaders. "Iniquity multiplied" means falsities of faith shall grow, until "charity waxes cold" - the spiritual love perishes.

So what to do when confronted by something that is obviously false? Announce it. Make it known. Falsity can only thrive where there is ignorance. A "gospel" is simply an announcement. To preach is to explain, "in the whole inhabited earth" means to everyone in the spiritual community. This is a "testimony", as it can dispel ignorance which protects what is false. For those who believe what is false are in a state of ignorance, and truth acts as a light to expose it: "then the end shall come", which is the third state.


"When therefore you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place - let him who is reading this take note - then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains. Let him who is on the roof of the house not go down to take anything out of his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his clothing." (Matt. 24:15-18)

In the first state, there is debate about what is true or false, in the second state, false doctrines are accepted as true and is used as a standard for all thinking: good and truth are held in aversion. Ignorance is the enemy: expose false ideas for what they are. The third state is reached when there is complete ignorance and non acknowledgement of the truth itself. What is explained here is advice to those who have seen that true spirituality is completely absent: this is the "abomination of desolation standing in the holy place". This occurs when people perform "lip service" or appear outwardly religious for the sake of appearance, nothing more.

Those who are "in Judea" who "flee to the mountains" refer to those who are in love towards God, and in charity towards others. A "mountain" represents one who is in a higher spiritual state, and the highest is that of love. Thus when the perversion of religion is recognized, one should flee from this and remain totally focused on one's love towards God.

"Let him who is on the roof of the house not go down to take anything out of his house", means, those who live a life of charity should not resort to religious doctrines of faith. "The roof of the house" is one's higher spiritual state, that of love, a lower state is one of truth. What this means is that one should not revert to exploring matters of truth, after one has learned to act upon them from one's heart.

"And let him who is in the field not turn back to get his clothing" means that those who are in good from truth should not forsake such good and resort to doctrine concerning truth. "Clothing" always refers to truth, truth if the clothing is white, falsity if the clothing is black. The danger here is that while the church is in a perverted state, the false doctrines can corrupt the internal state of love, or worship, within one's heart. Always look forward to a life of usefulness and love, the future, never look back and start to question what your heart already knows.


According to Swedenborg, there are three primary states of worship. The highest are those who are in the love towards God, these are represented by those in Judea who flee to the mountains. The second highest are those who are primarily in love towards their neighbor, these are represented by those who are on the roof of their house. The lowest state are those who are affected by truth, these are represented by those in the field.

In other words, if one is simply just interested in spiritual matters, and nothing more, you are in the initial state. Once you then take that further and become interested in loving others for the truth they live by, you reach the second state of progression. And once you go further than that: you love others for the sake of God, because we are his children: you have reached the highest state of happiness.


"But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath; for then shall be great affliction, such as was not since the beginning of the world even until now, neither shall be. And except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be preserved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt. 24:19-22).

Here the fourth and final state of perversion of religion is described: profaning that which is holy and sacred. To profane means to comingle what is evil with good, or falsity with the truth. This can only happen by those within the church, those who have knowledge of the revelation given, when they start to live according to evil, and they know what they are doing is wrong. Those "with child" refers to those who are imbued with good, and those who nurse babes refers those imbued with innocence. Love is conceived by truth. "Woe to them" means there is the threat of eternal damnation, for all are judged by what they know, and it will be our own conscience which will torment us with guilt. That the "flight should not be in winter" means do not depart from your love into coldness and indifference. That the flight should not be on the Sabbath, means do not resort to external forms of worship, as an excuse to yourself that you are good, when you know in your heart your selfish desires.

To profane that which is sacred and holy is to be avoided at all costs. That which is good must be kept separate from evil. That the "days would be shortened" for the elect, means this state of being tends to not last so long. All that is spiritual eventually turns into some form of external worship, so that those who are good can still be preserved. Such is what happened with Judaism, until all that was spiritual was gone and there was only an external form of worship.


"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo here is the Christ, or there, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall give great signs and wonders, to lead astray if possible even the elect. Behold I have told you before. If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold He is in the desert, go not out; Behold He is in the inner chambers, believe it not."

After a state of profanation, there will be a tendency for the mind to be more focused on external forms of worship, without thought of interal spiritual matters. This leads to a false religion of those who appear outwardly religious, but who internally desire to use religion for personal gain or wealth. "False Christs" refer to false truths, and "false prophets" are those who teach them: one is warned to beware of them, and shun them. The "signs and wonders" refer to the logical fallacies of their arguments which they use to try to persuade. The elect refer to God's chosen, who live a life of good according to the truth that they know - those who are confirmed in their inner spiritual life are not led astray by those who try to appear religious to others. A "desert" is symbolic of a lack of truth (as water represents spiritual truth). The "inner chambers" represents joining a false religion to become more familiar with its internal doctrines. The "desert" refers to the religious leaders who seek to abrogate the original revelation - scripture - making it worthless, and instead encourage people to follow their own tradition instead.

"For as the lightning cometh forth out of the east and appeareth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:23-28).

The above passage is one among many which makes absolutely no sense if read in a literal manner. Jesus spoke in parables, and scripture uses a lot of symbolism - in order that only a select inner circle of disciples could receive the truth, which would be hidden from the masses. This was done because the masses were not ready to receive these teachings, and if understood they would start to profane the sacred knowledge.

"Lightning" here refers to heavenly light, which flashes from the east, but is dissipated in the west: this means heavenly teachings concerning good and truth instantly disappear among these false religious people. The east where the sun rises symbolizes the Divine Love of God, the west where the sun sets symbolizes the loss of the knowledge of this love. The Son of Man is the Coming of the Divine Truth - and when it is revealed, it will be completely ignored. Thus it is stated, When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth? This means the Second Coming will take place towards the end of the age, when religion has become so falsified and corrupt, but those within their false religion will be too blind to recognize it.

The "carcass" here refers to the church itself, now dead, and all that remains are their endless false reasonings: these are the vultures that gather around the carcass. In the spiritual world, reasoning and rationality is symbolized by birds. Vultures refer to false reasonings, which makes a life of love and charity of no account. A church is "dead" when nothing of love or charity remains in it.


"But immediately after the affliction of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send forth His angels with a trumpet and a great voice, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the end of the heavens even to the end thereof" (Matt. 24:29-31).

The sun, moon and stars here do not refer to the physical sky above us, but to the spiritual realms of heaven connected with the church. There are three heavens above the material plane: the highest is represented by the sun, the middle is represented by the moon, and the lowest heaven is represented by the stars of heaven. Fixed stars refer to the different societies of angels, wandering stars refer to evil spirits.

The "sun darkened" means all of love towards God shall be then extinguished, the "moon not giving its light" means there will be no spiritual faith, the "stars falling from heaven" means knowledges of good and truth will disappear. It also refers to the Last Judgment, in which many spiritual beings were judged, and cast out of the lowest heaven. This took place so that a further revelation could be made from heaven - the "sign of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven". The layer of clouds refers to the lowest part of heaven that is closest to our material earth - this symbolically refers to the literal sense of scripture. Thus the vision of Swedenborg was opened to direct communication with the spiritual world, and the Divine Truth that was hidden in the Bible became revealed in his writings. It is this internal spiritual knowledge, of the symbolic meaning of scripture, which is the true Second Coming. The First Coming of the Divine Truth came in human form, but the Second Coming is the revelation of the Divine Truth in the Bible itself. For the Word that composed this scripture is the very Word which became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Every word of scripture is explained, in a highly spiritual manner.

The Old Christian Church has come to an end, and a New Church founded on Divine Truth direct from God has come to take its place. This is taking place in a hidden manner, among God's chosen - those who live a life of loving God and others, based on the doctrines of the new revelation. This is represented by the angels or messengers who gather the elect from the four winds of heaven. 

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Origin of the Soul, Reincarnation, and the Collective Unconscience


Where does the soul originate? According to Swedenborg, the soul originates from the seed of the father, whereas the "covering" for the body originates from the mother. This thought has several consequences: one is, we only live once in this material world, and the other is that life begins at conception. Those who are considering abortion should think again. The fact that life begins at conception is a biological fact, as the cells begin dividing at that point. We die when our cells are unable to divide any longer. However I have heard some people argue that perhaps the soul enters the body at a later stage in fetal development. That this is not so, is shown in the following passage written by Swedenborg, long before anything was known about genetics:
"the soul which comes from the father is the person himself, and the body which comes from the mother, is not in itself the person, but a product of the person. This is merely its covering, woven of substances from the natural world, while the soul is of substances from the spiritual world. After death every person lays aside the natural which he got from his mother, and keeps the spiritual which he had from his father, together with a sort of fringe (limbus) around it composed of the purest natural substances. In the case of those who come into heaven this fringe is below with the spiritual side uppermost; with those who come into hell, the fringe is uppermost and the spiritual side is below. That is why a human angel receives what he says from heaven, so that it is good and true, but a human devil receives what he says from hell when he speaks from the heart, as he does in private, but as if from heaven when he speaks with the lips only, as he does in public.
[2] Since a person's soul is his very self, and by its origin the soul is spiritual, it is clear why the father's mind, attitude, character, inclination and affection of love live on in one descendant after another, and show up from one generation to the next. That is why many families, even whole nations, are recognisable likenesses of their ancestor; there is a shared type which shows up in the faces of each of his descendants, and this is only changed by the spirituality of the church. The type shared by Jacob and Judah still lives on in their descendants, allowing them to be distinguished from others, because down to the present day they have kept strictly to their religion. For in the seed from which each individual is conceived there is a shoot or cutting of the father's soul in all its completeness, wrapped in a covering of natural elements. These control the formation of the body in the mother's womb, where it may take on a resemblance to the father or the mother, though the father's type remains in it and constantly strives to come out. So if it is unable to do so in the first generation, it achieves this in subsequent ones.
[3] The reason why the father's type in all its completeness is in the seed is that, as already said, the soul is in origin spiritual, and the spiritual has nothing in common with space, so it can be reproduced in a small compass just as well as on a large scale. As for the Lord, when He was in the world, He put off by redeeming acts all the human He had from His mother, and put on the Human from the Father, that is, the Divine Human. That is why it is that in Him man is God and God is man." (True Christian Religion, 103)
The only caveat with the above passage, is that Swedenborg sometimes drew conclusions from his own experiences. The part that I still have questions about is that he states that the soul in its origin is spiritual, outside of space, yet contained in the seed of the father. So where did that originate? Is it possible that the soul has a pre-existent state before being born? According to Swedenborg, the answer is no. The purpose of the material world, all of creation, is to produce angels of heaven from the human race. And the only way to increase the number of angels of heaven is through the generations of the human race in the material world.

The other conclusion, is that the soul of Jesus was Divine, whereas his body was just like ours, which he received from his mother. On the resurrection, this body was put off, and transformed into a Divine Human. This was the one time in history, to all eternity, that God would become incarnate. Thus as far as we know, it never happened before, and will never happen again.


Concerning reincarnation, where the soul incarnates from one body to the next, many ancient cultures believed this, and this belief is still prevalant in eastern religions. However it is practically absent in the three religions founded on the Bible: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Still, even within these religions some people surmise we may have a chance to be born again. As Swedenborg had 27 years of visions from heaven, what did he have to say? The answer is quite interesting:
"An angel or spirit is not permitted to speak with a man from his own memory, but only from the man's memory; for angels and spirits have a memory as well as man. If a spirit were to speak from his own memory with a man the man would not know otherwise than that the thoughts then in his mind were his own, although they were the spirit's thoughts. This would be like the recollection of something which the man had never heard or seen. That this is so has been given me to know from experience. This is the source of the belief held by some of the ancients that after some thousands of years they were to return into their former life, and into everything they had done, and in fact, had returned. This they concluded because at times there came to them a sort of recollection of things that they had never seen or heard. This came from an influx from the memory of spirits into their ideas of thought." (Heaven and Hell, 256)
Reincarnation only comes up in the context on his discussions concerning memory. Which is interesting, because now there are so many books out there which discusses past life regresstion through hypnosis. Through these past life regressions, despite the skepticism hypnotists have been able to retrieve facts about historical events that the subject had no knowledge about. Not only that, but subjects have been able to pick up accents, and even speak in foreign languages that they did not know before (xenoglossy). The hypnotic state is a natural state of mind we pass through every day - and apparently this is the state where the mind becomes aware of other levels of existence. According to Swedenborg, this has nothing to do with reincarnation, but rather communication has opened up with the spirits that are influencing the subject's life. Thus past-life regression is a useful tool in therapy - one can remove bad behaviours, phobias, and even sicknesses. It is also the simplist explanation. Hypnotists who believe in reincarnation become confused when they see one life time overlapping chronologically with another life time. Another indicator is that hypnotic past life regressions can have one past life be of a male, and then it can switch to a female. According to Swedenborg, once born one is always male or female, the sex will never change.

This view on reincarnation is also consistent with the view on the origin of the soul. Probably many people who are interested in New Age material will be disappointed with this answer. In consolation, Swedenborg declared the New Age long before they discovered it.

In addition to spirits who may pass on their memories to us, perhaps in a desire to communicate, there are also evil spirits - who seek not only to take over the memory, but the entire body. Swedenborg called this phenomenon "obsession", and it was much more common in ancient times. It is now known as "demoniac possession", and apparently it is happening more frequently. The Catholic Church still maintains a class of exorcists. Here is what Swedenborg stated:
"There are also spirits called natural and corporeal spirits. When these come to a man they do not conjoin themselves with his thought, like other spirits, but enter into his body, and occupy all his senses, and speak through his mouth, and act through his members, believing at the time that all things of the man are theirs. These are the spirits that obsess man. But such spirits have been cast into hell by the Lord, and thus wholly removed; and in consequence such obsessions are not possible at the present time." (Heaven and Hell, 257)

We have discussed the origin of the soul, and reincarnation. Now some people who have experienced past life memories, or deja vu, will state that the memories that came to them showed them things that were similar to their own life experience. Why the similarity? We now come to the topic of a "group soul", or what Swedenborg called "angelic societies", and what Carl Jung then called "the Collective Unconscious". Carl Jung's idea concerns the origin of archetypes, but he basically took his idea from Swedenborg (he called them "correspondences" but that is another topic). What Swedenborg discovered is that the mind of man is in constant communication with spirits and angels, who are similar to that person according to their love:
"With every individual there are good spirits and evil spirits. Through good spirits man has conjunction with heaven, and through evil spirits with hell. These spirits are in the world of spirits, which lies midway between heaven and hell. This world will be described particularly hereafter. When these spirits come to a man they enter into his entire memory, and thus into his entire thought, evil spirits into the evil things of his memory and thought, and good spirits into the good things of his memory and thought. These spirits have no knowledge whatever that they are with man; but when they are with him they believe that all things of his memory and thought are their own; neither do they see the man, because nothing that is in our solar world falls into their sight." (Heaven and Hell, 292)
For the most part, the spirits that are in communication with us communicate via affections and emotions, rather than by thought. In fact, this is the origin of all thought and emotion: it belongs to the spiritual world. Man, on his part, has the free will to choose what thoughts and affections he or she will appropriate to himself (or herself):
"The spirits who are with man, both those conjoined with heaven and those conjoined with hell, never flow into man from their own memory and its thought, for if they should flow in from their own thought, whatever belonged to them would seem to man to be his (see above n. 256). Nevertheless there flows into man through them out of heaven an affection belonging to the love of good and truth, and out of hell an affection belonging to the love of evil and falsity. Therefore as far as man's affection agrees with the affection that flows in, so far that affection is received by him in his thought, since man's interior thought is wholly in accord with his affection or love; but so far as man's affection does not agree with that affection it is not received. Evidently, then, since thought is not introduced into man through spirits, but only an affection for good and an affection for evil, man has choice, because he has freedom; and is thus able by his thought to receive good and reject evil, since he knows from the Word what is good and what is evil. Moreover, whatever he receives by thought from affection is appropriated to him; but whatever he does not receive by thought from affection is not appropriated to him. All this makes evident the nature of the influx of good out of heaven with man, and the nature of the influx of evil out of hell. (Heaven and Hell, 298)
When we die, we shed our external body, and we become aware of the society we belong to, either in heaven and hell. In reality, no one goes to heaven or hell: we are already there. We just become aware of this internal reality after we die:
"Souls newly arrived from the world, when about to leave the company of the spiritual angels to go among spirits, and so at length to come into the society in which they had been while they lived in the body, are led about by angels to many mansions or abodes, that is, to societies which are distinct and yet conjoined with others; in some of which they are received, while in other cases they are led to still other societies, and this for an indefinite time, until they come to the society in which they had been while they lived in the body; and there they remain." (Heavenly Arcana, or Arcana Coelestia, 1273)

Despite the fact that the information Swedenborg gives makes common sense, he is completely ignored. Why? Because no one at this day believes people can receive heavenly visions, and even discount the existence of the spiritual world. So instead, the modern world has to flounder around guessing, depending on psychologists who view the mind as a black box. Naturalistic materialism only goes so far. When it comes to the soul, the afterlife, and the things that really matter, science is completely blind.

When it comes to many religions, the priests or spiritual leaders just love to call attention to themselves. They are often the worse, for their own pride is veiled with religion. Many of these false leaders will claim to have visions, in order to mislead people. Pride is the hardest evil to conquer, and Swedenborg had to go through many trials to conquer it before he was allowed to see what he saw, in a completely wakeful state for 27 years. All of his works were published anonymously, at his own expense. He only became known when at a dinner in Germany, he had a clairvoyant experience where he described a fire in Sweden, that it threatened to burn down his house and all his books. When asked why he was so worried, he was pressed and described the fire, and all the factual details became known several days later. It was then he became famous, and people finally guessed it was he who had been publishing these volumes of his visionary experiences. The incident was investigated by none other than the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

So, when it comes to religious matters, who would you choose? Someone writing about their own opinion or guess, or someone who was a witness to spiritual events in heaven and hell, whose experiences were later validated by factual evidence? I am going to pick the latter.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Hidden Christianity within the Quran

In the fourth-fifth centuries A.D. Christianity had become corrupt by accepting newly man-made doctrine of a trinity of three beings, instead of one God in one person Jesus Christ. In original Christianity, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God since he was born of a virgin, not a "son born from eternity" as declared in the Nicene Creed.  Later an anonymous author wrote the Athanasian Creed, which commanded Christians to think of three persons and yet never utter the phrase "three gods." Thus to this day, there is a hidden tritheism within the thoughts of many Christians. In true Christianity, as revealed in revelations received by Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, it is revealed that Jesus is the One God of the universe, who had taken on human form to fight against the powers of hell. He kept His identity secret, and only revealed it when He had risen from the dead in a transformed glorified body that had become completely Divine.

One interesting revelation that came out of the visions is that Swedenborg was told that a lesser revelation had actually been given to Muhammed, and its purpose was to remove the idolatries of many nations to return them to the worship of one God. While it was given as a revelation, not everything was revealed - this is due to the fact that polygamy was allowed, as it was in Judaism. For that reason, states Swedenborg, since a monogamous relationship is most sacred in Christianity, as it represents the union between God and man, so Muslims were not allowed to know of the Divine union that took place in the God-Man, Jesus. Instead he was accepted as a prophet, despite the fact that Jesus declared that He is one with God and that we have to follow Him. In order to maintain this view this view with the Bible, Muslims either don't read the Bible, or more commonly they make the false claim that the passages they disagree with are corrupt. In addition to this, there are statements within the Quran that cannot be completely reconciled to their beliefs, and there is even evidence of a hidden Christianity within the passages of the Quran itself.

So lets take a look at what the Quran has to stay about Jesus and Christianity:


It is well known that Muslims deny a trinity of three persons, and on this point they are actually in agreement with the New Chruch which states that God is one personal Being. Jesus is declared to be a prophet, and that is indeed true, but He is more than a prophet, as Jesus Himself had said.  Here is Sura 5, where a trinity of three persons is properly denied:

[5.72] Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Marium; and the Messiah said: O Children of Israel! serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.
[5.73] Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.

[5.116] And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it; Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Thy mind, surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen things.
[5.117] I did not say to them aught save what Thou didst enjoin me with: That serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die, Thou wert the watcher over them, and Thou art witness of all things.

According to the visions shown to Swedenborg, there is no trinity of three beings, but rather, there is a trinity of soul, body and spirit in every man. When the Word of God made its descent and assumed a human form, a Holy Trinity was created in Jesus Christ.

The other statement Swedenborg made, and explained in detail in many pages, is that Divinity made its descent in degrees, gradually. As Mary (Miriam) was human, the human body from the mother had inherited a sinful nature. Thus Jesus endured incredible temptations, and was like every other human, except he never succumbed to temptation, and advanced more quickly and more perfectly than any other human born before or after him. He came in the role of a prophet, so before the ressurection, that is what he was - the human body served as a prophet. The Koran speaks of this state of being. It is after the crucifixion where the Divinity became united with the human - thus Jesus declared all power was given to Him on heaven and earth. It is this state of being that the Koran was not allowed to reveal.


There is a trinity of being in every man: soul, body and spirit. This became a Holy Trinity in Jesus Christ, as stated in the visions seen by Swedenborg. Remarkably, we find something similar in the Koran:

[4.171] O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector.

Jesus is: (1) an apostle, meaning sent one, and (2) is the Word of God, and (3) a spirit from God. That is very close to the concept of a Trinity of being in Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John declares that Jesus is the Word of God incarnate. To Swedenborg, He was Jehovah incarnate, to be "sent" into the world means His body was conceived by the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to speak directly to man.

In the following verses from Sura 2, Jesus is again said to have been endowed with the Holy Spirit:

[2.87] And most certainly We gave Musa the Book and We sent apostles after him one after another; and We gave Isa, the son of Marium, clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit

[2.253] We have made some of these apostles to excel the others among them are they to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by (many degrees of) rank; and We gave clear miracles to Isa son of Marium, and strengthened him with the holy spirit.

The Holy Spirit, is the spirit of God which flows directly to man from the body of Jesus. It became available to mankind after the ressurection of Jesus Christ. Thus the gospel of John stated that the Holy Spirit was not yet, for Jesus was not glorified. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the reason why Jesus came.


The Koran is specifically opposed to the concept of a Son of God. This can be seen above in verse 171 in Sura 4, as well as Sura 9:

[9.30] And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!
[9.31] They have taken their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah, and (also) the Messiah son of Marium and they were enjoined that they should serve one God only, there is no god but He; far from His glory be what they set up (with Him).

Despite these admonitions in the Koran, the Koran declares that Jesus was born by God through the virgin Mary:

[3.45] When the angels said: O Marium, surely Allah gives you good news with a Word from Him (of one) whose name is the '. Messiah, Isa son of Marium, worthy of regard in this world and the hereafter and of those who are made near (to Allah).
[3.46] And he shall speak to the people when in the cradle and when of old age, and (he shall be) one of the good ones.
[3.47] She said: My Lord! when shall there be a son (born) to I me, and man has not touched me? He said: Even so, Allah creates what He pleases; when He has decreed a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is.

So, despite the fact that the Koran is opposed to the concept of a Son of God, when I have told Muslims that Jesus is the Son of God due to the fact he was born of the virgin Mary, they are not opposed to this concept. Jesus was the Son of God born in time, before that time there was no Son of God. In fact, ancient Christians knew of no other Son of God except the one born in time through the virgin Mary. A Son of God "born from eternity" before Jesus was born was a later doctrine that was invented to oppose the Arian heresy. This false doctrine is in fact the origin of a trinity of three beings. It was added in the First Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D., which in fact was a modification of the older Apostle's Creed.

The original Apostle's Creed is quite simple:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.

In this Creed, Jesus is the Son simply because he was born through the virgin Mary. Now in 325 A.D. this original belief was modified in the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God], Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth];
who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;

Notice the changes? The Nicene Creed changed the Apostle's Creed to make a Son born from eternity to later descend and be born as Jesus. The "begotten not made" statement was added to oppose the Arian heresy, which proposed that Jesus was some sort of secondary archon that was created before the world was created. But in opposing this heresy, the Nicene Creed adopted another false belief, one that does not make sense.

The Nicene Creed was further made clear in the First Council of Constantinople of 381 A.D.:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;

With these two Creeds, the belief in a Son of God born from eternity was invented. Such a belief was unknown in the original revelation of Christianity - Jesus was simply the Son of God, born in time, as we was born by the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary. In the visions of Swedenborg, these doctrines which entered the Church corrupted Christianity, until now there is barely a remnant of the original revelation.


The concept of vicarious atonement, where one could pay for the sins by dying in one's place, was also a later doctrine that was added into Christianity. In the visions of Swedenborg, this is another false doctrine which has utterly corrupted the Christian revelation. Jesus did indeed save the human race, but he did this by making his human body Divine, thus allowing the Holy Spirit to become available to all mankind. A Divine Human was created, once all temptations were overcome. After the crucifixion, Jehovah was able to reorder all of heaven and hell, by first making a descent into hell, and then later ascending into heaven. In both the Koran, and visions of Swedenborg, one must simply shun what is evil, and do what is good. This is the essential truth of most religions.

[4.31] If you shun the great sins which you are forbidden, We will do away with your small sins and cause you to enter an honorable place of entering.


As stated before, Islam was not allowed to know the true identity of Jesus Christ due to the fact that the revelation was designed to remove idolatry from eastern nations where polygamy was accepted. Thus, he is regarded as a great prophet. However, for any Muslim who will read the Koran carefully, there are some statements given which can lead them to the truth of the original Christian revelation. Here is a collection of statements I had gathered:

First, only God (Allah) is Creator, and can raise the dead. This is declared in Suras 6:2, 38:71-72 and 16:17, 20-21, 25:3. Yet the Koran states that Jesus could do the same thing! Of Jesus it is said:
[3.49] And (make him) an apostle to the children of Israel: That I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah's permission and I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah's permission

[5.110] When Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you I with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and I when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.

Jesus here is allowed to create a bird from clay, and cause it to live and fly away. The story actually comes from an apocryphal Infancy Gospel. To make it more clear, a clue is dropped in Sura 22:

[22.73] O people! a parable is set forth, therefore listen to it: surely those whom you call upon besides Allah cannot create a fly, though they should all gather for it, and should the fly snatch away anything from them, they could not take it back from i weak are the invoker and the invoked.

Why is this declared a parable? Only God can create something and cause it to live, yet elsewhere the Koran states Jesus was given the capability to do the same thing. He does not simply create a little fly, he creates an entire bird.

Here is an odd statement, where those who will have followed Jesus will be honored in the day of the ressurection:

[3.55] And when Allah said: O Isa, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so I will decide between you concerning that in which you differed.

One thing I have noticed, is that English translations of the Koran tend to be poorly done. Here is a verse from Sura 9, that may have been mistranslated intentionally:

[9.31] They have taken their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah, and (also) the Messiah son of Marium and they were enjoined that they should serve one God only, there is no god but He; far from His glory be what they set up (with Him).

In this translation, it states that other men, including the Messiah, have been worshipped in place of Allah. But that is not what the original says. In the above verse, the word "also" has been added by the translator. This is apparent in another translation of verse 31 of Sura 9 by Yusef Ali:

31. They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah. there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).

Again, words have been added by the translator. The original verse actually says this:

They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah and Christ the son of Mary

As translated, no one should be worshipped except Allah and His Messiah, Jesus Christ. This, of course, is a problematic statement for translators of the Koran, to the point they feel compelled to add words to the translation.

Next, the Koran itself states that Christians worship the same God as the Muslims do:

[29.46] And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.

Finally, the Koran states that all should bow down to Allah in the following Suras: 2:43, 125, 131, 133, 136, 3:43, 84, 5:58, 111, 114, 7:126, 206, 9:112, 16:81, 21:108, 22:77, 27:81, 91, 39:12, 54, 41:33, 46:15, 48:29, 96:19.

And, the Koran states that all should bow down to Allah only:
6:14, 163, 22:18, 26, 29:46, 40:66, 68:41-43

That is straightforward. But in the Koran, there is a very odd story: when Adam was created, he commanded that all the angels should bow down before Adam. One angel did not, this angel was Satan. This story is not found in the Bible, and is referred to in the following Suras:
2:30-34, 7:11, 17:61, 18:50. Ultimately the question should arise for any Muslim: if the Koran states that one should bow down to Allah, and to Allah only, why in the world is there a story in the Koran that states Allah commanded his angels to bow down before Adam?

I am not sure how Muslims have answered this question, but here is an interesting reference to Adam:
[3.59] Surely the likeness of Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was.
[3.60] (This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of the disputers.
[3.61] But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.
[3.62] Most surely this is the true explanation, and there is no god but Allah; and most surely Allah-- He is the Mighty, the Wise.

Isa (Jesus) is declared to be in the likeness of Adam. Could it be, that the Koran is referencing a story where God commanded the angels to bow down before Jesus? It could be that this story was taken from the epistle to the Philippians (2:5-10), found in the New Testament:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God;
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Up until the last quote I have tried to avoid quoting the Bible, because a common belief among Muslims is that the Bible became corrupt, and does not represent the original message given to Jesus. But ironically the Koran says the opposite. In the following Suras, it affirms the revelation given in the Torah (the first five books of Moses, or the OT) and the Gospel (the four gospels of the NT): 3:3, 47-50, 5:46, 49, 66, 68, 110, 10:37, 94, 12:111, 17:101-103, 28:48-49, 46:10, 12, 61:6.

Further, not only does the Koran reaffirm the revelation of the Torah and the Gospel, but it states that Allah would never allow his words to be changed or altered:
6:34,115, 10:64, 18:27, 48:23, 50:29.

Given that, why do Muslims maintain the Bible was altered? It is the only way that they can maintain the belief that they were taught.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Prophecy of Mount Rainier

I found another Native American prophecy - concerning Mt. Rainier, a dormant volcano near here in Seattle.

Sun Bear, Chippewa Medicine Man


These changes might not be convenient for humans, but the earth will make them anyway. As a dog shakes itself to get rid of fleas, the earth will generate earthquakes, volcanoes and climactic changes to rid itself of surplus and troublesome humans. If it is necessary that a lot of people die off during the major changes, and that the people that survive are conscious people that are responsible for the earth and are living on it in harmony and love and respect, then that is what is supposed to happen...

The people who will survive will be those who love life and affirm life in every way they can. They will be people who are willing to make a conscious change in the way they view life and in their actions toward all creation. They will not be those sitting with their rifles over a can of beans. The survivors will be people reaching out for another level of consciousness and seeking communication with the Creator and the Earth. They will be people living close to the earth far from large cities who are able to grow and harvest or gather their own food from the wild.

I'm trying to reach out and create a larger group of people who are in harmony with the earth. These people won't get wiped out in the process of the earth changes. If you know where to be and how to prepare, this can be a very comfortable, interesting and exciting time.

The 1989 San Francisco quake and the 1993 Northridge one were just warnings of much larger ones that will rock California. Sun Bear, who was part Chippewa Indian, medicine chief of the Bear Tribe, and a teacher and visionary said, in 1987, "The earth is an intelligent living being! Before any major changes ever happen upon the Earth Mother, it has warned people. . . . You're going to see major changes here. When I asked the Spirit about the earthquakes, and whether these things could be changed, and what would happen? Spirit said it's already sealed. It's already happening...

A volcano that will devastate the Seattle area is foretold is an ancient prophecy from Washington State's Puyallup tribe, which says, "The time will come when Little Sister will speak, and Grandfather will answer. And the land will be swept clean to the ocean." Sun Bear explained that Donald Matheson, a leader of the Puyallup tribe, moved his people to Idaho in 1979 because he believed it was time for this prophecy to be fulfilled. In March 1980, the mountain that we call little sister began to whisper. May 18th of 1980, the Little Sister spoke with a cubic mile of mountain that was spread over the northwest area, and many other parts of the world... "The Little Sister is called Mount St. Helens. Soon, the Grandfather is going to answer so much bigger. That one is called Mt. Rainier." Indian prophecies also foretold worldwide environmental catastrophes such as the greenhouse effect, "changes in the seasons and in the weather, disappearance of wildlife, famine," and the ozone hole, which was referred to as a "hole in our lodging."

Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, and had a couple of minor eruptions in 1990. It has shown increasing activity since 2004. Mt. Rainier has shown no activity for over a 100 years. In an earlier blog I discussed the vision of David Booth where he saw a large body collide with the south pole of the earth, causing massive volcanic eruptions in North America. I recently met with a friend of mine in Berkeley California to discuss a few of these things, to compare it with my own experience which dictated that there should be a massive volcanic eruption in the near future.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Astronomy of the Birth of Abraham (1953 B.C.)

Many astronomers have discovered that there was a grand conjunction of the five visible planets in the year 1953 B.C. - and this will not be repeated until the year 2040 A.D. Here is a quote from an astronomical newsletter (
"Just out of curiosity, what is the best planetary grouping ever? My reading and research have turned up two remarkable events. On the morning of February 24th, 1953 BC, all five naked eye planets were within 4 degrees of each other just before dawn. By March 2nd, the grouping wasn't as tight, but the crescent moon joined the show. History doesn't contain any record of anyone having observed this remarkable grouping, but it must have been breathtaking for anyone who was paying attention."
The other "best ever" planetary grouping hasn't happened yet, but odds are at least better that you'll live to see it. On the evening of September 8th, 2040, all five naked eye planets and the crescent moon will be in a grouping just 9 degrees wide low in the western sky. While not quite as tight as the 1953 BC event, it will be quite memorable. I've got it marked on my calendar. How about you?"

As it turns out, this astronomer was wrong - not in his calculations, but concerning the historical moment of 1953 B.C. Chronology is hard to calculate for ancient times, but a while ago I did research on the book of Jasher, a lost book of the Bible (which I covered in my previous blog - there is a link to an online version in my profile), which happens to contain a very accurate chronology. One thing I discovered in my calculations that it was in the year 1953 B.C. that Abraham was born - the father of the three main monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And guess what? The astrologers of Babylonia took notice of the grand conjunction in that year - I will quote the story in full:
  1. And it was in the night that Abram was born, that all the servants of Terah, and all the wise men of Nimrod, and his conjurors came and ate and drank in the house of Terah, and they rejoiced with him on that night.
  2. And when all the wise men and conjurors went out from the house of Terah, they lifted up their eyes toward heaven that night to look at the stars, and they saw, and behold one very large star came from the east and ran in the heavens, and he swallowed up the four stars from the four sides of the heavens.
  3. And all the wise men of the king and his conjurors were astonished at the sight, and the sages understood this matter, and they knew its import.
  4. And they said to each other, This only betokens the child that has been born to Terah this night, who will grow up and be fruitful, and multiply, and possess all the earth, he and his children for ever, and he and his seed will slay great kings, and inherit their lands. (Jasher 8:1-4)
I had calculated the year 1953 B.C. before I knew of the grand conjunction of that date. The star that swallows up the other four stars is Venus; the other four stars are Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The four were close together in the constellation of Aquarius, and any astronomy program will show that it was Venus which was the last planet to join the group. As this is a rare event, some world event is due to take place in the year 2040 A.D.

Later in the year of 1953 B.C., there was a triple conjunction between the planets of Jupiter and Saturn. Conjunctions between these two planets occur every 20 years, but triple conjunctions are rare - they occur every 973 years. And it seems that every other time this occurs it marks a significant event in history. In 7 B.C. there was a triple conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. Many consider this to be the "star of Bethlehem" that the three Magi sought out to find the baby Jesus. As king Herod slaughtered the children of Bethlehem hoping to kill Jesus before he had grown, so the story of Jasher describes how the king of Babylonia sought to kill Abram due to the presage of astrologers. There is much speculation on what exactly was the star of Bethlehem, but this parallel suggest this was it.

If we look at the event before 1953 B.C., we come to the year 3899 B.C. in which a triple conjunction occurred. Again, using the book of Jasher the chronology indicates that the "creation" of Adam occurred in the year 3901 B.C. - two years within this date. In the New Testament Jesus is known as the "second Adam", as he came to restore the spiritual nature to humanity.

If we look beyond the year 7 B.C., another triple conjunction occurred in the years 1940-41, with the central conjunction occurring on Oct. 20, 1940. Just out of curiosity, was anyone significant born on this particular date? This is where this line of thought gets a little strange. I did a lookup of famous people, and it just so happens that this was the birthdate of Robert Pinsky. Who is Robert Pinsky? According to the wikipedia:

Robert Pinsky (born October 20, 1940) is a leading American poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator. From 1997 – 2000, he served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (popularly known as the Poet Laureate of the United States).

So we have Adam, Abraham, Jesus, and now...Robert Pinsky, a poet? That just seems a little anti-climactic. The odd thing here is Robert Pinsky happens to be an Orthodox Jew - in the same family line as Adam, Abraham and Jesus. Here is a summary of critics' views on his poetry:

"Pinsky is often praised for "his grasp of traditional metrical forms and his ability to evoke timeless meaning within the strictures of contemporary idioms." Critics applaud, "his ability to imbue simple images—a Brownie troop square dance, cold weather, the music of Fats Waller—with underlying meaning to create order out of the accidental events people encounter in their lives." Commentators admire Pinsky's, "ambitiousness, his juxtaposition of the personal with the universal, the present with the past, the simple with the complex, and it has been noted that his intellectual style presents challenges to readers, obliging them to unravel the complexity behind the clarity of language and imagery."

About Robert Pinsky's first book of poems Robert Lowell wrote, "It is refreshing to find a poet who is intellectually interesting and technically first-rate. Robert Pinsky belongs to that rarest category of talent, a poet-critic." Writing in the Times Literary Supplement, William Pritchard called "Sadness and Happiness", "the best work by any younger poet within recent memory." Louis Martz wrote of Pinsky "the most exhilarating new poet that I have read since A. R. Ammons entered upon the scene. In his peculiar and original combination of abstract utterance and vivid image Pinsky points the way toward the future of poetry." "The Inferno of Dante" has been celebrated by Stephen Greenblatt as, "the premier modern text for English-language readers to experience Dante's power." Hugh Kenner has described Pinsky's ambition as "nothing less than the recovery for language of a whole domain of mute and familiar experience," (, 2). "In his poems Pinsky talks, with democratic warmth and intimacy, to the common things of this world. His extraordinary poems remind us that he has always embodied the very ideal he proposes for what a poet can do," (Lloyd Schwarz, The Boston Phoenix). "Among the many writers who have come of age in our fin de siècle, none has succeeded more completely as a poet, critic and translator than Robert Pinsky," (James Longenbach, The Nation). (, 2)

"Robert Pinsky's poetry is noted for its combination of vivid imagery and clear, discursive language that explores such themes as truth, the history of nations and individuals, and the transcendent aspects of simple acts. Pinsky strives to create an organized view of the world, often confronting and trying to explain the past to bring order to the present. Recurring subjects in his work include the Holocaust, religion, and childhood. Pinsky's moral tone and mastery of poetic meter often are compared to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English poets, and the insights conveyed in his analytical works on poetry have led critics to place him in the tradition of other poet-critics such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, and W. H. Auden."

Time will only tell if this assessment is correct. If anyone else knows someone significant that was born on Oct. 19-20, 1940, or perhaps on another date close to the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, I would like to know. The other two conjunctions were on Aug. 8, 1940, and Feb. 15, 1941. One wonders if the Holocaust that killed millions of Jews is a historical parallel to the slaughter of innocents in Bethlehem. If so, who is that individual that escaped?

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Hidden Origin of the Alphabet

Lately I was wondering about the origin of our alphabet - where did it come from? We all know our ABCs, which we take for granted. But the alphabet was a revolutionary invention, and put writing into the hands of the common people. We do know that the Greeks and the Romans derived their alphabet from the Phoenician alphabet in the land of Canaan, as shown in the following chart:

So, where did the Phoenicians obtain their script? It dates back to around 1000 B.C. According to the wikipedia:
"Phoenician uses a system of acrophony to name letters. The names of the letters are essentially the same as in its parental scripts, which are in turn derived from the word values of the original hieroglyph for each letter. The original word was translated from Egyptian into its equivalent form in the Semitic language, and then the initial sound of the translated word become the letter's value. However, some of the letter names were changed in Phoenician from the Proto-Canaanite script. This includes:
  • gaml "throwing stick" to gimel "camel"
  • digg "fish" to dalet "door"
  • hll "jubilation" to he "window"
  • ziqq "manacle" to zayin "weapon"
  • na?š "snake" to nun "fish"
  • pi?t "corner" to pe "mouth"
  • šimš "sun" to šin "tooth"
The meanings given are of the letter names in Phoenician. The Phoenician letter names are not directly attested and were reconstructed by Theodor Nöldeke in 1904."
The alphabet is thus a Semitic invention - not only that, these Semites dwelled in Egypt and migrated to the land of Canaan. Sound familiar? Could it be that the alphabet originated from Moses, who led the Jews out of Egypt? If we look back even further, the Phoenician script, from which Aramaic and Hebrew were derived, dates back even further to a "Proto-Canaanite" script from about the 15th century B.C. One reconstruction proposes the following meanings for the characters:
  1. [?] Al "Ox head" (A, E)
  2. [b] Bet "Tent floorplan" (B, Bh)
  3. [g] Gam "Foot" (G)
  4. [d] Dal "Door" (D)
  5. [h] Hey "Man with arms raised" (H, E)
  6. [w] Waw "Tent peg" (W, O, U])
  7. [z] Zan "Mattock" (Z)
  8. [h] Chets "Tent wall" (Hh)
  9. [t?] Thet "Basket" (Th)
  10. [j] Yad "Arm and closed hand" (Y, I)
  11. [k] Kaph "Open palm" (K, Kh)
  12. [l] Lam "Shepherd staff " (L)
  13. [m] Mem "Water" (M)
  14. [n] Nun "Seed" (N)
  15. [s] Sin "Thorn" (S)
  16. [?] Ayin "Eye" (O)
  17. [p] Pey "Mouth" (P, Ph)
  18. [s?] Tsad "Man on his side" (Ts)
  19. [q] Quph "Sun on the horizon" (Q)
  20. [r] Rosh "Head of a man" (R)
  21. [?] Shin "Two front teeth" (Sh)
  22. [t] Taw "Crossed sticks" (T)
  23. [?] Ghah "Rope of twisted fibers" (Gh)
So, where did the Proto-Canaanite alphabet come from? There are two scripts, both dating to the Middle Bronze Age (2000 - 1500 B.C.) - the Proto-Sinaitic script and the Wadi el-Hol script, found in the Sinai and Egypt respectively. It again points to a Semitic people which came from Egypt. According to the wikipedia:

"The Egyptian hieratic script was basically logographic, but used rebus and acrophony extensively. There was a complete set of uniliteral glyphs from at least 2700 BC — that is, the hieroglyphic script contained an alphabetic subsystem within it. But while logographic systems such as Egyptian and Old Sumerian are extremely time-consuming to learn, they are sometimes considered superior to alphabets when it comes to reading. For literate Egyptians, there was little advantage to whittling their script down to a pure alphabet. Purely uniliteral (alphabetic) writing was used mainly to transcribe foreign names.
However, from the 22nd to 20th centuries BC, central rule broke down. John Darnell found contemporary references to an Egyptian named Bebi, General of the Asiatics. They speculate that,
In the course of reunifying his fragmented realm, the reigning pharaoh attempted to pacify and employ roving bands of mercenaries who had come from outside Egypt to fight in the civil wars. The Egyptians were the quintessential bureaucrats, and under Bebi's command, there must have been a small army of scribes in the military whose job it was to keep track of these "Asiatics". Inventive scribes apparently came up with a kind of easy-to-learn Egyptian shorthand to enable the captured troops to record their names and other basic information.
In other words, it was a utilitarian invention for soldiers and merchants. The assumption is that they developed a Semitic script based on acrophony, where the first sound of the Semitic word for an Egyptian glyph became associated with that glyph. Just as the numerals 1, 2, 3, etc. changed names but retained their graphic forms as they passed from the Indians to the Arabs to the Europeans, so the names of the letters were translated as they passed from the Egyptians to the Semites. The name of the hieratic glyph for house changed from Egyptian pr to Canaanite bayt, and therefore the glyph came to stand for /b/ rather than /pr/. House and most of the other letters were not uniliteral glyphs in Egyptian: the Semitic alphabet is not derived from the Egyptian alphabet, but rather from the full set of hieratic hieroglyphs. In fact, some of the letters, such as ? H, may have been ideographic determiners (taxograms) only, and thus had no sound value in Egyptian."

So, the alphabet was invented with the collapse of the Old Kingdom. It seems like it was invented long before Moses, or before the Jews even entered Egypt. But not is all as it seems. The dating of the Exodus from Egypt is a controversial subject - many history books will point to the time of Ramesses in the New Kingdom (ca. 13th century B.C.), which many favor due to a late geographic place name in the Torah. Others favor the time when the Hyksos, the shepherd kings, were expelled from Egypt in the 16th century B.C. But strangely enough, scholars have ignored a lot of evidence that indicates that the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt occurred during the collapse of the Old Kingdom, the exact time when the alphabet was invented. There was historical evidence that I gathered from the book of Jasher, a work that did not make it into the Bible, but then I discovered that someone else had already stumbled upon this. He gathered years of research and composed the book, The Riddle of the Exodus. Among his findings:

1. The book of Jasher states that one of the Pharoahs of the Exodus reigned for 94 years. One of the last Pharoahs of the Old Kingdom, Pepi II, reigned for 94 years.

2. There is an ancient Egyptian monument that commemorates the drowning of Pharaoh's army in the sea.

3. The ravages of the Ten Plagues are described on a 3,000-year-old papyrus.

I have not read the book, but the chronology would fit in with the dating of the collapse of the walls of Jericho by archaeologists.What this theory opens up is the possibility that the alphabet was an invention of the Hebrews - and as the characters originated from Egyptian hieroglyphics, and was invented for commanding the military of a Semitic people, the evidence begins to point to Moses, a scribe and ruler who was trained in all the wisdom of ancient Egypt. So what do those alphabetic characters mean? Is there a reason for the order of the alphabet? Indeed there is - I have been recently researching this, and the evidence points to Moses as the inventor of the alphabet. But before I could do so, I wanted to cover the date of the Exodus - how it is much earlier in history than we think. In my next blog I will show the hidden symbolism contained in the ancient Hebrew alphabet.