Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Spiritual Meaning of the word "Works" in Scripture

The word "works" is a generic word used in scripture that is used in many contexts, and the epistles of Paul uses the same word in completely different contexts. Many have misread the epistles of Paul and have created a false theology in Christianity where faith is merely "belief" and "works" is anything you do. When one creates such a false theology, it becomes a doctrine and bias in which the entire gospel of Jesus Christ becomes distorted into a falsified form of Christianity of belief alone. It also becomes a blinder when reading scripture, for to support it many will pick scripture verses and also take the word "works" out of context.

When reading the Gospels and the epistles of Paul, the word "works" has three entirely different meanings, depending on the context:
  1. The word "works" is used for acts of love and living according to faith.
  2. The word "works" concerns self-meritorious works, those done for sake of recompense.
  3. The word "works" concerns the external Jewish rituals of the Mosaic law.
These three contexts for the work "works" are very different.  It is important to recognize the difference when reading the New Testament. Otherwise a misreading can lead to a false theology that is against a true Christian life, where one believes one way and lives a life of evil. But first, lets take a look at what Jesus said on this, focusing on the first meaning first.


Works of charity and faith are the ultimate effect of one's internal spirituality, fulfilling the greatest commandment of loving God and loving others which Jesus said is a requirement for eternal life and the fulfillment of the 10 commandments (Matt. 19:16-21, 22:37-40) and this is repeated by Paul (Rom. 13:8-10). One's internal self is what one loves, and what one loves is the primary intent behind every outward action. That every person has an internal spirituality is confirmed by Jesus when He said, The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). Our internal state becomes our heaven or hell in the afterlife: everyone goes to the place where their reigning love takes them. One's internal state manifests in external actions, which is signified by the word "fruit" thus Jesus said, by their fruits you shall know them (Matt. 7:20, see also The Spiritual Meaning of the word "Fruit" in Scripture). However, as the ego is the source of evil, when we do what is good we should acknowledge that the Lord alone is good who is the source of good in all our acts, thus Jesus said:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5)
This does not mean we are passive, for Jesus said we are to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).  Strength is effort, not passive laziness. We act from our will acknowledging God is the source of good who flows through us.

A spiritual life is not just belief, but it is turning away from evil and doing good. In the gospels, to believe is not just to believe something is true, but to believe is to follow that person in doing. If you do not, you do not believe:
The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evilFor everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. (John 3:19-21)
This is what Jesus understood when he uses the word "believe." And works are to be done but acknowledged that they were done through God who alone is good. It is not just a mental belief that something is true. Thus, we have many parables of Jesus where only the doers of the Word are justified, not just the hearers of the Word:
  1. The parable of the man who built his house on rock (Matt. 7:24-27)
  2. The parable of the sower (Matt. 13:3-23)
  3. The parable of the father and his two sons (Matt. 21:28-31)
  4. The parable of the faithful servant (Matt. 24:42-51)
  5. The parable of talents (Matt. 25:14-30)
  6. The parable of the last judgment, where those who did good made it to heaven, not the religious who just believed (Matt. 25:31-46)
  7. The parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
Those who do God's commands will be called the greatest in heaven (Matt. 5:19). And even Paul confirms this: For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified (Rom. 2:13).

These teachings are in regards to the works of a faithful life, by doing what God commands:
If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15)
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him (John 14:21)
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love (John 15:10)
It is necessary to be doers of the Word, and to follow the commandments, to have eternal life. Jesus said all are judged according to their works:
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27)
By the word "works" here we are talking about the first definition: works of faith, acting out of love.


Now completely different from the first definition of the word "works," there is the second definition of the word "works" - these concern outward acts done for the sake of self-merit or self credit, or for the sake of recompense and reward. These are called self-meritorious works. They are done from the self for selfish gain, and it is these kinds of works that are condemned by Jesus. They tend to be selfish and used to create a false appearance before others, which Jesus did not like, and there will be no eternal reward for these kinds of acts:
Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward (Matt. 6:1-2)
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matt. 6:5-6)
...if you love them who love you, what reward have you? . . . And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? (Matt. 5:43-48.)
Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; then shall your reward be great, and you shall be sons of the Highest (Luke 6:36).
These kinds of works are worthless, and for these there is no eternal rewards. But remember: works of self merit are completely different than works done out of faith and love. The first are worthless, but as for the latter, our eternal life depends on it. The first is done from self, the latter is with the acknowledgement that God is the source of the good of our works of faith. Thus it is important to know that these two kinds of works are distinct when reading scripture in order to not develop a false theology of salvation.


Now, when we come to Paul, his epistles have caused much debate both in the early church with James as well as in the Protestant Reformation. For when Paul uses the word "works," he switches contexts without telling the reader. This led to confusion even in his day, especially in regard in what he meant by "works of the law." The apostle Peter even acknowledges this confusion when talking about Paul's epistles:
There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16)
The reason for this is Paul preached to the Gentiles, and he had to constantly fight against Judaizers who wanted Gentiles to follow the external rituals of the Jewish law, which had been abrogated. These external rituals were symbolic and prophetic in form, and once the spiritual meaning of them was revealed in Christianity, it was no longer necessary to follow them. This would include rituals such as circumcision and animal sacrifices. In some instances, Paul is referencing these as "works of the law." But then he might switch to the other two definitions for the word "works," depending on context. Since the epistles of Paul are extensive where this word is constantly mentioned, here is a summary of scriptural references of the word "works" in his epistles, arranged by these three contextual definitions:
  1. The word "works" is used for acts of love and living according to faith - or for opposite works of evil (Rom. 2:6,10,13, 8:28, 13:10,12, 1 Cor. 3:13-15, 2 Cor. 9:8, 11:15, Gal. 5:6,19-25, Eph. 2:10, 5:11, Phil. 3:2, Col. 1:10,21, 3:5-9,17, 1 Thes. 1:3, 2 Thes. 1:11, 2:17, 1 Tim. 2:10, 5:10,25, 6:18, 2 Tim. 2:21, 3:17, 4:14,18, Titus 1:16, 2:7,14, 3:1,8,14, Heb. 10:24, 13:21)
  2. The word "works" concerns self-meritorious works, those done from self for sake of recompense (Rom. 4:2-6, Eph. 2:9, 2 Tim. 1:9, Titus 3:5)
  3. The word "works" concerns the external Jewish rituals of the Mosaic law (Rom. 3:20,27-28, 9:32, 11:6, Gal. 2:16, 3:2,5,10, Heb. 6:1, 9:14)
When we read the epistle of James, it is evident that many confused "works" of the Jewish rituals (definiton #3) with "work" of faith in Paul's epistles. Thus James said faith without works is dead (see James chapter 2). James also had to clarify Paul's example of Abraham in Rom. 4:2-6, for there Paul switched contexts without explicitly telling the reader. Eph. 2:9-10 is another example of an immediate context switch.

Similar to the word "works," the word "law" has multiple meanings, among them are is the law can refer to the entire scripture, to the first 5 books of Moses, to the 10 commandments, and to the external Jewish rituals. Again, like the word "works" one has to examine the context. However Paul mentions this so often I only state it here as a general guideline for interpretation.


As a final rule of thumb, all actions and works should be judged by one's end, purpose or intent. It is the internal intention that is looked upon by God:
"it is to be known that the end is what determines the character of all the deeds of a man. If his end or intention is to do good for the sake of reputation, or to procure honors or gain, then the good which he does is not good, because it is done for the sake of himself, and thus also from himself. But if his end is to do good for the sake of a fellow citizen, or of his country, or of the church, thus for the sake of the neighbor, then the good which a man does is good, for it is done for the sake of good itself, which in a general sense is the real neighbor (n. 5025, 6706, 6711, 6712, 8123); and thus also it is done for the sake of the Lord, for such good is not from man, but from the Lord, and what is from the Lord is the Lord's. It is this good which is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew: Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did unto Me (xxv. 40)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9210)
"...nothing else than the end with man is regarded by the Lord. Whatever his thoughts and deeds — which vary in ways innumerable — if only the end be made good, all are good. But if the end be evil, all are evil. It is the end that rules in every thing that a man thinks and does. The angels with man, because they are angels of the Lord, do not direct anything in the man but his ends. In directing them they direct also his thoughts and actions, for all these are of the end. The end with man is his very life. All that he thinks and does has life from the end, for, as was said, they are of the end. Therefore as the end is, such is the life of a man. His end is no other than his love; for a man can have for an end nothing but what he loves. One who thinks otherwise than he does, has yet for an end what he loves. In his very dissimulation or deceit is his end, which is the love of self or the love of the world; and from this is the enjoyment of his life. From these considerations any one may conclude that as a man's love is, such is his life." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1317)
Thus for good to reign in one's life, one must acknowledge God first, that all good comes from Him alone, and nothing from the selfish ego. Or at least, one is spiritual if good is done for the sake of being useful without thought of selfish return. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

A Spiritual Theory of Creation: the Big Bang and the "Aether" Levels of the Universe

The best scientific evidence and theories indicate that about 14 billion years ago, the universe began with a giant explosion of energy known as the "Big Bang" which began from a point of singularity. At this moment, space and time was itself created.  And before that, there was no space, and there was no time - the Big Bang essentially started this rapidly expanding "space-time" cone that we call the universe. This cosmological theory is based on Einstein's theory of relativity of the 20th century as well as modern astronomical observations, summarized in a video below:

This brings about the inevitable paradox: what was there before the Big Bang?  For before the Big Bang, there was no space nor time.  As it turns out, among the heavenly visions that Swedenborg received in the 18th century, he was given accurate information on the creation and fundamental nature of the universe that provides remarkable insights for modern science, despite the limits of the scientific knowledge of his day.


The first insight Swedenborg was given is that before the creation of the physical material world, it was preceded by the creation of the spiritual world from the emanation of the Divine, who resides in a spiritual Sun of pure Love. Three levels or degrees were created in the spiritual world, which are also known as three heavens which Paul briefly described in one of his visions (2 Cor. 12:2). Although the theory of the Big Bang was essentially unknown to Swedenborg, he was told in his visions that following the creation of the spiritual world a "natural sun" or "sun of the natural world" which was of pure fire was created. This was followed by the creation of "three natural atmospheres":
" would be vain to conclude anything concerning the creation of the universe, unless it were first known that there are two worlds, one in which angels are, and the other in which men are; and that men by death pass out of their world into the other; and then also I saw that there were two suns, one from which all spiritual things flow forth, and the other from which all natural things flow forth; and that the sun from which all spiritual things flow forth is pure love from Jehovah God, who is in the midst of it; and that the sun from which all natural things flow forth is pure fire. means of the light and heat from the [spiritual] sun... spiritual atmospheres, which in themselves are substantial, were created one from another; and because there were three, and thence three degrees of them, three heavens were made; one for the angels who are in the highest degree of love and wisdom, another for the angels who are in the second degree, and the third for the angels who are in the lowest degree. But because this spiritual universe cannot exist without a natural universe in which it may produce its effects and uses, then the sun from which all natural things proceed was created at the same time and by this likewise by means of light and heat three atmospheres encompassing the spiritual... and at last by means of these, the terraqueous globe, the abode of men, beasts, and fishes, also of trees, shrubs, and herbs, was formed of lands consisting of soil, stones, and minerals." (True Christian Religion, n. 76)
What Swedenborg was shown only makes sense if what he called the "natural sun" of pure fire is the Big Bang - for the Big Bang was a big explosion of energy, and at the initial moments of the universe the universe was extremely hot. The suns of the various solar systems coalesced later. It is important to distinguish between the Divine spiritual sun from which proceeds all life and the natural sun from which proceeds only dead material things:
"Creation itself cannot be ascribed at all to the sun of the natural world, but wholly to the sun of the spiritual world; since the sun of the natural world is entirely dead, but the sun of the spiritual world is alive; for it is the first proceeding of the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom; and what is dead does not act at all of itself, but is acted upon. Wherefore to ascribe to it anything of creation, would be like ascribing the work which the artificer does, to the tool which is moved by his hand. The sun of the natural world is pure fire from which everything of life has been withdrawn; but the sun of the spiritual world is fire in which is the Divine Life. The angelic idea concerning the fire of the sun of the natural world, and concerning the fire of the sun of the spiritual world, is this — that the Divine Life is from within in the fire of the sun of the spiritual world, but from without in the fire of the sun of the natural world. From this it may appear that the actual existence of the natural sun is not from itself, but from the living force proceeding from the sun of the spiritual world" (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 157).
Throughout the revelations it is revealed that life originates from spiritual influx from the spiritual Sun into the natural material world - the natural material world is not in itself the source of life. And this is why science cannot understand or explain the origin of life.


Now, modern science tells use that space and time were created at the time of the Big Bang, which produces a paradox here - what was before the Big Bang? According to Swedenborg, before the creation of the "natural sun" from which the material universe came the spiritual heavens were created - and there is no space or time in heaven:
"All things in heaven appear in place and in space, just as in the world, and yet angels have no notion or idea of place and space. Because this cannot but appear as a paradox, I wish to present the matter in clear light, as it is one of great importance. All going from place to place in the spiritual world is effected by change of state of the interiors, so that change of place is nothing else than change of state... In this way all the movements of angels take place; hence they have no distances, and if not distances, neither have they spaces, but instead of them states and their changes. As changes of place are made in this way, it is evident that approximations are similarities as to state of interiors, and that removals are dissimilarities. From this it follows that those are near to each other who are in similar state, and those at a distance who are in dissimilar state; and that spaces in heaven are nothing else than external states corresponding to internal." (Heaven and Hell, n. 191-193)
Essentially our idea of material space becomes "abstracted" into appearances of distance. As God is Love, those who love will be close to Him in heaven according to their state of love. Moreover, in heaven we will be with the ones we truly love, and with those who are similar to our own personality. The spiritual world is the world where our internal ideas and affections become true reality, in fact more real than this material world. In this world we might say "I feel close to you." Or "I feel distant from you."  These internal feeling manifest as apparent distance of space in the spiritual world, for all our internal states of feelings and thoughts have a substantial reality.

Similar to space, there is no time in heaven, but rather changes of state. Moreover, eternity in heaven is not infinite time, but an infinite state:
"That angels know nothing about time, though all things move onward with them as in the world, without any difference at all, is because in heaven there are not years and days, but changes of state; and where there are years and days there are times, but where there are changes of state there are states... Since angels have no notion of time, they have a different idea of eternity from that which men of the earth have. By eternity they perceive infinite state, not infinite time. I was once thinking about eternity, and by the idea of time could perceive what to eternity might be, namely, without end, but not what from eternity is, and so not what God did from eternity before the creation. When anxiety on this account arose in my mind, I was elevated into the sphere of heaven and thus into the perception in which angels are about eternity, and then it was made clear to me that we must not think of eternity from time, but from state, and then we may perceive what from eternity is" (Heaven and Hell, n. 163, 167)
Thus the state of the universe before creation was a state of no space or time, thus before the Big Bang we are thus now talking about the nature of the spiritual heavens beyond the material. Moreover, it does not make sense to think of "before" the Big Bang. Rather, the three spiritual heavens are higher dimensions outside of space and time which co-exist and permeate the lower material world which dwells in the plane of space and time. This is an important clue for scientists who are still investigating the true nature of the universe.

The spiritual concept that space and time are created things, and not the fundamental or original form or reality, is relevant to modern theories of science such as Einstein's theories of General Relativity and Minkowski Space-Time, which describe space and time as a "fabric" that was created at the time of the Big Bang.


Following the creation of the heavens and the "natural sun," which is probably more accurately described as the Big Bang, Swedenborg was told that "three natural atmospheres" were created in the natural world. However he is using the word "atmosphere" in a different manner than our modern definition, in the context of 18th century science. By "atmosphere" he is referring to a degree or level of what scientists in his time knew as aether - a medium in space through which light propagates, similar to how sound travels through air or waves through water. Here is a brief description of the 18th century idea of aether:

"The motion of light was a long-standing investigation in physics for hundreds of years before the 20th century. The use of aether to describe this motion was popular during the 17th and 18th centuries, including a theory proposed by Johann II Bernoulli... In his theory, all space is permeated by aether containing "excessively small whirlpools". These whirlpools allow for aether to have a certain elasticity, transmitting vibrations from the corpuscular packets of light as they travel through. This theory of luminiferous aether would influence the wave theory of light proposed by Christiaan Huygens, in which light traveled in the form of longitudinal waves via an "omnipresent, perfectly elastic medium having zero density, called aether". At the time, it was thought that in order for light to travel through a vacuum, there must have been a medium filling the void through which it could propagate, as sound through air or ripples in a pool." (from Aether (classical element)

These ideas of aether were disproven by the Michaelson-Morley experiments in the early 20th century. So another model was needed. It was at this time that Einstein developed his theories of relativity, in which the speed of light was shown to be constant, and fused the separate concepts of space and time into a four dimensional manifold known as "spacetime." This spacetime manifold could be warped by gravity. As such, Einstein considered calling it the "new aether," with the caveat that no substance or motion can be associated with this aether (see Einstein's views on the aether). However this term never became popular and so at the present day we still call it "spacetime." But for the purpose of understanding what was shown about creation to Swedenborg, lets call this four dimensional manifold of spacetime as the "aether" of gravity.

So this leaves light, which Swedenborg also describes as travelling through its own "aether."  In the 20th century science was able to achieve a better understanding of light in Quantum field theory, which says that all fundamental particles are vibrations of fields that exist in all points in space and time through the universe. At this low level, particles do not travel through a medium, but rather they are manifestations of the medium itself. It is non-intuitive, so here is a summary of the theory:

These vibrations of quantum fields can be compared to sound waves traveling through air, which in the 18th century was also used as the model for the concept of aether for gravity and light. So essentially, quantum fields are the accurate and true representation of what we used to call aether - its just that in a quantum field, there is no separation between the manifestation of the particle and the field itself, as the particle is an excited state of the field. There is no separate "medium" as had originally been imagined. Again for the purpose of this discussion, lets also call these quantum fields "aether," as it will help us understand what Swedenborg was describing in what he called "natural atmospheres." For just as he saw that these natural atmospheres permeated all of space, so the quantum fields permeate all of space.


With this scientific background, we can now analyze what Swedenborg was shown regarding the three natural "atmospheres" or aethers that were created following the creation of the three prior spiritual atmospheres, as well as what he labeled as the "natural sun" which I interpret as the Big Bang. The first piece of information is that the three natural atmospheres are "discrete substances and least forms." They are distinct from the three spiritual atmospheres that precede them, and yet the spiritual atmospheres co-exist with them:
"The natural atmospheres are similar to the spiritual atmospheres in this, that they also are discrete substances and least forms, originating from the sun of the natural world; which also singly receive the sun and store up its fire in themselves, and temper it, and bear it down as heat to the earth, where men are; and similarly the light. The difference between the spiritual atmospheres and the natural atmospheres is that the spiritual atmospheres are receptacles of the Divine fire and the Divine light, thus of love and wisdom, for they contain these within themselves; but the natural atmospheres are not receptacles of the Divine fire and the Divine light, but receptacles of the fire and light of their own sun, which in itself is dead... wherefore within there is nothing in them from the sun of the spiritual world, but still they are environed by the spiritual atmospheres which are from the spiritual sun. That this is the difference between the spiritual atmospheres and the natural atmospheres is from the wisdom of the angels." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 174-175)
The second piece of information given is that the three natural atmospheres descend and become more "compressed and inert" until they cause the creation of substances:
"...there are three atmospheres in each world, the spiritual and the natural, which are distinct from each other according to degrees of altitude, and which decrease in their downward progression according to degrees of latitude... And because the atmospheres decrease in their progression downward, it follows that they become continually more compressed and inert, and at length in ultimates so compressed and inert that they are no longer atmospheres, but substances at rest, and in the natural world fixed substances, such as are in the earths and are called matter" (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 302)
The third piece of information given is that the three natural atmospheres hold together the material substances:
"...the substances and matters of which the earths consist are the ends and terminations of atmospheres which proceed as uses from the spiritual sun... And because the substances and matters of which the earths consist are from that origin, and in their aggregation are held together in connection by the pressure of the atmospheres round about, it follows that they have therefrom a perpetual effort to produce forms of uses. The very quality of being able to produce they derive from their origin, which is that they are the ultimates of the atmospheres, with which they therefore agree" (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 310)
The fourth piece of information is that in several passages, Swedenborg speaks of these three atmospheres as distinct from the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms (see Heavenly Arcana, n. 3000, Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 225, True Christian Religion, n. 186, Apocalypse Explained, n. 1208.2, Spiritual Diary, n. 2360). So this is puzzling, what are these so-called three natural atmospheres? In an unpublished manuscript, Swedenborg spells it out further:
"There are three natural atmospheres arising from the sun of the world, and there are three spiritual atmospheres arising from the sun of heaven, which is the Lord. The three natural atmospheres arising from the sun of the world are the purer aether, which is the universal atmosphere, from which springs all gravity; the intermediate aether, which forms a vortex around the planets and surrounds the moon and other satellites, from which springs magnetism; and the lowest ether, which is air. These three atmospheres hold together all physical and material things of the earth, which have been composed in conformity to those three degrees." (Last Judgment Posthumous, 320; see also Spiritual Diary, n. 222)
This actually is rather an amazing insight. Gravity is a bosonic force in the spacetime field, which was considered to be a "new aether" according to Einstein. Magnetism is something we now know is part of the electromagnetic force mediated by the photon, and as stated earlier a photon is an excitation of its quantum field, which can also be considered to be an aether. But on the third atmosphere, Swedenborg confuses it with "air" which is a macroscopic representation of aether as sound waves travel through the medium of air molecules. We know its an error since Swedenborg distinguished the mineral kingdom from the three natural atmospheres. Moreover he acknowledged in this instance that his statements should be verified by experimental knowledge:
"...the statements we have made so far regarding degrees and atmospheres are for the most part theoretical. Yet all theoretical conclusions must be drawn from and based on empirical observations, and also verified by them. Unless the observations of experience guide a person's hand, so to speak, he may be deluded in his theoretical speculations, and from a premise seized on in his imagination or imaginary assumption he may easily be borne through a series of conclusions into falsities entirely contrary to the truth-falsities which he may then confirm by fallacious and deceptive appearances of every kind. For falsities can be confirmed by deceptive and fallacious appearances, even to the point that a person believes them to be absolute truths." (Last Judgment Posthumous, 323)
So from spiritual revelation Swedenborg knew that there were three degrees or levels of aether in the natural material world, but in trying to map this to his scientific knowledge he regarded it as theoretical until confirmed by empirical facts. But from his statements describing the three atmospheres, with our modern scientific knowledge we can propose that these three "atmospheres" or "aethers" refer to three degrees of the four fundamental forces mediated by bosonic particles in their respective quantum fields. The justification for this is as follows:
  1. The three atmospheres were described as "discrete substances" in their "least forms." Quantum particles and their fields are the least forms of atomic matter.
  2. The three atmospheres are responsible for making matter more "compressed and inert." The Higgs field gives fermionic matter mass, and matter in the form of quarks are further constrained by the strong nuclear force, and further by the electromagnetic and gravitational forces. The bosonic forces are responsible for fermionic matter becoming more constrained and inert.
  3. Matter is aggregated and held together by the three atmospheres, and this is now known to be caused by the bosonic forces.
  4. The three atmospheres are distinct from the mineral kingdom, and the mineral kingdom is composed of fermionic matter. Thus the atmospheres or aethers can only be the quantum fields that permeate all of space.
  5. Swedenborg also often describes the aethers as mediating light, and electromagnetism is mediated by the photon.
Moreover, Swedenborg explicitly stated that these natural atmospheres essentially become forces in their ultimate manifestation:
"Atmospheres in ultimates become such forces, by which substances and matters, such as are in the earths, are reduced into forms, and are held together in forms both within and without." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 311)
Now, why are there three degrees or levels of aether, or "atmospheres"? What was shown to Swedenborg is that all that exists can be divided into three degrees, modeled after the process of end, cause and effect:
"A knowledge of degrees is as it were a key for opening the causes of things, and for entering into them. Without this knowledge scarcely anything of cause can be known; for, without it, the objects and subjects of both worlds appear of such a sameness, as if there were nothing in them except what is seen with the eye; when yet this, compared to the things which lie hidden within, is as one to a thousand, nay to tens of thousands. The interiors which are not manifest cannot be revealed in any way unless degrees are understood. For exteriors pass to interiors, and by these to inmosts through degrees; not through continuous degrees, but through discrete degrees. Diminishings or decreasings from grosser to finer, or from denser to rarer are called continuous degrees — or rather the increments and increasings from finer to grosser, or from rarer to denser — as of light to shade, or of heat to cold. But discrete degrees are entirely different: they are as things prior, posterior, and postreme; or as end, cause, and effect. These degrees are called discrete, because the prior is by itself, the posterior by itself, and the postreme by itself; but still taken together they make one. The atmospheres — which are called ethers and airs — from the highest to the lowest, or from the sun to the earth, are discreted into such degrees" (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 184).
This knowledge of degrees is not only useful for investigating scientific matters, but also spiritual theology, and it is part of the framework Swedenborg used to describe the theology of the New Church in a systematic and rational manner. It is also key to understanding the true meaning of the Trinity. Quantum physicists actually make use of discrete degrees, as "quantum" itself means a discrete degree of energy. But what are the three degrees of the bosonic forces? We can propose the following degrees:
  1. The space-time manifold, mediated by the graviton which has a spin of 2.
  2. The electromagnetic field mediated by the photon, the weak field mediated by the W/Z bosons, and the strong field mediated by the gluons. All of these forces have a spin of 1.
  3. The Higgs field mediated by the Higgs boson, which gives most other particles mass. It has a spin of 0.
One reason for this arrangement is that Swedenborg stated that the aether forces of the atmospheres get progressively stronger (Spiritual Diary, n. 418), and we can see this in the relative strengths between the forces:

In this arrangement, the weak, electromagnetic and strong forces form three discrete "subdegrees" within the intermediate atmosphere or aether. Also both the electromagnetic and weak forces have been mathematically combined into an electroweak force.

Other than this, what scientific justification do we have for creating three degrees or levels for the bosonic forces? Intuitively spacetime should be in the first degree, as that is often used as the independent background in frameworks for physics. Another clue comes from the discrete spin of the bosonic particle: it can be 0,1 or 2. In mathematics, these discrete spins correspond to tensors, vectors and scalars:
"The force carrying bosons of the standard model (gluons, photons, and the W and Z) have spin 1 since they go with vector fields. The Higgs boson corresponds to a scalar field so it has spin 0. If the particle of the gravitational field is ever discovered, it would be called a graviton and would have a spin 2 since it corresponds to a tensor field. A tensor is a mathematical object that's more complex than a vector, which is in turn more complex than a scalar. See the trend? A scalar field with no direction gets a particle with spin 0. A vector field with a direction gets a particle with spin 1. A tensor field that stretches and squeezes space in two directions gets a particle with spin 2. " (from The Physics Hypertextbook)
Most people have heard of vectors and scalars. But what is a tensor? Tensors have numerous applications in data analysis and artificial intelligence, and are used to model stress on 3D objects. Here is a visual representation:

Tensors, scalars and vectors each represent, lo and behold, three discrete mathematical degrees of order:
"The tensor is a more generalized form of scalar and vector. Or, the scalar, vector are the special cases of tensor.
  • If a tensor has only magnitude and no direction (i.e., rank 0 tensor), then it is called scalar.
  • If a tensor has magnitude and one direction (i.e., rank 1 tensor), then it is called vector.
  • If a tensor has magnitude and two directions (i.e., rank 2 tensor), then it is called dyad.
  • And so on…
Please note that there are differences between the term “direction" and the term “dimension." All the types of tensor (scalar, vector, and dyad) can be defined in a three dimensional space or co-ordinate system." (from Mechanical Vectors, Rotations, and Tensors)
There is another reason to consider the gravitational force and the space-time manifold as a prior discrete degree from the electromagnetic field mediated by the photon. This is related to some complex math involving a hyperbolic universe, otherwise known by the obscure name of "anti-de Sitter space."  It is called AdS/CFT correspondence, in which a complete string theory involving gravity corresponds to a formal quantum theory with one less spacial dimension:

The name of the theory itself is interesting because Swedenborg constantly used the word "correspondence" to show how lower literal concepts "correspond" to higher level spiritual ideas. For details of its applicability in solving several problems in physics, see AdS-QCD correspondence. The theory is a bit complicated and is most easily understood in the following two videos; the first one below gets to the meat of the matter at 12:19 --

This provides evidence that our universe is holographic, as further explained in the following video, especially beginning at 9:33 --

Ads CFT Correspondence describes how quantum forces are a discrete degree below gravity, similar to how Swedenborg described how electromagnetism is in a discrete degree of aether below the aether or gravity. The idea of correspondence, where the physics of higher dimensions correspond to another physics in a a smaller number of dimensions, is also very similar to Swedenborg's idea of the correspondence in which he discovered that all material things in the universe were a theatrical representation of higher level spiritual ideas.  It is a useful idea in science, and can help us achieve an overarching spiritual theory of the universe.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Monogamous Marriage, Christianity, and the Homosexual Dilemma

In the New Testament there are multiple passages where the spiritual relationship between the Lord and the Church is represented by the marriage of the bridegroom with the bride (Matt. 9:15, 22:1-14, 25:1-13, Rev. 19:7,9, 21:2,9-10) and that Jesus only sanctioned monogamous marriage (Matt. 19:3-11). This principle has brought Christianity in conflict with the recent cultural shift that supports homosexual marriages, and with a culture that is generally lax in sexual morality. This is because the majority in the modern world do not distinguish between the lower natural love of sex, and a higher spiritual love of sex. For the love of sex is something that man shares with animals, but a spiritual love of one of the other sex is spiritual that is unique to man. Moreover, the majority do not even know the spiritual reason why humans are born male and female, which is the justification Jesus gave for monogamous marriages. Answers to these questions have been laid out in detail in heavenly revelations in the work Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, which I think was due to Divine foresight on the present dilemma.

It is simply not enough for Christians to quote the Bible to outsiders on this matter, as there has to be a rational justification.  Even Swedenborg acknowledged this when discussing Matt. 19:
"But although the Lord dictated these words out of the Divine law inscribed on marriage, yet, if the understanding cannot support it with some reason of its own, it may even,—by turns to which it is wont, and by sinister interpretations,—get around the Divine law, and bring it into dim ambiguity" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 332)
This kind of twisting of what Jesus said I have seen even within some Christian churches, with one person stating that Jesus was "just discussing divorce."  Which completely ignores the rationale that Jesus gave, that humans are created male and female, and monogamous marriage fulfills the Divine will. But let us lay out the reasons why monogamous marriages between one man and one woman are spiritual, and other sexual unions are not.


The first principle is that the Divine is Love and Truth itself, and Love and Truth co-exist in a married pair, similar to a fire and the light that emanates from it.  God descended as Divine Truth, known as the Word, in human form, and love and truth manifest in every human being in the will and understanding.  I discussed this a bit earlier in the blog post The Divine Origin of Marriage Love and Sex, but as this is the foundation on any discussion regarding marriage and sex it bears repeating here, as this is the source of all created things:
" each and all things of the universe good is conjoined with truth and truth with good, for this too is a universal truth, closely coherent with the other. The reason why all things in the universe have a relation to good and truth, and that good is conjoined with truth, and truth with good, is that both proceed from the Lord, and proceed from Him as one. The two which proceed from the Lord are love and wisdom, for those are Himself and are therefore from Himself" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 60)
And this is the reason why marriage love is most holy, and it is the love of all loves, for marriage originates from the union of good and truth:
"The reason why marriage love considered as to its essence is the fundamental love of all the loves of heaven and the church is, that its origin is from the marriage of good and truth, and from that marriage all the loves which make heaven and the church with man proceed. The good of that marriage constitutes love, and the truth of it constitutes wisdom; and when love comes to wisdom or conjoins itself with it, it then becomes love indeed; and when in turn wisdom comes to love or conjoins itself with it, it becomes wisdom indeed. True marriage is nothing else than the conjunction of love and wisdom. A married pair between whom or in whom at the same time this love exists, are an image and form of it" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 65)
And this is the reason why marriage is a form that represents the union of the Lord with the Church.  The primary origin of marriage love originates from the spiritual influx of love and truth into each person, and not, as many presume, from the natural desire of the other sex. This was summarized in the following points:
"I. That good and truth are the universals of creation, and hence are in all created things; but that they are in created subjects according to the form of each.
II. That there is no solitary good, nor solitary truth, but that everywhere they are conjoined.
III. That there is truth of good, and the good of truth from that,—or truth from good, and the good from that truth; and that in these two there is implanted by creation an inclination to conjoin themselves into one.
IV. That in the subjects of the animal kingdom truth of good, or truth from good is masculine; and the good of truth from that, or good from that truth, is feminine.
V. That from the influx of the marriage of good and truth from the Lord, there is the love of sex, and there is marriage love.
VI. That the love of sex is of the external or natural man; and hence is common to all animals.
VII. But that marriage love is of the internal or spiritual man, and is therefore peculiar to man.
VIII. That with man marriage love is within the love of sex, as a gem in its matrix.
IX. That the love of sex in man is not the origin of marriage love, but is its antecedent; that is to say, it is as the external natural in which the internal spiritual is implanted.
X. That while marriage love is being implanted the love of sex inverts itself and becomes a chaste love of sex.
XI. That the male and female were created to be the very form of the marriage of good and truth.
XII. That they are that form in their inmosts and thence in the things that follow therefrom, according as the interiors of their minds are opened." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 83)
Point 5 (V) spells out how marriage love originates from the spiritual influx of good and truth:
"V. That from the influx of the marriage of good and truth from the lord, there is the love of sex, and there is marriage love. ...good and truth are the universal of creation, and hence are in all created subjects; that they are in them according to the form of each; and that good and truth proceed from the Lord not as two, but as one. It follows from this that a Universal Marriage Sphere proceeds from the Lord, and pervades the universe from first things to last,—thus from angels even to worms." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 92)


And this is the hidden reason why humans developed into male and female forms; there is no reason for singular cells that can divide by themselves to develop a more complicated method for propagation.  From Divine spiritual influx into the material world, the male was created to be a form of truth, and the female a form of good:
"...a perpetual union of love and wisdom or marriage of good and truth flows in from God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe; and that created subjects receive this, each according to its form. And that from this marriage or this union the male receives truth of wisdom, and to this the good of love is conjoined by the Lord according to reception; that the reception takes place in the understanding; and that from this fact the male is born to become intellectual... On the other hand, that the female is volitional, but volitional from the intellectual of the man, or what is the same that she is love of the man's wisdom,—because she was formed through his wisdom" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 90, 91).
" there is conjunction of good and truth and it is reciprocal, it follows that there is truth of good, or truth from good, and that there is good of truth, or good from truth. ...truth of good or truth from good is in the male, and is the very masculine, and that good of truth or good from truth is in the female, and is the very feminine; and that the marriage union is between these two." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 61).
"The male was so created that he might become wisdom, from the love of acquiring wisdom; and the female, so that she might become love of the male from his wisdom and so according to it. It is plain from this that a married pair are very forms and effigies of the marriage of love and wisdom, or of good and truth." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 66).
This marriage love, by the correspondence of the union of love and truth, is only possible within monogamous marriages between one man and one woman:
"But none come into this love, or can be in it, but those who go to the lord, and love the truths and do the goods of the church. The reason why no others but those who go to the Lord come into this love is that monogamic marriages or marriages of one man with one wife correspond to the marriage of the Lord and the church, and that their origin is the marriage of good and truth" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 70).
There is an internal conjunction with the Lord through spiritual influx, and mediate conjunction with the Lord through monogamous marriage of one man and one woman:
"That the male and female were created to be the very form of the marriage of good and truth.—The reason is that the male was created to be an understanding of truth, thus truth in form; and the female was created to be a will of good, thus good in form; and to both was imparted from the inmosts an inclination to conjunction into one... The two thus make one form, which emulates the marriage form of good and truth. It is said that it emulates this, because it is not the same but similar to it. For the good that conjoins itself with truth in the man is from the Lord immediately; but the—good of the wife which conjoins itself with truth in the man is from the Lord mediately through the wife. Therefore there are two goods, one internal the other external, which conjoin themselves with truth in the husband; and these effect that the husband is constantly in the understanding of truth and thence in wisdom through true marriage love." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 100).

The three principles of the New Church are love, wisdom, and use, or stated in a philosophical way, end, cause and effect.  One's end is one's intent or purpose from one's love, the cause is the mind on how to accomplish one's purpose, and the effect is the actual doing, which performs use.  All good things lead to what is useful, both spiritually and to society - these uses are the fruits of the spirit (see The Spiritual Meaning of Fruit in Scripture).  

And this is why marriage love between one man and one woman should be guarded against all other loves, for it is (obviously) the origin of the human race, and thence the angelic heaven:
"The reason why such a sphere of the marriage of good and truth goes forth from the Lord is that it is the sphere also of propagation, that is of prolification and fructification; and this is the same as the Divine providence for the conservation of the universe by successive generations." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 92)
And this is why all heavenly delights are contained in marriage love:
"[Marriage love] expands the inmost things of the mind, and at the same time the inmost things of the body, as the delicious current of its fountain flows through and opens them. It is because of the superior excellence of its use above all other uses that all delights from first to last are gathered into this love. Its use is the propagation of the human race, and of an angelic heaven therefrom; and as this use was the end of ends of the creation, it follows that all the states of blessedness satisfaction delight, gratification and pleasure that could ever be conferred on man by the Lord Creator are gathered into this love." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 68)


Since marriage love between one man and one woman originate from the spiritual influx of good and truth, the closer one follows marriage love the more that person will progress in their spiritual life. It is thus a requirement to those within the Christian church, which is based on the union of good with truth, or of the Lord with the Church. Swedenborg had the following dialogue with an angel:
""...all who regard adulteries as of no account, that is who believe from confirmation that they are not sins, and so do them of set purpose, are evil doers and impious in their heart. For the human conjugiale [marriage love] and religion go together at every step. Every advance, even every step from religion and in religion is also an advance and step from the conjugiale and in the conjugiale that is peculiar to the Christian man." To the question;—"What is this conjugiale?" he said:—"It is the desire of living with one only wife. And it is in the Christian man according to his religion."" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 80)
Marriage love is a result of growing spiritually in the Lord, away from base natural desires:
"But that marriage love is of the internal or spiritual man; and is therefore peculiar to man.—The reason why marriage love is of the internal or spiritual man is that the more intelligent and wise a man becomes the more he becomes internal or spiritual, and the more perfect becomes the form of his mind, and that form receives marriage love." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 95)
"Since wisdom is of life and thence of reason, as was said above, the question arises, What is wisdom of life? In a brief summary it is this:—To shun evils because they are hurtful to the soul, hurtful to the state, and hurtful to the body; and to do good deeds because they are of advantage to the soul, to the state, and to the body. This is the wisdom which is meant by wisdom wherewith marriage love allies itself. It allies itself therewith in truth by the fact that it shuns the evil of adultery as a bane to the soul, to the state, and to the body. And as this wisdom springs from spiritual things which are of the church, it follows that marriage love, because it is according to the state of wisdom is according to the state of the church in a man. It is also meant by this, that—as has been stated many times before—in the degree that a man becomes spiritual he is in true marriage love; for man is made spiritual by means of the spiritual things of the church." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 130)
Marriage love is a special gift given specifically to those who follow the Lord, for it is spiritual in nature:
"The reason why those who love the truths of the church and do its goods come into this love, and can abide in it is, that they and no others are received by the Lord; for they are in conjunction with Him, and thereby can be kept by Him in this love. There are two things which constitute the church and therefore heaven in man, truth of faith and good of life. Truth of faith constitutes the Lord's presence, and good of life according to truths of faith effects conjunction with Him, and thus makes the church and heaven. Truth of faith constitutes the Lord's presence because it is of the nature of light. Spiritual light is nothing else. Good of life effects conjunction because it is of the nature of heat. Spiritual heat is nothing else; for it is love, and good of life is of love. And it is known that all light even that of winter brings presence, and that heat united with light effects conjunction; for fruit and flower gardens appear in all light but do not blossom and bear fruit except when heat conjoins itself with light. From these considerations the conclusion is plain that they who only know the truths of the church cannot be gifted by the Lord with true marriage love, but they who both know its truths and do its goods." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 72)


Given that marriage love is holy, and originates from the Divine marriage of good and truth, and is the origin of the human race and the angelic heavens, and goes hand in hand with one's spiritual development, obviously all sexual relations outside of marriage love should be shunned:
"The reason why none can be in true marriage love but those who receive it from the Lord,—who are those who go directly to Him and from Him live the life of the church,—is that this love viewed from its origin and its correspondence is celestial, spiritual, holy, pure and clean, beyond every love that exists among the angels of heaven and among the men of the church... and these its attributes cannot be given except to those who are conjoined with the Lord and are consociated by Him with angels of heaven. For these shun loves outside of marriage, which are conjunctions with others than one's own consort, as they would flee from ruin of the soul and from the lakes of hell; and so far as consorts shun such conjunctions even as to the lusts of the will and intentions thence, in so far the love is purified in them, and gradually becomes spiritual,—first while they live on earth, and afterwards in heaven." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 71)
Swedenborg spoke with angels who said the ancients were given this advice for spiritual living:
"Sons, if you would love God and the neighbor, and if you would be wise, and be happy to eternity, we counsel you to live in single marriage. If you depart from this precept every heavenly joy will flee from you, and with it internal wisdom, and you will be destroyed." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 77)
Furthermore they said this:
"And we perceive the truth of it,—which is, that in so far as any man loves one only consort he becomes heavenly and internal; and that in so far as any man does not love one only consort he becomes natural and external—and does not love at all, except himself and the imaginations of his own mind, and is foolish and insane. It is on these considerations that we in this heaven are all in single marriage. And because we are so the boundaries of our heaven are all guarded against polygamists, adulterers, and whoremongers. If polygamists enter they are cast out—into the darkness of the north; if adulterers, they are cast out, into the fires of the west; and if whoremongers, they are cast out into the fatuous lights of the south." On hearing this I asked what he meant by the darkness of the north, the fires of the west, and the fatuous lights of the south. He answered:—"The darkness of the north is dullness of mind and ignorance of truth; the fires of the west are loves of evil; and the fatuous lights of the south are falsifications of truth. These are spiritual scortations." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 77)
From the above, there are three general degrees of sexual lusts that deviate from marriage love:
  1. Polygamy
  2. Fornication or harlotry
  3. Adultery
These degrees progressively deviate from marriage love, from least offense to worst offense. Whereas marriage love leads to a life of heaven, adultery leads to the condemnation of hell.  So where does homosexuality fall in the above three categories?  Swedenborg discusses it briefly in two passages when discussing the sins of Sodom - in one case, he says it is the "evil of the worst adultery" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2220) and in another it is a "foulness which is contrary to the order of nature" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2322). Swedenborg does not dwell on the literal act of homosexuality itself, but what it represents in a spiritual sense. Whereas marriage love represents and corresponds to the union of love and truth, homosexuality corresponds to the love of self. It is thus diametrically opposed to the love of God. In multiple passages, Swedenborg describes how no adulterer is able to enter heaven, but are repelled by it due to their opposing and destructive love. To make matters worse, on multiple occasions Swedenborg mentions encountering "sodomite" hells (Spiritual Diary, n. 1977, 2675, 3768, 3796, 5939, 6096; Apocalypse Explained, n. 1006.2 - for further details, see the article What do the Writings say about homosexuality? by Jeremy Simons). Some passages may be just the hells are those who primarily are in the love of self, and not just those who engaged in homosexuality, but as said above, one's sexual life goes hand in hand with one's spirituality.

Thus it is sad to see that there are several Christian denominations and ministers who do not have a proper understanding of how important marriage love is in one's relationship with the Lord.  To make matters worse, one does not have to engage in adultery, one can commit spiritual adultery by consenting to it, and stating that there is no spiritual harm in such behavior (see also The Spiritual Consequences of Adultery and the Origin of Marriage Love):
"Adulteries of the third degree are adulteries of the reason, committed by those who by the understanding confirm that they are not evils of sin" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 490).
"Adulteries of the fourth degree are adulteries of the will, committed by those who regard them as allowable and pleasurable, and not of so much account as to make it worth the while to consult the understanding about them" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 492).
The reason for this is all actions are judged by the intent of the will, and consent in itself is an intention of the will.


I give the worst warning first concerning homosexuality. Is there any exception? First, only God judges whether or not one goes to heaven or hell, which is why Jesus said to "judge not" (Matt. 7:1). Many homosexuals say they were "born this way."  There does happen to be a possible exception which is why in a previous post A Christian Revelation on Marriage and Sex I had said that homosexual relationships are at best "civil marriages," but definitely not spiritual ones.  The reason why I said this is twofold: for one, polygamy is permissible for societies that are not Christian who are in the mere natural love of sex (which I did not discuss here). Secondly, Swedenborg did acknowledge that some people happen to be born different, and do not have a capacity to understand or experience marriage love and tend to be asexual in nature. First, Swedenborg explains that "chastity" is not a state of virginity, but a chaste desire for marriage love:
"That chaste, is predicated only of monogamic marriages, or those of one man with one wife. The reason why chaste is predicated only of these marriages is that with them marriage love resides not in the natural man, but penetrates to the spiritual, and opens a way for itself successively to the very spiritual marriage—that of good and truth—which is its origin, and with which it conjoins itself" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 141).
But some people are born differently and are unable to receive marriage love, whom he calls "eunuchs":
"Chastity cannot be predicated of those born eunuchs; nor of those made eunuchs.—By those born eunuchs are meant especially those with whom from birth the ultimate of the love is wanting. And as in such case the first and mediate are without a foundation on which to subsist, these cannot come forth; or if they come forth such have no care to distinguish between the chaste and the unchaste,—for both are indifferent to them. But among these there are many differences. The case is nearly the same with those made eunuchs as with those born eunuchs. But those made eunuchs, because they are both men and women, cannot but regard marriage love as a fantasy, and its delights as fables. If there is anything of inclination in them it becomes neuter, that is neither chaste nor unchaste" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 151).
Thus for such people to act against marriage love is not so much of a sin as it is for others. To them, everything about marriage love is irrelevant. Interestingly, after the disciples said few would accept Jesus' command for marriage love, he said it is not for everyone, and that some were born as eunuchs (Matt. 19). However we would have to admit here that the term "eunuch" is typically used for those who do not engage in any sexual activity.

If we look at some science here, there is evidence of genetic abnormalities which can affect one's capacity to receive and accept marriage love (see Klinefelter Syndrome and Study of gay brothers may confirm X chromosome link to homosexuality).  Swedenborg does discuss evils that are inherited, and we are not judged for inherited evils, but for evils that are done by choice:
"No one ever suffers punishment in the other life on account of hereditary evil, because it is not his, and thus he is not to blame for being of this nature; but he suffers for actual evil, which is his own, and thus also for as much as he has appropriated to himself of hereditary evil by actual life" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2308)
However it has been called into doubt that homosexuality is genetic - it may be at best a tendency to account for some, but not all cases. We should not use genetics as an excuse for free choices we have made. Others have found links between homosexual behavior and how they grew up as a child:
"A number of studies have found that homosexuality is related to poor parental relationships, certain types of parents, a history of general frustration in interpersonal relationships with persons of the opposite sex, negative early heterosexual experiences, and poor identification with the same sexed parent (often based on covert expression of the parent's superego defects)...  Probably the most famous research which demolished the long-stranding belief that homosexuality was biological was published by Dr. Irving Bieber in 1962. Dr. Bieber and his researchers cited the case histories of 106 homosexuals who were treated by the Society of Medical Psychoanalysts. They found that a remarkable proportion of them had been reared by mothers who were over protective throughout their childhoods. The mothers of these homosexuals regarded their children as their "pride and joy"-to be protected from the hazards of growing up. According to this research, the mother jealously protected her boy from any girl who might show an interest in him. She often catered to his every whim and smothered him with affection, openly preferring him to her husband. Some of this attention had obvious sexual overtones, even to the extent of having him sleep in her bedroom until after he reached adolescence. In these cases, the son evidently unconsciously replaced the husband as a love object. Importantly, though, this type of mother and a father who is cold and aloof are both necessary. If a son of an overprotective mother has a warm, affectionate father who sets a good role example and the son can look up to him, homosexuality will not develop, according to Bieber." (from The Genetic Basis of Homosexuality)
Implied in the above study is lack of fatherly love, and early suppression of one's sexual desire.  On the latter point, Swedenborg does warn that suppression of sexual desire can be perverted into homosexual activity.  To guard against this, in such men where the sex drive is strong and there is a long delay before marriage, sexual activity before marriage may be a necessity:
"That with some men the love of sex cannot without harm be totally withheld from going forth in fornication.—There is no need to recount the injuries which excessive restraint of the love of sex may cause and effect with those who from superabundance suffer from intense venereal excitement. Hence are the earliest beginnings with them of certain diseases of the body and disorders of mind,—to say nothing of unknown evils, not to be named. It is different with those whose love of sex is so moderate that they are able to resist the urgings of its longing desire." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 450)
By "unknown evils, not to be named" Swedenborg is talking about homosexual activity, as it was commonly called by that euphemistic phrase in his day (see the article What do the Writings say about homosexuality? by Jeremy Simons, to show evidence for this). And then there is this passage:
"That with those who for various causes cannot yet enter into marriage, and on account of immoderate desire cannot control their lusts, it is possible that this desire for marriage may be preserved if the wandering love of sex be strictly confined to one mistress.—That immoderate and inordinate lust cannot be prevented by those who are salacious, reason sees and experience teaches. In order then that the immoderation and inordinacy may be curbed, and be brought to some moderation and rule, by those who are afflicted with raging heat and cannot for many reasons anticipate and hasten marriage—there seems no other refuge and as it were asylum than to take a paramour, called in French a maitresse. ...thereby inordinate promiscuous fornications are curbed, and limited, and a state of more restraint induced which is less alien to the life of marriage love... Likewise adulteries are thereby guarded against, which are whoredoms with wives; and ravishments, which are violations of virgins,—not to speak of criminal acts which are not to be named." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 459)
Again, suppressed sexual desire may find a perverted outlet in homosexual activity. The advice given in Swedenborg's work is a bit more broad and practical, and not so restricted as it may tend to be in other Christian literature. In this case, for some having a mistress before marriage is the lesser of evils. Swedenborg explains that total restraint on the sex drive is unnatural, and this has led to the crisis in the Catholic church where priests who have taken a vow of celibacy have sexually abused children. Such celibacy was never commanded, and Swedenborg was shown that those who prefer celibacy do not reach the highest state of happiness in heaven but dwell in a separate region at the sides of heaven:
"The reason why the unmarried are at the side of heaven is, that the sphere of perpetual celibacy greatly disturbs the sphere of marriage love, which is the very sphere of heaven. The sphere of marriage love is the very sphere of heaven because it descends from the heavenly marriage of the Lord and the church."  (Heaven and Hell, n. 54.5)
And in another passage, there is a warning of completely suppressing sexual desire in taking a vow of celibacy:
"Chastity cannot be predicated of those who have abjured marriages by a vow of perpetual celibacy, unless there is and abides in them a love of true marriage life.—Chastity cannot be predicated of these for the reason that after the vow of perpetual celibacy marriage love is driven out,—of which alone nevertheless chastity is predicable. And because an inclination to the sex is yet inherent, from creation and hence by birth; and when this is restrained and repressed it cannot be but that the inclination will break forth in heat, and with some in a ferment, which as it rises up from the body into the spirit infests, and with some befouls it; and it may be that the spirit thence befouled will befoul also the things of religion" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 155)

I have covered a lot of ground, and to every rule there is an exception, but generally one can tell how true a church is to Christianity and the Lord in how it values and protects monogamous marriage between one man and one woman. There are valid reasons for divorce, which I have not covered here. And to be fairly balanced, Swedenborg does talk about unhealthy "marriages of hell" where one partner tries to have dominion over the other. But homosexuality, at best, can only be permitted as a civil marriage, and is by no means a spiritual one. Contained within that activity is the threat of adultery against marriage love, the love between the Lord and the church, one's spiritual growth, and going against the Divine will of propagating the human race and thus the angelic heavens. And while there may be evidence of genetic tendencies, one should not discount one's free will to make a choice, and one should examine the possible psychological origins, especially the unnatural suppression of sexual desire.

There are many opinions on these matters, but Christians should prefer to follow the commandment of Jesus on this matter, and what has been revealed in heavenly revelations. I have provided here the spiritual rationale for what Jesus commanded. Is a cultural, experimental and unproven tradition more important? Jesus would ask us, "Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matt. 15:3). And if so, He would then say, "for the sake of your tradition you have made void the Word of God" (Matt. 15:6). A servant cannot serve two masters. For those who have committed adultery, there is a way back, but only through repentance:
"I have been instructed by angels that when any one commits adultery on earth, heaven is then immediately closed to him, and he afterward lives only in worldly and corporeal things; and although he then hears of the things of love and faith, they still do not penetrate to his interiors; and what he says about them himself does not come from his interiors, but only from the memory and the mouth, being called forth by pride or the love of gain; for his interiors are closed up, and cannot be opened but by serious repentance." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2750)