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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in natural world (2)


Emanuel Swedenborg Phone Home: A Mystic Perspective On Aliens

Using Swedenborg's descriptions of alien life, Vaishali finds comic irony in that, while we as a culture obsess over the possibility of life on other planets, allocating massive funds in search of scientific proof of it, those life forms reject our banal material focus in preference for the sublime worship of One. You can find other essays on the topic of extra-terrestrial life published by New Church Perspective here. -Editor.

We all know that scientists around the world have been searching for alien life. They have been behaving like the ultimate in universal voyeurs, keeping a roving eye out for signs of “other worldly life forms”, poised listening, like the nosey eavesdropping neighbor, for any possible alien transmissions - intergalactic messages. We are also familiar with the various scenarios science fiction writers have depicted as possible outcomes of alien and human life reaching out and touching one another. It runs from “Star Trek” to “The Martian Chronicles” and Spielberg’s “E.T.” to “Independence Day”, “Mars Attacks” and even “I Had An Alien’s Baby” in the supermarket tabloids. At least the science fiction writers are more creative and broad-minded in their speculative surmising. Between the hard measurable facts and the flights of human imaginative fancy is there some information that exists, right now, about the actuality of alien life, and how they may be responding to us? The answer is... yes! The source however may surprise you. The author I will be drawing upon has impeccable credentials and has attained an unquestionable level of scientific and academic accomplishment. His observations, however, may read to many like the ramblings of an over inventive, over active imagination. Sound interesting? Well, it is! And, this author’s books and writings about his contact with alien life forms have been around for hundreds of years and published in dozens of languages. Stumped? Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to the 18th century scientist mystic Emanuel Swedenborg.

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Atomic Tension

Allen explains the atomic tensions that are the root of all the variety we witness in the universe. From this exploration he is able to glean spiritual truths that mimic this fundamental creative dynamic. This was first published in the student newspaper of the Bryn Athyn College, BACON Bits, in April of 2009. -Editor.

Teaching chemistry at Bryn Athyn College, a New Church institution, I have the opportunity to explore science and religion in a Swedenborgian context. Seeing the physical world as God’s creation and therefore reflecting, at least in its matter and forces, God’s intent, opens up additional dimensions of meaning embedded in physical law. If the natural and spiritual worlds are both created by God, and created as a whole rather than as wholly separate cosmoses, then we can expect to find in our study of the natural world insight into the spiritual world as well. In the New Church these connections are often called “correspondences,” a term used many times in English translations of Swedenborg’s theological works. I find pursuit of these connections more satisfying than engaging in debates about the authority of science and religion. Rather than determining which perspective should have more standing, I feel that each has standing in its own context, and that the tension sometimes created between the two can enrich both.

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