Emanuel Swedenborg

Swedish 18th century scientist and theologian

Emanuel Swedenborg (29 January 168829 March 1772) was a Swedish philosopher, mystic, and scientist.

A life of kindness is the primary meaning of divine worship.


Man knows that love is, but not what it is.
All in heaven take joy in sharing their delights and blessings with others.
Angels never attack, as infernal spirits do. Angels only ward off and defend.
  • Man knows that love is, but not what it is.
    • Divine Love and Wisdom #1
  • Homo qui scit omnia bona et omnia vera, quotcunque sciri possunt, et non fugit mala, nihil scit
    • A person who knows all that is good and all that is true — as much as can be known — but does not resist evils, knows nothing.
    • Apocalypse Explained #1180
  • All religion relates to life, and the life of religion is to do good.
    • The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning Life #1
  • A life of kindness is the primary meaning of divine worship.
    • New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine #124
  • There is one God, in whom there is the Divine Trinity, and he is the Lord Jesus Christ. This can be briefly illustrated in the following way: It is a certain and established truth that God is one, and his essence cannot be divided; and also that there is a Trinity. Since God is One, and his essence cannot be divided, it follows that God is one Person. And since he is one Person, the Trinity is in that Person. It is clear that this Person is the Lord Jesus Christ from the fact that he was conceived from God the Father (Luke 1:34, 35), and thus as to his soul and life itself he is God. Therefore, as he himself said, "he and the Father are one." (John 10:30).
    • Brief Exposition #44
  • Since the Bible is a divine revelation, every single part of it is divine. Anything that comes from the divine could be no other way. Everything that comes from the divine goes down through the heavens all the way to people on earth. In heaven it is adapted to the wisdom of the angels there, and on earth it is adapted to the understanding of the people there. So the Bible has an inner, spiritual meaning for angels and an outer, material-level meaning for people on earth. That is why our connection to heaven happens through the Bible.
    • The New Jerusalem #252
  • Some people believe it is hard to lead the heaven-bound life that is called "spiritual" because they have heard that we need to renounce the world and give up the desires attributed to the body and the flesh and "live spiritually." All they understand by this is spurning worldly interests, especially concerns for money and prestige, going around in constant devout meditation about God, salvation, and eternal life, devoting their lives to prayer, and reading the Word and religious literature. They think this is renouncing the world and living for the spirit and not for the flesh. However, the actual case is quite different, as I have learned from an abundance of experience and conversation with angels. In fact, people who renounce the world and live for the spirit in this fashion take on a mournful life for themselves, a life that is not open to heavenly joy, since our life does remain with us [after death]. No, if we would accept heaven's life, we need by all means to live in the world and to participate in its duties and affairs. In this way, we accept a spiritual life by means of our moral and civic life; and there is no other way a spiritual life can be formed within us, no other way our spirits can be prepared for heaven. This is because living an inner life and not an outer life at the same time is like living in a house that has no foundation, that gradually either settles or develops gaping cracks or totters until it collapses.
    • Heaven and Hell #528
  • When someone's body can no longer perform its functions in the natural world in response to the thoughts and affections of its spirit (which it derives from the spiritual world), then we say that the individual has died. This happens when the lungs' breathing and the heart's systolic motion have ceased. The person, though, has not died at all. We are only separated from the physical nature that was useful to us in the world. The essential person is actually still alive. I say that the essential person is still alive because we are not people because of our bodies but because of our spirits. After all, it is the spirit within us that thinks, and thought and affection together make us the people we are. We can see, then, that when we die we simply move from one world into another. This is why in the inner meaning of the Bible, "death" means resurrection and a continuation of life.
    • Heaven and Hell #445

Arcana Coelestia (1749 - 1756)Edit

"Heavenly Secrets" Full text online
  • Angels never attack, as infernal spirits do. Angels only ward off and defend.
    • #1683
  • Angels from the Lord lead and protect us every moment and every moment of every moment.
    • #5992

Quotes about Emanuel SwedenborgEdit

  • The real importance of Swedenborg lies in the doctrines he taught, which are the reverse of the gloom and hell-fire of other breakaway sects. He rejects the notion that Jesus died on the cross to atone for the sin of Adam, declaring that God is neither vindictive nor petty-minded, and that since he is God, he doesn't need atonement. It is remarkable that this common-sense view had never struck earlier theologians. God is Divine Goodness, and Jesus is Divine Wisdom, and Goodness has to be approached through Wisdom. Whatever one thinks about the extraordinary claims of its founder, it must be acknowledged that there is something very beautiful and healthy about the Swedenborgian religion. Its founder may have not been a great occultist, but he was a great man.
  • His rare science and practical skill, and the added fame of second sight and extraordinary religious knowledge and gifts, drew to him queens, nobles, clergy, ship-masters and people about the ports through which he was wont to pass in his many voyages. The clergy interfered a little with the importation and publication of his religious works, but he seems to have kept the friendship of men in power. He was never married. He had great modesty and gentleness of bearing. His habits were simple; he lived on bread, milk and vegetables; he lived in a house situated in a large garden... He is described...as a man of a quiet, clerical habit, not averse to tea and coffee, and kind to children... A colossal soul, he lies vast abroad on his times, uncomprehended by them, and requires a long focal distance to be seen; suggests, as Aristotle, Bacon, Selden, & Humboldt, that a certain vastness of learning, or quasi omnipresence of the human soul in nature, is possible.
  • Swedenborg... exaggerates the circumstance of marriage... and fancies a wiser choice in heaven. But of progressive souls, all loves and friendships are momentary. Do you love me? means, Do you see the same truth?... I know how delicious is this cup of love,—I existing for you, you existing for me; but it is a child’s clinging to his toy... For God is the bride or bridegroom of the soul. Heaven is not the pairing of two, but the communion of all souls. We meet, and dwell an instant under the temple of one thought, and part, as though we parted not, to join another thought in other fellowships of joy. So far from there being anything divine in the low and proprietary sense of Do you love me? It is only when you leave and lose me by casting yourself on a sentiment which is higher than both of us, that I draw near and find myself at your side; and I am repelled if you fix your eye on me and demand love. In fact, in the spiritual world we change sexes every moment. You love the worth in me... but it is not me, but the worth, that fixes the love; and that worth is a drop of the ocean of worth that is beyond me.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson in Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). The Complete Works. 1904. Vol. IV. Representative Men: Seven Lectures, III. Swedenborg; or, the Mystic,] p. 5

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about:
  • Words of Wisdom An extended range of quotations from the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.