Friday, June 19, 2015

Keep the Faith says a Prince of Bible Study

Colin Wilson has written: "Medieval culture was based on saints and visionaries; modern culture is based on Freud, Darwin and Marx. We envy Dante and Fra Angelico for having a heaven to soar into. And we recognize that men like Pascal, Blake, Swedenborg were attempting to reassert the basic reality of heaven, and so to create the conditions in which the spirit could soar. Our materialistic philosophy has made us slaves of the trivial. Yet how could Swedenborg and Blake begin to undermine this materialism? Only by asserting the solid "reality" of the visionary world. Blake said he saw a tree full of angels. Possibly he was lying--or exaggerating. But what of a man who says, "No, it is just a tree." Is he not lying too? Perhaps Blake's angels are closer to the truth..."

From a new translation (by George F. Dole) into modern English of the unique major work, Heaven and Hell, by the West's most remarkable philosopher and theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg

After death, a person is engaged in every sense, memory, thought, and affection he was engaged in the world: he leaves nothing behind except his earthly body.

Manifold experience has witnessed to me that when a person crosses over from the natural into the spiritual world, which happens when he dies, he carries with him everything that is his, or everything belonging to his person, except his earthly body. For when a person enters the spiritual world, or the life after death, he is in a body the way he was in this world. There seems to be no difference, since he does not feel or see any difference. But his body is spiritual, and so is separated and purified from earthly elements. Further, when something spiritual touches and sees something spiritual, it is just the same as when something natural touches and sees something natural.

As a result, when a person has become a spirit, he cannot tell he is not in the body he had in the world, and consequently does not know that he has died.

Further, the spirit person enjoys every outward and inward sense he enjoyed in the world. As before, he sees; as before, he hears and speaks, he smells and tastes; as before he feels the pressure when he is touched. He still yearns, wishes, craves, thinks, ponders, is moved, loves, and intends as before. A person who enjoyed scholarly work reads and writes as before. In a word, when a person crosses from one life to the other, or from one world to the other, it is as though he had gone from one place to another and had taken with himself all the things he possessed in his own right as a person. This holds true to the point that one cannot say that a person has lost anything of his own after death, which is a death of the earthly body alone.

He even carries his natural memory with him. For he keeps all the things he has heard, seen, read, learned, or thought in the world from earliest infancy right to the last moment of his life. However, since the natural items that dwell in his memory cannot be reproduced in a spiritual world, they quiesce the way they do with a person who is not thinking about them. Still, they can be duplicated when it pleases the Lord.

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