The New Philosophy Vol 105 No 1-2, January-June 2002
Good evening! We gather here tonight to commemorate the birthday of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) and to honor his role in the salvation drama of the human race. We recognize him as the man who, over two and a half centuries ago, was called by the Lord to announce the Last Judgment and proclaim His Second Coming.
The purpose of this article is to contrast two theories of truth: the secular Postmodern theory and the Neo-Christian theory. This article constitutes a sketch of a very large topic. It has seven sections. The first two introduce the topic by stating what truth is, why the subject is important, and in what sense it is important. The third, fourth, and fifth sections proceed in a dialectical manner. The secular Postmodern assertion that there is no such thing as absolute truth is followed by the Neo-Christian assertion that there is: God is absolute truth. The objection that even if there is absolute truth, we cannot know it, is met in sections four and five. In these sections I not only show (from revelation) that we can know the truth, but also that we can have an awareness that what we know is the truth. The sixth section is designed to rebut the secular Postmodern assertion that we cannot love the truth for its own sake. The final section is entitled “A Cautionary Tale.” It is a memorable relation that illustrates the fate of a secular Postmodernist in the life after death.
For over two centuries scholars have unearthed, reproduced, transcribed, published, and translated hundreds of documents penned by Emanuel Swedenborg. It seems that nothing was too mundane for their scrutiny and dissemination. It is astounding, therefore, that there exists a six-volume work by Emanuel Swedenborg that is a storehouse on which he constantly drew in writing his theological works from 1747–1771 that to this day has no critical Latin edition or English translation: Swedenborg’s Index Biblicus, an extensive collection of indexes to the Old and New Testaments. Parts of it have seen the light of day in rearranged form, combined with other material from his later theological works, but to this day the only reliable edition is a photo reproduction of Swedenborg’shandwritten original. Swedenborg’s Bible indexes were produced not long after his spiritual awakening in the transitional period before he started work on Arcana Coelestia. The circumstances that apparently led to his indexing the Bible are briefly the following.