Intelligent Default: Using Emanuel Swedenborg’s Theistic Science To Solve Contemporary Problems In Natural Philosophy. By Reuben P. Bell, Publisher: Swedenborg Scientific Association, ISBN: 978-0-915221-54-7.
Emanuel Swedenborg came of age with the rise of modern science and the waning of religious orthodoxy. As a theistic scientist he was at odds with the naturalism of his colleagues, and as a mystical theologian he was equally at odds with orthodox Christianity. Yet his accomplishments in science and spirituality did much to improve the lot of both: his scientific discoveries are capable of informing twenty-first century physicsand biology, and the spiritual principles hediscovered are sufficiently comprehensive tosupport a model inclusive of both. His methodis as useful today as it was in his time.To support this claim, Intelligent Defaultapplies Swedenborg’s science, spirituality, andmethod to a present-day problem in the naturalsciences: the evolution of organic forms. UsingSwedenborg’s doctrines of influx, degrees,forms, correspondence, and others, whichcombine to produce a comprehensive modelof spiritual causation, new light is shed onthis perennial problem: natural forms are not“designed,” nor do they appear by accident.Every organic form is a “default setting,” asit were, established according to parametersinherent in matter, in response to environmentalconditions, but dependent on reciprocal,functional interaction with a spiritual cause aswell.These parameters are analogically reflectiveof the divine human form, manifesting itselfin continual creation. A comprehensivetreatment of Swedenborg’s doctrines offorms and correspondence reveals theseprinciples to be complementary structural andfunctional mechanisms of spiritual-naturalinflux, respectively. Change of form is bydiscrete degrees of order, and spiritual-naturalinteraction is by corresponding function. Whatresults is matter, receptive of and responsive todivine influx, participating in the human form,to the limits of its organizational parameters.These parameters, seen from our naturalperspective as the physical constraints of natural laws, are this divine human formaccommodated to and at work in the naturalworld, apart from, and yet interactive withit. Evolution of new forms and adaptation ofexisting forms to changing conditions occur inthe crucible of the “randomness” of nature intowhich, at its inmost level, flows the template ofthe human form divine.
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