In the Divine Love and Wisdom, Swedenborg says : "The knowledge of degrees is as it were the key to open the causes of things, and enter into them. Without it scarcely anything of cause can be known, tor without it the objects and subjects of both worlds appear so general as to seem to have nothing i n them but what is seen with the eye ; when nevertheless this, respectively to the things which lie interiorly concealed, is as one to thousands,yea to myriads. The interior things which lie hidden can by no means be discovered, unless degrees be understood ; for exterior things advance to interior things , and these to inmost, by degrees ; not by continuous degrees, but by discrete degrees. Decrements or decreasings from grosser to finer, or from denser to rarer, or rather increments and increasings from finer to grosser, or from rarer to denser, like that of light to shade, or of heat to cold, are called continuous degrees. But discrete degrees are entirely different; they are i n the relation of prior, posterior, and postreme, or of end, cause, and effect. They are called discrete degrees, because the prior is by itself, the posterior by itself, and the postreme by itself ; but still , taken together, they make a one. The atmospheres which are called ether and air, from highest to lowest, or from the sun to the earth, are discriminated in to such degrees, and are as simples, the congregates of these simples, and again the congregates of thesecongregates, which taken together, are called a composite. These last degrees are discrete, because they exist distinctly , and they are understood by degrees of altitude ; but the former degrees are continuous, because they continually increase, and they are understood by degrees of latitude . " D. Iy. W . , I84.
Theology and science deal with two great classes of human knowledge which are separated from each other by a discrete degree; but which are intimately connected and interrelated. Theology deals with spiritual and divine things, with the soul and interior principles of life and action, which are learned through revelation. Science, on the other hand, deals with nature in its various departments, with facts that are known and acquired by or through the senses. Science is the arrangement in systematic form of the knowledge of outward nature; theology is the arrangement in systematic form of the knowledge of God, and the spiritual things from God. God, spirit and matter are a trine following in order, God, the origin and source of the other two, is the inmost, the highest, fromwhich all other things derive their being. Spirit is the soul and essence of all finite forms, and matter is the foundation, basis and resting place on which all higher things rest. Perfect harmony exists between the Creator and creation. It cannot be otherwise. The creation responds to every governing and cont r o l l i ng impulse of the Divine. This is true of God in his relation to spirit and matter; but is this the case between the various departments of human knowledge that deal with these things? To this question we must certainly answer "no." Throughout human history, what men have known and taught concerning nature has frequently been in direct opposition to that which they have taught in the domain of theology. I n this address it is my purpose to t r y and present some principles which may give some reasons why these differences have arisen, why they still exist, and finally to present those principles which will harmonize the two.
The recent revival of interest in Swedenborg's Scientific Works among New Churchmen has resulted, in Chicago, in the organization of an Association for the purpose of studying, and promoting interest in the study of, those works. After several preliminary meetings a simple and brief constitution was adopted.