I have recently re-read the series of articles on The Human Mind by Dr. H. Lj. Odhner, as published in the New Philosophy, from January 1954 through January 1956. This is a very valuable study, including an historic survey of ideas concerning the nature of the human mind, and contrasting these with the teaching of the Writings on the subject. It is a distinct contribution to the philosophic thought of the New Church.
In the first chapter of True Christian Religion, on God the Creator and Creation, it is said that a detailed description of how the world was created “does not properly belong to a system of theology, which is the subject of this book” (TCR 75e), and a sketch of the creation process is then given in a series of Memorabilia. The meaning of the statement is evidently this: that the universe was created by God is a theological truth, but how it was created by Him does not belong to theology as the Writings define it, namely, “the universal doctrine of the salvation of man” (AR 133). God, charity and faith are the essentials on which theology is founded, and the process of Divine creation, apart from the fact, has nothing to do with these.
It is both an honor and a pleasure to have a share in paying tribute to Dr. Hugo Lj. Odhner on this occasion, and without diminishing the honor, I feel in this case even more conscious of the pleasure.I am to speak a little about the use of studying the mind. In a sense we are studying Dr. Odhner’s mind tonight, but although this is an age of specialization we permit ourselves to widen the scope to include also the minds of the rest of mankind, yet do this while acknowledging the many helpful and studious contributions that have flowed from his. I am personally indebted to him, both as a former pupil of his and as a fellow-teacher, having inherited not only one of his courses in the Theological School but also his notes for that course. In this case I refer particularly to some 120 typescript pages on “The Human Mind, Its Faculties and Degrees.”