Although so much is new in Swedenborg’s philosophy that “we must take Swedenborg in a large measure as independent of historical antecedents, and try to place ourselves in his own distinctive point of view,” nevertheless there are elements in Swedenborg’s arguments that cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the philosophical concepts and terms of his day. They are part of the very language in which his writing is phrased. The significance of such knowledge is further emphasized by the consideration that it is actually through an awareness of Swedenborg’s philosophical world, the world in which and for which he wrote, that we are enabled to stand where he stood and, as Hite says, “place ourselves in his distinctive point of view.”
The purpose of this paper is to outline several different paradigms held by Christians as to the infallibility of Revelation, and then to see how we in the New Church either wittingly or unwittingly have adopted or adapted these different paradigms in our approach to the Writings. In doing this we have caused schisms in the church, both by holding to our accepted paradigm, and also by failing to see how our own paradigm of revelation fits with paradigms of science, history, and philosophy. After tracing this development I intend to offer another paradigm expressing my own understanding of the nature of Divine Revelation, a paradigm which I believe is indicated by the Writings.
TOWARD A RECONCILIATION OF SOME CAUSAL CONCEPTS OF SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, AND RELIGION