Swedenborg Scientific Association

Publishers of The New Philosophy Journal

by Rev. Hugo Lj. Odhner



Not only the philosophical works of Emanuel Swedenborg, but also the theological Writings (in their external or biographical aspect) testify that Swedenborg’s mind was in a state of constant growth and contained the record of the continually new knowledge which he acquired by reflection upon the phenomena of both worlds. In the Writings we thus find not only a new Divine revelation of spiritual truths for the New Church, but also the evidence of a final development of Swedenborg’s own understanding of philosophical principles. In the Writings, many of these principles are given a Divine imprimatur as a vehicle of revealed doctrine, and certain new natural truths are introduced without which the doctrine would be meaningless.

But a philosophy is a very personal thing: it is a way of thinking, by which a man explains to himself his own varied experiences and reconciles his knowledge with the inmost perceptions of his faith and conscience. As such, a philosophy cannot be merely transferred from man to man, by total adoption. The factual data which Swedenborg had to explain, differ from those which confront us; his knowledge was both greater and less than the knowledge we call ours. His faith – his religious grasp – underwent many changes that find only vague parallels in our own development. His philosophy, therefore, at no point is so definite that any two New Church men can adopt it with like assurance.Yet certain stated principles of a man’s philosophy can be of untold benefit to others who struggle with similar problems.

In the New Church we know that Swedenborg, as he advanced in knowledge, was being led by the Lord towards a definite end, so that his rational mind might be equipped and enlightened to recognize and formulate the very truths of heaven given by Divine inspiration in the Writings. For this reason we may expect to see, even in the rich record of his preparatory studies, the principles or “beginnings” (principia) of a philosophy which may help to lead us also out of the confusion and darkness of a skeptical age into the light of a real understanding.These principles, or fundamentals of thought, are not so easily listed. For example, the work published in 1734 as the first volume of Swedenborg’s studies of the “Mineral Kingdom” – and entitled “The Principles of Natural Things, or New Attempts to Explain Philosophically the Phenomena of the Elementary World” – cannot as such be regarded as his final conclusion on the subject or as an ‘Open, sesame’ to all the mysteries of the Writings; and we must distinguish between the things therein which are theoretical and mathematical calculations about the constitution of matter, and those which are statements of permanent philosophical value. Indeed, in all Swedenborg’s preparatory works, including the extensive physiological treatises, philosophical principles are invoked and formulated; yet the bulk of his writing is occupied with purely scientific citations and analyses.

It would be unwise to discourage the study and acceptance of any of his scientific data and conclusions, some of which have indeed anticipated modern findings; but if we accept them, we must do so on scientific grounds and not confuse them with universals of thought.In the Divine providence, Swedenborg was led to perceive certain universals which took an ever clearer form as he progressed in his studies. They came to constitute a philosophy which was finally tested and matured in the light of heaven, and which, by its nature, cannot be disturbed by new factual research. Such perennial principles and premises are as essential to us as they were to him, and may be called “doctrines” of rational philosophy. We find these, clearly stated or clearly implied, in the Writings. But in order to see them more distinctly, we should also see them in their formative stages, as they take shape successively in Swedenborg’s earlier works when the need for them first dawned upon him.[1]

What are these doctrines? Every student must be free to distinguish for himself the subtle line where science stops and philosophy begins. For the very object of philosophy is to fill the breach and to unite Religion with Experience. Swedenborg regarded philosophy as ancillary to faith – as the handmaid of religion.[2]

To view religion, with its revealed spiritual truths, in the light of human philosophy, is to subvert the proper order. But “it is never forbidden to confirm the truths of faith and spiritual things by the things that are in nature . .”[3] “For perfect order to exist, celestial and spiritual truths should be inrooted in natural truths . . . .”[4] Such natural truths include not only the symbols of the letter of Scripture, but “the laws of the order of nature, in the world and in man.”[5] An affirmative attitude which acknowledges the doctrine drawn from the Word “leads to all intelligence and wisdom” and can be confirmed rationally and scientifically by innumerable things which bring a fuller grasp of the subject.[6] The Writings thus show that there are two “foundations of truth” – the first being the revealed Word and the second the truths of nature. These two agree with one another, and the sciences which have shut up men’s understanding may also open it with those who live according to the Word. But nothing can be founded on scientifics unless it be previously based upon the Word.[7]

Every philosophy must take a position as to the acknowledgment of God’s existence and as to the nature of man. The primary postulate in all New Church thinking is the truth that there is one God who is Divine Man, infinite Love and infinite Wisdom.[8] This is a necessary idea.[9] It is also necessary to conceive that God-Man reveals Himself – in the symbols of nature, in the written Word, in His incarnation on earth, and in the Spirit of Truth which “leadeth unto all truth.”

The following brief outline contains what the present writer sees as the general, but also the most fundamental principles which should constitute the new philosophy that can serve the New Church in its future progress. It utilizes both ancient and modern truths. It should embody an acknowledgment of all the universals which Reason has ever perceived, and requires the balancing of these universals into a whole logical system, a synthesis in which each must receive its true value and application.

The guiding concepts here listed are taken primarily from the Writings[10]; but where similar ideas are discussed in Swedenborg’s philosophical works, references to these are often noted, if not in the text, yet in the footnotes.

For the sake of convenience we classify these principles under certain conventional categories. The theology of the Writings is partly couched in old terms which are used with specific new meanings that can be understood only when the entire doctrine is studied. We refer to words such as ‘regeneration,’ ‘conjugial love,’ ‘influx,’ ‘the rational,’ ‘the Divine Human,’ ‘glorification,’ ‘discrete,’ ‘celestial,’ ‘ultimate,’ etc. Well known philosophical terms, such as ‘subject,’ ‘predicate,’ ‘esse,’ ‘essence,’ ‘existere,’ ‘substance,’ ‘form,’ etc., are also used, because they are unavoidable if certain ideas are to be simply and concisely named without circumlocution.[11] “Without words adapted to the subject, nothing can be described.”[12] But the human mind is confused rather than clarified when it thinks not from ideas but from scholastic terms, or by artificial rules and misapplied syllogisms.[13]


The first step in philosophy is to admit that the essence of being is knowable or intelligible. While the esse of a thing is in itself unknowable, its qualities are made manifest as ‘essence.’[14]Thus the essence of God is knowable as Divine love and Divine wisdom, thus as Divinely Human.[15] But man’s mind is finite, limited. What the Infinite and Eternal is in itself cannot be comprehended, for no finite idea can ‘contain’ the Infinite; yet by means of ideas abstracted from space and time it can be seen that a thing is although not what it is.[16]

There is an absolute Truth which, being infinite, is above human or angelic comprehension, yet must be the source and origin of all perception. This Divine truth, in its proceeding, is the same in all creation, in all substance and in all phenomena – and thus represents itself in matter and in spirit, in nature and in mind. The essence of material things is represented to our minds in terms of sensations of space, time, and motion, and can be evaluated only by these. The physical reality of a thing-in-itself can be attested only by experience, scientific analysis, and checked research, which thus become the criteria of natural actualities. Nature represents the Divine truth which operates therein as laws of order.

The essence of spiritual things is represented to our minds in terms of states – as moods and emotions and thoughts, or as goods and truths and perceptions of use. The reality or essence of spiritual things can be estimated only by the experiences of the mind which sees its own phenomena (or noumena) to be independent of, and antithetical to, physical phenomena and their causal sequences. In the Word, the Divine truth regarding spiritual things is revealed as sequences of spiritual causes and spiritual effects, represented correspondentially in the letter and formally in doctrine; and the Word is therefore the criterion of all spiritual truth.

There is no absolute or “pure” human truth.” [17] In both worlds the essence of the thing-in-itself is knowable so far as it can be inferred from its results and qualities. But the perceiving intellect is limited (even as are the senses of both men and angels), and is disturbed in its functions by the affections of the will and by the fact that the media of perception may be lacking, wholly or in part. This accounts for errors of sense, information, and judgment. Since the will motivates the understanding, a true philosopher must not only have a love of truth for the sake of truth, but have modesty and a love of Deity.[18] Yet so long as men debate whether a thing is so, they cannot advance into anything of wisdom.[19]


The source of reality lies in Substance.[20] Nothing is without substance.[21] And what is, also exists.[22] There is no essence, form, attribute, accident, or mode, except that possessed by a substance or subject.[23] Substance is therefore the prime category and is to be defined as that of which something can be predicated, and “a subject is that in which are all the things that can be predicated of it.” [24] A substance without form is not anything, for nothing can be predicated of it, and “a subject without predicates is also an entity of no reason.” [25]

The only independent substance is the Infinite or the Divine, which is Substance in Se, and thus the only possible origin of finite substances.[26] The essence of the Divine substance is love and wisdom. [27]

But every finite, created thing is also a substance and a subject – a finite substance by virtue of having finite attributes.[28] Matter is a substance[29]; but is dead, having as its essential “properties” Space and Time,[30] and also motion. [31] Spiritual substances are also finite and created,[32] yet are essentially definable in terms, not of motion but of conatus,[33] nor in terms of space and time, nor as something possessing spatial parts[34]; although analogues or correspondences of all these must be used to represent them.[35] It is important to recognize this distinct dualism of Matter and Spirit, without confusing them or transferring to one the terms of reality by which the other should be described. But note that spiritual things are “more real” than natural things; the dead matter which clothes the spiritual in organic nature does not increase its reality but lessens it.[36] And the veriest reality in the universe is the Divine truth proceeding.[37]

Man is a finite substance because he was created by God. From this every created thing, and – first of all – man with the love and the wisdom in him, are something, and not merely an idea of being.[38]

The finite substances created by the Lord cannot be conceived as “parts” of the infinite Substance, because they are not substance in se and possess nothing of the Divine, but exist only by virtue of the Infinite.[39] Yet they do not negate or limit the Infinite or any of its attributes of omnipresence and omnipotence, for they cannot exclude the Infinite or interfere with it.


There are no connate ideas.[40] Animals have no ideas of thought but they have instincts which can be called ‘connate knowledges’ corresponding to their affections; but man’s perfection is in part due to his being born ignorant. [41] All his knowledge of individual things is gained a posteriori, through sense experience, and is cumulative and incomplete, never absolute.[42] Yet what we call ‘sensation’ is not a physical influx into the mind, but it results from the influx of what is spiritual which forms itself into memories in accommodation to, or correspondence with, the state of the sensories.[43]

It is thus the spiritual which endows a sensory impulse with ‘meaning,’ whether this meaning be felt consciously or not. This would be impossible unless the spiritual soul were in the constant endeavor to “represent to itself the universe,” and (even in the embryo) acted as if omniscient of all the possible states of its finite realm of both body and mind.[44]

The soul is entirely beyond the compass of conscious thought. Nor can the soul instruct the mind.[45] Man is not born rational but is born with the faculties of rationality and liberty.[46] The soul endows the mind with the faculty of drawing meanings from the changes of its sensories, and also with spontaneous patterns or inherent laws for rational thinking: patterns which the mind may fill in, or – from free will – avoid.[47]

This inborn faculty of rationality, or of seeing truths in light, enables a man to raise his understanding above his native will and to recognize truth contrary to his self interest.[48]

Certain laws of reason operate as connate endowments above man’s consciousness and enable him to have a direct intuitive perception or acknowledgment of universals a priori. [49] The laws of “logic” are therefore inscribed on the mind from the first, and operate even in a babe.[50] As man, consciously and a posteriori, fills out and confirms some of its patterns, he recognizes the resulting concept as an a priori doctrine from which he views his further experience.[51]

This mode of procedure is equally applicable to theological research, whether the data are gathered from a field of representative truths or from revealed doctrine. The doctrines thus formed are always conditioned upon a state of enlightenment and upon the clarity of a man’s perception of universals.[52] The perception of celestial good which was common with the most ancient people no longer exists. But a perception of what is just and right – or ‘common sense’ – exists naturally, based on knowledge.[53]

As an animal from influx knows his natural needs, so man, if rightly educated, can see, in things purely rational, moral, and spiritual, truths from the light of truth, which is from heaven and which is obscured only by confirmed falsities.[54] On the other hand, to rely on artificial systems of logic and involved scholastic terms leads to the loss of ‘common sense.’[55]

“Natural Theology”

Natural theology does not yield anything of religion.[56] If incontestable proof of the existence of God was possible, man would not be free. [57] The essence of God, i.e., His qualities of love and wisdom, or His Divine Humanness, cannot be known except from revealed theology – from the Word or through previous revelations. But by his rational faculty, man can infer that there is a final Cause of creation and thus an Infinite which is Substance in Se. This he can then confirm by the presence of design in nature.[58] There is “a universal influx from God into the souls of men that there is a God and that He is One.” But this influx does not teach; it only gives to men a predisposition to accept this concept, which is varied according to a posteriori knowledge and reception.[59]


The evidence of a pervasive purpose is universal in creation, and this purpose is mirrored in its cosmic order and in its organic forms.[60] The universe was created out of the Divine substance from love and by wisdom. An infinite Source implies necessarily an eternal end in view. This end for which creation was effected is a heaven from the human race – a heaven of immortal spirits.[61] Conjunction with God does not mean any absorption of the soul into the Infinite, for this would nullify the purpose and final product of creation. The more closely a man is conjoined with the Lord, the more distinctly he feels his individuality, freedom, and specific use. “Every man is created and born for a use” and a foreseen place in the Grand Man of heavenly uses – born not for the sake of himself alone, but that he may live for others.[62] Essentially, man is not a material body, but a mind or spirit. His life on earth confirms in him some ruling love which leads him to his place in heaven, or – if he misuses it – in hell. In a sense, the philosophy of the New Church can be said to be centered around the truth that “love is the life of man.” [62]aEach man or spirit is a specific love.

Evil and sin are not a part of the Divine purpose, but are the by-products of man’s exercise of his freedom; yet they do not defeat the Divine end which looks to the free reception of life.[63]

The Law of Causation

Since there is a Divine end or purpose in creation, there are in every created thing, both the greatest and the least, an end, a cause, and an effect.[64] In God, their infinite Source, they are love as end, wisdom as cause, and use as effect; which can be called three infinite degrees.[65] In the universe, the end is in the spiritual Sun, the causes in the spiritual world, and the effects in the natural world.[66] The spiritual world has like degrees – ends, causes, and effects. Similarly the natural world.[67] Everything in nature depends for its existence on a corresponding cause in the spiritual world.[68]

For anything to be perfect, there must be a trine which by communication makes a one.[69] Everything real has substance, form, and activity. In the one Person of God there is Soul, Body, and Operation[70]; and man is in God’s image. Man possesses a will as an end, an understanding as a cause or means, and the ultimate effects of these are uses. In nature, endeavor, force, and motion represent a similar sequence. Power lodges in motion which may be called the ultimate degree of conatus.[71] The only real thing in motion is conatus, and if conatus ceases, motion stops.[72] The effect depends on the cause. Hence the spiritual and the natural are always together in the natural world.[73] But if you separate the cause from the effect, the effect perishes. The cause or interior can exist without the effect or exterior, but not the effect without the cause.[74] “The prior can exist without the posterior, but not the posterior without the prior.” Thus, “there is no motion without conatus, but there is conatus without motion . . . .”[75]

Ends go forth continually through causes into effects. “All order proceeds from primes to ultimates, and the ultimates become the primes of the next following order.” Hence “all things of an intermediate order are the ultimates of a prior and the first of a posterior order.” [75]a

The Doctrine of Uses

Nothing is possible in the universe which is not of use and serving the eventual end. What appears as superfluity really ensures the continuance of the use.[76] Uses are uses in the order, degree and respect in which they have relation to man and through man to the Lord.[77] The uses of all created things ascend by degrees from ultimates, as is seen in the organic forms of plants and animals.[78] Thus the whole of nature with its ascending kingdoms is a theatre representative of uses.[70] In man, all the degrees and forms of creation, from primes to ultimates, are concentrated as into a focus, as a micro-ouranos and a microcosm.[80] Man was therefore created last.[81] And through man, the uses of all these degrees ascend to God a quo. All have respect to man – for the sustenance of his body, the perfecting of his rational, and the reception of what is spiritual from the Lord.[82]


Creation by God is a necessary idea,[83] but must be thought of apart from time and space.[84] The creation of the universe cannot be said to have taken place from space to space or from time to time, but from eternity and infinity – yet not from an eternity of time, for there is no such thing.[85] The Divine Infinite must not be confused with an infinite of space.[86] It is in itself one and continuous and indivisible, and, hence in its proceeding, it unifies all finite things into a “universe.” [87] That which is created from God is not continuous from Him, but has in its esse nothing of God which is God, and is only a recipient of God by “contiguity.”[88] The erroneous idea that God created the universe “out of nothing” is an evasion adopted out of a fear of pantheism. Reason dictates that all things are created out of the Divine Substance, yet that there is nothing whatever in creation that is God.[89]

Unless God was a Divine Man – infinite Love and Wisdom – He could not have created the universe.[90]

What is created is also finite.[91] – God first finited His infinity by means of substances emitted from Himself, and by means of degrees finited the world more and more. [92] Finite things, though no two are alike, can regard each other and be conjoined in uses in accord with the laws of influx and correspondence, because they have a certain likeness, being constituted of similar discrete and continuous degrees.[93] Hence the universe is a connected chain of uses and forms.[94] All its substances are compositions and derivatives from a universal spiritual substance which is not in space and which contains all the possible varieties and perfections which show up in its derivatives of lower degrees, which are called ‘substantiates’ and ‘matters.’[95]

The original finite substance is spiritual. It is not to be thought of as a “simple substance” like the monads of Leibnitz or like points of no dimensions or entities of which nothing can be predicated. Nor as the atoms of Epicurus.[96] For in the first created substances of all are things innumerable, most perfect because nearer to the Infinite.[97]

The first created substance is constituted of the “primitives” of which the Sun of the spiritual world consists and which are the direct product of the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine good. “There and thence is the first of finition.” [98] This Divine truth proceeding is the veriest reality and unique substantial which creates the successive finite forms of the universe.[99] Without a concept of such a spiritual Sun, creation cannot be understood.[100]

The spiritual Sun is the center of the expanse of life, which is not in any spatial extense.[101] This Sun is a product or creation, and must not be confused with God who is Divine Man.[102] Yet it is the means through which the Lord’s omnipresence is represented in heaven and through which He proceeds into creation.[103] It is the sole origin of all things of the spiritual world, where everything is spiritual, living, and “substantial,” not material. [104]

But that world also contains the causes of all natural things.[105] Spiritual substances, being devoid of space and time as properties, are not “constant”[106]; and creation was therefore carried to completion, fixation, and permanency by means of the creation of a natural world through which the spiritual could be clothed in corresponding forms and manifest itself (existere) in uses by generations.[107]

From the spiritual Sun proceed spiritual atmospheres which – as nonspatial media – accommodate and convey the Divine life for reception. Three successive discrete atmospheres are thus created, one from another and one after another, as distinct substantial degrees for the three future heavens.[108] And in the course of the creative process, each of these spiritual atmospheres, by a continuous decrease of activity, become substances at rest or spiritual ultimates,[109] which are the lands in the spiritual world.[110]


The creative force, in the creation of the universe, proceeded from the Prime through intermediates, which are of the spiritual world. Jehovah God thus “created the spiritual world, and mediately through this, He created the natural world.” [111]

The Doctrine of Degrees and Series

Creation progresses by discrete and continuous degrees.”[112] Without “continuous degrees” (or degrees of more or less) nothing can have extension or appearance. Without “discrete degrees” it can have no distinct existence.[113] Discrete degrees, or degrees of height, are degrees of production or composition, and are formed one from another.[114] They exist in a trinal series,[115] conforming to the universals of end, cause, and effect.” [116] To form a series of discrete degrees, substances must be homogeneous, or must originate one from another by successive composition.[117] The discrete degrees bear no finite ratio to each other, but correspond to each other.[118] The ultimate or last degree of each series contains the two interior or superior degrees.[119] When they exist in simultaneous order, the power of the superior degrees lodges in the ultimate degree.[120] In successive order, discrete degrees display their transcendental relations, but in simultaneous order they show the immanence of the higher degrees in the lower. The principle of Discrete Degrees is applicable to all substances whatsoever, whether natural or spiritua[1],[121] and thence also to their predicates of life, of forces, and of forms.[122]

Creation of Nature

The “substance” of the physical world is called “matter.” Its principal attributes or essentials are space and time (motion).[123] Matter, although it is serviceable in clothing the spiritual and can be directed into purposive action,[124] is per se geometrical or mechanical and follows physical laws, which are the same throughout.[125] The concept of ‘relativity’ enters with their application to differing conditions and degrees.[126] The Constancy in the “inmosts of nature” make the physical world “fixed, stated, and constant” or permanent.[127]

Extended substance must originate from the non-extended, and the material from the immaterial.[128] The natural world arises in and from the ultimate spiritual.[129] According to the Principia (I.ii), it is created out of primitives or “first natural points” whose essence consists in motion.[130] The sole source of reality in these dynamic points comes from an inner conatus. Indeed the “point” is to be conceived of as a “metaphysical ens” or a conatus to vortical motion (ii.[21]). And in the work on The Infinite it is called a pure or non-extended simple from which compounds could exist in succession.

The Writings confirm that the only real thing in motion is conatus.[131] The spiritual acts into the natural world only as conatus.[132] And matter is thus nothing else than a concentration of spiritual substances[133] acting in a new way, viz. by forming space-time relations.

The initial entities of nature are not “simple substances” nor “geometrical points,”[134] but have a most complex form and a motion that is most intense. Yet they can be described as wholly “dead” (because their energy is directed into blind motion[135]) and as the “pure elemental fire” of the natural sun.[136]

The first substance of nature was formed into suns, as centers of future solar systems.[137] From each sun or star an atmosphere or gravitational field[138] goes forth, and these solar spheres merge to form a universal aura which carries light from the stars.[139] According to the Principia, the solar aura, by condensation or compression, forms about the sun a crust which by centrifugal action builds itself into a belt of inert matter. This finally breaks off to form planets and satellites. Each planet becomes the center for two other atmospheres, the ether and the air.[140] The substances of the natural world are thus formed from a series of “finites” (actives and passives) derived by successive composition from the first, and a series of stable elements or atmospheres. The Writings describe three discrete natural atmospheres, one formed from another successively.[141] Each atmosphere, by compression, forms a relatively inactive ultimate; thus three degrees of fixed matters result.[142] Into these forms of the universe there is then, an influx from various degrees of the spiritual world which by its plastic force produces the “vital forms” of the vegetable and animal kingdoms.[143]

The Doctrine of Influx and Reception

That life inflows into created things and does not inhere in them, is an undeniable postulate which underlies all experience.[144] “Influx” does not mean a pouring in of one thing into another, as liquids are poured into a cup.[145] But influx is to be defined as “successive operation,”[146] and as “all that which precedes and composes the sequent, and, through the sequent, the ultimate in order.” [147] Thus influx is a progression “of successive order into simultaneous order.” [148] It is therefore the activity of superior degrees in and upon lower degrees, or of prime substances in and upon derivative substances and composites. Influx can therefore come forth only from what is prior, and its final origin must be the Divine. [149]

The influx of the Divine is always infinite and ever the same; and this we call ‘life.’[150] The influx of life is the same into all things and is named ‘the Divine proceeding.”[151] Life can create but cannot be created.[152] But everything created, whether spiritual or natural, is in some way a recipient of life. Man is but an organ receptive of life.[153] The Divine is adjoined to him “by contiguity.”[154] In human souls or minds, this life, according to the reception of it, produces the changes of state which we know as affections and thoughts, and which are perceived as “human life.”[155] In inanimate nature, the life descending from God is represented in energy or motion, which is not life but serves it.[156]

The Divine cannot be contained in what is finite.[157] Yet the Infinite can be in finite things as in its receptacles.[158] Life is not ‘finited’ by proceedings into the finite, nor by ‘reception’ by the finite. “Still, the finite can be produced from the Infinite; but this is creating, not proceeding.”[159] It is also a contradiction to say that the Infinite can proceed by the finite.[160] In proceeding through every finite degree and substance, the Infinite can however accommodate itself for reception, in incomprehensible ways.[161] And its presence enables the receptacle to act according to its form, i.e., to react from the life within.[162] With finite beings, life can appear as if it were in them, so that “a ratio is provided between the finite and the Infinite . . . from the Infinite in the finite.”[163]

We can say of created things that they have esse and existere, substance and form, and of men that they have love and wisdom and life. But this can be said only because they receive what is Divine and because they are in the Divine and the Divine in them by influx.[164] It is therefore said that “man’s esse is nothing else than the receiving (recipiens) of the eternal which proceeds from the Lord.” [165] Angels, spirits, and men are nothing but receptacles of life, although they are kept by the Lord in such freedom that they do not appear as receptacles. [166]

While there is nothing finite which is active in se or per se – for the finite in se is entirely passive – yet every finite substance can, by virtue of reaction, seem to be active[167]; and the more perfect its form, the more active it can seem to be. Hence all creation shows forth two universals: in spiritual things, good and truth; and in natural things, the active and the passive.[168] Nothing in creation is possible which is not the result of these two universals which join in a marriage for every accomplishment.

Certain general laws of influx need to be recounted. Influx is both immediate and mediate,[169]and this both into nature and into man.[170] The force of creating proceeds from the First through intermediates to ultimates.[171] There is an unbroken mediation by continuous and discrete degrees. [172] All Divine influx into this creation passes through from primes to ultimates, and, through connection with ultimates, into mediates. All creation has been effected in ultimates, and all Divine operation passes through to ultimates and there creates and operates.[173] All order proceeds from primes to ultimates, and the ultimates become the primes of any succeeding order; all things of an intermediate order are the ultimates of a prior, and the primes of a posterior order. [174] Divine order never subsists in the middle, and there, without an ultimate, forms anything; but when it is in its ultimate, then it forms.[175]

Influx is effected, not by continuity, but by correspondences, thus by discrete degrees.[176] Influx accommodates itself to reception and adapts itself to “efflux.”[177] Reception is according to a correspondence in the receiving vessel, thus according to forms and states, [178] and is called ‘the reciprocal of influx.’[179] If a receptacle is not accommodated to the prior things which inflow, there is no reception of their influx.[180] From influx, the receptacles seem to live or move from themselves.[181]

In the Infinite, infinite things are infinitely one. Hence the varieties in creation arise from the infinite things in God Man.[182] Life is one, since the Divine is always the same in greatests and leasts.[183] But this life is received in vessels which then mediate the influx according to their forms, giving rise to different influxes. Man receives influxes of diverse qualities, good or evil, through the heavens or the hells. Variety must thus not be ascribed solely to the receptive vessel but to the influx also. This is illustrated by varieties of sounds and light which are caused by vibrations of untold diversity in different media.[184] But these varieties stand forth in ultimates through selective reception.[185]

There is a “general influx” from the Lord into all things that are in order. Animals are governed by such general influx, and the autonomic operations of the viscera of man are under similar influx. But because men have, as to their minds, departed from the order of creation, they must be governed by a “particular influx” which is effected through spirits and angels.[185]a

One small treatise of the Writings is devoted to a discussion of three theories of influx.[186] “Physical influx” – of natural objects into the mind – is rejected as founded on sensual appearances.[187] “Spiritual Influx,” called by some ‘Occasional Causes,’ is praised because the soul, as a spiritual substance, is prior to the material body, and should consequently inflow into the latter.[188] ” Pre-established Harmony” is shown to rest on the false assumption of a complete parallelism between soul and body.[189] The prevailing obscurity about Spiritual Influx is due to thinking the spiritual to be a purer natural, and to ignorance of what the soul and the spiritual world are, and of the means by which God inflows into man’s spirit.[190]

The Doctrine of Correspondence

The study and use of correspondences or symbols in antiquity originated from the perceptive quality of the most ancient church whose people saw the natural world as a mirror of the spiritual.[191] These perceptions were preserved in the Ancient Word, which was written by remote correspondences.[192] In the Ancient Church the knowledge of correspondences and representations became the “science of sciences,”[193] and this was cultivated especially in Egypt[194] and Asia. This knowledge was later turned into magic and idolatry, but the significative writing became the venerated style in the ancient world.[195] The Hebrew Word was written in pure correspondences, but the Jews had no knowledge of their true significance.[196]

The doctrine of correspondence as such was not known by Christians, although the Lord taught in parables and Paul resorted to allegorizing. But the use of emblems and symbols is universal.[197] In distorted forms the doctrine was preserved in Christian tradition, as in the fantastic mystical doctrine of Signatures.[198] However, when Swedenborg the philosopher felt the need of a mode by which to describe the perfection of the superior degrees of nature and of organic forms by terms taken from a lower degree yet raised to a new meaning, he resorted to using the phrases “by eminence” or “by analogy.” [199] Later he adopts the current term, “universal mathesis,” and wishes to construct a universal or philosophical mathesis based on a synthesis of all sciences and on the analogies between discrete degrees.[200] In his “Hieroglyphic Key to Natural and Spiritual Arcana by way of Representations and Correspondences” (ms. 1744), he outlines a simple system of symbolic logic, paralleling the relations of the physical world to man, and of man to God, etc. As he was introduced into the spiritual world, the science of correspondences fell into full focus, [201] and in the Writings the correspondences of the literal sense of the Word are unfolded to disclose a continuous internal meaning whereby the Divinity and spiritual intent of the Scripture become revealed.[202] A knowledge of correspondences is however only a means of corroborating spiritual truth; and the use of analogies alone must be avoided in reasonings.[203] By the principle of correspondence, the relation of the natural world to the spiritual, and the phenomena of the spiritual world, become intelligible.[204]

Correspondence can be defined as the appearing of what is internal in what is external, and its representation there.[205] Various principles relating to ‘correspondence’ are given in the Writings. The creation of the world was effected according to correspondences.[206] Influx is according to correspondences. [207] Correspondence provides a connection with the Divine [208] and conjunction of the two worlds.[209] Power resides in correspondences [210] Regeneration means a reduction of man’s mind into correspondence with heaven.[211] Correspondence rests primarily upon function or use, and secondly upon structures.[212]

Correspondence as a term is principally applied to a relation between two or three discrete degrees.[213] But in a wider sense it can be applied to homologies existing between individuals or species, or between vegetative, animal, or human organisms; or to the relation between man and the cosmos, or between microcosm and macrocosm.[214] (This sometimes leads to error.[215]) Poetical analogues compare a year to a lifetime, or a body to a machine, without implying any influx or discrete degrees. Correspondence can be predicated also to opposites, as between heaven and hell. [216]

The Doctrine of the Microcosm

No finite substance, state, or thing can ever be the same as any other. [217] But the Divine, in greatests and leasts, is the same.[218] His image is in the universe as in a mirror or a form of Divine order.[219] Nature in its operations reflect His unity. Thus “elementary nature is similar to herself both in the greatest things and in the least, . . . in a world and in a particle.”[220] Man also is the compendium of all natural and spiritual degrees, [221] and the focus of their activities.[222] Man’s body is therefore a microcosm,[223] and his three bloods correspond by analogy to the three atmospheres, to which his senses are also adapted.[224] His soul is a ‘micro-ouranos’ or little heaven,[225] being formed of spiritual substances and adapted to respond to all spiritual forces.

Since the doctrine of correspondence has application to all fields, some phases of it are treated under the heading of Morphology – the science of Forms.


Substances are distinguished by their forms. In general, the composite things of nature are compounded of constituents of a higher degree.[226] In the effort to show that the origin of forms is not from the most simple (or imperfect), but from the most highly complex (or perfect), Swedenborg, in his work on “The Fibre,” outlined a Doctrine of Forms,[227] – which also illustrated his growing concept of discrete degrees. The lowest and most general form is given as the angular; the next the perpetually angular, that is, the circular or spherical; after this we find the perpetual circle, or the spiral; next a perpetual spiral, called the vortex; and the highest natural form is then pictured as the perpetually vortical which has a center in every point and must be conceived as the origin of all other natural forms. This first natural form he there calls the “celestial,” since it is the principle of all celestial mechanics. [228] But above all natural forms stands the Spiritual Form, which is relatively infinite and beyond space and geometry – “form in the abstract.”[229] Yet it is finite, and derived from the Divine Form, which is purely infinite.[230]

Swedenborg also here notes that although the series of natural forms, from the “celestial” to the “angular,” is, like the Principia “finites,” simply dead forms of motion, yet the Spiritual Form by influx can enter into the cosmic forms of nature and thus directs and organizes them into “vital forms” of use.[231] An angel, or the soul of a man, is thus constituted of both the highest natural and the spiritual form.[232]

The Writings also show that the origin of forms is not from the most simple, but from the most highly complex and perfect. As creation progresses towards ultimates by the successive conformation of these primitives, the composites that are formed are more general, more gross and inert. Everything divided is more and more multiple, not more simple.[233]

The supreme origin of all forms is the Divine Human. Inmostly, all finite things have in them an endeavor (conatus) towards the human form, and tend to represent its image.[234] Hence we see a homology in all created things, especially in organic forms. [235] The new philosophy is essentially characterized by the concept of the Divine Human as the Soul (or rather, the Life) of the universe.[236] All things, even the elements of nature with their actives and passives, partake of his image and tend to picture His likeness. All forms descend by degrees from the Spiritual Sun. And even the forms of dead nature are due to the creative forces of the spiritual in ultimates.[237] It is the spiritual, also, which as a soul, imposes the image of creation upon the matters of the earth, and displays the two “general forms” – the natural and the spiritual – in the two kingdoms of plant and animal life.[238]

The Doctrine of the Grand Man

The angelic heavens as a whole, from the presence of the Divine proceeding in them as a Soul or Life, make up a greatest man – form (maximus homo) of uses.[239] Each angelic society and every human community – so far as it is perfect – is organized as to its uses in a form corresponding to the human body with its interiors. And the individual man (homo) receives his bodily form by virtue of a correspondence with the Grand Man.[240]

Every community, country, or church is a greater form of the individual man. The human race on this earth may also be viewed as a man in greater form. The New Church view of history is therefore organismic.
The Philosophy of History

Because the individual is created in the image of God Man, and is also a microcosm or lesser form of the community as a whole, his life and development retraces the steps by which the human race on this earth progressed.[241] This recapitulation of states implies that the race had its infancy, its youth, and its gradual ascent towards maturity. These states are reflected in the cultural development of mankind and of each nation. The history of mankind is the history of both thought and affection. Every field of thought, every use or function, every discipline or science, has a history of its own. But the internal aspect of history is shown in the Writings in the doctrine concerning the five successive dispensations or “churches,”[242] which also involves the history of the spiritual world, now suggestively revealed. For the states of the race on earth are dependent on the states of the world of spirits, and vice versa. In fact, the history of nations in peace and war is even today, in every detail, governed “correspondentially” by the permissions and provisions of the Divine; and each nation now as in biblical times has (man unknowing) a spiritual correspondence.[243]

The innocence, spontaneity, and remarkable powers of learning and perception that characterize the infant find their replica in a corresponding period of the race before recorded history – a “celestial” age of integrity and wisdom of life which the classical poets called ‘the golden age,’ which the Scripture symbolizes as a sojourn of Adam in paradise, and which the Writings name ‘the most ancient church.’ Our philosophy of history involves the concepts that mankind, even in its “pre-Adamite” state, was created sinless, that it developed from a natural to a spiritual and then a celestial state,[244] and that it was later corrupted and carried away by the loves of self and by the enticements of material civilization. For the sake of self-defense, kingdoms and empires were formed.[245]

Divine Providence

The historic progressions of the human race cannot be rightly understood without the acknowledgment of a Divine government which is not only universal but in all details of life. There is no such thing as “chance.”[246] This does not imply fatalism or determinism, for the laws of providence and permission protect the spiritual freedom of every man, even if he chose to dwell permanently in a self-made hell. The laws of permission are also laws of Divine providence, and in His government of the race the Lord balances evil against evil.[247] Men are ruled by the Lord not only immediately but also by a mediate influx through the spiritual world.[248]

When man’s will of good perished along with his primitive perceptive wisdom, the understanding had to be developed as the basis of his spiritual restoration.[249] This necessitated instruction by means of a Divine revelation of spiritual truths through appointed prophets, so that the design of God – the formation of a heaven from the human race – could be disseminated in the form of Scripture and doctrine from the “specific church” possessing this revealed truth to the “church universal” which consists of all salvable souls in every race or religion.

The primeval “Ancient Word” was lost, its truths mostly perverted into polytheistic myths; but parts of it are preserved in its pure form as “made up” or legendary history in Genesis i-xi.[249]a In the Old Testament Divine arcana were represented in the actual history of Israel as well as in dark prophecies. The Word of God was at first couched in natural “correspondences.” But in the fullness of time God became Himself incarnate on this earth[250] in His Person, as Jesus Christ whose parables and teachings are preserved in the New Testament. His advent in the flesh was necessary, because power lies in ultimates.[251] At the consummation of the Christian age, the spiritual sense of the Word was disclosed through the doctrinal Writings of the inspired sage, Emanuel Swedenborg, for the use of the New Church which should be the crown of the churches.[252]


The human form descends by degrees from the Lord through heaven into nature and gives a ‘soul’ to all living things. This soul is use, which is prior to the bodily organs and indeed forms them.[253]

The “image of creation” – the formative essence and organizing conatus – is from the Spiritual. All organic creation on the planets of this world is effected by the influx of something spiritual as a soul into matters that correspond and are adapted to clothe and receive it.[254] But there are degrees of what is spiritual.[255] Human souls contain all the spiritual degrees – the spiritual-natural, the spiritual, and the celestial – which in their order constitute the potential planes for conscious existence for men and spirits.[256] These degrees are disposed by the Lord from an inmost or supreme degree never sensed by man or angel – an inmost into which the Lord inflows immediately.[257]

Animals derive their ‘soul’ – a natural affection – from the spiritual-natural degree only; in fact they lack also the highest sub-degree of the spiritual-natural – which means that they are incapable of reason and of immortal life.[258] The souls of plants are also from the spiritual-natural degree, but from its ultimates where only enough life remains to present a semblance of living.[259]

By the various planes of organic creation, the uses of all things ascend towards their Creator. But this ascent is possible only through the increasingly perfect forms of the human mind, wherein the spiritual can form itself permanently with reference to space and time relations, and thus become individualized as an immortal, conscious being. Man must be born on an earth. A spirit or angel cannot be created directly into the spiritual world, for spiritual creations are not permanent unless formed in a natural organism.[260] Psychology, in all its practical aspects and educational implications, must therefore also be studied with reference to man’s bodily structures, sensory experiences,. and nervous and glandular reactions.

The theological Writings make clear that during life on earth the “spiritual-natural” degree of man’s mind operates within the natural organisms of the brain and body. Mental life, both voluntary and sensory, is centered in the brain, although the mind is present in the whole body.[261] The mind is not a physical, but a spiritual substance, which is organized in the interiors of the body, with reference both to sensory experiences and motor impulses.[262] Thought and will are from the spiritual. Natural substances cannot think.[263]

The Intercourse of Soul and Body is thus not effected by any “physical influx” or by any action of the body upon the mind or soul; for the lower cannot affect the higher, and the natural cannot inflow into the spiritual.[264] Yet the soul can accommodate itself to the changes of the sensories of the brain and form mental percepts and concepts.[265] It can also time the release of the energy there stored and from an intelligent conatus direct it into motivated or living actions,[266] and can thus “move” the body.[267]

The Limbus

To preserve man’s individuality after death, and fix the forms of the “corporeal memory,”[268] he draws with him, out of the “purer substances” of nature which were associated in the body with the natural mind, a “containant” for his spirit. This natural ‘limbus’ or this border-substance is “nearest to spiritual things” and does not perish with the rest of the body. Nor is it entirely separated from the immortal spirit, but only “recedes,” to serve as a cutis-like covering for his spiritual body.[269] No angel or spirit can be created directly into the spiritual world. There were no angels created “at the beginning.”[270]

Swedenborg, in his philosophical works, frequently argued the necessity of admitting a natural ground for the soul’s immortality.[271] He considered that the “spirituous fluid,” an inmost vital “fluid” of the body – an essence formed from the inmost aura[272] of inanimate nature and immune from any essential mutations from without[273] – may in a general sense be called the ‘soul of the body.’ This natural ‘soul,’ generated in the ‘glands’ of the brain’s cortex, and conveyed through the nerves, the glands and the bloodstream, is the formative substance of the body. But it also assists in the organization and operation of the natural mind during earth-life, and is retentive of all experiences.[274] This essence is most perfect and elastic[275] and beyond the destructive forces of lower nature, so that it does not lose its human form and identity by death.[276]

In the Writings also, the recognition of some such vital fluid or “animal spirit” streaming through the nerves is regarded as basic to our future knowledge of the body.[277] As the inmost natural essence, which can be defined only by abstractions, the ‘limbus’ is described in similar terms as the ‘spirituous fluid’ of the Economy.[278] The “interior natural things” of the body agree and harmonize with the spirit, and the “purer blood, called by some the animal spirit,” is purified in the regenerating man.[279] In the male seed which causes conception there is an offshoot (tradux) of the father’s soul in its fullness within such a border (limbus) from the purest things of nature “by which the body is formed in the womb of the mother.”[280] This ‘limbus’ is afterwards formed as a basis of the natural mind and, after death, is retained as a natural containant of the spiritual body. [281] Since this limbus is a fixative of man’s character, a change of essential organization can take place only in the material body.[282]

The function of vital fluids such as the ‘animal spirits’ as the agents of the plastic or formative forces of the spirit is described in the physiological works of Swedenborg, and seemingly implied in the Writings.[283] He describes the growth of the embryo not by ‘preformation’ (as did his contemporaries) but by ‘epigenesis’ or successive projection of tissues and members.[284]

The Human Mind[285]

The mind is not any mere conflux of processes, but is a spiritual organism receptive of the life inflowing from God, as this life is mediated by man’s spiritual and natural environments. From conception and birth there are in man three discrete degrees which can be successively opened or informed, so that he has potentially a natural mind, a spiritual mind, and a celestial mind.[286] The natural mind alone is the plane of his conscious life as long as he lives in this world. It has also three successive levels or degrees, – the sensuous with its corporeal memory, the middle natural with its imaginative powers, and the rational into which man enters as he matures.[287] The distinctive human begins in the rationality.[288] Man must become rational before he, by regeneration, can become spiritual.[289]

Free Choice

The twin faculties of rationality and liberty are implanted in every man by birth, and from these originates his responsibility towards Gad and men.[290] It is in the rational mind that human free choice is exercised and the character of man’s spirit or soul is determined.[291] Evil has its origin in man’s deliberate abuse of his two faculties.[292] To preserve man’s free will, his mind or spirit is held in an equilibrium of influences between heaven and hell, and he is always secretly attended by angels and spirits through whom his affections and consequent thoughts are inspired for his acceptance or rejection. Immortality “is from the gift of that free will.”[293]

The natural mind receives its innate inclinations to good or to evil by a cumulative inheritance from his forebears. And as to its knowledge of truth and falsity it is an image of the environment of the natural world. Man is thus not wholly responsible far the contents of his natural mind which he takes with him at death. Since the external or corporeal memory is based on sensations experienced on earth, it cannot grow after the bodily senses perish, although it is retained,[294] and serves, with its affections, as the ultimate substance of the purely spiritual body – which is the mind or spirit appearing as a complete human form in the light of heaven.[295] The corporeal memory with its “material ideas” thus becomes quiescent after death. Yet it has been so organized on earth that in its self-imposed order are rooted all his interior affections, virtues and faults. The mental life of spirits is carried on in the interior memory, which is ordered into categories of state rather than into space-time associations, and is moved by the ruling love which the spirit acquired in freedom on earth.[296]


Revealed theology is needed to inform us concerning the process of regeneration, by which the two superior degrees of the mind are unconsciously “opened” as new fields of motivation and as the planes of a future angelic life. This is possible with those who shun the evils of their heredity as sins against God. By regeneration the Lord orders and transforms the natural affections, subordinating the love of self and the love of the world under the lave to the Lord and love towards the neighbor.[297] Hereditary tendencies to evils of various kinds are transmitted in the lowest mental degree – the ‘spiritual-natural’ or the ‘natural mind.’ Only this degree, which is within the compass of man’s consciousness, can be perverted – and this only by man in the life of the body.[298]

The two superior degrees of the ‘mind’ are the active planes of angelic thought and affection, and are wholly under the government of the ‘soul’ properly so called. This inmost – the ‘soul’ or ‘human internal’ – is the unconscious receptacle of life immediately inflowing from God. It is “a higher spiritual substance,” while the ‘mind’ is “a lower spiritual substance.”[299] This soul itself, being beyond the interference or control of angel or man, is the incorruptible regulator and governor of both mind and body.[300]

The objective of regeneration is a conjunction (or rather, adjunction) of God and man.[301] This can take place only reciprocally,[302] through the revelation of the Divine Human in the Word where He is now visible.[303] The Lord Jesus Christ is thus the infinite Nexus by which God can conjoin Himself to mankind and by which the orderly communication between soul and body which was broken by evil can be restored along with a true rational philosophy.[304]

Applications of Philosophy

No philosophy is of any use unless it can become the guide of conduct. As Ethics it must be applicable to moral life in which natural affections are governed by reason; as Axiology it must judge concerning the degrees of values; as Esthetics it shows the uses of the fine arts and the imagination; as Civics and Economics it points out the relation of the individual to his society and its laws – for society is a greater form of man.

All the principles of the new philosophy are eminently practical, although abstruse in form. They call for a rewriting of the literature of all the social sciences. The doctrines of Use, of Influx, of the Grand Man, and of Discrete Degrees revolutionize civics and morals. The doctrine of Correspondences floods the fields of Esthetics and Belles Lettres with a new light and introduces new challenges in interpreting the thought of antiquity. The new psychology of the Writings reveals the hidden contents of the depths of the human mind in their orderly strata and functions. The Epistemology of the New Church man necessitates a new understanding and evaluation of what the natural sciences may proffer. And a spiritual Teleology, together with all the other principles, creates a new concept of education.

Indeed, a new system of educational philosophy is essential for the progress of the New Church. Doctrine and philosophy must both be called upon to understand and guide the ordered development of the human mind so that man may become a form of use. The revealed truth that there are interior degrees and deeper levels within man’s mind implies potentialities for spiritual uses of which the world is unaware. The new psychology of the Writings ac counts for the phenomena of mental and psychic life, but traces their origins to causes in the spiritual world as well as to natural circumstances. The unique doctrine of Remains the lingering states of childhood innocence – explains the modes by which the successive states of the child can be nourished and directed so that he may be educated not only to do his share of the world’s work, but be prepared for the eternal uses of heaven.[304]a

All the ‘universals’ of philosophy are involved in the doctrine of Uses. Nothing is permitted – or even possible – in creation, which is not of use to the eventual end. The whole of nature with its ascending kingdoms is a theater representative of uses. The degrees and forms of the two worlds are all focused in man as the crown of creation, so that, as uses in his immortal mind, they may ascend to God.

The doctrine concerning Discrete Degrees, Order, and Series, has a profound application to ethical conduct.[305] For civil uses have to be subordinated to moral principles of honorableness and decorum founded on public opinion and consideration for theneighbor[306]; and moral life must be motivated by spiritual affections.[307] The natural affections which appear in all moral virtues are to become the means by which charity and spiritual loves are applied to the conflicting situations of life. For charity, which springs from a love of the Lord, is to act from justice with judgment in our duties to society.[308]

The universal principle that all things of order have relation to good and truth or to an active and a passive (or reactive),[309] illustrates the necessary conjunction of will and understanding in all things of life, and places at the core of New Church morality the conjugial love of husband and wife. Our duties to the neighbor are made intelligible by the clarifying doctrine of discrete degrees, so that our obligations may be seen to rise by stages from a mere personal friendship or a parental storgé to a love of our community, of our country, of our church, and thus become a love that looks to the eternal good of all, or to the salvation of souls in the heavenly kingdom, – a love to the Lord Himself.

The City of God

The final end-in-view, on earth as in heaven, is the establishment of Divine order among angels and men. Thus our philosophy, like that of Swedenborg,[310] leads as by a Divine synthesis to the doctrine of the New Church, whereby the Lord, in His final advent, may inform, reform, and regenerate the minds of men for a life of religion and active usefulness in this world and the next; and so build up His New Jerusalem.


1 Among such “philosophical” doctrines are the doctrines of Discrete Degrees, of Order, Series, and Society, of End, Cause, and Effect, of Universals, of Forms, of Conatus and Motion, of Modifications, of Influx and Reception, of Correspondence and Representation, of Uses, of Trines, of Divine Providence, of the Grand Man and the Human Form, of the Microcosm, of the Limbus, of the Immortality of the Soul, etc. See AK 14, R Ps preface.

2 SD 650.

3 SD 2301, cp. ISB 20, TCR 508.

4 SD 1531.

5 SD 5709 ff.

6 AC 2568, 2588, 6479, cp. SD 5709 ff.

7 SD 5709 f.

8 DLW 11 ff., 285 ff., cp. The Infinite, ch. Li.

9 TCR8.

10 The references in the footnotes are intended only as suggestive samples of the doctrines.

11 SD 1603.

1l2 AC 4585 :4.

13 SD 1604 ff., 2263, 2313, 3960, 866, SD min. 4578, 4655.

14 TCR 28.

15 TCR 36 ff., AC 1990:3, 10067:3, 10267, 2531:2, DLW 28 seq.

16 DP 46.

17 AC 3207:3, 2053, 7902, 3993 :8, R. Psych. 134, 136, AK 13.

18 Princ. Li. 4, 1 Econ. 19 ff., WE 914, SD 1603, 3949, DP 35 f., cp. 168 f.

19 AC 3428, DP 219 :3, cp. 168:2.

20 1 Econ. 589.

21 DLW 40, AC 801e, HH 434.

22 DLW 14, 15.

23 CL 66, AC 4224, TCR 20.

24 DLW 209, 1 Econ. 589.

25 CL 66.

26 TCR 20 f., 53, DP 157, DLW 198, 40, 44, cp. AC 7270, CL 115 :3, AR 961.

27 See note 15.

23 DLW 53, DP 46.

29 DLW 229. Compare Ontol. 35 : “We must conceive of active and motive force, and also of nature, after the manner of substance; but they are not substance, they only appear so.”

30 DLW 69, 160 f., AC 2625, 6983, TCR 27, 31.

31 AC 5173, SD 2070 (Latin), cp. Hier. Key 15 et passim, Action xxi, xxxiv.

32 TCR 33, 470, 29.

33 AC 5173, 8911, DLW 311, Fibre 266, 289 f., Hier. Key 4, 10, Action xxi, xxxi f., cp. SD 3891.

34 TCR 103, CL 220, cp. Ontol. 59.

35 Ontol. 7, 56, R. Psych. 498, DLW 7, 71.

36 AE 1218e, AC 3726 :4.

37 AC 5272 :2, 6880e, HH 137u.

38 DP 46, cp. DLW 53.

39 DLW 52, 53, 55, 57; cp. 18 (Latin).

40 TCR 335, 2 Econ. 300, 294.

41 DLW 61, 134, AC 4906e; discussed, CL 133 ff., TCR 335, cp. R. Psych. 29n, 30.

42 The analytical method versus the synthetic, AK 6-14, R Ps, 134, 136, 156. Theories are to be concluded from experiences and confirmed by them, LJ post. 315, D Wis. ii. The first rational is procured by means of the experiences of the senses, AC 2657:2. Scientifics are those things which belong to the experience of one’s self and others. AC 6386e, HH 353.

43 R. Psych. 174.

44 2 Econ. 274, 276 f., 247, 1 Econ. 239, 258, R. Psych. 22, 30, 369, cp. DP 296 :14 f.

45 R. Psych. 507, 369, 2 Econ. 292-300.

46 AC 1893, DLW 23, 30, 240, 255, DP 96:4. The Rational Psychology distinguishes the connate faculty of rationality into a “Pure Intellect” which gives intuition into prime natural verities or the power of reasoning, and the “Pure Intelligence” by which the soul or spirit of man (whether good or evil) intuits spiritual truths. (R. Psych. 129, 133 f., 137 ff., 165, 525 f.)

47 AC 4570 :2, 1495 :2, 3, 2004 :2, 4658 :3, cp. TCR 8.

43 DLW 258, 266, cp. AC 1902.

49 R. Psych. 563.

50 AC 4658 :3, 2 Econ. 294, R. Psych. 525, 30, cp. 563. A universal truth is one that is “acknowledged as soon as it is heard. This is due to influx from the Lord and at the same time to confirmation by heaven.” (CL 62, cp. DLW 228.)

51 AK i, Prologue; R. Psych. 563 f., AE 739 :7.

52 TCR 155, DP 317, 168.

53 SD min. 4644, AE 739 :7.

54 DP 317, TCR 131, HD 49 :4.

55 SD 1606, SD min. 4655, 4578, AC 3428. See note 3. 58 De Verbo 16, TCR 273 ff., SD 4757.

57 AC 7298, 9039, 2568, cp. TCR 12, cp. DLW 351 ff. 5s TCR 12 ; The work on “The Infinite,” chap. I.

59 TCR 8-11.

60 DLW 349-357, TCR 12.

61 2 Econ. 364, R. Psych. 553 seq., 533, AK 464, 466; DP 27 seq., TCR 13, CL 402, DLW 330, Can. God vii, AC 6697, D Wis. xii. 4:3. Princ. III. ii suggests life on other planets. Cp. EU 3 ff.

62 AE 1226 :6, DP 42 f., 68 f., 203, 333, TCR 406.

62a DLW 1 ff. Love is defined in TCR 43, DLW 47. See treatment in D Love IX to XXI.

83 2 Econ. 334 ff., R. Psych. 351 seq. ; CL 444.

84 DLW 154, Can. God vii.

85 DLW 169, 230 f.

68 DLW 154, 225.

67 ISB 16.

68 AC 5711, AE 1207:2-4, 1206:3.

69 Coro. 17, 16, DLW 218, AC 9825, AE 875 :7 ; AK 229m.

70 AE 1111.

71 DLW 218 f.

72 AC 5173 :3, 8911.

73 AE 1197:2, 1196:3.

74 AC 5114 :3.

75 1 Econ. 617, Hier. Key 10, cp. Action xxxi ff.

75a CL 311.

76 DLW 331, 308, 313 ff., TCR 13 ; AK 260, 531m.

77 DLW 327 ff.

78 DLW 65-68, 170, LJ 9, AC 3702, D Wis. viii. 2.

79 TCR 67, AC 3518 :3, 5173.

80 LJ 9, TCR 71:2, 604, DLW 319 f.

81 LJ 9; 1 Econ. 7, 584e.

82 DLW 65 ff., 170, 330 ff.

83 D Wis xii. 2, AC 6879e, DP 51, 48, DLW 76, SD 4204, 3478, 3958; The Infinite, chap. I.

84 DLW 76, 155, 156, 283, 285, TCR 31:3.

85 DLW 156, TCR 31:3, cp. AE 23.

86 SD 3481, 3482.

87 DLW 55 :2, AE 1121:3, TCR 13. 8s DLW 55, TCR 33 f.

89 DLW 55, 283 ff., 198 ref’s.

90 DLW 285 f., cp. TCR 43.

91 DLW 44, TCR 33.

92 TCR 29, 33, 76; DLW 294, DP 157. g3 DLW 226 f.

94 Ang. Idea.

95 DP 6, DLW 300, 155.

96 ISB 17:2, DLW 229, DP 6, TCR 20e.

97 DLW 229, CL 329, DP 6.

98 TCR 29:3, 33, 76, DLW 294, DP 157, AC 7270:2.

99 AC 7004, 8200e, 8861e, 9410 :5, 5272, 6880, 10076 :5, Ath. Cr. 191.

100 TCR 75, 76; ISB in toto; DLW 153, 154, 300. Swedenborg arrived at this concept gradually. In the Principia he only notes that there are spiritual and abstract realities beyond the scope of geometry and mechanics. (Princ. Li. 2.) In the Economy (ii. 251266) he shows the “Sun of life and of wisdom” to be the source of the Spirit of God which like mediating auras conveys life and intelligence. Later the world of Spiritual Form is presented as the domain of the immaterial human soul. (Fibre 267, cp. 289, AK 14, 17, R. Psych. 498, 431, WLG 24 q, r.) In the theological Writings, three spiritual atmospheres are described.

101 TCR 35 :11, cp. 29.

102 DLW 152, 291, cp. DP 219: Difference between “proceeding” and “creating.”

103 HH 116 chap.

104 AC 7089:2, DLW 164, CL 207 :5, TCR 75 :3, 79:7, 24 :5, 280 :8, Can. God. iv. 8, LJ post. 323.

105 DLW 134e, 119, AC 8211, 6048e, 2993, 5711, AE 1207, 1209.

106 D Wis. viii. 3 (7), DLW 321.

107 AE 1207, 1196 :2, 1218 :2, 3, TCR 76 :3, Can. God iv. 10, DLW 344e, 315, 165, 167.

108 DLW 174, TCR 33, 76, ISB 16, Ang. Idea; WLG 24 q, r.

l09 DLW 302, 304.

110 AE 1210-1212, 1219, DLW 52, 173, 177 f.

111 AE 1209, Can. God iv. 7. See “Creation,” by H. L. Odhner, Bryn Athyn, Pa., 1964.

112 1 Econ. 579 chap., 2 Econ. 210 f., Senses 471, Fibre 271 f., 136; ISB 16, D Love xi, Ang. Idea, DLW 185, 302.

113 D Love xi, DLW 236 f., 184, 223 ff.

114 DLW 184, 195 ; Senses 471.

115 AK 229 ; ISB 17, Coro. 17.

116 LJ post. 304, DLW 209.

117 DLW 192, 195, 213.

118 DLW 88, D Wis. xii. 4, cp. TCR 32:8.

119 DLW 209.

120 DLW 205-221, AE 726:5.

121 DLW 222 f., 225, 209, ISB 16.

122 DLW 196, 200 f.

123 TCR 27, 31:3, AC 2625, 6983, 5253 :2, DLW 69 f., 160 f., DP 51:2, AE 1212 :5 ; cp. Princ. Li.

124 2 Econ. 241 ff.; CL 415 :6, AE 1207 :2.

125 Cp. AE 1146:5.

126 Princ. III. ii. 4.

127 SD 4009, DLW 165, D Wis. viii. 3 (7).

128 The Infinite (1847 ed.) p. 10; CL 207:5, 328, TCR 79:7, 280:8, 20, Can. God iv. 8.

129 Ang. Idea.

130 Compare Aristotle, cited in Fibre 266.

131 AC 5173, 8911, 5116 :3, 9473 :2, SD 2070, HH 589, cp. DLW 218, 311 (Latin), AE 1206e, cp. 1209:4, WE 989 note.

132 AC 5173.

133 TCR 79:7, 280:8, CL 207:5, Can. God iv. 8. The concept that matter has a spiritual origin constitutes-with the doctrine of discrete degrees-a revolutionary lemma of the new philosophy.

134 TCR 20e. As the units of further compounds they may be called ‘simples: See Fibre 266, DLW 204, DP 6.

135 Action xxi.

136 DLW 89, 90, 158 f., 164 f., 175, AE 1218:2, 1207:2, ISB 9, 10, TCR 472, AC 5084:2, CL 415 :3.

137 TCR 35 :7-13.

138 LJ post. 312, AE 726:ii.

139 2 Econ. 272.

140 AE 726, ii, LJ post. 312. The Principia and the Economy list four successive elements or atmospheres, but in later works the two middle atmospheres are combined, leaving only three discrete natural atmospheres. See Senses 264, 268, WLG 22 note, cp. LJ post. 312, etc.

141 ISB 16:3, TCR 32:8, 76:3, Coro. 17, DLW 190 f., 302, AE 726 ii, LJ post. 312 f., Ang. Idea. It is a sensual fallacy to assume only one atmosphere, AC 5084:2 cf. LJ post. 266, R. Psych. 31. A suggestion of another solar atmosphere is given in SD 222.

142 DLW 302. Compare the “Lesser Principia” description of the formation of a particle of the “fifth kind” from a first element, and the Principia (of 1734) on the formation of “third finites” by compression of “first elementaries.” ”

143 Fibre 269, 270, AE 1209.

144 2 Econ. 231-268.

145 TCR 695:4, AE 1080:2, Ang. Wis. conc. Mar., 60, 61 (Index).

146 ISB 1:3.

147 CL 313.

148 CL 314.

149 ISB 8.

150 DLW 77 ff.

151 DP 57e.

152 TCR 470 f., AE 1126:2.

153 ISB 8, 11, 13, TCR 470 f., cp. SD 2828 f.

154 DLW 56, 57e, 130, AR 55e.

155 DLW 53, 116, ISB 8, 11, 13, TCR 504:5.

156 DLW 58, 157:2.

157 DP 53 f.

158 TCR 33.

159 DP 219:2.

160 Ibid., expl. (In DLW 290f the terms ‘proceeding’ and ‘production’ are

used synonymously.)

161 AC 8760 :2, 8644, 7270 :2.

162 DLW 58e, 68, AE 616:2.

163 Explained, DP 54 and context.

164 DLW 53.

165 AC 3938 :2.

166 D Wis. xii. 4:3.

167 DLW 68, TCR 110:6, 371:6.

168 HD 11, ISB 11, TCR 607:2, 472.

169 AC 7004 :2, 8719 refs.

170 AC 3702, 7270:4, 8690 :2, 6056e, AE 806:3, DLW 233, TCR 109, LJ post. 311.

171 AE 1209, SS 27, 38, cp. HH 304.

172 ISB 16, DLW 185, 302.

173 D Wis. viii. 3, xii e, HH 297, AE 1086:5.

174 CL 311.

175 HH 315, 304, D. Wis. viii., AE 175 :2.

176 DLW 88.

177 TCR 814, AC 5828:2.

178 TCR 35 :11, CL 86, HH 569.

179 AC 8439.

180 AC 8351.

181 DLW 4, TCR 473.

182 DLW 17 ff., 155, 300:2, DP 6, 190:3, LJ 12:4.

183 DLW 77 ff., 223, AR 961:4, ISB 11, TCR 366, cp. AC 4206:2.

184 2 Econ. 264, cp. AE 674 :3.

185 TCR 763, AC 4206:2.

185a AC 5850, 5862, 5990, 5993, cp. DP 296:14, 15.

186 “Intercourse of Soul and Body,” London 1769.

187 ISB 1, 19, SD 4604, AC 6322, DLW 166.

188 ISB 1, 2, 19. ‘Occasional Causes’ is here used to refer to the view of Descartes that the sense organs give “occasion” to our mind to form certain ideas, and that the desire of the mind can direct the body without supplying any new energy. See NEW PHILOSOPHY, April 1959, pages 33-43.

189 ISB 1, 19, LJ post. 264.

190 ISB 2, 8, 18; discussed TCR 695 f.

191 SS 102, AC 2179, 2762, 2722, 4489, 10355.

192 TCR 279, SS 102, AC 4442:3, 2179e, 464, 519. :L93 AC 9407:4, HH 87, SS 20.

194 AC 5223, 7097, DP 255:2, WH (Appendix). l05 AC 2179e, 3179e, 4966, 1756 :2.

196 SS 22 f.

197 TCR 206, AC 4581.

198 Paracelsus et al.

199 princ. I. ii. 16, 19, 21, iii. 13.

200 Cerebrum 603-605, 1 Econ. 651, R. Psych. 567.

201 AK 293 and note u.

202 AC in toto, WIT 16.

203 SS 26, 56, De Ver. 58.

204 TCR 75, Can. God, iv, 1, 14, DLW 394, cp. 185.

205 AC 5423, HH 89 ff.

206 AE 593 :2e, Can. God iv. 1, 14, TCR 75, 33, 78, AC 9396 :3, D. Wis ii. 3, xii. 5 :3.

207 DLW 88 f., 218 f.

208 AC 4525, SS 67e.

209 DLW 83e, HH 112, 168.

210 AE 1086 :6, 597, 726 :5-7, AC 8615, Inv. 59, DLW 219.

211 SS 67e, AC 3286e, 3928, SD 2157 ff., 3474, 5552, SD min. 4645 f.

212 HH 112, DLW 324, AC 4223.

213 DLW 88.

214 AC 4523, 6013, 9555, SD 4063, 4066e, TCR 585, 499 :2, AE 1197:2, 1198:2 1208:5; cp. WLG 20 m.

215 AC 196 :3, 3747, cf CL 151a.

216 AE 1043 :2, DP 69.

217 DLW 318 :2, CL 186:2.

218 DLW 77, 223 :3.

219 DLW 56, 59, 52, TCR 33 f., 65.

220 Princ. I. x. 8.

221 DLW 66, TCR 67.

222 AC 6057, LJ 9.

223 DLW 319 f., 52, TCR 71, 604; 1 Econ. 584e.

224 AC 4523, SD 4066, 2 Econ. 196.

225 TCR 71, 604.

226 HH 38 :2, D Love xi :2, DLW 190, 184e, 207, 2 Econ. 244e. When a compound form is dissolved, it reverts to the prior form. Fibre 273, cp. AC 5114 :4, 5146 :2.

227 Fibre 261-273.

228 Fibre 266 b, cp. SD 3484.

229 Fibre 267, 289 f.

280 Fibre 268.

231 Fibre 269 f., cp. DLW 315, 344, AE 1207, 1209.

232 Fibre 289.

233 DLW 229, DP 6, TCR 20e, ISB 17:2, CL 329, SD 3482-3484. In the earlier works, as in Fibre 266 a, the term ‘simple’ is often used to describe the least compounded as the primitive of nature. In the Writings, however, the contemporary terms ‘simple substance’ and ‘mathematical points’ are rejected because they connote something unsubstantial and empty, an ens rationis devoid of real attributes, constituents, qualities, or substance.

234 TCR 66, Inv. 48, DLW 52, 285 :3, AE 1119 :2, 1208.

235 AC 9555, DLW 61 f., AE 1197 :3, 1203, 1208.

236 SD 3576 f., 3939 f., 1625, cp. AC 2658e.

237 AE 1206 :2, 3, 1209 f., DP 4 :3.

238 DLW 313, 315, 346, AE 1208, D Love viii.

239 AC 1276, 6807, 9276:6, EU 5, 9, HH 59, SD 3419, D Love vi, xiii. 3, TCR 119.

240 HH 68, DLW 24, D Love vi, SD 1145J, 4064 ff., 3972, 3148, CL 10:8.

241 TCR 762, AE 641, 948 :2, 3, cp. 670.

242 TCR 762, AC 1551, 2905 :2, 5658 :2, HH 115, AE 411 :4, cp. CL 73 et seq. ; Coro. 2-4, i-lv.

243 CLJ 11-13, LJ 73 f., TCR 784, DP 250, 252.

244 AC 286.

245 AC 8118 :3 ; Coro., Summary; HD 81 ref’s.

246 AC 6493e, 5508 :2, DP 212.

247 AC 6487, SD min. 4692, DP 97, 234, 129 chap., SD 2874.

248 HH 296, AC 6058, DP 162 f., 285e.

249 AC 641, 645.

249a SS 20, 21, 117, AC 2762:4, 4966, TCR 11, Coro. 38, WH (Appendix 4).

250 EU 113-122.

251 AE 726 :5-7.

252 TCR 779, 786 ff.

253 AE 1119 :2, 1208:3, AC 4223 :2, 4926.

254 AE 1209, DLW 315, 343 f., Cf. Fibre 269 f.

255 AE 1201, 1210.

258 DLW 66, 67, 239, 432, AE 1201.

257 LJ 25, HH 39, ISB 8, AC 1999 :3, 4.

258 DLW 346, 255, AE 1201:4, 1212, cp. 2 Econ. 338 ff. The primitive of an animal at death relapses into nature. D Wis. viii. 2 (6), iii. 4 (3).

259 AE 1212, AC 5114e.

260 LJ 14, D Wis. viii, cp. R Ps. 528, 2 Econ. 364.

261 DLW 257, 345, 362, 265 f., CL 178, 5 Mem. 5, cp. R Ps. 174.

262 TCR 38e, 583 798 DP 319, D Wis. vii. 2:4. Cp. SD 2794, 2837.

263 HH 432, DLW 257, CL 315 :11, 2 Econ. 232.

264 ISB 1, 19, TCR 280, 695, DLW 166, AC 5119, R Ps. 158 seq., 167.

265 AC 6322, 3721, 5779, SD 3635, 3671 f., 4609, R Ps. 174.

266 DLW 219, AC 9293, 9473.

267 DLW 387, SD 1970, 3891, 4010.

268 Cp. SD min. 4645, 2 Econ. 358, 315.

269 TCR 103 DLW 257, 388, DP 220, D Wis. viii, 2, 3.

270 Ibid., LJ 14.

271 Psychologica, The Infinite, ch. ii, Mech. S. B., 2 Econ.

272 1 Econ. 635-638, 2 Econ. 166 f., 199, 270, 313, Fibre 266b.

273 2 Econ. 314.

274 2 Econ. 315.

275 2 Econ. 312.

276 2 Econ. 348 ff., 351, 354.

277 SD 3459.

278 1 Econ. 635-638, 650 f., 2 Econ. 166, 167, 206, 225, 199, 270, 272, 313 f., Fibre 266b, Senses 318. The terms ‘spirituous fluid’ and ‘animal spirits’ are used by Swedenborg with varying meanings. For a history of the concept, see NEW PHILOSOPHY, 1933:218 seq., 234 seq.

279 DP 220, DLW 423, D Wis. x. 6e.

280 OPS 3, R Ps. 424, 1 Econ. 247 seq., TCR 103 (bis), D. Wis. iii. 2, CL 183:4, 220, D Love ii, DLW 269. The principle is generally called ‘traducianism.’

281 DLW 257, TCR 583.

282 BE 110:2, DP 319, 326:5, CL 524 ii, cp. 2 Econ. 315.

283 1 Econ. 269-271, 2 Econ. 314, SD 831, 914, 1035, 1037, TCR 103, AE 1209e, 1201:3.

284 1 Econ. 249, OPS 3, DLW 432.

285 For a study of “The Human Mind,” see seven articles in the NEW PHILOSOPHY 1954-1956.

286 DLW 236, 239, 432. 2s7 DLW 252, AE 790b :8, 625 :5. 288 AC 2106, cp. 3570.

289 DLW 330, 237.

290 DLW 240, 30, DP 285.

291 Econ. 325 f., R Ps. 528, 326 f., 475.

292 DLW 264, cf CL 444.

293 Coro. 28, cp. R Ps. 351-400 2 Econ. 317 seq., 326 seq.

294 SD min. 4645 f., SD 4037 ff., 5552, AC 4901:3, HH 466, 345, cp. 2 Econ. 358.

295 TCR 583, 798, CL 315 :11, HH 463.

296 AC 9922 :2, 2471, 2476, 2493 f., SD 2154, 3234, R Ps. 530.

297 TCR 394 ff., cp. R Ps. 475.

298 DLW 270, 432, 345, TCR 34, SD 2829, 3474, cp. R Ps. 528.

299 ISB 8, AC 1999, HH 39, LJ 25, WE 649. It is to be noted that what is called ‘the soul’ and ‘the spiritual mind’ in the Rational Psychology is not identical with what the Writings mean by the same terms, but may be either good or evil, yet always endowed with a ‘pure intelligence.’ (R Ps. 527, 423, 429 f., 496. )

300 The term ‘soul’ has various meanings. See DLW 394 :2, SD 2756, 2829, 3474.

301 DLW 60, AR 222 :3, DP 58e, TCR 718.

302 TCR 369, 371.

303 AC 10729 :2, 2554, 9378, 10632 :3, TCR 787.

304 Cp. The Infinite, I.x., Princ. I.i. 4e.

304a AC 1906, 1738, 2284, 5342, 6156.

305 Cp. DLW 209

306 AC 4574:3, AE 948 :4, TCR 443, CL 164.

307 Life 108, TCR 444.

308 TCR 459:13, AE 182, D Wis. xi. 8:5.

309 HD 11, AC 7754, TCR 472.

310 2 Econ. 366, R Ps. 538, 559, WE 472, 474 et seq.

–The New Philosophy 1965;68:40-74

The New Philosophy

The journal of the
Swedenborg Scientific Association

Free with Membership


The journal publishes articles addressing philosophical questions and topics that bear on the scientific, philosophical, and theological works of Swedenborg.

Includes book reviews, and a Notes & Comments department. Triennial index.

Editor: Reuben Bell


Swedenborg Scientific Association
Publications Technician
P.O. Box 610
Bryn Athyn, PA 19009


Send your email to SwedenborgScientific@gmail.com


Fax: 215-938-1853