Secrets of Heaven is a verse-by-verse exposition of Genesis and Exodus, showing the correspondences (connections through symbol between the material and spiritual world) in which, according to Swedenborg’s analysis, the Bible is written. Each chapter includes embedded sections describing Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences and expounding his theological views.
This book series is Swedenborg’s largest and in many ways most challenging title, but it contains abundant points of interest to reward the adventurous reader. In addition to a deep exploration of biblical inner meaning, it presents Swedenborg’s transcendent visions of heaven and correspondingly horrific views of hell; his reports on the process of dying and entering life after death; his spiritual anthropology (specifically, his descriptions of the spiritual state of the earliest people); and his views on many other topics, including the correspondences of the organs and systems of the human body, the theory of a higher and more perfect level of memory above our conscious memory, the existence and nature of human life on other planets, the dual nature of visions and dreams, and the nature of the human mind and its developmental stages.
Volume 1 covers Genesis 1–8, in which Swedenborg describes the inner meaning of the creation story, the fall of Adam and Eve, and Noah’s deliverance from the flood. He understands the days of creation as an image of the stages of human spiritual transformation; Adam and Eve as symbols for the earliest ancient “church,” a people who eventually fell away from God; and Noah as a symbol of the good individuals who were spared from the evil thinking that flooded human minds during that decline. Interspersed with Swedenborg’s explorations of these narratives are his accounts of stages in the transition to the afterlife. He also describes the nature of the soul after death and the joy experienced in heaven, before concluding with descriptions of hell.
About the Deluxe Edition
A Disclosure of Secrets of Heaven Contained in Sacred Scripture, or the Word of the Lord; Here First Those in Genesis, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels, volume 1, by Emanuel Swedenborg. Originally published by Swedenborg in London in 1749. Translated by Lisa Hyatt Cooper. This Deluxe volume includes a series editor’s preface by Jonathan S. Rose; a translator’s preface; a reader’s guide to Secrets of Heaven by William Ross Woofenden and Jonathan S. Rose; an introduction by Wouter J. Hanegraaff; an explanation of conventions used in the series, along with a list of works by Swedenborg referred to in the volume; the newly translated text of Swedenborg’s work; fifty-eight pages of endnotes by Reuben P. Bell, Lisa Hyatt Cooper, George F. Dole, Robert H. Kirven, James F. Lawrence, Grant H. Odhner, John L. Odhner, Jonathan S. Rose, Stuart Shotwell, Richard Smoley, and Lee S. Woofenden; a bibliography of works cited in the notes; an index to the preface, reader’s guide, introduction, and notes; an index to Secrets of Heaven volume 1; and a biographical note on Swedenborg. 2008.