Good Question! Recap: Good Works, the Government of Heaven, and Did Jesus Have a Wife? – 6/17/19

Watch full episode here!

Our expert panel has gathered to answer viewer questions with the help of the writings of eighteenth-century spiritual teacher Emanuel Swedenborg.

The panel members are:

  • Curtis Childs, host of Swedenborg & Life
  • Dr. Jonathan Rose, series editor, New Century Edition
  • Karin Childs, writer for Swedenborg & Life

Questions and answers are summarized below; please follow the links for the full discussion.


1. I worry about true intentions. If you know the rewards, is your work really good?

According to Swedenborg, all heaven cares about is your intentions. If your intention is to do good for the sake of good, that’s much different from doing good just to get a reward. This makes self-reflection important—consider why you’re doing what you’re doing, and keep working to improve not only the effects but also your intentions.


2. What do you do if you see an angel in real life, not just in the spiritual world?

Angels are messengers, and they’ll make their way to you if there’s something you need to know. They don’t visit without a purpose. They’re here on earth to do good—to give comfort and reassurance.


3. Does Swedenborg mention anything about the form of government in angelic communities? Did he mention anything about the best government on earth?

Strangely enough, he compares angelic government to the government of bees. The way that bees interact can teach us a lot about how heaven values usefulness and community. When it comes to earthly government, Swedenborg lived in a time of political change. One thing he highlighted was the importance of intellectual freedom. Government should support the common good, not just individual groups.


4. If the remnant is the part given by God that cannot be tarnished, what happens to it when a soul is in hell?

The remnant is a part of you that is special—an indestructible goodness within you. Swedenborg doesn’t clearly answer this question, but Jonathan believes that just as do freedom and rationality, the remnant must remain with people even in hell. Those who are in hell still have everlasting life, so the remnant may be that core element that God connects with to sustain their life.


Interlude: Kim Shine Interview

Kim found our show after experiencing a loss, and it helped her understand her grief and move forward. She had a spiritual experience that got her back into her spiritual practice, and she finds that the show helps her bring things into perspective.


5. Are there some angels who were never humans?

According to Swedenborg, all angels were once human. To have an individual spirit requires that one starts out in the physical world. It’s important, too, to note that Swedenborg includes sentient aliens in the human category.


6. Does Swedenborg ever speak of the true identity of Mary Magdalene?

Though some argue that she was Jesus’s wife, Swedenborg wasn’t extremely interested in the historical people. He was much more interested in their correspondences and symbolism. So there were no hints as to the depth of her relationship with Christ.

“Mary Reaching for His Garment” by Soni Soneson Werner


7. I was wondering how you might introduce someone close to you, who is somewhat agnostic, to Swedenborg’s ideas.

Start with what they believe in—are they interested in science, in ethics, in psychology? Any of these can be valid entry points to Swedenborg’s writing. He can help to reconcile some of the things that don’t make sense to critics, because they didn’t make sense to him either. A lot of his ideas are actually seeing more traction in scientific communities today.

Related Swedenborg & Life Videos

“The Different Kinds of Angels”

Heaven and Hell

“Is There Evidence for God?” (Short clip)

Spiritual Experiences

The Spirituality of Aliens

“Who Was Swedenborg?”

Related Books

Searching for Mary Magdalene (by Soni Soneson Werner)

Related Blogs

“Discovering the True Significance of Mary Magdalene: An Easter Surprise”

Transformational Fire in Nature, Society, and Spiritual Life

Free E-Book Downloads

Apocalypse Explained

Apocalypse Revealed

Divine Love and Wisdom

Divine Providence

Heaven and Hell

Last Judgment / Supplements

Life / Faith

The Lord

New Jerusalem

Other Planets

Sacred Scripture / White Horse

Secrets of Heaven

True Christianity

Read more Swedenborg & Life episode recaps >


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About Swedenborg & Life

In a lighthearted and interactive webcast format, host Curtis Childs from the Swedenborg Foundation and featured guests explore topics from Swedenborg’s eighteenth-century writings about his spiritual experiences and afterlife explorations and discuss how they relate to modern-day life and death.
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About offTheLeftEye

When we wake up in heaven, Swedenborg tells us, angels roll a covering from off of our left eye so that we can see everything in a spiritual light. The offTheLeftEye YouTube channel uses an array of educational and entertaining video formats to look at life and death through an uplifting spiritual lens.
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