Good Question! Recap: Beliefs, Evil Spirits, and the Power of Prayer — 9/30/19

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
  • Chara Daum, Latin consultant, New Century Edition
  • Chris Dunn, community manager for Swedenborg & Life
  • Chelsea Odhner, writer for Swedenborg & Life

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

1. What did Swedenborg have to say about the sermon on the mount AKA the Beatitudes?

This is, of course, the famous sermon where Jesus says that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Through the lens of correspondence, that statement seems to be a celebration of humility. As Swedenborg understands the term “earth” to mean “the church,” if one is in a state of humility, then he or she may be open enough to receive the good and truth of the church. Swedenborg never directly wrote about the sermon itself, but the Beatitudes do occasionally come up in different places in his writings.

2. Why does man seem to resist a belief in God, yet readily embrace scientific beliefs?

While there can just as easily be a lot of push-back against science, it is true that humans are very sense-oriented and have an easier time believing in things they can experience. Science is easier to reproduce than emotional and spiritual resonance. In some ways, science can seem more immediately useful as well.

3. How do evil spirits know what we love or care about if they aren’t very aware of us?

Time and space in the spiritual world are based on similar loves—spirits automatically flow toward people who love the same things that they do. It’s like gravity. So in some ways, they know what we love and care about because they feel similarly, but in some distorted way.


4. Swedenborg said all power belongs to good and none to evil. How is it that evil does seem to have a lot of power?

It’s easy for people to get stuck in a physical world mindset, which enables some evil choices. We can’t see the spiritual world, so we get caught up in the illusion of a finite existence. And here on earth, we default to being self-absorbed even though the actual spiritual power all belongs to goodness. The only power evil has is to seem like it has a lot of power.


5. What happens when a child and a parent pass at the same time? Do they stay together, even if the parent isn’t ready for heaven?

There isn’t a clear answer in Swedenborg’s writings to this specific question, but it does seem like people are reunited with their loved ones very quickly. Children grow up in heaven, but aren’t angels yet, so it is highly likely that children and their parents will be able to overlap and be with each other.

6. Does praying for people actually help them?

Divine providence is working for everyone’s good all the time, with or without prayer. God has everything under control, but prayer is a chance to align your intentions with God’s. If you are praying for somebody and doing it alongside them (and with their permission), that will help them just by showing them your love. Prayer makes a difference for you since it opens you up to the possibility of God’s power, but it won’t change God’s mind—because it doesn’t have to. 


7. Does Swedenborg say anything about “The Now” or holy moment? The fact that there is only a constant unfolding of the moment. If time is an arrow, then we’re constantly dancing on the tip.

Swedenborg does say that angels do live purely in the moment at all times—they don’t think about the past or the future. From heaven’s view, all of time exists all at once.

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Spiritual Physics

What Does Prayer Do?

What Is God’s Plan for You? (News from Heaven)

“Who Was Swedenborg?”

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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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