Watch full episode here!
In our inaugural episode of a brand new series, we’ve gathered an expert panel to answer questions from viewers and discuss 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
- Chelsea Odhner, writer and production manager for Swedenborg & Life
- Karin Childs, writer for Swedenborg & Life
Questions and answers are summarized below; please follow the links for the full discussion.
1. Jesus repeatedly says that he was sent by his father. Who is he referring to?
When God took on the human form as Jesus, it was so that he could go through the salvation process the way we all do. The difference is that we have to find the Divine, and he just had to reunite his humanity with his divine core. So when he refers to his father, he’s referring to his own divine purpose or soul.
2. Do you think God created life out of boredom and loneliness?
It’s hard for us to even begin to guess at God’s thoughts and feelings, but boredom and loneliness probably weren’t part of his motivation. Swedenborg clearly states that the purpose of the universe is to be useful—to be an expression of God’s love and wisdom.
3. In heaven, do we experience the joys and pains of this life? Will we be able to converse with Swedenborg?
We absolutely will be able to talk to Swedenborg in heaven, but he mentions how connecting with others depends both on who they are and on our state. He also talks about how some spiritual “celebrities” like Moses and Abraham get so many visitors that they have people impersonate them to help manage the crowds!
To answer the first question, heaven will have this range of emotions, but they will be genuine and purposeful, allowing us to feel clearly our spiritual progress. We won’t experience our aches and pains the way we did on earth, where we’re closer to hell. Heaven keeps us safe from new negativity.
4. Do you believe people today can have a deeper understanding of God than Swedenborg did? For example, is his insight fallible and incomplete or perfect?
Swedenborg was a human being, and he was a product of his time. Now that we have a greater sense of context, both scientifically and socially, we can look at some of the things he describes and understand what he saw better than he did. While his ideas may be lacking in some places, his writings do offer a complete picture of what’s going on in life. In his own words, they serve as “crude vessels” that may open our minds and allow God’s love and wisdom to enter our lives.
Interlude: Guest interview with Tricia Barker
Tricia Barker, author of Angels in the OR, had a near-death experience that changed her life immediately, but she also had after-effects that took the form of spiritual experiences. All of this gave her an appetite for spiritual study that eventually led her to Swedenborg.
5. If nothing is outside God, and God is incapable of anger and vengeance, how can there be such things?
Think about cold and darkness—they’re not things; they’re absences of heat and light. Anger and vengeance, likewise, are just names for specific kinds of absence. God provides the raw material for everything, and humans have the freedom to make choices about what they’ll do with that material.
6. Did Swedenborg write about the value of pain, the purpose it serves?
Yes, pain and suffering, even death itself, are part of the spiritual process of transformation. According to Swedenborg, spiritual crises are necessary steps on the path to growth since they can help to steer us away from our most hellish loves. These crises came along as a result of humanity getting out of alignment with the divine plan.
Related Swedenborg & Life Videos
“Does God Ever Get Angry?” (News From Heaven)
“Why God Can’t Get Angry” (Short Clip)
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