Watch full episode here!
Why does nature feel so beautiful? From a practical perspective, being on top of a mountain offers very little, but it certainly feels amazing to be there. It doesn’t make sense at face value.
Eighteenth-century philosopher and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg would tell you there is a clear reason: nature was the first revelation. Nature can reveal God’s love and truth through its very existence. Each natural element is an image of something more.
So how do we begin to understand? First, we need to understand what an image is—Dr. Ed Higgins explains using the example of a human eye. When eyes help us see, what they’re really doing is translating light so the brain can read it. Dr. Johanan Odhner joins to dig in even deeper, explaining how light can provide us with information about things at levels that we cannot see.
Physical things can also have psychological implications. When you’re searching for a rake in a dark garage, for example, you need light to find what you’re looking for. Likewise, when you’re searching for meaning in life, you need spiritual light to understand.
Eyes connect light and understanding, and the rest of our bodies are just as closely connected to our environment. Just like our hands and feet help us interact with the physical natural environment, our minds exist to be a part of nature too.
Curtis sits down with Chelsea Odhner to discuss studies about how our brains react to symbolism. It seems to be in our very nature to interpret our world not based on the reality of it, but through metaphors connected to sensory information.
So maybe we feel mountains are beautiful because we’re connecting to the inner meaning of mountains.
Among the earliest people, mountains symbolized the Lord, because it was on mountains that they held worship to him. Their reason for doing so was that mountains were the highest points on earth. Consequently mountains symbolized heavenly qualities—love and charity, and so the good effects of love and charity, which are heavenly—and the people also referred to these things as “most high.” (Secrets of Heaven §795:1)
Mountains have this kind of symbolic meaning throughout the Bible as well. And everywhere, it seems to lead to love. Somewhere in us, we have an innate sense of what a mountain really is—God’s revelation of the path to love.
Related Swedenborg & Life Videos
“Ecology and Spirituality”
“Who Was Swedenborg?”
Free E-Book Downloads
Support Swedenborg & Life! Enjoy our programming and want to help us produce more free videos, books, and other faith and spirituality content? Make a donation or become a member of the nonprofit Swedenborg Foundation!
Want to watch more Swedenborg & Life videos? Visit our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe for new uploads!
Read more Swedenborg & Life episode recaps >
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.
View the entire Swedenborg & Life Playlist
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.
View our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel