Watch full episode here!
Our expert panel convenes to answer viewer questions about the writings of eighteenth-century spiritual teacher Emanuel Swedenborg.
The expert panel members are:
- Curtis Childs, host of Swedenborg & Life
- Chelsea Odhner, writer and production manager for Swedenborg & Life
- Chara Daum, Latin consultant, NCE
- Karin Childs, writer for Swedenborg & Life
Questions and answers are summarized below and you can follow the links for the full discussion.
Here on earth, we develop our sense of self, which we need in order to contribute to the spiritual world. Our lives and our identities are unique to the earthly realm and provide a kind of vessel for communicating spiritual truths, like a shell around a seed. Just as the womb prepares us for our life on earth, the physical world prepares us for the unflinching reality of the spiritual world. And with regard to Swedenborg’s correspondences, understanding the meaning of things in the physical world works as a necessary precursor to understanding them in the spiritual world.
Swedenborg could feel very clear sensations in his body that were connected to the spiritual world. However, most people are protected from this, as only someone whose interiors are open is susceptible to these sensations. While the spiritual world does influence our bodies here on earth, it’s not a direct influence; there’s a barrier. For more about this, check out our episode “How Spirits Are Connected to Your Health.” Also, before Jesus came to earth, evil spirits were powerful enough to possess people against their will, but since the Lord’s coming, they have no longer been able to do that.
Many of the skills we have today will be standard issue in the afterlife—for instance, we’ll all be able to communicate clearly and beautifully. There may be other skills that we can’t even begin to understand today. It is a “world of loves,” so we will certainly have the opportunity to do the things that we love to do or have always wanted to do. Without physical restrictions, we will easily be able to access all sorts of new knowledge.
Kent is an author (Seven Days of Spiritual Evolution and 12 Miracles of Spiritual Growth), student, and counselor who finds that Swedenborg’s ideas are great simply because they heal. Swedenborg puts together the whole cosmos in a clear and consistent way, and it helps us realize how the world is such a wonderful place that’s bent toward good. Having these truths within can help to lift you out of your anxieties and selfish desires.
It depends on the person’s intention in doing so, which of course only God can judge. Since we should all be contributing to the greater good, many monks are hiding away to focus their positive thoughts on others in the world. Swedenborg was suspicious of those in his time who lived such solitary and isolated lives, but today we can think of many cases where that’s the best way to re-focus on doing good.
Spirits travel by community, so it’s likely that they’d have a good “starting point” when they’re working within families. People’s connections can definitely be toxic to each other in ways that introduce spiritual challenges and lay them open to spiritual attacks. It’s important to know that evil spirits attack what you love, so only relationships that matter are the ones that get hell’s attention.
The relationship between God and Jesus Christ is pretty complex and sometimes confusing, but the best way to understand Jesus’s role is to think in terms of the answers to the first question in this show. Jesus came to earth for many of the same reasons that we must live on earth before going to the spiritual world. He came to basically role-model how a human can be glorified and become sanctified in God. So Jesus is and always was God, and he may well appear in human form in heaven.