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Are we alone in the universe? It used to seem like a silly topic, but many scientists today are starting to think there is intelligent life out there in space.
According to eighteenth-century philosopher and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, aliens are real—and they’re not too different from us. How does he know? In his spiritual journeys, he encountered the spirits of beings from across the universe. Sound bizarre? Not if you understand how travel works in the spiritual world. There, distance isn’t a matter of light years—it’s a matter of how people align with each other.
In this episode, hosts Curtis Childs and Jonathan Rose explain just how all of this works.
Swedenborg didn’t travel alone. Angels guided him through space so he could safely navigate the stars. Some earth spirits even tried to tag along, but they didn’t make it out of the solar system. Once through, Swedenborg made contact with people from another solar system.
From their manner of speaking and their unique way of perceiving things and expressing their views I could clearly tell that they were from an extrasolar planet, since they were completely different from the spirits of our solar system. They could also tell from my speech that I was from far away. (Other Planets §129)
These people didn’t worship God directly, but they understood him in much the same way that Swedenborg did. Instead, they worshiped an angelic community that brought them a kind of moderated light and wisdom.
Curtis points out that the people from that planet have a certain place in the Universal Human—they form the spleen. For more on that idea, check out our episode on “The Shape of Heaven.”
The people Swedenborg saw there helped him connect to other spiritually-aware natives who could give him a tour of the planet—and its hell. But how did Swedenborg travel?
Let’s have a look at the principle of spiritual distance. Presence and distance are matters of internal state, so the incredible distances between planets just don’t matter. All that matters are the states of life, or state of love and faith, that the people there share.
After another change of state, we meet alien spirits that know us pretty well already. They’re high up, a position that signifies a proximity to God.
Each of these planet’s peoples play a role in the Universal Human that forms heaven.
Asked about what God they worshiped, they answered that they worshiped a God both visible and invisible—a visible God in human form and an invisible God in no form at all. Both from what they said and from thought images they shared with me, I learned that their visible God was our Lord himself and that they too called him “the Lord.” (Other Planets §141)
Swedenborg also learned about their community-oriented ways of life and government, as well as details such as how clothes were made.
The spirits and angels from other planets are all separate from each other, divided up by planet; they do not appear together in one place. The reason is that the inhabitants of one planet have an entirely different character than the inhabitants of another. They do not associate with each other in the heavens, except in the third and deepest one. Spirits who go there gather from every planet and unite very closely to form that heaven. (Secrets of Heaven §6701)
While these people from other planets seem different from us, it was clear that they live in the same spiritual universe we do. And only in the highest heaven, closest to love, do we truly coexist.
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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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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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