Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

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BiblioBazaar, 2008 - Religion - 372 pages
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I am admittedly only partway through this book as I write this review; however already I have found myself making connections and discoveries that illuminate some of the struggles in my own life.
Swedenborgs book Divine Providence is in fact the second of two sister books; the first called:
"(Angelic Wisdom concerning) Divine Love and Wisdom".
The first book deals with the nature of God and his creation (mankind). The second volume:
"(Angelic Wisdom about) Divine Providence" concerns the interaction between God and his creation.
There is a great deal I could say about the questions and possibilities my reading has opened up for me already. Being as I want to keep this review short and easily digestible I will just mention one of the ideas Swedenborg discusses that particularly struck me as a taste.
Part way through the book; as Swedenborg examines how God might be seen and found to be supporting us in our lives, (Divine Povidence being the theological term used to describe this spiritual interaction); he draws a subtle but important distinction. Whilst he maintains that God is present and supporting us in all we do that draws us towards God's love, there are parts of us all that are tempted by selfish destructive urges. When we have become attatched to some pattern of behaviour that has at its core a love of doing something selfish or destructive, (Swedenborg uses as an example adultery), escaping the spiritual dead end that this choice leads us down requires two things to happen. WE need FIRST to change our actions. Then, and only then, can God reach inside us and effect a change in our deepest loves, a place Swedenborg claims we cannot fully understand or control. This struck me very strongly as it chimed with many of my own experiences.
 

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About the author (2008)

The son of a Swedish Lutheran pastor, professor, and court chaplain, Emanuel Swedenborg first became a scientist and mining engineer. Of brilliant intellect and wide-ranging interests, he explored many areas of nature, doing pioneering work in several fields. In 1743 he began to experience a series of visions of the spiritual world. Over subsequent years he maintained that he held conversations with angels, the departed, and even God, and that he had visited heaven and hell. Swedenborg penned a lengthy series of writings inspired by these encounters, based on the concept of a spiritual cosmos as model for the physical, an educative view of the afterlife, and the allegorical interpretation of Scripture. In 1774 the small Church of the New Jerusalem was founded explicitly on the basis of his revelations. Swedenborg's influence has been much wider than its membership. His teachings entered American culture generally through the popularity of several of his books and his impact on Spiritualism and the New England Transcendentalists.

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