Servetus, Swedenborg and the Nature of God

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University Press of America, 2005 - Religion - 353 pages
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The Trinity was defined at the Council of Nicaea and the relationship of the human and divine natures of Christ was defined at Chalcedon. Very few questioned the Church's depictions of the nature of God. Two such mavericks, Michael Servetus (1509-1553) and Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), in spite of their Christian educations, rejected the Church's creedal understanding of God and the Trinity. Although they lived in two different ages- the Reformation and Enlightenment, and there is no evidence that Swedenborg ever read or even knew of Servetus- the two men came to remarkably similar conclusions about the nature of God. Each scholar stated that the Trinity does not rest in three Persons, but rather takes form in the single person of Jesus Christ, the visible God. Servetus was a superb scholar in his day. He mastered the Church Fathers and possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible. Servetus tragically perished in the flames at Geneva because of his beliefs. Swedenborg, likewise, was a well-known and respected scholar, philosopher, and anatomist. He dedicated the last thirty years of his life to biblical research, producing a series of some thirty volumes (in English) of theological writings. His work influenced many of the great thinkers and artists of the nineteenth century and continues to be read and studied in many parts of the world today.
 

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Contents

Swedenborgs Reflections on the Traditional Trinity
172
The First Epoch the Apostolic Church
173
The Second Epoch the Trinitarian Church
174
The Athanasian Creed
176
Swedenborgs Rejection of Scholasticism
180
The Destruction of the Church
181
There is a Divine Trinity
183
Swedenborgs Concept of God
185

The Earliest Christology and Concepts of the Trinity
12
The Christology of 1gnatius
13
The Christology of Irenaeus
16
The Christulogy of Tertullian
19
The Arian Controversy
27
The Nicene Creed
30
The Athanasian Creed
32
The Divine and Human in Christ
33
Nestorius
34
Cyril of Alexandria
35
The Resolution of the Council of Ephesus
36
The Council Of Chalcedon
37
The Effect of Trinitarian Christology on Christian Theology
40
Michael Servetus
45
Early Years
46
The Middle Years
51
The Final Years
57
Capture in Switzerland
61
On the Errors of the Trinity in Seven Books
67
Book I
68
Book II
71
Book III
75
Book IV
79
Book V
82
Book VI
83
Book VII
85
Dialogues on the Trinity In Two Books
91
Book the First
92
Book the Second
98
The Sources for Servetus Christology
105
Servetus Rejection of Scholasticism
107
The Illustrative
109
The Demonstrative
112
The Fideist
113
Gregory of Rimini
114
Pierre DAilly
115
Servetus and the Church Fathers
117
The Christology of Irenaeus
120
The Christology of Ignatius
121
Islamic and Jewish Sources in Servetus
123
Emanuel Swedenborg
127
The Early Years
129
The Middle Years
136
Spiritual Experiences
141
Transition
144
The Journal of Dreams
145
Swedenborgs Visions of God
146
Biblical Studies
150
Full Contact with the Spiritual World
154
Proofs of Swedenborgs Clairvoyance
155
Last Journey
158
What does one make of Swedenborg?
159
Swedenborgs Rejection of the Traditional Trinity
163
Swedenborgs Early Theological Stage
168
God is One
187
The Nature of the One God
190
The Esse and Existere
191
Essence and Existence
194
The Successive Revelation of God
197
The Most Ancient Church
198
The Ancient Church
201
The Israelitish Church
203
Jesus Christ
204
The Son from Eternity
205
Who is Jesus Christ?
206
Christs Conception and Birth
208
The Process of Glorification
213
The Holy Spirit
218
Swedenborgs Concept of the Trinity
225
Soul Body Operation
226
Discrete Degrees
230
The Trinity before Christ
233
Reworking the Athanasian Creed
235
One God
236
Three Persons
237
The Acceptable Athanasian Creed
239
Christ allowed Himself to be born
240
The Divine of the Father took on a Human
241
The Rational Soul and Human Body
242
Christs Soul
243
One Christ
245
The Soul and the Body
246
Servetus Swedenborg and the Nature of God
251
Historical Similarities
252
Concept of the Bible
257
Nicaea
261
The Idea of God
263
The Word prior to the Advent
266
The Incarnation
269
The Holy Spirit
275
The Trinity
277
The Consequences of this Belief
279
Rejection of Faith Alone
280
Common Sources and Roots
285
Tertullian
289
The Rule of Faith
292
Tertullian and Swedenborg
295
Substance
297
Person
298
Could Tertullian have influenced Swedenborg?
300
The Testimony of the Soul
304
Conclusion
311
Appendix A
329
Appendix B
332
Appendix C
335
Bibliography
337
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Andrew M.T. Dibb is Associate Professor of Theology at the Academy of the New Church Theological School. Professor Dibb holds an M.Div. from the Academy of the New Church Theological School and a doctorate in Church History from the University of South Africa, Pretoria.

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