вторник, 1 ноември 2011 г.


Emanuel Swedenbörg (1688–1772) was a Swedish scientist and

who, later in life, became famous for his visions of higher
spiritual realms and for his supposed travels to these realms. He had
little interest in religious matters until 1744, when at age fifty-six, he
had a remarkable waking experience—he travelled to the spirit world
and conversed with its inhabitants, who he called “angels.” Then followed
a whole series of visions and dreams in which he met, among
others, Jesus, God, and some of the great figures of history.
Because of his many travels to extraterrestrial realms, he was able
to dictate thorough descriptions of heaven, hell, and particularly,
angels. He writes in Heaven and Hell (1859), “I have seen a thousand
times that angels are human forms, or men, for I have conversed with
them as man to man, sometimes with one alone, sometimes with
many in company.”
Swedenbörg was emphatic in his belief that the angelic form, in
every respect, is human. He described angels has having faces, eyes,
ears, breasts, arms, hands, and feet. He was quick to point out, however,
that “angels cannot be seen by man with his bodily eyes, but only
with the eyes of the spirit which is within him.”
Swedenbörg further recounted specific features of the angelic
realm. Angels wear garments and live in houses like humans, “but
with a difference, that they are all the more perfect, because angels
exist in a more perfect state.” He suggested that the raiment of an
angel is reflective of his or her level of intelligence, thus “the most
intelligent have garments that glitter as with flame, and some are
resplendent as with light; while the less intelligent have garments of
clear or opaque white without splendor.”
As wondrous as their garments seem, so, too, are the abodes of
Swedenbörg’s angels. He described palaces, “their upper parts . . .
refulgent as if they were pure gold, and their lower parts as if they were
precious stones.”
Angels do communicate and possess a unique type of language
and mode of writing. “Their writing has a literal sense and an inner
spiritual sense, and it derives directly from their thought” (Giovetti, p.
113). According to Swedenbörg, “Angels can express in one word
what man cannot do in a thousand; and besides this, there are comprised
in one word of angelic language innumerable things, which
cannot be expressed in the words of human language at all.”
The tasks and roles of Swedenbörg’s angels correspond in part to
those commonly attributed to this celestial choir. Some are guardian
beings who help mortal men as they pass in death from this world to
the next; others take care of little children; protect the righteous on
earth and guide them toward heaven; and some moderate the goings
on in hell.
The devils in Swedenbörg’s cosmos have the opposite task—that
of tempting mankind toward evil. According to Swedenbörg, all
beings, including angels, have the free will to choose what course they
will follow. Angels, wrote Swedenbörg, were not created by God at
the beginning of time, rather they evolved as human beings died and
returned to the Original Source. Those who choose good will reside in
a celestial realm, while those who choose infernal forces are destined
for hell.

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