Heaven Heard and Seen: Swedenborg

John Casey

in After Lives

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195092950
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199869732 | DOI:
Heaven Heard and Seen: Swedenborg

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Swedenborg aims vividly to describe his encounters with angels in the various “heavens” he claims to have visited. His heavens and hells might be called “real,” in that they correspond to psychological states. Swedenborg has been called the inventor of the modern heaven. The human soul contains powers and possibilities that accord with the Romantic doctrine of man as microcosm of the universe. There is an affinity of mystics such as Blake with Swedenborg. Heaven is not a reward for goodness, or hell a punishment for evil. In so far as we are good and filled with love, we are in heaven. Swedenborg's heaven is not God‐centered. There is no place for original sin in his philosophy, or for the ascetic. His is an optimistic vision, thoroughly Pelagian. Marriage and the erotic—even in heaven—is at the center of his thought, with an emphasis on “conjugial” love.

Keywords: Emmanuel Swedenborg; various heavens; psychological states; conjugial love; angels; William Blake; Romantic; microcosm; optimistic; erotic

Chapter.  9090 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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