Rev. Steve Sanchez

Rev. Steve Sanchez
Swedenborgian Minister

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Great Purpose of John the Baptist

When we look into the spiritual/historical purpose of John the Baptist a deep sense of God’s wisdom emerges. When pressed by the priests John identifies himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God”. On an earthly level the last sentence is a reference to the roads that were built by the Romans through the rough terrain so that kings could travel in their royal chariots. These roads eventually made it possible for everyone to access new lands and connect new people and places. This is the metaphor for the purpose of John. John was the trailblazer of the way out of darkness. He was the means of transition between the old dying church, and the new Church to come.
John’s whole life seems to have been one of great focus, preparing for the brief, but profound period before Jesus began his public ministry; and he carried out his mission with great intensity. He became well known and was much talked about, long lines of people came to hear him and be baptized by him. He Baptised the people with water, and proclaimed the coming of the Messiah; and he called people to repentance. He was like an Olympic athlete that trains for decades for a great race that takes a short time to run – the was the original ‘spiritual athlete’.
John’s job was no less than to re-establish the means of conjuction between heaven and earth. This had to be done for it is a universal principle that the internal (heaven) must have a foundation (earth) upon which to rest, and the connection between them is accomplished by correspondences. The use of the Jews for correspondence had come to an end. They no longer served their purpose as the representative people, and without a church on earth that acknowledged the Lord there is no means for humanity to receive heavenly wisdom. The last sentences of the Old Testament in Malachi are:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse (Malachi 4: 5,6).
To curse the earth does not mean that God chooses to do this but that the people had so seperated themselves from God that they were at the end, they were about to be destroyed forever by evil because of their own choices. The same thing is said in many prophets when they say phrases like, ‘the destruction to come’, the ‘day of wrath, and vengence’. It would have been over for humanity, but God sent ‘Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day’. By Elijah here is meant John the Baptist as the Lord himself explains in the gospels. The reason He calls John Elijah is that they both represent the Word as to the Lord. Turning the heart of the fathers and children refers to the renewal of the church John’s actions will bring about. On these points Swedenborg quotes the prohpet Zeph and writes:

“In that day there shall be the noise of a cry, that the great day of Jehovah is near, that that is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, that in the day of Jehovah's wrath the whole land shall be devoured, and that He will make a consummation with all them that dwell in the land (Zeph. 1:7-18)”.
      From all this it is clear that unless a way had been made ready for Jehovah when He was descending into the world, by means of baptism, the effect of which in heaven was to close up the hells and guard the Jews against total destruction they would all have perished.

John, his actions, his preaching, his baptism, served the purpose of establishing the new means of conjuction with heaven. Because he was the agent of this change even the things he wore and ate had essential meanings by correspondences. Correspondences have to be acted out in reality, in the physical world, and John established baptism with water as the new means of correspondence. His was the external baptism that prepared the people to later receive the internal baptism of Jesus. The baptisms performed by John and the men and women that willingly received it made it possible for angels (under the guidance of the Lord) to be present with, and protect those willing to receive it. Heaven and earth are distinct from each other, but they must always be connected. As said above, earth is the foundation of heaven; and for both to exist they must be in union, which is done by correspondences.
It is perhaps astounding to hear that heaven needed people to participate in correspondences in order for the angels to have access to protecting the people from the emminent darkness. The way correspondences work between heaven and earth could be compared to an electrical current in a wire that must have a grounded node to connect to; John and his actions along with those who responded to him established the earthly node. Or it could be compared to a river that had gone dry with only water holes left in the river bed. With no water between the holes the fish could no longer move from one hole to another. John’s actions began to reconnected the holes with water. The people baptized by John were the beginning of the new Christian church, they were the people able to hear and receive Christ’s message. Whether he did this exclusively I don’t know; it seems to me the disciples contributed to the external baptism, but John’s was the primary beginning.
Along with performing baptism John called the people to repent, or change their hearts, by which the people began to understand and believe that Christ was the Messiah and to have more caring hearts for others. Those that heard his message, repented, and allowed themselves to be baptized where initiated into the new church, that is, into the community of love and charity. To acnowledge who Jesus was in heart spiritualy brings people into his presence and protection, whereas before they were seperarted by the darkness. This was joyous good news - for they were emerging from a dark nightmare. On this critical time Swedenborg writes:

The baptism performed by John represented the cleansing of the external man; but baptism as practised among Christians at the present time represents the cleansing of the internal man. That is why we read that John baptised with water, but the Lord baptises with the Holy Spirit and with fire. So too John's baptism is called a baptism of repentance. The Jews who were baptised were nothing but external men, and the external man cannot become internal without faith in Christ. It may be seen in the Acts of the Apostles (19:3-6) that those who received John's baptism became internal men, when they accepted faith in Christ and were then baptised in the name of Jesus (AC 690).
John's baptism prepared the heavens so that the Jewish people could continue, when God Himself came among them…They were prepared by being enrolled in heaven and counted among those who at heart waited and longed for the Messiah, as the result of which angels were sent to become their protectors” (TCR 691).

All of this shows how great was the role of John, and how real the historical danger was for the Jews. The separation between the Jews (and humanity in general) and God and his Word had grown too far. There are examples of this from the past, for instance the unrepentent people of Ekron, Bethshemesh merely looked upon the Ark of the covenant – and were ‘cursed’ perishing on the spot. (The Ark represents the power of the Word). Uzzah also died when he touched the Ark. The Jews at the time of Jesus were no longer protected by being the vastated representative people, so the same would have happened to the religious leaders, and many of the people, and eventually the whole planet if it were not for the urgent and merciful actions of John the Baptist to establish a new connection that brought them the protection of heaven.
To understand the significance of John’s role further we will now examine some of the specific correspondences in John’s appearance and story.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Confession of and Working with Loneliness

It is amazing to observe what happens when I feel loneliness. I go out enough and do things, but I also stay in, and at least try to do my creative things. Sometimes I get tired and overwhelmed and just feel alone, but still the loneliness is not empty. I pick up the guitar and start playing something and a lot of passion comes out, and I create new music and words, or play songs I learn and enjoy it. With this comes a desire to share, and I imagine sharing as I jam it out, and then I try to develop it into a song.
      Or when I write, sometimes it is hard and I just don't have the mental energy, and I just have to relax and watch TV or be sexual. But when I engage my writing it carries its own thread; there is a strong sense the material is connected to the heavens. I don't say that to be grandiose, I think it is the nature of the Word. It all has to do with the Word and searching out essential things about it and communicating them to an audience. I feel compelled that I need to do this; it’s a good thing.
      Basically I am seeing, (which is also true of anxiety), that inside the loneliness there are many colors and messages to be found and mined. There is a richness in searching the feelings of it, but also important to seek out others.
        When I want to share in the moment I think of sharing with someone I know, because we can work in harmony on music and I know she has an inner understanding of the Word, and could relate to what I feel. She can help me, and share with me toward my goals, and I desire to help her with hers.
      I still think of sharing with another woman too, mostly because you know the most about me, and the other is not 'mine' to presume on. I am sharing this because of the psychological struggle to deal with loneliness. I can spend time in the richness of my inner life, but then want to share the value of what I discover, and there is no one there, and I am back to loneliness. Its Ok, I keep trying.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Part Two: Possession and Exorcism in Scripture and History Before and In the Time of Jesus

There were many other practices of a magical and malevalant character that were based on using the power of evil spirits, gods, or the power of the sender themselves. The purpose of these practices were usually to curse others, or to protect oneself from a curse. A common example of this throughout the mediterranean world is the practice of “the evil eye”. The gesture of pointing with the finger and staring was regarded as maleficent (Ogden p. 212). Below are a few examples of the evil eye from Biblical, apocryphal, and historical sources:

Do not eat the bread of one having the evil eye, do not desire their delicacies; for like a hair in the throat, so are they. “Eat and drink!” they say to you; but they do not mean it. You will vomit up the little you have eaten, and you will waste your pleasant words (Proverbs 23:6-8).
Remember that an evil eye is a bad thing. What has been created more evil than the eye? Therefore it sheds tears from every face (Sirach 31:12-13).
When one looks at what is excellent with an envious eye he fills the surrounding atmosphere with a pernicious quality, and transmits his own envenomed exhalations into whatever is nearest to him (Heliodorus (3rd c.) Thea.i.140).
Self-bewitchment is most frequently brought about by the streams of particles reflected from sheets of water or other mirror-like surfaces; these reflections rise like vapor and return to the beholder, so that he is injured by the same means by which he has been injuring others (Plutarch, Quaest. Conv. 682F).

Magic was not employed secretly by individuals (as we would tend to imagine today), but was publicly used by tribal leaders, kinship families, and kings in official activities for the purpose of destroying others. Kings of Isreal made public displays of divination, such as endowing magic powers to their arrows and shooting them toward the enemy in order to curse them. Public curses were also solemnly uttered against enemies before battles. These were believed to possess great power. Local and larger gods were invoked for this purpose, but it was also believed that individuals possessed the power to curse. David and Goliath cursed each other before battle. The ultimate curse was called the herem. It was a vow of total destruction on the enemy and everything he possessed, with the malicious intent of leaving no spoil.
These practices and many others paint a dark picture of the spiritual state of the time. The stifling, growing presence of evil in the historical and New Testament times corresponds to, and is a real manifestation of the terrible imbalance occurring in the spiritual world. All historians describe the strange nature and preponderance of evil spirits before the time of Christ, but do not address the cause of it. The long decline in the religion of humanity, the over accumulation of hereditary evil, and the resulting imbalance is the cause. In this imbalance evil spirits were able to wreck havoc and possess people in a way that is not normally allowed by the Lord’s divine order. There was a cruelty in the society that was commonplace.
Lets examine the nature and origin of these evil spirits as Swedenborg describes them in the spiritual world. The worst of these are called the genii, also known as naphelim, and anakim:

Those before the Flood who perished are in a certain hell beneath the heel of the left foot. Shutting them in is a rock enveloped in mist which is a projection of their dreadful delusions and persuasions, and by which they are segregated from all other hells and kept apart from the world of spirits. They are continually pressing to come up out of there but can never get beyond the attempt to do so. For they are such that if they were to enter the world of spirits with their dreadful delusions and with the choking and toxic effects of their persuasions, they would deprive every spirit they met, apart from good ones, of his ability to think. And if the Lord by His Coming in the flesh had not freed the world of spirits of that abominable crew the human race would have perished (AC 1266).

He further describes his personal experience of the genii while being protected by the Lord and His angels:

Presently some were let out of that hell; but the Lord made such a disposition by means of intermediate spirits and angels that they could do me no harm.
Their persuasions are of such a nature that they extinguish all truth and good, so that those into whom they flow can perceive nothing whatever, and after that cannot think; and therefore the other spirits were removed. When they began to flow in I fell asleep. Then while I slept they flowed in by means of cupidities, and this with such violence that if awake I could not have resisted them. In my sleep I was sensible of the vehemence of it, which I cannot describe, save that I afterwards remembered that they tried to kill me by a suffocating afflatus, which was like a terrible nightmare. (AC 1270).

One can imagine the havoc these spirits cuased when given free riegn during the imbalance. This is why there was such a paranoia and obsession amongst the people to rotect themselves against spirits and the dead. In the present day possession is not allowed as it was back then. In normal times it is a law of the Lord’s divine order that spirits cannot compel people on earth to their will, which means they are not allowed to possess. But this law was superceeded during the imbalance. It was an awful situation to live in, but the people grew up in it and were used to it, and didn’t know the difference.
We get a pictue of a practitioner of magical arts that was common in the streets of the city in the book of acts with a man called Simon.
For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.  But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
Simon is an example of the many magical practitioners that practiced among the people, but apearantly he was one of the better ones. He demonstrates the false leadership the people were seduced by, particularly in that they thought his power came from God. The episode gives the impression of a strange passivity the people operated under, which I think is a function of the imbalance and resulting partial loss of freedom. In this state there is a kind of niavita which I think results from being compelled by evil as I described above. This scripture also demonstrates how easily the people would have profaned in that it shows how inclined they were to magical arts. Simon himself changes his mind very easily (though perhaps not very deeply) when he sees the real work of Philip and Peter – implying he was run by evil spirits like a puppet. He reminds me of the Wizard of OZ in that he is dealing in deception and playing with evil, but he is not all bad in his heart. When Peter shows up a moment later on the scene he deals with Simon with great power and love. Simon sees Peter’s ability to heal the people of evil spirits, and Simon proposes to pay Peter that he might have these powers. He rejects this and assesses him severely and accurately, ‘your heart is not right with God…I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by inequity’. Yet Peter does not give up on him, but asks him to repent and pray, and there seems to hope that Smon will come around.

In daily life the people lived normal lives, receiving satisfaction and pleasure from their work, the enjoyment of nature, relationships, business, and regular activities. But it was a time of true apocalypse. The whole earth would have been gradually consumed in darkness, and heaven too, if the Lord had not come. This was not the first time that the universal church of humanity had come to an end, (another was the time of the flood and Noah). How all the universe changed after the coming of the Lord is a subject of great significance, and it will be described in part in a section below.
Realizing why the Lord came, and the darkness He faced, gives the observer of history and the Bible, key insight into the life of Jesus. To understand redemption, we must understand what we were redeemed from. Otherwise it is not possible to fully understand the mighty work that Jesus acccomplished from his own power.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Part one: Possession and Exorcism in Scripture and History In Times of Jesus

To see the darkness Jesus faced gives the observer of history and the Bible, key insight into the life of Jesus. To understand redemption, we must understand what we were redeemed from. Otherwise it is not possible to fully understand the mighty work that Jesus acccomplished from his own power.

Matthew gives us a good picture of the dire darkness on the Land and how Jesus and the disciples work diligently against this tide to bring hope.

As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!”
But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease (Matthew 9:32 - 10:1).              

In each of the gospels it is told several times of people being de-possessed, and in general it is told that Jesus and his disciples healed multitudes of the sick and demon possessed. We learn a lot from observing the nature of these encounters. They give us a window to see how Jesus subjugated evil spirits not only on earth, but in the spiritual world. In each encounter the evil spirits recognize the divine power in Jesus and beg for mercy. There are profound principles at work here that have to do with the very purpose that the Lord suffered himself to be born on earth. In order to battle with an enemy a person must be with them in close quarters, hand to hand, or sword to sword, so to speak, and so it was with the Lord. God in his essence could not come into the presence of people, spirits, or angels, because the divine fire of his love and truth would instantly destroy anyone, just as it would destroy a man to come too close to the sun. Humans were further separated from God and heaven because the accumulation of evil caused a dark cloud between heaven and earth. The dark cloud was due to the overabundance of evil spirits in the spiritual world that resulted in an interference of influx to the earth. These evil spirits built false heavens that grew bigger and bigger. God suffered Himself to be born on earth for in this way He could be accessible to humantiy without doing harm. By being born on earth Jesus had access to evil forces, and evil forces had access to him. Jesus had access to them because He was born from a human mother, and anyone born on this earth has hereditary evil passed on to them; we recieve hereditray evil from the body of the mother, and from the soul of the father. Since Jesus soul was from God, and therefore divine, He did not receive evil from the father, only from the mother. Because he possessed hereditary evil in his body Jesus could be tempted and attacked by evil spirits. God in his purity cannot be tempted. Swedenborg informs us that Jesus was doing the work of putting evil spirits back into their place in the spiritual world on a large scale. He tells how on sight hundreds of evil spirits who had made a siege on heaven would run and seek refuge in caves. The light from Jesus was like scalding water to them; the atmosphere of love from him caused them to not be able to breath as if they were in a vacuum.
For instance, in the Gosples even the Pharisees accept that Jesus removed evil spirits, for that was the recognized common mode of healing; they tried to discredit Him by saying he removed demons ‘by the ruler of demons’, further indicating the dominance of evil in their lives. Because of their lust for power the spiritual leaders led the people deeper into blindness for their deepest desire was to maintain their power; they wanted to kill the light in Jesus. The common people saw Jesus differently; they marveled that “it was never seen like this in Israel”. In reality the miracles of Jesus were pure and wondrous, and done with a deep, tender love.
It is frequently told in the Bible that Jesus, and His disciples after Him, performed exorcism, and depossesed people, which is to say they removed evil spirits. It is even more often told that they healed the sick. People in these times were going about their normal lives, performing their work, trying to better the lives of their family, but the darkness was a dominant factor in their life. It effected their daily lives in almost every way. Biblical historians inform us that there were exorcist and healers on city block corners as common as barber shops doing business, apparently some were sincere, and some worked dark magic for their clients.
Healing the sick has more or less the same meaning as removing evil spirits, which the above scripture indicates. The Jewish people (and all the peoples around them) believed that illness, madness, disease, and even misfortune, were caused by evil spirits influencing, or possessing the victim, and consequently that healing was achieved by removing the evil spirits. This practice was held by all the different people’s in the mediternean, and beyond, at the time. Referring to the Jewish people Ogden writes: “They referred the cause of various pathological conditions, especially madness, leprosy, and plague, to ‘evil spirits’ who smote the sufferer, or entered his body. Other diseases, no doubt, were attributed to demonic animals, such as the seraphim, or flies” (Ogden, p.  ).
In ‘The History of Civilizaton’, C.K. Ogden describes how all the various peoples in the mediteranean had similar beliefs about supernatural influences, including the Jewish people. The ancient Arabs believed supernatural, mostly evil creatures called Jinns were present everywhere, and caused rustlings and disturbances along their travels. Jinn’s especially haunted abandoned villages where people had lived and died. Wherever they settled for the night Arab travelers made a sacrifice to the Jinn, for they feared the Jinn would avenge themselves upon them in a terrible way (possession, disease, plague). Islam in general had similar beliefs. They believed that demons would take their abode in wild beasts, especially birds of prey, serpents, lizards, and scorpions. Many of these influences are still alive to day, for instance when an Arab passes a ruin he will stuff his nose to prevent Jinn’s from entering his body. Or when imposing whirlwinds pass the desert it is believed Jinns threaten. The Bedouins believed in the existence of flying serpants, very similar to the Jewish seraphim. The great historian of antiquity, Josephus, tells the story that Herodotus is said to have found the bones of a seraphim in Egypt. Another fable tells of a seraphim like serpant that is used as one of the grim ingredients for scorceror’s magic, the intent of which was to raise the dead (Ogden, p.  ).
Ogden describes the dreadful fear of the Seraphim by the Isrealites, and the magical means used to combat them:

We find wholly similar ideas and practices among the Isrealites…The Isrealites believed that caravans crossing the desert were attacked by formidable winged serpents called seraphim. The only way to escape their fatal bite was to make a bronze image of them, which had the double virture of magic control over them and of a means of appeasing them (2 Kings 18: 4). These hybrid creatures were certianly not ordinary animals, for according to Isrealite belief they were the seraphim that proclaimed Jaweh’s glory in the Temple; they always retained something of their animal nature, being naked and winged (Ogden 239).
The Jews also believed the deserts were occupied by demons. They came to call Sodom and Gammorah the valley of demons. They felt anyone that dwelled among ruins was a despiser of invisible powers (Job 15:28). The Isrealites, like their neighbors, were in the habit of offering  sacrifices to appease gods and demons, especially when they needed to inhabit a place for any length of time.

In regard to the dead and demons one of the distinguishing qualities of the Isrealites are their sanctity and purity laws. There were many rules to be obeyed if a person touched the dead, or even if one was in the presence of the dead.  Although some of these rules were motivated by religious considerations, the real basis of them was the fear of demons and the dead. For instance it was unclean to be in a cemetery without proper rituals before and after. It was imperative that a dead person be buried within a day. The obsession over this had two main motivations: one, it was feared the dead person would not be able to enter Sheol, but would be condemned to be a homeless wanderer; and two, the living were terrified the unhappy dead would bring havoc upon them. When it was necessary to touch the dead, the person who did so would have to be ritualistically cleansed. The consequences of uncleanliness were dreadful; it meant a person took on unwanted spirits and demons, which amounts to loss of identity, even the loss of their soul. According to the belief, the people were powerless to escape these consequences. The washing of hands before meals, sacred rituals, and other activities was a frequent daily practice or all the people in the Mediterranean. Spiritualy all this is the consequence of the cosmic imbalance toward evil.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How it is that there is both a Duality and Oneness in life

I think it is useful to conceive how the universe has both the quality of duality and oneness at the same time. I view it in this way: it is implicit that there is a duality between heaven and hell, body and spirit, earth and sky, male and female, but this duality is contained in an overarching oneness. The overarching oneness can be defined in this way; The Lord is the one source of life and is love itself. Even though heaven and hell are opposing forces, there is still oneness, because in the higher sense heaven is life, and hell is anti-life, or spiritual death. That is different than each having its own source; if that were the case it would be a true duality. But the Lord is the only source of life, for heaven and hell; hell is an inversion of his life; hell’s reception of his life is in a perverse form. The duality is real, but it’s effects only manifest on the natural plane. In the natural plane it is possible to be in emotional/spiritual duplicity, but on the spiritual realm of heaven and hell everyone has a singular love, whether it be love or hate for the Lord. Either way everything that exists is defined by the quality of its relationship to the One – the Lord.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Interpretation of the Movie Interstellar - Themes Of Great Height

I think interstellar is spiritual, metaphysical, scientific, and has some Biblical themes. It never really mentions God, but has, I believe, a few distinct Biblical themes. The main one is that the lead character and his daughter are called the 'bridge' that brings the knowledge across worlds by means of love that saves the world - that is a pretty strong Christ allegory. In the Bible this is called the Logos, that which makes God accessible to humanity; the logos is one with the divine human - Jesus. The logos brings the love and understanding of God, it brings knowledge of heavenly things to earth, which was otherwise completely lost. Bringing intelligence, and the right information into the unknown is extremely important in Interstellar. At great peril Cooper and Tars, the intelligent robot, bring love and intelligence into the black hole. In a spiritual and metaphysical way it is emphasized that love is the force that will guide them to the answer. When cooper and tars travel into the wormhole Cooper ends up in the presence of his young daughter from the past whom he has been yearning to return to the whole time. By way of science the story says that the quality of one's love leads them to the place they belong in the spiritual world.
It is also Biblical that Cooper, his daughter Murph, and the Hathaway character, Brand, are the 'brokenhearted'. They are racked with grief from personal loss, but submit to the higher need of humanity. Without clear cognitive communication or assurance they are led by a higher power (superior aliens simply called 'they') that guides them to saving the world through a wormhole. This is much the way it is with faith and God in life. We must trust that God has a purpose in spite of the pain and grief we suffer. What also makes this Biblical is the truth from scripture that the 'Shepard will seek and save the one as much as the many'. In the movie the significance of the human drive to do what is right for the whole of humanity is demonstrated, but also the significance of the love of one person is held high as having universal repercussions. In addition, in the end their 'tears are wiped away' when they are saved at the end (it is implied the Brand is saved by love with Cooper).
Swedenborg's principle that love is a container gives a lot of insight to the movie too. He says that contained in love is all the particulars of wisdom that serve that love toward its end use. This is what happens in the movie, the intense love of the main character and his daughter leads them to the information to be the bridge. Tars supplies the data from inside the black hole, transmits it to Cooper, and cooper taps it to Murph who must have the intelligence to receive and interpret the morse code. She struggles with her deep personal pain and bitterness, yet she has the inner drive and love to overcome all the obstacles to understanding, receive, and complete the task. She and her father communicate between, what is called in the movie, the 3rd and 5th dimension. Cooper accomplishes this by taping on the gravity stream that moves the second hand on the watch he gave to her before he left. Allegorically this can be taken as representing the communication that takes place between the natural and spiritual world by what is known as correspondences (See the article in this blog on correspondences). The intense love and admiration between father and daughter carried within it the knowledge and wisdom to accomplish the deed that brought both personal redemption, and the redeeming of humanity on earth. In the end we see the new society built in an enormous space structure that was made possible from the information received from inside the black hole. It is shown that Murph puts together the equation of the great scientist, brands father, and the information from the black hole. She is revered as a sort of savior in the new society.
The movie is remarkable in that it realistically shows the tremendous tole put on human emotion by space travel. This is shown in many ways but most effectively when the Mat Damon character awakens from long term sleep, sees he is with people, and instantly cries convulsively on Cooper's shoulder. He says later how hard it is to go without human touch and presence. This underscores the importance of love and affection, and also represents the universal truth that love and wisdom can be expressed only through a body. The Damon character also demonstrates how the human soul can be broken from lack of love, and seeking only self interest, not the interestn of the whole. He turns out to have some kind of space psychosis. He sets up a bomb in a robot and kills one scientist, and almost kills cooper also.
The biggest weakness of the movie is the way it depicts a pessimistic view of earth's future; this is not consistent with our current scientific trajectory, or with a spiritual view of earth. For a scientific movie, the explanation of how earth is losing oxygen has little realistic foundation. It also makes no sense how poorly prepared people are for the recurring dust storms and loss of atmosphere. Perhaps they are trying to make an environmental point with this; but mostly it seems, it is essential to the plot line that the world is ending, and dust is the vehicle that reveals the gravity anomaly.
Brand makes an important speech in the movie when they have lost all other options and are deciding on one of two planets to go to. In spite of her scientific mind she speaks of love as the transcendent force in nature that will bring the answer. In light of this speech and the events of the movie it will bring great meaning to the movie to reveal a cosmic correspondence that Swedenborg affirms as a truth from the spiritual world: The force of gravity in the physical world corresponds to the force of love in the spiritual world. In the physical world we are subject to time and space, but in the spiritual world there is no time and space, but all is based on ones state of being, or the ruling love on ones soul. In the physical world any body with mass attracts to it other bodies by the force of gravity. In the spiritual world every person gravitates to the society they belong by the like quality of love in that society. Love attracts and holds a person (spirit or angel) in the sphere of that society where they are in great happiness and use to each other.
         There are two other remarkable scenes that emphasize the power of love and how it is expressed through the human body and most importantly that it is the nature of the universe ultimately to serve embodied love . When cooper is in the black hole he realizes and expresses that the 'they' is himself, and that his desire and presence created the structure in the black hole to accommodate his human form to communicate to his daughter. Since love is the internal correspondent of gravity, gravity folded space so that he can be in the presence of his daughter from the past. The subtext in this scenario is that God or the supreme power is providentially creating and guiding them to this point. Formerly this supreme power was expressed as 'they', and now it is scene that 'they' is within him. The second scene that emphasizes this has two parts; Earlier in the movie a presence reaches out to brand and she identifies it as 'they' spiritually reaching out to her; and she, with great wonder and passion, shakes its hand. Later as Cooper is moving through wondrous lights out of the black hole he sees Brand in a spiritual way and holds her hand with love and care. These two moments are one in space folded. Another principle this is showing is that love is pre-conscience, yet it is the true formative power of our life and seat of our being. In spiritual psychology this means that our internal self determines our true state, but we are most often unaware of it; also that God knows our true state of love better than we do. For instance, Cooper's love for brand is awakened in the black hole experience when he touches Brand's hand, but he only fully becomes aware of this consuming love at the end when his daughter tells him to go to her.
         When cooper is behind the bookcase in the black whole he can not directly communicate with his daughter. This is a depiction, or allegory, of how it is between the spiritual and natural world. The spiritual world exists in us in a very internal way, but not in the external except by correspondences. Put in a linear way, there is a discreet degree between these worlds that cannot be crossed bodily or physically, but affection from our soul in the body can be felt. This truth is depicted in the movie by Cooper being, called Murph's 'ghost'. Affection or love is the bridge between the physical and spiritual world. The internal state of affection is pre-conscience until our desire and circumstance (God's providence) bring us to the point of integration where our real state of love becomes an awareness, - and this is a very spiritual thing that inherently includes an acknowledgement of God. It is a universal principle of spiritual psychology that all thought is preceded by affection, and that the influx of love and wisdom that created and sustains the universe comes from God.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Beautiful, Universal Concept of Reality - Equilibrium - How it is Key in Understanding the Bible

Therefore my people have gone into captivity,
Because they have no knowledge;
Their honorable men are famished,
And their multitude dried up with thirst.
Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself
     And opened its mouth beyond measure; (Isaiah 5: 13,14).

Equilibrium is a term that applies to all life; in order for anything to exist it must be in equilibrium - from the Sun to an atom.  In the sun there is a raging balance between the explosive power of nuclear fusion inside, and the massive force of gravity pressing in. In atom the orbits of the electrons spinning around the nucleus form an equilibrium. The human body and every organ in it has a certain equilibrium between the inside forces of blood pressure and muscle tension, and the outside forces of gravity and atmospheric pressure. A leaf on a tree has equilibrium in a similar way. Anything we might look at is in a state of equilibrium, a chair, a light bulb, a cell, a fiber, anything, because they have a form, and substance inside it. The equations of Newton and Einstein work within equilibrium. Eco-systems are based on equilibrium. The state of equilibrium can always change, for instance if a bottle is broken, but its pieces settle into another state of equilibrium. Equilibrium is also fundamental to the structure of the universe. Swedenborg writes:

        For any thing to have existence there must be an equilibrium of all things. Without equilibrium there is no action and reaction; for equilibrium is between two forces, one acting and the other reacting, and the state of rest resulting from like action and reaction is called equilibrium. In the natural world there is an equilibrium in all things and in each thing. It exists in a general way even in the atmosphere, wherein the lower parts react and resist in proportion as the higher parts act and press down. Again, in the natural world there is an equilibrium between heat and cold, between light and shade, and between dryness and moisture, the middle condition being the equilibrium. There is also an equilibrium in all the subjects of the three kingdoms of nature, the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal; for without equilibrium in them nothing can come forth and have permanent existence (Heaven and Hell, 589).

          On a cosmic level, the Lord maintains equilibrium between heaven and hell and governs both by his might alone. A single man or woman fighting against the forces of evil on his own is like a fly against a giant; there is no chance without the Lord. Before the Lord was born there was an accumulating darkness. As people died and entered the spiritual world, even if they were good, evil spirits intercepted them by artful deceptions and led them into their false heaven. These suedo-heavens were in the spiritual world which is between heaven and hell. Once evil began to tip the tables in their favor, their power increased and increased. The over accumulation of spirits (people) in hell, and in this suedo-heaven eventually caused a dark cloud between heaven and earth that greatly blocked the reception of heavenly influx to humanity. This is what is meant by “Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure”. Here is another verse that refers to the loss of equilibrium between heaven and hell:

 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (John 6:12).

This verse refers to evil forces infultrading and occupying heaven; ‘high places’ meaning heaven. They were like a murrading army ransacking the first levels of heaven, taking residence, and deceiving the people in a thousand horrid ways. Matthew describes this when he says “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mat. 11:12).  The power of evil was overwhelming heaven. When this happens a measure of freedom is lost. Freedom on earth exists at the pinnacle of the balance between heaven and hell. When equilibrium is lost so is freedom. Under normal circumstances neither the angels of heaven nor the demons of hell can compel human beings one way or the other, but both can influence within the laws of freedom. During life it is up to each person to will and choose their way as they are exposed to the influences of heaven and hell. Thus freedom is the very means of salvation, and it is also the cause of hell. It is the cause of hell because freedom of will is total and complete; the consequences are real, otherwise freedom would not be real, and life would not be real. The structure of the whole universe is based on this equilibrium between heaven and hell. The Lord maintains equilibrium, subjugating evil and keeping heaven in divine order with His omnipotent power for the sake of human freedom. Understanding this is a profound key to understanding the nature of the universe, history, and the Bible. If Jesus had not come and reversed the process, the over-abundance of evil would have progressed until humanity was consumed in total darkness.
A similar loss of equilibrium took place at the time of Noah. The story of Noah describes how the whole earth was becoming wicked, that is, the over-accumulation of evil was on the verge destroying the entire human race. The Lord solved the problem by wiping out the wicked with a flood, and using Noah and his family as the seed of the new human race. He started over with Noah and his family, and the pairs of animals. This process of renewing from a remnant is called ‘remains’ in the Bible. Noah, his family and the pairs of animals were the remains from which the Lord started a new church with true charity in it. On an individual level the word ‘remains’ refers to the innocence from love stored on a person’s soul from childhood from which the Lord works to regenerate the whole person. So the collective sense it refers to the few left in a society who still possess true charity in their heart by which the Lord can establish a new church. After the Lord destroyed the people at the time of Noah the Lord promised he would never destroy people wholesale ever again, so when the loss of equilibrium took place again at the end of the representative Jewish church, the Lord chose to be born on earth in order to redeem humanity and put all things back into order.
It is often asked, why did the Lord choose or need to be born on earth? I believe the answer can be approached from understanding how essential freedom is to salvation. God in his essence cannot approach a person or angel without destroying them. As the scripture says, no man can look upon God and live. It is like a person approaching the sun, the pure love of the Lord would destroy them. In the soul and the body of every human being there is hereditary evil, and this evil shrivels and burns in the presence of the pure good and love of the Lord. This is why in the Bible every time the glorified presence of Jesus appears those around make themselves postrate to him. By being born on earth Jesus became ‘the bridge’. He made God accessible to humanity. If instead God had waved his hand and made earth a paradise it would mean nothing, because in that case people would have done nothing from their own will. A bond only forms reciprocally. The Lord himself operated within the laws of freedom during his life on earth so that people could ‘become’ from themselves in a reciprocal way.
An important scripture which speaks to the inevitable of equilibrium in the universe and our place in it - is this: “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” Freedom speaks to the essence of being human, yet from freedom it is inevitale that there will be evil, because their are consequences to freedom. In equilibrium, in the battle between good and evil, is the only way life can exist! There must be contrast and variety for there to be life, growth, and perception. From the nature of the Lord there is infinite variety and divine order, therefore there is continual contrast and meaning in life. If everything were monotone as in a white-out or black-out, there would be no perception or individual identity. Nevertheless, this philosophical truth does not take away from the terrible consequences of evil choices in life. This is what is meant by, ‘woe to that man by whom the offence cometh’. In the battle between good in evil it is paramount that we favor the good in our heart, whether it bears fruit or not - we must still try.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Short Bio of Emanueal Swedenborg and a Sample Quote from him

I sometimes refer to Swedenborg in this blog. Many of you may not of heard of him, so I offer this brief description of him. His Biography is very unique and fascinating in history.
The mission of Swedenborg’s life was to reveal the inner sense of the Word and the secrets of heaven. He writes from a perspective that is unique in history. He proclaims his source to be the wisdom of heaven, and that he was granted by the Lord to communicate with the angels of heaven. Because of this, his history of mankind and God (the divine human) is from a first hand experience of heaven and its teachings - that is unique! He provides a cosmic view of the progress and decline of mankind and religion from the beginning of time till the second coming. His writing is intensely spiritual in that it reveals the essential cause of things. He maintains a tone of authority and integrity, and is not dogmatic; - he continually appeals to the reason of the reader. And he does so because he knows people are meant to form their beliefs in freedom.
Swedenborg didn’t just have an experience of the light; he entered the mansion (heaven) and empirically tells of its wonders; he illucidates the principles of heaven and the Word in an ordered series designed for gradual reception in our hearts and minds. These principles are based on his innumerable encounters with angels, spirits and demons over 30 years. He emphasizes that all of his encounters with angels, spirits, or demons are under the auspices of the Lord’s guidance. His books on theology and metaphysics come to more than thirty volumes; and there is a seemless depth of coherency in all of his writing. The writing is rigorous and dense, but as one gets to know it there is a sense of wonder and passion, albeit a composed passion. In his writing there is not a hint of literary vanity; he purely seeks to impart the wisdom of heaven and the Word in the most efficient way he can. To that end he organized the material with his own unique built-in reference system.
Here is a quote from Swedenborg describing the situation at the time of the Lord’s incarnation, and the cause of it:

At the time of the Lord's first coming the hells had increased to such a height as to fill the whole world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell, and thus had not only thrown into disorder the heaven that is called the lowest, but also had attacked the middle heaven, which they infested in a thousand ways, and which would have gone to destruction if it had not been upheld by the Lord. Such an uprising of the hells is meant by the tower built in the land of Shinar, the head of which was to reach to heaven.
The hells had increased to such a height because at the time when the Lord came into the world the whole earth had completely alienated itself from God by idolatries and magic; and the church which had existed among the children of Israel and afterwards with the Jews, had been utterly destroyed by the falsification and adulteration of the Word. All these, both Jews and Gentiles, had after death streamed into the world of spirits, where at length their number was so increased and multiplied that they could be driven out only by a descent of God Himself and then only by the strength of His Divine arm. How this was done has been described in the little work on the Last Judgment (London, 1758). At the Lord's first coming this increase of the hells was the work of idolaters, magicians, and falsifiers of the Word. This impending damnation Jehovah God removed by means of His Human, thus redeeming angels and men. From this it is clear that without the Lord's coming no one could have been saved (TCR 121).

To truly understand what he is saying here one needs to gain an understanding of the nature and power of the Word. The Word provides conjunction between heaven and earth and this understanding is essential to see the lengths the Lord went to to be born on earth without causing harm to humnaity.

Friday, April 10, 2015

List of Biblical and Spiritual Theme in Movies Continued

Here are more examples of Biblical themes.  Please ad your thoughts and examples in the comment section.
Theme: The Apocalypse. In many movies – ‘A Boy and His Dog’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Silent Green’, ‘The Day the Earth stood Still’, ‘Terminator’, ‘Waterworld’ and countless super hero, science fiction, and horror movies, the Apocalypse is depicted in various ways. In ‘Man of Steel’ there is an apocalyptic vision of the end of the world. When superman is taken into Zod’s ship Zod gets into his head and tells him of his vision to destroy all the people of earth. Superman is shown sinking into a sea of skulls and screaming out as Zod reveals his hellish vision for earth. Superman is horrified at this genocide. This corresponds to the greatest vulnerability Jesus had while on earth; that is, his infinite love for all humanity, and correspondingly his pain at the possibility of their destruction. During His ministry Evil forces could affect Jesus by destroying, capturing and causing pain and suffering to humanity. This vulnerability can be seen (among other places) When Jesus enters Jerusalem the last time - he weeps, because he so loves humanity, and his great plans for Jerusalem have been lost. The evil forces are like terrorists on earth who kill and capture innocent people to horrify and control their enemies. At the end of the movie when superman has Zod by the neck Zod retaliates by using his lazer eyes to almost kill innocent people standing nearby, and Superman screams out in moral agony for him not to do it, and finally kills Zod.
Theme: Hades and Sheol. In the Matrix there are parallels between the trainman and the god of the underworld, Hades, who ruthlessly ruled the dark realm named after himself. In mythology Hades was a lesser god who received the short end of the stick when realms were divided up to rule, but he was given total power over his realm. The train man also has total control of his dreary realm, called ‘mobile avenue’, and is said to be between worlds from which no-one can escape. Like Hades the trainman’s realm of power is a place of bleak nothingness, in a kind of limbo, separate from life and God; and no one can come in or out, except by Hades will. The trainman says to Neo, “Down here, I make the rules. Down here I make the threats. Down here... I'm God”.
Theme: Humanity Rejects or Kills the ‘One’ or the Savior. In the movie ‘Starman’, in which Jeff Bridges is an alien that is a Christ figure, most of the people are afraid of him and what he can do, and the government tries to kill or capture him; but there are a few who see him and help him. Batman and Spiderman are also treated as the enemy of the police or military; as the mainstream authroities try to kill them. This happens in a lot of movies and is a very significant theme; They can be interpreted as an allegory of humanities, in the Old Testament the Isrealites, rejection of the Lord. Movies often depict the trauma, loss, and tragedy associated with this rejection. Again in Superman this theme is huge; a big part of the story is that superman cannot reveal his identity until his time comes. His father convinces him that he must painstakingly keep from revealing his identity for otherwise people would reject him, or even kill him. When he is a kid he is assaulted by bullies in the presence of his father, but he does not fight back; he turns the other cheek. Indeed, his father sacrifices his own life for this principle; - when a tornado is about to destroy him, he signals to Kent to not come save him, for otherwise he would reveal his true self. This theme also demonstrates another important principle, that is, that Jesus profoundly disciplined himself to not reveal himself until his time came. He did not use his powers to fight his enemies, but allowed all to act in freedom, both enemies and those who loved him.
These themes are also in the The Green Mile; the central character is kind, gentle, and has miraculous powers of healing - a Christ figure. He performs healing on several people, he suffers greatly from understanding love, and he sees with great pain humanities cruelty to each other. He is thought to be the enemy of society and is imprisoned and killed by the authorities.
Theme: Jesus reveals himself and teaches to good, common people. In the Bible the disciples were salt of the earth fisherman not educated men. He chooses simple good men who can be taught. It is an essential part of the Superman story that his parents are simple, honest, American farmers. Spiderman’s back story is similar in this way also. In the Hobitt this is a very big theme. It is part of the whole meaning of the Hobbits and their shire that they are kind, innocent farmers, but in their hearts hold great courage. Gandolf gives a speech expressing how it is true to the workings of life that the defeat of evil in the darkest of times would come through simple, common, salt of the earth folks – humble hobbits.
Theme: Resurrection and Healing. This is a clear Christ allegory in several movies, such as ‘Starman’, ‘Matrix’, ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’, and several other movies. Similarly in movies and stories there is a figure who is able to heal, such as Gandolf in the ‘Lord of the Rings’. Neo resurrects Trinity; Lucy heals with her magic ointment in Narnia; in ‘The Green Mile’ the Christ figure heals the wardens wife of terminal cancer.
Theme: Overcoming primal trauma. This is a large subject to include, but worth identifying because of the trauma of dealing with the darkness I discussed above.  The trauma of dealing with cruelty and injustice, the emotional struggle of change and growth, the pain of emerging into our true identity, and the yearning to recognize and be in alignment with the goodness of the Lord – are expressed in the intense situations movies portray that ‘show what someone is made of’ in a crisis. There are innumerable movies of this kind; some examples not mentioned are ‘Platoon’, ‘Snitch’, ‘Shawshank Redemption’, and ‘Awakenings’. Also soundtracks in movies have become very effective at evoking these feelings. Many movies have intense gutteral sound-effects, and powerful, redemptive music, (matching incredible heroics on screen) that increase the feeling of trauma, grief, healing and love. A great example of this is ‘Schindler’s List’, which contains such beautiful moving music set against the most intense injustice and suffering. In the end Schindler is overcome with such redemptive love he is infeebled like a baby with tears. In Captain Phillips at the end the trauma he suffered is depicted very effectively along with caring treatment. In superhero movies The powerful sounds of evil machines and characters are  juxtaposed with the glorious rising musical strains while the super-heroes battle to save innocent people – the sounds contribute enormously to an emotional impact that taps into our deepest fears and yearnings. In ‘Man of Steel’ there are several times where Superman lets out an intense primal scream as he performs his feats, such as when he saves his mother, or when he destroys the world machine. He screams at the end - first as Zod threatens to kill innocent people, and then again after Zod is dead and the struggle is over. He is bowed in silence and then he lets out a primal scream that comes from the incredible effort and feelings of birthing into his true identiy and powers, - and mourning the loss of Krypton, - and the love of saving humanity on earth. These actions are reminiscent of the passion of Christ when in the Garden He cries out to His father in His agony and effort to fulfill his mission.
 Theme: The internal of humans reaches into Heaven, and the external is in the world. In the movie ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Elizabeth is shown in meditative states reflecting on things. In one scene her inner view is depicted by showing the colors one sees as you look at the sun through closed eyes. Then her inner vision is depicted by a scene of her standing at a beautiful precipice while music washes over in increasing waves expanding the feeling of an elevated view; she is feeling and perceiving the transendance of true love. The movie exemplifies ‘love truly conjugal’, which I believe, only those whose internal is open to heaven and the Lord can experience.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

List of Biblical and Spiritual Themes in Movies - Part One. Makes Movies Fun and Meaningful

Theme: The Immensity of Christ’s Battles against the forces of Hell. The most common of all Biblical themes in pop culture is that of a great battle between forces of evil and the good heroes of humanity to save the world. Hundreds of novels, comic books and movies demonstrate this over and over, from all the marvel and DC stories to Disney movies like Epic, The Harry Potter stories and the Lord of the Rings. This theme is known in the Bible, but the true immensity of the battles Christ executed from his own might is very little known. Indeed, the full extent of them could never be known, but if one takes the time to look there are many descriptions of it in the Bible. Isaiah and the prophets describe it often as do th other prophets, but the book of revelation is all about it. Even Christians and pastors seem to rarely see the extent of it. Perhaps because it has been somewhat misrepresented by fire and brimstone type preaching that has so put-off many people. I believe these stories of great and dire battles at root come from an internal need to honor the way Jesus saved the world from overwhelming forces of evil. No-matter how many times this theme is repeated it never ceases to capture the fascination of people. The limited knowledge of Christs battles in the Bible goes hand in hand with the limited idea people have of the darkness that was on the earth before Christ incarnated. In movies the dark, deceptive and insidious nature of evil is depicted and defeated in countless science fiction, horror, and adventure movies. The great battles in movies are often associated with the end of the world, which of course has to do with the well-known Biblical theme of the apacolypse. This is seen in movies like the Terminator, Independence Day, Superman, The Avengers, I-robot, Lord of he Rings, Men in Black, 1984, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, and so on.
Swedenborg gives a powerful description of how intense Christ’s battles were:

Theme: Determinism in society at the time of Christ. In the latest superman movie, “Man of Steel”, this theme is a very large part of the back story of Kripton. It is told that the people of Kripton had adapted in such a way that they tightly controlled child birth. Every child was born under  government control with a predetermined purpose, - some workers, some leaders, some trades people and so on. This is an allegory of the determinism we spoke of that was a result of the decline in religion and the externalization of life before the time of Christ. Zod, the military ruler of Kripton, angrily expresses throughout his scenes that his sole purpose for existence from birth was to preserve Kripton, and he is a warrior who will destroy everything in his way that would keep him from that purpose. Also, in the beginning of the movie when Zod and his officers are sentenced for their crimes by the counsel, their sentence is forever - no possibility of release or attempt to rehabilitate. This is so because the counsel knows Zod’s purpose, and that he cannot be reformed. This is significant because with the Romans and other Mediterranean nations at the time the jadedness toward cruelty was a natural extension of determinism. The belief that they have a predetermined purpose led to a great devaluing of life. This theme is also in ‘The Terminator’, and the ‘Matrix’.
Theme: David in Goliath. This theme is iconic and referred to in common language in sports and other arenas ways in society. In the movie ‘Thor: The Dark World’ there is a scene where the two armies are battling and then a giant rock-man three times the size of Thor walks in and they face-off one on one. The enemy army laughs at Thor’s demand that the giant surrender. Thor whirls his hammer and smashes the giant into a pile of rubble.
Theme: Atmospheres in the spiritual World. This is a theme in many movies such as Mission to Mars, Star trek, not to mention the reality of it on the planets in our solar system. In ‘Man of Steel’ it is told and shown that the people from Kripton cannot breath in the same atmosphere as the people on earth. The whole purpose for the Kripton war is to change the atmosphere of earth into that of Kripton. This is an allegory of a circumstance that is fundamental in heaven and the spiritual world. Swedenborg tells how every society in heaven has its own breathing pattern that is determined by the quality of love there. The difference between atmospheres in heaven and hell in this regard is total - spirits from hell cannot even begin to enter heaven for they begin to choke in a torturous way to the point of total suffication.
Theme: Hereditary Evil. In the matrix there are several scenes of agents pressing their hand into the body of people and causing a black darkness to enter them, inside and out, consuming the person in black. This is symbolic of hereditary evil accumulating and increasing to the point it consumes the person’s life. In the Matrix the agents continue to multiply and would soon consume the whole world of humans and the machines, which is an allegory of the darkness that was increasing on earth at the end of the Jewish church. This is very significant because at the end the agent does thrusts his hand into Neo; Neo receives it all and turns into an agent - and then uses it to access all evil. He battles the evil from the inside and wipes it out. As I described in the section on equilibrium this parallels that the Lord was born on earth and took on a natural body; which meant He now had access to evil, and evil had access to him to him. He gradually defeated the forces of evil, purified himself of all hereditary evil, and and put heaven and hell into divine order. This is an essential part of the glorification process which I will discuss in a moment.
Theme: Faith to be expressed in Freedom. The theological theme of Freedom is upheld in many movies. In the matrix, in the confrontation between the Architect and Neo reveals their essential beliefs: Neo upholds freedom of choice as the truth of being human, while the Architect in all his brilliance basically believes in determinism, which is materialistic and external and leads to spiritual death.
This is also a major theme in many of the Marvel movies, but none more so than in Captain America 2. The backdrop of this movie honors the men and woman of the ‘greatest generation’, especially those who defeated Hitler in WW2. The evil organization called Hydra (an off-shoot of the Nazis) corrupts sheild from within with the philosophy and technology to determine who should die before they are able to commit crimes. This is a representation of the evil of determinism and how it is the inevitable result from completely external and merely natural thinking. Captain America, coming from the greatest generation, senses from the beginning that the ideology of Hydra is destructive, because it is against freedom and the principles of the constitution and democracy, which grow from a belief in God.
At the end of the Matrix the agent believes he has won and asks Neo, ‘why do you keep on fighting’, and Neo says, “Because I choose to”. This upholds that the choice to love and fight for freedom is a Christ-like human quality. Also at the end when ‘the one who protects that which matters most’ asks the Oracle if she always knew they would be saved, she says, “No, I didn’t, but I believed, I believed.” This upholds choice and faith as essential goods. Also, it is a principle of freedom that  no one is given knowledge of the future (not even the Oracle), but salvation must be worked out by choice from moment to moment. When the human soul seeks meaning it cannot but uphold these truths for the essence of being human is freedom.
The deep value of freedom is often combined with American tradition and values, demonstrating the role of America as a light to the world. ‘Independence day’, and ‘Signs’ are good examples of this, as are many of the marvel movies. In his career Kevin Costner has depicted American heartland values incredibly well. He personifies American common sense, goodness, and strength, especially in ‘Field of Dreams’, and ‘Man of steel’.
Theme: Christ is the bridge (the Logos) between the father and humanity. In ‘Man of Steel’ Superman has very good Christ allegories. There is a scene in which Superman’s father tells him who he is, and through their discussion their mind and wills become more and more united. He tells him that on Kripton they lost freedom of choice because they had adopted predetermined birth, but he (Superman) is from the ‘house of El’ where they dreamed of freedom, where people have choice and the chance to reach their full potential. He tells Superman that he could not tell him that the Kodex was in the cells of his body until the moment they were in because he was not ready for it. He then tells him that he can be the bridge between Krypton and Earth, and that he can save humanity. Jesus is the original redeemer of freedom by subjugating evil and restoring equilibrium; and He is also the bridge – the bridge between God and humanity on earth, for which He is also called the Logos. The logos is the embodied love and wisdom that makes all love and wisdom accessible to humanity. Later in the movie Superman’s father, Cal El, tells Zod that his Son is twice the man that he is, which is similar to the Bible’s when the voice of God says, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased”. After receiving the conviction to save earth (his father tells him, “You can save Lois, You can save all of them”) Superman punches a hole in the Kripton ship, and then floats slowly out holding his arms in the position of the cross – a powerful image of the savior. The miraculous feats superman performs appeal to something very deep in the human soul – the desire to be seen and valued, for the trauma we suffer to be justly redeemed; to be given hope that there is a true Father watching over who is capable of all things.Also in the movie ‘Interstellar’ the main characters are on a mission to save the world, and in the process calls himself and his daughter the bridge that will save the world. By way of an enormous and miraculous struggle he travels through a worm hole and accesses a point in time and space to inform his genius daughter of the information necessary to save the planet. There is also a profound story of love and loss between then and the primary theme of this is that love is the means that finds the way and carries the information and wisdom to find redemption. This movie deals with advanced knowledge of space, black holes and theoretical wormholes. It is acknowledged that no one knows what lies through a black hole or a wormhole, but in the story telling of the movie an answer and meaning is given to this problem by spiritual means, that is, in the movie it is said and shown that love provides the means and answer on the other side of a black hole. This can be seen as an allegory for entering heaven, and as an allegory of redemption through love. This movie shows once again that when the human psyche seeks meaning it returns to what is most intrinsically meaningful and appealing in our soul – biblical themes. The movie also demonstrates one the maxims of Swedenborg concerning the Lord; that is that love is a container of wisdom. This means that the intense desire and affection of love  elevates the state and therefore the perception of a person which inherently includes wisdom.