On February 8th, 1688, Emanuel Swedenborg was born and would later become quite the influential scientist, philosopher, theologian, and Christian mystic from Sweden. Swedenborg is also known as an accomplished inventor and scientist. At the age of 56, Swedenborg experienced a spiritual phase that involved a series of dreams and visions. He would later state that he encountered a spiritual awakening, where he made contact with the Lord, which moved him to pen a doctrine from heaven that dealt with reformations of Christianity.
He also claimed that the Lord had opened his eyes so that he could move between both heaven and hell, as well as have conversations with angels, demons, and other spirits. The last 28 years of his life were spent writing and publishing various theological pieces , 18 in total. One of the most well known is titled Heaven and Hell, which was published in 1758.
Throughout his life, many different influences helped shape his train of thought and outlook. Plato, Augustine, Descartes, Aristotle, and Plotinus held a very special place in his heart and mind. In later years, Swedenborg would prove the inspiration for others, as he influenced the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Carl Jung, William Blake, and August Strindberg.
Swedenborg is often associated with rejecting the common thought that the Trinity was the Trinity of Persons, as he stated that this belief was not a part of early Christian Church teachings. He instead explained that his theological writings dealt with the Divine Trinity that exists as One Person , One God , and the Lord Jesus Christ. Swedenborg was also known for rejecting the Protestant doctrine that saw salvation through faith alone, as he viewed faith and charity as both essentials for obtaining salvation. He also believed that the purpose of faith was to guide a person towards living that was based upon truths of faith – mainly charity.
As the end of Swedenborg’s life drew closer, a collection of small reading groups began to emerge throughout England and Sweden in an attempt to study the truth as he saw fit. A wealth of followers looked towards Swedenborg for answers in religion, which included Henry James Sr. all the way to Johnny Appleseed.
At the time, not everyone embraced his train of thought, as very respected authors in Sweden opposed his teachings and dubbed him a fool. The establishment also shared this view, as they established a heresy trial in 1768 against some of the writings of Swedenborg, as well as against two men who whole-heartedly followed his word. However, many years later after his death, his teachings are still alive and well , being studied by some even still today. His writings have been the topic of numerous biographies and studies in psychology.
In the article titled, “What is Swedenborgianism,” you will find out just how prominent and influential the teachings and writings ogf Emanuel Swedenborg had become over the years.