In our Contemporaries
by Christopher O. Horner
The following communication appears in the October, 1975, issue of the Courier, published by the General Church in Australia - the Reverend Michael D. Gladish editor. The subject (the inhabitability of the planets) is topical and relates to the article "The Absence of Other Worlds " by Mr. Fred Elphick which appears in our January issue, page 6.
It is pleasing to see that Mr. Basil later in his latest enlarged edition of his well known booklet All Things New makes a strong stand for the integrity of second advent revelation when he states his enduring conviction of the presence of human life on the Moon. It is strange how many people within the church have become evasive on this matter since it has become known that the astronauts have found no evidence of human life.
However, in exercising the rational principle, surely we should reason from causes to effects and not the reverse as is the case if we make empirically derived data the basis of our investigation. Divine Love and Wisdom 187 states that "to see from effects only is to see from fallacies, from which come errors, one after another; and these may be so multiplied by inductions that at length enormous falsities are called truths."
How reliable are empirically derived data? How can it be proved scientifically that there is no human life on the Moon, without taking it to pieces, bit by bit, like a large Dutch cheese! If it is within the Divine purpose that men from our earth should discover and have contact with the inhabitants of the Moon then we shall have proved in an empirical fashion a Divinely revealed spiritual law; but if it is not within the Lord's purpose and He can see no use being served by such scientific evidence becoming available, then our astronauts will encounter insuperable barriers in trying to accomplish such an end. To me, the New Churchman has full rational proof and what need has he of anything further?
Earths in the Universe 3 states: "He who believes as everyone ought be believe that the Divine created the universe for no other end than the existence of the human race, and of a heaven from it (for the human race is the seminary of heaven), cannot but believe that wherever there is an earth, there are human beings." (Italics added)
We are told: "That there are inhabitants even in the Moon, is well known to spirits and angels, for they often converse with them; so likewise in the moons or satellites round the planet Jupiter, and round the planet Saturn. They who have not seen them and spoken with them, still have no doubt but that there are human beings in these moons; for they are likewise planetary orbs, and where there is an orb there is man, for man is the end for the sake of which a planetary orb exists, and nothing has been made by the supreme Creator without an end. . . . The angels also say that an earth cannot subsist apart from the human race, because the Divine provides all things on an earth for the sake of man." (AC 9237. Italics added)
In speaking of the spirits from the Moon Swedenborg says "it was granted me to perceive to some extent that they were from the Moon. It came into my thought that they were not similar to others because they have not such an atmosphere; and I am ignorant of what atmosphere they have around them; but still that the human race was there, because there is nothing without an end: thus nothing without the human race to be a bond between terrestrial and natural things, and celestial things: for otherwise, never can art earth, whether planet, moon or satellite, exist." (SD 3244)
In all these quotations the substance of the argument is to state the profound spiritual law that nothing is made by the Lord the Creator without an end, that the end in the creation of a planetary orb is that men may dwell on it, is the cause, and in order to think rationally we must reason to its legitimate effect which is the presence of human beings on these orbs, and this in turn confirms the basic spiritual law. The fact that Swedenborg was permitted to see and converse with spirits from the Moon and these planets should be sufficient confirmation for the New Churchman to know that this is an incontrovertible truth. What alternatives have we? Either that Swedenborg was deluded, or that he just did not mean what he wrote?
How great is our faith in the Divinely revealed truths of the Writings? Are we to reject such basic spiritual truths as this regarding the Divine use in creation because its logical ultimation appears to be at variance with scientific methods of observation? Are we to indulge the eclectic's method and pick and choose only those things that appeal to our natural rational capacity? Let us beware where this method would lead us! Do we have to discard the obvious in the teachings of the Writings, and seek for some deep, subtle, metaphysical meaning? Are we like the officers and dignitaries of the emperor's court in Hans Anderson's famous fairy tale, and do we lack the simple insight and enlightenment that led a little child to discover that the emperor wore no clothes?
To me such simple, concise statements as "there are human beings" or "there is man" mean precisely what they appear to mean and need no analyzing in terms of abstruse reasoning to prove that possibly they mean something else! If we are to look for enigmatic meanings in the simple, straightforward teachings of the Writings, are we not going to arrive at such a state of confusion and disbelief that we have no criterion of genuine truth?
CHRISTOPHER O. HORNER,