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by Fred Elphick
To The Editor
Rev. Kurt Nemitz (NEW CHURCH LIFE, Jan., 1977, p. 50) wonders how the Lord could have told Swedenborg the name of a planet. This is a very odd question, not at all supported by the passage quoted by him. The passage in which Jethro advises Moses to delegate his judging contains the words '. . .every great word let them bring unto thee. . . .' (Exod. 18:13-16) means that everything is from the truth immediately from the Divine. The Lord directs all things by means of the truth proceeding from Himself, both mediately through angels and immediately. But the mediate disposing through heaven is also as it were immediate from Himself, for what comes out of heaven comes through heaven from Him. (AC 8717) ". . . But this subject falls with difficulty into the idea of any man . . ." (ibid)
Hence the difficulty of accepting the idea of Swedenborg's receiving things from heaven detracts nothing from the validity of what he was told. As to the problem of names, the argument falls when we read that,
Such is the communication-if two people think of the unique features of a city and these agree, they are thinking of the same city. If Swedenborg and an angel are thinking of the unique features of Venus, they are referring to the same planet. (Other arguments, still unrefuted, can be found in Absence of Other Worlds: NEW CHURCH LIFE, Jan., 1976. p. 6) The fact remains that there is no scientific evidence for inhabited planets but as one astronomer put it! " Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence ."