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Revealed Knowledge of the Planets

by W. B. Caldwell

Among the most interesting and fascinating things which have been revealed by the Lord at His Second Coming are the knowledges concerning the earths or planets in our solar system and beyond it, concerning the human race and other forms upon them, and concerning the spirits and angels who have gone from them into the other life. In the spiritual world anyone who genuinely desires this knowledge can obtain it. For we read:

"That there are many earths, and men upon them, and from them spirits and angels, is very well known in the other life: for to everyone there who desires it from the love of truth and thence of use it is conceded to speak with the spirits of other earths, and from this to be confirmed in regard to the plurality of worlds, and to be informed that the human race is not only from one earth, but from innumerable ones, and to know moreover what their genius and life are, and the nature of their Divine worship." (E. U. 2.)

"They who are in heaven can speak and converse, not only with the angels and spirits who are from the earths in this solar world, but also with those who are from earths in the universe which are outside of this solar system; and not only with the spirits and angels thence, but also with the inhabitants themselves whose interiors have been opened so that they can hear those who speak from heaven." (A. C. 9438.) Indeed, the celestial from all earths are consociated in "one universal heaven, where there are myriads of myriads, but all are known by each, and the province in the human body to which each corresponds." (A. C. 6701, 7078; S. D. 4670.)

But abundant information is now revealed in the Heavenly Doctrines for the use of the man of the New Church, and it is provided not only to gratify his love of knowing, but primarily to enlarge and enlighten his understanding of the universe, and to exalt his life by the acknowledgment and worship of the Creator to which he is led by such knowledge. For only one whose mind is open to a rational and spiritual faith will wholeheartedly receive as the truth what has now been revealed by the Lord.

Like all else that is given to the New Church in the Writings, this information was disclosed by the Lord by means of a human instrument as revelator-Emanuel Swedenborg, whose very presentation of the subject begets complete confidence in him as a credible witness. When he was first brought by the Lord into association with the spirits of other earths, he records the fact in the Spiritual Diary in these words:

"Because of my desire to know what kind of men live on other earths, it was permitted me to know the inhabitants of Jupiter; for if there are earths, there must also be rational and intellectual beings upon them, who refer all things which they see there to the glory of the Creator: for there is nothing in the universe which does not ultimately redound to the glory of God, and this by means of those who can perceive things celestial and Divine." (S. D. 519.)

And further he states: "The things contained in the little work called The Earths in the Universe were revealed and shown to me for the end that it may be known that the Lord's heaven is immense, and that it is wholly from the human race: also that our Lord is everywhere acknowledged as the God of heaven and earth." (H. H. 417e.)

Again: "The Kingdom of the Lord is a Man, because the Lord is the only Man, and is His Own Kingdom, . . . and unless there were innumerable worlds or earths which together constitute such a Man the souls of one world or earth would by no means suffice, because there must be endless varieties, and in each part innumerable souls who confirm and establish it." (S. D. 1145e.)

"That there are many worlds, may be evident to anyone from this, that so many constellations appear in the universe, and it is known in the learned world that every star is like a sun in its own place: for it remains fixed like the sun of our earth in its place, and distance is what makes it appear in a small form like a star: consequently, that it has planets which are earths around it, in like manner as the sun of our world. To what purpose otherwise would be so great a heaven with so many stars? For the end of the creation of the universe is man, and that from man there may be an angelic heaven. But what would the human race arid an angelic heaven from one earth be for the Infinite Creator, for whom a thousand, yea ten thousand, earths would not be enough!" (A. C. 9441.)

In these devout expressions of the revelator we find an acknowledgment of the main purpose in revealing the knowledges concerning the planets which he was given by the Lord to set forth in writing and printing-namely, that they are for those who are willing to believe that the revelation is from the Lord, and is the Divine Truth for the New Church. In other words, they are primarily for those who have faith in their truth,-first the faith of childhood when those knowledges are taught as stories of other worlds than our own: then, the faith of the youth who reasons affirmatively; and finally for the rational and spiritual faith of the adult who accepts in joy of heart and full confirmation.


But the revelation also anticipates the various states of acceptance or rejection among men in the world, both within the former Church and outside of it.

A new revelation from the Lord is rejected by those in the Church who have no faith of heart in the Lord and a spiritual world: yet there are some who incline to a simple belief that other earths, like our own, are inhabited by human beings, and that the universe was not created by an all-wise and infinitely loving God for the sake of one earth alone. There are also those who come to a like conclusion from reason and common sense, and the Writings appeal to men to think "from reason" on the subject. 

Among the learned, however, the investigations of the material universe with the aid of mechanical devices and the wonders of astronomical science still leave doubts as to the existence of human life on the planets of our solar system. It is held, for example, that the atmospheres of some of the planets, and of our moon, would not sustain human life. And at the same time there are those who would like to communicate with the inhabitants, if any, who live on the planets, and those who believe that we shall some day travel to the moon. Well, let them keep on trying; it is good exercise for human ingenuity, and can do no harm. Meanwhile we may be certain that whatever of truth men discover by science and mechanical art will confirm what the Lord has revealed, which is now of interest to so few.

Let us recall a few statements of the Writings bearing upon this phase of the subject:

"Spirits and angels know that there are also inhabitants on the moon, because they often speak with them equally that there are inhabitants on the moons or satellites around the earth Jupiter and the earth Saturn. Those who have not seen them and spoken with them still do not doubt that there are also men on those moons, because they are equally earths, and where there is an earth there is man; for man is the end for the sake of which an earth is, and nothing has been made by the Most High Creator without an end. That the end of creation is the human race, and from it a heaven, may be evident to anyone who thinks from reason. The angels also say that an earth cannot subsist without the human race, because the Divine provides all things on an earth for the sake of man." (A. C. 9237.)

"Because at this day with most who are in the Church there is no faith concerning a life after death, and scarcely any concerning heaven, nor concerning the Lord as being the God of heaven and earth, therefore the interiors which are of my spirit have been opened by the Lord, so that I am able, while in the body, to be at the same time with the angels in heaven, and not only to speak with them, but also to see the stupendous things there and to describe them, lest perchance it will also be said hereafter. "Who has come from heaven to tins, and told us that there is a heaven and concerning the things that are there?'  But I know that they who have heretofore in heart denied a heaven and a hell, and a life after death, will also harden themselves against the things now revealed, and will deny them; for it is easier to make a raven white than to effect belief in those who have in heart once rejected faith. But let the things which have hitherto been shown concerning heaven and hell and the life after death be for those few who are in faith. But that the rest may be brought to something of acknowledgment, it is granted me to record such things as delight and allure the man who is desirous of knowing, which will now be concerning the earths in the universe." (A. C. 9439. Italics ours.)

"To be led to the earths in the universe is not to be led and transferred thither as to the body, but as to the spirit and the spirit is not led through spaces, but by variations of the state of the interior life, which appear to him as progressions through spaces. . . . But to do this is in the power of the Lord alone; for there must be continual direction and foresight from first to last, going and returning, especially with a man who is still as to the body in the natural world, and thus in space. That it was so done, they who are in sensual corporeal things, and who think from them, cannot be induced to believe: but still they who think interiorly in themselves from the sensual of the spirit somewhat removed or withdrawn from the sensual of the body may be induced to grasp it. . . . For such, therefore, are the things that follow concerning the earths in the starry heaven, but not for the former, unless they are such as suffer themselves to be instructed." (A. C. 9579-9581. Italics ours.)

Presentation in the Writings.

The information concerning the planets is given in three parts of the Writings: 1) In the Memorabilia or Spiritual Diary, where the revelator, from day to day, records his experiences in meeting those of other earths; 2) In the Arcana Coelestia, following each chapter of Exodus, beginning at no. 6695. 3) In the little work, The Earths in the Universe, which the revelator extracted from the Arcana Coelestia, with changes and additions here and there, and omitting the Fourth Earth (A. C. 10585-10590; 10708-10712). Thus the Fourth and Fifth Earths in E. U. are the same as the Fifth and Sixth in A. C. As to why the Fourth Earth was omitted, we merely note what is said of that Earth: "I was not conveyed to this Earth as to the others, but the spirits who are of that Earth were brought to me." (A. C. 10585.) 

In the Harvard College Library there is a copy of Volume VI of the original Latin edition of the Arcane Coelestia which Swedenborg himself used when preparing The Earths in the Universe. An account of the volume, and of Swedenborg's annotations therein, was given by Mr. Alfred Henry Stroh in NEW CHURCH LIFE, 1904, pp. 599, 656.

To obtain a complete picture of all that is revealed on the subject of the planets, it is necessary to read what is set forth in the three parts of the Writings where it is treated, as we find information in one part that is not given in the others. In the Spiritual Diary the revelator records his experiences with the spirits of other earths as they occurred, and from this storehouse he drew largely, though not entirely, when writing the accounts given in the Arcane Caelestia. He was first associated with the spirits of the planet Jupiter (S. D. 519, as before noted), and then with the spirits of the planet Mercury; and his experiences with the spirits of these two planets were more extended than with any others. Let us cite an example.

When he first came into association with the spirits of the planet Mercury, they concealed their identity, because of their nature, which is to acquire knowledges, but not to divulge them. They are interested in the cognitions of things abstracted from earthly and material things, and they are averse to any thought that they ever lived in a body. Since they cultivate the memory, they lack judgment, and on this account are not permitted to impart their vast store of knowledge to those of other earths, though they share it with spirits of their own earth. And they were gradually induced to tell Swedenborg many interesting things, at the same time disclosing their own characteristics, which form an important part of what is now revealed to us in regard to their place in the Grand Man of the universe. To quote:

"Concerning the spirits of another earth, and, as I think, of the planet Mercury. Spirits came to me whose disposition it is granted me to describe, because they constitute those things in man which are called the internal sense, and who thus in a certain way belong to the memory. They came to me, and were inquisitive about the things which were in my memory: and when I recalled various places where I had been, also the streets, houses, temples, and the like, they did not wish to know them, but immediately, with skill and dexterity, they aroused the memory of things which had been done in those places. . . In a word, from the fact that they were unwilling to give their attention to corporeal, mundane, and gross material things, it was given me to perceive that they were from another earth. . ." (S. D. 1415, 1416, 1417,)

"When I represented other earths to them, because they could not say from which earth they were, they said that they know there are many earths, and other things which pertain to the inhabitants of those earths, because they are delighted with cognitions. And when, in a spiritual manner, I represented to them the planets which are called Mercury and Venus, they led my vision to the planet Venus. But I perceived that they wanted to conceal something, and thus that they were from the planet nearest the sun, where are such as are delighted with cognitions, which was also given me to perceive from its proximity to the sun: namely, that they are such as commonly constitute the internal senses, and thus those things which are of the internal senses, which are cognitions." (S. D. 1425.) "They were not willing to instruct me concerning the things which they know." "And when I asked whether they wish to perform any use from their cognitions, seeing that it is not enough merely to be delighted with cognitions. . . they still said that they are delighted by cognitions,-and that that is a use," (S. D. 1427, 1429.)

"There are spirits who relate to the Memory in the Grand Man, and they are from the planet Mercury. It is allowed them to wander about and to acquire for themselves the cognitions of the things which are in the universe: and it is allowed them to go to others outside of the world of our sun. They said that there are not only the earths in this solar system with men upon them, but also in the universe, to an immense number," (A. C. 6696.)

"The spirits of Mercury, counting up the number of earths (they knew), said they amounted to about 600,000." (S. D. 3264.) "They enumerated many kinds of respirations" with which they were acquainted, and communicated some of them to Swedenborg. (S. D. 3318.) They said that, although their planet is nearer the sun than the others, the rays of the sun are tempered by the atmospheres, and the inhabitants do not suffer from excessive heat. (A. C. 7177.)

Let us cite another example to indicate the need to consult the different works of the Writings in which the planets are treated, to gain a complete picture.

A Satellite of Jupiter.

We have already quoted A. C. 9237, where it is said that spirits and angels know that there are inhabitants on the moons or satellites which revolve around some of the planets, including those of Jupiter and Saturn. The following is from the Spiritual Diary:

"Concerning spirits who are altogether unwilling to (think) that they had been in a body. From another earth. The spirits of a certain satellite.

"1668. There is a kind of spirits who had so despised the body in the life of the body that they could not bear to have it said that they had been clothed in a body. . .

". . . Since they spoke well of the inhabitants of Jupiter I was persuaded that they were from that earth, because they also altogether despised their bodies, and wanted to live like spirits on earth. . .

"1670. But whether they were from a certain satellite of Jupiter, which, like the moon, is not girt around with an atmosphere like that of ifs planet, and thus that men are created otherwise in such a little world, or endowed with another kind of body, I do not yet know, although they said so to me. Because I could have no idea of men unless they were such as live in earths surrounded by atmospheres, therefore, although it was unknown to me because I could have no idea of such, I am not willing wholly to reject it; for the corporeal forms are altogether according to the state of the atmospheres and many other things on the earths in which the men are."

"1672 1/2. They acknowledge our Lord, as do the spirits of Jupiter, and adore Him alone, and so they are said to be upright."

In the author's Index to the Memorabilia, we find:

"SATELLITE. The inhabitants and spirits of one satellite of Jupiter, nos 1668 to 1687. See JUPITER." There we find: "Because I did not know that like atmospheres surround the satellites, I was not induced to feel that they were from one of the satellites of Jupiter, but still it was very likely, because it was so perceived, no. 1670."

The information concerning these spirits is quite extensive in the Spiritual Diary (nos. 1668-4682; 1 684A657), and from it was taken what is said of the "Third Earth in the Starry Heaven" in the Arcana Coelestia, nos. 10,311 et seq., beginning with these words:

"Spirits appeared at a distance who were not willing to approach, the reason being that they could not be with the spirits of our earth who were then about me. Hence I perceived that they were from another earth; and afterwards it was said to me that they were from a certain earth in the universe, but where that earth is was not indicated to me." (A. C. 10,311.)

We take this to mean that the revelator had not been informed by angels from the Lord in regard to the spirits who said that they were from a satellite of Jupiter. Three days before he spoke with them he wrote that he had been given a perception from the Lord as to what he was to learn from spirits, so that everything he wrote might be from the Lord alone. (S. D. 1647. March 22, 1748.) With his customary caution, therefore, he was unwilling to state it as fact that they were from a satellite of Jupiter, although he declares that "it was very likely, because it was so perceived."  While they were similar in some respects to the inhabitants of Jupiter, they could hardly have been from that planet, or they would have been included in the description of the people of Jupiter, so fully given elsewhere in the Writings. (S. D. 519. et seq.; A. C. 7799, et seq.; E. U. 46-84.)

Additional Information-As indicating one use of the moons to their planets, it is said of the inhabitants of Jupiter that "their moons shine upon them so much that they live in light." (S. D. 555.) Of the planet Saturn we are told that, "being so far from the sun, it has also a great lunar belt which gives much light to that earth, even though it is a reflected light" (A. C. 6697), and that "a nocturnal lumen is diffused from the great belt which surrounds that earth at a distance, and from the moons which are called the satellites of Saturn." "They were asked about that great belt, which from our earth appears to elevate itself above the horizon of that planet, and to vary its situations, and they said that it does not appear to them as a belt, but only as something snowy in the sky in various directions." (A. C. 8951, 8952.)

The sun of the world, we are told, "does not appear to any spirit, nor anything of its light, but the planets which are within the world of that sun appear according to a certain situation relative to the sun; Mercury at the back a little toward the right; the planet Venus at the left a little behind: the planet Mars at the left in front; the planet Jupiter likewise at the left in front, but at a greater distance: the planet Saturn directly in front at a very great distance; the Moon at the left quite high up: the satellites also at the left relative to their own planet. Such is the situation of those planets in the ideas of spirits and angels: also, spirits appear beside their own planet, but outside of it." (A. C. 7171. See also 7247, 7358. 7800.)

The spirits of our Moon are described in A. C. 9232-9237; S. D. 3241-3245: E. U. 111, 112.

How Many Moons?

As to the number of moons or satellites in our solar system, we may note that in Swedenborg's time there were but ten known to astronomers, as follows: Earth 1, Jupiter 4, Saturn 5. Modern astronomy lists 30 satellites in our solar system: Earth 1, Mars 2, Jupiter 11, Saturn 9, Uranus 5, Neptune 2. And all but 7 have been named. For this information we are indebted to Mrs. Wertha Pendleton Cole, Instructor in Astronomy in the Academy of the New Church, and we think it likely that, if you approach her in a apprecative mood, she will be glad to give you a copy of her list of "The Satellites of the Solar System," showing the planet to which each belongs, its name if any, its discoverer, date of discovery, and its distance from its planet.

The thought occurs: How different the Scriptures would be if the Earth had more than one moon. But we know that our Earth, with all its conditions, was provided by the Lord for the sake of the everlasting Word that was to be written here and preserved for all posterity, and for the sake of all in the universe. (A. C. 9355, 9356.) The fact that the Lord appears to the angels of the celestial kingdom of heaven as a Sun, and to angels of the spiritual kingdom as a Moon, is everywhere ultimated in the letter of the Word, from the "two great luminaries" of the 1st chapter of Genesis to the "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet" (Rev. 12), signifying "the Lord's New Church in the heavens, which is the New Heaven, and the Lord's New Church about to be on earth, which is the New Jerusalem." (A. R. 533.)



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