Monday, June 12, 2017

Oneness Theology vs. a Trinity of Three Persons



Oneness theology originated from the Pentecostal movement in the early 20th century, which states that God is one in person in Jesus Christ. This conclusion was reached when it was noticed that the apostles baptized in the name of Lord Jesus or Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), and not in the "name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" as commanded by Jesus (Matt. 28:19). It was then realized that the apostles understood the "name" to be none other than Jesus Christ, and that the fullness of the entire Godhead resides in Jesus Christ bodily (Col. 2:9). Thus God is one in person in Jesus Christ.

The Oneness Pentecostal movement started completely independently of the heavenly revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, which for the most part confirm that the Oneness Pentecostals are correct in their essential idea. Remarkably, Oneness Pentecostals and the New Church tend to be completely ignorant of each other.

Predictably, traditional trinitarian apologists who improperly divide God into three beings or persons have attacked Oneness theology, by using certain passages of scripture which they think confirm the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. So here, lets take a look at what trinitarian apologist have said against Oneness theology, and compare them with the doctrines of the New Church to shed more light on this issue.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONENESS THEOLOGY AND TRINITARIAN BELIEF

A random search of Oneness theology brought up this article: Oneness Pentecostalism and the Trinity. The Oneness position is as follows:
"the doctrine that God is absolutely one in numerical value, that Jesus is the one God, and that God is not a plurality of persons."
Which is correct, as stated by Deuteronomy 6:4, which was quoted by Jesus as the greatest commandment. The article however subscribes to the traditional trinitarian view:
The doctrine of the Trinity was concisely stated by the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647): "In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons (personae), of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost." Thus, the Trinity is understood to be one God, yet three "persons." The Athanasian Creed explicitly rejects tritheism (belief in three Gods), stating that "they are not three Gods: but one God."
The statement of the Athanasian Creed is obviously logically inconsistent: it is in fact a tritheistic belief. If there is a "one" it is one substance, and from that God is not a person but a substance. And this goes against all of scripture, which declares the Lord, or Jehovah, to be one personal being - thus Jehovah states His name is "I AM" (Ex. 3:14), not "we are." This can also be seen from the name "Jehovah," which scholars have determined to be based on a word meaning "to be."

TRINITARIAN ARGUMENTS AGAINST ONENESS THEOLOGY

The article proceeds in arguments against Oneness theology. It starts with a definition of Father and Son in Oneness theology, and a quote from Isaiah 9:6 in which the Messiah (Christ) is declared to be the "eternal Father":
According to Oneness theology, the term "Father" designates Christ's deity, while "Son" designates either His humanity considered separately or His deity as manifested in the flesh. Therefore, while Oneness believers say that the Father is not the Son, they do hold that Jesus is both the Father and the Son. The most common proof text used to prove that Jesus is the Father is Isaiah 9:6, which gives Christ the name "Everlasting Father," or rather, "Father of eternity"
Instead of following scripture, the article then comes up with an interesting twist on Isaiah 9:6:
A number of proper names in the Old Testament use the term "ab" "in accordance with a custom usual in Hebrew and in Arabic, where he who possesses a thing is called the father of it."
This is a very weak argument. Indeed, there are names with the name "ab" or father in it, but personal names do not indicate the meaning, as the passage is not referencing mere personal names but indicating the Divine nature of the Messiah. Here is the full text of Isaiah 9:6:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6)
This is an obvious prediction of the Lord's coming in human form. He is here called "mighty God" indicating He is God in human form, He is also the eternal Father. In the doctrines of the New Church, it was Jehovah God Himself who descended to become incarnate as man, not another person (True Christian Religion, n. 82.2). Also the Father and Son are one in Jesus Christ as the soul and body are one (True Christian Religion, n. 98, 101, 112,6, etc.). That Father and Son are one as soul and body are one is a doctrine of the New Church, but Oneness theology only implies or hints at this doctrine. The article continues:
In John 10:30, Jesus stated, "I and the Father are one." Oneness believers erroneously understand this to mean that they are one "person." As is often pointed out, such an interpretation is guarded against by the use of the neuter "heri" rather than the masculine "heis" for "one," thereby suggesting essential unity but not absolute identity. Also precluding a one-person interpretation is the first-person plural "we are" ("esmen"). If Jesus were the Father, He could have said, "I am the Father," or "the Son and the Father are one ("heis")," or some other equivalent; but as it stands, John 10:30 excludes modalism and Oneness...
That Father and Son are plural is indeed true, but that does not mean a plurality of persons as assumed by traditional trinitarian theology. In the New Church doctrine, the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is defined to be the Divine itself, the Divine Human, and the Divine proceeding.  The Father and Son are one as the soul and body are one, and are two aspects of the Divine Being. I will skip over the argument from Greek definitions for now, as it is not only unclear, but also quite likely Jesus spoke in Aramaic. The next significant weak argument comes in the following passage:
A favorite passage of Modalists in all centuries has been John 14:6-11, where Jesus says, among other things, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." Jesus begins by asserting, "No one comes to the Father except through Me" (v. 6). The natural sense of these words is that Jesus is, not the Father, but a mediator between us and the Father. Then He states, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also" (v. 7a). This is true, not because Jesus is the Father, but because those who know Jesus are led by Him to know the Father as they see Him imaged perfectly in Jesus. Thus, says Jesus, "from now on you know Him, and have seen Him" (v. 7b). Existing with the Father as the one indivisible Divine Being, Jesus can say, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (v. 9). Nevertheless, Jesus does not say, "I am the Father," but rather, "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me" (v. 10, repeated in v. 11; cf. 10:38).
The passage of John 14 is indeed hard for traditional trinitarian theology to explain away. Jesus Christ is indeed the perfect image of the Father (Col. 1:15, 2 Cor. 4:4), because the Father is the invisible Divine and the Son is the visible Divine in human form.  And note that Jesus said, "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me." If the Trinity is indeed three distinct persons, how can two of the distinct persons be inside one another? One knows the soul of the person by interacting with his or her visible outward form, the body. The article continues:
Oneness believers frequently cite the second part of this last statement, "the Father is in Me," to mean that the deity ("Father") dwells in the humanity ("Son") of Jesus. This view, however, fails to explain the first part of the sentence, "I am in the Father," which in Oneness terms would have to mean that the human nature of Jesus dwells in the deity -- the opposite of what they believe
Here New Church doctrine can clarify the matter. There are two points here: the human form of Jesus was made Divine and one with the Father upon the resurrection. The other point is that there are two primary aspects to the Divine: Divine love and Divine truth. The Divine descended in human form as to the Divine truth, which remains in perpetual union with Divine love. Divine love is in Divine truth, and vice versa: Divine truth is in the Divine love, because they are in perpetual union. Truth provides form to Love, and the ultimate form of Truth is the human form. The article continues:
Moreover, it fails to account for the fact that "in this same context," as well as elsewhere, Jesus uses this sort of expression to denote His unity with believers: "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (v. 20; cf. 17:21-23).
The article omits the context of the entire passage (John 14:16-19), where it is quite apparent that Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit which dwells in all Christians. And this is clearly problematic to trinitarians: Jesus refers to Himself as dwelling inside us through the Holy Spirit. According to trinitarian doctrine the Holy Spirit is defined as a distinct person. But Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit as Himself. In New Church doctrine, the Holy Spirit is not another distinct person, but the Divine proceeding. That the Holy Spirit emanates from Jesus Christ can be seen in the following passage:
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:21-22)
The Holy Spirit is the Divine proceeding from the Divine Human, thus it is described here as the breath of Jesus.  It is obviously not a distinct person, it is simply the Divine Spirit that emanates from God Himself to all humanity through His human form. Jesus was sent into the world by being conceived by the Holy Spirit, in a similar manner we are sent into the world as a testimony when we receive the Holy Spirit. The article continues:
Since Colossians 2:9 says that the fullness of "the Godhead" dwells in Jesus, Oneness believers argue, the Godhead is in Jesus, not Jesus in the Godhead. This either/or approach, however, would force Colossians 2:9 to contradict John 10:38 where Jesus states, "the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father." Since "the Father" in Oneness terms is "the Godhead," John 10:38 in their terms means that the Godhead is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Godhead.
Col. 2:9 is problematic for trinitarians, who state that Jesus is a part of the Godhead. I doubt that Oneness theologians define the Father as the Godhead, thus this is probably a straw man argument. The Father is the Divine itself, which resides in the Son which is the Divine Human. Oneness theology in this sense is in perfect agreement with Col. 2:9, a trinity of three persons is not.

SCRIPTURAL PASSAGES USED BY TRADITIONAL TRINITARIANS

The article includes a section where they try to support the idea that Father and Son are two persons, which it defines as a self aware subject. But even in the definition, the article comes into a logical contradiction:
If, then, the Father and the Son are consistently presented in Scripture as two self-aware subjects, then they are two persons, even if they are one being.
Got that? They are two persons but one being? And the difference between a person and a being is what? A traditional trinity of three persons is inherently logically contradictory, and this shows it is inherently false, as one can find similar logical contradictions in the Athanasian Creed itself - unless one admits this is in reality tritheism. The first passages the article uses to support a trinity of three persons is the following:
There are, first of all, two passages in John where Jesus states that He and the Father serve as two witnesses authenticating His ministry (John 5:31-32; 8:16-18). His statement, "there is another ("allos") who bears witness concerning Me (5:32), proves that Jesus is not the Father. The term "allos" is used here to mean someone "different {from} the subject who is speaking."
These passages, when one looks at them carefully, do not show they are two persons. In fact only one person is speaking throughout: Jesus alone is the only person speaking (thus the Jews asked, "Where is your Father?" - John 8:19 - because only one person was present). I already dealt with this passage in The Father and Son are one Person in Jesus Christ and I will quote it here:
Recently, I encountered a third objection from a trinitarian, who quoted this verse:
It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me. (John 8:17-18) 
So does this prove the Father and Son are two distinct persons? No it does not. One person is speaking here, and that is Jesus Christ, which is why the Jews next ask who is His Father. So if one person is speaking, how can Jesus claim there are two witnesses? Quite easy, Jesus explained this before:
But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, has borne witness of me (John 5:36-37) 
In other words there are two witnesses to confirm the identity of Jesus Christ:
  1. The teachings of Jesus which is centered upon Himself as Lord, and,
  2. The works of miracles He did
This is why the Jews found it so hard to confront Jesus, because of His miracles and the works that He did. The works, His doings, is of the Father, because the Father is the Divine love which was the will of Jesus. The Divine truth was His teaching, and they bear witness of each other. 
Here is another argument used by traditional trinitarians:
Further evidence is gained from the many passages that state that the Father sent the Son (John 3:17; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:10; etc.).
Since the assumption is that we have two persons it is assumed this proves their point. But the Father is the Divine itself, who sent the human form into this world by having it conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Son is the Divine in human form, and thus He was born as Jesus to the virgin Mary. The Divine Human was sent into the world by the Divine itself, through the emanation of the Divine proceeding, the Holy Spirit. And here comes the main argument of traditional trinitarians:
Devastating to the Oneness view are the passages where Jesus prays to the Father. Of course, they are aware of the problem and have an answer -- the human nature prayed to the divine nature. However, this runs into the same problem as with the love of the two for one another: natures do not talk, only persons do.
So as Jesus prays to the Father as another, that proves their point, correct?  No it does not. In this case the doctrines of the New Church offer a better explanation than that of Oneness theologians. In the New Church doctrine, Jesus was born into a lower state of being where He could be tempted. For His soul was Divine, but his external human form had inherited evil tendencies from the human mother. Temptation can only occur in a lowered state of being. In the New Church view, there are not two beings, but two states of being. For this point I will quote from Swedenborg in full:
"The Lord successively put off the human taken from the mother, and put on the Human from the Divine in Himself, which is the Divine Human and the Son of God. That the Lord had a Divine and a human, — the Divine from Jehovah the Father, and a human from the Virgin Mary, — is known. Thence it is that He was God and Man; and thus He had a Divine essence and a human nature, — the Divine essence from the Father, and the human nature from the mother; and thence He was equal to the Father as to the Divine, and less than the Father as to the human: also (as the doctrine of faith which is called the Athanasian Creed teaches) that He did not transmute this human nature from the mother into the Divine essence, nor commix it with it; for the human nature cannot be transmuted into the Divine essence, nor can it be commixed with it. And yet from the same creed is our doctrine, that the Divine took on the Human, that is, united itself to it, as the soul unites itself to its body, until they were not two, but one person. From this it follows, that He put off the human from the mother, which in itself was like the human of another man, and thus material, and put on the Human from the Father, which in itself was like His Divine, and thus substantial; from which the Human also was made Divine. Thence it is, that the Lord, in the Word of the Prophets, even as to the Human is called Jehovah and God; and in the Word of the Evangelists, the Lord, God, the Messiah or Christ, and the Son of God, in Whom men are to believe, and by Whom they are to be saved. Now, because the Lord had from the beginning a human from the mother, and put this off successively, therefore while He was in the world He had two states, which are called the state of humiliation or of exinanition, and the state of glorification or of union with the Divine which is called the Father,— the state of humiliation so far as and when He was in the human from the mother, and the state of glorification so far as and when He was in the Human from the Father. In the state of humiliation He prayed to the Father, as to one other than Himself; but in the state of glorification He spake with the Father as with Himself. In the latter state, He said that the Father was in Him, and He in the Father, and that the Father and He were one; but in the state of humiliation He underwent temptations, and suffered the cross, and prayed that the Father would not forsake Him: for the Divine could not be tempted, and still less suffer the cross." (Doctrine of the Lord, n. 35, found in The Doctrines of the New Jerusalem. See also True Christian Religion)
Initially Jesus had a Divine nature as to his soul, and a human nature as to his body, but associated with this were two states of being.  The state of "exinanition" can also be called a state of humiliation, a state of emptying, a state of enfeeblement, a lowered state. The apostle Paul understood this, who described the lowering of the Divine into a human form of a servant in Phil. 2:5-11. On this point, admittedly Oneness theologians do not describe it well as they define the Father and Son as two natures, whereas the New Church view is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe the emanation of the Divine Being. Also, although Jesus was born into two natures, upon the resurrection He had one Divine nature, and had become a Divine Human. Thus one does not find any prayers of Jesus praying to the Father after the resurrection.

WAS THE SON BORN IN TIME OR WAS THERE A SON BORN FROM ETERNITY?

All traditional trinitarians make the same mistake in assuming that there was a Son "born from eternity." The article makes the same mistake:
Since the "Son," in Oneness theology, is the incarnate Jesus Christ, they cannot allow the doctrine that the Son preexisted His incarnation to go unchallenged. The concept of "eternal Sonship," and especially "eternal generation," is, they say, both unbiblical and unreasonable. On this point, a number of respected Trinitarian, evangelical scholars can be found who agree.
This belief actually originates from the Nicene Creed, which invented a Son born from eternity in order to combat Arianism. The original apostolic belief was that the Son was born in time to the virgin Mary, and this is declared in scripture (Luke 1:35). So the Oneness doctrine is indeed Biblical. This is discussed in detail in the previous blog post, Is the Nicene Creed Biblical? Does the Nicene Creed define True Christianity?  The Nicene Creed is actually a modified version of the Apostle's Creed, which for the most part is in agreement with scripture (see The Nicene Creed: a distorted version of the Apostle's Creed). However, out of the entire Old Testament, the article comes up with a single passage to prove that there was an eternally pre-existent Son:
Proverbs 30:4 asks concerning God, "What is His name or His son's name?" This statement clearly implies that the Son existed at the time the passage was written. To circumvent this conclusion, Oneness writers argue that the passage is a "prophecy" (see 30:1, KJV, where this word appears), and is therefore referring to the future time when God would manifest Himself as the Son.
This passage does not prove an eternally existing Son. Again, Luke 1:35 is conclusive: the Son was born in time to the virgin Mary. Also we have this passage:
I will declare the decree: Jehovah has said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Ps. 2:7)
The phrase "this day" is in time, to be "begotten" refers to the virgin birth, being conceived by the Holy Spirit. That there is no eternal person besides Jehovah is explicitly stated in many passages of the Old Testament, showing that a trinity of three persons is foreign to scripture, and would be considered idolatry to the prophets:
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me (Deut. 32:39)
Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. (Isa. 44:6)
In the latter passage it is Jehovah who is King, it is Jehovah who is Redeemer, it is Jehovah who is first and last. There is only one Divine Being. It was Jehovah Himself who descended to become incarnate in human form, not another person. However the article continues in its error:
Then there are the many passages which state that the Word or Son created the universe (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2; Revelation 3:14; etc.) Hebrews 1:2 says that God made the ages through His "Son" -- to which Oneness writers reply that "God used His foreknowledge of the Son when He created the world. He predicated the entire creation on the future arrival of Christ."
This again shows a misunderstanding of the Divine. There are two aspects to the Divine: Divine Love and Divine Truth, and it is the Divine Truth which descended and became flesh. This Divine Truth is known as "the Word" or Logos in the New Testament. And indeed all things were created by the Word or Divine Truth. The Word was made flesh, the flesh is the Son, which did not exist before the incarnation. The article continues with what it thinks is a conclusive argument:
Whenever in Scripture the Son is said to have said or done something, or even existed, prior to the Incarnation, it is explained as only being true in God's foreknowledge. This arbitrary handling of Scripture is justified by appealing to Revelation 13:8, which speaks of those "whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (KJV). While this translation is grammatically possible, the parallel passage in Revelation 17:8 suggests that the correct rendering is, "whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain" (NASB). Once it is understood that Revelation 13:8 cannot be used to relegate anything said of the past to the foreknowledge of God, it becomes clear that Jesus existed prior to creation\with\the Father.
On these passages from the Apocalypse both Oneness theologians and traditional trinitarians are both incorrect. The phrase "foundation of the world" does not refer to the creation of the universe, but rather to the foundation of the present world-age, or the foundation of the Christian Church. Jesus was rejected and slain before the Christian Church was established. But it goes further than that: in the spiritual sense, it means the Christian Church in general does not acknowledge that the human nature of Jesus has been made Divine, and is the Divine Human:
"Slain from the foundation of the world, signifies the Lord's Divine Human not acknowledged from the first establishment of the church. That by the Lamb slain is signified that the Lord's Divine Human has not been acknowledged, may be seen above (n. 59, 269)... From the foundation of the world signifies the first establishment of the church, as well the Jewish as the Christian. It is known that the Jews did not acknowledge the Lord's Divine Human. That the Roman Catholics do not, is also known: and that neither do the Reformed, see above (n. 294). The creation of the world is not meant here by the foundation of the world, but the establishment of the church: for by the world, in the widest sense, the whole world is meant, and as well the good as the evil in it, and sometimes the evil only; but in a sense not the widest, the same is meant by the world as by the globe and by the earth, that is, the church." (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 589)
Those who divide God into three persons, do not acknowledge the Divine Human. They thus will divide Jesus into two natures:
it is true that adherence to the two natures of Christ is critical to orthodoxy
Thus they do not acknowledging the human as Divine, yet it is His human form which is the Son. Jesus remains rejected, with the other persons of the trinity standing like two thieves on either side of Jesus.

THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE NAME OF THE FATHER

Oneness theologians gained the insight that the name of Jesus is in fact the name of the Father:
Central to the theology of Oneness Pentecostalism is an emphasis on the name "Jesus" as the name of God since the Incarnation. The Oneness movement began, in fact, with the "revelation" that the "name" of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit spoken of in Matthew 28:19 was the name "Jesus," based on Acts 2:38 in particular. This is why Oneness Pentecostals are so adamant that baptism be administered in the name of "Jesus only."
The article goes into the other meanings of the word "name" and indeed it does have multiple meanings. But on this essential point the Oneness theologians are correct, and what is unusual they arrived at this conclusion completely independent of the revelations of the New Church. For example, in the Lord's prayer we say "Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be Thy name."  The name here is Jesus Christ, showing that we should not pray to the Father as a separate person, but to Jesus Christ directly:
"But let us return to the Lord's prayer, where it is said, Our Father who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come. You who are here understand by these words the Father in His Divine alone; but I understand Him in His Human, and this also is the Father's Name; for the Lord said, Father, glorify Thy Name; that is, Thy Human; and when this is done the kingdom of God comes; and this prayer was commanded for this end, namely, that God the Father may be approached through His Human. The Lord also said, No one cometh unto the Father but by Me; and by the prophet, Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name is God, Mighty, the Father of eternity; and in another place, Thou, O Jehovah, art our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is Thy Name; beside a thousand other places, where the Lord our Saviour is called Jehovah. This is the true explanation of the words of that prayer." (True Christian Religion, n. 112.6)

THE FALSE CONCLUSION OF TRADITIONAL TRINITARIANS

Oneness theology is monotheistic, the traditional trinitarian theology is tritheistic.  They use traditional doctrines and from those traditions try to make scripture fit their doctrine, and to do so they must distort or ignore certain passages of scripture. Despite this, the article grudingly concedes that many tradition evangelicals consider Oneness Pentecostals to be Christian:
Evangelicals commonly suppose that a professed Christian movement may be judged orthodox or heretical simply on the basis of whether or not it affirms the full deity and humanity of Christ. Consequently, some Christians have concluded that the Oneness doctrine, despite its denial of the Trinity, is essentially Christian.
The article wants to say that this is too "simplistic" and wants to declare Oneness theology as a heresy, as if pure monotheism can lead to something bad. But the problem is the article is using traditional doctrines invented by men as the measure of truth, and these traditions distract people from an essential understanding of who Jesus really is.  They pray to a "Father God" as someone distinct from Jesus, and although they confess one God by mouth, in the mind they hold to a tritheistic belief.

With a true understanding of who Jesus really is, one will achieve new spiritual understanding and fulfill the Lord's Prayer.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Science of Creation and the Spiritual World as seen by Emanuel Swedenborg



To explore the science behind the idea of the spiritual world at first seems like an oxymoron, since modern science and religion are in conflict with each other. The reasons for the conflict between science and religion is due to both different criteria for truth, as well as false concepts in both science and and in religion. To summarize:
  1. Modern science in general espouses the false philosophy of Naturalism, that nature begets nature.
  2. Over time, religion becomes falsified by relying on the traditions and authority of men. Argument by authority is a logical fallacy and is rejected by the scientific method. 
  3. Science is based on factual evidence obtained from the senses. Witness testimony for any phenomenon or idea is classified as "anecdotal" until confirmed by the scientific method. Completely opposite to this method, true religion is based on heavenly revelations from witnesses which are adapted to the culture receiving the revelation.
The first two areas of conflict between science and religion is due to false concepts that are assumed to be true in both science and religion.  The third area is a difference in method for determining the truth. However, there are some rather unusual cases where an internal revelation is received which is later confirmed by science. Dmitry Mendeleyev discovered the periodic table once it was shown to him in a dream; after the dream he was able to layout all the elements on a piece of paper and only one correction was needed. Similarly, the structure of DNA was discovered only after Dr. James Watson had a dream of two intertwining serpents.

There is another case of this in terms of the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg in waking visions, but in this case the revelation preceded the scientific discovery by over 150 years. It concerns the science of space and time and the origin of the universe, and although Swedenborg did not have any idea about our current scientific discoveries, the heavenly revelations anticipated them far in advance.  To understand it, I will briefly describe the scientific revolution that occurred between the time of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, involving space and time and the creation of the universe.

THE SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS OF SPACE AND TIME

Our scientific concepts of space and time have evolved over the centuries, which is summarize well in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Newton's Views on Space, Time, and Motion. In Greek Antiquity, philosophers first proposed that space was a void or vacuum:
The most important question shaping 17th-century views on the nature of space, time and motion is whether or not a true void or vacuum is possible, i.e., a place devoid of body of any sort (including rarified substances such as air). Ancient atomism, dating back at least to the pre-Socratic philosopher Democritus (5th century, B. C.), held that not only is such possible, but in fact actually exists among the interstices of the smallest, indivisible parts of matter and extends without bound infinitely.
This idea was rejected by Aristotle, but when modern astronomy began to disprove many of the ideas of Aristotle, there was a revival of atomism and space as a vacuum in the 16th and 17th centuries.  It is upon this foundation that Isaac Newton founded classical physics in the 18th century, in which he assumed that space and time were absolutes:
Isaac Newton founded classical mechanics on the view that space is distinct from body and that time passes uniformly without regard to whether anything happens in the world. For this reason he spoke of absolute space and absolute time, so as to distinguish these entities from the various ways by which we measure them (which he called relative spaces and relative times)
This idea of space and time as absolutes, distinct from matter, dominated scientific theory until Einstein's theory of General Relativity in the early 20th century. As a consequence of this theory, space and time becomes a distinct object known as the "space-time continuum." Gravity from matter distorts space-time:


This warping has been confirmed by astronomical observations:


Recently, two black holes merged together and emitted a loud BURP in the form of gravitational waves which was detected by LIGO, as also predicted by Einstein's theory:


Moreover, another consequence of this theory is that it will dilate or expand time itself, according to the relative speed of the observer. The faster one approaches the speed of the light, the slower that time will flow.

Related to the concept of the space-time continuum of Einstein's theory of relativity, is the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2013. The Higgs boson is actually an excitation of the Higgs field, a field that permeates the entire universe. Among other things, this universal field explains why certain particles have mass. Although the Higgs field permeates all of space, it is distinct from the warping of the space-time continuum by gravity. See the article Why the Higgs and Gravity are Unrelated (the effect of mass has multiple causes; also the Higgs Boson has a quantum spin of 0 and the graviton has a quantum spin of 2).

SWEDENBORG: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PURE VACUUM OF NOTHING

Emanuel Swedenborg lived in the 18th century, and was contemporary with Isaac Newton during his childhood. Swedenborg was also a scientist and is estimated to have an IQ of over 200, but in his late 50s he began to have a spiritual awakening, which eventually caused his inner mind to open up and receive waking visions of the heavenly world for about 27 years. The main revelation concerns the spiritual sense of the Word, providing the only proof that the Bible is Divinely Inspired, and correcting many false doctrines that have entered and corrupted the Christian church. Another main objective of these revelations was to reveal that there is indeed an afterlife, our souls are eternal which continue to live after death.

Portrait of Isaac Newton

One of the people that Swedenborg encountered in the afterlife was Isaac Newton. Now, recall that in the 18th century, as a result of Isaac Newton's successful theories, everyone began to believe that space and time were absolute and that space was a pure vacuum. This was disproven in the 20th century with Einstein's theory of relativity, and by the discovery of the Higgs field which permeates the entire universe. Thus space is not a vaccum, nor is space or time independent abstract things from matter. Rather, space and time are created things.

Now, back in the 18th century, Swedenborg describes an encounter between some angels and Isaac Newton, and the angels told Newton this: there is no such thing as a pure vacuum of nothingness:
"Something shall be said here concerning vacuum. I once heard angels talking with Newton about vacuum, and saying that they could not bear the idea of vacuum as nothing; because in their world which is spiritual, and within or above the spaces and times of the natural world, they equally feel, think, are affected, love, will, breathe, yea speak and act; which things are utterly impossible in vacuum as nothing; because nothing is nothing, and of nothing nothing can be predicated. Newton said that he knew that the Divine which is, fills all things, and that he himself shuddered at the idea of nothing respecting vacuum, because that idea is destructive of all things; and he exhorted those who talked with him about vacuum, to beware of the idea of nothing, calling it a swoon, because in nothing no real existence of mind is possible." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 82)
In another account of the same encounter, the angels were correcting Isaac Newton of his error:
"Concerning a vacuum [Isaac Newton] said, that in the world he had believed in the existence of a vacuum; but when the angels perceived that he had an idea of a vacuum, as an idea of nothing, they turned themselves away, saying that they cannot bear the idea of nothing, since when there is an idea of nothing the idea of the essence of things perishes." (Last Judgment Posthumous, n. 290)
Science would not confirm that Isaac Newton was wrong on this matter until almost 200 years later, and yet here we have an account of angels correcting Newton back in the 18th century. This is just one example among many, that Swedenborg indeed was receiving revelations from the heavenly world. I will note here he did not draw any doctrine or teaching from any spirit, but rather from the Lord alone (see Was Emanuel Swedenborg a Spiritualist or Occultist? against false accusation from religious leaders). These encounters were for the sake of countering the false ideas of atheism and naturalism.

THE SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT OF CREATION OR THE BIG BANG

Space is not a vacuum, but rather it is a field that is constantly expanding. As a consequence of Einstein's General theory of relativity, it became known the universe had a definite beginning about 14 billion years ago, and that everything started from a single point called a "singularity." The universe began as a "Big Bang" and from there, both space and time expanded to the present day universe:


Exrapolating backwards, it is known that the entire universe began from a single point or singularity of high temperature and high density. In this state of "singularity" both space and time lose their meaning. Moreover, this "singularity" has an infinite energy density, which is regarded as impossible in our current known laws of physics. As all laws of physics break down inside this singularity, it is not well known.

There are two singularities predicted by science: one right before the Big Bang that created the universe 14 billion years ago, and one inside a black hole that was created from the collapse of a dying star. Some scientists have noted the similarities between these two singularities, and in fact, some scientists propose that our universe was created from a black hole. The conclusion: at the center of a black hole is another universe. We thus live in a "multiverse." From Every Black Hole Contains a New Universe:
Successful as it is, there are notable unsolved questions with the standard big bang theory, which suggests that the universe began as a seemingly impossible "singularity," an infinitely small point containing an infinitely high concentration of matter, expanding in size to what we observe today. The theory of inflation, a super-fast expansion of space proposed in recent decades, fills in many important details, such as why slight lumps in the concentration of matter in the early universe coalesced into large celestial bodies such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
But these theories leave major questions unresolved. For example: What started the big bang? What caused inflation to end? What is the source of the mysterious dark energy that is apparently causing the universe to speed up its expansion?
The idea that our universe is entirely contained within a black hole provides answers to these problems and many more. It eliminates the notion of physically impossible singularities in our universe.
The theory is interesting: it explains the beginning singularity, the expansion of the universe, a possible origin for "dark energy" causing the expansion, as well as  the observed rotation of galaxies in different hemispheres of the universe.


REVELATIONS OF CREATION GIVEN TO SWEDENBORG

Modern science indicates that the natural universe originated from the Big Bang, a giant explosion of energy which led to the creation of suns and galaxies.  Emanuel Swedenborg, as a scientist, first proposed the Nebular hypothesis as the origin of are solar system in 1734. The Big Bang and expanding universe was unknown to him. When he started receiving spiritual revelations, he was shown there are two worlds: the spiritual world of heaven, and the natural world. In the spiritual world there is a spiritual sun in which the God-Man resides, whereas in the natural world we have the sun of our solar system. One should distinguish between the spiritual sun of the spiritual world, and the natural sun of the natural world:
"It is most necessary to know that there are two suns, one spiritual and the other natural — the spiritual sun for those who are in the spiritual world, and the natural sun for those who are in the natural world. Unless this is known, nothing can be rightly understood concerning the creation and concerning man" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 107).
The natural sun is the origin of all natural material things, but the spiritual sun is the origin of all forms of life. All life originates from the spiritual sun of the God-Man by influx into the natural world. Current science is deeply in error to assume that life comes from natural dead things. Since science is currently in denial of the spiritual world, it cannot explain the origin of life. The natural world is but a recipient and container for spiritual life, and life flows in from the Divine through spiritual influx. The soul is of a substance that does not interact with light:
"Spirits themselves are forms, that is, consist of continuous forms, equally with men, but of a purer nature, and not visible to the bodily sight. And because these forms or substances are not visible to the corporeal eye, man at this day apprehends no otherwise than that knowledges and thoughts are abstract things; hence also comes the folly of our age, that men do not believe that they have a spirit within them which is to live after the death of the body, when yet this spirit is a substance much more real than the material substance of its body; yea, if you will believe it, the spirit, after being freed from corporeal things, is that very purified body" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3726.4)
Now, concerning the natural sun from which all things originate, from the science of Swedenborg's day there was no knowledge of the Big Bang, but he did formulate the Nebular hypothesis for the origin of the solar system, and he knew that each star was its own solar system. But continually in his writings, Swedenborg speaks of the natural sun, as if there was one natural sun. In the following passage, Swedenborg describes the natural sun as something very close to the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe:
"...the expanse of the centre of life is called the spiritual world, which subsists from its own sun; and that the expanse of nature is called the natural world, which subsists from its sun." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 380)
Although the Sun of the spiritual world is distinct from the sun of the natural world, the sun of the natural world originates from the Sun of the spiritual world:
"Now, as the expanse springs from the centre, and not the reverse, as we have said before; and as the centre of life, which is the sun of the angelic heaven, is Divine love immediately proceeding from God, who is in the midst of that sun; and as from this is the expanse of that centre, which is called the spiritual world; and as from that sun sprang forth the sun of the world, and from this its expanse, which is called the natural world,—it is clear that the universe is created from the one God" (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 380)
This at first does not seem true, as the sun of our solar system was formed by coalescing gases, which Swedenborg even first proposed in the Nebular hypothesis. Its possible, however, that in these revelations when Swedenborg speaks of the natural sun, what is being spoken of here is the Big Bang that arose from the original singularity at the beginning of the universe. It is known that this "singularity" was extremely dense, infinitely so according to our mathematics. Swedenborg stated the the natural world first began from the spiritual world. In the spiritual world there are successive "spiritual atmospheres" of increasing density. Compare the scientific concept of the original singularity with this passage:
"...because the [spiritual] atmospheres decrease in their progression downward, it follows that they become continually more compressed and inert, and at length in ultimates so compressed and inert that they are no longer atmospheres, but substances at rest, and in the natural world fixed substances, such as are in the earths and are called matter." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 302)
Now, in the singularity at the beginning of the universe, our concepts of space and time become meaningless. Beyond this singularity physicists do not know how to grasp it. But what Swedenborg stated is that space and time were proper only to the natural world, but not to the spiritual world. In the spiritual world, there is no such thing as space and time:
"There are two things proper to nature, space and time. From these man in the natural world forms the ideas of his thought, and thence his understanding. If he remains in these ideas, and does not elevate his mind above them, he can never perceive anything spiritual and Divine; for he involves the spiritual and Divine in ideas which come from space and time; and so far as he does this, the light of his understanding becomes merely natural." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 69)
When one dies and enters into the spiritual world, one enters the realm of pure ideas, which is that of the state of one's will and thought:
"All who die and become angels put off those two things proper to nature, which, as said above, are space and time; for they enter then into spiritual light, in which the objects of thought are truths, and the objects of sight are similar to the objects in the natural world, but correspondent to their thoughts. The objects of their thought which, as was said, are truths, derive nothing at all from space and time; and though the objects of their sight appear as in space and in time, still they do not think from them. The reason is that spaces and times there are not rigid as in the natural world, but changeable according to the states of their life. Hence in the ideas of their thought there are instead states of life — instead of spaces such things as have relation to states of love, and instead of times such things as have relation to states of wisdom." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 70)
So, according to this, what was prior to the Big Bang? Space and time cease to exist, so what was prior was the spiritual world. This spiritual world has a constant influx into the natural world, and is what causes life forms to be created in this natural world. We saw earlier that Swedenborg saw that the Divine expands and in its ultimate state, the spiritual atmosphere becomes dense to form matter; this comes very close to describing the singularity that caused the Big Bang.

So, there are two possible origins here for the Big Bang: one is from the spiritual world, by a compression of spiritual atmospheres that emanate from the Divine. Another is that the Big Bang of our universe is from the creation of a black hole. In our universe, each black hole is a singularity which contains another universe. Thus each universe is a parent to multiple child universes, ad infinitum. So which is true? I think both are true: from the spiritual world, the Divine is constantly creating new universes, and these universes in turn spawn baby universes which share the timeline of its parent universe. This is my personal opinion, but in several passages Swedenborg stated that the Divine loves variety, and from variety there is the perfection of the whole. Moreover, once there is Divine influx to create life, in that life the Divine gives life the ability to propagate itself. This same pattern may manifest itself in the initial creation of multiple universes, and each universe in turn keeps spawning other universes.

Thus, as the Divine is infinite, there will be infinite things for us to explore in heaven:
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Clairvoyant Dream of the Venus Rose and Revelation 22:16-17



Last night I had a dream which turned out to be "clairvoyant" - that is, it provided knowledge that I did not know about before.  The beginning and ending were vague, but the central portion of the dream I remember as it was repeated to me several times.

In the dream, it would seem that I was a new recruit to some Islamic religious organization. I go to some private place, perhaps a warehouse, and I come to realize that the religious organization is a mere front for an Islamist terrorist group. They want to carry out some terrorist attack, and I realize I would have two choices: either I would need to be trained to use a gun and shoot other people, or I would need to be trained to blow up bombs. At this point it is not clear if this meant that I should be a so-called "martyr" in a suicide bombing. I immediately realize I am in the wrong place, I need to get out of this organization. It was very clear this was murder, and against God's will.

I then decide to make my escape and get out of this radical religious group. It was complicated: I could not publicly turn against them, but if they did an attack, I would surely be implicated in the blame for it. For some reason, I have to wait until I come to a gas station. I approach the gas pump, and next to the gas pumps there is a small bookshelf or double stand.  On it, I see two Bibles, one with a brown cover, another with a white cover.  I pick up the one with the white cover, and there was some red symbol on it. In the dream, it was conveyed to me that this was the "Rosata" Bible. I open the Bible and read Revelation 22:16-17, and then close it.

At this point in the dream, there is a woman, or woman's voice, off to my right. She asks me, what passage did I read? I said it was Revelation 22:16-17. I think I asked her why she wanted to know. She repeats it again, what passage did I read?  I reply again, it was Revelation 22:16-17. This repeats, I don't know how many times, but it seems that the dream wanted me to remember the passage of Revelation 22:16-17.  And in the dream, I have no idea what the contents of the passage was, I only remember the reference, as it was repeated. I think this woman thanked me, but I never saw who she was.

So I turn and go to the car, and for some reason I take the white Bible with me. I then wonder if I chose the right Bible, I did not have time to compare the translations of the two. I then wonder what in the world does the word "Rosata" mean. The thought came it might be a Catholic translation, in which case it might have been the wrong one. Then I realize, why am I wasting my time with the Bible? I am at a gas station, and I have to concentrate on my escape, and I have very little time.

I drive away from the gas station, and at this point I make my escape. As I go down the road, I remember encountering several cars, which either tried to track me down or block me. Each time I was not sure if the cars belonged to the Islamist terrorist group, or to the authorities. I had to be very quick. At this time the dream fades, but the impression I had is I made my escape.

THE WORD "ROSATA" AS ROSETTA STONE

To interpret the dream, I first looked up the word "Rosata." The closest thing I could find was the Rosetta Stone, a trilingual stone discovered in Egypt:


It was discovered in Egypt in 1798 by French forces under Napoleon. It was eventually realized it was trilingual containing a duplicate message written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Egyptian demotic script, and finally ancient Greek. It was finally cracked by Jean-François Champollion in Paris in 1822, and this eventually allowed Egyptologists to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, which had been lost to the modern world. If "Rosata" conveyed this meaning, then it could refer the revelation of ancient knowledge hidden in the Bible, something that was done by Swedenborg also in the 18th century with his massive work Heavenly Arcana (aka Arcana Coelestia).  The Bible was written in a symbolic manner, where each word carried several levels of meaning: the literal, the spiritual and the celestial. According to Swedenborg, in the same manner Egyptian hieroglyphs were once used to convey sacred spiritual knowledge, which later became perverted into magic:
"That by the Egyptians are signified knowledges opposed to the truths of the church, is because the representatives and significatives of the Ancient Church, which church had also been with them, were there turned into magic; for by the representatives and significatives of the church of that time there was communication with heaven. This communication was with those who lived in the good of charity, and was opened with many; while with those who did not live in the good of charity, but in its opposites, open communication was sometimes given with evil spirits, who perverted all the truths of the church, and with them destroyed its goods, whence came magic. This may likewise be manifest from the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, which they also used in sacred things, for by them they signified spiritual things, and perverted Divine order." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6692)
The Egyptian hieroglyphs themselves were also once sacred:
"As to Pharaoh's saying that he did not know Jehovah, the case is this: the Egyptians from ancient time knew Jehovah, because even in Egypt there had been the Ancient Church — as may be manifestly evident from this, that they had among them the representatives and significatives of that church. The hieroglyphics of the Egyptians are nothing else; for by these were signified things spiritual, and they knew also that they actually corresponded" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7097)
What Swedenborg calls "correspondences" is more commonly known as symbolism. As the Rosetta stone was the key to discovering the ancient knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphs, so the Bible along with the revelations given to Swedenborg is also key to discovering the hidden truths within Christianity.

THE WORD "ROSATA" AS A ROSE


Dreams can have multiple meanings, in the dream I had the impression that the word "Rosata" was spelled or pronounced as "Rosata." The word rosata is Italian for the work "pink." This may be correct, as I was thinking that the Rosata Bible in the dream was a Catholic translation (I do not know Italian). I had also associated it with a symbol that was pink or red. The other impression that I had is it simply meant a red rose, for the Rosata symbol on the white Bible seemed to be a symbol of a flower. And indeed, the word for "rose" in Italian is rosa. That this is correct can be determined from the city name of Rosetta in Egypt where the Rosetta stone was discovered. Here is the name meaning, from wikipedia:
"Both the Arabic name Rašīd (meaning "guide") and the western name Rosetta or Rosette ("little rose" in Italian and French respectively) are corruptions of a Coptic toponym, Trashit. Rosetta or Rosette was the name used by the French at the time of Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in Egypt and thus became eponymous of the Rosetta Stone..."
I had no idea the word Rosetta means "little rose" until I decided to look that up for this blog.  So why a white Bible with a rose symbol on it? According to Swedenborg, the colors white and red are the primary colors of heaven:
"There are two colors that are fundamental of the rest in the spiritual world, white and red. White derives its origin from the light of the sun in heaven, and thus from spiritual light, which is white; and red derives its origin from the fire of the sun there, and thus from celestial light, which is flamy. The spiritual angels, because they are in the truths of wisdom from the Lord, are in that white light; therefore they are clothed in white: and the celestial angels, because they are in the goods of love from the Lord, are in that flamy light; therefore they are clothed in red." (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 231)
The primary doctrine of the New Church is that of love and truth, and this is represented by the colors red and white. By selecting the red and white Bible over the brown Bible, that would signify a selection of the doctrines of the New Church over that of a falsified version of Christianity, signified by the brown Bible.

THE PASSAGE OF REVELATION 22:16-17


Clear in my mind, repeated over several times from the dream, was the reference to Revelation 22:16-17. So today, I looked it up, it says this:
I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him who hears say, Come. And let him who is thirsty come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:16-17)
The interesting reference here is the "root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star." Here is the spiritual meaning of that passage:
"I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star, signifies that He is that Lord who was born in the world, and was then the light, and who will come with new light which will arise before His New Church, which is the Holy Jerusalem. I am the root and the offspring of David, signifies that He is that Lord who was born in the world, and thus the Lord in His Divine Human. From this He is called the root and the offspring of David, and also the branch of David (Jer. xxiii. 5; xxxiii. 15): also the rod out of the stem of Jesse, and the shoot out of his roots (Isa. xi. 1, 2). The bright and morning star signifies that He was then the light, and that He will come with new light, which will arise before His New Church, which is the Holy Jerusalem. He is called the bright star from the light with which He came into the world, on which account He is called a star and also the light: a star, Num. xxiv. 17: and the light, John i. 4-12; iii. 19, 21; ix. 5; xii. 35, 36, 46; Matt. iv. 16; Luke ii. 30-32; Isa. ix. 2; xlix. 6. And He is called the morning star from the light which will arise from Him before the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem. For by a star is signified the light from Him, which in its essence is wisdom and intelligence; and by the morning is signified His coming, and the New Church then..." (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 954)
That is the spiritual meaning of that passage. However the phrase "bright and morning star" in the literal sense specifically refers to the planet Venus, which is known as the morning and evening star. Venus was commonly known as the "morning star" as it appeared as the brightest star in the east right before sunrise. It is thus a symbol of the herald of the Lord's coming, signified by sunrise.

So, what does this, if anything, have to do with the rest of the dream?  At first nothing. However, I then discovered that in ancient mythology, the symbol for Venus was the rose. From Wikipedia:
"Venus' signs were for the most part the same as Aphrodite's. They include roses, which were offered in Venus' Porta Collina rites, and above all, myrtle (Latin murtos), which was cultivated for its white, sweetly scented flowers, aromatic, evergreen leaves and its various medical-magical properties. ...As goddess of love and sex, Venus played an essential role at Roman prenuptial rites and wedding nights, so myrtle and roses were used in bridal bouquets."
Again, note the ancient rites of Venus includes roses for the color red, and myrtle flowers for the color white, the two primary colors of heaven for love and truth which is the origin of marriage love between a man and a woman. And interestingly the passage of Revelation 22:16-17 mentions the bride, a symbol of the church.

THE VENUS ROSE

The association between Venus and the rose flower goes even further, I discovered something called the "Venus Rose." If one traces the orbital path of Venus as seen from earth, the path forms something called the "Venus Rose" - a pattern that appears in plants of the rose family.


This indicates there was some ancient symbolism hidden in some of these ancient pagan rites, which Swedenborg states originated from a very ancient system of knowledge that predated Judaism and goes all the way back to ancient Egypt. Here is the pattern of the Venus Rose as it appeared in 1799 in an astronomy book by James Ferguson:



SUMMARY CONCLUSION

The evidence indicates that this is a clairvoyant dream of Revelation 22:16-17, where the passage is symbolically portrayed by symbols in the dream. The reference to the Rosetta Stone would signify a key to lost ancient knowledge, and the the colors of white and red signify love and truth, the basis of heaven and the doctrines of the New Church. For me to belong to an Islamist terrorist organization, and for me seeking to escape it, would signify a desire to leave a false religion and to find the truth. In this part of the dream, I may have stood in the place of another person who was in a similar situation. The rose is used as a symbol in certain mystical Sufi schools of Islam, where the rose is a symbol of one's quest for Divine love. Two prominent books aligned with Sufism are The Rose Garden by Saadi and Mahmud Shabistari's The Rose Garden of Secrets. The Sufi master Jilani is known as "the Rose of Baghdad" and his order, the Qadiriyya, uses the rose as its symbol.