South End
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Emanuel Swedenborg's Space People
Aaron Erhardt

Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish scientist and inventor of the eighteenth century, who claimed that the Lord opened his spiritual faculties so he could speak with life forms throughout the solar system. 

In his book, entitled "Life on Other Planets," Swedenborg described his experiences with the inhabitants of the moon and five planets -- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. He did not mention the inhabitants of the other planets, which had not been discovered yet. (That is very telling!) 

Having read the aforementioned book, this writer is more than convinced that Swedenborg's claims are false. They contradict scripture, science, and common sense. For instance, we know that there are not people living on the moon who speak through their bellies, and that gaseous planets could not sustain animal and plant life like Swedenborg describes. 

Below are some of the fanciful and outlandish claims of Swedenborg. The quotes are taken from his own book, which should be labeled "fiction."

Swedenborg's Space People

Though few in number, there are Swedenborgian churches that regard his teachings as divine truth. Therefore, it is important that we know what Swedenborg actually taught.

(1) The Moon. Swedenborg described the inhabitants of the moon as dwarf-like people about the size of a seven-year-old boy, but stouter. They have thunderous voices which proceed from their bellies like a belch.

In height they resembled a boy of seven, but were stronger in body; so they were dwarfs… Moreover, they demonstrated that their voice came out of their abdomen like a belch, and this caused the thunder. (p. 86)

(2) Mercury. Swedenborg described the inhabitants of Mercury as slimmer than earthlings. They wear tight fitting clothes and have animals like ours, only smaller.

… a woman was displayed to my gaze, who was very much like women on earth. She had a comely face, but one smaller than women on our earth have. Her body too was more slender, though of similar height. She wore a linen scarf on her head, neatly but not elaborately arranged. A man was also displayed; he too had a more slender body than men of our world. He was wearing a dark blue garment, which fitted the body tightly, with no fold or protuberances on either side. I was told that this was the form and bodily habit of people belonging to that world. I also saw their species of oxen and cows; they were not very different from those in our world, only smaller. (pp. 29-30)

The people of Mercury are said to have a constant thirst for acquiring knowledge. In fact, they are able to invade the brain in search of such knowledge. They are very proud of what they know. Swedenborg claimed to have met Aristotle there.

Immediately on arrival they sought out from my memory what I knew. (Spirits are very clever at doing this, being able when they approach a person to see the details stored in his memory)… The spirits of Mercury are rather proud of how much they know… Meanwhile two spirits carried on a conversation over my head, and when I asked who they were, I was told that one of them was a very famous character in the world of letters, and I was given to believe that it was Aristotle. (pp. 9, 21, 23-24)

(3) Venus. Swedenborg described the inhabitants of Venus as consisting of two groups -- one is gentle and humane while the other is fierce as wild animals. The latter group finds pleasure in plundering.

There are two kinds of people on the planet Venus, who are of opposite characters. Some are gentle and humane, some are fierce and almost like wild animals… I did not, however, talk with the spirits on the side facing us, who are fierce and almost like wild animals; but the angels told me about their nature and the source of their wildness. They said that they took great pleasure in stealing, and particularly in eating what they had stolen. (pp. 81, 82)

(4) Mars. Swedenborg described the inhabitants of Mars as having faces similar to ours, but beardless with color variations.  They eat fruits and vegetables, and their clothes are made out of the bark fibers of certain trees.

His face was like that of the inhabitants of our world, but the lower part of his face was black, not with a beard, for he had none, but due to a black area taking its place. This blackness extended up under his ears on either side. The upper part of his face was sallow, like the faces of people in our world who are not completely white… the food eaten in that world is the fruit of trees, especially a certain round fruit which grows on their earth, and also vegetables. Their clothing consists of garments which they make out of the bark fibers of certain trees. (p. 69)

The people of Mars are said to be among the best of those in the solar system. They live in larger and smaller communities, from which those who are inclined to do evil are excluded.

The spirits of Mars are among the best of all spirits from the worlds of this solar system… They are not, they said, subject to kingdoms, but divided into larger and smaller communities… Any in their communities who begin to have wrong thoughts, leading to evil intentions, are banished from them. (pp. 62, 66-67)

(5) Jupiter. Swedenborg described the inhabitants of Jupiter as family-oriented, upright people who live in a state of happiness. They speak in a tone lower than ours.

They said that their chief concern was the bringing up of children, whom they loved most tenderly… My long continued association with the spirits of Jupiter proved to me that they are more upright than the spirits of many other worlds… I noticed that they had a state of blessedness, and even more inward happiness… The inhabitants of Jupiter also use verbal speech, but it does not sound so loud as ours. (pp. 32, 34, 35, 37)

The people of Jupiter frequently wash and clean their faces, guard themselves against sunburn, wear clothing made of bluish bark or cork, walk using the flat of their hands, and sit on fig leaves. They also have wild horses.

… the inhabitants of that world frequently wash and clean their faces, and take good care to protect them from sunburn. They have clothing made from bluish bark or cork, which they wrap around their heads to cover the face… When moving, they do not walk upright like the inhabitants of this and many other worlds; nor do they go on all fours like animals, but when they walk they help themselves with the flat of their hands… When they sit down to eat, they do not sit on chairs or benches, or raised grassy banks, or even on grass, but on the leaves of a certain tree… they [horses, a.e.] run wild in the forests and terrify them when they are sighted, though they do no harm. (p. 36)

Swedenborg claimed that the land of Jupiter is fertile, obviously unaware that Jupiter has no solid surface!

(6) Saturn. Swedenborg described the inhabitants of Saturn as upright and humble. They eat fruits and vegetables, wear light clothing, have thick skin, and cover their dead in branches.

They are upright and restrained; and because they have a low opinion of themselves, they also appear small in the next life… They do not bother much about food and clothing. They live on the fruits and vegetables their world produces. They wear light clothing, since they are protected by a thick skin or coating, which keeps out the cold… they do not bury the bodies of the dead, but throw them out, covering them with branches from the trees of the forest. (pp. 76, 80)


If Swedenborg was not telling the truth about space people, how can anything else he said be trusted? This was part of the “divine truth” he claimed to have received from the Lord. It all stands and falls together!



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