Our Soul's Awakening: Allegory of the Genesis Story
Author : Thomas King
Format : Paperback, 168 pages
Release date : 2006
King endeavours to achieve reconciliation of the inconsistencies and even absurdities found in the early chapters of Genesis using Divine inspiration as the key. The purpose is to unveil some of the deeper, or inner spiritual meanings contained in them using the relationship of natural objects to spiritual realities. Spiritual meanings are found deep within the text which relate to the awakening of the human soul to Higher Life leading to spiritual rebirth. First published in 1922, revised in 2006.
Thomas King was ordained in 1879, after completing his studies at the Theological Faculty of the Maryland Conference of the Methodist Church. Two years prior to his ordination, he was introduced to the spiritual writings of Emanuel Swedenborg by a fellow student who quoted from them when the lecturer asked each class member to give their idea of the Trinity. The answer which so impressed Thomas King was "There is one God, in whom is a divine trinity which is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which make one like the soul, body and operation in man". When his turn came to answer the same question, Thomas King replied, "I would say exactly what my brother has said". He went on to say that even though he had read nothing of Swedenborg before, "Clearly, if man is made in the image of God, he must be finitely what God is infinitely". After this class, Thomas King went about acquiring Swedenborg's writings and avidly studying them. He started openly preaching and advocating these teachings which, being considerably different from the Methodist position, did not sit comfortably with some of the senior hierarchy in that Church. However, his popularity served to maintain his position within the Methodist Church, being appointed to minister to influential congregations, first in Baltimore and then Washington.
It was while living in the United States capital that he first had direct contact with the Swedenborg movement and just four years after commencing his ministry in the Methodist Church, he was ordained into the Swedenborg Church of America. He served six different congregations with great distinction for approximately the next 44 years until his death in January 1927. Through his ministry, lectures and publications, he introduced many to the spiritual writings of Swedenborg and to appreciate their relevance and value in a world where materialism had become the focus rather than looking for higher values in life.
Our Soul's Awakening: Allegory of the Genesis Story is a delightful and inspiring read. Acknowledging that spiritual truth never changes, only our perception of it can, this 168 page paperback is a complete revision by Neville Jarvis, of a 1922 text titled Allegories of Genesis by Thomas King.
The new work, following on from the original, is an insightful presentation of the spiritual meaning within the first eleven chapters of the Genesis story, dealt with by Emanuel Swedenborg in his great work Arcana Celestia or Secrets of Heaven.
Any person interested in the inner workings and the spiritual development of the human being should be interested in Arcana Celestia. It is very much a blueprint for the development of the soul showing us how the inner life of religion begins, grows and comes to power. Remarkably, it is about the planting and the growth of the kingdom of heaven in the human spirit.
Our Soul's Awakening covers the first two periods of humankind - the Adamic and the Noah period. It begins with the seven days of creation when our spirit is stirred from its dark place and its ignorance, and begins to grow and then mature. It shows us the development of Celestial Man, takes us through the ego emerging and being caught up with the senses. It takes us into the struggle for ascendancy of love over understanding, through the Noah period of the Ark and the descendants of that period, and beyond into the confusion and separation of Babel and the Tower.
The compelling and amazing thing about this is that it is beyond a mere intellectual exercise - it is about us now. We can read it and begin to understand how we work, what we may confront and overcome on our journey to completion. We can, at the very heart of it find a very deep river of God - and begin to take a small step into existence with Divine Life. It is, as the new title suggests, about our soul's awakening.
The material, then, is truly remarkable and the new, more modern approach can turn this book into what should be a handbook for personal development. Individuals should study its points one by one, ponder them, and contemplate their meanings. Groups could form to study each new meaning.
Well done to the creators of this revision - there is much to take from it. Any effort to open up the extraordinary works of Swedenborg should be met with a loud and rousing cheer!
- Stephen Leeder, BA in Politics & Sociology and a Masters degree in Australian Studies. He has been a student of the spiritual writings of Emanuel Swedenborg for over 25 years.