Servetus Swedenborg and the Nature of God


The Trinity was defined at the Council of Nicaea and the relationship of the human and divine natures of Christ was defined at Chalcedon. Very few questioned the Church's depictions of the nature of God. Two such mavericks, Michael Servetus (1509-1553) and Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), in spite of their Christian educations, rejected the Church's creedal understanding of God and the Trinity. Although they lived in two different ages- the Reformation and Enlightenment, and there is no evidence that Swedenborg ever read or even knew of Servetus- the two men came to remarkably similar conclusions about the nature of God. Each scholar stated that the Trinity does not rest in three Persons, but rather takes form in the single person of Jesus Christ, the visible God.

Servetus was a superb scholar in his day. He mastered the Church Fathers and possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible. Servetus tragically perished in the flames at Geneva because of his beliefs. Swedenborg, likewise, was a well-known and respected scholar, philosopher, and anatomist. He dedicated the last thirty years of his life to biblical research, producing a series of some thirty volumes (in English) of theological writings. His work influenced many of the great thinkers and artists of the nineteenth century and continues to be read and studied in many parts of the world today.

- Prologue
- Introduction
- Christology: Underlying Principles of Christology; Underlying Principles of Servetian and Swedenborgian Christology
- The History of the Trinity: The Earliest Christology and Concepts of the Trinity; The Arian Controversy; The Nicene Creed; The Athanasian Creed; The Divine and Human in Christ; The Resolution of the Council of Ephesus - Michael Servetus
- On the Errors of the Trinity in Seven Books

Andrew M.T. Dibb is Associate Professor of Theology at the Academy of the New Church Theological School. Professor Dibb holds an M.Div. from the Academy of the New Church Theological School and a doctorate in Church History from the University of South Africa, Pretoria.