Only One Fountain of Life

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeFrom Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me, ye can do nothing. John 15:4, 5.

… from that one fountain of life, which is the Lord, nothing proceeds except Divine Good and Divine Truth which affect each one in accordance with the reception. Those who receive them in faith and life find heaven in them, but those who reject and suffocate them turn them into hell, for they turn good into evil and truth into falsity, thus life into death. The fact also that everything of life is from the Lord … all things in the universe have reference to good and truth – the life of a man’s will, which is the life of his love, relating to good, and the life of a man’s understanding, which is the life of his faith, relating to truth. Therefore, since everything good and true comes from above, it follows that so does everything of life.

This being the belief of the angels, they refuse all thanks for the good that they do and are indignant and withdraw if anyone attributes good to them. They are astonished that anyone believes that he is wise from himself or does good from himself. Doing good for one’s own sake they do not call good because it is from self; but doing good for the sake of good, they call good from the Divine, and they say it is this good that makes heaven because this Good is the Lord.

Such spirits as have confirmed themselves during their life in the world in the belief that the good that they do and the truth that they believe are from themselves or are appropriated to them as their own – which is the belief of all who attach merit to good actions and claim righteousness to themselves – are not received into heaven. The angels avoid them, regarding them as stupid and as thieves, stupid because they continually have themselves in view and not the Divine, thieves because they would take away from the Lord that which is His. These are opposed to the faith of heaven that the Divine of the Lord present with the angels makes heaven.

(Heaven and Hell 9-11)
April 26, 2017

Will and Understanding

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As human beings, we get stuck all the time in conflicts between what we want and what we know. We want to eat that extra piece of pie, but we know over-eating is bad for us. We want to just keep the extra groceries the cashier missed when he was scanning items, but we know it wouldn’t be honest. We’re flattered when the cute new co-worker acts flirtatious, but we know we shouldn’t even play around with anything that could cause us to think outside of marriage.

So the idea that there’s part of us that wants and feels and another part that thinks and knows is not exactly new. But according to Swedenborg, those two parts of us are extremely important, both reflecting the essential duality of the Lord and also making it possible for us to accept the Lord’s love and go to heaven.

That all starts – as everything in Swedenborg does – with the idea that the Lord is love itself, perfect, all-powerful and infinite. That love takes form as wisdom itself, and through His wisdom the Lord can pour His love out on all of us constantly, expressed as ideas that we can grasp and use. So love is the Lord’s “wanting, feeling” part and wisdom is His “thinking, knowing” part.

The Lord’s deepest desire is for us to open our wanting, feeling part – which Swedenborg calls “the will” — to His love, and to opening our thinking, knowing part – which Swedenborg calls “the understanding” – to His wisdom. That way He can fill us with life and be conjoined to us, bringing us all joy and delight in heaven.

But the Lord also created us to be free, and the only way to do that was to open our wills to evil loves as well as good ones. That’s why we are, from our beginnings, so beset by the desire to be selfish, to be greedy, to look out for ourselves and please ourselves above all else.

But the Lord also gave us a mechanism to overcome that selfishness. Our understanding – our ability to think – operates separately from our will. That means we can use our understanding to gather ideas about what is right and good and loving, and can force ourselves to act on them even though they run contrary to our desires. This is, in fact, the great task we face in life.

What the Lord promises, though, is this: If we do that work from a desire to be good people, He will step in and slowly start removing our evil loves so that His perfect love can flow in. It’s a long process – lifelong, actually – but the results are priceless. When our will is cleared of evil and becomes a receptacle for the Lord, then our understanding becomes wisdom and our will becomes love. Then, instead of acting from what we know and over-riding what we want, we can act from love, with the love given form through wisdom. That is the life of angels, and the life of heaven.

http://newchristianbiblestudy.org/

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7179; Divine Love 18; Divine Love and Wisdom 399; True Christian Religion 397)

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Why Swedenborg Says You Don’t Have to Be Christian to Be Good

Swedenborg Foundation

By Karin Alfelt Childs

No bones about it: Emanuel Swedenborg was a Christian. He states in his books that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God and that Jesus Christ is the one who saves people and brings them to heaven. Swedenborg also wrote that people do not have to be part of the earthly Christian belief system to go to heaven. How do we reconcile these two seemingly opposite statements?

The important thing, from Swedenborg’s perspective, is to be someone who inwardly follows Christ, not outwardly. Someone can belong to the Christian religion and profess a belief in Jesus Christ and yet live in a way that’s totally contrary to Christ’s teachings. Those people, Swedenborg tells us, cannot get into heaven. That is why Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

blog_christian

On the other hand, there can be people who have been born into a religion that worships the Divine by a different name, or who have become so turned off by hypocrisy in the earthly Christian religion that they cannot find God there. But such people can nevertheless be living in the way Christ taught us to live: by loving God and their neighbor (Matthew 22:36–40); by refraining from judging others (Matthew 7:1–5); by resisting evil in their actions, thoughts, and feelings (John 8:34, Matthew 5:22); by working out their differences with others before coming before God (Matthew 5:24); by treating others the way they themselves would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12), etc. Regardless of their outer, earthly beliefs, they are inward followers of Christ, and after death they will recognize the Lord as the one they have been following all along. Swedenborg’s experiences led him to understand that when the Bible talks about the “name” of Jesus Christ, it means the quality or character of Christ. That is what we must follow in order to be able to recognize the Lord after death.

That’s why on earth, we should be paying attention not to someone’s outer belief system, but rather to the kind of life they are leading. This is what is looked at by the Lord and the angels after death, says Swedenborg, and this is supported by others who have had spiritual or mystical experiences. For example, in Lance Richardson’s near-death experience story “The Message” he also describes good people from many different earthly faith traditions having no problem with recognizing the loving presence of the Lord after death. The variety in earthly religion is something that the Lord is pleased with, because the Lord’s love is not petty and exclusive, wanting people to “get it exactly right.” If so, none of us could make it! In fact, Swedenborg saw many Christians in the afterlife unable to get into heaven because they were so sure they already “had it right” that they were unable to open their minds to learn the ways in which they were mistaken about God (which, of course, can happen in any religious belief system).

Swedenborg tells us that God looks at the heart, the intent, the effort. The Lord’s love is big and all-encompassing and all-inclusive. The Lord wants people to be able to follow whatever earthly religion suits them best as being a tool for forging a relationship with God, according to background, circumstances, and disposition. Christ is not the exclusive character that he is often made out to be. Christ is the embodiment of God’s love for the whole human race.

http://www.swedenborg.com/

Personal crisis and spiritual growth

Each of us has faced, or will face, a personal crisis in some form during the course of our lives.

For some of us, it occurs when young, with the loss of a parent or other childhood trauma. For others, crisis comes in adult life. The precipitating event can be compared to the wake of a large ship that passes a little boat. The peaceful waters that were taken for granted now churn with trouble, threatening to overturn our lives.

Personal crisis and spiritual growth

 A crisis is simply defined as a time of intense difficulty or danger, when important decisions are made which may determine the outcome of everything that follows. It is a time when we may feel extremely alone, and ask ourselves: Will my life ever be the same? How will I handle the things I must do? Is there any hope for me in this situation?

The New Church has many hopeful and comforting teachings that support and comfort those in crisis.

One is everything happens for a reason. God does not will anything bad to happen to anyone, but permits a crisis to occur when He knows for certain that good things will come to each and every person who is involved. We may not understand this noble truth in a time of crisis or temptation, but we are taught that even the most difficult experiences in life can lead to spiritual growth. The work Divine Providence says in our darkest hours, when we feel most alone, the Lord is nearest to us, encouraging us to hold our course toward what is right.

Another teaching is we are born for a purpose that extends beyond our life in this world, for our life continues after death in a similar fashion as we lived in the world.

Our life after death is enhanced greatly according to the spiritual attributes that we acquire, attributes such as patience, compassion and the ability to love others. Our life on earth can be thought of as a training-ground, where we have the chance to become more spiritual people.

Human suffering and crisis is not in any way part of the Divine plan. In the midst of it, we have the ability to respond according to spiritual principles of love, loyalty and compassion toward others. We can also find solace and faith in a God who cares for us even when it seems we are most alone. These spiritual principles are the very agents of our spiritual growth and rebirth, and in the big picture, the transformation of the world into a better place for all mankind.

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“Charity is like springtime or summertime warmth, which makes grain, grasses, and trees grow. Without charity, or spiritual warmth, nothing grows.”

Arcana Coelestia 1016:2

The Divine Ransom of Love

While I have never been an atheist, if I had not come across the unique concepts of theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, I would have rejected all official systems of belief. I certainly would have rejected, and still do, all ideas by the traditional Christian Church that faith trumps enlightenment.

There is something wrong when millions upon millions of hungry and curious neurons occupying the human brain are asked to have “faith” and “belief” at the expense of knowledge and rationality.

What really makes my neurons cringe is the doctrinal idea that God is “three Persons” and that Jesus ransomed His life to appease the wrath of His Father. Such doctrinal notions implore us to suspend all reasoning and blindly believe that by some kind of divine hocus-pocus (called a divine mystery) Jesus magically took all our sins and guilt to the cross with Him, and by dying on the cross, put the Father into the right mood and loving frame of mind to again be interested in human salvation.

Besides this scenario making Jehovah God look temperamental and subject to moods, I am at a loss as to how anyone’s bad behavior can be transferred and credited to Jesus, or how the Father can then credit us back with righteousness. This is “voodoo” redemption and implies that Christians are spared from living a life according to the Commandments.

It also suggests that God is glorified in the same way men wish to be glorified—by being served rather than serving, since good works play no part in our redemption.

Jesus was not a ransom for an angry Father-God. If this were so, then Jesus would not have started a ministry and gone to great lengths to share new teachings. While on earth, what Jesus did ransom was His human inclination to exercise command and dominate others. Instead, He choose to wash the feet of the seemingly unworthy. This self-induced humbling action is how God was glorified. The Lord attained greatness through humility rather than through a show of force or might.

“It shall not be so among you; but whosoever would be great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:26-28, Mark 10:44,45)

The Lord took human sin upon Himself by coming into the world and acquiring an imperfect physical body through a human female and real human ovum. In this way, He acquired humankind’s defects and hereditary inclinations towards evil. During the Lord’s life on earth He was given the medium through which He could be influenced by and defeat evil, until He succeeded in perfecting His human nature and uniting it with His divine nature (which was Jehovah). Jesus was Jehovah, and became the Alpha and Omega.

This process of the Lord uniting his human nature with His divine spirit, or Jehovah, was one of perfect humility (exinanition) that reached its ultimate intensity on the cross where the human flesh cried out to be spared from this indignity and be treated specially. Instead of coming down from the cross and showing His true power, he fought to stay on the cross. He brought His flesh under the complete control of the divine will. He showed His ultimate power that divine truth ruled over the selfish and anxious impulses of human flesh.

There is nothing more contrary to heavenly love than the love of self.  Therefore, what was ransomed by the Lord’s life on earth was the human compulsion to be served by others for the sake of self and demand obedience.

If the Lord had come off the cross and taken full control, He would have compelled humankind to worship Him. Only humans compel others and force them into submission.

But coercion is not the strategy of God’s Infinite wisdom.

Love is God’s strategy. This includes His first Advent and Second Coming.

Posted on December 9, 2008by thegodguy

 https://thegodguy.wordpress.com/

 

http://www.provinggod.com

Posted in god, Inner growth, Life after death, love, Reality, religion, spirituality, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reincarnation – How plausible is it?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

reincarnationMore people in the West are becoming interested in the concept of reincarnation. They are attracted to the idea that the human spirit lives on beyond death. I suspect they have lost patience with two specific doctrines of traditional Christian religion.

Instead of reincarnation, final destiny according to actions in one life

The first of these is that one’s soul is judged to eternity on the basis of how one behaved in one’s short life on earth. Given the unequal range of hereditary and environmental influence, on the face of it, there seems to be too short a time in one life to provide sufficient opportunity for one’s destiny to be decided.

Instead of reincarnation, final destiny according to beliefs in one life

The second doctrine is that one can be judged as deserving eternal damnation because of lack of belief about Jesus Christ. It smacks of a God of condemnation rather than one of love. The first doctrine seems unjust and the second abhorrent.

Reincarnation as not a final judgment

In contrast, the Eastern religious idea of reincarnation is that the soul or spirit of a person returns to live in one or more new bodies, giving us more than one life-time to be purified of our weaknesses and failings.  It does seem more reasonable to suppose that a gradual improvement of the individual spirit takes place rather than a sudden change.

Swedenborg’s account of the spiritual world as an alternative to reincarnation

However, there is an alternative way of thinking to that of reincarnation that takes account of these problems. This is to do with Emanuel Swedenborg’s account of the spiritual world.

If you believe everything that is alive in the body belongs strictly to the soul (or spirit), then it follows that the spirit is the actual person. In line with this is the experience of Swedenborg that when a person’s body is separated from his spirit at death, he or she is still a person — still alive having a spirit body and retaining a complete personal memory.

This would mean the continuation of your personal identity in a spiritual world and thus no loss of your present personality in any new incarnations in the physical world. You wouldn’t have to keep repeating the whole process of childhood, teenage and adult mental and emotional growth.  Nor could you be blamed for any impairments or deformities as signs of past wrongdoing in a previous life which is a problem with the doctrine of reincarnation.

Swedenborg says he has psychically observed how individuals in the next life continue to spiritually develop; a growth that depends on the character they have formed on earth. This observation is in line with the idea of karma that what one does in this present life will have its effect in the next life: what we sow we will reap.

Retention of individuality

He indicates that after death spirit people retain their individuality and pass through stages something similar to what we might say are different kinds of psychotherapy. He claims this will involve you firstly in self-exploration: secondly in a stage where any attitudes, desires or habits of thought, that are out of line with your basic character, are removed: and thirdly in a situation where you will be able to learn more about spiritual life if you so wish. In other words, as long as you are genuinely sorry about your wrongdoings, these can be forgiven and set aside.

Phenomena apparently supporting reincarnation

One phenomenon, apparently supporting the conclusion that one has had a previous existence, is that of déjà vu – sometimes finding a place or person familiar although not actually previously seen and thus knowing what to expect. Another phenomenon that seems to support reincarnation is the memory of past life as revealed in regressive hypnosis.

My own view is we should try to distinguish between this evidence and its interpretation. I do believe these actually are evidence of past lives — but not the individual’s own past lives.

Swedenborg testifies from his psychic journeys that all spirits in the spirit world are men and women who once lived on our physical plane when they were in the body. I am persuaded by his experience that there is a psychic presence of these spirits of dead people with all of us on earth. It’s just that we cannot ordinarily see them.  I cannot see or hear them but I believe that their desires and thoughts come into my heart and mind; feelings and ideas that I mistakenly assume to be my own. Swedenborg says I am free to choose which one’s to ignore and which one’s to listen to and act on.

He writes that these spirits are normally not permitted to communicate from their own memories. However, for some reason, that admittedly is not clear to me, he says it does sometimes occur and, when it does the person recollects something he or she has never seen or heard.

So the explanation of the experience of past lives that I offer, is of an occasional overstepping of the boundaries by spirits associated with people leading them to believe they must have lived before.

Instead of thinking of reincarnation in terms of human souls reincarnating in new physical bodies, we could think of the Source of all life repeatedly reincarnating through each new created soul. We could also think of this Creative Source being reborn again and again within each person who is willing to receive the Divine inspiration during an eternal process of personal regeneration in this life continuing in a next world of spirit.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on9th November 2011CategoriesMeaning of life, Other aspects of meaningTags, , , , , ,, , , ,, , , , , , ,, , , , , ,,  Leave a comment