Bringing Forth Things that are Useful

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection from Doctrine of Faith ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

From his earliest childhood man has the affection of knowing, which leads him to learn many things that will be of use to him, and many that will be of no use. While he is growing into manhood he learns by application to some business such things as belong to that business, and this business then becomes his use, and he feels an affection for it. In this way commences the affection or love of use, and this brings forth the affection of the means which teach him the handling of the business which is his use. With everybody in the world there is this progression, because everybody has some business to which he advances from the use that is his end, by the means, to the actual use which is the effect. But inasmuch as this use together with the means that belong to it is for the sake of life in this world, the affection that is felt for it is natural affection only.

But as every man not only regards uses for the sake of life in this world, but also should regard uses for the sake of his life in heaven (for into this life he will come after his life here, and will live in it to eternity), therefore from childhood everyone acquires knowledges [cognitiones] of truth and good from the Word, or from the doctrine of the church, or from preaching, which knowledges are to be learned and retained for the sake of that life; and these he stores up in his natural memory in greater or less abundance according to such affection of knowing as may be inborn with him, and has in various ways been incited to an increase.

But all these knowledges [cognitiones], whatever may be their number and whatever their nature, are merely the storehouse of material from which the faith of charity can be formed, and this faith cannot be formed except in proportion as the man shuns evils as sins. If he shuns evils as sins, then these knowledges become those of a faith that has spiritual life within it. But if he does not shun evils as sins, then these knowledges are nothing but knowledges [cognitiones], and do not become those of a faith that has any spiritual life within it.

This storehouse of material is in the highest degree necessary, because faith cannot be formed without it, for the knowledges [cognitiones] of truth and good enter into faith and make it, so that if there are no knowledges, faith cannot come forth into being, for an entirely void and empty faith is impossible. If the knowledges are scanty, the faith is consequently very small and meager; if they are abundant, the faith becomes proportionately rich and full.

Be it known however that it is knowledges [cognitiones] of genuine truth and good that constitute faith, and by no means knowledges of what is false, for faith is truth, and as falsity is the opposite of truth, it destroys faith. Neither can charity come forth into being where there are nothing but falsities, for charity and faith make a one just as good and truth make a one. From all this it follows that an absence of knowledges of genuine truth and good involves an absence of faith, that a few knowledges make some faith, and that many knowledges make a faith which is clear and bright in proportion to their abundance. Such as is the quality of a man’s faith from charity, such is the quality of his intelligence.

(Doctrine of Faith 25-29)
June 11, 2017

Blaspheme Against The Holy spirit

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Verses 28, 29. Verily I say to you, All sins shall be remitted to men, and blasphemies with which soever they shall blaspheme; but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit has never remission, but is exposed to eternal judgement.What is signified by “sin and blaspheme against the Holy Spirit,” and by a “word against the Son of Man,” has not yet been known in the church, and this by reason of its not having been known what is properly meant by the Holy Spirit, and what properly by the Son of Man. By the “Holy Spirit” is meant the Lord as to Divine Truth, such as it is in the heavens, thus the Word such as it is in the spiritual sense, for this is Divine Truth in heaven; and by the “Son of Man” is meant Divine Truth such as it is in the earths, thus the Word such as it is in the natural sense, for this is the Divine Truth in the earths. When it is known what is signified by the “Holy Spirit,” and what by the “Son of Man,” it is known also what is signified by “sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” and what by a “word against the Son of Man;” it may also be known why the sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be remitted, and why a word against the Son of Man can be remitted. For “sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” consist in denying the Word, also in adulterating its essential goods, and falsifying its essential truths; but a “word against the Son of Man” consists in interpreting the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of its letter, according to appearances. The reason why a denial of the Word is a sin which cannot be remitted in this age, nor in that which is to come, or to eternity, and why it exposes to eternal judgement, is, because they who deny the Word, deny a God, deny the Lord, deny a heaven and a hell, and deny the church and all things belonging to it; and they who deny those things are Atheists, who, although they say with their lips that the creation of the universe is the work of some Highest Being, Deity, or God, yet in heart they ascribe it to Nature; such persons, inasmuch as by denial they have loosened every bond of connection with the Lord, must of necessity be separated from heaven, and conjoined to hell. The reason why the adulteration of the essential goods of the Word, and the falsification of its essential truths, is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which also cannot be remitted, is, because by the Holy Spirit is meant the Lord, as to Divine Truth, such as it is in the heavens, thus the Word such as it is in the spiritual sense, as was said above. For in the spiritual sense are genuine goods and genuine truths, but in the natural sense are the same goods and truths as it were clothed, and not naked except here and there, wherefore these are called apparent goods and truths; these are what are adulterated and falsified, and they are said to be adulterated and falsified when they are explained contrary to genuine goods and truths, for in such case heaven removes itself, and man is put to pieces from it, by reason that genuine goods and truths, as was said above, constitute the spiritual sense of the Word, in which the angels of heaven are principled. As for example:—If the Lord and His Divinity be denied, as was done by the Pharisees, who said that the Lord worked miracles from Beelzebub, and had an unclean spirit, this is to commit sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, because it is against the Word. Hence also it is that Socinians and Arians, who, although they do not deny the Lord, still deny His Divinity, are out of heaven, and cannot be received by any angelic society. To take another example. They who exclude the good of love and the works of charity from the means of salvation, and assume faith exclusively as the only means, and confirm themselves in this idea, not only bv doctrine, but also by life, saying in their hearts,—” Goods do not save me, neither do evils condemn me, because I have faith;” these also blaspheme the Holy Spirit, for they falsify the genuine goods and truths of the Word, and this in a thousand passages, where love and charity, deeds and works, are named. Moreover, as was said above, in all and singular things of the Word, there is a marriage of good and truth, thus of charity and faith, wherefore when good or charity is taken away, that marriage perishes, and adultery is committed in its place; hence it is, that neither are such persons received into heaven. The reason also is, because in the place of heavenly love they have earthly love, and in the place of good works they have evil works, inasmuch as they proceed from earthly love, which, separate from heavenly love, is infernal love. But it is otherwise with those who indeed believe from the doctrine of the church, and from teachers, that faith is the only means of salvation, or who know, and do not interiorly affirm or deny, and still live well, under the guidance of the Word, that is, because it is commanded by the Lord in the Word: these do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit, for they do not adulterate the goods of the Word, nor falsify its truths, wherefore they have conjunction with the angels of heaven; Few of them also know that faith is any thing else than to believe the Word; the doctrine of justification by faith alone without the works of the law they do not comprehend, because it transcends their understanding. These two examples are adduced to the intent that it may be known what is meant by “sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” and that sin against the Holy Spirit consists in denying the Divine Truth, thus the Word, and that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists in adulterating the essential Goods of the Word, and in falsifying

its essential Truths. The reason why a “word against the Son of Man” signifies to interpret the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of its letter, according to appearances, is, Because by the “Son of Man” is meant the Lord, as to Divine Truth, such as it is in the earths, thus such as it is in the natural sense; and the reason why this “word” is remitted to man, is, Because most things in the natural sense, or in the sense of the letter of the Word, are goods and truths clothed, and only some naked, as in its spiritual sense; and goods and truths clothed are called appearances of truth. For the Word in the ultimates is as a man clad in clothing, who yet as to the face and hands is naked, and where the Word is thus naked, there its goods and truths appear naked as in heaven, thus such as they are in the spiritual sense; wherefore it can never come to pass but that the doctrine of genuine good and genuine truth, derived from the sense of the letter of the Word, may be seen by those who are enlightened of the Lord, and be confirmed by those who are not enlightened. The reason why the Word is such in the sense of the letter, is, that it may be a basis for the spiritual sense; hereby also it is accommodated to the apprehension of the simple, who can only perceive those things which are so said, and when they perceive, can believe and do them. And whereas Divine Truths, in the sense of the letter of the Word, are most of them appearances of truth, and the simple in faith and heart cannot be elevated above those appearances, hence it is not sin and blasphemy to interpret the Word according to appearances, if so be principles are not formed from them, and these confirmed even to the destruction of Divine Truth in its genuine sense. AE 778.

By “saying a word against the Holy Spirit” is meant to speak well and to think ill, and to do well and to will ill, respecting those things which relate to the Lord, His kingdom and church, and also which relate to the Word, for thereby a false principle lies concealed inwardly in the truths which are spoken, and in the goods which are done, which false principle is hidden poison, whence they are called an offspring of vipers. In the other life it is allowed to an evil spirit to speak what is evil and false, but not what is good and true, inasmuch as all in that life are compelled to speak from the heart, and not to divide the mind; they who do otherwise are separated from the rest, and are immersed deep in hells, from which they can never come forth. That such are they who are meant by “saying a word against the Holy Spirit,” is manifest from the Lord’s words on the occasion,—” Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or make the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt; how can you speak what is good when you are evil?” (Matt 12:33, 34.) The “Holy Spirit” is the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, thus the Holy, Divine Principle Itself, which is thus principally and materially blasphemed. The reason why it will not be remitted to them is, because hypocrisy or deceit about holy Divine things infects the interiors of man, and destroys the all of spiritual life belonging to him. AC 9013. See also, AC 882, 9264, 9818. Also, DP 98, 231. Also, TCR 299.

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” Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” is blasphemy against the Lord’s Divinity, and “blasphemy against the Son of Man” is something against the Word, by giving a wrong interpretation of its meaning; for the “Son of Man” is the Lord as to the Word, as was shown above. D. Lord. 50.

Verses 31—35. Then came His brethren and mother, and, standing without, sent to Him. And looking round on those who sat about Him, He says, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother.—That a “servant” denotes the Humanity belonging to the Lord, before it was made Divine, may be manifest from several passages in the Prophets; the reason is, as has been occasionally observed above, that the Humanity belonging to the Lord was nothing else but a servant, before He put it off and made it Divine. For the Humanity belonging to Him was from the mother, thus an infirm Humanity, having with it an hereditary principle thence derived, which He conquered by temptation-combats, and altogether expelled, insomuch that there remained nothing of the infirm and hereditary principle derived from the mother; yea, at length, nothing at all from the mother, so that He totally put off the maternal principle, in such a manner as to be no longer her son. To this purpose He Himself also says in Mark,—” They said to Him, Behold, Your mother and Your brethren, standing without, seek You; and He answered them, saying, Who is My mother or My brethren? And looking round about on them who sat near Him, He said, Behold My mother and My brethren; for whoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and My mother.” (Mark 3:32-35; Matt 12:46-49; Luke 8:20, 21.) And when He put off this Humanity, He put on a Divine Humanity, from which He called Himself the Son of Man, as on several occasions in the Word of the New Testament, also the Son of God; and by the “Son of Man” was signified the essential Truth, and by the “Son of God” the essential Good, which His Human Essence had when made Divine. The former state was that of the Lord’s humiliation, but the latter of His glorification, concerning which, see above, AC 1999. In the former state, namely, of humiliation, when as yet He had an infirm Humanity belonging to Him, He adored Jehovah as one distinct from Himself, regarding Himself as a servant, for the Humanity respectively is nothing but a servant. AC 2159.

It is to be noted that the Lord successively and continually, even to the last moment of life, when He was glorified, separated from Himself, and put off what was merely Human, namely, what He derived from the mother, until at length He was no longer her son, but the Son of God, not only as to conception, but also as to nativity, and thus One with the Father; and Himself Jehovah. That He separated from Himself, and put off all the Humanity which He had from the mother, so that He was no longer her son, is manifest from the Lord’s words in Matthew,—”A certain person said, Behold, Your mother and Your brethren stand without, seeking to speak with You; but Jesus answering, said, Who is My mother, and who My brethren? And stretching forth His hands over His disciples, He said, Behold My mother and My brethren! for whoever shall do the will of My Father who is in the heavens, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.” AC 4649.

My brethren,—The reason why the Lord calls those His “brethren” who do the will of His Father, is, because in heaven no other affinities are given but such as are spiritual, thus no other fraternities; for in heaven they do not become brethren by virtue of any natural nativity, and they too, who have been brethren in the world, do not there know each other, but every one knows another from the good of love; they who are most conjoined in that good, are as brethren, and the rest, according to conjunction by good, are as relations and also as friends. Hence it is that by “brother,” in the Word, is signified the good of love. That in heaven all are consociated according to spiritual relationships, which are of the good of love and of faith, and that they know each other as relations, see the “Treatise on Heaven and Hell,” 205, and AC 685, 917, 2739, 3815, 4121. That hence by “brethren” in the Word are meant those who are conjoined by good, see AC 2360, 3303, 3803, 10490. AE 46.

By the “disciples,” over whom the Lord stretched forth His hand, are signified all who are of His church; by His “brethren” are signified those who are in the good of charity from Him; by “sisters” those who are in truths derived from that good; and by “mother” is signified the church consisting of such. AE 746. See also AC 685, 917, 2739, 3815. NJHD 9.

Verse 35. Whosoever shall do the will of God, &c.—By “doing the will of God,” is understood to do His precepts, or to live according to them from the affection of love or charity. The “will of the Lord” is, in the Old Testament, called His good pleasure, and in like manner signifies the Divine Love; and to “do His good pleasure,” or “His will,” signifies to love God and our neighbour, thus to live according to the Lord’s precepts. AE 295.

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Bible stories unlocked

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Is the Bible literally true?

Cut off my right hand?

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30)

Can my eye cause me to sin? Am I actually supposed to gouge out my eye or cut off my hand if I want to stop sinning? The Writings for the New Church explain that these instructions are not meant literally: “The ‘eye’ represents in the spiritual sense everything belonging to the understanding and to thought, and the ‘right hand’ everything belonging to the will and to affection, it is evident that ‘if your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out’ represents that if one thinks evil, the evil must be rejected from the thought; also ‘if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off’ represents that if evil is willed the evil of the will must be cast out. For the eye itself cannot cause sin, nor can the right hand, but the thought of the understanding and the affection of the will, to which they correspond, can.” (Apocalypse Explained §600:8)

Is Jesus coming in the clouds?

“Men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:26-27)

Will this really happen on earth? When? This passage refers not to an anticipated event, but an event that has occurred on a spiritual level: “By ‘the clouds of heaven’ in which He is to come, nothing else is meant but the Word in its literal sense (which sometimes hides/obscures the true meaning such as a cloud obscures the sun); and by ‘the glory’ in which they will see Him, the Word in its spiritual sense (in which all is revealed)” (Apocalypse Revealed §24). The Writings for the New Church give us the spiritual sense of the Word, which descends through the clouds, and then the literal sense becomes accessible and applicable.

Did a flood cover the earth?

“Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood…and it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. The windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.” (Genesis 7:6-12)

The story of Noah and the flood is not a literal story about life being wiped off the earth, but rather a story that represents the personal struggle and temptation that each of us faces in life—and the ways we can protect ourselves in these times of spiritual trials. The book Secrets of Heaven explains the inner meaning of this story: the ark that Noah, his family, and the animals go into for protection from the flood represents the church that carries us through hard times (§639). “By the ‘flood of waters’ is signified the beginning of temptation” (§739-740). The flood represents the temptations that come in life and threaten to wipe out everything good if we give in to them. It is further explained that “‘Noah went into the ark, from before the waters of the flood’ signifies that he was protected in temptation.” In the story Noah’s wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives came with him into the ark because they represent the resources Noah had to help him resist temptations. Noah’s wife represents goods, his sons represent truths, and his sons’ wives represent truths that are connected to goods (§742). We can see that while the story seems literally impossible it stands for something very real in our lives—turning to the church and the goods and truths that sustain us when we are faced with temptation.

by Abigail Echols,
from an article from New Church Connection

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“God is one, and He is the Creator of all things and the Preserver of all things; so He is God of heaven and God of the earth.”

Arcana Coelestia 10815

The Doctrine Of Charity And Faith

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

Hell and Its Fire

THE DOCTRINE OF CHARITY AND FAITH

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

That which anyone does from love remains inscribed on his heart, for love is the fire of life, thus is the life of everyone. Consequently such as is the love, such is the life; and such as is the life, thus such as is the love, such is the whole man as to soul and as to body.

As love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor make the life of heaven with man, so when they reign do the love of self and the love of the world make the life of hell with him, for these loves are opposite to the former; and therefore those with whom the loves of self and of the world reign, can receive nothing from heaven; but all that they receive is from hell. For whatever a man thinks, and whatever he wills, or whatever a man believes, and whatever he loves is either from heaven or from hell.

From this it is that those in whom the love of self and the love of the world make the life, desire what is good for themselves alone, and not for others except for the sake of themselves. And as their life is from hell, they despise others in comparison with themselves, they are angry with others if they do not favor them, they hold them in hatred, they burn with revenge against them, and even desire to vent their rage upon them. At last these things become the delights of their life, thus their loves.

These are they who have hell in them, and who after death come into hell, because their life is in agreement with the life of those who are in hell; for all there are of this character; and everyone comes to his own people.

As these persons receive nothing from heaven, in their hearts they deny God and the life after death, and consequently hold in contempt all things of the church. It avails not that they do good to their fellow-citizen, to society, to their country, and to the church; or that they speak well about these; because they do all this for the sake of themselves and the world, in order to save appearances, and to secure reputation, honors, and gains. These are the external bonds by which such persons are brought to do what is good, and are withheld from doing what is evil. As for internal bonds, which are those of conscience, and which dictate that what is evil must not be done because it is sin, and is contrary to the Divine laws, they have none.

And therefore when these persons come into the other life, which takes place immediately after death, and external things are taken away from them, they rush headlong into every wickedness in accordance with their interiors, such as contempt of others in comparison with themselves, enmity, hatred, revenge, rage, cruelty, and also into hypocrisy, fraud, deceit, and many other kinds of wickedness. These are then the delights of their life; and therefore they are separated from the good, and cast into hell.

In the world many such persons are not aware that these thing are the delight of their life, because these things hide themselves in the loves of self and of the world; and at that time such persons call all things goods that favor these loves; and all things that confirm them they call truths. Neither do they know and acknowledge any other goods and truths, because they receive nothing from heaven, which they have closed against themselves.

As love is the fire of life, and everyone’s life is in accordance with his love, it may from this be known what heavenly fire is, and what infernal fire. Heavenly fire is love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor, and infernal fire is the love of self and the love of the world, and the consequent concupiscence of all evils, which spring from these loves as from their fountains.

The nature of the life with those who are in hell can be inferred from what it would be among such persons in the world if external bonds were taken away, and there were no internal bonds to restrain them.

The life of man cannot be changed after death. It then remains such as it had been. Nor can the life of hell be transferred into the life of heaven, because they are opposites. From this it is evident that those who come into hell remain there forever; and that those who come into heaven remain there forever.

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(Arcana Coelestia 10740 – 10749)

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Mike Cates   PO Box 292984   Lewisville, TX  75029

 

The Forgiveness of Sins

 

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

 

The Forgiveness of Sins

Selection from
ARCANA COELESTIA

The Heavenly Arcana
CONTAINED IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURE OR WORD OF THE LORD
UNFOLDED
TOGETHER WITH WONDERFUL THINGS SEEN IN THE WORLD OF
SPIRITS AND IN THE HEAVEN OF ANGELS

Translated from the Latin of
EMANUEL SWEDENBORG

    The sins done by a man are rooted in his very life, and make it; and therefore no one is liberated from them unless he receives new life from the Lord, which is effected by means of regeneration.

    That from himself a man cannot do what is good or think what is true; but only from the Lord, is evident in John:

  • A man can do nothing except it be given him from heaven  (John 3:27).
  • He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing  (John 15:5).

    From this it is evident that no one can withdraw anyone from sins, thus forgive them, save the Lord alone.

    The Lord continually flows into man with the good of love and the truths of faith; but these are variously received; being received in one way by one person, and in a different way by another; by those who have been regenerated they are received well; but by those who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated they are received ill.

    Those who have been regenerated are continually kept by the Lord in the good of faith and of love, and are then withheld from evils and falsities. And those who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated by the Lord are also withheld from evil and kept in good, for good and truth continually flow in from the Lord with every man; but the infernal loves in which they are, namely, the loves of self and of the world, stand in the way, and turn the influx of good into evil, and that of truth into falsity.

    From all this it is evident what the Forgiveness of Sins is. To be able to be kept by the Lord in the good of love, and the truths of faith, and to be withheld from evils and falsities, is the Forgiveness of Sins. And to shun evil and falsity, and to feel aversion for them, is then Repentance. But these are possible only with those who, through regeneration, have received new life from the Lord; because these things belong to the new life.

    The signs that sins have been forgiven are the following. Delight is felt in worshiping God for the sake of God; in being of service to the neighbor for the sake of the neighbor; thus in doing good for the sake of good, and in believing truth for the sake of truth. There is an unwillingness to merit by anything that belongs to charity and faith. Evils, such as enmities, hatreds, revenges, unmercifulness, adulteries, in a word, all things that are against God and against the neighbor, are shunned and are held in aversion.

    But the signs that sins have not been forgiven are the following. God is not worshiped for the sake of God; and the neighbor is not served for the sake of the neighbor; thus good is not done and truth is not spoken for the sake of good and truth, but for the sake of self and the world. There is a desire to merit by our deeds; others are despised in comparison with ourselves; delight is felt in evils, such as enmities, hatred, revenge, cruelty, adulteries; and the holy things of the church are held in contempt, and are at heart denied.

    When sins have been forgiven, they are believed to be wiped off, and washed away as dirt is with water. Nevertheless they remain in the man; and their being said to be “wiped off” is from the appearance when the man is withheld from them.

    The Lord regenerates a man from Divine Mercy. This is done from his infancy down to the last of his life in the world, and afterward to eternity. Thus it is from Divine Mercy that the Lord withdraws a man from evils and falsities, and leads him to the truths of faith and goods of love, and afterward keeps him in these. And after this, in Divine Mercy He raises him to Himself in heaven, and makes him happy. All this is what is meant by the Forgiveness of Sins from Mercy. They who believe that sins are forgiven in any other way, are quite mistaken; for it would be the absence of mercy to see a multitude of men in the hells, and not save them, if it could be done in any other way. And yet the Lord is mercy itself, and wills not the death of anyone, but that he may live.

    Consequently those who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated, thus who do not suffer themselves to be withheld from evils and falsities, remove and cast away from themselves these mercies of the Lord. Therefore it is the man who is in fault if he cannot be saved. This is what is meant in John:

  • As many as received Him, to them gave He power to be sons of God, to them that believe in His name; who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God  (John 1:12, 13);

“of bloods” denotes those who are opposed to the goods of faith and of charity; “of the will of the flesh” denotes those who are in evils from the loves of self and of the world; “of the will of man” denotes those who are in falsities thence derived; to be “born of God” denotes to be regenerated. That no one can come into heaven unless he is regenerated, is taught in the same:

  • Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God  (John 3:3, 5);

“to be born of water” denotes through the truth of faith; and “to be born of the spirit” denotes through the good of love. From all this it can now be seen who they are whose sins have been forgiven; and who they are whose sins have not been forgiven.

(Arcana Coelestia 9443 – 9454)


Mike Cates   PO Box 292984   Lewisville, TX  75029  Article Site Map  Writing Site Map

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If God is ONLY Good, How did Evil Come into Existence?

 

A Portion from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

How could evil come into existence when from creation nothing but good had existed? That anything may come into existence, it must have its origin. Good could not be the origin of evil, because evil is nothing of good, for it is privative and destructive of good.  And yet as it exists and is felt, it is not nothing but is something. Say, then, whence comes this something after nothing.
… no one is good but God only, and that there is not anything good which in itself is good except from God. He therefore who looks to God, and wills to be led by God, is in good; but he who turns himself away from God and wills to be led of himself is not in good, for the good that he does is either for himself or for the sake of the world; thus it is either meritorious, or is simulated, or hypocritical. Whence it is plain that man himself is the origin of evil. Not that this origin was inherent in man from creation, but that by turning away from God he imposed it upon himself. That origin of evil was not in Adam and his wife, but when the serpent said:-
In the day that ye eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, ye shall be as God

    (Gen. 3: 5)

and because they then turned away from God and turned to themselves as to a god, they made in themselves the origin of evil. To eat of that tree’ signified to believe that he knows good and evil and has wisdom of himself, and not from God.

… How could man turn himself away from God and turn to himself, when yet man can will, think, and therefore do nothing except from God? Why did God permit this?

Man was so created that all that he wills, thinks, and does appears to him just as if in himself and thus of himself. Without this appearance man would not be man, for he could not receive, retain, and as it were appropriate to himself anything of good and truth, or of love and wisdom. Whence it follows that without this, as it were living appearance, man would have no conjunction with God, and therefore no eternal life. But if from this appearance he induces on himself the belief that he does will, think, and therefore do good of himself, and not from the Lord, although it is in all appearance as if of himself, he then turns good into evil within him, and thus makes in himself the origin of evil. This was the sin of Adam.

… love without wisdom is love from man and not from the Lord. And this love, because it conjoins itself with falsities, does not acknowledge God, but itself as a god; and this it tacitly confirms by the faculty of understanding and of becoming wise, as if of himself which is implanted in him from creation. This love therefore is the origin of evil.

(Conjugial Love 444:a)
March 30, 2017

Why Even Great Leaders Can Fall Into Scandal

How is this possible? How can these transgressions happen, especially when many such individuals often expound noble behavior? They clearly have a sense of right and wrong.

The problem is not civility or morality. It is one’s spirituality. Misconduct is not simply a “slip” or a temporary mental state of bad judgment. It is the rejection of the concept of sin.

Many dynamic individuals may understand that certain behavior is immoral and loudly condemn such behavior as going against the public good. But if these things are not seen as sins, they remain soldering in the heart and are merely kept hidden from the world for the sake of reputation.

This is why Scripture warns us to “clean the inside of the cup” (Matthew 23:26). If something is not viewed as a sin, the inside of the cup remains as it is.

What is not usually taken into account is that humans have an inner and an outer reality. Humans are both physical and spiritual beings. But these two realities of our life can be completely separated from each other. We can be outwardly good but inwardly challenged. This leads to hypocrisy.

This inner deceit has led to a faulty reasoning of modernity which has adopted the life-slogan and inner conviction that, “something is wrong only if you get caught.” But how is it that such individuals can do great things for humanity and gain our deepest respect and praise?

Great things can be, and indeed are, accomplished by those who do not inspect their inner reality. In fact, they are often more motivated to accomplish great things which can benefit others than those of a more humble animus. The reason is quite simple. Such individuals are inwardly driven by the powerful principle of self-love and have pride from the glory of their own self-intelligence. So, in order to succeed and gain proper recognition, they push themselves more than others to accomplish great things.

The Lord God often makes wise use of those who are intoxicated by the power of self-love. For instance, various ego-centered individuals have been quite successful in spreading the Holy Word throughout the world by their immoderate passion for quoting scripture and speaking about God from the pulpit.

The problem is that while such individuals can be of real value to others, they shoot themselves in the foot. The spiritual world (heaven and hell) consists of the inner realities of people. That can be either a comforting or scary thought.

It is wrong to think we screw up because “to be human is to err.” We get our humanness from God and increase it through following spiritual tenets and the Commandments. God is always focused on our inner realities.

Do you think the concepts of “sin” and “evil” have relevancy in our post-modern world, or are they simply archaic terms used by the unenlightened?

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