True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 124

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The previous section showed that redemption was an entirely Divine deed, and consequently it could only have been accomplished by almighty God. The reason why it had to be by means of His incarnation, that is, by making Himself man, is that Jehovah God, as He is in His infinite essence, cannot approach hell, much less enter it, since He exists at the purest and first level. Therefore if Jehovah God, being in essence of that nature, were so much as to breathe upon those in hell, He would destroy them in an instant. For He said to Moses, when he desired to see God:

You cannot see my face, for no man shall see me and live. Exod. 33:20.

Since then Moses could not, far less can those in hell, where all are at the lowest, grossest and therefore most distant level, since they are the lowest of natural men. Therefore if Jehovah God had not taken upon Himself human form, and thus clothed Himself with a body at the lowest level, it would have been vain for Him to attempt any kind of redemption. For how can anyone attack an enemy, unless he comes to grips and equips himself with weapons to fight with? How can anyone drive off and destroy snakes, hydras and basilisks in some desert, unless he protects his body with armour and his head with a helmet, and takes a spear in his hand? Or how can anyone catch whales at sea, without a ship and equipment designed for the purpose? These and similar images are not so much a comparison as an illustration of almighty God's battle with the hells, which He could not have started without first taking human form.

[2] But it needs to be known that the Lord's battle with the hells was not a battle of words, like people arguing a point or disputing in a court of law. That sort of battle is quite ineffectual here. It was a spiritual battle, Divine Truth fighting with the strength of Divine Good, that is, the very life force of the Lord. No one in the hells can stand its effects when made visible. Its power is such that at a mere glance the spirits of hell take to their heels, hurl themselves into the depths and force themselves underground to hide from it. This is the same as is described by Isaiah:

They shall go into caverns in the rocks and into cracks in the dust, for fear of Jehovah, when He arises to terrify the earth. Isa. 2:19.

and in Revelation:

All shall hide themselves in caves in the rocks and in rocky mountains; and they shall say to the mountains and the rocks, Fall upon us and hide us from the face of Him that sits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. Rev. 6:15-17.

[3] What the Lord's strength that He has from Divine good was like when He was effecting the Last judgment in 1757 can be proved by the descriptions given of that event in my small book on the subject.* For example, it tore from their places hills and mountains in the world of spirits, which spirits from hell had seized, transferred them to different locations and made some sink into the ground; it flooded towns, villages and their surrounding land, completely upheaved their fields and cast them together with their inhabitants into chasms, lakes and marshes, and much besides. All this was accomplished by the Lord alone by the power of Divine truth coming from Divine good.

* See 123.1.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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