True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 14

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The reason why a person who does not acknowledge God is excommunicated from the church is that God is everything to the church and the Divine truths, which we call theology, are what make it a church. Consequently to deny God is to deny everything to do with the church; and it is this very denial which excommunicates a person, so that it is not God but the person who excommunicates himself. The reason why he is damned is that by being excommunicated from the church he is also excommunicated from heaven. For the church on earth and the heaven of angels act as one, like the internal and the external, or the spiritual and the natural in the case of a person. Man was created by God so as to have his internal in the spiritual world and his external in the natural world. Thus he was created a denizen of either world in order that the spiritual, which is heavenly, should be planted in the natural, which is worldly, just as a seed is planted in the ground, and he might thus become steadfast and enduring to eternity.

[2] A person who by denying God has excommunicated himself from the church, and thus from heaven, has shut off his internal man in respect of the will, and so in respect of the love which gives him pleasure. For a person's will is the receiver of his love and becomes its dwelling-place. But he cannot shut off his internal man in respect of the understanding, for if he could do this he would cease to be a human being. But the love in his will makes the higher regions of the understanding foolish with false notions, so that the understanding becomes as it were shut off from the truths which have to do with belief and the kinds of good which have to do with charity; thus he becomes more and more opposed to God and at the same time the spiritual side of the church. Thus he is cut off from communion with the angels of heaven, and by this exclusion he brings himself into communion with the satans of hell, and thinks exactly like them. All satans deny God and have foolish ideas about the spiritual side of the church, and a person who is linked with them does likewise.

[3] When this person is under the guidance of his spirit, which is when he is left to himself at home, he allows his thoughts to be guided by the pleasures of evil and falsity which he has conceived and brought to birth in himself. He then thinks that God does not exist, or that He is a mere word resounding from pulpits, to oblige the common people to obey the laws of the land, on which the community depends. He also thinks that the Word, which makes ministers keep harping on God, is a collection of visions or a mere compilation, the holiness of which has been established by authority. He regards the Ten Commandments or the catechism as a book, which when it has been worn out through handling by children, can be thrown away. For it laid down that parents are to be honoured, one is not to kill or go whoring, not to steal or bear false witness; and does not everyone know these same rules from the code of civil law? He thinks of the church as a mere congregation of the simple, the gullible and the weak-minded, who fancy they see what they do not. He regards human beings, and he includes himself among them, as animals; and his life after death as no different from that of an animal after death.

[4] This is how his internal man thinks, however differently the external man speaks. As said before, every man has an internal and an external: the internal, which is called the spirit, is what makes him human, and this lives on after death, while the external, which allows him to play the hypocrite by a show of morality, is buried. Then he is damned, because he denied God. Everyone is in his spirit associated with people like himself in the spiritual world, and is so to speak one with them. I have often been allowed to see the spirits of people still alive, some of them in communities of angels there, and others in communities of hell. I have been allowed to talk with them for days, and I was astonished to find that the person, who was still alive in the body, knew nothing at all of it. This experience made it clear that those who deny God are already among the damned, and after death are gathered to their own kind.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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