Extracts

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Redemption

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Christianity, criticisms of" (search under Outer Life/Religions, Ways)": source "True Christian Religion, Appendix": detail "Section 22"
The passion of the Lord on the cross was not redemption, but the medium of intimate union with the divine of the Father, from which he came forth, and into which he returned. The belief of the passion of the cross having constituted real redemption, is a fundamental error of the present Christian church; and this error, together with the error concerning three divine persons from eternity, has perverted the whole church to such a degree, that there is nothing spiritual left in it.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Redemption, and Redeemer" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 579"
The Lord came into the world principally for these two purposes: to remove hell from angels and men, and to glorify his humanity; for before the Lord's coming hell had increased from beneath to such a height as to infest the angels of heaven, and also by its interposition between heaven and the world, to intercept the Lord's communication with men on earth, in consequence of which no divine truth or good could pass from the Lord to mankind. Hence a total destruction and damnation threatened the whole human race, and also the angels of heaven could not long have subsisted in their integrity.
 In order, therefore, to remove hell, and so to avert the impending damnation, the Lord came into the world, and did remove and subdue it, and thus opened heaven, so that he might afterwards be present with men on earth, and save such as live according to his commandments, and might consequently regenerate them; for those who are regenerated are saved. Thus the truth of the proposition is intelligible, that all have a capacity of being regenerated, because all are redeemed; and as regeneration and salvation are a one, it is equally true that all have a capacity of being saved. The doctrine therefore which the church maintains, that unless the Lord had come into the world no one could have been saved, is to be understood in this sense, that unless he had come into the world no one could have been regenerated.
 With respect to the other purpose for which the Lord came into the world, namely, to glorify his humanity, it was grounded in this circumstance, that he was thus made a Redeemer, Regenerator, and Savior to eternity; yet it may not be believed that by the redemption once wrought in the world all from that time were redeemed, but that he is continually redeeming those who believe on him and practice his precepts.


[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Redemption, and Redeemer" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 134"
"How by the passion of the cross? Why do you conceive that redemption was thus effected?"
 Immediately a priest approached, and said, “I will explain to you in order what we know and believe. It is our opinion that God the Father being angry with mankind, condemned them, and excluded them from his mercy, pronounced them all accursed and reprobate, and accordingly sentenced them all to hell; but that he desired his Son would take that curse upon himself, and that the Son consented, and for that purpose descended, and assumed the humanity, and suffered himself to be crucified, and the condemnation of mankind thus to be transferred to himself; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; that thus the Son appeased the Father by his intercession and mediation; and then the Father, out of love towards the Son, and moved with the misery which he had endured on the cross, determined to pass an act of pardon, but only in favor of those to whom he imputes his Son's righteousness; these he would make children of grace and blessing, who were before children of wrath and the curse, and would give them justification and salvation; but all others must continue children of wrath, as was before decreed. This is our faith, and this is the righteousness which God inserts in our faith, which faith alone justifies and saves."
 The angel, on hearing this was silent for a long time, standing motionless in astonishment; and when his surprise was somewhat abated, he thus delivered himself:
 "Is it possible that the Christian world should be so infatuated, and should wander so far from sound reason into such crooked devices and establish the fundamental doctrine of salvation on these paradoxes? Who cannot see that such delusions are diametrically opposite to the very divine essence itself, that is, to God's divine love and wisdom, and at the same time, to his omnipotence and omnipresence? For no upright master could deal in such manner with his men-servants or maid-servants; or even a wild beast with its cubs; or a bird of prey with its young: it is therefore a most unsound doctrine. Besides, is it not contrary to his divine essence to annul the call which is made to every individual of the human race? Is it not contrary to his divine essence to change the order established from eternity, which declares that everyone should be judged according to his life? Is it not contrary to the divine essence to withdraw his love and mercy from any man, and much more from the whole race of men? Is it not contrary to the divine essence to be brought back again to mercy by a sight of the Son's misery, that is, to be brought back again to his own essence, since mercy is the very essence of God? And is it not wicked to suppose that he ever departed from it? For his essence is himself from eternity to eternity. Is it not also an impossibility to introduce into an entity, such as your faith, the righteousness of redemption, which in itself is a property of divine omnipotence, and to impute and ascribe that righteousness to a man, and to declare him righteous, pure, and holy, without the assistance of any other means? Is it not an impossibility to remit a person's sins, and to renew, regenerate, and save him, by virtue of imputation only, and thus to change unrighteousness into righteousness, and the curse into blessing? In such a case would it not be possible to turn hell into heaven, and heaven into hell, or the dragon into Michael, and Michael into the dragon, and thus to put an end to the combat between them? For what is there wanting to produce such an effect, but to remove the imputation which your faith teaches from the one, and to inscribe it on the other? But were this possible, we in heaven must live in eternal anxiety and trembling. Justice and judgment cannot allow that one person should take upon himself the wickedness of another, and so make the wicked innocent, and wash away his guilt: surely this is contrary to all righteousness, both divine and human! The Christian world, moreover, is ignorant of the existence of order, and especially what is meant by the order which God introduced into the world at its creation, and contrary to which God cannot act because he would then act contrary to himself; for God is order itself."
 The passion of the cross was the uniting of the Lord's Humanity with the Divinity of the Father, but that was not redemption; for this consisted in subduing the hells, and restoring the heavens to order; and that unless the Lord, during his abode in the world, had accomplished these works, no one could have been saved either on earth or in heaven.