Extracts

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Origins of evil

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Evil, origins and causes of" (search under Inner Life/Evil, Negative Emotion, Vice)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 15"
Good can be separated from truth, and truth from good, and then still appear as good or truth, for the reason that the human being has a capacity to act which is called liberty, and a capacity of understanding called rationality. By abuse of these powers a man can appear in externals other than he is in internals; an evil man can do good and speak truth, and a devil feign himself an angel of light. The origin of evil lies in the abuse of these faculties proper to man.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Evil, origins and causes of" (search under Inner Life/Evil, Negative Emotion, Vice)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4137"
Everything whatever that flows from the own self of angels, spirits and people on earth, is evil and false. They can never bring forth anything even the very least of goodness and truth, and as much as they are left to themselves, so much they bring forth of evil and falsity, and so much of misfortune—if it does not appear at the moment, it nevertheless does so later, little by little; as much as they have from the Lord, so much they have of goodness and truth, because the Lord is Goodness and Truth. This shows where evils and falsities come from; for no matter how hard the evil try to do good things, they cannot. This applies in general to all and the very least cases.

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Evil, origins and causes of" (search under Inner Life/Evil, Negative Emotion, Vice)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4162"
I realized that mankind is the cause of evil, which is shown by the fact that it is an eternal law that man should seem to himself to enjoy freedom, so that nothing should happen contrary to his will, and that otherwise faith can never be implanted. Faith is implanted in his freedom, never by force, compulsion, by fear, or miracles. This shows since it is an eternal law that mankind should seem to enjoy freedom, that man himself is the cause of evil.