Extracts

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Equilibrium between good and evil

swedenborg

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Good, relation to evil" (search under Inner Life/Evil, Negative Emotion, Vice)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 300"
All who are in heaven are nothing other than affections of good and thoughts thence of truth, and all who are in hell are nothing other than lusts of evil and imaginations thence of falsity. These are so arranged respectively that the lusts of evil and the imaginings of falsity in hell are precisely opposite to the affections of good and the thoughts of truth in heaven. Therefore hell is under heaven and diametrically opposite, that is, the two are like two men lying in opposite directions, or standing, invertedly, like men at the antipodes, only the soles of their feet meeting and their heels hitting.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Good, relation to evil" (search under Inner Life/Evil, Negative Emotion, Vice)": source "Heaven and Hell": detail "Section 536 - 537"
The God of heaven is the Lord, thus the whole government of the heavens is the Lords government. And as the relation of heaven to hell and of hell to heaven is like the relation between two opposites which mutually act contrary to each other, and from the action and reaction of which an equilibrium results, which gives permanence to all things of their action and reaction, so in order that all things and each thing may be kept in equilibrium it is necessary that he who rules the one should rule the other; for unless the same Lord restrained the uprisings from the hells and checked insanities there, the equilibrium would perish and everything with it.
 But something about that equilibrium shall first be told. It is acknowledged that when two things mutually act against each other, and as much as one reacts and resists, the other acts and impels, since there is equal power on either side, neither has any effect, and both can then be acted upon freely by a third. For when the force of the two is neutralized by equal opposition the force of a third has full effect, and acts as easily as if there were no opposition.
 Such is the equilibrium between heaven and hell. Yet it is not an equilibrium like that between two bodily combatants whose strength is equal; but it is a spiritual equilibrium, that is, an equilibrium of falsity against truth and of evil against good. From hell falsity from evil continually exhales, and from heaven truth from good. It is this spiritual equilibrium that causes man to think and will in freedom; for whatever a man thinks and wills has reference either to evil and falsity therefrom or to good and truth therefrom.
 Therefore when he is in that equilibrium he is in freedom either to admit or accept evil and its falsity from hell or to admit or accept good and its truth from heaven. Every man is held in this equilibrium by the Lord, because the Lord rules both heaven and hell.


[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Good, relation to evil" (search under Inner Life/Evil, Negative Emotion, Vice)": source "Conjugial Love": detail "Section 444"
Wherefore I was free to converse with them, and I instructed them as follows: "Do you not know, that there exist both good and evil, and that good is from creation, but not evil; and still that evil viewed in itself is not nothing, although it is nothing of good? From creation there exists good, and also good in the greatest degree and in the least; and when this least becomes nothing, there rises up on the other side evil: wherefore there is no relation or progression of good to evil, but a relation and progression of good to a greater and less good, and of evil to a greater and less evil; for in all things there are opposites. And since good and evil are opposites, there is an intermediate, and in it an equilibrium, in which evil acts against good; but as it does not prevail, it stops in a conatus ("impulse, or tendency to exist"). Every man is educated in this equilibrium, which, because it is between good and evil, or, what is the same, between heaven and hell, is a spiritual equilibrium, which, with those who are in it, produces a state of freedom. From this equilibrium, the Lord draws all to himself; and if a man freely follows, he leads him out of evil into good, and thereby into heaven.