Extracts

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Permission of Evil

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[1 of 5] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Permission, of evil" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.1": detail "Section 398"
The teachings regarding permissions make up an entire doctrine. Anyone who does not understand permissions, yet draws conclusions about them, falls into doubting and negative thoughts about God the Messiah's power over the Universe.
 But it ought to be known that without the permission of evil, no one can be reformed. For opposites have to be brought to bear in order that the shapes of what is true and of what is good will stand out, which acquire their ability to appear, and thus to be seen from opposites. Hence comes the need of temptations, purgings, punishments, persecutions of believers and of the faith, and more.
 In short, without the permission of evils—a term which must be understood in the right sense—a person can never be regenerated and guided with any awareness, and consequently with any happiness, into the capability of being bent toward good by God the Messiah.

[2 of 5] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Providence" (search under Beings/God)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.2": detail "Section 1088"
It is a fact beyond doubt that the Lord governs the universe, and this government is called Providence. But because evils are not provided, but foreseen, so also are permissions. But to make it understood how this matter stands: foresight pertains to evils, and providence is the disposal of evils toward good outcomes.
 However, there is no such thing as chance, that is, evil happening by chance, but all evils are controlled in a way that not a single one of them is permitted to happen to a person on earth or to a soul that does not lead to good. Furthermore, nothing is permitted to happen that has not been foreseen, for otherwise it cannot happen. Consequently, all evils are bent in such a way that just those, and not any others, do happen, because it cannot be helped in view of the so corrupt state of mankind.
 So it is providence alone that governs, for foresight is thus turned into Providence, and then those evils are provided which result in good. If the evils planned by evil spirits were permitted, it would be to the destruction of mankind and of departed souls. Therefore the doings intended by the wicked are limited to the kind that have to be permitted.


[3 of 5] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Profanation" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "Apocalypse Explained, vol.6": detail "Section 1136"
Man is admitted into the truths of faith and the goods of love by God, only so far as he can be kept in them to the end of life; for it is better that he should be constantly evil, than that he should be good and afterwards evil, since he thus becomes profane. The permission of evil is chiefly from this ground.

[4 of 5] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Providence" (search under Beings/God)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.2": detail "Section 1088"
It is a fact beyond doubt that the Lord governs the universe, and this government is called Providence. But because evils are not provided, but foreseen, so also are permissions. But to make it understood how this matter stands: foresight pertains to evils, and providence is the disposal of evils toward good outcomes.
 However, there is no such thing as chance, that is, evil happening by chance, but all evils are controlled in a way that not a single one of them is permitted to happen to a person on earth or to a soul that does not lead to good. Furthermore, nothing is permitted to happen that has not been foreseen, for otherwise it cannot happen. Consequently, all evils are bent in such a way that just those, and not any others, do happen, because it cannot be helped in view of the so corrupt state of mankind.
 So it is providence alone that governs, for foresight is thus turned into Providence, and then those evils are provided which result in good. If the evils planned by evil spirits were permitted, it would be to the destruction of mankind and of departed souls. Therefore the doings intended by the wicked are limited to the kind that have to be permitted.


[5 of 5] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "God, as wrathful, vengeful or evil" (search under Beings/God)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4275 - 4276"
It was granted me to portray to them a large, extensive Library, which is an easy thing to do in the other life, where all the books can be filled with arguments that evil is from the Lord. Everyone could produce thousands of arguments to support this. Nevertheless it was portrayed that on the spine of all of them was written that all evil is from mankind, and that evil is foreseen by the Lord, not provided. It was also declared that if any who would not believe this until it was proved to them, then everything in the books would convince them it was not so, but that falsities are truths. Nevertheless, the case is as stated.
 The evil of punishment flows from order. If there were not the evil of punishment, order would perish, and one would infect many, and then many would infect others. Since such an order exists for the preservation of all, therefore there is permission, as there is in every kingdom—without punishment, it would perish. Indeed, if the king should condone criminals, it would perish. Why would this not be the case in such a great kingdom as the Lord's?