God’s love needs to be fixed!

I am not trying to suggest that God’s love is somehow flawed and needs to be corrected. I am writing this blog post because I have drawn fire from some readers who disagree with my statement that the human will is “totally” corrupted. The title and purpose of this post is to throw more light on this unusual and complex topic.

Swedenborg stated in his theological writings that God created the physical world of spacetime and matter so that spiritual forces could gain fixedness through generating outcomes of real measurement. More importantly, the human psyche evolved so that God’s spiritual qualities could be fixed within the heart and minds of humanity, and therefore create a heavenly society from the internal qualities of the human species.

Swedenborg also said that the human will became corrupted along the way. He provided evidence that profound psychological details of this “fall” are represented symbolically in the story of Adam and Eve. While Swedenborg makes it clear that we are not born evil, we are born with an inclination, that is, the will to do evils. This predicament does not condemn a person or a child who remains in innocence from ignorance. It takes a conscious choice, made with the agreement of a more mature mind for an individual to commit a true evil of fault.

It has been rationally argued that the human will cannot be totally corrupt because an individual would become unable to choose goodness at all, and God’s heavenly influx would have nothing homogenous to flow into. However, Swedenborg informs us that God’s love can flow into innocence as well as into evil—as long as evil can serve some eternal use in the divine scheme.

God makes use of the human corrupted will for the purpose of salvation. But you may still ask, doesn’t salvation necessitate that there is at least some good in the human will, otherwise an individual would not have the ability to make a choice?

God has separated the human will from the human intellect so that one can recognize higher and nobler ideals that would allow an individual to transcend his or her biological self. However, the goodness of heart that is needed to set this process in motion comes from nothing inherent in the original will a person is born with. Rather, something special must be superadded to the human psyche by God.

Swedenborg calls this Divine gift the “remains.” These remains consist of loving experiences and various bits of information that a child receives from the cuddling and warm embrace of indulging parents and basic pampering from other adults. God secretly stores these tender experiences in the unconscious mind of the child where they can be protected from the vanities and allurements of the world until a later time.

These tender and loving experiences allow for a real spiritual connection between the child and the angels of heaven. Swedenborg states that without such remains, under the Lord’s protection, an individual would not even be considered “human.” Besides being the source of one’s true humanness, the remains act as a matrix or plane by which God’s heavenly influx and influence can become fixed within the human psyche. A spiritual conscience is generated from this matrix, without which God’s heavenly influence simply passes through a person like water through a sieve.

Everything in the human will that we are born with offers opposition to this emerging new will and new conscience that is to be formed (fixed) according to God’s blueprint. But God wisely orchestrates the inclinations to do evil from our native will in order to provide the temptations necessary for our emerging spiritual conscience to resist and be victorious over (this inner combat allows God’s tenets to become fixed in the human psyche). Our old will provides us with the parameters that will define the quality of the new will being formed in us with the Lord’s guidance.

So although one’s native will is totally corrupt, Swedenborg states that this does not condemn anyone, nor mean that we simply put our salvation in the hands of God and our faith. Swedenborg insisted that we must identify the specific inclinations we are prone to, see them as sins, and ask for God’s help in resisting them. (How else would the Lord God know what you are serious about changing in yourself?)

Salvation is a cooperative endeavor between God and the individual.



About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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8 Responses to God’s love needs to be fixed!

  1. sks says:

    This is a great, thought-provoking explanation! The discussion of the concept of “remains” is a big one. Most people have never even heard of this idea, but what you’ve shared here explains a lot about our basic instinct to nurture children, how the will can go the “wrong direction” in people’s lives if they don’t have a solid upbringing, and so much more. Even how we approach the idea of charity has to be examined. Lots here to think about. Bravo!

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear sks,

    Brain science is coming closer to verifying Swedenborg’s idea of “remains.” Modern researchers have discovered that the cerebellum continues to produce new brain cells (neurons) in a young child long after the other parts of the brain. They have also observed that when an infant is pampered, hugged, rocked and cuddled, these impulses are directed to the cerebellum and stimulate its development, including making connections that are important for healthy emotional behavior in later life.

    More and more, modern researchers are starting to suspect that the cerebellum is involved in complex emotional behavior. Swedenborg informs us that God’s influx of love is directed to the back of the head and to the cerebellum, which is the seat of the unconscious (involuntary) mind.

    Spiritually yours,

  3. Sue says:

    Two things:
    1. If remains are developed that way, it doesn’t seem fair to hold people responsible for sins they later commit – God must work that out somehow. People do turn out “nicer” if they are raised by wonderful parents.
    2. Influx goes to the back of our heads? – yikes! – that part is disappearing now that babies lay on their backs so much.

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear Sue,

    The post-modern world is attacking the very notion of evil and sin in the world. Instead, every injustice is seen as institutional, and one must merely change earth-bound systems to be more equitable.

    But what is more spiritually equitable than the ten commandments (which Swedenborg claims is the basis for all moral and civil laws as well)? No one is damned for the sins they have committed on earth! Individuals condemn themselves by refusing to desist from those evils even in the spiritual world.

    You still seem to hold on to a non-Swedenborgian view of punishment.

    God’s forgiveness of sin and mercy does not thwart sin from continuing. That is why God can only remove the negative behavior that we each discover in ourselves, and, make a sincere effort to resist.

    Influx of TRUTH flows into the front of the head (and brain) while influx of LOVE flows into the back parts. Swedenborg literally observed evil spirits in hell with the back parts of their heads missing!

    I suspect your idea of fairness is driven from a type of “liberation” theology which seeks to free all people from “oppression” and “unfairness” – which is a fine ideal as far as it goes. But remember, when the Lord was on earth He did nothing to stop Roman oppression. We are all victims of a more sinister form of oppression – from the hells!

    Spiritually yours,

  5. Roger says:

    “No one is damned for the sins they have committed on earth! Individuals condemn themselves by refusing to desist from those evils even in the spiritual world.”

    Thanks! This clarifies a lot of things. I sort of came to this conclusion reading Swedenborg but I had not articulated it as clearly and concisely as you have. Maybe they should post these words at the “General Church of New Jerusalem” site – with your permission. This is very good – it slashes a Gordian knot of confusion


  6. Sue says:

    I wasn’t complaining about it not being fair. I was just speculating that God must work that out somehow. You said that loving embrace leads to healthy emotional behavior. True. So therefore, badly behaved people have somewhat of an excuse, don’t you agree? I’m sure God has the bubble on that – but it means, at the very least, that we can’t see sin in other people. We don’t know what valid excuses they might have.

  7. thegodguy says:

    Dear Roger,

    It is good to know that I have helped to clear something up. Usually I stir up controversy (which has a use).

    Spiritually yours,

  8. thegodguy says:

    Dear Sue,

    What excuse is needed if God never condemns? What excuse is needed if heaven’s gates are open to everyone? Yet, individuals still flock to hell and even find heaven to be a painful experience!

    The only unfair thing is that children who the Lord sees as having no chance to live a heaven-bound life die early. All children go to heaven! Those of us who live to maturity are the unlucky ones!

    Spiritually yours,

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