Social Justice is not Spiritual or Eternal Justice

It is honorable to care for our neighbors—even on a global scale. It requires a good heart to be concerned for others. But is ensuring equal rights the same thing as everyone being assured of a roof over their heads, healthcare, and big screen TVs? Is our idea of equal rights the same thing that God thinks it is?

I agree that we should all pitch in to banish human suffering to make each others’ lives better and happier, but it seems that such moral and charitable efforts should not be focused solely on that which can rust, be stolen or eaten by moths.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19)

We do not live forever on this earth, in spite of modern medical advances, improved distribution of food or increased comfort and convenience from modern innovation. These worldly things are important in God’s creation—only as long as they are serviceable towards our living a heaven-bound life.

A government can legislate a level playing field for all its citizens yet not offer any help towards a person’s eternal wellbeing and soul. So in terms of truly living an “upwardly mobile” life, we can have all the creature comforts of this earth and enjoy great physical health but still be counted among the disabled, sick, homeless, oppressed, poor, starved and miserable!

Unlike worldly social justice, heaven is not an entitlement program. According to theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, the concept of helping the downtrodden and less fortunate was looked at quite differently in more ancient civilizations. Instead, they understood whether a person was less fortunate or not from their spiritual situation. Here is a quote from Swedenborg:

The Ancient Church distinguished into classes the neighbor or neighbors toward whom they were to perform works of charity; and some they called “maimed,” some “lame,” some “blind,” and some “deaf,” meaning those who were spiritually so. Some also they called the “hungry,” the “thirsty,” “strangers,” the “naked,” the “sick,” the “captives;” and some “widows,” “orphans,” the “needy”, the “poor,” and the “miserable;” by whom they meant no other than those who were such as to truth and good, and who were to be suitably instructed, led on their way, and thus provided for as to their souls. (Arcana Coelestia, Vol. 6, n. 4302)

In fact, in order to get individuals re-focused towards spiritual matters and eternal life, God often will make use of misfortune, sorrow and human suffering ( Arcana Coelestia, Vol. 1, n. 8  )

Social justice is a hot topic right now. Tell me what you think.

http://www.provinggod.com

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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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2 Responses to Social Justice is not Spiritual or Eternal Justice

  1. Herb Ziegler says:

    I think we have to be careful when using hot-button political-cultural terms like social justice. These terms carry a whole encyclopedia of meaning for most readers. Why posit social justice against heavenly well-being? Why put God on the side of unequal rights here on earth? Why imply that social justice is an entitlement program (another hot-button phrase)? I am not clear on the point of this essay.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Herb,

    Thanks for your reply. I don’t shy from controversial topics and neither did Swedenborg. Nowhere does my blog state that God is on the side of unequal rights, nor do I undermine empathy. I am not against social programs or society having safety nets. The point I am making is that physical and material equality (mere redistribution of wealth) does not of itself lead to spiritual salvation or ETERNAL justice.

    When the Lord was on earth I do not recall Him tackling the issue of Roman oppression. We live under the influence of a far more sinister oppressor – the hells! Healthcare, housing, and the sharing of wealth are only helpful to God’s ultimate plan if they become serviceable towards spiritual growth.

    If I wanted to stay clear of hot-button phrases (and associative thinking from those trapped by their reactive habitual mind) I would have become a Swedenborgian minister and hug everyone in sight. My “use” is to challenge people.

    I think Swedenborgians can address these hot-button issues from new angles. For instance, we find it unfair that so many children in the world are mistreated and die young. But the real unfairness is to those who live to a responsible age and have to take a conscious part in regeneration (children go to heaven automatically).

    My allegiance is to the Lord God and to no political party. Heaven seems to be a wise balance between socialism and exceptionalism. Human and worldly governments do not know how to pull this off!

    You are a good man. I thank you for your sincere concern in these matters.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

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