Will Hell Be Empty Some Day?

Sorry. The answer is no.

At least this is the theological position taken by scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. What is surprising is that it is not the position taken by all Swedenborgians. In some previous posts I have jousted with those who take the position that heaven is not eternal. Their position is powerful—that the Lord God is Infinite love. Therefore, they smartly argue that there must be some contingency by which the Lord can still convince people to change their ways (even change their spots if necessary). Here is what Swedenborg himself has to say about those who inwardly reject the Lord and live a life contrary to divine tenets:

“ . . . if they have confirmed themselves against them, not only by doctrine but also by life, they have reduced themselves to such a state as to their interiors that afterwards they cannot possibly be brought to receive them, for what is once confirmed by doctrine, and at the same time by life, remains to eternity. Those who do not know the interior state of man may suppose that any one, no matter how he has confirmed himself against truths, can yet easily accept them afterwards, provided he is convinced. But that this is impossible has been granted me to know by much experience in regard to such persons in the other life.” (Arcana Coelestia, n. 4747)

Swedenborg was granted this knowledge by direct experience from having the interiors of his mind opened up by the Lord to see into the spiritual world!

He described witnessing how even spirits who were able to be intellectually convinced of their false worldviews quickly snapped back into the evil proclivities of their hearts. He also observed human spirits from hell actually being allowed to enter into heaven. These former citizens from earth detested heaven so much that they experienced intense dread—they could not breathe in its “loving” atmosphere. The reason for this suffocating experience is that during their lives on earth they had adopted and confirmed principles of self-love—while heaven exudes an atmosphere of mutual love or love of the neighbor. The two realities (and spiritual environments) oppose each other!

The concept of hell being an eternal condition can present a big problem for church ministers who are continuously trying to grow their congregations. New members often want to be told that God loves them (which is true) and that in the end all will be good (maybe). I suspect a minister would scare away lots of prospects (and negatively affect the collection basket) if Swedenborg’s position of hell were fully embraced and preached.

This is why the Lord God had chosen to open the secrets of the spiritual world up to the observation of a scientist like Swedenborg. Not only did he present rational explanations for how doctrine (faith systems and worldviews) is absorbed by the intellectual part of human cognition (judgment) and how our life choices are absorbed by the will part (volition) but he put it all into an organic context. These more “scientific” explanations of salvation pertained to causal process and how the human soul creates a spiritual body for the individual according to rational order. The spiritual body is a real organic expression of the beliefs and life choices we made while living in the terrestrial world. It represents what each person really is. To change this spiritual organic composition after the demise of the physical body would be to destroy a person’s very inner fabric and personhood. It cannot be done!

My new book Proving God provides more details concerning this topic.


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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7 Responses to Will Hell Be Empty Some Day?

  1. carla friedrich says:

    However, Scripture does say something like: ALL will bend on knee and Praise you as Lord… Which I take to means that ALL will re-form /re-shape/ become humble/ and enter a new kind of innocence and become willing to remain teachable and be led by what is good and true; that is, The LORD.
    So just allowing that with God all things are possible:
    Isaiah 45:23 “I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bend, every tongue will swear allegiance.
    I would also just say that “eternity” is experienced by those for whom time drags on and for those who are bored (no joy of “Uses”) and by those who are in the flow of creativity, etc where individuals seem to lose track of time which seems to fly by because they’re having fun. Both seem timeless and like an eternity.

    Philippians 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (NASB ©1995)

  2. carla friedrich says:

    I prefer Sperman/ Krypton’s flat 2D world as a hell of sorts- A plane where those wishing to cause harm simply are frustrated because they become/ remain ineffectual with their hateful selfish ways- rendered so by their flatness. I.e. Love and wisdom has not given them depth or breath or dimensionality.
    Superman’s Creators were Jewish by the way (Sheol) Not really a hell as traditional Christianity puts it out there but rather as a flat place- no life. More like Swedenborg’s where Hell and Heaven are a states – states of being and like Science’s string theory where there may be 11 dimensions. Though, I suspect it is really 12 or more like an infinite number of levels of perfecting states of conscious beingness. And in the flat plane existence of 2D, nor even the shape of a sphere, but rather, into the organic shape and fulness of the human.

  3. carla friedrich says:

    inserting this after Shoel for clarity may be helpful: In the comics this 2D flat plane was never presented as hell but a flat plane, reserved for the BAD folk, the place where criminals were incapacitated/ sent as a punishment…”

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear Carla,

    You do realize that you are departing from Swedenborg? Two problems: I don’t believe that Philippians is a part of God’s Holy Word (with three discreet levels of meaning). Isaiah is indeed the Holy Word of God but the phrase “Every (ALL) knee will bend and praise the Lord” is similar to the statement in Revelation that “He cometh with the clouds of heaven and EVERY eye shall see Him” in that they have a similar INNER meaning – that ALL will acknowledge Him, who, from affection, are in understanding of Divine truth.

    In the preparatory stages of spirits in the other world, individuals lose any knowledge (truth) which is not in perfect conformity with their hearts (Ruling Love). It is only then that spirits gravitate towards heaven or hell. At that point a spirit is no longer teachable beyond his or her quality of love. It has nothing to do with the Lord’s constant efforts – it has to to with a spirits rejection of the Lord.

    (Please give me the mechanism by which the Lord can reverse this ORGANIC process.)

    That is one of the big reasons I did not pursue ordination. I wanted to have the freedom to give people the bad news. Sorry.

    Spiritually yours,

  5. thegodguy says:

    As to your other comments, hell is indeed not a place but something you become (a state of mind). There is no physical torture but to a spirit it would seem so.


  6. rob says:

    this is monstrous. stay away from children with this sick teaching.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear rob,

      That is the point – hell is monstrous and those who live there in eternity refuse to sacrifice their self-love for doing God’s Will. So they stay in the place that best reflects their inner reality!

      I think I will work on a children’s book!

      Spiritually yours,

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