Writing a theistic blog over the last 2½ years, it was only natural that I would eventually touch on the subject of hell. I focused mainly on whether hell was eternal or if the Lord God had provided a contingency plan by which all souls would inevitably be saved.
My news was bad.
As one who embraces the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg and studied his ideas for over 35 years, it was made clear to me that hell was eternal. I pursued this topic because it could also serve to illustrate the lawful and orderly organic process of spiritual salvation by which the inner qualities of the human heart and mind formed the very living fabric of one’s spiritual body (which houses the soul).
To expect that the Lord God could change this inner fabric from Divine Love and Mercy overlooks the sticky problem that if you change whom a person has chosen to be (his or her spiritual reality), you tear their personhood into shreds and destroy that individual. The process of spiritual transformation and one’s decision to live life on a heavenly trajectory must get a start while the person is living in the body. The physical body, with its focus on the material world (and its many vanities and allurements) offers both resistance to spiritual influences and provides the parameters (stage) for our individual salvation.
However, once we depart from the earth and live as pure spirits, there is nothing to offer resistance to our negative proclivities and compulsions—unless we have made sincere efforts to do so while living in the physical body. In the spiritual world, each of us becomes who we really are (from free will). Because of this, Swedenborg claimed that hell was eternal. So, armed with this doctrine, I merely echoed the sad news that once a person entered hell there was no escape.
Well, I made a boo-boo.
According to Swedenborg, some people who end up in hell do eventually get out! So I want to apologize to all my readers for misleading you.
Who are these lucky souls that buck the trend?
They are those who through friendships, blood relations or marriage have created strong bonds with individuals who do find their way to hell. In spite of the awful mess these good-natured people get themselves into, they find—through their powerful attachments—that leaving such individuals and relationships is unthinkable.
Swedenborg states that getting people out of this situation is extremely difficult—even for the Lord God.
So although I left out some important data concerning this emotional subject, these individuals who do eventually escape from hell never actually belonged there in the first place!