The Devil addresses his hellish crew at their annual assembly

“ . . . and that is why the numbers of humans entering the kingdom of Hell continually increases to this day,” stated the Devil as he finished up his talk and puffing out his chest with great pride.

Thdevil-dressed-upe crowd of fiends gave a thundering round of applause after the Devil finished his annual oration. Hand-made signs could be seen everywhere with the slogan, “Hell is what’s hot!”

“I will now take some questions from the audience,” stated the Devil, as he cleared his throat with a refreshing glass of Tabasco sauce.

A hand goes up towards the back of the auditorium.

“Yes. What is your question, sir?” asked the Lord of Darkness.

“There is a rumor on earth that the long-awaited Second Coming is commencing on earth,” said the voice at the back of the room. “Should we be concerned?”

“Hell, no!” came the Devil’s quick answer. “Let me explain why.”

The crowd became totally silent.

“Some of you may be familiar with the Lord God’s strategy of returning to earth, not physically, but through the theological writings of His servant, Emanuel Swedenborg,” The Devil continued. “You see, the Second Coming is actually a new heavenly dispensation whereby the Lord’s Second Advent represents an enlightening of the human heart and mind. Whoever wins the hearts and minds of people gets to control the human race—that is where the great battle of Armageddon actually takes place.”

“Why are you so confident that the forces of hell will win this battle?” asked the same voice at the back of the auditorium.

“Because few humans will grasp what stands in their way of entering this great battle. You see, those on earth have dual consciousnesses—an ‘inner’ consciousness and an ‘outer’ (or ‘worldly’) consciousness.” The Devil then smiled wickedly at the assembly showing his nasty, cavity-ridden fangs. “I have personally intervened to make sure that earth-beings become focused only on their outer or corporeal/sensual consciousness. People believe that because they use this habitual level of mind most often during their daily lives that this acquired, artificial consciousness is who they really are. So even when they read Swedenborg’s theology, under this split psychical condition, God’s new and revelatory influences are merely captured and contained within their memory function, which keeps it from going any deeper.”

“How can you be sure that God’s new heavenly input will not penetrate deep enough into the human psyche, where it can uproot us and our hellish practices?” came the same voice from the back of the room.

The Devil confessed, “I have read Swedenborg’s writings which state that the human heart and will is nothing but evil and that God alone is good. People on earth will have lots of serious problems with that anti-intuitive concept—especially when they look at family photos of their cute smiling children and their grandparents. People want acceptance and affirmation from others, whereas God wants to stress the importance of self-examination and the discovering of one’s dirty underwear. Without such examination and causing an inner conflict between what a person knows and how a person really feels, no contact is made between a person’s inner and outer realities. And without such contact, no spiritual growth can be obtained. I honestly want people to seek goodness—as long as their good deeds find a detour around the process of spiritual cleansing and regeneration.”

The Devil then let out a most hideous laugh. “Students of Swedenborg’s writings will mistakenly gravitate towards promoting love, good works, and usefulness in society, believing that their doctrines of charity are superior to the notion that “faith alone” saves. That kind of debate will only take people down a rabbit hole. Here is what is overlooked—neither faith alone nor good works helps anyone if contact is not made between an individual’s two levels of consciousness. This contact and purifying friction is the only way one’s faith and good works can acquire heavenly innocence. And furthermore, I have ingeniously tricked humans into preferring to express ‘hope’ repeatedly, over choosing to take part in the more uncomfortable operation of spiritual regeneration and digging out one’s personal dirt.

The entire crowd then gave the Devil a standing ovation!

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
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8 Responses to The Devil addresses his hellish crew at their annual assembly

  1. GetWithTheProgramPpl says:

    Similar to what I’m going through….it makes sense…a lot of sense….thanks!:-)

    • thegodguy says:

      You are a brave person. Without self-examination there is no way to determine if our good deeds are being manipulated by our flawed character.

      Spiritually yours,

  2. Lee says:

    Hi Ed,

    Though I don’t disagree with your general premise, I think there are a lot more people facing and overcoming their inner evils than you seem to be implying here. Do you really think that more people than ever are going to hell now? Though people do resist the idea of there being evil within them, they must face that uncomfortable truth when it stares them in the face through the experiences of life and their often rocky relationships with others. Of course, it would be better to have the clarity about our natural evil nature that Swedenborg offers. But most people seem to learn in the school of hard knocks rather than by intellectual understanding and acceptance of concepts which they then apply to life.

    • thegodguy says:

      Hi Lee,

      Thanks for your comments. But on what basis do you believe less people are going to hell than ever before – modernity? Swedenborg claimed that true temptations are a rare thing – because too many people would succumb to them. I have observed church services for several decades and nowhere is there any meaningful instructions given on how to dig up our dirt and deal with it. Then there is the real problem of hypnotism due to the split nature of the human psyche. Today’s worshippers have no visceral sense of their divided minds or what to do about it. As proof, church organizations are promoting friendship and community – as if personal regeneration should be taken for granted. “Good works” do not trump resisting evil. Resisting evil qualifies the goodness of the deed. Who talks about discovering evil in oneself at church these days? Instead, people see “togetherness” and “hugging” as spiritual growth. (The innermost level of Scripture depicts the Lord God in constant combat with the hells – taking up the cross is a sign that we wish to join in this terrible but necessary conflict.)

      It is my contention, like it or not, that even Swedenborgians are not taking the issue of spiritual regeneration seriously. The lack of growth is due to spiritual reasons, and spiritual reasons only. Sorry.

      Spiritually yours,

      • Lee says:

        Hi Ed,

        Thanks for your reply. I didn’t say more people are going to hell than ever before. Rather, I questioned your contention that more people are going to hell than ever before. Is the situation really any different than it’s ever been? When has the general population ever been focused on digging up their internal evils and dealing with them?

        Meanwhile, Swedenborg does provide an “easier” way of regeneration that simply requires a person to desist from acting on evil impulses because they are wrong and contrary to God’s commandments. This way of regeneration does not go as deep as the more internal method you outline, but I believe it still gets a person into the lower levels of heaven.

  3. thegodguy says:

    Dear Lee,

    I have never been approached by a Swedenborgian who expressed an interest in digging out his or her evils. The bickering in the church tells me that many Swedenborgians are not even taking up the so-called “easier” way to regeneration. People don’t like getting their “corns” stepped on, which is a sure sign that self-love is still deeply rooted in the average worshipper. This self-love is not removed by charitable acts. Charitable acts only cover over our flaws – unless we are indeed sincerely resisting our self-centered impulses. (Finding these impulses can be truly shocking.)

    What is the job of true religion? It is to lead us out of hell!

    The only reason why many spirits suffer intensely before being allowed into heaven (even the lowest heaven) is that a lot of crap that they didn’t bother removing while on earth is dealt with in the digestive system of the Grand Human – and only to the extent that this process is tolerated. My problem with the church is its emphasis on “goodness” instead of resisting “crap-ness.” This is an oversight. Resisting one’s crap-ness is the first essential of spiritual charity. How else do our actions find angelic innocence?

    Heaven is more than a realm of usefulness. It is a realm where usefulness becomes innocent! (That is why Swedenborg stated that the evil are often better and more driven at performing uses.)

    Spiritually yours,

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ed,

      The institutional Swedenborgian Church will live or die based on its own actions. And the current evidence points toward it dying along with the institutions of the old Christian Church in whose image the ecclesiastical Swedenborgians created their own church. Though there are some good people in the Swedenborgian Church, I don’t think it’s really all that different from the other Christian churches out there when it comes to actions rather than words.

      Really, I’m more concerned with the general population than with any particular church organization. If the New Jerusalem is now descending upon earth as Swedenborg said it is, surely there should be some positive spiritual effects of that momentous event!

      • thegodguy says:


        God’s Will Be Done! However, we are to look at the positive spiritual effects within each of our own lives and activities.

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