January 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
The Writings or the Heavenly Doctrines have a central theme. They tell us the same thing, over and over, and over and over again. And why do they repeat the same message over and over again? Because that is how often we need to hear it!
The central and essential message of the Heavenly Doctrines is that we must live our religion. Here are some of the ways they tell us this:
- We must look to the Lord and shun evils as sins
- Good and Truth must be conjoined in Uses
- Keep the Commandments
The sheer volume of the Heavenly Doctrines (22, 30, 35 volumes of books depending on how you are counting) is intimidating. The theological and philosophical technical terms can be intimidating. The eighteenth century mode of thinking and background can be hard to follow. The Latinized English of some of the translations can be hard to read. But the central message of the Writings is easy to understand. Nor does it matter where you start reading in the Heavenly Doctrines. You cannot read more than a few pages without encountering the most important things you need to know.
- Look to the Lord Jesus Christ
- Examine your thoughts and intentions
- Shun evil as a sin against the Lord
- Do good
The easy part is knowing that we should do these things. The hard part is to make ourselves actually do them.
January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
There is the age old logical problem that goes something like this:
If God were all good and all powerful, no one would be evil or in hell.
If there is evil or hell, then either God must not be all good, or he must not be all powerful.
God is love. He created the human race so that there would be others outside of Himself whom He could love, bless, and who could return His love. (See True Christian Religion # 43) This meant that people had to be a form of love.
Since love can only exist in a state of freedom, the Lord will lead us to heaven to the extent that we will allow Him. The following passage from the Apocalypse Explained provides a good answer to God is both all powerful and all good:
- In regard to the Divine Omnipotence it does not involve any power of acting contrary to order, but it involves all power of acting according to order, for all order is from the Lord; it therefore follows that no one has any power of acting according to order, except from Him who is the source of order. From this it is evident that it is of the Divine Omnipotence to lead man according to order, and this every moment from the beginning of his life even to eternity and according to the laws of order, which are innumerable and inexpressible by number. Yet this can take place so far as a man suffers himself to be led, that is, so far as he does not desire to be led of himself, for in the measure that he desires this he is brought into opposition to order. And because it is of the Divine Omnipotence to lead a man who desires to be led, according to order, and thus to lead no one contrary to order, therefore, it is not of the Divine Omnipotence to lead any one to heaven who desires to lead himself, because it is a law of order, that what a man does, he should do from reason and freedom, since what is received by reason and done from freedom remains with a man, and is appropriated to him as his own, but not that which is not received by the reason and not done from freedom. It is therefore evident that it is not of the Divine Omnipotence to save those who do not desire to be led according to order, for to be led according to order is to be led according to the laws of order, and the laws of order are the precepts of doctrine and of life from the Word; therefore to lead a man who desires to be led, every moment and continually to eternity according to these, is of the Divine Omnipotence. For every moment there are infinite things to be seen, to be removed, and to be insinuated, in order that a man may be withheld from evils and held in goods, and this continually and connectedly according to order. It is also of the Divine Omnipotence to protect men from the hells, so far as it can be done without injury to their freedom and reason; for all the hells are as nothing against the Lord’s Divine power; without this power of the Lord it is impossible for any man to be saved. (Apocalypse Explained #689.2)