Key Concepts in Swedenborg’s Theology: Our Humanity

Most of the time, however, we do not experience ourselves primarily as receptors of the Divine. We feel self-contained and self-sustaining. This appearance is God’s intentional gift of freedom and rationality, which are designed to enable us to accept the Divine willingly and which therefore are capable of being used to reject it.

The physical world is the arena in which we choose to accept or to reject. Its ambiguity is essential to this purpose, enabling us to convince ourselves that we are self-sustaining in fact, to focus on our distinguishability to the exclusion of our oneness. If we so choose, we voluntarily forfeit the unitive power of love and wisdom and thereby set ourselves against the fundamental nature of reality itself.

This rejection manifests itself in isolation and hostility, both internal and external. That is, we develop a delight in conflict with others, and our own loves and thoughts are in conflict with each other. Our satisfaction comes only at the expense of others, which is inherently unworkable.


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