May 8, 2016

By Abusing Rationality and Freedom

From Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The origin of evil is from the abuse of the capacities proper to man - rationality and freedom.
By rationality is meant the capacity to understand what is true and thereby what is false, also to understand what is good and thereby what is evil; and by freedom is meant the capacity to think, will and do these things freely. ... every man from creation, consequently from birth, has these two capacities, and that they are from the Lord; that they are not taken away from man; that from them is the appearance that man thinks, speaks, wills, and acts as from himself; that the Lord dwells in these capacities in every man, that man by virtue of that conjunction lives to eternity; that man by means of these capacities can be reformed and regenerated, but not without them; finally, that by them man is distinguished from beasts.
(1) A bad man equally with a good man enjoys these two capacities.
(2) A bad man abuses these capacities to confirm evils and falsities, but a good man uses them to confirm goods and truths.
(3) Evils and falsities confirmed in man are permanent, and come to be of his love, consequently of his life.
(4) Such things as have come to be of the love and life are engendered in offspring.
(5) All evils, both engendered and acquired, have their seat in the natural mind.

(Divine Love and Wisdom 264,265)