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546. Those who are enlightened see further that good and evil are two opposites, and are therefore opposed as heaven and hell are, and that all good is from heaven and all evil from hell; and as it is the Divine of the Lord that makes heaven (n. 7-12), nothing but good flows into man from the Lord, and nothing but evil from hell; thus the Lord is continually withdrawing man from evil and leading him to good, while hell is continually leading man into evil. Unless man were between these two, he could have no thought nor any will, still less any freedom or any choice; for all these man has by virtue of the equilibrium between good and evil; consequently if the Lord should turn Himself away, leaving man to evil alone, man would cease to be man. All this shows that the Lord flows into every man with good, into the evil man as well as the good; but with the difference that the Lord is continually withdrawing the evil man from evil and is continually leading the good man to good; and this difference lies in the man himself, because he is the recipient.
547. From this it is clear that it is from hell that man does evil, and from the Lord that he does good. But man believes that whatever he does he does from himself, and in consequence of this the evil that he does sticks to him as his own; and for this reason man is the cause of his own evil, and in no way the Lord. Evil in man is hell in him, for it is the same thing whether you say evil or hell. And since man is the cause of his own evil he is led into hell, not by the Lord but by himself. For so far is the Lord from leading man into hell that it is He who delivers man from hell, and this He does so far as man does not will and love to be in his own evil. All of man's will and love continues with him after death (n. 470-484). He who wills and loves evil in the world wills and loves the same evil in the other life, but he no longer suffers himself to be withdrawn from it. If,therefore, a man is in evil he is tied to hell, and in respect to his spirit is actually there, and after death desires nothing so much as to be where his evil is; consequently it is man who casts himself into hell after death, and not the Lord.
548. How this comes about shall also be explained. When man enters the other life he is received first by angels, who perform for him all good offices, and talk with him about the Lord, heaven, and the angelic life, and instruct him in things that are true and good. But if the man, now a spirit, be one who knew about these things in the world, but in heart denied or despised them, after some conversation he desires and seeks to get away from these angels. As soon as the angels perceive this they leave him. After some intercourse with others he at length unites himself with those who are in evil like his own (see above, n. 445-452). When this takes place he turns himself away from the Lord and turns his face towards the hell to which he had been joined in the world, in which those abide who are in a like love of evil. All this makes clear that the Lord draws every spirit to Himself by means of angels and by means of influx from heaven; but those spirits that are in evil completely resist, and as it were tear themselves away from the Lord, and are drawn by their own evil, thus by hell, as if by a rope. And as they are so drawn, and by reason of their love of evil are eager to follow, it is evident that they themselves cast themselves into hell by their own free choice. Men in the world because of their idea of hell are unable to believe that this is so. In fact, in the other life before the eyes of those who are outside of hell it does not so appear; but only so to those who cast themselves into hell, for such enter of their own accord. Those who enter from a burning love of evil appear to be cast headlong, with the head downwards and the feet upwards. It is because of this appearance that they seem to be cast into hell by Divine power. (But about this more will be said below, n. 574.) > From all this it can be seen that the Lord casts no one into hell, but every one casts himself into hell, both while he is living in the world and also after death when he comes among spirits.
549. The Lord from His Divine Essence, which is goodness, love, and mercy, is unable to deal in the same way with every man, because evils and their falsities prevent, and not only quench His Divine influx but even reject it. Evils and their falsities are like black clouds which interpose between the sun and the eye, and take away the sunshine and the serenity of its light; although the unceasing endeavor of the sun to dissipate the opposing clouds continues, for it is operating behind them; and in the meantime transmits something of obscure light into the eye of man by various roundabout ways. It is the same in the spiritual world. The sun there is the Lord and the Divine love (n. 116-140); and the light there is the Divine truth (n. 126-140); black clouds there are falsities from evil; the eye there is the understanding. So far as any one in that world is in falsities from evil he is encompassed by such a cloud, which is black and dense according to the degree of his evil. From this comparison it can be seen that the Lord is unceasingly present with every one, but that He is received variously.
550. Evil spirits are severely punished in the world of spirits in order that by means of punishments they may be deterred from doing evil. This also appears to be from the Lord; and yet nothing of punishment there is from the Lord, but is from the evil itself; since evil is so joined with its own punishment that the two cannot be separated. For the infernal crew desire and love nothing so much as doing evil, especially inflicting punishments and torment upon others; and they maltreat and inflict punishments upon every one who is not protected by the Lord. When, therefore, evil is done from an evil heart, because it thereby discards all protection from the Lord, infernal spirits rush upon the one who does the evil, and inflict punishment. This may be partly illustrated by evils and their punishments in the world, where the two are also joined. For laws in the world prescribe a penalty for every evil; therefore he that rushes into evil rushes also into the penalty of evil. The only difference is that in the world the evil may be concealed; but in the other life it cannot be concealed. All this makes clear that the Lord does evil to no one; and that it is the same as it is in the world, where it is not the king nor the judge nor the law that is the cause of punishment to the guilty, because these are not the cause of the evil in the evil doer.
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[57.1] In the Word anger and wrath are attributed to the Lord, but they are in man, and it is so expressed because such is the appearance to man when he is punished and damned (n. 798, 5798, 6997, 8284, 8483, 8875, 9306, 10431).
Evil also is attributed to the Lord, although nothing but good is from Him (n. 2447, 6071, 6991, 6997, 7533, 7632, 7679, 7926, 8227, 8228, 8632, 9306).
Why it is so expressed in the Word (n. 6071, 6991, 6997, 7632, 7643, 7679, 7710, 7926, 8282, 9010, 9128).
The Lord is pure mercy and clemency (n. 6997, 8875).
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