Omni-Benevolence part 2
An important man asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?”
Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. You know the commandments: ‘Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Respect your father and mother.’” Luke 18.18-20
“Only God is good.” Then Jesus goes on to point out a good way to conduct ones life. A life of giving not taking.
God does only one thing, give.
There are things that are impossible for God to do. He cannot be other than himself. He will never violate his nature. God never kills anyone because he is life itself. God will never take anything from you because he is the giver of all things and is never depleted. God is truth itself and there is no falsehood within him. God will never disrespect any true relationship because all relationships demonstrate the Oneness of himself. The father and mother relationship is God himself demonstrated and seen in all human relationships to a greater or lesser degree according to the consciousness of the participants.
According to Emanuel Swedenborg woman is the personification of the Goodness of God. And man the Truth of God. And every marriage is the demonstration of the marriage within God of goodness and truth. Woman and Man or Goodness and Truth are the givers and sustainers of life just as the earth is the giver and sustainer of our physical life. God called his creation “Good.” He called it good because everything he does reflects who he is in every detail.
Emanuel Swedenborg also points out that Truth is the issue of, comes from, Good. In today’s world we believe truth is first and of utmost importance. But it was Jesus who was the issue of Mary who calls himself the Truth. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was the issue of the earth—his body only—but did not become human until God gave (all giving comes from the feminine the giver of life) him the breath of life and he became a living Soul. The order here is important because when truth gets separated from goodness and becomes the most important and is seen as the creator of the good, it becomes unloving, not giving, hard, dogmatic and believes it is the only way and will in the end attempt to kill the good. This is played out in the New Testament with Jesus’ relationship with the religious authorities of the day. This pattern continues to be repeated over and over again throughout religious history and seen again in today’s conflicts. The religions who believe their doctrine is the only way to God demonstrate it by keeping their followers trapped by fears of a punitive afterlife. When truth becomes the first in importance the doctrines of men are created. This results in what Jesus calls “lip service” where our hearts are far from God and goodness and lives are destroyed in the misguided attempt to keep the faith pure. (Matt. 15)
But we must have balance. If we have only goodness without truth we end up in the other extreme of anything goes. Without truth to guide our way we can end up participating in activities that will eventually kill the good in us. Just as truth alone results in heartlessness so goodness alone can also destroy our love. Permissiveness is just as destructive as legalism.
The Goodness of God is a balanced goodness because he is both good and true in perfect balance this combination produces a perfect justice which is always active within the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient moment.
The conflicts we see throughout history are men’s attempts to balance the extremes of permissiveness and legalism. Unknown to most people it is God in the background holding all things in balance. The truth is that evil has no power and is the servant of the good. A lie cannot be true. All falsehood disappears in the revelation of the truth. Two and two equals five will simply disappear when the correct sum is given and so to evil vanishes in the light of goodness. In its weakness, evil tries to force others into its service through fear, bullying and coercion by taking away the freewill of its servants. This blustering of the ego/sin nature will always be defeated in whatever form it appears. The seeming power of evil is like the flame of a match compared to the sun. All of the evil of the entire human race throughout all time is like a handful of sand thrown into the ocean according to Isaac of Nineveh.
As people of faith we do need to decide for ourselves how best to take a stand against evil without creating more evil in return. This we must do in our own conscience there is no hard a fast rule as some would have us believe. Strange as it may seem the goodness of God gives us the soldier and the pacifist both can “fight” and both may die in the service of defeating evil. Death is not the enemy nor is it the end as it is impossible for life to die. There is only life. The shedding of the physical—which was never alive in the first place—is the necessary step into experiencing real life, like walking out the door of your house to experience the sunshine.
“God’s love goes forth not only to good people but to evil people. So it is that God loves not only those who are in heaven, but also those who are in hell, for God is everywhere and forever the same.”
True Christian Religion 43 Emanuel Swedenborg
“Unless truth is lighted up by good, or unless faith is lighted up by kindness, there is nothing but darkness.”
Arcana Coelestia 4844.4 Emanuel Swedenborg