True Christianity # 770

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770. I have asked the clergy and the laity whether they truly believe all that. Do they really believe that all those souls - the people who lived before the Flood, including Adam and Eve, and the people who lived after the Flood, including Noah and his children, as well as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets and apostles, and all other human souls - are still being stored in the center of the earth or are flitting around in the air or the ether? Do they really believe that all those souls are going to wear their bodies again and be reunited to them, even if their bodies were corpses that have been eaten by worms, rats, or fish, or were Egyptian mummies that people have taken as medicine, or were mere skeletons baked under the sun until they crumbled to dust? Do they really believe that the stars of heaven are going to fall onto the earth, even though the earth is much smaller than the stars? Surely all these thoughts are absurdities that reason rejects, just as it rejects any other thought that does not make sense.

To these questions some have no response at all. Others say that these are matters of faith, and that we need to hold our intellect under obedience to faith. Others say that these and many other things that transcend reason are accomplished by the divine omnipotence.

When they say the words "faith" and "omnipotence," reason is banished; by that point in the conversation sound reason either disappears and seems nonexistent or turns into a kind of ghostly apparition and is called insanity. To this they add, "Aren't our beliefs in strict accordance with the Word? Aren't we supposed to think and speak on the basis of what the Word says?"

  
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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.