545. The Lord Does Not Cast Anyone into Hell: Spirits Cast Themselves In
Some people cherish the notion that God turns his face away from people, spurns them, and casts them into hell, and is angry against them because of their evil. Some people even go so far as to think that God punishes people and does them harm. They support this notion from the literal meaning of the Word where things like this are said, not realizing that the spiritual meaning of the Word, which makes sense of the letter, is wholly different. So the real doctrine of the church, which is from the spiritual meaning of the Word, teaches something else. It teaches that the Lord never turns his face away from anyone or spurns anyone, never casts anyone into hell or is angry. 1
Anyone whose mind is enlightened perceives this while reading the Word simply from the fact that the Lord is goodness itself, love itself, and mercy itself. Good itself cannot do harm to anyone. Love itself and mercy itself cannot spurn anyone, because this is contrary to mercy and love and is therefore contrary to the divine nature itself. So people who are thinking with an enlightened mind when they read the Word perceive clearly that God never turns away from us, and that because he does not turn away from us, he behaves toward us out of goodness and love and mercy. That is, he wills well toward us, loves us, and has compassion on us.
1. Blazing wrath is attributed to God in the Word, but it is the wrath in us; and the Word says such things because it seems that way to us when we are being punished and condemned: Arcana Coelestia 798 [5798?], 6997, 8284, 8483, 8875, 9306, 10431. Even evil is attributed to the Lord, though nothing comes from the Lord but what is good: 2447, 6073 [6071?], 6992 [6991?], 6997, 7533, 7632, 7677 [7679?], 7926, 8227-8228, 8632, 9306. Why the Word says such things: 6073 [6071?], 6992 [6991?], 6997, 7643, 7632, 7679, 7710, 7926, 8282, 9009 [9010?], 9128. The Lord is pure mercy and clemency: 6997, 8875.