90. People who are not aware that Divine omnipotence proceeds and works in accordance with order can be led by their imagination to form many ideas contrary to sound reason, and even contradictory ones. For instance, why did God not take upon Himself human form immediately, without advancing through these stages? Why did He not gather the elements from the four quarters of the world to create and make up a body, so that He could display Himself as God-Man to the Jewish people, or rather to the whole world? Or, if He wished to be born, why did He not pour His whole divinity into the embryo or Himself as a child; or why did He not at once after being born raise Himself to adult stature, and speak from Divine Wisdom? Those who think about Divine omnipotence devoid of order, may conceive and bring forth these and similar ideas, and so fill the church with nonsense and rubbish; which is what has happened. For instance, the idea that God could have fathered a Son from eternity, and arranged for a third God to proceed even at that point in time from Himself and His Son. Or that He could become angry with the human race, consign it to destruction, and be willing to be brought back to pitying it through the Son, and to do this through His intercession and the memory of His crucifixion;
 and then go on to put His Son's righteousness into a person, and plant it in his heart like Wolff's 1
simple substance, in which according to that author all the Son's merits are present, but which cannot be divided, since if it were, it would collapse to nothing. Or further that He can remit anyone's sins He wishes, as it were by a Papal bull, or cleanse the worst sinner from his black wickedness, and thus turn a swarthy devil into a shining angel of light, without a person shifting himself any more than a stone, but standing still like a statue or an idol. Not to mention many other crazy notions, which those who set up Divine power as absolute, unhindered by the knowledge or acknowledgment of any order, may toss out like a winnower tossing chaff into the air. These people may in spiritual matters, those, that is, which concern heaven, the church and so everlasting life, stray from Divine truths like a blind man in a wood, who at one time stumbles over rocks, at another hits his forehead on a tree, at another gets his hair entangled in its branches.
1. Christian Wolff (1679-1754), a follower of Leibnitz.
Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.