THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PREDESTINATION: THE NATURE OF SALVATION There is no such thing as predestination. Gods is omniscient, and knows all things, and is all powerful, but God also follows his own laws of divine order, the first of which is freedom. To have life we must be free, so nothing is predestined. Our salvation, or state after dying, is determined by the quality of love and faith in our soul, especially toward God. And there are three basic practices from our life that effect this, and that are also the basis of Christianity: 1; To acknowledge God in our hearts, 2; To be useful in life and act with care toward our neighbor, and 3; rule one and two must grow together in union! This last one is lesser known but absolutely essential. Neither love alone, or faith alone are substantial without the other. The marriage of rule one and two is the heavenly pattern, because this is the union of love and wisdom in our soul, which comes from the nature of God from creation. The degree to which we have created concordance between them determines our state. In scripture this is expressed this way. “As the tree falleth so it layeth”. The exercise of the two together in everyday life is the expression of spiritual, emotional, and psychological intelligence.
“The chief thing is to acknowledge the Lord, His Divine in the Human, and His Omnipotence in saving the human race…The Lord taught how they would be saved, namely, that they should receive Divine truth from Him; and this is received, when it is applied to, and implanted in, the life by doing it; therefore the Lord so often said, that they should do His words. From these considerations it is evident that these two things, namely, to believe in the Lord and to do His words, make one, and that they can by no means be separated; for he who does not the Lord’s words does not believe in Him” (AE 328).
To the degree we have harmony between our love and faith, and similarly between our internal and external self, is the degree we are prepared for heaven. As we live and grow to the end of live a union is established between these forms a constellation in our soul, and when we die this constellation is set. It is set because is between the natural of the body and the spiritual of the soul, and after death the natural is no more so this constellation is set – thus ‘where the tree falleth so it lies’. The natural world is the foundation of the spiritual, everything that exist originates between the natural and spiritual, including humans. This is extremely important to understand because we must do the work now and endure in faith to the end of life.
Here is an organic way to visualize how rule 1 and 2 are inextricably married in use: the branches and leaves of a tree cannot survive if the tree does not have roots in the ground; and conversely, the roots will not long survive if there are no branches and leaves. The relationship between the branches and the roots corresponds to the relationship between love and wisdom, or, the internal and the external of our self. Another example is the symbiosis of how the heart and lungs work together in the human body to keep us alive. The heart corresponds to love, and the lungs to wisdom, and the two cannot operate alone but only together.
There is no such thing as being neutral to God. If we are not actively accepting Him, then we are busy avoiding him. This is an intense truth we think we can get away from, and we can try for a time, but ultimately we cannot. The Lord said if you are not for me you are against me – there is no in between. Non-acknowledgement (or avoidance) is an action just as much as acknowledgement is an action. These actions are the minute binary of our life, each one gradually accumulating and leading toward heaven or hell. Only God can truly judge that state of this in others, but we can tell to a degree in our own self examination.
Being able to acknowledge that all good comes from God, in spite of appearances, is the acid test of spirituality. Self examination can help to humble and soften our heart so we can receive from God. Humility and innocence are essential to receive God. God can work in us through innocence because this allows the willingness to be led or to submit to good, as opposed to pride. Innocence blooms into maturity when it is combined with intelligence, and becomes wisdom. Innocence is the elixir that opens what is written in our souls from God! In Heaven and Hell Swedenborg expresses with great clarity and tenderness how innocence fosters the internal marriage of love and wisdom in life: