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Athanasian Creed, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1759], tr. by Samuel H. Worcester [1885] at

Athanasian Creed


That the Lord is God who alone is to be worshiped, is clearly manifest from this: that the hells are filled with the most bitter hatred against the Lord; not so against the Father, whom also some hells call the Creator of the universe, from the habit of speaking that was formed in the world, and this without hatred; but all the hells are against the Lord; they are not willing, neither are they able, to name Him, and to all of them it is most delightful to torment those who adore the Lord, and this enjoyment of theirs is extreme. (Gyllenborg, for an example.) A sphere against the Lord is exhaled from all the hells, and a sphere for the Lord from all the heavens; hence is equilibrium. (A trial was made with Gyllenborg, to ascertain whether he was able to refrain from tormenting me in the breast; and this by manifold punishments; but he was not able. He and others confessed that this was their chief enjoyment.)


The case is different with men, because their life or soul, from the father, is affection which is evil; consequently evil is removed from them by the Lord; it is not separated.


Still further, all the infants in heaven are led to the acknowledgment of the Divine Human of the Lord; and all adults who have lived in the life of charity are instructed concerning this; and they who receive, come into heaven. All the angels in heaven, also, perceive that the Lord's Human is Divine; and the higher they are in the heavens, the more clearly do they perceive this; for no one there can think otherwise. The reason is, that the whole heaven is the Divine Human, and every thought also goes according to the form of heaven. (On this subject let those things be cited which are in Heaven and Hell.)


Whereas this is so, and this is the primary thing of the church, also because no one can be received and saved unless he acknowledges the Divine of the Lord in His Human, therefore He so often said, "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" "Be it done according to thy faith"; that is, that the Lord is omnipotent, and thus God.


That the Lord so often said that the works which He does He does from the Father, was that they might believe in His Divine Itself; or that His Human was Divine; wherefore He also afterward said the same concerning himself. (Let the passages be quoted; see Index Biblicus, under head "Talaris," "Filius," etc., Rev. 1:13.)


(These may be introduced later, following the things written in Apocalypse Explained, n. 250; perhaps those things also which are in the same work, n. 251; and perhaps what may be found at the end of n. 252, concerning the "ten virgins.")


(Lastly, perhaps, may be presented the meaning of loving the Lord; namely, that it is to do His precepts; this from the Word. Perhaps there may be then brought forward what has been written concerning faith alone, and concerning justification; and extracts may then be made from their prayers at the communion, showing that they know that practical religion is the way to heaven, and theoretical religion is not the way.)


(Let the Lord's words to Peter be brought forward, where He thrice said "Lovest thou me, Simon Peter?" And yet he did not follow the Lord, but John followed Him. These things were said, because by "Peter" are here signified those who are in faith alone and by "John" the good of charity. From the words to Peter it is plain that they who are in the doctrine of faith alone will not acknowledge the Divine Human of the Lord, but they only who are in the good of charity. For this reason, also, something is to be said here as to what is meant by "loving the Lord." That faith without charity cannot be given, and that faith is from charity, also that the faith is such as the charity is, may be seen in New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine; and it will be seen in Apocalypse Explained, in many places.)


Christians can scarcely think of and perceive the Divine Human (this may be shown from the experience of many); because they think of a common man, and not concerning the human essence, which is love. But angels, on the other hand, can think in no other way; neither can those Gentiles, indeed, who are intelligent.


FROM THE CREED OF ATHANASIUS From this it is evident that there are not three who are infinite, eternal, almighty, Gods, and Lords, but one; and that no one of them is greatest or least, first or last; thus there is one Divine; and this Divine is that of which the Lord was conceived, and this was Himself; and because it is one and the same it is plain that it is Jehovah. (Let this be confirmed from the Word of the Old Testament.)


Let two sayings be taken up and explained: (1) "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life"; and "No one cometh to the Father but by Me." (2) "My Father is the Vinedresser and I am the Vine," etc. It is plain that these things were said concerning His Human, for He spoke of the Father besides. If doctrine concerning the Lord had been made from these two passages, it would then have been known to everyone that it is the Lord who alone should be approached, and also that His Human is Divine.


(Let the sayings be taken up, in which the Lord is called "Jehovah," "the Holy One of Israel," "the Redeemer," as Isaiah 41:13, 14; 49:7-9, 26; 54:5; 63:8, 9, 16; Ps. 19:14; and many other passages; also those in which he is called "Savior," "Former," "Creator," "Maker.")


When the church was being established by the Lord, the primary thing was to acknowledge and to receive Him; to acknowledge that it was He of whom the Word of the Old Testament speaks; and that He was God, and had power over all things. Therefore He so often said, "Believe ye that I am able?" also, "Because thou believest"; and "Let it be done according to thy faith," that is, according to the faith that the Lord was God who had power over all things, or was almighty. This was the primary, for without that faith there was no safety, because all things are from Him. Through that confession and faith from the heart is conjunction; without it there is not conjunction, and thus there is no safety. The case is similar at the present day, when the New Church is being established; which is called the New Jerusalem, and when its doctrine is taught; the primary thing is to know and believe that the Lord is the only God, from whom is all safety. It is for this reason that this now is taught; this is the occasion of the present work; for without that faith no one comes into the New Church, neither does anyone receive anything from its doctrine; consequently, without this faith no one henceforth can be saved. For henceforth it is not allowable to believe in three equal Gods and say one, nor to think of the Human of the Lord as separate from the Divine, as is done by so many.


(Perhaps lastly may be presented the passages of the New Testament where the term "faith" or "believing" is used.)


WHAT IS IN THE FIRST PLACE AND WHAT IS IN THE LAST It is known from two passages in Matthew and in Luke which have been quoted, that the Lord is the Son of God, or that His Father was the very Divine which created the universe. If therefore as Man He is the Son of God, it follows also that the Lord as Man is God. It is known that everyone is named from his father, and is called his son, from this and on account of this, namely, that the life of every man is from his father, and only the clothing is supplied in the mother; thence it is that every man is named from the father and not from the mother. Why therefore, when it is known that His Father was His Divine, is it said in the church that the Lord is "the son of Mary," from which comes the belief that the Lord was thus born a mere man, or not God as to the Human?


And further, what a man has from his father is the very love, or the very affection, because the love is man's very life, and the body lives from that; and thus it is plain that man's very life is from the father, and nothing of life from the mother. Since therefore the very life was Divine, or was the Divine love, and the body is simply obedience, it thence clearly follows that the Lord as Man is God. (Here quote, first and last, what is written in Luke 1:34, 35.)


The Lord is treated of in the whole prophetic Word. To quote the many passages where He is called "the Holy One of Israel," "the Redeemer," and "Jehovah the Redeemer," would be too diffuse. See Isaiah 60:1, etc., where it is said, "Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee"; besides many other things there which were said concerning the Divine Human.


The affection of man, into which he is born, is from his father, because this is his soul. With men when they are born there is evil affection and lust, because the soul of the father is such. But with the Lord alone there was good affection from birth, because the soul from the Father was the Divine Itself, which is nothing but the love of good, and good itself; then to the love all wisdom conjoins Itself, and from that all evil is expelled; for they cannot be together. Wherefore the Lord made His Human Divine from the Divine in Himself.


AT THE END (The contents of the things in this work, in the books written in Latin, and sent to the archbishops, the bishops and the noblemen of the kingdom of Great Britain.)


Athanasius, and learned men after him, had it in thought to conjoin three Divines into one, by these considerations: that the essence is one, and that there is Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. But from this subtlety, however, of which there can be no comprehension, who thinks that therefore God is one? Does anyone? But the thought is that there are three Persons, and that each is God; and this takes possession of the interior thought, so that it does not see one God, but three Gods; and thus it is contrary to the Christian religion itself, which is that there is one God.