Life, Liberty, and Happiness

A year ago, our Pastor’s Box was a Declaration of Independence from selfishness and hell: “…We hold these truths to be Divinely revealed, that all people are created equally capable of turning to the Lord, that they are endowed by their Creator with an unalienable ability to receive from Him life, liberty and eternal happiness….” This declaration was, of course, modeled after the United States’ Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which declared that all people are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The U.S. Declaration inspired a wave of political reforms and rebellions that led to freedom from tyranny for many nations around the world.

The Declaration of Independence came shortly (six years) after another declaration: that the Lord God Jesus Christ has established His kingdom, having set the human spirit free from the thrall of hell (True Christian Religion 791). The promise of the New Church was not political or social change, but greater freedom of thought in spiritual matters.

The future state of the world will be exactly the same as it has been up to now; for the mighty change which has taken place in the spiritual world does not cause any change in the external appearance of the natural world.… But people in the church will henceforward have more freedom in thinking about matters of faith, and so about the spiritual matters which have to do with heaven, because of the restoration of spiritual freedom. (Last Judgment 73)

Just as the Declaration states that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are given to us as one by our Creator because they are all elements of love.

All freedom is a matter of love, even to the point that love and freedom are the same thing. Since love is our life, freedom is also essential to our life. Every pleasure we experience comes from our love; there is no other source of pleasure. Acting for the sake of the pleasure of our love is acting in freedom, because pleasure leads us along, the way a river bears its burdens quite naturally along its current. (Divine Providence 73)

It may seem as if pursuing happiness is selfish. And in fact, when we seek our own pleasure at other people’s expense, it is not only selfish, but a source of hatred and cruelty. Yet the greatest happiness comes from seeking the joy of other people, of the community, the country, and the Lord’s kingdom. In heaven, “the happiness of all are communicated to each one, and those of each one to all” so everyone is surrounded by happy thoughts and feelings (Secrets of Heaven 2057).

Have a happy, free Independence Day!