2395. For we will destroy this place. That this signifies that the state of evil in which they were would condemn them, is evident from the meaning of "destroying," when predicated of the Lord, as being in the internal significance to perish by evil, that is, to be condemned; and also from the signification of "this place," as being a state of evil (n. 2393). It is frequently said in the Word that Jehovah "destroys;" but in the internal sense it is meant that man destroys himself; for Jehovah or the Lord destroys no one. But as from the fact of His seeing and regulating all things in both general and particular it appears as if the destruction came from Jehovah or the Lord, it is so expressed in many places in the Word, to the end that men may thereby be kept in a most general idea that all things are under the Lord's eyes, and all things under His auspices; for if at first they are kept in this idea, they can afterwards be easily instructed. For the explications of the Word as to the internal sense are nothing but particulars that elucidate a general idea.
 Another reason why it is so expressed is that they who are in no love are kept in fear, and thereby stand in awe of the Lord, and flee to Him for the sake of deliverance. This shows that it does no harm to believe the sense of the letter, even though the internal sense teaches something else, provided that it is done from a simple heart. But these things will be treated of more fully in what follows, at verse 24 (n. 2447), where it is said that Jehovah caused it to rain brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels, being in the internal sense, are so far from thinking that Jehovah destroys anyone that they cannot endure even the idea of such a thing; and therefore when these and other such things are read in the Word by man, the sense of the letter is cast away as it were to the back, and at last passes into this: that evil itself is what destroys man, and that the Lord destroys no one (as may be seen from the example given above in n. 1875).