The east in the spiritual world is where the Lord is seen as the sun, and the other directions follow from that (Continued)

At this point, then, we need to discuss the regions in the spiritual world. There are regions there just as there are in the physical world; but the regions of the spiritual world, like that world itself, are spiritual, while the regions of the physical world, like this world itself, are physical. This means that they are so different that they have nothing in common. There are four regions in each world, called the east, the west, the south, and the north. In the physical world, these four regions are static, determined by the sun in the south. The north is behind, with the east on one side and the west on the other. These regions are determined by the south wherever you go, since the sun’s position at noon is always the same and therefore static.

It is different in the spiritual world. There the regions are determined by the sun, which always appears in its own place; and where it appears is the east. So the assignment of regions in that world is not from the south as it is in the physical world but from the east. The west is behind, with the south on one side and the north on the other. We will see below, however, that the regions are not caused by its sun but by the inhabitants of that world, the angels and spirits.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 120


The east in the spiritual world is where the Lord is seen as the sun, and the other directions follow from that

Now that I have discussed the spiritual world’s sun and its essence, its warmth and light, and the Lord’s consequent presence, I need to talk as well about the regions of that world. The reason for talking about the sun and that world is that our subject is God, and love and wisdom. To discuss these apart from their origin would be to start from effects and not from their causes. Yet effects teach us nothing but effects. When only they are highlighted, they do not show us any cause; rather, causes show us effects. Knowing about effects on the basis of their cause is being wise, but exploring causes on the basis of their effects is not being wise; because when we do, various illusions present themselves that we as investigators identify as causes. To do this is to make foolishness of wisdom. Causes precede and effects follow. We cannot see preceding things from following things, but we can see following things from preceding things. That is the pattern.

This is why we are dealing with the spiritual world first here. That world is where all the causes are. Later [Sections 134, 154] we will discuss the physical world, where everything we see is an effect.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 119

The Image of God and The Likeness of God

The Lord has created and formed within us two vessels and dwellings for himself called volition and discernment. Volition is for his divine love and discernment for his divine wisdom. I have already discussed the divine love and wisdom of God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, and I have discussed the creation of the universe. Now I need to say something about our own creation. We read that we were created in the image of God and according to his likeness (Genesis 1:26). In this passage “the image of God” means divine wisdom and “the likeness of God” means divine love, since wisdom is nothing more than the image of love. Love actually presents itself to view and to recognition in wisdom, and since that is where we see and recognize it, wisdom is its image. Then too, love is the reality of life and wisdom is its consequent manifestation. This “image and likeness” of God is strikingly visible in angels. Love shining from within is in their faces and wisdom in their beauty, with beauty as the form of their love. I have seen this, and I have come to know it.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 358

Angels are in the Lord and the Lord is in them; and since angels are vessels, the Lord alone is heaven (Continued)

However, this calls for an explanation of how angels can feel and sense this as their own and so accept and retain it when in fact it is not theirs, given the statement that angels are not angels on their own but by virtue of what is within them from the Lord. The essence of the matter is this. There is freedom and rationality in every angel. These two qualities are there so that angels can be open to love and wisdom from the Lord. Neither of these, though—neither the freedom nor the rationality—belongs to the angels. They are in them but belong to the Lord. However, since these two elements are intimately united to angels’ life, so intimately united that you could call them linked to their life, it seems as though they belong to the angels. Freedom and rationality enable them to think and intend and to speak and act; and what they think, intend, speak, and act as a result seems to be done on their own. This gives rise to the reciprocal element that is the means to union.

Still, the more that angels believe that love and wisdom are within them and claim them for themselves as their own, the more there is nothing angelic within them. To the same extent, then, there is no union with the Lord for them. They are outside the truth; and since truth is identical with heaven’s light, they are correspondingly unable to be in heaven. This leads to a denial that they live from the Lord and a belief that they live on their own and therefore that they possess some divine essence. The life called angelic and human consists of these two elements—freedom and rationality.

This leads to the conclusion that angels have a reciprocal ability for the sake of their union with the Lord, but that the reciprocal element, seen as an ability, is the Lord’s and not theirs. As a result, angels fall from angelhood if they abuse this reciprocal element that enables them to feel and sense what is the Lord’s as their own by actually claiming it for themselves. The Lord himself teaches us in John 14:20–24 and 15:4, 5, 6 that union is reciprocal, and in John 15:7 that the Lord’s union with us and ours with him occurs in things that belong to him, things called “his words.”

There are people who think that Adam had a kind of freedom or ability to choose that enabled him to love God and be wise on his own, and that this freedom to choose was lost in his descendants. This, however, is wrong. We are not life, but life-receivers (see Sections 4–6 and 55–60 above); and people who are life-receivers cannot love and be wise from their own resources. So when Adam wanted to love and be wise from his own resources, he fell from wisdom and love and was cast out of the garden.

We can say much the same about the heaven that is made up of angels as we have said about individual angels, since Divinity is the same in the largest and smallest things (see Sections 77–82 above). What we have said about angels and heaven needs to be said about us and the church as well, since angels of heaven and we of the church act in consort because of our union. Further, as to the inner reaches of our minds, we of the church are angels—but “we of the church” means people who have the church within themselves.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 116-118


Sections 4: Published 4/14/2016

Section 5-6: Published 4/9/2018

Sections 55-60: Published 5/23/2018-5/24/2018

Sections 77-82: Published 6/1/2018-6/2/2018

Angels are in the Lord and the Lord is in them; and since angels are vessels, the Lord alone is heaven

Heaven is called God’s dwelling and God’s throne, so people think that God lives there like a monarch in a realm. However, God—that is, the Lord—is in the sun above the heavens and is in the heavens by means of his presence in warmth and light, as I have explained in the last two sections. Further, even though the Lord is present in heaven in this apparently distant way, he is still also intrinsically present there, so to speak, since as I have just explained in Sections 103–112 the distance between the sun and heaven is not a distance but a virtual distance. Given the fact that this distance is only apparent, then, it follows that the Lord himself is in heaven. He is in the love and wisdom of heaven’s angels; and since he is in the love and wisdom of all the angels and the angels make up heaven, he is in all of heaven.

The reason the Lord is not only in heaven but actually is heaven itself is that love and wisdom make an angel, and these two are properties of the Lord in the angels. It therefore follows that the Lord is heaven.

Angels are not angels because of anything that belongs to them. What belongs to them is just like what belongs to us—evil. The reason this is what belongs to angels is that all angels were once earthly people, and this attribute clings to them from their birth. It is simply moved aside, and to the extent that it is, they accept love and wisdom, or the Lord, into themselves.

With a little elevation of understanding, everyone can see that it is quite impossible for the Lord to dwell with angels in anything but what is his, that is, what belongs to him, which is love and wisdom. He cannot dwell in anything that belongs to the angels, which is evil. This is why the Lord is in them, and they are angels, to the extent that evil is moved aside. The actual angelic essence of heaven is divine love and wisdom. This divine reality is called “angelic” when it is in angels; so again we can see that angels are angels because of the Lord and not on their own. The same therefore holds true for heaven as well.

Still, there is no understanding how the Lord is in an angel and an angel is in the Lord except through knowing what kind of union is involved. It is a union of the Lord with the angel and of the angel with the Lord, so it is a reciprocal union. On the angel’s side, it is like this. Angels, like us, simply feel as though they participate in love and wisdom on their own, and therefore that love and wisdom are theirs, their very own. If they did not feel this way there would be no union, so the Lord would not be in them, nor they in the Lord. It cannot happen that the Lord is in any angels or people unless they, as subjects of his presence in love and wisdom, sense and feel this as their own. This enables them not only to accept but also to retain what they have accepted, and to love in response. This, then, is how angels become wise and remain wise. Can people decide to love God and their neighbor, can people decide to gain wisdom, unless they feel and sense that what they love, learn, and gain is their own? Can they retain anything in themselves otherwise? If it were not for this, then the inflowing love and wisdom would have no seat. They would flow right through without making any difference; and as a result angels would not be angels and people would not be human. They would be virtually lifeless.

It makes sense, then, that if there is to be union, there must be reciprocity.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 113-115

The distance between the sun and angels in the spiritual world is an apparent distance that depends on their acceptance of divine love and wisdom (Continued)

The reason the spiritual world’s sun appears at a distance from angels is that they accept divine love and wisdom at an appropriate level of warmth and light. Since angels are created and finite, they cannot accept the Lord at the prime level of warmth and light, as it is in the sun. That would mean being totally consumed; so they accept the Lord at the level of warmth and light that matches their own love and wisdom.

The following may serve to illustrate. Angels of the lowest heaven cannot rise up to angels of the third heaven. If they were to rise up and enter their heaven, they would collapse in a kind of faint, as though their life were struggling against death. This is because their love and wisdom is at a lower level, and so is the warmth of their love and the light of their wisdom. What would happen, then, if an angel were to rise up toward the sun and enter its fire?

As a result of the differences in angels’ acceptance of the Lord, the heavens appear to be marked off from each other. The highest heaven, called the third heaven, seems to be over the second, and the second over the first. It is not that the heavens are distant from each other, but that they seem to be. In fact, the Lord is just as present with people in the most remote heaven as he is with people in the third heaven. What causes the appearance of distance is in the subjects, the angels, and not in the Lord.

It is almost impossible to grasp this in any earthly image, since that would involve space. It can be grasped in a spiritual image, though, since there is no space involved. That is the kind of image angels have.

This much can be grasped in an earthly image, though—love and wisdom, or in other words the Lord who is divine love and wisdom, cannot move through space but is with every one of us depending on our acceptance. The Lord teaches in Matthew 28:20 that he is with everyone; and in John 14:21 [14:23] he says that he makes his home with those who love him.

This may seem like a matter of higher wisdom since it is being supported by reference to heavens and angels. However, the same holds true for us. As far as the deeper levels of our minds are concerned, we are warmed and enlightened by that same sun, warmed by its warmth and enlightened by its light, to the extent that we accept love and wisdom from the Lord. The difference between angels and us is that angels are under that [spiritual] sun only, while we are not only under that sun but also under the sun of our world. Our bodies could not take form and endure if they were not under both suns. It is different for angels’ bodies because they are spiritual.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 110-112

The distance between the sun and angels in the spiritual world is an apparent distance that depends on their acceptance of divine love and wisdom

All the illusions that are prevalent among evil people and simple people come from appearances that have been taken as facts. As long as appearances remain appearances, they are virtual truths, and it is all right for anyone to think and talk in terms of them. However, when they are taken to be actual truths, which happens when they are defended as facts, then the virtual truths become falsities and fallacies.

For example, it seems as though the sun travels around the earth every day and also follows its yearly ecliptic path. As long as this is not taken as fact, this is a virtual truth, and anyone may think and talk in such terms. We can say that the sun rises and sets, causing morning, noon, evening, and night. We can say that the sun is at this or that point on the ecliptic, or at this or that elevation, causing spring, summer, autumn, and winter. However, when these appearances are defended as the real truth, then the person who defends them is thinking and speaking falsity based on illusion.

The same holds true for countless other appearances, not only in earthly, civic, and moral matters, but also in spiritual ones.

It is the same with the distance of the spiritual world’s sun, the sun that is the first emanation of the Lord’s divine love and wisdom. The truth is that there is no distance. Rather, the distance is an appearance that depends on angels’ acceptance of divine love and wisdom on their own level. It makes sense that distances in the spiritual world are appearances when we consider what has been presented already, like the material in Sections 7–9 on Divinity not being in space and in Sections 69–72 on Divinity filling all space nonspatially. If there are no segments of space, then there are no distances either; or in other words, if segments of space are appearances, so are distances, since distances are a matter of space.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 108-109


Sections 7-9: Published 4/10/2018-4/11/2018

Sections 69-72: Published 5/28/2018-5/29/2018

Hellfire and Gnashing Teeth (Continued)

I explained above (Section 548) that evil spirits voluntarily throw themselves into hell, so I need to state briefly why this happens when there is such torment in hell.

From each hell there breathes forth an aura of the cravings that obsess its inhabitants. When this aura is sensed by people who are obsessed with a similar craving, it touches their hearts and fills them with delight because the craving and the delight are inseparable—whatever we crave is delightful to us. This is why spirits turn in that direction and are impelled there by their hearts’ delight. They do not yet realize what kind of torment there is in hell, and the ones who do know still feel the craving. In the spiritual world we are all incapable of resisting our impulses because the impulses come from our love and the love comes from our intent and the intent comes from our nature, and we all act from our nature there.

So when spirits voluntarily or freely arrive at their hell and go in, they are accepted cordially at first and think they have arrived among friends. This lasts only a few hours, though. All the while they are being probed to find out how crafty they are, and therefore how powerful. Once this probing is complete the attacks begin in various ways, getting more and more severe and intense. The intensification is effected by their being taken farther and deeper into hell, since the farther and deeper you go there, the more malevolent are the spirits. After these attacks, the malevolent spirits begin to torment the newcomers with punishments until finally they are reduced to slavery.

However, since rebellious movements are always arising (everyone there wants to be greatest and burns with hatred against everyone else, which keeps generating new attacks), the scene is constantly changing. The people who were enslaved are released and offer their support to some new devil for the subjugation of others. Then the ones who do not surrender and yield their obedience are tortured in various ways, and so on and so on.

Torments like this are the torments of hell that are referred to as hellfire.

The gnashing of teeth, though, is the constant clash and strife of false convictions with each other (and therefore the warfare of the individuals who hold the false convictions) united to contempt for others, hostility, derision, mockery, and blasphemy. These even break out into various kinds of butchery. Everyone there is defending his or her own false convictions and calling them true. From outside the hells, these clashes and battles sound like gnashing teeth, and they turn into the gnashing of teeth when truths from heaven flow into hell.

In these hells dwell all the people who acknowledged nature and denied the Divine. The people who deliberately convinced themselves are in the deeper hells. Since they cannot accept any ray of light from heaven and can therefore not see anything within themselves, most of them focus on their senses and their bodies. These are people who do not believe anything they cannot see with their eyes and touch with their hands. So for them, all sensory illusions are the truths on which they base their arguments. This is why their arguments sound like the gnashing of teeth. It is because in the spiritual world all false statements grate, and teeth correspond to the outmost aspects of nature and to our own outmost natures, which have to do with our senses and our bodies.

On the gnashing of teeth in the hells, see Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; and Luke 13:28.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 574-575


Section 548: Published 1/9/2019

Hellfire and Gnashing of Teeth (Continued)

Because hellfire means the urge to do the evils prompted by love for oneself and the world, and because this kind of urge is characteristic of everyone in hell (see the preceding chapter), when the hells are opened one sees the kind of smoky fire you get in conflagrations. An intense fire rises from the hells where love for oneself rules, and a flickering one from the hells where love of the world rules.

When the hells are closed, though, this fire is not visible. Instead, there is something dark, as though made from thickened smoke. Still, that fire is raging inside, as you can tell from the radiating heat. It is like the heat of ruins after a conflagration, or in some instances like the heat of an active furnace, or in others like that of a hot bath. When this heat flows into us it rouses our cravings—hatred and vengefulness in evil people, and dementia in the ill.

This kind of fire or heat is characteristic of people who are engrossed in the aforementioned loves because in spirit they are in touch with these hells even while they are still living in their bodies.

It does need to be known, though, that the people in the hells are not actually in fire. The fire is an appearance. They do not actually feel any burning, only the kind of warmth they knew in the world. The reason there seems to be fire is correspondence, since love corresponds to fire, and everything we see in the spiritual world has its visible form from its correspondence.

We should bear in mind that this hellish fire or heat changes into an intense cold when warmth flows in from heaven. Then the people there shiver as though they had feverish chills and are in inner torment. This is because of their absolute opposition to the Divine; and heaven’s warmth, which is divine love, snuffs out the warmth of hell, which is love for oneself, and along with it the very fire of their life. This is what causes the cold, the shivering, and the pain. It also then brings about darkness there, and folly and confusion. This does not happen very often, though; only when there is need to quell rebellions that are getting out of hand.

Since hellfire means all the craving to do evil that flows from love for oneself, that same fire also means the kind of torment that occurs in the hells. This is because the impulses that arise from that love are urges to wound people who do not offer respect and deference and reverence. To the extent that rage takes charge, and the hatred and vengefulness that come from rage, people are driven to attack others viciously. When this impulse is inherent in everyone in a community where there are no external restraints, no fears of the law or of loss of reputation or position or profit or life, everyone attacks everyone else out of sheer malice. The strong conquer and subject the rest to their tyranny, cheerfully torturing any who do not surrender. This latter delight is integral to the delight in tyranny to the point that they are of equal intensity. This is because sadism is inherent in hostility, envy, hatred, and vengefulness, which as already noted are the evils of a love of cruelty.

All the hells are communities like this, so everyone there cherishes hatred toward others in her or his heart and bursts out in savagery whenever there is the strength to do so.

These acts of savagery and torture are what are meant by hellfire, because they are the results of their obsessions.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 571-573

Hellfire and Gnashing of Teeth (Continued)

Because hellfire is love for oneself and the world, it is also all the craving of those loves, since craving is love reaching out. Whatever we love we constantly crave, and it is our delight, since we feel delight when we get what we love or crave. There is no other source of our heart’s delight. So hellfire is the craving and pleasure that well up from these two loves as its sources. These evils are contempt for others, enmity and hostility toward people who do not support us, envy, hatred, and vengefulness; and savagery and cruelty as a result. In respect to the Divine, they are denial and a consequent contempt, derision, and blasphemy of the sacred values of the church. After death, when we become spirits, these turn into rage and hatred against such values (see above, Section 562).

Further, since these evils are constantly breathing out the death and destruction of everyone we see as the enemy, of everyone who is the target of this blazing hatred and vengefulness, the delight of our lives is the intent to destroy and kill, or to the extent that we cannot do this, to inflict harm, to wound, and to savage.

These are the meanings of fire in the Word when it deals with evil people and the hells. I should like to cite a few passages in support.

Everyone who is hypocritical and malicious, every mouth that utters folly, because it is aflame with malice as with fire, shall eat briars and brambles and kindle the thickets of the forest, and will rise up with the rising of smoke; and the inhabitants have become the food of fire, a man and his brother do not spare each other. (Isaiah 9:17–18 [9:17–19])

I will make great portents in heaven and on earth—blood and fire and columns of smoke; the sun will turn into darkness. (Joel 2:30, 31)

The earth will become burning pitch, night and day it will not be put out, its smoke will rise up forever. (Isaiah 34:9–10)

Behold, the day is coming that will burn like an oven, and all the proud and all that do wickedness will be stubble, and the coming day will burn them up. (Malachi 4:1)311

Babylon has become the dwelling of demons, those who saw the smoke of her burning cried aloud, the smoke rose up forever and ever. (Revelation 18:2, 18; 19:2 [19:3])

He opened the pit of the abyss and smoke came up out of the pit like the smoke of a huge furnace, and the sun was darkened, and the air, by the smoke from the pit. (Revelation 9:2)

From the mouth of the horses came forth fire and smoke and sulfur; and a third part of the people were killed by the fire and the smoke and the sulfur. (Revelation 11:17–18 [9:17–18])

Whoever worships the beast will drink the wine of the wrath of God mixed with myrrh in the cup of his wrath and will be tortured with fire and sulfur. (Revelation 14:9–10)

The fourth angel poured out his vial on the sun, and it was allowed to burn people by fire with its heat, and so it scorched people with intense heat. (Revelation 16:[8–]9)

They were thrown into a swamp burning with fire and sulfur. (Revelation 19:20; 20:14–15, 21:8)

Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10; Luke 3:9)

The Human-born One will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that gives offense and everyone who does iniquity and consign them to a furnace of fire. (Matthew 13:41–42, 50)

The king will say to those on his left, “Leave me, cursed ones, for the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:4 [25:41])

And they will be sent off into eternal fire, into a Gehenna of fire, where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched. (Matthew 18:8–9; Mark 9:43–49)

The rich man in hell said to Abraham that he was being tormented in flame. (Luke 16:24)

In these and many other passages fire means the craving of love for oneself and love of the world, and the smoke from the fire means the falsity that comes from this evil.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 570


Section 562: Published 2/10/2019