Without the interior life, the Word in its letter is dead. It resembles a human being, in that a human has an outward self and an inward one, as the Christian world knows. The outer being, separated from the inner, is just a body and so is dead, but the inward being is what lives and allows the outward being to live. The inner being is a person’s soul.
In the same way, the letter of the Word by itself is a body without a soul.
The Word’s literal meaning alone, when it monopolizes our thinking, can never provide a view of the inner contents. Take for example the first chapter of Genesis. The Literal meaning by itself offers no clue that it is speaking of anything but the world’s creation, the Garden of Eden (Paradise), and Adam, the first human ever created. who supposes anything else?
The Wisdom hidden in these details (and never before revealed) will be clear enough from what follows. The inner sense of the first chapter of Genesis deals in general with the process that creates us anew–that is to say, with regeneration–and in particular with the very earliest church; and it does so in such a way that not even the smallest syllable fails to represent, symbolize, and incorporate this meaning.
But without the Lord’s aid not a soul can possibly see that this is the case. As a result, it is proper to reveal in these preliminaries that the Lord in his divine mercy has granted me the opportunity for several years now, without breaking or interruption, to keep company with spirits and angels, to hear them talking, and to speak with them in turn. Consequently I have been able to see and hear the most amazing things in the other life, which have never before come into people’s awareness or thought.
In that world I have been taught about the different kinds if spirits, the situation of souls after death, hell (or the regrettable state of the faithless), and heaven (or the blissful state of the faithful). In particular I have learned what is taught in the faith acknowledged by the whole of heaven. All of these topics will, with the Lord’s divine mercy, be explored farther in what follows.
from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 3, 4, 5