After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form (Continued)

It does need to be known that our human form is lovelier after death to the extent that we have more deeply loved divine truths and have lived by them, since our deeper levels are opened and formed according to both our love of these truths and our life. So the deeper the affection and the more it accords with heaven, the lovelier the face. This is why the angels who are in the inmost heaven are the loveliest—because they are forms of heavenly love. On the other hand, people who have loved divine truths more outwardly and have therefore lived by them more outwardly are less lovely, since only the more outward aspects radiate from their faces, and the deeper heavenly love—which means the form of heaven as it is in its own right—does not shine through these more outward forms. You can see something relatively dim in their faces, not enlivened by a light of their inner life shining through. In short, all perfection increases as you move inward and lessens as you move outward. As the perfection increases or lessens, so does the beauty.

I have seen faces of angels of the third heaven so beautiful that no painters, with all their skill, could render a fraction of their light with their pigments or rival a thousandth part of the light and life that show in their faces. The faces of angels of the outmost heaven, though, can be mirrored to some extent.

Finally, I should like to offer a secret no one has ever known before, namely that everything good and true that comes from the Lord and makes heaven is in the human form. This is true not only of the greatest whole but also of every least part. This form influences everyone who accepts what is good and true from the Lord, and causes everyone in heaven to be in a human form according to that acceptance. This is why heaven is consistent with itself in general and in particular, why the human form is the form of the whole, of each community, and of each angel, as explained in the four chapters from Section 59 to Section 80. I need to add here that this is also the form of the details of thought that come from heavenly love in angels.

This secret may not fit well into the understanding of anyone on earth, but it is clear to the understanding of angels because they are in heaven’s light.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 459, 460

Notes: Section 59 to Section 80 have not been published yet in this blog.

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After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form (Continued)

When we first enter the world of spirits (which happens shortly after the reawakening just described), our spirit has a similar face and tone of voice as it did in the world. This is because at that point we are in the state of our external concerns, with our deeper concerns not yet uncovered. This is our initial state after decease. Later, though, our face changes and becomes quite different. It comes to look like the ruling affection in which the deeper reaches of our minds were engaged in the world, the kind of affection characteristic of the spirit within our body, because the face of our spirit is very different from the face of our body. We get our physical face from our parents and our spiritual face from our affection, which it images. Our spirit takes on this face after our physical life is over, when the outer coverings have been removed. This is our third state.

I have seen some newcomers from the world and have recognized them by their faces and voices; but when I saw them later, I did not recognize them. People who were engaged in good affections had lovely faces, while people who were engaged in evil affections had ugly ones. Seen in its own right, our spirit is nothing but our affections, whose outward form is our face.

The reason our faces change is that in the other life no one is allowed to pretend to affections they do not really have, so we cannot put on a face that is contrary to the love we are engaged in. We are all refined down to a state in which we say what we think and manifest in expression and act what we intend. This is why our faces all become forms and images of our affections; and this is why all the people who have known each other in the world still recognize each other in the world of spirits, but not in heaven or hell, as already noted (Section 427)

The faces of hypocrites change more slowly than those of other people, because by constant practice they have formed the habit of arranging their inner minds into a counterfeit of good affections. So for a long time they look fairly attractive. However, since this false front is gradually stripped off and the deeper elements of their minds are arranged in the form of their affections, eventually they are uglier than other people.

Hypocrites are people who talk like angels but who inwardly respect only nature, not the Divine Being, and who therefore deny the realities of the church and of heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 457, 458

Notes: Section 427 will be published next Friday, 5/26/2017.

After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form (Continued)

Years and years of daily experience have witnessed to me that after separation from the body the human spirit is a person and is in a similar form. I have seen this thousands of times, I have heard such spirits, and I have talked with them even about the fact that people in the world do not believe that they are what they are, and that scholars think people who do believe are simpletons. Spirits are heartsick over the fact that this kind of ignorance is still common in the world and especially in the church.

They say, however, that this belief stems especially from academics who have thought about the soul on the basis of physical sensory reality. The only concept this can yield is one of pure thought, and when this lacks any medium in which and on the basis of which it is examined, it is like some volatile form of pure ether that can only dissipate when the body dies. Since the church believes in the immortality of the soul on the basis of the Word, though, they cannot help but attribute something vital to it, something thoughtlike. However, they do not attribute to it any sensory capacity like ours until it is reunited with its body. Their doctrine of the resurrection is based on this notion, as is their belief that there will be a reunion [of soul and body] when the Last Judgment comes. The result is that when people think about the soul on the basis of both doctrine and speculation, they do not at all grasp the fact that it is the spirit and that it is in human form. There is also the fact that hardly anyone nowadays knows what the spiritual is, let alone that people who are spiritual, as all spirits and angels are, have a human form.

This is why almost all the people who arrive from this world are as astonished as they can be to find that they are alive and that they are just as human as ever, that they are seeing and hearing and talking, that their bodies are still endowed with the sense of touch, and that nothing at all has changed (see Section 74 above). Once they get over their amazement, though, then they are amazed that the church does not know anything about this state of ours after death and therefore does not know anything about heaven or hell, even though all the people who have lived in this world are in the other life and are living people. Since they do keep wondering why this has not been made plain to people on earth through visions, inasmuch as it is essential to the faith of the church, they have been told from heaven that such visions could happen whenever it pleased the Lord—nothing could be easier. However, people would not believe even if they were to see, because they have convinced themselves of the opposing false notions. Further, it is dangerous to use visions to convince people of anything if they are immersed in false opinions, because they will believe at first and then deny. In this way they will desecrate the truth itself, since desecration is believing and then denying. People who desecrate truths are forced down into the lowest and direst hell of all.

This is the danger meant by the Lord’s words, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts lest they see with their eyes and understand with their heart and turn themselves and I might heal them” (John 12:40); and the fact that people immersed in false opinions still would not believe is meant when it says, “Abraham said to the rich man in hell, They have Moses and the prophets, let them heed them. But he said, No, Father Abraham, but if someone from the dead were to come to them, they would change. But Abraham said, If they do not heed Moses and the prophets, then even if someone were raised from the dead, they would not believe” (Luke 16:29–31).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 456

After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form (Continued)

Rational individuals can understand what has been said so far because they can see this from the chain of causes and from truths in their pattern. However, people who are not rational do not understand these things. There are several reasons why they do not understand. The primary one is that they do not want to understand because these things contradict the false opinions that they have made their truths. People who do not want to understand for this reason close off the path of heaven into their rational ability. Even so, it can still be opened if only their will does not offer resistance (see Section 424). A great deal of experience has shown me that people can understand what is true and be rational if only they are willing. Quite often, evil spirits who have become irrational by denying the Divine and the truths of the church in this world (and convincing themselves in their denial) have by divine compulsion been faced toward people who were in the light of truth. Then they understood everything like angels and admitted that they were true and that they understood everything. However, the moment they turned back toward the love proper to their own intentions, they did not understand anything and said just the opposite.

I have even heard some hellish people saying that they knew and recognized that what they were doing was evil and what they were thinking was false, but that they could not resist the gratification of their love and therefore of their will. This moved their thoughts to see evil as good and falsity as true. I could see from this that people who are immersed in false notions because of their malice could understand and could therefore be rational, but that they did not want to. The reason they did not want to was that they loved false notions more than true ones because the former supported the evil pursuits they were engaged in. Loving and intending are the same thing because we love what we intend and intend what we love.

Since we are by nature able to understand what is true if we are willing to, I have been granted the privilege of supporting spiritual truths, truths of the church and heaven, by rational considerations. This is to the end that the false notions that have obscured the rational functioning of many people may be dispelled by rational considerations and their eyes perhaps opened a little. If people are focused on truths, it is granted them to support spiritual truths by rational ones. Who would possibly understand the Word simply from its literal meaning unless they saw some truths in it by enlightened reason? What else is the cause of the many heresies drawn from the same Word?

from Heaven and Hell, Section 455

After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form (Continued)

The reason the form of a spirit is a human one is that in regard to our spirits we have been created in the form of heaven, since all the elements of heaven and its design are summed up in the elements of the human mind. This is the source of our ability to accept intelligence and wisdom. It makes no difference whether you talk about our ability to accept intelligence and wisdom or our ability to accept heaven, as you may gather from what has been presented concerning heaven’s light and warmth (Sections 126–140), heaven’s form (Sections 200–212), angels’ wisdom (Sections 265–275), and from the chapter titled “The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual” (Sections 59–77). This is caused by the Lord’s divine human nature, which is the source of heaven and its form (Section 78–86).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 454

After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form

THE fact that the form of a spirit-person is the human form or that a spirit is a person as far as form is concerned follows from what has been presented in a number of the earlier chapters, especially where I explained that every angel is in a perfect human form (Sections 73–77), that everyone is a spirit inwardly (Sections 432–444), and that the angels in heaven are from the human race (Sections 311–317).

This may be grasped even more clearly from the fact that we are human because of our spirit, not because of our body, and because our physical form is appended to the spirit in keeping with its form, not the other way around, since a spirit is clothed with a body that suits its form. As a result, the human spirit acts upon the individual parts of the body, even the smallest ones, even to the point that any part that is not activated by the spirit, any part in which there is no spirit acting, is not alive. Anyone may realize this by considering that thought and intent activate absolutely everything in the body and are so completely in control that nothing dissents, and that if anything does not consent it is not part of the body. It is actually expelled as something with no life in it. Thought and intent are attributes of our spirit, not of the body.

The reason we cannot see the human form of spirits who have left the body and spirits still within the people we meet is that our physical organ of sight, the eye, is material to the extent that it can see in this world, and what is material sees only what is material. What is spiritual, though, does see what is spiritual; so when the material eye is covered over and loses its coordination with the spirit, then spirit is visible in its own form. This is a human form not only for spirits who are in the spiritual world but also for spirits in people we meet while they are still in their bodies.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 453

Heaven and Hell Come from the Human Race (Continued)

Once we have learned about the divine design, we can understand that we were created to become angels because the ultimate boundary of that design is found in us (Section 304), which means that in us the substance of heavenly and angelic wisdom can take form and can be restored and multiplied. The divine design never comes to rest part way, forming something without a boundary: that is not the design in its fullness and perfection. Rather, it presses on to its ultimate boundary, and when it has reached that limit it takes form; and then by means that it gathers on that level it restores itself and produces more, which is accomplished by procreation. This is why the seedbed of heaven is on this lowest level.

The reason the Lord rose not only in respect to his spirit but in respect to his body as well is that when the Lord was in the world, he glorified his whole human nature—that is, he made it divine. In fact, his soul, which he received from the Father, was essentially the Divine itself, and his body became an image of that soul (that is, of the Father) and therefore also divine. This is why he, unlike anyone else, rose in both spirit and body. He showed this to his disciples—who believed they were seeing a spirit when they saw him—by saying, “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I do” (Luke 24:36–38 [24:39]). In this way he pointed out that he was not a person in spirit only, but in body as well.

To let people know that we live after death, and that then we come into either heaven or hell depending on our lives, I have been shown a great deal about our state after death that will be presented in sequence below when we come to a description of the world of spirits.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 315-317

Heaven and Hell Come from the Human Race (Continued)

We may conclude that heaven is from the human race from the fact that angelic minds and our minds are very much alike. Both enjoy abilities to understand, perceive, and intend. Both are formed for the acceptance of heaven. In fact, our minds are just as wise as angelic minds; but they are not as wise in this world because we are in an earthly body, and in an earthly body our spiritual mind thinks in a natural manner. It is different, though, when it is freed from its tie to the body. Then we no longer think naturally, but spiritually, and when we think spiritually, we think thoughts that are incomprehensible and inexpressible to a natural person. This means we are as wise as angels. We may gather from this that our own inner person, what we call our spirit, is essentially an angel (see above, Section 57).

Once it is freed from the earthly body it is in a human form just like that of an angel. (On angels being in perfect human form, see Sections 73–77 above.) However, when our inner person has not been opened upward but only downward, then we are in a human form after we are freed from this body, but it is a frightening and diabolical form because it cannot look upward toward heaven, only downward toward hell.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 314

Heaven and Hell Come from the Human Race (Continued)

Many of the scholars of the Christian world are dumbfounded when they find themselves after death in bodies, wearing clothes, and in houses the way they were in this world. When they call to mind what they had thought about life after death, the soul, spirits, and heaven and hell, they are embarrassed and say that they had been thinking nonsense. They say that people of simple faith had been far wiser than they. Some scholars were examined who had completely convinced themselves in this kind of belief and attributed everything to nature.

It turned out that their inner natures were completely closed off, while their more outward natures were open. This meant that they were not looking toward heaven but toward the world, and therefore toward hell; for to the extent that our deeper natures are opened, we look toward heaven, while to the extent that they are closed and our more outward natures are open, we look toward hell. Our deeper levels are formed for the acceptance of heaven and our more outward ones for acceptance of the world; and if we accept the world without accepting heaven at the same time, we are accepting hell.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 313

Heaven and Hell Come from the Human Race (Continued)

This belief among church people is also the cause of their belief that no one will arrive in heaven or hell before the time of the Last Judgment, which they have come to believe will be a time when everything they can see perishes and new things come into being, when souls will return into their bodies and then begin once more to live as people because of this reunion. This faith implies the other, about angels having been created in the beginning, for it is not possible to believe that heaven and hell come from the human race when you believe that no one is going to get there until the end of the world.

So to convince people that this is not the case, I have been allowed to associate with angels and to talk with people in hell for several years now, sometimes constantly from morning until evening, and so to learn about heaven and about hell. The purpose of all this is that church people should remain no longer in their mistaken beliefs about a resurrection on Judgment Day and about the state of their souls in the meanwhile, or about angels and the devil. Because this faith is a mistaken one, it brings darkness with it; and for people who think about such things on the basis of their own intellect, it leads to doubt and eventually to denial. They are actually saying in their hearts, “How can such a vast heaven and so many stars be destroyed and disappear, along with the sun and the moon? How can stars that are larger than the earth fall on the earth? How can bodies that have been eaten by worms and destroyed by decay and scattered to the four winds be reunited to their souls? Where have these souls been in the meanwhile, and what have they been like without any of the senses they had in their bodies?”

There are many other questions like these, which do not accord with belief because they are incomprehensible, and for many people they are destroying any belief in a life after death, in heaven and hell, and along with these the rest of the contents of the faith of the church. This destruction can be observed in people who say, “Who has come back from heaven and told us that it exists, or from hell, to say that it exists? What is this business about people being tortured by fire to eternity? What is this Judgment Day? Haven’t we been waiting for it for centuries, all in vain?” along with any number of other things that imply a denial of everything.

Many people who are particularly skilled in worldly affairs think like this; so to prevent them from further disturbing and misleading people of simple faith and simple heart and bringing on a hellish darkness concerning God, heaven, eternal life, and the other matters that follow from them, the deeper reaches of my spirit have been opened by the Lord, enabling me to talk after their death with all the people I have ever known during their physical lives. I have talked with some for days, with some for months, and with some for a year. I have talked with so many others that it would be no exaggeration to talk in terms of a hundred thousand, many in heaven and many in hell. I have talked with some just two days after their deaths and told them that now their funerals and burial rites were being performed so that they could be interred; to which they have responded that it was a good thing they had cast off what had served them as a body for their functions in our world, wanting me to say that they were not dead at all. They were just as alive and just as human as ever, having simply crossed over from one world to another. They were not aware of having lost anything, since they were just as much in a body as before, enjoyed volition and understanding just as before, and had thoughts and affections, sensation, and desires similar to the ones they had in our world.

Many people who have just died, when they have discovered that they are living persons just as they were before, and in a similar state (for our first state after death is like the one we were in on earth, although this changes gradually for us either toward heaven or toward hell), have been moved by a newfound joy at still being alive. They have said they would not have believed it. They were absolutely amazed that they had been in such ignorance and blindness about the state of life after death, all the more so that this is true of people within the church, who could be in more light about such matters than all the rest of the whole world. Now for the first time they were seeing the reason for this blindness and ignorance, namely, that their outward concerns, their concerns for worldly and bodily matters, preoccupied and filled their minds so completely that they could not be raised into heaven’s light and look into ecclesiastical subjects beyond the formalities of doctrine. When bodily and worldly matters are loved as much as they are today, nothing flows in from them but darkness when the mind tries to press further.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 312