Our Second State after Death (Continued)

All the people who have lived lives in the world focused on what is good and have acted in accord with their consciences—that is, people who have acknowledged the Divine Being and loved divine truths, and especially people who have applied them to their lives—seem to themselves to have awakened from sleep when they are let into this state of their more inward concerns, like people who have come from darkness into light. They are actually thinking from heaven’s light and therefore from a deeper wisdom; and they are acting from what is good and therefore from a deeper affection.

Heaven is flowing into their thoughts and affections with a profound feeling of blessedness and pleasure that they had never known before. This is because they are in touch with heaven’s angels. Then too, they acknowledge the Lord and worship him with their very lives, because they are engaged in their own lives when they are in this state of more inward concerns (as noted just above in §505). They are also acknowledging and worshiping him in freedom, since freedom is a matter of our deeper affection. In this way they move away from an outward holiness and into the inner holiness that is the essence of real worship. This is the state of people who have lived a Christian life in accordance with the precepts of the Word.

Quite the opposite, though, is the state of people who in the world lived lives focused on evil, who had no conscience and therefore denied the Divine Being; for all the people who live in evil deny the Divine Being inwardly, no matter how convinced they are outwardly that they are not denying but acknowledging. This is because acknowledging the Divine Being and living in evil are opposites. When people like this come into the state of their deeper concerns in the other life, they seem foolish when people hear them talk or see them act, because their evil impulses impel them to break out into wicked deeds—into contempt for others, into derision and blasphemy, hatred, and vengefulness. They cook up plots, some of them with such ingenuity and malice that you would scarcely believe anything like this existed in any human being. They are then free to act in accord with the thoughts of their intentions because they are separated from the more outward factors that constrained them in the world. In short, they lose their rationality because in the world their rationality did not dwell in their deeper natures but in their outer ones. Still, they seem to themselves to be wiser than anyone else.

Once people like this are in the second state, they are let back into the state of their more outward concerns for brief periods of time. They then retain a memory of how they behaved when they were in the state of their more inward concerns. Some of them are embarrassed, and admit that they were insane. Some of them are not embarrassed at all. Some of them resent the fact that they are not allowed to be in the state of their more outward concerns all the time, but they are shown what they would be like if they were constantly in this state. They would be constantly trying to do the same things covertly, misleading people of simple heart and faith with simulations of goodness, honesty, and fairness. They would destroy themselves completely, because eventually their outer natures would be ablaze with the same fire as their inner natures; and this would consume their whole life.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 506


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