Our Second State after Death (Continued)

Every individual comes to the community where her or his spirit was in the world. Each of us, as to spirit, is actually united to some community, either heavenly or hellish, evil people to hellish communities and good people to heavenly ones. (See Section 438 on the fact that we are brought to our own communities after death.) Spirits are brought there gradually, and ultimately get in. When evil spirits are in the state of their deeper concerns, they gradually turn toward their own communities and eventually face them directly, before this state is completed. When the state is completed, then the evil spirits themselves plunge into a hell where there are people of like mind. To the eye, this plunge looks like someone falling backward headfirst. The reason it looks like this is that such people are in an inverted order. They have loved hellish things and spurned heavenly ones. During this second state, some evil people go in and out of various hells; but they do not seem then to go headlong the way people do when they have been completely undone.

The actual community where their spirits were in the world is shown to them, too, while they are in the state of their outer concerns, so that they know from this that they were in hell during their physical life; but still they are not in the same state as the people who are in hell itself. Rather, they are in a state like that of people in the world of spirits. I will explain later what this state is like compared to that of people in hell.

The separation of evil spirits from good spirits takes place in this second state, since in the first state they were all together. The reason is that as long as spirits are focused on their outward concerns it is like the situation in the world—evil people together with good ones and good ones with evil ones. It is different when people have been brought into their inner natures and are left to their own nature or intentions.

There are various means used for this separation of good people from evil ones. Often it is by having them led around to the communities they had been in touch with through their good thoughts and affections during the first state. This brings them to communities they had misled by outward appearance into believing that they were not evil. Often they are led around through a great arc, and their intrinsic quality is displayed to good spirits everywhere. The good spirits turn away as soon as they see them; and as they turn away, so the evil spirits who are being led around turn away as well, facing the hellish community that is their destination. I forbear to mention other modes of separation; there are many of them.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 510, 511

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