Marriage in Heaven (Continued)

I once heard an angel describe true marriage love and its heavenly pleasures along these lines: It is the Lord’s divine nature in the heavens, that is, divine good and divine truth, united in two individuals to the point that they are no longer two but one. The angel said that two spouses in heaven are that love because each is her or his own good and truth in both mind and body. This is because the body is the outward model of the mind, having been formed as its image. It follows that the Divine is imaged in two people who are immersed in true marriage love; and because the Divine is imaged, so is heaven, since the totality of heaven is divine good and divine truth emanating from the Lord.

This is why everything heavenly has this love engraved upon it, along with so many blessings and pleasures that they cannot be numbered. Expressing the number with a word that suggested ten thousands times ten thousands, the angel was astonished that church people do not know anything about this when the church is the Lord’s heaven on earth and heaven is a marriage of the good and the true; and the angel described being dumbfounded at the thought that adultery was practiced and even rationalized more within the church than outside it, because spiritually understood (and therefore in the spiritual world), the pleasure of adultery is essentially nothing but the pleasure of a love of the union of what is false and what is evil. This is a hellish pleasure, because it is diametrically opposed to the pleasure of heaven, which is the pleasure of a love of what is true united to the good.

Everyone knows that two spouses who love each other are intimately united, and that the essence of marriage is the union of spirits or minds. People might therefore realize that the essential nature of the spirits or minds determines the nature of the union and the nature of the love the two have for each other. The mind is formed from nothing but things that are true and things that are good, since everything in the universe goes back to the good and the true and also to their union. So the quality of the union of minds depends entirely on the quality of the true and good elements that constitute those minds. This means that the most perfect union is a union of minds formed from things that are genuinely true and good.

It does need to be realized that there is no greater love than the love between the true and the good, which is why real marriage love comes down from that love. What is false and what is evil also love each other, but this love later turns into hell.

We may conclude from what has been said thus far about the origin of marriage love just which people are actually involved in it and which people are not. People who are focused on divinely good realities because of divine truths are in marriage love; and marriage love is genuine to the extent that the truths that are united to the good are themselves more genuine. Further, since everything good that is united to truths comes from the Lord, it follows that no one can be in real marriage love who does not acknowledge the Lord and his divine nature, since apart from this acknowledgment the Lord cannot flow in and be united to the truths within us.

We can see from this that people who are caught up in false thoughts are not involved in marriage love, especially if those false thoughts stem from evil. In people who are engaged in evil and consequently in false thoughts, the deeper levels of their minds are closed. This means that there cannot be any source of marriage love within them. However, on a lower level, in the outer or natural person divorced from the inner, there is a union of the false and the evil, a union that is called a hellish marriage.

I have been allowed to see what marriage is like between people who are caught up in false thoughts of an evil origin, which is called hellish marriage. They do talk to each other and even cohabit out of lust, but inwardly they burn with a mutual hatred so murderous as to be beyond description.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 374-377

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