Marriage in Heaven (Continued)

Genuine marriage love is found in the inmost heaven because the angels there are absorbed in the marriage of the good and the true and are in innocence as well. Angels of lower heavens are in marriage love too, but only to the extent that they are in innocence; because seen in its own right, marriage love is a state of innocence. So between partners who are in marriage love there are heavenly pleasures almost like games of innocence to their minds, like those of babies, because there is nothing that does not delight them. Heaven flows into the smallest details of their lives with its joy. This is why marriage love is pictured in heaven by the loveliest things of all. I have seen it represented by an indescribably lovely young woman enveloped by a white cloud. I was told that all the beauty of angels in heaven comes from marriage love. The affections and thoughts that flow from it are represented by gleaming auras, like those of fiery gems or rubies, all this accompanied by feelings of delight that move the deeper levels of the mind.

In a word, heaven portrays itself in marriage love because heaven for angels is the union of the good and the true, and it is this union that constitutes marriage love.

Marriages in the heavens differ from marriages on earth in that earthly marriages are also for the purpose of having children, while this is not the case in the heavens. In place of the procreation of children there is the procreation of what is good and true. The reason for this replacement is that their marriage is a marriage of the good and the true, as presented above, and in this marriage what is good and true is loved above all, as is their union; so these are what are propagated by the marriages in the heavens. This is why in the Word births and generations mean spiritual births and generations, births of what is good and true. The mother and father mean the true united to the good that is prolific, the sons and daughters the good and true things that are born, and the sons-in-law and daughters-in-law mean the unions of these [descendants], and so on.

We can see from this that marriages in the heavens are not the same as marriages on earth. In the heavens there are spiritual weddings that should not be called weddings but unions of minds, because of the union of the good and the true. On earth, though, there are weddings, because they concern not only the spirit but the flesh as well. Further, since there are no weddings in the heavens, two spouses there are not called husband and wife, but because of the angelic concept of the union of two minds into one, each spouse is identified by a word that means “belonging to each other.”

This enables us to know what is meant by the Lord’s words about marriages in Luke 21:35–36 [20:35–36].

I have also been allowed to see how marriages are entered into in the heavens. Throughout heaven, people who are similar gather together and people who are dissimilar part company. This means that every community consists of like-minded people. Like are drawn toward like not by their own will but by the Lord (see above, Sections 41–45). In the same way, spouse is drawn toward spouse when their minds can be united into one. So at first sight they love each other most deeply, see each other as married partners, and enter into their marriage. This is why all of heaven’s marriages are the work of the Lord alone. They also hold a feast in celebration with many people gathered; these feasts differ from community to community.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 382-383

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