The truth of this has been witnessed to me by an abundance of experiences, some of which now follow. None of the angels in the heavens ever sees the Divine in any form except the human form. Even more remarkably, angels in the higher heavens cannot think about what is divine in any other way. They are led into the necessity of thinking this way because of the essential divine that is flowing into them and also because of the form of heaven, which determines how their thoughts reach out around them. In fact, all the thought that angels have spreads out in heaven, and they have intelligence and wisdom in proportion to this outreach. This is why everyone there acknowledges the Lord, since the divine human exists only in him. I have not only been told this by angels, I have been allowed to perceive it when I was raised into a more inward sphere of heaven.
We can see, then, that the wiser angels are, the more clearly they perceive this, which is why the Lord is visible to them. The Lord does appear in a divine angelic form, which is a human form, to people who acknowledge and trust in a visible Divine Being, but not to people who acknowledge and trust in an invisible Divine Being. The former can see the Lord’s divine [form], but the latter cannot.
Since angels do not perceive an invisible Divine Being (which they call a formless Divine) but a visible Divine Being in human form, it is common practice for them to say that only the Lord is a person, and that they are people because of him. They also say that each of us is human in proportion to our acceptance of him. By “accepting the Lord” they understand accepting what is good and true that comes from him, because the Lord is present in everything good and true that comes from himself. Angels call this wisdom and intelligence. They say everyone knows that intelligence and wisdom are what make us human, not simply the outward form by itself.
The truth of this is actually visible to angels of the inner heavens. Since the Lord keeps them engaged in what is good and true and therefore in wisdom and intelligence, they are in the loveliest and most perfect human form; while the angels of lower heavens are in a less perfect and lovely form.
Everything is inverted in hell. In heaven’s light, the people who are there hardly look human at all. They look like monsters. They are caught up in what is evil and false and not in what is good and true, and are therefore in the opposite of wisdom and intelligence. As a result, their life is not called life, but spiritual death.
Since heaven in its entirety and in its parts does reflect a person because of the Lord’s divine human, angels say that they are “in the Lord” and even that they are “in his body,” meaning that they are in the very substance of his love. This is also what the Lord is teaching us when he says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me; for without me you can do nothing. Abide in my love. If you keep my precepts, you will abide in my love” (John 15:4–10).
Since this is how the Divine Being is perceived in the heavens, it is instinctive in everyone who accepts any inflow from heaven to think of the Lord in a human guise. The ancients did so and even modern people do, both outside and inside the church. Simple people see him in thought as an ancient one, in glory.
But this instinct has been stifled by all the people who have distanced themselves from the heavenly inflow by pride in their own intelligence and by evil lives. The ones who have stifled it by pride in their intelligence prefer an invisible God, while the ones who have done so by evil lives prefer no God at all. Because this instinct is not in them, neither type knows that it even exists, although this is the essential heavenly divine nature that flows into us first and foremost from heaven because we are born for heaven; and no one enters heaven without some concept of the Divine Being.
from Heaven and Hell, Sections 79-82