SINCE there are communities in heaven, with people living there the way we do, they too have homes; and these vary depending on the state of the life of each individual. They are splendid for people who are especially deserving and less splendid for people who are of lower rank.
At times, I have talked with angels about homes in heaven, telling them that nowadays hardly anyone would believe that they have homes and houses—some because they do not see them, some because they do not realize that angels are people, some because they believe that the angelic heaven is the sky they see about them with their eyes. Since this appears to be empty and they think that angels are ethereal forms, they come to the conclusion that angels live in the ether. Further, they do not grasp the fact that the same kinds of thing exist in the spiritual world as in the natural, because they know nothing about the spiritual.
Angels have told me that they were aware that this kind of ignorance was prevalent in the world nowadays and, remarkably enough, mainly within the church, and more among the intellectuals there than among the ones labeled simple. They have also said that people could know from the Word that angels are people because the ones that have been seen have been seen as people. So too was the Lord, who took on his full humanity. People could then realize that since angels are people, they have houses and homes and do not fly around in the air, that even though they are called “spirits” they are not breezes, as the ignorance (which angels call insanity) of some would have it.
They could also grasp this if when they thought about angels and spirits they would step outside their preconceptions, which happens when they are not constantly questioning and consciously pondering whether this is so. Everyone actually has a general notion that angels are in human form and that they have homes that are called heavenly dwellings, which are more splendid than earthly houses. But this general notion (which comes from an inflow from heaven), the angels said, promptly collapses into nothing when it becomes the center of conscious attention and is faced with the question whether it is so. This happens particularly among scholars who have used their self-generated intelligence to shut off from themselves both heaven and the passage of light from it.
Much the same happens in regard to faith in our life after death. People who talk about it without thinking at the same time from scholarly concepts of the soul or the doctrine of reunion with our physical bodies believe that after death we will live as people—among angels if we have lived well—and that then we will see magnificent sights and experience raptures. But the moment they focus on the doctrine of reunion with our bodies or some hypothesis about “the soul,” and therefore begin to wonder whether the soul is really like this, whether it is all true, their former notion vanishes.
from Heaven and Hell, Section 183