The State of Innocence of Angels in Heaven (Continued)

It is much the same for everyone who is being regenerated. Regeneration is rebirth as a spiritual person. [When we are being regenerated,] we are brought first into the innocence of infancy, which is realizing that we know nothing of truth and are capable of nothing of good on our own, but only from the Lord, and that we long for and seek what is true and good simply because it is true and good. These gifts are granted by the Lord as we advance in age. We are led first into knowledge about them, then from knowledge into intelligence, and finally from intelligence into wisdom, always hand in hand with innocence, which is, as already noted, the recognition that we know nothing of truth and are capable of nothing of good on our own, but only from the Lord. No one can accept heaven without this belief and this perception. It is the prime component of the innocence of wisdom.

Since innocence is being led by the Lord and not by ourselves, all the people who are in heaven are in innocence, since all the people who are there love to be led by the Lord. They know that to be led by oneself is to be led by one’s self-centeredness, and self-centeredness is loving oneself. People who are in love with themselves are not willing to be led by anyone else. This is why angels are in heaven to the extent that they are in innocence; that is, to that extent they are absorbed in divine good and divine truth, for being absorbed in these is being in heaven. Consequently, the heavens are differentiated according to their innocence. People who are in the outmost or first heaven are in innocence of the first or outmost level. People who are in the intermediate or second heaven are in innocence of the second or intermediate level. People who are in the inmost or third heaven, though, are in innocence of the third or inmost level; so they are the very innocent of heaven, since they above all others want to be led by the Lord the way infants are led by their father. This is why they accept divine truth directly into their intent and do it, making it a matter of life, whether they receive it directly from the Lord or mediately through the Word and sermons. This is why they have so much more wisdom than angels of the lower heavens (see Sections 270–271).

Because this is the nature of these angels, they are closest to the Lord, who is the source of their innocence, and they are also distanced from their self-centeredness so much that they seem to live in the Lord. In outward form they look simple—even like infants or little children in the eyes of angels of the lower heavens. They look like people who do not know very much, even though they are the wisest of angels. They are in fact aware that they have no trace of wisdom on their own and that to be wise is to admit this and to admit that what they do know is nothing compared to what they do not know. Knowing, recognizing, and perceiving this is what they call the first step toward wisdom. These angels are also naked, because nakedness corresponds to innocence.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 279, 280

Notes:

Sections 270-271: Published 10/22/2017-10/23/2017

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