LOVE AND THE SELF:Love for Our Neighbor, or Good will (Continued)

It is the goal that tells how we need to be our own neighbors and look after ourselves first. If the goal is to become richer than others solely for the sake of wealth or for pleasure or eminence or anything like that, it is a bad goal. We are loving ourselves, not our neighbor. If, however, the goal is to acquire wealth in order to be fit to be of service to our fellow citizens, our human community, our country, and our church, this is like seeking office for a like purpose, and we are loving our neighbor.

The actual goal of our actions makes us the people that we are because the goal is our love. For everyone, our first and final goal is what we love above all.

All this is about our neighbor. Now I need to discuss love for our neighbor, or goodwill.

Many people believe that love for their neighbor consists of giving to the poor, providing resources to the needy, and doing good to just anyone. Goodwill, though, is acting prudently and with the intent of having a good result. If we provide resources to malefactors who are poor or needy, we are doing harm to our neighbors by providing those resources, because those resources strengthen the malefactors in their evil and supply them with the means of harming others. It is different when we supply resources to good people.

Goodwill, though, reaches out far beyond the poor and needy. Goodwill is doing what is right in everything we do, doing our duty in every position of responsibility. A judge who does what is fair for the sake of fairness is engaged in goodwill. Judges who punish the guilty and acquit the innocent are engaged in goodwill because in doing so they are taking care of their fellow citizens and taking care of their country.

Priests who teach the truth and lead people toward goodness for the sake of what is true and good are engaged in goodwill.

If they do these things for the sake of themselves or for worldly purposes, though, they are not engaged in goodwill, because they are loving themselves rather than their neighbor.

It is the same for others whether they hold some office or not—children toward their parents, for example, and parents toward their children, servants toward their employers and employers toward their servants, subjects toward their monarch and monarchs toward their subjects. If they do their duty for the sake of duty and do what is fair for the sake of fairness, they are engaged in goodwill.

The reason this is a matter of love for our neighbor or goodwill is that everyone is our neighbor, as just noted, but in various ways. A smaller or larger community is more of a neighbor, the country is still more of a neighbor, the Lord’s kingdom still more, and the Lord is the neighbor above all. In the broadest sense the goodness that comes from the Lord is our neighbor, which means that what is honest and fair is as well. So people who do anything good because it is good and who do what is honest and fair because it is honest and fair are loving their neighbor and practicing goodwill. This is because their actions are prompted by a love of what is good, honest, and fair and therefore by a love for people in whom we find what is good, honest, and fair.

Goodwill, then, is an inner motivation that makes us want to do what is good and to do this without reward. Doing this is the joy of our life.

When we are doing good from an inner impulse there is goodwill in the very details of what we are thinking and saying, what we are intending and doing. We might say that with respect to our deeper natures, both we and angels are goodwill [itself] when what is good is our neighbor.

This shows how very far goodwill extends.

If people have love for themselves and the world as their goal, there is no way they can be focused on goodwill. They do not even know what goodwill is; and they completely fail to grasp the fact that intending and doing good for their neighbor without looking for payment is a heaven inside them—that inherent in this impulse there is just as much happiness as heaven’s angels have: more than words can convey. This is because people who selfishly love themselves and the world believe that if they were deprived of the joy they take in their display of prestige and wealth they would no longer have any joy at all, when in fact that would be the beginning of an infinitely transcendent heavenly joy. . . .

from Regeneration, Pages 14-16

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LOVE AND THE SELF: Love for Our Neighbor, or Goodwill (Continued)

These are also ascending levels of neighbor. A community of many is a neighbor on a higher level than a single individual. On a level still higher is our country, on a level still higher is the church, and on a level still higher is the Lord’s kingdom; but on the highest level, our neighbor is the Lord. These ascending levels are like the rungs of a ladder with the Lord at the top.

A community is a neighbor to a greater extent than an individual is because it is made up of many individuals. We are to exercise goodwill toward it just the way we do with respect to individuals, namely, according to the goodness that we find in it. This means that the exercise of goodwill directed toward a community of honest people is totally different from goodwill directed toward a community of dishonest people. We love a community when we are concerned for its welfare because of our love of what is good.

Our country is our neighbor to a greater extent than our community because it is a kind of parent. It is where we were born; it nourishes us and protects us from harm.

We should do good to our country out of love according to its needs, which focus particularly on nourishment for it and on the civil life and the spiritual life of the people who live in it.

If we love our country and do what is good for it because we care about it, then in the other life we love the Lord’s kingdom because there the Lord’s kingdom is our country. Further, anyone who loves the Lord’s kingdom loves the Lord because the Lord is absolutely all there is to his kingdom.

The church is our neighbor to a greater extent than our country because if we care about the church we are caring about the souls and the eternal life of the people of our country. This means that if we care for the church out of love we are loving our neighbor on a higher level because we are longing and striving for heaven and eternal, happy lives for others.

The Lord’s kingdom is our neighbor on a still higher level because the Lord’s kingdom is made up of all who are engaged in doing what is good, both people on earth and people in the heavens. This means that the Lord’s kingdom is where everything that is good is gathered together. When we love this, we love every individual who is engaged in doing what is good. These are the levels of neighbor, the levels by which love increases for people devoted to love for their neighbor.

These levels, though, are in a definite sequence in which the primary or higher is preferable to the secondary or lower; and since the Lord is on the highest level and is to be our central focus on any level as the goal we seek, he is to be loved above all people and all things.

This now enables us to tell how love for the Lord unites itself with love for our neighbor.

It is often said that our neighbor is ourself, meaning that we look after ourselves first. However, a theology of goodwill tells us how we should understand this.

We all need to take care to have the necessities of life, such as the food, clothing, shelter, and more that are necessary for whatever civic life we are involved in. We need to provide these not only for ourselves but also for our dependents, and not only for the present time but also for the future, since unless we acquire the necessities of life for ourselves we cannot be in any condition to extend goodwill. We are in fact in need of everything.

The following comparison may show how we are to be our own neighbors. We all need to provide our bodies with their food and clothing. This needs to come first, but the object is to have a sound mind in a sound body. Furthermore, we all need to provide food for our minds in the form of those things that focus on intelligence and wisdom, the object being that the mind will then be in condition to be of service to our fellow citizens, our human community, our country and church, and therefore the Lord. If we do this we are providing for our well-being to eternity. We can see from this that the main thing is our ultimate purpose in acting, because everything depends on that.

It is also like someone who is building a house. First we need to lay a foundation, but the purpose of the foundation is the house and the purpose of the house is living in it. If we think being a neighbor to ourselves really comes first, it is like regarding the foundation as the objective rather than the house and our life in the house, when in fact our life in the house truly is the first and final goal, and the house and its foundation are only means to this end.

from Regeneration, Pages 12-14

LOVE AND THE SELF: Love for Our Neighbor, or Goodwill (Continued)

We can see from what has been said thus far that in the broadest sense goodness itself is one’s neighbor, since people are neighbors according to the nature of the good that they do, which they get from the Lord. Further, since goodness itself is one’s neighbor, love is one’s neighbor, because everything good is a matter of love. This means that any individual fulfills the role of a neighbor according to the nature of her or his love, which is the Lord’s gift.

It is obvious from people who are mired in love for themselves that love is what makes someone a neighbor and that we are neighbors depending on the nature of our love. Such people recognize as neighbors those who love them the most—that is, those who are most “their own.” These they embrace, these they kiss, these they benefit, and these they call kindred. They accept others as neighbors to the extent that they receive love from them, depending therefore on the quality and amount of the love. People like this start with themselves to determine who is their neighbor, because it is their love that makes their neighbor and determines who it is.

People who do not love themselves above all, though (like all who are in the Lord’s kingdom), start in determining who their neighbor is with the one whom we ought to love above all—that is, with the Lord—and they accept people as neighbors depending on their love for and from him.

This makes it quite clear where we of the church should start in deciding who our neighbor is, and shows that people are our neighbors depending on the goodness that comes from the Lord—that is, on the basis of goodness in itself.

Furthermore, in Matthew the Lord tells us that this is true:

He said to the ones who had been engaged in doing good that they had given him something to eat, that they had given him something to drink, welcomed him, clothed him, visited him and come to him in prison, and then said that to the extent that they had done this to one of the least of his family they had done it to him. (Matthew 25:34–40)

These six good deeds, understood spiritually, comprise all the kinds of neighbor.

This also shows that when we love what is good we are loving the Lord, because the Lord is the source of what is good, the one who is devoted to what is good, and the one who is the good itself.

However, it is not just people as individuals who are one’s neighbor but people in the plural. That is, it is any smaller or larger community, our country, the church, the Lord’s kingdom, and above all the Lord himself. These are “our neighbor,” to whom we should do good out of love.

from Regeneration, Pages 10, 11

LOVE AND SELF: Love for Our Neighbor, or Goodwill

First of all, I need to define “neighbor.” After all, this is the one we are called upon to love and the one toward whom we are to extend our goodwill. You see, unless we know what “neighbor” means, we may extend goodwill in basically the same manner indiscriminately—just as much to evil people as to good ones, then, so that our goodwill is not really goodwill. That is, evil people use their generosity to do harm to their neighbor, while good people do good.

Most people nowadays think that everyone is equally their neighbor and that they should be generous to anyone who is in need. It is a matter of Christian prudence, though, to check carefully what a person’s life is like and to extend goodwill accordingly. When we are devoted to the inner church we do this discriminatingly and therefore intelligently; but when we are devoted to the outer church we act indiscriminately because we are not capable of making distinctions like this.

The different kinds of neighbor that church people really should be aware of depend on the good that any particular individual is engaged in. Since everything good comes from the Lord, the Lord is our neighbor in the highest sense and to the utmost degree, the neighbor as the source [of all good]. It therefore follows that people are neighbors to us to the extent that they have the Lord in themselves; and since no two people accept the Lord (that is, the good that comes from him) in the same way, no two people are our neighbor in the same way. As to what is good, all the people in the heavens and all good people on earth are different. It never happens that exactly the same goodness is found in any two individuals. The goodness needs to vary so that each kind of goodness can stand on its own.

However, none of us can know all these distinctions and all the consequent distinct kinds of neighbor that arise in accordance with the different ways the Lord is accepted—that is, the way the good from him is accepted. Not even angels can know this except in a general way, by categories and their subcategories; and all the Lord requires of us in the church is that we live by what we know.

Since the goodness in every individual is different, it follows that the nature of each person’s goodness determines both the extent to which and the sense in which that individual can function as a neighbor to anyone else. We can see that this is the case from the Lord’s parable about the man who fell among thieves, whom both the priest and the Levite passed by, leaving him half dead, while the Samaritan, after he had bound up the man’s wounds and poured on oil and wine, lifted him onto his own beast and brought him to the inn and made arrangements for his care. This Samaritan is called “a neighbor” because he put into practice the goodness that is associated with goodwill (Luke 10:29–37). We may know from this that a neighbor is someone who is engaged in doing what is good. The oil and wine that the Samaritan poured into the wounds also mean what is good and the truth that it shows us.

from Regeneration, Pages 9, 10

LOVE AND THE SELF: Our Ruling Love (Continued)

Love for ourselves is intending benefit only to ourselves and not to others except as it is in our own interests—not to our church or country, not to any human community or fellow citizen. Love for ourselves is also being good to others only for the sake of our own reputation, advancement, or praise, so that unless we see some such reward in the good we may do for them we say at heart, “What’s the use? Why should I? What’s in it for me?” and forget about it. This shows that when we are caught up in love for ourselves we are not loving our church, our country, our community, our fellow citizens, or anything worthwhile—only ourselves.

We are caught up in love for ourselves whenever we give no consideration to our neighbor in what we are thinking and doing, and therefore we give no consideration to the public welfare, let alone the Lord. We are conscious only of ourselves and our immediate circle. This means that when we do something for the sake of ourselves and our immediate circle and it does benefit the public and our neighbor, it is only for the sake of appearances.

In referring to “ourselves and our immediate circle,” I mean that when we love ourselves we also love those we claim as our own, specifically our children and grandchildren, and in general everyone with whom we identify, whom we call “ours.” Loving them is also loving ourselves. This is because we see them as virtually part of us and see ourselves in them. Included in those we call “ours” is everyone who praises us, respects us, and reveres us.

We are caught up in our love for ourselves when we belittle our neighbors, when we regard anyone who disagrees with us as an enemy—anyone who does not respect and revere us. We are still more deeply caught up in love for ourselves if for such reasons we harbor hatred toward our neighbors and persecute them, and even more deeply if we burn with vengeance toward them and crave their destruction. People who do this eventually come to love cruelty. We can tell what love for ourselves is like by comparing it to heavenly love. Heavenly love is loving service for its own sake, loving for their own sakes the good things we do for church, country, human community, and fellow citizen. When we love these things for our own sakes, though, we love them only as servants who wait on us. It then follows that when we are caught up in love for ourselves we want our church, country, human communities, and fellow-citizens to serve us rather than wanting to serve them. We place ourselves above them, and them beneath us.

Not only that, but the more deeply we are caught up in heavenly love (which is loving actions that are useful and good and enjoying it when we do them), the more we are led by the Lord, since this is the love in which he is and which comes from him. On the other hand, the more deeply we are caught up in love for ourselves the more we are leading ourselves, and the more we lead ourselves the more we are led by our own individual self; and our own individual self is nothing but evil. That self is in fact the evil that we inherit—which is loving ourselves more than God and the world more than heaven.

Furthermore, to the extent that its reins are loosened (that is, with the removal of the outward restraints exerted by fear of the law and its penalties, and by fear of losing reputation, respect, profit, office, and life), selfish love by its very nature goes so wild that it wants to rule not only over every country on earth but even over heaven and over the Divine itself. It knows no boundary or limit. This is the hidden agenda of all who are caught up in love for themselves, even though it is not evident in the world, where the aforementioned reins and restraints keep it in check. When people like this find themselves blocked, they bide their time until an opportunity occurs. The result of all this is that when we are caught up in this love we do not realize that this kind of utterly senseless craving lies hidden within us. . . .

from Regeneration, Pages 7, 8

LOVE AND THE SELF: Our Ruling love

Our love is our life itself. What our love is like determines how we live and therefore everything about what we are as human beings. It is, however, specifically our ruling or dominant love that makes us who we are.

That love has many loves subordinate to it, loves that derive from it. They take on various guises, but nevertheless these specific loves are inherent in the ruling love and together with it make a single domain. The ruling love is like their monarch or head. It governs them and works through them as intermediate goals, in order to focus on and strive for its own goal, the primary and ultimate of all. It does this both directly and indirectly.

Whatever belongs to our ruling love we love more than anything else.

Whatever we love more than anything else is constantly present within our thoughts and also within our intentions. It constitutes the very essence of our life. For example, if we love wealth more than anything else, whether in the form of money or in the form of possessions, we are constantly calculating how we can acquire it. We feel the deepest joy when we do acquire it and the deepest grief when we lose it—our heart is in it.

If we love ourselves more than anything else, we are mindful of ourselves at every little moment. We think about ourselves, talk about ourselves, act to benefit ourselves. In fact, our life is a life of pure self.

We have as our goal whatever we love more than anything else. We focus on it constantly in each and every thing we do. It is within our will like the hidden current of a river that draws and carries us along even when we are doing something else, because it is what animates us.

This is the ruling love that we see and examine in others, using it either to lead them or to cooperate with them.

Our quality is entirely determined by what controls our life. That is what distinguishes us from each other. That is what determines our heaven if we are good and our hell if we are evil. It is our essential will, everything we claim to be, and our nature. In fact, it is the very substance of our life. It cannot be changed after death because it is what we really are.

Everything we find pleasing, satisfying, and happy comes to us from our ruling love and answers to it. We call whatever we love pleasing because that is how it feels to us. While we can also call something pleasing that we think about but do not love, that is not a pleasure of our life.

To enjoy our love stands as what is good in our estimation, and anything we do not enjoy stands as what is bad in our estimation.

There are two loves from which arises everything that is good and true, as though from their very wellsprings, and there are two loves from which arises everything that is evil and false. The two loves that are the source of everything good and true are love for the Lord and love for our neighbor, while the two loves that are the source of everything evil and false are love for ourselves and love for this world.

These latter two loves are the exact opposites of the former two loves.

The two loves that are the source of everything good and true (which as just stated are love for the Lord and love for our neighbor) make heaven for us, so they reign in heaven as well; and since they make heaven for us they also make the church.

The two loves that are the source of everything evil and false (which as just stated are love for ourselves and love for this world) make hell for us and therefore reign in hell as well.

The two loves that are the source of everything good and true (which as just stated are heaven’s loves) open and give form to our inner, spiritual self because that is where they live. However, when the two loves that are the source of everything evil and false are in control, they close and wreck our inner, spiritual self and cause us to be earthbound and sense-bound according to how much they dominate us and according to the manner in which they do it. . . .

from Regeneration, Pages 5, 6

LOVE AND THE SELF: Will and Understanding

We have two abilities that make up our life, one called will and the other understanding. They are distinguishable, but they are created to be one. When they are one, they are called the mind; so they are the human mind, and it is there that the entirety of our life is truly to be found.

Just as all things in the universe (those that agree with the divine design) trace their origin back to goodness and truth, so everything in us traces its origin back to our will and understanding. This is because whatever good we have depends on our will and whatever truth we have depends on our understanding. These two faculties, these twin living parts of us, receive and are acted upon by what is good and true: our will receives and is acted upon by everything that is good, and our understanding receives and is acted upon by everything that is true. Goodness and truth can be found nowhere else in us but in these faculties. Furthermore, since they are not to be found anywhere else, neither are love and faith, since love and goodness are mutually dependent, and similarly faith and truth.

Now, since everything in the universe traces its origin back to goodness and truth and everything in the church traces its origin back to the good that love does and the truth that our faith understands, and since we are human because of will and understanding, the theology [I am now presenting] deals with will and understanding as well. Otherwise we could have no clear concept of them, no solid foundation for our thinking.

Will and understanding also form the human spirit, since they are where our wisdom and intelligence are found; or, to state it in general terms, they are our life’s own true dwelling.

The body, by contrast, is simply a thing that follows orders.

There is no knowledge more relevant than knowing how our will and understanding make one mind. They make one mind the way goodness and truth make a single reality. There is the same kind of marriage between will and understanding as there is between goodness and truth. That is, an instance of goodness is the actualizing of something, and truth is the manifestation of the thing that is actualized. In the same way, it is through our will that our lives are actualized, and it is through our understanding that our actualized life becomes manifest to us. This is because any instance of goodness that comes from our will takes form in our understanding and manifests itself [to our apprehension] there.

People who are focused on what is good and true have both will and understanding, while people who are focused on what is evil and false do not have will or understanding. Instead of will they have craving, and instead of understanding they have mere information. Any genuine human will is receptive to goodness, and any genuine human understanding is open to truth. This means that will cannot be associated with anything that is evil and understanding cannot be associated with anything that is false—because these things are opposites, and opposites are mutually destructive. That is why anyone who is focused on something evil and therefore on what is false cannot be called rational, wise, or intelligent. Then too, the deeper levels of our minds are closed when we are evil, and those levels are where our will and understanding principally reside.

We assume that we have will and understanding even when we are evil because we say that we are willing things and understanding them, but our “willing” in that case is nothing but craving and our “understanding” is mere information.

from Regeneration, Pages 3-4

Notes:

The first two paragraphs were published 3/30/2016

Our Nature after Death Depends on the Kind of Life We Led in the World (Continued)

The fact that love in action, and therefore our life, is what remains follows logically from what I have presented from experience and what I have just said about deeds and works. Love in action is the work and the deed.

We do need to know that all works and deeds are matters of moral and civic life and therefore focus on what is honest and right and what is fair and equitable. What is honest and right is a matter of moral life, and what is fair and equitable is a matter of civic life. The love these come from is either heavenly or hellish. The works and deeds of our moral and civic life are heavenly if we do them from a heavenly love, because things that we do from a heavenly love we do from the Lord, and everything we do from the Lord is good. On the other hand, the deeds and works of our moral and civic life are hellish if they come from a hellish love, since whatever we do from this love, which is a love for ourselves and the world, we do from ourselves, and whatever we do from ourselves is intrinsically evil. In fact, seen in our own right, or in terms of what is actually ours, we are nothing but evil.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 483, 484

Our Nature after Death Depends on the Kind of Life We Led in the World (Continued)

The fact that our faith does not stay with us unless it comes from a heavenly love has been brought home to me by so much experience that if I were to relate what I have seen and heard about it, it would fill a book. I can attest to this: that there is no faith whatever and there can be none for people who are engrossed in carnal and worldly love apart from heavenly and spiritual love. There is only information, or a secondhand belief that something is true because it serves their own love. Further, a number of people who thought they had had faith were introduced to people of real faith; and once communication was established they perceived that they had no faith at all. They even admitted later that simply believing the truth or the Word is not faith; but faith is loving what is true from a heavenly love and intending and doing it from a deep affection. I was also shown that the secondhand belief they called faith was only like the light of winter in which everything on earth lies dormant, bound by the ice and buried in snow because there is no warmth to the light. As a result, the moment it is touched by rays of heaven’s light, the light of their secondhand faith is not only extinguished but actually becomes a dense darkness in which people cannot even see themselves. At the same time, too, their deeper reaches are so darkened that they cannot discern anything and ultimately go mad because of their false convictions.

The result is that all the truths such people have learned from the Word and from the teaching of the church are taken away from them, all the things they claimed were part of their faith, and in their place they are filled with everything false that accords with the evil of their life. They are actually all plunged into their loves and into the false notions that support them as well. Then, since truths contradict the false, malicious notions they are absorbed in, they hate the truths, turn their backs on them, and reject them.

I can bear witness from all my experiences of what happens in heaven and in hell that people who have confessed faith alone as a matter of doctrine and have engaged in evil as regards their lives are all in hell. I have seen thousands of them sent there and have described them in the booklet The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 482

Our Nature after Death Depends on the Kind of Life We Led in the World (Continued)

We come into heaven if our love is heavenly and spiritual and into hell if our love is carnal and worldly without any heavenly and spiritual dimension.

My evidence for this conclusion is all the people I have seen raised into heaven and cast into hell. The ones who were raised into heaven had lives of heavenly and spiritual love, while the ones who were cast into hell had lives of carnal and worldly love. Heavenly love is loving what is good, honest, and fair because it is good, honest, and fair, and doing it because of that love. This is why they have a life of goodness, honesty, and fairness, which is a heavenly life. If we love these things for their own sakes and do or live them, we are also loving the Lord above all because they come from him. We are also loving our neighbor, because these things are our neighbor who is to be loved. Carnal love, though, is loving what is good and honest and fair not for their own sakes but for our own sake, because we can use them to gain prestige, position, and profit. In this case we are not focusing on the Lord and our neighbor within what is good and honest and fair but on ourselves and the world, and we enjoy deceit. When the motive is deceit, then whatever is good and honest and fair is actually evil and dishonest and unfair. This is what we love within [the outward appearance].

Since these loves define our lives, we are all examined as to our quality immediately after death, when we arrive in the world of spirits, and we are put in touch with people of like love. If we are focused on heavenly love, we are put in touch with people in heaven; and if we are focused on carnal love, we are put in touch with people in hell. Further, once the first and second states have been completed the two kinds of people are separated so that they no longer see or recognize each other. We actually become our own love not only as to the deeper levels of our minds but outwardly as well, in face, body, and speech, since we become images of our love even in outward things. People who are carnal loves look coarse, dim, dark, and misshapen; while people who are heavenly loves look lively, clear, bright, and lovely. They are completely different in spirit and in thought as well. People who are heavenly loves are intelligent and wise, while people who are carnal loves are dense and rather silly.

When leave is given to examine the inner and outer aspects of the thoughts and affections of people engaged in heavenly love, the inner reaches look as though they were made of light, in some cases like the light of a flame; and their outer manifestations are of various lovely colors, like a rainbow. In contrast, the inner reaches of people who are engaged in carnal love look gloomy because they are closed in, in some cases like a smoky fire for people who were inwardly maliciously deceptive. Their outer manifestations have an ugly color, depressing to look at (both the inner and outer aspects of the mind and spirit are presented visually in the spiritual world whenever it so pleases the Lord).

People who are engaged in carnal love do not see anything in heaven’s light. Heaven’s light is darkness to them, while hell’s light, which is like the light of glowing embers, is like daylight to them. In fact, in heaven’s light their inner sight is deprived of light to the point that they become insane. As a result, they run away from it and hide in caves and caverns of a depth that corresponds to the false convictions that stem from their evil intentions. Exactly the reverse is true for people who are engaged in heavenly love, though. The deeper or higher they enter into heavenly light, the more clearly they see everything and the lovelier it all looks, and the more intelligently and wisely they grasp what is true.

There is no way that people who are engaged in carnal love can live in heaven’s warmth, because heaven’s warmth is heavenly love. They can live in hell’s warmth, though, which is a love of cruelty toward people who do not support them. The pleasures of this love are contempt for others, hostility, hatred, and vengefulness. When they are absorbed in these they are in their very life, with no knowledge whatever of what it means to do good for others out of sheer goodness and for the sake of the good itself. All they know is how to do good out of malice and for the sake of malice.

People who are engaged in carnal love cannot breathe in heaven either. When evil spirits are taken there, they draw breath like someone who is struggling painfully. On the other hand, people who are engaged in heavenly love breathe more freely and feel more alive the deeper into heaven they come.

We may gather from this that a heavenly and spiritual love is heaven for us because everything heavenly is written on that love; and that carnal and worldly love apart from heavenly and spiritual love is hell for us because everything hellish is written on that love.

We can see, then, that people come into heaven who have a heavenly and spiritual love, and people come into hell who have a carnal and worldly love without a heavenly and spiritual one.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 481