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

Since deeds and works are matters of intention and thought, they are also matters of love and faith to the point that their quality is the quality of their love and faith. That is, it amounts to the same thing whether you talk about our love or about our intentions, whether you talk about our established faith or about our thought, since what we love we also intend, and what we believe we also think. If we love what we believe, we intend it as well and do it to the extent that we can. Anyone can realize that love and faith dwell within our intentions and thought and not outside them, since intent is what is kindled by love and thought is what is enlightened in matters of faith. This means that only people who can think wisely are enlightened; and depending on their enlightenment they think what is true and intend what is true, they believe what is true and love what is true.

We do need to recognize, though, that volition makes us who we are. Thought does so only to the extent that it arises from our volition, while deeds and works come from both. Or in other words, love is what makes us who we are; faith does so only to the extent that it arises from love, and deeds and works come from both. It follows from this that love or intent is the actual person, for the things that come forth belong to the person they come forth from. To come forth is to be produced and presented in a form suited to observation and sight.

We may gather from this what faith is apart from love—no faith at all, only information with no spiritual life in it. The same holds true for deeds apart from love. They are not deeds or works of life at all, only deeds or works of death containing some semblance of life derived from a love of evil and a faith in what is false. This semblance of life is what we call spiritual death.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 473, 474


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

Works and deeds,” though, does not mean works and deeds solely the way they look in outward form. It also includes their deeper nature. Everyone knows, really, that all our deeds and works come from our intention and thought, for if they did not come from there they would be no more than motions like those of machines or robots. So a deed or work in its own right is simply an effect that derives its soul and life from our volition and thought, even to the point that it is volition and thought in effect, volition and thought in an outward form. It follows, then, that the quality of the volition and thought that cause the deed or work determines the quality of the deed or work. If the thought and intent are good, then the deeds and works are good; but if the thought and intent are evil, then the deeds and works are evil, even though they may look alike in outward form. A thousand people can behave alike—that is, can do the same thing, so much alike that in outward form one can hardly tell the difference. Yet each deed in its own right is unique because it comes from a different intent.

Take for example behaving honestly and fairly with an associate. One person can behave honestly and fairly with someone else in order to seem honest and fair for the sake of self and to gain respect; another person can do the same for the sake of worldly profit; a third for reward and credit; a fourth to curry friendship; a fifth out of fear of the law and loss of reputation and office; a sixth to enlist people in his or her cause, even if it is an evil one; a seventh in order to mislead; and others for still other reasons. But even though all of their deeds look good (for behaving honestly and fairly toward a colleague is good), still they are evil because they are not done for the sake of honesty and fairness, not because these qualities are loved, but for the sake of oneself and the world, because these are loved. The honesty and fairness are servants of this love, like the servants of a household whom their lord demeans and dismisses when they do not serve.

People behave honestly and fairly toward their colleagues in a similar outward form when they are acting from a love of what is honest and fair. Some of them do it because of the truth of faith, or obedience, because it is enjoined in the Word. Some of them do it for the sake of the goodness of faith or conscience, because they are moved by religious feeling. Some of them do it out of the good of thoughtfulness toward their neighbor, because one’s neighbor’s welfare is to be valued. Some of them do it out of the goodness of love for the Lord, because what is good should be done for its own sake; so too what is honest and fair should be done for the sake of honesty and fairness. They love these qualities because they come from the Lord, and because the divine nature that emanates from the Lord is within them. So if we see them in their true essence, they are divine. The deeds or works of these people are inwardly good, so they are outwardly good as well; for as already noted, the nature of deeds and works is entirely determined by the nature of the thought and intent from which they stem, and apart from such thought and intent they are not deeds and works but only lifeless motions.

We may gather from this what is meant by works and deeds in the Word.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 472

There Are Two Loves

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.

from Regeration

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

ANY Christian knows from the Word that our life is still with us after death, since it says in many places that we will be judged according to our deeds and works and rewarded accordingly. Further, anyone who thinks on the basis of what is good and from real truth cannot help but see that people who live well enter heaven and people who live evil lives enter hell. However, people who are intent on evil do not want to believe that their state after death depends on their life in the world. They think rather, especially when their health begins to fail, that heaven is granted to all on the basis of mercy alone no matter how people have lived, and that this depends on a faith that they keep separate from life.

It does say in many places in the Word that we will be judged and requited according to our deeds and works. I should like to cite a few passages here.

The Human-born One is to come in the glory of the Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his or her works. (Matthew 16:17 [16:27])

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Truly, says the spirit, so that they may rest from their labors, their works follow them. (Revelation 14:11 [14:13])

I will give to all according to their works. (Revelation 2:23)

I saw the dead, small and great, standing in the presence of God, and books were opened, and the dead were judged according to what was written in the books, according to their works; the sea gave up those who had died in it, and death and hell gave up the people who were in them, and they were all judged according to their works. (Revelation 20:13, 15 [20:12, 13])

See, I am coming; and my reward is with me, and I will give to all according to their works. (Revelation 22:12)

Everyone who hears my words and does them I will compare to a prudent person, but everyone who hears my words and does not do them is like a foolish person. (Matthew 7:24, 26)

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in the heavens. Many people will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied through your name, and through your name cast out demons, and in your name done many powerful deeds?” But then I will confess to them, “I do not recognize you. Get away from me, workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22, 23)

Then you will begin to say, “We have eaten in your presence and drunk, and you have taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I tell you, I do not recognize you, workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:25–27)

I will repay them according to their work, and according to the deeds of their hands. (Jeremiah 25:14)

Jehovah, whose eyes are open upon all our paths, to give to us all I will visit upon their ways and repay them their works. (Hosea 4:9)

Jehovah deals with us according to our ways and according to our works. (Zechariah 1:6)

Where the Lord is predicting the Last Judgment, he recounts only deeds, and [says] that the people who have done good works will enter eternal life, and that the people who have done evil works will enter damnation (Matthew 25:32–46). There are many other passages as well that deal with our salvation and damnation.

We can see that our outward life consists of our works and deeds, and that the quality of our inner life is manifested through them.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 470, 471

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

We might gather that they are like this when they arrive in the spiritual world after death simply from the fact that at that point everything in their natural memory becomes dormant, everything that is directly united to their physical senses, like the academic disciplines we listed just above. All that remain are the rational abilities that now serve as a basis for thinking and talking. We actually take with us our entire natural memory, but its contents are not open to our inspection and do not enter into our thought as when we were living in this world. We cannot retrieve anything from it and present it to spiritual light because the contents are not matters of that light. However, the rational or cognitive abilities we acquired through the arts and sciences while living in the flesh do square with the light of the spiritual world. So to the extent that our spirit has become rational by means of our insights and learning in this world, we are rational after our departure from the body. For then we are spirits, and it is the spirit that thinks within the body.

It is different for people who have acquired intelligence and wisdom by means of their insights and information, people who have applied everything to the service of their lives and have at the same time acknowledged the Divine Being, loved the Word, and led a life both spiritual and moral (as described above in Section 319). For them, learning served as a means to being wise and for substantiating matters of faith. The deeper levels of their minds are perceived and even seen as transparent to the light, with a bright color, fiery or azure, like that of clear diamonds or rubies or sapphires, depending on the support they derived, from their learning, for the Divine and for divine truths. True intelligence and wisdom look like this when they are presented visually in the spiritual world. This comes from heaven’s light, which is divine truth emanating from the Lord, the source of all intelligence and wisdom (see above, Sections 126–133).

The focal planes of this light in which the shadings stand forth like colors are the deeper levels of the mind; and it is the validations of divine truths through what we find in nature—that is, by learning—that produce these shadings. Actually, our inner mind probes the material in our natural memory and uses the fire of heavenly love to refine (so to speak) the things there that support it, to draw them off and purify them to the point that they become spiritual concepts. We are not aware that this is going on as long as we are in our physical bodies because in this state, though we are thinking both spiritually and naturally, we still do not notice what we are thinking spiritually but only what we are thinking naturally. However, once we have arrived in the spiritual world we are not aware of what we once thought naturally, in this world, only what we were thinking spiritually. This is how our state changes.

We can see from this that we become spiritual by means of our insights and learning and that these are means of becoming wise only for people who acknowledge the Divine Being in both faith and life. These people are received into heaven before others and live there with the ones who are in the center (Section 43) because they are in more light than others. In heaven they are the intelligent and wise ones who shine like the radiance of the firmament and gleam like stars. The simple people there, though, are the ones who have acknowledged the Divine Being and have loved the Word and led a spiritual moral life, but who have not developed the deeper levels of their minds through insights and learning in the same way. The human mind is like soil whose quality depends on the way it is tilled.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 355, 356


Section 319: Published 7/18/2017

Sections 126-133: Published 11/22/2016-11/27/2016

Section 43: Published 5/7/2017

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

I have been allowed to talk with many scholars after their departure from our world, with some who were quite renowned and celebrated throughout the learned world for their publications, as well as with some who were not so well known but who still had within themselves a hidden wisdom.

The ones who at heart denied the Deity, whether or not they acknowledged the Deity out loud, had become so stupid that they could scarcely understand any civic truth, let alone any spiritual truth. I could both comprehend and see that the inner levels of their minds were so shut off that they looked inky black (things like this are made visible in the spiritual world), and that this meant they could not bear any heavenly light or let in any inflow from heaven. The blackness that enveloped their deeper levels was greater and more extensive for people who had convinced themselves of their opposition to the Divine by means of their secular scholarship.

In the other life, people like this gladly accept anything false. They soak it up like a sponge soaking up water; and they repel anything true the way something bony and springy repels anything that falls on it. It is also said that if people convince themselves of their opposition to the Divine and their advocacy of nature, their deeper levels actually become bony. Their heads even look callused, as though they were made of ebony, and this reaches all the way to their noses, a sign that they no longer have any perception.

People like this are sunk in quagmires that look like swamps, where they are pestered by the hallucinations that their falsities turn into. Their hellfire is their craving for glory and fame, which leads them to denounce each other and to torment with hellish zeal anyone who does not worship them as gods. They do this to each other by turns. This is what becomes of all earthly learning that does not accept light from heaven into itself by our acknowledgment of the Divine.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 354

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (continued)

By false intelligence and wisdom we mean any intelligence and wisdom that is devoid of acknowledgment of the Divine. In fact, people who do not acknowledge the Divine Being but put nature in place of the Divine all think on the basis of their physical bodies. They are merely sense-centered, no matter how scholarly and learned they are considered in this world. Their learning, though, does not rise any higher than the things in front of their eyes in this world, things that they keep in their memory and inspect almost physically. This is the case even though the very same branches of knowledge serve truly intelligent people as a means of forming their understanding. By “branches of knowledge” we mean the various experimental disciplines such as physics, astronomy, chemistry, mechanics, geometry, anatomy, psychology, philosophy, and political history, as well as the realms of literature and criticism and language study.

There are church dignitaries who deny the Divine. They do not raise their thoughts any higher than the sensory concerns of the outer person. They look on the contents of the Word as no different from knowledge about anything else; they do not treat those contents as subjects of thought or of any thorough consideration by an enlightened rational mind. This is because their own deeper levels are closed off, and along with them, the more outward levels that are next to these deeper ones. The reason they are closed is that they have turned their backs on heaven and reversed the things that they could see there, things that are proper to the deeper levels of the human mind, as we have noted before. This is why they cannot see what is true and good—because these matters are in darkness for them, while what is false and evil is in the light.

Nevertheless, sense-centered people can think logically, some of them actually with more skill and penetration than other people. However, they rely on deceptive sensory appearances bolstered by their own learning, and since they can think logically in this fashion, they think they are wiser than other people.e The fire that fuels their reasoning is the fire of love for themselves and the world.

These are the people who are devoted to false intelligence and wisdom, the ones meant by the Lord in Matthew: “Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13–15); and again, “Things are hidden from the intelligent and wise and revealed to children” (Matthew 11:25–26).

from Heaven and Hell,Section 353

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

By pseudo-intelligence and wisdom we mean not seeing and grasping what is true and good (and therefore what is false and evil) from within oneself, but only believing that things are true and good or false and evil because someone else says so, and then ratifying it. Since such people are not seeing what is true on the basis of its truth but only on someone’s authority, they can just as well latch onto something false as something true and believe it, and even rationalize it until it actually seems to be true. Whatever is rationalized takes on the appearance of truth, and there is nothing that cannot be rationalized. Their deeper levels are open only downward, and their outer levels are opened to the extent that they have made up their minds. So the light they see from is not heaven’s light but the world’s light, which is called “natural illumination.” In this light, false things can shine as though they were true. In fact, once they have become matters of complete conviction, they can even glow, though not in heaven’s light.

The less intelligent and wise people of this sort are those who have convinced themselves of a great many opinions, and the more intelligent and wise are the ones who have convinced themselves of fewer.

We can see from all this what pseudo-intelligence and wisdom are.

However, this category does not include people who as children believed as true what they heard from their teachers, if in later youth, when they began to think on their own, they did not hang on to these opinions but had a longing for truth, sought it because of their longing, and were moved inwardly when they found it. Because they are moved by truth for its own sake, they see what is true before they make it a matter of conviction.

An example may serve to illustrate this. Some spirits were engaged in a conversation about the reason why animals are born into all the knowledge that is appropriate to their natures, while humans are not. They were told that this is because animals are wholly engaged in the pattern appropriate to their lives, while we are not; so we have to be led into that pattern by means of insights and information. If we were born into the pattern of our lives, which is loving God above all and our neighbor as ourselves, we would be born into intelligence and wisdom and therefore into a trust in everything true to the extent that our insights built up. The good spirits immediately saw and grasped that this was so, simply from the light of truth. However, some spirits who had convinced themselves of faith alone and had therefore pushed love and thoughtfulness aside could not understand it, because the light of false convictions obscured the light of truth for them.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 352

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

In this world, it is believed that people who are full of information—whether concerning the doctrines of the church and the Word or the arts and sciences—see truths more deeply and sharply than others, and are therefore more intelligent and wiser. These people believe the same about themselves. We need to explain below, though, what true intelligence and wisdom are, and what the counterfeit and false versions are.

True intelligence and wisdom are seeing and grasping what is true and good; on that basis seeing what is false and evil, and distinguishing accurately between them; and doing this from insight and an inner perception. There are deeper and more external levels to every individual, the deeper comprising what belongs to the inner or spiritual person and the outer what belongs to the outer or natural person. The way the deeper levels are formed and unite with the outer ones determines the way we see and perceive. Our deeper levels can be formed only in heaven, while the outer ones are formed in this world. When the inner levels have been formed in heaven, then whatever occurs there flows into the outer levels that are derived from this world and forms them to be responsive—that is, to act as one with the inner levels. Once this has been accomplished, we see and perceive from within.

The only way these inner levels can be formed is by our focusing on the Deity and on heaven, for as already noted, the deeper levels are formed in heaven. We focus on the Deity when we believe the Deity and believe that it is the source of everything true and good and therefore of all intelligence and wisdom. We believe the Deity when we want to be led by the Deity. This is the only way our deeper levels are opened.

When we are devoted to this faith and are in a life in keeping with it, we enjoy the ability to understand and to be wise. However, in order to be intelligent and wise, it is fitting that we learn a great deal not only about heavenly matters but also about earthly ones. We learn about heavenly matters from the Word and the church and about earthly ones from the arts and sciences. To the extent that we learn and apply our learning to our lives, we become intelligent and wise, for to that extent our deeper vision, the sight of our understanding, and our deeper affection, which is the affection of our intentions, are perfected.

Of people like this, the simple ones are the ones whose deeper levels have been opened but have not been so much developed through spiritual, moral, civil, and natural truths. They grasp truths when they hear them, but do not see them within themselves. In contrast, the wise ones are the ones whose deeper levels have been not only opened but also developed. They both see truths within themselves and grasp them. We can see from all this what true intelligence and wisdom are.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 351

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

All the people who have acquired intelligence and wisdom in the world are received in heaven and become angels, according to the quality and amount of their individual intelligence and wisdom. Whatever we have acquired in this world stays with us. We take it with us after death, where it is increased and filled out, all within the level of our own affection and desire for what is true and good, and not beyond that level. People who have had little affection and desire accept little, but still as much as they can accept on their own level. People who have had great affection and desire accept much. The actual level of affection and desire is like a measure that is filled to the brim. This means more for people whose measure is great and less for people whose measure is small. This is because the love to which affection and desire belong accepts everything that suits it, so the amount of love determines the amount of receptivity. This is the meaning of the Lord’s words, “To all who have, it will be given, and they will have more abundantly” (Matthew 13:12; 25:29); “Into your lap will be given a good measure, pressed down, shaken, and overflowing” (Luke 6:38).

Everyone is accepted into heaven who has loved what is true and good for the sake of what is true and good. People who have loved a great deal are the ones who are called “wise,” and people who have loved less are the ones who are called “simple.” The wise ones in heaven are in abundant light, while the simple in heaven are in less light, all according to their level of love of what is good and true.

To love what is true and good for the sake of what is true and good is to intend and to do them, for the people who intend and act are the ones who love, not the ones who do not intend and act. The former are the ones who love the Lord and are loved by the Lord, because what is good and what is true are from the Lord; and since they are from the Lord, the Lord is within them (within what is good and what is true, that is); so he is also with people who accept what is good and what is true into their lives by intending and doing them.

Seen in our own right, we are nothing but our good and our truth, because the good is the substance of our volition and the true is the substance of our understanding, and the quality of our volition and understanding determines our own quality as persons. We can see from this that we are loved by the Lord to the extent that our volition is formed from what is good and our understanding is formed from what is true. To be loved by the Lord is to love the Lord as well, because love is reciprocal. The Lord enables the beloved to love.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 349, 350