Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven (Continued)

All the teaching there is from doctrine drawn from the Word, and not from the Word apart from doctrine. Christians are taught on the basis of a heavenly doctrine that is in complete agreement with the inner meaning of the Word. The others, like the Muslims and non-Christians, are taught on the basis of doctrines suited to their grasp. These differ from heavenly doctrine only in that spiritual life is taught through a moral life in accord with the good tenets of their own religion, which was the basis of their life in the world.

Teaching in the heavens differs from teaching on earth in that [there] information is not consigned to memory but to life, since spirits’ memory is in their life. They actually accept and absorb whatever agrees with their life and do not accept, much less absorb, what does not agree. This is because spirits are affections, and therefore have a human form that resembles their affections.

Since this is their nature, they are constantly breathing in a desire to know what is true, for the sake of constructive living. The Lord in fact sees to it that we love the constructive activities that suit our gifts. This love is intensified by our hope of becoming angels. Further, since all the activities of heaven focus on a common use, which is the welfare of the Lord’s kingdom (which now is our country), and since we fulfill our distinctive individual functions to the extent that they focus directly and intimately on that common use, all the countless distinctive and individual functions are good and heavenly. This means that for each of us an affection for what is true is united to an affection for usefulness to the point that they act as one. A true understanding of use is sown in this way, so that the truths we learn are true perceptions of what is useful. This is how angelic spirits are taught and prepared for heaven.

There are various ways in which an affection for the truth suited to usefulness is instilled, many of them unknown in the world, primarily by depictions of useful activities. These can be presented in thousands of ways in the spiritual world, with such grace and charm that they permeate spirits all the way from the deeper levels of their minds to the outer levels of their bodies and therefore affect the whole person. As a result, spirits virtually become their constructive lives; so when they arrive in the communities their instruction has prepared them for, they are in their own life when they are engaged in their useful activities.

We may gather from this that awareness, which is an outward form of truth, does not get anyone into heaven. Rather, what gets us in is the useful life that is granted through knowledge.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 516, 517

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