3. What an earthly-minded person is like whose spiritual level has not been opened but is not yet closed.

The spiritual level is not opened in us but is still not closed when we are leading a life that involves some goodwill but do not know very much real truth. This is because that level is opened by a union of love and wisdom, or of warmth and light. Love alone, or spiritual warmth alone, will not do it, and neither will wisdom alone or spiritual light alone. It takes both together. So if we do not know the real truths that constitute wisdom or light, love cannot manage to open that level. All it can do is keep it able to be opened, which is what “not being closed” means. The same holds true for plant life. Warmth alone will not make seeds sprout or trees leaf out. Warmth together with light is what does it.

We need to realize that everything true is a matter of spiritual light and that everything good is a matter of spiritual warmth, and that what is good opens the spiritual level by means of true things, since goodness does what is helpful by means of truths. Helpful acts are the good that love does, deriving their essence from the union of what is good and what is true.

What happens after death to people whose spiritual level is not opened but still not closed is that since they are still earthly-minded and not spiritual-minded, they are in the lowest parts of heaven, where they sometimes have a hard time of it. Alternatively, they may be around the edges of a somewhat higher heaven, where they live in a kind of twilight. This is because in heaven and in each distinct community the light decreases from the center to the circumference, and the people who are especially engaged with divine truths are in the middle, while the people who are only slightly engaged in truths are at the borders. People are only slightly engaged with truths if all they have learned from their religion is that God exists, that the Lord suffered for their sake, and that goodwill and faith are the essential qualities of the church, without making any effort to find out what faith is and what goodwill is. Yet essentially, faith is truth, and truth is complex, while goodwill can be defined as every duty we fulfill because of the Lord. We do things because of the Lord when we abstain from evils as sins.

This is just what I have already said. The purpose is the whole substance of the means, and the purpose through the means is the whole substance of the result. The purpose is thoughtful action, or some good, the means is faith, or something true, and the results are good deeds or acts of service. We can see from this that nothing of goodwill can be instilled into our deeds except to the extent that our goodwill is united to those truths that we attribute to faith. They are the means by which goodwill enters into works and gives them their quality.

from Regeneration, Pages 107-108

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