There is a constant balance between heaven and hell. An effort to do evil is constantly emanating upward from hell, and an effort to do good is constantly emanating down from heaven. The world of spirits is in this equilibrium (on its location halfway between heaven and hell, see Sections 421–431 above).
The reason the world of spirits is in this equilibrium is that after death we first enter the world of spirits and are kept in the same state we were in in the world. This could not happen unless there were a perfect balance there. This allows everyone to be examined there as to quality, since we keep the same kind of freedom we had in the world. Spiritual equilibrium is a state of freedom for us and for spirits, as just noted (Section 589).
Angels in heaven can tell the kind of freedom people have by a communication of affections and consequent thoughts. It also becomes visible to angelic spirits from the paths people follow, with good spirits following paths that lead to heaven and evil spirits following paths that lead to hell. These paths are actually visible in that world, which is why paths in the Word mean truths that lead to what is good, or in an opposite sense, falsities that lead to what is evil. This is also why going, walking, and traveling in the Word mean processes of life. I have often been allowed to see paths like these, with spirits walking along on them freely, in accord with their own affections and consequent thoughts.
The reason evil is constantly emanating up from hell and good emanating down from heaven is that everyone is surrounded by a spiritual aura, an aura that flows out in waves from the life of our affections and their thoughts. Further, since this kind of aura flows out from every individual, it also flows out from every heavenly community and every hellish community, therefore from everyone at once, or from all heaven and all hell. The reason good flows out from heaven is that everyone there is involved in what is good, and the reason evil flows out from hell is that everyone there is involved in what is evil. All the good that comes from heaven is from the Lord, since the angels who are in the heavens are all kept out of their self-image and kept in the Lord’s image, which is goodness itself. On the other hand, all the spirits who are in the hells are in their own self-image and everyone’s own self-image is nothing but evil; and since it is nothing but evil, it is hell.
We may gather from this that the equilibrium angels in the heavens and spirits in the hells are kept in is not like the balance that obtains in the world of spirits. The equilibrium of angels in the heavens depends on how much they had wanted to be involved in good or had lived in goodness in the world—how opposed they were to evil; while the equilibrium of spirits in hell depends on how much they had wanted to be involved in evil or had lived in evil in the world—that is, how resistant they had been to the good, in heart and in spirit.
from Heaven and Hell, Sections 590-591
Sections 421-431: Published 5/22/2017-5/28/2017
Section 589: Published 3/17/2019