Non-Christians, or People Outside the Church, in Heaven

The general opinion is that people who have been born out side the church, the people called “the nations” or “non-Christians,” cannot be saved because they do not have the Word and therefore do not know the Lord; and with out the Lord there is no salvation. They could know, however, that these people too are saved simply from the fact that the Lord’s mercy is universal, that is, it is extended to all individuals.

Non-Christians are born just as human as people within the church, who are in fact few by comparison. It is not their fault that they do not know the Lord. So anyone who thinks from any enlightened reason at all can see that no one is born for hell.

The Lord is actually love itself, and his love is an intent to save every one. So he provides that everyone shall have some religion, an acknowledgment of the Divine Being Heaven through that religion, and an inner life. That is, living according to one’s religious principles is an inner life, for then we focus on the Divine; and to the extent that we do focus on the Divine, we do not focus on the world but move away from the world and therefore from a worldly life, which is an outward life.

People can realize that non-Christians as well as Christians are saved if they know what constitutes heaven in us. The heaven within us is our acknowledgment of the Divine and our being led by the Divine. The beginning and foundation of every religion is its acknowledgment of the Divine Being; a religion that does not acknowledge the Divine Being is not a religion at all. The precepts of every religion focus on worship, that is, on how the Divine is to be honored so that we will be acceptable in its sight; and when this fully occupies the mind (or, to the extent that we intend this or love this) we are being led by the Lord.

The heaven in one individual is not the same as the heaven in another. It differs in each according to the affection for what is good and true. If people are absorbed in an affection for what is good for the sake of the Divine, they love divine truth because the good and the true love each other and want to be united. Consequently, non-Christian people who have not had access to genuine truths in the world still accept them in the other life because of their love.

From Afterlife, Pages 131-132

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