Broadly speaking, what lies in store for rich people in heaven is this. They live more elegantly than others, some in palaces where everything within gleams like gold and silver. They have everything they need for a useful life. However, they do not set their hearts on such things but on their useful activities. These they see clearly and in full light, while the gold and silver are relatively hazy and shadowy. The reason is that in the world they had loved being useful and had loved gold and silver only as subservient means. This is how useful things gleam in heaven—what works for good like gold, what works for truth like silver. The quality of the useful functions they served in the world determines their wealth, their pleasure, and their happiness.
Good and useful activities include providing the necessities of life for oneself and one’s own, wanting ample resources for the sake of one’s country and one’s neighbor, whom a rich person can benefit in far more ways than a poor person can. [These activities are useful also] because they lead the mind away from an idle life, which is destructive, since in that kind of life our thoughts turn to evil because of our inborn evil nature.
These useful activities are good to the extent that the Divine is within them—that is, to the extent that we focus on the Divine and on heaven and invest ourselves in these as good, investing in wealth only as a subservient means.
What awaits rich people who do not believe in the Divine Being and reject matters of heaven and the church from their minds is quite the opposite. They are in hell, where they find filth and wretchedness and want. When wealth is loved as an end, it turns into things like these, and not only the wealth itself but also what it is used for—the pampered living, the indulgence in pleasures, the wider and freer dedication to amorality, the self-exaltation over people they belittle. Because these riches and these functions have nothing spiritual in them, only earthly qualities, they turn to filth. The spiritual aspect of wealth and its uses is like the soul in a body and like the light of heaven in moist earth. So a body without a soul becomes putrid, as does moist earth without the light of heaven. These are the people whom wealth has seduced and drawn away from heaven.
from Heaven and Hell, Sections 361-362
Previously Cited: 7/21/2018