I need now to say something about the wisdom of the angels of the third or inmost heaven, and about how much it surpasses the wisdom of the first or outmost heaven.
The wisdom of angels of the third or inmost heaven is beyond comprehension, even for angels of the first or outmost heaven. This is because the inner natures of angels of the third heaven are opened at the third level, while those of angels of the first heaven are open only at the first level; and all wisdom increases as you move toward the deeper levels and is perfected as they are opened (Sections 208, 267).
Since the inner levels of angels of the third heaven are opened at the third level, they have divine truths virtually engraved on them, for inner matters at the third level are more in heaven’s form than those at the second and first level. Heaven’s form arises from divine truth and therefore is in agreement with divine wisdom. This is why divine truths seem to these angels to be engraved, or to be instinctive and innate. Because of this, as soon as they hear genuine divine truths, they immediately acknowledge and grasp them and from then on virtually see them within themselves. Because this is characteristic of angels of this heaven, they never try to figure out divine truths, much less argue whether some particular truth is true or not. They do not know what it is to believe or have faith, but say, “What is faith? I perceive and see that this is so.” They offer a comparison by way of illustration. It would be like someone seeing a house and various things in and around it and telling someone with him that he ought to believe that they existed and that they were what they seemed to be. Or it would be like someone seeing a garden with trees and fruit in it and telling someone that she should have faith that it was a garden and that those were trees and fruit when she could see them plainly with her own eyes. So these angels never call “faith” by name and in fact have no concept of it. This is why they do not try to figure out divine truths, much less argue whether any particular truth is true or not.
In contrast, angels of the first or outmost heaven do not have divine truths engraved on their inner natures in this way because for them only the first level of life has been opened. So they do try to figure things out, and people who are calculating in this way see little more than the subject they are puzzling over. They do not go beyond that subject except to find support for their conclusions, and once they have decided, they say that these should be matters of faith and are to be believed.
I have talked about this with angels, who have told me that the difference between the wisdom of angels of the third heaven and the wisdom of angels of the first heaven is like the difference between something bright and something dark. Or again, they have compared the wisdom of angels of the third heaven to a palace full of everything useful, surrounded far and wide by parklands, with all sorts of splendid things beyond. Since these angels enjoy truths of wisdom, they can enter the palace and see everything there. They can stroll anywhere in the parks and enjoy whatever they see. It is different for people who are trying to figure things out, though, and even more so for people who argue about them. These individuals do not see truths in the light of truth, but adopt them either from other people or from the literal meaning of the Word, which they do not understand in depth. So they say that truths must be believed or that people must have faith in things—things that they then do not want anyone looking into very deeply. The angels kept saying that these people could not get to the first threshold of the palace, much less enter it and stroll around in its parks, because they are stuck at the first step. It is different for people who are engaged in actual truths. Nothing keeps them from moving ahead without limit; for once truths have been seen they lead on wherever they are headed, even into spacious meadows, because every truth has an infinite outreach and is united to many, many others.
They also said that the wisdom of angels of the inmost heaven consists primarily of their seeing divine and heavenly things in individual objects and wonders in series of objects, for everything that appears to their eyes has a correspondence. When they see palaces and gardens, for instance, their insight does not dwell on the things in front of their eyes but sees the deeper things they stem from, the things, that is, to which they correspond. This goes on with constant variety in keeping with the appearance of the objects; so at any given time there are countless things in a pattern and a connectedness so delightful to their minds that they seem to be transported. (Everything that is visible in the heavens corresponds to something divine that is from the Lord in angels, see Sections 170–176.)
from Heaven and Hell, Section 270
Sections 170-176: Published 12/12/2016-12/15/2016
Section 208: Published 5/3/2019
Section 267: Published 11/26/2019