The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities (Continued)

All the communities communicate with each other, but not through open interaction. Actually, not many individuals leave their own community to go to another, because leaving their community is like leaving themselves or their life and crossing over into another that does not suit them. Rather, they all communicate by the outreach of the auras that emanate from the life of every individual. An aura of life is an aura of affections based in love and faith. This reaches out far and wide into surrounding communities, farther and wider as the affections are deeper and more perfect. Angels possess intelligence and wisdom in proportion to this outreach. The ones who are in the most inward heaven and therefore at the center have an outreach into all of heaven, so that there is a communication of everyone in heaven with each individual and of each individual with everyone. We will have more to say about this outreach below, though, when we discuss the heavenly form in which angelic communities are arranged (and also when we discuss the wisdom and intelligence of angels), for all the outreach of affections and thoughts follows this form.

We have noted above that there are larger and smaller communities in the heavens. The larger ones consist of tens of thousands of individuals, the smaller of some thousands, and the smallest of hundreds. There are even people who live alone, house by house, so to speak, and family by family. Even though they live apart, they are still arranged in the same pattern as those who live in communities, with the wiser of them in the center and the simpler at the periphery. They are very closely under the Lord’s guidance, and are the best of angels.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 49, 50


Previously Cited: 5/10/2017


The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities (Continued)

All the individuals who make up a particular angelic community have a general facial resemblance, but differ in detail. I could grasp this general similarity and particular difference to some extent on the basis of similar situations in this world. We know that every race has a general similarity about the face and eyes that enables us to recognize it and distinguish it from other races, and that the same is even more true from one family to another. This holds true much more perfectly in the heavens, because there all the deeper feelings are visible and shine forth from the face, the face there being their outward and graphic form. It is not possible in heaven to have a face that differs from our feelings.

I have also been shown how this general similarity is varied in detail in the individuals of a single community. There was a kind of angelic face that appeared to me, and this was varied according to the qualities of affections for the good and the true that were characteristic of the individuals in a particular community. These variations lasted quite a while, and through it all I noticed that the same general face remained constant as a basis, with everything else being simply derivations and elaborations from it. In this way, too, I was shown the affections of the whole community that occasioned the differences in the faces of its members, for as already noted, the faces of angels are their deeper qualities taking form, which means they are forms of the affections proper to their love and faith.

This is also why an angel of outstanding wisdom sees the quality of others instantly, from their faces. In heaven, no one can conceal inner character by facial expression and pretend, much less lie and deceive others by guile and hypocrisy.

It does sometimes happen that hypocrites steal into [heavenly] communities, hypocrites trained in hiding their inner nature and arranging their outward appearance in the benevolent form they present in public, thereby misleading angels of light. However, they cannot stay around very long. They begin to feel inner discomfort and torment, their faces start to turn blue, and they almost faint—changes caused by their opposition to the life that is flowing in and affecting them. So they promptly cast themselves back into the hell of people like themselves and no longer dare to climb up again. These are the people meant by the man who was discovered among the dinner guests without a wedding garment and was thrown out into outer darkness (Matthew 22:11).

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 47-48


Previously Cited: 5/9/2017

Matthew 22:11-14 (NLT):

“But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding.  ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply.  Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities (Continued)

Kindred souls gravitate toward each other spontaneously, as it were, for with each other they feel as though they are with their own family, at home, while with others they feel like foreigners, as though they were abroad. When they are with kindred souls, they enjoy the fullest freedom and find life totally delightful.

We can see from this that the good gathers everyone together in the heavens, and that angels are differentiated by what good they do. Still, it is not the angels who gather themselves, but the Lord, the source of all that is good. He leads them, unites them, differentiates them, and keeps them in freedom to the extent that they are engaged in what is good. So he keeps every individual in the life of his or her own love, faith, intelligence, and wisdom—and therefore in happiness.

Further, people of similar quality all recognize each other there just the way people in this world recognize their neighbors and relatives and friends, even though they may never have seen each other before. This happens because the only relationships and kinships and friendships in the other life are spiritual ones, and are therefore matters of love and faith.

I have often been allowed to see this when I was in the spirit and therefore out of body and in the company of angels. Then some of them looked to me as though I had known them from infancy, while others seemed totally unfamiliar. The ones who looked as though I had known them from infancy were the ones who were in a state like that of my own spirit, while the unfamiliar ones were in dissimilar states.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 44-46


Previously Published: 5/8/2017

The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities

THE angels of any given heaven are not all together in one place, but are separated into larger and smaller communities depending on differences in the good effects of the love and faith they are engaged in. Angels engaged in similar activities form a single community. There is an infinite variety of good activities in heaven, and each individual angel is, so to speak, his or her own activity.

The distances between angelic communities in the heavens also vary as their activities vary, in general and in detail. This is because the only cause of distance in the spiritual world is the difference of the state of our more inward natures—in the heavens, then, differences in the state of love. When communities are very different, the distance between them is great; when the difference is slight, the distance is slight. Likeness makes for unity.

All the individuals in a single community are distanced from each other by the same principle. The better ones, that is, the ones who are more complete in goodness and therefore in love, wisdom, and intelligence, are in the center. Those who are less outstanding surround them at distances graded in proportion to their lessened perfection. It is like the way light decreases from a center toward a circumference. The ones who are in the middle are in the greatest light, while the ones who are toward the perimeter are in less and less.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 41-43

Previousy Published: 5/7/2017

Wisdom Comes into Being out of Goodness by Means of Truth

How rationality is conceived and born in us:

This is brought about by means of an inflow of the Lord through heaven into whatever spiritual and worldly knowledge we have, lifting us up as a result. This lifting up depends on the useful things we do and on our love of them. Our rationality is born by means of truths, so the nature of the truths determines the nature of our rationality. Our rationality is opened and given form by truths that arise from living a good life; it is closed and destroyed by falsities that arise from living an evil life. Our being able to argue that this or that is true does not mean we are rational; we are rational if we are able to see and perceive whether something is actually true or not. We are not born with any truth, because we are not born with any goodness; we need to learn and absorb everything. Because of the deceptiveness of our senses and the persuasiveness of falsity, which lead to rationalizations and doubts, we are barely able to accept genuine truths and then become wise.

The beginning of our wisdom occurs when we start to turn our backs on rationalizations that deny what is true, and to cast aside our doubts. When our rational ability is not enlightened it scoffs at inner truths. Our truths can properly be called inner truths only when they have been rooted in our lives, and not merely because we know about them, even though some truths that we know about might be said to be of a deeper kind.

Within goodness there lies a capacity to grow in wisdom; if our lives have been devoted to doing what is good, we attain angelic wisdom after our departure from this world. Within every type of goodness countless other types of goodness lie hidden. From goodness countless things can be learned.

How truth multiplies as a result of goodness:

By means of truths and by means of living according to them, the goodness we have in early childhood becomes the goodness that belongs to wisdom. We can be moved by a desire for truth and we can be moved by a desire for goodness. What we are like when we are moved by a desire for truth and what we are like when we are moved by a desire for goodness. Which people can come to desire truth and which people cannot. All truths are arranged under some emotion that they have in common. In earthly-minded people a desire for truth and a desire for goodness are like brother and sister, while in spiritually minded people they are like husband and wife.

Pure truths are not to be found in us or even in angels—only in the Lord. Any truths that we have are only apparently true. The first truths we have are things that seem to be true according to our deceptive senses; we gradually shed these as we increase in wisdom. If we are devoted to what is good, the things we think are true are accepted as real truths by the Lord.

The substance and nature of things that seem to be truths:

Much of the literal meaning of the Word is adapted to suit the way things seem to people. The same truths can be more true for one individual, less true for another, and false for yet another because they have been distorted. By coordinating the impressions of our earthly self with those of our spiritual self, we can see whether the things we hold as true are actually true or not. How true our truths are varies depending on our ideas and concepts of them.

When a truth has been joined to goodness it vanishes from our memory because it has become part of our life. Truths can be joined to goodness only in a state of freedom. Truths are joined to goodness by means of the crises of the spirit we go through. All goodness makes a constant effort to put truths in their place and to be restored by means of an inversion of its state. Truths become unpleasant when their connection with goodness is cut off. It is hard for us to tell the difference between truth and goodness because it is hard for us to tell the difference between thinking and willing. In the Word, what is good is called the brother of what is true. From one point of view, whatever is good is called a lord and whatever is true is called a servant.

from New Jerusalem, Section 27

On Different Forms of Goodness and Truth

There is infinite variety, and no one thing can be identical to any other thing. There is an infinite variety in the heavens as well. The variations in the heavens are variations of goodness, and they are the basis of all differentiations there. These variations are defined by the truths (which are manifold) that shape the goodness of a given individual. That is how all the angelic communities in the heavens and all the individual angels in the communities are differentiated from each other. They still act as one because of the love they receive from the Lord and because of their devotion to a single purpose.

In general terms, goodness and truth are differentiated by level into earthly, spiritual, and heavenly varieties. Broadly, the three levels of goodness and of accompanying truth match the three heavens. There are three levels of goodness and truth in the inner self and three levels in the outer self as well. There is earthly goodness, civic goodness, and moral goodness. The earthly kind of goodness into which some of us are born is not good in the other life unless it becomes spiritual goodness. On earthly goodness that is spiritual and earthly goodness that is not spiritual. There is intellectual truth and there is factual truth.

from New Jerusalem, Section 26

Everything Good and True Comes from the Lord

The Lord is goodness itself and truth itself. In both his divine and his human natures, the Lord is the divine goodness that results from divine love, and this goodness is the source of divine truth. Divine truth radiates from the Lord’s divine goodness much the way light radiates from the sun. The divine truth that comes from the Lord takes the form of light in the heavens and is the source of all of heaven’s light. Heaven’s light, which is divine truth acting as one with divine goodness, enlightens both the sight and the understanding of angels and spirits. Heaven is bathed in light and warmth because it is devoted to what is true and good, since divine truth there is light and divine goodness there is warmth. See also Heaven and Hell 126–140. The divine truth that comes from the Lord’s divine goodness gives the angelic heaven its form and design. In heaven, the divine goodness that is one with the divine truth is referred to as divine truth.

Divine truth coming from the Lord is the only thing that is real. Everything was made and created by means of divine truth. Divine truth has all power.

On our own we cannot do one bit of good or think one bit of truth. On its own, our rational ability cannot grasp divine truth. Any truths that do not come from the Lord come from our own selves and are not true even though they seem to be true.

Everything that is good and true comes from the Lord, and none of it from us. Things that are good and true are good and true to the extent that they have the Lord in them. On divine truth that comes directly from the Lord and on divine truth that comes indirectly, through angels, and on how they flow in for us. The Lord flows into what is good in us, and through what is good into what is true. He flows through what is good into truths of all kinds, but especially into genuine truths. The Lord does not flow, though, into truths that are cut off from goodness, and such truths do not bring us into a parallel relationship with the Lord the way goodness does.

Doing what is good and true for the sake of what is good and true is loving the Lord and loving our neighbor. When we are devoted to the deeper aspects of the Word, the church, and worship, we love to do what is good and true for the sake of what is good and true; but if our involvement is only on a superficial level, with no depth, then we love to do what is good and true only for our own sakes or for worldly reasons.

from New Jerusalem, Section 25


Sections 126-140 from Heaven and Hell: Published: 11/22/2016-12/2/2016

4. People who live lives based on truth and have good intent; and also the nature of truths that come from what is good

Truth that leads to what is good and truth that comes from what is good, and how they differ. Truth is not true in essence except to the extent that it comes from something good, because it is from goodness that truth gets its underlying reality and its life. This is also because truth is the form or outward nature of goodness. The truth we have relates directly to the goodness we have; the amount and quality of both in us are the same. For anything true to be true, it must get its essence from our leading a life of caring and innocence. The truths that come from leading a good life are spiritual truths.

Truth that comes from goodness is able to unite itself to goodness so thoroughly that the two become one. Our understanding and will make one mind and one life when our understanding is subordinate to our will, because our understanding is the part of us that is receptive to truth and our will is the part of us that is receptive to goodness; but this oneness does not occur when what we think and say is at variance with what we intend. Truth that comes from goodness is truth that lives in our will and in our actions. When truth comes from goodness, an image of that goodness remains present in that truth.

Throughout the entire heaven and the entire world and in their every detail, there is some form of a marriage; especially between what is true and what is good. This is because everything in the universe, in order to be anything at all, must go back to what is good and what is true; and in order to accomplish anything, must be the result of their being joined together. The ancients established [a custom of referring to] truth and goodness as partners in a marriage. According to the Lord’s words, the law of marriage is that two should become one. True marriage love comes down from heaven from the marriage of what is true and what is good and becomes manifest.

The more we are focused on goodness and on the truths that result from it, the wiser we are; no matter how much truth we know, however, if we are not focused on leading a good life wisdom will not be ours. When we have the truths that come from leading a good life, we are actually lifted out of this world’s light into heaven’s light—out of dimness, then, into clarity. On the other hand, as long as we only know about truths but are not practicing any goodness, we remain in this world’s light and in dimness. We do not even know what goodness is until we are practicing it and learning from it. Truths grow by leaps and bounds when they come from leading a good life. This growth happens the way trees bear fruit and seeds multiply to make whole gardens. Wisdom grows to the same extent as well, and this goes on forever. Not only that, to the extent that we have gained truths from leading a good life, to that extent we are enlightened, and to that extent we experience enlightenment when we read the Word.

Good actions that we do out of love are like fire, and the insights into truth that result are like light from that fire. In fact, the truths we learn from living a good life actually do shine in heaven. The truths we learn from leading a good life, which are the basis of wisdom, increase in proportion to the quality and amount of our love for doing good, and conversely falsities that we absorb from leading an evil life are proportional to the quality and amount of our love for doing evil. When we are given truths through leading a good life, we come into angelic intelligence and wisdom. These lie hidden within us as long as we are living in this world, but they are opened up for us in the other life. People who have truths from leading a good life become angels after they die.

from New Jerusalem, Section 24

3. People who live lives based on truth and use that truth to focus on and move toward what is good; and also the nature of truth that lead to what is good (Continued)

Goodness is the reality underlying life and truth is how life becomes manifest from that goodness. So goodness finds the manifestation of its life in truth, and truth finds the underlying reality of its life in goodness. Thus everything good has its own truth and everything true has its own goodness, because goodness apart from truth has no manifestation and truth apart from goodness has no reality. Further, goodness gets its form and character from truths, and correspondingly truth is the form and character of goodness and so truth and goodness need to be joined together in order to be anything at all. So goodness is constantly engaged in the longing and effort to join truths to itself. Some illustrations of this. Correspondingly, truths also strive to join themselves to some goodness. The joining is reciprocal—goodness with truth and truth with goodness. Goodness acts and truth reacts, though it does this as an effect of goodness. Truths focus on the good they can do as their origin and aim.

The joining of truth with goodness parallels the successive phases of our lives beginning in infancy. We gather truths first as information, and then as the basis for rational thinking; ultimately we put them to use in deciding how to live our lives. It is also like a child: it is conceived, lives in the womb, is born, matures, and eventually gains wisdom. It is also like seeds and soil and like the relationship of water to bread. Our first feeling of love for truth is not genuine, but as we are perfected it is purified. Still, forms of goodness and truth that are not genuine serve to lead us to forms of goodness and truth that are, at which point we abandon the earlier forms.

Further, we are led to what is good by means of truths, and not in their absence. If we do not learn or accept truths, goodness cannot flow into us, so we cannot become spiritual. The joining of goodness and truth progresses as our knowledge grows. For all of us, our acceptance of truths depends on our rational capacity.

The truths of our earthly self are in the form of information. The information and concepts we have are like containers. Truths are containers of goodness because they are receptive to it.

Goodness flows in through an inner way for us, or through the soul, while what is true flows in from the outside through our hearing and sight; and they are joined together within us by the Lord. Truths are lifted up from the earthly self and sown in what is good in the spiritual self, and this is how truths become spiritual. Then they flow back into the earthly self; goodness in the spiritual self flows directly into goodness in the earthly self but flows indirectly into the truth in the earthly self. In brief, how amply and well truths are joined to what is good in us depends on how amply and well we focus on what is good in the way we lead our lives. The joining takes place in one way for heavenly people and in another way for spiritual people. More on the joining together of goodness and truth and on how it takes place; and also on how what is good on the spiritual level is given form through truths.

from New Jerusalem, Section 23 (Continued)

3. People who live lives based on truth and use that truth to focus on and move toward what is good; and also the nature of truths that lead to what is good

We intend whatever we love, and whatever we love or intend we think about and justify by various means. Whatever we love or intend we call good, and whatever thoughts and various justifications we have we call true. That is why truth turns into goodness when it becomes a matter of our love and will, or when we love and will it. And since our love or our will is the core of our existence, no truth comes to life for us as long as we only know about it and think about it—[it comes to life] only when we love and will to do it and we do it as a result of our love and our will. That is how truths receive their life—from what is good. So truths get their life from what is good, and truths have no life apart from what is good.

When truth is joined to what is good it becomes part of us because it becomes a matter of our life. In order for a truth to be joined to some goodness, our will needs to agree with our understanding; not until our will agrees does the joining take place.

As we are being regenerated, truths become a part of us, along with a feeling of pleasure because we love to do them; and later those truths come back to us with that same feeling again, because the truths and the feeling are joined together. Some feeling related to what we love always attaches itself to any truths we learn, depending on the use we make of those truths in our lives. If those truths come to mind, the feelings come with them: or if those feelings recur, then the truths come with them. Goodness does not recognize anything as true unless it is in harmony with the inclinations of its love. Truths gain entrance to us by means of things that are pleasurable and delightful [to our earthly self]. All genuine love of truth comes from and is shaped by goodness. There is a subtle entry and inflow of goodness into truths, and there is a joining together of goodness and truth and that is how truths come to life.

Because some feeling of love always attaches itself to any truths we learn, depending on the use we make of those truths in our lives, a given type of goodness recognizes the truth that is its own, and a given type of truth recognizes the goodness that is its own. The result is a joining together of what is true and what is good. Truths recognize each other as well and gather together. This happens because of an inflow from heaven.

from New Jerusalem, Section 23