Heavenly Joy and Happiness

HARDLY anyone nowadays knows what heaven is or what heavenly joy is. People who think about either subject come up with such pedestrian and crude notions that they scarcely amount to anything at all. I have had a wonderful opportunity to learn from spirits who were coming from this world into the other life what kind of idea they had about heaven and heavenly joy, for when they are left on their own, as they were in the world, they still think the same way.

The reason they do not know about heavenly joy is that people who think about it at all base their judgments on the external joys of the natural person. They do not know what the inner or spiritual person is, so they do not know what that person’s pleasure and blessedness are. So even if they were told by people involved in spiritual or inner joy what heavenly joy is and how it feels, they would not be able to grasp it. It would have descended into an unfamiliar concept and therefore not into their perception, so it would have become one of those things that the natural person casts aside.

Everyone is capable of knowing that when we leave our outer or natural person we enter our inner or spiritual one; so we can also know that heavenly pleasure is an inner and spiritual pleasure and not an outer or natural one. Since it is inner and spiritual, it is purer and finer and moves our deeper levels, the levels of our soul or spirit.

We may also conclude from this that the quality of our pleasure follows from the quality of the pleasure of our spirit, and that the pleasures of our bodies, called “the pleasures of the flesh,” have nothing to do with heaven by comparison. Whatever is in our spirit when we leave the body remains with us after death, for we then live as human spirits.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 395


Previously Cited: Published 1/9/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

I have been taught in heaven that the earliest people on our planet, who were heavenly people, thought on the basis of actual correspondences, and that the natural phenomena of the world that greeted their eyes served them as means for thinking in this way. Because they were of this character, they were in the company of angels and talked with them; and in this way heaven was united to the world through them. Therefore, that era was called the Golden Age. Classical authors described it as a time when the inhabitants of heaven dwelt with mortals and kept them company as friend with friend.

After their era, though, a people came who did not think from actual correspondences but from a knowledge about correspondences. There was still a union of heaven with humanity, but not such an intimate one. Their era was called the Silver Age.

The people who came next were indeed familiar with correspondences but did not do their thinking on the basis of their knowledge of correspondences. This was because they were engrossed in what is good on the natural level and not, like their ancestors, on the spiritual level. Their era was called the Bronze Age.

I have been taught, lastly, that after that era humanity became more and more externally minded and at last physically minded. Then the knowledge of correspondences was completely lost, and with it any awareness of heaven and of its riches. The names of these ages—Golden, Silver, and Bronze—also come from correspondence, because gold, by reason of correspondence, means the heavenly goodness in which the earliest people lived. Silver, in contrast, means the spiritual goodness in which their successors, the early people, lived; while bronze means the natural goodness characteristic of their immediate followers. Iron, though, which gave its name to the last era, means a harsh truth, devoid of good.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 115


Previously Cited: 6/26/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Just as everything that is in accord with the divine design corresponds to heaven, everything that is contrary to the divine design corresponds to hell. Everything that corresponds to heaven reflects what is good and true, while what corresponds to hell reflects what is evil and false.

We may now say something about the knowledge of correspondences and its use. We have just stated that the spiritual world, which is heaven, is united to the natural world by means of correspondences; so it is through correspondences that we are given communication with heaven. Heaven’s angels do not think in terms of natural phenomena the way we do, so when we are absorbed in the knowledge of correspondences we can be in the company of angels in respect to the thoughts of our minds. So we can be united to them in regard to our spiritual or inner person.

In order that there might be a union of heaven with humanity, the Word was written in pure correspondences. Absolutely everything in it corresponds. So if we were steeped in a knowledge of correspondences, we would understand the Word in its spiritual meaning and be enabled to know hidden treasures in it that we do not see at all in its literal meaning. The Word does in fact have a literal meaning and a spiritual meaning. The literal meaning consists of the kind of things that are in our world, while the spiritual meaning consists of the kind of things that are in heaven; and since the union of heaven with our world is maintained by correspondences, we have been given a Word in which the details correspond, even down to the last jot.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 113-114


Previously Cited: 6/25/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

We may note briefly how the union of heaven with the world occurs by means of correspondences. The Lord’s kingdom is a kingdom of purposes that are functions or—which amounts to the same thing—of functions that are purposes. For this reason, the universe has been so created and formed by the Divine that functions can clothe themselves in materials that enable them to present themselves in act or in results, first in heaven and then in this world, and so step by step all the way to the lowest things in nature. We can see from this that the correspondence of natural phenomena with spiritual ones, or of the world with heaven, takes place through functions, and that the functions are what unite them. We can also see that the forms that clothe the functions are correspondences and unions to the extent that they are forms of the functions.

In the three kingdoms of earthly nature, all the things that happen according to the design are [outward] forms of their functions or results formed by function for function. This is why the things that occur there are correspondences.

As for us, though, our acts are services in forms to the extent that we live according to the divine design—that is, in love for the Lord and in thoughtfulness toward our neighbor. To that extent, our acts are correspondences that unite us to heaven. In general terms, loving the Lord and our neighbor is being of service.

We need to know as well that it is humankind through which the natural world is united to the spiritual world, that we are the means of the union. For there is within us a natural world and also a spiritual world (see Section 57); so to the extent that we are spiritual, we are a means of union. However, to the extent that we are natural and not spiritual, we are not a means of union. The Lord’s inflow into the world and into the world’s gifts within us continues even without our aid, but it does not come into our rational functioning.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 112


Previously Cited: 6/24/2017

Section 57: Published 6/13/2019

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

There is a similar correspondence with things in the vegetable kingdom. A garden, in general terms, corresponds to heaven in respect to intelligence and wisdom, which is why heaven is called the garden of God and a paradise,d and why we call it a heavenly paradise.

Trees, species by species, correspond to perceptions and firsthand knowledge of what is good and true, which yield intelligence and wisdom. So the early people, who were absorbed in the knowledge of correspondences, held their holy worship in groves. This is why trees are mentioned so often in the Word and why heaven, the church, and people are compared to them—to the vine, for example, the olive, the cedar, and others—and the good we do is compared to fruit.

Further, the foods we derive from them, especially the ones we get from crops planted in fields, correspond to affections for what is good and true because they nourish our spiritual life the way earthly foods nourish our natural life.

Bread, generally speaking, corresponds to an affection for whatever is good because it is the mainstay of life and because it is used to mean all food. It is because of this correspondence that the Lord calls himself the bread of life; and it is also because of this that bread was put to holy use in the Israelite church—they did in fact place bread on the table in the tabernacle and called it “the bread of presence.” Then too, all divine worship that they performed by sacrifices and burnt offerings was called “bread.” Because of this correspondence too, the most sacred worship in the Christian church is the Holy Supper, in which bread and wine are shared.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 111


Previously Cited: 6/23/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Nowadays, though, no one can know about the spiritual things in heaven to which natural things in the world correspond except from heaven, because the knowledge of correspondence has now been completely lost. I should like to present a few examples to show what the correspondence of spiritual things with natural ones is like.

In general, earth’s living creatures correspond to affections, the mild and useful ones to good affections, the fierce and useless ones to evil affections. Specifically, cattle and calves correspond to affections of the natural mind, sheep and lambs to affections of the spiritual mind. Flying creatures, species by species, correspond to cognitive activities of either level of the mind. This is why various animals such as cattle, calves, rams, sheep, male and female goats, male and female lambs, as well as pigeons and turtle doves were accepted for holy use in the Israelite church, which was a representative church. They used them for their sacrifices and burnt offerings, and in these uses they did in fact correspond to spiritual realities that are understood in heaven in accord with their correspondence.

The reason animals are affections, according to their genera and species, is that they are alive, and the only source of the life of any creature is from affection and is in proportion to it. We humans are like animals as far as our natural person is concerned, which is why we are compared to them in colloquial usage. For example, we call a gentle person a sheep or a lamb, a violent one a bear or a wolf, a crafty one a fox or a snake, and so on.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 110


Previously Cited: 6/22/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

We can deduce how members of the vegetable kingdom correspond from a multitude of instances—for example, from the fact that tiny seeds grow into trees, beget leaves, produce flowers and then fruits in which they place another generation of seeds, and that these things happen in a sequence and emerge all together in such a wondrous design that there is no way to describe it briefly. It would take volumes, and still there would be deeper mysteries suited to their uses that our knowledge could not compass.

Because these things stem from the spiritual world or heaven, which is in a human form (as was explained in the appropriate chapter above [Sections 78–86]), it is also true that the details of that kingdom have a kind of relationship to human characteristics—a fact that is recognized by some individuals in the learned world.

It has become clear to me from a great deal of experience that everything in that kingdom is also a correspondence. Very often, when I have looked over trees and fruits and flowers and vegetables in gardens, I have become aware of corresponding things in heaven. Then I have talked with nearby people there and have learned where these plants were from and what their characteristics were.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 109


Previously Cited: 6/21/2017

Sections 78-86: Published 3/28/2018-3/30/2018

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

The fact that everything in this world arises from the Divine and is clothed with the kinds of elements in nature that enable it to be present there, serve some use, and therefore correspond, follows clearly from little things we can observe in both the animal and the vegetable kingdoms. In each there are things that anyone, with some deeper thought, can see must come from heaven. By way of illustration I may mention only a few out of the countless many.

First, some from the animal kingdom. In this field, many people realize what kind of knowledge is virtually instinctive in any creature you choose. Bees know how to collect honey from flowers, build cells from wax in which they store their honey, and so provide food for themselves and their families for the coming winter. Their queen lays eggs, while the others cover them over and lead her around so that a new generation may be born. They live under a kind of government that all their members know instinctively, protecting their useful members and expelling the useless ones and clipping off their wings. There are even more marvels that are given them from heaven for their use. In fact, their wax serves the human race throughout the world for candles, and their honey for flavoring foods.

Then what about caterpillars, the lowest creatures in the animal kingdom! They know how to nourish themselves with the sap of their leaves and in due time how to make a covering around themselves and virtually put themselves in a womb and so to hatch offspring of their own species. Some first turn into nymphs and chrysalides and make threads, and after exhausting labor grace themselves with new bodies and adorn themselves with wings. Then they fly in the air as though it were their heaven, celebrate their “weddings,” lay their eggs, and so provide themselves with a posterity.

Over and above these particular examples, all the fowl of the air know the foods that are good for them—not only what they are, but where they are. They know how to construct nests for themselves, each species differently from all others, how to lay their eggs there, incubate them, hatch and feed their chicks, and expel them from the nest when they can be on their own. They also know the particular enemies they must avoid and the allies they can associate with, all from earliest infancy. I will say nothing about the wonders in the eggs themselves, where everything necessary for the formation and nourishment of the embryonic chicks lies properly available, or countless other wonders.

Will anyone who thinks with any rational wisdom say that such things arise from any source but a spiritual world, a world that the natural world serves by clothing what comes from it with a body, or presenting in effect that which is spiritual in origin?

The reason why earthbound animals and the fowl of the air are born into all this knowledge while we, who are actually superior, are not, is that animals are in the proper pattern of their life and cannot destroy what is within them from the spiritual world because they are not rational. It is different for us, who think from the spiritual world. Because we have corrupted ourselves by living contrary to the design that reason itself has recommended to us, we cannot escape being born into total ignorance, so that we can be led from there, by divine means, back into the pattern of heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 108


Previously Cited: 6/20/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Everything is a correspondent that arises and endures in nature according to the divine design. What makes the divine design is the divine good that emanates from the Lord. It begins from him, emanates from him through the heavens in sequence into the world, and there comes to a close in things most remote. Things there that are in accord with the design are correspondences.

The things that are in accord with the design are everything that is good and is perfected for some use, for everything good is good according to its usefulness. Its form reflects what is true because the true is the form of the good. This is why everything in the whole world and in the world of nature that is in the divine design goes back to what is good and what is true.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 107


Previously Cited: 6/19/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Things that are above the earth are also correspondences, things like the sun, the moon, and the stars, and also things that occur in our atmospheres like clouds, mists, rainstorms, lightning bolts, and thunderclaps. The emanations of the sun in its presence and absence like light and shade, warmth and cold, are also correspondences; and so are such corollaries as the times of the year called spring, summer, fall, and winter, and the times of the day—morning, noon, evening, and night.

In a word, absolutely everything in nature, from the smallest to the greatest, is a correspondence. The reason correspondences occur is that the natural world, including everything in it, arises and is sustained from the spiritual world, and both worlds come from the Divine. We say that it also is sustained because everything is sustained from that from which it arose, enduring being in fact a perpetual arising; and since nothing can endure independently, but needs something prior, it therefore needs a First, and if it were separated from that First, it would utterly perish and disappear.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 105-106


Previously Cited: 6/18/2017