Our Revival from the Dead and Entry into Eternal Life

WHEN someone’s body can no longer perform its functions in the natural world in response to the thoughts and affections of its spirit (which it derives from the spiritual world), then we say that the individual has died. This happens when the lungs’ breathing and the heart’s systolic motion have ceased. The person, though, has not died at all. We are only separated from the physical nature that was useful to us in the world. The essential person is actually still alive. I say that the essential person is still alive because we are not people because of our bodies but because of our spirits. After all, it is the spirit within us that thinks, and thought and affection together make us the people we are.

We can see, then, that when we die we simply move from one world into another. This is why in the inner meaning of the Word, “death” means resurrection and a continuation of life.

The deepest communication of our spirit is with our breathing and our heartbeat; thought connects with our breathing, and affection, an attribute of love, with our heart. Consequently, when these two motions in the body cease, there is an immediate separation. It is these two motions, the respiratory motion of the lungs and the systolic motion of the heart, that are essential ties. Once they are severed, the spirit is left to itself; and the body, being now without the life of its spirit, cools and decays.

The reason the deepest communication of our spirit is with our breathing and our heart is that all our vital processes depend on these, not only in a general way, but in every specific.

After this separation, our spirit stays in the body briefly, but not after the complete stoppage of the heart, which varies depending on the cause of death. In some cases the motion of the heart continues for quite a while, and in others it does not. The moment it does stop, we are awakened, but this is done by the Lord alone. “Being awakened” means having our spirit led out of our body and into the spiritual world, which is commonly called “resurrection.”

The reason our spirit is not separated from our body until the motion of the heart has stopped is that the heart answers to affection, an attribute of love, which is our essential life, since all of us derive our vital warmth from love. Consequently, as long as this union lasts there is a responsiveness, and therefore the life of the spirit is [still] in the body.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 445-447

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/12/2018

The Vastness of Heaven (Continued)

Because they take a few passages from the Word literally, some people think that heaven is not vast but small. For example, there are places where it says that only the poor will be accepted into heaven, or only the elect, or only people in the church and not people from outside, or only people for whom the Lord makes intercession, or that heaven will be closed when it is full, and that the time for this is foreordained. These people do not realize that heaven will never be closed; that there is no foreordained time, no fixed number; and that “the elect” are people who live lives of goodness and truth; that “the poor” are people who have not found out what is good and true but who long to (they are also called “the hungry” because of this longing).

People who think that heaven is small because they have misunderstood the Word can only be thinking that heaven is in a single place where everyone is gathered together. Yet in fact heaven consists of countless communities. (See above, Sections 41–50.) Further, they can only be thinking that heaven is granted to individuals out of direct mercy and therefore consists simply of admission and acceptance out of good will. They do not realize that the Lord, out of his mercy, leads everyone who accepts him, and that the people who accept him are the people who live according to the laws of the divine design, which are precepts of love and faith. They do not realize that being led by the Lord from infancy to the end of earthly life and then on to eternity is what mercy really means. If only they knew that everyone is born for heaven, that people are accepted into heaven who accept heaven into themselves in this world, and that people who do not accept it are shut out!

from Heaven and Hell, Section 420

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/6/2017

Sections 41-50: Published 6/7/2-19-6/10/2019

The Vastness of Heaven (Continued)

We may also gather how vast the Lord’s heaven is from the fact that heaven in a single complex resembles a single human being and also corresponds to everything within us. This relationship can never be completely filled in because there is a correspondence not only with the particular members and organs and viscera of the body but also, in most minute detail, with all the tiny organelles and viscera within them, even with the individual vessels and fibers—and not only with these, but with the organic substances that receive the inflow of heaven from within, the inflow that gives us the inner processes that support the workings of our spirits. In fact, everything that happens within us happens in the forms of our substance; anything that does not happen in substances as agents is nothing. There is a correspondence of all these substances with heaven, as you may gather from the chapter on the correspondence of everything in heaven with everything in the human being (Sections 87–102). This correspondence can never be completely filled in because the more assemblies of angels there are that answer to each member, the more complete heaven is. In the heavens, all forms of perfection increase as numbers increase. This is because there is one goal for everything there and a unanimous focus of everyone on that goal. That goal is the common good; and when this rules, there is benefit to individuals from the common good and from the good of individuals to the good of the whole. This happens because the Lord turns everyone in heaven toward himself (see above, Section 123) and in this way makes them one with himself.

Anyone with a little rational enlightenment can figure out that the unanimous harmony of many people, especially from such a source and with such intimacy, brings forth perfection.

I have been allowed to see the extent of the inhabited heaven and also the extent of the uninhabited heaven; and I have seen that the uninhabited heaven is so vast that it could never be filled to all eternity even if there were thousands of thousands of planets with as many people on each one as there are on ours.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 418-419

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/5/2017

Sections 87-102: Published 5/18/2019-5/26/2019

Section 123: Published 6/30/2019

The Vastness of Heaven (Continued)

The vastness of the Lord’s heaven also follows from the fact that all the planets we can see in our solar system are earths, and especially that there are untold more in the universe, all inhabited, as discussed in a special booklet entitled Other Planets, from which I should like to cite the following.

It is common knowledge in the other life that there are many planets with people on them and therefore angels and spirits from them, since anyone who wants to talk with spirits from other planets because of a love of the truth and a desire to be useful is allowed to do so to be convinced of the plurality of worlds, to learn that the human race is not just from one earth but from countless planets.

I have talked about this on occasion with spirits from our earth, noting that intellectually gifted people could know, on the basis of much that is familiar to them, that there are many earths with people on them. That is, they could come to the rational conclusion that masses as big as the planets, some of which are larger than our earth, are not empty lumps created only to meander around the sun and radiate their feeble light for just one planet, but that their function must be more worthwhile than this.

People who believe (as they should) that the Divine created the universe for the sole purpose of the emergence of the human race and a heaven from it (for the human race is the seedbed of heaven) cannot help but believe that there are people wherever there is a planet.

It is abundantly clear that the planets visible to our eyes, the ones in our solar system, are earths, because they are material bodies, since they reflect the sun’s light; and when we look at them through a telescope they do not look like ruddy, fiery stars but like earths with blurry bands of color. There is also the fact that they are borne around the sun, through the stations of the Zodiac, just like our earth, which must cause years and the seasons of the year called spring, summer, fall, and winter. Similarly, they rotate on their axes like our earth, which makes days and the times of day called morning, noon, evening, and night. Not only that, some of them have moons called satellites, which have their own periodic orbits around their sphere the way the moon orbits our earth. The planet Saturn, which is very far from the sun, has also a huge luminous belt that gives a great deal of light to that planet, even though it is reflected light. How could anyone who knows all this and thinks rationally say that these are empty bodies?

Then too, I have talked with spirits about the fact that people could realize that there is more than one earth in the universe from the fact that the starry heaven is so immense. There are so incomprehensibly many stars in it, each one a sun in its own place and its own system, like our sun, of different magnitudes. If people think this through carefully, they will come to the conclusion that this whole vast universe cannot be anything but a means to an end, which is the goal of creation, a heavenly kingdom in which the Divine can dwell with angels and with us. The visible universe, the heaven spangled with so incomprehensibly many stars that are all suns, is in fact simply a means for the production of planets with people on them who can make up a heavenly kingdom.

Given all this, rational people cannot help thinking that such a vast means toward such an end did not come into being for the sake of a human race on one earth. What would that be for a divine being, an infinite being, for whom thousands or tens of thousands of planets, all fully inhabited, would be so slight as to be practically nothing? There are spirits whose special passion is to learn at first hand, because this is the only kind of knowledge that gives them any pleasure.

These spirits are therefore allowed to travel around and even to leave this solar system and visit others, to gather firsthand knowledge there. They have told me that there are inhabited planets not only in our solar system but also outside it in the starry sky—a vast number of them. These spirits are from the planet Mercury.

By a preliminary calculation, if there were a million planets in the universe with three hundred million people on each one, and two hundred generations over six thousand years, and if each person or spirit were allotted three cubic cubits, and if all these people or spirits were gathered into one place, they would not even fill the volume of our earth, hardly more than a satellite of one of the planets. This would be such a small space in the universe as to be barely visible, since we can scarcely see those satellites with the naked eye. What would this be for the Creator of the universe, for whom it would not be enough if the whole universe were filled? For the Creator is infinite. I have talked about this with angels, who have told me that they have much the same idea about how small the number of the human race is in comparison to the infinity of the Creator. However, they do not think in terms of space but of states, and to their minds, no matter how many tens of thousands of planets you could conceive of, it would still be simply nothing to the Lord.

Information on the planets in the universe, their inhabitants, and the spirits and angels who come from them may be found in the booklet mentioned earlier. What you will find there has been revealed and shown to me to let people know that the Lord’s heaven is vast and that it is all from the human race, and also that our Lord is recognized everywhere as the God of heaven and earth.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 417

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/4/2017

The Vastness of Heaven

THE vastness of the Lord’s heaven follows from many of the things that have been presented above, especially from the fact that heaven is from the human race (see Sections 311–317), not only that portion of it born within the church but also the portion born outside it (Sections 318–328). This means that heaven includes everyone who has lived a good life since the very beginning of our planet.

Anyone familiar with the continents and regions and nations of this world may gather what a multitude of people there are on our whole globe. Anyone who goes into the mathematics of it will discover that thousands and thousands of people die on any given day, making hundreds of thousands or millions every year; and this has been going on since the earliest times, thousands of years ago. All of these people have arrived in the other world, called the spiritual world, after their decease, and they are still arriving.

I cannot say how many of these are or are becoming angels of heaven. I have been told that most of the earliest people became angels, because they thought more deeply and spiritually and were therefore enveloped in heavenly affection; while for later ages it was not so many because as time passed we became more externally minded and began to think more on the natural level, which meant that we were enveloped in more earthly affection.

This enables us to gather at the outset that heaven is huge simply from the inhabitants of this planet.

The immensity of the Lord’s heaven may also be gathered simply from the fact that all children, whether born within or outside the church, are adopted by the Lord and become angels, and their number amounts to a quarter or a fifth of the whole human race. It may be seen above (Sections 329–345) that every child—wherever born, whether within the church or outside it, whether of devout or irreverent parents—is accepted by the Lord at death. Every child is raised in heaven, is taught and is permeated with affections for what is good according to the divine design and thereby with firsthand knowledge of things true, and is then perfected in intelligence and wisdom, so to speak, and admitted into heaven to become an angel. You can gather what a vast multitude of heaven’s angels has come from this source alone from the beginning of creation to the present day.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 415-416

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/3/2017

Sections 311-317: Published 7/24/2019-7/28/2019

Sections 318-328: Published 7/17/2017-7/24/2017

Sections 329-345: Published 7/9/2018-7/17/2018

The Wisdom of Heaven's Angels (Continued)

There is still another reason, beyond the ones already given, why angels can accept so much wisdom, a reason that in heaven is actually the primary one. It is that they are free of any selfishness; for to the extent that people are free of selfishness they can be wise in divine matters. Selfishness is what closes off our deeper natures from the Lord and heaven and opens our outer natures and turns them toward ourselves. So all people in whom that selfish love predominates are in the depths of darkness as far as heavenly realities are concerned, no matter how much light they may enjoy in regard to worldly matters. In contrast, since angels are free of that love, they enjoy the light of wisdom. The heavenly loves in which they are centered—love for the Lord and love for their neighbor—open the deeper levels because these loves come from the Lord and the Lord himself is within them. (These loves constitute heaven in general and form heaven in individuals in particular: Sections 13–19.)

Since heavenly loves open our deeper levels toward the Lord, all the angels turn their faces toward the Lord (Section 142): in the spiritual world love is what turns the deeper levels of every individual toward itself, and what turns the deeper levels turns the face, since the face there acts in unison with the deeper levels and is actually their outward form. Further, because love does turn the deeper levels and the face toward itself, it also unites itself to them, since love is spiritual union. Therefore it also shares what it has with them. It is from this turning and the consequent union and sharing that angels get their wisdom (all union in the spiritual world takes place according to the way people are facing, Section 255).

Angels are constantly being perfected in wisdom, but still they cannot to eternity be so perfected that there is any ratio between their wisdom and the Lord’s divine wisdom. For the Lord’s divine wisdom is infinite and the angels’ is finite, and there is no ratio between the infinite and the finite.

Since wisdom perfects angels and makes their life, and since heaven with its blessings flows into individuals according to their wisdom, all the people there long for it and seek it, much the way a hungry person seeks food. In fact, information, intelligence, and wisdom are spiritual nourishment the way food is natural nourishment. They correspond to each other.

The angels in any given heaven—even the angels in any given community—do not enjoy the same wisdom, but differ. Those in the center have the most wisdom, while those who have less are around them all the way to the borders. The decrease of wisdom according to the distance from the center is like the decrease in light as it tends toward darkness (see Sections 43, 128). Further, the light for them is on a consistent level, since heaven’s light is divine wisdom and each individual is in light in proportion to his or her acceptance of it. (On heaven’s light and the different ways it is accepted, see Sections 126–132.)

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 272-275

Notes:

Previously Cited: 10/24/2017

Sections 13-19: Published 11/1/2019-11/4/2019

Section 142: Published 7/9/2017

Section 255: Published 7/22/2019

Section 43: Published 6/7/2019

Sections 126-132: Published 7/2/2019-7/7/2019





The Wisdom of Heaven's Angels (Continued)

The reason angels of the third heaven are like this is that they are centered in love for the Lord, and that love opens the deeper levels of the mind to the third level and is open to and retentive of all wisdom. It should also be known that angels of the inmost heaven are constantly being even more perfected in wisdom and that this too happens differently than for angels of the outmost heaven. Angels of the inmost heaven do not store up divine truths in their memory or translate them into information. Rather, as soon as they hear them, they grasp them and apply them to their lives. This is why divine truths for them are virtually engraved, because anything that is committed to life is to that extent internalized. It is different, though, for angels of the outmost heaven. They first assign divine truths to their memory and store them in the form of information. Then they retrieve them and use them to perfect their understanding; and without any deeper grasp of their truth, they intend them and commit them to life. Consequently, things are relatively cloudy for them.

It is worth noting that angels of the third heaven are perfected in wisdom through hearing rather than through seeing. What they hear through preaching does not go into their memory but directly into their perception and intention and becomes a matter of their life. What they see with their eyes, though, does go into their memory, and they think and talk about it. This has enabled me to see that the path of hearing is the path of wisdom for them. This too is because of correspondence, since the ear corresponds to obedience, and obedience has to do with the way we live; while the eye corresponds to intelligence, and intelligence is a matter of doctrine. The state of these angels is described in many places in the Word; for instance in Jeremiah:

I will put my law in their mind and write it on their heart. No longer will anyone teach a friend or a brother by saying “Know the Lord,” for all the people there are will know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (Jeremiah 31:33–34)

And in Matthew,

Let your conversation be “Yes, yes; no, no,” for anything beyond this comes from evil. (Matthew 5:36″ [5:37])

The reason anything beyond this comes from evil is that it is not from the Lord; for the truths that are resident within angels of the third heaven are from the Lord because they are centered in a love for him. Love for the Lord in that heaven is intending and doing divine truth, for divine truth is the Lord in heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 271

Notes:

Previously Cited: 10/23/2017

The Wisdom of Heaven’s Angles (Continued)

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

Notes:

Previously Cited:10/22/2017

Sections 170-176: Published 12/12/2016-12/15/2016

Section 208: Published 5/3/2019

Section 267: Published 11/26/2019


The Wisdom of Heaven’s Angels (Continued)

We may gather how great angels’ wisdom is from the fact that in heaven there is a communication that involves everyone. The intelligence and wisdom of one individual is shared with another: heaven is where everyone shares everything of value. This is because the very nature of heavenly love is to want what is one’s own to belong to another; so no one in heaven regards his or her good as authentically good unless it is someone else’s as well. This is also the basis of heaven’s happiness. Angels are led into it by the Lord, whose divine love has this same quality.

I have also been granted knowledge, by experience, of this kind of communication in the heavens. Once some simple people were taken up into heaven, and after they had arrived, they arrived also at an angelic wisdom. They understood things they could not grasp before and said things they could not express in their former state.

Words are not adequate to describe the quality of angels’ wisdom—it can be suggested only by some generalizations. Angels can express in a single word what we cannot express in a thousand words. Further, in a single angelic word there are countless things that are beyond the capacity of human words to convey. In the details of angelic speech there are actually treasures of wisdom in unbroken connection, utterly beyond the reach of human knowledge. Then too, what angels cannot evoke with the words of their language they fill in with the sound, which embodies their sensitivity to the proper arrangement of things; for as already noted (Sections 236, 241), they express their affections through the sounds and the concepts derived from their affections through the words. This is why the things that people have heard in heaven are called ineffable.

Angels can also state completely in a few words the details that are written in a whole volume, giving each word something that raises it toward a deeper wisdom. Their language by nature agrees with their affections, and every word agrees with their concepts. The words actually vary in infinite shadings depending on the way they express in sequence things that are simultaneous in their thought.

The more inward angels can even tell a speaker’s whole life from the tone of voice and a few words. From the way the sound is differentiated by concepts into words, they actually perceive the speaker’s ruling love, in which, so to speak, the very details of life are engraved.

We can see from all this what angels’ wisdom is like. Relative to our wisdom, it is on the order of ten thousands to one. It is like the ratio between the motor energies of the body, which are countless, to some act that results from them, which to our senses seems like a single event. Or it is like the thousands of things we see through a perfect microscope compared to the one fuzzy thing we see with the naked eye.

I should also like to illustrate the matter with one example. An angel, out of his wisdom, described the process of regeneration and presented mysteries about it in their proper sequence, amounting to a hundred. He filled out each single mystery with concepts containing even deeper mysteries, and did this from beginning to end, explaining how the spiritual person is conceived anew; is carried in the womb, so to speak; is born; matures; and is gradually perfected. He said that he could multiply the number of mysteries into the thousands, and that the things he was talking about involved only the regeneration of the outer person.

There were countless more about the regeneration of the inner person. This and other things of the same sort that I have heard from angels have shown me how much wisdom they have and how much ignorance we have by comparison, with hardly any knowledge of what regeneration is and no awareness of a single step when we are being regenerated.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 268-269

Notes:

Previously Cited: 10/21/2017

Section 236: Published 5/3/2018

Section 241: Published 5/5/2018

The Wisdom of Heaven’s Angels (Continued)

The reason angels can accept so much wisdom is that their deeper levels are open, and wisdom, like any perfection, increases as one moves toward the deeper levels and as they are opened.

In every angel there are three levels of life corresponding to the three heavens (see Sections 29–40). People whose first level has been opened are in the first or most remote heaven. People whose second level has been opened are in the second or intermediate heaven. People whose third level has been opened are in the third or inmost heaven. The wisdom of angels in heaven is according to these levels; so the wisdom of angels of the third heaven vastly transcends the wisdom of angels of the intermediate heaven, and their wisdom in turn transcends that of angels of the farthest heaven (see above, Sections 209–210, and on the nature of the levels, see Section 38).

The reason for these differences is that the elements of the higher levels are detailed, and those of the lower are general, the general ones being inclusive of the details. The ratio of details to generalizations is on the order of thousands or ten thousands to one, so this is the ratio between the wisdom of angels of a higher heaven and that of angels of a lower heaven.

However, the wisdom of these latter angels similarly transcends our wisdom, for we are engrossed in our bodies and their sensory operations, and these physical sensory faculties are on the lowest level of all. This fact enables us to see the nature of the wisdom of people who base their thinking on sensory information—that is, the ones we call sense-oriented people. Specifically, they have no access to wisdom, only to information. It is different, though, for people whose thoughts are raised above sensory matters, and even more for people whose deeper levels have been opened all the way into heaven’s light.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 267

Notes:

Sections 29-40: Published 7/1/17-7/6/17

Section 38: Published 10/23/2019

Sections 209-210: Published 5/4/2019