Wise and Simple People in Heaven (continued)

By false intelligence and wisdom we mean any intelligence and wisdom that is devoid of acknowledgment of the Divine. In fact, people who do not acknowledge the Divine Being but put nature in place of the Divine all think on the basis of their physical bodies. They are merely sense-centered, no matter how scholarly and learned they are considered in this world. Their learning, though, does not rise any higher than the things in front of their eyes in this world, things that they keep in their memory and inspect almost physically. This is the case even though the very same branches of knowledge serve truly intelligent people as a means of forming their understanding. By “branches of knowledge” we mean the various experimental disciplines such as physics, astronomy, chemistry, mechanics, geometry, anatomy, psychology, philosophy, and political history, as well as the realms of literature and criticism and language study.

There are church dignitaries who deny the Divine. They do not raise their thoughts any higher than the sensory concerns of the outer person. They look on the contents of the Word as no different from knowledge about anything else; they do not treat those contents as subjects of thought or of any thorough consideration by an enlightened rational mind. This is because their own deeper levels are closed off, and along with them, the more outward levels that are next to these deeper ones. The reason they are closed is that they have turned their backs on heaven and reversed the things that they could see there, things that are proper to the deeper levels of the human mind, as we have noted before. This is why they cannot see what is true and good—because these matters are in darkness for them, while what is false and evil is in the light.

Nevertheless, sense-centered people can think logically, some of them actually with more skill and penetration than other people. However, they rely on deceptive sensory appearances bolstered by their own learning, and since they can think logically in this fashion, they think they are wiser than other people.e The fire that fuels their reasoning is the fire of love for themselves and the world.

These are the people who are devoted to false intelligence and wisdom, the ones meant by the Lord in Matthew: “Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13–15); and again, “Things are hidden from the intelligent and wise and revealed to children” (Matthew 11:25–26).

from Heaven and Hell,Section 353


Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

By pseudo-intelligence and wisdom we mean not seeing and grasping what is true and good (and therefore what is false and evil) from within oneself, but only believing that things are true and good or false and evil because someone else says so, and then ratifying it. Since such people are not seeing what is true on the basis of its truth but only on someone’s authority, they can just as well latch onto something false as something true and believe it, and even rationalize it until it actually seems to be true. Whatever is rationalized takes on the appearance of truth, and there is nothing that cannot be rationalized. Their deeper levels are open only downward, and their outer levels are opened to the extent that they have made up their minds. So the light they see from is not heaven’s light but the world’s light, which is called “natural illumination.” In this light, false things can shine as though they were true. In fact, once they have become matters of complete conviction, they can even glow, though not in heaven’s light.

The less intelligent and wise people of this sort are those who have convinced themselves of a great many opinions, and the more intelligent and wise are the ones who have convinced themselves of fewer.

We can see from all this what pseudo-intelligence and wisdom are.

However, this category does not include people who as children believed as true what they heard from their teachers, if in later youth, when they began to think on their own, they did not hang on to these opinions but had a longing for truth, sought it because of their longing, and were moved inwardly when they found it. Because they are moved by truth for its own sake, they see what is true before they make it a matter of conviction.

An example may serve to illustrate this. Some spirits were engaged in a conversation about the reason why animals are born into all the knowledge that is appropriate to their natures, while humans are not. They were told that this is because animals are wholly engaged in the pattern appropriate to their lives, while we are not; so we have to be led into that pattern by means of insights and information. If we were born into the pattern of our lives, which is loving God above all and our neighbor as ourselves, we would be born into intelligence and wisdom and therefore into a trust in everything true to the extent that our insights built up. The good spirits immediately saw and grasped that this was so, simply from the light of truth. However, some spirits who had convinced themselves of faith alone and had therefore pushed love and thoughtfulness aside could not understand it, because the light of false convictions obscured the light of truth for them.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 352

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

In this world, it is believed that people who are full of information—whether concerning the doctrines of the church and the Word or the arts and sciences—see truths more deeply and sharply than others, and are therefore more intelligent and wiser. These people believe the same about themselves. We need to explain below, though, what true intelligence and wisdom are, and what the counterfeit and false versions are.

True intelligence and wisdom are seeing and grasping what is true and good; on that basis seeing what is false and evil, and distinguishing accurately between them; and doing this from insight and an inner perception. There are deeper and more external levels to every individual, the deeper comprising what belongs to the inner or spiritual person and the outer what belongs to the outer or natural person. The way the deeper levels are formed and unite with the outer ones determines the way we see and perceive. Our deeper levels can be formed only in heaven, while the outer ones are formed in this world. When the inner levels have been formed in heaven, then whatever occurs there flows into the outer levels that are derived from this world and forms them to be responsive—that is, to act as one with the inner levels. Once this has been accomplished, we see and perceive from within.

The only way these inner levels can be formed is by our focusing on the Deity and on heaven, for as already noted, the deeper levels are formed in heaven. We focus on the Deity when we believe the Deity and believe that it is the source of everything true and good and therefore of all intelligence and wisdom. We believe the Deity when we want to be led by the Deity. This is the only way our deeper levels are opened.

When we are devoted to this faith and are in a life in keeping with it, we enjoy the ability to understand and to be wise. However, in order to be intelligent and wise, it is fitting that we learn a great deal not only about heavenly matters but also about earthly ones. We learn about heavenly matters from the Word and the church and about earthly ones from the arts and sciences. To the extent that we learn and apply our learning to our lives, we become intelligent and wise, for to that extent our deeper vision, the sight of our understanding, and our deeper affection, which is the affection of our intentions, are perfected.

Of people like this, the simple ones are the ones whose deeper levels have been opened but have not been so much developed through spiritual, moral, civil, and natural truths. They grasp truths when they hear them, but do not see them within themselves. In contrast, the wise ones are the ones whose deeper levels have been not only opened but also developed. They both see truths within themselves and grasp them. We can see from all this what true intelligence and wisdom are.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 351

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

All the people who have acquired intelligence and wisdom in the world are received in heaven and become angels, according to the quality and amount of their individual intelligence and wisdom. Whatever we have acquired in this world stays with us. We take it with us after death, where it is increased and filled out, all within the level of our own affection and desire for what is true and good, and not beyond that level. People who have had little affection and desire accept little, but still as much as they can accept on their own level. People who have had great affection and desire accept much. The actual level of affection and desire is like a measure that is filled to the brim. This means more for people whose measure is great and less for people whose measure is small. This is because the love to which affection and desire belong accepts everything that suits it, so the amount of love determines the amount of receptivity. This is the meaning of the Lord’s words, “To all who have, it will be given, and they will have more abundantly” (Matthew 13:12; 25:29); “Into your lap will be given a good measure, pressed down, shaken, and overflowing” (Luke 6:38).

Everyone is accepted into heaven who has loved what is true and good for the sake of what is true and good. People who have loved a great deal are the ones who are called “wise,” and people who have loved less are the ones who are called “simple.” The wise ones in heaven are in abundant light, while the simple in heaven are in less light, all according to their level of love of what is good and true.

To love what is true and good for the sake of what is true and good is to intend and to do them, for the people who intend and act are the ones who love, not the ones who do not intend and act. The former are the ones who love the Lord and are loved by the Lord, because what is good and what is true are from the Lord; and since they are from the Lord, the Lord is within them (within what is good and what is true, that is); so he is also with people who accept what is good and what is true into their lives by intending and doing them.

Seen in our own right, we are nothing but our good and our truth, because the good is the substance of our volition and the true is the substance of our understanding, and the quality of our volition and understanding determines our own quality as persons. We can see from this that we are loved by the Lord to the extent that our volition is formed from what is good and our understanding is formed from what is true. To be loved by the Lord is to love the Lord as well, because love is reciprocal. The Lord enables the beloved to love.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 349, 350

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

“The ones who justify many” means the ones who are wise. In heaven people are called wise if they are engaged in what is good, and people are engaged in what is good when they involve divine truths directly in their lives, since divine truth becomes good when it becomes a matter of life. Then it truly becomes a matter of intent and love; and anything that belongs to our intent and love is called good. This is why these individuals are called wise, since wisdom is a matter of life. In contrast, people are called intelligent if they do not involve divine truths directly in their lives but consign them first to their memories and then draw them out and apply them to life. The nature and extent of the difference between these two kinds of people in the heavens has been presented in the chapter on heaven’s two kingdoms, the heavenly and the spiritual (Sections 20–28), and in the chapter on the three heavens (Sections 29–40).

People who are in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom, especially the ones in the third or inmost heaven, are called the just because they do not ascribe any justice to themselves, but all justice to the Lord. The Lord’s justice in heaven is the good that comes from the Lord,b so these are the people meant by “those who justify.” They are also the ones the Lord was talking about when he said, “The righteous shall shine like the sun in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 13:43). The reason they shine like the sun is that they are caught up in love for the Lord from the Lord, and this love is what the sun means (see above, Sections 116–125). Further, the light they have is fiery, and their individual thoughts have something flamelike about them because they are receiving the good of love directly from the Lord as the sun in heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 348


Sections 20-27: Published 6/27/2017-6/30/2017

Sections 29-39: Published 7/1/2017-7/6/2017

Sections 116-125: Published 11/15/2016-11/21/2016

Wise and Simple People in Heaven

PEOPLE think that wise individuals will have more glory and renown in heaven than simple people because it says in Daniel, “The intelligent will shine like the radiance of the firmament, and those who have justified many, like stars forever” (Daniel 12:3). However, not many people know who are meant by “the intelligent” and “those who justify.” The common opinion is that these are the people we call scholarly and learned, especially the ones who have had teaching roles in the church and have surpassed others in doctrine and in preaching—even more so if they are among those who have converted many to the faith. People like this are all considered “intelligent” in the world; but still, the people this verse is about are not intelligent in heaven unless their intelligence is the heavenly intelligence that we are about to describe.

Heavenly intelligence is a deeper intelligence arising from a love of what is true—not for the sake of any praise in the world or any praise in heaven, but simply for the sake of the truth itself, because it is profoundly moving and delightful. People who are moved and delighted by the truth itself are moved and delighted by heaven’s light; and if so, then they are also moved and delighted by divine truth and actually by the Lord himself, since heaven’s light is divine truth, and divine truth is the Lord in heaven (see above, Sections 126–140).

This light enters the deeper levels of the mind only, since the deeper levels of the mind are formed to accept it; and to the extent that it enters, it moves and delights because anything that flows in from heaven and is accepted has delight and pleasure within it. This is the source of a genuine affection for what is true—an affection for what is true for its own sake. People who are caught up in this affection (or in this love, which amounts to the same thing), enjoy heavenly intelligence and shine in heaven like the radiance of the firmament. The reason they shine is that wherever divine truth occurs in heaven, it shines (see above, Section 132); and by reason of correspondence, the firmament of heaven means the deeper intelligence, both in angels and in us, that is in heaven’s light.

However, people who are engaged in a love for what is true for the sake of praise in this world or praise in heaven cannot possibly shine in heaven, because they are not delighted and moved by heaven’s light, only by the world’s light; and this latter light without the heavenly one is pure darkness.a Their own praise is actually in control because it is the goal they have in view, and when that praise is our goal, then we are focused primarily on ourselves; and the truths that are useful as means to our praise are regarded solely as means to an end and as slaves. This is because whenever we love divine truths for the sake of our own praise, we are focusing on ourselves in the divine truths and not on the Lord. This switches our sight (which is an activity of our understanding and faith) from heaven to the world and from the Lord to ourselves. This is why we are in the world’s light and not in heaven’s light.

Outwardly, in each other’s sight, they look just as intelligent and wise as people who are in heaven’s light, because they talk in much the same way. They may even seem wiser outwardly, because they are energized by their self-love and have learned to imitate heavenly affections. Inwardly, though, as angels see them, they are totally different. We may gather in some measure from this just who are meant by “the intelligent, who will shine like the radiance of the firmament.” Now we need to explain who are meant by “the ones who justify many, who will shine like stars.”

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 346, 347


Sections 126-140: Published 11/22/2016-12/2/2016

Section 132: Published 11/27/2016

After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body (Continued)

Spirits and angels have memory just as we do. What they hear and see and think and intend and do stays with them; and through their memory they are constantly developing their rational ability forever. This is why spirits and angels are being perfected in intelligence and wisdom through experiences of what is true and good just the way we are.

I have been shown that spirits and angels have memory by a great deal of experience as well. I have seen everything they had thought and done called up from their memory both in public and in private, when they were with other spirits. I have also seen people who had been focused on some truth from simple virtue become steeped in insights and in a consequent intelligence and then taken up into heaven.

It should be realized, though, that they are not steeped in insights and a consequent intelligence beyond the level of the affection for what is good and true that engaged them in the world. In fact, each spirit and angel retains the amount and kind of affection she or he had in the world, and this is afterward perfected by being filled in. This too goes on forever, since everything is capable of infinite variation and enrichment by different means, so it can be multiplied and can bear fruit. There is no end to any instance of goodness, since its source is the Infinite.

The fact that spirits and angels are constantly being perfected in intelligence and wisdom by means of insights into what is true and good has been presented in the chapters on the wisdom of heaven’s angels (Sections 265–275); on non-Christians or people outside the church in heaven (Sections 318–328); and on infants in heaven (Sections 329–345). This happens at the level of the affection for the good and the true that engaged them in the world, and not beyond it (Section 349).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 469


Sections 265-275: Published 10/18/2017-10/24/2017

Sections 318-325: Published 7/17/2017-7/23/2017

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

After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body (Continued)

While we are living in the world, if we are engaged in a love for the Lord and in thoughtfulness toward our neighbor, we have with and within us an angelic intelligence and wisdom, but it is hidden away in the depths of our inner memory. There is no way this intelligence and wisdom can become visible before we leave our bodies. Then our natural memory is put to sleep and we are awakened into consciousness of our inner memory and eventually of our actual angelic memory.

I do need to explain briefly how our rational ability is developed. A genuine rational ability is made up of true elements and not of false ones. Anything made up of false elements is not rational. There are three kinds of true elements: civic, moral, and spiritual. Civic truths have to do with judicial matters and the governmental affairs of nations—in general, with what is fair and equitable. Moral truths have to do with matters of personal life in its societal and social contexts, in general with what is honest and upright, and in particular with all kinds of virtues. Spiritual truths, however, have to do with matters of heaven and the church, in general with what is good in respect to love and what is true in respect to faith.

There are three levels of life in every individual (see above, Section 267). Our rational ability is opened at the first level by means of civic truths, at the second level by moral truths, and at the third level by spiritual truths.

We need to realize, though, that our rational ability is not formed and opened simply by virtue of our knowing these truths, but by virtue of our living by them. Living by them means loving them out of a spiritual affection; and loving them out of a spiritual affection means loving what is fair and equitable because it is fair and equitable, what is honest and upright because it is honest and upright, what is good and true because it is good and true. On the other hand, living according to them and loving them out of a physical affection is loving them for the sake of oneself, one’s repute, prestige, or profit. Consequently, to the extent that we love these truths out of a carnal affection, we do not become rational because we do not love them; we love ourselves, with the truths serving us the way slaves serve their master. When truths become slaves, they do not become part of us or open any level of our life, not even the first. Rather, they stay in our memory like information in material form and unite with love for ourselves there, which is a physical love.

We may gather from this how we become rational, namely that at the third level it is through a spiritual love of what is good and true in regard to heaven and the church; at the second level it is through a love of what is honest and upright; and on the first level it is through a love of what is fair and equitable. The latter two loves also become spiritual from a spiritual love of what is good and true that flows into them and unites itself to them and forms its own face in them, so to speak.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 467, 468


Section 267: Published 10/20/2017

After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body (Continued)

One particular spirit resented the fact that he could not remember much of what he had known during his physical life. He was grieving over the pleasure he had lost because it had been his chief delight. He was told, though, that he had not lost anything at all and that he knew absolutely everything. In the world where he was now living he was not allowed to retrieve things like that. It should satisfy him that he could now think and talk much better and more perfectly without immersing his rational functioning in dense clouds, in material and physical concerns, the way he had before, in concerns that were useless in the kingdom he had now reached. Now he had whatever he needed for his functioning in eternal life, and there was no other way he could become blessed and happy. So it was the counsel of ignorance to believe that the removal and dormancy of material concerns in the memory led to the disappearance of intelligence, when in fact the more the mind can be led out of the sensory concerns that are proper to the outer person or the body, the more it is raised up to spiritual and heavenly concerns.

In the other life, people are sometimes shown what memories are like by having them presented visually in forms that are merely appearances (many things are presented visually there that for us here are strictly conceptual). The outer memory there looks like a callus, while the inner looks like the medullary substance found in the human brain. This also enables us to recognize their quality.

For people who have focused solely on memorization during their physical lives, without developing their rational ability, their memory has a callused quality that looks hard and streaked with tendons inside. For people who have filled their memories with false notions it looks shaggy because of the random mass of disorganized stuff. For people who have focused on memorization with themselves and the world first in mind, it looks stuck together and bony. For people who have tried to probe divine secrets through acquired information, especially philosophical information, without believing anything before they are convinced by the information, their memory looks dark, with a quality that actually absorbs rays of light and turns them into darkness. For people who have been guileful and hypocrites it looks bony and hard as ebony that reflects light rays.

However, for people who have focused on the good of love and truths of faith, no such callus is visible. This is because their inner memory is transmitting rays of light into their outer memory, and those rays find definition in its objects or concepts as though it were their foundation or their soil, and find congenial vessels there. This is because the outer memory is the outmost element of the design, where spiritual and heavenly matters come gently to rest and dwell when there are good and true contents in it.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 465, 466

After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body (Continued)

While our outer or natural memory is still part of us after death, still the merely natural things that are in it are not recreated in the other life, only spiritual things that are connected to the natural ones by correspondence. Still, when they are presented visually, they look just the same as they did in the natural world. This is because everything we see in the heavens looks as it did in the world, even though in essence it is not natural but spiritual, as has been explained in the chapter on representations and appearances in heaven (Sections 170–176).

As for our outer or natural memory, though, to the extent that its contents are derived from matter, time, space, and everything else proper to nature, it does not fulfill the same function for the spirit that it fulfilled in the world. This is because in the world, when we thought on the basis of our outer sensitivity and not at the same time on the basis of our inner or intellectual sensitivity, we were thinking on the natural level and not on the spiritual one. However, in the other life, when our spirit is in the spiritual world, we do not think on the natural level but on the spiritual one. Thinking on the spiritual level is thinking intelligently or rationally. This is why our outer or natural memory then goes dormant as far as material things are concerned. The only things that come into play are what we have gained in the world through those material things and have made rational. The reason our outer memory goes dormant as far as material things are concerned is that they cannot be recreated. Spirits and angels actually talk from the affections and consequent thoughts of their minds, so they cannot utter anything that does not square with these, as you may gather from what was said about the language of angels in heaven and their communication with us (Sections 234–257).

This is why we are rational after death to the extent that we have become rational by means of languages and the arts and sciences in this world, and emphatically not to the extent that we have become skilled in them.

I have talked with any number of people who were regarded as learned in the world because of their knowledge of such ancient languages as Hebrew and Greek and Latin, but who had not developed their rational functioning by means of the things that were written in those languages. Some of them seemed as simple as people who did not know anything about those languages; some of them seemed dense, though there still remained a pride, as though they were wiser than other people.

I have talked with some people who had believed in the world that wisdom depends on how much we have in our memory and who had therefore filled their memories to bursting. They talked almost exclusively from these items, which meant that they were not talking for themselves but for others; and they had not developed any rational function by means of these matters of memory. Some of them were dense, some silly, with no grasp of truth whatever, no sense of whether anything was true or not. They seized on every false notion sold as true by people who called themselves scholars. They were actually incapable of seeing anything as it actually was, whether it was true or not, so they could not see anything rationally when they listened to others.

I have talked with some people who had written a great deal in the world, some of them in all kinds of academic fields, people who had therefore gained an international reputation for learning. Some of them could quibble about whether truths were true or not. Some of them understood what was true when they turned toward people who were in the light of truth; but since they still did not want to understand what was true, they denied it when they focused on their own false opinions and were therefore really being themselves. Some of them did not know any more than the illiterate masses. So they varied depending on the way they had developed their rational ability through the treatises they had written or copied. Still, if people had opposed the truths of the church, had based their thinking on the arts and sciences, and had used them to convince themselves of false principles, they had not developed their rational ability but only their skill in argumentation—an ability that is confused with rationality in the world, but is in fact a different ability from rationality. It is an ability to prove anything one pleases, to see false things rather than true ones on the basis of preconceptions and illusions. There is no way people like this can be brought to recognize truths because it is impossible to see truths from false principles, though it is possible from true principles to see what is false.

Our rational faculty is like a garden or flower bed, like newly tilled land. Our memory is the soil, information and experiential learning are the seeds, while heaven’s light and warmth make them productive. There is no germination without these latter. So there is no germination in us unless heaven’s light, which is divine truth, and heaven’s warmth, which is divine love, are let in. They are the only source of rationality.

Angels are profoundly grieved that scholars for the most part keep attributing everything to nature and therefore close the deeper levels of their minds so that they can see no trace of truth from the light of truth, the light of heaven. As a result, in the other life they are deprived of their ability to reason so that they will not use reason to spread false notions among simple people and mislead them. They are dismissed to desert areas.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 464


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

Sections 237-245: Published 5/4/2018-5/6/2018

Sections 246-257: Published 2/24/2017-3/3/2017