The Sun in Heaven (Continued)

Since the Lord does appear in heaven as a sun because of the divine love that is in him and from him, all the people there constantly turn toward him. The inhabitants of the heavenly kingdom turn toward him as the sun, while the inhabitants of the spiritual kingdom turn toward him as the moon. In contrast, the inhabitants of hell turn toward the darkness and dimness that are on the opposite side, and therefore turn away from the Lord. This is because all the people who are in the hells are caught up in love for themselves and the world and are therefore opposed to the Lord. The ones who turn toward the darkness that stands for our world’s sun are at the back of the hells and are called “demons,” while the ones who turn toward the dimness that stands for our moon are in the front of hell and are called “spirits.” This is why people in the hells are described as being in darkness and people in the heavens as being in light. “Darkness” means falsity arising from evil, and “light” means truth arising from good.

The reason people turn in this way is that in the other life we all look toward what rules in our deeper natures—toward our own loves, then; and these deeper natures form the faces of angels and spirits. Further, in a spiritual world the cardinal points are not fixed the way they are in a natural world. Instead, they are determined by the way people face.

We ourselves, in spirit, are also turning in the same fashion—away from the Lord if we are caught up in self-love and love of the world, and toward him if we are in a love for him and for our neighbor. We are unaware of this, though, because we are in a natural world where the cardinal points are determined by the sun’s rising and setting. Since it is hard for people to grasp this, examples will be given below where we deal with the cardinal points and with space and time in heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 123


Previously Cited: 11/20/2016

The Sun in Heaven (Continued)

To angels, our world’s sun looks like something murky opposite to heaven’s sun, and our moon like something dim opposite to heaven’s moon, consistently. This is because our world’s fire corresponds to a love for ourselves, and the light it emits corresponds to the distortion that arises from that love. Love for oneself is the absolute opposite of divine love, and the distortion that arises from it is the absolute opposite of divine truth. Anything that is opposed to divine love and truth is darkness to angels.

This is why in the Word, worshiping our world’s sun and moon and bowing down to them means loving oneself and the distortion that arises from self-love, and why these are to be abolished (Deuteronomy 4:19; 18:3–5 [17:3–5]; Jeremiah 8:1–2; Ezekiel 8:15, 16, 18; Revelation 16:8; Matthew 13:6).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 122


Previously Cited: 11/19/2016

Genesis 1:18-19 and Its Inner Meaning

. . . and to rule during the day and during the night, and to make a distinction between light and darkness; and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. — Genesis 1:18-19

Day means goodness and night evil, so in common parlance the good things people do are associated with the day, while the bad things they do are called deeds of the night.

Light means truth and darkness falsity, as the Lord says:

People loved darkness more than light. One who does the truth comes to the light. (John 3:19–21)

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 38

Genesis 1:4-5 and Its Inner Meaning

And God saw the light, that it was good, and God made a distinction between light and darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. — Genesis 1:4-5

The light is said to be good because it is from the Lord, who is goodness itself.

The darkness is whatever looked like light to us before our new conception and birth, because we saw evil as good and falsity as truth; but it is actually darkness—our lingering sense of self-sufficiency.

Absolutely everything that is the Lord’s is compared to the day, because it belongs to the light, and everything that is our own is compared to the night, because it belongs to the darkness. The Word draws this comparison in quite a few places.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volime 1, Section 21

Genesis 1:2 and Its Inner Meaning

And the earth was void and emptiness, and there was darkness on the face of the abyss, and the Spirit of God was constantly moving on the face of the water. — Genesis 1:2

Before regeneration a person is called the void, empty earth, and also soil in which no seed of goodness or truth has been planted.

Void refers to an absence of goodness and empty to an absence of truth.

The result is darkness, in which a person is oblivious to or ignorant of anything having to do with faith in the Lord and consequently with a spiritual or heavenly life.

The Lord portrays such a person this way in Jeremiah:

My people are dense; they do not know me. They are stupid children, without understanding. They are wise in doing evil but do not know how to do good. I looked at the earth, and there—void and emptiness; and to the heavens, and these had no light. (Jeremiah 4:22, 23, 25)

The face of the abyss means our cravings and the falsities these give rise to; we are wholly made up of cravings and falsities and wholly surrounded by them. Because no ray of light is in us, we are like an abyss, or something disorganized and dim.

Many passages in the Word also call such people abysses and sea depths, which are drained (that is, devastated) before a person is regenerated.

In Isaiah, for instance:

Wake up, as in the days of old, the generations of eternity! Are you not draining the sea, the waters of the great abyss, and making the depths of the sea a path for the redeemed to cross? May those ransomed by Jehovah return! (Isaiah 51:9, 10, 11)

An individual of this type, observed from heaven, looks like a dark mass with no life at all to it.

The same words involve an individual’s overall spiritual devastation—a preliminary step to regeneration. (The prophets have much more to say about it.) Before we can learn what is true and be affected by what is good, the things that stand in the way and resist have to be put aside. The old self must die before the new self can be conceived.

The Spirit of God stands for the Lord’s mercy, which is portrayed as moving constantly, like a hen brooding over her eggs. What is being brooded over in this instance is what the Lord stores away in us, which throughout the Word is called “a remnant” [or “survivors”]. It is a knowledge of truth and goodness, which can never emerge into the light of day until our outer nature has been devastated. Such knowledge is here called the face of the water.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 17-19

Divinity fills all space in the universe nonspatially. Nature has two basic properties: space and time.

In this physical world, we use them to form the concepts of our thinking and therefore the way we understand things. If we stay engaged with them and do not raise our minds above them, there is no way we can grasp anything spiritual and divine. We entangle such matters in concepts drawn from space and time, and to the extent that we do, the light of our discernment becomes merely earthly. When we use this light to think logically about spiritual and divine matters, it is like using the dark of night to figure out things that can be seen only in the light of day. Materialism comes from this kind of thinking.

However, when we know how to raise our minds above images of thought derived from space and time, we pass from darkness into light and taste things spiritual and divine. Eventually we see what is inherent in them and what they entail; and then we dispel the darkness of earthly lighting with that [new] light and dismiss its illusions from the center to the sides.

People who possess discernment can think on a higher level than these properties of nature—can think realistically, that is—and see with assurance that Divinity, being omnipresent, is not within space. They can also see with assurance the other things already mentioned. If they deny divine omnipresence, though, and attribute everything to nature, then they do not want to be lifted up even though they could be.

These two properties of nature—the space and time just mentioned—are left behind by everyone who dies and becomes an angel. At that time, people come into a spiritual light in which the objects of their thought are truths, and the objects of their vision—even though those objects look like things in this physical world—are actually responsive to their thoughts.

The objects of their thought, which as just noted are truths, are not at all dependent on space and time. While the objects of their sight do seem to be in space and in time, angels do not use them as the basis for their thinking. The reason is that in the spiritual world intervals of space and time are not fixed the way they are in our physical world, but are changeable in response to their states of life. This means that states of life take the place of space and time in the concepts of their thinking. Issues related to states of love are in place of spatial intervals and issues related to states of wisdom are in place of temporal intervals. This is why spiritual thought and the consequent spiritual speech are so different from earthly thought and its speech that they have nothing in common. They are alike only as to the deeper aspects of their subject matter, which are entirely spiritual. I need to say more about this difference later [Sections 163, 295, and 306].

Since angels’ thoughts do not depend at all on space and time, then, but on states of life, we can see that angels do not understand when someone says that Divinity fills space. They do not know what spatial intervals are. They understand perfectly, though, when someone says that Divinity fills everything, with no reference to any image of space.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 69, 70

Goodness and Truth (Continued)

Goodness takes many forms. Basically, it can be spiritual or earthly, and these two types of goodness come together in what is genuinely good on the moral level. The same goes for types of truth as for types of goodness, because truths come from what is good and are forms of what is good.

The relationship between what is evil and what is false is the inverse of the relationship between what is good and what is true. That is, just as everything in the universe that is in accord with the divine design goes back to what is good and what is true, so everything that violates that design goes back to what is evil and what is false. Further, just as what is good loves being joined to what is true and what is true loves being joined to what is good, likewise what is evil loves being joined to what is false and what is false loves being joined to what is evil.

And just as all intelligence and wisdom are born of a bond between what is good and what is true, so all madness and stupidity are born of a bond between what is evil and what is false. The bond between evil and falsity is called “the hellish marriage.”

We can see from the fact that evil and falsity are the opposite of goodness and truth that nothing true can be joined to anything evil and nothing good can be joined to any falsity arising from evil. If anything true is put together with something evil it is no longer true; it is false because it has been distorted. If anything good is put together with some falsity arising from evil it is no longer good; it is evil because it has been polluted. A falsity that does not arise from evil, though, can be joined to goodness.

“No one who is resolutely and habitually devoted to what is evil and what is false can know what is good and what is true, because such people believe that their evil is good and that their falsity is the truth. On the other hand, anyone who is resolutely and habitually devoted to what is good and what is true can know what is evil and what is false. This is because every type of goodness and its accompanying truth is heavenly in essence, and if any of it is not heavenly in essence it still comes from heaven. Every type of evil and its accompanying falsity, though, is hellish in essence, and any of it that is not hellish in essence still comes from hell. Everything heavenly is in the light, while everything hellish is in darkness.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 16-19