Light and Warmth in Heaven

PEOPLE who think solely on the basis of nature cannot grasp the fact that there is light in the heavens; yet in the heavens there is so much light that it is vastly greater than noonday light on earth. I have seen it often, even during our evenings and nights. At first I was amazed when I heard angels saying that our world’s light was nothing but shadow in comparison to heaven’s light, but now that I have seen it, I myself can bear witness. Its brightness and brilliance are beyond description. What I have seen in heaven I have seen in that light, and therefore more clearly and distinctly than what I have seen in this world.

Heaven’s light is not natural like the light of our world, but spiritual. It actually comes from the Lord as the sun, and that sun, as explained in the preceding chapter, is divine love. While what emanates from the Lord as the sun is called divine truth in the heavens, in essence it is divine good as one with divine truth. This is the source of light and warmth for angels: they get their light from the divine truth and their warmth from the divine good.

We can therefore conclude that heaven’s light, in view of the nature of its source, is spiritual and not natural, as is its warmth.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 126-127


Previously Cited: 11/22/2016

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Is Divine Truth Itself (Continued)

Earthly-minded people, though, are still not convinced by all this that the Word is divine truth itself, containing both divine wisdom and divine life. They evaluate it by its style, where they do not see wisdom or life.

However, the style of the Word is the divine style itself, and no other style, however sublime and excellent it may appear to be, can be compared with it; that would be like comparing darkness to light.

It is characteristic of the Word’s style that there is something holy in every statement, even in every word, even at times in the letters themselves; so the Word unites us to the Lord and opens heaven.

There are two things that emanate from the Lord, divine love and divine wisdom, or (which amounts to the same thing) divine goodness and divine truth, since any divine goodness comes from his divine love, and any divine truth comes from his divine wisdom. In its essence, the Word is both, and since, as already stated, it unites us with the Lord and opens heaven, the Word fills us with good desires that come from love and truths that lead to wisdom, provided we read it with the help of the Lord and not just on our own. It fills our will with good desires that come from love and fills our understanding with truths that lead to wisdom. As a result, we gain life by means of the Word.

To free people from any doubt that this is the nature of the Word, the Lord has revealed to me an inner meaning of the Word, a meaning that is essentially spiritual and that dwells within the outer meaning, which is earthly, the way a soul dwells within a body. This meaning is the spirit that gives life to the letter; therefore this meaning can bear witness to the divinity and holiness of the Word and be convincing even to earthly-minded people— if they are willing to be convinced.

from Sacred Scripture–White Horse, Sections 3-4

That sun is not God. Rather, it is an emanation from the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One. The same is true of warmth and light from that sun (Continued)

If you observe carefully the thoughts of your own mind, you can recognize that there is a spiritual light completely distinct from physical light. When a mind is thinking, it sees its objects in light, and people who think spiritually see truths as readily at midnight as in daytime. This is why we attribute light to our discernment and talk about “seeing.” One person may hear what someone else says and say, “I see that this is true,” meaning “I understand.” Since this understanding is spiritual, it cannot see by physical light. Physical light does not last, but departs with the sun. We can see from this that our discernment enjoys a light other than that of our eyes, and that this light comes from a different source.

Take care not to think that the spiritual world’s sun is actually God. The real God is a person. The first emanation from his love and wisdom is something fiery and spiritual that looks like a sun to angels. When the Lord makes himself visible to angels in person, then, he does so in human form, sometimes within the sun, sometimes outside it.

It is because of this correspondence that in the Word the Lord is called not only the sun but also fire and light. “The sun” refers to him as divine love and wisdom together; “the fire” refers to him as divine love, and “the light” refers to him as divine wisdom.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 96-98

The Essence of God: 5. The essence of love is loving others who are outside oneself, wanting to be one with them, and blessing them from oneself. (Continued)

The true nature of divine love is recognizable from its sphere, which pervades the universe and affects each of us in different ways depending on our state. That sphere of divine love has a special influence on parents. Because of it, they tenderly love their children (who are outside themselves), they want to be one with them, and they want to bless them from themselves. The sphere of divine love affects not only the good but also the evil, and not only people but also animals and birds of every kind.

Surely in the course of giving birth every mother’s only thought is of bonding with and caring for her offspring. Every bird hatching chicks from eggs thinks only of cherishing them under her wings and putting food in their mouths with kisses. Even poisonous snakes and vipers love their offspring, as is commonly known.

This universal sphere has a special influence on those who let God’s love in—those who believe in God and love their neighbor. The goodwill that is in them is an image of God’s love.

Even among people who are not good, friendship emulates this love. At her or his own table, the host will give the guest the better food. Friends will kiss, hug, and join hands, and promise each other help and support. This love is also the sole origin of alliances and the tendency for like-minded and compatible people to form partnerships.

Even in inanimate things like trees and plants that same divine sphere is at work, although in this case it operates through the sun in this world, and its heat and light. Heat comes from the outside into trees and plants and becomes a part of them, causing them to sprout and then develop flowers and fruit, which are in turn blessings to animals. Physical heat has this effect because it corresponds to spiritual heat, which is love.

In fact, even among various substances of the mineral kingdom there are representations of divine love at work. Allegories of divine love appear in the processes for refining these substances to increase their usefulness and value.

From this description of divine love’s essence, you can also see what the essence of diabolical love is like; it becomes visible by contrast.

Diabolical love is a love for oneself. This is called love, but seen in its own right it is really hatred. It does not love anyone outside itself. It does not want to form a partnership with others in order to bless them; it wants to bless only itself. From deep inside, it constantly strives to dominate all others and to own the good things they have.

Eventually it wants to be adored as God. This is why those who are in hell do not acknowledge God. Instead they acknowledge as gods those who have power over others. From hell’s point of view, then, there are lower and higher gods, or lesser and greater gods, according to the reach of each one’s power. Because all who are in hell carry love for themselves in their heart, they burn with hatred against their “god.”

The “gods” in turn burn with hatred against all who are under their thumb; they think of them as vile slaves. They manage to speak softly to them as long as their followers keep showing adoration. They openly rage against all others. Inwardly or at heart, they rage against their followers as well.

Love for oneself is the same love you see among thieves, who kiss each other when they are on a job together, but later each burn with a desire to kill the others and take their share.

In hell, love for oneself is the dominant force. It causes the people there and their selfish lusts to appear at a distance as various species of wild animal. Some people there look like foxes and leopards, some like wolves and tigers, some like crocodiles and venomous snakes. Their love for themselves also causes the deserts they live in to consist of mere piles of stones and bare gravel, with swamps here and there that contain croaking frogs. Over their huts fly miserable screeching birds. These animals and birds are the same as the owls, the wild beasts of the desert, and the jackals mentioned in the prophetical books of the Word in reference to the love of dominating that comes from love for oneself (Isaiah 13:21; Jeremiah 50:39; Psalms 74:14).

from True Christianity, Sections 44, 45

The Essence of God: Divine Love and Wisdom

I have drawn a distinction between God’s underlying reality and God’s essence because there is a difference between God’s infinity and God’s love. Infinity pertains to God’s underlying reality; love pertains to God’s essence. As I said above [Sections 18, 21], God’s underlying reality is more universal than God’s essence. Likewise, God’s infinity is more universal than God’s love. “Infinite” is an adjective modifying God’s attributes and the components of God’s essence. All these are said to be infinite. In the same way, divine love is said to be infinite, and so are divine wisdom and divine power. I do not mean that God’s underlying reality came about before God’s essence, but rather that it is an ingredient or component of that essence that is connected with that essence, that gives that essence direction, and that forms and also elevates that essence.

This part of this chapter, like the parts that went before, will be divided into points, as follows:

1. God is love itself and wisdom itself. These two constitute his essence.

2. Because goodness comes from love and truth comes from wisdom, God is goodness itself and truth itself.

3. Love itself and wisdom itself are life itself, or life in itself.

4. Love and wisdom are united in God.

5. The essence of love is loving others who are outside of oneself, wanting to be one with them, and blessing them from oneself.

6. These essential characteristics of divine love were the reason the universe was created, and they are the reason it is maintained.

I will take up these points one by one.

from True Christianity, Section 36

The Lord The Redeemer: 5. Through acts of redemption the Lord became justice. (Continued)

Our contemporaries who hold high offices in the church describe the Lord’s justice in a completely different way. In fact, they say that what renders the faith capable of saving is that the Lord’s justice is written into us. The truth is this: because of its nature and origin, and because in and of itself it is purely divine, the Lord’s justice could not become part of anyone or produce any salvation any more than the divine life could, which is divine love and divine wisdom. The Lord does come into every one of us bringing his love and wisdom; but unless we are following the divine design in our lives, that life, although it may indeed be in us, makes no contribution whatever to our salvation. It gives us only the ability to understand what is true and do what is good.

Following the divine design in the way we live is following God’s commandments. When we live and function in this way, then we acquire justice for ourselves; but we do not gain the justice of the Lord’s redemption, we gain the Lord himself as justice. This is what the following passages mean: “Unless your justice is more abundant than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of the heavens” (Matthew 5:20). “Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens” (Matthew 5:10). “At the close of the age angels will go out and separate the evil from among the just” (Matthew 13:49), and elsewhere. Because the divine design is justice, “the just” in the Word means those who have followed the divine design in their lives.

The justice itself that the Lord became through acts of redemption cannot be ascribed to us, written into us, fitted into or united with us any more than light can belong to the eye, sound can belong to the ear, will can belong to the muscles that act, thought can belong to the lips that speak, air can belong to the lungs that breathe, or heat can belong to the blood, and so on. These elements all flow in and work with our body parts but do not become part of them, as everyone intuitively knows.

We acquire justice the more we practice it. We practice justice the more our interaction with our neighbor is motivated by a love for justice and truth.

Justice dwells in the goodness itself or the useful functions themselves that we do. The Lord says that every tree is recognized by its fruit. Surely we get to know other people well through paying attention not only to what they do but also to what outcome they want—what they are intending and why. All angels pay attention to these things, as do all wise people in our world.

Everything that grows and flourishes in the ground is identified by its flowers and seeds and by what it is good for. All types of metal are differentiated by their usefulness, all types of stone by their properties. Every piece of land is assessed on the basis of its features, as is every type of food, and even every animal on land and every bird in the sky. Why not us?

The factors that give our actions their quality will be disclosed in the chapter on faith [see especially Sections 373–377].

from True Christianity, Section 96

The Lord’s Divine Nature in Heaven Is Love for Him and Thoughtfulness toward One’s Neighbor

IN heaven, the divine nature that emanates from the Lord is called divine truth, for reasons that will be given below. This divine truth flows into heaven from the Lord, out of his divine love. Divine love and the divine truth that derives from it are like the sun’s fire and the light that comes from it in our world. The love is like the sun’s fire, and the derivative truth is like the light from the sun. By reason of correspondence, fire means love and light means the truth that flows from it.

This enables us to determine the character of the divine truth that emanates from divine love: in its essence, it is divine good united to divine truth, and because it is united, it gives life to everything in heaven the way the warmth of the sun, united to its light, makes everything fruitful on earth in spring and summer. It is different when the warmth is not united to light, when the light is therefore cold. Then everything slows down and lies there, snuffed out.

The divine good we have compared to warmth is the good of love within and among angels, and the divine truth we have compared to light is the means and the source of this good of love.

The reason the Divine in heaven (which in fact makes heaven) is love is that love is spiritual union. It unites angels to the Lord and unites them with each other. It does this so thoroughly that in the Lord’s sight they are like a single being. Further, love is the essential reality of every individual life. It is therefore the source of the life of angels and the life of people here. Anyone who weighs the matter will discover that love is our vital core. We grow warm because of its presence and cold because of its absence, and when it is completely gone, we die. We do need to realize, though, that it is the quality of our love that determines the quality of this life.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 13, 14