1. People who live lives based on falsity with evil intent and people who live lives based on falsity without evil intent; and also the nature of false beliefs that accompany evil intent and of false beliefs that do not.

There are many kinds of falsity—as many as there are kinds of evil—and there are many sources of things that are evil and of the falsities that they engender. Falsity that comes from evil, or evil-based falsity, is one thing; evil that comes from falsity, or falsity-based evil, which leads in turn to further or secondary falsity, is another. From just one false idea, especially if it is taken as a first principle, further false ideas flow in an unbroken series. There are falsities that are the result of cravings arising from our love for ourselves and for the world, and there are falsities that are the result of misleading sensory impressions. There are falsities that arise from what our religion has taught us and there are falsities that arise from our ignorance. There is falsity that contains some good and there is falsity that contains no good. There are also things that have been falsified. Everything evil has something false accompanying it. The falsity accompanying the cravings that arise from love for ourselves is truly evil; it is the worst kind of falsity.

Evil is heavy and falls into hell of its own accord, but this is not true of falsity unless it comes from evil. Good turns into evil and truth into falsity as they fall from heaven into hell because this is like coming into a dense and polluted atmosphere. The hells are surrounded by evil-based falsities, which look like storm clouds and unclean waters. The things that are said by the people who are in the hells are falsities that come from evil. Left to their own devices, people intent on evil cannot think anything but falsity. More on evil that comes from falsity and falsity that comes from evil.

Every falsity is something we can convince ourselves of, and when we have done so it seems to us to be the truth. We should therefore make sure something is true before convincing ourselves of it. We should be particularly careful not to convince ourselves of falsity in matters of religion because this leads to false convictions that remain with us after death. How damaging false convictions are.

What is good cannot flow into truth as long as we are intent on evil. To the extent that we devote our lives to what is evil and the falsity that goes with it, to that extent what is good and what is true are moved away from us. The Lord takes the greatest care to prevent truth from being joined to what is evil and prevent the falsity that comes from evil from being joined to what is good. If these pairs are mixed, the result is profanation. Truths put an end to falsities and falsities put an end to truths. Truths cannot be accepted on any deep level as long as skepticism reigns.

from New Jerusalem, Section 21

Goodness and Truth: from Secrets of Heaven

Absolutely everything in the universe goes back to either goodness and truth or evil and falsity. If it is in keeping with the divine design, or is becoming so, it goes back to what is good and true, while if it is in violation of the divine design it goes back to what is evil and false.

This holds true for our understanding and our will, since our understanding is the part of us that is receptive either to what is true or to what is false and our will is the part of us that is receptive either to what is good or to what is evil.

Nowadays, not many people know what “truth” really is in essence because so little is known about what is good. Yet everything true comes from what is good and everything good happens by means of what is true.

There are four kinds of people:

1. There are people who live lives based on falsity; some of them do so with evil intent, and some of them do so without evil intent.

2. There are people who live lives based on truth but lack good intent.

3. There are people who live lives based on truth who use that truth to focus on and move toward what is good.

4. And there are people who live lives based on truth who have good intent.

Let us take these one at a time.

from New Jerusalem, Section 20

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