The Wisdom of Heaven’s Angels (Continued)

We may gather what angels’ wisdom is like from the fact that they live in heaven’s light, and in its essence heaven’s light is divine truth or divine wisdom. This light illuminates at one and the same time both their inner sight, which is mental, and their outer sight, the sight of their eyes. (On heaven’s light being divine truth or divine wisdom, see above, Sections 126–133.) Angels also live in heaven’s warmth, which in its essence is divine good or divine love, and from this comes their affection and longing for wisdom. (On heaven’s warmth being divine good or divine love, see above, Sections 133–140.)

Angels enjoy wisdom to the point that they might be called “wisdoms,” as we may gather from the fact that all the elements of their thoughts and affections flow according to the heavenly form, which form is the form of divine wisdom, and further that their more inward levels, which are open to wisdom, are framed according to this form. (On angels’ thoughts and affections, and therefore their intelligence and wisdom as well, flowing according to heaven’s form, see above, Sections 201–212.)

We may further infer the excellence of angels’ wisdom from the fact that their speech is the speech of wisdom. It actually flows directly and freely from their thought, which in turn comes from their affection, so that their speech is their thought from affection in an external form. Consequently, nothing draws them away from the divine inflow: there is none of that external matter that for us keeps intruding into our speech from thoughts about other things. (On angels’ speech being the speech of their thought and affection, see Sections 234–245.)

It also contributes to this kind of angelic wisdom that everything they see with their eyes and perceive with their senses is in harmony with their wisdom. This is because all these things are correspondences and therefore the objects of their senses are forms that portray elements proper to their wisdom. (On the fact that everything visible in heaven is in correspondence with the deeper levels of the angels and is representative of their wisdom, see above, Sections 170–182.)

Further, angels’ thoughts are not bounded and constrained by concepts drawn from space and time the way ours are; for space and time are properties of nature, and properties of nature distract the mind from spiritual things and deprive our intellectual sight of breadth. (On angels’ concepts being devoid of time and space and therefore unlimited, relative to ours, see above, Sections 162–169 and 191–199.)

Angels’ thoughts are not diverted to earthly and material concerns or interrupted by the cares and needs of life, so they are not distracted by such things from the joys of wisdom the way our thoughts are in this world. They are given everything by the Lord gratis: they are clothed gratis, fed gratis, housed gratis (Sections 181–190); and beyond this, they are provided with joys and pleasures in proportion to their acceptance of wisdom from the Lord.

All this has been presented to show where angels derive this kind of wisdom.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 266


Previously Cited: 10/19/2017

Sections 126-133: Published 11/22/2016-11/27/2016

Sections 134-140: Published 11/28/2016-12/2/2016

Sections 162-169: Published 4/30/2017-5/2/2017

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

Sections 177-182: Published 12/29/2016-1/1/2017

Sections 191-199: Published 6/21/2019-6/24/2019

Sections 200-212: Published 4/30/2019-5/5/2019

Sections 234-245: Published 5/3/2018-5/6/2018

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)

Nevertheless, the difference between our life in the spiritual world and our life in the natural world is considerable, in regard both to our outer senses and the way they affect us and to our inner senses and the way they affect us. People who are in heaven have far more delicate senses. That is, they see and hear and also think more discerningly than when they were in this world. This is because they are seeing in heaven’s light, which vastly surpasses the world’s light (see above, Section 126), and they hear by way of a spiritual atmosphere that vastly surpasses the atmosphere of the earth (see Section 235). The difference in their outer senses is like that between something clear and something hidden by a cloud, or like noonday light and the dimness of evening. Because it is divine truth, heaven’s light enables angels’ sight to notice and differentiate the slightest things.

Further, their outer sight is responsive to their inner sight or discernment, since for angels the one sight flows into the other and they act as a single faculty. This is why they are so keen. Their hearing is similarly responsive to their perception, which is a function of both discernment and volition. So they pick up in the tone and words of speakers the slightest shadings of their affection and thought—shadings of affection in the tone, and shadings of thought in the words (see above, Sections 234–245).

However, the other senses are not as delicate for angels as their senses of sight and hearing, because sight and hearing serve their intelligence and wisdom, while the others do not. If the other senses were as sensitive, they would take away the light and pleasure of angels’ wisdom and interject a pleasure of motivations centering in various physical appetites, appetites that obscure and weaken the intellect to the extent that they flourish. This happens to people in the world as well, who become dull and mindless in regard to spiritual truths to the extent that they pander to their taste and to the sensual allurements of the body.

What was presented in the chapter on the wisdom of heaven’s angels (Sections 265–275) may suffice to indicate that the deeper senses of heaven’s angels, the senses of their thought and affection, are more delicate and perfect than the ones they had in the world.

As for the difference in state of people who are in hell from their state in the world, this too is substantial. The perfection and wonder of the outer and inner senses of angels in heaven is paralleled by their imperfection for people in hell. However, we need to deal with their state later.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 462a


Section 126: Published 11/22/2016

Section 235: Published 5/3/2018

Sections 234-245: Published 5/3/2018-5/6/2018

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

The Inner Self and the Outer Self

We are created in such a way that we are in the spiritual world and the earthly world at one and the same time. The spiritual world is where angels are and the earthly world is where we are. And since that is how we are created, we are given an inner nature and an outer nature—an inner nature that allows us to be in the spiritual world, and an outer nature that allows us to be in the earthly world. Our inner nature is what we refer to as the inner self, and our outer nature is what we refer to as the outer self.

Each one of us has an inner level and an outer level, but they are not the same for good people as they are for evil ones. For good people, their inner level is in heaven and in its light, while their outer level is in the world and in its light. Further, for good people this latter light is brightened by heaven’s light, so their inner and outer levels act in unison like an efficient cause and its effect, or like what is prior and what is subsequent. For evil people, though, their inner level is in this world and its light, and the same holds true for their outer level as well. This means that they cannot see anything in heaven’s light, only in this world’s light, which they call “the light of nature.” That is why heavenly matters are in darkness for them and worldly matters are in the light.

We can see from this that good people have an inner self and an outer self, while [in effect] evil people have no inner self, only an outer one.

It is the inner self that is called a spiritual self because it is in heaven’s light, and that light is spiritual. It is the outer self that is called an earthly self because it is in the light of this world, and that light is earthly. Anyone whose inner level is in heaven’s light and whose outer level is in this world’s light is a spiritual individual in both respects, but people whose inner level is not in heaven’s light but in this world’s light, where their outer level is as well, are earthly individuals in both respects. Spiritual individuals are the ones called “living” in the Word, while earthly individuals are the ones called “dead.”

When our inner level is in heaven’s light and our outer level is in this world’s light, we think in ways that are both spiritual and earthly, but our spiritual thinking flows into our earthly thinking, and that is where we perceive it. However, when our inner level is caught up in this world’s light along with our outer level, we think materialistically rather than spiritually. That is, we base our thinking on the kinds of things we find in this physical world, all of which are composed of matter.

To think spiritually is to think about actual things as they really are, seeing truths in the light of truth and perceiving what is good because we love it. It is seeing the qualities of things and perceiving their emotional impact apart from their material characteristics. In contrast, thinking materialistically is thinking, seeing, and perceiving things as inseparable from matter and as in matter, and therefore relatively crudely and dimly.

Seen in its own right, a spiritual inner self is an angel of heaven, and while it is living in the body it is also in the company of angels even though it is not aware of being so; and once it is released from the body it joins them. A merely earthly inner self, though, when seen in its own right, is not an angel but a spirit and is also in the company of spirits while it is living in the body. However, it is with spirits who are in hell, and after its release from the body it joins them.

The deeper levels of [the minds of] people who are spiritual are actively raised up toward heaven because that is their primary focus, while the deeper levels of the minds of people who are merely earthly are actively turned toward this world because that is their primary focus. For all of us, our inner levels, which are levels of our higher mind, are turned toward what we love above all, and our outer levels, which are levels of our lower mind, are turned in the same direction as the inner.

People who have only a vague concept of the inner self and the outer self believe that it is the inner self that thinks and intends and the outer that speaks and acts as a result, since thinking and intending are internal activities, and speaking and acting are external. It should be borne in mind, though, that when we think intelligently and intend wisely, we are thinking and intending from a spiritual inner nature, but when we do not think intelligently and intend wisely we are thinking and intending from an earthly inner nature. This means that when our thoughts about the Lord and about matters that involve the Lord are good and when our thoughts about our neighbor and about matters that involve our neighbor are good, and when our intentions toward them are good, we are thinking and intending from our spiritual inner nature. This is because our thinking is based on a belief in what is true and a love for what is good, and is therefore coming from heaven. However, when our thoughts about them are evil and our intentions toward them are evil, then we are thinking and intending from our earthly inner nature because our thinking is based on a belief in what is false and a love for what is evil, so our thinking is coming from hell.

In short, to the extent that we are focused on loving the Lord and loving our neighbor, our inner nature is spiritual. We are thinking and intending from that nature and are speaking and acting from it as well. To the extent that we are focused on loving ourselves and loving the world, though, our inner nature is earthly. We are thinking and intending from that nature and are speaking and acting from it as well.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 36-42