Motivation and Understanding (Continued)

Nothing is more worth knowing than how our motivation and understanding work together as one mind. They do this in the same way goodness and truth work together. There is the same kind of marriage between motivation and understanding as there is between goodness and truth. We can get a clear idea of what this marriage is like from what I said before about goodness and truth.

Specifically, goodness is the essential reality of a thing, and truth is its visible existence. In the same way, our motivation is our life’s essential reality, and our understanding (which comes from our motivation) is our life’s visible existence. The good impulses in our motivation give themselves form in our understanding and make themselves visible.

When we do good things and have true ideas, we have motivation and understanding. But when we do harmful things and have false ideas, we do not have motivation and understanding. Instead of motivation we have desire, and instead of understanding we have knowledge.

A truly human motivation is a storehouse of good impulses, and a truly human understanding is a storehouse of true ideas. So we cannot call bad impulses “motivation,” or false ideas “understanding”—they are just the opposite, and opposites destroy each other. Because of this, when we do harmful things and have false ideas, we are not rational, wise, or understanding. Also, the deeper parts of a harmful person’s mind are closed, and our motivation and understanding are mainly in these parts of our mind.

We may think harmful people also have motivation and understanding, since they say they intend things and understand things. But their motivation is only desire, and their understanding is only knowledge.

from The Heavenly City, Chapter 2


Genesis 1:21and Its Inner Meaning

And God created the big sea creatures, and every living, creeping soul that the waters caused to creep out, in all their kinds, and every bird on the wing, of every kind; and God saw that it was good. — Genesis 1:21

Fish symbolize facts, as already stated [Section 40]. In this instance they symbolize facts animated by faith that is received from the Lord, which therefore possess vitality. Big sea creatures symbolize general categories of facts, from which come subcategories. (Not one thing exists anywhere in the world that does not belong to some general category. The category allows the particular item to come into being and continue in existence.)

The prophets mention sea monsters or whales a number of times, and when they do, these symbolize general categories of facts. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, representing human wisdom or understanding (that is, factual information in general), is called a large sea creature, as in Ezekiel:

Here, now, I am against you, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, you great sea creature, lying in the middle of your rivers, who has said, “The river is mine, and I have made myself.” (Ezekiel 29:3)


Raise a lamentation over Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and you are to tell him, “But you are like a monster in the seas; and you have emerged among your rivers and churned the waters with your feet.” (Ezekiel 32:2)

This image symbolizes those who want to use facts (meaning they want to use their own powers) to initiate themselves into religious mysteries. In Isaiah:

On that day Jehovah, with his steely and great and mighty sword, will exact punishment on Leviathan the stretched-out serpent and on Leviathan the coiled serpent; and he will kill the monsters that are in the sea. (Isaiah 27:1)

Killing the monsters that are in the sea means leaving such people without awareness even of general facts. In Jeremiah:

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has devoured me, has churned me up; he has rendered me an empty container, like a sea monster he has swallowed me down, filled his belly with the savors of me, hurled me out. (Jeremiah 51:34)

In other words, “Nebuchadnezzar” has swallowed up all religious knowledge (the “savors”) as the sea monster did to Jonah. In Jonah’s case the monster stood for people who possess the broad outlines of this knowledge in the form of facts and who wolf them down.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 42

Genesis 1:10 and Its Inner Meaning

And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of waters he called seas; and God saw that it was good. — Genesis 1:10

To find waters symbolizing religious and secular knowledge, and seas symbolizing a body of such knowledge, is quite common in the Word.

In Isaiah:

The earth will be full with the awareness of Jehovah, like the waters covering the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

In the same prophet, where both kinds of knowledge are portrayed as lacking:

The water will disappear from the sea, the river will drain away and dry up, and the streams will recede. (Isaiah 19:5, 6)

In Haggai, where a new church is the subject:

I am shaking the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, and those who are the desire of every nation will come, and I will fill this House with glory. (Haggai 2:6, 7)

And in Zechariah, on the regenerating individual:

That will be a single day; it is known to Jehovah; it is not day or night. And it will happen that at the time of evening there will be light. And it will happen on that day that living water will go out from Jerusalem, part of it to the eastern sea and part of it to the western sea. (Zechariah 14:7, 8)

In a passage in David depicting a devastated person who is being reborn and will come to revere the Lord:

Jehovah does not despise his prisoners; the heavens and the earth, the seas and every creeping thing in them will praise him. (Psalms 69:33, 34)

In the following passage in Zechariah, the earth symbolizes that which receives something put into it:

Jehovah is stretching out the heavens and founding the earth and forming the human spirit in the middle of it. (Zechariah 12:1)

from Secrets fo Heaven, Volume 1, Section 28

Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven (Continued)

There were some spirits who while they were in the world had thought their way into the conviction that they would get into heaven and would be accepted before anyone else because they were well educated and knew a lot about the Word and the doctrine of the churches. They believed that they were wise, that they were the people meant by the prophecy in Daniel 12:3 that “they will shine like the glory of the firmament and like the stars.” However, they were examined to see whether their learning was lodged in their memories or in their life. The ones who had a real affection for truth—that is, for the sake of constructive acts apart from merely physical and worldly motives, acts that were essentially spiritual—once they had been instructed, were accepted into heaven. They were then granted knowledge of what does shine in heaven. It is the divine truth (which is heaven’s light there) in constructive living, this being the facet that receives that light and turns it into various kinds of radiance.

For others, though, the learning was lodged only in their memories. They had thereby acquired an ability to reason about truths and to prove the ones they accepted as fundamental, notions that looked true once they were proved, even though they were false. These people were not in heaven’s light at all, but were wrapped up in a faith based on the pride that characterizes so many people of like intelligence, a pride in being especially erudite and therefore destined for heaven where they will be waited on by angels. Because of all this, to extract them from their conceited faith, they were taken up to the first or outmost heaven to be admitted into one particular angelic community. Even as they were entering it, though, their sight began to darken at the inflow of heaven’s light. Then their intellects began to be confused, and eventually they began to labor for breath as though they were dying. Not only that, when they began to feel heaven’s warmth, which is heavenly love, they began to feel profound agonies. So they were expelled, and then were taught that knowledge does not make an angel, only the actual life that people have gained through their knowledge. This is because in and of itself, knowledge is outside of heaven; but a life gained through knowledge is inside heaven.

After spirits have been prepared for heaven in these learning sites (which does not take long, because they are surrounded by spiritual concepts that comprehend a great deal at once), they are dressed in angelic clothing, usually white as linen, taken to a path that leads up toward heaven, and turned over to guardian angels there. Then they are accepted by other angels and put in touch with their communities and with a host of blessings. The Lord then takes each angel to her or his community. This happens in various ways, sometimes with detours. No angel knows the paths along which they are taken, only the Lord. When they arrive at their own communities, their inner natures are opened, and since they are in harmony with the inner natures of the angels who are members of that community, they are recognized instantly and accepted with joy.

I should like to add here something remarkable about the paths that lead from these sites to heaven, the paths by which newly arrived angels are admitted. There are eight paths, two from each teaching site. One leads up toward the east and the other toward the west. People who are entering the Lord’s heavenly kingdom are admitted by the eastern path, while people who are entering the Lord’s spiritual kingdom are admitted by the western path.

The four paths that lead to the Lord’s heavenly kingdom are graced by olive trees and various fruit trees, while the ones that lead to the Lord’s spiritual kingdom are graced by grapevines and laurel. This is because of correspondence, since vines and laurel correspond to an affection for truth and its uses, while olive and fruit trees correspond to an affection for what is good and its uses.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 518-520