On Different Forms of Goodness and Truth

There is infinite variety, and no one thing can be identical to any other thing. There is an infinite variety in the heavens as well. The variations in the heavens are variations of goodness, and they are the basis of all differentiations there. These variations are defined by the truths (which are manifold) that shape the goodness of a given individual. That is how all the angelic communities in the heavens and all the individual angels in the communities are differentiated from each other. They still act as one because of the love they receive from the Lord and because of their devotion to a single purpose.

In general terms, goodness and truth are differentiated by level into earthly, spiritual, and heavenly varieties. Broadly, the three levels of goodness and of accompanying truth match the three heavens. There are three levels of goodness and truth in the inner self and three levels in the outer self as well. There is earthly goodness, civic goodness, and moral goodness. The earthly kind of goodness into which some of us are born is not good in the other life unless it becomes spiritual goodness. On earthly goodness that is spiritual and earthly goodness that is not spiritual. There is intellectual truth and there is factual truth.

from New Jerusalem, Section 26

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Heaven’s Form, Which Determines How People Associate and Communicate There (Continued)

In each heaven, this is the form that determines communication and the outreach of thoughts and affections for angels and therefore determines their intelligence and wisdom. The communication of one heaven with another, though, is different—that of the third or inmost heaven with the second or intermediate, and of these two with the first or outmost. In fact, the communication between heavens should not be called “communication” but “inflow,” which we now need to say something about. On the three heavens and their differentiation, see the appropriate chapter above (Sections 29–40).

We may conclude from the way the heavens are situated in relation to each other that there is not a communication of one heaven with another but an inflow. The third or inmost heaven is above, the second or intermediate is lower, and the first or outmost is still lower. It is much the same for all the communities of each heaven: for example there are some in lofty places that look like mountains (see Section 188), with people from the inmost heavens living on their summits, people from the second heaven below them, and below them again people from the outmost heaven. It is like this everywhere, whether in lofty areas or in lowly ones. A community of a higher heaven does not have any communication with a community of a lower heaven except by means of correspondences (see above, Section 100), and communication by correspondences is what is called inflow.

One heaven is united to another (or a community of one heaven with a community of another) by the Lord alone, through a direct and an indirect inflow. The direct is from himself, and the indirect is sequential through the higher heavens into the lower ones.

Since the union of the heavens through inflow is accomplished by the Lord alone, the greatest possible precautions are taken to prevent any angel from a higher heaven from looking down into a community of a lower one and talking with anyone there. The moment this happens, the angel will lose intelligence and wisdom. The reason needs to be stated. Every angel has three levels of life, like the three levels of heaven. For the ones in the inmost heaven, the third or inmost level is opened and the second and first are closed. For people in the intermediate heaven the second level is opened and the first and third are closed; and for people in the outermost heaven the first level is opened and the second and third are closed. The moment an angel of the third heaven, then, looks down into a community of the second and talks with anyone there, the third level of that angel is closed; and when it is closed the angel is deprived of wisdom because her or his wisdom dwells on the third level, with none on the second and first.

This is the meaning of the Lord’s words in Matthew:

Let those who are on the roof not come down to take what is in the house; and let those who are in the field not turn back to take their garments. (Matthew 24:17–18)

And in Luke:

Let those who are on the roof on that day while their belongings are in the house not go down to get them, and let those who are in the field not turn back to what is behind them: remember Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:31–32)

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 206-208

Notes:

Section 29-40: Published 7/1/2017-7/7/2017

Section 188: Published 4/28/2017

Section 100: Published 6/11/2017

The Lord Governs the Hells (Continued)

Because hell is differentiated into as many communities as heaven is, there are also as many hells as there are communities of heaven. As each community of heaven is a heaven in smaller form (see Sections 51–58), so each community of hell is a hell in smaller form.

Because there are three heavens overall, there are also three hells overall. There is a deepest hell that is opposite to the inmost or third heaven; there is a middle hell that is opposite to the middle or second heaven; and there is a highest hell that is opposite to the outmost or first heaven.

I need to explain briefly how the hells are governed, though. Overall, the hells are governed by a general impingement of divine good and divine truth from the heavens through which the general effort that flows out of the hells is restrained and controlled. There is also a specific impingement from each heaven and from each community of heaven.

Specifically, the hells are governed by means of angels who are given the ability to look into the hells and check the insanities and riots there. Sometimes angels are sent there, and their very presence brings matters under control.

In general, though, all the people in the hells are governed by their fears, some by fears sown and still in place from the world. However, since these fears are not adequate and gradually weaken, they are governed through fears of punishment, which are the primary means of preventing them from doing evil. There are many kinds of punishment there, milder or more severe depending on the evil [they are restraining]. Most of the time, the relatively malevolent spirits are in power, having gained control by their experience and skill; and they are able to keep the rest in servile obedience by punishments and the fears that these give birth to. These dominant spirits do not dare go beyond fixed limits.

We do need to realize that the only way of controlling the violent rages of people in the hells is through fear of punishment. There are no other means.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 542-543

Notes:

Sections 51-58: Published 2/13/2018-2/15/2018

Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

“The ones who justify many” means the ones who are wise. In heaven people are called wise if they are engaged in what is good, and people are engaged in what is good when they involve divine truths directly in their lives, since divine truth becomes good when it becomes a matter of life. Then it truly becomes a matter of intent and love; and anything that belongs to our intent and love is called good. This is why these individuals are called wise, since wisdom is a matter of life. In contrast, people are called intelligent if they do not involve divine truths directly in their lives but consign them first to their memories and then draw them out and apply them to life. The nature and extent of the difference between these two kinds of people in the heavens has been presented in the chapter on heaven’s two kingdoms, the heavenly and the spiritual (Sections 20–28), and in the chapter on the three heavens (Sections 29–40).

People who are in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom, especially the ones in the third or inmost heaven, are called the just because they do not ascribe any justice to themselves, but all justice to the Lord. The Lord’s justice in heaven is the good that comes from the Lord,b so these are the people meant by “those who justify.” They are also the ones the Lord was talking about when he said, “The righteous shall shine like the sun in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 13:43). The reason they shine like the sun is that they are caught up in love for the Lord from the Lord, and this love is what the sun means (see above, Sections 116–125). Further, the light they have is fiery, and their individual thoughts have something flamelike about them because they are receiving the good of love directly from the Lord as the sun in heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 348

Notes:

Sections 20-27: Published 6/27/2017-6/30/2017

Sections 29-39: Published 7/1/2017-7/6/2017

Sections 116-125: Published 11/15/2016-11/21/2016