The Lord Does Not Cast Anyone into Hell: Spirits Cast Themselves In (Continued)

Enlightened people also see that good and evil are two opposite things, as opposite as heaven and hell, and that everything good is from heaven and everything evil from hell. Further, since the Lord’s divine nature constitutes heaven (see Sections 7–12), nothing flows into us from the Lord but what is good, and nothing from hell but what is evil. So the Lord is constantly leading us out of evil and toward good, while hell is constantly leading us into evil. Unless we were in between, we would have neither thought nor intention, much less any freedom or choice. We have all these gifts because of the balance between good and evil. So if the Lord were to turn away and we were left to our own evil, we would no longer be human.

We can see from this that the Lord is constantly flowing into every individual with good, just as much into the evil person as into the good. The difference is that he is constantly leading evil people away from evil, while he is constantly leading good people toward the good. The reason for this difference lies in us, since we are the ones who accept.

We can gather from this that we do evil from hell and good from the Lord. However, since we believe that whatever we do comes from ourselves, the evil we do clings to us as though it were our own. This is why we are at fault for our evil, never the Lord. The evil within us is hell within us, for it makes no difference whether you say “evil” or “hell.” Since we are at fault for our evil, it is we, not the Lord, who lead ourselves into hell. Far from leading us into hell, the Lord frees us from hell to the extent that we do not intend and love to be absorbed in our evil. Our whole volition and love stays with us after death (see Sections 470–484). People who have intended and loved what is evil in the world intend and love what is evil in the other life, and then they no longer allow themselves to be led away from it. This is why people who are absorbed in evil are connected to hell and actually are there in spirit; and after death they crave above all to be where their evil is. So after death, it is we, not the Lord, who cast ourselves into hell.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 546-547

Notes:

Sections 7-12: Published 5/29/2017-5/31/2017

Sections 470-484: Published 8/14/2018-8/24/2018

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Our Nature after Death Depends on the Kind of Life We Led in the World (Continued)

Works and deeds,” though, does not mean works and deeds solely the way they look in outward form. It also includes their deeper nature. Everyone knows, really, that all our deeds and works come from our intention and thought, for if they did not come from there they would be no more than motions like those of machines or robots. So a deed or work in its own right is simply an effect that derives its soul and life from our volition and thought, even to the point that it is volition and thought in effect, volition and thought in an outward form. It follows, then, that the quality of the volition and thought that cause the deed or work determines the quality of the deed or work. If the thought and intent are good, then the deeds and works are good; but if the thought and intent are evil, then the deeds and works are evil, even though they may look alike in outward form. A thousand people can behave alike—that is, can do the same thing, so much alike that in outward form one can hardly tell the difference. Yet each deed in its own right is unique because it comes from a different intent.

Take for example behaving honestly and fairly with an associate. One person can behave honestly and fairly with someone else in order to seem honest and fair for the sake of self and to gain respect; another person can do the same for the sake of worldly profit; a third for reward and credit; a fourth to curry friendship; a fifth out of fear of the law and loss of reputation and office; a sixth to enlist people in his or her cause, even if it is an evil one; a seventh in order to mislead; and others for still other reasons. But even though all of their deeds look good (for behaving honestly and fairly toward a colleague is good), still they are evil because they are not done for the sake of honesty and fairness, not because these qualities are loved, but for the sake of oneself and the world, because these are loved. The honesty and fairness are servants of this love, like the servants of a household whom their lord demeans and dismisses when they do not serve.

People behave honestly and fairly toward their colleagues in a similar outward form when they are acting from a love of what is honest and fair. Some of them do it because of the truth of faith, or obedience, because it is enjoined in the Word. Some of them do it for the sake of the goodness of faith or conscience, because they are moved by religious feeling. Some of them do it out of the good of thoughtfulness toward their neighbor, because one’s neighbor’s welfare is to be valued. Some of them do it out of the goodness of love for the Lord, because what is good should be done for its own sake; so too what is honest and fair should be done for the sake of honesty and fairness. They love these qualities because they come from the Lord, and because the divine nature that emanates from the Lord is within them. So if we see them in their true essence, they are divine. The deeds or works of these people are inwardly good, so they are outwardly good as well; for as already noted, the nature of deeds and works is entirely determined by the nature of the thought and intent from which they stem, and apart from such thought and intent they are not deeds and works but only lifeless motions.

We may gather from this what is meant by works and deeds in the Word.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 472

The True Divine Essence is Love and Wisdom

If you gather together everything you know, focus your mind’s insight on it, and look through it carefully from some spiritual height to discover what is common to everything, the only conclusion you can draw is that it is love and wisdom. These two are essential to every aspect of our life. Everything we deal with that is civic, everything moral, and everything spiritual depends on these two things. Apart from them, there is nothing. The same holds true for everything in the life of that composite person who is (as already noted [Section 24]) our larger and smaller community, our monarchy or empire, the church, and also the angelic heaven. Take love and wisdom away from these collective bodies and ask whether there is anything left, and you will be struck by the fact that without love and wisdom as their source, they are nothing.

No one can deny that in God we find love and wisdom together in their very essence. He loves us all out of the love that is within him, and he guides us all out of the wisdom that is within him. Further, if you look at the created universe with an eye to its design, it is so full of wisdom from love that you might say everything taken all together is wisdom itself. There are things without measure in such a pattern, both sequential and simultaneous, that taken all together they constitute a single entity. This is the only reason they can be held together and sustained forever.

It is because the very essence of the Divine is love and wisdom that we have two abilities of life. From the one we get our discernment, and from the other volition. Our discernment is supplied entirely by an inflow of wisdom from God, while our volition is supplied entirely by an inflow of love from God. Our failures to be appropriately wise and appropriately loving do not take these abilities away from us. They only close them off; and as long as they do, while we may call our discernment “discernment” and our volition “volition,” essentially they are not. So if these abilities really were taken away from us, everything human about us would be destroyed—our thinking and the speech that results from thought, and our purposing and the actions that result from purpose.

We can see from this that the divine nature within us dwells in these two abilities, in our ability to be wise and our ability to love. That is, it dwells in the fact that we are capable of being wise and loving. I have discovered from an abundance of experience that we have the ability to love even though we are not wise and do not love as we could. You will find this experience described in abundance elsewhere.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 28-30

Notes:

Section 24: Published 4/17/2018

Today’s Publication of Sections 28-30: Published 4/12/2016, 4/16/2016

There is one human God who is the source of everything (Continued)

It would be the same in the church that is spread throughout the world, which is called a communion because it is like a single body under a single head. It is recognized that the head governs the body beneath itself at will. The head is after all the locus of our discernment and our volition, and the body acts at the behest of our discernment and volition to the point that the body is pure obedience. The body is incapable of doing anything except at the behest of the discernment and volition in the head; and in similar fashion we of the church can do nothing apart from God. It does seem as though the body acts on its own—as though hands and feet move of their own accord when we do something, as though mouth and tongue vibrate of their own accord when we say something—and yet nothing whatever is done “on its own.” It is prompted by the stimulus of our volition and the consequent thinking of the discernment in the head.

Just think. If one body had many heads, and each head had its own agenda based on its mind and its volition, could the body survive? There could be no unanimity among them the way there is with a single head.

It is the same in the heavens, which consist of millions of angels, as it is in the church. Unless every single angel focused on one God, one angel would move away from another and heaven would fall apart. So an angel who even thinks about many gods instantly disappears, exiled to the very edge of heaven, and collapses.

Since the whole heaven and everything in it depend on a single God, it is the nature of angelic speech to come to a close in a particular harmony that flows from heaven’s own harmony. This is a sign that it is impossible for angels to think of more than one God. Their speech follows from their thought.

Surely everyone of sound reason perceives the fact that Divinity is not divisible, that there is not a multiplicity of infinite, uncreated, omnipotent beings, or gods. Suppose some irrational soul were to say that there could be a multiplicity of infinite, uncreated, omnipotent beings, or gods, if only they had a single “same essence,” and that this would result in one being who was infinite, uncreated, omnipotent, and god. Would not that single same essence have one “same identity”? And it is not possible for many beings to have the same identity. If this individual were to say that one is derived from the other, then the one that is derived from the other is not God in and of himself; yet God in and of himself is the source of all (see Section 16 above).

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 25-27

Notes

Section 16: Published 4/14/2018

The Power of Heaven’s Angels

PEOPLE who do not know anything about the spiritual world and its inflow into the natural world cannot grasp the fact that angels have power. They think that angels cannot have power because they are spiritual and so pure and insubstantial that they cannot even be seen by our eyes. People who probe more deeply into the causes of things, though, feel otherwise about it. They are aware that all the power we ourselves have comes from our intellect and volition, since without these we cannot move the slightest part of our bodies. Intellect and volition are our spiritual person. This person is what animates the body and its members at will, for the mouth and tongue say what it thinks and the body does what it intends. It even bestows energy at will. Our intention and discernment are governed by the Lord through angels and spirits; and since this is true of our intention and discernment, it is true of all aspects of our bodies because these latter come from the former. Believe it or not, we cannot move a step without the inflow of heaven.

I have been shown that this is true by a great deal of experience. Angels have been allowed to activate my walking, my actions, my tongue, and my conversation as they wished, by flowing into my intention and thinking, and I learned at first hand that I could do nothing on my own. They told me later that everyone is governed in this way, and that we might learn this from the doctrine of the church and from the Word. We actually pray that God will send his angels who may lead us, guide our steps, teach us, and inspire us as to what we should think and say, and so on—this even though we talk and believe quite differently in our private thoughts apart from doctrine.

These things have been mentioned to illustrate the kind of power angels have with us.

In the spiritual world angels have so much power that if I were to highlight everything I have seen, it would strain credulity. If anything there is in the way and needs to be removed because it is opposed to the divine design, they raze and overturn it simply by an effort of will and a look. So I have seen mountains that were the abode of evil people leveled and overturned, sometimes shaken from end to end as happens in our earthquakes. I have seen cliffs split down the middle right to the bottom and the evil people on them swallowed up. I have also seen angels scatter some hundreds of thousands of evil spirits and cast them into hell. A vast multitude is powerless against them. The skills and wiles and alliances of evil spirits amount to nothing. Angels see everything and dispel it instantly. But there is more about this in the story of Babylon destroyed. They do have this kind of power in the spiritual world.

The Word, too, shows that angels have power like this in the natural world when it is granted them. For example, they are said to have brought death upon whole armies, to have brought about a plague that killed seventy thousand people. We read of this latter angel:

The angel stretched out a hand against Jerusalem to destroy it; but Jehovah, repenting of his evil, said to the angel who was destroying the people, It is enough, now hold back your hand: and David saw the angel who was striking the people. (2 Samuel 24:15, 16, 17)

among other passages.

Because angels do have this kind of power they are called powers. It also says in David,

“Bless Jehovah, you angels most powerful in strength” (Psalms 103:20).

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 228, 229