1. Divine Love and Wisdom
Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love
Love is our life. For most people, the existence of love is a given, but the nature of love is a mystery. As for the existence of love, this we know from everyday language. We say that someone loves us, that monarchs love their subjects, and that subjects love their monarch. We say that a husband loves his wife and that a mother loves her children, and vice versa. We say that people love their country, their fellow citizens, their neighbor. We use the same language about impersonal objects, saying that someone loves this or that thing.
Even though the word “love” is so commonly on our tongues, still hardly anyone knows what love is. When we stop to think about it, we find that we cannot form any image of it in our thoughts, so we say either that it is not really anything or that it is simply something that flows into us from our sight, hearing, touch, and conversation and therefore influences us. We are wholly unaware that it is our very life–not just the general life of our whole body and of all our thoughts, but the life of their every least detail. Wise people can grasp this when you ask, “If you take away the effects of love, can you think anything? Can you do anything? As the effects of love lose their warmth, do not thought and speech and action lose theirs as well? Do they not warm up as love warms up?” Still, the grasp of these wise people is not based on the thought that love is our life, but on their experience that this is how things happen.
Our sense that we are life and our consequent belief that we are life rests on an illusion: in an instrumental cause, the presence of its principal cause is only felt as something identical to itself. The Lord himself teaches that he is life in itself in John: “As the Father has life in himself, so too he has granted the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26); and again in John (11:25 and 14:6) he teaches that he is life itself. Since life and love are one and the same, as we can see from the first two sections above, it follows that the Lord, being life itself, is love itself.
Spiritual warmth and spiritual light flow into and affect not only angels but also us, precisely to the extent that we become receptive. Our receptivity develops in proportion to our love for the Lord and our love for our neighbor.
That sun itself, or divine love, cannot use its warmth and light to create anyone directly from itself. If it did, the creature would be love in its essence, which is the Lord himself. It can, however, create people out of material substances so formed as to be receptive of its actual warmth and light. In the same way, the sun of our world cannot use its warmth and light to bring forth sprouts in the earth directly. Rather, the sun uses substances in the soil in which it can be present through its warmth and light to make plants grow. (On the Lord’s divine love being seen as the sun in the spiritual world, with spiritual warmth and light flowing from it, giving angels their love and wisdom, see Heaven and Hell 116-142.)
Still, we can grasp this with our earthly thinking if only we let in a little spiritual light. This requires that I first say something about spiritual concepts and the spiritual thinking that arises from them. Spiritual concepts have nothing to do with space. They have to do solely with state, state being an attribute of love, life, wisdom, desires, and the delights they provide–in general, an attribute of what is good and true. A truly spiritual concept of these realities has nothing in common with space. It is higher and looks down on spatial concepts the way heaven looks down on earth.
However, since angels and spirits see with their eyes the way we do on earth, and since objects can be seen only in space, there does seem to be space in the spiritual world where angels and spirits are, space like ours on earth. Still, it is not space but an appearance of space. It is not fixed and invariant like ours. It can be lengthened and shortened, changed and altered; and since it cannot be defined by measurement, we here cannot grasp it with an earthly concept, but only with a spiritual one. Spiritual concepts are no different when they apply to spatial distances than when they apply to “distances” of what is good and “distances” of what is true, which are agreements and likenesses as to state.
This premise is necessary because without a knowledge and some sense that Divinity is not in space, we cannot understand anything about the divine life that is love and wisdom, which are our present topic. This means there can be little if any understanding of divine providence, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, infinity, and eternity, which are to be dealt with in sequence.
It is the same for us. The Lord is present in us and with us throughout the whole world; and the reason for this is simply that the Lord is not in space.
It is because God is a person that all angels and spirits are perfectly formed people. This is because of heaven’s form, which is the same in its largest and its smallest manifestations. (On heaven being in a human form overall and regionally, see Heaven and Hell 59-87 [59-86], and on thought progressing in keeping with heaven’s form, see 203-204 there.)
It is common knowledge that we were created in the image and likeness of God because of Genesis 1:26, 27 and from the fact that Abraham and others saw God as a person.
The early people, wise and simple alike, thought of God only as a person. Even when they began to worship many gods, as they did in Athens and Rome, they worshiped them as persons. By way of illustration, here is an excerpt from an earlier booklet.
Non-Christians–especially Africans–who acknowledge and worship one God as the Creator of the universe conceive of that God as a person. They say that no one can have any other concept of God. When they hear that many people prefer an image of God as a little cloud in the center, they ask where these people are; and when they are told that these people are among the Christians, they respond that this is impossible. They are told, however, that Christians get this idea from the fact that in the Word God is called a spirit; and the only concept they have of spirit is of a piece of cloud. They do not realize that every spirit and every angel is a person. However, when inquiry was made to find out whether their spiritual concept was the same as their earthly one, it turned out that it was not the same for people who inwardly recognized the Lord as the God of heaven and earth.
I heard one Christian elder say that no one could have a concept of a being both divine and human; and I saw him taken to various non-Christians, more and more profound ones. Then he was taken to their heavens, and finally to a heaven of Christians. Through the whole process people’s inner perception of God was communicated to him, and he came to realize that their only concept of God was a concept of a person–which is the same as a concept of a being both divine and human.
We can see very clearly that our state after death depends on our avowed concept of God if we consider the opposite, namely that the denial of God, and in the Christian world, a denial of the Lord’s divinity, constitutes hell.
They are distinguishably one like love and wisdom. Further, love is reality and wisdom is its manifestation. Love occurs only in wisdom, and wisdom only from love. So love becomes manifest when it is in wisdom. These two are one entity in such a way that although they can be distinguished in thought they cannot be distinguished in fact; and since they can be distinguished in thought and not in fact, we refer to them as “distinguishably one.”
Reality and its manifestation are also distinguishably one in the Divine-Human One the way soul and body are. A soul does not occur without its body, nor a body without its soul. The divine soul of the Divine-Human One is what we mean by the divine reality, and the divine body of the Divine-Human One is what we mean by the divine manifestation.
The notion that a soul can exist and think and be wise without a body is an error that stems from deceptive appearances. Every soul is in a spiritual body after it has cast off the material skin that it carried around in this world.
The infinite things in him should not be called “infinitely many” or “infinitely all,” because of our earthly concepts of “many” and “all.” Our earthly concept of “infinitely many” is limited, and while there is something limitless about our concept of “infinitely all,” it still rests on limited things in our universe. This means that since our concept is earthly, we cannot arrive at a sense of the infinite things in God by some process of shifting it to a higher level or by comparison. However, since angels enjoy spiritual concepts they can surpass us by changing to a higher level and by comparison, though they cannot reach infinity itself.
We can make this comparison of the uncreated Person, who is God, with us who are created, because that God is a person. It is because of him that we earthly beings are said to have been created in his image and in his likeness (Genesis 1:26, 27).
Heaven is in this form overall, regionally, and in individuals because of the divine nature that angels accept, since the extent to which angels accept the divine nature determines the perfection of their human form. This is why we say that angels are in God and that God is in them, and that God is everything to them.
The multiplicity of heaven is indescribable; and since it is Divinity that makes heaven, and therefore Divinity is the source of that indescribable multiplicity, we can see quite clearly that there are infinite things in that quintessential Person who is God.
The reason is that all these organs are gathered into a form that precludes the absence of any one of them. It is a form designed to receive life from the Divine-Human One, as explained in 4-6 above. The organization and connection of all these elements in this kind of form give rise to the feeling and therefore to the image of them not as many or countless but as one.
We may therefore conclude that the innumerably many components that constitute a kind of unity in us are distinguishably one–supremely so–in that quintessential Person who is God.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that in its own right, our very ability to think rationally is not our own property. It is a property of God within us. Human rationality in general depends on this fact, and this general property causes our reason more or less spontaneously to see the oneness of God. The second is that through our rational ability either we are in heaven’s light or we draw from it some general quality of its thought, and the all-pervading element of heaven’s light is that God is one.
This is not the case if we have used our rational ability to skew our lower understanding. In this case we still possess the ability, but by the distortion of our lower abilities we have steered it off course, and our rationality is not sound.
If we were to claim that these heads have a single essence that made them all one head, then the only possible image would be either of a single head with many faces or of many heads with one face. In our perception, then, the church would look grotesque. In fact, one God is the head, and the church is the body that acts at the bidding of the head and not on its own, as is true of us as well.
This is also why there is only one monarch per realm. More than one would pull it apart; one holds it together.
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.
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.
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.
Since we have been created to be recipients, then, and since we are recipients to the extent that we love God and are wise because of our love for God (that is, the extent to which we are moved by what comes from God and think as a result of that feeling), it therefore follows that the divine essence, the Creatress, is divine love and wisdom.
We refer to them as “distinguishably one” because love and wisdom are two distinguishable things, and yet they are so united that love is a property of wisdom and wisdom a property of love. Love finds its reality in wisdom, and wisdom finds its manifestation in love. Further, since wisdom derives its manifestation from love (as noted in 15  above), divine wisdom is reality as well. It follows from this that love and wisdom together are the divine reality, though when they are distinguished we call love the divine reality and wisdom the divine manifestation. This is the quality of the angelic concept of divine love and wisdom.
The reason divine love and wisdom are one is that the union is reciprocal, and a reciprocal union makes complete unity. But there will be more to say about reciprocal union later [115-116].
The reason the wisdom and love within us seem to be two separate things is that our ability to understand can be raised into heaven’s light, while our ability to love cannot, except to the extent that we act according to our understanding. So any trace of apparent wisdom that is not united to our love for wisdom relapses into the love with which it is united. This may not be a love for wisdom, and may even be a love for insanity. We are perfectly capable of knowing, from our wisdom, that we ought to do one thing or another, and then of not doing it because we have no love for it. However, to the extent that we do the bidding of our wisdom, from love, we are images of God.
Even people who do see that love and wisdom are substance and form sense them as something outside their subject, flowing from it; and they refer to what in their perceptions is outside the subject and flowing from it as substance and form even though they sense it as floating around. They do not realize that love and wisdom are the actual subject, and that what they sense as floating out from the subject is only the appearance of the inherent state of the subject.
There are many reasons why this has not come to light before. One of them is that appearances are the first things the human mind draws on in forming its understanding, and the only way to dispel these appearances is through careful probing into cause. If a cause is deeply hidden, we cannot probe into it unless we keep our discernment in spiritual light for a protracted period of time; and we cannot hold it there for a long time because of the earthly light that keeps pulling us back.
Still, the truth is that love and wisdom are the real and functional substance and form that make up the very subject.
We have five external senses, called touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. The subject of touch is the skin that envelops us: the very substance and form of the skin make it feel what comes into contact with it. The sense of touch is not in the things that come into contact with it but in the substance and form of the skin. That is the subject, and the sense itself is simply the way it is affected by contact.
It is the same with taste. This sense is simply the way a substance and form, this time of the tongue, are affected. The tongue is the subject. It is the same with smell. We recognize that odors affect the nostrils and are in the nostrils, and that smell is the way impinging aromas affect them. It is the same with hearing. It seems as though hearing were in the place where the sound originates, but hearing is in the ear and is the way its substance and form are affected. It is only an appearance that hearing happens at a distance from the ear.
This is true of sight as well. When we see objects at a distance, it seems as though our sight were where they are. However, sight is in the eye, which is the subject; and sight is the way the eye is affected, too. Distance is simply what we infer about space on the basis of intervening objects or on the basis of reduced size and consequent loss of clarity of an object whose image is being presented within the eye according to its angle of incidence. We can see from this that sight does not go out from the eye to the object, but that an image of the object enters the eye and affects its substance and form. It is the same for both sight and hearing. Hearing does not go out of the ear to seize on the sound, but the sound enters the ear and affects it.
It stands to reason, then, that the affecting of substance and form that constitutes a sense is not something separate from the subject. It is simply the effecting of a change within the subject, with the subject remaining the subject throughout and thereafter. It then follows that sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch are not things that go floating out from their organs. They are the organs themselves, in respect to their substance and form. Sensation happens when they are affected.
What has just been said about our external senses points to the conclusion that all our feelings, perceptions, and thoughts in those substances and forms are not something they breathe out; they themselves are functional and substantial subjects. They do not emit anything, but simply undergo changes in response to the things that touch and affect them. There will be more later [210, 273] on these things that touch and affect them.
Further, since what is wholly itself and unique is substance and form, it follows that it is the unique substance and form, and wholly itself; and since that true substance and form is divine love and wisdom, it follows that it is the unique love, wholly itself, and the unique wisdom, wholly itself. It is therefore the unique essence, wholly itself, and the unique life, wholly itself, since love and wisdom is life.
The only way to see that love and wisdom are the source of everything in nature is to look at nature on the basis of its functions in their sequence and pattern rather than on the basis of some of nature’s forms, which register only on our eyes. The only source of nature’s functions is life, and the only source of their sequence and pattern is love and wisdom. Forms, though, are vessels of functions. This means that if we look only at forms, no trace is visible of the life in nature, let alone of love and wisdom, and therefore of God.
The essence of love is that what is ours should belong to someone else. Feeling the joy of someone else as joy within ourselves–that is loving. Feeling our joy in others, though, and not theirs in ourselves is not loving. That is loving ourselves, while the former is loving our neighbor. These two kinds of love are exact opposites. True, they both unite us; and it does not seem as though loving what belongs to us, or loving ourselves in the other, is divisive. Yet it is so divisive that to the extent that we love others in this way we later harbor hatred for them. Step by step our union with them dissolves, and the love becomes hatred of corresponding intensity.
We can see from this that divine love cannot fail to be and to be manifested in others whom it loves and who love it. If this is characteristic of all love, it must be supremely characteristic, infinitely characteristic, of love itself.
For this to happen, though, there must be an infinite wisdom that is at one with infinite love. That is, there must be the divine love of divine wisdom and the divine wisdom of divine love discussed above (34-39).
This kind of correspondence is not apparent to anyone in our physical world, but it is apparent to observant people in the spiritual world. We find in this latter world all the things that occur in the three kingdoms of our physical world, and they reflect the feelings and thoughts of the people who are there–the feelings that come from their volition and the thoughts that come from their discernment–as well as the outermost aspects of their life. Both their feelings and their thoughts are visible around them looking much like the things we see in the created universe, though we see them in less perfect representations.
From this it is obvious to angels that the created universe is an image depicting the Divine-Human One and that it is his love and wisdom that are presented, in image, in the universe. It is not that the created universe is the Divine-Human One: rather, it comes from him; for nothing whatever in the universe is intrinsic substance and form or intrinsic life or intrinsic love and wisdom. We are not “intrinsic persons.” It all comes from God, who is the intrinsic person, the intrinsic wisdom and love, and the intrinsic form and substance. Whatever has intrinsic existence is uncreated and infinite; while what comes from it, possessing nothing within itself that has intrinsic existence, is created and finite. This latter presents an image of the One from whom it derives its existence and manifestation.
People do say that the whole world was created out of nothing, and they like to think of “nothing” as absolutely nothing. However, nothing comes from “absolutely nothing” and nothing can. This is an abiding truth. This means that the universe, being an image of God and therefore full of God, could be created by God only in God. God is reality itself, and everything that exists must come from that reality. To speak of creating something that exists from a “nothing” that does not exist is a plain contradiction of terms.
Still, what is created by God in God is not a continuation of him, since God is intrinsic reality and there is no trace of intrinsic reality in anything created. If there were any intrinsic reality in a created being, it would be a continuation of God, and any continuation of God is God.
The angelic concept involved is that anything created by God in God is like something within ourselves that we have put forth from our life, but the life is then withdrawn from it. It then agrees with our life, but still, it is not our life. In support of this, angels cite many things that happen in their heaven, where they say that they are in God and that God is in them, and yet that they have in their being no trace of God that is actually God. This may serve simply as information; more of the angels’ evidence will be offered later .
All this enables us finally to see that everything in the created universe is a vessel for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One.
I will discuss union with functions that are not useful after I have explained the origin of evil [264-270].
They were therefore asked whether they could not see this simply in the marvelous ability in every seed of generating its growth in sequence all the way to new seeds. In every seed, then, there is an image of something infinite and eternal, an inherent effort to multiply and bear fruit without limit, to eternity.
Or they might see this in even the tiniest animals, realizing that they contain sensory organs, brains, hearts, lungs, and the like, along with arteries, veins, nerve fibers, muscles, and the activities that arise from them, to say nothing of incredible features of their basic nature that have had whole books written about them.
All these wonders come from God, though the forms that clothe them are of earthly matter. These forms give rise to plant life and, in due sequence, to human life. This is why humanity is said to have been created out of the ground, to be the dust of the earth with the breath of life breathed in (Genesis 2:7). We can see from this that the divine nature is not our possession but is joined to us.
We can see ourselves reflected in every detail of the animal kingdom from the fact that all kinds of animal have in common with us members for locomotion, sensory organs, and the inner organs that support these activities. They also have their impulses and desires like our own physical ones. They have the innate knowledge proper to their desires, with an apparently spiritual element visible in some of them, more or less obvious to the eye in the beasts of the earth, the fowl of the heavens, bees, silkworms, ants, and the like. This is why merely earthly-minded people regard the living creatures of this kingdom as much like themselves, lacking only speech.
We can see ourselves reflected in every detail of the plant kingdom in the way plants grow from seeds and go through their successive stages of life. They have something like marriages with births that follow. Their vegetative “soul” is the function to which they give form. There are many other ways in which they reflect us, which some writers have described.
We can see ourselves reflected in every detail of the mineral kingdom simply in its effort to produce the forms that reflect us–all the details of the plant kingdom, as I have just noted–and to perform its proper functions in this way. The moment a seed falls into earth’s lap, she nurtures it and from all around offers it resources from herself for its sprouting and emerging in a form representative of humanity. We can see this effort in solid mineral materials if we look at deep-sea corals or at flowers in mines, where they spring from minerals and metals. This effort toward becoming plant life and thereby performing a useful function is the outermost element of Divinity in created things.
The intermediate things are all the elements of the plant kingdom–grasses and herbs of all kinds, plants and shrubs of all kinds, and trees of all kinds. Their functions are in support of everything in the animal kingdom, whether flawed or flawless. They provide food, pleasure, and life. They nourish [animal] bodies with their substance, they delight them with their taste and fragrance and beauty, and they enliven their desires. This effort is inherent in them from their life.
The primary things are all the members of the animal kingdom. The lowest of these are called worms and insects, the intermediate ones birds and animals, and the highest humans; for there are lowest, intermediate, and highest things in each kingdom. The lowest are for the service of the intermediate and the intermediate for the service of the highest. So the useful functions of all created things tend upwards in a sequence from the lowest to the human, which is primary in the divine design.
This brief summary enables us to see that there is a ladder of all created things to that First who alone is life and that the functions of all things are the actual vessels of life, and so too, therefore, are the forms of those functions.
Angels of the second heaven and of the lowest heaven are people in whom the second and the lowest level can be opened. The opening of each spiritual level within us depends on our acceptance of divine love and wisdom from the Lord. People who accept some of this love and wisdom reach the first or lowest spiritual level; people who accept more reach the second or intermediate spiritual level; and people who accept a great deal reach the third or highest level. However, people who do not accept any divine love and wisdom stay on the physical levels, deriving from the spiritual levels only enough to allow them to think and therefore to talk and to intend and therefore to act–but not intelligently.
This is why we react against God as a result of our inherited evil. However, to the extent that we believe that all our life comes from God and that everything good about it comes from an act of God and everything bad about it from our own reaction, our reaction becomes a property of the action and we are then acting with God with apparent autonomy. The equilibrium of all things comes from action and immediate reaction, and everything must necessarily be in an equilibrium.
I mention these things to prevent any belief that we ourselves climb up to God on our own power. It is done by the Lord.
However, when we know how to raise our minds above images of thought derived from space and time, we pass from darkness into light and taste things spiritual and divine. Eventually we see what is inherent in them and what they entail; and then we dispel the darkness of earthly lighting with that [new] light and dismiss its illusions from the center to the sides.
People who possess discernment can think on a higher level than these properties of nature–can think realistically, that is–and see with assurance that Divinity, being omnipresent, is not within space. They can also see with assurance the other things already mentioned. If they deny divine omnipresence, though, and attribute everything to nature, then they do not want to be lifted up even though they could be.
The objects of their thought, which as just noted are truths, are not at all dependent on space and time. While the objects of their sight do seem to be in space and in time, angels do not use them as the basis for their thinking. The reason is that in the spiritual world intervals of space and time are not fixed the way they are in our physical world, but are changeable in response to their states of life. This means that states of life take the place of space and time in the concepts of their thinking. Issues related to states of love are in place of spatial intervals and issues related to states of wisdom are in place of temporal intervals. This is why spiritual thought and the consequent spiritual speech are so different from earthly thought and its speech that they have nothing in common. They are alike only as to the deeper aspects of their subject matter, which are entirely spiritual. I need to say more about this difference later [163, 295, and 306].
Since angels’ thoughts do not depend at all on space and time, then, but on states of life, we can see that angels do not understand when someone says that Divinity fills space. They do not know what spatial intervals are. They understand perfectly, though, when someone says that Divinity fills everything, with no reference to any image of space.
It is different for spiritual people, and especially for heaven’s angels. Their thinking has nothing to do with form and shape involving spatial length, breadth, and height. It has to do with the state of the matter as it follows from a state of life. This means that in place of length they consider how good something is as a result of the quality of the life from which it stems; in place of breadth they consider how true something is because of the truth of the life from which it stems; and in place of height they consider the level of these qualities. They are thinking on the basis of correspondence, then, which is the mutual relationship between spiritual and earthly things. It is because of this correspondence that “length” in the Word means how good something is, “breadth” means how true it is, and “height” means the level of these qualities.
We can see from this that the only way heaven’s angels can think about divine omnipresence is that Divinity fills everything, but nonspatially. Whatever angels think is true, because the light that illumines their understanding is divine wisdom.
You may confirm the truth of this by looking at the concept of the truth that God is human. Please read carefully what I wrote above in 11-13 and thereafter, and you will understand that it is true. Then bring your thoughts back into the earthly lighting that involves space. Will these things not seem paradoxical to you? And if you bring your thoughts all the way back, you will deny them.
This is why I said that Divinity fills all space in the universe and did not say that the Divine-Human One does. If I were to say this, merely earthly light would not accept it, though it can accept the notion that Divinity fills all space because this agrees with the standard language of theologians. They say that God is omnipresent, and hears and knows everything. There is more on this subject in 7-10 above.
It is different in the spiritual world. Life does seem to go on in time there in much the same way. People live with each other the way we do on earth, which cannot happen without some appearance of time. However, time there is not divided into segments the way it is in our world because their sun is always in its east. It never moves. It is actually the Lord’s divine love that angels see as their sun. This means that they do not have days, weeks, months, years, or centuries, but states of life instead. It provides them with divisions that cannot be called divisions into time segments, only divisions of state. This is why angels do not know what time is, and why they think of state when time is mentioned. Further, when it is state that determines time, time is only an appearance. A pleasant state makes time seem brief, and an unpleasant one makes it seem long. We can therefore see that time in the spiritual world is simply an attribute of state.
This is why hours, days, weeks, months, and years in the Word mean states and their sequences, viewed either serially or comprehensively. When the church is described in terms of time, its morning is its initial state, its noon is its fulfillment, its evening is its decline, and its night is its end. The same holds true for the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
There are many examples of the fact that as people move through space in the spiritual world, distances are equivalent to progress through time. Paths there are actually or correspondingly lengthened, in response to eagerness, which is a matter of thought from affection. This is also why we speak of “stretches of time.” In other situations, though, such as in dreams, where thought is not coordinated with our actual feelings, time is not in evidence.
This, for angels, is eternity, which transcends time the way the Uncreated transcends the creature or the Infinite one transcends the finite. There is no ratio whatever between them.
Outward appearance also gives rise to the illusion that Divinity is different in heaven’s angels than it is in people on earth because heaven’s angels enjoy indescribable wisdom and we do not. However, this apparent difference is in the subjects and depends on their openness to Divinity. It is not in the Lord.
The same holds true for the church and for the individual member of it. The largest entity in which Divinity is present is all of heaven and the whole church together; the smallest is an individual angel or an individual member of the church. On occasion I have seen a whole heavenly community as a single angelic person, and I have been told that this may look like an immense, gigantic individual or like a little, childlike one. This is because Divinity is the same in the largest and smallest things.
Newton said he knew that Divinity, the One who is, fills everything, and that he was aghast at the notion of a vacuum as nothing because this was a totally destructive notion. He urged the angels who were discussing vacuum with him to beware the notion of nothing, calling it a fantasy because there is no mental activity in nothing.
In the spiritual world, divine love and wisdom look like a sun. There are two worlds, one spiritual and one physical; and the spiritual world does not derive anything from the physical one, nor does the physical one derive anything from the spiritual one. They are completely distinct from each other, communicating only by means of correspondence, whose nature has been amply explained elsewhere. The following example may be enlightening. Warmth in the physical world is the equivalent of the good that thoughtfulness does in the spiritual world, and light in the physical world is the equivalent of the truth that faith perceives in the spiritual world. No one can fail to see that warmth and the goodness of being thoughtful, and light and the truth of faith, are completely distinct from each other.
At first glance, they seem as distinct as two quite different things. That is what comes to the fore when we start thinking about what the goodness of being thoughtful has in common with warmth and what the truth of faith has in common with light. Yet spiritual warmth is that very “goodness,” and spiritual light is that very “truth.”
In spite of the fact that they are so distinct from each other, though, they still make a single whole by means of their correspondence. They are so united that when we read about warmth and light in the Word, the spirits and angels who are with us see thoughtfulness in the place of warmth and faith in the place of light.
I include this example to make it clear that the two worlds, the spiritual one and the physical one, are so distinct from each other that they have nothing in common, and that still they have been created in such a way that they communicate with each other and are actually united through their correspondences.
Now, since the only possible source of warmth and light is a sun, it stands to reason that there is a different sun in the spiritual world than there is in the physical world. It also stands to reason that because of the essential nature of the spiritual world’s sun, spiritual warmth and light can come forth from it, while because of the essential nature of the physical world’s sun, physical warmth [and light] can come forth from it. The only possible source of anything spiritual–that is, anything that has to do with what is good and true–is divine love and wisdom. Everything good is a result of love and everything true is a result of wisdom. Any wise individual can see that this is their only possible source.
Because that spiritual world has become so completely hidden from people in this physical world, the Lord has graciously opened the sight of my spirit so that I can see things in that world just the way I see things in this physical world, and then provide descriptions of that spiritual world. This I have done in the book Heaven and Hell, which has a chapter on the sun of the spiritual world. I have in fact seen it, and it seemed about the same size as the sun of this physical world. It had a similar fiery look, but was more reddish. I was given to understand that the whole angelic heaven lies beneath this sun and that angels of the third heaven see it constantly, angels of the second heaven often, and angels of the first or most remote heaven occasionally.
It will be made clear in what follows that all their warmth and all their light–everything people see in that world–comes from that sun.
To spiritual beings, divine love feels like fire. This is why fire means love when it is mentioned in the Word. That is what “sacred fire” used to mean in the Israelite church, and that is why we often ask in our prayers to God that heavenly fire (meaning divine love) should kindle our hearts.
Each of us is a spirit, as far as the inner levels of our minds are concerned. When we die, we leave this world of nature completely behind. We give up everything it has to offer and enter a world that contains nothing proper to the world of nature. In that world we live so completely distanced from nature that there is no communication along a continuum, that is, nothing like degrees of purity or coarseness. It is a case of before and after, with no communication except by correspondences.
It stands to reason, then, that spiritual warmth is not a purer form of physical warmth, that spiritual light is not a purer form of physical light, but that they are completely different in essence. Spiritual warmth and light derive their essence from a sun that is nothing but love, a sun that is life itself, while physical warmth and light derive their essence from a sun that is nothing but fire, containing no life whatever, as I have already stated .
We can see from this what ignorance underlies the thinking of people who exclude from their faith any notion that angels and spirits are people, simply because they do not see them with their own eyes.
We can also see that these are correspondences, since the warmth does not occur within the love itself but as a result of it, in our volition and therefore in our bodies. The light does not occur within the wisdom, but in the thinking of our discernment and therefore in our speaking. That is, love and wisdom are the essence and life of warmth and light; and warmth and light are emanations from love and wisdom. Because they are emanations from them, they are also responsive to them.
It therefore follows that since divine love is the divine reality and divine wisdom is the divine manifestation (see 14-16 above), spiritual warmth is divinity emanating from the divine reality and spiritual light is divinity emanating from the divine manifestation. This means that just as divine love is a property of divine wisdom and divine wisdom is a property of divine love because of this union (see 34-39 above), spiritual warmth is a property of spiritual light and spiritual light is a property of spiritual warmth. As a result of this kind of oneness, it follows that warmth and light are a single whole as they emanate from the Lord as the sun.
We will see later, though , that they are not accepted as a single whole by angels or by us.
The reason the warmth and light are called “spiritual” is that God is called “the Spirit,” and God as the Spirit is that emanation. As to his very essence, God is called Jehovah; but he enlightens and gives life to heaven’s angels and to us of the church through that emanation. This is why it is said that giving life and bringing about enlightenment are acts performed by the spirit of Jehovah.
The regions where angels live also look different depending on their acceptance of the warmth and light. The correspondence is exact, provided we think of angels’ change of state instead of earthly motion.
The reason people bring along an image of the Lord as being in heaven among its angels is that they think of him only as being like any other individual, or like an angel. They do not realize that the Lord is the real and only God, the one who rules the universe. If he were living in heaven among the angels, he could not keep the universe under his sight and hold it in his care and keeping. If he were not shining like the sun on the people in the spiritual world, angels could not have any light. Angels, that is, are spiritual beings, so only spiritual light is suited to their essence. When I discuss levels later , we will see that there is a light in the heavens that is far, far greater than our light on earth.
They see the sun at that height and distance constantly; it does not move. This is why angels do not have stretches of time marked off into days and years or any daily progression from morning through noon to evening and on into night. They do not have a yearly sequence from spring through summer to autumn and on into winter, either. Instead, they have a constant daylight and constant springtime; which means that instead of “times” they have states, as already noted [70, 73].
A second reason that the spiritual world’s sun appears at a middle height above the angelic heaven is that this results in a constant springtime for all the angelic heavens. Consequently, angels are in a state of peace, for this state corresponds to springtime on earth.
A third reason is that it enables angels to turn their faces toward the Lord constantly and to see him with their eyes. For angels, the east–and therefore the Lord–is in front of them no matter which way they turn their bodies, which is a unique feature of their world. This would not happen if the sun of their world were above or below middle height, and it would be absolutely impossible if it were directly overhead.
For example, it seems as though the sun travels around the earth every day and also follows its yearly ecliptic path. As long as this is not taken as fact, this is a virtual truth, and anyone may think and talk in such terms. We can say that the sun rises and sets, causing morning, noon, evening, and night. We can say that the sun is at this or that point on the ecliptic, or at this or that elevation, causing spring, summer, autumn, and winter. However, when these appearances are defended as the real truth, then the person who defends them is thinking and speaking falsity based on illusion.
The same holds true for countless other appearances, not only in earthly, civic, and moral matters, but also in spiritual ones.
The following may serve to illustrate. Angels of the lowest heaven cannot rise up to angels of the third heaven. If they were to rise up and enter their heaven, they would collapse in a kind of faint, as though their life were struggling against death. This is because their love and wisdom is at a lower level, and so is the warmth of their love and the light of their wisdom. What would happen, then, if an angel were to rise up toward the sun and enter its fire?
As a result of the differences in angels’ acceptance of the Lord, the heavens appear to be marked off from each other. The highest heaven, called the third heaven, seems to be over the second, and the second over the first. It is not that the heavens are distant from each other, but that they seem to be. In fact, the Lord is just as present with people in the most remote heaven as he is with people in the third heaven. What causes the appearance of distance is in the subjects, the angels, and not in the Lord.
This much can be grasped in an earthly image, though–love and wisdom, or in other words the Lord who is divine love and wisdom, cannot move through space but is with every one of us depending on our acceptance. The Lord teaches in Matthew 28:20 that he is with everyone; and in John 14:21 [14:23] he says that he makes his home with those who love him.
Angels are not angels because of anything that belongs to them. What belongs to them is just like what belongs to us–evil. The reason this is what belongs to angels is that all angels were once earthly people, and this attribute clings to them from their birth. It is simply moved aside, and to the extent that it is, they accept love and wisdom, or the Lord, into themselves.
With a little elevation of understanding, everyone can see that it is quite impossible for the Lord to dwell with angels in anything but what is his, that is, what belongs to him, which is love and wisdom. He cannot dwell in anything that belongs to the angels, which is evil. This is why the Lord is in them, and they are angels, to the extent that evil is moved aside. The actual angelic essence of heaven is divine love and wisdom. This divine reality is called “angelic” when it is in angels; so again we can see that angels are angels because of the Lord and not on their own. The same therefore holds true for heaven as well.
It makes sense, then, that if there is to be union, there must be reciprocity.
Still, the more that angels believe that love and wisdom are within them and claim them for themselves as their own, the more there is nothing angelic within them. To the same extent, then, there is no union with the Lord for them. They are outside the truth; and since truth is identical with heaven’s light, they are correspondingly unable to be in heaven. This leads to a denial that they live from the Lord and a belief that they live on their own and therefore that they possess some divine essence. The life called angelic and human consists of these two elements–freedom and rationality.
This leads to the conclusion that angels have a reciprocal ability for the sake of their union with the Lord, but that the reciprocal element, seen as an ability, is the Lord’s and not theirs. As a result, angels fall from angelhood if they abuse this reciprocal element that enables them to feel and sense what is the Lord’s as their own by actually claiming it for themselves. The Lord himself teaches us in John 14:20-24 and 15:4, 5, 6 that union is reciprocal, and in John 15:7 that the Lord’s union with us and ours with him occurs in things that belong to him, things called “his words.”
This is why we are dealing with the spiritual world first here. That world is where all the causes are. Later [134, 154] we will discuss the physical world, where everything we see is an effect.
There are four regions in each world, called the east, the west, the south, and the north. In the physical world, these four regions are static, determined by the sun in the south. The north is behind, with the east on one side and the west on the other. These regions are determined by the south wherever you go, since the sun’s position at noon is always the same and therefore static.
It is different in the spiritual world. There the regions are determined by the sun, which always appears in its own place; and where it appears is the east. So the assignment of regions in that world is not from the south as it is in the physical world but from the east. The west is behind, with the south on one side and the north on the other. We will see below, however, that the regions are not caused by its sun but by the inhabitants of that world, the angels and spirits.
This is why “the east” in the Word, in its highest sense, means the Lord, while in a secondary sense it means a love for him, while “the west” means a waning love for him. “The south” means wisdom in the light and “the north” wisdom beclouded. There are some variations of these meanings as they relate to the state of the people under discussion.
This variation of place seems to be caused by the Lord as the sun, yet it is actually caused by the angels. The Lord is not at a greater or lesser degree of love and wisdom; as the sun, he is not at a greater or lesser level of warmth and light for one person than for another. He is everywhere the same. However, he is not accepted at the same level by one person as by another, and this makes it seem as though they are more or less distant from each other, in a variety of regions. It follows from this that the regions in the spiritual world are simply variations in the receptivity of love and wisdom and therefore of the warmth and light of the Lord as the sun. If you look at what was explained in 108-112 about distances in the spiritual world being apparent only, you will see that this is true.
As I explained in the preceding section, the Lord is in each angel, and each angel is in the Lord. However, since it looks as though the Lord as the sun were outside angels, it also looks as though the Lord is seeing them from the sun and that they are seeing the Lord in the sun. This is much like seeing an image in a mirror. So if we talk on the basis of the way things seem, that is how it is. The Lord sees and examines angels face to face, but angels do not see the Lord in the same way. When they are engaged in the love for him that comes from him, they do see him straight ahead, so they are in the east or the west. When they are more engaged in wisdom, though, they see the Lord off to the right, and when they are less engaged in wisdom they see him off to the left, so they are respectively in the north or the south.
The reason they have an oblique view is that love and wisdom emanate from the Lord as a single whole, but they are not accepted that way by angels, as I have already noted . Any wisdom that goes beyond love may look like wisdom, but it is not, since there is no life from love in that excess wisdom.
We can see from this where the differences in receptivity come from, the differences that cause the appearance that angels live in the different regions in the spiritual world.
The same holds true for us as far as our spirits are concerned. In spirit, each of us is in some particular region of the spiritual world no matter where we may be in the physical world. That is, the regions of the spiritual world have nothing in common with those of the physical world, as already stated . We are in the one as to body and in the other as to spirit.
Both we and angels have these pairs so that love and wisdom, or what is good and what is true, may act in unison and focus on the Lord in unison–but there will be more on this later [384, 409].
This fits with what has already been said  about the regions and about the way angels’ locations depend on them, namely that the differences stem from the recipients and not from the Lord.
It is hard for people to understand this, though, if they think spatially about God. God is actually everywhere and yet not in space. So he is both within and outside angels, which enables them to see him both inside and outside themselves–inside themselves when they are thinking from love and wisdom, and outside themselves when they are thinking about love and wisdom. This topic will be discussed in greater detail, though, in works on the Lord’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
Everyone should beware not to slip into the terrible heresy that God pours himself into us and is in us and no longer in himself. God is everywhere, within us and outside us, being in all space nonspatially, as I have already explained in 7-10 and 69-72. That is, if he were in us he would be not only divided up but enclosed in space, and we could then even think that we were God. This heresy is so loathsome that in the spiritual world it stinks like a corpse.
This may seem remarkable, but it is the truth. I too have been allowed to see the Lord as the sun like this. I have been seeing him in front of me for a number of years; whatever direction I turned to, I saw him like this.
However, birds and animals have this kind of knowledge by instinct. They know their homes and dwellings instinctively, as much experience testifies. This is a clue to the nature of the spiritual world, since everything that happens in the physical world is an effect and everything that happens in the spiritual world is a cause of such effects. Nothing happens in nature that does not have its cause in the spiritual realm.
It follows from this that the deeper levels of the mind act in unison with the deeper levels of the body, and that the outer levels of the mind act in unison with the outer levels of the body. I need to discuss the deeper levels of the mind later, when we deal first with levels of life, and then in the same vein with the deeper levels of the body [236-241 and 277-281].
It is the same with us. If we constantly keep the Lord before our eyes (which happens if we are engaged in love and wisdom), then it is not only our eyes and faces that turn to him, it is our whole mind and our whole heart. That is, it is everything in our intentions and minds and everything in our body at the same time.
The opposite holds for people who are not engaged in love and wisdom, and all the more for people who resist love and wisdom. The deeper reaches of their minds and bodies alike are closed; and when they are closed, then their outer natures resist the Lord because this is their inherent nature. This is why such people turn away from the Lord, and this “turning away” is a turning toward hell.
There is actually a kind of love apart from wisdom, but it is ours and not the Lord’s. There is also wisdom apart from love, but while it comes from the Lord, it does not have the Lord within it. It is like sunlight in winter that does of course come from the sun but does not have within it the essence of the sun, its warmth.
All the spirits who are in the world of spirits are together with us because we are similarly between heaven and hell as to the deeper levels of our minds. Through these spirits we are in touch with either heaven or hell, depending on the way we are living.
It should be clear that “the world of spirits” is not the same thing as “the spiritual world.” The world of spirits is the one I have just been talking about, while the spiritual world includes that world, heaven, and hell.
Heaven as a whole is laid out in communities depending on all the differences in loves. So is hell, and so is the world of spirits. Heaven, though, is laid out in communities according to differences in heavenly loves, while hell is laid out in communities according to differences in hellish loves, and the world of spirits is laid out in communities according to differences in both heavenly and hellish loves.
There are two loves that are at the head of all the rest, and two loves that lie behind all the rest. The head of all heavenly loves, the love basic to them all, is love for the Lord. The head of all hellish loves, or the love that underlies them all, is a love of controlling prompted by self-love. These two loves are absolute opposites.
The reason we refer to “a love of controlling prompted by self-love” is that there is a love of controlling out of a love of service. Since this love acts in unison with love for our neighbor, it is a spiritual love. In fact, it cannot truly be called a love of being in control: it should be called a love of service.
They all are oriented toward outward nature and their senses. They are the kind of people who think they are the only ones who are really alive and who see others as unreal. They think they themselves are wiser than anyone else, even though they are insane.
We say “Divinity as emanating,” and yet no one knows why we say “emanating.” The reason for this ignorance is that people have not known before that the Lord looks like a sun to angels and that from that sun there issues a warmth that is essentially divine love and a light that is essentially divine wisdom. As long as this remains unknown, people cannot help “knowing” that Divinity as emanating is intrinsic Divinity because it says in the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity that the Father is one Person, the Son another, and the Holy Spirit another. Now that we know that the Lord looks like a sun, though, we can have an appropriate image of the “Divinity as emanating” that is called the Holy Spirit. We can realize that while it is one with the Lord, it emanates from him the way warmth and light emanate from the sun. This is also why angels are in divine warmth and light to the extent that they are caught up in love and wisdom.
Without this recognition that the Lord looks like a sun in the spiritual world and that his Divinity emanates from him in this way, there is no way for anyone to know what “emanating” means–whether it means simply sharing what belongs to the Father and the Son or simply enlightening and teaching. However, it does not come from enlightened reason if we acknowledge the Holy Spirit as intrinsic Divinity, call it “God,” and draw boundaries around it when we know as well that God is both one and omnipresent.
We may therefore conclude that Divinity as emanating is actually within all of us, but that it is variously veiled by us.
No one who can see how effects follow from causes and how causes lead to effects in due order and sequence can deny that the sun is the beginning of creation. Everything in our world is sustained by it, and because everything is sustained by it, everything arose from it–the one fact follows from the other and bears witness to it. Everything, that is, is watched over by the sun because the sun has determined its being, and the act of watching over it is an ongoing determination of that thing’s being. This is why we say that being sustained is a constant coming into being. If anything were totally removed from the inflow of the sun through our atmospheres, it would instantly dissipate. It is the atmospheres with their different degrees of purity, empowered by the sun, that hold everything together. Since the universe and everything in it is sustained by the sun, then, we can see that the sun is the beginning of creation, the source.
We say “by the sun” but we mean “by the Lord through the sun,” since the sun too was created by the Lord.
There are three components of everything that has been created, no matter how large or how small it is: a purpose, a means, and a result. There is nothing created that lacks these three components. In the largest instance, the universe, these three components arise in the following pattern: the purpose of everything is in that sun that is the first emanation of divine love and wisdom; the means of everything is in the spiritual world; and the result of everything is in the physical world. I will describe below [167-172] how these three components occur in both first and last forms.
Since there is nothing created that lacks these three components, it follows that the universe and everything in it has been created by the Lord by means of the sun where the purpose of everything resides.
I presented the following points in part 1: Infinite things are distinguishably one in the Divine-Human One (17-22); everything in the universe was created by divine love and wisdom (52-53 [52-54]); everything in the created universe is a vessel for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One (54-60 [55-60]); Divinity is not in space (7-10); Divinity fills all space nonspatially (69-72); and Divinity is the same in the largest and smallest things (77-82).
I know that all this transcends any mental images that arise in physical light, but they do not transcend mental images that arise in spiritual light. There is no trace of space and time in these latter images. Actually, this does not completely transcend images that arise in physical light, since everyone would agree on the basis of reason that there is no such thing as an infinity of space. The same holds for eternity, which is an infinity of time. If you say “to eternity,” this can be understood in temporal terms; but if you say “from eternity,” that is incomprehensible unless you banish time.
The physical world’s sun is nothing but fire, with all its life removed. The spiritual world’s sun is a fire that has divine life within it.
The angelic concept of the fire of the physical world’s sun and the fire of the spiritual world’s sun is like this: divine life is internal to the fire of the spiritual world’s sun and external to the fire of the physical world’s sun. We can see from this that the activity of our physical sun is not autonomous but stems from a living force that emanates from the spiritual world’s sun. Consequently, if the living force of that sun were withdrawn or removed, our sun would fail. This is why the worship of the sun is the lowest of all forms of worship of God. It is just as dead as the sun itself; so in the Word it is called an abomination.
The result is a union with hell because our union with heaven has been broken. All we have left is the ability to think and intend–the ability to think coming from our rationality and the ability to intend coming from our freedom, two abilities the Lord gives every one of us and never takes away. Demons and angels alike have these abilities, but demons use them for madness and malice, while angels use them for wisdom and good.
Only someone deprived of reason can think that everything comes from nature, that it is even the source of life. People like this do not know what life is. Nature cannot arrange life for anything. In its own right, nature is completely lifeless. It is totally contrary to the design for something dead to activate something living, for a dead force to activate a living one, or–which amounts to the same thing–for something physical to activate something spiritual. Thinking along such lines is therefore contrary to the light of sound reason.
True, something dead or physical can be distorted or changed in many ways by external impingements, but it still cannot activate life. Rather, life activates it according to any change of form that has been imposed on it. The same holds for any physical inflow into the spiritual workings of the soul. We realize that this does not happen because it cannot happen.
You can see the truth of this if you consider that a purpose apart from its result or separated from its result is nothing that in fact comes into being, so it is nothing but a word. For a purpose effectively to be a purpose, that is, it must be defined, and it finds its definition in its result. That is where it is first called a purpose, because this is its purpose. It looks as though the active or effective element arose spontaneously, but this is an appearance caused by the fact that it is in its result. If it is separated from its result, though, it promptly dissipates.
We can therefore see that this trio of purpose, means, and result needs to be in every entity if it is to be anything.
We are those subjects, people who can raise themselves and unite with apparent autonomy. I have already explained several times [4-6, 57, 68, 116] that we are subjects of this sort and that we are receptive of Divinity with apparent autonomy.
Through this union, the Lord is present in every work he has created, since in the last analysis everything has been created for our sake. As a result, the functions of all created things rise level by level from the lowest things to us, and through us to God the Creator, their source, as explained in 65-68 above.
What has now been said enables us to see, if only in a general way so far, that the goal of creation becomes manifest in final things, the goal being the return of all things to their Creator, and union.
There are atmospheres, liquids, and solids in the spiritual world just as there are in the physical world, but they are spiritual, while ours are physical. I have already noted (and in the book Heaven and Hell illustrated) the fact that the spiritual world and the physical world are similar to each other, the only difference being that every single thing in the spiritual world is spiritual and every single thing in the physical world is physical. Because these two worlds are similar to each other, there are atmospheres, liquids, and solids in each. These are the general elements that provide the means and substances for all the infinite variety of phenomena that arise.
The spiritual atmospheres are distinct substances or elemental forms that arise from the sun. Since they accept the sun individually, the sun’s fire becomes a warmth that is ultimately adapted to the love of angels in heaven and spirits under heaven by being separated into a corresponding number of substances, enfolded in them, and tempered by being enfolded. The same holds true for the sun’s light.
In this respect, our physical atmospheres are like the spiritual ones. They too are distinct substances and elemental forms, arising from the physical world’s sun. They too accept the sun individually and conceal its fire within themselves, temper it, and bring it down as warmth to earth where we are; and the same holds true for light.
This differentiation between spiritual atmospheres and physical atmospheres is a matter of angelic wisdom.
Since angels are spiritual beings, then, and since everything about their bodies is held together, given form, and organized by these atmospheres, it follows that the atmospheres are spiritual. They are spiritual too because they come from the spiritual sun that is the first emanation of the Lord’s divine love and wisdom.
We can tell clearly from the angels of the three heavens that there are levels of love and wisdom. Angels of the third heaven so surpass angels of the second heaven in love and wisdom, and these in turn so surpass angels of the farthest heaven, that they cannot live in the same place. Their levels of love and wisdom mark them off and separate them. This is why angels of the lower heavens cannot climb up to angels of the higher heavens, and why if they are allowed to climb up they do not see anyone or anything around them. The reason they do not see anyone is that the love and wisdom of the higher angels is on a higher level, a level beyond their perception. Every angel actually is her or his love and wisdom; and love together with wisdom is human in form because God, who is love itself and wisdom itself, is human.
Occasionally I have been allowed to see angels of the farthest heaven go up to angels of the third heaven. When they managed to get there, I heard them complain that they could not see anyone; and yet they were surrounded by angels. They were afterwards told that these angels had been invisible to them because they could not perceive their love and wisdom, and it is love and wisdom that give angels their human appearance.
It is like this in the heavens. The quality and amount of angels’ love determines the quality and amount of their warmth, with the same relationship between their wisdom and their light. This is because there is love in their warmth and wisdom in their light, as I have already described [5, 32, 84]. The same holds true for us on earth, but with the difference that angels feel the warmth and see the light, while we do not, the reason being that we are focused on physical warmth and light; and as long as we are, we feel spiritual warmth only as a kind of pleasure of love and see spiritual light only as a kind of sense of what is true.
Since people know nothing about the spiritual warmth and light within them as long as they are focused on physical warmth and light, and since they can know about this only through experience offered by the spiritual world, I need first of all to talk about the warmth and light that surround angels and their heavens. This is the one and only way to shed some light on this matter.
As for the spiritual light that surrounds angels, I have been allowed to see this with my own eyes. For angels of the higher heavens, the light is so brilliant that it is indescribable, even by comparison with the brilliance of snow; and it also has a glow that defies description, even by comparison with the radiant glory of our world’s sun. In short, this light is a thousand times greater than the light at noon on earth. The light of angels of the lower heavens can in some measure be described by comparisons, though. Even so, it surpasses the highest level of light on earth.
The reason the light of angels of the higher heavens defies description is that this light is integral to their wisdom. Since their wisdom, relative to ours, is inexpressible, so is their light.
We can tell from these few facts that there are levels of light; and since wisdom and love occur on comparable levels, it follows that there are similar levels of warmth.
On the existence of several atmospheres distinguished from each other by levels, see 176 above.
There is no way to uncover these deeper, invisible features without a knowledge of levels. We move from outer to inner and then to inmost by levels, and not by gradual levels but by distinct ones. “Gradual levels” is the name we give to declines or decreases from coarser to finer or denser to rarer, or better, to gains or increases from finer to coarser or from rarer to denser. They are just like going from light to darkness or from warmth to cold.
In contrast, distinct levels are totally different. They are like antecedent, subsequent, and final events, or like the purpose, the means, and the result. We refer to them as “distinct” because the antecedent event exists in its own right, the subsequent event in its own right, and the final event in its own right; and yet taken together they constitute a single whole.
Our atmospheres from top to bottom, from sun to earth, the atmospheres called ethers and airs, are marked off in levels of this kind. They are like the elements, compounds, and compounds of compounds that, taken all together, constitute a complex entity. These levels are distinct because they arise separately. They are what we mean by “vertical levels.” The other levels, though, are gradual because they increase evenly. These are what we mean by “horizontal levels.”
Without a recognition of these levels, nothing can be known about the differences between the three heavens or about the differences of the love and wisdom of angels there, nothing about the differences of the warmth and light that surround them, nothing about the differences of the atmospheres that encompass and envelop them. Without a recognition of these levels, nothing can be known about differences of the inner abilities of our own minds, which means that nothing can be known about our states of reformation and regeneration, nothing about the differences of the outer, bodily abilities of both us and angels, nothing whatever about the difference between what is spiritual and what is physical and nothing therefore about correspondences, nothing about any difference between the life of humans and that of animals or between higher and lower animals, nothing about differences in the forms of the plant kingdom or the substances of the mineral kingdom.
We can tell from this that people who do not know about these levels do not see causes clearly and fairly. They see only effects and form judgments about causes on that basis–usually by tracing a string of effects. Yet causes produce effects not by simple continuity but by a distinct step. The cause is one thing and the effect another, and the difference between them is like the difference between an antecedent event and a subsequent one, or like the difference between what forms and what is formed.
Each heaven on its own, though, is marked off not by vertical levels but by horizontal ones. The people in the middle or center are in the light of wisdom, while those around them all the way to the borders are in the shadow of wisdom. That is, wisdom wanes all the way to ignorance as the light declines into shadow, which happens gradually.
It is the same with us. The inner realms of our minds are marked off into as many levels as are the angelic heavens, with one level over another. So the inner realms of our minds are marked off in distinct or vertical levels. This is why we can be engaged in the lowest level, a higher level, or the highest level depending on the level of our wisdom. It is why the higher level is closed when we are exclusively engaged in the lowest one, and why the higher one is opened as we accept wisdom from the Lord. There are also gradual or horizontal levels in us just as there are in heaven.
The reason we resemble the heavens is that we are miniature heavens as to the deeper realms of our minds when we are engaged in love and wisdom from the Lord. (On our being miniature heavens as to the deeper realms of our minds, see Heaven and Hell 51-58.)
This I can relate, that angels are struck with sorrow at the darkness on earth. They say that they hardly see any light anywhere and that people are latching onto illusions and “proving” them so that they pile distortion on distortion. In order to prove their distortions, they use reasoning based on illusions and on distorted truths to investigate things that cannot be cleared up because of the darkness that surrounds causes and because of their ignorance of truths. Angels expressed the greatest grief over their “proof” of faith separated from charity and over justification by faith, as well as over [mistaken] concepts of God, angels, and spirits, and over ignorance of the nature of love and wisdom.
It is in fact recognized that a purpose, a means, and a result follow in sequence like antecedent, subsequent, and final events. It is recognized that the purpose produces the means and then produces the result through the means so that the purpose can be realized; and much more is recognized along the same lines. Knowing such things without seeing them by applying them to actual events, however, is only abstract knowledge. It lasts only as long as we are engaged in analytical thought on the basis of metaphysical principles. As a result, even though a purpose, a means, and a result do progress by distinct levels, still there is little if any knowledge of those levels in the world. Thinking only about abstractions is like something ethereal that dissipates; but if these abstract principles are applied to things of an earthly nature, then they are like something we see with our own eyes on earth, and they stay in our memory.
It is the same with our nerves. The smallest fibers in them are woven together into larger ones that look like threads, and gatherings of these are woven together into nerves. It is the same with the rest of the weavings, bundlings, and gatherings that make up our organs and viscera. They are compounds of fibers and vessels in various arrangements, depending on similar levels.
It is the same as well in all the members of the plant kingdom and all the members of the mineral kingdom. There are threefold gatherings of filaments in wood and threefold conglomerates of elements in metals and rocks as well.
We can see from this what distinct levels are like, namely that one level is made from another and a third from the second, the third being called a compound. Each level is distinct from the other.
Things that are not of the same character and nature do not match and do not harmonize with things that do. This means that they cannot combine with them to make up distinct levels. They can combine only with their own kind, with things of the same character and nature, things that match.
We can see the truth of this from what we have already recognized, namely that the purpose is the whole of the means and through the means is the whole of the result. This is why we refer to a purpose, a means, and a result as a first end, an intermediate end, and a final end. It is why the cause of a cause is also the cause of what is caused. It is why there is nothing essential within the means except the purpose and nothing essential in motion except energy. It is also why there is only one substance that is substance in its own right.
These levels are so different from each other that they have nothing in common; so they need to be grasped clearly and not confused with each other in any way.
Perfection of life is perfection of love and wisdom, and since volition and discernment are their vessels, perfection of life is also perfection of volition and discernment and therefore of feelings and thoughts. Further, since spiritual warmth is the vehicle of love and spiritual light is the vehicle of wisdom, their perfection too can be traced back to perfection of life.
Perfection of events is perfection of everything that is activated and set in motion by life, though life is not inherent in the events. Such events are the atmospheres in regard to what they do, also our own inner and outer organized substances and those of all kinds of animal. Such events also are all the things in the physical world that get their activities directly or indirectly from its sun.
Perfection of forms and perfection of events constitute a single entity, since the nature of the events determines the nature of the forms. The only difference is that the forms are forms of substance while the events are what the substances do. Consequently, the two have similar levels of perfection. Even forms that are not doing anything at a given time have their kinds of perfection according to levels.
Since these levels are openly visible in the spiritual world, though, with that whole world clearly marked off by them from top to bottom, we can gain familiarity with these levels on that basis and then draw conclusions about the processes of perfection of events and forms that occur on comparable levels in this physical world.
Experience has taught me that there is such a difference between angels of the higher and lower heavens in feelings and thoughts and therefore in speech that they have nothing in common. Communication happens only by the correspondences that arise through the Lord’s direct inflow into all the heavens and the indirect inflow through the highest heaven to the lowest.
Because of the nature of these distinctions, they cannot be expressed in earthly language, so I cannot describe them. Angels’ thoughts do not fit into earthly concepts because they are spiritual. They can only be expressed and described by angels in their own language and words and writing, but not in human ones. This is why it says that people have heard and seen indescribable things in the heavens.
The following may afford some understanding of these differences. The thoughts of angels of the highest or third heaven are thoughts of purposes; the thoughts of angels of the intermediate or second heaven are thoughts of means; and the thoughts of angels of the lowest or first heaven are thoughts of results. It is important to realize that it is one thing to think on the basis of purposes and another to think about purposes, one thing to think on the basis of means and another to think about means, one thing to think on the basis of results and another to think about results. Angels of the lower heavens do think about means and about purposes; but angels of the higher heavens think on the basis of means and on the basis of purposes. Thinking on the basis of such things comes from a higher level of wisdom, while thinking about them comes from a lower level. Thinking on the basis of purposes comes from wisdom; thinking on the basis of means comes from intelligence; and thinking on the basis of results comes from being informed.
We can see from this that all processes of perfection rise and fall by and according to levels.
The only people who rise or are brought up to those levels, though, are the ones who have been attentive to truths in this world and have applied them to their lives.
If it were not for this supreme perfection in things antecedent and constituent, neither we nor any living creature could arise from seed and then continue in existence. The seeds of trees and shrubs could not sprout and spread, either. The more antecedent a thing is, or the more whole it is, the more immune it is to harm because of its greater perfection.
The same sequential arrangement applies to states of love and wisdom among angels in heaven, to warmth and light, and to spiritual atmospheres. The same arrangement applies to all the processes of perfection of events and forms there.
When the vertical or distinct levels are in this sequential arrangement, they are like a tower divided into three floors so that one can go up or down. The most perfect and lovely things are on the top floor, less perfect and lovely things on the middle floor, and still less perfect and lovely things on the lowest floor.
In a simultaneous arrangement of the same levels, though, it looks different. Then the highest elements of the sequential arrangement–as I have mentioned, the most perfect and lovely ones–are in the center, the lower ones in an intermediate region, and the lowest on the outside. It is as though there were a solid object made up of these three levels with the finest substances in the middle or center, less fine particles around that, and on the outside, forming a kind of envelope, parts composed of these and therefore coarsest. It is as though the tower we were talking about had settled into a plane, with the top floor becoming the center, the middle floor an intermediate region, and the lowest floor the outside.
The same arrangement of these levels is found in every seed, every fruit, even in every metal and rock. This is the nature of the parts that constitute their totality. Their central, intermediate, and outermost parts are on these levels, and they themselves are successive compounds, aggregates, or masses of these simple components that are their primary substances and materials.
We will see later [224, 231, 232, 235, 236-241] that the same holds for levels of love and wisdom, warmth and light, and for the organized forms of feelings and thoughts within us. I have discussed the sequence of these levels in sequential and simultaneous arrangements in Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture 38 and elsewhere, showing that there are similar levels in all the details of the Word.
There are two reasons why the principle of levels includes such matters. The first is that there is a trine in everything that can be said to have attributes, a trine called purpose, means, and result; and these three are related to each other by vertical levels. The second reason is that no societal, moral, or spiritual phenomenon is abstract or disembodied. They are matters of substance, for just as love and wisdom are not abstractions but substances (as I have explained above in 40-43), so are all the things we refer to as societal, moral, and spiritual. We can of course think about them in the abstract, as disembodied, but in their own right they are not abstractions. Take feeling and thought, for example, or charity and faith, or volition and discernment. What applies to love and wisdom applies to them as well, namely that they do not happen apart from subjects that are substantial. They actually have to do with the state of those subjects or substances. We will see later [273, 316] that they are shifts of state that give rise to change. “Substance” means form as well, since there is no such thing as a formless substance.
This follows from what has already been said in this part, especially from the fact that one level comes from another in a three-stage sequence and that a result is simply a purpose in its final form. Since the final form is this kind of composite, it follows that the final form is their vessel and also their foundation.
The reason this is not noticed is that we look at acts of service from the outside only, and things seen from the outside are simply events and motions. It is like seeing our arms and hands move and not knowing that a thousand motor fibers are cooperating in each movement, with a thousand elements of thought and desire answering to those thousand motor fibers and stimulating them. Since these things are happening far inside, they are not visible to any of our physical senses. This much is known, that nothing is done in or through the body except from volition and through thought; and since these two are acting, every element of volition and thought must necessarily be present within the act. They cannot be separated. This is why we draw conclusions on the basis of deeds or works about each other’s purposeful thought, which we refer to as “intent.”
I have learned that angels can sense and see from someone’s single deed or work everything about the intention and thought of the one who is doing it. From the person’s volition, angels of the third heaven see the purpose for which it is being done, and angels of the second heaven see the means through which the purpose is working. This is why deeds and works are so often mandated in the Word, and why it says that we are known by our works.
Faith apart from good works is just this kind of airy nothing or image, and so are faith and charity apart from their practice. The only difference is that people who put faith and charity together know what is good and are able to intend and do it, but not people who are devoted to faith apart from charity.
It is common knowledge that energy does not accomplish anything by itself, but only through forces responsive to it, using them to cause motion. This is why energy is the whole essence of force, and through force, the whole essence of motion. Since motion is the final stage of energy, energy exercises its power through motion. The only way energy, force, and motion are united is by vertical levels, a union that is not one of continuity, since the levels are distinct, but of responsiveness. Energy, that is, is not force, and force is not motion. Rather, force is produced by energy, and force is energy being exercised; and motion is produced by force. This means that there is no power in pure energy or pure force, but in the motion that they produce.
The truth of this may appear debatable because I have not illustrated it by application to things we can sense and perceive in the physical world. Still, this is the nature of stages that culminate in power.
These three stages do not act by continuity but by distinct levels, and acting by distinct levels is acting by responsiveness. The deeper levels of the mind answer to the inner parts of the body and the inner parts of the body answer to those outer parts that give rise to actions; so the two prior stages are empowered through the outer parts of the body.
It might seem as though our inner energy and forces had some power even in the absence of action–in dreams, for example, or when we are at rest–but at such times the energy and forces find definition in our general physical motions, those of heart and lungs. Once these stop, however, the forces stop as well, and with them the energy.
I have often been astounded by the kind of recognition angels have simply from the physical action of a hand, but it has been shown to me often enough and by personal experience. I have also been told that this is why induction into ministry is done by the laying on of hands and why touching with the hand means sharing, among other things. This leads to the conclusion that the whole of charity and faith is in works and that charity and faith without works are like halos around the sun that dissipate and vanish when a cloud passes by. So time after time the Word talks about works and doing and says that our salvation depends on such things. Then too, the one who does something is called wise and the one who does not is called foolish.
We should realize, though, that “works” means deeds of service that are put into action. The whole of charity and faith is in them and depends on them. The correspondence is with acts of service because while the correspondence is spiritual, it happens through the substances and materials that are its subjects.
The first is that the Word finds its fullest expression and power in its literal meaning. There are three meanings in the Word answering to the three levels–a heavenly meaning, a spiritual meaning, and an earthly meaning. Since the Word contains these three meanings by the three vertical levels and their union is through correspondence, the final meaning, the earthly one that we call the literal meaning, is not only the composite, vessel, and foundation of the deeper, corresponding meanings, it is also the Word in its fullest expression and its full power. There is an abundance of evidence and support for this in Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture 27-35 [27-36], 36-49 [37-49], 50-61, and 62-69.
The second secret is that the Lord came into the world and took on a human nature in order to gain access to the power to conquer the hells and bring everything in the heavens and on earth back into order. He put on this human nature over the human nature he had before. The human nature he put on in the world was like our own worldly nature, but each nature was still divine and therefore infinitely transcendent of our own and angels’ finite human nature. Further, since he completely transformed his physical human level all the way to its limits, he, unlike anyone else, rose from death with his whole body. By taking on this human nature he clothed himself with a divine omnipotence not only for the conquest of the hells and the reordering of the heavens but also for keeping the hells subject forever and saving us. This power is what is meant by his sitting at the right hand of the power and might of God.
Since the Lord made himself divine truth in ultimate form by taking on a physical human nature, he is called “the Word,” and it says that the Word was made flesh. Divine truth in its ultimate form is the Word in its literal meaning. He made himself that Word by fulfilling everything about himself in the Word, in Moses and the prophets.
Everyone is his or her own good and true nature. Nothing else makes us human. Because he took on a physical human nature, the Lord is divine good and divine truth itself, or in other words, divine love and divine wisdom itself, in both their primal and their ultimate forms. This is why he looks like a sun in the angelic heavens with greater glory and fuller brilliance after his coming into the world than before his coming. This is a secret that can be brought within comprehension by the principle of levels.
I will be discussing later  his omnipotence before his coming into the world.
Another pronouncement of angels is that every least bit of desire, every least bit of thought, even every least bit of a mental image, is made up of levels of both kinds, and that any least thing that is not made up of these levels is actually nothing. It has no form, so it has no characteristics, no state that can shift and change so that it becomes manifest.
Angels support this by the truth that the infinite things in God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, are “distinguishably one,” with infinite things within those infinite things of his and levels of both kinds within those infinitely infinite things that are also distinguishably one in him. Since these are within him, then, and since everything was created by him and everything so created offers a kind of image of what is within him, it follows that there is not the smallest finite thing that does not have these levels in it. The reason these levels are in the smallest and the largest things alike is that Divinity is the same in the largest and smallest things.
On infinite things being distinguishably one in the Divine-Human One, see 17-22 above; and on Divinity being the same in the largest and smallest things, 77-82. There are further examples in 155, 169, and 171.
Their forms are similar in this respect, namely that they are made up of levels of both kinds. This is because the Divinity by which they were created is the same in the largest and smallest things, as noted above in 77-82. All their details, no matter how minute, resemble their shared aspects–no matter how widely shared those aspects are among them–in being forms made up of levels of both kinds.
The reason there are no identical elements in any form or between different forms is that there are the same kinds of levels in the largest entities, and the largest entities are made up of the smallest ones. When the largest entities are made up of these levels, with corresponding constant distinctions from top to bottom and from center to circumference, it follows that there is nothing in them involving these levels, nothing lesser or least, that is identical.
Later, when I discuss forms, we will see that there are countless elements in the very first created substances, the very smallest and simplest ones.
These three elements constitute three vertical levels in agents of life. These three are like the first end, the intermediate end that we refer to as the means, and the ultimate end that we refer to as the result. I have already [167-169, 184] explained and amply documented the fact that purpose, means, and result constitute three vertical levels.
We can tell that these levels in the Lord are infinite and uncreated while ours are finite and created on the basis of what I presented in part 1, for example from the principle that the Lord is intrinsic love and wisdom, that we are recipients of love and wisdom from the Lord, that only what is infinite can be attributed to the Lord, and that only what is finite can be attributed to us.
Then too, the angels who make up the heavenly kingdom are focused on love, while the angels who make up the spiritual kingdom are focused on wisdom and we in this world are focused on useful functions. This is why the kingdoms are united. I will be describing in the next part how to understand the statement that we are focused on useful functions.
What happened was that although the Divinity that had filled all space without being bound by space (see 69-72) also penetrated to the most remote elements of nature, before taking on a human nature the divine inflow into the earthly level was indirect, through the angelic heavens. After taking on the human nature it was direct from Divinity itself. This is why all the world’s churches before his coming were representative of spiritual and heavenly realities, while after his coming they became spiritual and heavenly on the earthly level and representational worship was done away with. This is also the reason why the sun of the angelic heaven (which as already noted  is the first emanation of his divine love and wisdom) shone out with greater radiance and brilliance after he took on a human nature than before. This is also the meaning of the following words in Isaiah: “In that day the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days” (Isaiah 30:25 [30:26]). This is about the state of heaven and the church after the Lord’s coming into the world. There is also Revelation 1:16, “the face of the Human-born One looked like the sun shining at full strength”; and such other passages as Isaiah 60:20; 2 Samuel 23:3, 4; and Matthew 17:1, 2. We might compare our indirect enlightenment through the angelic heaven, which obtained before the Lord’s coming, with the moon’s light, which is indirect sunlight. Since this became a direct enlightenment after the Lord’s coming, it says in [the passage just cited from] Isaiah that the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun; and it says in David, “Righteous people will blossom in his day, and peace in abundance until the moon is no more” (Psalms 72:7). This too is about the Lord.
It needs to be realized, though, that we all have these three vertical or distinct levels in us from our birth, one above or within the other, and that each vertical or distinct level has horizontal or gradual levels by which it increases incrementally. This is because there are both kinds of level in everything, no matter how large or small, as explained above in 222-229. Neither kind of level can exist apart from the other.
In the same way, this level can develop by incremental steps all the way to its summit; and it does so by our discovering what is true and good, or by spiritual truths. Even so, these do not open that third level that is called heavenly. This is opened by a heavenly love for being useful that is a love for the Lord; and love for the Lord is nothing but applying the precepts of the Word to our lives, these precepts being essentially to abstain from evil things because they are hellish and demonic and to do good things because they are heavenly and divine. This is how the three levels are opened in us sequentially.
However, as soon as we put off the earthly level, which happens when we die, we come into awareness of whatever level has been opened within us in the world, of the spiritual level if that level has been opened, of the heavenly level if that level has been opened. If we become conscious on the spiritual level after death, then we no longer think, intend, or talk or act in an earthly way, but spiritually. If we become conscious on the heavenly level, then we think, intend, and talk and act on that level. Further, since communication among the three levels occurs only by correspondence, the differences in level of love, wisdom, and useful function are so definite that there is no communication between them by direct contact.
We can see from this that we do have three vertical levels and that these can be opened in sequence.
In short, the human mind, consisting of volition and discernment, has three levels from creation and birth, so we have an earthly mind, a spiritual mind, and a heavenly mind. Consequently, we can be raised into angelic wisdom and possess it even while we are living in this world. Still, we become conscious of it only after death, if we become angels; and then we say inexpressible things, things incomprehensible to an earthly-minded person.
I was acquainted with a moderately educated man in the world and saw him and talked with him in heaven after his death. I sensed very clearly that he was talking like an angel and that what he was saying was beyond the grasp of earthly-minded people. The reason was that in the world he had applied the precepts of the Word to his life and had worshiped the Lord; so the Lord had raised him into the third level of love and wisdom.
It is important to know about this raising up of the human mind, since understanding what follows depends on it.
These two abilities are gifts from the Lord within us. They come from him constantly and are never taken away, for if they were taken away, that would be the end of our humanity. The Lord lives in each of us, in the good and the evil alike, in these two abilities. They are the Lord’s dwelling in the human race, which is why everyone, whether good or evil, lives forever. However, the Lord’s dwelling within us is more intimate as we use these abilities to open the higher levels. By opening them, we come into consciousness of higher levels of love and wisdom and so come closer to the Lord. It makes sense, then, that as these levels are opened, we are in the Lord and the Lord is in us.
People who pay attention to their reason when that reason is in the light can see that our love is the purpose of everything we do, since it is what we love that we think about, decide upon, and do, so it is what we have as our purpose. Our reason can also show us that wisdom is the means, since the love that is our purpose gathers in our discernment the means it needs to reach its goal. So it listens to its wisdom, and these resources constitute the means through which it works. We can see without further explanation that usefulness is the result.
Love, though, is not the same in one individual as in another, so wisdom is not the same in one individual as in another, and neither is usefulness. Since these three are matched in kind (as explained in 189-194 above), the quality of our love determines the quality of our wisdom, and of our usefulness. I say “wisdom,” but this means whatever is characteristic of our discernment.
We can also tell from what has been presented that there are three levels of light and three levels of warmth, or three levels of wisdom and three levels of love, and that these levels are formed within us in such a way that we are open to divine love and wisdom and therefore to the Lord.
The present task, then, is to show that while spiritual light flows in through these three levels in us, spiritual warmth does not–except to the extent that we abstain from evils as sins and turn to the Lord; or what amounts to the same thing, to show that we can accept wisdom all the way to the third level, but not love–unless we abstain from evils as sins and turn to the Lord; or (what again amounts to the same thing) to show that our discernment can be raised up into wisdom, but our volition cannot be raised up [into love]–except to the extent that we abstain from evils as sins.
It also follows from this that our discernment does not lead our volition, or that wisdom does not give rise to love. It merely teaches and shows the way. It teaches how we should live and shows us the way we should follow. It also follows from this that our volition leads our discernment and gets it to work in unison with itself. The love that is the substance of our volition gives the name of “wisdom” to whatever in our discernment it finds harmonious.
I will be showing below that on its own, apart from discernment, our volition accomplishes nothing. Everything it does, it does in conjunction with our discernment. However, our volition gains the cooperation of our discernment by flowing into it, and not the other way around.
This is like the light and warmth of the world’s sun and plant life on earth. The winter light is just as bright as summer light, but it does not open anything in seeds or trees. However, when the warmth of spring is united to that light then things open. The resemblance stems from the fact that spiritual light is analogous to physical light and spiritual warmth is analogous to physical warmth.
Since I dealt with these two abilities that we claim–rationality and freedom–in 240, there is no need to say more about them here.
It is recognized in the world that we have an earthly self and a spiritual self, or an outer and an inner self. It is not recognized that the earthly self becomes spiritual by the opening of a higher level within, and that this opening is accomplished by a spiritual life, a life in accord with divine precepts, and that unless we live by these precepts, we remain centered on the physical world.
People of the second kind, the ones who know that divine precepts exist but give no thought to living by them, also remain earthly-minded and are not concerned with anything except what is worldly and physical. After death they become employees and servants of the spiritual-minded, performing for them the functions for which they are fitted. This is because an earthly-minded individual is an employee or servant, while a spiritual-minded one is an employer or householder.
People of the third kind, the ones who trivialize and deny divine precepts, not only remain earthly-minded but even become sense-centered to the extent that they trivialize and deny divine precepts. Sense-centered people are the lowest of the earthly-minded, unable to raise their thoughts above deceptive physical appearances. After death, they are in hell.
1. What an earthly-minded person is and what a spiritual-minded person is.
2. What an earthly-minded person is like whose spiritual level has been opened.
3. What an earthly-minded person is like whose spiritual level has not been opened but is not yet closed.
4. What an earthly-minded person is like whose spiritual level has been completely closed.
5. Lastly, the difference between the life of a wholly earthly-minded person and the life of an animal.
We can see from this that earthly-minded people, being a kind of image of the earthly world, love whatever has to do with the earthly world, while spiritual-minded people, being a kind of image of the spiritual world, love whatever has to do with that world or heaven. Spiritual-minded people do love the earthly world, it is true, but only the way householders love their servants, who enable them to be of service. In fact, the earthly-minded people become spiritual in a way through their service. This happens when an earthly-minded person feels the joy of service from a spiritual source. This kind of earthly-minded person is called “earthly-spiritual.”
Spiritual-minded people love spiritual truths, not only loving to know and understand them but intending them as well; while earthly-minded people love to talk about these truths and carry them out as well. Putting truths into action is being of service. This ranking comes from the way the spiritual world and the earthly world go together, since anything that surfaces and exists in the earthly world has its cause in the spiritual world.
We can tell from this that spiritual-minded people are completely distinct from earthly-minded people, and that the only communication between them is the kind that occurs between a cause and its effect.
Earthly-minded individuals whose spiritual level has been opened do not realize that they are thinking and acting from their spiritual selves. They seem to themselves to be acting on their own, though in fact it is not on their own but from the Lord. Earthly-minded people whose spiritual level has been opened do not realize that they are in heaven because of their spiritual selves, either, even though their spiritual selves are surrounded by heaven’s angels. Sometimes such people are even visible to angels, but since they are drawn back to their earthly selves, they vanish in a little while.
Earthly people whose spiritual level has been opened do not realize that their spiritual minds are filled with thousands of hidden treasures of wisdom and with thousands of love’s joys as gifts from the Lord. They do not realize that they will begin to participate in this wisdom and joy after they die, when they become angels. The reason earthly-minded people are not aware of all this is that communication between our earthly and our spiritual selves takes place by correspondences, and communication by correspondences is perceived in our discernment only as seeing truths in the light, and in our volition only as being helpful because we enjoy it.
We need to realize that everything true is a matter of spiritual light and that everything good is a matter of spiritual warmth, and that what is good opens the spiritual level by means of things true, since goodness does what is helpful by means of truths. Helpful acts are the good that love does, deriving their essence from the union of what is good and what is true.
What happens after death to people whose spiritual level is not opened but is still not closed is that since they are still earthly-minded and not spiritual-minded, they are in the lowest parts of heaven, where they sometimes have a hard time of it. Alternatively, they may be around the edges of a somewhat higher heaven, where they live in a kind of twilight. This is because (as already noted ) in heaven and in each distinct community the light decreases from the center to the circumference, with the people who are especially engaged with divine truths in the middle and the people only slightly engaged in truths at the borders. People are only slightly engaged with truths if all they have learned from their religion is that God exists, that the Lord suffered for their sake, and that charity and faith are the essential qualities of the church, without making any effort to find out what faith is and what charity is. Yet essentially, faith is truth, and truth is complex, while charity is every duty we fulfill because of the Lord. We do things because of the Lord when we abstain from evils as sins.
This is just what I have already said [168, 197]. The purpose is the whole substance of the means, and the purpose through the means is the whole substance of the result. The purpose is thoughtful action, or some good, the means is faith, or something true, and the results are good deeds or acts of service. We can see from this that nothing from charity can be instilled into our deeds except to the extent that our charity is united to those truths that we attribute to faith. They are the means by which charity enters into works and gives them their quality.
This level contracts, and closes by contracting, especially in people who are caught up in a love of being in control for selfish reasons in this world, since this love is the opposite of a love for the Lord. It is also closed, though not as firmly, in people who because of their love for this world are caught up in a mindless craving to acquire the assets of others. The reason these loves close off the spiritual level is that they are the sources of our evils.
The contraction or closure of this level is like a coil twisting back on itself, which is why this level deflects heaven’s light once it has been closed. This yields darkness in place of heaven’s light. Accordingly, the truth that is found in heaven’s light becomes sickening.
For these people, it is not just [the spiritual] level itself that is closed. It is also the higher area of the earthly level, the area called “rational.” Eventually, then, only the lowest area of the earthly level stays open, the area we call “sensory.” This is right next to the world and to our outward physical senses, which thereafter constitute the basis of our thinking, talking, and rationalizing. In the spiritual world, earthly-minded people who have become sense-centered because of their evils and consequent distortions do not look human in heaven’s light. They look grotesque, with flattened noses. The reason they have these concave noses is that the nose corresponds to a perception of what is true. They cannot bear a single ray of heaven’s light, either. The only light in their caves is like the light of embers or smoldering charcoal. We can see from this who the people are whose spiritual level has been closed, and what they are like.
Animals, though, do not have the two higher levels, only the earthly levels, and apart from the higher levels the earthly levels have no ability to think about any civic, moral, or spiritual issue. Further, since these earthly levels cannot be opened and therefore raised into higher light, animals cannot think in sequential order. They can think only in a simultaneous pattern, and that is not really thinking. It is simply acting on the basis of the knowledge that answers to their love; and since they cannot think analytically or survey their lower thought from any higher vantage point, they cannot talk. All they can do is make sounds that suit their love’s knowledge.
The only difference between sense-centered people (the lowest of the earthly-minded) and animals is that they can fill their minds with information and think and talk on that basis. They get this from an ability we all possess, our ability to understand what is true if we want to. This ability makes the difference. However, many people have made themselves lower than animals by their abuse of this ability.
We can understand how this happens by perceiving that for vertical levels, one is above the other, with the earthly level, the terminal one, acting like an inclusive membrane for the two higher levels. As the earthly level is raised toward a higher level, then, the higher activates that outer earthly level from within and enlightens it. The enlightenment is actually happening because of the light of the higher levels from within, but it is received gradually by the earthly level that envelops and surrounds them, with greater clarity and purity as it ascends. That is, the earthly level is enlightened from within, from the light of the higher, distinct levels; but on the earthly level itself, it happens gradually.
We can see from this that as long as we are in this world and are therefore focused on the earthly level, we cannot be raised into wisdom itself, the way it is for angels. We can be raised only into a higher light at the boundary of angels and receive enlightenment from their light, which flows into us from within and illumines us.
I cannot describe this any more clearly. It is better understood through its effects; for if we have some prior knowledge about causes, their effects embody and present them in the light and thereby make them clear.
These hidden treasures of angelic wisdom are appended at this point to show the nature of our earthly mind, which will be further discussed later [260-263].
The reason we do not become rational to the highest degree we are capable of is that our love, which is a matter of our intent, cannot be raised up in the same way as our wisdom, which is a matter of our discernment. The love that is a matter of intent is raised only by abstaining from evils as sins and then by those good actions of thoughtfulness that are acts of service, acts that we are then performing from the Lord. So if the love that is a matter of intent is not raised up along with it, then no matter how high the wisdom that is a matter of our discernment has risen, it ultimately falls back to the level of its love. This is why we become rational only on the lowest level if our love is not raised to the spiritual level as well.
We can tell from all this that our rational ability seems to be made up of three levels, one ability from the heavenly level, one from the spiritual level, and one from the earthly level. We can also tell that our rationality, an ability that can be raised, is still with us whether it is raised up or not.
It is the same with any terminal vertical level. So it is the same with the earthly mind relative to the higher levels, since as I have just said, there are three levels of the human mind, earthly, spiritual, and heavenly, and the earthly mind is on the final level.
The earthly mind’s reaction against the spiritual mind is also the reason the earthly mind consists of substances from the earthly world as well as substances from the spiritual world, as noted in 257 above. By their very nature, substances of the earthly world react against substances of the spiritual world, since substances of the earthly world are intrinsically dead and are activated from the outside by substances of the spiritual world. Anything that is dead and is activated from the outside resists by its very nature, and therefore reacts by its very nature.
We can tell from this that the earthly self reacts against the spiritual self, and that there is a conflict. It is all the same whether we refer to the earthly self and the spiritual self or to the earthly mind and the spiritual mind.
However, since heavenly things cannot be united to earthly ones in this way so that they act as one, they distance themselves; and for people who are purely earthly, heavenly things come to rest outside, at the circumference, around the earthly things that are within. As a result, merely earthly people can discuss and preach heavenly things and can even act them out, even though they are thinking the opposite within. They behave one way when they are alone, and another way in public. But there will be more on this later [266, 267].
When people are like this, then their spiritual mind closes more and more tightly. It is primarily the justifications of evil by falsity that close it, which is why confirmed evil and falsity cannot be rooted out after death. They can be rooted out only in this world, by repentance.
We need to realize that action and reaction are involved in everything in the universe, no matter how large or small, whether alive or lifeless. This yields a balance throughout, which is canceled when action overcomes reaction or vice versa. It is the same for the earthly mind and the spiritual mind. When the earthly mind is acting on the basis of the delights it loves and the fascinations of its thinking (which are intrinsically evil and false), then the reaction of the earthly mind moves aside whatever comes from the spiritual mind and blocks the doors against its entry. As a result, any action is controlled by whatever agrees with the reaction. This is the nature of the action and reaction of the earthly mind, which is the opposite of the action and reaction of the spiritual mind; and this is what causes the closing of the spiritual mind or the reversing of the spiral.
However, if the spiritual mind is open, then the action and reaction of the earthly mind are reversed. The spiritual mind is acting from above or within, and as it does so it is working through whatever in the earthly mind is amenable, whether it comes from within or from the outside. Then it reverses the spiral characteristic of the action and reaction of the earthly mind. This mind has been in opposition to the purposes of the spiritual mind from birth, deriving this by heredity from our parents, as is well known.
This is the nature of that change of state called reformation and regeneration. The state of the earthly mind before its reformation might be compared to a spiral twisted or twisting downward, while after its reformation it might be compared to a spiral twisted or twisting upward. So before our reformation, we are looking down toward hell, while after our reformation we are looking up toward heaven.
The following conclusions can be drawn from what has already been said, and will be further supported below. We all possess these two abilities from creation and therefore from birth–they are given us by the Lord. They are not taken away from us. They are the source of the appearance that we think and speak and intend and act with what seems to be autonomy. The Lord dwells in these abilities within each of us, and it is from this union that we live to eternity. We can be reformed and regenerated because of these abilities, and not apart from them; and it is by them that we are distinguished from animals.
1. Evil people, like good people, enjoy these two abilities.
2. Evil people misuse them to validate things that are evil and false, while good people use them to validate things that are good and true.
3. The evil and false things that we have validated stay with us, becoming part of our love and therefore of our life.
4. Things that have become part of our love and life are passed on to our offspring.
5. All evil characteristics, whether inherited or acquired, reside in the earthly mind.
As for their ability to intend and do such things even though they do not actually intend and do them, this is witnessed by both reason and experience. Reason asks whether people are incapable of intending and doing what they think. However, the fact that we do not intend and do particular things is because we do not want to intend and do them. The ability to intend and do is the freedom that the Lord gives everyone. The reason people do not intend and do what is good when they can is found in a love for evil that finds it distasteful. Still, we can resist this, and many people do.
This has been verified for me several times by experience in the spiritual world. I have listened to evil spirits, people who were demons inwardly and who had in the world rejected the truths of heaven and the church. When their desire for learning was aroused (a desire we all enjoy from childhood on) by the glamor that surrounds every love like the radiance of a flame, then they grasped mysteries of angelic wisdom just as clearly as good spirits who were inwardly angels. The demonic spirits even claimed that they were capable of intending them and acting in keeping with them, but that they did not want to. When they were told that they would want to if they were to abstain from evils as sins, they said that they could do that, too, but that they did not want to. I could see from this that evil and good people alike have the ability we call freedom. Anyone who reflects will see that this is true. The reason we are able to want to do things is that the Lord, the source of that ability, is constantly making it possible; for as already noted , the Lord dwells in these two abilities in everyone. The Lord is therefore in that ability, or in the power we have of wanting.
As for the ability to discern that we call rationality, this is not given us until our earthly mind comes of age. Until then, it is like a seed in unripe fruit that cannot break open underground and sprout. This ability is not found in the people mentioned above in 259, either.
It is obvious from the abundance of heresies in Christendom (each one validated by its adherents) that earthly-minded people can validate whatever they please. Can anyone miss the fact that all kinds of evil and false notions can be validated? We can “prove” (and inwardly, evil people do “prove”) that God does not exist and that nature is all there is, having created itself; that religion is only a device for holding the minds of the simple in bondage; that our own prudence accomplishes everything; and that divine providence does nothing but maintain the universe in the pattern in which it was created; and even, according to Machiavelli and his followers, that there is nothing wrong with murder, adultery, theft, deception, and revenge.
Earthly-minded people can justify a host of things like this, can fill books with “proofs”; and once they have been justified, we see these false notions in their own illusory light, and true ideas are in such darkness that they are virtually invisible, like ghosts in the night. In brief, take the falsest notion you can think of, frame it as a proposition, and tell someone clever to prove it, and you will find it “proved” to the absolute stifling of any true light. But then step back from those proofs and take a second look at the same proposition from your own rationality, and you will see how grotesquely false it is.
This shows that we are able to misuse the two abilities the Lord instills in us to validate all kinds of evil and false notions. No animal can do this because animals do not enjoy these abilities. So unlike us, animals are born into the complete pattern of their lives, with all the knowledge necessary for their earthly love.
I have been allowed to talk with people who had justified for themselves the false principles of their religion centuries ago, and I saw that they were still centered in the same principles they had adopted in the world. This is because everything we justify internally becomes part of our love and our life. It becomes part of our love because it becomes part of our intentions and our discernment, and intention and discernment constitute our life. When it becomes part of our life, it becomes part not only of our whole mind but of our whole body as well. So we can see that once we have justified ourselves in our evil and false principles, that is what we are from head to toe; and once we are wholly of this nature, there is no kind of inversion or reversal of direction that will bring us back into the opposite state and thereby drag us out of hell.
This, together with what has been said earlier in this section, shows where evil comes from.
Experience tells us this, too. There is a likeness of disposition in peoples that comes from their first ancestor, a greater likeness within extended families, and a still greater likeness within individual households. The similarity is so clear that we recognize lineages not only by their dispositions but by their faces as well. There will be more about the way evil love is born into us from our parents later on, when I discuss the way the mind (that is, our volition and discernment) corresponds to the body and its members and organs. At this point I cite only a few things in order to show that evils are handed down from our parents in sequence and that they grow, piling up one generation after another, until we are nothing but evil at birth. The viciousness of evil increases in proportion to the closing of the spiritual mind, with the earthly mind closing to anything from above as well. This is remedied in our descendants only by their abstaining from evils as sins, with the Lord’s help. There is no other way to open the spiritual mind and thereby bring the earthly mind back into a corresponding form.
The earthly mind, with everything in it, turns in spirals from right to left, while the spiritual mind turns in spirals from left to right. So the two minds are turning in opposite directions–a sign that evil is resident in the earthly mind and that on its own, it resists the spiritual mind. Further, turning from right to left is turning downward, toward hell, and turning from left to right moves upward, toward heaven. I have been shown this by the experience that evil spirits cannot turn their bodies from left to right, only from right to left, while good spirits find it hard to turn from right to left and easy to turn from left to right. Their turning follows the flow of the deeper levels of their minds.
For instance, if we use our freedom wrongly to think and do evil, we call it freedom; and the opposite, which is thinking what is intrinsically good, we call slavery. Yet this latter is true freedom, and the former is slavery. Again, people who love adultery call adultery freedom, and they call it slavery to be restrained from adultery. They find delight in lasciviousness and discomfort in chastity. People who love power for selfish reasons feel a living delight in that love, a delight that surpasses any other kind of delight. So they call everything associated with that love good and everything that conflicts with it bad, when in fact the opposite is true.
It is the same with every other evil; so even though everyone does admit that evil and good are opposites, people who are engaged in evil pursuits have an opposite picture of this opposition. Only people who are engaged in good pursuits have a fair picture. While involved in evil, no one can see what is good, but people who are involved in something good can see what is evil. It is as though evil were down below in a cave, and good up above on a mountain.
1. An earthly mind engaged in things evil and therefore false is a form and an image of hell.
2. An earthly mind that is a form and image of hell has three descending levels.
3. The three levels of an earthly mind that is a form and image of hell are the opposites of the three levels of a spiritual mind that is a form and image of heaven.
4. An earthly mind that is a hell is absolutely opposed to a spiritual mind that is a heaven.
As for the form or image by which the earthly mind reflects hell, that form and image is like this. The dominant love, together with its urges, being the general state of this mind, acts the part of a devil in hell; and the distorted thoughts that arise from that dominant love are like that devil’s gang. Nothing more nor less than this is meant in the Word by “the Devil and its cohorts.”
The situation is much the same, since the dominant love in hell is a love of power for selfish reasons. That is what is referred to as “the Devil” there; and attractions to what is false, with the thoughts that arise from that love, are referred to as “the Devil’s gang.” It is the same in each of hell’s communities, with differences like individual variations on a single theme.
An earthly mind that is engaged in evil and therefore false pursuits has a similar form; so after death, earthly-minded people of this kind come into a community of hell that resembles themselves. They then behave in unison with that hell in every respect. They are actually coming into their own form, that is, into the state of their own minds.
There is also another love, called satan, secondary to the earlier love called the devil. This is the love of owning the assets of other people, using fair means or foul. Malice, deviousness, and deceit are its gang.
People who are in this hell are called satans collectively, while people in the former hell are called devils collectively. In fact, the ones who do not act in secret do not reject the title. This is why the hells as a whole are called “the Devil” and “Satan.”
The reason the two hells are broadly distinguished by these two loves is that all the heavens are distinguished by two loves into two realms, a heavenly one and a spiritual one. The demonic hell is an inverse parallel to the heavenly realm and the satanic hell an inverse parallel to the spiritual one. (On heaven’s division into two realms, a heavenly one and a spiritual one, see Heaven and Hell 26-28 [20-28].)
The reason this kind of earthly mind is a hell in form is that every spiritual form is the same in its largest and smallest manifestations. This is why every angel is a heaven in smaller form, as has also been explained in Heaven and Hell, in 51-58. It also follows from this that every individual or spirit who is a devil or satan is a hell in smaller form.
By virtue of its two abilities, called rationality and freedom, the earthly mind is in a state that allows it to rise up by three levels or descend by three levels. It rises up as a result of good and true actions, and it descends as a result of evil and false actions. Further, when it rises up, the lower levels that tend toward hell are closed off, and when it descends the higher levels that tend toward heaven are closed off. This is because they resist each other.
The three higher and lower levels are neither open nor closed in us when we are first born. This is because at that time we are ignorant of what is good and true and of what is evil and false. However, as we engage ourselves in these things, the levels are opened and closed in one direction or the other.
When they are opened toward hell, then the highest or central place is given to our dominant love, which is a matter of our volition. A second or intermediary place is given to distorted thinking, which is a matter of the discernment derived from that love. The lowest place is given to the realization of our love by means of our thinking, or of our volition by means of our discernment.
All this is like the vertical levels already discussed, which in their sequence are like a purpose, its means, and its result, or like first, intermediate, and final ends.
The downward course of these levels is toward the body; so as they move lower, things become coarser, focused on what is material and bodily.
If truths from the Word are recruited on the second level for its formation, then these truths are distorted because of the first level, which is a love for what is evil. They become servants, slaves. We can tell from this what truths of the church and the Word are like in people who are engaged in a love for what is evil or whose earthly minds are hell in form–that is, since they are serving a devil as its means, these truths are being profaned. The love for evil that takes control in a hellish earthly mind is its devil, as already noted .
This has been made quite clear to me by things I have seen in the spiritual world. I have seen that there are three heavens marked off by three vertical levels and three hells also marked off by three vertical levels, or levels of depth, with the hells opposite to the heavens in every detail. Further, the lowest hell is the opposite of the highest heaven, the intermediate hell the opposite of the intermediate heaven, and the highest hell the opposite of the lowest heaven. It is the same with an earthly mind that is a hell in form. Spiritual forms are in fact consistent in their largest and smallest instances.
The reason the heavens and the hells are in this kind of opposition is that their loves are opposed in this fashion. Love for the Lord and a consequent love for their neighbor constitute the inmost level in the heavens, while love for themselves and love for the world constitute the inmost level in the hells. Wisdom and intelligence from their loves constitute the intermediate level in the heavens, while stupidity and madness from their loves (which put on the appearance of wisdom and intelligence) constitute the intermediate level in the hells. It is the final effects of these two levels, though, either coming to rest in the memory as knowledge or finding definition in the body in actions, that constitute the final level in the heavens; while the realizations of the two levels that become either knowledge or actions constitute the most superficial level in the hells.
The following experience showed me how good and true elements of heaven are changed into evil and false things and therefore into their opposites in the hells. I heard that a divine truth was flowing down from heaven into hell, and heard that on the way down it was transformed step by step into something false, so that when it reached the lowest hell it had turned into its exact opposite. I could see from this that depending on their level, the hells are in opposition to the heavens as far as anything good and true is concerned, and that things become evil and false by flowing into forms that are turned backward. It is recognized, that is, that our perception and sense of anything that flows in depend on the recipient forms and their states.
I was also shown by the following experience that things are turned into their opposites. I was given a view of the hells in their position relative to the heavens, and the people there seemed to be upside down, heads below and feet above. I was told, though, that they seem to themselves to be standing upright. We might compare them to people in the southern hemisphere.
We can tell from this experiential evidence that the three levels of an earthly mind that is a form and image of hell are the opposites of the three levels of an earthly mind that is a form and image of heaven.
On the final level as the composite, vessel, and foundation of the prior ones, see 209-216 above, and on the vertical levels finding their full realization in their final form, see 217-221.
The obvious conclusion from this is that a deed that is a physical act encloses all these elements, even though it seems as simple as can be in its outward form.
Angels say that they perceive what someone is like from a single deed, though the image of someone’s love will vary depending on the way it finds definition in desires and therefore in thoughts. In brief, every one of the acts or deeds of a spiritual person is like a delicious, nourishing, and beautiful fruit to angels, a fruit that yields flavor, nourishment, and pleasure when it is sliced and eaten.
On angels’ having this kind of perception of our actions and deeds, see 220 above.
I have explained at some length in Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture that in the individual words of Scripture there is something spiritual that expresses divine wisdom and something heavenly that expresses divine love, and that angels are aware of these when someone is reading the Word devoutly.
The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, created the universe and everything in it not from nothing but from himself. It is known worldwide and acknowledged through an inner perception by everyone who is wise that there is one God who is the creator of the universe. Further, the Word informs us that the God who created the universe is called “Jehovah,” from “being,” because God alone is. In Teachings for the New Jerusalem on the Lord there is ample evidence from the Word that the Lord from eternity is that Jehovah.
Jehovah is called the Lord from eternity because Jehovah took on a human nature in order to save us from hell. At that time too he commanded his disciples to call him “Lord.” So in the New Testament, Jehovah is called “the Lord,” as we can tell from [the citation of the verse] “You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul” (Deuteronomy 6:5) [as] “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” in the New Testament (Matthew 22:35 [22:37]). We find the same in other Old Testament passages cited in the Gospels.
Everyone who thinks rationally and clearly also sees that everything has been created out of a substance that is substance in and of itself. This is the essential being from which everything that exists can arise. Since only God is substance in and of itself and is therefore essential being, it follows that there is no other source of the arising of things.
Many people do see this, since reason enables them to. However, they do not dare argue it for fear that they might arrive at the thought that the created universe is God because it is from God–either that, or the thought that nature is self-generated, which would mean that its own core is what we call “God.” As a result, even though many people have seen that the only source of the arising of everything is God and God’s essential being, they have not dared move beyond the first suggestion of this. If they did, their minds might get ensnared in a so-called Gordian knot with no possibility of escape. The reason they could not disentangle their minds is that they were thinking about God and God’s creation of the universe in temporal and spatial terms, terms proper to the physical world, and no one can understand God and the creation of the universe by starting from the physical world. Anyone whose mind enjoys some inner light, though, can understand the physical world and its creation by starting from God, because God is not in time and space.
On Divinity not being in space, see 7-10 above; on Divinity filling all space in the universe nonspatially, see 69-72, and on Divinity being in all time nontemporally, see 72-76 [73-76]. We will see later that even though God did create the universe and everything in it out of himself, still there is not the slightest thing in the created universe that is God. There will be other things as well that will shed an appropriate light on the subject.
Focus your thought on the angelic concept of God, of a human God, and as far as you can, eliminate any concept of space, and you will be close to the truth in your thinking.
Some scholars have actually grasped the fact that spirits and angels are not in space because they conceive of spirit as being apart from space. Spirit is like thought. Even though our thought is within us, it enables us to be present somewhere else, no matter how far away. This is the state of spirits and angels, who are people even in respect to their bodies. They seem to be wherever their thought is because in the spiritual world place and distance are apparent only, and are in complete accord with what people are thinking about with interest.
We can tell from this that the God who is visible as a sun far above the spiritual world, who cannot be given any appearance of space, is not to be thought of in spatial terms. In that case, we can understand that the universe was not created out of nothing but out of God, and that God’s human body is not to be thought of as large or small or of some particular height because these are matters of space. This means that God is the same from first to last, in the largest and smallest things. It means also that this Person is at the heart of everything created, but nonspatially so.
On Divinity as being the same in the largest and smallest things, see 77-82 above; and on Divinity as filling all spaces nonspatially, see 69-72. Since Divinity is not within space, it is not on the same continuum as the inmost aspect of nature.
Think of wisdom, and posit it outside a person. Is it anything? Can you conceive of it as something ethereal or flamelike? No, unless perhaps you think of it as within these things; and if it is within them, it must be wisdom in a form like ours. It must be in every aspect of that form. Nothing can be lacking if wisdom is to be within it.
In brief, the form of wisdom is human, and because a person is a form of wisdom, a person is also a form of love, mercy, forgiveness–of whatever is good and true, because these act in complete unison with wisdom.
On the fact that love and wisdom cannot occur except in some form, see above, 40-43.
All earthly individuals are born in the human form as to their physical bodies. This is because our spirit, which is also called our soul, is a person; and it is a person because it is receptive of love and wisdom from the Lord. To the extent that our spirit or soul actually accepts love and wisdom, we become human after the death of these material bodies that we are carrying around. To the extent that we do not accept love and wisdom we become grotesque creatures, retaining some trace of humanity because of our ability to accept them.
Heaven as a whole has this appearance because God is a person; and God is heaven because the angels who constitute heaven are recipients of love and wisdom from the Lord, and recipients are images.
I have explained at the close of a series of chapters in Secrets of Heaven that heaven is in the human form in all respects.
On God as the essential person, from whom we are human by virtue of our acceptance of love and wisdom, see 11-13 above. I stress this here for the sake of what follows, to make it clear that the universe was created by God because God is a person.
However, our reason by its nature will not consent to anything unless it sees the reason behind it, unless it sees how it has happened. In the present instance, reason needs to grasp how the spiritual world’s sun was brought forth, inasmuch as it is not the Lord but an emanation from the Lord, so something must be said about this as well. I have had many conversations with angels about this. They have told me that they grasp it clearly in their spiritual light, but that it is almost impossible for them to present it to us in our earthly light because there is such a difference between the two kinds of light, and therefore between their thoughts and ours.
They did say, though, that it is like the aura of feelings and consequent thoughts that surrounds every angel, through which angels’ presence is established for people both nearby and at a distance. This surrounding aura is not the actual angel, but it is derived from every part of the angel’s body. Coherent substances flow from it like a river, and the emanations envelop them. These substances bordering angels’ bodies, substances constantly energized by the two fountains of their life, the heart and the lungs, stir the atmospheres into their activities, and in this way establish a sense of the angel’s virtual presence among others. This means that there is not a separate aura of feelings and consequent thoughts that go forth in connected fashion, even though that is what we call it, because the feelings are simply states of the forms of the mind within.
The angels went on to say that all angels have this kind of aura around them because the Lord does, and that the aura around the Lord is similarly derived from him. This aura is their sun, or the sun of the spiritual world.
The experience of numerous scholars informs us that something like this happens in the physical world. For example, an outgoing wave is constantly flowing from individuals and from every animal, also from trees, fruits, shrubs, and flowers, and even from metals and stones. The physical world gets this from the spiritual world, and the spiritual world gets it from Divinity.
This is a mystery that angels can see in thought and express in speech with their spiritual concepts, while we cannot do the same with our earthly concepts. This is because a thousand spiritual concepts go to make up one earthly one, and we cannot resolve a single earthly concept into any spiritual one, let alone into several. The reason for this is that they differ as to the vertical levels discussed in part 3.
Remarkably enough, though, they told me that they seemed to themselves to be thinking and talking and writing in their spiritual state the same way we do in our earthly state even though there is no similarity whatever. I could see from this that what is earthly and what is spiritual differ as to vertical level, and that they communicate with each other only through correspondences.
I explained in 209-216 above (as well as elsewhere) that these three, love, wisdom, and service, follow in sequence by vertical levels, and that the final level is the composite, vessel, and foundation of the preceding levels. It therefore stands to reason that these three elements–elements of divine love, divine wisdom, and divine service–are in the Lord, and in essence are the Lord.
By “useful functions,” I mean those processes that were created by the Divine-Human One, or the Lord, as part of the design. I do not mean activities that derive from our own self-concern. That concern is hell, and its activities violate the design.
The reason the Lord manifests himself as to service in the form of an atmosphere is that an atmosphere serves as a vessel for warmth and light the way service serves as a vessel for love and wisdom. The warmth and light that radiate from Divinity as the sun cannot radiate in nothing, in a vacuum, but need some vessel as their medium. We call this vessel the atmosphere that surrounds the sun, takes it in its embrace, and carries it to the heaven where angels are and from there to the world where we are. This is how the Lord’s presence is made manifest everywhere.
With their spiritual concepts, which are nonspatial, angels assert the truth of this by saying that there is only one single substance underlying everything and that the spiritual world’s sun is that substance. Further, since Divinity is not in space and since it is the same in the largest and smallest things, the same holds true for that sun that is the first emanation of the Divine-Human One. They further assert that the one substance, the sun, radiating by its atmospheres, gives rise to the variety of everything in the created universe, in accord with both the gradual or horizontal levels and the distinct or vertical ones.
Angels have told me that there is no way to understand such things unless space is banished from our concepts; that if space is not banished, superficial appearances will inevitably give rise to illusions. We are not susceptible to them, though, if we hold in mind the fact that God is the absolute reality underlying everything.
There are three consequences of this origin of material substances. First, material substances also have three levels. Second, they are kept in interconnection by the enveloping atmospheres. Third, they are suited in their forms to the production of all kinds of useful activity.
Since the atmospheres are those relatively early things by which the sun makes itself present in outermost things, and since those relatively early things are constantly diminishing as they work and extend themselves all the way to their limits, it follows that when their action and expansion come to rest at their limits, they become the kinds of material substance that we find on earth, retaining from the atmospheres that gave rise to them a tendency and effort to produce useful functions.
People who propose a creation of the universe and everything in it with no constant intermediate steps from what is first cannot help but formulate theories that are fragmentary and disconnected from actual causes. When these theories are explored by a mind that probes the matter more deeply, they look not like houses but like a pile of rubble.
Because there is this kind of process from beginnings to limits for our human fibers and vessels, there is a similar procession of the states of these fibers and vessels, their states being sensations, thoughts, and feelings. These too go through a sequence from their beginnings, where they are in the light, to their limits, where they are in darkness; or from their beginnings, where they are in warmth, to their limits, where they are not. Since they have this kind of progression, there is a similar progression for love and everything involved in it and for wisdom and everything involved in it. In short, this kind of progression is characteristic of everything in the created universe. This is just what I said in 222-229 above, that there are levels of both kinds in everything that has been created, no matter how large or small.
The reason there are both kinds of level in even the smallest things is that the spiritual sun is the sole substance that gives rise to everything, according to the spiritual concepts of angels (300).
See above (295) on the fact that spiritual thought, speech, and writing are so different from earthly thought, speech, and writing that they have nothing in common, and communicate only by means of correspondences. It will have to do, then, that we understand the origin of earth to some extent physically.
These are called useful functions because they are receptive of divine love and wisdom and because they focus on God the Creator as their source and thereby unite him with his master work in such a way that they continue to exist through him in the same way they arose. I say “they focus on God the Creator as their source and unite him with his master work,” but this is talking in terms of the way things seem. It actually means that God the Creator works it out so that these useful functions seem to focus on and unite themselves to him on their own initiative. I will describe later [310-317] how they focus on and thereby unite themselves to him.
I have already dealt with these subjects to some extent in appropriate places; in 47-51, for example, divine love and wisdom cannot fail to be and to be manifested in others that it has created; in 54-60 [55-60], everything in the created universe is a vessel of divine love and wisdom; and in 65-68, the useful functions of every created thing tend upward to us step by step, and through us to God the creator, their source.
1. Earth has an active tendency to bring forth useful functions in particular forms, or forms of useful functions.
2. In all such forms there is some image of the creation of the universe.
3. In all such forms there is some human image.
4. In all such forms there is some image of what is infinite and eternal.
I said that this tendency and quality are in the earth, but by this I mean that they are characteristic of the material substances that make up the earth, whether in the earth itself or exhaled by the earth as atmospheres. It is generally recognized that the atmospheres are full of such tendencies.
The presence of this tendency and quality in earth’s material substances shows quite clearly in the fact that all kinds of seed are opened to their cores by warmth, are impregnated by substances so subtle that they can only be from a spiritual source, and in this way have the potential of uniting themselves to their function, which is multiplication. After this, they unite with matter of a physical origin to bring forth forms of useful functions, and then, so to speak, bring them forth from the womb so that they emerge into the light, which enables them to sprout and grow.
From then on, this tendency is constantly working from the earth through the roots all the way to the boundaries, and from the boundaries back to the beginning where the function itself dwells in its source. This is how useful functions are transformed into forms, and how as forms develop from their beginnings to their limits and back from their limits to their beginnings, they derive from their function, which is like their soul, a usefulness of each and every component. I am saying that the useful function is like the soul because its form is like its body.
It also follows that there is a still deeper tendency, a tendency to bring forth processes that support the development of the animal kingdom, since all kinds of animal are nourished by plants. It also follows that there is a very deep element in this tendency, a tendency to be of use to the human race. These conclusions follow from the following premises: (a) There are boundaries, and all antecedent things are gathered together in proper sequence within these boundaries, as explained in any number of places above. (b) Each kind of level is found in the largest and smallest instances of everything, as explained in 222-229 above. The same holds true for their tendency. (c) All useful functions are brought forth by the Lord from outermost things, so there must be an active tendency toward useful functions in outermost things.
These three levels of the forms of the mineral kingdom offer an image of creation in that as they are activated by the sun through its atmospheres and their warmth and light, they do bring forth useful functions in particular forms, functions that are goals of creation. This image of creation in their tendencies (described in 310 above) lies deeply hidden.
We can see from what I have just been saying that the process of creation of the universe goes from its very beginning, the Lord clothed with the sun, to its limit, which is the soil, and from this, through its functions, back to its very beginning, the Lord. We can see also that the goals of the whole creation are useful functions.
They do not accomplish this with energies from their own sun, though, which are nothing in their own right. They accomplish it with energies from the spiritual sun that is constantly prompting them to do so. They contribute absolutely nothing to the process of giving the forms an image of creation. The image of creation is spiritual; but in order for it to be visible and to function usefully in a physical world, in order for it to be solid and durable, it needs to be “materialized,” or filled in with this world’s matter.
We can see from this parallelism that there is a likeness of creation in the animal forms just as there is in plant forms. Specifically, there is a sequence from beginnings to limits and from limits to beginnings.
There is a similar image of creation in the details of our own nature, since the sequence of love through wisdom into useful functions is similar, and so therefore is the sequence of intent through discernment into act, and of charity through faith into works. Intent and discernment, charity and faith, are the first and originating elements, while acts and deeds are the final ones. There is a return from these latter, through the delights of being useful, to the first elements, which as noted are intent and discernment, or charity and faith. We can see clearly that the return is by way of the delights we find in being useful from the pleasure we sense in acts and deeds that come from some love. The delights of acts and deeds are the delights we attribute to being useful.
There is a similar sequence from beginnings to limits and from limits to beginnings in the purely organic forms of our desires and thoughts. There are in our brains the star-shaped forms called gray matter, with fibers stretching from them into the medullary matter and through the neck into the body. There they go to their limits, and from these limits they return to their beginnings. The return of the fibers to their beginnings is by way of the blood vessels.
There is a similar sequence of all our desires and thoughts, which are shifts and changes of the states of their forms and substances. The fibers that stretch out from their forms or substances are analogous to the atmospheres that come from the spiritual sun and are vessels of warmth and light. The physical acts are like the things produced from the earth by means of the atmospheres, with the delights of their useful functions returning to their source.
It is scarcely possible, though, to gain a full mental grasp of the nature of their sequence and of the way it embodies an image of creation, since the thousands upon thousands of energies at work in an action seem to be a single event. Further, the delights of useful functions do not give rise to concepts in our thought, but simply affect us without being clearly perceived.
On these matters, see what has already been presented about the way the functions of everything created tend upward by vertical levels to us, and through us to God the creator, their source (65-68), and how the goal of creation–that everything should return to the Creator and that there should be a union–becomes manifest in outermost forms (167-172).
These matters will be seen in clearer light, though, in the next part [371-431], when I discuss the correspondence of volition and discernment with the heart and lungs.
There is a similar image of eternity in these processes. Seeds reproduce year after year, and the reproductions never cease. They have not paused from the creation of the world to the present, and they will not stop forever.
These two facts are obvious indications and eloquent signs that everything in the universe was created by an infinite and eternal God.
In addition to these images of what is infinite and eternal, there is another image in variety. There can never be a substance, state, or thing in the created universe that is exactly the same as any other. Not in the atmospheres, not on earth, not in the forms that arise from them, and therefore not in any of the things that fill the universe can anything identical ever be brought forth. We can see this very clearly in the variety of all human faces. There is not one identical to another in all the world, and never can be to eternity. This means that there is no human spirit like another, since the face bears the stamp of the spirit.
Rather, the ancients learned to call us a microcosm or little universe from the knowledge of correspondences that the earliest people enjoyed and from their communication with angels of heaven. Heaven’s angels actually know from what they see around themselves that if we focus on functions, we can see an image of a person in everything in the universe.
This is prefaced to let it be known that the whole spiritual world is just like the whole physical world, the sole difference being that things there are not static and stable the way they are in a physical world because there is nothing of nature there. Everything is spiritual.
The reason things occur and change like this is that everything occurs in response to the angels’ feelings and consequent thoughts. They are responsive entities, and because the things that respond are integral aspects of that to which they respond, they are their visual images.
The actual image is not visible when the focus is on the forms of anything, but it is visible when the focus is on their functions. I have been allowed to see that when angels’ eyes have been opened by the Lord so that they see these things as they answer to functions, the angels recognize and see themselves in their surroundings.
This is why when the Word talks about the church and its people, there is such frequent mention of trees like the olive and the vine and the cedar, of gardens and groves and woods, and of the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea. They are mentioned because they correspond and are united by corresponding, as noted. So too, when we are reading things like this in the Word, angels are not conscious of them but of the church in their stead, or of the church’s people in regard to their state.
Quite similar things are said of Assyria in Ezekiel 31:3-9, meaning the church as far as its intelligence is concerned, and about Tyre in Ezekiel 28:12 and 23 , meaning the church in regard to its firsthand knowledge of what is good and true.
This enables us to see the sequence, level, and focus of the relationship to us of the useful functions that are intermediate goals of creation. That is, they are for the support of our bodies, for the development of our rational ability, and for our acceptance of what is spiritual from the Lord.
The useful things created for clothing our bodies also come in abundance from these two kingdoms, as do those for our shelter and for our recreation and pleasure, for our protection, and for the preservation of our state. I will not enumerate these because they are familiar, so listing them would only take up space.
There are of course many things that we do not find useful, but these extras do not prevent usefulness. In fact, they enable useful functions to continue. Then there are abuses of functions; but again, the abuse of a function does not eliminate the useful function, just as the falsification of something true does not destroy the truth except for the people who are doing the falsifying.
There is not room to list these useful functions both because there are so many of them and because their relationship to the common good varies.
We can describe the range of these functions much as we describe physical functions–in terms of nourishment, for example, clothing, shelter, recreation and pleasure, and protection of our state, as long as we apply them to the soul. We may compare nourishment to the good that love does, clothing to the truth that wisdom provides, dwelling to heaven, recreation and pleasure to life’s happiness and heavenly joy, protection to [safety from] the attacks of evil, and preservation of our state to eternal life.
The Lord grants all these gifts upon our acknowledgment that everything physical also comes from the Lord and that we are simply like servants or stewards given responsibility for the Lord’s goods.
The difference is that angels see that these things come from the Lord because they are created in response to the angels’ state of love and wisdom, as explained above in 322, while we do not see this because things recur according to the calendar and happen not according to our states of love and wisdom but according to our efforts.
People believe that because the Lord is to be revered, worshiped, and praised the Lord loves reverence, worship, and praise for his own sake. In fact, he loves them for our sake, because they bring us into a state where something divine can flow in and be felt. This is because by these activities we are removing that focus on self that prevents the inflow and acceptance. The focus on self that is self-love hardens and closes our heart. It is removed by our realization that in our own right we are nothing but evil and that nothing but what is good comes from the Lord. This yields the softening of heart and humility from which reverence and worship flow.
It follows from this that the purpose of the useful functions the Lord provides for himself through us is that he may bless us out of his love; and since this is what he loves to do, our receiving it is the joy of his love.
No one should believe that the Lord is with people who simply worship him. He makes his home with people who do his commandments–that is, his useful functions–and not with the others. See also what it says about this in 47, 48, and 49 above.
The particular functions I am talking about in this section are all the things we see on earth, like all kinds of animal and all kinds of plant. In both instances, the ones that are good for us are from the Lord and the ones that do us harm are from hell. By the same token, “useful functions from the Lord” means all the things that help develop our rational ability and that enable us to be receptive of spiritual gifts from the Lord; while “evil functions” means everything that destroys our rational ability and makes it impossible for us to become spiritual.
The reason harmful things are called “useful functions” is that they are useful to evil people for their evildoing, and also because they serve to soak up malice and therefore lead to remedies. I use “useful functions” in this dual sense, and do the same with “love,” speaking of “a good love” and “an evil love.” Whatever love brings forth it calls useful.
1. Which things in our world I mean by “evil functions.”
2. Everything that is an evil function exists in hell, and everything that is a good function exists in heaven.
3. There is a constant inflow from the spiritual world into the earthly world.
4. The inflow from hell activates things that are evil functions, in places where there are things that answer to them.
5. The lowest spiritual level, separated from what is higher, is what does this.
6. There are two forms in which activation by inflow occurs, the plant form and the animal form.
7. Each form gets the ability and the means of propagating its own kind.
In the animal kingdom, there are poisonous snakes, scorpions, crocodiles, lizards, owls, mice, locusts, frogs, and spiders, and also flies, wasps, moths, lice, and mites. In short, there is everything that consumes grains, leaves, fruits, and seeds, our food and our drink, and inflicts harm on animals and people. In the plant kingdom there are many herbs that are harmful, poisonous, and lethal, as well as plants and shrubs of the same sort. In the mineral kingdom there are all the toxic substances.
We can see from these few examples what I mean by “evil functions” in this world of ours. “Evil functions” are all the things that conflict with the good functions discussed in the previous section.
In heaven, you can see all the good functions described in the preceding section. In hell, on the other hand, you can see all the evil functions just listed in 338–wild animals of every kind like snakes, scorpions, lizards, crocodiles, tigers, wolves, foxes, boars, night birds, owls, bats, mice, rats, frogs, locusts, spiders, and many kinds of harmful insect. You can also see toxic and dangerous things of all kinds, and poisons in both plants and soils–in a word, everything that does injury and that kills people. In the hells, things like this are just as vividly visible as they are on and in the earth.
I say that they are visible there, but they do not exist there the same way they do on earth. They are pure reflections of the cravings that spew from the evils of [demonic spirits’] loves, presenting themselves to others in these forms. Because there are things like this in the hells, foul stenches pour out as well, smells of carrion, feces, urine, and decay that demonic spirits relish, the way animals relish things that contain toxins.
It stands to reason, then, that things like this in the earthly world do not find their source in the Lord, created from the beginning, and that their origin is not from nature through its sun, but that they are from hell. It is abundantly clear that their origin is not from nature, through its sun, from the fact that what is spiritual flows into what is earthly and not vice versa. It is clear that they are not from the Lord from the fact that hell is not from him, so neither is anything in hell that reflects their evils.
It is acknowledged, then, that there is a spiritual world, that what is spiritual comes from a sun where the Lord is who is its source, and that this spiritual reality stirs nature into action the way something living stirs something lifeless. It is acknowledged further that there are things in that spiritual world that resemble things in our physical world. We can therefore see that plants and animals have come into being solely from the Lord through that world and that they constantly keep coming into being through it. This means that there is a constant inflow from the spiritual world into the physical one. There will be ample support for this in the next section.
The production of harmful things on earth through an inflow from hell happens by the same law of tolerance that applies to the very evils that flow from hell into people. I will discuss this law in Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence.
Everyone knows that swamps, marshes, manure piles, and rotten soils teem with creatures like these and that vicious insects fill the air like clouds, and vicious bugs infest the earth like armies and devour plants down to their very roots. I noticed once in my own garden that in the space of a cubit almost all the dust turned into tiny winged creatures, because when I stirred it with my stick they rose up in clouds.
We can see simply from experience that carrion and decay are congenial and close kin to these vicious and useless little creatures. It is particularly clear when we consider the reason, namely that there are foul stenches like these in the hells, where such little creatures are also found. That is why hells are named after their odors, some called morgues, some manure piles, some urinals, and so on. They are all covered, though, so that their exhaust fumes do not escape, for when they are opened a little (which happens when newly arriving demons are let in), it induces vomiting and headaches; while the ones that are also toxic cause a loss of consciousness. The dust itself in hell is like this, so it is known there as “the dust of doom.”
We can see from this that these vicious creatures are found where foul substances like this occur because they suit each other.
The fact that they multiply by eggs or by a discharge once they have begun does not rule out their spontaneous generation, since every little creature gets organs of generation and propagation along with its other viscera, as discussed below in 347.
There is further support in a previously unknown experience, namely that things like this occur in the hells as well.
The reason the hells are around and are therefore in direct contact with the earth is that the spiritual world is not in space, but is found wherever there is a responsive feeling.
This experience convinced Sir Sloane that nature contributed nothing whatever to the propagation of plants and animals. It is simply what flows into nature from the spiritual world. He said that if that particular bird had been filled in with appropriate earthly matter down to the last detail and so had become stable, it would have been a lasting bird just like our earthly birds, and that the same held true for things that came from hell.
He went on to say that if he had known what he now knew about the spiritual world, he would not have attributed anything to nature except the service it provides to spiritual reality from God, for giving stability to the forces that are constantly flowing into nature.
We can see from this that the lowest spiritual level, called “the spiritual-earthly level,” can be separated from what lies above it and that it is so separated in the people who constitute hell. This lowest spiritual level cannot be separated from what lies above it either in animals or in soils and turn toward hell. This can happen only in humans.
It therefore follows that when the lowest spiritual level is separated from what lies above it the way it is for people in hell, this is what creates those evil functions on earth that I have just been discussing.
As for the claim that the harmful things on earth can be traced back to us and therefore to hell, this is supported by conditions in the land of Canaan described in the Word. When the Israelites lived by the Commandments, the land provided them with food as well as flocks and herds, while when they lived contrary to the Commandments it became barren and cursed, so to speak, bringing forth thorns and briars instead of grain. Their flocks and herds miscarried and wild beasts invaded. We can draw the same conclusion from the locusts, frogs, and lice in Egypt.
All the greater and lesser animals start from something spiritual on the lowest level, the one called “earthly.” Only we humans come from all the levels, from the three that are called heavenly, spiritual, and earthly. Since each vertical or distinct step declines gradually from perfection to imperfection the way light declines into darkness, so do animals. The perfect ones are elephants, camels, horses, mules, cattle, sheep, goats, and the other members of flocks and herds. The less perfect are the winged ones, and the imperfect are fish and shellfish. Since they are the lowest of this level, it is as though they were in darkness, while the others are in light.
Still, since these all get their life only from the lowest spiritual level, the one called earthly, the only direction they can look is toward the earth and their food and, for propagation, their kindred. For all of them, their soul is an earthly desire and urge.
The same holds true for members of the plant kingdom. There are complete, less complete, and incomplete ones. The complete ones are fruit trees, the less complete are vines and shrubs, and the incomplete are grains. However, plants derive a usefulness from the spiritual reality that is their source, and animals derive passionate and impulsive natures from the spiritual reality that is their source, as already noted [313-316].
We can tell from this that even evil functions come from the spiritual sun, but [they are] good functions turned into evil ones in hell. This shows that the Lord has not created and does not create anything but good functions, while hell brings forth the evil ones.
People who prove to themselves that the sun does produce the things we see on earth by its warmth and light end up giving nature credit for everything, even the creation of the universe. They become materialists and ultimately atheists. They can later say that God created nature and endowed it with the ability to do all this, but they say this out of fear of harm to their reputation. All the while, by “God the Creator” they really mean nature–for some of them, its inmost essence–and completely trivialize the divine qualities that the church teaches.
The second reason for forgiving them is that they have had no way to know how Divinity produces all the things we see on our earth where there are so many things both good and evil. They have been afraid of drawing their conclusion, to keep from attributing evil to God or giving birth to a materialistic concept of God, equating God with nature, and therefore confusing them.
These are two reasons for forgiving people who believe that nature brings forth the things we can see by a power instilled at creation. However, we should not forgive people who make atheists of themselves by “proving” this role of nature, because they could “prove” the same role for Divinity. Ignorance does excuse, true, but it does not cancel deliberate proof of what is false, since this falsity is intimately connected to evil and therefore to hell. As a result, people who opt decisively for nature to the point that they divorce Divinity from it attach no weight to sin, since all sin is against the Divinity they have divorced and thus rejected. If people in spirit attach no weight to sin, then after death, when they become spirits, they rush as captives of hell into the unspeakable consequences of their cravings, cravings whose reins have been loosened.
People who acknowledge Divinity see this and think this way. People who do not acknowledge Divinity, though, do not see this or think this way because they do not want to. So they lower their rational abilities down to the sensory level that gets all its concepts from the light that envelops our physical senses. They then “prove” their fallacies by saying, “Can’t you see the sun making this happen by its warmth and light? What is anything that you cannot see? Is it anything at all?”
People who decide in favor of Divinity pay attention to the miracles they see in the way animals reproduce. At this point I may mention only what happens in eggs. Hidden within the egg is the chick “in seed” or in potential, with everything it needs for coming to hatching and for the whole sequence after hatching until it becomes a bird, a flying creature in the image of its parents. If people pay close attention to the nature of the form involved and think deeply about it, they cannot fail to be stunned. They see, for example, that in the smallest creatures as in the largest, in the invisible ones as in the visible, there are sensory organs for sight, smell, taste, and touch; there are organs of motion called muscles–these creatures actually fly and walk; and they have organs around their hearts and lungs that are activated by their brains. We have been informed by people who have written about their anatomy that even lowly insects enjoy these gifts: see especially Swammerdam’s Book of Nature.
People who attribute everything to nature do see these things, but they simply think that they happen and say that nature makes them happen; and they say this because they have diverted their minds from thinking about Divinity. If people have diverted their minds from thinking about Divinity, then when they see the miracles in nature they cannot think rationally, let alone spiritually. They think in terms of sensation and matter, and in so doing think about nature from within nature and not from above it. This is just what people in hell do. The sole difference between them and animals is that they have rational capacity; that is, they could understand and think differently if they wanted to.
If we consider the fact that our eyesight is so crude that a host of such creatures, each one with all its countless complexities, looks to us like a little cloud, and then realize that in spite of this, people who are sense-centered think and judge on the basis of this sight, we can see how coarsened their minds are, and therefore how benighted they are in spiritual matters.
Anyone who wants to think about the divine inflow through the spiritual world into the physical world can see it in these events. Anyone who wants to can say at heart, “Knowledge like this cannot be flowing into them from the sun, through its light rays. The sun, which provides nature with its origin and essence, is pure fire, so its light rays are absolutely lifeless.” We can therefore come to the conclusion that things like this come from an inflow of divine wisdom into the very boundaries of nature.
Does anyone who is deciding for Divinity on the basis of observation of nature fail to see a kind of reflection of our earthly state in the caterpillars and of our heavenly state in the butterflies? Yet people who are deciding for nature, since they emphatically reject any “heavenly state,” say that these are simply earthly instincts.
Later, when this generation has reached the age when it can do the same, it is driven out of its home, and once it has been driven out it first gathers itself and then forms a swarm so that its company will not be dispersed, and flies off in search of a home. About autumn, too, the useless drones are taken out and shorn of their wings so that they cannot return and use up food to which they contribute nothing. There is much more, which enables us to conclude that it is for the useful function they perform for the human race and from an inflow from the spiritual world that they have a form of government like ours on earth and even like angels’ in heaven. Can anyone furnished with rationality fail to see that things like this do not come from the physical world? What does the sun, the source of nature, have in common with a government that rivals and reflects heavenly government?
On the basis of all this and of other miracles among simple animals, people who acknowledge and worship nature decide for nature, while people who acknowledge and worship God decide for Divinity on the very same basis. That is, a spiritually-minded person sees spiritual forces in these events, and an earthly-minded person sees physical forces in these events. We see [reflections of] our own nature.
As for me, things like this have been testimonies to a spiritual inflow into nature, of the spiritual world into the physical world, an inflow, therefore, from the Lord’s divine wisdom. Ask yourself seriously whether you could even think analytically about any form of government, any civil law, any moral virtue, or any spiritual truth unless Divinity were flowing in with its wisdom through the spiritual world. In my own case, I never could and I still cannot. I have actually been constantly watching this inflow perceptibly, tangibly, for nineteen years, so I am saying this on the basis of evidence.
It ranks among the miracles that the humble insects called silkworms provide splendid, beautiful silken clothing for both women and men from queens and kings to maids and servants, and that the humble insects called bees provide wax for the candles that lend their brilliance to temples and courts. These and many other facts are clear evidence that the Lord produces everything that happens in nature from himself through the spiritual world.
The Lord has created and formed within us two vessels and dwellings for himself called volition and discernment. Volition is for his divine love and discernment for his divine wisdom. I have already discussed the divine love and wisdom of God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, and I have discussed the creation of the universe. Now I need to say something about our own creation.
We read that we were created in the image of God and according to his likeness (Genesis 1:26). In this passage “the image of God” means divine wisdom and “the likeness of God” means divine love, since wisdom is nothing more than the image of love. Love actually presents itself to view and to recognition in wisdom, and since that is where we see and recognize it, wisdom is its image. Then too, love is the reality of life and wisdom is its consequent manifestation. This “image and likeness” of God is strikingly visible in angels. Love shining from within is their faces and wisdom in their beauty, with beauty as the form of their love. I have seen this, and I have come to know it.
The Word tells us that God is in us and makes his home with us; and because the Word tells us this, preachers are fond of telling us to prepare ourselves to let God come into our lives so that he may be in our hearts and that our hearts may be his dwelling. The devout say the same in their prayers. Some [preachers] talk and preach more explicitly about the Holy Spirit, who they believe is within them when they are filled with holy zeal as the source of their thought, speech, and preaching. I have explained in 51-53 of Teachings for the New Jerusalem on the Lord that the Holy Spirit is the Lord and not some God who is a separate individual. The Lord actually says, “In that day you will know that you are in me and I in you” (John 14:21 [14:20]), and he says similar things in John 15:24 [15:4] and 17:23.
We will see below that these two belong to the Lord within us and that these two are the source of all our life.
Does anyone fail to realize, simply on the basis of common sense, that people who live good lives are saved and people who live evil lives are damned? That people who live well come to be with angels and see, hear, and talk there like people? Or that the people who have a conscience are the ones who do what is fair because it is fair and what is right because it is right? If people step back from common sense, though, and give the matter serious thought, they do not know what conscience is or that the soul can see, hear, and talk the way we can or that a good way to live is anything more than giving to the poor. Then if you start writing on the basis of this thinking, you support these opinions with superficial and deceptive observations and with words that are all sound and no substance. This is why many of the scholars who have given much thought to this–and even more, the ones who have written about it–have undermined, obscured, and even destroyed their common sense. This is also why simple people see what is good and true more clearly than people who believe they are wiser.
This common sense comes from an inflow from heaven and descends through thought all the way to sight; but thought separated from common sense fades into fantasy based on sight and on self-importance.
You may test the truth of this. Say something true to people who have common sense and they will see it; tell them that we exist and move and live from God and in God and they will see it; tell them that God is living within us in our love and wisdom and they will see it; say even that volition is the dwelling of love, and discernment the dwelling of wisdom, and explain it a little and they will see it; say that God is love itself and wisdom itself and they will see it; ask them what conscience is and they will tell you. But say these same things to scholars who have not been thinking on the basis of common sense but on principles derived either from preconceptions or from what they observe in the world, and they will not see.
Then figure out who are the wiser.
1. Love and wisdom, and the volition and discernment that come from them, constitute our very life.
2. Our life is found in its primary forms in our brains and in secondary forms in our bodies.
3. The quality of a life in its primary forms determines its quality overall and in every part.
4. By means of its primary forms, life is in the whole from every part and in every part from the whole.
5. The quality of the love determines the quality of the wisdom and therefore the quality of the person.
We know that warmth and light radiate from the sun and that everything in the universe is a recipient, growing warm and bright in proportion to its receptivity. The same holds true as well for the sun where the Lord is, whose radiating warmth is love and whose radiating light is wisdom, as explained in part 2. It is from these two emanations from the Lord as the sun, then, that life comes.
We can tell that life is love and wisdom from the Lord from the fact that we grow sluggish as love ebbs away from us and dull as wisdom ebbs away; and if they leave us completely, we are snuffed out.
There are many forms of love that have been given their own names because they are derivatives, such as desires, cravings, appetites, and their gratifications and delights. There are many forms of wisdom, too, like perception, reflection, memory, thought, and focus on a subject. Further, there are many forms that come from both love and wisdom, such as agreement, decision, and resolve to act, among others. All of these belong to both [love and wisdom], but they are assigned their names on the basis of what is dominant and nearer to hand.
Finally, our senses are derived from these two, our sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, with their own pleasures and satisfactions. The appearance is that our eye is seeing, but our discernment is seeing through our eye, which is why we ascribe sight to our discernment. The appearance is that our ear is hearing, but our discernment is hearing through our ear. This is why we speak of the attentiveness and listening that are actually functions of discernment as “hearing.” The appearance is that our nostrils smell and that our tongue tastes, but discernment is smelling with its perceptiveness and is tasting as well; so we refer to perceptiveness as smelling and tasting, and so on. The wellsprings of all these functions are love and wisdom; we can therefore tell that these two constitute our life.
We can tell that the primary forms or beginnings are in the brain for a number of reasons. (a) Simply from the feeling we have when we are focusing our minds and thinking, our sense that we are thinking with our brain. We turn our sight inward, so to speak, and furrow the brow with a sense that this concentration is happening inside, especially behind the forehead and a little above it. (b) From the way we are formed in the womb, where the brain or head is formed first and remains larger than the body for some time. (c) The head is above and the body below, and the orderly arrangement is for the higher to activate the lower and not the other way around. (d) If the brains are damaged in the womb by some wound, by disease, or by lack of concentration, thinking becomes uncertain, and sometimes the mind becomes deranged. (e) All the outer senses of the body–sight, hearing, smell, taste, and the all-inclusive sense of touch–as well as speech, are in the front part of the head called the face; and they are in direct touch with the brain through fibers and get their active and sensitive life from it. (f) This is why we can see people’s feelings of love in a kind of image in their face and their thoughts of wisdom in a kind of light in their eyes. (g) Anatomy informs us that all the fibers go down from the brains through the neck into the body, and that none go up from the body through the neck into the brain. Where the fibers have their primary forms and beginnings is where life is in its primary forms and beginnings. Can anyone maintain a denial that the origin of life is where the fibers originate? (h) Ask anyone with common sense where thinking happens, or where one thinks, and the answer you will get is “In one’s head.” But then ask someone who has located the seat of the soul in some little gland or in the heart or somewhere else where desire and its consequent thought begin, whether it is in the brain, and the answer you will get is either “No” or “I don’t know.” You may find the reason for this uncertainty in 361 above.
We can see from anatomy just where these primary forms are in the brain. This tells us that there are two brains and that these have extensions from the head into the spine. It tells us that the brains consist of two substances called the cortical substance and the medullary substance, with the cortical substance consisting of countless little glandlike things and the medullary substance of countless fiberlike things. Since the little glands are at the heads of the little fibers, then, they are also their primary forms. The fibers begin there and they radiate outward, gradually gathering into nerves; and once they have gathered or formed nerves they go down to the sensory organs in the face and the motor organs in the body and form them. Check with anyone versed in the knowledge of anatomy and you will find this to be true.
This cortical or glandular substance constitutes the surface of the brain and the surface of the corpora striata that make up the medulla oblongata, to link with the cerebellum and through the cerebellum to the spinal cord. Wherever the medullary or fibrous substance is found, however, it begins and goes from the cortical substance. This is the source of the nerves that all the parts of the body come from. This fact is learned from dissection.
If people know this from the science of anatomy or from people versed in that science, they can see that the primary forms of life are nowhere but where the beginnings of the fibers are, and that the fibers cannot radiate from themselves but from the primary forms. The primary forms or beginnings that look like little glands are almost beyond counting. We can compare their abundance to the number of stars in the universe, and the abundance of fibers that come from them to the number of rays that radiate from the stars and bear their warmth and light to the planets.
We may also compare the abundance of these little glands to the abundance of angelic communities in the heavens. These too are beyond counting and are similarly arranged, so I have been told; and the abundance of little fibers radiating from these little glands can be compared to the spiritual good and true activities that flow down like rays in much the same way.
This is why the individual human being is like a universe and like a heaven in miniature, as I have stated and explained throughout what precedes [19, 186, 203, 231]. We can tell from this that the quality of life in its primary forms determines its quality in secondary forms, or that the quality of life in its beginnings in the brain determines its quality in the things in the body that originate there.
It is much the same in the body as it is in a state, republic, or monarchy. The commonwealth arises from the people who are its parts, and the parts or individuals are sustained by the commonwealth. It is the same in everything that is in some form, especially humans.
Love is highly complex, so complex that its various forms are without limit. This we can tell from the human race on earth and in the heavens. There is not a single individual or angel so like another that there is no difference. Love is what makes the difference, each individual being her or his own love. People think that wisdom is what differentiates, but wisdom comes from love. It is love’s form, for love is the underlying reality of life and wisdom is the manifestation of life from this underlying reality.
The world believes that intelligence is what makes us human, but people believe this because our discernment can be raised up into heaven’s light, as already explained [242-243, 255-256, 258], and it can seem as though we were wise. However, any discernment that goes too far, that is, discernment that is not wisdom of love, appears as though it were ours. This makes us seem like intelligent people, but that is only an appearance. The discernment that goes too far is actually a love for knowing and being wise and not at the same time a love for applying our knowledge and wisdom to life. So in this world it either ebbs away over time or waits around temporarily on the edges, outside the contents of memory. After death, then, it is separated from us, and nothing is left but what agrees with the real love of our spirit.
Since love does constitute our life and therefore ourselves, all the communities of heaven and all the angels of those communities are arranged according to the passions that come from their loves. No community and no angel within a community is located by any gift of discernment apart from his or her love. The same holds for the hells and their communities, but that depends on loves that are opposite to heavenly loves.
We can tell from this that the quality of the love determines the quality of the wisdom, and that these determine the quality of the person.
We can see why from what has already been said, namely that everything in the body is secondary. That is, it is woven from fibers that come from specific origins that are vessels of love and wisdom; and when the origins have a particular nature, the secondary elements cannot be different. As a result, wherever the origins reach out, the secondary elements follow. They cannot be separated.
This is why people who lift their minds to the Lord are completely lifted to the Lord, and why people who plunge their minds into hell are wholly plunged there. So the whole person comes either into heaven or into hell, depending on the love of her or his life.
It is a matter of angelic wisdom that the human mind is a person because the Lord is a person, and that the body is a covering of the mind that senses and acts. So they are one single being, not two.
1. Everything in the mind goes back to volition and discernment, and everything in the body goes back to the heart and the lungs.
2. There is a correspondence of volition and discernment with the heart and the lungs and a consequent correspondence of everything in our minds with everything in our bodies.
3. Volition corresponds to the heart.
4. Discernment corresponds to the lungs.
5. This relationship enables us to discover many secrets about our volition and discernment and also about love and wisdom.
6. Our mind is our spirit, and the spirit is a person, with the body being a covering through which the mind or spirit senses and acts in its world.
7. The union of the human spirit and body is accomplished through the correspondence of volition and discernment with the heart and lungs, and disunion is caused by a lack of correspondence.
We recognize that everything we think belongs to our discernment because discernment is the basis of our thinking. It is not so clear to us, however, that everything that moves us belongs to our volition. This is because when we are thinking, we do not pay attention to our feeling but only to what we are thinking. It is like our listening to someone talk and paying no attention to the tone quality but only to the discourse itself. Yet the feeling within our thinking is like the tone quality within our speech, so that we can tell how people are feeling from their tone of voice and can tell what they are thinking from what they say.
The reason feelings belong to volition is that every feeling is an aspect of love, and as already noted [358-361], volition is the vessel of love.
People who do not know that feelings belong to volition confuse feeling with thinking. They actually say that feeling is the same as thinking even though they are not the same but simply act in unison. We can see this confusion in casual speech when someone says “I think I’ll do that” meaning “I intend to do that.” The fact that they are two things also shows up in casual speech when someone says “I’d like to think about that.” When someone does “think about that,” there is volition’s feeling within discernment’s thought just the way there is tone quality within speech, as noted.
It is generally recognized that everything in the body depends on the heart and the lungs; but it is not generally recognized that there is a correspondence of the heart and the lungs with volition and discernment. This matter, then, needs to be dealt with later [374-393].
Please do not think about these matters in terms of a vacuum. A vacuum is nothing, and nothing happens in nothing or comes from nothing. On the concept of a vacuum, see 82 above.
While I am saying that people have not yet recognized what anything spiritual is or how it corresponds to what is physical, which has left them ignorant of what correspondence is, still they could have known both of these facts. Is anyone unaware that feelings and thoughts are spiritual and that therefore everything that has to do with feelings and thoughts is spiritual? Is anyone unaware that action and speech are physical, and that therefore everything that has to do with action and speech is physical? Is anyone unaware that feelings and thoughts, which are spiritual, impel us to speak and act? Is there anyone who could not learn from this how spiritual and physical things correspond? Is it not thought that impels the tongue to speak and desire combined with thought that impels the body to act? These are two distinguishable activities. I can think and not speak, and I can intend and not act. Further, we know that the body does not think and intend, but that thinking flows into speech and intention into action.
Then too, do not feelings radiate from the face and show their impress there? Everyone recognizes this. Seen in its own right, is not feeling spiritual, while the changes of the face that we call expressions are physical? Can anyone fail to conclude, then, that there is a responsiveness, and therefore that there is a correspondence of everything in the mind with everything in the body? Further, since everything in the mind goes back to feeling and thought (or to volition and discernment, which amounts to the same thing), while everything in the body goes back to the heart and the lungs, can anyone fail to conclude that there is a correspondence of volition with the heart and of discernment with the lungs?
The reason things like this have gone unrecognized, even though they could have been recognized, is that we have become so superficial that we are unwilling to give credence to anything but what is physical. This gratifies our love and therefore gratifies our discernment; so we are uncomfortable raising our thoughts above the physical level toward anything spiritual separated from what is physical. As a result, our physical love and its gratification prevents us from thinking of the spiritual as anything but a purer version of the physical, and of correspondence as anything but a flow along a continuum. In fact, strict materialists cannot conceive of anything separated from what is physical. To them, it is nothing.
Another reason these things have not been seen and therefore recognized is that we have displaced from our field of vision all the matters of religion that we refer to as “spiritual” by the dogma, prevalent throughout Christendom, that theological matters, “spiritual” matters, as defined by the councils and by some primates of the church, are to be believed blindly because (so they say) they transcend understanding. This has led some people to believe that anything spiritual is like a bird that flies beyond the air into the ether, beyond the reach of our eyesight. In fact, though, it is like a bird of paradise flying so close to our eyes that its lovely feathers brush the pupils, willing to be seen. “Our eyesight” means our intellectual sight.
However, to prevent anyone from getting detoured into preconceived theoretical concepts of the soul in the discussion of these correspondences, some of the material presented in the preceding section may be reread: for example, 363-364, on love and wisdom, and therefore volition and discernment, constituting our essential life; 365, on our life occurring in its fundamental forms in our brains, and secondarily in our bodies; 366, on the quality of our life in its fundamental forms determining its quality throughout and in every part; 367, on the fact that through these fundamental forms there is life in the whole from every part and life in every part from the whole; 368, on the quality of the love determining the quality of the wisdom, and therefore the quality of the person.
In Heaven and Hell, there is material on the correspondence of everything in heaven with everything in us, 87-102; and on the correspondence of everything in heaven with everything on earth, 103-115.
In the work on the spiritual meaning of the Word in Genesis and Exodus, titled Secrets of Heaven, there is material on the correspondence of the face and its expressions with the feelings of the mind: 1568, 2988, 2989, 3631, 4796, 4797, 4880 , 5195 , 5168, 5695, 9306; on the correspondence of the body in its motions and actions with matters of discernment and volition: 2988, 3632, 4215; on the correspondence of the senses in general: 4318-4330; on the correspondence of the eyes and their sight: 4403-4420; on the correspondence of the nostrils and smell: 4624-4634; on the correspondence of the ears and hearing: 4652-4634 [4652-4659]; on the correspondence of the tongue and taste: 4791-4805; on the correspondence of the hands, arms, legs, and feet: 4931-4953; on the correspondence of the groin and the reproductive organs: 5050-5062; on the correspondence of the inner viscera of the body, particularly the stomach, thymus, the cisterna, the chyle and its ducts and the mesentery: 5171-5180, 5189 ; on the correspondence of the spleen: 9698; on the correspondence of the peritoneum, kidneys, and bladder: 5377-5396 [5377-5391]; on the correspondence of the liver and the ducts of the liver, of the bladder, and of the pancreas: 5183-5185; on the correspondence of the intestines: 5392-5395, 5379; on the correspondence of the bones: 5560-5564; on the correspondence of the skin: 5552-5573; on the correspondence of heaven with a person: 911, 1900, 1982 , 2996, 2998, 3624-3649, 3741-3745, 3884, 4091 , 4279 , 4423 , 4524, 4525, 6013, 6057, 9279, 9632; on the fact that everything in the physical world and its three kingdoms corresponds to something you can see in the spiritual world: 1632, 1881, 2758, 2890-2893 [2990-2993], 2897-3043 [2987-3003], 3213-3227, 3483, 3624-3649, 4044, 4053, 4156, 4366 , 4939, 5116, 5377, 5428, 4477 , 8211, 9280; that everything you see in heaven is a correspondence: 1521, 1532, 1619-1625, 1807, 1808, 1971, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 2299, 2601, 3213-3226, 3348, 3350, 3457 , 3485, 3748 , 9481, 9570, 9576, 9577. The correspondence of the literal meaning of the Word with its spiritual meaning is dealt with throughout, and is also treated in Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture 5-26 and 27-69.
Since the motions of the heart (called systole and diastole) do vary in this way depending on the feelings that arise from someone’s love, many of the ancients and some moderns have ascribed feelings to the heart and named it as the home of the feelings. So in common language we have come to speak of a magnanimous heart or a timid one, a happy or a sorrowful heart, a soft or a hard heart, a great or a mean heart, a whole or a broken heart, a heart of flesh or one of stone, of being heavy, soft, or gentle at heart, of putting our heart into a task, of giving our whole heart, giving a new heart, resting at heart, taking to heart, of not laying something to heart, of hardening the heart, of being a friend at heart. We have the words concord and discord and envy and many others that have to do with love and its feelings.
The Word says similar things because it was composed in correspondences. It makes no difference whether you say love or volition, since volition is the vessel of love, as already noted [358-361].
However, once people realize that there is a relationship of responsiveness between love and its feelings on the one hand and the heart and its derivative vessels on the other, they can know that love is the source of our vital warmth. Love radiates as warmth from the spiritual sun where the Lord is and is felt as warmth by angels. This spiritual warmth, which essentially is love, is what flows into the heart and its blood by correspondence and instills both its warmth and its life. We know that we are warmed and virtually kindled by our love, depending on its intensity, and that we become sluggish and cold as that intensity decreases. We feel and see this, feeling it in a warmth throughout our bodies and seeing it as our faces flush. In contrast, we feel its loss as a physical chill and see it as faces turn pale.
Since love is our life, the heart is the beginning and ending of our life; and since love is our life and the soul brings its life through the body in the blood, the blood is called the soul in the Word (see Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17:14). I will be explaining later  what “soul” means in its various senses.
The reason red corresponds to love is that its source is the sun’s fire; and the reason white corresponds to wisdom is that its source is the sun’s light. Further, since love corresponds to the heart, blood needs to be red and to point to its source.
This is why the light is flamelike and angels wear reddish-purple in heavens where love for the Lord predominates, while the light is clear and angels wear white linen in heavens where wisdom predominates.
We need to realize that the whole angelic heaven, all in all, reflects a single person and looks like a single person to the Lord. Consequently, the heart forms one realm and the lungs another. There is actually a general cardiac and pulmonary motion throughout heaven, and a secondary one in every individual angel. The general cardiac and pulmonary motion is from the Lord alone, because he is the sole source of love and wisdom. These two motions occur in the sun where the Lord is, the sun that comes from the Lord, and from there flows into the angelic heaven and into the universe. Cancel out the notion of space and think about omnipresence and you will be assured that this is true.
On the division of heaven into two realms, one heavenly and one spiritual, see Heaven and Hell 26-28 [20-28]; and on the whole angelic heaven, taken as a unit, reflecting a single individual, see 59-87 [59-86] of the same work.
Everyone can observe internally that discernment corresponds to the lungs on the basis of thought and on the basis of speech. On the basis of thought: we cannot think at all without the concurrence and support of the breath of our lungs. So quiet thought is accompanied by quiet breathing, deep thought by deep breathing. We hold and release our breath, we suppress or intensify our breathing, in response to our thinking–in response, then, to the inflow of some feeling related to what we love, breathing slowly, rapidly, eagerly, gently, or intently. In fact, if we suppress our breathing completely, the only way we can think is in the spirit, by its breathing, which is not clearly noticeable.
On the basis of speech: not even the shortest word comes from the mouth without the support of our lungs. The sound that is articulated into words comes entirely from the lungs through the trachea and epiglottis. So depending on the inflation of this bellows and the opening of its passageways, speech is either amplified into shouting or, by their contraction, muted; and if the passage is completely blocked, speech and thought both cease.
You may see in Teachings for the New Jerusalem on the Lord 50-51 that the spirit of God, also called the Holy Spirit, means divine wisdom and therefore divine truth, the means of our enlightenment.
This is why “the Lord breathed on the disciples and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'” (John 20:22). This is also why it says, “Jehovah God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils, and he became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7), and why God said to the prophet, “Prophesy over the spirit and say to the wind, ‘Come, spirit, from the four winds and breathe upon these who have been slain, so that they may live'” (Ezekiel 37:9). There are similar statements elsewhere as well. It is why the Lord is called the spirit of the nostrils and also the breath of life.
Since our breathing comes through our nostrils, they are used to mean perception. An intelligent person is referred to as “keen-scented,” and a dense person as “dull-scented.” This is also why in Hebrew and in some other languages, “spirit” and “wind” are expressed by the same word. In fact, the word “spirit” is derived from [a root that means] breathing; so when people die we speak of their “breathing their last.” This is also why people believe that a spirit is a wind or something airy, like the breath that issues from our lungs, and believe the same of the soul as well.
We can tell from this that “loving God with the whole heart and with the whole soul” means with all our love and all our discernment, and that “giving a new heart and a new spirit” means a new volition and a new discernment.
It is because the spirit means discernment that it says of Bezaleel that “he was filled with the spirit of wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge” (Exodus 31:3) and of Joshua that “he was filled with the spirit of wisdom” (Deuteronomy 34:9), and that Nebuchadnezzar said of Daniel that “a superlative spirit, one of knowledge and intelligence and wisdom was in him” (Daniel 6:5 [5:11, 12, 14]), and why it says in Isaiah that “those who are wandering in spirit will know intelligence” (Isaiah 29:24). Similar statements may be found in many other places.
These two aspects are found united in other parts of the body, the ones called members, organs, and viscera; so they too occur in pairs–arms and hands, legs and feet, eyes, and nostrils, for example. Within the body there are the kidneys, the ureters, and the reproductive glands; and the viscera that are not paired are still divided between right and left. Further, the brain itself is divided into two hemispheres, the heart into two ventricles, and the lungs into two lobes. The right side has to do with the good that results from truth and the left to the truth that results from good; or in other words, the right refers to the good that love can do, which leads to the truth of wisdom, while the left refers to the truth of wisdom that results from the good that love can do. Since the union of what is good and what is true is reciprocal, and since they become a virtual single whole by virtue of that union, these pairs within us act together as a unit in our deeds, motions, and sensations.
These secrets, and many others, can be discovered and explained by examining the way the heart and the lungs are united, how the blood flows from the heart into the lungs and back from the lungs into the heart, and from there through the arteries into all the members, organs, and viscera of the body.
They have gathered these concepts of spirit and soul from the fact that in some languages there is only one word for “spirit” and “wind,” so when someone dies, they talk about “the last breath” or “giving up the ghost” and that when someone has suffocated or fainted, life comes back when the spirit or life comes back into the lungs. Since this seems to be nothing but wind and air, they conclude on the basis of their eyes and their physical senses that after death our spirit or soul is not a person.
Various theories have sprouted from this materialistic assessment of the spirit and the soul, resulting in the belief that we are not persons until Judgment Day comes, that until then we are in some undefined place waiting for the reunion [with our bodies]. This is discussed in Supplements on the Last Judgment [and the Spiritual World] 32-38.
It is because the human mind is our spirit that angels, who are also spirits, are called “minds.”
I have already explained [362-370] that everything in the mind goes back to volition and discernment, that volition and discernment are the vessels of love and wisdom from the Lord, and that these two constitute our life.
This is the form we attain after death, the form we call a spirit or an angel, a form that is an absolutely complete person, but a spiritual one. The material form that was added on the outside in the world is not the human form in its own right, but is derived from that form, added on the outside so that we can function usefully in the physical world. It also provides us with a stable vessel for our spiritual natures, a vessel drawn from the purer substances of this world, that we take with us [after death] in order to carry on and continue our lives.
It is an item of angelic wisdom that the human mind, both in a general way and in every least detail, is in a constant effort toward the human form because God is human.
If our spirit enjoys a pulse and breathing just as our body does, it follows that there is the same kind of correspondence between the pulse and breathing of our spirit and the pulse and breathing of our body. The mind, as already noted [386-389], is our spirit; so when the correspondence between these two activities ceases, there is a separation–death.
Separation or death occurs when the body either by disease or by trauma reaches a state when it can no longer act in concert with its spirit. In this way, the correspondence ceases; and when the correspondence ceases, so does the union. This is not when the breathing alone stops, but when the heartbeat stops, since as long as the heart is working, love is still there with its vital warmth, maintaining life. We can see this in cases of fainting or suffocation as well as in the state of the fetus in the womb.
In brief, our physical life depends on the fact that our physical pulse and breathing are responsive to the pulse and breathing of our spirit; and when this responsiveness ceases, physical life ceases and the spirit departs, to continue its life in the spiritual world. This life is so much like our life in the physical world that we do not realize we have died.
Most people are in the spiritual world within two days after leaving their bodies. I have talked with some individuals after two days.
I have been enabled to learn from my own experience that the human spirit is breathing within the body. Occasionally, angels have been allowed to control the extent of my breathing, to diminish it at will and eventually to restrain it to the point that only the breathing of my spirit was left to me, at which point I could actually sense it. The same thing happened to me when I was shown what it is like to die: see Heaven and Hell 449.
Sometimes, too, I have been restricted to nothing but the breathing of my spirit, and then was sensibly aware of its harmony with the general breathing of heaven. On any number of occasions, too, I have been in a state like that of angels and have been lifted up to them in heaven; and at times like these I was in the spirit and out of the body, using my breathing to talk with them just as we do in this world.
These and other firsthand proofs have made it clear to me not only that our spirits are breathing within our bodies, but also that they do so after we leave our bodies behind; and also that the breathing of our spirits is so subtle that we do not sense it. It flows into the obvious breathing of our bodies almost the same way a cause flows into an effect or a thought flows into the lungs and through the lungs into speech.
We can also see, then, that the union of spirit and body in us is brought about by the responsive relationship between the motions of the heart and the lungs of the two.
Given this concept of the soul as well as the knowledge that the soul is at work in the body producing everything involved in sensation and motion, they have, as I just noted, sweated over their research into the way the soul works in the body. Some have stated that this happens by an inflow, others that it happens by a harmony. However, since this has led to no discoveries satisfactory to a mind that wants to see whether something is true or not, I have been granted the privilege of talking with angels and becoming enlightened on the matter through their wisdom. One item of their wisdom is that the human soul that lives after death is the human spirit and that it is a perfectly formed person. Further, this soul of ours is our volition and discernment, whose soul is love and wisdom from the Lord. It is these two that constitute our life, a life that is from the Lord alone and that is the Lord. To enable us to accept him, he makes us feel as though this life belongs to us; but to prevent us from claiming life as our own possession and thereby undermining our ability to accept him, the Lord teaches us that every element of love that we call good and every element of wisdom that we call true comes from him. Nothing of it comes from us; and since these two are our life, every trace of life that is really alive comes from him.
However, since we are intended to become vessels and dwellings, our discernment has necessarily been given the ability to be lifted above our own love into some of wisdom’s light, which is beyond our own love. This enables us to see and learn how we are to live if we are to attain to heavenly love as well as heavenly light and so enjoy blessedness forever.
Since we have now misused our ability to lift our discernment above our own love, we have destroyed within ourselves the possibility of being the Lord’s vessels and dwellings, that is, vessels and dwellings of love and wisdom from the Lord. We have done this by making our volition the dwelling of love for ourselves and love for the world, and our discernment the dwelling of whatever justifies these loves.
This is why these dwellings–our volition and discernment–have become dwellings of hellish love, and by our justification of these loves vessels of that hellish thought that is treasured as wisdom in hell.
The same holds true for us in this world when we are thinking from the spirit. This happens when we are alone, though many people think differently during their physical lives, when they are not alone. The reason for this difference is that they lift their discernment above the self-concern of their volition, or the love of their spirit.
I mention all this to show that volition and discernment are two distinguishable functions, still created to be one function, and that they are constrained to act in unison after death, if not before.
1. Love, or volition, is our essential life.
2. Love or volition is constantly striving toward the human form and toward everything the human form comprises.
3. Unless it is married to wisdom or discernment, love or volition cannot accomplish anything through its human form.
4. Love or volition prepares a home or bridal chamber for its spouse-to-be: wisdom or discernment.
5. Love or volition also prepares everything in its human form so that it can act in unison with wisdom or discernment.
6. After the “wedding,” the first union is with a desire for knowing, which gives rise to a desire for what is true.
7. The second union is with a desire for discerning, which gives rise to a sense of what is true.
8. The third union is with a desire to see what is true, which gives rise to thought.
9. Through these three unions, love or volition engages in its life of sensing and its life of acting.
10. Love or volition leads wisdom or discernment into every corner of its house.
11. Love or volition does not do anything without its spouse.
12. Love or volition marries wisdom or discernment to itself and arranges things so that wisdom or discernment marries it willingly.
13. Because of the power given it by love or volition, wisdom or discernment can be raised up, can accept things in heaven’s light, and can grasp them.
14. Love or volition can be raised up in the same way and can grasp things in heaven’s warmth provided it loves its spouse to that degree.
15. Otherwise, love or volition pulls wisdom or discernment back from its height so that they act in unison.
16. If they are raised up together, love or volition is cleansed by wisdom in our discernment.
17. Love or volition is polluted in and by our discernment if they are not raised up together.
18. Love that has been cleansed by wisdom in our discernment becomes spiritual and heavenly.
19. Love that has been polluted in and by our discernment becomes limited to nature and our senses.
20. There still remain that ability to discern that we call rationality and that ability to act that we call freedom.
21. When love is spiritual and heavenly, it is a love for the Lord and for our neighbor; while when it is limited to nature and our senses, it is a love for the world and for ourselves.
22. It is the same for charity and faith and their union as it is for volition and discernment and their union.
By looking at the heart and its extension in the body through arteries and veins, we can learn that love or volition is our life. This is because things that correspond to each other act in the same way, the only difference being that one is physical and the other spiritual.
The science of anatomy shows us how the heart acts in the body. It shows us, for example, that everything is alive or responsive to life where the heart is at work through the channels it extends from itself, and that everything is not alive where the heart is not at work through its channels. It shows further that the heart is both the first and last thing that acts in the body. We can tell that it is first by looking at embryos, and that it is last by looking at the dying. We can tell that it acts separately from the lungs by looking at people who have suffocated or fainted. This enables us to see that the life of the mind depends entirely on volition just the way the life that supports the body depends entirely on the heart and that our volition remains alive even when thought ceases, just the way the heart does when breathing ceases. This too we can see in embryos, in the dying, and in people who have suffocated or fainted.
It follows from all this that love or volition is our very life.
Clearly then, life (which is love and its consequent volition) is constantly striving toward the human form; and since the human form comprises everything that is within us, it follows that love or volition is engaged in a constant effort to form all these things. The reason this effort is toward the human form is that God is a Person and divine love and wisdom is the life of that Person. This is the source of every trace of life.
Everyone can see that if the life that is the essential person were not activating something that intrinsically is not life, nothing that is within us could be formed the way it is. There are thousands upon thousands of things within us that are acting in unison, totally united in their effort toward an image of the life that is their source so that we can become his vessel and dwelling.
We can see from this that love–and from love, our volition, and from volition, our hearts–is constantly striving toward the human form.
It is the same with the love or volition. [The fetus] is alive because of it, but in darkness. That is, it lacks sensation and action. As soon as the lungs are opened, though, which happens after birth, it begins to sense and to act and at the same time to intend and to think.
We can tell, then, that unless it is married to wisdom or discernment, love or volition cannot accomplish anything through its human form.
We can see how this marriage happens in us, reflected in the union of our heart with our lungs, since the heart corresponds to love or what is good and the lungs to wisdom or what is true (as explained in 378-381 and 382-384 above).
We can see from their union how love or volition pledges itself to wisdom or discernment, and later leads it or enters a kind of marriage with it. It pledges itself by preparing a home or room for wisdom, and it leads it by a marriage that takes place through desires. Then it brings wisdom with it into its house.
The only way to verify this would be to use spiritual language because love and wisdom are spiritual, which means that volition and discernment are spiritual as well. They can be presented in earthly language, but only with a hazy perception, because people do not know what love is or what wisdom is or what desires for what is good are or what desires for wisdom are, namely desires for what is true. However, we can see the nature of the pledging and marriage between love and wisdom (or volition and discernment) through the parallelism that obtains because of their correspondence with the heart and the lungs. Things are the same for the one as for the other, so similar that the only difference is that one is spiritual and the other physical.
We can tell from the heart and the lungs, then, that the heart first forms the lungs and then weds itself to them. It forms the lungs in the fetus and weds them after birth. The heart does this in its own home, called the chest, where they gather. This is separated from the rest of the body through the membrane called the diaphragm and the envelope called the pleura.
It is the same with love and wisdom, or with volition and discernment.
People need to guard against entertaining any notion of volition as something apart from the human form: the two are the same.
We can see from this not only how volition prepares a room for discernment but also how it prepares everything in its home, the whole body, so that it can act in unison with discernment. The preparation is like this. The whole body and all its parts are united to discernment just as they are united to volition; or just as the whole body and all its parts are subject to volition, they are subject to discernment.
As for how the whole body and all its parts are prepared for a union with discernment like that with volition, this can be seen only as it is reflected or imaged by the science of anatomy in the body. This shows how everything in the body is so connected that when the lungs breathe, the whole body and every part of it is moved by the lungs’ breathing just as by the heart’s beating. We learn from anatomy that the heart is united to the lungs by its auricles and that these extend into the recesses of the lungs. We learn also that all the viscera of the whole body are connected to the chest cavity by ligaments–so closely connected that when the lungs breathe, the whole body and everything in it, together and individually, receive an impulse from the breathing. When the lungs swell, then the ribs expand the chest, the pleura dilates, and the diaphragm is stretched; and along with them all the lower parts of the body, which are connected to them by ligaments, receive some impulse from the motion of the lungs. Let me say no more, or people who lack anatomical knowledge will find themselves confused because of their unfamiliarity with the terminology of this discipline. Just ask people who are experienced and skilled in anatomy whether everything in the whole body, from the chest on down, is not so tied together that when the lungs swell during breathing, the whole body and everything in it is stirred into motion in time with the lungs.
This enables us to see what kind of union volition prepares for discernment, union with the whole human form and everything it comprises. Just search out the connections and examine them with the eye of the anatomist, and then look at their coordination with the breathing lungs and with the heart in the light of those connections. Then think “discernment” for “lungs” and “volition” for “heart,” and you will see.
Everyone who reflects rationally on experience realizes that after we are born we all have a desire for knowing and that this is the basis of our learning the kinds of things that lead gradually to the formation, development, and attainment of discernment. We can also see that this gives rise to a desire for what is true, since once we have become discerning because of our desire for knowing, we are motivated not so much by a desire for knowing as by a desire for systematic thinking and drawing conclusions about subjects that we love–economics, perhaps, or civic or moral issues. When this desire rises all the way to spiritual concerns, it becomes a desire for spiritual truth. We can see that the first step or prelude was a desire for knowing from the fact that a desire for what is true is a higher level of the desire for knowing. This is because being moved by truths comes from wanting to know them because of our desire and then absorbing them with passionate delight when we find them.
7. The second union is with a desire for discerning, which gives rise to a sense of what is true. Anyone can see this who is willing to explore the matter with some rational insight. Rational insight shows that a desire for what is true and a sense of what is true are two abilities enjoyed by our discernment, abilities that merge into one for some people but not for others. They merge into one for people who want to grasp what is true intelligently, but not for people who want only to know about what is true. We can also see that our engagement in the grasp of truth depends on our desire to understand it. If you take away the desire to understand what is true, there will be no grasp of what is true; while if you grant the desire to understand what is true, there will be a grasp of it proportional to the intensity of the desire. This is because no one of sound reason ever lacks a sense of what is true as long as the desire to understand it is present. I have already explained  that everyone has the ability to discern what is true that we call rationality.
8. The third union is with a desire to see what is true, which gives rise to thought. A desire for knowing is one thing; a desire for discerning is another thing; and a desire to see something is something else again. We can also say that a desire for what is true is one thing; a grasp of what is true is another thing; and thinking is something else again. If people have no clear grasp of the workings of the mind, they can see this only dimly; but it is clear for people who can grasp them clearly. The reason people see this only dimly if they cannot grasp the workings of the mind clearly is that these activities are all happening at the same time in the thinking of people who are caught up in a desire for what is true and in a grasp of what is true; and when they happen at the same time, they cannot be distinguished from each other. We are engaged in conscious thinking when our spirit is thinking in the body. This is the case especially when we are in the company of others. However, when we are engaged in a desire for discerning and come thereby into a grasp of what is true, then we are engaged in the thinking of our spirit. This is meditation, which does indeed reach down into our physical thought, but subtly. It is on a higher level and looks into thought processes based on memory as below it, since it is using them either for decision or for support. The actual desire for what is true, though, is felt only as an impulse of our volition stemming from a kind of pleasure. This resides within reflection like its life, and draws little attention.
We may conclude from all this that these three abilities–the desire for what is true, the grasp of what is true, and thought–follow in sequence from love and are nowhere manifest but in our discernment. When love enters discernment (which happens when the union is realized), then it first gives rise to the desire for what is true, then to the desire to understand what it knows, and finally to a desire to see in physical thought whatever it understands. Thinking is actually nothing but an inner sight. Thinking does happen first because it is a function of our earthly mind; but when it comes to thinking on the basis of a grasp of what is true because of a desire for what is true, that happens last. That kind of thinking is the thinking of wisdom, while the other is thinking on the basis of memory, using the sight of our earthly mind.
All the workings of love or volition outside our discernment are based not on desires for what is true but on desires for what is good.
After birth, the heart sends blood into the lungs from its right ventricle, and once it has passed through, it sends it into its left ventricle. This is what opens the lungs. The heart does this by means of the pulmonary arteries and veins. The lungs have bronchia that branch off and ultimately turn into the little sacs where the lungs admit air and thereby breathe. There are also arteries and veins (called “bronchial”) around the bronchia and their branches. They start from the azyga or vena cava and the aorta, and they are distinct from the pulmonary arteries and veins. This enables us to see that the blood flows into the lungs by two routes and flows out of them by two routes. This is why the lungs can breathe in a different rhythm from the heart. It is widely recognized that the rhythms of the heart and the rhythms of the lungs are not the same.
Now, since the correspondence of the heart and lungs is with our volition and discernment, as already explained [371-393], and since union by correspondence means that the one behaves in the same way as the other, we can see from the blood flow from the heart into the lungs how volition flows into discernment and causes the things mentioned in 404 about our desire for what is true, about our grasp of what is true, and about thought. Correspondence has shown me this and even more on this topic, which I cannot describe briefly.
Since love or volition answers to the heart and wisdom or discernment answers to the lungs, it follows that the blood vessels from the heart to the lungs answer to desires for what is true and that the branches of the lungs’ bronchia answer to perceptions and thoughts generated by those desires. If you were to look into the way the lungs are woven from these origins and draw the parallel with the love of our volition and the wisdom of our discernment, you could see a kind of image of what I have said in 404 and come to believe it with confidence.
However, since not many people are familiar with the anatomical data about the heart and the lungs, and since supporting a proposition with unfamiliar material yields confusion, I forbear presenting any further instances of the parallelism.
The same applies to all our physical actions, since an action that springs from love apart from discernment is like something we do in the night without knowing what it is that we are doing. So there would be no trace of intelligence or wisdom in the act, and the act could not be called a living deed. An action, that is, gets its reality from love and its quality from intelligence.
Further, whatever power anything good has comes by means of truth, so what is good acts in and therefore by means of what is true. What is good is a matter of love and what is true is a matter of discernment.
We may then conclude that it is through the three unions discussed in 404 that love or volition engages in its life of sensing and its life of acting.
As for our lack of any sensory life, and therefore of any active life, when heart and lungs are not working together, this is evidenced by the state of a fetus or infant in the womb and the state of the same after birth. As long as the individual is a fetus or is in the womb, the lungs are closed. As a result, the individual has no sensation or action. The sense organs are closed, the hands are restrained, and so are the feet. After birth, though, the lungs are opened, and as they are opened we sense and act. The lungs are opened by blood that flows in from the heart.
We can also see from people who have fainted that if the heart and the lungs are not working together we are deprived of both sensory and active life. When people have fainted, only the heart is working, not the lungs–breathing has been taken away. Everyone knows that people who have fainted are deprived of sensation and action.
It is the same with people who suffocate, whether by water or because of something that blocks their windpipe and closes off the lungs’ breathing passage. People then seem to be dead, having neither sensation nor action. Yet we know that the heart is still keeping them alive. They in fact return to both sensory and active life as soon as the blockages of the lungs are removed. In the meantime, blood has been making its circuit through the lungs, but only through the pulmonary arteries and veins, not through the bronchial arteries and veins; and these latter give us the ability to breathe.
It is the same with the inflow of love into discernment.
Anatomy shows us that this respiratory rhythm penetrates right into the viscera, even to their deepest recesses, since the ligaments already mentioned are connected to the coverings of the viscera, and the coverings reach into the deepest recesses through their extensions just the way the arteries and veins do through their branches. We may conclude, then, that the lungs’ breathing is completely united to the heart in the whole body and in all its parts. To make this union complete in all respects, the heart itself is involved in the respiratory motion. It rests in the lung cavity and is connected to it by its auricles, and it rests on the diaphragm, so that its arteries are also involved in the respiratory movement. Further, the stomach is similarly united because of the connection between its esophagus and the windpipe.
I cite these anatomical details to show what the union is like between love or volition and wisdom or discernment, and how the two of them in partnership are united to everything in the mind, since the [spiritual and physical] unions are similar.
There is the same kind of union in everything the Lord has created in the universe. Their function looks to what is good, and the form of their function looks to what is true.
It is because of this union that there is a right and a left to the whole body and everything in it. The right goes back to the good that prompts what is true, and the left to the truth that is prompted by what is good, so they go back to that union. This is why there are pairs in us–two brains [the cerebrum and the cerebellum], two hemispheres of the cerebrum, two ventricles of the heart, two lobes of the lungs, two eyes, ears, nostrils, arms, hands, legs, feet, kidneys, reproductive glands, and so on; and where there are not separate pairs, there is still a right side and a left side. This is because the good looks to the true for its manifestation and the true looks to the good for its existence. The same holds true in the angelic heavens and in the individual communities there.
There is more on this subject in 401 above, where I explained that unless it is married to wisdom or discernment, love or volition cannot accomplish anything through its human form. I will elsewhere discuss the inverse of the union of what is good and what is true, namely the union of what is evil and what is false.
Anatomical research also teaches us that while the heart is acting by itself, it forms the lungs and organizes them so that it can breathe in them, and that it also forms the other viscera and organs so that it can perform its various functions in them. It forms the organs of the face so that it can sense, the organs of motion so that it can act, and the other parts of the body so that it can fulfill the functions that answer to the desires of its love.
The main conclusion we can draw from this is that just as the heart brings forth such organs for the sake of the different functions it is going to undertake in the body, so love does the same in its vessel, which we call volition, for the sake of the different desires that make up its form–which as already noted  is the human form.
Next, since the first and immediately following desires of love are the desire for knowing, the desire for discerning, and the desire to see what we know and discern, it follows that love forms discernment for these desires and actually enters into them when it is beginning to sense and act and when it is beginning to think. We can tell from the parallelism with the heart and lungs just mentioned that discernment makes no contribution to this process.
This in turn shows that love or volition marries wisdom or discernment and that wisdom or discernment does not marry itself to love or volition. We can also look at the knowledge that love gets because of its desire for knowing, the sense of what is true that it gets from its desire for discerning, and the thought it gets from its desire to see what it knows and discerns and conclude that these are products not of discernment but of love. Thoughts and perceptions and consequent knowledge do indeed flow in from the spiritual world, but they are not accepted by our discernment. They are accepted by our love depending on its desires in our discernment. It seems as though discernment were accepting them and not love or volition, but this is an illusion. It also seems as though discernment married itself to love or volition, but this too is an illusion. Love or volition marries itself to discernment and arranges things so that the marriage is mutual. The reason it is mutual lies in the marriage of love with it; so the union seems to be mutual because of the life and consequent power of love.
The same holds true for the marriage of what is good and what is true, since the good is a matter of love and the true is a matter of discernment. The good does everything. It accepts the true into its house and marries it to the extent that it is in harmony. The good can accept truths that are not in harmony, but it does this out of its desire for knowing, understanding, and thinking before it has settled on the functions that constitute its goals and are called its virtues. The reciprocal union–the union of what is true with what is good–is actually nonexistent. The reciprocity of the union comes from the life of what is good.
This is why the Lord looks at everyone, at us, at spirits, and at angels, in regard to our love or good. No one is seen in terms of discernment or of what is true apart from love or what is good. Our life is our love, as already explained [1-3]; and we have life insofar as we have lifted up our desires by means of truths, that is, to the extent that we have completed our desires by means of wisdom, since the desires of our love are lifted up and completed by means of truths and therefore by means of wisdom. Then love acts in unison with wisdom just as though it were acting out of wisdom. It is acting out of itself, though, and through wisdom as its form. That form derives nothing whatever from our discernment. It derives everything from some specific instance of love that we call a desire.
It also follows from this that love marries itself to discernment, not the other way around, and that the answering union comes from love as well. This is what it means to say that love or volition arranges things so that wisdom or discernment marries it willingly.
We need to be fully aware that the arteries and veins in the lungs are not desires and that the breaths are not perceptions and thoughts, but that they are corresponding functions. They are actually responsive or synchronized. It is the same for the heart and the lungs. They are not love and discernment, but are corresponding functions; and since they are corresponding functions, we can see one in the other. Anyone who knows the whole structure of the lungs from anatomy and makes a careful comparison with discernment can see quite clearly that discernment does nothing on its own. It neither senses nor thinks on its own, but does everything because of desires proper to love. The ones in discernment are called the desire already described for knowing, understanding, and seeing [what is true]. All the different states of the lungs depend on blood from the heart and from the vena cava and aorta; while the breathing that takes place in the bronchial tube occurs in keeping with their state, since breathing stops when the inflow of blood stops.
I could disclose a great deal more by comparing the structure of the lungs to the discernment that it answers to, but since not many people are familiar with the science of anatomy, and since it beclouds a subject to explain or support it by unfamiliar examples, I may not say more about this. I am wholly convinced by what I know about the structure of the lungs that love marries itself to discernment by means of its desire and that discernment does not marry itself to any desire of love. Rather, it is married willingly by love so that love may have a sensory and active life.
At all costs, we must realize that we have two forms of breathing, one of the spirit and one of the body. The breathing of the spirit depends on the fibers that come from the brain, and the breathing of the body depends on the blood vessels that come from the heart and from the vena cava and aorta.
Clearly, too, it is thought that gives rise to breathing and it is love’s desire that gives rise to thought, since thought without desire is exactly like breathing without a heart–impossible. We can therefore see that love’s desire marries itself to discernment’s thought, as just stated. It is the same with the heart in the lungs.
We can also see a kind of image of this fact in the lungs, since the lungs correspond to our discernment. Looking at the lungs, we see that their substance comprises little chambers. These consist of the extensions of the bronchia all the way into the tiny sacs where the air is taken in when we breathe. Our thoughts act in unison with them because of their correspondence. It is characteristic of the substance of these little sacs that it has two ways of expanding and contracting, one in unison with the heart and the other almost independent of the heart. Its unison with the heart is because of the pulmonary arteries and veins, which come directly from the heart. Its virtual independence is because of the bronchial arteries and veins, which come from the vena cava and aorta, vessels external to the heart. This happens in the lungs because our discernment can be raised above its own love, which answers to the heart, and accept light from heaven. Even so, when our discernment is raised above its own love it does not leave it completely behind. It takes along some of it, which we can call a desire for knowing and discerning for the sake of promotion, praise, or profit in this world. Some trace of this clings to each love like a coating. This gives the love a superficial glow; but for wise people, there is an actual translucence.
I cite these facts about the lungs to show that our discernment can be raised up and accept and grasp things in heaven’s light. There is in fact a complete correspondence. To see from correspondence is to see the lungs reflected in our discernment and our discernment reflected in our lungs, and to find assurance in each at the same time.
The same thing is true of light and warmth in the world. There is light without warmth and there is light with warmth–without warmth in winter and with warmth in summer. When there is light with warmth, then everything blooms. The light in us that answers to winter light is wisdom apart from its love, and the light in us that answers to summer light is wisdom together with its love.
Next, since our thoughts act in unison with our breathing because of their correspondence, we can also see from the double nature of the lungs’ breathing that we can think one way and speak and act out our thoughts one way when we are with other people, while when we are by ourselves–that is, when we have no fear of damage to our reputation–we think another way and speak and act out our thoughts another way. Then we can both think and say things against God, the neighbor, the spiritual values of the church, and moral and civic values. We can act against these as well by deeds of theft, revenge, blasphemy, and adultery. All the while, when we are in public where we risk loss of reputation, we can talk, preach, and behave exactly as though we were spiritual, moral, and civic individuals.
We can tell from this that love or volition, like discernment, can be lifted up so as to receive things proper to the warmth or love of heaven provided only that it loves wisdom to that degree; while if it does not love it, they can part company.
For example, when our discernment is filled with wisdom because it has been lifted up, then our love sees what justice, honesty, and chastity are, even what real love is. Earthly love can see this because of its ability to understand and ponder things in heaven’s light. It can even talk about, preach, and describe these as both moral and spiritual virtues. When our discernment is not lifted up, though, then if our love is merely earthly it does not see these virtues. It sees injustice as justice, deception as honesty, lust as chastity, and so on. If we do think about the matters we discussed when our discernment was at its height, then we may make fun of them and think that they serve us only to ensnare people’s minds.
We can therefore tell how to understand the statement that unless love loves its spouse, wisdom, to that degree, it pulls it down from its height so that they act in unison. (On love’s ability to be lifted up if it does love wisdom to that degree, see 414 above.)
We have two kinds of breathing, one physical and one spiritual. These two kinds of breathing can be independent or coordinated. For people who are completely earthly-minded, especially for hypocrites, they are independent, while for spiritual and honest people they rarely are. This means that once their discernment has been lifted up so that they have a store of elements of wisdom left in their memory, people who are completely earthly-minded and hypocritical can talk wisely in public because their thinking is based on their memory. Still, when they are not in public they base their thinking on their spirit and not on their memory, which means they base it on their love. They breathe in the same way, since thinking and breathing are responsive to each other.
I have already explained [405, 415] that the structure of the lungs enables breathing to take place from blood directly from the heart and from blood not directly from the heart.
This shows that no one is to be evaluated on the basis of verbal wisdom, but on the basis of life. That is, we are not to rely on verbal wisdom separated from life but on verbal wisdom together with life. Life means love: I have already explained [1-3] that love is life.
This love cannot be separated from its impurity unless we have the ability to lift our discernment into heaven’s light and see how we need to live in order to have our love raised up into wisdom along with our discernment. It is through discernment that our love sees–that we, in fact, see–which evils are defiling and polluting our love. This also enables us to see that if we resolutely abstain from those evils as sins, we love the opposites of those evils, which are all heavenly. We also see the means by which we can resolutely abstain from those evils as sins. Love sees all this–that is, we see all this–by using our ability to lift our discernment into heaven’s light, which gives us wisdom. Then to the extent that love puts heaven first and the world second, at the same time putting the Lord first and ourselves second, love is cleansed of its pollutants and purified. That is, it is to that extent lifted into heaven’s warmth and united to the light of heaven that surrounds discernment. Then the marriage takes place that is called the marriage of the good and the true, the marriage of love and wisdom.
Anyone can grasp mentally and see rationally that to the extent that we resolutely abstain from theft and cheating, we love honesty, integrity, and justice. To the extent that we resolutely abstain from vengefulness and hatred, we love our neighbor. To the extent that we resolutely abstain from adultery, we love chastity, and so on.
However, hardly anyone knows what is heavenly and divine about honesty, integrity, justice, love for our neighbor, chastity, and the other desires of heavenly love until their opposites have been removed. Once their opposites have been removed, we are involved in them, so we recognize and see them from the inside. Until that happens, there is a kind of veil in the way. It does let a little of heaven’s light reach our love, but since that love does not love wisdom, its spouse, to that extent, it does not accept the light. It actually criticizes it severely and finds fault with it when it comes back down from its height, though the light is still attractive to it because wisdom in our discernment can be a tool that helps gain us respect, praise, and profit. Then, however, we are putting ourselves and the world first and the Lord and heaven second, and what we put second is loved only as long as it is useful to us. If it is not useful, we renounce and reject it, after death if not before.
This illustrates the truth that love or volition is cleansed in our discernment if they are raised up together.
There is ample experience to support the proposition that the heart’s blood is purified in the lungs from what it has not digested and that it nourishes itself there with appropriate elements from the air that is drawn in. As for the blood being purified in the lungs from what it has not digested, this we can tell not only from the inflowing blood, which is venous and therefore full of chyle gathered from what we have eaten and drunk, but also from the moist breath we exhale and the odors others can smell. We can also tell from the fact that the blood that flows back into the left ventricle of the heart is diminished in volume.
As for the fact that the blood nourishes itself with appropriate elements drawn from the air, this we can tell from the immense variety of fragrances that are constantly given off by shrubs, flowers, and trees as well as from the immense variety of different kinds of salts and liquids from soils, rivers, and lakes. There is also the immense variety of gaseous emanations that both we and animals give off–the air is full of them. Undeniably, these enter our lungs with our indrawn breaths, so it is also undeniable that our blood absorbs elements that are good for it. The elements that are good for it are the ones that answer to the desires of our love. This is why in the tiny sacs at the center of our lungs there are so many little veins with minute pores that take these substances in. This is why the blood that flows back into the left ventricle of the heart is changed into arterial blood and is brilliant. All this shows that the blood is purifying itself from unsuitable elements and nourishing itself with suitable ones.
Until now, it has not been recognized that the blood purifies and nourishes itself in the lungs in a way that answers to the desires of our own nature, but this is common knowledge in the spiritual world. Angels in the heavens take pleasure only in odors that answer to the love of their wisdom. Spirits in hell, on the other hand, find pleasure only in odors that answer to a love that rejects wisdom. These are foul odors, while the others are fragrant.
It follows that we in this world are saturating our blood with similar elements depending on how those elements answer to the desires of our love. Whatever our spirit loves, our blood seeks out in response, and our breathing draws in.
It flows naturally from this correspondence that we are purified in our love if we love wisdom, and are defiled if we do not love it. All our purification happens by means of truths that constitute wisdom, and all our defilement happens by means of false beliefs that reject the truths of wisdom.
I stated that love is polluted in and by discernment. It is polluted in discernment when love is influenced by these impurities. It is polluted by discernment when it makes matters of wisdom its own servants, and even more when it distorts, falsifies, and corrupts them.
There is no need to say more about the way this state answers to the heart or to its blood in the lungs than has already been said in 420. I may add only that the blood is polluted instead of being purified, and that instead of its being nourished by fragrant odors it feeds on stenches, just the way it happens in heaven and in hell.
Our discernment does not become spiritual and heavenly. Our love does, and when it does it makes its spouse, discernment, spiritual and heavenly as well.
Love becomes spiritual and heavenly through a life in accord with the truths of wisdom, truths that discernment teaches and illustrates. Love absorbs these truths not on its own but by means of discernment, since love cannot lift itself up unless it knows truths; and it can know truths only by means of a discernment that has been lifted up and enlightened. Then love is lifted up to the extent that it loves these truths by doing them. It is one thing to discern, that is, and another to intend; or it is one thing to speak and another to act. There are people who understand truths of wisdom and utter them but still do not intend and do them. When love, then, puts into practice the truths of light that it discerns and utters, then it is raised up.
Simple reason shows that this is so. After all, what are we when we discern and utter truths of wisdom while we are living–that is, intending and acting–contrary to them?
The reason love becomes spiritual and heavenly when it has been purified by wisdom is that we have three levels of life, levels called earthly, spiritual, and heavenly. These were discussed in part 3 of the present work [236-241]. We can be lifted up from one to the next; but we are not raised simply by wisdom. We are raised by a life in accord with wisdom, because our life is our love. So to the extent that we live in accord with wisdom we love it; and we live in accord with wisdom to the extent that we purify ourselves from those unclean things we call sins; and to the extent that we do this, we love wisdom.
We can therefore tell that if we are spiritual, it is our purer blood, sometimes called the animal spirit, that is purified, and that it is purified to the extent that we participate in the marriage of love and wisdom. It is that purer blood that most closely answers to this marriage; and since it does flow into our physical blood, it follows that it also purifies that blood. The opposite happens for people whose love is defiled in their discernment.
As I have already noted, though, no one can investigate this by experiments with our blood, only by looking at the desires of our love, since these correspond to our blood.
Just as an earthly love can rise up by levels and become spiritual and heavenly, it can also go down by levels and become sensory and physical. It goes down to the extent that it loves being in control with no love of service, simply for love of ourselves. This is the love that we call demonic.
People involved in this kind of love can talk and behave like people involved in spiritual love, but at such times they are operating either out of memory or out of a discernment that has lifted itself into heaven’s light. The things they say and do, though, are like fruit that looks lovely on the outside but is nothing but rot inside, or like almonds whose shells look intact but which have been completely eaten away by worms inside. In the spiritual world they summon up illusions that enable prostitutes (called “sirens” there) to look beautiful and to dress in attractive clothing. Once the illusions are taken away, though, they look like ghosts. They are like demons, too, who make themselves into angels of light; for when that physical love drags its discernment down from its height (which happens when we are alone) and thinks from its own love, then it thinks against God and for nature, against heaven and for the world, against the true and good values of the church and for the false and evil values of hell. That is, it thinks against wisdom.
This shows what the people we call “physical” are like. They are not physical as far as their discernment is concerned, but they are as far as their love is concerned. That is, they are not mentally physical when they speak in public, but they are when they talk with themselves in spirit. Further, since they are like this in spirit, after death they are like this in both respects, in both love and discernment. They become the spirits called “physical spirits.” People who in this world absolutely loved being in control because of their self-absorption and were also intellectually a cut above others look physically like Egyptian mummies, and are crude and foolish mentally. Is there anyone in the world these days who knows that this is what this love is really like?
However, there is a love for being in control because of a love of service–a love of service not for the sake of ourselves but for the common welfare. It is hard, though, to tell this from the other kind, even though the difference between them is like the difference between heaven and hell. On the difference between these two kinds of love for being in control, see Heaven and Hell 531-565 [551-565].
People do not know about these abilities called rationality and freedom if they believe, as the church has taught, that spiritual and theological matters transcend understanding and are therefore to be believed without being understood. All they can do is deny the existence of the ability called rationality. Further, if people believe that we cannot do good on our own, as the church has taught, and that therefore we do not need to do anything good voluntarily for the sake of our salvation, they cannot help denying the existence of our other ability because of their religious principles. After death, therefore, people who have convinced themselves of these beliefs lose both abilities because of their beliefs. They might have been in heavenly freedom, but they are in hellish freedom instead. They might have enjoyed angelic wisdom because of their rationality, but instead they are immersed in the insanity of hell. Strange as it may seem, they still recognize the gift of these two abilities in their evil behavior and their false thinking, not realizing that the freedom of doing evil is slavery and the rationality of thinking falsely is senseless.
However, we need to be quite clear about the fact that neither of these abilities, neither freedom nor rationality, is really ours. They are the Lord’s gifts to us, and we are not to claim them as our own. They cannot really belong to us; they are constantly being given to us by the Lord. Still, they are never taken from us because we cannot be saved without them. Without them, that is, we cannot be reborn, as already noted . This is why the church teaches that we cannot think what is true on our own or do what is good on our own.
However, since our whole perception is that we do think what is true on our own, and that we do do what is good on our own, the idea that we only seem to think what is true on our own and only seem to do what is good on our own is clearly something we need to believe. If we do not believe this, then we neither think what is true nor do what is good, and we therefore have no religion whatever. Either that, or we think what is true as well as do what is good with our own strength, which is claiming for ourselves what belongs to Divinity.
On our need to think what is true and do what is good in apparent independence, see Teachings about Life for the New Jerusalem from beginning to end.
Still, we do not have the same kind of feeling and sense of love for doing what is useful for its own sake that we have for doing what is useful for our own sake. This also means that when we are doing something useful we do not know whether we are doing it for its own sake or for our own sake. We might know, though, that we do what is useful for its own sake to the extent that we abstain from evils because to the extent that we do, the source of our acts of service is not ourselves but the Lord. Evil and good are opposites, so to the extent that we are not engaged in something evil, we are engaged in something good. No one can be in evil and in good at the same time because no one can serve two masters at the same time.
I mention this because it helps to know that even though we may have no clear sense of whether we are doing acts of service for their own sake or for ours–whether the acts are spiritual, that is, or merely earthly–we could tell by seeing whether we think evil deeds are sins or not. If we think they are sins and therefore do not do them, then our acts of service are spiritual; and once we begin abstaining from sins because they are distasteful to us, then we begin to have an actual sense of loving service for its own sake because there is a spiritual pleasure in service.
The only way I can describe the difference between these two loves is to say that people who are moved by heavenly love have wisdom written not on their memory but on their lives. This is because they do not talk about divine truths, they simply do them. In contrast, people who are moved by spiritual love have wisdom written on their memory, so they talk about divine truths and do them on the basis of the principles they hold in their memory.
Since people who are moved by heavenly love have wisdom written on their lives, whenever they hear something they know immediately whether it is true or not; and when they are asked whether something is true, they say either that it is or that it is not. They are the people referred to by the Lord’s words, “Let your speech be ‘Yes, yes; no, no'” (Matthew 5:37). Because this is their nature, they do not like it when people talk about faith. They say, “What is faith? Is it not wisdom? And what is charity? Is it not action?” If anyone says that faith is believing what we do not understand, they turn away and say, “That’s crazy.”
These are the people who live in the third heaven, and they are the wisest of all. People get that way in this world by applying whatever divine principles they hear directly to their lives with an aversion to evils as hellish and a total reverence for the Lord. Because they live in innocence, they look to others like little children; and because they never talk about truths of wisdom and there is no trace of self-importance in their conversation, they seem simple. However, when they hear others talking they can sense their whole love from their tone of voice and their whole intellect from what they are saying.
These are the people who are kept in the marriage of love and wisdom by the Lord. As already mentioned , they also reflect the heart region of heaven.
These are the people who make up the lung region of heaven, as also noted earlier .
Then again, if they have not become set in a faith in the unknown and have felt some attraction to truths, once they have been taught by angels (as far as their openness to truths and to a life by them allows), they are brought up into communities of people who are moved by spiritual love and therefore live intelligently. They become spiritual, while the others remain spiritual only on an earthly level.
However, if people have lived in a faith that is separated from charity, they are sent away and relegated to desolate regions because they are not engaged in anything worthwhile. This means that they do not participate in any marriage of what is good and true, the marriage characteristic of everyone in the heavens.
It was like this. I saw what seemed to be a tiny image of a brain with a sort of face drawn faintly on its front, with no appendages. On its upper convex part, this primal form was a composite of closely connected little balls or spheres. Each sphere was made up of still smaller spheres, and each of these of spheres still smaller. This meant that there were three levels. Something that looked like a face was outlined on the front, concave part.
The convex part was enveloped by a very thin, transparent meningeal membrane. The convex part, the miniature image of a brain, was also divided into what seemed to be two lobes the way the full-scale brain is divided into two hemispheres. I was told that the right lobe was the vessel of love and that the left lobe was the vessel of wisdom, and that by some incredibly intricate connections they were like partners or roommates.
In the light of heaven, a radiant light, the angels also showed me that inwardly this composite structure of a miniature brain was in the design and form of heaven with respect to both its setting and its flow, while the outer composite structure was opposed to that design and that form.
Once I had seen what they showed me, the angels said that the two inner levels, the ones that were in the design and form of heaven, were vessels of love and wisdom from the Lord, while the outer level, the one that was opposed to heaven’s design and form, was a vessel of hellish love and madness. This is because we are born into all kinds of evil because of our hereditary imperfection, and these evils are located in our outermost natures. These flaws cannot be eliminated unless our higher levels are opened, the levels that are vessels of love and wisdom from the Lord, as already noted. Further, since love and wisdom are the essential person, love and wisdom being the Lord in essence, and since this primal stage of ours is a vessel, it follows that there is in this primal stage a constant striving toward the human form, a form that it gradually takes on.