Spiritual background for GENESIS 11    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 1273. Souls newly arrived from the world, when about to leave the company of the spiritual angels to go among spirits, and so at length to come into the society in which they had been while they lived in the body, are led about by angels to many mansions or abodes, that is, to societies which are distinct and yet conjoined with others; in some of which they are received, while in other cases they are led to still other societies, and this for an indefinite time, until they come to the society in which they had been while they lived in the body; and there they remain. From this moment they experience a new beginning of life. If the man is a dissembler, a hypocrite, or deceitful, who can assume a fictitious state, and a seemingly angelic disposition, he is sometimes received by good spirits but after a short time he is dissociated, and then wanders about, without the angels, and begs to be received, but is rejected, and sometimes punished, and at last he is carried down among the infernals. Those who are taken up among angels after being vastated, also change their societies and when they pass from one society to another they are dismissed with courtesy and charity, and this until they come into the angelic society which accords with the distinctive quality or genius of their charity, piety, probity, or sincere courtesy. I in like manner have been led through such "mansions," and those who dwelt there conversed with me, that I might know how the case was in regard to this matter. It was given me at the time to reflect on the changes of place, and to see that they were nothing else than changes of state, my body remaining in the same place.

AC 1274. Among the marvelous things in the other life are, - First, the fact that societies of spirits and angels appear distinct from one another as to situation, although places and distances in that life are nothing else than varieties of state. Second that the situations and distances are determined by their relation to the human body, so that those who are on the right appear on the right whichever way the body is turned; and the case is the same with those who are on the left and in all other directions. Third, that no spirits or angels are at so great a distance away that they cannot be seen; and yet no more come into view than so many as the Lord permits. Fourth, that spirits of whom others are thinking-for example, such as had been in some manner known to them in the life of the body-when the Lord permits it, are present in a moment, and so closely that they are at the ear, in touch, or else at some distance, greater or less, no matter should they be thousands of miles away, or even among the stars. The reason is that distance of place has no effect in the other life. Fifth, that with the angels there is no idea of time. These things are so in the world of spirits, and are still more completely so in heaven. How much more then must this be the case before the Lord, to whom all both generally and individually cannot but be most present, and under His view and providence. These things seem incredible, but yet they are true.

AC 1275. I was in a society where there was tranquillity, that is, a society of those whose state was tranquil, approximating in a measure to a state of peace, but it was not peace. I spoke there of the state of infants; and also of place, saying that change of place and distance is only an appearance, according to the state of each one, and according to his change of state. When I was translated thither, the spirits around me appeared to be removed, and to be seen below me; and yet I could hear them speaking.

AC 1276. As regards the situation in which spirits are in the world of spirits, and angels in heaven, the case is this. The angels are at the Lord’s right hand on His left are evil spirits; in front are those of a middle kind; at the back are the malignant; above the head are those of a self-exalted spirit who aspire to high things; under the feet are the hells which correspond to those who are on high. Thus all have their situation determined relatively to the Lord; in all directions and at all altitudes, in a horizontal plane and in a vertical one, and in every oblique direction. Their situation is constant, and does not vary to eternity. The heavens there constitute as it were one man, which is therefore called the Grand Man; to which all things that are in man correspond; concerning which correspondence, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter. It is from this that there is a like situation of all things around each angel; and with each man to whom heaven is opened by the Lord; for the Lord’s presence is attended with this. It would not be so unless the Lord were omnipresent in heaven.

AC 1277. The case is the very same with men, as to their souls, which are constantly bound to some society of spirits and of angels. They too have a situation in the kingdom of the Lord according to the nature of their life, and according to their state. It matters not that they are distant from each other on earth even though it were many thousands of miles-still they can be together in the same society-those who live in charity in an angelic society, and those who live in hatred and such evils in an infernal society. In like manner it matters not that there be many together on earth in one place, for still they are all distinct in accordance with the nature of their life and of their state, and each one may be in a different society. Men who are distant from each other some hundreds or thousands of miles, when they appear to the internal sense may be so near each other that some of them may touch, according to their situation. Thus if there were a number of persons on earth whose spiritual sight was opened, they might be together and converse together, though one was in India and another in Europe, which also has been shown me. Thus are all men on earth, both generally and individually, most closely present to the Lord, and under His view and providence.

AC 1278. A continuation of the subject of situation, place, distance, and time, in the other life, will be found at the end of this chapter.


AC 1376. I have frequently conversed with spirits concerning the idea of place and of distance among them-that it is not anything real, but appears as if it were, being nothing else than their states of thought and of affection, which are thus varied, and are in this manner presented to view in the world of spirits; but not so much so in heaven among the angels, since these are not in the idea of place and time, but in that of states. But the spirits to whom bodily and earthly ideas adhere, do not apprehend this, for they suppose that the case is exactly as they see it to be. Such spirits can hardly be brought to believe otherwise than that they are living in the body, and are not willing to be persuaded that they are spirits; and thus scarcely that there is any appearance, or any fallacy, in relation to the matter, for they desire to live in fallacies. Thus do they preclude themselves from the apprehension and acknowledgment of truths and goods, which are as far as possible from fallacies. It has been shown them many times that change of place is nothing but an appearance, and also a fallacy of sense. For there are two kinds of mutation of place in the other life; one is that which has been spoken of before, when it is laid that all spirits and angels in the Grand Man constantly keep their own situation therein; which is an appearance. The other is that spirits appear in a place when in fact they are not there, which is a fallacy.

AC 1377. That in the world of spirits place, change of place, and distance, are an appearance, has been evidenced from the fact that all souls and spirits whatever who have existed from the first creation, appear constantly in their own places, and never change their places except when their state is changed; and that as their state is changed, so are the places and distances with them varied. But as every one has a general state which is regnant, and as the particular and individual changes of state have regard to the general state, therefore after these changes all return to their own situation.

AC 1378. I have been informed, both by conversation with angels, and by living experience, that spirits, as spirits, in regard to the organic forms which constitute their bodies, are not in the place where they are seen, but may be far away, and yet appear there. I know that they who suffer themselves to be carried away by fallacies will not believe this, but still the case is so. This has been illustrated to those spirits who have believed nothing to be true that they did not see with their eyes - even if this were mere fallacy - by the fact that something similar is exhibited among men in the world. Take for instance the sound of a speaker’s voice coming to the ear of another person: if the person who hears it did not know to the contrary, by the discriminations of sound, learned by experience from infancy, and did not see the speaker at a distance, he would have no other belief than that the speaker was close to his ear. So with a man who sees remote objects: if he did not at the same time see intervening objects, and know from them, or judge of the distance by what he knows, he would believe a distant object to be near his eye. Much more is this the case with the speech of spirits, which is interior speech; and with their sight, which is interior sight.

[2] And the spirits were told, further, that when plain experience declares a fact, they ought not to doubt, and still less deny it, on the ground that it does not so appear to the senses, and that they do not perceive it. For even within the realm of nature there are many things that are contrary to the fallacies of the senses, but are believed because visible experience teaches them. For example, the sailing of a ship around the globe: they who suffer themselves to be carried away by the fallacies of the senses, might believe that ship and sailors would fall off when they came to the opposite side, and that the people at the antipodes could never stand upon their feet. Such also is the case with the subject before us, and with many things in the other life that are contrary to the fallacies of the senses, and yet are true, - as that man has no life of himself, but from the Lord; and very many other things. By these and other considerations, incredulous spirits could be brought to believe that the case is as we have stated it.

AC 1379. From all this it may also be seen that the walking and removal of spirits from place to place, and their advancements, which are so frequently seen, are nothing but changes of state; that is to say, they appear in the world of spirits as changes of place; but in heaven, as changes of state. The case is similar with many other things that are representative, and are there presented to view, concerning which of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter.

AC 1380. That in the other life place, change of place, and distance are a fallacy, has been evidenced by the fact that spirits can by phantasy be carried up on high in a moment, even to a very great height, and can also at the same moment be carried into the depths below; and also as it were from one end of the universe to the other. Nay, the sorceresses and magicians there, can by phantasies induce others to believe that when they are in one place they are also at the same time in another, even in several places, thus counterfeiting as it were a universal presence. They who in the life of the body have aspired to exalted station, and also those who have been deceitful, often appear above the head, while really they are in a hell under the feet; and as soon as their soaring arrogance is taken away, they sink down into their own hell, as has been shown me. Their appearance on high is not an appearance, but a fallacy; for, as already said, there are two kinds of mutation of place; that arising from all spirits and angels keeping constantly in their own situation, being an appearance; and their appearing in one place when their real situation is not there, being a fallacy.

AC 1381. The souls and spirits who have not as yet been allotted a constant situation in the Grand Man, are carried to various places, now to this, now to that; now are seen on one side, now on another; now above, now below. These are called wandering souls or spirits, and are comparable to the fluids in the human body, which rise up from the stomach, sometimes to the head, sometimes to other parts, and are carried about. So is it with these spirits, until they come to their designated place, and to a situation in conformity with their general state. It is their states that are thus changed, and that are wandering.

AC 1382. Men cannot but confound the Divine Infinity with infinity of space; and as they have no apprehension of infinity of space except as of a nothing, which in fact it is, they do not believe in the Divine Infinity. Such also is the case with the Eternity, which men cannot conceive of except as an eternity of time, since it is presented by means of time to those who are in time. The true idea of the Divine Infinity is insinuated into the angels by the fact that they are instantly present under the Lord’s sight, with no intervening space or time, even though they were at the furthest extremity of the universe; and the true idea of the Divine Eternity is insinuated by the fact that thousands of years do not appear to them as time, but scarcely otherwise than as if they had lived only a minute and both ideas are insinuated by the fact that in their present they have past and future things together. Hence they have no solicitude about future things; nor have they ever any idea of death, but only the idea of life; so that in all their present there is the Lord‘s Eternity and Infinity.

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