Spiritual background for GENESIS 6previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page
CONCERNING HEAVEN AND HEAVENLY JOY
AC 547. The souls who come into the other life are all ignorant of the nature of heaven and of heavenly joy. Very many suppose it to be a kind of joy into which any can be admitted no matter how they have lived, even those who have borne hatred against their neighbor and have passed their lives in adulteries, being quite unaware of the fact that heaven is mutual and chaste love, and that heavenly joy is the derivative happiness.
AC 548. I have sometimes spoken with spirits fresh from the world concerning the state of eternal life, telling them how important it was for them to know who is the Lord of that kingdom, and what is the nature and form of its government, just as those in this world who go into another kingdom are especially interested to know who and of what sort is the king, what is the nature of the government, and many other things that belong to the kingdom; and how much more should they be interested in this kingdom, where they are to live forever. I told them that the Lord alone rules both heaven and the universe, for He who rules the one must rule the other; and that the kingdom in which they were now is the Lord’s kingdom, the laws of which are eternal truths, all of which are based on the one great law that men shall love the Lord above all things and their neighbor as themselves, and now even more than themselves, for if they would be as the angels this is what they must do. To all this they could make no reply because in their bodily life they had heard something of the kind, but had not believed it. They marvelled that there is such love in heaven, and that it is possible for any one to love his neighbor more than himself, seeing that they had heard that they were to love their neighbor as themselves. But they were instructed that in the other life all goods are immeasurably increased, and that the life in the body is such that men can go no further than loving the neighbor as themselves, because they are in the things of the body, but that when these are removed, the love becomes purer, and at last angelic, which consists in loving the neighbor more than themselves. The possibility of such love is evident from the conjugial love that exists with some persons, who would suffer death rather than let their married partner be injured; and also from the love of parents for their children, in that a mother will endure starvation rather than see her infant hunger, and this even among birds and animals; and likewise from sincere friendship, in that perils will be undergone for our friends; and even from polite and feigned friendship, that would emulate real friendship in offering the better things to those to whom we wish well, making great professions even when they do not come from the heart. And finally its possibility is evident from the very nature of love, which finds its joy in being of service to others, not for the sake of self but for the love‘s own sake. But all this could not be comprehended by those who loved themselves more than others, and who in the bodily life had been greedy for gain, and least of all by the avaricious.
AC 549. The angelic state is such that every one communicates his own bliss and happiness to others. For in the other life there is a most exquisite communication and perception of all the affections and thoughts, so that each person communicates his joy to all, and all to each, so that each one is as it were the center of all. This is the heavenly form. And therefore the more there are who constitute the Lord’s kingdom, the greater is the happiness, for it increases in proportion to the numbers, and this is why heavenly happiness is unutterable. There is this communication of all with each and of each with all when every one loves others more than himself. But if any one wishes better for himself than for others the love of self reigns, which communicates nothing to others from itself except the idea of self, which is very foul, and when this is perceived the person is at once banished and rejected.
AC 550. Just as in the human body all things both in general and particular contribute to the general and individual uses of all the rest, so is it in the Lord‘s kingdom, which is constituted like a man, and in fact is called the Grand Man. In this way every one there contributes either more nearly or more remotely, and in many ways, to the happiness of all, and this in accordance with the order instituted and consequently maintained by the Lord alone.
AC 551. From the universal heaven bearing relation to the Lord, and all there in both general and particular bearing relation to the Very and Only Being both in the universal as a whole and in its most individual constituents, there comes order, there comes union, there comes mutual love, and there comes happiness; for so each person regards the welfare and happiness of all, and all that of each one.
AC 552. That all the joy and happiness in heaven are from the Lord alone, has been shown me by many experiences, of which the following may be related. I saw that with the utmost diligence some angelic spirits were fashioning a lampstand with its lamps and flowers of the richest ornamentation in honor of the Lord. For an hour or two I was permitted to witness with what great pains they labored to make everything about it beautiful and representative, they supposing that they were doing it of themselves. But to me it was given to perceive that of themselves they could devise nothing at all. At last after some hours they said that they had formed a very beautiful representative candelabrum in honor of the Lord, whereat they rejoiced from their very hearts. But I told them that of themselves they had devised and formed nothing at all, but the Lord alone for them. At first they would scarcely believe this, but being angelic spirits they were enlightened, and confessed that it was so. So it is with all other representative things, and with everything of affection and thought in both general and particular, and also with heavenly joys and felicities-the very smallest bit of them is from the Lord alone.
AC 553. They who are in mutual love in heaven are continually advancing to the springtime of their youth, and to a more and more gladsome and happy spring the more thousands of years they live, and this with continual increase to eternity, according to the advance and degree of mutual love, charity, and faith. Those of the female sex who have died in old age and enfeebled with years, and who have lived in faith in the Lord, in charity toward the neighbor, and in happy conjugial love toward the neighbor, and in happy conjugial love with their husbands, after a succession of years come more and more into the bloom of youth and early womanhood, and into a beauty that surpasses all idea of beauty such as is ever perceptible to the natural sight; for it is goodness and charity forming and presenting their own likeness, and causing the delight and beauty of charity to shine forth from every least feature of the countenance, so that they are the very forms of charity: some have beheld them and been amazed. The form of charity, as is seen to the life in the other world, is such that it is charity itself that portrays and is portrayed, and this in such a manner that the whole angel, and especially the face, is as it were charity, the charity both plainly appearing to the view and being perceived by the mind. When this form is beheld, it is unutterable beauty that affects with charity the very inmost life of the beholder’s mind. Through the beauty of this form the truths of faith are presented to view in an image, and are even perceived from it. Such forms, or such beauties, do those become in the other life who have lived in faith in the Lord, that is, in the faith of charity. All the angels are such forms, with countless variety, and of such is heaven.
CONCERNING THE SOCIETIES WHICH CONSTITUTE HEAVEN
AC 684. There are three heavens: the First is the abode of good spirits, the Second of angelic spirits, and the Third of angels. And one heaven is more interior and pure than another, so that they are most distinct. Each heaven, the first, the second, and the third, is distinguished into innumerable societies; and each society consists of many individuals, who by their harmony and unanimity constitute as it were one person; and all the societies together are as one man. The societies are distinct from one another according to the differences of mutual love, and of faith in the Lord. These differences are so innumerable that not even the most universal genera of them can be computed; and there is not the least of difference that is not disposed in most perfect order, so as to conspire most harmoniously to a common unity, and the common unity to unanimity of individuals, and thereby to the happiness of all from each, and of each from all. Each angel and each society is therefore an image of the universal heaven, and is as it were a little heaven.
AC 685. There are wonderful consociations in the other life which may be compared to relationships on earth: that is to say, they recognize one another as parents, children, brothers, and relations by blood and by marriage, the love being according to such varieties of relationship. These varieties are endless, and the communicable perceptions are so exquisite that they cannot be described. The relationships have no reference at all to the circumstance that those who are there had been parents, children, or kindred by blood and marriage on earth; and they have no respect to person, no matter what any one may have been. Thus they have no regard to dignities, nor to wealth, nor to any such matters, but solely to varieties of mutual love and of faith, the faculty for the reception of which they had received from the Lord while they had lived in the world.
AC 686. It is the Lord‘s mercy, that is, His love toward the universal heaven and the universal human race, thus it is the Lord alone who determines all things both in general and in particular into societies. This mercy it is which produces conjugial love, and from this the love of parents for children, which are the fundamental and principal loves. From these come all other loves, with endless variety, which are arranged most distinctly into societies.
AC 687. Such being the nature of heaven, no angel or spirit can have any life unless he is in some society, and thereby in a harmony of many. A society is nothing but a harmony of many, for no one has any life separate from the life of others. Indeed no angel, or spirit, or society can have any life (that is, be affected by good, exercise will, be affected by truth, or think), unless there is a conjunction thereof through many of his society with heaven and with the world of spirits. And it is the same with the human race: no man, no matter who and what he may be, can live (that is, be affected by good, exercise will, be affected by truth, or think), unless in like manner he is conjoined with heaven through the angels who are with him, and with the world of spirits, nay, with hell, through the spirits that are with him. For every man while living in the body is in some society of spirits and of angels, though entirely unaware of it. And if he were not conjoined with heaven and with the world of spirits through the society in which he is, he could not live a moment. The case in this respect is the same as it is with the human body, any portion of which that is not conjoined with the rest by means of fibers and vessels, and thus by means of functions, is not a part of the body, but is instantly separated and rejected, as having no vitality. The very societies in and with which men have been during the life of the body, are shown them when they come into the other life. And when, after the life of the body, they come into their society, they come into their veriest life which they had in the body, and from this life begin a new life; and so according to their life which they have lived in the body they either go down into hell, or are raised up into heaven.
AC 688. As there is such conjunction of all with each and of each with all, there is also a similar conjunction of the most individual particulars of affection and the most individual particulars of thought.
AC 689. There is therefore an equilibrium of all and of each with respect to celestial, spiritual, and natural things; so that no one can think, feel, and act except from many, and yet every one supposes that he does so of himself, most freely. In like manner there is nothing which is not balanced by its opposite, and opposites by intermediates, so that each by himself, and many together, live in most perfect equilibrium. And therefore no evil can befall any one without being instantly counterbalanced; and when there is a preponderance of evil, the evil or evildoer is chastised by the law of equilibrium, as of himself, but solely for the end that good may come. Heavenly order consists in such a form and the consequent equilibrium; and that order is formed, disposed, and preserved by the Lord alone, to eternity.
AC 690. It should be known, moreover, that there is never one society entirely and absolutely like another, nor is there one person like another in any society, but there is an accordant and harmonious variety of all; and the varieties are so ordered by the Lord that they conspire to one end, which is effected through love and faith in Him. Hence their unity. For the same reason the heaven and heavenly joy of one is never exactly and absolutely like that of another; but according to the varieties of love and faith, such are the heaven and the heavenly joy in those varieties.
AC 691. These things in general respecting the heavenly societies are from manifold and daily experience, concerning which specifically, of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter. previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page