Jesus Lives! - The Lord God
Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth
 Now since heaven is from the human race, and heaven is an abiding with the Lord to eternity, it follows that this was the Lord’s end in creation; and since this was the end in creation, it is also the end of His Divine Providence. The Lord did not create the universe for His own sake, but for the sake of those with whom He will be in heaven; for spiritual love is such that it wishes to give what is its own to another; and so far as it can do this, it is in its being (esse), in its peace, and in its blessedness. Spiritual love derives this property from the Divine Love of the Lord, which is such in an infinite degree. From this it follows that the Divine Love, and consequently the Divine Providence, has for its end a heaven which should consist of men who have become, and who are becoming angels, upon whom the Lord can bestow all the blessings and felicities that belong to love and wisdom, and bestow these from Himself in them. Nor can He do otherwise, for there is in them from creation the image and likeness of Himself; the image in them is wisdom, and the likeness in them is love; and the Lord in them is love united to wisdom and wisdom united to love; or what is the same, is good united to truth and truth united to good. This union was treated of in the preceding article.
 Since, however, it is not known what heaven is in general, that is, in a community of persons, and what it is in particular, that is, in the individual; and what heaven is in the spiritual world and what it is in the natural world; and yet it is important to know this, because heaven is the end of the Divine Providence, I will present this subject with some clearness in the following order:
 Something will here be said about this conjunction, how it is effected and what is its nature. It is a conjunction of the Lord with the angels, and of the angels with the Lord, and is therefore reciprocal. The Lord flows into the life’s love of the angels, and the angels receive Him in wisdom, and thereby they in turn conjoin themselves to the Lord. It should be clearly understood, however, that while to the angels the appearance is that they conjoin themselves to the Lord by means of wisdom, it is in fact the Lord who conjoins them to Himself by wisdom; for their wisdom is also from the Lord. It is the same if it is said that the Lord conjoins Himself to the angels by means of good, and that the angels in their turn conjoin themselves to the Lord by means of truth; for all good pertains to love, and all truth to wisdom.
 As this reciprocal conjunction, however, is an arcanum that few can understand without explanation, I will unfold it, as far as possible, by means of such things as are adapted to the comprehension. In the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (DLW 404, 405), it is shown how love conjoins itself to wisdom, namely, through an affection for knowing, from which comes an affection for truth, and through an affection for understanding, from which comes a perception of truth, and through an affection for seeing what is known and understood, from which comes thought. The Lord flows into all these affections, for they spring from the life’s love of everyone; and this influx is received by the angels in the perception of truth and in thought; for in these the influx becomes apparent to them, but not in the affections.
 Now since perceptions and thoughts appear to the angels as if they were their own, although they are from affections which are from the Lord, therefore there is this appearance that the angels conjoin themselves reciprocally to the Lord, although it is the Lord who conjoins them to Himself; for affection itself produces the perceptions and thoughts, as affection, which pertains to love, is their soul. For no one can perceive and think anything without affection, and everyone perceives and thinks according to affection. From this it is clear that the reciprocal conjunction of angels with the Lord is not from the angels, but only seems to be from them. Such also is the conjunction of the Lord with the Church and of the Church with the Lord, which is called the celestial and spiritual marriage.
 This has been said in order to make known how the conjunction of the Lord with angels is effected, and how the apparent reciprocal conjunction of angels with the Lord is effected. For all angels turn the face towards the Lord, and the Lord looks upon their forehead, because the forehead corresponds to love and its affections; while angels direct their eyes towards the Lord, because the eyes correspond to wisdom and its perceptions. Nevertheless, the angels do not from themselves turn the face to the Lord, but the Lord turns them to Himself. He turns them by influx into their life’s love, and through that love enters into their perceptions and thoughts; and in this way He turns them.
 There is in all things of the human mind this circle of love to thoughts and from thoughts to love from love, a circle which may be called the circle of life. On this subject something may be seen in the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, as for instance: The angels constantly turn the face to the Lord as a Sun (DLW 129-134). All the interiors of the angels, of mind as well as of body, are likewise turned to the Lord as a Sun (DLW 135-139). Every spirit, whatever his character may be, turns himself likewise to his ruling love (DLW 140-145). Love conjoins itself to wisdom, and causes wisdom to be reciprocally conjoined to itself (DLW 410-412). The angels are in the Lord, and the Lord is in them; and because angels are recipients the Lord alone is heaven (DLW 113-118).
Abide in me, and I in you. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:4, 5, 7).
 It is necessary, however, to know expressly what degrees are, and that they are of two kinds, namely, discrete degrees, or degrees of altitude, and continuous degrees, or degrees of latitude, and also how they differ. Further, it is necessary to know that every man from creation, and hence from birth, has three discrete degrees, or degrees of altitude; and that he comes into the first degree, called the natural, when he is born, and may increase this degree in himself by continuous progress until he becomes rational; that he comes into the second degree, called the spiritual, if he lives according to the spiritual laws of order, which are principles of Divine Truth; and also that he can come into the third degree, called the celestial, if he lives according to the celestial laws of order, which are principles of Divine Good.
 These degrees are actually opened in man by the Lord according to his life in this world, but not perceptibly and manifestly till after he leaves this world; and as they are opened and afterwards perfected, man is more and more nearly conjoined to the Lord. This conjunction by continued approach may go on increasing to eternity; and with the angels it does so increase; yet no angel can reach or even come close to the highest degree of the Love and Wisdom of the Lord, because the Lord is Infinite and an angel is finite, and there is no ratio between the Infinite and the finite. As no one can understand the state of man, and the state of his elevation and approach to the Lord, unless he has a knowledge of these degrees, they have been treated of in detail in THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (DLW 173-281), which may be consulted.
 Now because the Lord flows into the life’s love of everyone, and through its affections into his perceptions and thoughts, and not the reverse, as was said above, it follows that the Lord can conjoin Himself more nearly only so far as the love of evil with its affections, which are lusts, has been removed. As these reside in the natural man, and as whatever a man does from the natural man he feels as if he does from himself, therefore he ought, as if from himself, to remove the evils of that love; and as far as he does this the Lord draws nearer, and conjoins Himself to him. Anyone can see from reason that lusts with their delights obstruct and close the door before the Lord, and that these cannot be cast out by the Lord so long as man himself holds the door closed and, pressing from without, prevents it from being opened. That man himself ought to open the door is clear from the Lord’s words in Revelation:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Apoc. 3:20).
 Hence it is evident that, so far as one shuns evils as of the devil and as obstacles to the Lord’s entrance, he is more and more nearly conjoined to the Lord, and that he is the most nearly conjoined who abominates them as so many dusky and fiery devils; for evil and the devil are one, and the falsity of evil and satan are one. Since the influx of the Lord is into the love of good and into its affections, and through these into the perceptions and thoughts, which all derive the fact that they are truths from the good in which the man is, so the influx of the devil, that is, of hell, is into the love of evil and into its affections which are lusts, and through these into the perceptions and thoughts, which all derive the fact that they are falsities from the evil in which the man is.
 How this conjunction appears nearer and nearer. The more fully evils in the natural man are removed by shunning and turning away from them, the more nearly is the man conjoined to the Lord. Moreover, as love and wisdom, which are the Lord Himself, are not in space, since affection which belongs to love and thought which belongs to wisdom have nothing in common with space, so the Lord appears to be nearer according to the conjunction through His Love and Wisdom; and on the other hand, more remote according to the rejection of His Love and Wisdom. There is no space in the spiritual world; but there distance and presence are appearances in accordance with similarities and dissimilarities of affections; for as has been said before, affections which belong to love, and thoughts which belong to wisdom, being in themselves spiritual, are not in space. On this subject see what has been stated in the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (DLW 7-10, 69-72), and elsewhere. The conjunction of the Lord with a man in whom evils have been put away, is meant by these words of the Lord:
The pure in heart shall see God. (Matt. 5:8);
and by these words:
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them. I will make my abode with him. (John 14:21, 23).
"To have the commandments" is to know, and "to keep the commandments" is to love; for it is also said in the same passage: "He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me".
 There are three degrees of wisdom, the natural, the spiritual and the celestial. Man is in the natural degree of wisdom while he lives in this world. This degree may then be perfected in him to its highest point, but yet it cannot enter upon the spiritual degree, because the spiritual degree is not an extension of the natural degree by continuity, but is conjoined to it by correspondences. After death man is in the spiritual degree of wisdom; and this degree is also such that it may be perfected to its highest point, but yet it cannot enter upon the celestial degree of wisdom, because the celestial degree is not an extension of the spiritual degree by continuity, but is conjoined to it by correspondences. From this it may be evident that wisdom can be elevated in a triplicate ratio, and in each degree can be perfected in a simple ratio to its highest point.
 One who comprehends the processes of elevation and the perfecting of these degrees can in some measure understand what is said of angelic wisdom, that it is ineffable; and so ineffable is it that a thousand ideas in the thought of angels from their wisdom can present but a single idea in the thought of men from their wisdom, the other nine hundred and ninety-nine ideas of angelic thought not being able to gain entrance, because they are supernatural. That this is so has often been granted me to know by actual experience. However, as was said before, no one can attain that ineffable wisdom of the angels unless through conjunction with the Lord and in the measure of that conjunction, for the Lord alone opens the spiritual degree and the celestial degree, and only in those who are wise from Him; and those are wise from the Lord who cast out from themselves the devil, that is, evil.
 It is granted to everyone after death, in the spiritual world, to know what these unclean things are, and their nature, which titillate the sensory nerves of such men. They are, after their kind, filthy, foul-smelling, urinous, reeking of the charnel-house and of the dung-hill; for the hells in which these men dwell abound in such unclean things. These are correspondences, as may be seen in the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (DLW 422-424). These filthy delights, however, are changed into dreadful experiences when such men have entered hell. This has been recorded that it may be understood what the happiness of heaven is, and the nature of it, about which something will now be said in what follows; for everything is known from its opposite.
 These joys, however, enter as man, as if from himself but still from the Lord, puts away the lusts of the love of evil and falsity; for these joys are those of the affections of good and truth, and are the opposites of the lusts of the love of evil and falsity. The joys of the affections of the love of good and truth begin from the Lord, thus from the inmost; and thence they pour themselves forth into lower things, even to the lowest, and thus fill the angel, making him become as it were wholly a delight. Such joys, with their infinite varieties, are in every affection of good and truth, especially in the affection of wisdom.
 Now since everything that a man does from freedom appears to him to be his own for it is of his love, and, as was said above, to act from one’s love is to act from freedom, it follows that conjunction with the Lord makes a man appear to himself to be free and consequently to be master of himself; and the nearer the conjunction with the Lord the more free he seems, and consequently the more he seems to be master of himself. He appears to himself more distinctly to be master of himself because the Divine Love is such that it wills that what is its own should belong to another, thus to a man or to an angel. Such, indeed, is all spiritual love, and pre-eminently the Divine Love. Besides, the Lord never forces anyone, for nothing to which anyone is forced appears as his own; and what does not appear to be his own cannot be his love’s, and so be appropriated to him as his own. Therefore man is led by the Lord continually in freedom, and is also reformed and regenerated in freedom. However, more will be said on this subject in what follows; something may also be seen above, in (n. 4).