Heaven and Hell #17

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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17. All my experience in heaven bears witness to the fact that the divine nature that comes from the Lord, affects angels, and constitutes heaven, is love. In fact, all the people there are forms of love and thoughtfulness. They look indescribably beautiful. Love radiates from their faces, from their speech, from every detail of their behavior. 1

Further, there are surrounding auras of spiritual life that emanate from every angel and from every spirit and envelop them. By means of these auras one can recognize even from a distance the quality of the affections of their loves, since these auras flow out from the life of their affection and consequent thought - that is, from the life of their love and consequent faith. The auras that emanate from angels are so full of love that they touch the deepest reaches of life of the people they meet. I have been aware of them a number of times, and they have moved me deeply. 2

I have been able to see that love was the source of angels' life because all the people in the other life turn in a direction determined by their own love. People engaged in a love for the Lord and a love for their neighbor are constantly turning toward the Lord, while people who are engaged in self-love are constantly turning their backs to the Lord. This holds true no matter which way they turn, since in the other life spatial relationships are determined by people's inner natures. These also determine geographical regions, whose boundaries are not drawn the way they are in the physical world but depend on which way people are facing. Actually, it is not angels who turn to the Lord but the Lord who turns toward himself the people who love to do whatever has its source in him. 3 , But there will be more on this subject below, when we discuss geographical regions in the other life.


1. On angels as forms of thoughtfulness: 3804, 4735, 4797, 4985, 5199, 5530, 9879, 10177.

2. A spiritual aura that is an aura of life flows out in waves from every person, every spirit, and every angel and clings to them: 4464, 5179, 7454, 8630. It flows out from the life of their affection and consequent thought: 2489, 4464, 6206.

3. Spirits and angels are constantly turning in the direction of their loves, which means that people in the heavens are constantly turning toward the Lord: 10130, 10189, 10420, 10702. Geographical regions in the other life depend for particular individuals on the direction they are facing; this is what draws their boundaries, unlike the situation in the physical world: 10130, 10189, 10420, 10702.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.