Heaven and Hell #405

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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405. Almost all the people who arrive in the other life think that hell is the same for everyone and that heaven is the same for everyone, when in fact there are infinite variations and differences in each. Hell is never the same for any two people, nor is heaven. In the same way, no one of us, no spirit, and no angel is ever exactly like any other, even facially. When I even thought about two identical or equal beings, the angels were aghast. They said that every unity is formed by a harmonious agreement of many constituents and that the nature of the unity depends on the nature of the agreement. This is how every community of heaven forms a unity and how all the communities form a single heaven, which is accomplished solely by the Lord, by means of love. 1

Useful activities in the heavens occur in similar variety and diversity. The function of one individual is never exactly the same as that of any other, so the delight of one is never the same as another's. Not only that, the delights of each function are countless, and these countless delights are equally varied, yet they are united in a design that enables them to focus on each other as do the functions of the individual members and organs and viscera in the human body; or even more, like the functions of every vessel and fiber in those members and organs and viscera. These are all interconnected in such a way that they focus on what they can contribute to the other and therefore to all, with all mindful of the individual members. They act as one because of this regard for the whole and for the individual.


1. A unity consists of different constituents and derives its form and quality from them, and it derives its perfection from the way they harmonize and agree: 457, 3241, 8003. There is an infinite variety, and nothing is ever the same as anything else: 7236, 9002. It is the same in the heavens: 5744 [3744?], 4005, 7236, 7833, 7836, 9002. Consequently all the communities in the heavens and all the individual angels in a community differ from each other because they are engaged in different virtues and services: 690, 3241, 3519, 3804, 3986, 4067, 4149, 4263, 7236, 7833, 3986. The Lord's divine love arranges them all in a heavenly form and unites them as though they were a single individual: 457, 3986, 5598.

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