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Heaven and Hell #429

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429. The world of spirits looks like a valley surrounded by mountains and cliffs, with dips and rises here and there. The doors and gates to heavenly communities are visible only to people who are being readied for heaven. No one else finds them. There is one entrance to each community from the world of spirits with a single path beyond it; but as the path climbs, it divides into several.

The doors and gates to the hells are visible only to the people who are going to enter them. They open for them, and once they are opened you can see dark, sooty caves slanting downward into the depths, where there are still more gates. Rank, foul stenches breathe out from them, stenches that good spirits flee because they are repelled by them, while evil spirits are drawn toward them because they find them delightful. In fact, just as we find delight in our own evil in this world we find delight after death in the stench that corresponds to our evil. We might compare this with the delight of carrion birds and beasts like crows and wolves and pigs who fly or run toward rotting corpses as soon as they get wind of them. I heard one man who screamed aloud in utter torment at a breath of air from heaven, but was calm and happy when a breath from hell reached him.

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

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Heaven and Hell #123

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123. Since the Lord does appear in heaven as a sun because of the divine love that is in him and from him, all the people there constantly turn toward him. The inhabitants of the heavenly kingdom turn toward him as the sun, while the inhabitants of the spiritual kingdom turn toward him as the moon. In contrast, the inhabitants of hell turn toward the darkness and dimness that are on the opposite side, and therefore turn away from the Lord. This is because all the people who are in the hells are caught up in love for themselves and the world and are therefore opposed to the Lord. The ones who turn toward the darkness that stands for our world's sun are at the back of the hells and are called "demons," while the ones who turn toward the dimness that stands for our moon are in the front of hell and are called "spirits." This is why people in the hells are described as being in darkness and people in the heavens as being in light. "Darkness" means falsity arising from evil, and "light" means truth arising from good.

The reason people turn in this way is that in the other life we all look toward what rules in our deeper natures - toward our own loves, then; and these deeper natures form the faces of angels and spirits. Further, in a spiritual world the cardinal points are not fixed the way they are in a natural world. Instead, they are determined by the way people face.

We ourselves, in spirit, are also turning in the same fashion - away from the Lord if we are caught up in self-love and love of the world, and toward him if we are in a love for him and for our neighbor. We are unaware of this, though, because we are in a natural world where the cardinal points are determined by the sun's rising and setting. Since it is hard for people to grasp this, examples will be given below where we deal with the cardinal points and with space and time in heaven.

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