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Heaven and Hell # 430

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430. There are two doors in each of us as well, one facing hell and open to evil and false things from hell, the other facing heaven and open to good and true things from heaven. The door of hell is opened for people who are involved in what is evil and its consequent falsity, though just a little light from heaven flows in through the cracks, which enables us to think, reason, and talk. On the other hand, the door of heaven is opened for people who are focused on what is good and therefore on what is true. There are actually two paths that lead to our rational mind, one from above or within, through which the good and the true enter from the Lord, and one from below or outside through which the evil and the false infiltrate from hell. The rational mind itself is at the intersection of these two paths, so to the extent that light from heaven is let in, we are rational; but to the extent that it is not let in, we are not rational even though we seem so to ourselves.

I have mentioned these things so that our correspondence with heaven and with hell may be known. While our rational mind is in the process of being formed, it is responsive to the world of spirits. What is above it belongs to heaven, and what is beneath it belongs to hell. The higher things open, and the lower close against the inflow of evil and falsity, for people who are being readied for heaven; while the lower things open, and the higher close against the inflow of goodness and truth, for people who are being readied for hell. As a result, these latter can only look downward, toward hell, and the former can only look upward, toward heaven. Looking upward is looking toward the Lord, because he is the common center that everything in heaven faces. Looking downward, though, is looking away from the Lord toward the opposite center, the center toward which everything in hell faces and gravitates (see above, 123, 124).

  
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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.