The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” or Adam (Continued)

Some of their descendants living before the Flood—not those who were destroyed in it but others of somewhat better character—were present with me, and at first they exerted a fairly gentle influence that was not very noticeable. But I was able to perceive that deep down they were bad, and deep down they worked against love. An aura with the stench of dead flesh wafted from them, making the spirits around me run away. They thought they were so subtle that no one would be able to tell what they were thinking.

I carried on a conversation with them about the Lord, asking whether like their forbears they had awaited his Coming. They had represented the Lord to themselves, they said, as an old and godly individual with a white beard and because of him became devout and grew beards themselves. That is the origin of the religious scruple about beards that sprang up among their descendants. Even now they were able to worship him devoutly, they added, although they did so according to their own lights; but just then an angel approached whose coming they could not bear.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1124

The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” or Adam (Continued)

I learned further that people in the earliest church had the most pleasant dreams, and visions as well, and that the meanings of the dreams and visions were suggested to them at the same time. This led to their use of paradise and other images as metaphors.

The objects of their outer senses, which belonged to the earth and the world, accordingly meant nothing to them. They felt no pleasure in those things but only in what they symbolized and represented. As a result, when they saw earthly objects, they did not think at all about them but only about the qualities they symbolized and represented. Such qualities inspired them with great pleasure, because these were the kinds of things that existed in heaven and revealed the Lord to them.

I talked to the third generation of the earliest church, and they said that in their day on earth they looked forward to the arrival of the Lord, who was to save the human race. It was common, they said, for them to speak of the fact that the woman’s seed would trample the snake’s head [Genesis 3:15].

They went on to say that from that time on, the greatest exhilaration of their lives had been to have children, with the result that their highest pleasure was loving their spouse in order to produce offspring. They called this their most enjoyable delight and their most delightful joy. The perception of this thrill and pleasure, they added, came from the idea flowing out of heaven that the Lord would be born.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1122, 1123

The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” 0r Adam (Continued)

The progeny of the earliest church have taught me about the level of perception they had enjoyed. They had possessed the ability to perceive any proposition of faith, almost to the same degree as angels, with whom they communicated. One reason was that their inner self—their spirit—was united to heaven by means of internal breathing. Another was that love for the Lord and love for one’s neighbor carry this communication with them, because these two kinds of love unite people on earth with angels through the essential core of their life, which consists in such love. They said they had the law written in them because they loved the Lord and their neighbor, since everything the laws require consequently agreed with their perception and everything the laws prohibit conflicted with their perception.

They had no doubt that all human laws resembled divine laws in being founded on love for the Lord and charity for one’s neighbor and in looking to love and charity as their basis.

Of course since they had a foundation from the Lord inside themselves, they knew everything that was built on it.

They believe too that all those alive in the world today who love the Lord and their neighbor also have the law written in them and are welcomed as citizens anywhere on earth, just as any such people are welcomed in the other life.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1121

The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” or Adam (Continued)

I was also shown that the inner breathing of the people in the earliest church, which had flowed from the navel toward the deeper areas of the chest, had altered as time passed—that is, had altered in their descendants. It had withdrawn more toward the back and the belly, or more toward the surface and downward, until finally in the last generation of that church (the generation right before the Flood), hardly any internal breathing remained. In the end, when the breathing inside the chest disappeared, they spontaneously suffocated.

In some people, though, external breathing then took hold, as did articulated sounds, or verbal speech.

As I was shown, these are the ways people living before the Flood breathed, depending on the state of their love and faith. In the end, when there was no longer love or faith but only a convinced belief in falsity, internal breathing stopped, as did direct communication with angels and perceptive knowledge.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1120

The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” or Adam (Continued)

I had a practical demonstration of the way the internal breathing of the earliest people entered silently into a type of external breathing they had and so into soundless speech. Listeners heard this speech in their inner self.

They said this kind of respiration varied in them, depending on the state of their love for the Lord and faith in him. They told the reason, too, which was that since they were communicating with heaven, they were necessarily breathing in rhythm with the angels who kept them company. Angels do have respiration, and any inner breathing keeps pace with it.

They undergo similar changes in their breathing, because when anything arises to oppose love for the Lord or faith in him, they have difficulty breathing, but when they enjoy the good cheer of love and faith, their breathing is free and full. Everyone on earth experiences something similar, but it occurs in connection with our bodily and worldly passions and our convictions. When anything opposes these, we choke, but when anything caters to them, we breathe freely and fully. These facts, however, relate to external breathing.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1119

The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” or Adam

They live in the greatest possible light. The light of the world can hardly be compared to the light in which they live. That light was shown to me in the form of a flame that more or less streamed down in front of my eyes, and the people who had come from the earliest church told me that they had the same kind of light, only brighter.

By means of a kind of inspiration I cannot describe, I was shown how they had talked when they were alive in the world. Their speech was not articulated, as the verbal speech we use today is, but silent, produced not by external but by internal breathing. I also had the opportunity to sense what their internal breathing was like. It moved from the navel to the heart and then out through the lips without a sound. It did not enter another person’s ear from outside and vibrate on the part called the ear drum but traced a path through the mouth and in fact through a passageway there that we now call the Eustachian tube.

I was shown that this kind of speech enabled them to express the thoughts of their heart and the ideas in their minds much more fully than articulated sounds or audible words ever could. Audible sounds too travel on the breath (external breath, though), because no word contains any element that can be conveyed without the use of breath. But the process was much more perfect with them, because it relied on internal breathing. Since internal breathing takes place on a deeper plane, it is more perfect and better adapted to the actual ideas in our heads.

In addition, they used subtle motions of the lips and corresponding facial changes. Since they were a heavenly kind of people, everything they thought shone out from their face and eyes, which altered to suit the thought. They were completely incapable of any facial expression that did not agree with their thinking. They considered pretense a heinous crime and deceit even worse.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1117, 1118

The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” or Adam (Continued)

People who had been part of the earliest church, which was called Humankind, or Adam—heavenly people—are high up overhead, where they live together in sublime happiness. They said that others rarely approach them, except for the occasional visitor from elsewhere, or as they put it, from the universe.

Their position so high above the head, they added, was not due to inflated pride; on the contrary, the goal was to allow them to govern the people there.

I was shown the houses of the people who belonged to the second and third generations of this earliest church, and they are magnificent. They are very long, and each displays various beautiful shades of deep red and of blue.

Angels have houses that are simply glorious—so glorious that words could never describe them. I have seen these houses many times. They appear so vividly before the sight of their inhabitants that nothing could strike the eyes more vividly; but the reason why the visual experience is so intense will be explained later [Sections 1619–1633], in the Lord’s divine mercy.

They live in an aura of pearly light (so to speak) and sometimes in one of diamondlike radiance. In the next life, countless different varieties of atmosphere exist, and they are incredible. People are seriously mistaken if they do not consider such things possible there, and infinitely more of them than anyone ever has been or ever will be able to picture. It is true that these things exist as representations, as did some of the sights the prophets saw, but they are so vivid that they are completely real to the inhabitants of the next world and make the objects of this world seem unreal by comparison.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 3, Sections 1115, 1116

The Earliest Church, Called “Humankind,” or Adam

Angels and spirits, or in other words, human beings after death, can meet anyone they want—anyone they had known in the world or heard of—when the Lord grants it. They can see such people in person and talk with them, and what is amazing, the person desired appears instantly, face to face. So it is possible to converse not only with friends (and friends usually find each other) but also with other people one had admired and revered.

The Lord in his divine mercy has given me the opportunity to talk not only to people I knew when they were alive in the body but also with leading figures in the Word; likewise with people from the earliest church—the one called Humankind, or Adam—and with some adherents of later churches too. The purpose was to show me that the personal names in the early chapters of Genesis only mean different religions and to teach me what people in the churches of that era were like.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1114

The Hells: A Different Set Than Those Already Mentioned (Continued)

The spiritual realm is the gathering place for the souls of all people from the beginning of creation, of which almost a million a week come from our planet. They all have their own bent of mind and their own personality, different from that of others. Everybody’s ideas are all communicated to others, and yet all things as a whole and in particular must continually be brought into order.

A realm of this size, of course, contains countless phenomena that people on earth have never even imagined. Hardly any of them have formed more than a single vague idea of hell, any more than they have of heaven. As a result, these facts cannot help striking them as strange and astounding. This is chiefly due to the belief that spirits have no sensation, when in reality they have much keener sensation than we do. (Evil spirits also use skills unknown in the world to make others feel sensations almost exactly like those of the body, although bodily sensations are actually much more blunted.)

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 969

The Hells: A Different Set Than Those Already Mentioned (Continued)

Some people have taken with them from the world the idea that we must not talk to devils but avoid them. But I have taught them that talking to a devil is not the least bit dangerous for people whom the Lord protects, even if the whole of hell were to besiege them within and without. This I was able to recognize from such long and miraculous experience that in the end I had no fear. I was not even afraid of talking with the worst members of hell’s crew—an experience granted to me for the sake of learning what they were like.

To those who have wondered at my conversations with devils I have been allowed to add this: Not only does it do me no harm, but devils in the other life were once people. They are the ones who led lives of hatred, revenge, and adultery when they lived in the world. Some of them were even more highly respected than other people at the time. In fact I counted some of them as acquaintances of mine during their physical life. All that “the Devil” means is a mob of such people in hell.

While we are living in the body, we have with us at least two spirits from hell, in addition to two angels from heaven. In bad people, the spirits from hell are in charge, but in good people they are subdued and forced to be useful.

So it is a mistake to believe that any devil has existed from the beginning of creation other than those who once were people of this type.

When the people listening to me hear these things, they are dumbfounded and confess that they had held a completely different opinion of the Devil and the Devil’s crew.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 968