The Sun in the Heaven (Continued)

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.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 123

The Sun in Heaven (Continued)

To angels, our world’s sun looks like something murky opposite to heaven’s sun, and our moon like something dim opposite to heaven’s moon, consistently. This is because our world’s fire corresponds to a love for ourselves, and the light it emits corresponds to the distortion that arises from that love. Love for oneself is the absolute opposite of divine love, and the distortion that arises from it is the absolute opposite of divine truth. Anything that is opposed to divine love and truth is darkness to angels.

This is why in the Word, worshiping our world’s sun and moon and bowing down to them means loving oneself and the distortion that arises from self-love, and why these are to be abolished (Deuteronomy 4:19; 18:3–5 [17:3–5]; Jeremiah 8:1–2; Ezekiel 8:15, 16, 18; Revelation 16:8; Matthew 13:6).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 122

The Sun in Heaven (Continued)

We can gather how great divine love is and what its quality is by comparison with the sun of our world—that love is most intense, far more intense, if you will believe it. So the Lord as the sun does not flow directly into the heavens; rather, the intensity of his love is by degrees tempered in its course. The stages of this tempering look like sparkling halos around the sun. Further, angels are shielded by a suitably thin cloud so that they will not be hurt by the inflow.  As a result, the heavens are distanced according to their receptiveness. The higher heavens, being in the good of love, are closest to the Lord as the sun. The lower heavens, though, being in the good of faith, are farther from him. People who are engaged in nothing good whatever, like the people in hell, are farthest away, their removal being in proportion to their opposition to what is good.

However, when the Lord appears in heaven (which happens quite often) he does not appear clothed with the sun but in an angelic form, distinguishable from the angels by the divine quality that shines from his face. He is not actually there in person—since the Lord “in person” is always clothed with the sun—but is present in appearance. It is commonplace in heaven for things to be seen as though they were present in the place where their appearance is focused or delineated, even though this is very far from the place where they themselves actually are. This presence is called “a presence of inner sight,” and will be discussed further below.

Then too I have seen the Lord outside the sun in an angelic form overhead, a little below the sun, and also nearby in a similar form—once even among some angels, looking like a fiery ray of light

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 120, 121

The Sun in Heaven (Continued)

This is why in the Word the Lord is compared to the sun when the focus is on love and to the moon when the focus is on faith. It is also why the sun means a love for the Lord that comes from the Lord, and the moon means a faith in the Lord that comes from the Lord. Compare the following passages.

The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days. (Isaiah 30:26)

When I annihilate you, I will cover the heavens and blacken the stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not make its light. I will blacken all the luminaries in the heavens above you and send darkness over your land. (Ezekiel 32:7–8)

I will darken the sun in its rising, and the moon will not make its light shine. (Isaiah 13:10) The sun and the moon will be blackened and the stars will withdraw their shining; the sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. (Joel 2:2, 10, 31; 3:15)

The sun became black as hairy sackcloth, and the moon became like blood, and the stars fell to earth. (Revelation 6:12-13)

Immediately after the affliction of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven. (Matthew 24:29)

And elsewhere. In these passages, the sun means love and the moon faith, while the stars mean instances of recognizing what is good and true. These are said to be darkened, to lose their light, and to fall from heaven when they no longer exist.

The Lord’s appearance as a sun in heaven may also be inferred from his transfiguration before Peter, James, and John, when “his face shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2). This is how the Lord was seen by those disciples when they had been lifted out of their bodies and were in the light of heaven.

For this reason, when the early people (who constituted a representative church) were engaged in their divine worship, they faced the sun in the east. It is why they set their temples to face the east.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 119

Notes:  The Word (Scripture) Swedenborg used in all his books was the bible in use during his lifetime (1688-1772).


The Sun in Heaven (Continued)

As for the Lord’s actually appearing in heaven as the sun, this is something I have not simply been told by angels but have also been allowed to see a number of times; so I should like at this point to describe briefly what I have heard and seen97 concerning the Lord as the sun.

The Lord does not appear as a sun in the heavens, but high above them, and not directly overhead but in front of angels at a middle elevation. He appears in two places, in one for the right eye and in another for the left, noticeably far apart. For the right eye he looks just like a sun, with much the same fire and size as our world’s sun. For the left eye, though, he does not look like a sun but like a moon, with similar brilliance but more sparkling, and with much the same size as our earth’s moon; but he seems to be surrounded by many apparent lesser moonlets, each similarly brilliant and sparkling.

The reason the Lord appears in two places, so differently, is that he appears to people according to their receptiveness. So he looks one way to people who accept him through the good of love and another way to people who accept him through the good of faith. To people who accept him through the good of love, he looks like a sun, fiery and flaming in response to their receptivity. These people are in his heavenly kingdom. To people who accept him through the good of faith, though, he looks like a moon, brilliant and sparkling in response to their receptivity. These people are in his spiritual kingdom.a This is because the good of love corresponds to fire, so that fire, in its spiritual meaning, is love; while the good of faith corresponds to light, so that light, in its spiritual meaning, is faith.

The reason he appears to the eyes is that the deeper levels of the mind see through the eyes, looking from the good of love through the right eye and from the good of faith through the left eye.c You see, everything on the right side of an angel or one of us corresponds to what is good and yields truth, while everything on the left side corresponds to that truth that comes from what is good.d,98 “The good of faith” is, essentially, truth that comes from what is good.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 118

The Sun in Heaven

Our world’s sun is not visible in heaven, and neither is anything that is derived from it, since all that is natural. Nature, in fact, begins with that sun, and whatever is produced by it is called natural. The spiritual reality in which heaven exists, though, is above nature and completely distinct from anything natural. They communicate with each other only through correspondences.

The nature of the distinction can be gathered from what was said above about levels in Section 38, and the nature of the communication from the last two chapters about correspondences.

However, even though neither this world’s sun nor anything derived from it is visible in heaven, there is a sun there; there is light and warmth, there are all the things we have in our world and many more—not from the same origin, though, since things in heaven are spiritual while things in our world are natural.

Heaven’s sun is the Lord; light there is the divine truth and warmth the divine good that radiate from the Lord as the sun. Everything that comes into being and manifests itself in the heavens is from this source. We will discuss the light and warmth and the things that arise from them in subsequent chapters; here we restrict ourselves to the sun.

The reason the Lord in heaven appears as the sun is that he is the divine love from which all spiritual things come into being—and, through the agency of our world’s sun, all natural things as well. That love is what shines like a sun.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 116,117

Wisdom is the Term for Everything That Charity Fathers

The sons of Shem (a son of Noah) symbolize attributes that are forms of wisdom. The fact that Shem is the inner church, whose offspring are nothing else than forms of wisdom, is not the only indication of this symbolism.

Wisdom is the term for everything that charity fathers, because whatever charity fathers comes by way of charity from the Lord, who is the source of all wisdom, since he is wisdom itself.

This is the origin of true understanding, which is the origin of true learning, which is the origin of true knowledge. All three are the offspring of charity, or in other words, children of the Lord by way of charity. Because they are children of the Lord by way of charity, each is described as a form of wisdom. This is because each of them contains wisdom, from which they draw their life. In fact not one of them—not understanding or secular learning or religious knowledge—has any life except that drawn from wisdom, which belongs to charity, which is the Lord’s.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1226