There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

The fact that everything in this world arises from the Divine and is clothed with the kinds of elements in nature that enable it to be present there, serve some use, and therefore correspond, follows clearly from little things we can observe in both the animal and the vegetable kingdoms. In each there are things that anyone, with some deeper thought, can see must come from heaven. By way of illustration I may mention only a few out of the countless many.

First, some from the animal kingdom. In this field, many people realize what kind of knowledge is virtually instinctive in any creature you choose. Bees know how to collect honey from flowers, build cells from wax in which they store their honey, and so provide food for themselves and their families for the coming winter. Their queen lays eggs, while the others cover them over and lead her around so that a new generation may be born. They live under a kind of government that all their members know instinctively, protecting their useful members and expelling the useless ones and clipping off their wings. There are even more marvels that are given them from heaven for their use. In fact, their wax serves the human race throughout the world for candles, and their honey for flavoring foods.

Then what about caterpillars, the lowest creatures in the animal kingdom! They know how to nourish themselves with the sap of their leaves and in due time how to make a covering around themselves and virtually put themselves in a womb and so to hatch offspring of their own species. Some first turn into nymphs and chrysalides and make threads, and after exhausting labor grace themselves with new bodies and adorn themselves with wings. Then they fly in the air as though it were their heaven, celebrate their “weddings,” lay their eggs, and so provide themselves with a posterity.

Over and above these particular examples, all the fowl of the air know the foods that are good for them—not only what they are, but where they are. They know how to construct nests for themselves, each species differently from all others, how to lay their eggs there, incubate them, hatch and feed their chicks, and expel them from the nest when they can be on their own. They also know the particular enemies they must avoid and the allies they can associate with, all from earliest infancy. I will say nothing about the wonders in the eggs themselves, where everything necessary for the formation and nourishment of the embryonic chicks lies properly available, or countless other wonders.

Will anyone who thinks with any rational wisdom say that such things arise from any source but a spiritual world, a world that the natural world serves by clothing what comes from it with a body, or presenting in effect that which is spiritual in origin?

The reason why earthbound animals and the fowl of the air are born into all this knowledge while we, who are actually superior, are not, is that animals are in the proper pattern of their life and cannot destroy what is within them from the spiritual world because they are not rational. It is different for us, who think from the spiritual world. Because we have corrupted ourselves by living contrary to the design that reason itself has recommended to us, we cannot escape being born into total ignorance, so that we can be led from there, by divine means, back into the pattern of heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 108

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Everything is a correspondent that arises and endures in nature according to the divine design. What makes the divine design is the divine good that emanates from the Lord. It begins from him, emanates from him through the heavens in sequence into the world, and there comes to a close in things most remote. Things there that are in accord with the design are correspondences.

The things that are in accord with the design are everything that is good and is perfected for some use, for everything good is good according to its usefulness. Its form reflects what is true because the true is the form of the good. This is why everything in the whole world and in the world of nature that is in the divine design goes back to what is good and what is true.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 107

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Things that are above the earth are also correspondences, things like the sun, the moon, and the stars, and also things that occur in our atmospheres like clouds, mists, rainstorms, lightning bolts, and thunderclaps. The emanations of the sun in its presence and absence like light and shade, warmth and cold, are also correspondences; and so are such corollaries as the times of the year called spring, summer, fall, and winter, and the times of the day—morning, noon, evening, and night.

In a word, absolutely everything in nature, from the smallest to the greatest, is a correspondence. The reason correspondences occur is that the natural world, including everything in it, arises and is sustained from the spiritual world, and both worlds come from the Divine. We say that it also is sustained because everything is sustained from that from which it arose, enduring being in fact a perpetual arising; and since nothing can endure independently, but needs something prior, it therefore needs a First, and if it were separated from that First, it would utterly perish and disappear.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 105, 106

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly

IN the preceding chapter, we have stated what correspondence is, and have explained as well that absolutely everything in the soul’s body is a correspondence. Next in orderly sequence we need to explain that everything earthly and in general everything in our world is a correspondence.

All earthly things are differentiated into three classes that we call “kingdoms,” namely the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and the mineral kingdom. Members of the animal kingdom are correspondences on the first level because they are alive. Members of the vegetable kingdom are correspondences on the second level because they merely grow. Members of the mineral kingdom are correspondences on the third level because they neither live nor grow.

The correspondences in the animal kingdom are the living creatures of various kinds, both those that walk and creep on the earth and those that fly in the air. We need not list them by name, because they are familiar. Correspondences in the vegetable kingdom are all the things that grow and bloom in gardens and forests and farms and meadows, which again are so familiar that they need not be listed by name. Correspondences in the mineral kingdom are metals noble and base, stones precious and common, and soils of various kinds, as well as bodies of water. Beyond these, things made from these elements by human industry for our use are correspondences, things such as foods of all kinds, garments, houses, major buildings, and so on.

from Heaven ans Hell, Sections 103, 104

Religion Is All about How We Live, and the Religious Way to Live Is to Do Good (Continued)

I was granted the opportunity in the spiritual world to question some elders from Britain who believed in and preached faith alone. I asked them whether when they were in church and read this prayer—which does not mention faith—they really believed that if people did evil things and did not repent, the Devil would enter into them as he had into Judas and would destroy both body and soul. They said that when they were in the state they were in when they read the prayer, they simply knew and thought that this was the essence of their religion, but when they were composing and polishing their own speeches or sermons they did not think along the same lines. This was because they were focusing on faith as the sole means of salvation and of living a good life as a moral side effect useful for the public welfare.

All the same, they held the conviction, which was also a matter of common sense for them, that people who live a good life are saved and that people who live an evil life are damned; and they felt this way whenever they were not wrapped up in themselves.

The reason religion is all about how we live is that after death we all are our own life. It remains the same for us as it was in the world and does not change. An evil life cannot be altered into a good one or a good life into an evil one, because they are opposites, and alteration into something opposite is extinction. So because they are opposites, a good life is called life and an evil life is called death.

That is why religion is all about how we live and why the way to live is to do good.

from Life/Faith, Sections 7, 8

Religion Is All about How We Live, and the Religious Way to Live Is to Do Good (Continued)

Even so, there are many people in Christian churches who teach that it is faith alone that saves, and living a good life or doing what is good has nothing to do with it. They even go so far as to teach that living an evil life or doing what is evil does not damn those who have been justified by faith alone, because they are in God and in grace. Strange as it may seem, though, despite the fact that this is what they teach, they still have an acknowledgment (which comes from that widespread perception bestowed by heaven) that people are saved if they live a good life and damned if they live an evil life. We can see this acknowledgment in the prayer that is read to people who are taking the Holy Supper in churches in Britain and in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark. It is common knowledge that there are people in these countries who teach faith alone. The prayer that is read in Britain to people taking the sacrament of the Supper is the following.

The way and means to be received as worthy partakers of that Holy Table [the Holy Supper] is, first, to examine your lives and conversations [dealings with others] by the rule of God’s commandments, and wherever you shall perceive yourselves to have offended either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life; and if you shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God, but also against your neighbors, then you shall reconcile yourselves to them, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction according to the utmost of your power, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other, and being likewise ready to forgive others that have offended you, as you would have forgiveness of your offences from God’s hand; for otherwise the receiving of the Holy Communion does nothing else but increase your damnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, or a hinderer or slanderer of his Word, or an adulterer, or be in malice or envy or in any other grievous crime, repent of your sins, or else do not come to the Holy Table; lest after the taking of that Holy Sacrament the Devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction of both body and soul.

from Life/Faith, Sections 4-5

Religion Is All about How We Live, and the Religious Way to Live Is to Do Good (Continued)

Everyone who has any religion knows and acknowledges that those who lead a good life are saved and those who lead an evil life are damned. They know this because heaven is united with people who know from the Word that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death. This [connection with heaven] gives rise to this widespread perception.

For this reason in the Athanasian statement of faith concerning the Trinity, which is accepted throughout the whole Christian world, what it says at the end is also accepted everywhere, namely,

Jesus Christ, who suffered for our salvation, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead; and then those who have done good will go into everlasting life and those who have done evil will go into everlasting fire.

from Life/Faith, Section 3

Religion Is All about How We Live, and the Religious Way to Live Is to Do Good

As for the fact that religion is about how we live and that the [religious] way to live is to do good, everyone who reads the Word sees this and acknowledges it on reading it. We find the following in the Word:

Whoever breaks the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of the heavens, but whoever does and teaches [these commandments] will be called great in the kingdom of the heavens. I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of the heavens. (Matthew 5:19, 20)

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire; therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:19, 20)

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of the heavens, but those who do the will of my Father who is in the heavens. (Matthew 7:21)

On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, haven’t we prophesied in your name and done many great things in your name?” But then I will declare to them, “I do not know you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22, 23)

Everyone who hears my words and does them I will liken to a wise man who built his house on the rock; but everyone who hears my words and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. (Matthew 7:24, 26)

Jesus said, “A sower went out to sow. Some seed fell on a hard-packed path, some on stony ground, some among thorns, and some into good ground. The people who received seed in good ground are those who hear and understand the Word, and as a result bear fruit and become productive, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold.” When he had said these things, Jesus cried out and said, “Those who have ears to hear must hear this.” (Matthew 13:3–9, 23)

The Son of Humanity is going to come in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay all people according to their deeds. (Matthew 16:27)

The kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation that bears its fruits. (Matthew 21:43)

When the Son of Humanity comes in his glory, then he will sit on the throne of his glory and will say to the sheep on his right, “Come, you who are blessed, and possess as your inheritance the kingdom prepared for you since the founding of the world; because I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “When did we see you like this?” But the king will answer and say, “I tell you truly, as much as you did this to one of the least of my people, you did it to me.” And the king will say similar things to the goats on the left, but since they had not done things like these, he will say, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:31–46)

Bear fruit that is consistent with repentance. The axe is already lying against the root of the trees. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Luke 3:8, 9)

Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I say? Everyone who comes to me and hears what I am saying and does it is like someone building a house who laid its foundation on the rock; but anyone who hears and does nothing is like someone building a house on the ground without a foundation.” (Luke 6:46–49)

Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21)

Then you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, “Lord, open the door for us!” But he will say in reply, “I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:25–27)

This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, but people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. All who do evil hate the light, because their deeds would be exposed; but those who do the truth come to the light so that their deeds may be clearly seen, because their deeds were done in God. (John 3:19–21)

Those who have done what is good will go forth into [the resurrection of life, but those who have done what is evil will go forth into] the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:29)

We know that God does not hear sinners; but he does hear people who worship God and do his will. (John 9:31).

from Life/Faith, Section 2

There Is a Correspondence of Everything in Heaven with Everything in the Human Being (Continued)_

Angels are stunned when they hear that there are people who credit everything to nature and nothing to the Divine, as well as people who believe that their bodies, in which so many wonders of heaven are gathered, are fashioned out of nature, and even that this is the source of our rational capacity. On the contrary, if people would just raise their minds a little, they could see that things like this come from the Divine and not from nature, and that nature was created simply to clothe the spiritual and responsively represent it on the lowest level of the design. They compare such people to owls, which see in darkness, but see nothing in the light.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 102

There Is a Correspondence of Everything in Heaven with Everything in the Human Being (Continued)

Correspondence, though, extends to much more than human beings. There is a correspondence of the heavens with each other. The second or intermediate heaven is responsive to the third or central one, the first or outmost heaven is responsive to the second or intermediate one, and this is responsive to the physical forms in us, the forms that are referred to as our members, organs, and viscera. So it is our bodily nature in which heaven finally comes to rest, on which it stands like a foundation. But this mystery will be explored further elsewhere.

It is absolutely necessary to realize, though, that all correspondence with heaven is correspondence with the Lord’s divine human, because heaven is from him and because he is heaven, as has been explained in the preceding chapters. For unless the divine human flowed into every bit of heaven and, in accord with correspondences, into every bit of our world, there would be no angels and none of us.

Again then, we can see from this why the Lord became an individual on earth and clothed his divine nature with a human nature from first to last. This happened because the divine human on which heaven depended before the Coming of the Lord was no longer adequate to sustain everything, since we, the foundation of heaven, had undermined and destroyed the design.

In the passages referred to at the close of the preceding chapter you may see what the divine human before the Coming of the Lord was and what its nature was, as well as the quality of the state of heaven then.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 100, 101