After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body (Continued)

As for our keeping our whole memory when we leave the world, I have been shown this by many examples and have seen and heard a great deal worth talking about. I should like to cite a few examples in a sequence. There have been people who denied the crimes and transgressions they had committed in the world. To prevent them from believing they were blameless, everything was disclosed and drawn out of their own memory in sequence from the beginning of their life to the end. Most of these transgressions were acts of adultery and promiscuity.

There were people who had deceived others with malicious skill and had stolen from them. Their deceptions and thefts were also recounted one after the other, many of them known to practically no one in the world other than themselves. They even admitted them because they were made plain as day, along with every thought, intention, pleasure, and fear that mingled in their minds at the time.

There were people who had taken bribes and made money from judicial decisions. They were similarly examined from their own memories, and everything was recounted from their first taking office to the end. The details of amount and value, of the time, and of their state of mind and intention, all consigned to their remembrance together, were brought to view, a hundred or more instances. In some cases, remarkably enough, the very diaries in which they had recorded these deeds were opened and read to them, page by page.

There were men who had lured virgins to dishonor and violated their chastity. They were summoned to a similar judgment, and the details were drawn out of their memory and listed. The actual faces of the virgins and other women were presented as though they were there in person, along with the places, the words, and the thoughts. It was done as instantaneously as when something is actually being witnessed firsthand. Sometimes these presentations lasted for hours.

There was one man who thought nothing of slandering others. I heard his slanders recounted in sequence as well as his blasphemies, along with the actual words, the people they were about, and the people they were addressed to. All these were presented together as lifelike as could be even though he had very carefully kept them hidden from his victims while he was living in the world.

There was one man who had defrauded a relative of his legacy by some devious pretext. He was exposed and judged in the same way. Remarkably, the letters and documents they exchanged were read aloud to me, and he said that not a word was missing.

This same man had also secretly killed a neighbor by poison just before his own death, which was disclosed in the following way. A trench seemed to open under his feet, and as it was opened, a man came out as though from a tomb and screamed at him, “What have you done to me?” Then everything was disclosed—how the poisoner had talked amicably with him and offered him a drink, what he had thought beforehand, and what happened afterward. Once this was uncovered, the murderer was condemned to hell.

In a word, all their evils, crimes, thefts, wiles, and deceptions are made clear to every evil spirit. They are drawn from their own memories and exposed. There is no room for denial because all the circumstances are presented together.

I also heard that angels have seen and displayed from the memory of one individual everything he had thought one day after another over the course of a month, with never an error, recalled as though he himself were back in those very days.

We may gather from these instances that we take our whole memory with us, and that nothing is so concealed in this world that it will not be made known after death, made known in public, according to the Lord’s words, “Nothing is hidden that will not be uncovered, and nothing concealed that will not be known. So what you have said in darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear will be proclaimed from the rooftops” (Luke 12:2–3).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 462b

After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body (Continued)

Nevertheless, the difference between our life in the spiritual world and our life in the natural world is considerable, in regard both to our outer senses and the way they affect us and to our inner senses and the way they affect us. People who are in heaven have far more delicate senses. That is, they see and hear and also think more discerningly than when they were in this world. This is because they are seeing in heaven’s light, which vastly surpasses the world’s light (see above, Section 126), and they hear by way of a spiritual atmosphere that vastly surpasses the atmosphere of the earth (see Section 235). The difference in their outer senses is like that between something clear and something hidden by a cloud, or like noonday light and the dimness of evening. Because it is divine truth, heaven’s light enables angels’ sight to notice and differentiate the slightest things.

Further, their outer sight is responsive to their inner sight or discernment, since for angels the one sight flows into the other and they act as a single faculty. This is why they are so keen. Their hearing is similarly responsive to their perception, which is a function of both discernment and volition. So they pick up in the tone and words of speakers the slightest shadings of their affection and thought—shadings of affection in the tone, and shadings of thought in the words (see above, Sections 234–245).

However, the other senses are not as delicate for angels as their senses of sight and hearing, because sight and hearing serve their intelligence and wisdom, while the others do not. If the other senses were as sensitive, they would take away the light and pleasure of angels’ wisdom and interject a pleasure of motivations centering in various physical appetites, appetites that obscure and weaken the intellect to the extent that they flourish. This happens to people in the world as well, who become dull and mindless in regard to spiritual truths to the extent that they pander to their taste and to the sensual allurements of the body.

What was presented in the chapter on the wisdom of heaven’s angels (Sections 265–275) may suffice to indicate that the deeper senses of heaven’s angels, the senses of their thought and affection, are more delicate and perfect than the ones they had in the world.

As for the difference in state of people who are in hell from their state in the world, this too is substantial. The perfection and wonder of the outer and inner senses of angels in heaven is paralleled by their imperfection for people in hell. However, we need to deal with their state later.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 462a


Section 126: Published 11/22/2016

Section 235: Published 5/3/2018

Sections 234-245: Published 5/3/2018-5/6/2018

Sections 265-275: Published 10/18/2017-10/24/2017

After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body

REPEATED experience has witnessed to me that when we move from the natural world into the spiritual, which happens when we die, we take with us everything that pertains to our character except our earthly body. In fact, when we enter the spiritual world or our life after death, we are in a body as we were in this world. There seems to be no difference, since we do not feel or see any difference. This body is spiritual, though, so it has been separated or purified from earthly matter. Further, when anything spiritual touches and sees something spiritual, it is just like something natural touching and seeing something natural. So when we have become a spirit, we have no sense that we are not in the body we inhabited in the world, and therefore do not realize that we have died.

As “spirit-people,” we enjoy every outer and inner sense we enjoyed in the world. We see the way we used to, we hear and talk the way we used to; we smell and taste and feel things when we touch them the way we used to; we want, wish, crave, think, ponder, are moved, love, and intend the way we used to. Studious types still read and write as before. In a word, when we move from the one life into the other, or from the one world into the other, it is like moving from one [physical] place to another; and we take with us everything we owned as persons to the point that it would be unfair to say that we have lost anything of our own after death, which is only a death of the earthly body.

We even take with us our natural memory, since we retain everything we have heard, seen, read, learned, or thought in the world from earliest infancy to the very end of life. However, since the natural objects that reside in our memory cannot be reproduced in a spiritual world, they become dormant the way they do when we are not thinking about them. Even so, they can be reproduced when it so pleases the Lord. I will have more to say soon, though, about this memory and its condition after death.

Sense-centered people are quite incapable of believing that our state after death is like this because they do not grasp it. Sense-centered people can think only on the natural level, even about spiritual matters. This means that anything they do not sense—that is, see with their physical eyes and touch with their hands—they say does not exist, as we read of Thomas in John 20:25, 27, 29. The quality of sense-centered people has been described above in Section 267, and in note c there.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 461


Section 267: Published 10/20/2017

What Angels Do in Heaven (Continued)

The people in heaven who are involved in church affairs are the ones who loved the Word in the world and looked for truths in it with lively interest, not for the sake of eminence or profit but for the service of their own life and the lives of others. In proportion to their love and eagerness for service, they are enlightened there and are in the light of wisdom, attaining it because of the Word in the heavens, which is not natural the way it is in the world, but spiritual (see Section 259 above). They have the gift of preaching; and in keeping with the divine design, the ones who are more highly placed there are the ones who surpass others in the wisdom they derive from their enlightenment.

The people who are involved in civic affairs are the ones who loved their country and its welfare more than their own, who behaved honestly and fairly out of a love for what is honest and fair. To the extent that they sought out laws of justice because of the urging of this love and thereby became discerning they enjoy the ability to fill governing offices in heaven. They perform these duties in the place or on the level appropriate to their discernment, which in turn is equivalent to their love of service in the common good.

Further, there are so many offices and departments in heaven, so many tasks, that there are simply too many to list. There are relatively few in the world. No matter how many people are involved, they are all caught up in a love of their work and tasks out of a love of service—no one out of selfishness or a love of profit. In fact, there is no love of profit for the sake of livelihood, since all the necessities of life are given them gratis. They are housed gratis, clothed gratis, and fed gratis. We can see from this that people who have loved themselves and the world more than service have no place in heaven. In fact, our love or affection invariably stays with us after our life in the world. It is not uprooted to eternity (see above, Section 363).

Everyone in heaven is engaged in his or her work according to its correspondence, and the correspondence is not with the work itself but with the use of each particular task (see above, Section 112); and everything has a correspondence (Section 106). When we are engaged in an activity or a task in heaven that does answer to its use, then we are in a state of life very much like the one we were in in this world. This is because what is spiritual and what is natural act as one by means of their correspondence, but with the difference that [after death] we enjoy a deeper delight because we are engaged in a spiritual life. This is a deeper life, and therefore more open to heavenly blessedness.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 393, 394


Section 259: Published 6/14/2018

Section 363: Published 7/22/2018

section 112: Published 6/24/2017

Section 106: Published 6/18/2017

What Angels Do in Heaven (Continued)

All the communities in the heavens are differentiated according to their forms of service because they are differentiated according to their virtues, as has been noted above (Sections 41–45). Their virtues are virtues in action or acts of thoughtfulness, which are services. There are some communities whose tasks are to take care of babies; there are other communities whose tasks are to teach and lead children while they are growing up; there are other communities that look after young boys and girls who are well disposed because of the way they were raised in this world and have come [straight] to heaven, where they are taught and raised in much the same way. There are some that teach simple people from the Christian world and lead them on the way to heaven, and there are some that do the same for various non-Christian peoples. There are some that protect new spirits, just arrived from the world, from the attacks of evil spirits; and there are some who attend to people in the lower earth. Then there are some who attend to people in the hells and control them so that they do not torture each other beyond set limits. There are also some who tend to people who are being awakened from their death.

Broadly speaking, angels of all communities are assigned to us to protect us, to lead us away from evil feelings and the evil thoughts that these cause and to instill good feelings to the extent that we are freely open to them. These serve to control our deeds or works by removing our evil intentions to the extent that this can be done. When angels are with us they seem to dwell in our affections, near us to the extent that we are engaged in something good because of truth, and distant to the extent that our life is removed from such engagement.

However, all these tasks are things the Lord does by means of angels, since angels do them not on their own but from the Lord. This is why in the deeper meaning of the Word “angels” does not mean angels but something of the Lord; and this is why angels are called gods in the Word.

These are general categories of angels’ activities, but each individual has her or his own specific contribution to make. This is because every general service is made up of countless elements that are called mediate or subservient or supporting services. All of these are arranged and ranked according to the divine design, and taken together they make up and complete an overarching function that is the common good.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections, 391, 392


Sections 41-45: Published 5/7/2017-5/8/2017

What Angels Do in Heaven (Continued)

This enables us to determine what rankings in the heavens are like, namely that we love, value, and respect the functionaries the way we love, value, and respect the functions that are associated with them, and also that these functionaries are loved, valued, and respected to the extent that they do not attribute their use to themselves but to the Lord. To that extent they are wise, and to that extent they fulfill their uses from good motives. Spiritual love, value, and respect are nothing but love, value, and respect for the use in the role, respect for the role because of the use and not for the use because of the role. If we look at people from a spiritually true perspective, this is the only way to see them. Then we see one person as much like another, whether their rank is great or small. The only difference we see is a difference in wisdom, and wisdom is loving use, which means loving the welfare of our fellow citizens, our community, our country, and the church.

This is also what constitutes love for the Lord, since everything good that is effectively good comes from the Lord. It also constitutes love for our neighbor, since our neighbor is the welfare that is to be loved in our fellow citizens, our community, our country, and our church, and that is to be fostered for their sakes.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 390

What Angels Do in Heaven

THERE is no way to list all the functions that people have in the heavens or to describe them in detail, though it is possible to say something on the subject in general terms; they are innumerable and vary depending on the roles of the communities as well. In fact, each community plays a unique role, since the communities differ depending on their virtues (see above, Section 41) and therefore on their function. This is because virtues for everyone in the heavens are virtues in act, which are functions. Everyone there does something specifically useful, for the Lord’s kingdom is a kingdom of uses.

There are many services in the heavens just as there are on earth, since there are ecclesiastical, civic, and domestic affairs there. The existence of the ecclesiastical ones follows from what was presented above about divine worship in Sections 221–227, the existence of civic ones from what was presented about forms of government in heaven in Sections 213–220, while the existence of domestic ones follows from the material on angels’ homes and houses (Sections 183–190) and on marriages in heaven (Sections 366–386). We can therefore see that the roles and services in any given heavenly community are multiple.

Everything in the heavens is arranged according to the divine design, which is managed everywhere by the oversight of angels, with the wiser ones tending to matters of the common good or use and the less wise to smaller details, and so on. These matters are ranked just as uses are ranked in the divine design. This also means that importance is attributed to each role in keeping with the importance of its use. Angels, however, do not claim any importance for themselves but ascribe it all to the use; and since the use is the good that it serves and everything good comes from the Lord, they ascribe it all to the Lord. This means that if people think about respect for themselves first and for their use secondarily instead of for the use first and for themselves secondarily, they cannot hold any office in heaven because they are looking away from the Lord, putting themselves first and their use second. To say “use” is to mean the Lord as well, since as just noted use is something good, and good comes from the Lord.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 387-389


Section 41: Published 5/7/2017

Sections 221-227: Published 12/17/2016-12/18/2016

Sections 213-220: Published 3/23/2018-3/25/2018

Sections 183-190: Published 4/26/2018-4/28/2018

Sections 366-386: Published 12/15/2017-12/22/2017

Rich and Poor People in Heaven (Continued)

We may gather from this that rich people arrive in heaven just as much as poor people do, one as easily as the other. The reason people believe that it is easy for the poor and hard for the rich is that the Word is misunderstood when it talks about the rich and the poor. In the spiritual meaning of the Word, “the rich” means people who are amply supplied with understandings of what is true and good, that is, people in the church where the Word is. “The poor” means people who lack these understandings but who long for them, or people outside the church, where the Word is not found.

The rich person dressed in purple and fine linen who was cast into hell means the Jewish nation. Because they had the Word and were therefore amply supplied with understandings of what is good and true, they are called “rich.” The garments of purple actually mean understandings of what is good, and the fine linen means understandings of what is true. The poor person who was lying in the gateway and who longed to feast on the crumbs that were falling from the rich person’s table, who was carried up into heaven by angels, means the non-Jews who did not have understandings of what is good and true but who still longed for them (Luke 16:19, 31).

The rich who were invited to the great feast but who excused themselves also mean the Jewish nation, and the poor who were brought in to replace them mean the non-Jews who were outside the church (Luke 12:16–24 [14:16–24]).

We need also to explain who are meant by the rich of whom the Lord said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). “The rich person” here means the rich in both senses, natural and spiritual. Rich people in the natural sense are people who have abundant wealth and set their hearts on it, while in a spiritual sense they are people who are amply supplied with insights and knowledge (for these are spiritual wealth) and who want to use them to get themselves into heavenly and ecclesiastical circles by their own intellect. Since this is contrary to the divine design, it says that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. On this level of meaning, a camel means our cognitive and informational level in general, and the eye of a needle means spiritual truth.

Nowadays people do not know that this is the meaning of the camel and the eye of a needle because there has not yet been any access to the knowledge that teaches what is meant spiritually by the things that the Word says literally. There is spiritual meaning in the details of the Word, and natural meaning as well; because the Word was written in pure correspondences of natural realities with spiritual ones in order to effect a union of heaven and the world, or of angels with us, once the direct union had ceased. We can see from this exactly who are meant by the rich in the Word.

We may gather from a number of passages that on the spiritual level “the rich” in the Word refers to people who enjoy insights into what is good and true and that wealth means those insights themselves, which are spiritual riches: see Isaiah 10:12, 13, 14; 30:6, 7; 45:3; Jeremiah 17:3; 47:7 [48:7]; 50:36–37; 51:13; Daniel 5:2–4; Ezekiel 26:7, 12; 27:1–36; Zechariah 9:3–4; Psalms 45:12;229 Hosea 12:9; Revelation 3:17–18; Luke 14:33; and elsewhere. On the poor in the spiritual sense as people who do not have insights into what is good and true but who long for them, see Matthew 11:5; Luke 6:20–21; 14:21; Isaiah 14:30; 29:19; 41:17–18; Zephaniah 3:12, 18 [13]. An explanation of the spiritual meaning of all these passages may be found in §10227 of Secrets of Heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 365

Rich and Poor People in Heaven (Continued)

Poor people do not get into heaven because of their poverty but because of their lives. Our lives follow us whether we are rich or poor. There is no special mercy for the one any more than for the other. People who have lived well are accepted; people who have lived badly are rejected.

Poverty can actually seduce people and lead them away from heaven just as much as wealth can. There are many people among the poor who are not content with their lot, who covet much more, and who believe that wealth is a blessing; so when they do not get what they want, they are enraged and harbor evil thoughts about divine providence. They envy other people their assets, and given the chance would just as soon cheat them and live in their own foul pleasures.

It is different, though, for poor people who are content with their lot, are conscientious and careful in their work, prefer work to idleness, behave honestly and reliably, and lead Christian lives. I have sometimes talked with rural and common people who had believed in God while they lived in this world and had behaved honestly and righteously in their jobs. Because they were impelled by a desire to know what was true, they kept asking what thoughtfulness and faith were, since they had heard a lot about faith in this world and were hearing a lot about thoughtfulness in the other life.

So they were told that thoughtfulness is all about living and faith is all about doctrine. This means that thoughtfulness is intending and doing what is fair and right in every task, while faith is thinking what is fair and right; so faith and thoughtfulness go together like doctrine and a life according to it, or like thought and intent. Faith becomes thoughtfulness, then, when we intend and do the fair and right things that we think. When this happens, they are not two but one. They understood this perfectly well and were overjoyed, saying that in the world they had not understood believing to be any different from living.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 364

Rich and Poor People in Heaven (Continued)

After death, our ruling affection or love awaits each one of us. This is never rooted out to eternity because our spirit is exactly like our love; and (what has not been known before) the body of every spirit and angel is an outward form of her or his love that is completely responsive to the inner form that is the character and mind of that spirit or angel. That is why you can recognize the quality of spirits from their faces, their postures, and their speech. That is why our own spirits are recognized in this world if we have not learned how to pretend with our faces and postures and speech. We may gather from this that our own eternal quality is that of our ruling affection or love.

I have been allowed to talk with people who lived more than seventeen centuries ago, people whose lives are known from the literature of their own times; and I have been convinced that the same love they had then is still sustaining them.

We may also gather from this that a love of wealth and the usefulness it affords also remains with us forever, with exactly the quality it acquired in this world. There is this difference, though: for people whose wealth served them as means to useful lives, it is turned into delights in keeping with their usefulness, while for people whose wealth served them as means to evil activities, it is turned into filth—filth that they enjoy just as much as they enjoyed their ill-used wealth in the world. The reason they enjoy the filth is that the foul pleasures and pursuits that were their practices in the world, and their greed (which is a love of wealth with no thought of use), correspond to filth. Spiritual filth is nothing else.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 363