2. People who live lives based on truth but lack good intent; and also the nature of truths that lack goodness

Truths that lack goodness are not truths in and of themselves, because they have no life: the whole life of truth comes from what is good. This means these truths are like a body without a soul. People like this mistake their knowledge about truth and goodness for actual truth and goodness themselves, but their knowledge resides only in their memory and has not been applied to their lives. Truths are not internalized for us or made our own if we merely know them and acknowledge them for reasons arising from our self-love and love for the world.

The truths that are internalized, though, are the ones we acknowledge for the sake of truth and goodness themselves. Truths apart from what is good are not accepted by the Lord and do not save us. People who are focused on truths apart from what is good are not part of the church. They cannot be regenerated, either. The Lord does not flow into truths except by way of what is good.

Without what is good, truth is harsh. In the spiritual world it looks hard and sharply pointed. Truth without goodness is like the light of winter, in which everything in the earth is dormant and nothing is produced; but truth that comes from goodness is like the light of spring and summer, in which everything blooms and bears fruit. This kind of winter light turns into deep darkness when light flows in from heaven; and people devoted to those [wintry] truths then become blind and stupid.

People who separate truths from goodness are in darkness; they do not know what truth is and are mired in falsities. They plunge from false convictions into evil practices. The Word is closed to them. They do not pay attention to or even see all the things the Lord said about love and caring and therefore about goodness. They do not know what goodness is, and therefore they do not know what heavenly love is or what caring is. In the other life, people who know the truths that belong to religious faith and yet live evil lives misuse truths in order to gain power.

Divine truth condemns us to hell, while divine goodness raises us to heaven. Divine truth is terrifying, but divine goodness is not. What it is like to be judged from the standpoint of truth as opposed to being judged from the standpoint of goodness.

from New Jerusalem, Section 22

1. People who live lives based on falsity with evil intent and people who live lives based on falsity without evil intent; and also the nature of false beliefs that accompany evil intent and of false beliefs that do not (Continued)

Examples showing how truths can be falsified. Why evil people are allowed to falsify truths. Evil people falsify truths by bending and applying them to an evil purpose. Truth is said to have been falsified if it has been used to support evil, which happens mainly through deception and superficial appearances. The evil are allowed to attack truth but not to attack what is good; they are allowed to distort truth by various interpretations and applications. Truth that has been falsified for an evil purpose is in opposition to what is true and good. Falsified truth used for evil purposes smells terrible in the other life. More on the falsification of truth.

Some false religious beliefs harmonize with what is good and some do not. False religious beliefs that do not clash with what is good do not lead to evil except in people who are intent on evil. False religious beliefs are not held against people who are intent on doing good, but they are held against people who are intent on doing evil. Truths that are not genuine and even falsities can be associated with genuine truths for people who are intent on doing good, but not for people who are intent on doing evil.

The way things appear in the literal meaning of the Word sets elements that are true beside elements that are false. False beliefs are rendered true and softened by what is good because they are used for and deflected toward what is good, and the evil is put aside. The false religious beliefs of people who are intent on doing good are accepted by the Lord as if they were truths. Any act of goodness whose character has been shaped by false religious belief is accepted by the Lord if it was done in ignorance and innocence, and if the aim behind it was good. The truths we possess are outward guises of what is true and good, guises deeply stained with misleading appearances, but if our lives are focused on doing what is good the Lord adjusts them toward genuine truths.

Falsities containing something good can be found in people who are outside the church and therefore ignorant of the truth and also in people in a church where there are false teachings. Falsities in which there is nothing good are more harmful for people within the church than they are for people outside the church. What is true and good is taken away from evil people in the other life and given to the good, in keeping with the Lord’s words:

“To those who have, more will be given, and they will have abundance; but from those who do not have, even what they have will be taken away” [Matthew 25:29].

from New Jerusalem, Section 21 (Continued)

1. People who live lives based on falsity with evil intent and people who live lives based on falsity without evil intent; and also the nature of false beliefs that accompany evil intent and of false beliefs that do not.

There are many kinds of falsity—as many as there are kinds of evil—and there are many sources of things that are evil and of the falsities that they engender. Falsity that comes from evil, or evil-based falsity, is one thing; evil that comes from falsity, or falsity-based evil, which leads in turn to further or secondary falsity, is another. From just one false idea, especially if it is taken as a first principle, further false ideas flow in an unbroken series. There are falsities that are the result of cravings arising from our love for ourselves and for the world, and there are falsities that are the result of misleading sensory impressions. There are falsities that arise from what our religion has taught us and there are falsities that arise from our ignorance. There is falsity that contains some good and there is falsity that contains no good. There are also things that have been falsified. Everything evil has something false accompanying it. The falsity accompanying the cravings that arise from love for ourselves is truly evil; it is the worst kind of falsity.

Evil is heavy and falls into hell of its own accord, but this is not true of falsity unless it comes from evil. Good turns into evil and truth into falsity as they fall from heaven into hell because this is like coming into a dense and polluted atmosphere. The hells are surrounded by evil-based falsities, which look like storm clouds and unclean waters. The things that are said by the people who are in the hells are falsities that come from evil. Left to their own devices, people intent on evil cannot think anything but falsity. More on evil that comes from falsity and falsity that comes from evil.

Every falsity is something we can convince ourselves of, and when we have done so it seems to us to be the truth. We should therefore make sure something is true before convincing ourselves of it. We should be particularly careful not to convince ourselves of falsity in matters of religion because this leads to false convictions that remain with us after death. How damaging false convictions are.

What is good cannot flow into truth as long as we are intent on evil. To the extent that we devote our lives to what is evil and the falsity that goes with it, to that extent what is good and what is true are moved away from us. The Lord takes the greatest care to prevent truth from being joined to what is evil and prevent the falsity that comes from evil from being joined to what is good. If these pairs are mixed, the result is profanation. Truths put an end to falsities and falsities put an end to truths. Truths cannot be accepted on any deep level as long as skepticism reigns.

from New Jerusalem, Section 21

Goodness and Truth: from Secrets of Heaven

Absolutely everything in the universe goes back to either goodness and truth or evil and falsity. If it is in keeping with the divine design, or is becoming so, it goes back to what is good and true, while if it is in violation of the divine design it goes back to what is evil and false.

This holds true for our understanding and our will, since our understanding is the part of us that is receptive either to what is true or to what is false and our will is the part of us that is receptive either to what is good or to what is evil.

Nowadays, not many people know what “truth” really is in essence because so little is known about what is good. Yet everything true comes from what is good and everything good happens by means of what is true.

There are four kinds of people:

1. There are people who live lives based on falsity; some of them do so with evil intent, and some of them do so without evil intent.

2. There are people who live lives based on truth but lack good intent.

3. There are people who live lives based on truth who use that truth to focus on and move toward what is good.

4. And there are people who live lives based on truth who have good intent.

Let us take these one at a time.

from New Jerusalem, Section 20

Helen Keller was a Swedenborgian

Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell was the first book of the philosopher’s writings that Hitz gave to Helen in raised print. “I opened the big book, and lo, my fingers lighted upon a paragraph in the preface about a blind woman whose darkness was illumined with beautiful truths from Swedenborg’s writings,” Helen later wrote, observing that, as she read Swedenborg’s words, she came to believe that his writings compensated her for the complete loss of her vision. From that moment on, never did she doubt that there was a spiritual body within her own imperfect physical one and that, after a few dark soundless years, the spiritual eyes within her own unseeing eyes would open to a world infinitely more satisfying than this flawed one:

My heart gave a joyous bound. Here was a faith that emphasized what I felt so keenly—the separateness between soul and body, between a realm I could picture as a whole and the chaos of fragmentary things and irrational contingencies which my limited physical senses met at every turn. I let myself go, as healthy, happy youth will, and tried to puzzle out the long words and the weighty thoughts of the Swedish sage.

Every morning before breakfast, Hitz laboriously transcribed Swedenborg’s writing into Braille for Helen to further her religious study. As Helen later commented, she credited Swedenborg with imparting to her “a richer interpretation of the Bible, a deeper understanding of the meaning of Christianity and a precious sense of the Divine Presence in the world. . . .
His central doctrine is simple. It consists of three main ideas: God as Divine Love, God as Divine Wisdom, and God as Power for use.”

Thus, from the age of sixteen, Helen Keller considered herself a Swedenborgian.

from Light in My Darkness by Helen Keller


Previously Cited: 9/13/2018

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

Previously Cited: 6/12/2017

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


Previously Cited: 6/11/2017

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

The reality of this kind of correspondence of everything in heaven with everything in us has been shown me by a great deal of experience—by so much, in fact, that I am as convinced of this as I am of anything that is so obvious as to be beyond doubt. There is no need to append all the evidence here, though, and there is too much to include. The reader may see some included in Secrets of Heaven where correspondences, representations, the inflow of the spiritual world into the natural, and the interaction of soul and body are dealt with.

Even though we completely correspond physically to all of heaven, we are still not images of heaven in outward form, but only in inward form. Our deeper reaches are receptive of heaven, while our more outward ones are receptive of this world. To the extent, then, that those deeper reaches do accept heaven we are heavens in least form, in the image of the greatest; but to the extent that our deeper reaches are not receptive, we are not heavens or images of the greatest. Nevertheless, our more outward aspects, which are receptive of the world, may be in some form that is determined by the world, and therefore in more or less beauty. Outward, physical beauty has its origins in our parents and from our formation in the womb, and thereafter is maintained by a general inflow from the world. This is why our natural form differs markedly from our spiritual form.

I have been shown at times what a spiritual person is like in form, and I have seen that in some people who were lovely and attractive in physical appearance that inner form was misshapen, black, and grotesque—what you would call an image of hell rather than of heaven; while in some who were not beautiful, the inner form was graceful, radiant, and angelic. After death, our spirit looks the way it actually did within the body while we were living in it in this world.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 98, 99


Previously Cited: 6/10/2017

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

The correspondence of heaven’s two kingdoms with the heart and lungs is the general correspondence of heaven with the human being. The less general correspondence, though, is with the specific members, organs, and viscera, and we need to note what this is like as well.

People who are in the head in the universal human that is heaven are supremely involved in everything good. In fact, they are in love, peace, innocence, wisdom, intelligence, and therefore in delight and happiness. These flow into the head and into the components of the head in us, and correspond to them.

People who are in the chest of the universal human that is heaven are involved in the qualities of thoughtfulness and faith, and also flow into our chests and correspond to them. However, people who are in the groin of the universal human or heaven and in the organs dedicated to reproduction are in marriage love.

People who are in the feet are in the outmost heaven, which is called “natural-spiritual good.” People who are in the arms and hands are in the power of what is true because of what is good. People who are in the eyes are in understanding; people who are in the ears are in attentiveness and obedience; people who are in the nostrils are in perception; people in the mouth and tongue in conversing from discernment and perception.

People who are in the kidneys are in truth that probes and discriminates and purifies; people in the liver, pancreas, and spleen are in various aspects of purification of what is good and true; and so on. They flow into the like parts of the human being and correspond to them.

The inflow of heaven is into the functions and uses of these members, and since the uses originate in the spiritual world, they take form by means of elements characteristic of the natural world and thus make themselves known in their effects. This is the origin of correspondence.

This is why these same members, organs, and viscera in the Word mean similar things. Everything there actually has meaning according to its correspondence. The head there means intelligence and wisdom, the chest thoughtfulness, the groin marriage love, the arms and hands the power of truth, the feet what is natural, the eyes discernment, the nostrils perception, the ears obedience, the kidneys the probing of truth, and so on.

This is also why people commonly say that someone has a good head when they are talking about someone intelligent and wise, why they talk about a truly thoughtful person as a bosom friend, a particularly perceptive individual as having a keen nose, a discriminating one as sharp-sighted,85 someone in power as having a long arm, someone who acts intentionally from love as acting from the heart—these and many other expressions in human language come from correspondence. The expressions actually originate in the spiritual world, though people are unaware of it.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 96, 97


Previously cited: 6/9/2017

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

The differentiation of heaven into two kingdoms, one called the heavenly kingdom and the other the spiritual kingdom, has been presented in its proper chapter above. The heavenly kingdom in general corresponds to the heart and to all the extensions of the heart throughout the body. The spiritual kingdom corresponds to the lungs and to all their extension throughout the body. Further, the heart and the lungs form two kingdoms in us, the heart governing through the arteries and veins and the lungs through the nerve and motor fibers, each involved in every effort and action.

Within each one of us, in the spiritual world of ours that is called our spiritual person, there are also two kingdoms. One is volitional and the other is cognitive, the volitional governing through affections for what is good and the cognitive through affections for what is true. These kingdoms also correspond to the kingdoms of the heart and lungs in the body. The same holds true in the heavens. The heavenly kingdom is heaven’s volitional side, where the good that flows from love rules. The spiritual kingdom is heaven’s cognitive side, where truth rules. These are what correspond to the functions of the heart and the lungs in us.

It is because of this correspondence that “the heart” in the Word means volition and the good of love, while “the breath of the spirit” means understanding and the truth of faith. This is also why we ascribe feelings to the heart, even though they do not reside or originate there.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 95


Previously cited: 6/8/2017