Heaven and Hell/15

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Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg
Chapter XV, Light and Heat in Heaven

XV
Light and Heat in Heaven[edit]

126. That there is light in the heavens those who think from nature alone cannot comprehend; and yet such is the light in the heavens that it exceeds by many degrees the noon-day light of the world. That light I have often seen, even during the evening and night. At first I wondered when I heard the angels say that the light of this world is little more than a shadow in comparison with the light of heaven; but having seen it I can testify that it is so. The brightness and splendor of the light of heaven are such as cannot be described. All things that I have seen in the heavens have been seen in that light, thus more clearly and distinctly than things in this world.


127. The light of heaven is not a natural light, like the light of the world, but a spiritual light, because it is from the Lord as a sun, and that sun is the Divine love (as has been shown in the foregoing chapter). That which goes forth from the Lord as a sun is called in the heavens Divine truth, but in its essence it is Divine good united to Divine truth. From this the angels have light and heat, light from Divine truth, and heat from Divine good. As the light of heaven, and the heat also, are from such a source, it is evident that they are spiritual and not natural.[1]


128. The Divine truth is light to the angels because the angels are spiritual and not natural. Spiritual beings see from their sun, and natural beings from theirs. It is from Divine truth that angels have understanding, and their understanding is their inner sight, which flows into and produces their outer sight; therefore in heaven whatever is seen from the Lord as the sun is seen in light.[2] This being the source of light in heaven the light is varied there in accordance with the reception of Divine truth from the Lord; or what is the same, in accordance with the intelligence and wisdom in which the angels are, thus differently in the celestial kingdom and in the spiritual kingdom, and differently in each society. In the celestial kingdom the light appears flaming because the angels there receive light from the Lord as a sun; but in the spiritual kingdom the light is shining white, because the angels there receive light from the Lord as a moon (see above, n. 118). So, too, the light differs in different societies, and again in each society, those that are at the center being in greater light and those in the circumference in less light (see n. 43). In a word, the angels have light in the same degree in which they are recipients of Divine truth, that is, are in intelligence and wisdom from the Lord;[3] and this is why the angels of heaven are called angels of light.


129. As the Lord in the heavens is Divine truth, and the Divine truth there is light, so in the Word He is called Light, likewise all truth is from Him, as in the following passages:

Jesus said, I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world (John 9:5).

Jesus said, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness overtake you. While ye have the light believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light. I have come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me may not abide in darkness (John 12:35, 36, 46).

Light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19).

John says of the Lord:

This is the true light which lighteneth every man (John 1:9).

The people that sit in darkness have seen a great light, and to them that were sitting in the shadow of death light is sprung up (Matt. 4:16).

I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles (Isa. 13:6).

I have established Thee for a light of the Gentiles that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth (Isa. 19:6).

The nations of them that are saved shall walk in His light (Apoc. 21:24).

Send out Thy light and Thy truth; let them lead me (Psalm 43:3).

In these and other passages the Lord is called light from Divine truth, which is from Him; and the truth itself is likewise called light. As light in the heavens is from the Lord as a sun, so when He was transfigured before Peter, James, and John:

His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light (Matt. 17:2).

And His garments became shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them (Mark 9:3; Matt. 17:2).

The Lord's garments had this appearance because they represented Divine truth which is from Him in the heavens, "garments" also in the Word signifying truths,[4] consequently it is said in David:

O Jehovah, Thou coverest Thyself with light as with a garment (Psalm 104:2).


130. That light in the heavens is spiritual and that this light is Divine truth may be inferred also from the fact that men as well as angels have spiritual light, and have enlightenment from that light so far as they are in intelligence and wisdom from Divine truth. Man's spiritual light is the light of his understanding, and the objects of that light are truths, which he arranges analytically into groups, forms into reason, and from them draws conclusions in series.[5] The natural man does not know that the light from which the understanding sees such things is a real light, for he neither sees it with his eyes nor perceives it by thought. And yet there are many who recognize this light, and distinguish it from the natural light in which those are who think naturally and not spiritually. Those think naturally who take account of the world only, and attribute all things to nature; while those think spiritually who take account of heaven and attribute all things to the Divine. It has often been granted me to perceive and also to see that there is a true light that enlightens the mind, wholly distinct from the light that is called natural light [lumen]. I have been raised up interiorly into that light by degrees; and as I was raised up my understanding became so enlightened as to enable me to perceive what I did not perceive before, and finally such things as I could not even comprehend by thought from natural light. Sometimes I felt indignant that I could not comprehend these things when they were so clearly and plainly perceived in the light of heaven.[6] Because there is a light that belongs to the understanding, the same things are said of it as of the eye, as that it sees and is in light when it perceives, and is in obscurity and shade when it does not perceive, and so on.


131. As the light of heaven is Divine truth, that light is also Divine wisdom and intelligence; therefore to be raised up into the light of heaven means the same as to be raised up into intelligence and wisdom and enlightened. For this reason the angels have light in just the same degree as they have intelligence and wisdom. Because the light of heaven is Divine wisdom, in that light the character of everyone is recognized. The interiors of everyone lie open to view in his face just as they are, with not the least thing hidden. And interior angels love to have all things that pertain to them lying open, since they will nothing but good. It is otherwise with those beneath heaven, who do not will what is good, and for that reason fear greatly to be seen in the light of heaven. And wonderful to tell, while those in hell appear to one another as men, in the light of heaven they appear as monsters, with a horrid face and body, the exact form of their own evil.[7] In respect to his spirit man appears, when seen by angels, in a like way; if good as a man, beautiful in accord with his good; if evil as a monster, ugly in accord with his evil. From this it is clear that in the light of heaven all things are made manifest, and for the reason that the light of heaven is Divine truth.


132. As Divine truth is light in the heavens, so all truths wherever they are, whether within an angel or outside of him, or whether within the heavens or outside of them, emit light. Nevertheless, truths outside of the heavens do not shine as truths within the heavens do. Truths outside of the heavens shine coldly, like something snowy, without heat, because they do not draw their essence from good, as truths within the heavens do; therefore that cold light vanishes as soon as the light of heaven falls on it, and if there is evil underneath it it is turned into darkness. This I have occasionally seen, with many other noteworthy things about the shining of truth, which must be omitted here.


133. Something shall now be said about the heat of heaven. That heat in its essence is love. It goes forth from the Lord as a sun, which is Divine love in the Lord and from the Lord, as has been shown in the preceding chapter. It is evident, therefore, that the heat of heaven, like the light of heaven, is spiritual, because from the same source.[8] There are two things that go forth from the Lord as a sun, Divine truth and Divine good; Divine truth is manifested in the heavens as light, and Divine good as heat; and yet Divine truth and Divine good are so united that they are not two, but one. Nevertheless, with angels they are separate, for there are angels that receive more of Divine good than of Divine truth, and there are those that receive more of Divine truth than of Divine good. Those who receive more of Divine good are in the Lord's celestial kingdom, and those who receive more of Divine truth are in His spiritual kingdom. Those that receive both in a like degree are the most perfect angels.


134. The heat of heaven, like the light of heaven, is everywhere different. It is different in the celestial kingdom from what it is in the spiritual kingdom, and it is different in each society therein. It differs both in degree and in quality. It is more intense and more pure in the Lord's celestial kingdom, because the angels there receive more of Divine good; and it is less intense and pure in His spiritual kingdom, because the angels there receive more of Divine truth. Also in each society the heat differs in accordance with reception. There is heat in the hells, but it is unclean heat.[9] The heat in heaven is what is meant by holy and heavenly fire, and the heat of hell by profane and infernal fire. Both mean love--heavenly fire meaning love to the Lord and love to the neighbor and every affection of those loves, and infernal fire meaning love of self and love of the world and every lust of those loves. That love is heat from a spiritual source is shown from one's growing warm with love; for in accordance with the strength and nature of his love a man is inflamed and grows warm; and the heat of his love is made manifest when it is opposed. From this also it is customary to speak of being inflamed, growing hot, burning, boiling, being on fire, both in regard to the affections of the love of good and the lusts of the love of evil.


135. Love going forth from the Lord as a sun is felt in heaven as heat, because the interiors of the angels are in a state of love from the Divine good that is from the Lord; and in consequence their exteriors which grow warm therefrom are in a state of heat. For this reason heat and love so correspond to each other in heaven that everyone there is in heat such as his love is, according to what has been said just above. This world's heat does not enter heaven at all, because it is too gross, and is natural, and not spiritual; but with men it is otherwise, because they are in both the spiritual world and the natural world. As to their spirits they grow warm in exact accordance with their loves; but as to the body they grow warm both from the heat of their spirit and from the heat of the world. The former flows into the latter, because they correspond. The nature of the correspondence of the two kinds of heat can be seen from animal life, in that the love of animals-the chief of which is the love of propagating offspring of their kind-bursts forth and becomes active in accordance with the presence and influence of heat from the sun of the world, which is the heat of the spring and the summer seasons. Those who believe that the world's heat flows in and excites these loves are greatly mistaken, for there can be no influx from the natural into the spiritual, but only from the spiritual into the natural. This influx is of Divine order, but the other would be contrary to Divine order.[10]


136. Angels, like men, have understanding and will. The light of heaven constitutes the life of their understanding, because that light is Divine truth and Divine wisdom therefrom; and the heat of heaven constitutes the life of their will, because that heat is Divine good and Divine love therefrom. The veriest life of the angels is from heat, and from light only so far as heat is in it. That life is from heat is shown by the fact that when heat is taken away life perishes. The same is true of faith without love or of truth without good; since the truth that is called truth of faith is light, and the good that is called good of love is heat.[11] This is more clearly shown by the heat and light of the world, to which the heat and light of heaven correspond. By the world's heat when conjoined with light, as in spring and summer, all things on the earth are quickened and grow, but by light separate from heat nothing is quickened or grows, but everything lies torpid and dies. They are not conjoined in winter, when heat is absent though light remains. From this correspondence heaven is called paradise, since truth is there joined with good, or faith with love, as light is with heat in springtime on the earth. All this makes more clear the truth set forth in its own chapter (n. 13-19), that the Divine of the Lord in Heaven is love to Him and charity towards the neighbor.


137. It is said in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that hath been made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory (1:1-14).

Evidently the Lord is here meant by "the Word," for it is said that "the Word became flesh." But what is specifically meant by "the Word" is not known and shall therefore be explained. Here "the Word" means the Divine truth which is in the Lord and from the Lord;[12] and this is why it is also called "the Light," which is the Divine truth, as has been already shown in this chapter. That it was by means of Divine truth that all things were created and made shall now be explained.

[2] In heaven Divine truth has all power, and apart from it there is no power whatever.[13] From the Divine truth angels are called powers, and are powers to the extent that they are recipients or receptacles of it. By means of it they prevail over the hells and over all that oppose them. A thousand enemies there cannot stand against a single ray of the light of heaven, which is Divine truth. As angels are angels by their reception of Divine truth it follows that the entire heaven is from no other source, since heaven consists of angels.

[3] That there is such power in Divine truth those cannot believe that have no other idea of truth than that it is thought or speech, which has in it no power except as others do it from obedience. But Divine truth has power in itself, and such power that by means of it heaven was created and the world with all things therein. That there is such power in Divine truth may be shown by two comparisons-by the power of truth and good in man, and by the power of light and heat from the sun in the world. By the power of good and truth in man, in that everything that a man does he does from his understanding and will-from his will by means of good and from his understanding by means of truth; for all things in the will have relation to good and all things in the understanding have relation to truth.[14] Therefore it is from good and truth that man moves his whole body, and a thousand things therein rush with one accord to do their will and pleasure. This makes clear that the whole body is formed for subservience to good and truth, consequently is formed by good and truth.

[4] By the power of heat and light from the sun in the world, in that all things that grow in the world, as trees, cereals, flowers, grasses, fruits, and seeds, come into existence wholly by means of the heat and light of the sun; which shows what power of producing there is in them. What, then, must be the power in Divine light, which is Divine truth, and in Divine heat, which is Divine good? Because heaven has its existence from these, so does the world have its existence therefrom, since the world has its existence by means of heaven, as has been already shown. From all this the meaning of these words can be seen that "all things were made through the Word, and without the Word was not anything made that has been made;" also that "the world was made through Him," that is, through Divine truth from the Lord.[15] For the same reason, in the Book of Creation, light is first spoken of, and then the things that are from light (Gen. 1:3, 4). For this reason also all things in the universe, both in heaven and in the world, have relation to good and truth and to their conjunction, in order to be anything.


139.[16] It must be understood that the Divine good and the Divine truth that are from the Lord as a sun in the heavens are not in the Lord, but are from the Lord. In the Lord there is only Divine love, which is the Being [Esse] from which the Divine good and the Divine truth spring. Outgo [existere] from being [esse] is meant by going forth [procedere]. This, too, can be made clear by comparison with the world's sun. The heat and light that are in the world are not in the sun, but are from the sun. In the sun there is fire only, and it is from this that heat and light spring and go forth.


140. Since the Lord as a sun is Divine love, and Divine love is Divine good itself, the Divine that goes forth from the Lord, which is His Divine in heaven, is called, for the sake of distinction, Divine truth, although it is in fact Divine good united to Divine truth. This Divine truth is what is called the Holy that goes forth from Him.


  1. All light in the heavens is from the Lord as a sun (n. 1053, 1521, 3195, 3341, 3636, 3643, 4415, 9548, 9684, 10809). The Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord appears in heaven as light, and furnishes all the light of heaven (n. 3195, 3222, 3223, 5400, 8644, 9399, 9548, 9684).
  2. The light of heaven illumines both the sight and the understanding of angels and spirits (n. 2776, 3138).
  3. The light in heaven is in harmony with the intelligence and wisdom of the angels (n. 1524, 1529, 1530, 3339). Differences of light in the heavens are as many as there are angelic societies; and as there are in the heavens endless varieties of good and truth, so are there of wisdom and intelligence (n. 684, 690, 3241, 3744, 3745, 4414, 5598, 7236, 7833, 7836).
  4. In the Word "garments" signify truths, because truths clothe good (n. 1073, 2576, 5248, 5319, 5954, 9216, 9952, 10536). The Lord's garments when He was transfigured signified Divine truth going forth from His Divine love (n. 9212, 9216).
  5. Man is rational because his understanding is illumined by the light of heaven (n. 1524, 3138, 3167, 4408, 6608, 8707, 9128, 9399, 10569). The understanding is enlightened because it is a recipient of truth (n. 6222, 6608, 10659). The understanding is enlightened to the extent that man receives truth in good from the lord (n. 3619). The understanding is such as are the truths from good by which it is formed (n. 10064). The understanding has light from heaven, as the sight has light from the world (n. 1524, 5114, 6608, 9128). The light of heaven from the Lord is always present with man, but it flows in only in the degree that man is in truth from good (n. 4060, 4214).
  6. When man is raised up from the sensual he comes into a milder light, and at length into heavenly light (n. 6313, 6315, 9407). When man is raised up into intelligence there is an actual elevation into the light of heaven (n. 3190). How great a light was perceived when I was withdrawn from worldly ideas (n. 1526, 6608).
  7. Those in the hells, in their own light, which is like the light from burning coals, appear to themselves as men but in the light of heaven they appear as monsters (n. 4531, 4533, 4674, 5057, 5058, 6605, 6626).
  8. There are two sources of heat and also two sources of light, the sun of the world and the sun of heaven (n. 3338, 5215, 7324). Heat from the Lord as a sun is affection of love (n. 3636, 3643). Therefore spiritual heat in its essence is love (n. 2146, 3338, 3339, 6314).
  9. There is heat in the hells, but it is unclean (n. 1773, 2757, 3340). The odor from it is like the odor from dung and excrement in the world and in the worst hells like the odor of dead bodies (n. 814, 815, 817, 819, 820, 943, 944, 5394).
  10. There is spiritual influx, but not physical, that is, there is influx from the spiritual world into the natural, but not from the natural world into the spiritual (n. 3219, 5119, 5259, 5427, 5428, 5477, 6322, 9109, 9110, 9111).
  11. Truths apart from good are not in themselves truths because they have no life; for truths have all their life from good (n. 9603). Thus truths apart from good are like a body without a soul (n. 3180, 9154). Truths apart from good are not accepted by the Lord (n. 4368). What truth apart from good, that is, what faith apart from love is, and what truth from good or faith from love is (n. 1949-1951, 1964, 5830, 5951). It amounts to the same thing whether you say truth or faith, or whether you say good or love, since truth is of faith and good is of love (n. 2839, 4352, 4353, 4997, 7178, 7623, 7624, 10367).
  12. In the Sacred Scripture word signifies various things, namely, speech, thought of the mind, any thing that really exists, also something, and in the highest sense Divine truth, and the Lord (n. 9987). "Word" signifies Divine truth (n. 2803, 2894, 4692, 5075, 5272, 9383, 9987). "Word" signifies the Lord (n. 2533, 2859).
  13. Divine truth going forth from the Lord has all power (n. 6948, 8200). Truth from good has all power in heaven (n. 3091, 3563, 6344, 6423, 8304, 9643, 10019, 10182). Angels are called powers, and are powers by the reception of Divine truth from the Lord (n. 9639). Angels are recipients of Divine truth from the Lord and therefore in the Word are sometimes called gods (n. 4295, 4402, 7873, 8192, 8301).
  14. The understanding is a recipient of truth, and the will a recipient of good (n. 3623, 6125, 7503, 9300, 9930). Therefore all things in the understanding have relation to truths, whether they are really truths or are believed by man to be truths, and all things in the will in like manner have relation to goods (n. 803, 10122).
  15. Divine truth going forth from the Lord is the only real thing (n. 6880, 7004, 8200). By means of Divine truth all things were created and made (n. 2803, 2884, 5272, 7678).
  16. [There is no n. 138 in the original. -- Editor.]