Heaven and Hell/40

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Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg
Chapter XL, Marriages in Heaven

XL
Marriages in Heaven[edit]

366. As heaven is from the human race, and angels therefore are of both sexes, and from creation woman is for man and man is for woman, thus the one belongs to the other, and this love is innate in both, it follows that there are marriages in heaven as well as on the earth. But marriages in heaven differ widely from marriages on the earth. Therefore what marriages in heaven are, and how they differ from marriages on the earth and wherein they are like them, shall now be told.


367. Marriage in heaven is a conjunction of two into one mind. It must first be explained what this conjunction is. The mind consists of two parts, one called the understanding and the other the will. When these two parts act as one they are called one mind. In heaven the husband acts the part called the understanding and the wife acts the part called the will. When this conjunction, which belongs to man's interiors, descends into the lower parts pertaining to the body, it is perceived and felt as love, and this love is marriage love. This shows that marriage love has its origin in the conjunction of two into one mind. This in heaven is called cohabitation; and the two are not called two but one. So in heaven a married pair is spoken of, not as two, but as one angel.[1]


368. Moreover, such a conjunction of husband and wife in the inmosts of their minds comes from their very creation; for man is born to be intellectual, that is, to think from the understanding, while woman is born to be affectional, that is, to think from her will; and this is evident from the inclination or natural disposition of each, also from their form; from the disposition, in that man acts from reason and woman from affection; from the form in that man has a rougher and less beautiful face, a deeper voice and a harder body; while woman has a smoother and more beautiful face, a softer voice, and a more tender body. There is a like difference between understanding and will, or between thought and affection; so, too, between truth and good and between faith and love; for truth and faith belong to the understanding, and good and love to the will. From this it is that in the Word "youth" or "man" means in the spiritual sense the understanding of truth, and "virgin" or "woman" affection for good; also that the church, on account of its affection for good and truth, is called a "woman" and a "virgin;" also that all those that are in affection for good are called "virgins" (as in Apoc. 14:4).[2]


369. Everyone, whether man or woman, possesses understanding and will; but with the man the understanding predominates, and with the woman the will predominates, and the character is determined by that which predominates. Yet in heavenly marriages there is no predominance; for the will of the wife is also the husband's will, and the understanding of the husband is also the wife's understanding, since each loves to will and to think like the other, that is mutually and reciprocally. Thus are they conjoined into one. This conjunction is actual conjunction, for the will of the wife enters into the understanding of the husband, and the understanding of the husband into the will of the wife, and this especially when they look into one another's faces; for, as has been repeatedly said above, there is in the heavens a sharing of thoughts and affections, more especially with husband and wife, because they reciprocally love each other. This makes clear what the conjunction of minds is that makes marriage and produces marriage love in the heavens, namely, that one wishes what is his own to be the others, and this reciprocally.


370. I have been told by angels that so far as a married pair are so conjoined they are in marriage love, and also to the same extent in intelligence, wisdom and happiness, because Divine truth and Divine good which are the source of all intelligence, wisdom, and happiness, flow chiefly into marriage love; consequently marriage love, since it is also the marriage of good and truth, is the very plane of Divine influx. For that love, as it is a conjunction of the understanding and will, is also a conjunction of truth and good, since the understanding receives Divine truth and is formed out of truths, and the will receives Divine good and is formed out of goods. For what a man wills is good to him, and what he understands is truth to him; therefore it is the same whether you say conjunction of understanding and will or conjunction of truth and good. Conjunction of truth and good is what makes an angel; it makes his intelligence, wisdom, and happiness; for an angel is an angel accordingly as good in him is conjoined with truth and truth with good; or what is the same, accordingly as love in him is conjoined with faith and faith with love.


371. The Divine that goes forth from the Lord flows chiefly into marriage love because marriage love descends from a conjunction of good and truth; for it is the same thing as has been said above, whether you say conjunction of understanding and will or conjunction of good and truth. Conjunction of good and truth has its origin in the Lord's Divine love towards all who are in heaven and on earth. From Divine love Divine good goes forth, and Divine good is received by angels and men in Divine truths. As truth is the sole receptacle of good nothing can be received from the Lord and from heaven by any one who is not in truths; therefore just to the extent that the truths in man are conjoined to good is man conjoined to the Lord and to heaven. This, then, is the very origin of marriage love, and for this reason that love is the very plane of Divine influx. This shows why the conjunction of good and truth in heaven is called the heavenly marriage, and heaven is likened in the Word to a marriage, and is called a marriage; and the Lord is called the "Bridegroom" and "Husband," and heaven and also the church are called the "bride" and the "wife."[3]


372. Good and truth conjoined in an angel or a man are not two but one, since good is then good of truth and truth is truth of good. This conjunction may be likened to a man's thinking what he wills and willing what he thinks, when the thought and will make one, that is, one mind; for thought forms, that is, presents in form that which the will wills, and the will gives delight to it; and this is why a married pair in heaven are not called two, but one angel. This also is what is meant by the Lord's words:

Have ye not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall become one flesh? Therefore, they are no more twain, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together let not man put asunder. Not all can receive this word but they to whom it is given (Matt. 19:4-6, 11; Mark 10:6-9; Gen. 2:24).

This is a description both of the heavenly marriage in which the angels are and of the marriage of good and truth, "man's not putting asunder what God has joined together" meaning that good is not to be separated from truth.


373. From all this the origin of true marriage love is made clear, namely, that it is formed first in the minds of those who are in marriage, and descends therefrom and is derived into the body, where it is perceived and felt as love; for whatever is felt and perceived in the body has its origin in the spiritual, because it is from the understanding and the will. The understanding and the will constitute the spiritual man. Whatever descends from the spiritual man into the body presents itself there under another aspect, although it is similar and accordant, like soul and body, and like cause and effect; as can be seen from what has been said and shown in the two chapters on Correspondences.


374. I heard an angel describing true marriage love and its heavenly delights in this manner: That it is the Lord's Divine in the heavens, which is Divine good and Divine truth so united in two persons, that they are not as two but as one. He said that in heaven the two consorts are marriage love, since everyone is his own good and his own truth in respect both to mind and to body, the body being an image of the mind because it is formed after its likeness. From this he drew the conclusion that the Divine is imaged in the two that are in true marriage love; and as the Divine is so imaged so is heaven, because the entire heaven is Divine good and Divine truth going forth from the Lord; and this is why all things of heaven are inscribed on marriage love with more blessings and delights than it is possible to number. He expressed the number by a term that involved myriads of myriads. He wondered that the man of the church should know nothing about this, seeing that the church is the Lord's heaven on the earth, and heaven is a marriage of good and truth. He said he was astounded to think that within the church, even more than outside of it, adulteries are committed and even justified; the delight of which in itself is nothing else in a spiritual sense, and consequently in the spiritual world, than the delight of the love of falsity conjoined to evil, which delight is infernal delight, because it is the direct opposite of the delight of heaven, which is the delight of the love of truth conjoined with good.


375. Everyone knows that a married pair who love each other are interiorly united, and that the essential of marriage is the union of dispositions and minds. And from this it can be seen that such as their essential dispositions or minds are, such is their union and such their love for each other. The mind is formed solely out of truths and goods, for all things in the universe have relation to good and truth and to their conjunction; consequently such as the truths and goods are out of which the minds are formed, exactly such is the union of minds; and consequently the most perfect union is the union of minds that are formed out of genuine truths and goods. Let it be known that no two things mutually love each other more than truth and good do; and therefore it is from that love that true marriage love descends.[4] Falsity and evil also love each other, but this love is afterwards changed into hell.


376. From what has now been said about the origin of marriage love one may conclude who are in that love and who are not; namely, that those are in marriage love who are in Divine good from Divine truths; and that marriage love is genuine just to the extent that the truths are genuine with which the good is conjoined. And as all the good that is conjoined with truths is from the Lord, it follows that no one can be in true marriage love unless he acknowledges the Lord and His Divine; for without that acknowledgment the Lord cannot flow in and be conjoined with the truths that are in man.


377. Evidently, then, those that are in falsities, and especially those that are in falsities from evil, are not in marriage love. Moreover, those that are in evil and in falsities therefrom have the interiors of their minds closed up; and in such, therefore, there can be no source of marriage love; but below those interiors, in the external or natural man separated from the internal, there can be a conjunction of falsity and evil, which is called infernal marriage. I have been permitted to see what this marriage is between those that are in the falsities of evil, which is called infernal marriage. Such converse together, and are united by a lustful desire, but inwardly they burn with a deadly hatred towards each other, too intense to be described.


378. Nor can marriage love exist between two partners belonging to different religions, because the truth of the one does not agree with the good of the other; and two unlike and discordant kinds of good and truth cannot make one mind out of two; and in consequence the love of such does not have its origin in any thing spiritual. If they live together in harmony it is solely on natural grounds.[5] And this is why in the heavens marriages are found only with those who are in the same society, because such are in like good and truth and not with those outside of the society. It may be seen above (n. 41, seq.) that all there in a society are in like good and truth, and differ from those outside the society. This was represented in the Israelitish nation by marriages being contracted within tribes, and particularly within families, and not outside of them.


379. Nor is true marriage love possible between one husband and several wives; for its spiritual origin, which is the formation of one mind out of two, is thus destroyed; and in consequence interior conjunction, which is the conjunction of good and truth, from which is the very essence of that love, is also destroyed. Marriage with more than one is like an understanding divided among several wills; or it is like a man attached not to one but to several churches, since his faith is so distracted thereby as to come to naught. The angels declare that marrying several wives is wholly contrary to Divine order, and that they know this from several reasons, one of which is that as soon as they think of marriage with more than one they are alienated from internal blessedness and heavenly happiness, and become like drunken men, because good is separated from its truth in them. And as the interiors of their mind are brought into such a state merely by thinking about it with some intention, they see clearly that marriage with more than one would close up their internal mind, and cause marriage to be displaced by lustful love, which love withdraws from heaven.[6]

[2] They declare further that this is not easily comprehended by men because there are few who are in genuine marriage love, and those who are not in it know nothing whatever of the interior delight that is in that love, knowing only the delight of lust, and this delight is changed into what is undelightful after living together a short time; while the delight of true marriage love not only endures to old age in the world, but after death becomes the delight of heaven and is there filled with an interior delight that grows more and more perfect to eternity. They said also that the varieties of blessedness of true marriage love could be enumerated even to many thousands, not even one of which is known to man, or could enter into the comprehension of any one who is not in the marriage of good and truth from the Lord.


380. The love of dominion of one over the other entirely takes away marriage love and its heavenly delight, for as has been said above, marriage love and its delight consists in the will of one being that of the other, and this mutually and reciprocally. This is destroyed by love of dominion in marriage, since he that domineers wishes his will alone to be in the other, and nothing of the other's will to be reciprocally in himself, which destroys all mutuality, and thus all sharing of any love and its delight one with the other. And yet this sharing and consequent conjunction are the interior delight itself that is called blessedness in marriage. This blessedness, with everything that is heavenly and spiritual in marriage love, is so completely extinguished by love of dominion as to destroy even all knowledge of it; and if that love were referred to it would be held in such contempt that any mention of blessedness from that source would excite either laughter or anger.

[2] When one wills or loves what the other wills or loves each has freedom, since all freedom is from love; but where there is dominion no one has freedom; one is a servant, and the other who rules is also a servant, for he is led as a servant by the lust of ruling. But all this is wholly beyond the comprehension of one who does not know what the freedom of heavenly love is. Nevertheless from what has been said above about the origin and essence of marriage love it can be seen that so far as dominion enters, minds are not united but divided. Dominion subjugates, and a subjugated mind has either no will or an opposing will. If it has no will it has also no love; and if it has an opposing will there is hatred in place of love.

[3] The interiors of those who live in such marriage are in mutual collision and strife, as two opposites are wont to be, however their exteriors may be restrained and kept quiet for the sake of tranquillity. The collision and antagonism of the interiors of such are disclosed after their death, when commonly they come together and fight like enemies and tear each other; for they then act in accordance with the state of the interiors. Frequently I have been permitted to see them fighting and tearing one another, sometimes with great vengeance and cruelty. For in the other life everyone's interiors are set at liberty; and they are no longer restrained by outward bounds or by worldly considerations, everyone then being just such as he is interiorly.


381. To some a likeness of marriage love is granted. Yet unless they are in the love of good and truth there is no marriage love, but only a love which from several causes appears like marriage love, namely, that they may secure good service at home; that they may be free from care, or at peace, or at ease; that they may be cared for in sickness or in old age; or that the children whom they love may be attended to. Some are constrained by fear of the other consort, or by fear of the loss of reputation, or other evil consequences, and some by a controlling lust. Moreover, in the two consorts marriage love may differ, in one there may be more or less of it, in the other little or none; and because of this difference heaven may be the portion of one and hell the portion of the other.


382. [a.] In the inmost heaven there is genuine marriage love because the angels there are in the marriage of good and truth, and also in innocence. The angels of the lower heavens are also in marriage love, but only so far as they are in innocence; for marriage love viewed in itself is a state of innocence; and this is why consorts who are in the marriage love enjoy heavenly delights together, which appear before their minds almost like the sports of innocence, as between little children; for everything delights their minds, since heaven with its joy flows into every particular of their lives. For the same reason marriage love is represented in heaven by the most beautiful objects. I have seen it represented by a maiden of indescribable beauty encompassed with a bright white cloud. It is said that the angels in heaven have all their beauty from marriage love. Affections and thought flowing from that love are represented by diamond-like auras with scintillations as if from carbuncles and rubies, which are attended by delights that affect the interiors of the mind. In a word, heaven itself is represented in marriage love, because heaven with the angels is the conjunction of good and truth, and it is this conjunction that makes marriage love.


382. [b.] Marriages in heaven differ from marriages on the earth in that the procreation of offspring is another purpose of marriages on the earth, but not of marriages in heaven, since in heaven the procreation of good and truth takes the place of procreation of offspring. The former takes the place of the latter because marriage in heaven is a marriage of good and truth (as has been shown above); and as in that marriage good and truth and their conjunction are loved above all things so these are what are propagated by marriages in heaven. And because of this, in the Word births and generations signify spiritual births and generations, which are births and generations of good and truth; mother and father signify truth conjoined to good, which is what procreates; sons and daughters signify the truths and goods that are procreated; and sons-in-law and daughters-in-law conjunction of these, and so on.[7] All this makes clear that marriages in heaven are not like marriages on earth. In heaven marryings are spiritual, and cannot properly be called marryings, but conjunctions of minds from the conjunction of good and truth. But on earth there are marryings, because these are not of the spirit alone but also of the flesh. And as there are no marryings in heaven, consorts there are not called husband and wife; but from the angelic idea of the joining of two minds into one, each consort designates the other by a name signifying one's own, mutually and reciprocally. This shows how the Lord's words in regard to marrying and giving in marriage (Luke 20:35, 36), are to be understood.


383. I have also been permitted to see how marriages are contracted in the heavens. As everywhere in heaven those who are alike are united and those who are unlike are separated, so every society in heaven consists of those who are alike. Like are brought to like not by themselves but by the Lord (see above, n. 41, 43, 44, seq.); and equally consort to consort whose minds can be joined into one are drawn together; and consequently at first sight they inmostly love each other, and see themselves to be consorts, and enter into marriage. For this reason all marriages in heaven are from the Lord alone. They have also marriage feasts; and these are attended by many; but the festivities differ in different societies.


384. Marriages on the earth are most holy in the sight of the angels of heaven because they are seminaries of the human race, and also of the angels of heaven (heaven being from the human race, as already shown under that head), also because these marriages are from a spiritual origin, namely, from the marriage of good and truth, and because the Lord's Divine flows especially into marriage love. Adulteries on the other hand are regarded by the angels as profane because they are contrary to marriage love; for as in marriages the angels behold the marriage of good and truth, which is heaven, so in adulteries they behold the marriage of falsity and evil, which is hell. If, then, they but hear adulteries mentioned they turn away. And this is why heaven is closed up to man when he commits adultery from delight; and when heaven is closed man no longer acknowledges the Divine nor any thing of the faith of church.[8] That all who are in hell are antagonistic to marriage love I have been permitted to perceive from the sphere exhaling from hell, which was like an unceasing endeavor to dissolve and violate marriages; which shows that the reigning delight in hell is the delight of adultery, and the delight of adultery is a delight in destroying the conjunction of good and truth, which conjunction makes heaven. From this it follows that the delight of adultery is an infernal delight directly opposed to the delight of marriage, which is a heavenly delight.


385. There were certain spirits who, from a practice acquired in the life of the body, infested me with peculiar craftiness, and this by a very gentle wave-like influx like the usual influx of well disposed spirits; but I perceived that there was craftiness and other like evils in them prompting them to ensnare and deceive. Finally, I talked with one of them who, I was told, had been when he lived in the world the leader of an army; and perceiving that there was a lustfulness in the ideas of his thought I talked with him about marriage, using spiritual speech with representatives, which fully expresses all that is meant and many things in a moment. He said that in the life of the body he had regarded adulteries as of no account. But I was permitted to tell him that adulteries are heinous, although to those like himself they do not appear to be such, and even appear permissible, on account of their seductive and enticing delights. That they are heinous he might know from the fact that marriages are the seminaries of the human race, and thus also the seminaries of the heavenly kingdom; consequently they must on no account be violated, but must be esteemed holy. This he might know from the fact, which he ought to know because of his being in the other life and in a state of perception, that marriage love descends from the Lord through heaven, and from that love, as from a parent, mutual love, which is the foundation of heaven is derived; and again from this, that if adulterers merely draw near to heavenly societies they perceive their own stench and cast themselves down therefrom towards hell. At least he must have known that to violate marriages is contrary to Divine laws, and contrary to the civil laws of all kingdoms, also contrary to the genuine light of reason, because it is contrary to both Divine and human order; not to mention other considerations. But he replied that he had not so thought in the life of the body. He wished to reason about whether it were so, but was told that truth does not admit of such reasonings; for reasonings defend what one delights in, and thus one's evils and falsities; that he ought first to think about the things that had been said because they are truths; or at least think about them from the principle well known in the world, that no one should do to another what he is unwilling that another should do to him; thus he should consider whether he himself would not have detested adulteries if any one had in that way deceived his wife, whom he had loved as everyone loves in the first period of marriage, and if in his state of wrath he had expressed himself on the subject; also whether being a man of talent he would not in that case have confirmed himself more decidedly than others against adulteries, even condemning them to hell.


386. I have been shown how the delights of marriage love advance towards heaven, and the delights of adultery towards hell. The advance of the delights of marriage love towards heaven is into states of blessedness and happiness continually increasing until they become innumerable and ineffable, and the more interiorly they advance the more innumerable and more ineffable they become, until they reach the very states of blessedness and happiness of the inmost heaven, or of the heaven of innocence, and this through the most perfect freedom; for all freedom is from love, thus the most perfect freedom is from marriage love, which is heavenly love itself. On the other hand, the advance of adultery is towards hell, and by degrees to the lowest hell, where there is nothing but what is direful and horrible. Such a lot awaits adulterers after their life in the world, those being meant by adulterers who feel a delight in adulteries, and no delight in marriages.


  1. It is not known at this day what marriage love is, or whence it is (n. 2727). Marriage love is willing what another wills, thus willing mutually and reciprocally (n. 2731). Those that are in marriage love dwell together in the inmosts of life (n. 2732). It is such a union of two minds that from love they are one (n. 10168, 10169). For the love of minds, which is spiritual love, is a union (n. 1594, 2057, 3939, 4018, 5807, 6195, 7081-7086, 7501, 10130).
  2. In the Word "young men" signify understanding of truth, or the intelligent (n. 7668). "Men" have the same signification (n. 158, 265, 749, 915, 1007, 2517, 3134, 3236, 4823, 9007). "Woman" signifies affection for good and truth (n. 568, 3160, 6014, 7337, 8994); likewise the church (n. 252, 253, 749, 770); "wife" has the same signification (n. 252, 253, 409, 749, 770); with what difference (n. 915, 2517, 3236, 4510, 4823). In the highest sense "husband and wife" are predicated of the Lord and of His conjunction with heaven and the church (n. 7022). A "virgin" signifies affection for good (n. 3067, 3110, 3179, 3189, 6729, 6742); likewise the church (n. 2362, 3081, 3963, 4638, 6729, 6775, 6788).
  3. The origin, cause, and essence of true marriage love is the marriage of good and truth; thus it is from heaven (n. 2728, 2729). Respecting angelic spirit, who have a perception whether there is anything of marriage from the idea of a conjunction of good and truth (n. 10756). It is with marriage love in every respect the same as it is with the conjunction of good and truth (n. 1904, 2173, 2429, 2508, 3101, 3102, 3155, 3179, 3180, 4358, 5807, 5835, 9206, 9495, 9637). How and with whom the conjunction of good and truth is effected (n. 3834, 4096, 4097, 4301, 4345, 4353, 4364, 4368, 5365, 7623-7627, 9258). Only those that are in good and truth from the Lord know what true marriage love is (n. 10171). In the Word "marriage" signifies the marriage of good and truth (n. 3132, 4434, 4835). The kingdom of the Lord and heaven are in true marriage love (n. 2737).
  4. All things in the universe, both in heaven and in the world, have relation to good and truth (n. 2452, 3166, 4390, 4409, 5232, 7256, 10122). And to the conjunction of these (n. 10555). Between good and truth there is marriage (n. 1904, 2173, 2508). Good loves truth, and from love longs for truth and for the conjunction of truth with itself, and from this they are in a perpetual endeavor to be conjoined (n. 9206, 9207, 9495). The life of truth is from good (n. 1589, 1997, 2572, 4070, 4096, 4097, 4736, 4757, 4884, 5147, 9667). Truth is the form of good (n. 3049, 3180, 4574, 9154). Truth is to good as water is to bread (n. 4976).
  5. Marriages between those of different religions are not permissible, because there can be no conjunction of like good and truth in the interiors (n. 8998).
  6. As husband and wife should be one, and should live together in the inmost of life, and as they together make one angel in heaven, so true marriage love is impossible between one husband and several wives (n. 1907, 2740). To marry several wives at the same time is contrary to Divine order (n. 10837). That there is no marriage except between one husband and one wife is clearly perceived by those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom (n. 865, 3246, 9002, 10172). For the reason that the angels there are in the marriage of good and truth (n. 3246). The Israelitish nation were permitted to marry several wives, and to add concubines to wives, but not Christians, for the reason that that nation was in externals separate from internals, while Christians are able to enter into internals, thus into the marriage of good and truth (n. 3246, 4837, 8809.)
  7. Conceptions, pregnancies, births, and generations signify those that are spiritual, that is, such as pertain to good and truth, or to love and faith (n. 613, 1145, 1255, 2020, 2584, 3860, 3868, 4070, 4668, 6239, 8042, 9325, 10249). Therefore generation and birth signify regeneration and rebirth through faith and love (n. 5160, 5598, 9042, 9845). Mother signifies the church in respect to truth, and thus the truth of the church; father the church in respect to good, and thus the good of the church (n. 2691, 2717, 3703, 5581, 8897). Sons signify affections for truth, and thus truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 2623, 3373, 4257, 8649, 9807). Daughters signify affections for good, and the goods (n. 489-491, 2362, 3963, 6729, 6775, 6778, 9055). Son-in-law signifies truth associated with affection for good (n. 2389). Daughter-in-law signifies good associated with its truth (n. 4843).
  8. Adulteries are profane (n. 9961, 10174). Heaven is closed to adulterers (n. 2750). Those that have experienced delight in adulteries cannot come into heaven (n. 539, 2733, 2747-2749, 2751, 10175). Adulterers are unmerciful and destitute of religion (n. 824, 2747, 2748). The ideas of adulterers are filthy (n. 2747, 2748). In the other life they love filth and are in filthy hells (n. 2755, 5394, 5722). In the Word adulteries signify adulterations of good, and whoredoms perversions of truth (n. 2466, 2729, 3399, 4865, 8904, 10648).