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Chapter 23

The Form of Heaven Which Determines Affiliations and Communications There.

What the form of heaven is can be seen in some measure from what has been shown in the preceding chapters; as that heaven is like itself both in its greatest and in its least divisions (n. 72); that consequently each society is a heaven in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 51-58); that as the entire heaven reflects a single man, so each society of heaven reflects a man in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 59-77); that the wisest are at the center, and the less wise are round about even to the borders, and the like is true of each society (n. 43); and that those who are in the good of love dwell from the east to the west in heaven, and those who are in truths from good from the south to the north; and the same is true of each society (n. 148,149). All this is in accord with the form of heaven; consequently it may be concluded from this what this form is in general [23.1].

201. It is important to know what the form of heaven is, because not only is all affiliation there in accordance with it, but also all mutual communication, and in consequence of this all extension of thoughts and affections, and thus all the intelligence and wisdom of angels. From this it follows that each one there is wise just to the extent that he is in the form of heaven, and is thus a form of heaven. It makes no difference whether you say in the form of heaven, or in the order of heaven, since the form of any thing is from its order and in accordance with its order [23.2].

202. Let us consider first what is meant by being in the form of heaven. Man was created both in the image of heaven and in the image of the world; his internal in the image of heaven, and his external in the image of the world ( see above, n. 57); and in the image means the same thing as in accordance with the form. But as man by the evils of his will and consequent falsities of thought has destroyed in himself the image of heaven, that is, the form of heaven, and in place of it has brought in the image and form of hell, his internal is closed up from his very birth; and this is why man is born into pure ignorance, while animals of every kind are not. And that man may have the image of heaven or form of heaven restored to him he must be taught the things that pertain to order; since form, as has been said, is in accord with order. The Word contains all the laws of Divine order, for its precepts are the laws of Divine order; therefore to the extent that man knows these and lives in accordance with them his internal is opened and the order or image of heaven is there formed anew. This makes clear what is meant by being in the form of heaven, namely, that it is to live in accordance with those things that are in the Word [23.3].

203. So far as any one is in the form of heaven he is in heaven, and is, in fact, a heaven in the least form (n. 57); consequently he is to the same extent in intelligence and wisdom; for as has been said above, all the thought of his understanding and all the affection of his will extend themselves on every side into heaven in accord with its form, and wonderfully communicate with the societies there, and these in turn with him [23.4]. [2] There are some who do not believe that thoughts and affections really extend themselves around about them, but believe that they are within them, because whatever they think they see within in themselves, and not as distant; but such are greatly mistaken. For as the sight of the eye has extension to remote objects, and is affected in accordance with the order of the things seen in that extension, so the interior sight, which is that of the understanding, has a like extension in the spiritual world, although not perceived by man, for the reason given above (n. 196). The only difference is that the sight of the eye is affected in a natural way, because it is affected by the things in the natural world, while the sight of the understanding is affected in a spiritual way, because by the things in the spiritual world, all of which have relation to good and truth; and man's ignorance of this is because of his not knowing that there is any light that enlightens the understanding; and yet without the light that enlightens the understanding man could not think at all (of which light see above, n. 126-132). [3] There was a certain spirit who believed that his thought was from himself, thus without any extension outside of himself and communication thereby with societies outside of him. That he might learn that this was not true his communication with neighboring societies was cut off, and in consequence, not only was he deprived of thought but he fell down as if lifeless, although tossing his arms about like a new-born infant. After a while the communication was restored to him, and then as it was gradually restored he returned into the state of his thought. [4] When other spirits had seen this they confessed that all thought and affection, and in consequence, every thing of life, flow in in accordance with communication, since every thing of man's life consists in his ability to think and be moved by affection, or what is the same, in his ability to understand and will [23.5].

204. But let it be understood that intelligence and wisdom vary with every one in accordance with this communication, those whose intelligence and wisdom are formed out of genuine truths and goods having communication with societies in accordance with the form of heaven; while those whose intelligence and wisdom are not formed out of genuine truths and goods, and yet out of what is in accord therewith, have a broken and variously coherent communication, since it is not with societies that are in a series in which there is a form of heaven. On the other hand, those that are not in intelligence and wisdom, because they are in falsities from evil, have communication with societies in hell; and their extension is determined by the degree of their confirmation. Let it also be known that this communication with societies is not such a communication with them as is clearly perceptible to those there, but is a communication with what they really are, which is in them and flows from them [23.6].

205. There is an affiliation of all in heaven in accordance with spiritual relationships, that is, relationships of good and truth in their order. It is so in the whole heaven; so in each society, and so in each house. Because of this angels who are in like good and truth recognize each other, as relatives by blood and marriage do on the earth, precisely as if they had been acquainted from infancy. The good and truth in each angel, which constitute his wisdom and intelligence, are affiliated in like manner; they recognize each other in like manner, and as they recognize each other they join themselves [23.7]together; and in consequence those in whom truths and goods are thus joined in accordance with a form of heaven see things following one another in series, and how they cohere widely round about; but those in whom goods and truths are not conjoined in accordance with the form of heaven do not see this.

206. In each heaven there is such a form, and in accordance with it the angels have communication and extension of thoughts and affections, and thus in accordance with it they have intelligence and wisdom. But the communication of one heaven with another is different, that is, of the third or inmost with the second or middle, and of this with the first or outmost. But the communication between the heavens should not be called communication but influx. About this something shall now be said. That there are three heavens distinct from each other can be seen above in its own chapter (n. 29-40).

207. That between one heaven and another there is influx but not communication can be seen from their relative position. The third or inmost heaven is above, the second or middle heaven is below, and the first or outmost heaven is still lower. There is a like arrangement in all the societies in each heaven, for example, some dwell on elevated places that appear like mountains (n. 188); on the top of which those of the inmost heaven dwell; below these are the societies of the second heaven, below these again the societies of the outmost heaven. The same is true every where, both in elevated places and in those not elevated. A society of a higher heaven has no communication with a society of a lower except by correspondences (see above, n. 100); and communication by correspondences is what is called influx.

208. One heaven is joined with another, or a society of one heaven with the society of another, by the Lord alone, both by direct and by mediate influx, directly from Himself, and mediately through the higher heavens in order into the lower [23.8]. As the conjunction of the heavens by this inflowing is from the Lord alone there is a most careful precaution against any angel of a higher heaven looking down into a society of a lower heaven and talking with any one there; for the angel is thus immediately deprived of his intelligence and wisdom. The reason of this also shall be told. As there are three degrees of heaven, so each angel has three degrees of life, those in the inmost heaven having the third or inmost degree open, while the second and first degrees are closed; those in the middle heaven have the second degree opened and the first and third closed; and those in the lowest heaven have the first degree opened and the second and third closed. Consequently, as soon as an angel of the third heaven looks down into a society of the second heaven and talks with any one there his third degree is at once closed; and as his wisdom resides in that degree, if that is closed he is deprived of his wisdom, for he has none in the second or first degree. This is what is meant by the words of the Lord in Matthew:-

He that is on the housetop, let him not go down to take what is in his house; and he that is in the field, let him not turn back to take his garment (xxiv. 17, 18).
And in Luke:-
In that day he that shall be on the housetop and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away; and he that is in the field let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife (xvii. 31, 32).

209. No influx is possible from the lower heavens into the higher, because this is contrary to order; but there is influx from the higher heavens into the lower. Moreover, the wisdom of the angels of a higher heaven surpasses the wisdom of the angels of a lower heaven as a myriad to one; and this is another reason why the angels of a lower heaven cannot converse with those of a higher heaven; and in fact when they look towards them they do not see them, the higher heaven appearing like a cloudy something over their heads. But the angels of a higher heaven can see those in a lower heaven, although if permitted to talk with them they would lose their wisdom, as has been said above.

210. The thoughts and affections as well as the speech of the angels of the inmost heaven are never perceived in the middle heaven, because they so transcend what is there. But when it pleases the Lord there is seen in the lower heavens from that source something like a flame, and from the thoughts and affections in the middle heaven there is seen in the outmost heaven something luminous, and sometimes a cloud glowing white and variegated. From that cloud, its ascent, descent, and form, what is being said there is in some measure known.

211. From all this it can be seen what the form of heaven is, namely, that it is the most perfect of all in the inmost heaven; in the middle heaven it is also perfect, but in a lower degree, and in the outmost heaven in a degree still lower; also that the form of one heaven has its permanent existence from another by means of influx from the Lord. But what communication by influx is cannot be understood unless it is known what degrees of height are, and how they differ from degrees of length and breadth. What these different degrees are may be seen above (n 38).

212. When it comes to the particulars of the form of heaven and how it proceeds and flows, this not even the angels can comprehend. Some conception of it can be gained from the form of all things in the human body, when this is scanned and investigated by an acute and wise man; for it has been shown above, in their respective chapters, that the entire heaven reflects a single man (see n. 59-72) and that all things in man correspond to the heavens (n. 87-102). How incomprehensible and inexplicable that form is is evident only in a general way from the nervous fibers, by which each part and all parts of the body are woven together. What these fibers are, and how they proceed and flow in the brain, the eye cannot at all perceive; for innumerable fibers are there so interwoven that taken together they appear like a soft continuous mass; and yet it is in accord with these that each thing and all things of the will and understanding flow with the utmost distinctness into acts. How again they interweave themselves in the body is clear from the various plexuses, such as those of the heart, the mesentery, and others; and also from the knots called ganglions, into which many fibers enter from every region and there intermingle, and when variously joined together go forth to their functions, and this again and again; besides like things in every viscus, member, organ, and muscle. Whoever examines these fibers and their many wonders with the eye of wisdom will be utterly bewildered. And yet the things seen with the eye are few, and those not seen are still more wonderful because they belong to an inner realm of nature. It is clearly evident that this form corresponds to the form of heaven, because all the workings of the understanding and the will are within it and are in accordance with it; for it is in accordance with this form that whatever a man wills passes spontaneously into act, and whatever he thinks spreads through the fibers from their beginnings even to their terminations, which is the source of sensations; and inasmuch as it is the form of thought and will, it is the form of intelligence and wisdom. Such is the form that corresponds to the form of heaven. And from this it can be known that such is the form in accordance with which every affection and thought of angels extends itself, and that so far as the angels are in that form they are in intelligence and wisdom. That this form of heaven is from the Divine Human of the Lord can be seen above (n. 78-86). All this has been said to make clear also that the heavenly form is such that even as to its generals it can never be completely known, thus that it is incomprehensible even to the angels, as has been said above.

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Footnotes to Chapter 23

[23.1] The entire heaven in respect to all angelic societies, is arranged by the Lord in accordance with His Divine order, since it is the Divine of the Lord with the angels that makes heaven (n. 3038, 7211, 9128, 9338, 10125, 10151, 10157).

Concerning the heavenly form (n. 4040-4043, 6607, 9877).

[23.2] The form of heaven is a form in accordance with the Divine order (n. 4040- 4043, 6607, 9877).

[23.3] Divine truths are the laws of order (n. 2447, 7995).

Man is a man to the extent that he lives in accordance with order, that is, to the extent that he is in good in accordance with Divine truths (n. 4839, 6605, 6626).
All things of Divine order are gathered up in man and he is from creation Divine order in form (n. 4219, 4220, 4222, 4223, 4523, 4524, 5114, 6013, 6057, 6605, 6626, 9706, 10156, 10472).
Man is not born into good and truth, but into evil and falsity, that is, into the opposite of Divine order, and consequently into pure ignorance; and for this reason he must needs be born anew that is, be regenerated, which is effected by means of Divine truths from the Lord, that he may be introduced into order (n. 1047, 2307, 2308, 3518, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10283, 10284, 10286, 10731).
When the Lord forms man anew, that is, regenerates him, He arranges all things in him in accordance with order, which means, into the form of heaven (n. 5700, 6690, 9931, 10303).

[23.4] Every one in heaven has communication of life, which may be called its extension into angelic societies round about, according to the quantity and quality of his good (n. 8794, 8797).

Thoughts and affections have such extension (n. 2470, 6598-6613).
They are united and separated in accordance with the ruling affections (n. 4111).

[23.5] There is only one Life, from which all, both in heaven and in the world, live (n. 1954, 2021, 2536, 2658, 2886-2889, 3001, 3484, 3742, 5847, 6467).

That life is from the Lord above (n. 2886-2889, 3344, 3484, 4319, 4320, 4524, 4882, 5986, 6325, 6468-6470, 9276, 10196).
It flows into angels, spirits, and men, in a wonderful manner (n. 2886- 2889, 3337, 3338, 3484, 3742).
The Lord flows in from His Divine love, which is such that what is its own it wills should be another's (n. 3472, 4320).
For this reason life appears to be in man, and not flowing in (n. 3742, 4320).
Of the joy of angels, perceived and confirmed by what they told me, because of their not living from themselves but from the Lord (n. 6469).
The evil are unwilling to be convinced that life flows in (n. 3743).
Life from the Lord flows in also with the evil (n. 2706, 3743, 4417, 10196).
But they turn good into evil, and truth into falsity; for such as man is such is his reception of life illustrated (n. 4319, 4320, 4417).

[23.6] Thought pours itself into societies of spirits and of angels round about (n. 6600-6605).

Still it does not move or disturb the thoughts of the societies (n. 6601, 6603).

[23.7] Good recognizes its truth, and truth its good (n. 2429, 3101, 3102, 3161, 3179, 3180, 4358, 5704, 5835, 9637).

In this way good and truth are conjoined (n. 3834, 4096, 4097, 4301, 4345, 4353, 4364, 4368, 5365, 7623-7627, 7752-7762, 8530, 9258, 10555).
This is effected by influx from heaven (n. 9079).

[23.8] There is direct influx from the Lord and mediate influx through heave (n. 6063, 6307, 6472, 9682, 9683).

There is a direct influx of the Lord into the minutest parts of all things (n. 6058, 6474-6478, 8717, 8728).
Of the mediate influx of the Lord through the heavens (n. 4067, 6982, 6985, 6996).

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