The Third Round: The Gentile and learned Christian states in us

Heaven and Hell (Reading session was 311- 328)

In the Christian world it is wholly unknown that heaven and hell are from the human race, for it is believed that in the beginning angels were created and heaven was thence formed; also that the Devil or Satan was an angel of light, but having rebelled, he was cast down with his crew, and thus hell was formed. It is a matter of the greatest wonder to the angels that such is the belief in the Christian world, and still more that nothing is really known about heaven, when in fact that is the primary thing of doctrine in the Church. But since such ignorance reigns they rejoice in heart that it has pleased the Lord to reveal to those in the Christian world at this time many things about heaven and about hell, thereby dispelling as far as possible the darkness that is increasing from day to day because the Church come to its end.

[2] They wish for this reason that I should declare from their lips that in the entire heaven there is not a single angel who was created such in the beginning, nor in hell any devil who was created an angel of light and cast down; but that all, both in heaven and in hell, are from the human race; in heaven those who lived in the world in heavenly love and faith, in hell those who lived in infernal love and faith, also that it is hell taken as a whole that is called the Devil and Satan- the name Devil being given to the hell that is behind, where those are who are called evil genii, and the name Satan being given to the hell that is in front, where those are who are called evil spirits. 1

[3] The character of these hells will be described in the following pages. The angels said that the Christian world had gathered such a belief about those in heaven and those in hell from passages in the Word not understood in any other way than in accordance with the sense of the letter and not illustrated and explained by genuine doctrine derived from the Word; although the sense of the letter of the Word, unless genuine doctrine illuminates it, draws the mind in different directions, and this begets ignorant opinions, heresies, and errors.


312. The man of the Church also derives this belief from his believing that no man comes into heaven or into hell until the time of the last judgment; and about that, he has accepted the opinion that all visible things will perish at that time and new things will come into existence, and that the soul will then return into its body, and from that union man will again live as a man. This belief involves the other-that angels were created such in the beginning; for it is impossible to believe that heaven and hell are from the human race when it is believed that no man can go there before the end of the world.



There is a general opinion that those born outside the Church, who are called heathen, or gentiles, cannot be saved, because not having the Word they know nothing about the Lord, and apart from the Lord there is no salvation. But that these also are saved, can be known from this alone, that the mercy of the Lord is universal, that is, towards every individual; that these are born men equally with those within the Church, who are few in comparison, and that it is not their fault that they do not know the Lord. Anyone who thinks from any enlightened reason can see that no man is born for hell, for the Lord is Love Itself and His Love is to will the salvation of all. Therefore, He has provided a religion for everyone, and by it an acknowledgment of the Divine and an interior life; for to live in accordance with one’s religious belief is to live interiorly, since one then looks to the Divine, and so far as he looks to the Divine he does not look to the world but separates himself from the world, that is, from the life of the world, which is exterior life.


Third Round posts are short audio clips taken from Round 3 comments offered in the online Logopraxis Life Group meetings. The aim is to keep the focus on understanding the Text in terms of its application to the inner life along with reinforcing any key LP principles that have been highlighted in the exchanges.

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Esther Fyk
Esther Fyk
8 months ago

Swedenborg’s words are sometimes challenging and, in this case, for me, very comforting. David’s interpretation and affirmation of heaven and hell being states gives me a sense of responsibility and freedom, in that, I can choose the state of my mind/soul moment by moment. What a wonderful gift from God who is Love and Wisdom.

Sarah Walker
Reply to  Esther Fyk
8 months ago

Amen to that! HH 422… The state of heaven in man is the conjunction of good and truth in him; and the state of hell is the conjunction of evil and falsity in him. Whenever good in a man-spirit is conjoined to truth he comes into heaven, because that conjunction, as just said, is heaven in him; but whenever evil in a man-spirit is conjoined with falsity he comes into hell, because that conjunction is hell in him. That conjunction is effected in the world of spirits, man then being in an intermediate state. It is the same thing whether… Read more »