HEAVEN IS CONJUNCTION WITH THE LORD
Heaven is heaven, not from the angels but from the Lord. For the love and wisdom in which angels are and which make heaven are not theirs, but the Lord’s, indeed are the Lord in them. And as love and wisdom are the Lord’s, and are the Lord in heaven, and make the life of angels, it is plain that their life is the Lord’s, indeed is the Lord. The angels themselves avow that they live from the Lord. Hence it is evident that heaven is conjunction with the Lord. But conjunction with Him is various and one man’s heaven is not another’s; therefore heaven is also according to the conjunction with the Lord. In the following proposition it will be seen that conjunction is more and more close or more and more remote.
 Here let something be said about how the conjunction takes place and what the nature of it is. It is a conjunction of the Lord with the angels and of the angels with Him, therefore is reciprocal. The Lord flows into the life’s love of the angels, and they receive Him in wisdom, thus in turn conjoining themselves with Him. It must be said, however, that it seems to the angels that they conjoin themselves to the Lord by wisdom; actually the Lord conjoins them to Himself by their wisdom, for the wisdom is also from the Lord. It is the same thing if we say that the Lord conjoins Himself to the angels by good and they in turn conjoin themselves to the Lord by truth, for all good is of love, and truth, of wisdom.
 This reciprocal conjunction is an arcanum, however, which few can understand unless it is explained. I want therefore to unfold it so far as it can be done by things within one’s grasp. We showed in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom (nn. 404, 405) how love unites itself with wisdom, namely, through affection for knowing from which comes an affection for truth, through affection for understanding from which comes perception of truth, and through affection for seeing what is known and understood, from which comes thought. Into all these affections the Lord flows, for they are all derivatives of one’s life’s love, and the angels receive the influx in perception of truth and in thought, for in these the influx becomes apparent to them, but not in the affections.
 As the perceptions and thoughts appear to the angels to be their own, although they arise from affections which are from the Lord, the appearance is that the angels reciprocally conjoin themselves to the Lord, when nevertheless the Lord conjoins them to Himself. The affection itself produces the perceptions and thoughts, for the affection, which is of love, is their soul. Apart from affection no one can perceive or think anything, and every one perceives and thinks according to his affection. It is evident that the reciprocal conjunction of the angels with the Lord is not from them, but as it were from them. Such, too, is the conjunction of the Lord with the church and of the church with Him, a union called celestial and spiritual marriage. [DP28]
All conjunction in the spiritual world is effected by intent regard.
When anyone there thinks of another with a desire to speak with him, the other is at once present, and the two come face to face. Likewise, when one thinks of another from an affection of love; by this affection, however, there is conjunction, but by the other only presence. This is peculiar to the spiritual world; for there all are spiritual beings. It is otherwise in the natural world where all are physical beings. In the natural world something similar takes place in the affections and thoughts of the spirit; but as there is space here, while in the spiritual world space is appearance only, what takes place here in one’s spirit occurs outwardly there.
 We have said so much to make known how conjunction of the Lord with angels and their seemingly reciprocal conjunction with Him is effected. All angels turn the face to the Lord; He regards them in the forehead, and they regard Him with the eyes. The reason is that the forehead corresponds to love and its affections, and the eyes correspond to wisdom and its perceptions. Still the angels do not of themselves turn the face to the Lord, but He faces them toward Himself, doing so by influx into their life’s love, by this entering the perceptions and thoughts, and so turning the angels to Him.
 There is such a circuit from love to thoughts and under love’s impulse from thoughts to love in all the mind’s activity. It may be called the circling of life. On these subjects see some things also in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom: as that “Angels constantly turn the face to the Lord as a sun” (nn. 129-134); “All the interiors of both the mind and the bodies of the angels are likewise turned to the Lord as a sun” (nn. 135-139); “Every spirit, whatever his character, turns himself likewise to his ruling love” (nn. 140-145); “Love conjoins itself to wisdom and causes wisdom to be conjoined reciprocally with it” (nn. 410-412); “Angels are in the Lord and He in them; and as the angels are only recipients, the Lord alone is heaven” (nn. 113-118). [DP29]
We shall say briefly how man can be more and more closely conjoined to the Lord, and then how the conjunction seems closer and closer. _How man is more and more closely conjoined to the Lord:_ this is effected not by knowledge alone, nor by intelligence alone, nor even by wisdom alone, but by a life conjoined to them. A man’s life is his love, and love is manifold. In general there are love of good and love of evil. Love of evil is love of committing adultery, taking revenge, defrauding, blaspheming, depriving others of their possessions. In thinking and doing such things the love of evil finds its pleasure and joy. Of this love there are as many derivatives, which are affections, as there are evils in which it can find expression. And there are as many perceptions and thoughts of this love as there are falsities favoring and confirming such evils. The falsities make one with the evils as understanding makes one with will; they are mutually inseparable; the one is of the other.
 Inasmuch as the Lord flows into one’s life’s love and by its affections into the perceptions and thoughts, and not the other way about, as we said above, it follows that the Lord can conjoin Himself more closely to a man only as the love of evil is removed along with its affections, which are lusts. These lusts reside in the natural man. What a man does from the natural man he feels that he does of himself. For his part, therefore, a man should remove the evils of that love; so far as he does, the Lord comes nearer and conjoins Himself to him. Anyone can see from reason that lusts with their pleasures block and close the door to the Lord and cannot be cast out by the Lord as long as the man himself keeps the door shut and presses and pushes from outside to keep it from being opened. It is plain from the Lord’s words in the Apocalypse that a man must himself open the door:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me (3:20).
 Plainly, then, so far as one shuns evils as diabolical and as obstacles to the Lord’s entrance, he is more and more closely conjoined to the Lord, and he the most closely who abhors them as so many dusky and fiery devils. For evil and the devil are one and the same, and the falsity of evil and satan are one and the same. As the Lord’s influx is into the love of good and into its affections and by these into the perceptions and thoughts, which have it from the good in which a man is that they are truths, so the influx of the devil, that is of hell, is into the love of evil and its affections, which are lusts, and by these into the perceptions and thoughts, which have it from the evil in which the man is that they are falsities.
 How the conjunction seems closer and closer. The more the evils in the natural man are removed by shunning and turning away from them, the more closely a man is conjoined to the Lord. Love and wisdom, which are the Lord Himself, are not in space, as affection which is of love, and thought which is of wisdom, have nothing in common with space. In the measure of the conjunction by love and wisdom, therefore, the Lord seems nearer; and, contrariwise, in the measure of the rejection of love and wisdom, more distant. There is no space in the spiritual world; distance and presence there are appearances according to similarity or dissimilarity of the affections. For, as we said, affections which are of love, and thoughts which are of wisdom, in themselves spiritual, are not in space (on this see what was shown in the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ nn. 7-10, 69-72, and elsewhere).
 The Lord’s conjunction with a man in whom evils have been put away is meant by the Lord’s words:
The pure in heart shall see God (Mt 5:8);
and by the words:
He who has my commandments and does them . . . with him will I make an abode (Jn 14:21, 23).
“To have the commandments” is to know and “to do them” is to love, for it is also said: “he who does my commandments, he it is that loves Me.” [DP 33]
The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the wiser one becomes._ As there are three degrees of life in man by creation and so from birth (see just above, n. 32), there are specifically three degrees of wisdom in him. These degrees it is that are opened in man according to conjunction, that is, according to love, for love is conjunction itself. Love’s ascent by degrees, however, is only obscurely perceived by man; but wisdom’s ascent is clearly perceived by those who know and see what wisdom is. The degrees of wisdom are perceived because love by its affections enters the perceptions and thoughts, and these present themselves to the internal mental sight, which corresponds to the external bodily sight. Thus wisdom appears, but not the affection of love which produces it. It is the same with all a man’s deeds; he is aware how the body does them, but not how the soul does them. So he perceives how he meditates, perceives and thinks, but not how the soul of these mental activities, which is an affection of good and truth, produces them.
 There are three degrees of wisdom: natural, spiritual, and celestial. Man is in the natural degree of wisdom during his life in the world. This degree can be perfected in him to its height, but even so cannot pass into the spiritual degree, for the latter is not continuous with it, but conjoined to it by correspondences. After death man is in the spiritual degree of wisdom. This degree also is such that it can be perfected to its height, and yet cannot pass into the celestial degree of wisdom, because neither is this continuous with the spiritual but conjoined to it by correspondences. Plainly, then, wisdom can be raised threefold, and in each degree can be perfected but only to its peak.
 One who understands the elevation and perfecting of these degrees can see to an extent why angelic wisdom is said to be ineffable. So ineffable, indeed, is it, that a thousand ideas in the thought of angels in their wisdom can present only a single idea in the thought of men in their wisdom, the other nine hundred and ninety-nine ideas being unutterable, because they are supernatural. Many a time have I been given to know this by living experience. But, as was said, no one can enter into the ineffable wisdom of the angels except by and according to conjunction with the Lord, for He alone opens spiritual and celestial degrees, and only in those who are wise from Him. Those are wise from the Lord who cast the devil, that is, evil, out of themselves. [DP34]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)