THE LORD’S DIVINE PROVIDENCE HAS FOR ITS OBJECT A HEAVEN FROM THE HUMAN RACE
Heaven does not consist of angels created such to begin with, nor does hell come from any devil created an angel of light and cast down from heaven. Both heaven and hell are from mankind, heaven consisting of those in the love of good and consequent understanding of truth, and hell of those in the love of evil and consequent understanding of falsity. This has been made known and sure to me by long-continued intercourse with angels and spirits. See what was said on the subject in the work Heaven and Hell (nn. 311-316); also in the little work _The Last Judgment_ (nn. 14-27), and in _Continuation about the Last Judgment and the Spiritual World_ (throughout).
 As heaven is from mankind and is an abiding with the Lord to eternity, it must have been the Lord’s purpose in creation; being the purpose in creation, it is the purpose of His providence. The Lord created the world not for His own sake but for the sake of those with whom He would be in heaven. Spiritual love by nature desires to give its own to another, and so far as it can do so is in its esse, peace, and blessedness. Spiritual love derives this from the Lord’s divine love which is such infinitely. It follows that the divine love and hence divine providence has for its object a heaven consisting of human beings who have become or are becoming angels, on whom the Lord can bestow all the blessings and felicities of love and wisdom and do so from Himself in men. It must be in this way, for the Lord’s image and likeness are in men from creation, the image in them wisdom and the likeness love. Furthermore, the Lord in them is love united to wisdom and wisdom united to love or (what is the same) is good united to truth and truth united to good (this union was treated of in the preceding chapter).
 What heaven is in general or with a number, and in particular or with an individual, is not known. Nor is it known what heaven is in the spiritual world and what it is in the natural world. Yet this knowledge is important, for heaven is the purpose of providence. I therefore desire to set the subject in some light in this order:
i. Heaven is conjunction with the Lord.
ii. By creation the human being is such that he can be conjoined more and more closely to the Lord.
iii. The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the wiser one becomes.
iv. The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the happier one becomes.
v. The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the more distinctly does he seem to himself to be his own, and the more plainly does he recognize that he is the Lord’s. [DP27]
I have often spoken with spirits about fortune, which in the world appears like chance, because men know not whence it is; and because they do not know this, some deny that there is such a thing. When something happened to me which seemed to be by chance, I was told by the angels that it had happened because spirits of that kind were present; and that when it was a mischance, the sphere of spirits of a corresponding kind had prevailed. Moreover evil spirits have found out how to produce by their arts a sphere giving rise to misfortunes, which appeared exactly as if of chance. And it was further said that all things, nay, the leasts of all things, down to the leasts of the leasts, are directed by the Providence of the Lord, even as to the very steps; and when such a sphere prevails as is contrary thereto, misfortunes happen. They also confirmed the fact that there is no such thing as chance, and that apparent accident, or fortune, is Providence in the ultimate of order, in which all things are comparatively inconstant. [AC 6493]
For a number of years I have carefully observed whether fortune is anything, and I have found that it is, and that sagacity then availed nothing. Moreover all who have long reflected on this subject, know and confess this, but they do not know whence it is: scarcely anyone knows that it is from the spiritual world, when yet this is the source of it. I once played in company a common game of chance with dice, and the spirits who were with me spoke to me about fortune in games, and said that what is fortunate was represented to them by a bright cloud, and what is unfortunate by a dusky cloud; and that when a dusky cloud appeared with me, it was impossible for me to win; moreover by this sign they predicted to me the turns of fortune in that game. From this it was given me to know that what is attributed to fortune, even in games, is from the spiritual world; much more that which befalls man in relation to the vicissitudes in the course of his life; and that what is called fortune is from the influx of Providence in the ultimates of order, where it so comes forth; thus that Providence is in the veriest singulars of all things, according to the Lord?s words, that not even a hair falls from the head without the will of God. [AC 6494]
The government of the Lord in the heavens and on earth is called Providence. And as all the good which is of love, and all the truth which is of faith, are from Him, and absolutely nothing from man, it is evident from this that the Divine Providence of the Lord is in each and all things that conduce to the salvation of the human race. This the Lord thus teaches in John:
I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the name, so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me: without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:4, 5). [AC 10773]
Moreover the Divine Providence of the Lord is over the veriest singulars of man's life; for there is one only fountain of life, which is the Lord, from whom we live and act and have our being. [AC 10774]
Those who think about the Divine Providence from worldly things, conclude from these that it is only universal, and that the singulars appertain to man. But these persons are not acquainted with the arcana of heaven, for they form their conclusions solely from the loves of self and of the world and their pleasures; and therefore when they see the evil exalted to honors, and gaining wealth rather than the good; and also that the evil succeed in accordance with their skill, they say in their hearts that it would not be so if the Divine Providence were in each and all things. But these persons do not consider that the Divine Providence does not look to that which is fleeting and transitory, and which comes to an end together with the life of man in the world; but that it looks to that which remains to eternity, thus which has no end. That which has no end is; but that which has an end, relatively as not. [AC 10775]
Everyone who duly reflects is able to know that eminence and wealth in the world are not real Divine blessings, although from the pleasure in them men so call them; for they pass away, and likewise seduce many, and turn them away from heaven; but that life in heaven and happiness there are the real blessings which are from the Divine. This the Lord also teaches in Luke:
Make for yourselves treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where thief draweth not near, nor moth destroyeth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:33, 34). [AC 10776]
The reason why the evil succeed in accordance with their skill, is that it is according to order that everyone should do what he does from reason and also from freedom; and therefore unless it were left to a man to act in freedom according to his reason, and thus also unless the consequent arts succeeded, the man could not possibly be disposed to receive eternal life, because this is insinuated when the man is in freedom, and his reason is enlightened. For no one can be compelled to good, because nothing compulsory cleaves to the man, for it is not his. That becomes the man's own which is done from freedom, for that which is from the will is done from freedom, and the will is the man himself; and therefore unless a man is kept in the freedom to do evil also, good from the Lord cannot be provided for him. [AC 10777]
To leave man from his freedom to do evil also, is called permission. [AC 10778]
To be led to happiness in the world by means of his skill, appears to the man as if it were done from his own sagacity. Nevertheless the Divine Providence continually accompanies by permitting and by constantly withdrawing from evil. But to be led to happiness in heaven is known and perceived not to be of man?s own sagacity, because it is from the Lord, and is effected from His Divine Providence by disposing and continually leading to good. [AC 10779]
That this is the case a man cannot apprehend from the light of nature, for from this light he does not know the laws of Divine order. [AC10780]
Be it known that there is providence and there is foresight. Good is that which is provided by the Lord, but evil is that which is foreseen by the Lord. The one must be with the other, for that which comes from man is nothing but evil; but that which comes from the Lord is nothing but good. [AC10781]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)