Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1880

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1880. Additional Remarks -

As regards spirits and angels in general, all of whom are the souls of people living on after the death of the body, they possess far more perfect sensory powers than men, that is, the powers of sight, hearing, smell, and touch, but not of taste. Spirits however are not able, and angels are even less able, to see anything whatever in the world with their sight, that is, with the sight of the spirit. For the light of the world, or of the sun, is to them as pitch darkness, just as man cannot with his sight, that is, with the sight of the body, see anything whatever in the next life; for to him the light of heaven, or the Lord's heavenly light, is as pitch darkness.

[2] Nevertheless, when it pleases the Lord, spirits and angels are able to see the things that exist in the world through the eyes of one in the world, though the Lord does not allow such a thing to happen with anyone except someone for whom the Lord makes it possible to converse with spirits and angels, and to be together with them. Through my own eyes they have been allowed to see the things that are in the world, and to see them as plainly as I myself saw them, and also to hear the people talking to me. On occasions it has come about that through me some have seen their friends whom they had had during their lifetime, as present then as formerly; and at this they have been dumbfounded. They have also seen their married partners and their children, and have wished me to tell them that they were present and could see them, and to report about their state in the next life. But I was forbidden to tell this to them and to reveal to them that they were seen as described, the reason for this being that they would have said I was insane or would have thought that such reports were delirious wanderings of the mind. For I knew very well that although they would say with their lips that spirits exist and that the dead have risen, they would still not believe it in their hearts.

[3] When my interior sight was first opened and through my eyes they saw the world and what was in it, spirits and angels were so astonished that they said it was the greatest miracle of all time, and a new found joy entered into them that in this way a communication now existed of earth with heaven, and of heaven with earth. This delight lasted for several months, but after that it became commonplace, and now they do not wonder at it at all. I have been informed that spirits and angels present with other people do not see anything at all of things in the world, but merely perceive the thoughts and affections of those with whom they are present.

[4] From these considerations it has become clear that man was created in such a way that while living on earth among men he might live at the same time in heaven among angels, and vice versa. He was so created that heaven and earth might co-exist and act as one, with men knowing what was going on in heaven and angels what was going on in the world. And when they departed the earthly life men might accordingly pass from the Lord's kingdom on earth into the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, passing not as into a different kingdom, but as into the same one in which they had been when they lived in the body. But because man has become so bodily-minded he has closed heaven against himself.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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