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It is said in the True Christian Religion that the essence of love is "to love others outside of itself, to desire to be one with them, and to make them happy from itself."1 The Lord created men with this end in view—to make them happy by their partaking in His love in a community of mutual uses.

A little reflection makes it clear that human happiness can never be achieved in solitude. It depends rather on the mutual relations among men. Men are happy when they are among fellow beings with whom there exists a common aim, a common understanding, which can promote an intelligent cooperation in the manifold uses of life. This is noticeable among men, in that people of the same race, the same tongue or nation, or the same family, or the same age-levels, or the same social environment, or the same educational or religious background, or people who have gone through similar experiences, are apt to think and feel in a similar way, and to be able to partake in common undertakings. When widely different people need to cooperate or to seek to understand each other, there is need for intermediaries who can interpret each for the other and adjust their mutual interests so that no frictions arise.

This is, among men, the greatest concern of governments, both of nations and of lesser societies, and indeed of parents and of every individual man: how to accommodate the conflicting points of view and diverse endeavors of many so that they will labor together for the common good. Here on earth, for the sake of human freedom, men are not segregated or even distinguished by their motives, which vary from the most sordid to the most pure and noble; but are judged by their outward behavior or by their acts and words. For this reason, the relations among men are external and often temporary, and can — at best — never be perfected into that state of complete happiness which the Creator intended. The fulfillment of that end can only be reached after death.

But imagine what infinite wisdom and power must be required to order that eternal world: That world into which the Lord receives daily inestimable numbers of spirits who by a thousand secret ways are led, each to the place of his life in the heavens or the hells. "Man's spirit is nothing but an affection."2 Each soul represents a different affection—and all vary and conflict unless so placed relative to the rest that each has his freedom and delight and his greatest possible usefulness, howsoever the heavens and the hells are multiplied to eternity.3

It is a part of the Divine government to separate the heavens and the hells, to ordinate the heavens according to the degrees of good loves, in a trinal order, and also to arrange the hells according to their opposition to these heavenly loves. "From the necessity of order, heaven is threefold."4 There are therefore three heavens and three hells; which represent the degrees to which men have allowed themselves to be regenerated by the Lord or the degrees to which they have confirmed themselves in evils and falsities.

But the Writings, noting that no two angels are alike and that therefore there are "infinite varieties" in heaven, reveal that heaven is not only distinguished into three heavens in special, but also by a more general distinction, into two kingdoms, which are called the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom.

It is our inference from the teachings that every angel belongs to one, and only one, of these two "kingdoms", and that every angel also belongs to one, and only one, of the three "heavens." It would therefore follow that the division into kingdoms views the same angels from a different aspect, or with regard to different mutual relationships. In general it seems that the three heavens mark the degree to which man's mind has been opened interiorly through his reformation and regeneration, while the kingdoms mark the way in which the influx of the Lord's life is received.

We cite here the words of the Arcana Coelestia:

"In each kingdom good is implanted by means of truth; but with those who are in the spiritual kingdom good is implanted by means of truth in the intellectual part, while with those who are in the celestial kingdom good is implanted by means of truth in the voluntary part. The implantation of good by means of truth with those who are in the spiritual kingdom is effected by a different method from that by which it is implanted with those who are in the celestial kingdom. With those who are in the spiritual kingdom truth is implanted in the external or natural man, and there it first becomes knowledge, and in proportion as a man is affected by it and lives according to it, it is called forth into the intellectual, and becomes faith, and at the same time charity towards the neighbor. This charity constitutes his new voluntary, and the faith his new intellectual, and both constitute his conscience.

"But with those who are in the celestial kingdom, truth does not become knowledge, nor faith, nor conscience; but it is received in the good of love and, in proportion as they live according to it, it causes a perception which grows and is perfected with them according to the love. This takes place from day to day without their knowledge, almost as happens with infants. That it takes place unknowingly is because it does not stick as knowledge in the memory nor tarry as something intellectual in the thought, but passes straightway into the voluntary and becomes of the life... As they perceive truth from good: they never confirm it by reasons; but when truth is being considered they merely say, Yea, yea, Nay, nay... ."5

In the celestial kingdom, although truths of judgment (that is, rational truths and principles of equity) are written upon their hearts and are never even discussed, still "truths of justice" and application do come into question. And the less wise consult the more wise about them, while these in turn "consult the Lord and receive answers."6 But these debatable truths of justice are such as come under their observation and sight and pertain to their external memory and bodily life.7 What they learn through the hearing they do not discuss—as when preachers from the spiritual kingdom are sent to them. For such truths they at once receive, not in the memory but in life. The case is different with the angels of the spiritual kingdom, who receive Divine truths first into the memory, and reason about them as to whether they are true or not, before accepting them as matters of conscience.

The celestial kingdom is therefore more interior, and the Writings frequently identify it with "the higher heavens," while the spiritual kingdom is said to consist of "the lower heavens."8 But this definition must be qualified by other teachings, from which it appears that those in the ultimate or natural heaven are also distinguished as spiritual-natural or celestial-natural. The spiritual-natural there belong to the Lord's spiritual kingdom, while the celestial-natural belong to the celestial kingdom. The spiritual-natural communicate with the second heaven where all are spiritual; and the celestial-natural communicate with the third heaven where all are celestial. Yet however distinct, the celestial-natural and the spiritual-natural taken together constitute one heaven, because they are in the same degree—the natural.9

On the other hand, the Arcana states repeatedly that "the Lord's celestial kingdom is the inmost or third heaven" and that the spiritual kingdom "is the second or middle heaven."10 But we are further informed that each kingdom is not only distinguished into an internal and an external, but is in fact tripartite or distinguished into three degrees — which must mean that they each contain three heavens.11 Furthermore, there are intermediates—angels who are called "spiritual-celestial," and "celestial-spiritual"—who serve as links of communication and conjunction between the two kingdoms and at the same time keep them distinct.12 Thus there are celestial-spiritual societies through whom an influx of the celestial heaven is effected into the spiritual. There are also spiritual celestial angels, which belong to the spiritual kingdom, and among them many are preachers in the highest heaven.13 For although the angels of the two kingdoms are so discretely different that they generally have no direct intercourse with each other,14 and live quite separately, yet celestial angels who have no memory for abstract truths yet a great love of them need to have truths presented by means of preachings and thus renew their enlightenment. And this is possible by these intermediary angels. There is no influx from the spiritual kingdom into the higher celestial.15 But the truths presented by the spiritual and heard by the celestial angels make in the latter a plane for the influx of celestial perceptions, which then perfect their lives. Indeed, the celestial declare that "to live according to truths is to love the Lord."16

* * * * *

From what has been said it is obvious that no diagram or chart could adequately describe the intricate relationship of the three heavens and the two kingdoms. The difficulty increases when we find that the Writings sometimes mention a third kingdom—"the Lord's natural kingdom, of which the first or lowest heaven consists" or, as stated elsewhere, "in which are men while in the world."17 But while we should not strive for any oversimplification, we may note that the Writings often resort to comparisons, and that their final appeal is always to the human form itself. It is the Divine which makes heaven, and the angels who constitute it. The image of God Man is impressed on all the relationships within the angelic heaven, which is—considered spiritually—a kingdom of uses, ordered by the Lord into a Grand Man. Only on the basis of the nexus of uses such as the human body presents, can we understand how the innumerable affections, which are angels, can be viewed in their entire complex as one heaven, a unity within which all the stupendous varieties of parts may move around limited objectives, yet toward a common good, even as is the case in the human body.

For the organization of the Grand Man it is necessary to suppose that all men be different. If all were created alike—and this would have to mean also "at the same time"—there could be no organic formation, but only a massing of identical substances—in itself an impossible supposition. The essential or first external condition for any organic life is dissymmetry, individuality, variety. There could be no mankind and no heavens, nor any freedom or choice, unless differences started with the very soul of man, or from first creation. Every man born is limited and specialized from the first. Before he has any choice he finds himself male or female, with an unchangeable racial genius and with a parental heredity that he has to cope with. His family and social status, his first environment and companionship, are predestined along with many other factors that necessarily contribute to form his mind.

It would seem absurd to suppose—or to demand of Divine justice—that every human soul, so individualized from the first breath, should be able to find an eternal happiness of exactly the same kind and degree as all the rest or to realize it in the same activities or pursuits. There are of course certain inevitable conditions for happiness. Yet happiness is obviously a relative state which cannot be procured for others by mass production or be the same in any two instances.

And since happiness can never be divorced from use, it becomes clear that in order to introduce men into happiness, the Lord provides uses of a variety and abundance that can be pictured only through the human form. It is the mutual relations of these uses provided by the Divine love, that are referred to when the Writings describe the two kingdoms of heaven. We read:

"In heaven the Divine love, which is life itself, is distinguished into two kingdoms, one in which love to the Lord reigns, and another wherein love toward the neighbor reigns. Love to the Lord involves uses as to their source (a quo), and love toward the neighbor involves uses as to their object (ad quern). The Divine love, which is life itself, is further distinguished in lesser kingdoms which can be called provinces; and these again into societies, and these into families and houses. Such in the heavens are the distinctions of the Divine love into genera and into species, and these again into their own, which are understood from their differences. Thus are distinguished affections and likewise uses, because every angel is an affection, and also a use .... There are similar distinctions of affections in the human body, and likewise of uses; since ... all things of man correspond to all things of heaven. The heart and lungs in man correspond to the two kingdoms of heaven; the members, organs, and viscera in man correspond to the provinces of heaven, and the tissues of each member, organ, and viscus correspond to the societies of heaven .. ."18

Let us note here that it is not man, but the Divine love that provides uses. It is the Lord that provides our bodies, whether male or female. The human body into which we are born without our choice—grows to its maturity without our effort of will. In every stage of growth, however, we are given a certain freedom to use or to abuse, to cultivate or neglect, the powers which we are given, and we may even develop new powers or abilities on the basis of our native endowments. But we have no choice about our beginnings!

These our predetermined beginnings will necessarily also decide what methods the Lord will employ in our regeneration. "Every one can be regenerated, each according to his state," the doctrine promises, "but in various ways."19 Those in gentile lands are saved differently than those in the church specific where the Word is. Even the ignorant heathen is offered a use in the Grand Man of heaven, even though this place is in some external province such as that of the cartilages or skins — a use which can bring him into heavenly joy.20

A man is regenerated differently from a woman. But most ancient man—the race of the Golden Age—was of a genius far different from present-day inhabitants of our globe. It is said of them that they had "celestial seed implanted in them" and that their descendants, most of whom perished in that period which is called "the flood," also "had seed in them from a celestial origin." This meant that love ruled their whole mind and unified it so that they could not separate their understanding from their will. Any falling away from truth and good was thus most perilous, since restoration was scarcely possible in the other life.21 It was due to their inborn genius, that when they fell they became imbued with direful phantasies and enormous self-love, and at last they were inundated by suffocating profanations, becoming "extinct of their own accord," as by a flood!22

The race with whom the ancient spiritual church was instituted was not "of celestial seed."23 They were mainly gentiles with whom hereditary evils had destroyed the will part. They could not be regenerated by any appeal to their good will; but only by appeal to their understanding, which with them had been to some extent isolated from the will—a miraculous provision by which the Lord as it were answers the challenge of evil. They possessed therefore from birth "an entirely different genius from that of the most ancient church, and if the Lord had not brought the human race into this genius, or into this state, no man could be saved."24

The voluntary of man has been continually depraved by the accumulation of hereditary evils, "and at length so much that evil has occupied the whole of it, so that no soundness has remained in it. Therefore, lest man should perish, the Lord provided that he might be regenerated as to the intellectual part, and so be saved. Hence now there are few with whom there is still anything sound left in the voluntary part, thus few who can become celestial men, but many who can become spiritual."25

It should be observed that man's freedom is exercised within the scope or limit of his inherited genius. The mode by which the men of the most ancient church were regenerated was exactly that which applies to those who "belong" to the celestial kingdom, namely, by an implantation of good by means of truth in their voluntary part, or through the internal man. And it cannot be by chance that the heavens of that church were celestial—and form the inmost core of the celestial kingdom—while their hells are the deepest, including even the worst profaners.

Is there any cause for us to feel envious of these provisions which the Lord made for them and which cannot now be made for us? Is there injustice in our being so fashioned that our freedom lies in a different field—one which can never lead us to the heavens of the celestial genius?

If we could recognize that no men are born alike, and that all men cannot find their happiness in the same heaven, perhaps we may come to understand better what the Writings say about people of various genius, and of their spiritual choice and destiny! Speaking of the celestial men of the time before the flood, the Arcana adds: "It is otherwise with those who do not possess celestial but only spiritual seed, as did the people after the flood, and as also do the people of the present day ... These are arcana with which the present generation are utterly unacquainted, for at the present day none know what the celestial man is, nor even what the spiritual man is, and still less what is the quality of the human mind thence resulting, and the consequent state after death."26

The grand division of mankind into one type or genius which could easily furnish the celestial kingdom of heaven with angels, and a different, more intellectual genius which can overcome the inheritance of an evil will only by truths of faith and supply the spiritual kingdom of heaven, is not sufficient to account for all the teachings of the Writings about these two kingdoms. For it appears that the dominance of what is of the will or what is of the understanding varies even with those who live at the present day, as to less fundamental faculties and more external and even superficial planes of mind and body. With these, the will is indeed depraved, although something of natural good may have modified it or healed it in part.

It is thus said of the Africans that they are as a race "of the genius in which are the angels of the celestial kingdom; Europeans being of a spiritual one."27 The nature (indole) of the Africans is celestial,28 and their spirits are more interior than the other gentiles, and more receptive of the Heavenly Doctrine. Certain Chinese are mentioned as being of a spiritual celestial genius.29Every nation is said to have a predominant genius of its own. The angels were said to have much hope of a certain nation which is of such a nature that it can receive spiritual light and become a celestial spiritual man.30 None the less "all men whatsoever are born natural, with the potency to become either celestial or spiritual; but the Lord alone was born spiritual-celestial.. ." This teaching would seem to rule out any possibility of any finite spirit belonging by birth to both kingdoms. The "intermediate angels" thus belong either to one or the other.31

Infants in the spiritual world also are distinguished as of either celestial or spiritual genius or disposition, and they are instructed within the province of their own genius.32 Mention is also made of three damsels in heaven who usually read the Word together although one of them was of a celestial genius, the others of a genius intermediate between the celestial and the spiritual.33

It is evident that the variety which we see among the children of a single family is often due to differences in genius or disposition derived from various forebears. Some are naturally affectionate, others more intellectual in their interests. Since there are many planes and degrees and many aspects of the mind, and since all things of life are due to a different balance between goods and truths, it is natural that there should be a resemblance in every one either to the celestial or to the spiritual type. It is fashionable today to refer to such differences as signs of an "introvert" nature or to an "extrovert" type, the introvert being visual, more self-conscious, reflective, and perhaps intellectual, while the extrovert is practical, aggressive, auditory, affectionate, and impulsive; although these types are scarcely ever found in a pure form.

These types, like the kingdoms of heaven, and like the two sexes, differ in their response to the Lord's gifts, and must be educated and later regenerated by different modes. Parents need a great deal of wisdom to discern what modes can succeed with different children. In general the question is whether good can be received by implanting truth immediately in the will or by implanting truth first in the memory and the understanding. The difference between children is largely one of natural genius, and the presence of natural affections, or natural good; not of spiritual good, for this only comes by regeneration. The natural good with our children does not change their essential genius, which belongs to their deeper racial inheritance and adjoins them to the spiritual kingdom of heaven.

* * * * *

The genius, spiritual and natural, which a man is given, is a gift of the Lord, for him to develop and use, a talent which he should not spurn even if he was not entrusted with more—with two or with five, as is told in the parable.34 For the Lord knows what we can use and what is beyond our ability. He also knows what is needed to perfect the marvelous economy of the Grand Man of human life. He knows in what provinces of the Grand Man of heaven man's spirit can best be employed. He creates each man with this in view, and equips him adequately for such a province; but always He allows man the freedom to progress as far into his use as man desires. By continual purification good spirits are carried into the interiors of the province to which they were allotted, but if they were to aspire beyond those provinces which correspond to their lives, "they could not have heaven."35 They may however be transferred to better positions in the province of their life, and "even into other provinces which are more noble, yea, even into some province of the heart, if found worthy." Yet no angel ever reaches perfection. And it should be understood that each angel is perfected in wisdom to eternity according to "the degree of the affection of good and truth in which he was when he left the world. It is this degree which is being perfected to eternity. That which is beyond this degree is outside the angel ... and what is outside him cannot be perfected within him."36

In the Grand Man, the heart with the entire vascular system, and the cerebellum and the involuntary nervous system, constitute the celestial kingdom. But the lowest heaven is also divided into a spiritual-natural and a celestial-natural, corresponding to the tissues of the body and lower viscera. And man is born "natural, with the faculty or power to become either celestial or spiritual through regeneration by the Lord."37 There is no indication here that one can by any act of will change one's genius or enter from the spiritual kingdom into the celestial. Indeed, the warning is given that for a man of the spiritual church to seek to reach or insert himself into celestial societies will result in the destruction of his truths of faith and thus of his spiritual life, and the lusts hidden in his proprium—lusts which he had not hitherto realized—will be made manifest.38 Those of the spiritual kingdom cannot reach even the threshold of the good of the celestial kingdom.39 Yet there is a way by which man, through regeneration, can have his celestial mind opened, after having the spiritual degree opened. This does not involve a change of genius. It takes place when man receives a celestial love of use, which is motivated by love to the Lord and a consequent aversion to evils.40 And in the Arcana it is told that if one is, from spiritual, to become celestial, he must needs advance by an intermediate; for to climb up to higher things without an intermediate is impossible. This intermediate is signified in the Word by Benjamin, the last of the sons of Israel. Benjamin is called a medium, and described as the spiritual of the celestial.41

It is not necessary here to explain what is meant by this abstract term. What must be stressed is simply that there is a way by which the man of the spiritual church or the spiritual genius may have even the celestial degree opened within his mind and thus; enter into the life of the third heaven. Yet the Writings do not indicate that he would thereby change his genius, or leave the spiritual kingdom of his birth. He would instead come into the celestial or highest degree of the spiritual kingdom; for each kingdom has three degrees, and thus three heavens. It is through its third heaven that the spiritual kingdom is conjoined with the celestial kingdom.42 It is therefore said that "the Lord, from Divine love or mercy, wills to have all near to Himself, so that they do not stand at the doors, that is, in the first heaven; but He wills that they should be in the third, and—if it were possible—not only with Him but in Him."43

* * * * *

The teachings concerning the two kingdoms of heaven all seem to refer to the uses of the angels, which are foreseen and provided by the Lord and organized like the provinces of the human body. Since these uses are most distinct, the kingdoms are also most discretely differentiated and never confused.

Yet uses can be performed only in communion with others. Heaven is therefore distinguished into innumerable societies. There are always opportunities for all angels to contribute useful services to others in their society. And as there are external as well as interior functions carried on in the human body, so even those good spirits whose spiritual faculties have been less developed can "enter info the joy of their Lord." The work on the Divine Providence indicates that

"it has been provided by the Lord that even those who could not be reached by the Gospel, but only by a [pagan] religion, should also be able to have a place in the Divine Man, that is, in heaven, by constituting those things which are called skins, membranes, cartilages and bones; and that they also, like others, should be in heavenly joy. For it matters not if they are in joy like the angels of the supreme heaven or in joy like that of the angels of the ultimate heaven. For every one who comes into heaven enters into the highest joy of his heart. He can bear no higher joy, for he would be suffocated thereby.

"This is comparatively as with a peasant and a king. A peasant may be in a state of highest joy when he goes about in a new suit of coarse wool and sits down to a table on which are pork, a bit of beef, cheese, beer, and ordinary wine; and he would be oppressed at heart if like a king he were dressed in purple and silk, and a table were put before him spread with delicacies and many kinds of costly dishes with noble wine. From this it is clear that there is heavenly happiness for the last as well as for the first, for each in his degree; thus also for those outside the Christian world, provided they shun evils as sins against God, because contrary to religion."41

Each heaven or society is a form of use corresponding to some province or tissue of the human body. The novitiate spirit is led by his ruling love to one specific province which he does not afterwards leave.45 Still, as has been noted, he may, in his further regeneration and growth, be raised into the interior of the province in which he is, and so into nobler functions. And if found worthy, a spirit might even be transferred into the province of the heart.46


1 TCR 43

2 Love ix, x

3 AE 726 (i)

4 HH 29

5 AC 10124

6 HH 214

7 SD 5587, 5586

8 HH 22, AC 10068, 10152; cp AE 322:2

9 AE 449, HH 31

10 AC 8796, 9543, 9570, 9670

11 AC 9993, 9825f

12 AC 8796, HH 27

13 HH 225, De Ver. 3, AE 831:2

14 AC 8796f

15 AC 8796

16 HH 225

17 DLW 232, TCR 195, 212, SS 34, cp AE 1222:3, LJ post. 312, 316

18 Love x

19 TCR 580, DP 325

20 DP 254:3, 4, see page 214f

21 AC 310

22 AC 562f

23 AC 5113e, 310

24 AC 608, 310, 442, 562, 726, 4493:2, 10124, 10786

25 AC 6296

26 AC 310

27 SD 5518, LJpost. 118f

28 SD 4783, LJ74, 118

29 LJ post. 132, SD 6067. Restrictions against marriages of those of different religions or different genius are noted in AC 4431, 483, 4493, and 8998.

30 LJ 74

31 AC 4592:3, 4594

32 HH 333, 339, AC 2300f, 471

33 SD 5618, cp AC 8733

34 Matt 25:14-30

35 AC 4797, 4800, 4803, 4805

36 SD 665-669, AC 4295, 4803, DP 334, Luke 7:37f

37 AC 4594, 4592

38 AC 8794-8800, 8945

39 AC 8796

40 DLW 237

41 AC 4585

42 AE 322:2, AC 4585

43 Love vi-x, AC 1799:2

44 DP 254:3, 4, HH 410

45 AC 6611, 1274, HH 49, 479, SD 5902

46 SD 665-669, AC 4803


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12. Two Kingdoms

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