Good Question! Recap: Beauty, the Body of Jesus, and Levels of Heaven? — 03/02/20

Watch full episode here!

Our expert panel has gathered once again to answer viewer questions with the help of the writings of eighteenth-century spiritual teacher Emanuel Swedenborg.

The panel members are:

  • Curtis Childs, host of Swedenborg & Life
  • Chara Daum, Latin consultant, New Century Edition
  • Chelsea Odhner, writer for Swedenborg & Life

Questions and answers are summarized below; please follow the links for the full discussion.

1. Do we progress to higher levels of perfection in heaven? When?

Heaven is an endless perfection, so humans will always have room to grow. Since the Lord is perfection and love itself, we can only get closer to him but will never quite get there. Sometimes the level shift is so dramatic that there can be a clear end and new beginning, a process that could even be described as another death and rebirth.

2. Luke 4:1624 extends from the Lord’s reading of Isaiah to his utterance that no prophet is accepted in his own country. What does Swedenborg mean when he says understanding these passages is more likely outside the church?

Thinking you know the answers is one of the biggest obstacles to actually learning the truth. In Swedenborg’s day, the church leaders especially showed a kind of hubris where they thought that they had all the answers. Even today, there are people who believe that God is not a loving God.

Curtis, Chara, and Chelsea sit at the anchor desk.

3. Here [on earth], I feel we may acquire a programmed sense of what is beautiful or attractive to us through association. Does beauty recognition unfold differently there [in heaven]? Do we still carry our personalized lens?

While beauty may remain in the eye of the beholder, there are some objective measures of beauty that will be revealed to us in the light of heaven. There’s no separation of morality and beauty there.

4. Does Swedenborg believe Jesus returned with his actual ‘physical body,’ or did he believe the disciples saw his ‘spiritual body’ by opening their spiritual eyes?

Jesus was unique in that his body was actually made divine. So in a way, his actual physical body and spiritual body united and coexisted in the same place. When we die, though, our physical bodies will waste away while our spiritual bodies move on.

5. Swedenborg talks about various levels of the spiritual realm. Is it hard for those in higher levels to communicate and identify with those in lower levels?

It can be hard for us to connect with those on higher levels than our own, but higher angels can understand us well enough. They know us and communicate with us in their own ways, but it’s just hard for us to understand them. Angels are connected to us at our deepest core.

6. Will repressed trauma go on the other side, or do you have to work through it?

Everything we don’t have a chance to work through or do here will be made available to us on the other side. Imagine someone who may not have the energy or even the opportunity to take the time to understand themselves better or invest in therapy—they’ll get their chance in the afterlife. 

Curtis, Chara, and Chelsea sit at the anchor desk.

7. Swedenborg explains that not only Christians can go to heaven. Does the Bible contradict that in any way since most mainstream Christians believe in eternal torment for non-believers?

Most of the Bible verses used to defend that worldview are actually far more open than people remember. The instruction to “walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) allows that your God and others might be distinct. Jesus said that he was “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), but he is also God, who is love. Therefore, love is the way, the truth, and the life in all its forms.

8. Should we be progressing in the afterlife, or should we be progressing in this life?

Our next life gives us the opportunity to grow in our potential, which we’re already establishing here on earth. So we should always be working to grow, even if only to set a foundation for our afterlife. “Be here now” is a good mantra to live by.

9. Do we all have guardian angels? If so, why couldn’t they save my son from suicide?

We do all have guardian angels, but they aren’t able to interfere with our free will. They watch us, and they care about us, and they do their best to protect the eternal part of us. 

10. Do we have all the answers when we cross over? Do we see the truth about how we were lied to by our government and all the world leaders? And do we care?

We almost definitely get the answers, since we get to ask all the questions we want, but we may not be worried about these types of issues anymore. When we get to heaven, we feel like we’ve actually had the answers forever. We’ll also know why people did what they did on earth and have better insight into the greater good it served.

11. What happens when you have an enemy that comes to the other side? Are they kept separate, or do you then have an understanding that makes you no longer enemies?

Heaven is designed such that we spend the most time around the people who will help us grow and feel comfortable. Even if you’re both heaven-bound, you could find yourselves in very different parts of heaven. If you need to confront your enemy in order to heal, heaven will help you do that, too. Your paths will cross only when it’s useful.

12. Does Swedenborg ever mention animals, specifically family pets, going to the afterlife?

Not really. Pets weren’t as often discussed in his time. He did say that animals, like most of nature, are symbolic correspondences to heavenly ideas.

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About Swedenborg & Life

In a lighthearted and interactive webcast format, host Curtis Childs from the Swedenborg Foundation and featured guests explore topics from Swedenborg’s eighteenth-century writings about his spiritual experiences and afterlife explorations and discuss how they relate to modern-day life and death.
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When we wake up in heaven, Swedenborg tells us, angels roll a covering from off of our left eye so that we can see everything in a spiritual light. The offTheLeftEye YouTube channel uses an array of educational and entertaining video formats to look at life and death through an uplifting spiritual lens.
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