Heaven and Hell
230 Two things make up our spiritual life: love and faith. Love is the life of our motivation and faith is the life of our understanding. When we love what is good and believe what is true, our life becomes heaven. But when we love what is harmful and believe what is false, our life becomes hell.
231 Loving the Lord and other people makes heaven. Faith makes heaven too, but only so far as we live from these two loves. Since both love and the faith we get from it come from the Lord, you can see that the Lord makes heaven.
232 Each one of us has heaven in us to the extent that we accept love and faith from the Lord. If we accept heaven from the Lord while we live in the world, we will go to heaven when we die.
233 When we accept heaven from the Lord, we have heaven in ourselves, since heaven is actually inside people. The Lord taught this, too: "They will not say, 'Look, here is God's realm!' or 'Look, there it is!' because God's realm is inside you" (Luke 17:21).
234 Heaven is in our inner self-in the motives and thoughts we get from love and faith. From there it goes into our outer self, which does and says things from love and faith. But if it is not in our inner self, it is not in our outer self, either. H ypocrites can say and do good things, but they do not have good motives and thoughts.
235 When we get to the other life, which happens right after death, it is obvious whether or not heaven is in us. This is not obvious while we are in the world, though. In the world, people see our outer self, but not our inner self. In the other life , our inner self shows clearly, since we are then living as a spirit.
236 If we love and believe in the Lord, and our love and belief comes from him, we have eternal happiness, which is also called heavenly joy. This kind of love and faith has heavenly joy in it, and we come into this joy after death if we have heaven i n us.
In heaven, everything good is shared. Everyone's peace, understanding, wisdom, and happiness is shared with everyone else-though how each of us accepts it depends on how we accept love and faith from the Lord. So you can see how much peace, understa nding, wisdom, and happiness there is in heaven!
237 Just as loving the Lord and other people makes our life heaven, so selfish and materialistic loves, when they control us, make our life hell, since these two loves are opposed to the other two. So if we are controlled by selfishness and materialis m, we cannot accept anything from heaven. What we do accept comes from hell.
Everything we love and believe comes either from heaven or from hell.
238 When selfishness and materialism control us, we do not know what heaven or heavenly happiness are. It seems unbelievable to us that there could be any happiness in loving anything besides ourselves and material things. But as we take part in the h appiness of heaven, our selfish and materialistic loves are put aside as goals. When those loves are gone, the happiness we feel goes far beyond anything we could possibly conceive of.
239 Our life cannot be changed after death; it stays as it was before we died. Our whole spirit is just like our love, and hellish love cannot be transformed into heavenly love, because they are opposites. This is what Abraham's statement to the rich man in hell meant: "There is a huge chasm . . . between you and us, so that anyone who wants to go over to you cannot. No one can come over to us from there, either" (Luke 16:26).
So it is clear that if we go to hell, we stay there forever, but if we go to heaven, we stay there forever.