Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5977

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

5977. The reason for two is that there are two kinds of spirits in hell and two kinds of angels in heaven, who correspond to the two mental powers in a person of will and understanding The first kind of spirits are called simply spirits, and they act on the thoughts in a person's understanding; the second kind are called genii, and these act on the desires in a person's will. The two kinds are utterly distinct and separate. Those called simply spirits instill falsities, for they argue against the truth and experience the delight of their life when they can make truth look like falsity, and falsity look like truth. But those called genii instill evils; they act on a person's affections and cravings, scenting in an instant what is the object of the person's desire. If the desire is good they bend it with very great skill into what is evil, and they experience the delight of their life when they can make a person perceive good as evil, and evil as good. They have been allowed to act on my own desires so that I might know what such genii are like and how they operate; and I must confess that unless the Lord had employed angels to protect me, those genii would have turned my desires into cravings for evil, which they would have carried out so secretly and silently that I would have known scarcely anything about it. The ones who are called genii have nothing whatever in common with those called spirits. Genii have no interest at all in what a person thinks, only in what he loves, whereas spirits have no interest at all in what a person loves, only in what he thinks. Genii take delight in keeping quiet, but spirits in talking. The two kinds are also completely separate from each other. The genii are in hells deep down behind the back, out of spirits' sight; and when anyone looks down there they look like shadows flitting around. But the spirits are in hells located to the sides and in front. Here then is the reason why two spirits from hell are present with a person.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church