Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6054

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6054. As regards the soul, which - it is said - goes on living after death, it is nothing else than the actual person living in the body. That is, the soul is the person's inner self acting in the world by means of the body and imparting life to the body. When his inner self is released from the body the person is called a spirit and then appears in a completely human form. Yet he cannot be seen at all by the eyes of the body, only by those of the spirit, to which he has the same appearance as Someone in the world. He has the senses - touch, smell, hearing, and sight - which are far keener than when he was in the world. He has appetites, longings, desires, affections, and loves that are like those he had in the world yet far superior. He also engages in thought as he did in the world, but in a more perfect way, and he holds conversations with others. In short his life there is as it was in the world, so much so that if he does not stop to reflect on the fact that he is in the next life, he knows no other than that he is in the world, as I have frequently heard spirits say. For life after death is a continuation of life in the world. This then is a person's soul which is alive after death.

[2] But in order that people may not lose all idea of what the word 'soul' means because of the guessing and speculation about what the soul may be, it is better to speak of a person's spirit or, if you prefer, his inner self. For his spirit, seen there, appears just like a person possessing all the members and organs that a person has; indeed it is the actual person In a body. The truth of this may also be recognized from the angels seen by people and described in the Word; all appeared in human form. Every angel in heaven possesses the human form, for the Lord, who was seen so many times after His resurrection as a person, has that form. The reason why an angel as well as a person's spirit is human in outward form is that the whole of heaven receives from the Lord the disposition to combine into a human form, which is why the whole of heaven has been called the Grand Man. (The subject of the Grand Man and the correspondence with it of all the parts of a human being have been dealt with at the ends of many chapters.) Also because the Lord lives within each inhabitant of heaven, and through what flows in from the Lord the whole of heaven exerts an influence on each inhabitant, every angel is an image of heaven, that is, he possesses a form most perfectly human. So too does a person after death.

[3] However many the spirits I have seen, thousands upon thousands, they have all looked to me exactly like men and women. Some have declared that they are people just as they were in the world, and have added that during their lifetime they had not believed anything of the sort. Many have felt sad that the human race lives in such ignorance regarding their state after death and that they think about the soul in such a senseless and futile way, and that most of those who have thought more seriously about the soul have visualized it as something like a thin column of air, which has inevitably led to the crazy error that the soul is dissipated after death.

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