One of his most unexpected statements was that Heaven was hotter than Hell. In fact, Hell was a very, very cold environment.
Here is why.
Swedenborg learned that two essential and divine influences emanated from the Creator—love and wisdom. He described love as psycho-spiritual warmth and wisdom as spiritual light. These two influences warm the hearts of angels in heaven and enlighten their minds. In fact, Swedenborg maintained that angels perceive these two influences as coming from a Spiritual Sun—the supreme abode of God’s Holy existence.
Why psycho-spiritual warmth and light?
Keep in mind that the Spiritual World is not in time or space and therefore its source of light and heat cannot be physical. So, all angels have their orientation and placement in Heaven according to their individual ability to receive these two sacred influences from the Lord God. Since God’s Love and wisdom are Infinite, any angel or spirit (whom are all finite beings) that gets closer to the Spiritual Sun, beyond what they can readily receive, would be put in extreme danger. Getting too close to this sacred source of spiritual light and heat would literally consume the life of even the greatest angel in heaven.
Hell is the exact opposite. It is a spiritual realm where God’s Love and Wisdom is rejected to various degrees. As a result, it is a very cold and dark place consisting of people with cold hearts and dark thoughts. In other words, both Heaven and Hell have environments that perfectly reflect the qualities of the hearts and minds of those who inhabit these distinct realms.
According to Swedenborg, the historic and worldly version of Hell as being a place of fire and flames symbolize the spurious passions of self-love, which breathes out a heated and burning hatred for others. This evil of the heart is what fans the psycho-spiritual flames of those who despise and hate others. (The biblical phrase “fire and brimstone” has a similar symbolic and spiritual meaning.)
What greater justice could there be than an afterlife in which everyone lives in the inner world of his or her own making! So, what burns most brightly in your heart?