Emanuel Swedenborg provided a more rationally scientific and psychological description of this dreaded realm. He brought theology into the discussion of ontology. Swedenborg said that hell is real but that it is not a physical place. Its character is totally different from spacetime or physical notions.
Hell—like heaven—is a person’s inner reality. (This inner realm is real because it interacts and affects the external physical world and our bodily action.) Swedenborg went further by claiming that this inner reality is a real biosphere! (This is why Jesus told the Roman governor that “heaven is within you.”)
Swedenborg invited people to look deep into their hearts and minds to find evidence for such an ontologically real and complex psycho-spiritual ecological system. If one sincerely observes his or her feelings and thoughts, one can easily determine that thoughts emerge from a person’s leanings and desires—that is, from the quality of one’s heart. The growth and structure of our thoughts and ideas are generated by the qualities of our personal and chosen values.
We favor things.
There is no doubt the human mind is complex, but Swedenborg suggested that the complexity of this realm reflects the personal environment people create during their lives. Thoughts and feelings become the flora and fauna of this inner and personal realm—which can be horrifying or heavenly. If a person is self-centered, that person creates an inner environment that is flawed and hellish. If a person adopts God’s tenets of life and love, that person’s inner reality becomes ordered and organized around the order of heaven’s angelic biosphere.
This process represents an individual’s spiritual evolution (which takes the subject of evolution well beyond the Neo-Darwinian synthesis and its genetic crapshoot)!
So when we leave this earth we inwardly gravitate to the environment that we have each created and embrace. Our worldviews and belief systems are complex spiritual environments where our ideas and emotions form intimate living relationships.
This spiritual ecology is the future of the “green” movement.