20 Questions about Life after Death
Will we live on after we die?
Many of the world's teachings and all kinds of personal experiences (such as near-death) definitely indicate that we will continue living after our body dies.
Why don't we know for sure?
Probably for two important reasons. The physical world is a completely different 'dimension' to the spiritual world into which everyone comes after they die and the two worlds are separate. The second reason is that it is important for us here to be free in terms of what we believe.
Has anyone given information?
The Bible certainly talks about heaven and hell, angels and devils, resurrection and eternity. Read Luke 16 for example. Then there are the reports of psychics and mediums... And many ancient texts. Emanuel Swedenborg, some 250 years ago, claimed to have seen into the afterlife and spoke with many spirits and people who had died. He wrote about it extensively in a book called Heaven and Hell.
How was this possible for him?
In a 'dual consciousness', in which his mind was opened into the spiritual world while he led a busy normal life in this world. And often through meditation too.
What does Swedenborg report?
Very many things. That nobody is rewarded or punished for their actions or beliefs here. Everyone lives for ever and will come into an environment (with others of like-minds) which matches what they delight in being like. Heaven and Hell are states of mind to which we are inevitably drawn by what we set our hearts on.
Let's be more specific. Go on...
The spiritual world is a real world. It is not airy-fairy disembodied thought! People still have bodies, and are even men and women, but they take their appearance and form from the way people are on the inside. And the surroundings work in the same way too, being affected by the people who live there.
Will people meet each other?
There is no fixed distance in that world. You are where you love to be and with the people you love most. If two people deeply love each other, they will meet. This is called affinity, another basic law.
Do people stay together forever?
Certainly, if they want to do that. Nobody separates anyone. The only separation would come if people discovered they had little or nothing to keep them together.
How would that happen?
In this world we can keep up appearances or even hide ourselves. In the spiritual world this gradually becomes impossible because the 'real us' soon shows itself openly. Swedenborg says that we choose our life's love which is either a love of others or a selfish love. This eventually determines everything we are.
Do religious beliefs count?
Not in the sense that certain religious beliefs get us into heaven! That would be absurd. But everyone who lives in heaven acknowledges God as the source of all life. Love involves the realisation that we are part of a much bigger reality which loves all of us.
What does everybody do there?
They serve, because they love. Each of us has a specific purpose and skill. Some are natural teachers who can help people clear up misleading ideas carried over from this world. Others are natural carers who can bring reassurance and heal broken feelings. And there are some who work with us now, encouraging us to be true to what we believe, through deep promptings.
Is there a sense of time there?
Not in terms of clocks. That's a feature of here. People live more in the moment there and simply feel one activity leading on to another with the learning and delight this brings. "For ever" is not about time but about doing what you love most.
Is there endless progress?
If by that you mean going to higher and higher spheres, not really. We have been made to serve a specific use. When we find that we will find our eternal 'home' or fulfilment. But of course, from inside that use, we will keep learning and progressing for ever.
What about all the children who die?
Very simply, all children go straight to heaven because they are completely innocent. They are cared for by angels.
What are angels ... are they different?
No, angels, like us, have gone through an earth-life and have chosen heaven. In time, we can become angels too.
And what about hell?
Hell is real enough so long as we avoid the idea of punishment. It is a state of mind, built up from making self-centred choices over many years until it is deeply ingrained and totally desired.
Do people in hell stay there for ever?
Don't think in time-terms too much. It is God's wish and heaven's endeavour to lead spirits from the dark to the light, but there must be the will to change. The real problem is that those in hell sincerely believe they are in heaven.
Can angels see what we are doing?
No, because the two dimensions are entirely different. Physical things are as invisible to them as the spiritual world is invisible to us here. The reason is based on a necessary freedom that works both ways.
Then how are angels able to help us?
By introducing positive things to our mind (which is not physical!), by stirring those deep memories and associations and the things we treasure about life. They sense our state or vibes.
Do we get judged after death?
Neither God nor angels judge us but we judge ourselves in the light of the truth.