Description of Spiritual World

True Family Values

By Rev. Joong Hyun Pak and Dr. Andrew Wilson

“Reaching to the Spirit Wor1d”

 A Tour of the Spirit World

 The cosmos is vast beyond imagining. With the Hubble telescope scientists have estimated that the physical universe contains over fifty billion galaxies. Each of those galaxies contains millions of stars like our sun. How many of them have planets teeming with life? What manner of life-forms live there? Our knowledge of the physical universe is like a grain of sand on the seashore. Even scientists should be humble before the Creator of the universe. The spirit world, the other half of the cosmos, extends even farther and is almost uncharted. Were our vision clear, we would see countless planets and realms. Yet, just as our pollution has obscured our vision of the night sky, our own materialism has obstructed our connection with the spirit world. 

Mediums and spiritualists have described some of its realms. Yet because they hold diverse teachings, with their spirituality at various levels, they may see different regions of this vast spirit world and produce descriptions at variance with each other. Other researchers into the spirit world have developed reliable information, among them the Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg. We can find broad agreement on a general outline of the spirit world and its geography. In this regard, we offer the following description of the spirit world taken from an account published by Dr. Sang Hun Lee, director of the Unification Thought Institute. It is supplemented in places by Dr. Lee's communications after he crossed over and could experience the spirit world for himself. 

Dr. Lee begins by describing God's original design for the spirit world, the damage done to it by the human Fall, and its process of restoration. God created the spirit world as the world where human beings attend God and live a life of eternal happiness after completing their life on earth. Happiness in the spirit world flows from a life of loving. Love is perfected during earthly life by attending God and Christ and by graduating in the Four Great Realms of Heart in a family centered on true love. The family centered on true love, having realized the Four-Position Foundation, continues forever in the spirit world. Its members enjoy eternal happiness in the spirit world, living in God-centered, eternal conjugal love, God­-centered fraternal love encompassing all humankind, and God­-centered love of nature. They live in total ecstasy. A life of love involves no weariness; it is always refreshed by the life force. 

Originally, the spirit world was to be a unitary realm, full of love's delights. Due to the human Fall, however, people on earth never formed true families, and thus could have little experience of true love. Worse, many were so degraded that they lived a wholly self-centered existence. Just as humanity on earth fractured into warring tribes and nations, barriers were erected to divide the spirit world into various realms, distinguished by the character and beliefs of their inhabitants. We call this the non-Principled spirit world. The description of this world largely agrees with earlier accounts by Emanuel Swedenborg and others. 

God's providence to restore the Kingdom of God on earth will transform the non-Principled spirit world to its original joyful unity, the Kingdom of God in heaven. Dr. Lee calls its initial stage of unfolding the Principled spirit world. Its appearance is a new phenomenon in our time. This new realm grows as people who pioneer the path of forming families of true love pass over to the other side and take up residence there. 


 The Non-Principled Spirit World 

Our tour begins with the non-Principled spirit world, populated by the vast majority of people who have not established true families. People on earth vary widely according to the degree of their love and to what extent they lived a life of goodness. Though they co-mingle during earthly life, in the spirit world they separate. According to the various qualities of earthly people's inner, spiritual lives, they come to reside in one of the three major levels of the non-­Principled spirit world: hell, the lower heaven, and Paradise. In addition, there is an intermediate realm, the transitional spirit world, which serves as a way-station on the journey to their final abode.

1. The Transitional Spirit World 

The transitional spirit world is the realm closest to the earth. It is where spirit persons stay temporarily when they first enter the spirit world. After a stay lasting from a few days to a few years, spirits journey either downward to hell or upward to one of the heavenly realms at their own volition. 

Immediately upon death, spirits are led to this realm, guided by angels and spirits of the departed. The trip is like being lifted in an elevator, or like passing through a gate. On arrival, the newcom­ers may experience the warm and comforting embrace of a transcendental being gleaming with rays of white light. Some of their relatives, intimates and acquaintances welcome them with joy and remain with them for a time before returning to their own places. 

When a spirit arrives at the transitional spirit world, his speech and actions become totally unconstrained. He can express in words whatever he thinks and do whatever he wants to do. Having shed his physical body, he suddenly realizes that he has profound wisdom, as if his intellect had grown fifty-fold. Although the newcomer may cling to his old habits for a while, before long he will accustom himself to the laws of spirit world. Earthly honor, knowledge, position, property and wealth are of no use. Earthly desires have no meaning. The only treasure which he brings with him from his earthly life is the quality of his life on earth evaluated from the perspective of truth, beauty and goodness. 

Before long, there occurs the so-called mirror of judgment. All the events in the newcomer's earthly life replay before his eyes. All his deeds are displayed in images like a movie to the surrounding spirit people. Hidden good deeds and secret sins are exposed for all to see. This occurs not for meting out reward or punishment, but for determining the spirit's level. Among those who welcomed him and then witnessed the mirroring ceremony, some will befriend the newcomer and lead him to his proper dwelling place--either Paradise, the lower heaven, or hell--according to the law of affinity to one's own kind. There is no coercion involved. Once the spirit has formed a bond with a guide of his own level, he willingly follows him to the appropriate destination. 

Often among the first to welcome the newly arrived spirit is his spouse, if she had crossed over before him. Should their personalities clash after spending time together in the transitional spirit world, they will go their separate ways forever. If they were an exceptionally close and loving couple on earth they will want to remain together, and provided they are fit far heaven, they will. It is an error to think that couples on earth inevitably separate in heaven; Jesus' counsel that there is no marriage after the resurrection (Matt. 22:30) was specifically in response to a question about a man who had married seven times. Swedenborg reported that conjugal love in heaven is exceptionally joyful. It is founded upon the spiritual marriage of Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:23-33) Like married couples on earth, couples in the spirit world have the opportunity to receive the Blessing and enter the Kingdom of God. 

Spirits normally stay in the transitional spirit world from three to fifty days before leaving with their guides. Some spirits remain, however, wandering about the earth, possessing earthly people or appearing as ghosts. This happens because they do not realize that they have died. When eventually the earthly objects of their affections pass away, these spirits come to their senses and move on. 

Newcomers express surprise at the beauty of the transitional spirit world, which is filled with flowers and singing birds. The environment of the entire spirit world, except for hell, is very beautiful. The higher the level, the more beautiful it is.

2. Hell 

Hell is populated by people who lived predominantly self-­centered lives while on earth. On earth they pursued only their own interests while committing falsehoods, deceptions, injustice, robbery, rape and murder. Even if outwardly they led respectable lives, their hearts festered with jealousy, hatred, avarice, lust, anger and complaint. After they pass over into the transitional spirit world, fellow spirits of hell who witness the newcomer's past in the mirror of judgment lead him to their infernal dwelling-place. Hell is a dark, stinking, dismal existence. As Dr. Lee puts it, "In hell you endure hunger and suffering; hell swims in jealousy and discomfort. Due to such suffering, fighting cannot be avoided.” Hell is subdivided into three levels. They are distinguished according to the severity and persistence of the evil committed by their denizens. 

The first level, immediately below the transitional spirit world, is a dim and fetid station. There, self-seekers of all kinds--thieves, swindlers, fornicators, adulterers, deceivers, betrayers, drunkards, gluttons, hypocrites, the arrogant, miserly and self-­righteous--endlessly fight each other. Their faces are filled with hatred and rage. Some spirits have the faces of goblins, with half the face cut off, missing an eye or a nose, or with stretched, pointed ears. Others look like satyrs, having the upper body of a human and the lower body of an animal. 

Rare spirits in this realm repent of their sins and convert to the path of goodness, helped by the prayers and efforts of their descendants. They must go through many difficulties to find an exit stairway leading upwards. Outside the exit in the upper world, waiting angels and good spirits welcome and guide them to a brighter existence in the lower heaven. 

The second level of hell, beneath the first level, is much darker and gloomier. The inmates there have their legs stuck in the earth like the roots of trees. These wretches are destined to live im­mobilized for hundreds or thousands of years. Many committed suicide. Though suicide may not be considered a crime on earth, in the spirit world it is a felony. Others committed cruel murders. 

The third level of hell appears even more gloomy and dismal. Imagine the oily, befouled coast of Alaska after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, reeking with an atmosphere of thick black smoke. Spirits are submerged in a black oily bog, from which they emerge only long enough to draw a deep breath before slipping back under the surface. They continue this existence for thousands of years. Other wretches stand upright like stone poles, sometimes heaving a deep, deep sigh. The inmates of this hell include tyrants and mass murderers. 

Nevertheless, hell will not remain forever. The light of salvation will shine even on spirits imprisoned in the darkest hell. In the course of establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth, a way of liberation will also open for the spirits in hell. Since hell in the spirit world was created due to hell on earth, once the latter disappears, the former will also disappear. The Divine Principle states, "God intends to abolish hell completely after the passage of time necessary for each individual to make restitution for his sin." (Resurrection 3.3)

3. The Lower Heaven

 Conscientious people, the charitable, patriots, educators, the virtuous, truth-seekers, etc. who made efforts to do right while on earth, dwell in the lower heaven. Whether or not they believed in religion, they sought to live a life of goodness according to their conscience. Their goodness was sincere and not for show or self-­promotion. From the standpoint of the Divine Principle, the inhabitants of the lower heaven are form spirits, having grown to the formation stage in their spiritual life. Their inner goodness and level of heart are comparable to that of the good people of the old Testament Age, the age of justification by deeds. Spirit people who lived in the Old Testament Age dwell in this heaven, now joined by countless others of every culture and faith. 

The spirit people living here and in higher levels have minds like glass boxes. They know each other's thoughts and live with others of the same mind. Countless villages are spread throughout this world, inhabited by people of every variety of culture and creed. Villagers greet a newcomer by silence, but once they get a sense of his mind, they welcome the stranger with great hospitality. He soon becomes their close companion as they communicate heart-to-heart. 

This world is bright and filled with warm sunlight -- in fact, the light of love. It is incomparably more beautiful than earth. Its mountains, fields and rivers enthrall the mind and heart, with meadows full of flowers and birds singing in the trees. Spirits at this level wear pure white clothes and can fly in space. Since time and space do not exist in their earthly meaning, spirits can travel wherever they wish and meet the people of the past. In the spirit world, a sense of the continuance of a certain state is “time,” the scope of the mind's interest is “space.” 

In this realm are many inventors, scientists, artists and musicians who work cooperatively for the benefit of the earth. They design and create things out of spiritual substance, which will one day become the inspiration for inventors, scientists and artists in the earthly world. Earthly people invariably conceive new creations and inventions that have already been made in the spirit world. 

Many spirits in this level come down to the earth to assist earthly people and guide them to pursue a life of goodness and love. By so doing, they participate in the process that the Divine Principle describes as "returning resurrection," and thus gradually they ascend to higher levels. Other spirits serve their fellow spirits, staffing schools for teaching unbelievers the truth about God and kindergartens for children who passed over in infancy. 

4. Paradise 

Paradise (Luke 23:43, 2 Cor. 12:3) is situated above the lower heaven. It is far brighter and more splendid, with magnificent mountains, azure rivers, fields of flowers with sweet fragrance, and lovely music rejoicing the mind and heart. In its upper levels people live in a state of ecstasy, totally immersed in all the beauty that surrounds them. 

The beauty of Paradise is almost impossible to conceive. After Dr. Lee ascended into the spirit world, he described life in the bright realms of heaven in these terms: 

“Heaven is the place where thought and action become one... If I think, "What kind of meat shall I eat today?" simultaneously with that thought a huge feast will appear before me. If I think, "Where shall I go today? I want to meet a certain person," I'm already in his house. If perchance that person isn't dressed when I arrive, and happens to be stark naked, then we will have a good laugh... 

“In heaven many bright jewels surround us. Due to their great brightness and luster we cannot hide any difficulties between each other. Everything is seen and known with the eyes and mind. If I am filled with light and my hair dazzles golden, it is due to a golden light that is filled with radiant ecstasy. Our minds are always filled with peace and serenity. There are no difficulties, no discomfort and no hunger.”  

Paradise has three levels. In the lowest level of Paradise dwell those who dedicated themselves to a life of goodness while on earth. Many good Christians reside here, as well as many non-­Christians of comparable goodness, truthfulness and compassion. From the perspective of the Divine Principle, these are the good people of the New Testament Age, the age of justification by faith, joined by countless others who have attained a similar spiritual level. Just as the devout Christian lives by faith in Jesus Christ, there are believers of every religion who devote themselves to God with comparable sincerity, though they call Him by other names, including Allah, Krishna, Buddha, the Essential Self or the Unmanifest Source. Seekers and righteous non-believers, who place dedication to the truth and right above worldly affairs, also can attain this high level of spirituality and merit paradise. The inhabitants of Paradise wear pure white clothes, which sometimes emit light. 

In the middle level of Paradise dwell people of advanced spirituality and love. They lived for the sake of humanity and practiced sacrificial love, even forgiving their enemies. Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, and all the founders of religions except for Jesus Christ dwell in this realm. Each taught about the same divine Source of love and manifested Him in his person. The saints who took up their missions and imitated their examples also dwell in this realm. Light shines from their pure white clothes, and around their heads shines a golden-edged halo. 

The love these saints expressed on earth, though mature, did not reach beyond the fraternal realm of heart. Love of neighbor, love of humanity and loving one's enemy are all extensions of brotherly love. Even Confucius, though he taught the ethics of the family, gave excessive emphasis to the duty children owe their parents and did not clearly explain about the downward love of parents for children. None practiced or taught the perfection of love in the family, which requires completing the Four Great Realms of Heart. From the perspective of the Divine Principle, their love does not surpass the level of Adam and Eve prior to the Fall, while they were still growing toward maturity, marriage and becoming true parents. Therefore, the people in this realm dwell at the level of the highest angels, below the top of the growth stage. 

Jesus alone has been dwelling in the upper level of Paradise, ruling the entire spirit world with the love of God. The beauty of this realm is incomparable, like love itself. As the unique Son of God, Jesus has remained in a class by himself, even though while on earth he taught a level of brotherly love no different from the founders of other religions. Nevertheless, because he did not establish a family Four Position Foundation, Jesus does not dwell in the Kingdom of God, which is reserved for true families only. Only recently, with the crossing over of people who have received the Blessing, does Jesus have companions at this level. Jesus also can freely move about the newly opened Principled spirit world, described below. 

The Principled Spirit World 

God's original intention for the spirit world was that it would consist of only one realm, the Kingdom of God in heaven. Spirit persons who have perfected the Four Position Foundation on earth pass over into this realm. Today, with the appearance of people who have received the Blessing and who are on the way to establishing true families, the threshold level of the Kingdom of Heaven has been newly opened. It is called the Principled spirit world. This realm is above even the highest level of Paradise and is incredibly beautiful. 

This realm's chief characteristic is the honor and celebration it, gives to marriage and true family. Love in this realm is divine love, yet it is expressed in its fullness through the conjugal union of husband and wife. Here love is filled with unimaginable beauty and grace, as Dr. Lee learned after he crossed over and entered the highest realm: 

“On earth, a man and woman can feel emotion when their bodies meet and they make love. But though it is hard to understand, in heaven they can make love without physical bodies. The conjugal love between high spirits is like a beautiful picture. Since their two bodies become totally one when they love, they can feel a strong emotion though their bodies and minds which goes beyond any feelings of love they felt on earth. It is like creating a higher existence from the state of complete absence of ego. It is like feeling you are in a magical world... 

“Couples on earth make love in their bedrooms most of the time. Here in heaven, that is absolutely not the case. It is not the hidden love that you only perform in your bedroom. In heaven, you might make love among the wildflowers in a field, on beautiful land or on an ocean wave. You can make love in the mountains where birds are singing and the scene is so beautiful that anyone who might see you would become intoxicated.” 

Although a single realm, the Principled spirit world neverthe­less divides into regions according to the love attained by the families that dwell there. Spirit persons who could cultivate only a relatively small love dwell in the lower regions; those whose love is greater dwell in higher regions; and those whose love is greatest dwell in the highest region. Furthermore, even within the same region there exists a distinction between center and periphery. Families who took on central responsibility for the providence on earth are placed in more central positions, and families who took on lesser missions on earth dwell in relatively outer positions. 

Although by this time hundreds of Blessed family members have entered the spirit world who are qualified to live in the Kingdom of God, their dwelling is in this newly opened realm that is only at the threshold of the Kingdom. It is the temporary dwelling ­place during the course of restoring the non-Principled world to the Principled world. Many families who dwell here are still in the process of completing their Four Position Foundation. They have homes here, but they have descended to earth and the lower realms to assist in the work of restoration, resolving their own remaining sins at the same time. 

Because people who have received the Blessing belong to the Principled world, they enter the threshold level of the Kingdom of God directly without having to pass through the transitional spirit world. The Bible indicates this fact by stating that those who participate in the first resurrection may avoid the judgment. (Rev. 20:6) In fact, some people in this realm, had they not received the Blessing, would not be qualified to enter even the lower heaven. This alone shows how great is the value of the Blessing. 

Even though more and more people are becoming qualified to enter the Kingdom of God, in actuality this realm is empty. No one lives in its dazzling, radiant palace surrounded by twelve citadels inset with pearly gates. No pedestrians walk upon its streets paved with gold and silver or listen to the heavenly music of its birds singing in chorus. Why? The True Parents, the Lords of the Kingdom of God, still live on the earth.       

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