The general truth is that hell and heaven are parts of the same universe and are subject to the same laws of life as apply in a more imperfect way among men. The Lord rules both by the infinite power of His Divine truth. But in heaven the angels see and receive the good – the Divine good – which the laws of truth contain and to which truth leads. In hell the Divine truth alone – without Mercy – is seen. It is seen not as Divine truth, but as inexorable necessity, as fact, as what is possible. The hells are bound by the laws of possibility, the laws of limits. We are told that the laws of possibility are laws of Divine order. And evil always seeks to escape these laws – seeks to make a new universe for itself by phantasy. It is unwilling to admit the facts of reality, and tries to hide from the truth, which always seeks it out in some form or other. Thus the infernals seek to retire into logic-proof compartments, where they can, in imagination, defeat the laws of possibility and build new worlds more to their liking than the real world of God, – insane, contorted worlds, in which evil is not evil, where might is right, and impossibility can be circumvented, and sins are not found out, and abuse does not bring diseases and discomforts. Hugo Lj. Odhner
Throughout the ages many misconceptions have arisen as to the meaning of “the devil” or “Satan.” These false ideas have understandably driven away many from God and religion. But, if we use the science of correspondences, we should be able to clear up all these false ideas.
What is a natural shadow? It is a negative or distorted image of natural Reality that is produced when the natural sun shines upon a three-dimensional object or physical body. Unlike the object itself, the shadow is two-dimensional, dark or insubstantial; it lacks real being. Furthermore, any appearance that this shadow has comes from its linkage with the object itself. Every dark point in this whole shadow must be a reversed and distorted image of a corresponding point in the object. And the more the object is not aligned with the sun, the longer and more distorted the shadow becomes. Thus, at noon, there is no shadow because the sun is perpendicular to the object. But at dawn and dusk, objects cast long, dark and distorted shadows.
Let us now uncover all the spiritual or higher-dimensional correspondences. We have already established that spiritual Reality is Heaven, the Divine-Human or the spiritual body of God. And, like all bodies in the universe, this higher-dimensional body must cast a lower-dimensional shadow. Thus, the first thing we discover is that this spiritual shadow lacks the higher dimensions of Reality. If Heaven or Divine-Human is the real image or spiritual body of God, its shadow must be a lower-dimensional realm of spiritual darkness. And, if Heaven consists of loving and righteous angels or human beings who have freely, willingly and consistently chosen to love God and their neighbor, this dark realm must consist of human beings who have freely, willingly and consistently chosen to love themselves and the world or selfish and sinful “devils” and “satans.” These human beings have freely cast this spiritual shadow because their intentions and actions were not righteously aligned with the Spiritual sun or the Lord. This spiritual shadow, spiritual conglomeration of devils and satans or grand monstrosity can be called “hell,” “the devil” or “Satan.” And, if Heaven is a Kingdom of Love, Wisdom and Use, hell must be a kingdom of selfishness, falsehood and abuse. Love of abuse must simply be the shadow of Love of use, love of the world must be the shadow of Love of neighbor (or Truth) and love of self must be the shadow of Love of God (Good).
It is not a coincidence that, in Jungian psychology, the lowest aspect of the human self is called “the shadow.” It is the part of our self of which we are unconscious. In fact, it contains the hereditary baggage and memories of human evolution:
“According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognised as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections remain hidden, “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object–if it has one–or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.” These projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.” (Wikipedia)
We are not responsible for the sins of our human ancestors. But, when we FREELY accept and justify these false ideas that are flowing into our mind, they become our own beliefs. And, when we FREELY act upon these selfish urges that are flowing into our will, they become our own loves. Thus, we are FREELY creating our own spiritual body by our own selfish loves, false beliefs and FREELY choosing to become a resident of the shadowy realm of hell.
The existence of devils must consist of fantasy (falsehood) and evil (selfishness) because nothing in the shadowy realm of hell has any reality. Many of us obtain a taste of such an existence when we fall into a mental and emotional depression. In such a negative state, everything around us seems unreal and distorted. There is an area in the spiritual world that is very close to hell that is referred to in the Bible as “the pit” or “the lower earth.” When we are in mental and emotional depression, we are in “the pit” of fear and spiritual darkness. In this spiritual pit, we are continually tormented by morbid thoughts and negative emotions. The only way to be raised from “the pit” of spiritual darkness is by calling upon God’s help. We are raised from “the pit” by faith and God’s mercy.
They are called “the devil and Satan” because both “the devil” and “Satan” signify hell; “the devil” signifying the hell from which are evils, and “Satan” the hell from which are falsities; this hell is called “Satan” because all who are in it are called satans, and the other hell is called “the devil” because all who are in it are called devils. Before the creation of the world there was no devil or Satan who had been an angel of light and was afterwards cast down with his crew into hell, as can be seen from what has been said in the work on Heaven and Hell.
It is to be known that there are two kingdoms into which the heavens are divided, namely, a celestial kingdom and a spiritual kingdom. To these two kingdoms correspond by opposition the two kingdoms into which the hells are divided; to the celestial kingdom corresponds by opposition the infernal kingdom that consists of devils and is therefore called “the devil,” and to the spiritual kingdom corresponds by opposition the infernal kingdom that consists of satans and is therefore called “Satan.” And as the celestial kingdom consists of angels who are in love to the Lord, so the infernal kingdom corresponding by opposition to the celestial kingdom consists of devils, who are in the love of self; consequently from that hell evils of every kind flow forth. And as the spiritual kingdom consists of the angels who are in charity towards the neighbor, so the infernal kingdom that corresponds by opposition to the spiritual kingdom consists of satans, who are in falsities from love of the world, consequently from that hell falsities of every kind flow forth.
From this it is clear what “the devil” and “Satan” signify in the following passages. In the Gospels:
Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1, seq.; Luke 4:1-13).
What is signified by the “wilderness,” and by the Lord’s “temptations” for forty days and forty nights, has been shown above. He is said to have been tempted “by the devil” to signify that He was tempted by the hells from which are evils, thus by the worst of the hells, for these were the hells that chiefly fought against the Lord’s Divine love, since the love that reigned in those hells was the love of self, and this love is the opposite of the Lord’s love, thus of the love that is from the Lord.
The tares are the sons of the evil one; the enemy that soweth is the devil (Matt. 13:38, 39).
“Tares” signify the falsities of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, which are from evil, therefore they are also called “the sons of the evil one;” and as evil brings them forth it is said that it is “the devil that soweth them.”
Those upon the way are they that hear; then cometh the devil and taketh away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved (Luke 8:12).
And in Mark:
These are they upon the way, where the word is sown; and when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan and taketh away the word which hath been sown in their hearts (Mark 4:15).
Respecting this the term “devil” is used in Luke, and “Satan” in Mark, for the reason that “the seed that fell upon the way” signifies truth from the Word that is received in the memory only and not in the life, and as this is taken away both by evil and by falsity, therefore both “the devil” and “Satan” are mentioned; and therefore in Luke it is said that “the devil cometh and taketh away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved;” and in Mark that “Satan cometh and taketh away the word which hath been sown in their hearts.”
The king shall say to them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil** and his angels (Matt. 25:41).
Here the term “devil” is used because this was said of those who did not do good works, and therefore did evil works; for those who do not do good works do evil works; for the works they did not do are recounted in the preceding verses, and when goods are lightly esteemed evils are loved.
The Lord calls Judas Iscariot:
A devil (John 6:70);
And it is said that the devil put into his heart (John 13:2);
And that after he had taken the sop satan entered into him (John 13:27; Luke 22:3).
It is so said because Judas Iscariot represented the Jews, who were in falsities from evil, and therefore from evil he is called a “devil,” and from falsities a “Satan.” Wherefore it is said that “the devil put into his heart,” “to put into the heart” meaning into the love that is of his will. Also it is said that “after he had taken the sop Satan entered into him;” “to enter into him with the sop” meaning into the belly, which signifies into the thought, and falsities from evil belong to the thought.
 In John:
Jesus said to the Jews, Ye are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth because there is no truth in him; when he speaketh a lie he speaketh from his own (John 8:44).
This describes the Jewish nation, such as it had been from the beginning, namely, that it was in evil and in falsities therefrom. “Their father the devil” means evil from hell, in which their fathers were in Egypt and afterwards in the desert; that they willed to remain in the evils of their cupidities is signified by “the desires of your father ye will to do;” that they destroyed every truth of the understanding is signified by “he was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth because there was no truth in him;” as “man” signifies the truth of intelligence, so “murderer” signifies its destroyer. Their falsities from evil are signified by “when he speaketh a lie he speaketh from his own;” “his own” signifying the evil of the will, and “lie” the falsity therefrom.
The Pharisees said of Jesus, He doth not cast out demons but by Beelzebub the prince of the demons. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, If Satan casteth out satan he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? But if I in the spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come unto you (Matt. 12:24-26, 28).
Here the term “Satan,” and not devil is used, because “Beelzebub,” who was the god of Ekron, means the god of all falsities, for “Beelzebub” by derivation means the god of flies, and “flies” signify the falsities of the sensual man, thus falsities of every kind. This is why Beelzebub is called Satan. So, too, the Lord said, “If I in the spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come unto you;” “the spirit of God” meaning Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and “the kingdom of God” thence signifying heaven and the church that are in Divine truths.
In the Gospels:
Peter rebuking Jesus because He was willing to suffer, Jesus turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan, thou art a stumbling-block, because thou savorest not the things which are of God, but the things which are of men (Matt. 16:22, 23; Mark 8:32, 33).
The Lord said this to Peter because in a representative sense “Peter” signified faith; and as faith is of truth, and also, as here, of falsity, Peter is called Satan, for as has been said “Satan” means the hell that is the source of falsities. “Peter” represented faith in both senses, namely, faith from charity, and faith without charity; and faith without charity is the faith of falsity.
Moreover, those who are in faith without charity find a stumbling-block in the Lord’s suffering Himself to be crucified; therefore this is called a “stumbling-block.” As the passion of the cross was the Lord’s last temptation and complete victory over all the hells, and also the complete union of His Divine with the Divine Human, and this is unknown to those who are in the faith of falsity, the Lord said “thou savorest not the things which are of God, but the things which are of men.”
Jesus said to Simon, Behold Satan demanded you that he might sift you as wheat. But I prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; when, therefore, thou shalt be converted, strengthen thou thy brethren (Luke 22:31, 32).
Here, too, “Peter” represents faith without charity, which faith is the faith of falsity, for this was said to him by the Lord just before he thrice denied Him. Because he represented faith therefore the Lord says, “I prayed for thee that thy faith fail not;” that he represented the faith of falsity is evident from the Lord’s saying to him, “when, therefore, thou shalt be converted, strengthen thou thy brethren.” As the faith of falsity is like chaff before the wind, it is said that “Satan demanded them that he might sift them as wheat,” “wheat” meaning the good of charity separated from chaff. From this it is clear why the name “Satan” is here used.
In the same:
I beheld Satan as lightning falling from heaven (Luke 10:18).
Here “Satan” has a similar signification as “the dragon” who was also seen in heaven and was cast out of heaven; but properly it is the “dragon” that is meant by the “devil,” and “his angels” that are meant by “Satan.” That “the angels of the dragon” mean the falsities of evil will be seen in a subsequent paragraph. “Satan falling down from heaven” signifies that the Lord by Divine truth, which He then was, thrust all falsities out of heaven and subjugated those hells that are called “Satan,” like as Michael cast down “the dragon and his angels.”
There was a day when the sons of God came to stand by Jehovah, and Satan came in the midst of them. And Jehovah said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? And Satan answered Jehovah and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking through it. And Jehovah gave into the hand of Satan all things belonging to Job, but he was not to put forth his hand upon Job; also afterwards that he might touch his bone and his flesh (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7).
That this is a composed history is evident from many things in this book. The book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church, full of correspondences, according to the mode of writing at that time, but yet it is an excellent and useful book. The angels at that time were called “sons of God,” because “sons of God,” the same as “angels,” mean Divine truths, and “Satan” infernal falsities. And as the hells tempt men by falsities, as Job was afterwards tempted, and as infernal falsities are dispersed by Divine truths, it is said that “Satan stood in the midst of the sons of God.” What the rest signifies will not be explained here, since it must be made clear in its series.
They put upon me evil for good, and hatred for my love; appoint Thou a wicked one over him, and let Satan stand at his right hand (Ps. 109:5-6).
This, like most things in the Psalms of David, is a prophecy respecting the Lord and His temptations; for He above all others endured the most frightful temptations; and as He in His temptations fought from Divine love against the hells, which were most hostile to Him, it is said “they put upon me evil for good, and hatred for my love;” and as infernal evil and falsity prevail with them it is said “appoint thou a wicked one over him, and let Satan stand at his right hand;” “to stand at the right hand” signifying to be wholly possessed, and “Satan” signifying infernal falsity with which he was possessed.
Afterwards he showed me Joshua the great priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary; and Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, even He who chooseth Jerusalem; is not this a brand delivered out of the fire? And Joshua was clothed in filthy garments, and thus stood before the angel (Zech 3:1-3).
What this involves can be seen only from the series of things that precede and follow; from these it can be seen that this represented how the Word was falsified. “Joshua the great priest” signifies here the law or the Word; and “he stood before the angel clothed in filthy garments” signifies its falsification. This shows that “Satan” here means the falsity of doctrine from the Word when it is falsified; and as this began to prevail at that time, Zechariah saw “Satan standing at his right hand;” “to stand at the right hand” signifying to fight against Divine truth. Because it is the sense of the letter of the Word only that can be falsified, for the reason that the things in that sense are truths in appearance only, and those who interpret the Word according to the letter cannot easily be convinced of falsities, so Joshua said, “Jehovah rebuke thee,” as above (n. 735), where is explained what is signified by “Michael disputed with the devil about the body of Moses, and Michael said to the devil, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude, verse 9). Because the truth of doctrine from the Word which has been falsified is here meant, it is said, “Jehovah who chooseth Jerusalem; is not this a brand delivered out of the fire?” “Jerusalem” signifying the doctrine of the church, and “a brand delivered out of the fire” that there was but little of truth left.
In these passages in the Old Testament “Satan” only is mentioned, and in no place the devil, but instead of the devil the terms “foe,” “enemy,” “hater,” “adversary,” “accuser,” “demon,” also “death” and “hell,” are made use of. From this it may be clear that “the devil” signifies the hell from which are evils, and “Satan” the hell from which are falsities; as also in the following passages in Revelation:
Afterwards I saw an angel coming down out of heaven having the key of the abyss and a great chain upon his hand, and he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall lead the nations astray. And the devil that led them astray was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:1, 2, 7, 8, 10). Emanuel Swedenborg [AE 740]