8279. They went down into the depths like a stone. That this signifies that they fell down to lower things as if by reason of weight, is evident from the signification of "to go down," when to lower things as if by reason of weight, as being to fall; from the signification of "depths," as being the lower places where the hells are, of which below; and from the signification of "like a stone," as being as if by reason of weight. It is said "like a stone," because by "a stone" in the genuine sense is signified truth (see n. 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798, 6426), consequently in the opposite sense falsity. Moreover falsity from evil is of such a nature that it sinks down toward lower things, as does a heavy body in the world. But truth from good is of such a nature that it ascends to higher things, as does something light in the world. Hence it is that so long as the evil have not been as yet devastated as to truths, they are in a region above the hells, but as soon as they have been devastated, that is, deprived of truths, it is as if their wings were cut off, and then they sink down like weights, and the deeper in proportion as their falsities from evil are worse. From this it is that by "depths," equally as by "abysses," are signified the hells; but by "depths," the hells relatively to evils, and by "abysses," the hells relatively to the falsities that are from evils; as in these passages:
Flee ye, they have turned away, they have let themselves down into the depth to dwell (Jer. 49:8, 30).
The waters have come even unto the soul, I have been sunk in the mire of depth, there is no standing; I have come into the depths of the waters, and the billow overflows me: rescue me out of the mire, lest I be sunk, I shall be rescued from those who hate me, and out of the depths of the waters, lest a billow of waters overflow me, and lest the depth swallow me up; let not the pit shut its mouth upon me (Ps. 69:1, 2, 14, 15).
He shall cast into the depths of the sea all their sins (Micah 7:19).
The reason why "depth" denotes hell relatively to evil, is that it is opposite to "high," by which is signified heaven, and which is predicated of good (n. 8153). Moreover evil corresponds to what is heavy on earth, which sinks by its own weight; thus also to the heaviness of a stone, when by a "stone" is signified falsity.