415. To the above I will add the following Memorable Relation: One morning when I awoke from sleep, and before being fully awake was meditating in the early and serene light, I saw through the window something like a flash of lightning, and presently I heard something like the rumbling of thunder. As I was wondering where this came from, I heard these words from heaven: "Not far from you are some men who are reasoning sharply about God and nature. The vibration of light as of lightning, and the rumbling of the air as of thunder are correspondences and thence appearances of the contest and collision of their arguments, on the one side in favor of God and on the other in favor of nature."
The cause of this spiritual combat was as follows: There were some satans in hell who said among themselves, "Would that it were allowed us to speak with angels of heaven; we would conclusively and fully demonstrate that what they call the God from whom are all things, is nature, and that unless nature is meant, God is merely a word." Because those satans believed this with their whole heart and soul, and also desired to speak With angels of heaven, it was given them to ascend out of the mire and darkness of hell and to speak with two angels then descending from heaven. They were in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell.
 Seeing the angels there, the satans rushed up to them and cried out in a furious voice: "Are you the angels of heaven whom it is allowed us to meet for the purpose of reasoning about God and nature? Because you acknowledge God, you are called wise, but oh! how simple you are! Who can see God? Who can understand what God is? Who can comprehend that God governs or can govern the universe and each and every single thing thereof? Who but the common herd and the vulgar acknowledges what he does not see and understand? What is more obvious than that nature is the all in all? Who with his eyes has seen anything but nature? or with his ears has heard anything but nature? or with his nostrils has smelled anything but nature? or with his tongue has tasted anything but nature? or by the touch of his hand or body has felt anything but nature? Are not the senses of our body the sole witnesses of truth? and on their evidence, who cannot swear that such is the case? Are not your heads in nature? Whence but from her comes influx into the thoughts of your head? Take nature away, can you think anything?" besides much else of the same sort.
 Hearing this, the angels responded: "You speak in this way because you are merely sensual. All in the hells have the ideas of their thoughts immersed in the senses of the body and cannot elevate their minds above them. Therefore we excuse you. A life of evil, and thence a belief in what is false, has so closed the interiors of your minds that with you elevation above things sensual is impossible except in a state removed from evils of life and falsities of faith; for a satan, while hating truth, can understand it equally well as an angel, but he does not retain it because evil obliterates truth and brings in falsity. We perceive that you are now in a state thus removed and so can understand the truth which we speak. Give heed then to what we shall say."
They then continued: "You were in the natural world and died there, and you are now in the spiritual world. Until now, did you know anything about the life after death? Did you not formerly deny it and put yourselves on a level with beasts? Did you previously know anything about heaven and hell? or about the light and heat of this world? or the fact that you are no longer within nature but above her? For this world and all things thereof are spiritual, and spiritual things are so far above natural that not the least of nature can flow into this world. But you, believing nature to be a god or goddess, believe also that the light and heat of this world are the light and heat of the natural world, when yet this is by no means the case; for here natural light is thick darkness, and natural heat cold. Did you know anything about the sun of this world from which proceed our light and heat? Did you know that this sun is pure love, and the sun of the natural world pure fire? that the sun of the world, being pure fire, is that from which nature existed and subsists, and the sun of heaven, being pure love, that from which life itself, which is love together with wisdom, existed and subsists? thus that nature, which you make to be a god or goddess, is absolutely dead?  If a guard is granted you, you can ascend with us into heaven, and if a guard is granted us, we can descend with you into hell. In heaven you will see things magnificent and splendid, but in hell, things squalid and unclean. Such are the differences between them, because all in the heavens worship God, and all in the hells worship nature; and the magnificent and splendid things in the heavens are correspondences of the affections of good and truth, while the squalid and unclean things in the hells are correspondences of the lusts of evil and falsity. And now, from all this, draw your own conclusion as to whether God be the All in all or nature."
To this the satans replied: "In the state in which we now are, we are able to draw the conclusion from what we have heard, that it is God; but when the delight of evil takes possession of our minds we see nothing but nature."
 The two angels and the two satans were standing at the right, not far from me, so that I both heard and saw them. And lo, around them I saw many spirits who in the natural world had been celebrated for learning; and I marveled that these learned men stood now beside the angels, now beside the satans, and that they favored those beside whom they stood. It was then told me that their changes of place were Changes of their mental state, which favored now one side, now the other; "for" [said my informants], "they are vertumni. And we will tell you a mystery. We ourselves looked down upon the earth at men celebrated for learning who have thought about God and nature from their own judgment, and out of a thousand we found six hundred in favor of nature and the rest in favor of God; but we found the latter to be in favor of God because they had frequently said that nature is from God, saying this, not from any understanding, but only from what they had heard; for speech from memory and recollection and not at the same time from thought and intelligence, often induces a sort of faith."
 After this, a guard was given the satans, and with the two angels they ascended into heaven and saw things magnificent and splendid. Moreover, being then in enlightenment from the heavenly light there, they acknowledged that there is a God, and that nature was created to serve the life which is in God and from God; also that nature in herself is dead and so does nothing of herself but is actuated by life. Having seen and perceived all this, they descended; and as the descended, the love of evil returned, closing their understanding above and opening it below. Then, above it, appeared as it were, a veil, flashing from infernal fire; and the moment their feet touched the earth, the ground opened beneath them and they sank down to their own.