Atmospheres, Waters, and Earths, in the Spiritual and Natural Worlds
The spiritual world and the natural world are similar, with the only difference that each and everything in the spiritual world is spiritual, and each and everything in the natural world is natural. These two worlds being alike, therefore in both there are atmospheres, waters, and earths, which are the generals by and from which each and everything exists with infinite variety.
The atmospheres, which are called ethers and air, in the spiritual and natural worlds are alike, only that those in the spiritual world are spiritual and those in the natural world are natural. The former are spiritual because they exist from the sun which is the first proceeding of the Divine love and Divine wisdom of the Lord; and from Him they receive within them Divine fire, which is love, and Divine light, which is wisdom, and convey these two to the heavens, where the angels dwell, and cause the presence of that sun in the greatest and least things there. The spiritual atmospheres are discrete substances, or most minute forms, originating from the sun. And as they severally receive the sun, hence its fire—being divided into so many substances or forms, and as it were covered or enclosed in them, and tempered by these coverings—becomes heat, proportioned finally to the love of the angels in heaven and of spirits under heaven. The same may be said of the light of the sun. The natural atmospheres are similar to the spiritual atmospheres, in being also discrete substances of very minute form, originating from the sun of the natural world. Which sun also they each of them receive; and they treasure up in them its fire, and temper, and convey it as heat to the earth, which is the dwelling-place of men. And in like manner the light.
The difference between the spiritual atmospheres and the natural is, that the spiritual atmospheres are receptacles of Divine fire and Divine light, thus of love and wisdom, for they contain these within them; while the natural atmospheres are not receptacles of Divine fire and Divine light, but of the fire and light of their own sun, which in itself is devoid of life (as was shown above); and therefore they contain nothing from the sun of the spiritual world, but still are surrounded by spiritual atmospheres which come from that sun. That this is the difference between the spiritual atmospheres and the natural is learned from the wisdom of the angels.
The existence of atmospheres in the spiritual world as well as in the natural, is evident from the fact that angels and spirits breathe, speak, and hear equally with men in the natural world; and respiration, speech, and hearing are effected by means of the air or ultimate atmosphere. Also from the fact that angels and spirits see equally with men in the natural world; and sight is not possible but by means of an atmosphere purer than air. From this also, that angels and spirits think and are affected equally with men in the natural world; and thought and affection do not exist but by means of still purer atmospheres. And lastly from the fact, that all things belonging to the bodies of angels and spirits, as well external as internal, are held n proper connection by atmospheres; their externals by an aerial atmosphere, and their internals by ethereal atmospheres. Were it not for the circumpressure and action of these atmospheres, it is evident that the interior and exterior forms of the body would be dissolved. Since the angels are spiritual, and each and all things of their bodies are held in their connection, form, and order, by atmospheres, it follows that those atmospheres also are spiritual; and they are spiritual because they originate from the spiritual sun, which is the first going forth of the Divine love and Divine wisdom of the Lord. (DLW n. 174-176)