Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 1:1-2
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AC 14. In the following work, by the name Lord is meant the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, and Him only; and He is called "the Lord" without the addition of other names. Throughout the universal heaven He it is who is acknowledged and adored as Lord, because He has all sovereign power in the heavens and on earth. He also commanded His disciples so to call Him, saying,

"Ye call Me Lord, and ye say well, for I am" (John 13:13).

And after His resurrection His disciples called Him "the Lord."

AC 15. In the universal heaven they know no other Father than the Lord, because He and the Father are one, as He Himself has said:--

I am the way, the truth, and the life. Philip saith, Show us the Father; Jesus saith to him, Am I so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me (John 14:6, 8-11).

AC 16. Verse 1. In the beginning God created the heavens (coelum) and the earth. The most ancient time is called "the beginning." By the prophets it is in various places called the "days of old (antiquitatis)" and also the "days of eternity." The "beginning" also involves the first period when man is being regenerated, for he is then born anew, and receives life. Regeneration itself is therefore called a "new creation" of man. The expressions to "create," to "form," to "make," in almost all parts of the prophetic writings signify to regenerate, yet with a difference in the signification. As in Isaiah:--

Every one that is called by My name, I have created him for My glory, I have formed him, yea, I have made him (Isaiah 43:7).

And therefore the Lord is called the "Redeemer," the "Former from the womb," the "Maker," and also the "Creator;" as in the same Prophet:--

I am Jehovah your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King (Isaiah 43:15).

In David:--

The people that is created shall praise Jah (Ps. 102:18).


Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created, and Thou renewest the faces of the ground (Ps. 104:30).

That "heaven" signifies the internal man; and "earth" the external man before regeneration, may be seen from what follows.

AC 17. Verse 2. And the earth was a void and emptiness, and darkness was upon the faces of the deep (abyssi); and the Spirit of God was brooding upon the faces of the waters. Before his regeneration, man is called the "earth void and empty," and also the "ground" wherein nothing of good and truth has been sown; "void" denotes where there is nothing of good, and "empty" where there is nothing of truth. Hence comes "thick darkness," that is, stupidity, and an ignorance of all things belonging to faith in the Lord, and consequently of all things belonging to spiritual and heavenly life. Such a man is thus described by the Lord through Jeremiah:--

My people is stupid, they have not known Me; they are foolish sons, and are not intelligent; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and lo a void and emptiness, and the heavens, and they had no light (Jeremiah 4:22, 23).

AC 18. The "faces of the deep"’ are the cupidities of the unregenerate man, and the falsities thence originating, of which he wholly consists, and in which he is totally immersed. In this state, having no light, he is like a "deep," or something obscure and confused. Such persons are also called "deeps," and "depths of the sea," in many parts of the Word, which are "dried up," or "wasted," before man is regenerated. As in Isaiah:--

Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art not thou it that drieth up the sea, the waters of the great deep, that maketh the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of Jehovah shall return (Isaiah 51:9-11).

Such a man also, when seen from heaven, appears like a black mass, destitute of vitality. The same expressions likewise in general involve the vastation of man, frequently spoken of by the Prophets, which precedes regeneration; for before man can know what is true, and be affected with what is good, there must be a removal of such things as hinder and resist their admission; thus the old man must needs die, before the new man can be conceived.

AC 19. By the "Spirit of God" is meant the Lord‘s mercy, which is said to "move," or "brood," as a hen broods over her eggs. The things over which it moves are such as the Lord has hidden and treasured up in man, which in the Word throughout are called remains or a remnant, consisting of the knowledges of the true and of the good, which never come into light or day, until external things are vastated. These knowledges are here called "the faces of the waters."

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info