Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 1:14-19
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AC 30. Verses 14-17. And God said, Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to distinguish between the day and the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years; and let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth; and it was so. And God made two great luminaries, the greater luminary to rule by day, and the lesser luminary to rule by night; and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth. What is meant by "great luminaries" cannot be clearly understood unless it is first known what is the essence of faith, and also what is its progress with those who are being created anew. The very essence and life of faith is the Lord alone, for he who does not believe in the Lord cannot have life, as He himself has declared in John:--

He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life, but he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God shall abide upon him (John 3:36).

[2] The progression of faith with those who are being created anew is as follows. At first they have no life, for it is only in the good and the true that there is life, and none in the evil and the false; afterwards they receive life from the Lord by faith, first by faith of the memory, which is a faith of mere knowledge (fides scientifica); next by faith in the understanding, which is an intellectual faith; lastly by faith in the heart, which is the faith of love, or saving faith, The first two kinds of faith are represented from (verse 3-13), by things inanimate, but faith vivified by love is represented from (verse 20-25), by animate things. For this reason love, and faith thence derived, are now here first treated of, and are called "luminaries;" love being "the greater luminary which rules by day;" faith derived from love "the lesser luminary which rules by night;" and as these two luminaries ought to make a one, it is said of them, in the singular number, "Let there be luminaries (sit luminaria), and not in the plural (sint luminaria).

[3] Love and faith in the internal man are like heat and light in the external corporeal man, for which reason the former are represented by the latter. It is on this account that luminaries are said to be "set in the expanse of heaven," or in the internal man; a great luminary in its will, and a lesser one in its understanding; but they appear in the will and the understanding only as does the light of the sun in its recipient objects. It is the Lord‘s mercy alone that affects the will with love, and the understanding with truth or faith.

AC 31. That the "great luminaries" signify love and faith, and are also called "sun, moon, and stars," is evident from the Prophets, as in Ezekiel:--

When I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens and make the stars thereof black; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light; all the luminaries of the light of heaven will I make black over thee, and I will set darkness upon thy land (Ezekiel 32:7, 8).

In this passage Pharaoh and the Egyptians are treated of, by whom are meant, in the Word, the principle of mere sense and of mere knowledge (sensuale et scientificum); and here, that by things of sense and of mere knowledge (sensualia et scientifica), love and faith had been extinguished. So in Isaiah:--

The day of Jehovah cometh to set the land in desolation, for the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun is darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (Isaiah 13:9, 10).

Again, in Joel:--

The day of Jehovah cometh, a day of darkness and of thick darkness; the earth trembleth before Him, the heavens are in commotion; the sun and the moon are blackened, and the stars withdraw their brightness (Joel 2:1, 2, 10).

[2] Again, in Isaiah, speaking of the advent of the Lord and the enlightening of the Gentiles, consequently of a new church, and in particular of all who are in darkness, and receive light, and are being regenerated:--

Arise, shine, for thy light is come; behold darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness the peoples, and Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising, Jehovah shall be to thee a light of eternity, thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself, for Jehovah shall be to thee a light of eternity (Isaiah 60:1-3, 20).

So in David:--

Jehovah in intelligence maketh the heavens, He stretcheth out the earth above the waters; He maketh great luminaries; the sun to rule by day, the moon and stars to rule by night (Ps. 136:5-9).

And again:--

Glorify ye Jehovah, sun and moon; glorify Him, all ye stars of light; glorify Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that are above the heavens (Ps. 148:3, 4).

[3] In all these passages, "luminaries" signify love and faith. It was because "luminaries" represented and signified love and faith toward the Lord that it was ordained in the Jewish Church that a perpetual luminary should be kept burning from evening till morning, for every ordinance in that church was representative of the Lord. Of this luminary it is written:--

Command the sons of Israel that they take oil for the luminary, to cause the lamp to ascend continually: in the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, shall Aaron and his sons order it from evening even until morning, before Jehovah (Exod. 27:20, 21).

That these things signify love and faith, which the Lord kindles and causes to give light in the internal man, and through the internal man in the external, will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be shown in its proper place.

AC 32. Love and faith are first called "great luminaries," and afterwards love is called a "greater luminary," and faith a "lesser luminary;" and it is said of love that it shall "rule by day," and of faith that it shall "rule by night." As these are arcana which are hidden, especially in this end of days, it is permitted of the Lord‘s Divine mercy to explain them. The reason why these arcana are more especially concealed in this end of days is that now is the consummation of the age, when there is scarcely any love, and consequently scarcely any faith, as the Lord Himself foretold in the Evangelists in these words:--

The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matt. 24:29).

By the "sun" is here meant love, which is darkened; by the "moon" faith, which does not give light; and by the "stars," the knowledges of faith, which fall from heaven, and which are the "virtues and powers of the heavens."

[2] The Most Ancient Church acknowledged no other faith than love itself. The celestial angels also do not know what faith is except that which is of love. The universal heaven is a heaven of love, for there is no other life in the heavens than the life of love. From this is derived all heavenly happiness, which is so great that nothing of it admits of description, nor can ever be conceived by any human idea. Those who are under the influence of love, love the Lord from the heart, but yet know, declare, and perceive, that all love, and consequently all life--which is of love alone--and thus all happiness, come solely from the Lord, and that they have not the least of love, of life, or of happiness, from themselves. That it is the Lord from whom all love comes, was also represented by the great luminary or "sun," at His transfiguration, for it is written:--

His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light (Matt. 17:2).

Inmost things are signified by the face, and the things that proceed from them, by the raiment. Thus the Lord’s Divine was signified by the "sun," or love; and His Human by the "light," or wisdom proceeding from love.

AC 33. It is in every one‘s power very well to know that no life is possible without some love, and that no joy is possible except that which flows from love. Such however as is the love, such is the life, and such the joy: if you were to remove loves, or what is the same thing, desires-for these are of love-thought would instantly cease, and you would become like a dead person, as has been shown me to the life. The loves of self and of the world have in them some resemblance to life and to joy, but as they are altogether contrary to true love, which consists in a man’s loving the Lord above all things, and his neighbor as himself, it must be evident that they are not loves, but hatreds, for in proportion as any one loves himself and the world, in the same proportion he hates his neighbor, and thereby the Lord. Wherefore true love is love to the Lord, and true life is the life of love from Him, and true joy is the joy of that life. There can be but one true love, and therefore but one true life, whence flow true joys and true felicities, such as are those of the angels in the heavens.

AC 34. Love and faith admit of no separation, because they constitute one and the same thing; and therefore when mention is first made of "luminaries" they are regarded as one, and it is said, "let there be (sit) luminaries in the expanse of the heavens." Concerning this circumstance it is permitted me to relate the following wonderful particulars. The celestial angels, by virtue of the celestial love in which they are from the Lord, are from that love in all the knowledges of faith, and are such a life and light of intelligence that scarcely anything of it can be described. But, on the other hand, spirits who are in the knowledge of the doctrinals of faith, without love, are in such a coldness of life and obscurity of light that they cannot even approach the first threshold of the court of the heavens, but flee back again. Some of them, while not living according to His precepts, say that they have believed in the Lord, and it was of such that the Lord said in Matthew:--

Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he that doeth My will: many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied through Thy name (Matthew 7:21, 22, 23-29).

[2] Hence it is evident that those who are in love are also in faith, and thereby in heavenly life, but not those who say they are in faith, and are not in the life of love. The life of faith without love is like the light of the sun without heat, as in the time of winter, when nothing grows, but all things are torpid and dead; whereas faith proceeding from love is like the light of the sun in the time of spring, when all things grow and flourish in consequence of the sun‘s fructifying heat. It is precisely similar in regard to spiritual and heavenly things, which are usually represented in the Word by such as exist in the world and on the face of the earth. No faith; and faith without love, are also compared by the Lord to "winter," where He foretells the consummation of the age, in Mark:--

Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, for those shall be days of affliction (Mark 13:18, 19).

"Flight" means the last time, and also that of every man when he dies. " Winter" is a life destitute of love; the "day of affliction" is its miserable state in the other life.

AC 35. Man has two faculties: will and understanding. When the understanding is governed by the will they together constitute one mind, and thus one life, for then what the man wills and does he also thinks and intends. But when the understanding is at variance with the will (as with those who say they have faith, and yet live in contradiction to faith), then the one mind is divided into two, one of which desires to exalt itself into heaven, while the other tends toward hell; and since the will is the doer in every act, the whole man would plunge headlong into hell if it were not that the Lord has mercy on him.

AC 36. They who have separated faith from love do not even know what faith is. When thinking of faith, some imagine it to be mere thought, some that it is thought directed toward the Lord, few that it is the doctrine of faith. But faith is not only a knowledge and acknowledgment of all things that the doctrine of faith comprises, but especially is it an obedience to all things that the doctrine of faith teaches. The primary point that it teaches, and that which men should obey, is love to the Lord, and love toward the neighbor, for if a man is not in this, he is not in faith. This the Lord teaches so plainly as to leave no doubt concerning it, in Mark:--

The foremost of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the foremost commandment; and the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; there is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:29-31).

In Matthew, the Lord calls the former of these the "first and great commandment," and says that "on these commandments hang all the law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-41). The "law and the Prophets" are the universal doctrine of faith, and the whole Word.

AC 37. It is said that the luminaries shall be "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years." In these words are contained more arcana than can at present be unfolded, although in the literal sense nothing of the kind appears. Suffice it here to observe that there are alternations of things spiritual and celestial, both in general and in particular, which are compared to the changes of days and of years. The changes of days are from morning to midday, thence to evening, and through night to morning; and the changes of years are similar, being from spring to summer, thence to autumn, and through winter to spring. Hence come the alternations of heat and light, and also of the productions of the earth. To these changes are compared the alternations of things spiritual and celestial. Life without such alternations and varieties would be uniform, consequently no life at all; nor would good and truth be discerned or distinguished, much less perceived. These alternations are in the Prophets called "ordinances (statuta)," as in Jeremiah:--

Said Jehovah, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night (Jeremiah 31:35, 36).

And in the same Prophet:--

Said Jehovah, If My covenant of day and night stand not, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth (Jeremiah 33:25).

But concerning these things, of the Lord’s Divine mercy, at (Genesis 8:22).

AC 38. Verse 18. And to rule in the day, and in the night, and to distinguish between the light and the darkness; and God saw that it was good. By the "day" is meant good, by the "night," evil; and therefore goods are called works of the day, but evils works of the night; by the "light" is meant truth, and by the "darkness" falsity, as the Lord says:--

Men loved darkness rather than light. He that doeth truth cometh to the light (John 3:19, 21).

Verse 19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

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