Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 1:24-31
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AC 44. Verses 24, 25. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living soul after its kind, the beast, and the moving thing, and the wild animal of the earth after its kind; and it was so. And God made the wild animal of the earth after its kind, and the beast after its kind, and everything that creepeth on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Man, like the earth, can produce nothing of good unless the knowledges of faith are first sown in him, whereby he may know what is to be believed and done. It is the office of the understanding to hear the Word, and of the will to do it. To hear the Word and not to do it, is like saying that we believe when we do not live according to our belief; in which case we separate hearing and doing, and thus have a divided mind, and become of those whom the Lord calls "foolish" in the following passage:--

Whosoever heareth My words, and doeth them, I will liken unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock: but every one that heareth My words, and doeth them not, I liken to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand (Matt. 7:24, 26).

The things that belong to the understanding are signified by the "creeping things which the waters bring forth," and also by the "fowl upon the earth," and "upon the faces of the expanse;" but those which are of the will are signified here by the "living soul which the earth produces," and by the "beast" and "creeping thing," and also by the "wild animal of that earth."

AC 45. Those who lived in the most ancient times thus signified the things relating to the understanding and to the will; and therefore in the Prophets, and constantly in the Word of the Old Testament, the like things are represented by different kinds of animals. Beasts are of two kinds; the evil, so called because they are hurtful; and the good, which are harmless. Evils in man are signified by evil beasts, as by bears, wolves, dogs; and the things which are good and gentle, by beasts of a like nature, as by heifers, sheep, and lambs. The "beasts" here referred to are good and gentle ones, and thus signify affections, because it here treats of those who are being regenerated. The lower things in man, which have more connection with the body, are called "wild animals of that earth," and are cupidities and pleasures.

AC 46. That "beasts" signify man’s affections--evil affections with the evil, and good affections with the good--is evident from numerous passages in the Word, as in Ezekiel:--

Behold, I am for you, and I will look back to you, that ye may be tilled and sown, and I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall be multiplied and bring forth fruit; and I will cause you to dwell as in your ancient times (Ezekiel 36:9, 11),

treating of regeneration. In Joel:--

Be not afraid ye beasts of My field, for the dwelling-places of the wilderness are become grassy (Joel 2:22).

In David also:--

So foolish was I, I was as a beast before Thee (Ps. 73:22).

In Jeremiah, treating of regeneration:--

Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast, and I will watch over them to build and to plant (Jeremiah 31:27, 28).

[2] "Wild animals" have a similar signification, as in Hosea:--

In that day will I make a covenant for them with the will animal of the field, and with the fowl of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the earth (Hosea 2:18).

In Job:--

Thou shalt not be afraid of the wild animals of the earth, for thy covenant is with the stones of the field, and the wild animals of the field shall be at peace with thee (Job 5:22, 23).

In Ezekiel:--

I will make with you a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil wild animal to cease out of the land, that they may dwell confidently in the wilderness (Ezekiel 34:25).

In Isaiah:--

The wild animals of the field shall honor me, because I have given waters in the wilderness (Isaiah 43:20).

In Ezekiel:--

All the fowls of the heavens made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the wild animals of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations (Ezekiel 31:6).

This is said of the Assyrian, by whom is signified the spiritual man, and who is compared to the garden of Eden. In David:--

Glorify ye Him, all His angels, glorify Jehovah from the earth, ye whales, fruit-trees, wild animal, and every beast, creeping thing, and flying fowl (Ps. 148:2, 7, 9, 10).

Here mention is made of the same things--as "whales," the "fruit-tree," "wild animal," the "beast," "creeping thing," and "fowl," which, unless they had signified living principles in man, could never have been called upon to glorify Jehovah.

[3] The Prophets carefully distinguish between "beasts" and "wild animals" "of the earth," and "beasts" and "wild animals" "of the field." Nevertheless goods in man are called "beasts," just as those who are nearest the Lord in heaven are called "animals," both in Ezekiel and in John:--

All the angels stood round about the throne, and the elders, and the four animals, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped the Lamb (Rev. 7:11; 19:4).

Those also who have the gospel preached to them are called "creatures," because they are to be created anew:--

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).

AC 47. That these words contain arcana relating to regeneration, is evident also from its being said in the foregoing verse that the earth should bring forth "the living soul, the beast, and the wild animal of the earth," whereas in the following verse the order is changed, and it said that God made "the wild animal of the earth," and likewise "the beast;" for at first, and afterwards until he becomes celestial, man brings forth as of himself; and thus regeneration begins from the external man, and proceeds to the internal; therefore here there is another order, and external things are mentioned first.

AC 48. Hence then it appears that man is in the fifth state of regeneration when he speaks from a principle of faith, which belongs to the understanding, and thereby confirms himself in the true and in the good. The things then brought forth by him are animate, and are called the "fishes of the sea," and the "fowl of the heavens." He is in the sixth state, when from faith, which is of the understanding, and from love thence derived, which is of the will, he speaks truths, and does goods; what he then brings forth being called the "living soul," and the "beast." And as he then begins to act from love, as well as from faith, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an "image of God," which is the subject now treated of.

AC 49. Verse 26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the beast, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. In the Most Ancient Church, with the members of which the Lord conversed face to face, the Lord appeared as a Man; concerning which much might be related, but the time has not yet arrived. On this account they called no one "man" but the Lord Himself, and the things which were of Him; neither did they call themselves "men," but only those things in themselves-as all the good of love and all the truth of faith- which they perceived they. had from the Lord. These they said were "of man," because they were of the Lord.

[2] Hence in the Prophets, by "man" and the "Son of man," in the supreme sense, is meant the Lord; and in the internal sense, wisdom and intelligence; thus every one who is regenerate. As in Jeremiah:--

I beheld the earth, and lo, it was void and emptiness, and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld and lo there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled (Jeremiah 4:23, 25).

In Isaiah, where, in the internal sense, by "man", is meant a regenerate person, and in the supreme sense, the Lord himself, as the One Man:--

Thus saith Jehovah the Holy One of Israel, and his Former, I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, even My hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their army have I commanded (Isaiah 45:11, 12).

[3] The Lord therefore appeared to the prophets as a man, as in Ezekiel:--

Above the expanse, as the appearance of a sapphire stone, the likeness of a throne, and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it (Ezekiel 1:26).

And when seen by Daniel He was called the "Son of man," that is, the man, which is the same thing:--

I saw, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him; and there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13, 14).

[4] The Lord also frequently calls Himself the "Son of man," that is, the man, and, as in Daniel, foretells His coming in glory:--

Then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30).

The "clouds of heaven" are the literal sense of the Word; "power and great glory" are the internal sense of the Word, which in all things both in general and in particular has reference solely to the Lord and His kingdom; and it is from this that the internal sense derives its power and glory.

AC 50. The Most Ancient Church understood by the "image of the Lord" more than can be expressed. Man is altogether ignorant that he is governed of the Lord through angels and spirits, and that with every one there are at least two spirits, and two angels. By spirits man has communication with the world of spirits, and by angels with heaven. Without communication by means of spirits with the world of spirits, and by means of angels with heaven, and thus through heaven with the Lord, man could not live at all; his life entirely depends on this conjunction, so that if the spirits and angels were to withdraw, he would instantly perish.

[2] While man is unregenerate he is governed quite otherwise than when regenerated. While unregenerate there are evil spirits with him, who so domineer over him that the angels, though present, are scarcely able to do anything more than merely guide him so that he may not plunge into the lowest evil, and bend him to some good--in fact bend him to good by means of his own cupidities, and to truth by means of the fallacies of the senses. He then has communication with the world of spirits through the spirits who are with him, but not so much with heaven, because evil spirits rule, and the angels only avert their rule.

[3] But when the man is regenerate, the angels rule, and inspire him with all goods and truths, and with fear and horror of evils and falsities. The angels indeed lead, but only as ministers, for it is the Lord alone who governs man through angels and spirits. And as this is done through the ministry of angels, it is here first said, in the plural number, "Let us make man in our image;" and yet because the Lord alone governs and disposes, it is said in the following verse, in the singular number, "God created him in His own image." This the Lord also plainly declares in Isaiah:--

Thus saith Jehovah thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I Jehovah make all things, stretching forth the heavens alone, spreading abroad the earth by Myself (Isaiah 44:24).

The angels moreover themselves confess that there is no power in them, but that they act from the Lord alone.

AC 51. As regards the "image," an image is not a likeness, but is according to the likeness; it is therefore said, " Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." The spiritual man is an "image," and the celestial man a "likeness," or similitude. In this chapter the spiritual man is treated of; in the following, the celestial. The spiritual man, who is an "image," is called by the Lord a "son of light," as in John:--

He that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light (John 12:35, 36).

He is called also a "friend:"--

Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you (John 15:14, 15).

But the celestial man, who is a "likeness," is called a "son of God," in John:--

As many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13).

AC 52. So long as man is spiritual, his dominion proceeds from the external man to the internal, as is here said: "Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the beast, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." But when he becomes celestial, and does good from love, then his dominion proceeds from the internal man to the external, as the Lord, in David, describes Himself, and thereby also the celestial man, who is His likeness:--

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, the flock and all cattle, and also the beasts of the feilds, the fowl of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas (Ps. 8:6-8).

Here therefore " beasts" are first mentioned, and then " fowl," and afterwards the "fish of the sea," because the celestial man proceeds from love, which belongs to the will, differing herein from the spiritual man, in describing whom "fishes" and "fowl" are first named, which belong to the understanding, and this to faith; and afterwards mention is made of "beasts."

AC 53. Verse 27. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him. The reason why "image" is here twice mentioned, is that faith, which belongs to the understanding, is called "His image;" whereas love, which belongs to the will, and which in the spiritual man comes after, but in the celestial man precedes, is called the "image of God."

AC 54. Male and female created He them. What is meant by "male and female," in the internal sense, was well known to the Most Ancient Church, but when the interior sense of the Word was lost among their posterity, this arcanum also perished. Their marriages were their chief sources of happiness and delight, and whatever admitted of the comparison they likened to marriage, in order that in this way they might perceive its felicity. Being also internal men, they were delighted only with internal things. External things they merely saw with the eyes, but thought of what was represented. So that outward things were nothing to them, save as these could in some measure be the means of causing them to turn their thoughts to internal things, and from these to celestial things, and so to the Lord who was their all, and consequently to the heavenly marriage, from which they perceived the happiness of their marriages to come. The understanding in the spiritual man they therefore called male, and the will female, and when these acted as a one they called it a marriage. From that church came the form of speech which became customary, whereby the church itself, from its affection of good, was called "daughter" and "virgin"-as the "virgin of Zion," the "virgin of Jerusalem"-and also "wife." But on these subjects see (Genesis 2:23; 3:15).

AC 55. Verse 28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth. As the most ancient people called the conjunction of the understanding and the will, or of faith and love, a marriage, everything of good produced from that marriage they called "fructifications," and everything of truth, "multiplications." Hence they are so called in the Prophets, as for instance in Ezekiel:--

I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful, and I will cause you to dwell as in your ancient times, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings, and ye shall know that I am Jehovah, yea, I will cause man to walk upon you, even My people Israel (Ezekiel 36:11, 12).

By "man" is here meant the spiritual man who is called Israel; by "ancient times," the Most Ancient Church; by "beginnings," the Ancient Church after the flood. The reason why "multiplication," which is of truth, is first mentioned, and "fructification," which is of good, afterwards, is that the passage treats of one who is to become regenerated, and not of one who is already regenerated.

[2] When the understanding is united with the will, or faith with love, the man is called by the Lord "a married land," as in Isaiah:--

Thy land shall be no more termed waste, but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah (My delight is in her), and thy land Beulah (married), for Jehovah delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married (Isaiah 62:4).

The fruits thence issuing, which are of truth, are called "sons," and those which are of good are called "daughters," and this very frequently in the Word.

[3] The earth is "replenished," or filled, when there are many truths and goods; for when the Lord blesses and speaks to man, that is, works upon him, there is an immense increase of good and truth, as the Lord says in Matthew:--

The kingdom of the heavens is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heavens come and build their nests in the branches thereof (Matthew 13:31, 32).

A "grain of mustard-seed" is man‘s good before he becomes spiritual, which is "the least of all seeds," because he thinks that he does good of himself, and what is of himself is nothing but evil. But as he is in a state of regeneration, there is something of good in him, but it is the least of all.

[4] At length as faith is joined with love it grows larger, and becomes an "herb;" and lastly, when the conjunction is completed, it becomes a "tree," and then the "birds of the heavens" (in this passage also denoting truths, or things intellectual) "build their nests in its branches," which are memory knowledges. When man is spiritual, as well as during the time of his becoming spiritual, he is in a state of combat, and therefore it is said, "subdue the earth and have dominion."

AC 56. Verse 29. And God said, Behold, I give you every herb bearing seed which is upon the faces of all the earth; and every tree in which is fruit; the tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for food. The celestial man is delighted with celestial things alone, which being in agreement with his life are called celestial food. The spiritual man is delighted with spiritual things, and as these are in agreement with his life they are called spiritual food. The natural man in like manner is delighted with natural things, which, being of his life, are called food, and consist chiefly of memory-knowledges. As the spiritual man is here treated of, his spiritual food is described by representatives, as by the "herb bearing seed," and by the "tree in which is fruit," which are called, in general, the "tree yielding seed." His natural food is described in the following verse.

AC 57. The "herb bearing seed" is every truth which regards use; the "tree in which is fruit" is the good of faith; "fruit" is what the Lord gives to the celestial man, but "seed producing fruit" is what He gives to the spiritual man and therefore it is said, the "tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for food." That celestial food is called fruit from a tree, is evident from the following chapter, where the celestial man is treated of. In confirmation of this we will here cite only these words of the Lord from Ezekiel:--

By the river, upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, there cometh up every tree of food, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; it is born again in its month; because there its waters issue out of the sanctuary; and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for medicine (Ezekiel 47:12).

"Waters issuing out of the sanctuary," signify the life and mercy of the Lord, who is the "sanctuary." "Fruit" is wisdom, which shall be food for them; the "leaf" is intelligence which shall be for their use, and this use is called "medicine." But that spiritual food is called "herb," appears from David:--

My shepherd, I shall not want; Thou makest me to lie down in pastures of herb (Ps. 23:1, 2).

AC 58. Verse 30. And to every wild animal of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, I give every green herb for food; and it was so. The natural meat of the same man is here described. His natural is signified by the "wild animal of the earth" and by the "fowl of the heavens," to which there are given for food the vegetable and the green of the herb. Both his natural and his spiritual food are thus described in David:--

Jehovah causeth the grass to grow for the beast, and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth bread out of the earth (Ps. 104:14),

where the term "beast" is used to express both the wild animal of the earth and the fowl of the heavens which are also mentioned in (Ps. 104:11, 12).

AC 59. The reason why the "vegetable and the green of the herb" only are here described as food for the natural man, is this. In the course of regeneration, when man is being made spiritual, he is continually engaged in combat, on which account the church of the Lord is called "militant;" for before regeneration cupidities have the dominion, because the whole man is composed of mere cupidities and the falsities thence derived. During regeneration these cupidities and falsities cannot be instantaneously abolished, for this would be to destroy the whole man, such being the only life which he has acquired; and therefore evil spirits are suffered to continue with him for a long time, that they may excite his cupidities, and that these may thus be loosened, in innumerable ways, even to such a degree that they can be inclined by the Lord to good, and the man be thus reformed. In the time of combat, the evil spirits, who bear the utmost hatred against all that is good and true, that is, against whatever is of love and faith toward the Lord-which things alone are good and true, because they have eternal life in them-leave the man nothing else for food but what is compared to the vegetable and the green of the herb; nevertheless the Lord gives him also a food which is compared to the herb bearing seed, and to the tree in which is fruit, which are states of tranquillity and peace, with their joys and delights; and this food the Lord gives the man at intervals.

[2] Unless the Lord defended man every moment, yea, even the smallest part of every moment, he would instantly perish, in consequence of the indescribably intense and mortal hatred which prevails in the world of spirits against the things relating to love and faith toward the Lord. The certainty of this fact I can affirm, having been now for some years (notwithstanding my remaining in the body) associated with spirits in the other life, even with the worst of them, and I have sometimes been surrounded by thousands, to whom it was permitted to spit forth their venom, and infest me by all possible methods, yet without their being able to hurt a single hair of my head, so secure was I under the Lord’s protection. From so many years‘ experience I have been thoroughly instructed concerning the world of spirits and its nature, as well as concerning the combat which those being regenerated must needs endure, in order to attain the happiness of eternal life. But as no one can be so well instructed in such subjects by a general description as to believe them with an undoubting faith, the particulars will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be related in the following pages.

AC 60. Verse 31. And God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. This state is called "very good," the former ones being merely called "good;" because now the things which are of faith make a one with those which are of love, and thus a marriage is effected between spiritual things and celestial things.

AC 61. All things relating to the knowledges of faith are called spiritual, and all that are of love to the Lord and our neighbor are called celestial; the former belong to man‘s understanding, and the latter to his will.

AC 62. The times and states of man’s regeneration in general and in particular are divided into six, and are called the days of his creation; for, by degrees, from being not a man at all, he becomes at first something of one, and so by little and little attains to the sixth day, in which he becomes an image of God.

AC 63. Meanwhile the Lord continually fights for him against evils and falsities, and by combats confirms him in truth and good. The time of combat is the time of the Lord‘s working; and therefore in the Prophets the regenerate man is called the work of the fingers of God. Nor does He rest until love acts as principal; then the combat ceases. When the work has so far advanced that faith is conjoined with love, it is called "very good;" because the Lord then actuates him, as His likeness. At the end of the sixth day the evil spirits depart, and good spirits take their place, and the man is introduced into heaven, or into the celestial paradise; concerning which in the following chapter.

AC 64. This then is the internal sense of the Word, its veriest life, which does not at all appear from the sense of the letter. But so many are its arcana that volumes would not suffice for the unfolding of them. A very few only are here set forth, and those such as may confirm the fact that regeneration is here treated of, and that this proceeds from the external man to the internal. It is thus that the angels perceive the Word. They know nothing at all of what is in the letter, not even the proximate meaning of a single word; still less do they know the names of the countries, cities, rivers, and persons, that occur so frequently in the historical and prophetical parts of the Word. They have an idea only of the things signified by the words and the names. Thus by Adam in paradise they perceive the Most Ancient Church, yet not that church, but the faith in the Lord of that church. By Noah they perceive the church that remained with the descendants of the Most Ancient Church, and that continued to the time of Abram. By Abraham they by no means perceive that individual, but a saving faith, which he represented; and so on. Thus they perceive spiritual and celestial things entirely apart from the words and names.

AC 65. Certain ones were taken up to the first entrance-court of heaven, when I was reading the Word, and from there conversed with me. They said they could not there understand one whit of any word or letter therein, but only what was signified in the nearest interior sense, which they declared to be so beautiful, in such order of sequence, and so affecting them, that they called it Glory.

AC 66. There are in the Word, in general, four different styles. The first is that of the Most Ancient Church. Their mode of expression was such that when they mentioned terrestrial and worldly things they thought of the spiritual and celestial things which these represented. They therefore not only expressed themselves by representatives, but also formed these into a kind of historical series, in order to give them more life; and this was to them delightful in the very highest degree. This is the style of which Hannah prophesied, saying:--

Speak what is high! high! Let what is ancient come out of your mouth (1 Sam. 2:3).

Such representatives are called in David, "Dark sayings of old" (Ps. 78:2-4). These particulars concerning the creation, the garden of Eden, etc., down to the time of Abram, Moses had from the descendants of the Most Ancient Church.

[2] The second style is historical, which is found in the books of Moses from the time of Abram onward, and in those of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings. In these books the historical facts are just as they appear in the sense of the letter; and yet they all contain, in both general and particular, quite other things in the internal sense, of which, by the Lord’s Divine mercy, in their order in the following pages. The third style is the prophetical one, which was born of that which was so highly venerated in the Most Ancient Church. This style however is not in connected and historical form like the most ancient style, but is broken, and is scarcely ever intelligible except in the internal sense, wherein are deepest arcana, which follow in beautiful connected order, and relate to the external and the internal man; to the many states of the church; to heaven itself; and in the inmost sense to the Lord. The fourth style is that of the Psalms of David, which is intermediate between the prophetical style and that of common speech. The Lord is there treated of in the internal sense, under the person of David as a king.