Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 13:11
AC 1591. Verse 11. And Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed from the east; and they were separated, a man from his brother. "And Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan," signifies the external man, that it was such; "and Lot journeyed from the east," signifies the things in the external man that recede from celestial love; "and they were separated, a man from his brother," signifies that those things cause the separation.
AC 1592. Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan. That this signifies the external man, and that it was such, is evident from the signification of "the plain of Jordan," explained in the preceding verse, which is the external man. In the preceding verse is described the beauty of the external man when it is conjoined with the internal, but its deformity when disjoined is described in this and the two following verses.
AC 1593. And Lot journeyed from the east. That this signifies those things in the external man that recede from celestial love, is evident from the signification of "the east," as being the Lord, and thus all that is celestial (n. 101); and as the Lord is signified by the east, it follows that "the east" here is the Lord‘s internal man, which was Divine. Thus that the external man receded from the internal, is here signified by "Lot journeyed from the east."
AC 1594. And they were separated, a man from his brother. That this signifies that those things cause the separation, follows from what has been said. What "a man, a brother" signifies was stated above at (verse 8), namely, union; and therefore "to be separated, a man from his brother," signifies disunion. What disunites the external man from the internal man knows not, and this for many reasons. It is partly owing to his not knowing, or if told, to his not believing, that there is any internal man; and partly to his not knowing, or if told, to his not believing, that the love of self and its cupidities are what cause the disunion; and also the love of the world and its cupidities, but not so much as the love of self.
 The reason why man does not know, and if told, does not believe, that there is an internal man, is that he lives in corporeal and sensuous things, which cannot possibly see what is interior. Interior things can see what is exterior, but never exterior things what is interior. Take the case of sight: the internal sight can see what the external sight is; but the external sight cannot see what the internal sight is; or again, the intellectual and the rational can perceive what the faculty of memory-knowledge is, but not the reverse. A further cause is that man does not believe that there is a spirit which is separated from the body at death; and scarcely that there is an internal life which is called the soul; for when the sensuous and corporeal man thinks about the separation of the spirit from the body, it strikes him as an impossible thing, because he places life in the body, and confirms himself in this idea from the fact that brute animals also live, but still do not live after death; besides many other things. All this is a consequence of his living in corporeal and sensuous things; which kind of life, viewed in itself, scarcely differs from the life of brute animals, with the single exception that a man has ability to think and reason about the things he meets with; but upon this faculty, which brute animals have not, he does not then reflect.
 This cause, however, is not what most disunites the external man from the internal, for a very great part of mankind are in such unbelief, and the most learned more than the simple. But what disunites is principally the love of self; the love of the world, also, but not so much as the love of self. The reason why man does not know this is that he lives in no charity, and when he is living in no charity it cannot be apparent to him that a life of the love of self and its cupidities is so contrary to heavenly love. There is also in the love of self and its cupidities something glowing, and consequently delightful, which so affects the life that the man hardly knows otherwise than that therein consists eternal happiness itself; and therefore many place eternal happiness in becoming great after the life of the body, and in being served by others, even by angels; while they themselves desire to serve no one, except for the sake of self, with a hidden view to being served themselves. Their saying that they desire to serve the Lord alone is false, for they who are in the love of self desire to have even the Lord serve them, and so far as this is not done they fall back. Thus they carry in their heart the desire to become lords themselves, and to reign over the universe. It is easy to conceive what kind of government this would be, when many, nay, when all, were like this. Is not that government infernal in which every one loves himself more than any other? This lies hidden in the love of self. From this we can see the nature of the love of self, and we can see it also from the fact that there is concealed within it hatred against all who do not subject themselves to it as slaves; and because there is hatred, there are also revenge, cruelties, deceits, and many other wicked things.
 But mutual love, which alone is heavenly, consists in a man’s not only saying of himself, but acknowledging and believing, that he is utterly unworthy, and that he is something vile and filthy, which the Lord from His infinite mercy continually withdraws and holds back from hell, into which the man continually strives, nay longs, to precipitate himself. His acknowledging and believing this, is because it is true; not that the Lord, or any angel, desires him to acknowledge and believe it for the sake of his submission; but that he may not exalt himself, seeing that he is even such; for this would be as if excrement should call itself pure gold, or a fly of the dunghill should say that it is a bird of paradise. So far therefore as a man acknowledges and believes himself to be such as he really is, he recedes from the love of self and its cupidities, and abhors himself. So far as he does this, he receives heavenly love from the Lord, that is, mutual love, which consists in the desire to serve all. These are they who are meant by "the least," who become in the Lord‘s kingdom the greatest (Matt. 20:26-28; Luke 9:46-48).
 From what has been said we can see that what principally disjoins the external man from the internal is the love of self; and that what principally unites them is mutual love, which love is never possible until the love of self recedes, for these are altogether contrary to each other. The internal man is nothing else than mutual love. Man’s very spirit or soul is the interior man that lives after death; and it is organic, for it is adjoined to the body while the man is living in this world. This interior man, that is, the soul or spirit, is not the internal man; but the internal man is in it when mutual love is in it. The things that are of the internal man are the Lord‘s; so that it may be said that the internal man is the Lord. But because to an angel or a man while he lives in mutual love, the Lord gives a heavenly Own, so that it appears no otherwise than that he does what is good of himself, the internal man is predicated of man, as if it were his. But he who is in mutual love acknowledges and believes that all that is good and true is not his, but the Lord’s; and his ability to love another as himself-and what is more, if he is like the angels, his ability to love another more than himself he acknowledges and believes to be the Lord‘s gift; from which gift and its happiness he recedes, so far as he recedes from the acknowledgment that it is the Lord’s.GENESIS 13:11 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|