Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 13:3
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AC 1553. Verse 3. And he went according to his journeys, from the south and even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent was at the first, between Bethel and Ai. "He went according to his journeys," signifies according to order; "from the south and even to Bethel," signifies from the light of intelligence into the light of wisdom; "unto the place where his tent was before," signifies to the holy things which there were before He was imbued with knowledges; "between Bethel and Ai," signifies here, as before, the celestial things of knowledges, and worldly things.

AC 1554. He went according to his journeys. That this signifies according to order, is evident from the signification of "journeys," as being further progressions (n. 1457); and as these were made according to order, "journeys" here signify nothing else. From His earliest infancy the Lord advanced according to all Divine order to celestial things, and into celestial things; and in the internal sense, the nature of this order is described by what is said concerning Abram. According to such order also are all led who are being created anew by the Lord; but this order is various with men, according to the nature and genius of each one. But the order by which a man is led while being regenerated is known to no man, and not even to the angels, except obscurely, but to the Lord alone.

AC 1555. From the south and even to Bethel. That this signifies from the light of intelligence into the light of wisdom, is evident from the signification of "the south," as being the light of intelligence, or what is the same, a state of light as to the interiors (n. 1458); and from the signification of "Bethel," as being celestial light arising from knowledges (n. 1453). That is called the light of intelligence which is procured by means of the knowledges of the truths and goods of faith; but the light of wisdom is that of the life which is thence acquired. The light of intelligence regards the intellectual part, or the understanding; but the light of wisdom regards the will part, or the life.

[2] Few, if any, know how man is brought to true wisdom. Intelligence is not wisdom, but leads to wisdom; for to understand what is true and good is not to be true and good, but to be wise is to be so. Wisdom is predicated only of the life-- that the man is such. A man is introduced to wisdom or to life by means of knowing (scire et nosse), that is, by means of knowledges (scientiae et cognitiones). In every man there are two parts, the will and the understanding; the will is the primary part, the understanding is the secondary one. Man’s life after death is according to his will part, not according to his intellectual part. The will is being formed in man by the Lord from infancy to childhood, which is effected by means of the innocence that is insinuated, and by means of charity toward parents, nurses, and little children of a like age and by means of many other things that man knows nothing of, and which are celestial. unless these celestial things were first insinuated into a man while an infant and a child, he could by no means become a man. Thus is formed the first plane.

[3] But as a man is not a man unless he is endowed also with understanding, will alone does not make the man, but understanding together with will; and understanding cannot be acquired except by means of knowledges (scientiae et cognitiones) and therefore he must, from his childhood, be gradually imbued with these. Thus is formed the second plane. When the intellectual part has been instructed in knowledges (scientiae et cognitiones), especially in the knowledges of truth and good, then first can the man be regenerated; and, when he is being regenerated, truths and goods are implanted by the Lord by means of knowledges in the celestial things with which he had been endowed by the Lord from infancy, so that his intellectual things make a one with his celestial things; and when the Lord has thus conjoined these, the man is endowed with charity, from which he begins to act, this charity being of conscience. In this way he for the first time receives new life, and this by degrees. The light of this life is called wisdom, which then takes the first place, and is set over the intelligence. Thus is formed the third plane. When a man has become like this during his bodily life, he is then in the other life being continually perfected. These considerations show what is the light of intelligence, and what the light of wisdom.

AC 1556. Unto the place where his tent was before. That this signifies to the holy things which there were before He was imbued with knowledges, is evident from the signification of a "tent," which is the holy things of faith (n. 414, 1452), and from what has just been said it thus signifies to the celestial things which the Lord had before He was imbued with knowledges, as is evident from what was said in the preceding chapter: "and Abram removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent" (verse 8); which was before he departed into Egypt, that is, before the Lord was imbued with knowledges.

AC 1557. Between Bethel and Ai. That this signifies the celestial things of knowledges, and worldly things, is evident from the signification of "Bethel," which is the light of wisdom by means of knowledges (n. 1453); and from the signification of "Ai," which is the light from worldly things (n. 1453). From what is there said, it may be seen what the Lord‘s state then was namely, that it was childlike; and the state of a child is such that worldly things are present; for worldly things cannot be dispersed until truth and good are implanted in celestial things by means of knowledges; for a man cannot distinguish between celestial and worldly things until he knows what the celestial is, and what the worldly. Knowledges make a general and obscure idea distinct; and the more distinct the idea is made by means of knowledges, the more can the worldly things be separated.

[2] But still that childlike state is holy, because it is innocent. Ignorance by no means precludes holiness, when there is innocence in it; for holiness dwells in ignorance that is innocent. With all men, except with the Lord, holiness can dwell solely in ignorance; and if not in ignorance, they have no holiness. With the angels themselves, who are in the highest light of intelligence and wisdom, holiness also dwells in ignorance; for they know and acknowledge that of themselves they know nothing, but that whatever they know is from the Lord. They also know and acknowledge that all their memory-knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, is as nothing in comparison with the infinite knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom of the Lord; thus that it is ignorance. He who does not acknowledge that there are infinite things with which he is not acquainted, beyond those with which he is acquainted, cannot be in the holiness of ignorance in which are the angels.

[3] The holiness of ignorance does not consist in being more ignorant than others; but in the acknowledgment that of himself a man knows nothing, and that the things he does not know are infinite in comparison with those he does know; and especially does it consist in his regarding the things of the memory and of the understanding as being of but little moment in comparison with celestial things; that is, the things of the understanding in comparison with the things of the life. As regards the Lord, as He was conjoining things human with things Divine, He advanced according to order; and He now for the first time arrived at the celestial state such as He had when a child; in which state worldly things also were present. By advancing from this into a state still more celestial, He at length came into the celestial state of infancy, and in this He fully conjoined the Human Essence with the Divine Essence.

GENESIS 13:3    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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