Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 2:18-20
AC 138. Verse 18. And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help as with him. By "alone" is signified that he was not content to be led by the Lord, but desired to be led by self and the world; by a "help as with him," is signified man‘s Own, which is subsequently called a "rib built into a woman."
AC 139. In ancient times those were said to "dwell alone" who were under the Lord’s guidance as celestial men, because such were no longer infested by evils, or evil spirits. This was represented in the Jewish Church also by their dwelling alone when they had driven out the nations. On this account it is sometimes said of the Lord‘s church, in the Word, that she is "alone," as in Jeremiah:--
Arise, get you up to a quiet nation that dwelleth confidently, saith the Lord, which hath neither gates nor bar; they dwell alone (Jeremiah 49:31).
In the prophecy of Moses:--
Israel hath dwelt confidently alone (Deut. 33:28).
And still more clearly in the prophecy of Balaam:--
Lo, the people dwelleth alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations (Num. 23:9),
where "nations" signify evils. This posterity of the Most Ancient Church was not disposed to dwell alone, that is, to be a celestial man, or to be led by the Lord as a celestial man, but, like the Jewish Church, desired to be among the nations. And because they desired this, it is said, "it is not good that the man should be alone," for he who desires is already in evil, and it is granted him.
AC 140. That by "a help as with him" is signified man’s Own, is evident both from the nature of this Own, and from what follows. As however the man of the church who is here treated of was well disposed, an Own was granted him, but of such a kind that it appeared as it were his own, and therefore it is said "a help as with him."
AC 141. Innumerable things might be said about man‘s Own in describing its nature with the corporeal and worldly man, with the spiritual man, and with the celestial man. With the corporeal and worldly man, his Own is his all, he knows of nothing else than his Own, and imagines, as before said, that if he were to lose this Own he would perish. With the spiritual man also his Own has a similar appearance, for although he knows that the Lord is the life of all, and gives wisdom and understanding, and consequently the power to think and to act, yet this knowledge is rather the profession of his lips than the belief of his heart. But the celestial man discerns that the Lord is the life of all and gives the power to think and to act, for he perceives that it is really so. He never desires his Own, nevertheless an Own is given him by the Lord, which is conjoined with all perception of what is good and true, and with all happiness. The angels are in such an Own, and are at the same time in the highest peace and tranquillity, for in their Own are those things which are the Lord’s, who governs their Own, or them by means of their Own. This Own is the veriest celestial itself, whereas that of the corporeal man is infernal. But concerning this Own more hereafter.
AC 142. Verses 19, 20. And Jehovah God formed out of the ground every beast of the field, and every fowl of the heavens, and brought it to the man to see what he would call it; and whatsoever the man called every living soul, that was the name thereof. And the man gave names to every beast, and to the fowl of the heavens, and to every wild animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a help as with him. By "beasts" are signified celestial affections, and by " fowls of the heavens," spiritual affections; that is to say, by "beasts" are signified things of the will, and by "fowls" things of the understanding. To "bring them to the man to see what he would call them," is to enable him to know their quality, and his "giving them names," signifies that he knew it. But notwithstanding that he knew the quality of the affections of good and of the knowledges of truth that were given him by the Lord, still he inclined to his Own, which is expressed in the same terms as before-that "there was not found a help as with him."
AC 143. That by "beasts" and "animals" were anciently signified affections and like things in man, may appear strange at the present day; but as the men of those times were in a celestial idea, and as such things are represented in the world of spirits by animals, and in fact by such animals as they are like, therefore when they spoke in that way they meant nothing else. Nor is anything else meant in the Word in those places where beasts are mentioned either generally or specifically. The whole prophetic Word is full of such things, and therefore one who does not know what each beast specifically signifies, cannot possibly understand what the Word contains in the internal sense. But, as before observed, beasts are of two kinds evil or noxious beasts, and good or harmless ones-and by the good beasts are signified good affections, as for instance by sheep, lambs, and doves; and as it is the celestial, or the celestial spiritual man, who is treated of, such are here meant. That "beasts" in general signify affections, may be seen above, confirmed by some passages in the Word (n. 45, 46), so that there is no need of further confirmation.
AC 144. That to "call by name" signifies to know the quality, is because the ancients, by the "name," understood the essence of a thing, and by "seeing and calling by name," they understood to know the quality. The reason was that they gave names to their sons and daughters according to the things which were signified, for every name had something peculiar in it, from which, and by which, they might know the origin and the nature of their children, as will be seen in a future part of this work, when, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy, we come to treat of the twelve sons of Jacob. As therefore the names implied the source and quality of the things named, nothing else was understood by "calling by name." This was the customary mode of speaking among them, but one who does not understand this may wonder that such things should be signified.
AC 145. In the Word also by "name" is signified the essence of a thing, and by "seeing and calling by name" is signified to know the quality. As in Isaiah:--
I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, Jehovah, who call thee by thy name am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My chosen, I have even called thee by thy name, I have surnamed thee, and thou hast not known Me (Isaiah 45:3, 4).
In this passage, to "call by name," and to "surname" signifies to foreknow the quality. Again:--
Thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of Jehovah shall declare (Isaiah 62:2),
signifying to become of another character, as appears from the preceding and subsequent verses. Again:--
Fear not, O Israel, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine (Isaiah 43:1),
denoting that He knew their quality. Again in the same Prophet:--
Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their army by number. He will call them all by name (Isaiah 40:26),
meaning that He knew them all. In the Revelation:--
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments: he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels (Revelation 3:4, 5).
And in another place:--
Whose names are not written in the Lamb‘s book of life (Revelation 13:8).
By "names" in these passages are by no means meant names, but qualities; nor is the name of any one ever known in heaven, but his quality.
AC 146. From what has been stated, the connection of what is signified may be seen. In (verse 18) it is said, "It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a help as with him," and presently "beasts" and "birds" are spoken of, which nevertheless had been treated of before, and immediately it is repeated that "for the man there was not found a help as with him," which denotes that although he was permitted to know his quality as to the affections of good, and knowledges of truth, still he inclined to his Own; for those who are such as to desire what is their own, begin to despise the things of the Lord, however plainly they may be represented and shown to them. GENESIS 2:18-20 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|