Spiritual background for GENESIS 23    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 2894. We read in John:--

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light appeareth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt within us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-5, 14).

Few know what is here meant by the "Word." That it is the Lord, is evident from the several particulars; but the internal sense teaches that it is the Lord as to His Divine Human that is meant by the "Word," for it is said: "the Word was made flesh and dwelt within us, and we beheld His glory." And because the Divine Human is meant by the "Word," all that Truth also is meant which relates to Him, and is from Him, in His kingdom in the heavens, and in His church on the earth. Hence it is said that "in Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light appeareth in the darkness." And because Truth is meant by the "Word," all revelation is meant, and thus also the Word itself or Holy Scripture.

AC 2895. As regards the Word specifically, it had existed in all times, but not the Word which we have at this day. There had been another Word in the Most Ancient Church which was before the flood, and another Word in the Ancient Church which was after the flood; then came the Word written by Moses and the prophets in the Jewish Church; and lastly the Word that was written by the Evangelists in the new church. The reason why there has been a Word at all times, is that by the Word there is communication of heaven with earth; and also because the Word treats of good and truth, from which man is to live happy forever; and on this account in the internal sense it treats of the Lord alone, because all good and truth are from Him.

AC 2896. The Word in the Most Ancient Church which was before the flood was not a written Word, but was revealed to very one who was of that church. For they were celestial men, and therefore were in the perception of good and truth, as the angels are (with whom moreover they were in company), so that they had the Word written on their hearts (n. 597, 607, 895, 920, 1114-1125). As they were celestial men, and had companionship with angels, all the things which they saw and apprehended by any of the senses were to them representative and significative of the celestial and spiritual things which are in the Lord’s kingdom; so that they indeed saw worldly and earthly things with their eyes, or apprehended them by some other sense, but from them and by means of them they thought of celestial and spiritual things. In this way, and in no other, were they able to speak with angels; for the things with the angels are celestial and spiritual things, and when they come down to man they fall into such things as are with him in the world. That each one of the things in the world represents and signifies something in the heavens, has been shown from the first chapter of Genesis up to this point. Thence came the representatives and significatives which, when communication with angels began to cease, were collected by those meant by "Enoch," as was signified by the words (Gen. 5:24), " Enoch walked by himself with God, and was no more, for God took him (n. 521).

AC 2897. From this source was the Word in the Ancient Church which was after the flood. As the man of this church was spiritual and not celestial, he knew but did not perceive what the representatives and significatives involved; and as they involved Divine things, they came to be in use among those men, and were employed in their Divine worship; and this in order that they might have communication with heaven; for as before said all things in the world represent and signify such things as are in heaven. They also had a written Word, which consisted of Histories and Prophecies, like the Word of the Old Testament; but in process of time that Word was lost. The Histories were called "Wars of Jehovah," and the Prophecies were called "Enunciations," as is evident in Moses (Num. 21:14, 27), where they are quoted. Their histories were written in the prophetic style, and were for the most part made up histories, like those in the first eleven chapters of Genesis; as is plain from the quotations from them in Moses, where are these words:--

Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of Jehovah, Vaheb in Suphah, and the rivers of Arnon, and the slope of the rivers that inclineth toward the dwelling of Ar, and leaneth upon the border of Moab (Num. 21:14, 15).

[2] Their prophecies were written like the prophecies of the Old Testament, as is likewise plain from the quotations made from them also in Moses, where are these words:--

Wherefore the Enunciations (or the Prophetic Enunciators) say, Come ye to Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and established; for a fire is gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon; it hath devoured Ar of Moab, the lords of the high places of Arnon. Woe to thee, Moab; thou hast perished, O people of Chemosh; he hath given his sons as escapers, and his daughters into captivity, unto Sihon king of the Amorite. And we have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba (Num. 21:27-30).

That these prophecies involve heavenly arcana, as do the prophecies of the Old Testament, is clearly manifest not only from their having been transcribed by Moses and applied to the state of things of which he was then writing, but also from the fact that nearly the same words are found in Jeremiah, inserted in the prophecies of that book; in which it is evident from what has been said about the internal sense of the Word, that there are as many heavenly arcana as there are words. The words in Jeremiah are:--

A fire is gone forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from among Sihon, and hath devoured the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the sons of tumult. Woe unto thee, O Moab, the people of Chemosh has perished, for thy sons are taken into captivity, and thy daughters into captivity (Jeremiah 48:45, 46).

From this also it is plain that Word also had an internal sense. Concerning the Ancient Church which was after the flood, see (n. 640, 641, 765, 1238, 1327, 2385).

AC 2898. That with them there were prophecies which in the internal sense treated of the Lord and of His kingdom, may be seen not only from what has been shown, but also from the prophecies of Balaam, who was from Syria, spoken of in Moses (Num. 23:7-10, 18-25; 24:3-10, 15-25), which are expressed in a style similar to the other prophecies of the Word, and plainly foretell the Lord‘s coming, in these words:--

I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not nigh; there shall come forth a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel and shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth (Num. 24:17).

These prophecies, like the former, are called "Parables (Enuntiata)," for the same word is used (Num. 23:7, 18; 24:3, 15, 20).

AC 2899. A Word afterwards followed in the Jewish Church that in like manner was written by representatives and significatives, so that it might have within it an internal sense understood in heaven, and that thus by the Word there might be communication, and the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens be united to the Lord‘s kingdom on earth. Unless everything in the Word represents, and unless all the words by which everything therein is written, signify the Divine things pertaining to the Lord, thus the celestial and spiritual things belonging to His kingdom, the Word is not Divine; but being so it could not possibly be written in any other style; for by means of this style and not possibly by any other, human things and human words correspond to heavenly things and heavenly ideas, even to the least jot. From this it is that if the Word is read even by a little child, the Divine things therein are perceived by the angels (n. 1776).

AC 2900. In regard to the Word of the New Testament which is in the Evangelists, as the Lord spoke from the Divine itself, the several things spoken by Him were representative and significative of Divine things, thus of the heavenly things of His kingdom and church, as has been abundantly shown above.


AC 2987. Few know what representations and correspondences are, nor can anyone know this unless he knows that there is a spiritual world, and this distinct from the natural world; for there exists a correspondence between spiritual things and natural things, and the things that come forth from spiritual things in natural ones are representations. They are called correspondences because they correspond, and representations because they represent.

AC 2988. That some idea may be formed of representations and correspondences, it is only necessary to reflect on the things of the mind, that is, of the thought and will. These things so beam forth from the face that they are manifest in its expression; especially is this the case with the affections, the more interior of which are seen from and in the eyes. When the things of the face act as a one with those of the mind, they are said to correspond, and are correspondences; and the very expressions of the face represent, and are representations. The case is similar with all that is expressed by the gestures of the body, and with all the acts produced by the muscles; for it is well known that all these take place according to what the man is thinking and willing. The gestures and actions themselves, which are of the body, represent the things of the mind, and are representations; and in that they are in agreement, they are correspondences.

AC 2989. It may also be known that such forms do not exist in the mind as are exhibited in the expression, but that they are merely affections which are thus effigied; also that such acts do not exist in the mind as are exhibited by the acts of the body, but that it is thoughts which are thus figured. The things which are of the mind are spiritual, but those of the body are natural. From this it is evident that there exists a correspondence between spiritual things and natural things, and that there is a representation of spiritual thing in natural things; or what is the same, when the things of the internal man are effigied in the external man, then the things that appear in the external man are representative of the internal man; and the things that agree are correspondences.

AC 2990. It is also known, or may be known, that there is a spiritual world, and also a natural world. In the universal sense the spiritual world is where spirits and angels dwell; and the natural world is where men dwell. In particular, there is a spiritual world and a natural world with every man: his internal man being to him a spiritual world, and his external man being to him a natural world. The things that flow in from the spiritual world and are presented in the natural world, are in general representations; and in so far as they agree they are correspondences.

AC 2991. That natural things represent spiritual things, and that they correspond, may also be known from the fact that what is natural cannot possibly come forth except from a cause prior to itself. Its cause is from what is spiritual; and there is nothing natural which does not thence derive its cause. Natural forms are effects; nor can they appear as causes, still less as causes of causes, or beginnings; but they receive their forms according to the use in the place where they are; and yet the forms of the effects represent the things which are of the causes; and indeed these latter things represent those which are of the beginnings. Thus all natural things represent those which are of the spiritual things to which they correspond; and in fact the spiritual things also represent those which are of the celestial things from which they are.

AC 2992. It has been given me to know from much experience that in the natural world and its three kingdoms there is nothing whatever that does not represent something in the spiritual world, or that has not something there to which it corresponds. Besides many other experiences, this was made evident also from the following. On several occasions when I was speaking of the viscera of the body, and was tracing their connection from those which are of the head to those which are of the chest, and so on to those which are of the abdomen, the angels that were above me led my thoughts through the spiritual things to which those viscera correspond, and this so that there was not the least error. They thought not at all of the viscera of the body of which I was thinking, but only of the spiritual things to which these correspond. Such is the intelligence of angels that from spiritual things they know all things in the body in general and particular, even the most secret things, such as can never come to man‘s knowledge; nay, they know everything there is in the universal world, without a mistake; and this because from spiritual things are the causes, and the beginnings of causes.

AC 2993. The case is similar with the things in the vegetable kingdom; for nothing whatever exists there that does not represent something in the spiritual world, and correspond thereto; as has been frequently given me to know by a like intercourse with angels. The causes also have been told me, namely, that the causes of all natural things are from spiritual things, and the beginnings of these causes are from celestial things; or what is the same, all things in the natural world derive their cause from truth which is the spiritual, and their beginning from good which is the celestial; and natural things proceed thence according to all the differences of truth and of good in the Lord’s kingdom; thus from the Lord Himself, from whom is all good and truth. These things must needs appear strange, especially to those who will not or cannot ascend in thought beyond nature, and who do not know what the spiritual is, and therefore do not acknowledge it.

AC 2994. So long as he lives in the body, man can feel and perceive but little of this; for the celestial and spiritual things with him fall into the natural things in his external man, and he there loses the sensation and perception of them. Moreover the representatives and correspondences in his external man are such that they do not appear like the things in the internal man to which they correspond, and which they represent; therefore neither can they come to his knowledge until he has put off those external things. When this happens, blessed is the man who is in correspondence, that is, whose external man corresponds to his internal man.

AC 2995. As the men of the Most Ancient Church (n. 1114-1125) in every thing of nature saw something spiritual and celestial, insomuch that natural things served them merely as objects for thought about spiritual and celestial things, they were for this reason able to speak with angels, and to be with them in the Lord‘s kingdom in the heavens at the same time that they were in His kingdom on earth, that is, in the church. Thus with them natural things were conjoined with spiritual things, and wholly corresponded. But it was otherwise after those times, when evil and falsity began to reign; that is, when after the golden age there commenced the iron age for then, as there was no longer any correspondence, heaven was closed; insomuch that men were scarcely willing to know that there was anything spiritual; and at last even that there is a heaven and a hell, and a life after death.

AC 2996. In this world it is a great secret, although in the other life nothing is better known to every spirit, that all things in the human body have a correspondence to those in heaven; insomuch that there is not the smallest particle in the body, to which something spiritual and celestial does not correspond; or what is the same, to which heavenly societies do not correspond, for these exist according to all the genera and species of spiritual and celestial things; and this in such an order that together they represent one man, even as to all his parts, in general and in particular, both the interior and the exterior. Hence it is that the universal heaven is also called the Grand Man; and hence it is that it has been so often said that one society belongs to one province of the body, another to another, and so on. The reason is that the Lord is the Only Man, and heaven represents Him; and the Divine good and truth that are from Him are what make heaven; and because the angels are therein, they are said to be in the Lord. But they who are in hell are outside this Grand Man, and correspond to things unclean, and also to bodily corruptions.

AC 2997. This may also in some degree be known from the fact that the spiritual or internal man (which is man’s spirit and is called his soul) has in like manner a correspondence to his natural or external man; and that this correspondence is of such a nature that the things of the internal man are spiritual and celestial, while the things of the external man are natural and corporeal; as may appear from what was said above (n. 2988, 2989) about the expressions of the face and the acts of the body. Moreover as to his internal man, man is a little heaven, because created after the Lord‘s image.

AC 2998. That such correspondences exist has become so familiar to me in the course of years that hardly anything can be more so; though the fact itself is such that man does not know of its existence, nor believes that he has any connection" with the spiritual world; when yet all his connection is from this correspondence; and without this connection neither himself nor any part of him could subsist a moment; for all his subsistence is from it. It has also been given me to know what angelic societies belong to each province of the body, and also of what quality they are; as for instance what societies and of what quality belong to the province of the heart, what and of what quality to the province of the lungs; what and of what quality to the province of the liver; and also what and of what quality belong to the different sensories, as to the eye, to the ears, to the tongue, and the rest; concerning which, of the Lord’s Divine mercy we shall speak singly.

AC 2999. Moreover nothing is possible in the created world that has not a correspondence to the things in the spiritual world, and therefore that does not in its own manner represent something in the Lord‘s kingdom. From this comes the existence and subsistence of all things. If man knew how these things are circumstanced, he would never as is his wont attribute all things to nature.

AC 3000. Hence it is that all things in the universe both in general and in particular represent the Lord’s kingdom; insomuch that the universe with all its constellations, atmospheres, and three kingdoms, is nothing else than a kind of theater representative of the Lord‘s glory which is in the heavens. In the animal kingdom not only man, but also each particular animal, even the least and lowest, is representative; as for instance the little creatures that creep on the ground and feed on plants; these, when their time for wedding is at hand, become chrysalises, and presently, being supplied with wings they soar from the ground into the atmosphere, their heaven, and there enjoy their delight and their freedom, sporting together and feeding on the spoils of the flowers, laying their eggs and thus providing for a posterity; and being then in their state of heaven, they are also in their beauty. Every one can see that these things are representative of the Lord’s kingdom.

AC 3001. That there is one only life, that of the Lord, which flows in and causes man to live, whether he be good or evil, is evident from what has been said and shown above, in the explication of the Word (n. 1954, 2021, 2536, 2658, 2706, 2886, 2889). To that life correspond the recipient things which are vivified by that Divine influx, and this in such a manner that they appear to themselves to live from themselves. This correspondence is that of life with the recipients of life. Such as are the recipients, so they live; those men who are in love and charity are in correspondence, for they are in agreement, and the life is received by them adequately; but those who are in things contrary to love and charity are not in correspondence, because the life itself is not received adequately; hence they have an appearance of life in accordance with their quality. This may be illustrated by many things; as by the organs of motion and of sense in the body, into which the life flows through the soul; according to the qualities of these, such are their actions and sensations. The same may be illustrated also by the objects into which light flows from the sun; the light producing colorings according to the quality of the recipient forms. But in the spiritual world all the modifications that come into existence from the influx of life are spiritual, whence come such differences of intelligence and wisdom.

AC 3002. From this also we can see how all natural forms, both animate and inanimate, are representative of spiritual and celestial things in the Lord‘s kingdom that is, that in nature all things, in both general and particular, are representative in accordance with the measure and quality of their correspondence.

AC 3003. The subject of representations and correspondences will be continued at the close of the following chapter.

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