Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 4:1
next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 337. As this chapter treats of the degeneration of the Most Ancient Church, or the falsification of its doctrine, and consequently of its heresies and sects, under the names of Cain and his descendants, it is to be observed that there is no possibility of understanding how doctrine was falsified, or what was the nature of the heresies and sects of that church, unless the nature of the true church be rightly understood. Enough has been said above concerning the Most Ancient Church, showing that it was a celestial man, and that it acknowledged no other faith than that which was of love to the Lord and toward the neighbor. Through this love they had faith from the Lord, or a perception of all the things that belonged to faith, and for this reason they were unwilling to mention faith, lest it should be separated from love, as was shown above (n. 200, 203).

[2] Such is the celestial man, and such he is described by representatives in David, where the Lord is spoken of as the king, and the celestial man as the king’s son:--

Give the king Thy judgments, and Thy righteousness to the king‘s son. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the hills in righteousness. They shall fear Thee with the sun, and toward the faces of the moon, generation of generations. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace, until there be no moon (Ps. 72:1, 3, 5, 7).

By the "sun" is signified love; by the "moon," faith; by "mountains" and "hills," the Most Ancient Church; by "generation of generations," the churches after the flood; "until there be no moon," is said because faith shall be love. See also what is said in (Isaiah 30:26).

[3] Such was the Most Ancient Church, and such was its doctrine. But the case is far different at this day, for now faith takes precedence of charity, but still through faith charity is given by the Lord, and then charity becomes the principal. It follows from this that in the most ancient time doctrine was falsified when they made confession of faith, and thus separated it from love. Those who falsified doctrine in this way, or separated faith from love, or made confession of faith alone, were then called "Cain;" and such a thing was then regarded as an enormity.

AC 338. Verse 1. And the man knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man (vir), Jehovah. By the "man and Eve his wife" is signified the Most Ancient Church, as has been made known; its first offspring, or firstborn, is faith, which is here called "Cain;" her saying "I have gotten a man, Jehovah," signifies that with those called "Cain," faith was recognized and acknowledged as a thing by itself.

AC 339. In the three foregoing chapters it has been sufficiently shown that by the "man and his wife" is signified the Most Ancient Church, so that it cannot be doubted, and this being admitted, it is evident that the conception and the birth effected by that church were of the nature we have indicated. It was customary with the most ancient people to give names, and by names to signify things, and thus frame a genealogy. For the things of the church are related to each other in this way, one being conceived and born of another, as in generation. Hence it is common in the Word to call things of the church "conceptions," "births," " offspring," "infants," "little ones," "sons," "daughters," "young men," and so on. The prophetical parts of the Word abound in such expressions.

AC 340. That the words "I have gotten a man, Jehovah," signify that with such as are called "Cain" faith is recognized and acknowledged as a thing by itself, is evident from what was said at the beginning of this chapter. Previously, they had been as it were ignorant of what faith is, because they had a perception of all the things of faith. But when they began to make a distinct doctrine of faith, they took the things they had a perception of and reduced them into doctrine, calling it "I have gotten a man, Jehovah," as if they had found out something new; and thus what was before inscribed on the heart became a mere matter of knowing. In ancient times they gave every new thing a name, and in this way set forth the things involved in the names. Thus the signification of the name Ishmael is explained by the saying, "Jehovah hath heard her affliction" (Gen. 16:11); that of Reuben, by the expression, "Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction" (Gen. 29:32); the name Simeon, by the saying, "Jehovah hath heard that I was less dear" (Gen. 29:33); and that of Judah by, "This time will I praise Jehovah" (Genesis 29:35); and an altar built by Moses was called, "Jehovah my banner" (Exod. 17:15). In like manner the doctrine of faith is here denominated "I have gotten a man, Jehovah," or "Cain."

GENESIS 4:1     -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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