Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 4:7
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 361. Verse 7. If thou doest well, is there not an uplifting? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and to thee is his desire, and thou rulest over him. "If thou doest well, an uplifting," signifies that if thou art well disposed thou hast charity "if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door," signifies that if thou art not well disposed thou hast no charity, but evil. " To thee is his desire, and thou rulest over him," signifies that charity is desirous to be with thee, but cannot because thou desires to rule over it.

AC 362. The doctrine of faith called "Cain" is here described, which in consequence of separating faith from love, separated it also from charity, the offspring of love. Wherever there is any church, there arise heresies, because while men are intent on some particular article of faith they make that the main thing; for such is the nature of manís thought that while intent on some one thing he sets it before any other, especially when his imagination claims it as a discovery of his own, and when the love of self and of the world puff him up. Everything then seems to agree with and confirm it, until at last he will swear that it is so, even if it is false. Just in this way those called "Cain" made faith more essential than love, and as they consequently lived without love, both the love of self and the phantasy thence derived conspired to confirm them in it.

AC 363. The nature of the doctrine of faith that was called "Cain," is seen from the description of it in this verse, from which it appears that charity was capable of being joined to faith, but so that charity and not faith should have the dominion. On this account it is first said, "If thou doest well art thou not uplifted?" signifying, If thou art well disposed, charity may be present; for to "do well" signifies, in the internal sense, to be well disposed, since doing what is good comes from willing what is good. In ancient times action and will made a one; from the action they saw the will, dissimulation being then unknown. That an "uplifting" signifies that charity is present, is evident from what has been already said about the face, that to "lift up the face" is to have charity, and that for the "face to fall" is the contrary.

AC 364. Secondly, it is said, "If thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door," which signifies, If thou art not well disposed, there is no charity present, but evil. Everybody can see that "sin lying at the door" is evil ready and desirous to enter; for when there is no charity there are unmercifulness and hatred, consequently all evil. Sin in general is called the "devil," who, that is, his crew of infernals, is ever at hand when man is destitute of charity; and the only means of driving away the devil and his crew from the door of the mind, is love to the Lord and toward the neighbor.

AC 365. In the third place it is said, "Unto thee is his desire, and thou rulest over him," by which is signified that charity is desirous to abide with faith, but cannot do so because faith wishes to rule over it, which is contrary to order. So long as faith seeks to have the dominion, it is not faith, and only becomes faith when charity rules; for charity is the principal of faith, as was shown above. Charity may be compared to flame, which is the essential of heat and light, for heat and light are from it; and faith in a state of separation may be compared to light that is without the heat of flame, when indeed there is light, but it is the light of winter in which everything becomes torpid and dies.

GENESIS 4:7    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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