Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 5:1-2
next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 468. From what has been said and shown in the foregoing chapter, it is evident that by names are signified heresies and doctrines. Hence it may be seen that by the names in this chapter are not meant persons, but things, and in the present instance doctrines, or churches, which were preserved, notwithstanding the changes they underwent, from the time of the Most Ancient Church even to "Noah." But the case with every church is that in course of time it decreases, and at last remains among a few; and the few with whom it remained at the time of the flood were called "Noah."

[2] That the true church decreases and remains with but few, is evident from other churches which have thus decreased. Those who are left are in the Word called "remains," and a "remnant," and are said to be " in the midst," or "middle," "of the land." And as this is the case in the universal, so also it is in the particular, or as it is with the church, so it is with every individual man; for unless remains were preserved by the Lord in every one, he must needs perish eternally, since spiritual and celestial life are in the remains. So also in the general or universal-if there were not always some with whom the church, or true faith, remained, the human race would perish; for, as is generally known, a city, nay, sometimes a whole kingdom, is saved for the sake of a few. It is in this respect with the church as it is with the human body; so long as the heart is sound, life is possible for the neighboring viscera, but when the heart is enfeebled, the other parts of the body cease to be nourished, and the man dies. The last remains are those which are signified by "Noah;" for the whole earth had become corrupt (Genesis 6:12).

[3] Of remains as existing in each individual as well as in the church in general, much is said in the Prophets; as in Isaiah:--

He that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy to Him, even every one that is written unto lives in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have washed away the bloods of Jerusalem from the midst thereof (Isaiah 4:3, 4),

in which passage holiness is predicated of the remains, by which are signified the remains of the church, and also of a man of the church; for "those left" in Zion and Jerusalem could not be holy merely because they were "left." Again:--

It shall come to pass in that day, that the remains of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon Jehovah the Holy One of Israel in truth. The remains shall return, the remains of Jacob, unto the mighty God (Isaiah 10:20, 21).

In Jeremiah:--

In those days, and in that time, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon him whom I shall make a remnant (Jeremiah 50:20).

In Micah:--

The remains of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples, as the dew from Jehovah, as the showers upon the grass (Micah 5:7).

[4] The residue or remains of a man, or of the church, were also represented by the tenths, which were holy; hence also a number with ten in it was holy, and "ten" is therefore predicated of remains; as in Isaiah:--

Jehovah shall remove man, and many things (shall be) left in the midst of the land; and yet in it (shall be) a tenth part, and it shall return, and shall be for exterminating; as an oak, and an ilex, when the stock is cast forth from them, the holy seed is the stock thereof (Isaiah 6:12, 13);

where the residue is called a "seed of holiness." And in Amos:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, The city that goeth forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which goeth forth a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel (Amos 5:3).

In these and many other passages, in the internal sense are signified the "remains" of which we have been speaking. That a city is preserved for the sake of the remains of the church, is evident from what was said to Abraham concerning Sodom:--

Abraham said, Peradventure ten may be found there; and He said, I will not destroy it for tenís sake (Gen. 18:32).

AC 469. Verse 1. This is the book of the births of Man. In the day that God created Man, in the likeness of God made He him. The "book of the births," is an enumeration of those who were of the Most Ancient Church; "in the day that God created Man," denotes his being made spiritual; and "in the likeness of God made He him," signifies that he was made celestial: thus it is a description of the Most Ancient Church.

AC 470. That the "book of the births" is an enumeration of those who were of the Most Ancient Church, is very evident from what follows, for from this to the eleventh chapter, that is, to the time of Eber, names never signify persons, but actual things. In the most ancient time mankind were distinguished into houses, families, and nations; a house consisting of the husband and wife with their children, together with some of their family who served; a family, of a greater or lesser number of houses, that lived not far apart and yet not together; and a nation, of a larger or smaller number of families.

AC 471. The reason why they dwelt thus alone by themselves, distinguished only into houses, families, and nations, was that by this means the church might be preserved entire, that all the houses and families might be dependent on their parent, and thereby remain in love and in true worship. It is to be remarked also that each house was of a peculiar genius, distinct from every other; for it is well known that children, and even remote descendants, derive from their parents a particular genius, and such marked characteristics that they can be distinguished by the face, and by many other peculiarities. Therefore, in order that there might not be a confounding, but an exact distinction, it pleased the Lord that they should dwell in this manner. Thus the church was a living representative of the kingdom of the Lord; for in the LordĎs kingdom there are innumerable societies, each one distinct from every other, according to the differences of love and faith. This, as observed above, is what is meant by "living alone," and by "dwelling in tents." For the same reason also it pleased the Lord that the Jewish Church should be distinguished into houses, families, and nations, and that every one should contract marriage within his own family; but concerning this, of the Lordís Divine mercy hereafter.

AC 472. That by the "day in which God created Man," is signified his being made spiritual, and that by "God making him in His likeness," is signified his being made celestial, appears from what was said and shown above. The expression to "create" properly relates to man when he is being created anew, or regenerated; and the word "make," when he is being perfected; wherefore in the Word there is an accurate distinction observed between "creating," "forming," and "making," as was shown above in the second chapter, where it is said of the spiritual man made celestial that "God rested from all His work, which God created in making;" and in other passages also, to "create" relates to the spiritual man, and to "make," that is, to perfect, to the celestial man. (n. 16, 88).

AC 473. That a "likeness of God" is a celestial man, and an "image of God," a spiritual man, has also been previously shown. An "image" is preparatory to a "likeness," and a "likeness" is a real resemblance, for a celestial man is entirely governed by the Lord, as His "likeness."

AC 474. Since therefore the subject here treated of is the birth or propagation of the Most Ancient Church, this is first described as coming from a spiritual to a celestial state, for the propagations follow from this.

AC 475. Verse 2. Male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Man, in the day when they were created. By "male and female," is signified the marriage between faith and love; by "calling their name Man," is signified that they were the church, which, in an especial sense, is called "Man (homo)."

AC 476. That by "male and female" is signified the marriage between faith and love was declared and proved above, where it was shown that the male or man (vir) signifies the understanding and whatever belongs to it, consequently everything of faith; and that the female or woman signifies the will, or the things appertaining to the will, consequently whatever has relation to love; wherefore she was called Eve, a name signifying life, which is of love alone. By the female therefore is also signified the church, as has been previously shown; and by the male, a man (vir)of the church. The subject here is the state of the church when it was spiritual, and which was afterwards made celestial, wherefore "male" is mentioned before "female," as also in (Genesis 1:26, 27). The expression to "create" also has reference to the spiritual man; but afterwards when the marriage has been effected, that is, when the church has been made celestial, it is not said "male and female," but "man (homo)," who, by reason of their marriage, signifies both; wherefore it presently follows, "and He called their name Man," by which is signified the church.

AC 477. That "Man" is the Most Ancient Church has been often said and shown above; for in the supreme sense the Lord Himself alone is Man. From this the celestial church is called Man, as being a likeness, and from this the spiritual church is afterwards so called because it was an image. But in a general sense every one is called a man who has human understanding; for man is man by virtue of understanding, and according thereto one person is more a man than another, although the distinction of one man from another ought to be made according to his faith as grounded in love to the Lord.

[2] That the Most Ancient Church, and every true church, and hence those who are of the church, or who live from love to the Lord and from faith in Him, are especially called "man," is evident from the Word, as in Ezekiel:--

I will cause man to multiply upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; I will cause to multiply upon you man and beast, that they may be multiplied and bear fruit; and I will cause you to dwell according to your antiquities; and I will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and I will cause man to walk upon you, My people Israel (Ezekiel 36:10, 11, 12),

where by "antiquities" is signified the Most Ancient Church; by "beginnings," the Ancient Churches; by the "house of Israel" and "people Israel," the primitive church, or Church of the Gentiles; all which churches are called "man."

[3] So in Moses:--

Remember the days of eternity, understand ye the years of generation and generation; when the Most High would give the nations an inheritance, when He would set apart the sons of man, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel (Deut. 32:7, 8),

where by the "days of eternity" is meant the Most Ancient Church; by "generation and generation," the Ancient Churches; the "sons of man" are those who were in faith toward the Lord, which faith is the "number of the sons of Israel." That a regenerate person is called "man," appears from Jeremiah:--

I beheld the earth, and lo it was empty and void; and the heavens, and they had no light; I beheld, and lo, no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled (Jeremiah 4:23, 25),

where "earth" signifies the external man; "heaven" the internal; "man" the love of good; the "birds of the heavens" the understanding of truth.

[4] Again:--

Behold the days come that I will sow the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, with the seed of man, and with the seen of beast (Jeremiah 31:27),

where "man" signifies the internal man, "beast" the external. In Isaiah:--

Cease ye from man in whose nostrils is breath, for wherein is he to be accounted of (Isaiah 2:22),

where by "man" is signified a man of the church. Again:--

Jehovah shall remove man far away, and many things shall be left in the midst of the land (Isaiah 6:12),

speaking of the vastation of man, in that there should no longer exist either good or truth. Again:--

The inhabitants of the earth shall be burned, and man shall be left very little (Isaiah 24:6),

where "man" signifies those who have faith. Again:--

The paths have been desolated, the farer on the path hath ceased, he hath made vain the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he hath not regarded man, the earth mourneth and languisheth (Isaiah 33:8, 9),

denoting the man who in the Hebrew tongue is "Enosh." Again:--

I will make a man more precious than fine gold, and a man than the gold of Ophir; therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall be moved out of her place (Isaiah 13:12, 13),

where the word for man in the first place is "Enosh," and in the second is "Adam."

AC 478. The reason why he is called "Adam" is that the Hebrew word "Adam" signifies "man;" but that he is never properly called "Adam" by name, but "Man," is very evident from this passage and also from former ones, in that (in some cases) he is not spoken of in the singular number, but in the plural, and also from the fact that the term is predicated of both the man and the woman, both together being called "Man." That it is predicated of both, every one may see from the words, for it is said, "He called their name Man, in the day that they were created;" and in like manner in the first chapter: "Let us make man in our image, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea" (Genesis 1:27, 28). Hence also it may appear that the subject treated of is not the creation of some one man who was the first of mankind, but the Most ancient Church.

AC 479. By "calling a name," or "calling by name," is signified in the Word to know the quality of things, as was shown above, and in the present case it has relation to the quality of the Most Ancient Church, denoting that man was taken from the ground, or regenerated by the Lord, for the word "Adam" means "ground;" and that afterwards when he was made celestial he became most eminently "Man," by virtue of faith originating in love to the Lord.

AC 480. That they were called "Man" in the day that they were created, appears also from the first chapter, (Genesis 1:26, 27), that is, at the end of the sixth day, which answers to the evening of the sabbath, or when the sabbath or seventh day began; for the seventh day, or sabbath, is the celestial man, as was shown above.

GENESIS 5:1-2     -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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