Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 6:11
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AC 619. Verse 11. And the earth was corrupt before God; and the earth was filled with violence. By the "earth" is signified the race mentioned before. It is said to be "corrupt" on account of their dreadful persuasions; and to be "filled with violence," on account of their foul cupidities. Here and in the following verses of this chapter it is said "God," because there was now no church.

AC 620. That by the "earth" is signified the race which has been treated of before, is evident from what has already been told respecting the signification of "earth" and of "ground." The "earth" is a term very often used in the Word; and by it is signified the "land" where the true church of the Lord is, as the "land" of Canaan; also a "land" where there is not a church, as the "land" of Egypt, and of the Gentiles. Thus it denotes the race that dwells there; and as it denotes the race, it denotes likewise every one of the race who is there. The church is called the "land" from celestial love, as the "land of Canaan;" and the "land of the Gentiles" from impure loves. But it is called "ground" from faith which is implanted; for, as has been said, the land or country is the containant of the ground, and the ground is the containant of the field, just as love is the containant of faith, and faith is the containant of the knowledges of faith which are implanted. Here the "earth" is taken for a race in which everything of celestial love and of the church had perished. What is predicated is known from the subject.

AC 621. That the earth is said to be "corrupt" on account of their dreadful persuasions, and "filled with violence" because of their foul cupidities, is evident from the signification of the verb to "corrupt" and of the word "violence." In the Word one term is never taken for another, but uniformly that word is employed which fitly expresses the thing of which it is predicated; and this so exactly that from the words alone which are used, what is in the internal sense at once appears, as here from the words "corrupt" and "violence." "Corrupt" is predicated of the things of the understanding when it is desolated; "violence," of the things of the will, when vastated. Thus "to corrupt" is predicated of persuasions; and "violence," of cupidities.

AC 622. That "to corrupt" is predicated of persuasions, is evident in Isaiah:--

They shall not hurt, nor corrupt, in all the mountain of My holiness; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah (Isaiah 11:9);

and so in (Isaiah 65:25), where "to hurt" has relation to the will, or to cupidities, and "to corrupt" to the understanding, or to persuasions of falsity. Again:--Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, sons that are corrupters (Isaiah1:4). Here, as in other places, "nation" and the "seed of evildoers" denote evils which are of the will, or of cupidities; "people," and "sons that are corrupters," falsities which are of the understanding, or of persuasions. In Ezekiel:--

Thou wast more corrupt than they in all thy ways (Ezekiel 16:47).

Here "corrupt" is predicated of things of the understanding, of the reason, or of the thought; for "way" is a word that signifies truth. In David:--

They have done what is corrupt, and have done abominable work (Ps. 14:1).

Here "what is corrupt" denotes dreadful persuasions, and "abominable" the foul cupidities which are in the work, or from which the work is done. In Daniel:--

After sixty and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off, and there shall be none belonging to Him; and the people of the leader that shall come shall corrupt the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood (Daniel 9:26).

Here likewise "to corrupt" denotes persuasions of what is false, of which a "flood" is predicated.

AC 623. The earth was filled with violence. That this is said on account of their foul cupidities, and most of all on account of those which come of the love of self, or of inordinate arrogance, is evident from the Word. It is called "violence" when men do violence to holy things by profaning them, as did these antediluvians who immersed the doctrinal things of faith in all kinds of cupidities. As in Ezekiel:--

My faces will I turn from them, and they shall profane My secret (place), and robbers shall enter into it and profane it. Make the chain; for the land is full of the judgment of bloods, and the city is full of violence (Ezekiel 7:22, 23).

The "violent" are here described as to who they are, and that they are such as we have stated. Again:--

They shall eat their bread in solicitude, and drink their waters in desolation, that her land may be devastated from its fullness, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein (Ezekiel 12:19).

The "bread which they shall eat in solicitude," is the celestial things, and the " waters which they shall drink in desolation" are the spiritual things, to which they have done violence, or which they have profaned.

[2] In Isaiah:--

Their webs shall not be for garments; neither shall they be covered in their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the deed of violence in their hands (Isaiah 59:6).

Here " webs" and "garments" are predicated of things of the understanding, that is, of the thought; " iniquity" and "violence," of things of the will, that is, of works. In Jonah:--

Let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands (Jonah 3:8),

where the "evil way" is predicated of falsities, which are of the understanding; and "violence," of evils, which are of the will. In Jeremiah:--

A rumor shall come in one year, and violence in the land (Jeremiah 51:46).

"A rumor" denotes things which are of the understanding, "violence," those which are of the will. In Isaiah:--

He hath done no violence, neither was there any deceit in His mouth (Isaiah 53:9)

. Here also "violence" denotes the things of the will; "deceit in His mouth," those of the understanding.

AC 624. That a state not of the church is here treated of, is evident from the fact that here and in the following verses of this chapter the name "God" is used, but in preceding verses "Jehovah." When there is not a church "God" is the term used, and when there is a church "Jehovah;" as in the first chapter of Genesis, when there was no church, it is said "God;" but in the second chapter, when there was a church, it is said "Jehovah God." The name "Jehovah" is most holy, and belongs only to the church; but the name "God" is not so holy, for there was no nation that had not gods, and therefore the name God was not so holy. No one was permitted to speak the name "Jehovah" unless be had knowledge (cognitio) of the true faith; but any one might speak the name "God."

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