Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 6:12
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AC 625. Verse 12. And God saw the earth, and behold it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. "God saw the earth," signifies that God knew man; "it was corrupt," signifies that there was nothing but falsity; "for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth," signifies that the corporeal nature of man had destroyed all the understanding of truth.

AC 626. God saw the earth. That this signifies that God knew man, is evident to every one; for God who knows all things and everything from eternity, has no need to see whether man is such. To "see" is human, and therefore--as has been said at the sixth verse and elsewhere--the Word is spoken in accordance with the appearance of things to man; and this to such a degree that God is even said to "see with eyes."

AC 627. For all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. That this signifies that man‘s corporeal nature had destroyed all the understanding of truth, is evident from the signification of "flesh" concerning which at (verse 3), which in general means every man, and in particular the corporeal man, or all that is of the body; and from the signification of a "way" as being the understanding of truth, that is, truth itself. That a "way" is predicated of the understanding of truth, that is, of truth, is evident from passages which have been adduced in different places before, and also from the following. In Moses:--

Jehovah said, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people have corrupted themselves; they have suddenly turned back out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image (Deut. 9:12, 16),

meaning that they had turned away from the commandments, which are truths.

[2] In Jeremiah:--

Whose eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of man, to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works (Jeremiah 32:19).

The "ways" here are a life according to the commandments; the "fruit of his works," is a life from charity. Thus a "way" is predicated of truths, which are those of the precepts and commandments. And the meaning of "son of man" (homo) and of "man" (vir) is as has been shown above. So in (Jeremiah 7:3; 17:10). In Hosea:--

I will visit upon him his ways, and render to him his works (Hosea 4:9).

In Zechariah:--

Return ye from your evil ways, and from your evil works. Like as Jehovah Zebaoth thought to do unto us according to our ways, and according to our works (Zechariah 1:4, 6).

Here the sense is similar, but the opposite of the former, because they are evil "ways" and evil "works." In Jeremiah:--

I will give them one heart, and one way (Jeremiah 32:39).

"Heart" denotes goods, and "way" truths. In David:--

Make me to understand the way of Thy commandments; remove from me the way of falsehood; and grant me Thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth. I will run the way of Thy commandments (Ps. 119:27, 29, 30, 32).

Here the "way of the commandments" is called the "way of truth"- opposite to which is the "way of falsehood."

[3] Again:--

Make known to me Thy ways, O Jehovah, teach me Thy paths. Lead my way in Thy truth, and teach me (Ps. 25:4, 5).

Here likewise a "way" manifestly denotes truth. In Isaiah:--

With whom did Jehovah take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge (scientia), and made Him to know the way of understanding (Isaiah40:14),

manifestly for the understanding of truth. In Jeremiah:--

Thus hath said Jehovah, Stand ye upon the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and go therein (Jeremiah 6:16).

Here likewise "way" is put for the understanding of truth. In Isaiah:--

I will lead the blind in a way that they knew not, in paths that they have not known I will lead them (Isaiah 42:16).

The terms "way," "path (semita)," "path (trames)," "street (platea)," and "street (vicus)," are predicated of truth, because they lead to truth; as also in Jeremiah:--

They have caused them to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in by-paths, in a way not cast up (Jeremiah 18:15).

So in the book of Judges:--

In the days of Jael the paths ceased, and they that walked in paths went through crooked paths. The streets ceased in Israel (Judges 5:6).

AC 628. The internal sense here is that every man whatsoever, in the land where the church was, "had corrupted his way," so that he did not understand truth. For every man had become corporeal, not only those referred to in the preceding verse, but also those called "Noah," who are specifically treated of here and in the following verse, for such they were before they were regenerated. These things are said first, because in the following verses their regeneration is treated of. And because but little of the church remained, "God" is now named, not "Jehovah." In this verse is signified that there was nothing true, and in the following verse, that there was nothing good, except in the remains which they had who are called "Noah" (for without remains there is no regeneration), and also in the doctrinal matters that they knew. But there was no understanding of truth, as there never can be except where there is a will of good. Where the will is not, there is no understanding; and as the will is, such is the understanding. The most ancient people had a will of good, because they had love to the Lord; and from this they had an understanding of truth, but this understanding wholly perished with the will. A kind of rational truth however, as well as natural good, remained with those who are called "Noah," and therefore they could be regenerated.

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