Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 6:16
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AC 651. Verse 16. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it from above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lowest, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. By the "window" which was to be finished "to a cubit from above," is signified the intellectual part; by the "door at the side," is signified hearing; by the "lowest, second, and third stories," are signified the things of knowledge, of reason, and of understanding (scientifica, rationalia, et intellectualia).

AC 652. That the "window" signifies the intellectual part, and the "door" hearing, and thus that in this verse the intellectual part of man is treated of, is evident from what has been stated before: that the man of that church was reformed in this way. There are two lives in man; one is of the will, the other of the understanding. They become two lives when there is no will, but cupidity in place of a will. Then it is the other or intellectual part that can be reformed; and afterwards through this a new will can be given, so that the two may still constitute one life, namely, charity and faith. Because man was now such that he had no will, but mere cupidity in place of it, the part which belongs to the will was closed--as stated at (verse 14)--and the other or intellectual part was opened; which is the subject treated of in this verse.

AC 653. The case is this: When a man is being reformed, which is effected by combats and temptations, such evil spirits are associated with him as excite nothing but his things of knowledge and reason (scientifica ejus et rationalia); and spirits that excite cupidities are kept entirely away from him. For there are two kinds of evil spirits, those who act upon man‘s reasonings, and those who act upon his cupidities. The evil spirits who excite a man’s reasonings bring forth all his falsities, and endeavor to persuade him that they are true, and even turn truths into falsities. A man must fight against these when he is in temptation; but it is really the Lord who fights, through the angels who are adjoined to the man. As soon as the falsities are separated, and as it were dispersed, by these combats, the man is prepared to receive the truths of faith. For so long as falsities prevail, a man never can receive the truths of faith, because the principles of falsity stand in the way. When he has thus been prepared to receive the truths of faith, then for the first time can celestial seeds be implanted in him, which are the seeds of charity. The seeds of charity can never be implanted in ground where falsities reign, but only where truths reign. Thus is it with the reformation or regeneration of the spiritual man, and so it was with the man of this church which is called "Noah." Hence it is that here the "window" and "door" of the ark are spoken of, and its "lowest, second, and third stories," which all pertain to the spiritual or intellectual man.

AC 654. This agrees with what is at this day known in the churches: that faith comes by hearing. But faith is by no means the knowledge (cognitio) of the things that are of faith, or that are to be believed. This is only memory-knowledge (scientia); whereas faith is acknowledgment. There can however be no acknowledgment with any one unless the principal of faith is in him, which is charity, that is, love toward the neighbor and mercy. When there is charity, then there is acknowledgment, or faith. He who apprehends otherwise is as far away from a knowledge of faith as earth is from heaven. When charity is present, which is the goodness of faith, then acknowledgment is present, which is the truth of faith. When therefore a man is being regenerated according to the things of knowledge, of reason, and of understanding, it is to the end that the ground may be prepared--that is, his mind--for receiving charity; from which, or from the life of which, he thereafter thinks and acts. Then he is reformed or regenerated, and not before.

AC 655. That the "window" which was to be "made perfect to a cubit from above" signifies the intellectual part, any one may see from what has now been said; and also from the fact that when the construction of the ark is being treated of, and by the "ark" is signified the man of the church, the intellectual part cannot be otherwise compared than to a "window from above." And so in other parts of the Word: the intellectual part of man, that is, his internal sight, whether it be reason, or mere reasoning, is called a "window." Thus in Isaiah:--

O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, I will make thy suns (windows) of rubies, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy border of pleasant stones (Isaiah 54:11, 12)

. Here "suns" are put for "windows," from the light that is admitted, or transmitted. The "suns" or "windows" in this passage are intellectual things that come from charity, and therefore they are likened to a "ruby;" the "gates" are rational things thence derived; and the "border" is that which is of knowledge and the senses (scientificum et sensuale). The Lord‘s church is here treated of.

[2] All the windows of the temple at Jerusalem represented the same: the highest of them the intellectual things; the middle, rational things; and the lowest, the things of knowledge and the senses; for there were three stories (1 Kings 4, 6, 8). Likewise the windows of the new Jerusalem in (Ezekiel 40:16, 22, 25, 33, 36). In Jeremiah:--

Death is come up into our windows, it is entered into our palaces; to cut off the little child from the street, the young men from the streets (vicis) (Jeremiah 9:21).

Windows of the middle story are here meant, which are rational things, it being meant that they are extinguished; the "little child in the street," is truth beginning.

[3] Because "windows" signify things intellectual and rational that are of truth, they signify also reasonings that are of falsity. Thus in the same Prophet:--

Woe unto him that buildeth his house in what is not righteousness, and his chambers in what is not judgment; who saith, I will build me a house of measures, and spacious chambers, and he cutteth him out windows, and it is floored with cedar, and painted with vermilion (Jeremiah 22:13, 14).

Here "windows" denote principles of falsity. In Zephaniah:--

Droves of beasts shall lie down in the midst of her, every wild animal of his kind (gentis), both the cormorant and the bittern (chippod) shall lodge in the pomegranates thereof; a voice shall sing in the window; wasting shall be upon the threshold (Zephaniah 2:14).

This is said of Asshur and Nineveh; "Asshur" denotes the understanding, here vastated; a "voice singing in the windows," reasonings from phantasies.

AC 656. That by the "door at the side" is signified hearing is now therefore evident, and there is no need that it should be confirmed by similar examples from the Word. For the ear is to the internal organs of sense as a door at the side is to a window above; or what is the same, the hearing which is of the ear, is so to the intellectual part which is of the internal sensory.

AC 657. That by the "lowest, second, and third stories," are signified things of knowledge, of reason, and of understanding (scientifica, rationalia, et intellectualia), follows also from what has been shown. There are three degrees of things intellectual in man; the lowest is that of knowledge (scientificum); the middle is the rational; the highest, the intellectual. These are so distinct from each other that they should never be confounded. But man is not aware of this, for the reason that he makes life consist in what is of sense and knowledge only; and while be cleaves to this, he cannot even know that his rational part is distinct from that which is concerned with knowing (scientificum); and still less that his intellectual part is so. And yet the truth is that the Lord flows through man’s intellectual into his rational, and through his rational into the knowledge of the memory, whence comes the life of the senses of sight and of hearing. This is the true influx, and this is the true intercourse of the soul with the body. Without influx of the Lord‘s life into the things of the understanding in man--or rather into things of the will and through these into those of understanding--and through things of understanding into things rational, and through things rational into his knowledges which are of the memory, life would be impossible to man. And even though a man is in falsities and evils, yet there is an influx of the Lord’s life through the things of the will and of the understanding; but the things that flow in are received in the rational part according to its form; and this influx gives man the ability to reason, to reflect, and to understand what truth and good are. But concerning these things, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter; and also how the case is with the life that pertains to brutes.

AC 658. These three degrees, which in general are called those of man’s intellectual things, namely, understanding, reason, and memory-knowledge, are likewise signified, as before said, by the windows of the three stories of the temple at Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:4, 6, 8), and also as above by the rivers which went forth out of the Garden of Eden in the east. The "east" there signifies the Lord; "Eden" love, which is of the will; the " garden" intelligence thence derived; the "rivers" wisdom, reason, and memory-knowledge, concerning which see what was said before (Genesis 2:10-14).

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