Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 6:5
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AC 584. Verse 5. And Jehovah saw that the evil of man was multiplied in the earth, and that all the imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil every day. "Jehovah saw that the evil of man was multiplied on the earth," signifies that there began to be no will of good; "all the imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil every day," signifies that there was no perception of truth and good.

AC 585. That by the evil of man being multiplied in the earth is signified that there began to be no will of good, is evident from what was said above, namely, that there was no longer any will, but only cupidity; and from the signification of "man in the earth." In the literal sense the "earth" is where man is. In the internal sense it is where the love is, and as love is of the will, or of the cupidity, the earth is taken to mean the will itself of man. For man is man from willing, and not so much from knowing and understanding, because these flow out from his will; whatever does not flow out from his will he is willing neither to know nor understand; nay, even when he is speaking or doing something that he does not will, still there is something of the will remote from the speech or action that governs him. That the "land of Canaan," or the "holy land," denotes love, and consequently the will of the celestial man, might be confirmed by many passages from the Word; in like manner, that the lands of various nations denote their loves, which in general are the love of self and the love of the world; but as this subject so often recurs, it need not be dwelt upon here. Hence it appears that by "the evil of man on the earth" is signified his natural evil, which is of the will, and which is said to be "multiplied" because it was not so depraved in all but that they wished good for others, yet for the sake of themselves; but that the perversion became complete, is signified by the "imagination of the thoughts of the heart."

AC 586. The imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil every day, signifies that there was no perception of truth and good, for the reason, as before said and shown, that they immersed the doctrinal things of faith in their filthy cupidities, and when this occurred all perception was lost, and in place thereof a dreadful persuasion succeeded, that is, a most deep-rooted and deadly phantasy, which was the cause of their extinction and suffocation. This deadly persuasion is here signified by "the imagination of the thoughts of the heart;" but by "the imagination of the heart," without the word "thoughts," is signified the evil of the love of self, or of cupidities, as in the following chapter, where Jehovah said, after Noah had offered a burnt offering: "I will not again curse the ground for man‘s sake, because the imagination of the heart of man is evil from his childhood" (Gen. 8:21). An "imagination" is that which man invents for himself, and of which he persuades himself; as in Habakkuk:--

What profiteth a graven image, that the fashioner thereof hath graven it? the molten image and teacher of lies, that the fashioner trusteth to his imagination, to make dumb idols (Habakkuk 2:18)

a "graven image" signifies false persuasions originating in principles conceived and hatched out by one’s self; the "fashioner" is one who is thus self-persuaded, of whom this "imagination" is predicated. In Isaiah:--

Your overturn: shall the potter be reputed as the clay, that the work should say to him that made it, He made me not; and the thing fashioned say to him that fashioned it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29:16);

the "thing fashioned" here signifies thought originating in man‘s Own, and the persuasion of what is false thence derived. A "thing fashioned" or "imagined," in general, is what a man invents from the heart or will, and also what he invents from the thought or persuasion, as in David:--

Jehovah knoweth our fashioning (figmentum), He remembereth that we are dust (Ps. 103:14).

In Moses:--

I know his imagination that he doeth this day, before I bring him into the land (Deut. 31:21).

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