Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 6:9-10
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AC 610. Verse 9. These are the births of Noah; Noah was a man righteous and perfect in his generations: Noah walked with God. By "the births of Noah," is signified a description of the reformation or regeneration of the new church. That "Noah was a man just and perfect in his generations," signifies that he was such that he could be endowed with charity; "just" (or "righteous") has relation to the good of charity, and "perfect" to the truth of charity. The "generations" are those of faith. To "walk with God" signifies here as before, when said of Enoch, the doctrine of faith.

AC 611. That by "the births of Noah" is signified a description of the reformation or regeneration of the new church, is evident from what has been said before (Genesis 2:4; 5:1).

AC 612. Noah was a man righteous and perfect. in his generations. That this signifies that he was such that he could be endowed with charity, is evident from the signification of "just and perfect," "just" (or "righteous") having regard to the good of charity, and "perfect" to the truth of charity; and also from the essential of that church being charity, concerning which, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter. That "just" (or "righteous") has regard to the good of charity, and "perfect" to the truth of charity, is evident from the Word, as in Isaiah:--

They will seek Me daily and desire knowledge of My ways, as a nation that doeth righteousness, and forsaketh not the judgment of their God; they will ask of Me the judgments of righteousness, and will long for the approach of God (Isaiah 58:2).

Here "judgment" denotes the things which are of truth, and "righteousness" those which are of good. "Doing judgment and righteousness" became as it were an established formula for doing what is true and good (Isa. 56:1; Jer. 22:3, 13, 15; 23:5; 33:14, 16, 19). The Lord said:--

The righteous shall shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of My Father (Matt. 13:43),

"the righteous" meaning those who are endowed with charity; and concerning the consummation of the age He said:--

The angels shall go forth and shall sever the wicked from among the righteous (Matthew 13:49).

Here also the "righteous" denote those who are in the good of charity.

[2] But "perfect" signifies the truth which is from charity, for there is truth from many another origin; but that which is from the good of charity from the Lord is called "perfect" and a "perfect man," as in David:--

Who shall sojourn in Thy tent, who shall dwell in the mountain of Thy holiness? He that walketh perfect, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart (Ps. 15:1, 2).

The "perfect" (or "complete") man is here described. Again:--

With the holy Thou wilt show Thyself holy; with the perfect man Thou wilt show Thyself perfect (Ps. 18:25),

where the "perfect man" is one who is so from holiness, or the good of charity. And again:--

Jehovah will withhold no good from them that walk in perfectness (integritate) (Ps. 84:11).

[3] That a "perfect man" is one who is true from good, or who speaks and does truth from charity, is evident from the words "walk" and "way" being often applied to what is perfect, that is, to wholeness or entirety, and also the words "upright" or "uprightness," which words pertain to truth. As in David:--

I will teach the perfect in the way how far he shall come unto me. I will walk within my house in the perfectness of my heart (Ps. 101:2);

and in the sixth verse:--

He that walketh in the way of the perfect, he shall minister unto me (Ps. 101:6).


Blessed are the perfect in the way, who walk in the law of Jehovah (Ps. 119:1).

And again:--

Perfectness and uprightness shall guard me (Ps. 25:21).

And in another place:--

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace (Ps. 37:37).

It is evident from these passages that he is called "righteous" who does what is good, and that he is called "perfect" who does what is true therefrom, which also is to "do righteousness and judgment." "Holiness" and "righteousness" are the celestial of faith; "perfectness" and "judgment" are the spiritual thence derived.

AC 613. That the "generations" are those of faith, does not appear from the sense of the letter, which is historical; but as internal things only are here treated of, generations of faith are signified. It is also evident from the connection that the generations here are no others. It is the same in other passages of the Word, as in Isaiah:--

They that shall be of thee shall build the waste places of old; thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in (Isaiah 58:12).

All these things signify what is of faith; the "waste places of old" signify celestial things of faith; the "foundations of generation and generation," spiritual things of faith, which had lapsed from the ancient times that are likewise signified. Again:--

They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, they shall renew the waste cities, the desolations of generation and generation (Isaiah 61:4);

with similar signification. And again:--

They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of Jehovah, and their offspring with them (Isaiah 65:23).

Here also "bringing forth (generare)" is predicated of the things of faith; "laboring," of those of love. Of the latter it is said that they are "the seed of the blessed of Jehovah;" of the former, that they are "offspring."

AC 614. That "to walk with God" signifies the doctrine of faith, may be seen from what was said before respecting Enoch (Genesis 5:22, 24), of whom also it is said that he "walked with God;" and there it signifies the doctrine of faith preserved for the use of posterity. And as this is the posterity for whose use it was preserved, the subject is now here taken up again.

AC 615. The quality of the man of this church is here described in general; not that he was such as yet--for his formation is treated of in what follows--but that such he might become: that is to say, that by knowledges of faith he could be endowed with charity, and so act from charity, and from the good of charity know what is true. For this reason the good of charity or "righteous" precedes, and the truth of charity or "perfect" follows. Charity, as before said, is love toward the neighbor and mercy; and it is a lower degree of the love of the Most Ancient Church, which was love to the Lord. Thus love now descended and became more external, and is to be called charity.

AC 616. Verse 10. And Noah begat three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. "Noah begat three sons," signifies that three kinds of doctrine thence arose, which are meant by "Shem, Ham, and Japheth."

AC 617. Noah begat three sons. That this signifies that three kinds of doctrine thence arose, is evident from all that has been shown before about names signifying nothing else than churches, or, what is the same, doctrines. So it is here; but here they are merely mentioned for the sake of the series or connection with the things that precede, which are, that it was foreseen by the Lord that the man of this genius could be endowed with charity; but yet that three kinds of doctrines would thence have birth, which doctrines, of the Lord’s Divine mercy, shall be described hereafter, where Shem, Ham, and Japheth are treated of.

AC 618. That "Noah was righteous and perfect," that he "walked with God," and in this verse that he "begat three sons," is all said in the past tense, and yet these expressions look to the future. It should be known that the internal sense is such that it has no relation to times; and this the original language favors, where sometimes one and the same word is applicable to any time whatever, without using different words, for by this means interior things appear more evidently. The language derives this from the internal sense, which is more manifold than any one could believe; and therefore it does not suffer itself to be limited by times and distinctions.

GENESIS 6:9-10    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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