Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 8:1
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AC 838. In the two preceding chapters, the new church called "Noah," or the man of that church, was treated of: first, his preparation for receiving faith, and by faith, charity; next, his temptation; and afterwards, his protection, when the Most Ancient Church was perishing. What here follows is his state after temptation, which is described exactly in the order in which it was effected, both with him and with all who become regenerate; for the Word of the Lord is such that wherever it treats of one person, it treats of all men, and of every individual, with a difference according to the disposition of each: this being the universal sense of the Word.

AC 839. Verse 1. And God remembered Noah, and every wild animal, and every beast that was with him in the ark; and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged. "And God remembered," signifies the end of temptation and beginning of renovation; by "Noah" is signified, as before, the man of the Ancient Church; by "every wild animal and every beast that was with him in the ark," are signified all things that he had; and by "God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged," is signified the disposal of all things into their order.

AC 840. And God remembered. That this signifies the end of temptation and the beginning of renovation, is evident from what precedes and follows. "God remembered" signifies, specifically, that He is merciful, for His remembrance is mercy; and this is especially predicated after temptation, because new light then shines forth. So long as temptation continues, the man supposes the Lord to be absent, because he is troubled by evil genii so severely that sometimes he is reduced to despair, and can scarcely believe there is any God. Yet the Lord is then more closely present than he can ever believe. But when temptation ceases, the man receives consolation, and then first believes the Lord to be present. Therefore in the passage before us, the words "God remembered," expressed according to the appearance, signify the end of temptation, and the beginning of renovation. "God" is said to remember, and not "Jehovah," because as yet the man was in a state antecedent to regeneration; but when he is regenerated, then "Jehovah" is named as at the end of this chapter, (verses 20, 21). The reason is that faith is not yet conjoined with charity, for man is for the first time said to be regenerated when he acts from charity. In charity Jehovah is present, but not so much in faith before it is joined to charity. Charity is the very being and life of man in the other world; and as Jehovah is Being and Life itself, so before man is and lives, "Jehovah" is not said to be with him, but "God."

AC 841. That by " Noah" is signified, as before, the man of the Ancient Church; and by "every wild animal, and every beast that was with him in the ark," everything that belonged to him, is evident from what was previously stated concerning Noah, and concerning the signification of "wild animal," and "beast." In the Word "wild animal" is taken in a twofold sense, namely, for those things in man which are alive, and for those which are dead. It stands for what is alive, because the word in the Hebrew tongue signifies a living thing; but as the most ancient people in their humiliation acknowledged themselves to be as wild animals, the word became also a type of what is dead in man. In the present passage, by "wild animal" is meant both what is alive and what is dead in one complex, in accordance with what is usually the case with man after temptation, in whom the living and the dead, or the things which are of the Lord, and those which are man‘s own, appear so confounded that he scarcely knows what is true and good; but the Lord then reduces and disposes all things into order, as is evident from what follows. That a "wild animal" signifies what is alive in man, may be seen in the preceding chapter (Genesis 7:14), and in the present chapter (verses 17, 19); that it also signifies what is dead in man, is evident from what has been shown above respecting wild animals and beasts (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246).

AC 842. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged. That this signifies the disposal of all things into their order, is evident from the signification of "wind" in the Word. All spirits, both good and evil, are compared and likened to and are also called "winds;" and in the original tongue " spirits" are expressed by the same word that means "winds." In temptations (which are here the "waters that assuaged," as was shown above), evil spirits cause an inundation, by inflowing in crowds with their phantasies, and exciting similar phantasies in man; and when these spirits or their phantasies are dispersed, it is said in the Word to be done by a "wind," and indeed by an "east wind."

[2] It is the same with one man during temptation and when the commotions or waters of temptation cease, as it is with man in general, as I have learned by repeated experience; for evil spirits in the world of spirits sometimes band together in troops, and thereby excite disturbances until they are dispersed by other bands of spirits, coming mostly from the right, and so from the eastern quarter, who strike such fear and terror into them that they think of nothing but flight. Then those who had associated themselves are dispersed into all quarters, and thereby the societies of spirits formed for evil purposes are dissolved. The troops of spirits who thus disperse them are called the East Wind; and there are also innumerable other methods of dispersion, also called "east winds," concerning which, of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter. When evil spirits are thus dispersed, the state of commotion and turbulence is succeeded by serenity, or silence, as is also the case with the man who has been in temptation; for while in temptation he is in the midst of such a band of spirits, but when they are driven away or dispersed, there follows as it were a calm, which is the beginning of the disposal of all things into order.

[3] Before anything is reduced into a state of order, it is most usual that things should be reduced into a confused mass, or chaos as it were, so that those which do not well cohere together may be separated, and when they are separated, then the Lord disposes them into order. This process may be compared with what takes place in nature, where all things in general and singly are first reduced to a confused mass, before being disposed into order. Thus, for instance, unless there were storms in the atmosphere, to dissipate whatever is heterogeneous, the air could never become serene, but would become deadly by pestiferous accumulations. So in like manner in the human body, unless all things in the blood, both heterogeneous and homogeneous, did continuously and successively flow together into one heart, to be there commingled, there would be deadly conglutinations of the liquids, and they could in no way be distinctly disposed to their respective uses. Thus also it is with man in the course of his regeneration.

[4] That "wind," and especially the "east wind," signifies nothing else than the dispersion of falsities and evils, or, what is the same, of evil spirits and genii, and afterwards a disposal into order, may be seen from the Word, as in Isaiah:--

Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Jehovah, thou shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah41:16).

Here dispersion is compared to "wind," and scattering to a "whirlwind," which is said of evils; then they who are regenerate shall rejoice in Jehovah. In David:--

Lo, the kings assembled themselves, they passed by together; they saw it, then were they amazed; they were dismayed, they hasted away; trembling took hold of them there, pain as of a woman in travail; with the east wind Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish (Ps. 48:4-7).

Here is described the terror and confusion occasioned by an east wind, the description being taken from what passes in the world of spirits, which is involved in the internal sense of the Word.

[5] In Jeremiah:--

To make their land an astonishment: I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy, I will look upon their neck, and not their face, in the day of their calamity (Jeremiah 18:16, 17).

Here in like manner the "east wind" stands for the dispersion of falsities. Similar also was the representation of the east wind by which the Red Sea was dried up, that the sons of Israel might pass over, as described in Exodus:--

Jehovah caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided (Exodus 14:21).

The signification of the waters of the Red Sea was similar to that of the waters of the flood in the present passage, as is evident from the fact that the Egyptians (by whom are represented the wicked) were drowned therein, while the sons of Israel (by whom are represented the regenerate, as by "Noah" here) passed over. By the "Red Sea," the same as by the "flood," is represented damnation, as also temptation; and thus by the "east wind" is signified the dissipation of the waters, that is, of the evils of damnation, or of temptation, as is evident from the song of Moses after they had passed over (Exod. 15:1-19); and also from Isaiah:--

Jehovah shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and with His mighty wind shall He shake His hand over the river, and shall smite it into seven streams, and cause men to march over dryshod. And there shall be a highway for the remnant of His people which shall remain, from Assyria, like as there was for Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt (Isaiah11:15, 16).

Here "a highway for the remnant of the people which shall remain, from Assyria," signifies a disposing into order.

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