Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 8:15-16
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AC 903. Verses 15, 16. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth from the ark, thou and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons‘ wives with thee. "And God spake unto Noah," signifies the presence of the Lord with the man of this church; "Go forth from the ark," signifies freedom; "thou and thy wife," signifies the church; "and thy sons and thy sons’ wives with thee," signifies the truths, and the goods conjoined with truths, that were in him.

AC 904. And God spake unto Noah. That this signifies the presence of the Lord with the man of this church, is evident from the internal sense of the Word. The Lord speaks with every man, for whatever a man wills and thinks that is good and true, is from the Lord. There are with every man at least two evil spirits and two angels. The evil spirits excite his evils, and the angels inspire things that are good and true. Every good and true thing inspired by the angels is of the Lord; thus the Lord is continually speaking with man, but quite differently with one man than with another. With those who suffer themselves to be led away by evil spirits, the Lord speaks as if absent, or from afar, so that it can scarcely be said that He is speaking; but with those who are being led by the Lord, He speaks as more nearly present; which may be sufficiently evident from the fact that no one can ever think anything good and true except from the Lord.

[2] The presence of the Lord is predicated according to the state of love toward the neighbor and of faith in which the man is. In love toward the neighbor the Lord is present, because He is in all good; but not so much in faith, so called, without love. Faith without love and charity is a separated or disjoined thing. Wherever there is conjunction there must be a conjoining medium, which is nothing else than love and charity, as must be evident to all from the fact that the Lord is merciful to every one, and loves every one, and wills to make every one happy to eternity. He therefore who is not in such love that he is merciful to others, loves them, and wills to make them happy, cannot be conjoined with the Lord, because he is unlike Him and not at all in His image. To look to the Lord by faith, as they say, and at the same time to hate the neighbor, is not only to stand afar off, but is also to have the abyss of hell between themselves and the Lord, into which they would fall if they should approach nearer, for hatred to the neighbor is that infernal abyss which is between.

[3] The presence of the Lord is first possible with a man when he loves the neighbor. The Lord is in love; and so far as a man is in love, so far the Lord is present; and so far as the Lord is present, so far He speaks with the man. Man knows no otherwise than that he thinks from himself, whereas he has not a single idea, nor even the least bit of an idea, from himself; but he has what is evil and false through evil spirits from hell, and what is good and true through angels from the Lord. Such is the influx with man, from which is his life and the intercourse of his soul with the body. From these things it is evident what is meant by the words "God spake unto Noah." His "saying" to any one means one thing (Gen. 1:29; 3:13, 14, 17; 4:6, 9, 15; 6:13; 7:1), and His "speaking" means another. Here, His speaking to Noah denotes being present, because the subject is now the regenerated man, who is gifted with charity.

AC 905. Go forth from the ark. That this signifies freedom, is evident from what has been said before, and from the connection itself of the context. So long as Noah was in the ark and surrounded with the waters of the flood, the signification was that he was in captivity, that is, he was tossed about by evils and falsities, or what is the same thing, by evil spirits, from whom is the combat of temptation. Hence it follows that to "go forth from the ark" signifies freedom. The presence of the Lord involves freedom, the one following the other. The more present the Lord, the more free the man; that is, the more a man is in the love of good and truth, the more freely he acts. Such is the influx of the Lord through the angels. But on the other hand, the influx of hell through evil spirits is forcible, and impetuous, striving to dominate; for such spirits breathe nothing but the utter subjugation of the man, so that he may be nothing, and that they may be everything; and when they are everything the man is one of them, and scarcely even that, for in their eyes he is a mere nobody. Therefore when the Lord is liberating the man from their dominion and from their yoke there arises a combat; but when the man has been liberated, that is, regenerated, he, through the ministry of angels, is led by the Lord so gently that there is nothing whatever of yoke or of dominion, for he is led by means of his delights and his happinesses, and is loved and esteemed. This is what the Lord teaches in Matthew:--

My yoke is easy, and My burden is light (Matthew 11:30),

and is the reverse of a man‘s state when under the yoke of evil spirits, who, as just said, account the man as nothing, and, if they were able, would torment him every moment. This it has been given me to know by much experience, concerning which, of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter.

AC 906. That "thou and thy wife" signifies the church, is in like manner evident from the connection, as also that "thy sons and thy sons‘ wives with thee," signifies the truths, and the goods conjoined with truths, that were in him. That "thou" signifies the man of the church, is evident, and that his "wife" signifies the church, and his "sons" truths, and his "sons’ wives" goods conjoined with the truths, has been shown repeatedly before and need not be dwelt on here.

GENESIS 8:15-16    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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