Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 8:8
AC 869. Verse 8. And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the faces of the ground. By "a dove" are signified the truths and goods of faith with him who is to be regenerated; "and he sent forth a dove from him to see," signifies the state of receiving the truths and goods of faith; "if the waters were abated," signifies falsities which impede; "the faces of the ground," signifies the things which are in the man of the church; it is said "ground" because this is the first state when man becomes a church
AC 870. That by a "dove" are signified the truths and goods of faith with him who is to be regenerated, is evident from the signification of a "dove" in the Word, especially the dove which came upon Jesus when He was baptized, of which we read in Matthew:--
Jesus when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and lo the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and coming upon Him (Matthew 3:16; John 1:32; Luke 3:21, 22; Mark 1:10, 11).
Here the "dove" signified nothing else than the holy of faith; and the "baptism" itself, regeneration; so that there was signified, in the new church which was to arise, the truth and good of faith which is received by regeneration from the Lord. Similar things were represented and involved by the young pigeons or turtledoves that were offered for sacrifice and burnt-offering in the Jewish Church, of which we read in (Leviticus 1:14-17; 5:7-10; 12:6, 8; 14:21, 22; 15:14, 29, 30; Num. 6:10, 11; Luke 2:22-24), as is evident from the several passages That they had such a signification every one may comprehend from the sole consideration that they must needs represent something; for otherwise they would have no meaning and would be in no respect Divine, for what is external of the church is an inanimate affair, but lives from what is internal, and this from the Lord.
 That a "dove" in general signifies the intellectual things of faith, is also evident in the Prophets, as in Hosea:--
Ephraim will be like a silly dove, without heart; they called Egypt, they went unto Assyria (Hosea 7:11).
And again, concerning Ephraim:--
They shall be afraid, as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria (Hosea 11:11).
Here "Ephraim" denotes one who is intelligent, "Egypt" one who has knowledge, "Assyria" one who is rational, a "dove" what is of the intellectual things of faith; and here also the subject is the regeneration of the spiritual church. Again in David:--
O Jehovah, deliver not the soul of Thy turtledove unto the wild beast (Ps. 74:19);
where "wild beast" denotes those who are of no charity; the "soul of the turtledove," the life of faith. See also what has been said and shown before about birds, that they signify intellectual things: gentle, beautiful, clean, and useful birds, intellectual truths and goods; but fierce, ugly, unclean, and useless birds, the opposite, or falsities, such as the raven, which is here opposed to the dove.
AC 871. And he sent forth a dove from him to see. That this signifies a state of receiving the truths and goods of faith, is evident from the connection of the things, as also from what follows, where the three states of the regeneration of this man after temptations are treated of, which are signified by his sending forth the dove three times. Here the words proximately involve his exploration; for it is said that he "sent forth the dove from him to see," namely, whether the waters were abated; that is, whether the falsities were still so abundant that goods and truths could not be received. But with the Lord there is no exploration, because He knows all things both in general and in particular. In the internal sense therefore, the words signify, not exploration, but state, and here the first state, when falsities were still hindering, which is signified by the words, "whether the waters were abated."
AC 872. That the "faces of the ground" mean those things which are in the man of the church, and that the "ground" is mentioned because this is the first state when the man is becoming a church, is evident from the signification of "ground", as being the man of the church, who is called "ground" when the goods and truths of faith can be sown in him, but before this he is called "earth." So in the first chapter of Genesis, before the man became celestial, "earth" is predicated of him; but when he became celestial, as described in the second chapter, "ground" and "field" are predicated of him. It is similar in the present chapter. Merely from the word "earth" and the word "ground" may be seen what is signified in the internal sense, not only here, but everywhere in the Word. By "ground" in the universal sense is signified the church; and because the church, the man of the church is also signified; for, as said before, each man of the church is a church. GENESIS 8:8 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|