Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 9:1
AC 977. As the subject here treated of is the regenerate man, a few words shall be said about what he is relatively to the unregenerate man, for in this way both will be apprehended. With the regenerate man there is a conscience of what is good and true, and he does good and thinks truth from conscience; the good which he does being the good of charity, and the truth which he thinks being the truth of faith. The unregenerate man has no conscience, or if any, it is not a conscience of doing good from charity, and of thinking truth from faith, but is based on some love that regards himself or the world, wherefore it is a spurious or false conscience. With the regenerate man there is joy when he acts according to conscience, and anxiety when he is forced to do or think contrary to it; but it is not so with the unregenerate, for very many such men do not know what conscience is, much less what it is to do anything either according or contrary to it, but only what it is to do the things that favor their loves. This is what gives them joy, and when they do what is contrary to their loves, this is what gives them anxiety. With the regenerate man there is a new will and a new understanding, and this new will and new understanding are his conscience, that is, they are in his conscience, and through this the Lord works the good of charity and the truth of faith. With an unregenerate man there is not will, but instead of will there is cupidity, and a consequent proneness to every evil; neither is there understanding, but mere reasoning and a consequent falling away to every falsity. With the regenerate man there is celestial and spiritual life; but with the unregenerate man there is only corporeal and worldly life, and his ability to think and understand what is good and true is from the Lord’s life through the remains before spoken of, and it is from this that he has the faculty of reflecting. With the regenerate the internal man has the dominion, the external being obedient and submissive; but with the unregenerate the external man rules, the internal being quiescent, as if it had no existence. The regenerate man knows, or has a capacity of knowing on reflection, what the internal man is, and what the external; but of these the unregenerate man is altogether ignorant, nor can he know them even if he reflects, since he is unacquainted with the good and truth of faith originating in charity. Hence may be seen what is the quality of the regenerate, and what of the unregenerate man, and that they differ from each other like summer and winter, and light and darkness; wherefore the regenerate is a living, but the unregenerate a dead man.
AC 978. What the internal man is, and what the external, is at this day known to few, if any. It is generally supposed that they are one and the same, and this chiefly because men believe that they do good, and think truth from what is their own, for it is the nature of man‘s Own to believe this; whereas the internal man is as distinct from the external as heaven is from earth. Both the learned and the unlearned, when reflecting on the subject, have no other conception respecting the internal man than as being thought, because it is within; and of the external man that it is the body, with its life of sense and pleasure, because this is without. Thought, however, which is thus ascribed to the internal man, does not belong thereto; for in the internal man there are nothing but goods and truths which are the Lord’s, and in the interior man conscience has been implanted by the Lord; and yet the evil, and even the worst of men, have thought, and so have those who are devoid of conscience, which shows that man‘s thought does not belong to the internal, but to the external man. That the body, with its life of sense and pleasure, is not the external man, is evident from the fact that spirits equally possess an external man, although they have no such body as they had during their life in this world. But what the internal man is, and what the external, no one can possibly know unless he knows that there is in every man a celestial and a spiritual that correspond to the angelic heaven, a rational that corresponds to the heaven of angelic spirits, and an interior sensuous that corresponds to the heaven of spirits. For there are three heavens, and as many in man, which are most perfectly distinct from each other; and hence it is that after death the man who has conscience is first in the heaven of spirits, afterwards is elevated by the Lord into the heaven of angelic spirits, and lastly into the angelic heaven, which could not possibly take place unless there were in him as many heavens, with which and with the state of which he has the capacity of corresponding. From this I have learned what constitutes the internal, and what the external man. The internal man is formed of what is celestial and spiritual; the interior or intermediate man, of what is rational; and the external man of what is sensuous, not belonging to the body, but derived from bodily things; and this is the case not only with man, but also with spirits. To speak in the language of the learned, these three, the internal, the interior, and the external man, are like end, cause, and effect; and it is well known that there can be no effect without a cause, and no cause without an end. Effect, cause, and end, are as distinct from each other as are what is exterior, what is interior, and what is inmost. Strictly speaking, the sensuous man- or he whose thought is grounded in sensuous things- is the external man, and the spiritual and celestial man is the internal man, and the rational man is intermediate between the two, being that by which the communication of the internal and the external man is effected. I am aware that few will apprehend these statements, because men live in external things, and think from them. Hence it is that some regard themselves as being like the brutes, and believe that on the death of the body they will die altogether, although they then first begin to live. After death, those who are good, at first live a sensuous life in the world or heaven of spirits, afterwards an interior sensuous life in the heaven of angelic spirits, and lastly an inmost sensuous life in the angelic heaven, this angelic life being the life of the internal man, and concerning which scarcely anything can be said that is comprehensible by man. The regenerate may know that there is such a life by reflecting on the nature of the good and the true, and of spiritual warfare, for it is the life of the Lord in man, since the Lord- through the internal man- works the good of charity and the truth of faith in his external man. What is thence perceived in his thought and affection is a certain general which contains innumerable things that come from the internal man, and which the man cannot possibly perceive until he enters the angelic heaven. Concerning this general and its nature, see above, (n. 545) The things here said about the internal man, being above the apprehension of very many, are not necessary to salvation. It is sufficient to know that there is an internal and an external man, and to acknowledge and believe that all good and truth are from the Lord.
AC 979. These observations on the state of the regenerate man, and on the influx of the internal man into the external, have been premised, because this chapter treats of the regenerate man, of the dominion of the internal man over the external, and of the submission of the external man.
AC 980. Verse 1. And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. "God blessed," signifies the presence and grace of the Lord; "Noah and his sons," signifies the Ancient Church; "be fruitful," signifies the goods of charity; "and multiply," signifies the truths of faith, which were now to be increased; "replenish the earth," signifies in the external man.
AC 981. That "God blessed" signifies the presence and grace of the Lord, is evident from the signification of "to bless." "To bless," in the Word, in the external sense signifies to enrich with every earthly and corporeal good, according to the explanation of the Word given by those who abide in the external sense-as the ancient and modern Jews, and also Christians, especially at the present day-wherefore they have made the Divine blessing to consist in riches, in an abundance of all things, and in self-glory. But in the internal sense, "to bless" is to enrich with all spiritual and celestial good, which blessing is and never can be given except by the Lord, and on this account it signifies His presence and grace, which necessarily bring with them such spiritual and celestial good. It is said presence, because the Lord is present solely in charity, and the subject treated of here is the regenerate spiritual man, who acts from charity. The Lord is indeed present with every man, but in proportion as a man is distant from charity, in the same proportion the presence of the Lord is - so to speak - more absent, that is, the Lord is more remote. The reason why grace is mentioned, and not mercy, is for the reason - which as I conjecture, has been hitherto unknown - that celestial men do not speak of grace, but of mercy, while spiritual men do not speak of mercy, but of grace. This mode of speaking is grounded in the circumstance that those who are celestial acknowledge the human race to be nothing but filthiness, and as being in itself excrementitious and infernal; wherefore they implore the mercy of the Lord, for mercy is predicated of such a condition. Those, however, who are spiritual, although they know the human race to be of such a nature, yet they do not acknowledge it, because they remain in their Own, which they love, and therefore they speak with difficulty of mercy, but easily of grace. This difference in language results from the difference in the humiliation. In proportion as any one loves himself, and thinks that he can do good of himself, and thus merit salvation, the less capable is he of imploring the Lord’s mercy. The reason why some can implore grace is that it has become a customary form of speaking, in which there is but little of the Lord and much of self, as any one may discover in himself while he names the grace of the Lord.
AC 982. That by "Noah and his sons" is signified the Ancient Church, has been said and shown above, and is evident also from what follows.
AC 983. That "be fruitful" signifies the good of charity, and "multiply" the truths of faith, which were now about to be increased, is evident from the signification of these two expressions in the Word, where "to be fruitful," or to produce fruit, is constantly predicated of charity, and "to multiply," of faith, as was shown above, (n. 43, 55), and in further confirmation of which we may adduce the following passages from the Word:--
Turn, O backsliding sons; I will give you shepherds according to Mine heart, and they shall feed you with knowledge and intelligence; and it shall be that ye shall be multiplied and made fruitful in the earth (Jer. 3:14-16),
where "to be multiplied" manifestly denotes growth in knowledge and intelligence, that is, in faith, and "to be made fruitful" denotes the goods of charity; for it there treats of the implantation of the church, in which faith or "multiplication" comes first. Again:--
I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all lands whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds, and they shall be fruitful and multiplied (Jeremiah 23:3),
speaking of a church already planted, consequently to be "made fruitful" as to the goods of charity and to be "multiplied" as to the truths of faith. So in Moses:--
Moreover I will look to you, and make you to be fruitful, and I will make you to be multiplied, and establish My covenant with you (Lev. 26:9),
speaking in the internal sense of the celestial church, wherefore "to be fruitful" is predicated of the goods of love and charity, and "to be multiplied," of the goods and truths of faith. In Zechariah:--
I will redeem them, and they shall be multiplied as they have been multiplied (Zechariah 10:8);
that "to be multiplied" is here predicated of the truths of faith, is evident from their being to "be redeemed." In Jeremiah:--
The city shall be builded upon her own heap, and out of them shall proceed confession, and the voice of them that make merry, and I will cause them to be multiplied, and they shall not be diminished; their sons also shall be as aforetime (Jeremiah 30:18-20),
speaking of the affections of truth, and of the truths of faith; the former being denoted by "confession, and the voice of them that make merry," and the latter by "being multiplied;" "sons" also here denote truths.
AC 984. That to "replenish the earth" signifies in the external man, is evident from the signification of the "earth" as being the external man, which has been already shown several times. In reference to the goods of charity and the truths of faith in the regenerate man, it may be observed that they are implanted in his conscience; and as they are implanted by means of faith, or by the hearing of the Word, they are at first in his memory, which belongs to the external man. When the man has been regenerated, and the internal man acts, the same takes place with respect to fructification and multiplication, the goods of charity putting themselves forth in the affections of the external man, and the truths of faith in his memory, increasing and multiplying in each case. The nature of this multiplication may be known to every regenerate person, for things that confirm constantly accrue, from the Word, from the rational man, and from knowledges (scientifica), by which he becomes more and more confirmed, this being an effect of charity, the Lord alone doing the work through charity. GENESIS 9:1 - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|