Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 9:6
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AC 1009. Verse 6. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood in man, his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God made He man. "Sheddeth man‘s blood in man," signifies extinguishing charity; "in man," is with man; "his blood shall be shed," signifies his condemnation; "for in the image of God made He man," signifies charity, which is the "image of God."

AC 1010. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood in man. That this signifies extinguishing charity, and that "in man" is with man, is evident from the signification of "blood"-concerning which above-as being the holy of charity, and from its being said "man‘s blood in man." This means his internal life, which is not in him, but with him; for the life of the Lord is charity, which is not in man, because he is filthy and profane, but is with man. That "shedding blood" is inflicting violence on charity, is evident from passages in the Word, as from those adduced before (n. 374, 376), where it was shown that violence inflicted upon charity is called "blood." "Shedding blood" is in the literal sense killing, but in the internal sense it is bearing hatred against the neighbor, as the Lord teaches in Matthew:--

Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment (Matthew 5:21, 22).

Here "being angry" signifies receding from charity (on which see n. 357), and consequently hatred.

[2] He who is in hatred, not only has no charity, but also inflicts violence on charity, that is, "sheds blood." In hatred lies actual murder, as is manifest from this, that he who is in hatred desires nothing so much as that the one he hates should be killed; and if he were not withheld by outward restraints, he would kill him. For this reason the "killing of a brother and the shedding of his blood," is hatred; and since it is hatred, there is this in every idea of his against him. It is the same with profanation. He who profanes the Word, as has been said, not only holds truth in hatred, but also extinguishes, or kills it. This is manifest from those in the other life who have committed profanation; no matter how upright, wise, and devout they have appeared outwardly during their life in the body, in the other life they hold the Lord in deadly hatred, and also all the goods of love and truths of faith, for the reason that these are opposed to their inward hatred, robbery, and adultery, which they have veiled with a show of holiness, and while adulterating the goods of love and truths of faith to favor themselves.

[3] That "blood" means profanation, is evident not only from the passages adduced above (n. 374), but also from the following in Moses:--

What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it without the camp, and hath not brought it unto the door of the tent of meeting, to offer it as an oblation unto Jehovah before the tabernacle of Jehovah, blood shall be imputed unto that man, he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people (Lev. 17:3, 4).

Sacrificing in any other place than on the altar, which has near the tabernacle, represented profanation; for sacrificing was a holy thing, but profane if in the camp or without the camp.

AC 1011. His blood shall be shed. That this signifies his condemnation, is evident from what has been said. It is according to the sense of the letter that the shedder of blood, or the slayer, should be punished with death. But in the internal sense the meaning is that he who has hatred against the neighbor is thereby condemned to death, that is, to hell, as the Lord also teaches in Matthew:--

Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire (Matthew 5:22).

For when charity is extinguished, the man is left to himself and to his Own, and is ruled by the Lord no longer through internal bonds, which are of conscience, but through external bonds, which are of laws, such as he himself makes for the sake of his own wealth and power. And when these bonds are relaxed, as is the case in the other life, he rushes into the greatest cruelty and obscenity, thus into his own condemnation. That the blood shall be shed of him who sheddeth blood is a law of retaliation well known to the ancients, according to which they judged crimes and wrongs, as is evident from many passages in the Word. This law has its origin in the universal law that one should not do to another what he would not that another should do to him (Matt. 7:12) as also from this, that it is the order universal in the other life that evil punishes itself, and likewise falsity thus that in evil and falsity is its own punishment. And because there is such order that evil punishes itself, or what is the same, that an evil man rushes into punishment answering to his evil, the ancients deduced from this their law of retaliation--as is here also signified by the declaration that whoso sheddeth blood, his blood shall be shed, that is, he will rush into condemnation.

AC 1012. The literal meaning of the words: "Whoso sheddeth man’s blood in man, his blood shall be shed," is one who sheds another‘s blood; but in the internal sense it is not another’s blood, but charity in one‘s self. For this reason it is said "man’s blood in man." Sometimes when two are spoken of in the literal sense, only one is meant in the internal sense. The internal man is man in man. Whoso therefore extinguishes charity, which is of the internal man, or is the internal man himself, his blood shall be shed, that is, he condemns himself.

AC 1013. For in the image of God made He man. That this signifies charity, which is the "image of God," follows as a consequence. In the preceding verse charity was treated of, which was signified by "blood," and that it should not be extinguished was signified by "not shedding blood." Here now it follows that He made man into the image of God; from which it is evident that charity is the image of God. What the image of God is, hardly any one knows at the present day. They say that the image of God was lost in the first man, whom they call Adam, and that it was a certain perfection of the nature of which they are ignorant. And indeed there was perfection, for by "Adam," or "Man," is meant the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial man, and had perception, such as had no church after it; by reason of which it was also a likeness of the Lord. A likeness of the Lord signifies love to Him.

[2] After this church perished in the course of time, the Lord created a new church, which was not a celestial but a spiritual church. This was not a likeness, but an image of the Lord. An "image" signifies spiritual love, that is, love to the neighbor, or charity, as has been shown before (n. 50, 51). That this church was, from spiritual love, or charity, an image of the Lord, is evident from this verse; and that charity is itself an image of the Lord is evident from its being said, "for in the image of God made He man," that is to say, charity itself made him so. That charity is the "image of God" is most clearly evident from the very essence of love, or charity. Nothing else than love and charity can make an image and likeness of any one. It is the essence of love and charity to make of two as it were one. When one person loves another as himself, and more than himself, he then sees the other in himself, and himself in the other. This may be known to every one if he only directs his attention to love, or to those who love each other--the will of the one is the will of the other, they are interiorly as it were joined together, and only in body distinct the one from the other.

[3] Love to the Lord makes man one with the Lord, that is, a likeness of Him. So does charity, or love toward the neighbor, make him one with the Lord, but as an image. An image is not a likeness, but is according to or after a likeness (est ad similitudinem). This oneness arising from love the Lord describes in John:--

I pray that they all may be one; even as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; and the glory which Thou hast given unto Me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me (John 17:21-23).

This "being one" is that mystical union which some think about, and which is by love alone. Again:

I live, and ye shall live; in that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you; he that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; if a man love Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him (John 14:19-23).

Hence it is evident that it is love which conjoins, and that the Lord has His abode with him who loves Him, and also with him who loves his neighbor, for this is love of the Lord.

[4] This union, which makes a likeness and image, cannot be so well seen among men, but is seen in heaven, where from mutual love all the angels are as a one. Each society, which consists of many, constitutes as it were one man. And all the societies together-- or the universal heaven-- constitute one man, which is also called the Grand Man (n. 457, 549). The universal heaven is a likeness of the Lord, for the Lord is the all in all who are therein. So also is each society a likeness, and so is each angel. The celestial angels are likenesses, the spiritual angels are images. Thus heaven consists of as many likenesses of the Lord as there are angels, and this solely through mutual love-- one loving another more than himself (n. 548, 549). For in order that the general or universal heaven may be a likeness, the parts, or individual angels, must be likenesses, or images that are according to likenesses. Unless the general consists of parts like itself, it is not a general that makes a one. From these things it may be seen as from an archetype, or pattern, what makes a likeness and image of God, namely, love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor; consequently, that every regenerate spiritual man, from love or charity, which is from the Lord alone, is His image. And he who is in charity from the Lord, is in "perfection;" of which perfection, by the Divine mercy of the Lord hereafter.

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