Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 9:7
AC 1014. Verse 7. And you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and be ye multiplied therein. "Be ye fruitful and multiply," signifies here, as before, increase of good and truth in the interior man; "to be fruitful" being predicated of goods, and "to be multiplied" of truths; "bring forth abundantly in the earth, and be ye multiplied therein," signifies increase of good and truth in the external man, which is the "earth;" "to bring forth abundantly" is predicated of goods, and "to be multiplied" of truths.
AC 1015. Be ye fruitful and multiply. That this signifies increase of good and truth in the interior man, and that "to be fruitful" is predicated of goods, and "to multiply" of truths, is evident from what has been shown before at (verse 1) of this chapter, where the same words occur. That the increase is in the interior man, is evident from what follows, where it is said again "be ye multiplied," which repetition would be needless, because superfluous, if it did not signify something special, distinct from what goes before. From this and from what was said above it is evident that being fruitful and multiplying are here predicated of goods and truths in the interior man. It is said the interior man because, as was shown above, in respect to what is celestial and spiritual, which is of the Lord alone, man is an internal man; but as to what is rational he is an interior or middle man, intermediate between the internal man and the external; and in respect to the affections of good and knowledges of the memory he is an external man. That such is the nature of man has been shown in what is premised to this chapter (n. 978); but his not knowing it while he lives in the body is because he is in the things of the body, and hence does not even know that there are interior things, still less that they are set in this distinct and separate order. Yet on reflecting the fact will be quite evident to him, when he is in thought withdrawn from the body and is thinking as it were in his spirit. The reason fruitfulness and multiplication are predicated of the interior or rational man is that the working of the internal man is not perceived, except in the interior man in a very general manner. For in the interior man an innumerable host of particulars are presented to view as one general thing; most extremely general in fact. How innumerable the particulars are, what is their nature, and how they present an obscure general whole, is evident from what has been shown above (n. 545).
AC 1016. Bring forth abundantly in the earth, and be ye multiplied therein. That this signifies increase of good and truth in the external man, which is the earth; and that " to bring forth abundantly" is predicated of goods, and "to be multiplied," of truths, is evident from what has now been said, and also from the signification of "earth," as being the external man, concerning which significations see what was said and shown at (verse 1) of this chapter (n. 983). As to its being said, "Bring forth abundantly in the earth, and be ye multiplied therein," the case is this: nothing is multiplied with the regenerate man in his external man, that is, nothing of good and truth receives increase, except as the effect of charity. Charity is like heat in the time of spring or summer, which causes grass and plants and trees to grow. Without charity, or spiritual heat, nothing grows, and for this reason it is here said in the first place, " Bring forth abundantly in the earth," which is predicated of the goods that are of charity, by means of which there is multiplication of good and truth. Any one may understand how this is; for nothing is increased and multiplied in man unless there be some affection, for it is the delight of the affection that causes it not only to take root, but also to increase, and everything depends upon the influence of the affection. What a man loves he freely learns, retains, and cherishes--thus all things that favor any affection. Those which do not favor, the man cares nothing for, regards as nothing, and even rejects. But such as the affection is, such is the multiplication. With the regenerate man the affection is that of good and truth from the charity that is given by the Lord. Whatever therefore favors the affection of charity he learns, retains, and cherishes, and thus confirms himself in goods and truths. This is signified by, "Bring forth abundantly in the earth and be ye multiplied therein."
AC 1017. To show that the multiplication is such as is the affection, take for example a man who accepts the principle that faith alone saves even if he does no work of charity, that is, even if he has no charity, and who thus separates faith from charity--not only on account of this principle received from childhood, but also because he supposes that if one should call the works of charity, or charity itself, an essential part of faith, and should on this account live aright, he could not but place merit in works, though this is a false supposition. Thus he rejects charity and makes the works of charity of no account, abiding only in the idea of faith, which is no faith without its essential, namely, charity. In confirming this principle in himself, he does it not at all from the affection of good, but from the affection of pleasure, that he may live in the indulgence of his cupidities. And any one belonging to this class of people who confirms faith alone by many things, does so not from any affection of truth, but for his own glory, that he may seem greater, more learned, and more exalted than others, and may thus take a high place among those in wealth and honor; thus he does it from the delight of the affection, and this delight causes the multiplication of the confirmatory things; for, as has been said, such as the affection is, such is the multiplication. In general, when the principle is false, nothing but falsities can follow from it; for all things conform themselves to the first principle. Indeed--as I know from experience, of which by the Divine mercy of the Lord hereafter--those who confirm themselves in such principles about faith alone, and are in no charity, care nothing for, and are as if they did not see, all that the Lord said so many times about love and charity (Matt. 3:8, 9; 5:7, 43-48; 6:12, 15; 7:1-20; 9:13; 12:33; 13:8, 23; 18:21-23; 19:19; 22:34-39; 24:12, 13; 21:34, 40, 41, 43; Mark 4:18-20; 11:13, 14, 20; 12:28-35; Luke 3:8, 9; 6:27-39; 43-49; 7:47; 8:8, 14, 15; 10:25-28; 12:58, 59; 13:6-10; John 3:19, 21; 5:42; 13:34, 35; 14:14, 15, 20, 21, 23; 15:1-19; 21:15-17).
AC 1018. The reason why it is here said again, "Be ye fruitful, and multiply," as in (verse 1) of the chapter, is that here is the conclusion, and that all things will go well, and will be fruitful and multiply, if men shun what is signified by eating blood and by shedding blood, that is, if they do not extinguish charity by hatreds and profanations. GENESIS 9:7 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|