The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth
The Fourth Day
The source of life, love and faith.
We read concerning the fourth day of creation: "And God said, Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to distinguish between the day and the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years; and let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the land; and it was so. And God made two great luminaries, the greater luminary to rule by day, and the lesser luminary to rule by night, and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the land."
In our lecture on the first day of creation, we showed what was meant by "God said, Let there be light and there was light." Namely, that in the first day or state when a man is being born or created anew, he is given the light of truth; he is given as it were a vision of God. He sees the Word of God in light, whereas before he was in the greatest obscurity and doubt. That that light stands for the light of the mind, the light of the spirit in which he sees the truth of God, needs little demonstration. That light stands for truth is an obvious teaching of the Bible, and is a matter of common speech. Besides which anyone can feel within himself that at times he may be brought into the light of truth which dissipates ignorance just as the light of day dissipates the darkness of night. But the first light into which a man comes in matters of religion, is a general and relatively obscure and diffused light. Nor does he see the source of this light.
That the seven days of creation do not treat of the physical creation is here self-evident. For if we regard the physical world it is obvious that light could not be created on the first day, since the sun and moon were not created until the fourth; but if we see that creation refers to the creation of the new heart and the new spirit spoken of in the Prophets, we can see that a man must first come into a general light of truth, and later come to see the source of truth.
As there are two physical things, heat and light, which make life on earth possible, so there are two things which make the life of the spirit possible, namely, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. That light stands for the light of truth we have already shown; that heat stands for the warmth of love is also self-evident and is also a matter of common speech. For we say a man has a warm heart, he showed a warmth of affection, he received us warmly, a warm friend, etc.
As the sun in the sky is the source of heat and light, so God is the source of all the warmth of the spirit, that is of all love, and of all light of the spirit, that is of all truth. Wherefore it is said in a Psalm of David: "For Jehovah God is a Sun and a shield." Ps. 84:11. Here it is said of Jehovah God that He is a Sun, because He is the source of all warmth of the spirit or love with ma; and of all the light of the spirit, the light of truth with man.
Not only is Jehovah God called a sun in the Psalms, but it is said of the Lord Jesus Christ when He was transfigured on the mountain before the three disciples, that "His face did shine as the sun and His raiment was white as the light." Mat 17:2. And John saw in vision the "Son of Man", "And His countenance was as the sun shining in his strength." Rev. 1:16.
We thus find in the Bible or Word of God that Jehovah God is called the sun, and also that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, shone as the Sun in His strength.
The Lord when asked where the kingdom of heaven was, replied that the kingdom of heaven is within you. If the kingdom of heaven has been established in a man's mind and heart, Jehovah God is in that kingdom as a sun, the source of all the warmth of love and of all the light of truth. But the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, is also the "sun shining in his strength".
The reason why both Jehovah God and the Son of Man are the sun, the source of the spiritual heat and light of man's spirit, is that they are one. As the Lord said: "I and my Father are one," John 10:30, "He that seeth Me seeth the Father:' John 12:45, "I am in the Father and the Father in Me," John 14:10.
As the Lord God our Saviour Jesus Christ is the Sun of the kingdom of heaven within us, the source of all our love and faith, He also appears in the Sun of heaven before the eyes of the angels. Wherefore we read in the work Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg "In heaven the Lord is seen as a sun, for the reason that He is Divine Love, from which are all spiritual things, and by means of the sun of the world all natural things have their existence. That love is what shines as a sun. That the Lord is actually seen in heaven as a sun I have not only been told by angels, but it has occasionally been granted me to see it." Heaven and Hell No. 117.
Those who have truly felt the Lord's love and seen the truth of His Word may know that He is the Sun of life, the source of all love and truth. The Sun not only stands for the Lord's love, but also for love from Him in man, thus for that love to God and the neighbor which though it appears as if it were ours, really is from the dwelling of the Lord in us, and we in the Lord; for the Lord said: "Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in Me." John 15:4.
Therefore in the Revelation of John it is said that the woman, who stands for the true Church, "the bride of the Lamb', was "clothed with the Sun, and the moon under her feet". Rev. 12:1. For from the Church when it is truly Christian, love goes forth as the fire of the sun.
On the fourth day of Creation two luminaries were created— the sun and the moon. The moon gives forth light by reflecting the light of the sun, but it does not give forth heat. As the sun stands for love in the kingdom of heaven, so the moon stands for faith. Faith without love is like the moon, which indeed gives a light in the night, but apart from the sun there is no warmth. When a church trusts in faith apart from love, it is in the cold light of the moon. But if there is no love, there is really no moon, for the moon cannot give light apart from the sun. Faith which is truly faith is nothing but the reflection of the love of God. Faith which is truly faith is always one with love to God and to the neighbor; wherefore the verb in the Hebrew where it is said, "Let there be luminaries" is in the singular number. This does not appear in the English, but the sense can be conveyed if it is said "there is to be luminaries" instead of "there are to be luminaries", for love and faith are one—faith without love being nothing. All spiritual death is due to separating love from faith or faith from love. Faith separated from love is cold, formal, hard, mere dogmatism. Love separated from an enlightened faith in what is true, is sentimental, obscure, mere emotionalism.
The Sun stands for God as Divine Love and Wisdom, and also stands for the Son of man, our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom we are enkindled with love to God and the neighbor, and from whom we are enlightened in the light of truth. As the sun is spoken of in these two relationships, we must consider further what is the relation of the verse which says: "The Lord Jehovah is a Sun," Ps. 84:11, and the verse which says: "The countenance of the Son of man was as the sun shining in his strength." Rev. 1:16.
We read in Isaiah: "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of His people and healeth their wounds." Is. 30:26.
This is a prophecy concerning the Lord's coming. If man will receive the Lord in his heart, his faith will become like burning love, and his love will become sevenfold, like the light of seven days.
Until God is seen as a Divine Man, that is as Divine Love and Wisdom, a fullness of love is not possible. This is the reason why the Lord God descended on earth and took on a human nature which He glorified. That it was God Himself who was born on earth is taught in the first chapter of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and God was the Word. (*) And the Word (God who was the Word) was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory." John 1, 1:14.
(*) A mistranslation occurs in the King James Version where it is said "the Word was God".
That the Lord was Jehovah God Himself, descended on earth, is taught in many places in the Old Testament: "Jehovah bowed the heavens and came down," Ps. 18:9, "it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him that He may save us; This is Jehovah; we have waited for Him; we will rejoice and be glad in His salvation." Is. 25:9.
We will not here stop to quote the many passages in the Prophets which say that there is but one God, that the Lord Jehovah is the only Saviour and Redeemer and there is none beside Him. Here is the center of the Christian Religion. Both the Old and the New Testaments teach most clearly that the Lord God Jesus Christ is God the Saviour.
If Christians deny this teaching of the Bible, they take away the essence of Christianity. If they reduce the Lord Jesus Christ to a man by denying His full Divinity, they make of the Christian Religion a moral code, and deny its essential religious teaching, that God became flesh to dwell with man in order that we might see the Divine Glory and be able to love, to see and to worship a visible God. No one can truly love and be conjoined with an invisible God.
Still it is with the greatest difficulty that those of the present day can believe in God incarnate, the Word, that is the Divine Truth made flesh. Yet why should this be? God is either Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, or He is nothing that we can grasp. To think of God merely as an infinite force is to think of Him materialistically. The only other possibility is to think of God as being of a totally incomprehensible nature, thus as an unknown and unknowable God. Why should such a God have created man? Can we love such an unknowable God? Either God created man from love according to wisdom, or He created man for a totally unknown reason. Why should God create man if man cannot know and love God in return? On the other hand if God created man from love and according to wisdom, it must have been in order that He might be known and conjoined to man by love. If this is true, what is more reasonable than that He should have assumed flesh and blood in order that He might be seen, known and loved by mankind?
If we will believe the Gospel, we can see that our Lord was "God with us", and that the Father and Son are one, for God cannot be divided. The Lord did indeed assume a nature from Mary, a human body, but He glorified Himself, putting off all human limitations. This is the meaning of the description of the Lord's transfiguration where His "face did shine as the Sun and His raiment was white as the light". To see the Lord thus in His Glory is to see Him as one with "Jehovah God" who is a "Sun and a shield".
This is the great question:—Is the Lord Jesus Christ the Sun of man's life, the source of spiritual heat and light, that is the source of love and wisdom, or is he a man? To believe that He is the "Sun shining in its strength" is to be truly a Christian; to believe he is merely a great moral teacher is not to be a Christian.
Concerning the fourth day of creation we read in the work of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Arcana Coelestia: "Man receives life from the Lord by faith, first by faith in the memory, next by faith in the understanding, and lastly by faith in the heart which is the faith of love or saving faith." Arcana Coelestia No. 30.
When a man loves the Lord Jesus Christ as the Sun in the kingdom of heaven within him, when he sees Him as the Sun shining in its strength, and his heart and his mind are filled with this vision, the sun is said to be created and man is in the fourth day of his spiritual creation. The paragraph of the Arcana Coelestia continues: "For this reason (on the fourth day) love and faith thence derived are first treated of, and are called 'luminaries'; love being 'the greater luminary which rules by day', and faith from love 'the lesser luminary which rules by night'. Love and faith in the internal man are like heat and light in the outer bodily man? for which reason the former are represented by the latter, a great luminary in his will and a lesser one in his understanding." Arcana Coelestia No. 30.
When love of the Lord fills men's hearts, they are in day, in the light of love, but at times the love fades and they come into evening, into obscurity. They may remember the light of love which they had felt in the day and this memory of the things which they bad felt and believed is as it were a moon in the nights of their life, sustaining them until they come to another dawn. Thus the greater luminary of love rules in man in states of daylight and the lesser luminary rules in the states of night or obscurity. The two luminaries are said to be "for seasons and for days and for years". For when a man is in the warmth of love to the Lord and to the neighbor, he is in as it were a springtime of spiritual life. When this state passes and he is in coolness, he enters a state of autumn or winter. Thus does every man pass through seasons and days of his spiritual life.
By the sun is signified love, by the moon faith, and by the stars the knowledges of faith, for every knowledge of God and His kingdom is a point of light in the mind, and all man's knowledges make as it were a starry firmament in its beauty, provided they are real knowledges, and not mere dry theological speculations.
If we can but feel and see this meaning of the sun, the moon and the stars, we can understand why it is so often said in connection with both the First Coming of the Lord and also in relation to His Second Coming that "The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not shine, and the stars shall fall upon the earth." Namely, that the love of God and the neighbor will no longer be the warmth of men's loves, then that faith is obscured, and the stars of heaven, the knowledges of God and His kingdom, will give place to the knowledges of merely earthly things.
When love to God grows cold, when love to the neighbor no longer rules in man's heart, when faith becomes weak and obscure, the knowledges of such things no longer fill the firmament of man's heaven, the Lord must come to save men; otherwise they would spiritually die in the coldness and darkness of denial and ignorance.
The Lord comes to establish the city or kingdom of God, of which it is said that it "hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Rev. 21:23. A similar passage is found in Isaiah: "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but Jehovah shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God, thy Glory. The sun shall no more go down; neither shall the moon withdraw itself, for Jehovah shall be thine everlasting light." Is. 60:19, 20. This is said of the coming of Jehovah God in the Word, the Word which is God become flesh; as is said in John: "He is the light of the World." When the Lord dwells in the inmost of man's heart and spirit, and man sees His glory, then the Lord sets luminaries in the expanse of man's heaven, to give light on the earth, that is to give light as to man's earthly life,—how he is to live. A man who has this sun and moon in his inner or rather inmost man, and walks on earth in the light of it is in the fourth day of his spiritual creation.
from: A SERIES OF LECTURES by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania 1940
THE STORY OF CREATION IN GENESIS