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The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth

Swedenborg v24-31
Day 6: Woofenden
Day 6: King
Day 6: Pitcairn




Gen 1:24-31

The making of man, on the sixth day, is God's symbol way of telling us how the spiritual man is made and what he is when made. The spiritual man is a human quality of life, organized in the soul, and exercising its supremacy in the daily conduct seen from this Divine view-point, anything short of the attainment and exercise of this human quality of life is not man.

The sensuous thought of what constitutes man stops with his body. Doubtless this is what most people think of when they attempt to form an idea of man. They think merely of so much matter molded into the human shape and moved and animated by the mysterious force called life. It does not enter their minds that man is something apart from the human shape.

In a rude state of society what is called man is a well formed physical body, with the additional quality of physical prowess. In polite and cultured society, man is conceived to be a being endowed with charming and graceful dignified carriage. In the eyes of the law, one is a man when he has attained his majority. But none of these measurements has in it the Divine idea of man. None of these things is meant in this story by the words, "Let us make man."

Intellectual and spiritual excellence and supremacy are what God calls man. This is evident from the use of the term "man" in the Holy Scriptures. For instance, we read: "I beheld the earth, and lo! there was no man." This cannot mean that, in a physical sense, there was no man upon the earth. It means that the human shapes upon the earth at that time were without those intellectual, moral and spiritual qualities which constitute the Divine idea of what it is to be a man. Again we read: '' Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man; if there be any that executeth judgement, that seeketh the truth." Human shapes are not in themselves men. Jerusalem was thronged with human shapes, but man, in the sense of human quality of life, was not to be found.

The story of creation is God's symbol way of telling us of the creation of the spiritual man - how, stage after stage, He carries forward the great work of regeneration, until in the sixth stage, man, the fully regenerated man, comes upon the scene. It is a slow process, this making of man. Many stages of preparation must be passed through before it is possible for God to say: "Let us make man." This spiritual man, who results from the combats and labors of the regenerative work of the six days, from a principle of faith and love, speaks what is true and does what is good. He acts from love as well as from faith. He is a spiritual man. He is an image of God.

But this spiritual man whom God makes, through the process of regeneration, is male and female; for it is said: "Male and female, created He them." Do not let your thought drop to the plane of thinking of two individuals, for the story of the creation of the male and female is introduced to show the complete evolution of the two great elements constituent of the human mind - its understanding, with its intellectual faculties, and its will, with all its affectional graces and powers.

The male man is the Divine symbol of the understanding: the female man of the will and its power of love and affection. Man and woman, considered as individuals, are the two equal halves of a complete humanity. Neither standing alone is complete. It is only in the spiritual union of the two that the complete one exists. This is effected by marriage, in which each supplies what the other lacks. Here then is the symbol. It is the symbol of the understanding and the will. As man, as an individual, is incomplete, standing alone, so the understanding is incomplete, standing alone. It is only half of the mind. The man who lives merely in his understanding, becomes cold, hard and critical. As woman, as an individual, standing alone, is incomplete, so the will is incomplete, standing alone. The man who lives merely in his will becomes emotional, impulsive and blind in his judgment.

Marriage - marriage I mean, in the real sense of a spiritual union, a Divine Sacrament - of twain makes one flesh - one man. So marriage - the union of the understanding and the will in the individual, makes a spiritual man. This spiritual man is thus male and female. He is not all intellect, nor is he all emotion. He is both an intellectual and an emotional man. His understanding is turned toward the Lord's truth, and he delights in the sight and reception of it; it opens to him the wonders of creation, the wonders of the Bible, the wonders of the Incarnation and the Divine redemption, and he delights in the clear intellectual aspects of these great truths.

All this is the legitimate field of the masculine side of the mind. But he is also female. He has a will, a heart, an affectional side to his mind, and it must find a corresponding development. This female element must exist in the man that God makes in His image in order that the mind may have poise. Both elements are necessary.

The understanding must be formed to see and rationally comprehend the truth, and the will must be formed to feel and love the truth. Either one, standing alone, is fruitless. This is true, even of God Himself. For if God were love alone, He could not create anything; if he were wisdom alone, He could not create anything. The creative life, the creative power, results from the perfect union of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom in God.

A religion that is all feeling runs into wild emotionalism - into mere enthusiasm. A religion that is all faith, runs into mere intellectualism and spends its time in abstract thinking, in mere idealistic speculation.

No, when God said: "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness," the man that was made and the man that is made now, is the new man, born, not of the flesh, but of the spirit, with his understanding open to the light of heaven, and with his will open to the heat of heaven.

And marriage - the blending of thought and feeling, understanding and will, is the eternal union in the mind, which having its beginning on earth, grows more beautiful to all eternity.

But in the making of this spiritual man, there must be a willing and intelligent co-operation on man's part, with the Lord. That is why it is said: "And God said, let us make man." This does not mean that God, the Father, thus addressed the Son and the Holy Ghost. The real truth is that the Lord is addressing the individual. The spiritual man is not made by a Divine fiat, nor is he made by an arbitrary Divine election or predestination. God and man are personally distinct from each other. Man is created out of the dead substance of matter, as to his body, and out of the substance of the spiritual world as to his soul; and then he is endowed with freedom and reason. He can co-operate with God. God cannot make him into a spiritual man unless he does co-operate with Him. He stores up in us, during child life, things good and true, the possibilities of spiritual manhood; and when we come to the years of responsibility, the Lord says to you and to me and to all who hear His voice: "Let us make man." God operates; we co-operate.

Here is the man of the world, absorbed in mere worldly things. He is in the human shape; he has attained to some degree of intellectual, moral and civil life; and God says to him: "I will operate upon your soul; you co-operate by keeping my commandments, and thus let us, I operating and you co-operating, make man - the spiritual man in you, who as he comes into power, will have dominion over all lower things, subduing and bringing them into order."

from Thomas King, Allegories of Genesis, 1922   

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