I. CONFIRMATIONS FROM THE WORD IN FAVOUR OF NATURE AGAINST GOD, AND IN FAVOUR OF HUMAN PRUDENCE AGAINST THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Summarised in 236))
DP 241. 1. The wisest of men, Adam, and his wife suffered themselves to be led astray by a serpent, and God did not avert this by His Divine Providence. This is because by Adam and his wife are not meant the first of all mankind that were created in this world, but the men of the Most Ancient Church; and their new creation or regeneration is thus described. Their new creation itself that is, their regeneration, is described in the first chapter (of Genesis) by the creation of heaven and earth; their wisdom and intelligence by the Garden of Eden; and the end of that Church by their eating of the tree of knowledge. For the Word in its inner content is spiritual, containing interior truths (arcana) of Divine Wisdom; and in order that it may contain these it is written wholly by correspondences and representatives. From this it is manifest that the men of that Church, who were in the beginning the wisest of men, and who in the end, from the pride of their own intelligence, became the worst, were not led astray by any serpent but by the love of self there denoted by the serpent’s head, which the Seed of the woman, that is, the Lord should bruise.
 Who cannot see from reason that other things are meant than those that are there related in the form of history in the Letter? For who can comprehend that the creation of the world could have taken place as is there described? Therefore, the learned expend much labour in the explanation of that first chapter, and confess after all that they do not understand it. The same is true of what follows. It is recorded that in their garden or paradise were placed two trees, a tree of life and a tree of knowledge, the latter as a stumbling block. Also, that from the mere eating of this tree they so far transgressed that not only they but the whole human race, their posterity, became subject to condemnation. Further, that a serpent was able to lead them astray; besides other things there related, as that the wife was created from a rib of the husband; that after the fall they acknowledged their nakedness and covered it with fig-leaves, and that coats of skin were given them to cover their bodies; and that cherubim with a flaming sword were placed to guard the way to the tree of life.
 All these things are representatives, describing the Establishment of the Most Ancient Church, its state, its change, and finally its destruction. The interior truths involved in all these things which are contained in the spiritual sense that is in every detail of the story, may be seen explained in the ARCANA CAELESTIA, on Genesis and Exodus, published in London, from which it may be evident that by the tree of life is there meant the Lord in respect to His Divine Providence, and by the tree of knowledge is meant man in respect to his own prudence.
DP 242. 2. Their first son, Cain killed his brother Abel, and God did not withhold him at the time by speaking to him, but only after the deed cursed him. Since by Adam and his wife is meant the Most Ancient Church, as has just been said above, so by Cain and Abel their first sons, are meant the two essentials of the Church, which are love and wisdom, or charity and faith. By Abel is meant love and charity and by Cain wisdom or faith, in particular, wisdom separated from love, or faith separated from charity; and wisdom as well as faith when separated is such that it not only rejects love and charity, but even destroys them and thus kills its own brother. That faith separate from charity does this is well known in the Christian world, as may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING FAITH.
 The curse of Cain involves the spiritual state into which those come after death who separate faith from charity or wisdom from love. Yet in order that wisdom or faith might not therefore perish, a mark was set upon Cain lest he should be slain, for love cannot exist without wisdom, nor can charity without faith. As almost the same thing is represented by these things as by the eating of the tree of knowledge, therefore this story comes next in order after the description of Adam and his wife. Moreover, those who are in faith separated from charity are in their own intelligence; while those who are in charity and consequently in faith are in intelligence from the Lord, and thus in the Divine Providence.
DP 243. 3. The Israelitish nation worshipped a golden calf in the desert, and acknowledged it as the god which led them out of the land of Egypt. Yet Jehovah saw this from Mount Sinai nearby and did not seek to prevent it. This took place in the wilderness of Sinai near the mountain. That Jehovah did not withhold them from that wicked act of idolatry is in accordance with all the laws of the Divine Providence hitherto set forth, and also in accordance with those which follow. This evil was permitted them that they might not all perish. For the Children of Israel were led out of Egypt that they might represent the Lord’s Church; and this they could not have done unless Egyptian idolatry had first been rooted out of their hearts. This could not have been done unless it had been left to them to act according to what was in their hearts and so remove it as the result of severe punishment. What further is signified by that worship, and by the threat that they should be wholly rejected and that a new nation should be raised up out of Moses, may be seen in the ARCANA CAELESTIA on Exodus 22 (A.V. 32), where these things are treated of.
DP 244. 4. David numbered the people, and in consequence a pestilence was sent upon them, by which so many thousands of men perished, and God, not before but after the deed, sent the prophet Gad to him and announced punishment upon him. He who confirms himself against the Divine Providence may have various thoughts and reflections about this also, asking particularly why David was not first warned and why the people were so severely punished for the king’s transgression. That he was not first warned is in accordance with the laws of the Divine Providence already set forth, especially in accordance with the two explained above in numbers (n. 129-153), and numbers (n. 154-174). That the people were so severely punished for the king’s transgression, and seventy thousand cut off by the pestilence, was not owing to the king but to the people; for it is written,
Again the anger of JEHOVAH was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them saying (A.V. to say), Go, number Israel and Judah (2 Sam. 24:1).
DP 245. 5. Solomon was permitted to establish idolatrous worship. This was done that he might represent the Lord’s kingdom or the Church with all forms of religion in the whole world. For the Church established with the nation of Israel and Judah was a representative Church, and therefore all the judgments and statutes of that Church represented the spiritual things of the Church, which are its internals. The people themselves represented the Church, the king represented the Lord, David representing the Lord who was to come into the world and Solomon the Lord after His Coming. Because the Lord after the glorification of His Human had power over heaven and earth, as He Himself says in (Matt. 28:18), therefore Solomon who represented Him appeared in glory and magnificence, and possessed wisdom above all the kings of the earth, and also built the temple. Moreover, he permitted and established the forms of worship of many nations, by which were represented the various religions in the world. His wives, who numbered seven hundred and his concubines who numbered three hundred (1 Kings 11:3), had a similar signification, for a "wife" in the Word signifies the Church and a "concubine" a form of religion. Hence it may be evident why it was granted to Solomon to build the temple which signified both the Lord’s Divine Human (John 2:19, 21) and the Church; and why he was permitted to set up idolatrous forms of worship, and to marry so many wives. That by David in many places in the Word is meant the Lord, who was to come into the world, may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE LORD (L 43, 44).
DP 246. 6. Many kings after Solomon were permitted to profane the temple and the holy things of the Church. This was because the people represented the Church and the king was their head. Because the nation of Israel and Judah was such that they could not represent the Church for long as they were idolaters at heart, therefore they gradually departed from representative worship by perverting all things of the Church till at length it was devastated. This was represented by the profanations of the temple by the kings and by their idolatries. The actual devastation of the Church was represented by the destruction of the temple itself and by the carrying away of the people of Israel and by the captivity of the people of Judah in Babylon. Such was the cause of this permission; and whatever is done from any cause is done from the Divine Providence according to one of its laws.
DP 247. 7. That nation was permitted to crucify the Lord. This was because the Church with that nation was wholly vastated and became such that not only did they not know and acknowledge the Lord, but they even hated Him; and yet all that they did to Him was according to the laws of His Divine Providence. The passion of the cross was the last temptation or the final combat by which the Lord fully conquered the hells and fully glorified His Human. This may be seen in (L 12-14); and in (Faith 34, 35).
DP 248. An explanation has now been given of the points enumerated above in (n. 236). These are some of the instances from the Word by which the natural man who exercises his reason may confirm himself against the Divine Providence. For, as was said above, whatever such a man sees, hears and reads, he can employ as an argument against the Divine Providence. Few, however, confirm themselves against the Divine Providence from such things as are in the Word; but many do so from things that appear before their eyes, as those mentioned in (n. 237); and these will now in like manner be explained.