True Christian Religion #467

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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467. In the Word the Garden of Eden does not mean a garden, but intelligence, and a tree does not mean a tree, but man. The Garden of Eden can be shown to mean intelligence and wisdom from the following passages:

In your intelligence and wisdom you made riches for yourself. 1 Ezekiel 28:4.

and in the continuation of this chapter:

Full of wisdom, you were in Eden, God's garden; every kind of precious stone was your covering, Ezekiel 28:12-13.

This is said of the prince and king of Tyre, to whom wisdom is attributed, because Tyre in the Word means the church in respect of knowledge of truth and good, which is the means to wisdom. The precious stones which are to be his covering also mean things known about truth and good; for the prince and king of Tyre were not in the Garden of Eden.

[2] In another passage in Ezekiel:

Asshur is a cedar in Lebanon. The cedars have not hidden it in the garden of God. All the trees in the garden of God were not its equal in beauty; all the trees of Eden in the garden of God envied it, Ezekiel 31:3, 8-9.

And further on:

To whom you thus became like in glory and size among the trees of Eden, Ezekiel 31:18.

This is said of Asshur, because in the Word Asshur means rationality and intelligence arising from this.

[3] In Isaiah:

Jehovah will comfort Zion, and turn its desert into an Eden and its wilderness into a garden of Jehovah, Isaiah 51:3.

Zion there is the church, Eden and the garden of Jehovah are wisdom and intelligence. In Revelation:

To him who overcomes I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise 2 of God, Revelation 2:7.

In the midst of the street, on either side of the river was the tree of life, Revelation 22:2.

[4] These passages show plainly that the garden in Eden, in which we are told Adam was placed, means intelligence and wisdom, because similar things are said of Tyre, Asshur and Zion. A garden also means intelligence in other passages of the Word, such as Isaiah 58:11; 61:11; Jeremiah 31:12; Amos 9:14; Numbers 24:6. This spiritual way of understanding a garden is due to the representations seen in the spiritual world. There parks are to be seen, wherever angels possess intelligence and wisdom; it is the intelligence and wisdom themselves, which they get from the Lord, which produce such appearances around them. This is due to the correspondence, because everything which comes into being in the spiritual world is an example of correspondence.


1. The Latin text repeats here the phrase 'you were in Eden, God's garden' from the next quotation.

2. The Greek word paradeisos, used here in its Latin form, means properly an enclosed garden or park; the meaning 'paradise' arose only later.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.