The Bible

Genesis 1

English: King James Version

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1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2 →

Study the Inner Meaning

Main explanation(s) from Swedenborg's works:

Arcana Coelestia 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 ...

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402

Commentary on this chapter:


Other references by Swedenborg to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 4, 6, 221, 246, 300, 435, 476 ...

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

True Christian Religion 20, 34, 46, 48, 364, 490

Show references from Swedenborg's unpublished works

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #526

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

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526. And the third part of them was darkened.- That this signifies that all those things were changed into falsities of evil, and into the evils of falsity, is evident from the signification of darkness which denotes falsities, and hence of being darkened which denotes to be changed into falsities. The reason why it denotes to be changed into the falsities of evil and the evils of falsity is, that it is said the third part of the sun was darkened, the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; and the sun signifies the good of love, the moon, the good and truth of faith, and the stars, the cognitions of good and truth. Therefore the third part of the sun being darkened, signifies that the good of love was changed into evil, and the falsity thence, which is the falsity of evil. For good is changed into evil, and thence falsity, but the truth of faith, signified by the moon, is changed into falsity, and thence evil, which is the evil of falsity. The evil of falsity is the falsity of doctrine, from which proceeds evil of life, and the falsity of evil is evil of life, from which proceeds falsity of doctrine.

(References: Revelation 8:12)

[2] The reason why darkness signifies falsity, is, that light signifies truth, and falsity is the opposite of truth, as darkness is of light. Moreover, when a man does not possess the light of life, which is the Divine Truth, the shadow of death is then in him, which is falsity. For man, from his proprium, is in every evil, and the falsity therefrom, and he can be removed from them only by means of the truths of the church; where therefore there are no truths, there the falsities of evil are. That truths are the only means by which man can be removed from evils, purified and reformed, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 24).

(References: The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 24)

[3] That darkness in the Word, signifies falsities of various kinds, is evident from the following passages.

In Joel:

"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come" (ii. 31).

By the sun being turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, is signified the same as by the third part of the sun and the third part of the moon being darkened, namely, that at the end of the church the falsity of evil will be in the place of the good of love, and the evil of falsity in the place of the truth of faith. Similar things are signified elsewhere also in the Word, where mention is made of the darkening of the sun and moon.

(References: Joel 2:31)

[4] Thus in Isaiah:

"For the stars of the heavens, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" (xiii. 10; xxiv. 21, 23).

In Ezekiel:

"When I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens; and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine. All the luminaries of light in the heavens will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land" (xxxii. 7, 8).

Again, in Joel:

"The day of Jehovah is near in the valley cut off. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining" (iii. 14, 15).

In the same:

"The day of Jehovah cometh, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud, and obscurity, the earth quaketh before him, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining" (ii. 1, 2, 10).

And in the Evangelists:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven" (Matt. xxiv. 29; Mark xiii. 24, 25).

These things are said concerning the last time of the church, when there are no longer any spiritual good and truth, or good and truth of heaven and the church, but only evil and falsity. That the goods and truths of the church, which are called the goods of love and the truths of faith, are changed into evils and falsities, is signified by the sun and moon being obscured and darkened, and the stars not giving their light. The last judgment, which then follows, is signified by the day of Jehovah great and terrible; and because this takes place when the church is in darkness and thick darkness, therefore it is also called a day of darkness, and of thick darkness, and also a day of cloud and obscurity, as also in the following passages.

(References: Ezekiel 32:7-8; Isaiah 13:10, 24:21, 24:23; Joel 2:1-2, 2:10, Joel 3:14-15; Mark 13:24-25; Matthew 24:29)

[5] In Amos:

"Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! what to you is the day of Jehovah? It is a day of darkness and not light. Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even thick darkness, and no brightness in it?" (v. 18, 20).

And in Zephaniah:

"The day of Jehovah, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of clouds and gloominess" (i. 14, 15).

And in Isaiah:

"In that day he shall look into the land, which behold is darkness and sorrow, and the light becomes darkened in the ruins thereof" (v. 30).

And again:

"He shall look unto the earth; and, behold, distress and thick darkness, the gloom of straitness; and driven with thick darkness" (viii. 22).

And again:

"Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people" (lx. 2).

So in Jeremiah:

"Give glory to Jehovah your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the mountains of twilight, then shall we look for light, but he will turn it into the shadow of death, and make it thick darkness" (xiii. 16).

These passages also relate to the last time of the church, when the Lord shall come into the world, and judgment be accomplished; because at that time there is no longer any good of love, or truth of faith, but evil of falsity, and the falsity of evil, that day is therefore called a day of darkness and of thick darkness.

(References: Amos 5:20, 5:18; Isaiah 5:30, Isaiah 8:22, Isaiah 60:2; Jeremiah 13:16; Zephaniah 1:14-15)

[6] The same is signified by the darkness over all the land from the sixth hour to the ninth, when the Lord was crucified (Matt. xxvii. 45; Mark xv. 33; Luke xxiii. 44-49). By the darkness over all the land was represented, that in the entire church there was nothing but evil and the falsity thence and the falsity and the evil thence. The three hours also signify what is full and absolute; for all the details related in the Evangelists concerning the passion of the Lord, contain in them interior things of heaven, and signify celestial Divine things, and these can be made evident only by means of the internal spiritual sense.

(References: Luke 23:44-49; Mark 15:33; Matthew 27:45)

[7] That falsity is signified by darkness, is still further evident from the following passages.

Thus in Isaiah:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (v. 20).

To put darkness for light, and light for darkness, signifies to call falsity truth, and truth falsity; that darkness denotes falsity and light truth, is clear, for good and evil are first mentioned, afterwards therefore, truth and falsity.

(References: Isaiah 5:20)

[8] So in John:

"And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, for their works were evil" (iii. 19).

The Lord here calls Himself the light because He was the Divine Truth itself when in the world; therefore light signifies the Lord as to Divine Truth, and also Divine Truth from the Lord; and because darkness is opposed to light, therefore the darkness which men loved rather than the light, signifies the infernal falsity, which is the falsity of evil. That the falsity of evil is here meant by darkness, is evident from the words, for their works were evil. The falsity of evil exists from evil works or evils of the life; for as good conjoins to itself truth, so evil conjoins to itself falsity, the one is from the other.

(References: John 3:19)

[9] Similar things are signified by light and by darkness in the following passages in John:

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (i. 4, 5).


Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (viii. 12).

And again:

Jesus said, "Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in darkness" (xii. 35, 46).

In these passages darkness signifies infernal falsity. For light of which darkness is the opposite, signifies Divine truth. Light signifies Divine Truth, because light in the heavens in its essence, is the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord; see in the Heaven and Hell (n. 126-140). Since the Divine Truth is the light in the heavens, it follows that the falsity of evil, which is the falsity in the hells, is darkness; it does not indeed appear as darkness to those who are in the hells, for they do see one another, but the light (lumen) by which they see is like that from ignited charcoal, and such light, when the light of heaven flows into it, becomes complete darkness. For this reason the caverns and dens in which [the infernals] are, appear, to those who are in the heavens, like gloomy caves.

(References: Heaven and Hell 116-140; John 1:4-5, John 8:12, 12:46, 12:35)

[10] From these considerations it is evident why darkness signifies the falsities of evil, and why the Lord said that those who are cast into hell should be cast into outer darkness (Matt. viii. 12; xxii. 13; xxv. 30).

So in David:

"The enemy persecuteth my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to sit in darkness, as the dead of the world" (Psalm cxliii. 3).

Here, by the enemy who persecuteth his soul, is signified, in the spiritual sense, evil; therefore his being made to sit in darkness, signifies to be in falsities.

(References: Matthew 8:12, 22:13, Matthew 25:30; Psalms 143:3)

[11] So in Isaiah:

"Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us; we look for light, but, behold darkness; for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness" (lix. 9).

By judgment is far from us, is signified that there is no understanding of truth; neither doth justice overtake us, signifies that there is no good of life; we look for light, but, behold, darkness, signifies expectation of truth, but behold falsity; and for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness, signifies the expectation of goods by truths, but behold the life of falsity from evils. For brightness signifies the goods of truth, because light signifies truth, and truth is resplendent from good; thick darkness signifies the falsities of evil, and to walk signifies to live.

(References: Isaiah 59:9)

[12] So in Luke:

"But this is your hour, and the power of darkness" (xxii. 53).

This the Lord said to the chief priests, the rulers of the temple, and the elders who took Him by means of Judas. The power to do this wickedness the Lord calls the power of darkness, because they were in the falsities of evil, in falsities concerning the Lord, and in evils against Him; by darkness is here also meant hell, because such falsities of evil are there.

(References: Luke 22:53)

[13] So again:

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye is clear, thy whole body also shall be full of light; but if thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp doth give thee light" (xi. 34, 35, 36; Matt. vi. 22, 23).

The eye here signifies the understanding, and the pure or single eye, the understanding of truth from good; but the evil eye signifies the understanding of falsity from evil; the body which is said to be either full of light or darkness, signifies the whole man. It may then be concluded that the signification of these words in their series, is, that the whole man is of such a nature as the quality of his understanding from the will. For every man is his own good and his own truth, because he is his own love or his own affection, therefore his nature is entirely such as that of his understanding from the will. For all truth is of the understanding, and all good of the will; the body being only obedience, because it is the effect from an efficient cause, and the efficient cause is the understanding from the will; the quality therefore of the one is according to the quality of the other, since every effect derives all that it has from the efficient cause. That care must be taken, lest truth once perceived in the understanding and received into the will, be turned into falsity, which is done from evil, is meant by, "Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness," for falsities consequently become worse; therefore it is said in Matthew in the passage already quoted, "If, therefore, the light which is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness."

(References: Luke 11:34-36; Matthew 6:22-23, 6:23)

[14] Darkness also signifies the falsities of evil in the prophet Isaiah:

"Sit thou silent, and enter into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for they shall call thee no more the mistress of kingdoms" (xlvii. 5).

Here, the daughter of the Chaldeans signifies the falsification of truth, and hence darkness signifies the falsities of evil, since evil falsifies truth. The falsity of evil was also signified by the thick darkness, which was over all the land of Egypt, during three days, while the children of Israel had light in their dwellings (Exod. x. 21, 22, 23); also by the darkness in Gen. xv. 12, 17, and in many other passages.

(References: Exodus 10:21-23; Genesis 15:17; Isaiah 47:5)

[15] It has been shown so far, that darkness, in the Word, signifies the falsities of evil; that darkness also signifies falsities not of evil, such as were the falsities of religion with the upright Gentiles, originating in ignorance of the truth [shall now be shown]. That these falsities are also called darkness, is clear from the following passages:

In Isaiah:

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (ix. 2).

And in Matthew:

"The people which sat in darkness saw great light; to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up" (iv. 16).

And in Luke:

The dayspring from on high hath appeared "to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death" (i. 78, 79).

Again, in Isaiah:

"And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise in darkness, and thy thick darkness be as the noon day (lviii. 10).


"He shall say to the bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves" (xlix. 9).

Again, in the same prophet:

"And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness and out of darkness" (xxix. 18).

And again:

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight (xlii. 16).

And in Micah:

"When I sit in darkness, Jehovah shall be a light unto me" (vii. 8).

In these passages, darkness signifies the falsities of ignorance, such as formerly existed, and at this day exist, with the upright Gentiles. These falsities are altogether distinct from the falsities of evil, for the latter contain in themselves evil, because they are from evil, while the former contain in themselves good, for they have good for an end. Those therefore who are in those falsities can be instructed in truths, and also when instructed they receive truths in the heart, because the good, which is in their falsities, loves the truth, and also conjoins itself with the truth when it is heard. The case is different with the falsities of evil; these are averse to, and reject all truth, because it is truth, and does not therefore agree with evil.

(References: Genesis 15:17, 15:12; Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 29:18, 42:16, Isaiah 49:9, 58:10; Luke 1:78-79; Matthew 4:16; Micah 7:8)

[16] In the Word, darkness also signifies mere ignorance arising from the deprivation of truth; as in David (Psalm xviii. 29; Psalm cxxxix. 11, 12). Darkness also signifies natural light (lumen naturale), for this, in comparison with spiritual light, is like darkness; wherefore also the angels, when they look down into the natural light of man, such as is in the natural cognition of men, regard it as darkness, and the things which are in it, as in darkness; this light (lumen), is signified by the darkness mentioned in Genesis (i. 2-5). And because the sense of the letter of the Word is natural, therefore this also in the Word is called a cloud, and also darkness, in comparison with the internal sense, which is the light of heaven, and is called glory.

(References: Genesis 1:2-5; Psalms 18:28, 18:29, 139:11-12; Revelation 8:12)

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