The Bible

Genesis 1

English: King James Version

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Genesis 2 →

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:

Stories:

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

Arcana Coelestia #8891

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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8891. 'For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and the sea' means regenerating and vivifying the things in the internal man and in the external. This is clear from the meaning of 'six days' as states of conflict, dealt with just above in Arcana Coelestia 8888, and - when used in reference to Jehovah, that is, the Lord - as His labour with a person before he is regenerated, Arcana Coelestia 8510; from the meaning of 'heaven and earth' as the Church or Lord's kingdom in a person, 'heaven' being in his internal man and 'earth' in his external, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), Arcana Coelestia 3355 (end), Arcana Coelestia 4535, so that a person who has been regenerated is meant, that is, one who has acquired new life and accordingly been vivified; and from the meaning of 'the sea' as the sensory awareness adhering to the bodily level of a person's mind, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 8872.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)


[2] The present verse deals with the sanctifying of the seventh day or institution of the sabbath, describing it as follows,

In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and sanctified it.

When people's thinking does not extend beyond the sense of the letter they cannot do other than suppose that the creation described in the first and second chapters of Genesis is the creation of the universe, and that there were six days within which heaven, earth, the sea, and all that is in them were created, and at length the human being in God's likeness. Yet is there anyone pondering on the details who fails to see that the creation of the universe is not what is meant there? For there are things in those chapters which common sense tells anyone are not literally true, for example, that days existed before the sun and moon, that light and darkness did so, and that plants and trees sprang up, when in fact it is through those [great] lights that light is given, light and darkness are divided, and so days come into being.

(References: Genesis 1:1, Genesis 2:1)


[3] Further on after these details, others of a similar nature follow which scarcely anyone who thinks more deeply will consider to have been literally possible, such as these: The woman was built out of the man's rib; two trees were placed in paradise, the fruit of one of which they were forbidden to eat; a serpent spoke from one of them to the wife of man (homo), who had been the wisest of mortal beings; what it said - what came out of the serpent's mouth - deceived them both; and the whole human race, numbering so very many thousands of thousands, was therefore condemned to hell. As soon as they are contemplated these and similar details there inevitably seem nonsensical to those who entertain any doubt about the holiness of the Word; and they lead to a denial of the Divine there. However it should be realized that every detail there down to the smallest is Divine; they all contain arcana which are clearly visible to angels in heaven, as in broad daylight. The reason why this should be so is that angels do not see the literal meaning of the Word but what lies within it, that is, spiritual and celestial realities, and Divine ones within these. When the first chapter of Genesis is read they perceive no other creation than the new creation of a human being, which is called regeneration. This is what is described there, 'paradise' being the wisdom of a person created anew. 'The two trees in the middle of it' are the two mental powers of that person, which are a will desiring good, meant by 'the tree of life', and an understanding seeing truth, meant by 'the tree of knowledge'. And the reason why they were forbidden to eat from this tree was that a person who has been regenerated or created anew ought no longer to be led by an understanding that sees truth but by a will desiring good, or else his newness of life is destroyed. Regarding these matters, see Arcana Coelestia 202, 337, 2454, 2715, 3246, 3652, 4448, 5895 (end), Arcana Coelestia 5897 (end), Arcana Coelestia 7877, 7923, 7992, 8505, 8506, 8510, 8512, 8516, 8539, 8643, 8648, 8658, 8690, 8701, 8722. Consequently Adam or Man and Eve his wife there are used to mean a new Church, and 'eating from the tree of knowledge' to mean the decline of that Church from good into truth, consequently from love to the Lord and towards the neighbour into faith without such love. And this came about through reasoning arising from self-intelligence, that reasoning being meant by 'the serpent', see Arcana Coelestia 195-197, 6398, 6399, 6949, 7293.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5595, 6398-6399, 8505-8506, Genesis 1:1, Genesis 2:1)


[4] From all this it is evident that the historical narratives regarding creation, and regarding the first human being and paradise, are the descriptions of fictitious historical events, containing heavenly and Divine realities within them. Making up such stories was in keeping with the accepted custom in the ancient Churches; and the custom also spread from them to many outside the Church, who in a similar way produced descriptions of fictitious historical events, wrapping up arcana within them, as is evident from writers belonging to most ancient times. For the ancient Churches were well acquainted with what such things as exist in the world meant in heaven. Nor were great exploits of sufficient importance for them to write about, only the things of heaven. Things of heaven occupied their minds because they thought on a more internal level than people do at the present day and so were in contact with angels; and for this reason they gained a delight out of putting together such stories. But they were led by the Lord to images which would be held sacred in Churches. Out of these they composed stories in which everything had a correspondence

[5] All this shows what 'heaven and earth' is used to mean in the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis - the internal Church and the external Church. The fact that they are meant by 'heaven and earth' is also clear from places in the Prophets which speak of a new heaven and a new earth, by which a new Church is to be understood, see Arcana Coelestia 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), Arcana Coelestia 3355 (end), Arcana Coelestia 4535.

From all this it is now evident that 'in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and the sea' means regenerating and vivifying the things in the internal man and in the external man.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118; Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1:1)

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