The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version      

Study the Inner Meaning

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
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, ...

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 246, 300, 476, 478, 480, 670, 709, ...

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 229, 294, 401, 513, 526, 527, 555, ...

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23, 25, 28

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 2:3, 7, 16, 19, 5:1, 2, 6:1, 21, 8:17, 9:1, 2, 3, 6, 11:7

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

Job 12:7, 9, 26:8, 38:8

Psalms 8:4, 7, 19:2, 24:2, 33:6, 7, 9, 74:16, 95:5, 104:6, 14, 19, 25, 115:15, 16, 121:2, 136:5, 7, 9, 148:4, 7

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Isaiah 40:26, 45:7, 61:11

Jeremiah 4:23, 10:12, 31:35

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

Beginning
In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

created
The creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means the new creation of the celestial church called 'Man'.

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

form
A person who has yet to be regenerated is called 'a void and an empty earth', and also 'ground where no good or truth has...

Void
A 'void', or 'Vacuity' denotes a person's state before regeneration. From Arcana Coelestia 7: "The first state is the state which precedes, both the state...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

Face of the deep
The face of the deep (Gen. 1:2) signifies the lust of the unregenerate man, and the falsities thence originating.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

spirit
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

Spirit of God
'The spirit of God,' as in Genesis 1:2, signifies the divine mercy of the Lord. 'The spirit of God' is His emanation. 'The spirit of...

Face of the waters
The face of the water (Gen. 1:2) signifies the knowledges of good and truth.

waters
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

Firmament
The firmament, as in Genesis 1, signifies the internal man. The firmament of heaven is mutual love.

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

Gathered together
'The waters were gathered together' signifies falsities collected.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

Herb
Every herb in the Word signifies some species of scientifics. 'Herb bearing seed,' as mentioned in Genesis 1:29, signifies every truth which regards use. 'Green...

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

fruit
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

tree
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

Third day
'The third day' signifies the end of a state of preparation for reception, and so an end of purification, as in Exodus 19:16. 'The third...

signs
The Bible often speaks of signs and miracles as things that convinced people of the Lord's leading. Swedenborg divides the two, identifying "signs" as things...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Great lights
Great lights, as in luminaries, signify love and faith, and are called in Genesis 1:14-17, the sun, moon, and stars.

stars
'The learned,' or 'wise,' who 'shall shine as the stars,' are people who are in good.

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

fourth
'The fourth watch' signifies the first state of the church at break of day, when good begins to act by truth.

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

fowl
"Birds" mean rational concepts in the external man and intellectual concepts in the internal man.

Fly
To fly, when spoken of the Lord, signifies to foresee and to provide. To fly, when predicated of the Lord, also signifies omnipresence. To fly...

Open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

Fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

fill
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

beast
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

Image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

Fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

sea
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

female
Female signifies good.

Meat
'Meat,' as in Genesis 40:17, signifies celestial good, because 'the meat of the angels' are nothing but the goods of love and charity, which not...

green
The color green is almost exclusively used in connection with plants in the Bible (the exceptions include two stomach-turning references to moldy plagues in Leviticus),...

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Animals and Plants in Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Celebrating the Seven Days of Creation
Offers a wide array of ideas for play time, art projects, field trips, and more.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Correspondences of Light
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that talk about light. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Creation Chain
Make a paper chain with the names (or pictures) of the people in your family and other things that the Lord has made. Or make a paper chain that illustrates several things in creation that depend on one another. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Diorama
A great family project to build and display in your home.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Mobile
Assemble this lovely mobile to remind you of all the Lord's precious gifts to us.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Poem with Hand Motions
A lovely poem about creation with hand motions.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Creation | Seas to Trees Pop-up
Color cut-and-fold pop-up project showing dry land rising out of the water and then growing a tree illustrating Genesis 1:9-13. Sample activity from Creation: reflection of God, Level C, ages 11-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Creation Sequencing Cards
Children can color and cut out these cards, then practice putting them in order from day 1-7.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Story (circle book project)
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Creation | The First Day - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness game and song, separate light and darkness collage, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level A, ages 3-6.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 6

 Creation | The First Day - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness experiment with accompanying video, let there be light folding paper project, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level B, ages 7-10.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Creation | The First Day - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: living in the dark--group blindfold games, video and discussion on the bible, creation and a can of peaches, scripted story discussion, and an illustrated quotation card. Sample Lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Family Worship: The Story of Creation
Ideas for reading and discussing the story of creation in Genesis 1. Includes suggestions for extending the experience such as going for a nature walk.
Religion Lesson | Ages 3 - 15

 God Said What? The Creation Story
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Memory Verse: Giving Thanks for Creation
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Life Is Eternal
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Overview of Creation Reflection of God Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14
Overview of Creation: reflection of God, Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Giving Thanks for Creation
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Summary of Creation and Thankfulness
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Sun and the Fruit of Creation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Thankfulness
A Thanksgiving "wreath" to color and display.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Thanking the Lord for Creation
How can your words and actions show the Lord that you appreciate His creation?
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Creation: A General View
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The Fifth and Sixth Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The First Four Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Days of Creation Collage Book or Mural
Ideas from an art teacher for making a creation book or mural.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The First Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The First Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Fourth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fourth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Meaning of the Tree of Life
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Purpose of Creation
Birth brings a person into the natural world, but God's ultimate purpose is that a person be born again into heavenly life, the life of the spirit.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Second Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Second Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Seven Days of Creation
An illustrated story of the seven days of creation.
Story | Ages 3 - 7

 The Sixth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sixth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Story of Creation
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Story of Creation: Family Worship Ideas
Detailed notes on the seven days of creation.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Third Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Third Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word Made Flesh
Like Genesis, the Gospel of John begins with creation. While Genesis describes the creation of natural light, John describes a second creation into spiritual light.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Using the Lord’s Creation
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Where Did Everything Come From?
Grandpa explains to Annika and Peter where everything came from.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Why Are We Here?
Lesson and activities to explore why we were created - what God intends for us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #893

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

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893. Verse 13 And it happened in the six hundred and first year, at the beginning, on the first of the month, that the waters dried up from over the earth, and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and saw out, and behold, the face 1 of the ground was dry.

'It happened in the six hundred and first year' means a finishing point. 'At the beginning, on the first of the month' means a starting point. 'The waters dried up from over the earth' means that falsities were not at that time apparent. 'And Noah removed the covering of the ark, and saw out' means the light, once falsities had been removed, shed by the truths of faith, which he acknowledged and in which he had faith. 'And behold, the face 1 of the ground was dry' means regeneration.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, the faces

[893a] 1 That 'it happened in the six hundred and first year means a finishing point is clear from the meaning of the number six hundred, dealt with at Chapter 7:6, in 737, as a beginning, and in particular in that verse as the beginning of temptation. The end of it is specified by the same number, with a whole year having now passed by. It took place therefore at the end of a year, and this also is why the words are added 'at the beginning, on the first of the month', meaning a starting point. In the Word any complete period is specified either by a day, or a week, or a month, or a year, and even by a hundred or a thousand years - for example, 'the days' mentioned in Genesis 1, which meant stages in the regeneration of the member of the Most Ancient Church. For in the internal sense day and year mean nothing else than a period of time; and meaning a period of time they also mean a state. Consequently a year stands in the Word for a period of time and for a state, as in Isaiah,

To proclaim the year of Jehovah's good pleasure, and the day of vengeance for our God; to comfort all who mourn. Isaiah 61:2.

This refers to the Lord's Coming. In the same prophet,

The day of vengeance was in My heart, and the year of My redeemed had come. Isaiah 63:4.

Here too 'day' and 'year' stand for a period of time and for a state. In Habakkuk,

Your work, O Jehovah, in the midst of the years make it live, in the midst of the years do You make it known. Habakkuk 3:2.

Here 'years' stands for a period of time and for a state. In David,

'You are God Himself, and Your years have no end. Psalms 102:27.

This statement, in which 'years' stands for periods of time, means that time does not exist with God. The same applies in the present verse where 'the year' of the flood in no way means any one particular year but a period of time that is not determined by a specific number of years. At the same time it means a state. See what has been said already about 'years' in 482, 487, 488, 493.

1. This paragraph is not numbered in the Latin.

-----

(References: Arcana Coelestia 487-488, Genesis 7:6)


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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 1332, 1988, 2075, 2103, 2109, 2111, 2199, 2213, 2636, 2649, 2726, 2788, 2838, 3016, 3176, 3251, 3281, 3298, 3390, 3405, 3419, 3462, 3469, 3498, 3703, 3785, 3824, 3827, 3830, 3941, 4010, 4060, 4168, 4283, 4334, 4387, 4548, 4616, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 137

Other New Christian Commentary

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

Commentary

 

The Lord's Presence      

By Rev. William Woofenden

"Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the ground." Psalm 104:30
Additional readings: Isaiah 45:11-25, John 1:1-14, Psalm 104

Some today think of the universe as self-created, that its life is from itself, and that man is a product of the forces of nature. This is, in brief, the materialist's explanation of nature and of human life.

If this were true, the knowledge of nature and of its laws should solve all our problems. But there are qualities in man that are not found in nature. There is no morality in nature, nor is altruism to be found there. Nature's first law is the law of self-preservation, but among men—even the lowest of them—there is the feeling that they should not always seek to please themselves, that it is truly manly to try to save another at the risk of one's own life, that it is right to protect the weak, to help the neighbor.

Nature knows of no power above itself nor of any life after death. Likewise the materialists are unable to conceive of anything supernatural; they can acknowledge no supreme Being or Creator; they do not believe that they live after death. It should be obvious that nature cannot reveal anything that lies beyond its realm.

Yet in order that any finite thing may live there must be an infinite and uncreated source of life. If there were nothing to begin with, then plainly nothing could result. The forms of life which we see about us, and which we ourselves are, must derive their existence from One who is life itself. This is the meaning of the name Jehovah—the "I Am"—He who is in and of Himself. Such is the true conception which lies at the foundation of all intelligent thinking concerning Him. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Greater of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" (Isaiah 40:28). Creation is but the effect of the outpouring of life from Him. This life is called in the Scriptures His breath or spirit. Accordingly we have such statements as that of our text: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created."

But He who sends forth His life-giving spirit is hidden from our natural sight. Yes, even spirit itself is outwardly invisible. And so those who do not lift up their thoughts above nature are tempted to deny His existence. There are higher things than those that can be seen. The spirit of God and all else that is spiritual lie within and above the plane of the senses. Life flows from within outwards. What we see is its external effects; we do not see life itself. Our own spiritual natures are concealed from outward view. We cannot see the souls of those about us. The soul is within the body but is distinct from it. When it is withdrawn, the body dies. In like manner all life is internal and spiritual. He from whom it proceeds is the inmost fountain of all being. "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created."

Again it has often been imagined by people who do believe in a personal God that He created the world and then let it go on by itself according to a system of laws provided for its government. This belief is in part due to the fact that God keeps Himself out of sight and in part to the fact that men think that His way of doing things would be like theirs. A man builds a house, and he may go away and never see it again. But we must remember that man does not create; he only makes use of materials at hand, reforming them to serve his immediate purpose. The Lord, because He creates, is never absent from any part of His creation. By His presence He keeps the universe alive, just as He originally called it into being. Were He to separate Himself from the things which He has made, they would all perish. This is what our text declares in saying, "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created." We are not told that the Lord did send out His spirit at some time many years ago, but that He is sending it out now. The language is not that things were created once upon a time, but that they are created. "Existence is perpetual creation." The present tense transforms the statement into a universal law.

It is so too with the second phrase of the text, "Thou renewest the face of the ground." Allusion is obviously made, in the sense of the letter, to the changes continually going on in nature—the succession of one generation by another and the endless alternation of the seasons. Mother earth is just as fresh and young and productive today as she was in most ancient times. She is in the constant reception of new life. Not a moment passes without the face of the ground being renewed.

There is a lesson for us in this. It should teach us of the nearness of our Heavenly Father and of His constant provision for us. He is present in the heat and light of the sun, in the fields, forests, and mountains, in the rivers, lakes, and seas, in the winds and skies. All tell of His majesty and power, and especially of His constant presence. If we can see this, nature becomes more beautiful and wonderful to us. We see in nature His spirit renewing the face of the ground.

How strange it is that study of nature should lead men to disbelief in God. If the universe did not have order, if its parts were disconnected, without relation or use to one another and to the service and enjoyment of men, we might perhaps believe that it was not designed or created by an intelligent Being. But as the case stands, love and wisdom could not have written themselves more plainly in living characters before our eyes. And what are love and wisdom but the essence of a perfect personality? They cannot possibly exist as mere abstractions: they must be embodied in a person. Love is the inmost vital principle, and wisdom is the means whereby love accomplishes its purposes.

The Lord alone has life in Himself. He needs must be the Source of all creation. "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). And of the creation of the earth it is written, "He created it not in vain; he formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). The purpose of the creation of the world was that there might be people upon it, that we might here be formed into God's own image and likeness and find happiness in heaven to eternity. For this reason, however long our life here may be, we are never completely satisfied with it. There has always been among all people a conviction that there is an afterlife. This conviction is not an idle dream but a perception that the goal of life cannot be reached here—that there is more which the Lord has prepared for us.

And just as the Lord is ever present in His creation, sustaining and controlling it from moment to moment, so He is ever present with us, giving us life, and guiding us if only we will be guided—for it is contrary to the Divine love to compel men—to our heavenly home. The Divine Providence is concerned with our spiritual and eternal life, and with bodily and temporal things only as they affect this. "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26).

This view of the relationship between God and His creation gives us a concept of God that is both rational and also satisfactory to our affectional nature. The Bible starts with the words "In the beginning God. created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1) to teach us that there is a Divine Being with a purpose supremely beneficent, and that there is an Intelligence altogether equal to the attainment of that purpose, and the rest of the Scriptures tell us of the Lord's operation in history to the accomplishment of His purposes. Knowledge of Him and of His purposes enables us to realize that there are better times ahead for us and happier times for the human race upon the earth, to which all lovers of mankind may look forward.

Moreover the Lord Himself came into the world as the Redeemer and Savior of men. In our own struggles we are not alone. The God of Battles is fighting for us. We are not cogs in a universal mechanism. The Lord is present everywhere in the universe. He comes to us outwardly in all the beneficent influences of nature, in the warmth and light of the sun and in all its other bounties. He is present in our souls, seeking to gladden us with the warmth of His love and to enlighten our minds with His wisdom, redeeming us from our iniquities and creating us anew into His own image and likeness.


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