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:


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

De Verbo (The Word) #14

De Verbo (Chadwick translation)

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14. XIV. The Word in the heavens.

The Word exists in all the heavens, and it is read there as it is in the world, and sermons are based on it. For it is the Divine Truth which is the source of the angels' intelligence and wisdom. For without the Word no one knows anything about the Lord, love and faith, redemption, and all the other secrets of heavenly wisdom. In fact without the Word heaven would not exist, just as without the Word there would be no church in the world, so that there would be no linking with the Lord. I demonstrated above that natural theology is impossible without revelation, and in the Christian world without the Word. If it is not granted in the world, neither would it be granted after death. For the nature of a person's religious belief in the world dictates its nature after death, when he becomes a spirit. The whole of heaven is not made up of angels created before the world or at the same time as it, but of those who were people on earth, and were then angels inwardly. By means of the Word these in heaven acquire spiritual, that is, inner wisdom, because the Word there is spiritual.

(References: Genesis 2:1; Matthew 5:18)

[2] The Word in the Lord's spiritual kingdom is not the same as the Word in the world. In the world there is the natural Word, but in that kingdom there is a spiritual Word. The difference is like that between its natural and spiritual senses. The nature of the spiritual sense has been demonstrated at length in my Arcana Caelestia, where the whole contents of Genesis and Exodus have been explained in accordance with that sense. The difference is such that no word is the same. Things take the place of names, and likewise of numbers; the histories are replaced by matters concerning the church. The surprising thing is that, when an angel reads it, he is unaware that it is not the same as what he read in the Word while in the world. This is because he no longer has any natural ideas, since they are replaced with spiritual ones; and the natural and the spiritual are linked by correspondences into a kind of unity.

So when someone passes from the natural into the spiritual, it seems to him as if they were the same. In fact an angel does not know that he is wiser than he was in the world, though his wisdom is really so superior as to be comparatively indescribable. He is unable to recognise the difference, because in his spiritual state he knows nothing of the natural state, which he had in the world; and he is unable to compare and differentiate them, because he cannot return to his former state so as to make a comparison. Still an angel in heaven is constantly being brought to a higher degree of perfection in wisdom than he had in the world, because his affection for spiritual truth is purer. 1

(References: Luke 16:17; Psalms 32:2)

[3] However, the Word in the Lord's celestial kingdom is far superior and wiser than the Word in His spiritual kingdom. The difference is of the same kind as that which distinguishes the natural Word in the world from the spiritual Word, as has been stated. For that Word contains an inmost sense, called celestial, which in all its details refers to nothing but the Lord. In this Word the Lord is read in place of Jehovah, and of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and also the Lord is named in place of David, Moses, Elijah and the rest of the Prophets; and His divinity is distinguished by special marks. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and also the names of the Apostles, when read there, convey something about the Lord as regards the church; and so with all the rest. From this it became plain to me that the whole of the Sacred Scripture deals in its inmost sense with nothing but the Lord.

The difference which distinguishes the two Words, the spiritual and the celestial, is like that between thoughts, the province of the intellect, and affections, the province of the will. For the angels of the celestial kingdom are guided by love to the Lord and so affection for good; the angels of the spiritual kingdom are guided by faith in the Lord and so by perception of truth.

[4] Another difference between the celestial and spiritual Words is their script. The script of the spiritual Word is made up of letters resembling the printed letters of our world; but each letter has a meaning. If therefore you were to see that script, you would not understand a single word. For one letter succeeds another without a break, with dashes and dots above and below, since it is in accordance with spiritual speech, which has nothing in common with natural speech. The wiser angels are, the more they see of the inner secrets of their Word so written, more so than the simpler angels. What is stored there is plainly visible to the eyes of the wise, but not to the eyes of the simple. It is similar to what happens with our Word, but to a greater degree; here too the wise see more than the simple.

The script of the celestial Word, however, is made up of letters not known in the world. They are indeed alphabetical, but each one of them is composed of curved lines with serifs above and below, and there are small marks or dots in the letters, and also above and below them. I was told that the most ancient people on this earth had such a script. Some details agree with the Hebrew script, but not much. Such a script expresses the affections which make up a love; so it contains more secrets than they themselves can ever utter. They express these unutterable secrets which they perceive from their Word by means of representations. The wisdom hidden away in this Word surpasses the wisdom in the spiritual Word as a thousand does one.

[5] To make the difference between the three Words, the natural, the spiritual and the celestial, intelligible, let us take as an example the first chapters of Genesis, which deal with Adam, his wife and the Garden. 2 In the natural Word which we have in this world there is a description of the creation of the world, the first creation of man, and the earthly pleasures and delights of man and the world. By the persons named following him up to the Flood are meant his descendants, and the numbers mean their ages. But in the spiritual Word the angels of the spiritual kingdom have, this is not what is meant. The first chapter is a description of the reform and regeneration of the people of the most ancient church; this too is called a new creation. The second chapter describes as the Garden the intelligence of the people of that church; Adam and his wife stand for the church itself, and their descendants down to the Flood describe the changes in the state of that church, up to the time when it came to an end and was finally destroyed by the Flood.

But in the celestial Word possessed by the angels of the Lord's celestial kingdom, the first chapter describes the glorification of the Lord's Human; the Garden describes his Divine wisdom. Adam himself is understood to mean the Lord as regards the Divine itself and at the same time the Divine Human. His wife stands for the church, which since it has life from the Lord is called Eve from [the Hebrew word for] life. Adam says of her that she was to be his bone and his flesh, and [they should be] one flesh, because the church comes from the Lord, and is out of Him and with Him as if one. The names of the descendants of Adam describe the successive states by which the Lord was received by the people of that church and linked with them, until there was nothing at all received and so no linking.

(References: Genesis 1:1)

[6] So when the first chapters in our Word are read by upright people, especially by boys and girls, and they feel joy at the state when everything was created and at the Garden, then these meanings are unfolded, and the spiritual angels understand them in accordance with their Word, and the celestial angels in accordance with theirs, without being aware that a person or a child is reading it. These meanings are unfolded in their due sequence because they correspond, and correspondences are from creation like this. This makes it plain what the Word is like in its depths, that is, it has three senses. The last is the natural one for men on earth; this deals mainly with worldly matters and where it deals with Divine matters, they are still described by the kind of things which the world contains. The middle sense is the spiritual one, which describes the kind of things which belong to the church. The inmost sense is the celestial one, which contains the kind of things which belong to the Lord. For the whole of nature is a theatre representing the Lord's kingdom; and the Lord's kingdom, heaven and the church, is a theatre representing the Lord Himself. For just as the Lord glorified His Human, so too He regenerates a person; and as He regenerates a person, so too did He create him.

[7] These facts may establish what the Word is like in its depths. The natural Word as possessed by the Christian part of the world contains within itself a spiritual and a celestial Word. For the spiritual sense of our Word is the Word in the heavens which make up the Lord's spiritual kingdom; and the celestial sense of our Word, its inmost sense, is the Word in the heavens which make up the Lord's celestial kingdom. Our Word therefore contains both the spiritual and the celestial Words; but the spiritual Word and the celestial Word do not contain the natural Word. The Word of our world is therefore the one most full of Divine wisdom, and consequently more holy than the Word of the heavens.


1. Reading veri spiritualis for veri spirituali. -Translator

2. i.e. the Garden of Eden. -Translator


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