The Bible

Genesis 1:20

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

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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.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 39, 40, 41


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 30, 670


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 750

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Bible Study Videos:



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Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

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...

Waters
'Waters' signify truths in the natural self, and in the opposite sense, falsities. 'Waters' signify particularly the spiritual parts of a person, or the intellectual...

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...

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...

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

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

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

Apocalypse Explained #1057

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

Study this Passage

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1057. They whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. That this signifies that they are those who do not acknowledge the Lord's Divine power over heaven and earth, but as transferred to some vicar, and from him to his vicars, is evident from the signification of names not written in the book of life, as denoting those who are not received in heaven (concerning which see n. 199, 222, 299). And because those who do not acknowledge the Lord's Divine power over heaven and earth are not received in heaven, therefore these are they who are meant; and from the signification of the foundation of the world, as denoting from the establishment of the church. By the foundation of the world, in the literal or natural sense, is meant the creation of the world; but in the internal spiritual sense the establishment of the church is meant. For the spiritual sense treats of spiritual things; and the natural sense of the natural things that pertain to the world. Hence it is that by the creation of heaven and earth, in the first chapter of Genesis, in the spiritual sense, is described the new creation or establishment of the first and Most Ancient Church on this earth. That this is described by the creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, where the things in that chapter are explained. Moreover, by creating, in the Word, is signified to reform, and by Creator, the Lord as Reformer and Saviour. That to create signifies to reform, and that by the creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis is described, in the spiritual sense, the establishment of the Most Ancient Church, may be seen above (n. 294, 739).

(References: Genesis 1:1; Revelation 17:8; The Apocalypse Explained 199, 222, 294, 299, The Apocalypse Explained 739)


[2] The establishment of the church is also meant by the foundation of the world in these passages in the Word:

"The king shall say to them on the right hand, Come and possess as a heritage the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. xxv. 34).

Jesus praying said, "Father, because thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world" (John xvii. 24).

Jesus said, "The blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, shall be required of this generation" (Luke xi. 30).

That the establishment of the church is meant by the foundation of the world, is evident from the passages in the Word where it is said to found the earth, the founding of the earth, and the foundation of the earth, by which is not meant the foundation or creation of the earth, but the establishment or creation of the church upon the earth. As in Zechariah:

"Jehovah who stretcheth out the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man in the midst of him" (xii. 1).

Here by stretching out the heaven, and founding the earth, is not meant the stretching out of the visible heaven, and founding the habitable earth, but the church as to its internals, which are called spiritual, and as to its externals, which are called natural. To found the latter and stretch out the former is to establish; therefore it is also said, forming the spirit of man in the midst of him, which signifies his reformation and regeneration.

(References: John 17:24; Luke 11:50; Matthew 15:34, 25:34; Zechariah 12:1)


[3] In Isaiah:

"Attend to me, O Jacob and Israel, my hand hath founded the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens" (xlviii. 12, 13).

By founding the earth with the hand, and spanning the heavens with the right hand, are signified similar things to those explained just above, as is evident from the preceding and following parts of the chapter, where the establishment of a new church by the Lord is treated of.

In the same:

"Hast forgotten Jehovah thy Maker, who stretcheth out the heavens, and foundeth the earth" (li. 13).

Here also by the heavens and the earth is signified the church as to its internal or spiritual things, and as to its external or natural things and by stretching out and founding is signified to establish.

(References: Isaiah 48:12-13, 51:13)


[4] In the same:

"I will put my words into thy mouth, and with the shadow of my hand will I cover thee, to plant the heavens, and to found the earth, and to say unto Zion, Thou art my people; awake, awake, arise, O Jerusalem" (li. 16, 17).

Here by planting the heavens and founding the earth, is evidently meant to establish the church; for this is said unto the prophet, that the word should be put in his mouth, and that he should be covered with the shadow of the hand to plant the heavens and to found the earth. By a prophet the earth cannot be founded, but the church. Therefore also it is added, "To say unto Zion, thou art my people;" also, "Awake, awake, arise, O Jerusalem." For by Zion and by Jerusalem, in the Word, is meant the church.

In David:

"The heaven and the earth are thine; the world and the fulness thereof thou hast founded them" (Psalm lxxxix. 11).

Here in like manner by heaven and the earth is signified the church, by the world the church as to good; and by the fulness thereof are signified all the goods and truths of the church.

(References: Isaiah 51:16-17; Psalms 89:11)


[5] Again:

"Jehovah hath founded the earth and the world upon the seas, and established them upon the rivers. Who shall ascend into the mountain of Jehovah, and who shall stand in the place of his holiness?" (Psalm xxiv. 2, 3).

That the establishment of the church is described by founding the earth and the world upon the seas, and establishing them upon the rivers, may be seen above (n. 304, 518, 741). That the establishment of the church is signified, is evident from what follows here, namely, who shall ascend into the mountain of Jehovah, and who shall stand in the place of His holiness? By the mountain of Jehovah is understood Zion; whereby is signified, where the Lord reigns by means of Divine truth; and by the place of [His] holiness is meant Jerusalem, where the temple was, by which is signified the church as to doctrine. From these things it is evident, that by the foundation of the world is signified the establishment of the church. For the same is meant by the world, as by heaven and the earth. And it is said, "To found the earth;" because by the earth is signified the church on earth, and upon this heaven is founded as to its holy things.

Hence, also, it is evident what is signified by the foundations of the earth in the following passages.

In Isaiah:

"Have ye not known, have ye not heard, hath it not been declared to you from the beginning, have ye not understood the foundations of the earth?" (xl. 21).

In the same:

"The foundations of the earth are corrupted" (xxiv. 18).

Likewise in Isa. lviii. 12; Jer. xxxi. 37; Micah vi. 2; Ps. xviii. 8, 16; lxxxii. 5; and elsewhere).

Continuation concerning the second kind of Profanation:-

(References: Isaiah 24:18, 40:21, Isaiah 58:12, 63:12; Jeremiah 31:37; Micah 6:2; Psalms 18:7, 18:15, 24:2-3, 82:5; The Apocalypse Explained 74, The Apocalypse Explained 304, 518)


[6] The reason why profaners of this kind are stupid and foolish in spiritual things, but cunning and ingenious in worldly things is, that they make one with the devils in hell.

And because, as said above, they are merely sensual, and thence are in their own proprium, which draws its delight of life from the unclean effluvia exhaled from effete things in the body, and exhaled from dunghills, from these also arise their conceit and pride when things are in their delight.

[7] That it arises from these is evident from their delights, after death, when they live as spirits; for then in preference to the most fragrant odours they love the rank stenches that arise from the air discharged from the belly, and from latrines, which smell to them more fragrant than thyme. By the breath and touch of these the interiors of the mind are closed, and the exteriors belonging to the body are opened, whence arise their eagerness in worldly matters, and their dulness in spiritual things. In a word, the love of domination by means of the holy things of the church corresponds to filth, and the delight of it to an unspeakable stench, which to the angels is most horrible. Such is the exhalation from their hells when they are opened, but because of the oppression that arises, and on account of swooning that sometimes follows, they are kept closed.

(References: Matthew 25:34; Revelation 17:8)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 1052, 1116, 1141

Other New Christian Commentary

Fullness 1


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


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