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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

Arcana Coelestia #4697

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

Study this Passage

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4697. 'And the eleven stars' means cognitions of good and truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'stars' as cognitions of good and truth. The reason 'stars' in the Word means those cognitions is that they are tiny sources of light shining in the night, which send out flickers of light at that time into our sky, even as cognitions transmit glimmers of goodness and truth. This meaning of 'stars' as those cognitions may be seen from many places in the Word, as in Jeremiah,

[Thus] said Jehovah who gives the sun for light by day and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar. Jeremiah 31:35.

This refers to a new Church. 'Giving the sun for light by day' means good flowing from love and charity, and 'the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for light by night' means truth and cognitions.

[2] Similarly in David,

Jehovah who made the great lights, the sun to have dominion by day, the moon and stars to have dominion by night. Psalms 136:7-9.

Anyone unacquainted with the internal sense of the Word will presume that here 'the sun' is used to mean the sun of this world, and 'the moon and stars' to mean the moon and the stars, but no spiritual and heavenly meaning comes out of that presumption. Yet the Word in every individual part is heavenly. From this it is also evident that it is the goods of love and charity, and the truths of faith, together with cognitions of these, that are meant.

[3] This is similar to what occurs in Chapter 1 of Genesis, where the new creation of the heavenly man is the subject,

God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens, to make a distinction between the day and the night; and they will be for signs, and for set times, and for days and for years. And they will be for lights in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth; and it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to have dominion over the day, and the lesser light to have dominion over the night, and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth, and to have dominion over the day and the night, and to make a distinction between the light and the darkness. Genesis 1:14-18.

See [in Volume One, paragraphs] 30-38.

[4] In Matthew,

Immediately after the affliction of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Matthew 24:29.

Here 'the sun' and 'the moon' mean love and charity, or good and truth, while 'stars' means cognitions - see 4060; and because the last day or last state of the Church is the subject here, 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light' means that at that time the good of love and charity will perish, and 'the stars will fall from heaven' means that the cognitions of good and truth will perish too. That these things are meant is evident from the prophetical parts of the Word where similar descriptions occur regarding the day or state of the Church.

[5] As in Isaiah,

Behold, the day of Jehovah will come, cruel, to make the earth a waste, and He will destroy sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not shine with their light. The sun will be obscured in its rising, and the moon will not give its light. Isaiah 13:9-10.

In Joel,

The day of Jehovah is near. The sun and the moon have been darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining. Joel 3:14-15.

In Ezekiel,

When I have blotted you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars, I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the bright lights in heaven I will make dark over you, and I will put darkness over your land. Ezekiel 32:7-8.

And in John,

The fourth angel sounded, and a third part of the sun was struck, and a third part of the moon, and a third part of the stars, so that a third part of them was darkened and the day did not shine for a third part of it; and the night likewise. Revelation 8:12.

(References: Joel 3:14, 3:16)


[6] This meaning of 'stars' as cognitions of good and truth is in addition evident from the following places: In Daniel,

Out of one horn of the he-goat of the she-goats there grew one small-sized horn and it grew exceedingly towards the south, and towards the east, and towards the glorious [land]; and it grew even towards the hosts of heaven, and it cast down to the earth some of the host, and of the stars, and trampled on them. Daniel 8:9-10.

And in John,

The great dragon drew with his tail a third part of the stars of heaven and cast them down to the earth. Revelation 12:4.

Clearly the actual stars are not meant here, the subject in Daniel and John being the state of the Church in the last times.

[7] Similarly in David,

Jehovah counts the number of stars; He gives names to them all. Psalms 147:4.

In the same author,

Praise Jehovah, sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light. Psalms 148:3.

In John,

A great sign was seen in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Revelation 12:1.

[8] Since cognitions of good and truth are meant by 'stars', the teachings of the Church are meant too, since these are cognitions. Teaching to do with faith separated from charity in the last times is described as 'a star' in the following verses in John,

The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and It fell onto a third part of the rivers, and onto the fountains of waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third part of the waters became wormwood, and many people died in the waters, because they were made bitter. Revelation 8:10-11.

'The waters' which were made bitter by that star are truths, and 'the rivers' and 'the fountains of waters' are intelligence imparted by those truths, and wisdom from the Word. For 'waters' meaning truths, see 2702, 3058, 3424; for 'rivers' intelligence, 3051; and for 'fountains' wisdom from the Word, 2702, 3424.

(References: Genesis 37:9; Revelation 8:10-12)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 4769, 4918, 6015, 7988, 8902, 9263, 9293, 9642, 10217, 10445

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121


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


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