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Genesis 1:24

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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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.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 1: The Creation and Development of our Spiritual Life      

By Rev. William Woofenden

The first book of the Bible is "Genesis", which means "creation". It's a very, very ancient story - one of the oldest stories of humankind, and it's full of symbolic meaning that - still - gets to the core of what it is to be truly human.

The first three days of creation describe the development of the natural degree of man's life. They come first as a preparation for the opening of the spiritual degree of our minds. The creation of the grass, herbs, and trees took place on the third day, and constitutes the third step in regeneration. The creation of the fowl and fish was on the fifth day. Between these on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created.

From the beginning man had light, for all light is from the Lord, but it was not direct light. He was not at first in the clear light of the sun, moon, and stars, which are set in the firmament. The firmament is the internal man. There is a preparation that has to be made before the internal man is opened. At first we think we see the truth and do good from ourselves. Hence only inanimate things are produced. All truth and good are from the Lord who alone is truth and goodness, and only when we come to acknowledge this can we have true love from him, true faith in Him, and true knowledge of spiritual things. These are not seen from the external or natural degree of life.

Again we should note a change of language. It was said, "Let the earth bring forth" the grass, herb, and fruit trees. Now and through the remaining days it is said that "God created." Man has a part to play in his regeneration. There must be in his mind forms into which the warmth of love and the light of faith and of spiritual truths can flow.

When the mind is so prepared, influx from the Lord can be received, with greater power. "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." It should be noted that it is the waters that are commanded to bring forth the moving creature that hath life, and that it is not the seas but the waters which are to produce the living creatures. The seas represent the gathering together of knowledges, but by the "waters" are meant the spiritual truths in the mind. So in the Lord's words to the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:14). In Ezekiel it is the "waters" issuing from the sanctuary that give life (Ezekiel 47:1). The Psalmist writes, "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters" (Psalm 104:3). It is not in natural waters that the Lord lays the beams of His chambers. His chambers are the interior principles of His church; the beams give them support and strength. These are said to be laid in the waters because they rest and have their foundation in the genuine truths of the Word. So in Revelation the Word itself is described as a pure river of water of life.

The will faculty in man embraces all his affections and is the internal man. When the sun, moon, and stars—love, faith, and knowledges of spiritual truth—are set in this heaven and begin to impart their warmth and light to the external man, enabling him to think and act from these higher and purer principles, then the external man is gifted with a new life. There may be no apparent change in his outward conduct—he may already be living a moral life—but the motives that direct his acts will be wholly different. And it is the motive that gives character to the act as well as to the actor. He no longer thinks of the truths that he has learned, either natural or spiritual, as the product of his own mind nor of the good, that he does as the result of his own efforts, but thinks of them as wholly from the Lord, who alone is the source of all true light and life.

Before one recognizes clearly that all good and truth come from the Lord, he can bring forth only inanimate things, the grass, herb, and fruit tree, however good and useful these may be. But when he is enlightened by genuine love and faith, his knowledges become the basis for the development of spiritual life and God can create in him the living creatures that have life. First the fishes are created; then the fowl of the air. There is a difference between fishes and birds. The fishes, living in water, represent our affections for natural truths. The great whales, the largest of living creatures, are affections for the great general principles that control the mind. The principle may be either true or false. Of Pharaoh or Egypt it is written, "Thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou earnest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouled at their rivers" (Ezekiel 32:2) Here is pictured a ruling false principle from the natural degree of the mind — Egypt. That is, when the ruling principle is false, it will be a monster making the truths in the mind obscure like filthy or muddy waters.

Another example of the meaning of the whale in a bad sense is in the story of Jonah. When the principle is false it swallows up for a time all the truths that are in the mind. This is the whale swallowing Jonah the prophet. But Divine truth cannot be used by a false principle so as to become a part of its organic structure. Nor can the Divine truth perish. So the whale could not digest Jonah, nor could the prophet perish, but the whale vomited him up.

Spiritually there are whales trying to swallow prophets today, evil principles that try to use Divine truths to attain their ends. In the creation story, however, the whales are affections for the principles of natural truth for the sake of uses to the spiritual man. There is one source of genuine love. The creatures of the fifth day are living because they are animated by this love. Birds fly in the air above the earth. They have the power of flight and enjoy broader views. They represent affections for truth that rise above the natural. They are the thoughts that look at life from the heights of spiritual perception, ideas about the Lord, heaven, and spiritual things. Isaiah writes, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). Birds represent spiritual intelligence, the power to lift us up to understand spiritual truth in heavenly light, through which truth the Lord can impart to us something of the Divine intelligence. So at the baptism of the Lord "The heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matthew 3:16). So a new knowledge of heavenly life is given, a new perception of our possibilities, and in this higher intelligence a basis for further development is laid. This further development is pictured in the creation of the living creatures upon the earth. These are symbols of the affections. Here, too, it is said, "Let the earth bring forth" and also "And God made the beast of the earth." The creation of living animals on the earth and of man in the image and likeness of God marks the completion of the six days of creation—the six stages in regeneration. Man has first to learn what is to be believed and done and then to do it.

It is the office of the understanding to hear the Word and of the will to do it. In this way the truths are made our own, and the will and understanding make one mind. And when one begins to act from love as well as from faith, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an image of God, and is given dominion over all things. Thus all things natural and spiritual come to be a delight to him and serviceable to him. To be an image and likeness of God one must act from impulses similar to those of God. This he cannot do until he comes into the final state of regeneration. Then he will not act from selfish motives, as does the natural man, nor from mere obedience to truth, but from love to the Lord and the neighbor. When these loves are developed and rule, to them is given the dominion over all subordinate affections and the fruits of all the growths of intelligence. These are what make man to be a man and cause him to be in the image and likeness of his Maker. Each step in the formation of a truly human character the Lord saw and pronounced good, but of the work of the sixth day it is said, "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 44, 45, 46, 47, 48


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 30, 246, 670


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 650, 750

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Bible Word Meanings

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

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...

earth
Is there any difference in meaning between “earth” and “ground”? At first it doesn’t seem so; both refer to the soil making up the land...

living
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

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...

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

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Swedenborg 101: The Basic Nature of Everything - Swedenborg and Life

In this episode, host Curtis Childs and featured guests explore what eighteenth-century Christian mystic and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg learned during his mystical explorations of the spiritual world. They delve into his life, spiritual awakening, and resulting philosophies about the relationship between this life and the afterlife.

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

 Men and Women Are Different
Studies confirm that differences between men and women extend beyond the physical body, affecting engagement on all levels of life.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 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

 Qualities of the Lord
Look at colored pictures of stories from the Word. Using a word bank, identify the quality of the Lord shown in each picture.
Project | Ages 9 - 14

 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 #9596

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

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9596. 'From fine twined linen and violet and purple and twice-dyed scarlet' means the spiritual and celestial realities from which those truths are derived. This is clear from the meaning of 'fine twined linen' as truth from a celestial origin, dealt with in 9469; from the meaning of 'violet' as the celestial love of truth, dealt with in 9466; from the meaning of 'purple' as the celestial love of good, dealt with in 9467; and from the meaning of 'twice-dyed scarlet' as spiritual good or the good of truth, dealt with in 9468. Such is the order in which the spiritual and celestial realities, or the truths and forms of good, present with a person or an angel who is in the middle or second heaven follow one another. For truth from a celestial origin, meant by 'fine twined linen' comes first; then the love of or affection for truth, meant by 'violet'; after that the resulting love of or affection for good, meant by 'purple'; and finally spiritual good, meant by 'twice-dyed scarlet'.

[2] Because this is the order in which the spiritual and celestial realities follow one another 'fine twined linen' is here mentioned first; but in the case of the veil that hung between the dwelling-place and the ark, or between the holy place and the holy of holies, dealt with in verse 31 of the present chapter, it is mentioned last. The reason why 'fine twined linen' is mentioned last in the case of the veil is that 'the veil' means the intermediary uniting the inmost heaven to the middle heaven, and therefore within this intermediary it must come last, in order that - to link the two heavens - it may then be first in the second of them.

[3] But properly 'fine twined linen' means the understanding part of the mind as it exists with the spiritual man or with an angel in the Lord's spiritual heaven. The reason why the understanding part is meant by 'fine twined linen' is that with the spiritual man a new will part is implanted by the Lord within the understanding part of his mind, see 863, 875, 895, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 1555, 2256, 4328, 4493, 5113; and since the understanding part in the spiritual man is meant by 'fine twined linen', so too is spiritual truth meant. This is because all truth belongs to the understanding part, and all good to the will part, 3623, 9300; for the understanding part is the receiver (subjectum) or container and the truth is what belongs to it, and these two make one. From these considerations also it may be seen that the actual understanding part of the mind with those who belong to the Lord's spiritual kingdom is in the strict sense 'the dwelling-place', 9296, 9297, and that the spreading out of the curtains serves to describe it.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1043-1044, Arcana Coelestia 9296-9297)


[4] From all this what 'spreading and stretching out the heavens' means in the following places may be recognized, such as in Isaiah,

Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens, spreads out the earth, gives breath 1 to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5.

In the same prophet,

I am Jehovah who makes all things, stretches out the heavens Alone, [and] spreads out the earth by Myself. Isaiah 44:24.

In the same prophet,

It was I that made the earth and created man on it. It was I - My hands - that stretched out the heavens. Isaiah 45:12.

In Jeremiah,

... He who makes the earth by His power, prepares the world by His wisdom, and stretches out the heavens by His intelligence. Jeremiah 51:15.

In Zechariah,

Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens, and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1.

(References: Jeremiah 10:20-21)


[5] 'Stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' is plainly similar in meaning to stretching and spreading out a dwelling-place by the use of curtains. And by this is meant regenerating a person and thereby creating or forming a new understanding in which there is a new will, which is the spiritual person's actual heaven in which the Lord dwells with that person. The fact that the regeneration or the formation of a new understanding, and of a new will within it, and so of a new person, is what 'stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' means is evident from actual explanations provided in the places quoted above. For they speak of Him who gives breath to the people on the earth, and spirit to those who walk on it, and also of Him who forms the spirit of man within him. 'Heaven and earth' means the Church, internal and external, see 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535, and 'the earth' in general means the Lord's kingdom and the Church, 9334; and these meanings too are plainly apparent in those places. For if 'the earth' did not have that meaning what sense could be made of 'spreading out the earth' and 'founding the earth', or 'forming the spirit of man within him 2 '?

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)


[6] The fact that 'stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' here is similar in meaning to stretching and spreading out a dwelling-place by the use of curtains is clear from other places where the same idea is stated even more plainly, as in Isaiah,

Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. Isaiah 40:22.

In the same prophet,

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwelling-places. Isaiah 54:2.

And in David,

Jehovah covers Himself with light, as if with a garment; He stretches out the heavens as a curtain. Psalms 104:2.

These places also show what 'the expanse' or that which is spread out means in the first chapter of Genesis,

God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let there be a distinguishing of the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse and He made a distinction between the waters that were under the expanse and the waters that were above the expanse, And God called the expanse Heaven. Genesis 1:6-8.

That first chapter describes the regeneration of a member of the celestial Church, 'the expanse' describing his new will and understanding. 'The waters under the expanse and those above the expanse' are the truths of the external man and those of the internal man. For the meaning of 'waters' as truths, see 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 8568, 9323.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, soul

2. The Latin here is in ea (in it, i.e. in the earth). But in his rough draft Swedenborg has, as in other places, in medio ejus which is usually taken to mean within him but could possibly mean in the midst of it.

-----

(References: Exodus 26:1; Jeremiah 10:20-21)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9598, 9684, 9742, 9743, 9744, 9774, 9776, 9777, 9835, 9954, 9960, 9995, 10062, 10093, 10207, 10213, 10227, 10296, 10540, 10545

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 139


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 118, 236, 277, 331, 375


   Swedenborg Research Tools


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

Commentary

 

255 - Saving the Tree of Life      

By Jonathan Rose

This video is a part of the Spirit and Life Bible Study series, whose purpose is to look at the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible through a Swedenborgian lens.

Title: Saving the Tree of Life

Topic: First Coming

Summary: The Lord's salvation takes two forms: an ongoing saving of individual souls that respond, but also a one-time rescuing of the whole human race from destruction and oblivion.

Use the reference links below to follow along in the Bible as you watch.

References:
Isaiah 53:9
Matthew 20:25, 28
Luke 2:9-10; 3:2, 4-6
John 12:44, 47
Acts of the Apostles 13:47
Romans 5:18-19
1 Timothy 2:1-4, 6; 4:10
Hebrews 5:8-9
Genesis 1:27-28; 12:1, 3; 13:4; 15:5; 22:17; 28:12, 14
Deuteronomy 1:10
Genesis 47:27
Exodus 1:20
Jeremiah 33:25
Ezekiel 36:8
Acts of the Apostles 6:7
Matthew 1
Luke 3:23

To continue browsing while you watch, play the video in a new window.

Spirit and Life Bible Study broadcast from 3/9/2016. The complete series is available at: www.spiritandlifebiblestudy.com


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