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Genesis 1:27

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27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

   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 53, 54


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 476, 478, 480, 10156

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18

Divine Providence 123

The Last Judgement 20

True Christian Religion 20, 34, 48, 364


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 294, 555, 650, 725, 1119

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 25

Marriage 20, 34, 48, 71

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



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Matthew 19:4

Mark 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7

Colossians 3:10

James 9

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male
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female
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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

 

Apocalypse Explained #526

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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526. And the third part of them was darkened.- That this signifies that all those things were changed into falsities of evil, and into the evils of falsity, is evident from the signification of darkness which denotes falsities, and hence of being darkened which denotes to be changed into falsities. The reason why it denotes to be changed into the falsities of evil and the evils of falsity is, that it is said the third part of the sun was darkened, the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; and the sun signifies the good of love, the moon, the good and truth of faith, and the stars, the cognitions of good and truth. Therefore the third part of the sun being darkened, signifies that the good of love was changed into evil, and the falsity thence, which is the falsity of evil. For good is changed into evil, and thence falsity, but the truth of faith, signified by the moon, is changed into falsity, and thence evil, which is the evil of falsity. The evil of falsity is the falsity of doctrine, from which proceeds evil of life, and the falsity of evil is evil of life, from which proceeds falsity of doctrine.

[2] The reason why darkness signifies falsity, is, that light signifies truth, and falsity is the opposite of truth, as darkness is of light. Moreover, when a man does not possess the light of life, which is the Divine Truth, the shadow of death is then in him, which is falsity. For man, from his proprium, is in every evil, and the falsity therefrom, and he can be removed from them only by means of the truths of the church; where therefore there are no truths, there the falsities of evil are. That truths are the only means by which man can be removed from evils, purified and reformed, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 24).

[3] That darkness in the Word, signifies falsities of various kinds, is evident from the following passages.

In Joel:

"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come" (2:31).

By the sun being turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, is signified the same as by the third part of the sun and the third part of the moon being darkened, namely, that at the end of the church the falsity of evil will be in the place of the good of love, and the evil of falsity in the place of the truth of faith. Similar things are signified elsewhere also in the Word, where mention is made of the darkening of the sun and moon.

[4] Thus in Isaiah:

"For the stars of the heavens, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" (13:10; 24:21, 23).

In Ezekiel:

"When I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens; and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine. All the luminaries of light in the heavens will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land" (32:7, 8).

Again, in Joel:

"The day of Jehovah is near in the valley cut off. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining" (3:14, 15).

In the same:

"The day of Jehovah cometh, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud, and obscurity, the earth quaketh before him, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining" (2:1, 2, 10).

And in the Evangelists:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven" (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24, 25).

These things are said concerning the last time of the church, when there are no longer any spiritual good and truth, or good and truth of heaven and the church, but only evil and falsity. That the goods and truths of the church, which are called the goods of love and the truths of faith, are changed into evils and falsities, is signified by the sun and moon being obscured and darkened, and the stars not giving their light. The last judgment, which then follows, is signified by the day of Jehovah great and terrible; and because this takes place when the church is in darkness and thick darkness, therefore it is also called a day of darkness, and of thick darkness, and also a day of cloud and obscurity, as also in the following passages.

(References: Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:1-2, 3:14-15; Mark 13:24-25)


[5] In Amos:

"Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! what to you is the day of Jehovah? It is a day of darkness and not light. Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even thick darkness, and no brightness in it?" (5:18, 20).

And in Zephaniah:

"The day of Jehovah, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of clouds and gloominess" (1:14, 15).

And in Isaiah:

"In that day he shall look into the land, which behold is darkness and sorrow, and the light becomes darkened in the ruins thereof" (5:30).

And again:

"He shall look unto the earth; and, behold, distress and thick darkness, the gloom of straitness; and driven with thick darkness" (8:22).

And again:

"Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people" (60:2).

So in Jeremiah:

"Give glory to Jehovah your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the mountains of twilight, then shall we look for light, but he will turn it into the shadow of death, and make it thick darkness" (13:16).

These passages also relate to the last time of the church, when the Lord shall come into the world, and judgment be accomplished; because at that time there is no longer any good of love, or truth of faith, but evil of falsity, and the falsity of evil, that day is therefore called a day of darkness and of thick darkness.

(References: Amos 5:18; Zephaniah 1:14-15)


[6] The same is signified by the darkness over all the land from the sixth hour to the ninth, when the Lord was crucified (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-49). By the darkness over all the land was represented, that in the entire church there was nothing but evil and the falsity thence and the falsity and the evil thence. The three hours also signify what is full and absolute; for all the details related in the Evangelists concerning the passion of the Lord, contain in them interior things of heaven, and signify celestial Divine things, and these can be made evident only by means of the internal spiritual sense.

[7] That falsity is signified by darkness, is still further evident from the following passages.

Thus in Isaiah:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (5:20).

To put darkness for light, and light for darkness, signifies to call falsity truth, and truth falsity; that darkness denotes falsity and light truth, is clear, for good and evil are first mentioned, afterwards therefore, truth and falsity.

[8] So in John:

"And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, for their works were evil" (3:19).

The Lord here calls Himself the light because He was the Divine Truth itself when in the world; therefore light signifies the Lord as to Divine Truth, and also Divine Truth from the Lord; and because darkness is opposed to light, therefore the darkness which men loved rather than the light, signifies the infernal falsity, which is the falsity of evil. That the falsity of evil is here meant by darkness, is evident from the words, for their works were evil. The falsity of evil exists from evil works or evils of the life; for as good conjoins to itself truth, so evil conjoins to itself falsity, the one is from the other.

[9] Similar things are signified by light and by darkness in the following passages in John:

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (1:4, 5).

Again:

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (8:12).

And again:

Jesus said, "Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in darkness" (12:35, 46).

In these passages darkness signifies infernal falsity. For light of which darkness is the opposite, signifies Divine truth. Light signifies Divine Truth, because light in the heavens in its essence, is the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord; see in the Heaven and Hell 126-140). Since the Divine Truth is the light in the heavens, it follows that the falsity of evil, which is the falsity in the hells, is darkness; it does not indeed appear as darkness to those who are in the hells, for they do see one another, but the light (lumen) by which they see is like that from ignited charcoal, and such light, when the light of heaven flows into it, becomes complete darkness. For this reason the caverns and dens in which [the infernals] are, appear, to those who are in the heavens, like gloomy caves.

(References: Heaven and Hell 116-140; John 1:4-5, 8:12)


[10] From these considerations it is evident why darkness signifies the falsities of evil, and why the Lord said that those who are cast into hell should be cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

So in David:

"The enemy persecuteth my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to sit in darkness, as the dead of the world" (Psalm 143:3).

Here, by the enemy who persecuteth his soul, is signified, in the spiritual sense, evil; therefore his being made to sit in darkness, signifies to be in falsities.

[11] So in Isaiah:

"Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us; we look for light, but, behold darkness; for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness" (59:9).

By judgment is far from us, is signified that there is no understanding of truth; neither doth justice overtake us, signifies that there is no good of life; we look for light, but, behold, darkness, signifies expectation of truth, but behold falsity; and for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness, signifies the expectation of goods by truths, but behold the life of falsity from evils. For brightness signifies the goods of truth, because light signifies truth, and truth is resplendent from good; thick darkness signifies the falsities of evil, and to walk signifies to live.

[12] So in Luke:

"But this is your hour, and the power of darkness" (22:53).

This the Lord said to the chief priests, the rulers of the temple, and the elders who took Him by means of Judas. The power to do this wickedness the Lord calls the power of darkness, because they were in the falsities of evil, in falsities concerning the Lord, and in evils against Him; by darkness is here also meant hell, because such falsities of evil are there.

[13] So again:

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye is clear, thy whole body also shall be full of light; but if thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp doth give thee light" (11:34, 35, 36; Matthew 6:22, 23).

The eye here signifies the understanding, and the pure or single eye, the understanding of truth from good; but the evil eye signifies the understanding of falsity from evil; the body which is said to be either full of light or darkness, signifies the whole man. It may then be concluded that the signification of these words in their series, is, that the whole man is of such a nature as the quality of his understanding from the will. For every man is his own good and his own truth, because he is his own love or his own affection, therefore his nature is entirely such as that of his understanding from the will. For all truth is of the understanding, and all good of the will; the body being only obedience, because it is the effect from an efficient cause, and the efficient cause is the understanding from the will; the quality therefore of the one is according to the quality of the other, since every effect derives all that it has from the efficient cause. That care must be taken, lest truth once perceived in the understanding and received into the will, be turned into falsity, which is done from evil, is meant by, "Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness," for falsities consequently become worse; therefore it is said in Matthew in the passage already quoted, "If, therefore, the light which is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness."

(References: Luke 11:34-36; Matthew 6:22-23)


[14] Darkness also signifies the falsities of evil in the prophet Isaiah:

"Sit thou silent, and enter into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for they shall call thee no more the mistress of kingdoms" (47:5).

Here, the daughter of the Chaldeans signifies the falsification of truth, and hence darkness signifies the falsities of evil, since evil falsifies truth. The falsity of evil was also signified by the thick darkness, which was over all the land of Egypt, during three days, while the children of Israel had light in their dwellings (Exodus 10:21, 22, 23); also by the darkness in Genesis 15:12, 17, and in many other passages.

(References: Exodus 10:21-23)


[15] It has been shown so far, that darkness, in the Word, signifies the falsities of evil; that darkness also signifies falsities not of evil, such as were the falsities of religion with the upright Gentiles, originating in ignorance of the truth [shall now be shown]. That these falsities are also called darkness, is clear from the following passages:

In Isaiah:

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (9:2).

And in Matthew:

"The people which sat in darkness saw great light; to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up" (4:16).

And in Luke:

The dayspring from on high hath appeared "to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death" (1:78, 79).

Again, in Isaiah:

"And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise in darkness, and thy thick darkness be as the noon day (58:10).

Again:

"He shall say to the bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves" (49:9).

Again, in the same prophet:

"And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness and out of darkness" (29:18).

And again:

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight (42:16).

And in Micah:

"When I sit in darkness, Jehovah shall be a light unto me" (7:8).

In these passages, darkness signifies the falsities of ignorance, such as formerly existed, and at this day exist, with the upright Gentiles. These falsities are altogether distinct from the falsities of evil, for the latter contain in themselves evil, because they are from evil, while the former contain in themselves good, for they have good for an end. Those therefore who are in those falsities can be instructed in truths, and also when instructed they receive truths in the heart, because the good, which is in their falsities, loves the truth, and also conjoins itself with the truth when it is heard. The case is different with the falsities of evil; these are averse to, and reject all truth, because it is truth, and does not therefore agree with evil.

(References: Luke 1:78-79)


[16] In the Word, darkness also signifies mere ignorance arising from the deprivation of truth; as in David (Psalm 18:29; Psalm 139:11, 12). Darkness also signifies natural light (lumen naturale), for this, in comparison with spiritual light, is like darkness; wherefore also the angels, when they look down into the natural light of man, such as is in the natural cognition of men, regard it as darkness, and the things which are in it, as in darkness; this light (lumen), is signified by the darkness mentioned in Genesis (Micah 1:2-5). And because the sense of the letter of the Word is natural, therefore this also in the Word is called a cloud, and also darkness, in comparison with the internal sense, which is the light of heaven, and is called glory.

(References: Genesis 1:2-5; Psalms 18:28, 139:11-12)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 523, 588, 989


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Related New Christian Commentary
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.


 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


Translation by Isaiah Tansley. Many thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

The Bible

 

Genesis 2:7

King James Version         

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7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 76, 94, 95, 96, 97, 3623, 8286, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 343

Conjugial Love 132, 315

Divine Love and Wisdom 60, 383

Interaction of the Soul and Body 8

True Christian Religion 48, 364, 470, 697


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 130, 183, 419, 750

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 25

Divine Wisdom 6

An Invitation to the New Church 57

Marriage 48

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



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1 Corinthians 15:45, 47

1 Timothy 2:13

Bible Word Meanings

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

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...

formed
Forming from the womb, as in Isaiah 44:2, 24; 49:1, 5, signifies the reformer. For references to the Lord as Reformer and Regenerator, see Doctrine...

man of the
'The man of the right hand,' as in Psalm 80:17, signifies the Lord with respect to the Word. He is called 'the man of the...

dust
'Powder' or 'dust' refers to love of self and the world.

nostrils
'A blast of the breath of the nostrils' signify the same thing as 'his anger and wrath.'

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

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

soul
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

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The Meaning of Adam and Eve - Swedenborg and Life

Scientifically unsound and fictitious at the surface. Spiritually relevant and profound below the surface.

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.


 Adam
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Adam and Eve Disobey
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 A Wife for Adam
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

 A Wife for Adam
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 Chastity
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Correspondences of Water
Illustration of places in the Word that relate to water.
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Garden of Eden
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Garden of Eden Scene
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 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

 Honoring Marriage
Have children make a picture of their parents (or color a picture of a married couple) within a golden ring or circle. Talk with the children about a wedding ring as a symbol of eternity - a circle without end. 
Project | Ages up to 10

 Life in the Garden of Eden
A picture of life in the beautiful Garden of Eden.
Story | Ages 3 - 7

 Like a Merchant Seeking Pearls
"We have to be able to recognize the pearl of great price when we find it and be willing to forsake all else for its sake. To know the source of happiness is a great thing; to be willing to sacrifice all else in the quest for it is even greater."
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Obtaining Conjugial Love
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 One Special Person: A Wife for Adam
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 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

 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: Keeping the Sabbath
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 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

 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 Seventh Day
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 Face and Clothing of Love
Genuine love of marriage is seen in friendship, which is described as the face and clothing of conjugial love. To be a good spouse is to be a genuine friend.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Garden of Eden
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 The Garden of Eden Diorama
Make the Garden of Eden with a paper plate and tree of life. Then set up clothespin figures of Adam and Eve in the garden.
Project | Ages up to 10

 The Garden of Eden: Paradise
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Garden of Eden—Paradise
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

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

 The River in Eden
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

 The Seventh 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 Worship Ideas
Detailed notes on the seven days of creation.
Article | Ages over 18

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Married couples in heaven sometimes appear as one angel because they feel so close to each other.
Activity | Ages over 15

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

 You Shall Not Commit Adultery
This worship talk provides a gentle introduction to the topic of adultery.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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