Genesis 1:1 Creation: The Regeneration Of The Human Mind

Genesis 1:1 reads…

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

So in our approach to this first story I want you to suspend the notion that this story is about the creation of an independently existing physical universe in space and time and rather begin to bring your attention to the idea that this really is an account of the creation, or the re-creation, or the regeneration, of the human mind. That it presents this in terms of a structure involving a series of steps or stages, which so far as a literal reading of the Text is concerned, involve a series of seven days – six days of creative activity and a seventh day of rest.

The concept of days speaks of the movement of time or changes due to the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun. Now while ancient peoples may have understood the mechanics of this differently, the principle of a day involving a cycle of change remains constant for all peoples, and it is this that I would like us to focus on as we look to see how the concept of a day can be used to provide a framework for understanding the inner recreation of our mental world. To do this we need to try and think as the ancient peoples did, in mythic or symbolic terms. They, unlike us “modern, sophisticated” thinkers, were not literalists, and so would have been very comfortable with thinking holistically in which an interplay between the outer physical world and the inner spiritual world of human consciousness was a living reality.

In fact it is clear from ancient writings, the Bible included, across many cultures, that our ancestors were mythic, and symbolic thinkers, and saw in the outer objects of their senses a rich resource of knowledge that provided deep insights into the inner workings of states of human consciousness. For them, the outer and inner worlds were intimately related and as such were, in practical terms, inseparable. They had an intuitive grasp of the oneness of outer and inner which means that if we are to understand the Biblical Text as a spiritual Text we too must shift the way we think into a symbolic or representative mode in which objects and events of the outer world found in the Text are recast as symbols that point to the inner psychological or spiritual world of mind. If we can do that then we will soon discover the profound wisdom in which our ancestors lived and moved and had their being.

When we bring a symbolic rather than a literalist mindset to the Biblical Text we can see how well the concept of a day, as changes in time, can represent change in a more universal sense. As a symbol it serves as an ideal representation of inner changes of states of consciousness resulting from the activity of Divine Truths from the Word upon the human mind. The Word as the Text of Sacred Scripture is a spiritual Text, given for spiritual purposes. The Lord isn’t interested in giving humanity a natural history lesson. His interest is in the salvation of the human race, and that is reflected in the Texts of Sacred Scripture when they are viewed as the means by which that salvation is effected. A literal understanding of the Text is sufficient for children or for those who can’t raise their understanding above the senses, but if this Text is to support the regeneration of the human mind then a deeper understanding of it is required so that it can be applied to the recreation of the human mind into the image and likeness of its Creator, which, in the end, is all that really matters.

So these days are really accounts of the states of consciousness which a human being traverses through when the Lord, as the Word, works to regenerate or spiritualise the human mind. The function of Sacred Scripture is to serve as the means by which the Lord is able to bring about this heavenly form of mind and He does this through the Text itself which, as something living, has a psychoactive quality to it. What I mean by that is that as the Text is read and engaged with the very thing it describes begins to unfold within the mind itself. The Word is the living breath of God and as Text, it provides the ground into which the Spirit of God, flowing in from the inmost soul of a person, can find a place within their conscious awareness. In this sense, the Word is the conjunctive agent that brings what is created into connection with its Creator.

The Word as a revealed Text forms the divinely appointed foundation by which the human race can be lifted up out of the natural loves of self and the world into those higher spiritual loves, which are love to the Lord, being a love of what is good, and love towards the neighbour, this being a love of what is true.

So our opening statement says…

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

To think naturally or to think from the senses will immediately encase this statement in the two leading principles of the natural world, space and time. Spiritual thought, however, is not concerned with the natural world but is only concerned with the things of the spirit, these being the things of the mind, or states of consciousness, states of affection and thought. For the two principles that govern spiritual thought are those that correspond to the two principles of natural thought, these being love and wisdom, for space corresponds to states of love, or the affectional/motivational side of the mind belonging to the will, while time corresponds to states of wisdom or those things to do with the intellectual side of the mind. All mental phenomena within the human mind reflect states of the will and understanding, as these two faculties are what the human mind consists of. All mental life and activity is the life and activity of the will and understanding.

Therefore to understand the statement spiritually we need to elevate our thought out of the kind of thinking that takes things literally and think instead in terms of states of mind. When approaching Scripture this requires a mode of thought that thinks in representative, symbolic, or mythic terms, where what is read literally is processed and understood in terms of what is being represented spiritually. There is an interplay between levels of meaning in the Text, so that the surface or literal meaning serves as a body through which a deeper spiritual meaning and application can be accessed.

The most general idea conveyed by the opening statement of the book of Genesis is that the source and origin of all that is, is God. That God Is and creates is simply stated in this opening verse as a given, something axiomatic when it comes to engaging in a spiritual life. While the existence of God cannot be proved scientifically it can certainly be intuited rationally or philosophically. It is only through a willingness to affirm this intuition as something true that the Word is opened as to its inner meaning and application and can, therefore, support regeneration or spiritualisation of the natural level of the human mind. It is the acknowledgment of God, on the basis of the claims of the Text that forms “the beginning,” or the initiating state, from which the regeneration of the human mind becomes possible. To acknowledge that God Is, on the basis of what the Word or Text declares to be so, is to affirm the authority of the Text or Word as being of a Divine origin, and if of a Divine origin then it too must be Divine, and if Divine, it is God revealing Himself in a form that is accessible to all.

To understand how God can be the Text or Sacred Scripture we need only quote another reference to “the beginning” found in the profound opening of the Gospel of John…

In the beginning was the Word… and God was the Word… All came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one came into being which has come into being… (John 1)

In this statement from John’s Gospel, we see that the terms, Word and God, are synonymous. We see that it is the Word that creates and brings all into being. If, when speaking of creation we mean spiritually the regeneration of the human mind, then the idea of the Word as Text being an active power by which this is able to be accomplished is certainly an idea that carries possibilities. To reform and regenerate the human mind requires the adoption and integration of spiritual ideas and concepts. To communicate these ideas so that they can find a place within the mind requires a medium and that medium is language, which has as its natural foundation either spoken or written words. The Text of Sacred Scripture offers divine or spiritual ideas clothed in a body of natural imagery that can unfold within the mind to recreate it, if what’s offered is received in an affirmative spirit. Genuine spiritual teachings, if received into the mind as something to be lived from, will transform the mind as these displace belief patterns, attitudes, and values, grounded in a non-spiritual or natural perspective.

So let’s step back a bit from the literal meaning of the terms or words used in this opening statement and try to think about what they might point to so far as states of consciousness go. We begin with the term God. Here, and in fact throughout the whole of Sacred Scripture, God refers to the Lord’s presence in the mind as truth. If we think about how the Divine is present within the mind, then we arrive at this presence as the very truths that have been drawn from the Word and implanted within it. It is teaching of a Divine origin that opens the possibility for the creation of a new mind. The process by which the presence of God is established within the human mind involves having what is from, and therefore of the Lord, being implanted within it. This process involves having present in the more external part of the mind teaching or ideas or concepts, into which what is flowing in by a more internal way can be captured and fixed.

It is the Word as Sacred Text that furnishes the external mind with the materials needed, through which internal or spiritual things can be thought about. It is the Text itself when taken into the mind via the senses that form exterior vessels or a ground into which spiritual things flowing in by an inward way can be received and thereby perceived in a way wherein spiritual realities can present themselves in the conscious awareness of the receiver as new insights. Without the letter of the Word, the natural mind would lack the foundation necessary for that which makes its regeneration possible.

When there is an affirmative response to Divine truths, which involves living from them as the basis for life, changes begin to happen within the mind that are as profound as the changes that occur in the physical processes involved in the conception and development of an embryo into an infant. Only in the matrix of the mind, the changes are conceptual and involve the reorganisation and development of mental substances into spiritual forms that are able to receive new affections and thoughts of a higher, heavenly, or spiritual quality.

So from a spiritual perspective when the Word declares that,

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

we have described the creative efforts of the Divine Truth, or the Word’s operation within the human mind that brings into being what is called “heaven and earth.” By the phrase, “heaven and earth,” we are given insight into the general structure of the new mind or man. When we think about the spatial relationship between the literal heaven and earth we are immediately brought into the idea of what is higher verses what is lower. But when we are talking about states of mind, the spatial idea of height becomes a relationship of internal to external. Heaven describes a plane of mental activity that is higher, finer, more internal than the plane of mental activity that is described by the term earth.

So, in spiritual, or psychological terms, heaven can be understood to be a more internal or spiritual plane of mind, a higher mind if you will, which means that earth must represent a more external or natural plane of mind, this being the lower mind. The relationship of what is higher and lower in the natural world to what is more internal and more external in the mental or spiritual world is a relationship established by a spiritual law which is called the law of correspondence. This spiritual law states; that everything found in the natural world is an effect, being a re-presentation of a corresponding spiritual cause found in the inner world of the mind. At times we shall refer to this mental world as the spiritual world, which is what it is. Through the application of this law of correspondence to the natural imagery found in the Biblical Text, we are able to enter into the world of spirit and gain insight into the mental processes involved in the Word’s regeneration of the human mind. We shall use this law throughout this series which will affirm its use as a basis for understanding the Word as it applies to the inner life.

Arcana Coelestia 9034 [3]. In what way truth belonging to the literal sense of the Word serves spiritual truth must be stated briefly. A member of the Church first of all learns truth from the literal sense of the Word. This is general truth suited to the understanding of the external man, who dwells in natural light. That truth is received by an external route, which is that of hearing, and is stored in the external man’s memory, where there are also various pieces of knowledge gained from the world, 2469-2494. Later on matters stored in this memory come under the vision or gaze of the internal man, who sees things in the light of heaven. The internal man selects and summons from among them truths that are in agreement with the good which flows in from the Lord by way of the soul and which the person has accepted. There the Lord joins the truths to the good. The truths joined in that way in the internal man are called spiritual truths, and the good to which the truths have been joined is called spiritual good. This good, given form by the truths, constitutes the person’s spiritual life. The actual truths there are called the truths of faith, and the good is called the good of charity. The good in which the truths have been implanted in that way is the Church with that person.

[4] From all this one may see how truths belonging to the literal sense of the Word serve to give form to spiritual truths, in general to give form to faith and charity which compose spiritual life – life which consists in being fired by an affection for truths because they lead to good, then by an affection for the good that the truths lead to, and finally by an affection for truths that flow from that good.

Arcana Coelestia 9055 [2]. Man has an internal will and an external will, as he has an internal and an external understanding (n. 9050, 9051). The internal will is where the internal understanding is, and the external will is where the external understanding is, because they must be conjoined. For where truth is, there is good; and where good is, there is truth; because truth without good is not truth, and good without truth is not good, for good is the being of truth, and truth is the coming-forth of good. The case is similar with the understanding and the will of man, for the understanding has been allotted to the reception of truth, and the will to the reception of good. Hence it is plain that when man is being regenerated, a new understanding is given him by the Lord by means of the truths of faith, and a new will by means of the good of charity; and that there must be both, and moreover that they must be conjoined, in order that man may be regenerated.

Arcana Coelestia 9408 [5]. That by “heaven and earth” in these and in other passages is signified in the internal sense the church; by “heaven” the internal church, and by “earth” the external church, may be seen above (n. 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535), from which it is evident that by the “creation” in the first chapters of Genesis, where it is said, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1); “and the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the army of them” (Gen. 2:1) is meant a new church; for the creation there denotes a new regeneration, which is also called a “new creation,” as can be seen from what was shown in the explications at these chapters.

Apocalypse Revealed 200. By the Word there is the conjunction of the Lord with man, and of man with the Lord, and by that conjunction there is life. There must be something from the Lord, which can be received by man, by which there can be conjunction and thence eternal life. [3] From these things it may appear, that by “the beginning of the creation of God” is meant the Word, and if you will believe it, the Word such as it is in its literal sense, for this sense is the complex of its interior sanctities, as is abundantly shown in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture. And what is wonderful, the Word is so written, that it communicates with the entire heaven, and in particular with every society there, which it has been given me to know by living experience, of which elsewhere. That the Word in its essence is such, is moreover evident from these words of the Lord: The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).

Coronos 23. The world has hitherto believed that by “the creation of heaven and earth,” in the first chapter of Genesis, is meant the creation of the universe, according to the letter; and by “Adam,” the first man of this earth. The world could not believe otherwise, since the spiritual or internal sense of the Word has not been disclosed, nor, consequently, that by “creating heaven and earth” is meant to collect and found an angelic heaven from those who have departed the life in the world, and by this means to derive and produce a church on earth (as above, n. 18-20); and that by the names of persons, nations, territories, and cities, are meant such things as relate to heaven, and at the same time to the church: in like manner, therefore, by “Adam.” That by “Adam,” and by all those things which are related of him and his posterity in the first chapters of Genesis, are described the successive states of the Most Ancient Church, which are its rise or morning, its progression into light or day, its decline or evening, its end or night, and after this the Last Judgment upon it, and thereafter a new angelic heaven from the faithful, and a new hell from the unfaithful, according to the series of the progressions laid down in the preceding proposition, has been minutely explained, unfolded and demonstrated in the Arcana Coelestia on Genesis and Exodus, the labor of eight years, published in London; which work being already in the world, nothing further is necessary than to re-capitulate therefrom the universals respecting this Most Ancient Church, which will be cited in the present volume.

[2] At the outset, however, some passages shall be adduced from the Word, by which it is proved, that by “creating” is there signified to produce and form anew, and properly to regenerate; which is the reason that regeneration is called a new creation, by which the whole heaven of angels and the whole church of men, exist, consist and subsist. That “creating” signifies this, is plainly manifest from these passages in the Word:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a firm spirit in the midst of me (Ps. 51:10).

Thou openest the hand, they are filled with good; Thou sendeth forth the Spirit, they are created (Ps. 104:28, 30).

The people that shall be created shall praise Jah (Ps. 102:18).

Thus said Jehovah, thy Creator, O Jacob; thy Former, O Israel: Every one that is called by My Name, him have I created for My glory (Isa. 43:1, 7).

That they may see, know, attend and understand, that the hard of Jehovah hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it (Isa. 41:20).

In the day that thou wast created, they were prepared; thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, until perversity was found in thee (Ezek. 28:13, 15).

These things are concerning the king of Tyre.

Jehovah that createth the heavens, that spreadeth abroad the earth, that giveth a soul unto the people upon it (Isa. 42:5; 45:12, 18).

Behold I create a new heaven and a new earth; be ye glad to eternity in that which I create: behold I am about to create Jerusalem an exultation (Isa. 65:17, 18).

As the new heavens and the new earth, which I am about to make, shall stand before Me (Isa. 66:22).

I saw a new heaven and a new earth: the former heaven and the former earth are passed away (Apoc. 21:1).

According to promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which justice shall dwell (2 Peter 3:13).

From these passages it is now manifested what is spiritually meant in the first chapter of Genesis, by the verses:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth; and the earth was “waste and empty” [1, 2].

The earth called “waste and empty,” signifies that there was no longer any good of life nor any truth of doctrine with its inhabitants. That “wasteness” and “emptiness” signify the deprivation of these two essentials of the church, will be established in proposition IV of this volume, respecting the Israelitish Church, by a thousand passages from the Word: at present let the following in Jeremiah serve for some illustration:

I saw the land, when, behold, it was vacant and empty; and I looked towards the heavens, when their light was not. Thus said Jehovah, The whole land shall be wasteness; for this shall the land mourn, and the heavens above shall be made black (4:23, 27, 28).

Apocalypse Explained 294. Because thou hast created all things. That this signifies that from Him is all existence and life, and heaven for those who receive is evident from the signification of creating, as denoting not only that all things exist from the Lord, but also that all life is from Him. And because the spiritual sense of the Word treats only of heaven and the church, therefore by creating is here primarily signified to reform, thus to give heaven to those who receive, for this is to reform. (That the existence of all things is from the Lord, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 7-12 and 137; and that all life is from the Lord, n. 9, in the same work, and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 278). But by creating, in this passage, is not signified natural existence and life, but spiritual existence and life; this latter is everywhere signified by creating, when mentioned in the Word; the reason is that the existence of heaven and earth is not the end of creation, but a means to the end. The end of creation is, that the human race may exist and that from it there may be an angelic heaven; this therefore being the end, to create signifies to reform, which is to give heaven to those who receive. Ends are what are meant in the spiritual sense of the Word, but, in the sense of the letter, only the means which involve ends are mentioned; in this manner does what is spiritual lie hidden in the letter of the Word.

[2] That to create signifies to reform and regenerate men, and so to establish the church, is evident from those passages in the Word where the term occurs; as in the following: In Isaiah:

“I will give in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, and the myrtle and the oil tree. That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it” (xli. 19, 20).

The subject here treated of is the establishment of the church among the nations; the wilderness signifies their not being in good because in ignorance of truth, for all good into which man is reformed is imparted only by truths. The cedar of shittah signifies genuine truths; the myrtle and the oil tree signify spiritual good and celestial good. It is evident therefore what is signified by giving in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, the myrtle and the oil tree, when treating of the nations who are not in the good of heaven and of the church, because in ignorance of truths. That they may see, and know, and consider and understand together, signifies the knowledges, understanding, perception and affection of the love of good and truth; from these significations it is evident that by the Holy One of Israel creating this is signified reformation; consequently, that to create is to reform.

[3] In the same:

“Thus saith Jehovah, thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel; for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; even every one that is called by my name I have created for my glory, I have formed and made. I, Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King” (xliii. 1, 6, 7, 15).

The subject here treated of is also the establishment of the church among the nations; and from their reformation, Jehovah, is called creator and former; therefore it is said, “I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.” Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth, signifies the nations that are out of the church but which receive its truths and goods from the Lord; from far, and from the end of the earth, signifying those who are out of the church, earth denoting the church, sons those who receive truths, and daughters those who receive goods; these are said to be created, formed and made for glory. Glory is the Divine truth which they receive. [4] In David:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a firm spirit in the midst of me” (Ps. li. 10).

To create a clean heart signifies to reform as to the good of love; to renew a firm spirit in the midst of me, signifies to reform as to the truth of faith; for heart signifies the good of love, and spirit a life according to Divine truth, which is the faith of truth.

[5] Again:

“Wherefore hast thou created the sons of man in vain? Lord, where are thy former mercies?” (Ps. lxxxix. 47, 49).

To create the sons of man signifies to reform by means of Divine truth; the sons of man are all those who are in Divine truths, thus in the abstract Divine truths themselves. [6] Again:

“The nations shall fear the name of Jehovah, and all the kings of the earth thy glory, because Jehovah hath built up Zion; it shall be written for the generation to come; and the people which shall be created shall praise Jah” (Ps. cii. 15, 16, 18).

This passage treats of reformation. By the nations which shall fear the name of Jehovah are meant those who are in good; and by the kings of the earth, those who are in truths from good. By building Zion is signified to establish the church, Zion denoting the church; by the people which shall be created and shall praise Jah, are signified all those who are reformed. [7] Again:

“Thou givest to them, they gather; thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the faces of the earth” (Ps. civ. 28, 30).

That to create here denotes to reform is evident; for by giving, and their gathering is signified that they receive the truths which are given by the Lord. By thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good is signified that they receive the good that flows from the Lord; by thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created, is signified that they are reformed as to life according to Divine truth; and by thou renewest the faces of the earth, is signified the establishment of the church.

[8] In Isaiah:

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; God from eternity; Jehovah, the creator of the ends of the earth, is not weary” (xl. 26, 28).

Here also reformation is treated of, which is signified by creating; by the host which Jehovah bringeth out are signified all truths and goods; by calling them all by name is signified reception according to the quality of every one; by creating the ends of the earth is signified the establishment of the church, thus the reformation of those who are therein. [9] In Ezekiel:

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God, every precious stone was thy covering, in the days in which thou wast created, they were prepared. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day in which thou wast created, until perversity was found in thee” (xxviii. 13, 15).

These things are spoken of the king of Tyre, by whom are signified those who are in truths and thence in good; concerning whom it is said that they had been in the garden of God, and that every precious stone was their covering. By the garden of God is signified intelligence, and by the precious stones which are also named in the passage are signified the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth and good; these are called a covering, became they are in the natural man, and the natural man covers the spiritual. These are said to have been prepared in the day in which they were created, that is in the day in which they were reformed: hence it is evident what is meant by thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created.

[10] In Isaiah:

“Jehovah will create upon every dwelling of Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud by day and the shining of a flame of fire by night; for upon all the glory shall be a covering” (iv. 5).

By Zion is signified the church as to the Word; the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, as to good, is meant by the dwelling thereof; the external or literal sense, as to truths, is meant by the cloud by day, and as to good, by the shining of a flame of fire by night. This sense, because it covers, and is the repository of, the spiritual sense, is called a covering upon all the glory, glory denoting the spiritual sense; these are also said to be created, because they are the truths of heaven and the church. [11] In Malachi:

“Hath not one God created us? wherefore do we act perfidiously?” (ii. 10).

Because by created us is signified reformed, that they might be a church, it is therefore said, “wherefore do we act perfidiously?”

[12] In Isaiah:

“Thus saith God, Jehovah, he that createth the heavens, and stretcheth them out; he that spreadeth forth the earth, giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein” (xlii. 5).

By creating the heavens and stretching them out, and by spreading forth the earth, is signified to reform; by the heavens are signified both the heavens and the internals of the church – the internals of the church also are heavens with those who are in them; the earth signifies the externals of the church, which are said to be spread forth when truths from good are multiplied: that reformation by truths is hereby signified is evident, for it is said, “he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.”

[13] In the same:

“Jehovah, creating the heavens, forming the earth and making it. He hath not created it an emptiness, he formed it to be inhabited” (xlv. 12, 18).

By heavens and by earth, and by creating, are signified similar things as in the passage adduced above. By not creating it an emptiness is signified that it is not without truth and good, in which they are who are reformed; the lack of these is emptiness. By he hath formed it to be inhabited, is signified that they should live according to good and truth, and from them; for to inhabit signifies to live. [14] Again:

“Behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth. Be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I am about to create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people gladness” (lxv. 17, 18).

By creating a new heaven and a new earth are not meant the visible heaven and the habitable earth, but a new church, internal and external, heaven denoting the internal of the church, and earth its external (what the internal of the church is, and what the external, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 246); therefore it is said, “behold, I am about to create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people gladness.” Jerusalem is the church, rejoicing its delight from good, and gladness its delight from truth. Similar things are signified by the new heavens and the new earth in the same prophet (lxvi. 22), and by the new heaven and the new earth in the Apocalypse (xxi. 1). [15] And similarly by the things in the first chapter of Genesis:

“In the beginning Jehovah created the heaven and the earth; and the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the faces of the abyss. And the spirit of God moved upon the faces of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God created man into his own image, into the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (i. 1-3, 27).

This passage treats of the establishment of the first church on this earth; the reformation of the members of that church, as to their internal, and as to their external state, is meant by the creation of the heaven and the earth. That there was no church before, because men were without good and without truth, is signified by the earth being void and empty; and that they were then in dense ignorance and also in falsities, is signified by the darkness upon the faces of the abyss; their first enlightenment is signified by the spirit of God moving upon the faces of the waters, and by God saying, “Let there be light, and there was light.” By the spirit of God is signified Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and by moving upon the faces of the waters is signified enlightenment; the same is signified by light; and by there was light is signified the reception of Divine truth. That God created man into His own image signifies that he was in the love of good and truth, and corresponded to heaven as its likeness. For the love of good and truth is an image of God, and hence also the angelic heaven is an image of God; therefore, in the sight of the Lord, it is as one man (as may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 59-67, 68-72, 73-77, 78-86, 87-102). That He created them male and female signifies that He reformed them as to truth and as to good; male, in the Word, denotes truth, and female denotes good. From these considerations it is evident that it is not the creation of heaven and earth, but the new creation and reformation of those who composed the first church, which is described in this chapter and in the following chapters; and that similar things are there meant by the creation of heaven and earth as by the creation of the new heaven and new earth in the passages above adduced.

[16] That creation in the Word signifies reformation and the establishment of the church, which is effected by the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is also evident from these words in John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. And the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory” (i. 1-5, 9, 10, 14).

By the Word is here meant the Lord as to Divine truth. That all things were created by the Divine truth is meant by these words, “all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made”; also by these, “the world was made by him.” And since by the Word is meant the Lord as to Divine truth, it is therefore said, “in him was life, and the life was the light of men; that was the true light”; light signifying Divine truth, and life all intelligence and wisdom therefrom; for this constitutes man’s essential life, and life eternal is according to it. The presence of the Lord as Divine truth, with every one, from which come life and light, is meant by the light shining in darkness and enlightening every man that cometh into the world; but that those who are in the falsities of evil do not perceive, consequently, do not receive that truth, is meant by the darkness not comprehending, and by the world knowing him not; for darkness signifies the falsities of evil. That it is the Lord as to the Divine Human who is here meant by the Word is clearly manifest, for it is said, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory,” glory also signifying Divine truth. (That all things were created by means of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, which is here meant by the Word, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 137, 139; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 263). Hence also it is clear that to make or create here also signifies to make man new or to reform him; for here, as in the book of Genesis, mention is immediately made of light. (That by light is signified that proceeding Divine truth whereby all are reformed, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 126-140, and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 49).

One Comment

  1. Dianna Synnestvedt

    Thank you. I am especially moved by the concept of the text of the Word being the ground for inner influx from heaven. I always heard that the Word connects heaven and earth, but never understood. This also helps me understand that everything I take in from the external world is material to do spiritual work with.

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