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Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at

Arcana Coelestia


The reason why the "serpent" means all evil in general, and specifically the love of self, is that all evil has had its rise from that sensuous part of the mind, and also from that memory-knowledge [scientifico], which at first were signified by the "serpent;" and therefore it here denotes evil of every kind, and specifically the love of self, or hatred against the neighbor and the Lord, which is the same thing. As this evil or hatred was various, consisting of numerous genera and still more numerous species, it is described in the Word by various kinds of serpents, as "snakes" "cockatrices" "asps" "adders" "fiery serpents" "serpents that fly" and "that creep" and "vipers" according to the differences of the poison, which is hatred. Thus we read in Isaiah: Rejoice not thou, whole Philistia, because the rod which smiteth thee is broken, for out of the serpent's root shall go forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a flying fire-serpent (Isa. 14:29).The "serpent's root" denotes that part of the mind, or that principle, which is connected with the senses and with memory-knowledge [est sensuale et scientificum]; the "cockatrice" denotes evil originating in the falsity thence derived; and the "flying fire-serpent" the cupidity that comes from the love of self. By the same Prophet also similar things are elsewhere thus described: They hatch cockatrice's eggs, and weave the spider's web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and when it is crushed there cometh out a viper (Isa. 59:5). The serpent described here in Genesis is called in the Revelation the "great and red dragon" and the "old serpent" and also the "devil and satan" that "deceives the whole world" (12:3, 9; 20:2), where, and also in other places, by the "devil" is not meant any particular devil who is prince over the others, but the whole crew of evil spirits, and evil itself.


That by the "woman" is meant the church, is evident from what was said above (n. 155) concerning the heavenly marriage. Such is the nature of the heavenly marriage, that heaven, and consequently the church, is united to the Lord by its Own, insomuch that these are in their Own, for without their Own there can be no union. When the Lord in mercy insinuates innocence, peace, and good into this Own, it still retains its identity, but becomes heavenly and most happy (as may be seen at n. 164). The quality of a heavenly and angelic Own from the Lord, and the quality of an Own, which, because from self, is infernal and diabolical, cannot be told. The difference is like that between heaven and hell.


It is by virtue of a heavenly and angelic Own that the church is called a "woman" and also a "wife" a "bride" a "virgin" and a "daughter." She is called a "woman" in the Revelation: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And the dragon persecuted the woman who brought forth the man child (Rev. 12:1, 4-5, 13).In this passage by a "woman" is meant the church; by the "sun" love; by the "moon" faith; by "stars" as before, the truths of faith, all of which evil spirits hate, and persecute to the utmost. The church is called a "woman" and also a "wife" in Isaiah: Thy Maker is thy Husband, Jehovah of Armies is His name, and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth is He called; for as a woman forsaken and afflicted in spirit hath Jehovah called thee, and as a wife of youth [adolescentiarum] (Isa. 54:5-6), where the "Maker" is called also the "husband" because united to the Own; and a "woman afflicted" and a "wife of youth" signify specifically the Ancient and Most Ancient Churches. Likewise in Malachi: Jehovah hath borne witness between thee and the wife of thy youth [adolescentiarum] (Mal. 2:14). She is called a "wife" and a "bride" in the Revelation: I saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband: come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife (Rev. 21:2, 9). The church is called a "virgin" and a "daughter" throughout the Prophets.


That by the "seed of the serpent" is meant all infidelity, is evident from the signification of a "serpent" as being all evil; "seed" is that which produces and is produced, or that which begets and is begotten; and as the church is here spoken of, this is infidelity. In Isaiah, in reference to the Jewish Church in its perverted state, it is called a "seed of evil doers" a "seed of adultery" a "seed of falsehood:" Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, sons that are destroyers they have forsaken Jehovah, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel, they have estranged themselves backward (Isa. 1:4). Again: Draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer. Are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood ? (Isa. 57:3, 4). And again, speaking of the "serpent" or "dragon" who is there called Lucifer: Thou art cast out of thy sepulchre like an abominable shoot, because thou hast corrupted thy land, thou hast slain thy people the seed of evil doers shall not be called to eternity (Isa 14:19, 20).


That the "seed of the woman" signifies faith in the Lord, is evident from the signification of "woman" as being the church, whose "seed" is nothing but faith, for it is from faith in the Lord that the church is called the church. In Malachi, faith is called the "seed of God:" Jehovah hath witnessed between thee and the wife of thy youth [adolescentiarum]; and not one hath done so who had a residue of the spirit and wherefore one, seeking the seed of God? but observe ye in your spirit, lest he deal treacherously against the wife of thy youth (Mal 2:14, 15). In this passage the "wife of youth" is the Ancient and Most Ancient Churches, of whose "seed" (or faith) the prophet speaks. In Isaiah also, in reference to the church: I will pour waters upon the thirsty, and floods upon the dry I will pour My spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring (Isa. 44:3). In the Revelation: The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who were keeping the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17). And in David: I have made a covenant with Mine elect, I have sworn unto David My servant, even to eternity will I establish thy seed, and his seed will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of the heavens his seed shall endure to eternity, and his throne as the sun before me (Ps. 139:3, 4, 29, 36), where by "David" is meant the Lord; by "throne" His kingdom; by the "sun" love; and by "seed" faith.


Not only is faith, but also the Lord Himself is called the "seed of the woman" both because He alone gives faith, and thus is faith, and because He was pleased to be born, and that into such a church as had altogether fallen into an infernal and diabolical Own through the love of self and of the world, in order that by His Divine power He might unite the Divine celestial Own with the human Own in His human essence, so that in Him they might be a one; and unless this union had been effected, the whole world must have utterly perished. Because the Lord is thus the seed of the woman, it is not said "it" but "He."


That by the "head of the serpent" is meant the dominion of evil in general, and specifically of the love of self, is evident from its nature, which is so direful as not only to seek dominion, but even dominion over all things upon earth; nor does it rest satisfied with this, but aspires even to rule over everything in heaven, and then, not content with this, over the Lord himself, and even then it is not satisfied. This is latent in every spark of the love of self. If it were indulged, and freed from restraint, we should perceive that it would at once burst forth and would grow even to that aspiring height. Hence it is evident how the "serpent" or the evil of the love of self, desires to exercise dominion, and how much it hates all those who refuse its sway. This is that "head of the serpent" which exalts itself, and which the Lord "tramples down" even to the earth, that it may "go upon its belly, and eat dust" as stated in the verse immediately preceding. Thus also is described the "serpent" or "dragon" called "Lucifer" in Isaiah: O Lucifer, thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north, I will ascend above the heights of the cloud, I will be made equal to the Most High yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit (Isa. 14:12-15). The "serpent" or "dragon" is also described in the Revelation in regard to the way in which he exalts his head: A great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and many diadems upon his heads; but he was cast into the earth (Rev. 12:3, 9). In David: The saying of Jehovah to my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool: Jehovah shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion, He shall judge the nations, He hath filled with dead bodies, He hath bruised the head over much land; He shall drink of the brook in the way, therefore shall He lift up the head (Ps. 110:1-2, 6-7).


That by "trampling on" or "bruising" is meant depression, so as to compel it to "go on the belly and eat the dust" is now evident from this and the preceding verses. So likewise in Isaiah: Jehovah hath cast down them that dwell on high; the exalted city He will humble it; He will humble it even to the earth; He will prostrate it even to the dust; the foot shall tread it down (Isa. 26:4-6). Again: He shall cast down to the earth with the hand; they shall be trampled on by feet-a crown of pride (Isa. 28:2-3).


That by the "heel" is meant the lowest natural or corporeal cannot be known unless the way in which the most ancient people considered the various things in man is known. They referred his celestial and spiritual things to the head and face; what comes forth from these (as charity and mercy), to the chest natural things, to the feet; lower natural things, to the soles of the feet; and the lowest natural and corporeal things, to the heel; nor did they merely refer to them, but also so called them. The lowest things of reason, that is, memory-knowledges [scientifica], were also meant by what Jacob prophesied concerning Dan: Dan shall be a serpent upon the way, an adder upon the path, biting the horse's heels, and his rider falls backward (Gen. 49:17). Also in David: The iniquity of my heels hath compassed me about (Ps. 49:5). In like manner by what is related of Jacob, when he came forth from the womb, That his hand laid hold of Esau's heel, whence he was called Jacob (Gen. 25:26),for the name "Jacob" comes from the "heel" because the Jewish Church, signified by "Jacob" injured the heel. A serpent can injure only the lowest natural things, but unless it is a species of viper, not the interior natural things in man, still less his spiritual things, and least of all his celestial things, which the Lord preserves and stores up in man without his knowledge. What are thus stored up by the Lord are called in the Word "remains." The mode in which the serpent destroyed those lowest natural things in the people before the flood, by the sensuous principle and the love of self; and among the Jews, by sensuous things, traditions, trifles, and by the love of self and of the world; and how at this day he has destroyed and continues to destroy them by the things of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of philosophy, and at the same time by the same loves, shall of the Lord's Divine mercy be told hereafter.


From what has been said it is evident that it was revealed to the church of that time that the Lord would come into the world to save them.


Verse 16. And unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth sons, and thine obedience shall be to thy man [vir], and he shall rule over thee. By the "woman" is now signified the church as to proprium, which it loved; by "greatly multiplying her sorrow" is signified combat, and the anxiety it occasions; by "conception" every thought; by the "sons whom she would bring forth in sorrow" the truths which she would thus produce; by "man" here as before, the rational which it will obey, and which will rule.


That the church is signified by the "woman" has been previously shown, but here the church perverted by the Own which was itself formerly signified by the "woman" because the posterity of the Most Ancient Church, which had become perverted, is now treated of.


When therefore the sensuous part averts itself or curses itself, the consequence is that evil spirits begin to fight powerfully, and the attendant angels to labor, and therefore this combat is described by the words, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, in relation to the conception and birth of sons" that is, as to the thoughts and productions of truth.


That the "conception and birth of sons" in the Word, are taken in a spiritual sense-"conception" for the thought and device of the heart, and "sons" for truths, is evident from Hosea: As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb: and from the conception; though they shall have brought up their sons, yet will I bereave them, that they be not man; yea, woe also to them when I depart from them (Hos. 9:11-12), where "Ephraim" signifies the intelligent, or the understanding of truth; and "sons" truths themselves. It is likewise said elsewhere concerning Ephraim, or one who is intelligent, who has become foolish: The sorrows of one in travail have come upon him, he is an unwise son, for at the time he will not stand in the breach of the womb of sons (Hos. 13:13). And in Isaiah: Blush, O Zidon, for the sea hath spoken, the fortress of the sea, saying, I have not travailed, nor brought forth, nor have I brought up young men, nor caused girls to grow up; as at the report concerning Egypt, they shall bring forth according to the report of Tyre (Isa. 23:4-5), where "Zidon" means those who have been in the knowledges of faith, but have destroyed them by memory-knowledges [scientifica], and so have become barren. [2] Again in the same prophet, treating of regeneration, and where likewise the truths of faith are signified by "sons": Before she travailed she bringeth forth; and before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child; who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? shall the earth bring forth in one day? and shall I not cause to bring forth? saith Jehovah; shall I cause to bring forth, and close up? saith thy God (Isa. 66:7-9). Goods and truths, being conceived and born of the heavenly marriage, are therefore called "sons" by the Lord in Matthew: He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man the field is the world and the seed are the sons of the kingdom (Matt. 13:37-38). And the goods and truths of a saving faith He calls "sons of Abraham" (John 8:39); for "seed" (as stated n. 255) denotes faith, wherefore "sons" which are of the "seed" are the goods and truths of faith. Hence also the Lord, as being Himself the "seed" called Himself the "Son of man" that is, the faith of the church.


That by "man [vir]" is signified the rational, appears from verse 6 of this chapter, in that the woman gave to her man with her, and he did eat, by which is meant his consent; and the same is also evident from what was said of the man in n. 158, where by him is meant one who is wise and intelligent. Here however "man" denotes the rational, because in consequence of the destruction of wisdom and intelligence by eating of the tree of knowledge, nothing else was left, for the rational is imitative of intelligence, being as it were its semblance.


As every law and precept comes forth from what is celestial and spiritual, as from its true beginning, it follows that this law of marriage does so, which requires that the wife, who acts from desire, which is of what is her own, rather than from reason, like the man, should be subject to his prudence.


Verse 17. And unto the man He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake, in great sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. By the "man hearkening to the voice of his wife" is signified the consent of the man [vir], or rational, by which it also averted or cursed itself, and consequently the whole external man, denoted by "cursed is the ground for thy sake." To "eat thereof in sorrow" means that the future state of his life would be miserable, and this even to the end of that church, or "all the days of his life."


That the "ground" signifies the external man, is evident from what was previously stated concerning "earth" "ground" and "field." When man is regenerate, he is no longer called "earth" but "ground" because celestial seed has been implanted in him; he is also compared to "ground" and is called "ground" in various parts of the Word. The seeds of good and truth are implanted in the external man, that is, in his affection and memory, and not in the internal man, because there is nothing of one's Own in the internal man, but only in the external. In the internal man are goods and truths, and when these no longer appear to be present, the man is external or corporeal; they are however stored up in the internal man by the Lord, without the man's knowledge, as they do not come forth except when the external man as it were dies, as is usually the case during temptations, misfortunes, sicknesses, and at the hour of death. The rational belongs also to the external man (n. 118), and is in itself a kind of medium between the internal man and the external; for the internal man, through the rational, operates on the corporeal external. But when the rational consents, it separates the external man from the internal, so that the existence of the internal man is no longer known, nor consequently the intelligence and wisdom which are of the internal.


That Jehovah God (that is, the Lord) did not "curse the ground" or the external man, but that the external man averted or separated itself from the internal, and thus cursed itself, is evident from what was previously shown (n. 245).


That to "eat of the ground in great sorrow" signifies a miserable state of life, is evident from what precedes and follows, not to mention that to "eat" in the internal sense, is to live. The same is evident also from the fact that such a state of life ensues when evil spirits begin to fight, and the attendant angels to labor. This state of life becomes more miserable when evil spirits begin to obtain the dominion; for they then govern the external man, and the angels only the internal man, of which so little remains that they can scarcely take anything thence with which to defend the man; hence arise misery and anxiety. Dead men are seldom sensible of such misery and anxiety, because they are no longer men, although they think themselves more truly so than others; for they know no more than the brutes of what is spiritual and celestial, and what is eternal life, and like them they look downward to earthly things, or outward to worldly ones; they favor only their Own, and indulge their inclinations and senses with the entire concurrence of the rational. Being dead, they sustain no spiritual combat or temptation, and were they exposed to it their life would sink under its weight, and they could thereby curse themselves still more, and precipitate themselves still more deeply into infernal damnation: hence they are spared this until their entrance into the other life, where, being no longer in danger of dying in consequence of any temptation or misery, they endure most grievous sufferings, which likewise are here signified by the ground being cursed, and eating of it in great sorrow.


That "all the days of thy life" signifies the end of the days of the church, is evident from the fact that the subject here treated of is not an individual man, but the church and its state. The end of the days of that church was the time of the flood.


Verse 18. And the thorn and the thistle shall it bring forth unto thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. By the "thorn and the thistle" are meant curse and vastation; and by "thou shalt eat the herb of the field" is signified that he should live as a wild animal. Man lives like a wild animal when his internal man is so separated from his external as to operate upon it only in a most general manner, for man is man from what he receives through his internal man from the Lord, and is a wild animal from what he derives from the external man, which, separated from the internal, is in itself no other than a wild animal, having a similar nature, desires, appetites, phantasies, and sensations, and also similar organic forms. That nevertheless he is able to reason, and, as it seems to himself, acutely, he has from the spiritual substance by which he receives the influx of life from the Lord, which is however perverted in such a man, and becomes the life of evil, which is death. Hence he is called a dead man.


That the "thorn and the thistle" signify curse and vastation, is evident from harvest and fruit tree denoting the opposites, which are blessings and multiplications. That the "thorn" the "thistle" the "brier" the "bramble" and the "nettle" have such a signification, is evident from the Word, as in Hosea: Lo, they are gone away because of the vastation; Egypt shall gather them; Memphis shall bury them; their desirable things of silver, the nettle shall inherit them; the bramble shall be in their tents (Hos. 9:6). Here "Egypt" and "Memphis" denote such as seek to understand Divine things from themselves and their own memory-knowledges. In the same Prophet: The lofty places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed; the thorn and the thistle shall come up upon their altars (Hos. 10:8), where the "lofty places of Aven" signify the love of self; and the "thorn and thistle on the altars" profanation. In Isaiah: Mourning upon the paps for the fields of desire, for the fruitful vine; upon the ground of My people shall come up the briery thorn (Isa. 32:12-13). And in Ezekiel: There shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor a painful thorn from all that are round about them (Ezek. 28:24).


That to "eat the herb of the field" (that is, wild food) denotes to live like a wild animal, is evident from what is said of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel: They shall drive thee from man, and thy dwelling shall be with the beast of the field; they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee (Dan 4:25). And in Isaiah: Hast thou not heard how I have done it long ago, and from the days of old have I formed it; now have I brought it to pass, and it shall be to lay waste bulwarks, fenced cities, in heaps; and their inhabitants, short of hand, were dismayed and put to shame; they were made the grass of the field, and the green [olus] of the herb, the grass of the housetops, and a field parched before [coram] the standing corn (Isa. 37:26-27). Here it is explained what is signified by the "grass of the field" the "green of the herb" the "grass on the housetops" and a "field parched;" for the subject here treated of is the time before the flood, which is meant by "long ago" and the "days of old."


Verse 19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. By "eating bread in the sweat of the face" is signified to be averse to what is celestial; to "return to the ground from whence he was taken" is to relapse into the external man, such as he was before regeneration; and "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" signifies that he is condemned and infernal.


That to "eat bread in the sweat of the face" signifies to be averse to what is celestial, is evident from the signification of "bread." By "bread" is meant everything spiritual and celestial, which is the food of the angels, on the deprivation of which they would cease to live as certainly as men deprived of bread or food. That which is celestial and spiritual in heaven also corresponds to bread on earth, by which moreover they are represented, as is shown by many passages in the Word. That the Lord is "bread" because from Him proceeds whatever is celestial and spiritual, He Himself teaches in John: This is the bread that cometh down from heaven; he that eateth of this bread shall live to eternity (John 6:58). Wherefore also bread and wine are the symbols employed in the Holy Supper. This celestial is also represented by the manna. That what is celestial and spiritual constitutes the food of angels, is manifest from the Lord's words: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4), that is, from the life of the Lord, from which comes everything celestial and spiritual. [2] The last posterity of the Most Ancient Church, which existed immediately before the flood, and is here treated of, had become so thoroughly lost and immersed in sensuous and bodily things, that they were no longer willing to hear what was the truth of faith, what the Lord was, or that He would come and save them; and when such subjects were mentioned they turned away. This aversion is described by "eating bread in the sweat of the face." So also the Jews, in consequence of their being of such a character that they did not acknowledge the existence of heavenly things, and desired only a worldly Messiah, could not help feeling an aversion for the manna, because it was a representation of the Lord, calling it "vile bread" on which account fiery serpents were sent among them (Num. 21:5, 6). Moreover the heavenly things imparted to them in states of adversity and misery, when they were in tears, were called by them the "bread of adversity" the "bread of misery" and the "bread of tears." In the passage before us, that which was received with aversion is called the "bread of the sweat of the face."


This is the internal sense. He who keeps close to the letter, understands no other than that man must procure bread for himself out of the ground by labor, or by the sweat of his face. "Man" however does not here mean anyone man, but the Most Ancient Church; nor does "ground" mean ground, nor "bread" bread, nor "garden" garden, but celestial and spiritual things, as has been sufficiently shown.


That by "returning to the ground whence he was taken" is signified that the church would return to the external man such as it was before regeneration, is evident from the fact that "ground" signifies the external man, as previously stated. And that "dust" signifies what is condemned and infernal, is also evident from what was said of the serpent, which in consequence of being cursed is said to "eat dust." In addition to what was there shown as to the signification of "dust" we may add the following passages from David: All those who go down to the dust shall bow before Jehovah, and those whose soul He hath not made alive (Ps. 22:29). And in another place: Thou hidest Thy faces, they are troubled; Thou takest away their breath, they expire, and return to their dust (Ps. 104:29), which means that when men turn away from the face of the Lord, they expire or die, and thus "return to the dust" that is, are condemned and become infernal.


All these verses then, taken in a series, involve that the sensuous part averted itself from the celestial (verse 14); that the Lord would come into the world for the purpose of reuniting them (verse 15); that combat arose in consequence of the external man averting itself (verse 16); whence resulted misery (verse 17); condemnation (verse 18); and at length hell (verse 19). These things followed in succession in that church, from the fourth posterity down to the flood. ______________________________ 20. And the man [homo] called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21. And Jehovah God made for the man and for his wife coats of skin, and clothed them. 22. And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of lives, and eat, and live to eternity, 23. Therefore Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24. And He cast out the man; and He made to dwell from the east toward the garden of Eden cherubim, and the flame of a sword turning itself, to keep the way of the tree of lives.


THE CONTENTS. The Most Ancient Church, and those who fell away, are here summarily treated of; thus also its posterity down to the flood, when it expired.


Of the Most Ancient Church which was celestial, and from the life of faith in the Lord, called "Eve" and the "mother of all living" (verse 20).


Of its first posterity, in which there was celestial spiritual good; and of its second and third, in which there was natural good, signified by the "coat of skin which Jehovah God made for the man and his wife" (verse 21).


Of the fourth posterity, in which natural good began to be dissipated, and which, had they been created anew or instructed in the celestial things of faith, would have perished, which is meant by, "Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of lives, and eat, and live to eternity" (verse 22).


Of the fifth posterity, which was deprived of all good and truth, and was reduced to the state in which they had been previous to regeneration, which is meant by his being "sent forth out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken" (verse 23).


Of the sixth and seventh posterities, in that they were deprived of all memory-knowledge [scientia] of what is good and true, and were left to their own filthy loves and persuasions; this being provided lest they should profane the holy things of faith, which is signified by his being "driven out, and cherubim being made to dwell at the garden, with the flame of a sword, to keep the way of the tree of lives" (verse 24).


THE INTERNAL SENSE. This and the preceding chapters, down to the verses now under consideration, treat of the most ancient people and of their regeneration; first, of those who lived like wild animals, but at length became spiritual men; then of those who became celestial men, and constituted the Most Ancient Church; afterwards of those who fell away, and their descendants, in regular order through the first, second, and third posterities and their successors, down to the flood. In the verses following, which conclude the chapter, we have a recapitulation of what occurred from the period when the man of the Most Ancient Church was formed, until the flood; thus it is a conclusion to all that goes before.


Verse 20. And the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. By the "man" [homo] is here meant the man of the Most Ancient Church, or the celestial man, and by the "wife" and the "mother of all living" is meant the church. She is called "mother" as being the first church; and "living" in consequence of possessing faith in the Lord, who is life itself.


That by "man" is meant the man of the Most Ancient Church, or the celestial man, was previously shown; and at the same time it was also shown that the Lord alone is Man, and that from Him every celestial man is man, because in His likeness. Hence every member of the church, without exception or distinction, was called a "man" and at length this name was applied to anyone who in body appeared as a man, to distinguish him from beasts.


It has also been shown above that by "wife" is meant the church, and in the universal sense the kingdom of the Lord in the heavens and on earth; and from this it follows that the same is meant by "mother." In the Word the church is very frequently called "mother" as in Isaiah: Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement ? (Isa. 50:1). In Jeremiah: Your mother is greatly ashamed: she that bare you was suffused with shame (Jer. 50: 12). In Ezekiel: Thou art thy mother's daughter that loathed her man and her sons; your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite (Ezek. 16:45), where "man [vir]" denotes the Lord and all that is celestial; "sons" the truths of faith; a "Hittite" what is false: and an "Amorite" what is evil. In the same: Thy mother is like a vine in thy likeness, planted near the waters; she was fruitful and full of leaves because of many waters (Ezek. 19:10). Here "mother" denotes the Ancient Church. The term "mother" is more especially applicable to the Most Ancient Church, because it was the first church, and the only one that was celestial, and therefore beloved by the Lord more than any other.


That she was called the "mother of all living" in consequence of possessing faith in the Lord, who is Life itself, is also evident from what has been already shown. There cannot be more than one Life, from which is the life of all, and there can be no life, which is life, except through faith in the Lord, who is the Life; nor can there be faith in which is life, except from Him, consequently unless He is in it. On this account, in the Word, the Lord alone is called "Living" and is named the "Living Jehovah" (Jer. 5:2; 12:16; 16:14, 15; 23:7; Ezek. 5:11); "He that liveth to eternity" (Dan. 4:34 Rev. 4:10; 5:14; 10:6); the "Fountain of Life" (Ps. 36:9); the "Fountain of living waters" (Jer. 17:13). Heaven (which lives by or from Him) is called the "Land of the living" (Isa. 38:11; 53:8; Ezek. 26:20; 32:23-27, 32; Ps. 27:13; 52:5; 142:5). And those are called "Living" who are in faith in the Lord; as in David: Who putteth our soul among the living (Ps. 66:9). And those who possess faith are said to be "in the Book of lives" (Ps. 69:28), and "in the book of life" (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:15). Wherefore also those who receive faith in Him are said to be "made alive" (Hos. 6:2; Ps. 85:6). On the other hand it follows that those who are not in faith are called "dead;" as in Isaiah: The dead shall not live; the Rephaim shall not rise again, because Thou hast visited and destroyed them (Isa. 26:14), meaning those who are puffed up with the love of self; to "rise again" signifies to enter into life. They are also said to be "pierced" (Ezek. 32:23-26, 28-31). They are also called "dead" by the Lord (Matt. 4:16; John 5:25; 8:21, 24, 51, 52). Hell also is called "death" (Isa. 25:8; 28:15).


In this verse is described the first time, when the church was in the flower of her youth, representing the heavenly marriage, on which account she is described by a marriage, and is called "Eve" from a word meaning "life."


Verse 21. And Jehovah God made for the man [homo] and for his wife coats of skin, and clothed them. These words signify that the Lord instructed them in spiritual and natural good; His instructing them is expressed by "making" and "clothing" and spiritual and natural good, by the "coat of skin."


It could never appear from the letter that these things are signified; and yet there is evidently here enfolded some deeper meaning, for everyone must be aware that Jehovah God did not make a coat of skin for them.


Neither would it be evident to anyone that a "coat of skin" signifies spiritual and natural good, except by a revelation of the internal sense, and a subsequent comparison of passages in the Word where similar expressions occur. The general term "skin" is here used, but that of a kid, sheep, or ram, is understood, which animals in the Word signify affections of good, charity, and that which is of charity, as was likewise signified by the sheep used in the sacrifices. Those are called "sheep" who are endowed with the good of charity, that is, with spiritual and natural good, and hence the Lord is called the "Shepherd of the sheep" and those who are endowed with charity are called His "sheep" as everybody knows.


The reason why they are said to be "clothed with a coat of skin" is that the most ancient people were said to be "naked" on account of their innocence; but when they lost their innocence they became conscious that they were in evil, which also is called "nakedness." That all things might appear to cohere historically (in accordance with the way of speaking of the most ancient people), they are here said to be "clothed lest they should be naked" or in evil. Their being in spiritual and natural good is evident from what was remarked above concerning them, from verse 1 to 13 of this chapter, as well as from its being here related that "Jehovah God made them a coat of skin, and clothed them;" for it here treats of the first-and more especially of the second and third-posterities of the church, who were endowed with such good.


That the skins of kids, sheep, goats, badgers, and rams signify spiritual and natural goods, is evident from the internal sense of the word, where Jacob is treated of, and also where the ark is treated of. Of Jacob it is said that he was "clothed with the raiment of Esau" and on his hands and on his neck, where he was naked, "with skins of kids of the goats" and when Isaac smelled them, he said, "the smell of my son is as the smell of a field" (Gen. 27:15, 16, 27). That these skins signify spiritual and natural goods, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be seen in that place. Of the ark it is said that the covering of the tent was "of rams' skins and badgers' skins" (Exod. 26:14; 36:19), and that when they set forward Aaron and his sons covered the ark with a covering "of badgers' skins" and likewise the table and its vessels, the candlestick and its vessels, the altar of gold, and the vessels of ministry and of the altar (Num. 4:6-14). Of the Lord's Divine mercy it will in that place also be seen that these skins signify spiritual and natural good, for whatever was in the ark, the tabernacle, or the tent, yea, whatever was upon Aaron when clothed with the garments of holiness, signified what is celestial spiritual, so that there was not the least thing that had not its own representation.


Celestial good is not clothed, because it is inmost, and is innocent; but celestial spiritual good is that which is first clothed, and then natural good, for these are more external, and on that account are compared to and are called "garments;" as in Ezekiel, speaking of the Ancient Church: I clothed thee with broidered work, and shod thee with badger, I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk (Ezek. 16:10). In Isaiah: Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the city of holiness (Isa. 52:1). In Revelation: Who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy (Rev. 3:4-5), where it is likewise said of the four and twenty elders that they were "clothed in white raiment" (4:4). Thus the more external goods, which are celestial spiritual, and natural, are "garments;" wherefore also those who are endowed with the goods of charity appear in heaven clothed in shining garments; but here, because still in the body, with a "coat of skin."


Verse 22. And Jehovah God said, Behold the man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of lives, and eat, and live to eternity. The reason "Jehovah God" is first mentioned in the singular, and afterwards in the plural number, is that by "Jehovah God" is meant the Lord, and at the same time the angelic heaven. The man's "knowing good and evil" signifies that he had become celestial, and thus wise and intelligent; "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of lives" means that he must not be instructed in the mysteries of faith, for then never to all eternity could he be saved, which is to "live to eternity."


Here are two arcana: first, that "Jehovah God" signifies the Lord, and at the same time heaven; secondly, that had they been instructed in the mysteries of faith they would have perished eternally.


As regards the first arcanum-that by "Jehovah God" is meant the Lord and at the same time heaven-it is to be observed that in the Word, always for a secret reason, the Lord is sometimes called merely "Jehovah" sometimes "Jehovah God" sometimes "Jehovah" and then "God" sometimes the "Lord Jehovih" sometimes the "God of Israel" and sometimes "God" only. Thus in the first chapter of Genesis, where it is also said, in the plural, "Let us make man in our image" He is called "God" only, and He is not called "Jehovah God" until the following chapter, where the celestial man is treated of. He is called "Jehovah" because He alone is or lives, thus from Essence; and "God" because He can do all things, thus from Power; as is evident from the Word, where this distinction is made (Isa. 49:4, 5; 55:7; Ps. 18:2, 28, 29, 31; 31:14). On this account every angel or spirit who spoke with man, and who was supposed to possess any power, was called "God" as appears from David: God hath stood in the congregation of God, He will judge in the midst of the gods (Ps. 82:1); and in another place: Who in the sky shall be compared unto Jehovah? who among the sons of the gods shall be likened to Jehovah? (Ps. 89:6). Again: Confess ye to the God of gods, confess ye to the Lord of lords (Ps. 136:2-3). Men also as being possessed of power are called "gods" as in Ps. 82:6; John 10:34, 35. Moses also is said to be "a god to Pharaoh" (Exod. 7:1). For this reason the word "God" in the Hebrew is in the plural number-"Elohim." But as the angels do not possess the least power of themselves, as indeed they acknowledge, but solely from the Lord, and as there is but one God, therefore by "Jehovah God" in the Word is meant the Lord alone. But where anything is effected by the ministry of angels, as in the first chapter of Genesis, He is spoken of in the plural number. Here also because the celestial man, as man, could not be put in comparison with the Lord, but with the angels only, it is said, the man "is become as one of us, knowing good and evil" that is, is wise and intelligent.

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