Genesis 1:6

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it exist to make a distinction among the waters, in the waters.”

The next step occurs after the Spirit of God—the Lord’s mercy—brings out into daylight the knowledge of truth and goodness and provides the first glimmering that the Lord exists, that he is goodness and truth itself, and that nothing is good or true except what comes from him. The Spirit of God then makes a distinction between the inner and the outer being, and between the religious knowledge we possess in our inner selves and the secular knowledge belonging to our outer selves.

The inner self is called the expanse, the knowledge in the inner self is called the waters over the expanse, and the facts belonging to the outer self are called the waters under the expanse.

Before we are reborn, we do not know even that an inner being exists, let alone what it is, imagining there is no difference between the two selves. This is because we are absorbed by bodily and worldly interests and merge the concerns of the inner being with those interests. Out of distinct and separate planes we make one dim, confused whole.

Therefore this verse first says that there should be an expanse in the middle of the waters, then that it should exist to make a distinction “among the waters, in the waters,” but not that it should make a distinction between one set of waters and another. The next verse says that.

from Regeneration, Pages 128-129

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Genesis 1:5

And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

From this we now see what evening and morning mean. Evening is every preliminary stage, because such stages are marked by shadow, or by falsity and an absence of faith. Morning is all later stages, because these are marked by light, or by truth and religious knowledge.

Evening stands in general for everything that is our own, while morning stands for everything of the Lord’s. As David says, for example:

The Spirit of Jehovah has spoken in me and his words are on my tongue. The God of Israel has said, the rock of Israel has spoken to me. He is like the morning light when the sun rises, like a morning when there are no clouds, when because of the brightness, because of the rain, the tender grass springs from the earth. (2 Samuel 23:2, 3, 4)

Since evening is when there is no faith and morning is when there is faith, the Lord’s coming into the world is called morning. The period in which he came, being a time of no faith, is called evening. In Daniel:

The Holy One said to me, “Up till [the day’s second] evening, when it becomes morning, two thousand and three hundred times.” (Daniel 8:14, 26)

Morning in the Word is similarly taken to mean every coming of the Lord, so that it is a word for being created anew.

Nothing is more common in the Word than for a day to be understood as meaning the times, as in Isaiah:

The day of Jehovah is near. Look—the day of Jehovah is coming! I will shake heaven, and the earth will tremble right out of its place, on the day when my anger blazes up. The time of his coming is near, and its days will not be postponed. (Isaiah 13:6, 9, 13, 22)

In the same prophet:

In the days of old she was old. It will happen on that day that Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, corresponding to the days of one king. (Isaiah 23:7, 15)

Because a day stands for a time period, it is also taken to mean the state we are in during that period, as in Jeremiah:

Doom to us! For the day has faded, for the shadows of evening have lengthened. (Jeremiah 6:4)

In the same prophet:

If you nullify my compact with the day and my compact with the night, so that there is no daytime or night at their times . . . (Jeremiah 33:20, 25)

And again:

Renew our days as in ancient times. (Lamentations 5:21)

from Regeneration, Pages 126-128

Genesis 1:4, 5

And God saw the light, that it was good, and God made a distinction between light and darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night.

The light is said to be good because it is from the Lord, who is goodness itself.

The darkness is whatever looked like light to us before our new conception and birth, because we saw evil as good and falsity as truth; but it is actually darkness—our lingering sense of self-sufficiency.

Absolutely everything that is the Lord’s is compared to the day, because it belongs to the light, and everything that is our own is compared to the night, because it belongs to the darkness. The Word draws this comparison in quite a few places.

from Regeneration, Page 126

Genesis 1:3

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

The first step is taken when we begin to realize that goodness and truth are something transcendent.

People who focus exclusively on externals do not even know what is good or what is true; everything connected with self-love and love of worldly advantages they consider good, and anything that promotes those two loves they consider true. They are unaware that such “goodness” is evil and such “truth” false.

When we are conceived anew, however, we first begin to be aware that our “good” is not good. And as we advance further into the light, it dawns on us that the Lord exists and that he is goodness and truth itself. The Lord says in John that we need to know of his existence:

Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)

We need to know too that the Lord is goodness itself, or life, and truth itself, or light, and consequently that nothing good or true exists that does not come from him. This is also found in John:

In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was present with God, and the Word was God. Everything was made by him, and nothing that was made was made without him. In him was life, and the life was the light of humankind; but the light appears in the darkness. He was the true light that shines on every person coming into the world. (John 1:1, 3, 4, [5,] 9)

from Regeneration, Pages 125-126

Genesis 1:2

And the earth was void and emptiness, and there was darkness on the face of the abyss, and the Spirit of God was constantly moving on the face of the water.

Before regeneration a person is called the void, empty earth, and also soil in which no seed of goodness or truth has been planted. Void refers to an absence of goodness and empty to an absence of truth. The result is darkness, in which a person is oblivious to or ignorant of anything having to do with faith in the Lord and consequently with a spiritual or heavenly life. The Lord portrays such a person this way in Jeremiah:

My people are dense; they do not know me. They are stupid children, without understanding. They are wise in doing evil but do not know how to do good. I looked at the earth, and there—void and emptiness; and to the heavens, and these had no light. (Jeremiah 4:22, 23, 25)

The face of the abyss means our cravings and the falsities these give rise to; we are wholly made up of cravings and falsities and wholly surrounded by them. Because no ray of light is in us, we are like an abyss, or something disorganized and dim.

Many passages in the Word also call such people abysses and sea depths, which are drained (that is, devastated) before a person is regenerated. In Isaiah, for instance:

Wake up, as in the days of old, the generations of eternity! Are you not draining the sea, the waters of the great abyss, and making the depths of the sea a path for the redeemed to cross? May those ransomed by Jehovah return! (Isaiah 51:9, 10, 11)

An individual of this type, observed from heaven, looks like a dark mass with no life at all to it.

The same words involve an individual’s overall spiritual devastation—a preliminary step to regeneration. (The prophets have much more to say about it.) Before we can learn what is true and be affected by what is good, the things that stand in the way and resist have to be put aside. The old self must die before the new self can be conceived.

The Spirit of God stands for the Lord’s mercy, which is portrayed as moving constantly, like a hen brooding over her eggs. What is being brooded over in this instance is what the Lord stores away in us, which throughout the Word is called “a remnant” [or “survivors”]. It is a knowledge of truth and goodness, which can never emerge into the light of day until our outer nature has been devastated. Such knowledge is here called the face of the water.

from Regeneration, Pages 124-125

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The word beginning is being used for the very earliest times. The prophets frequently call them “the days of old.” “The beginning” includes the first period of regeneration too, as that is when people are being born anew and receiving life. Because of this, regeneration itself is called our new creation [2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15].

Almost everywhere in the prophetic books, the words creating, forming, and making stand for regenerating, though with differences.

In Isaiah, for example:

All have been called by my name, and I have created them for my glory; I have formed them; yes, I have made them. (Isaiah 43:7)

This is why the Lord is called Redeemer, One-Who-Forms-from-the-Womb, Maker, and Creator, as in the same prophet:

I am Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your Monarch. (Isaiah 43:15)

In David:

The people created will praise Jah. (Psalms 102:18)

In the same author:

You send out your spirit—they will continue to be created—and you renew the face of the ground. (Psalms 104:30)

Heaven, or the sky, symbolizes the inner self, and the earth, before regeneration occurs, symbolizes the outer self, as may be seen below.

from Regeneration, Pages 123-124

Inner Meaning of Genesis 1 (the Bible)

From this point on, the term Lord is used in only one way: to refer to the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ; and the name “Lord” is used without any additions.

He is acknowledged and revered as Lord throughout heaven because he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He also commanded this when he said, “You address me as ‘Lord.’ You speak correctly, because so I am” (John 13:13). And his disciples called him Lord after the resurrection.

In the whole of heaven no one knows of any other Father than the Lord, since the Father and the Lord are one. As he himself said:

“I am the way and the truth and life.” Philip says, “Show us the Father.” Jesus says to him, “After all the time I’ve spent with you, don’t you know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How then can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? Believe me, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:6, 8, 9, 10, 11)

from Regeneration, Pages 122-123

Summary of Genesis 1

The six days or time periods [of Creation], meaning so many consecutive stages in a person’s regeneration, are these, in outline:

The first stage is preliminary, extending from infancy to just before regeneration, and is called void, emptiness, and darkness. The first stirring, which is the Lord’s mercy, is the Spirit of God in constant motion on the face of the water.

In the second stage, a distinction is drawn between the things that are the Lord’s and those that are our own. The things that are the Lord’s are called a “remnant” in the Word. In this instance the “remnant” refers principally to religious knowledge acquired from early childhood on. This remnant is stored away, not to reappear until we arrive at such a stage.

At present the second stage rarely comes into play without trouble, misfortune, and grief, which enable bodily and worldly concerns—things that are our own—to fade away and in effect die out. The things that belong to the outer self, then, are separated from those that belong to the inner self, the inner self containing the remnant that the Lord has put aside to await this time and this purpose.

The third stage is one of repentance. During this time, at the prompting of the inner self, we speak devoutly and reverently and yield a good harvest (acts of neighborly kindness, for instance). These effects are lifeless nonetheless, since we suppose that they come of our own doing. They are called the tender plant, then the seed-bearing plant, and lastly the fruit tree.

In the fourth stage, love stirs and faith enlightens us. Before this time we may have spoken devoutly and yielded a good harvest, but we did so in a state of trial and anguish, not at the call of faith and kindness. In consequence they are now kindled in our inner self and are called the two lights.

In the fifth stage, we speak with conviction and, in the process, strengthen ourselves in truth and goodness. The things we then produce have life in them and are called the fish of the sea and the birds in the heavens. In the sixth stage, we act with conviction and therefore with love in speaking truth and doing good. What we then produce is called a living soul and a beast. Because we begin to act as much from love as from conviction, we become spiritual people, who are called [God’s] image.

In regard to our spiritual lives, we now find pleasure and nourishment in religious knowledge and acts of kindness; and these are called our food. In regard to our earthly lives, we still find pleasure and sustenance in things relating to our body and our senses, which cause strife until love takes charge and we develop a heavenly character.

Not everyone who undergoes regeneration reaches this stage. Some (the great majority, these days) arrive only at the first stage, some only at the second, some at the third, fourth, or fifth, very few at the sixth, and almost no one at the seventh, [that of the heavenly person].

from Regeneration, Pages 121-122

Notes: This section was published in this blog June 25, 2016

Creation

The Word in the Old Testament contains secrets of heaven, and every single aspect of it has to do with the Lord, his heaven, the church, faith, and all the tenets of faith; but not a single person sees this in the letter. In the letter, or literal meaning, people see only that it deals for the most part with the external facts of the Jewish religion.

The truth is, however, that every part of the Old Testament holds an inner message. Except at a very few points, those inner depths never show on the surface. The exceptions are concepts that the Lord revealed and explained to the apostles, such as the fact that the sacrifices symbolize the Lord, and that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem symbolize heaven (which is why it is called the heavenly Canaan or Jerusalem [Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 11:16; 12:22; Revelation 21:2, 10]), as does paradise.

The Christian world, though, remains deeply ignorant of the fact that each and every detail down to the smallest—even down to the tiniest jot—enfolds and symbolizes spiritual and heavenly matters; and because it lacks such knowledge, it also lacks much interest in the Old Testament.

Still, Christians can come to a proper understanding if they reflect on a single notion: that since the Word is the Lord’s and comes from him, it could not possibly exist unless it held within it the kinds of things that have to do with heaven, the church, and faith. Otherwise it could not be called the Lord’s Word, nor could it be said to contain any life. Where, after all, does life come from if not from what is living? That is, if not from the fact that every single thing in the Word relates to the Lord, who is truly life itself? Whatever does not look to him at some deeper level, then, is without life; in fact, if a single expression in the Word does not embody or reflect him in its own way, it is not divine.

Without this interior life, the Word in its letter is dead. It resembles a human being, in that a human has an outward self and an inward one, as the Christian world knows. The outer being, separated from the inner, is just a body and so is dead, but the inward being is what lives and allows the outward being to live. The inner being is a person’s soul.

In the same way, the letter of the Word by itself is a body without a soul.

The Word’s literal meaning alone, when it monopolizes our thinking, can never provide a view of the inner contents. Take for example the first chapter of Genesis. The literal meaning by itself offers no clue that it is speaking of anything but the world’s creation, the Garden of Eden (paradise), and Adam, the first human ever created. Who supposes anything else?

The wisdom hidden in these details (and never before revealed) will be clear enough from what follows. The inner sense of the first chapter of Genesis deals in general with the process that creates us anew—that is to say, with regeneration—and in particular with the very earliest church; and it does so in such a way that not even the smallest syllable fails to represent, symbolize, and incorporate this meaning.

But without the Lord’s aid not a soul can possibly see that this is the case. As a result, it is proper to reveal in these preliminaries that the Lord in his divine mercy has granted me the opportunity for several years now, without break or interruption, to keep company with spirits and angels, to hear them talking, and to speak with them in turn. Consequently I have been able to see and hear the most amazing things in the other life, which have never before come into people’s awareness or thought.

In that world I have been taught about the different kinds of spirits, the situation of souls after death, hell (or the regrettable state of the faithless), and heaven (or the blissful state of the faithful). In particular I have learned what is taught in the faith acknowledged by the whole of heaven.

from Regeneration, Pages 119-121

Heaven’s Union with Us through the Word (Continued)

If there had not been this kind of Word on our earth, the humanity of our earth would have separated itself from heaven, and once separated from heaven would no longer have had any rational ability. Our human rational ability in fact arises from an inflow of light from heaven.

We on this earth are by nature incapable of accepting any direct revelation and being taught about divine truths by that means, unlike the inhabitants of other planets ([whose abilities] have been dealt with in their own separate booklet). We more than they are engrossed in worldly concerns and therefore in superficial matters, while it is the deeper levels that are open to revelation. If the outer levels were receptive, we still would not understand the truth.

This nature of people on our earth is clearly visible in members of the church. Even though they know from the Word about heaven, hell, and life after death, they still deny these things at heart. This includes people who have made a name for themselves for outstanding learning, who you would think would therefore be wiser than others.

I have talked with angels about the Word on occasion, and have told them that it is looked down on by some people because of its pedestrian style. They know absolutely nothing about its deeper meaning and therefore do not believe that this kind of wisdom lies hidden within. The angels have told me that even though the style of the Word may appear pedestrian in its literal meaning, it is qualitatively incomparable because divine wisdom lies hidden not just in the overall meaning but in every word, and that this wisdom shines out in heaven. They have wanted to declare that because it is divine truth, it is heaven’s light, since divine truth in heaven is radiant (see Section 132, published November 27, 2016).

They have added that without this kind of Word there would be no light of heaven among the people of our earth and consequently no union with heaven for them; for the amount of heaven’s light there is among us determines the union and therefore the extent to which we have any revelation of divine truth through the Word. The reason people do not know this union exists (through the spiritual meaning of the Word corresponding to its natural meaning) is that the people of our earth do not know anything about angels’ spiritual thinking and conversation. They do not know that this is different from our natural thinking and conversation; and anyone who does not know this cannot possibly know what the inner meaning is and therefore cannot know that it can make this kind of union possible.

They have also said that if we knew that this kind of meaning existed and when we read the Word did our thinking with any knowledge of it, we would come into a deeper wisdom and be more closely united to heaven, because in this way we would have access to concepts like those of angels.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 309, 310