And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” –Genesis 1:14&15
Dear members and friends,
For Emanuel Swedenborg, the fourth day of creation in Genesis is a very clear sign from the Creator that we should not read and understand the Bible literally, especially the creation story. As far as we know, there cannot be any vegetation without the light and warmth from the sun. However, the creation in Genesis describes clearly that the vegetation was created on the third day, while the sun, the moon and stars were created on the fourth day. Swedenborg explains that the lights (the sun, the moon, and stars) all together symbolically describe both the progress and state of our faith.
Stars, as the smallest lights in our sky, symbolize the first stage of faith within us: acquiring and learning spiritual concepts and principles. As one of the two great lights, the moon symbolizes the second stage of faith: understanding the meaning of the acquired spiritual concepts and principles. The sun as the greatest light symbolizes the third or last stage of faith: being able to implement the learned spiritual concepts and principles into one’s life as one understands them. This interpretation might be based on two expectations or assumptions regarding human nature that was somewhat popular in 18th century: 1. humans might desire to seek higher knowledge, concepts and principles; 2. humans might be willing to live by the acquired higher principles, if and when they fully understand the meaning of spiritual principles and expected benefits from living them. The sad truth that we know by living in the 21st century – 247 years after the death of Swedenborg – is that knowing and understanding higher principles are two entirely different matters, while living by acknowledged higher principles is yet another whole different matter.
Why is it that we are often unable to live what we already know to be true and beneficial to us both psychologically and physically? For this, Swedenborg advises us to seriously examine what we truly love the most, which is often deeply concealed under what we feel obligated to love. Unless one truly knows and admits what one truly loves, knowledge would never become truth in one’s mind. Meaning, if there is no real acknowledgement of truth, then there is no union of truth with goodness in one’s spirit. In other words, we will never be able to live what we believe to be true unless we would love to live in such a way!
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee