In the Beginning

The Bible opens with these words: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In his parable of the sower, Jesus used the concept of “earth” to describe a person’s mind and heart, into which He sows the seeds of His truth. Whether or not those seeds flourish is shown to be dependent on the state of each person’s heart.

Why did Jesus choose to speak in parables? Jesus came into the world as the Word made flesh (John 1) and “without a parable He did not speak to them” (Mark 4:34). The Word of God is in fact a living document, a divine allegory, containing hidden meaning (the spirit within). See Psalm 78, which calls the story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness a parable even though true history. The Word is a divine love story which, inmostly, describes God’s love for us and His unceasing effort to draw us closer to Him so that we can become the person we were created to be and so find true happiness.

The following is a brief overview of the deeper meaning of the Creation story found in the opening chapters of the Bible, showing how each day of creation represents a step on our way towards being the person we were created to be. It is drawn from the divinely inspired Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, the 18th century Christian mystic who was called by God to reveal the spirit within the stories of the Word.

God makes us with a higher self and a lower self (the heaven and the earth) and we start life in the darkness of spiritual ignorance (without form and void). But the spirit of God is hovering over the depths of our potential – as a hen broods over her eggs – warming us with memories of loving care that we can draw on in times of adversity. Then, with God’s words, “let there be light!” a spiritual awareness begins to dawn. There is a separation in our mind of what comes from God and what comes from ourselves and the world (the waters above and below). Then God prepares our mind for the reception of spiritual insight (the dry land appearing). Ideas begin to take root in our mind and form as we search for the light of God’s truth. We start to think how we can be useful (seed bearing plants). As we begin to reach out to others, these ideas blossom and eventually come to fruition in our first attempts at useful service.

People often wonder why the sun was not created until the fourth day. This is the stage of our development when we wake up to the reality of God’s love and wisdom (the warmth and light of the sun) being the source of all life and everything good and true. We then develop faith in God (the moon) and His loving presence even in the dark times (night) and we look for His truth for guidance (the stars). This enables us to gain experience we need for life (fish) and to lift our thoughts to higher things (birds), putting our faith into action. Only then do we really start to live spiritually, as we feel God’s spirit motivating us and developing kind and gentle affections (warm blooded animals) within us.

We become truly human (made in God’s image and likeness) when we walk in our experience of God’s truth and love and mirror these in our lives, giving to Him the credit for all the good we do. God tells us to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over all other living creatures. This means we are to have control over our hurtful and destructive tendencies, the things that get in the way of our relationships with God and other people. As we change these things at the external level, God makes the changes within, and the union of His truth and love within us gives birth to new positive qualities. This sixth stage in our spiritual development is an ongoing process, the process of our lower self coming into harmony with our higher self – our becoming the person we were created to be. And God rests (the seventh day).