Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 895

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895. 'The waters dried up from over the earth' means that falsities were not at that time apparent. This is clear from what has been stated. In particular these words mean that falsities had been separated from things of the will belonging to the member of this Church. The statement 'the waters dried up from over the earth' occurs at this point because here 'earth' means the person's will, which is nothing but evil desire. As stated already, the ground is situated in the understanding part of man's mind, in which part truths are sown. No sowing ever takes place in the will part, which in the spiritual man has been separated from the understanding part. This is why in the last part of this verse it is said that 'the facea of the ground was dry'. With the member of the Most Ancient Church there was ground in the will part of his mind, where the Lord implanted goods. It was from goods therefore that he was able to know and perceive truth, that is, it was from love that he was able to possess faith. If the same thing were to happen today however, a person would inevitably and eternally perish, for his will is utterly corrupted. What implantation in the will part entails and what in the understanding part becomes clear from the consideration that the member of the Most Ancient Church had in fact enjoyed revelations through which from early childhood onwards he was led into a perception of goods and truths. But since they used to be implanted in the will part of his mind he perceived without any further instruction the countless aspects of any one general matter. He knew from the Lord the details and the finer points which nowadays men must learn before knowing about them. And even then they can know scarcely one thousandth of them. For the member of the spiritual Church knows nothing unless he acquires it by learning; and what he gets to know in this fashion he retains and believes to be true. Indeed if he learns something false and this is impressed on him as though it were true, he believes that as well, for he has no other perception than that a thing is true because he has in that way been persuaded of it. People who possess conscience derive from conscience a certain dictate. Yet with them a thing is true only because they have heard and learned that it is. This is what constitutes their conscience, as becomes clear from people who have a conscience of what is false.


a lit. the faces

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