Garden of Eden


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Eden, garden/story of" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 469"
Any person of interior wisdom may, at this day, perceive, or at least, conjecture, that the circumstances recorded of Adam and Eve must have a spiritual signification, which has heretofore remained unknown, because the spiritual sense of the Word [Bible] was never discovered till now. Who cannot discern, on the slightest glance, that Jehovah could never have placed two trees in a garden, one of which might prove a stumbling block, unless they had some spiritual representation? or, that both Adam and his wife were cursed, because they ate of the fruit of a certain tree, and that the curse adheres to all their posterity, so that the whole human race is subjected to damnation for the fault of one man, in which fault there was no apparent evil of the lust of the flesh, or iniquity of heart? Does such a proceeding accord with the divine justice? May it not reasonably be asked, why Jehovah did not remove that fruit out of Adam's reach before he ate of it, and why he did not cast the serpent into hell, before he persuaded him to eat?
 But, my friend, God did not do so, because by so doing He would have taken away man's free-determination, and it is by virtue of free-determination that a man is a man, and not a beast. If this consideration be well digested, it will evidently appear that those two trees, one of life, and the other of death, represented man's free-determination in spiritual things. Besides, hereditary evil is not a consequence of what Adam did, but is successively communicated to children from their parents, who necessarily entail upon them that inclination to evil which prevails in themselves.