Tree of Knowledge


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Tree, of knowledge of good and evil" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "Conjugial Love": detail "Section 135"
A tree signifies a man, and the fruit thereof the good of life; hence the tree of life signifies a man living from God, or God living in man; and since love and wisdom, and charity and faith, or good and truth, constitute the life of God in man, therefore these are signified by the tree of life, and hence man has eternal life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil signifies a man believing that he lives from himself and not from God; thus that in man love and wisdom, charity and faith, that is, good and truth, are his and not God's; believing this, because he thinks and wills, and speaks and acts to all appearance, as from himself: and as a man from this faith persuades himself, that God has implanted himself, or infused his divine into him, therefore the serpent said, "God doth know, in the day that ye eat of the fruit of that tree, your eyes will be opened, and ye will be as God, knowing good and evil" [Gen. iii. 5]. Eating of those trees signifies reception and appropriation; eating of the tree of life, the reception of life eternal, and eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the reception of damnation; therefore also both Adam and his wife, together with the serpent, were cursed: the serpent means the devil as to self-love and the conceit of his own intelligence. This love is the possessor of that tree; and the men who are in conceit, grounded in that love, are those trees.
 Those persons, therefore, are grievously mistaken who believe that Adam was wise and did good from himself, and that this was his state of integrity; when yet Adam himself was cursed by reason of that belief; for this is signified by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; therefore he then fell from the state of integrity in which he had been, in consequence of believing that he was wise and did good from God and not at all from himself; for this is meant by eating of the tree of life. The Lord alone, when he was in the worlds was wise and did good from himself; because the essential divine from birth was in him and was his; therefore also from his own ability he was made the Redeemer and Saviour. That by the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and eating thereof, is signified that life for man is God in him, and that in this case he has heaven and eternal life; but that death for man is the persuasion and belief, that life for him is not God but self; whence he has hell and eternal death, which is condemnation.