Arcana Caelestia, or
Heavenly Secrets as some call it, is the first and longest of
Emanuel Swedenborg's works, consists of eight Latin volumes, or twelve in the
current English translation.
It expounds clause by
clause the spiritual or internal sense of the whole of Genesis and
Exodus, a heavenly sense which exists within the literal sense as the
soul within the body, according to a Divine creative law, called the law
of correspondences. Numerous passages are cited from all parts of
Scripture in confirmation, their spiritual meaning being given. Also the
doctrines contained in the internal sense are authoritatively explained
and illustrated. Interspersed with the expository material are
descriptions of what Swedenborg heard and saw in the spiritual world.
These form a continuous series in themselves and serve as a basis for
several of his later works.
Here is an extract from the first volume of Arcana Caelestia as
Swedenborg starts to expound the meaning of the first verse of the
In the beginning God created
heaven and earth.
The most ancient times of all are called
'the beginning', and are throughout the Prophets referred to as 'days of
antiquity' and also 'days of eternity'. 'The beginning' also embodies
within it that first Period when a person is being regenerated, for at
that time he is being born anew and receiving life. Regeneration itself
is therefore called a new creation of man. Almost everywhere in the
prophetical sections 'to create', 'to form', and 'to make' mean to