229. The beginning of the creation of God. That this signifies faith from Him, which is the primary of the church as to appearance, is evident from the signification of beginning, as being what is primary; and from the signification of the creation of God, as being the church, of which we shall speak presently. The reason why faith is meant by the beginning of the creation of God is, that this is the subject treated of in what is written to the angel of this church; but that faith is the beginning of the creation of God, that is, the primary thing of the church as to appearance, shall now be explained. By faith is here meant faith from the Lord; for faith which is not from the Lord is not the faith of the church, and faith from the Lord is the faith of charity. This faith is the first principle of the church as to appearance, because it appears first to the man of the church; nevertheless, charity itself is actually the first principle of the church, because it constitutes the church with man.  There are two things that constitute the church, namely, charity and faith, charity pertains to affection, and faith to thought therefrom. The very essence of thought is affection; for without affection no one can think, the all of the life, which is in thought, being from affection. It is therefore evident, that the first principle of the church is the affection which is of charity, or love. But the reason why faith is called the first principle of the church is, that it is the first to appear; for what a man believes, that he thinks, and sees in thought; whereas that with which man is spiritually affected, he does not think, nor, therefore, does he see it in thought, but he perceives it in a certain sense which has no reference to sight, but to another sensitive, which is called that of delight. And because this delight is spiritual, and above the feeling of natural delight, a man does not perceive it, until he becomes spiritual, that is, when he is regenerated by the Lord. This is why the things of faith, thus those of sight, are believed to be the primary things of the church, although they are so only in appearance. This therefore is called the beginning of the creation of God, because the Word in the letter is according to appearance; for the appearance in the letter is for the simple; but spiritual men, like the angels, are raised above appearances, and perceive the Word as it is in its internal sense, consequently they perceive that charity is the first principle of the church, and that faith is therefrom; for, as was said above, faith which is not from charity, and which does not pertain to charity, is not faith (concerning this, see what is said in the small work, The Last Judgment, n. 33-39).
 What is the first principle of the church, whether faith or charity, has been a matter of controversy, even from ancient times; and those who were unacquainted with the nature of charity have said that faith is the first principle; but those who were acquainted with the nature of charity have affirmed that charity is the first, and that faith is charity as to appearance, because the affection of charity, which appears to the sight in thought, is faith; for the delight of affection, when it passes from the will into the thought, forms itself, and in various forms renders itself visible. This was unknown to the simple; therefore they took that to be the first principle of the church which appeared before the sight of their thought; and because the Word in the letter is written according to appearances, therefore this is there called the first, the beginning, and the first-born. For this reason, Peter, by whom was represented the faith of the church, is said to be the first of the apostles; whereas John was the first, because John represented the good of charity. That John, and not Peter, was the first of the apostles, is evident from the fact that John leaned on the breast of the Lord, and that he, and not Peter, followed the Lord (John xxi. 20-22). (That by the twelve disciples of the Lord were represented all the truths and goods of the church, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 2129, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397; that by Peter was represented faith, n. 4738, 6000, 6073, 6344, 10,087, 10,580; and that by John was represented the good of charity, n. 3934, 10,087.)  For the same reason also, Reuben (because he was the first-born of Jacob) represented faith, and it was believed that the tribe which had its name from him was the first; but that tribe was not the first, but the tribe of Levi, because Levi represented the good of charity; therefore also this tribe was appointed to the priesthood, and the priesthood is the first thing of the church. (That by the twelve sons of Jacob, or the twelve tribes named from them, were represented all the truths and goods of the church, may be seen, in Arcana Coelestia, n. 3858, 3926, 4060, 6335, 7836, 7891, 7996; that by Reuben was represented faith, n. 3861, 3866, 4605, 4731, 4734, 4761, 6342-6345; and that by Levi was represented the good of charity, n. 3875, 4497, 4502, 4503.) It is also for the same reason, that, in the first chapter of Genesis, which, in the sense of the letter, treats of the creation of heaven and earth, but, in the internal sense, of the new creation, or regeneration, of the man of the church at that time, it is there said that light was first made, and afterwards the sun and the moon, as may be seen, verses 3-5, and 14-19 in that chapter, although the sun is first, and light from it. The reason why light was said to be the first of creation was, that by light is signified the truth of faith, and by the sun and moon the good of love and charity. (That by the creation of heaven and earth, in the first chapter of Genesis, in the spiritual sense, is meant and described the new creation of the man of the celestial church, or his regeneration, may be seen in the explanation of that chapter in Arcana Coelestia, and also, n. 8891, 9942, 10,545. That light signifies truth from good, thus also the truth of faith, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 126-140; and that the sun signifies the good of love, and the moon the good of charity, both from the Lord, may be seen in the same work, n. 116-125, 146.) From these considerations it is evident that the beginning of the creation of God signifies faith from the Lord, which is the first principle of the church as to appearance.