Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 313

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313. These facts that have now been stated concerning the first man show that he is not the source of hereditary evil existing in everyone alive today, and that people are wrong if they imagine that no other hereditary evil exists apart from that which emanated from that first man. For the subject here is the Most Ancient Church, which is called 'Man'. When it is called Adam it means that man was taken from the ground; that is, from not being 'man' that Church became man through regeneration from the Lord. This is the derivation' and the meaning of that name. As for hereditary evil the situation is this: Everyone who by his own actions commits sin consequently acquires a certain disposition, and the evil arising from it is implanted in his children and becomes hereditary. Thus what a person inherits from either parent, from his grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and so on back, accordingly multiplies and increases in his descendants, and remains with each one. And with each one it is increased further still by the sins of his own doing. Nor is hereditary evil dispersed and rendered harmless except with people who are being regenerated by the Lord. This anyone can recognize, if he has paid the matter any attention at all, from the fact that the evil inclinations of parents are so noticeable in children that one family, indeed one generation, can be distinguished from another by means of it.

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