1834. The fowls came down upon the bodies. That this signifies evils and the falsities thence derived that were desirous to destroy, is evident from the signification of "fowls," as being falsities. "Fowls" in the Word signify truth-as shown above-and also in the opposite sense falsity (for almost all such things in the Word are thus used in both senses); that "fowls" signify falsity also has been shown before (n. 778, 866, 988). Everyone can see that this signifies arcana; otherwise it would not have been worthy of mention. What the arcanum is has also been already stated, and is evident from the series or connection of things in the internal sense, namely, that it is concerning the state of the church.
 When a church is raised up by the Lord, it is in the beginning blameless, and the one then loves the other as his brother, as is known from the case of the primitive church after the Lord's coming. All the church's children then lived together as brethren, and likewise called one another brethren, and loved one another; but in process of time charity grew cold and vanished away and as it vanished, evils succeeded, and together with these falsities insinuated themselves. Hence came schisms and heresies, which would never be the case if charity were regnant and alive, for then they would not even call schism schism, nor heresy heresy, but a doctrinal matter in accordance with each person's opinion; and this they would leave to each person's conscience, provided such doctrinal matter did not deny first principles, that is, the Lord, eternal life, and the Word; and provided it was not contrary to the Divine order, that is, to the precepts of the Decalogue.
 The evils and the falsities thence derived which succeed in the church when charity vanishes, are what are here meant by the fowls which Abram drove away, that is, which the Lord, who is here represented by Abram, put to flight. Abram drove away nothing but the fowls, and nothing at all of evil and falsity; nor is Abraham known in heaven except as is any other man, who can do nothing at all of himself; but the Lord alone; as also is said by Isaiah:
Thou art our Father, for Abraham knoweth us not, and Israel doth not acknowledge us; Thou O Jehovah art our Father, our Redeemer; Thy name is from everlasting (Isa. 63:16).