586. The imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil every day, signifies that there was no perception of truth and good, for the reason, as before said and shown, that they immersed the doctrinal things of faith in their filthy cupidities, and when this occurred all perception was lost, and in place thereof a dreadful persuasion succeeded, that is, a most deep-rooted and deadly phantasy, which was the cause of their extinction and suffocation. This deadly persuasion is here signified by "the imagination of the thoughts of the heart;" but by "the imagination of the heart" without the word "thoughts" is signified the evil of the love of self, or of cupidities, as in the following chapter, where Jehovah said, after Noah had offered a burnt offering: "I will not again curse the ground for man's sake, because the imagination of the heart of man is evil from his childhood" (8:21). An "imagination" is that which man invents for himself, and of which he persuades himself; as in Habakkuk:
What profiteth a graven image, that the fashioner thereof hath graven it ? the molten image and teacher of lies, that the fashioner trusteth to his imagination, to make dumb idols (Hab. 2:18)
a "graven image" signifies false persuasions originating in principles conceived and hatched out by one's self; the "fashioner" is one who is thus self-persuaded, of whom this "imagination" is predicated. In Isaiah:
Your overturn: shall the potter be reputed as the clay, that the work should say to him that made it, He made me not; and the thing fashioned say to him that fashioned it, He had no understanding? (Isa. 29:16)
the "thing fashioned" here signifies thought originating in man's Own, and the persuasion of what is false thence derived. A "thing fashioned" or "imagined" in general, is what a man invents from the heart or will, and also what he invents from the thought or persuasion, as in David:
Jehovah knoweth our fashioning [figmentum], He remembereth that we are dust (Ps. 103:14).
I know his imagination that he doeth this day, before I bring him into the land (Deut. 31:21).
586a. Verse 6. And it repented Jehovah that He made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. That He "repented" signifies mercy; that He "grieved at the heart" has a like signification; to "repent" has reference to wisdom; to "grieve at the heart" to love.