Friday, March 14, 2008

The Judeo-Christian Outlook on Geography: Part 1

The start of an on-going series

While chanting Psalms at Church my mind dwelled on the Biblical outlook on physical geography. Themes of fallen and redemption are applied to the Earth. Also, physical features both natural and man-made are given importance.

Part 1 - Pits

The Biblical view on the world can be examined vertically. If the surface represents the status quo, normal good and bad then the higher the elevation the better. The lower on goes the worse things become.

Openings in the Earth are bad. Pits and other interiors are frequently mentioned as places where people and nations become stuck and lost from God. They are blasted lands to be avoided.
  • "The nations fall into the pit they dig; in the snare they hide, their own foot is caught. The LORD is revealed in this divine rule: by the deeds they do the wicked are trapped. " Psalm 9:16-17
  • "Therefore, as I live, says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Moab shall become like Sodom, the land of Ammon like Gomorrah: A field of nettles and a salt pit and a waste forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder them, the survivors of my nation dispossess them." Zephaniah 2:9
  • Pope John Paul II's service on the Scriptural Way of the Cross mediates about how Jesus' tomb was in Earth's "womb" away from the sight of God.

The worst part of the interior of the Earth is the Pit. Not a whole to the center of the Earth but more as an opening into the Abyss. The Abyss is Hell, the complete opposite of Heaven. It has been described as eternal torment, abandonment, and complete destruction of the soul. The Abyss and Pit are so horrible that it is a hell for Satan himself. In short: the end.
  • "He will take pity on him and say, 'Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found him a ransom.'" Job 33:24
  • "What gain is there from my lifeblood, from my going down to the grave [pit]? Does dust give you thanks or declare your faithfulness?" Psalm 30:10
  • "They had as their king the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon [the destroyer]." Revelation 9:11 (Yeah)

Why such a negative view of the inside of the Earth? Genesis 1:1-3 help explain.
  • "In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light."
The interior of the Earth and the Abyss are the oldest parts as the surface was shaped later, according to the Creation story. While the surface and above received the good works of God the insides were left in their original state free to corrupted by both the Fall and Satan. Naturally ad by God's design man was not meant to be underground. So it is best just to stay away. The interior of the Earth is no place for Man.

Next post in the series: Peaks- Monuments of the Lord


Deaner said...

Good stuff!

Charlene said...

For those who do not follow a literalist view of the Bible, the negative view of the inside of the Earth could easily be explained by the fact that the Mediterranean is very active geologically. Anyone who has heard of earthquakes opening up enormous chasms and swallowing entire villages, or of volcanoes spewing lava, could not fail but to be impressed with the dangers (and the heat!) lurking underground. Such horrors would work as an excellent allegory for Hell.

Catholicgauze said...

Great point Charlene!