Saturday, 11 December 2010

Understanding Biblical Symbols

A penknife: one object, many uses.
In the Bible, an item can symbolise multiple realities.
Consider it divine shorthand,
in a paper scarce time. 
Am enjoying the "shoes of James Jordan" ;o) currently, helping me to prepare for the final session of my church's Biblical Thinking Forum for this year.

On understanding biblical symbols, especially in the context of the book of Revelation, he says:
The reason the language "Symbol" exists is to say things that cannot readily be said in discourse [linear-logic] languages. A symbol can indicate several different things at once... For example the Temple and the Tabernacle simultaneously symbolise the cosmos, the house of God, the social community, the individual human being and the Messiah as Perfect Man. Similarly, the altar is simultaneously, a minature holy mountain, God's people, the human person and Jesus.
In the same way, symbolic narratives exist on more than one level. Think of Revelation as a polyphonic musical composition in which several musical melodies are moving simultaneously, but with perfect harmony and interaction.
I wonder if this outstanding performance is the kind of polyphonic harmony he had in mind...

or this...?

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