Bible Notes: Mind

Originally appeared on

Hebrew: Amos 4:13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadethupon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.

The Old Testament is like a library that evolved over centuries, with its earliest traditions rooted in storytelling. Within this expansive collection, traditions like the Israelite creation story could appear in many different genres, or types, of literature. The creation account that opens the Old Testament is highly stylized, very much like a song with stanzas and predictable refrains, telling an orderly story as a ballad does. It has many features that make it easy to listen to, understand, and learn by ear.

In the prophets, however, there are many reflections on that creation story that are much more inventive with language, much more like poetry than song. In this text from Amos we have one of these lovely inventions based on the creation story, embellished with majestic detail, definite imagery, and clever wordplay that moves the imagination to contemplate divinity. Hebrew metaphors tend to mix the metaphysical with the concrete, using things as symbols for divine realities  The masterful parables of Jesus are consummate examples of how ordinary scenes can be used metaphorically to dislocate thought from the concrete to the divine. .

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