Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fiery angel

Last week in our Bible study group, we started the story of Moses and the burning bush. This is one of the more famous Bible stories; I have heard it many times. However, I had never read the opening lines very closely:

And the angel of God appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush
An angel is what was in the bush.

Now, I was very into fantasy novels as a teenager. This genre tends to include things like fire elementals, which appear as flame but don't actually set anything on fire unless they choose to. I find it fascinating that the story of the bush so closely parallels our modern idea of a pagan world.

No one else in the group found this interesting. So it seems more likely that I've overloaded on fantasy novels than that this is actually an insightful observation. Still, it has stuck with me; it will definitely make me pay more attention to appearances of angels as we continue our study.


Tausign said...

As a young adult I couldn't get enough of good science fiction. And certainly fantasy and dreams are an opening to long as we keep in mind that they are in need of healthy discernment.

And I don't find it strange that people of all ages and cultures would create stories that reflect a world that is out of bounds to normal realm. In fact, if there's anything that's strange, it's the staunch materialist who denies all nonmaterial reality. (As an aside, the current sci-fi, horror or fantasy media, has some miniscule redeeming feature, in that it leaves open the spirit world, even if pagan and distorted.)

Yet interestingly the 'angel' represents a messenger from God. It is the 'form' that is used to 'ev-angel-ize' or bring revelation between God and man. For the believer, what distinguishes the angel of Sacred Scripture from pure fantasy is the acceptance of the True Source of the message and its bona fide relevance to our lives.

lyrl said...

For me, the Bible is different from fantasy because its purpose is not to entertain, but to explain how a people understood their world. I believe applying it to our lives still requires discernment, albeit of a different kind.

These are powerful stories, that have spoken to deep-seated needs in people for thousands of years. They can bring relevance to the lives of even us non-believers.