Monday, September 24, 2012

Calamity (from Earth) in the Holy Records

     Fire and brimstone,drought, famine, hurricanes, hail, plague - all these destructive forces have been inflicted upon humanity at least since the time we have been able to keep records. But in the various religious texts, are these stories just imaginative make-believe meant to strike the 'fear of God' (or gods) into each of us? Or, are these true accounts of real events?
Noah's Ark (Edward Hicks)

     Most of us are familiar with the story of the great flood and Noah's ark in the Judeo-Christian scriptures and in the Koran. A flood story is also seen in the Greek myths when Zeus commanded his brother Poseiden to shake the earth (earthquake), cause the rivers to flood and send in the sea (tsunamis?).
     The Mesopotamian 'Epic of Gilgamesh', as well, recounts a great flood. The Caddo people of early North America tell the story of torrential rains that covered the lands and decimated the population.

     In the Book of Genesis, the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, some say, could have been due to an asteroid strike, an earthquake or even a nuclear explosion. The supposed destruction of these two cities also corresponds to a period (about 4000 years ago) of increased seismic activity in the Middle-East. The destruction of the Egyptian army as they pursued Moses and his followers across the Red (Reed?) Sea has been thought to be due to an unusual 'tidal' event...just at the right time.
The Destruction of Sodom
and Gomorrah (John Martin)
     One of the most researched calamities described in Holy Scripture have been the 10 plagues of Egypt:
  • 'blood' in the Nile (volcanic pollution from upstream?, red toxins from algal blooms?); 
  • infestations by frogs, insects, flies and wild animals, pestilence, 'boils' (that's 5 plagues right there); 
  • destruction by hail storms, 
  • plagues of locusts (insects, again); 
  • darkness (solar eclipse?, sandstorm?), 
  • death of the first born (secondary to pollution?).
Plagues of Egypt (John Martin)

     Volcano deities, with their attendant stories of destruction, are revered in some areas of Indonesia and still recognized by many as a potent force in Japan (Mt. Fuji).
     In the Zoroastrian faith, 'the end of the world' is described as occurring with 'molten metal that flows across the earth like a river'. (see post: The End of the World).
Mount Fuji


     *Symbols of religion and apocalypse: subject of research for the novel  The Tao of the Thirteenth God - Amazon Kindle.

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