Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vision of John - A Curiosity

When artists have depicted the events of The Revelation To John over the last couple of centuries, they rather automatically choose the image of Earth and Beyond Earth from our own culture. We see the Archangel Michael out in the solar system with a spear, or "a third of the earth" showing a globe with two continents blotted out (usually Asia and parts of a few others). That is our way of conceptualizing looking at the earth. From space.

Whatever John saw in his vision, we can be pretty sure that wasn't it. It would have taken too much explanation to him to recognise what it was. Those are North and South America. That's Australia. You come from over here. This is what the world looks like is you go way up high in the sky. And it's certainly not God's way of looking at things, so there's no appealing to our way being the "right" way. For openers, even if you were starting from outer space as your reference point, why not put Antarctica on top?

All those primitive illustrations in Orthodox churches around the Mediterranean? Our concept is just as primitive. Theirs may be better in most ways.

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