Friday, December 29, 2017

Scandinavian hell

I'd like to make a brief observation about hell. There are Christians, apostates, and atheists who get carried away with the poetic imagery. 

If, however, the Bible was originally revealed in, say, Iceland, the Yukon, or Scandinavia, rather than a hot dry climate like Palestine, the hellish imagery might instead draw on snow and ice, arctic temperatures, a polar vortex, and a continuous polar night. 

The "geography" of hell is based on the Middle East. The "geography" of hell would vary if originally revealed in regions with different landscape and climate. The metaphors are to some degree culturebound. A tropical depiction of hell might be characterized by an abundance of nasty reptiles and stinging insects.


  1. When I read the title I thought the post was gonna be about high taxes, regulations, cradle-to-grave plans and so on. Which I also think is kind of a foretaste of hell.

  2. The post doesn't give examples of what might count as getting carried away, or not. As such, I don't know whether I agree or disagree.

    But, supposing I wanted to disagree, I'd observe that we can't just treat the context of God's revelation as random or irrelevant... because God actively planned and providentially brought about that context. It's not just "there". God is not just having to play with the cards that somebody else dealt him. If we go with that metaphor, he intentionally dealt them to himself.

    1. The question is what hellish biblical metaphors stand for. It would then be a question of different metaphors that stand for the same thing.

      This can be relevant in Bible translations, if some biblical metaphors are drawn from things outside the ken of a reader in a very different time or place.