Friday, December 25, 2009


Even non-religious people know that Christmas has something to do with peace on earth. The Old Testament word from which the concept of peace is drawn is the Hebrew word shalom.

For those who might be wondering about that word shalom in the last post, here is some explanation from Neal Plantinga. This also I had posted over at the Seeking Him blog, but haven't posted it here.

In essence, the word shalom is translated peace, but it's not merely speaking of merely an inner calm. Shalom is cosmic in scope, and centers on reconciliation with God. Plantinga explains:

“They (the prophets) dreamed of a new age in which human crookedness would be straightened out, rough places made plain. The foolish would be made wise, and the wise, humble. They dreamed of a time when the deserts would flower, the mountains would run with wine, weeping would cease, and people could go to sleep without weapons on their laps. People would work in peace and work to fruitful effect. Lambs could lie down with lions. All nature would be fruitful, benign, and filled with wonder upon wonder; all humans would be knit together in brotherhood and sisterhood, and all nature and all humans would look to God, walk with God, lean toward God and delight in God. Shouts of joy and recognition would well up from valleys and seas, from women in streets and from men on ships.

“The webbing together of God, humans and all creation in justice, fulfillment and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight — a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”

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