Biblical cosmology

Biblical cosmology

Overview
The various authors
Authors of the Bible
The various books of the Jewish and Christian Bibles were the work of many persons over many centuries. While most biblical books have traditional authors ascribed to them, biblical scholars regard few of the books in either the Jewish or Christian Bibles as being the work of the individuals whose...

 of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 (Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, or Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

) and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 provide glimpses of their views regarding cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

.

According to the Genesis creation narrative, the cosmos created by Elohim
Elohim
Elohim is a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language. When used with singular verbs and adjectives elohim is usually singular, "god" or especially, the God. When used with plural verbs and adjectives elohim is usually plural, "gods" or...

 has three levels, with the habitable world in the centre, an underworld
Underworld
The Underworld is a region which is thought to be under the surface of the earth in some religions and in mythologies. It could be a place where the souls of the recently departed go, and in some traditions it is identified with Hell or the realm of death...

 below and the heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

s above. The underworld contains Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

, the place of the dead, while God has his throne
Throne of God
The Throne of God is the reigning centre of the chief deity of the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The throne is said by various holy books to reside above the Seventh Heaven called Araboth in Judaism.-Judaism:...

 above, and resting on, the Firmament
Firmament
The firmament is the vault or expanse of the sky. According to Genesis, God created the firmament to separate the oceans from other waters above.-Etymology:...

.

Many Near Eastern cosmologies describe our world as a vast fresh water ocean in which the earth floats like a bubble.
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The various authors
Authors of the Bible
The various books of the Jewish and Christian Bibles were the work of many persons over many centuries. While most biblical books have traditional authors ascribed to them, biblical scholars regard few of the books in either the Jewish or Christian Bibles as being the work of the individuals whose...

 of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 (Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, or Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

) and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 provide glimpses of their views regarding cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

.

According to the Genesis creation narrative, the cosmos created by Elohim
Elohim
Elohim is a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language. When used with singular verbs and adjectives elohim is usually singular, "god" or especially, the God. When used with plural verbs and adjectives elohim is usually plural, "gods" or...

 has three levels, with the habitable world in the centre, an underworld
Underworld
The Underworld is a region which is thought to be under the surface of the earth in some religions and in mythologies. It could be a place where the souls of the recently departed go, and in some traditions it is identified with Hell or the realm of death...

 below and the heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

s above. The underworld contains Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

, the place of the dead, while God has his throne
Throne of God
The Throne of God is the reigning centre of the chief deity of the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The throne is said by various holy books to reside above the Seventh Heaven called Araboth in Judaism.-Judaism:...

 above, and resting on, the Firmament
Firmament
The firmament is the vault or expanse of the sky. According to Genesis, God created the firmament to separate the oceans from other waters above.-Etymology:...

.

Many Near Eastern cosmologies describe our world as a vast fresh water ocean in which the earth floats like a bubble. The earth itself is a flat, circular single continent surrounded by a salt-water sea. Some read the Hebrew Bible's view of the world as a cosmic ocean area separated from the habitable earth by a solid stellar vault, or "firmament," with apertures to allow the passage of the sun, moon and stars, as well as rain and the various winds.

Stellar vault "firmament"


The stellar vault, conceived to be situated above the firmament
Firmament
The firmament is the vault or expanse of the sky. According to Genesis, God created the firmament to separate the oceans from other waters above.-Etymology:...

, is compared by Isaias to a tent stretched out by the Most High. The abode of the stars is described as a raqiya (rä·kē'·ah, Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 for an extended solid surface or flat expanse, considered to be a solid layer above the Earth, from raqa, Strong's 7554. "properly, an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky").

According to , this raqiya was "in the midst of the waters" and "separated the waters which were below the raqiya from the waters which were above the raqiya". There were also lights placed in the raqiya, or firmament, to give light upon the earth , being the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

, Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, and star
Star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s.

states the raqiya "is declaring the work of His [God's] hands" and uses raqiya as a location for God's power. In raqiya ("expanse of heaven") is compared to those who have insight, both shining brightly. In Ezekiel's vision
the raqiya resembled ice or crystal .

According to Job 26:11 the heavens have pillars.

The planets


Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

 and Saturn
Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus , the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani. Saturn's astronomical symbol represents the Roman god's sickle.Saturn,...

 are the only planets expressly mentioned in the Old Testament. Isaiah 14:12 is about one Helel ben Shahar, called the King of Babylon in the text. Helel ("morning star, son of the dawn") is translated as Lucifer in the Vulgate Bible but its meaning is uncertain.

Saturn is no less certainly represented by the star KaiwanMulti-Version Concordance, worshipped by the Israelites in the desert (Amos 5:26). The same word (interpreted to mean "steadfast") frequently designates, in the Babylonian inscriptions, the slowest-moving planet; while Sakkuth, the divinity associated with the star by the prophet, is an alternative appellation for Ninurta
Ninurta
Ninurta in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology was the god of Lagash, identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identical...

, who, as a Babylonian planet-god, was merged with Saturn. The ancient Syrians and Arabs, too, called Saturn Kaiwan, the corresponding terms in the Zoroastrian Bundahish being Kevan. The other planets are individualized in the Bible only by implication. The worship of gods connected with them is denounced, but without any manifest intention of referring to the heavenly bodies. Thus, Gad and Meni (Isaias, lxv, 11) are, no doubt, the "greater and the lesser Fortune" typified throughout the East by Jupiter and Venus; Neba, the tutelary deity of Borsippa
Borsippa
Borsippa was an important ancient city of Sumer, built on both sides of a lake about southwest of Babylon on the east bank of the Euphrates. The site of Borsippa is in Babil Governorate, Iraq and now called Birs Nimrud, identifying the site with Nimrod...

 (Isaias xlvi, 1), shone in the sky as Mercury, and Nergal
Nergal
The name Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali refers to a deity in Babylon with the main seat of his cult at Cuthah represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim. Nergal is mentioned in the Hebrew bible as the deity of the city of Cuth : "And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal"...

, transplanted from Assyria to Kutha (2 Kings 17:30), as Mars.

Stars


The "host of heaven", a frequently recurring Scriptural expression, has both a general and a specific meaning. It designates, in some passages, the entire array of star
Star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s; in others it particularly applies to the sun, moon, planets, and certain selected stars; the worship of which was introduced from Babylonia under the later kings of Israel.

The portions of the Bible which describe stars as being knocked out of the sky sometimes refer figuratively to angels, who are known also as "stars". Examples include Daniel 8:10, Matthew 24:29, Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 12:4. Where the Bible describes the end of the universe, then literal stars are meant, as in Mark 13:25, Revelation 6:13. The swipe of a dragon's tail which dislodges "one-third of all the stars in the sky" in Revelation 12:4 refers to Satan, as is later explained in Revelation 12:9, "The huge dragon was hurled down. That ancient serpent, called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was hurled down to the earth, along with its angels." Speaking of the end of this universe, the Bible describes "the heavens" (space) as being "rolled back like a scroll" in Revelation 6:14.

Kimah and Kesil


The Bible names some half-dozen star-groups
Constellation
In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky....

, but authorities differ widely as to their identity. In a striking passage the Prophet Amos (v, 8) glorifies the Creator as "Him that made Kimah and Kesil", rendered in the Vulgate as Arcturus and Orion
Orion (constellation)
Orion, often referred to as The Hunter, is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous, and most recognizable constellations in the night sky...

. Now Kimah certainly does not mean Arcturus. The word, which occurs twice in the Book of Job (ix, 9; xxxviii, 31), is treated in the Septuagint version as equivalent to Pleiades
Pleiades (star cluster)
In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters , is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky...

. This, also, is the meaning given to it in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 (TB Brachot 58b) and throughout Syrian literature; it is supported by etymological evidences, the Hebrew term being obviously related to the Arabic root kum (accumulate), and the Assyrian kamu (to bind); while the "chains of Kimah", referred to in the sacred text, not inaptly figure the coercive power imparting unity to a multiple object. The associated constellation Kesil is doubtless no other than Orion. Yet, in the first of the passages in Job where it figures, the Septuagint gives Herper; in the second, the Vulgate quite irrelevantly inserts Arcturus; Karstens Niebuhr (1733–1815) understood Kesil to mean Sirius
Sirius
Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star. The name "Sirius" is derived from the Ancient Greek: Seirios . The star has the Bayer designation Alpha Canis Majoris...

; Thomas Hyde
Thomas Hyde
Thomas Hyde was an English orientalist. The first use of the word dualism is attributed to him, in 1700.-Life:He was born at Billingsley, near Bridgnorth in Shropshire, on 29 June 1636...

 (1636–1703) held that it indicated Canopus
Canopus
Canopus |Alpha]] Carinae) is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Carina and Argo Navis, and the second brightest star in the night-time sky, after Sirius. Canopus's visual magnitude is −0.72, and it has an absolute magnitude of −5.53.Canopus is a supergiant of spectral...

. Now kesil signifies in Hebrew "impious", adjectives expressive of the stupid criminality which belongs to the legendary character of giants; and the stars of Orion irresistibly suggest a huge figure striding across the sky. The Arabs accordingly named the constellation Al-gebbar, "the giant", the Syriac equivalent being Gabbara in old Syriac version of the Bible known as Peshitta. We may then safely admit that Kimah and Kesil did actually designate the Pleiades and Orion. But further interpretations are considerably more obscure. The Jewish Biblical Commentator Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 says that Kimah emits cold, and that is what makes winter so cold. However, Kesil emits heat preventing the winter from getting too cold.

Ash


In the Book of Job
Book of Job
The Book of Job , commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book is a...

—the most distinctively astronomical part of the Bible—mention is made, with other stars, of Ash and Ayish, almost certainly divergent forms of the same word. lts signification remains an enigma. The Vulgate and Septuagint inconsistently render it "Arcturus and Hesperus
Hesperus
In Greek mythology, Hesperus is the Evening Star, the planet Venus in the evening. He is the son of the dawn goddess Eos and is the brother of Eosphorus , the Morning Star. Hesperus' Roman equivalent is Vesper...

". Abenezra (1092–1167), however, the learned Rabbi of Toledo, gave such strong reasons for Ash, or Ayish, to mean the Great Bear
Ursa Major
Ursa Major , also known as the Great Bear, is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. It can best be seen in April...

, that the opinion, though probably erroneous, is still prevalent.
It was chiefly grounded on the resemblance between ash and the Arabic na 'ash, "a bier", applied to the four stars of the Wain, the three in front figuring as mourners, under the title of Benât na 'ash, "daughters of the bier". But Job, too, speaks of the "children of Ayish", and the inference seems irresistible that the same star-group was similarly referred to in both cases. Yet there is large room for doubt.
The Jewish Biblical Commentator Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 says that Ayish is Alcyone
Alcyone (star)
Alcyone is a star system in the constellation Taurus. It is the brightest star in the Pleiades open cluster, which is a young cluster, aged at less than 50 million years. Alcyone is approximately 370 light years from Earth. It is named after the mythological figure Alcyone, one of the...

. "Its Children" are the other stars of the Pleiades. Ayish needs to be consoled because two of the stars of The Pleiades were moved to Aries
Aries (astrology)
Aries is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the zero degree and the 29th degree of celestial longitude. The Sun enters Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which is usually on March 21 each year, and remains in this sign until around April 20...

 at the Deluge .

Modern philologists do not admit the alleged connection of Ayish with na 'ash, nor is any funereal association apparent in Book of Job. On the other hand, Professor Schiaparelli draws attention to the fact that ash denotes "moth" in the Old Testament, and that the folded wings of the insect are closely imitated in their triangular shape by the doubly aligned stars of the Hyades
Hyades (star cluster)
The Hyades is the nearest open cluster to the Solar System and one of the best-studied of all star clusters. The Hipparcos satellite, the Hubble Space Telescope, and infrared color-magnitude diagram fitting have been used to establish a distance to the cluster's center of ~153 ly...

. Now Ayish in the Peshitta is translated Iyutha, a constellation mentioned by St. Ephrem and other Syriac writers, and Schiaparelli's learned consideration of the various indications afforded by Arabic and Syriac literature makes it reasonably certain that Iyutha authentically signifies Aldebaran
Aldebaran
Aldebaran is a red giant star located about 65 light years away in the zodiac constellation of Taurus. With an average apparent magnitude of 0.87 it is the brightest star in the constellation and is one of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky...

, the great red star in the head of the Bull, with its children, the rainy Hyades. It is true that Hyde, Ewald, other scholars have adopted Capella and the Kids as representative of Iyutha, and therefore of "Ayish and her children"; but the view involves many incongruities.

Hadre Theman (Chambers of the South)


The glories of the sky adverted to the Book of Job include a sidereal landscape vaguely described as "the chambers [i.e. penetralia] of the south". The phrase, according to Schiaparelli, refers to some assemblage of brilliant stars, rising 20 degrees at most above the southern horizon in Palestine about the year 750 B.C. (assumed as the date of the Patriarch Job), and, taking account of the changes due to precession, he points out the stellar pageant formed by the Ship, the Cross, and the Centaur meets the required conditions. Sirius, although at the date in question it culminated at an altitude of 41 degrees, may possibly have been thought of as belonging to the "chambers of the south"; otherwise, this splendid object would appear to be ignored in the Bible.

Mezarim


Job opposes to the "chambers of the south", as the source of cold, an asterism named Mezarim (xxxvii, 9). Both the Vulgate and the Septuagint render this word by Arcturus, evidently in mistake (the blunder is not uncommon) for Arctos. The Great Bear circled in those days much more closely round the pole than it now does; its typical northern character survives in the Latin word septentrio (from septem triones, the seven stars of the Wain); and Schiaparelli concludes from the dual form of mezarim, that the Jews, like the Phoenicians, were acquainted with the Little, as well as with the Great, Bear. He identifies the word as the plural, or dual, of mizreh, "a winnowing-fan", an instrument figured by the seven stars of the Wain, quite as accurately as the Ladle of the Chinese or the Dipper of popular American parlance.

Mazzaroth


Perhaps the most baffling riddle in Biblical star-nomenclature is that presented by the word Mazzaroth
Mazzaroth
Mazzaroth is a hapax legomenon of the Hebrew Bible, found in .The similar word mazalot in may be related....

or Mazzaloth (Job 38:31, 32; 2 Kings 23:5) usually, though not unanimously admitted to be phonetic variants. As to their signification, opinions are hopelessly divergent. The authors of the Septuagint transcribed, without translating, the ambiguous expression; the Vulgate gives for its equivalent Lucifer in Job, the Signs of the Zodiac in the Book of Kings. St. John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

 adopted the latter meaning, noting, however, that many of his contemporaries interpreted Mazzaroth as Sirius. But this idea soon lost vogue while the zodiacal explanation gained wide currency. It is, indeed, at first sight, extremely plausible. Long before the Exodus the Twelve Signs were established in Euphratean regions much as we know them now. Although never worshipped in a primary sense, they may well have been held sacred as the abode of deities. The Assyrian manzallu (sometimes written manzazu), "station", occurs in the Babylonian Creation tablets with the import "mansions of the gods"; and the word appears to be etymologically akin to Mazzaloth, which in rabbinical Hebrew signifies primarily the Signs of the Zodiac, secondarily the planets. The lunar Zodiac, too, suggests itself in this connection. The twenty-eight "mansions of the moon" (menazil al-kamar) were the leading feature of Arabic sky-lore, and they subserved astrological purposes among many Oriental peoples. They might, accordingly, have belonged to the apparatus of superstition used by the soothsayers who were extirpated in Judah, together with the worship of the Mazzaroth, by King Josias, about 621 B.C. Yet no such explanation can be made to fit in with the form of expression met with in the Book of Job (xxxviii, 32). Speaking in the person of the Almighty, the Patriarch asks, "Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in its time?" -- clearly in allusion to a periodical phenomenon, such as the brilliant visibility of Lucifer, or Hesperus. Professor Schiaparelli then recurs to the Vulgate rendering of this passage. He recognizes in Mazzaroth the planet Venus in her double aspect of morning and evening star, pointing out that the luminary designated in the Book of Kings, with the sun and moon, and the "host of heaven" must evidently be next in brightness to the chief light-givers. Further, the sun, moon, and Venus constitute the great astronomical triad of Babylonia, the sculptured representations of which frequently include the "host of heaven" typified by a crowd of fantastic animal-divinities. And since the astral worship anathematized by the prophets of Israel was unquestionably of Euphratean origin, the designation of Mazzaroth as the third member of the Babylonian triad is a valuable link in the evidence. Still, the case remains one of extreme difficulty.

Nachash


Notwithstanding the scepticism of recent commentators, it appears fairly certain that the "fugitive serpent" of Job, xxvi, 13 (coluber tortuosus in the Vulgate) does really stand for the circumpolar reptile. The Euphratean constellation Draco is of hoary antiquity, and would quite probably have been familiar to Job. On the other hand, Rahab (Job 9:13; 21:12), translated "whale" in the Septuagint, is probably of legendary or symbolical import.

Star names


The subjoined list gives (largely on Schiaparelli's authority) the best-warranted interpretations of biblical star-names:
  • Kimah, the Pleiades
    Pleiades (star cluster)
    In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters , is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky...

  • the Kesil, Orion
    Orion (constellation)
    Orion, often referred to as The Hunter, is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous, and most recognizable constellations in the night sky...

  • Ash, or Ayish, the Hyades
    Hyades (star cluster)
    The Hyades is the nearest open cluster to the Solar System and one of the best-studied of all star clusters. The Hipparcos satellite, the Hubble Space Telescope, and infrared color-magnitude diagram fitting have been used to establish a distance to the cluster's center of ~153 ly...

  • Mezarim, the Bears (Great and Little
    Ursa Minor
    Ursa Minor , also known as the Little Bear, is a constellation in the northern sky. Like the Great Bear, the tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, whence the name Little Dipper...

    )
  • Mazzaroth, Venus (Lucifer and Hesperus)
  • Hadre theman -- "the chambers of the south" -- Canopus
    Canopus
    Canopus |Alpha]] Carinae) is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Carina and Argo Navis, and the second brightest star in the night-time sky, after Sirius. Canopus's visual magnitude is −0.72, and it has an absolute magnitude of −5.53.Canopus is a supergiant of spectral...

    , the Southern Cross, and α Centauri
    Alpha Centauri
    Alpha Centauri is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus...

  • Nachash, Draco
    Draco (constellation)
    Draco is a constellation in the far northern sky. Its name is Latin for dragon. Draco is circumpolar for many observers in the northern hemisphere...


Jewish view



The Jewish concept of the afterlife
Jewish eschatology
Jewish eschatology is concerned with the Jewish Messiah, afterlife, and the revival of the dead. Eschatology, generically, is the area of theology and philosophy concerned with the final events in the history of the world, the ultimate destiny of humanity, and related concepts.-The Messiah:The...

, sometimes known as olam haba, the World-to-come, is not precise. Originally, the two ideas of immortality and resurrection were different but in rabbinic thought they are combined: the soul departs from the body at death but is returned to it at the resurrection
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

. This idea is linked to another rabbinic teaching, that men's good and bad actions are rewarded and punished not in this life but after death, whether immediately or at the subsequent resurrection. Around 1 AD, the Pharisees
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

 are said to have maintained belief in resurrection but the Sadducees
Sadducees
The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that were active in Ancient Israel during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society...

 are said to have denied it (Matt. 22:23).

The Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 (c. 200
200
Year 200 was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Severus and Victorinus...

) lists belief in the resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 as one of three essential beliefs necessary for a Jew to participate in it. The Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 has many sayings about the World to Come, for example, "Rabbi Yaakov said: This world is like a lobby before the World to Come; prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall."

While all classic rabbinic sources discuss the afterlife, the classic Medieval scholars
Rishonim
"Rishon" redirects here. For the preon model in particle physics, see Harari Rishon Model. For the Israeli town, see Rishon LeZion.Rishonim were the leading Rabbis and Poskim who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulkhan Arukh and...

 dispute the nature of existence in the "End of Days" after the messianic period. While Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

 describes an entirely spiritual existence for souls, which he calls "disembodied intellects," Nahmanides
Nahmanides
Nahmanides, also known as Rabbi Moses ben Naḥman Girondi, Bonastruc ça Porta and by his acronym Ramban, , was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, Catalan rabbi, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator.-Name:"Nahmanides" is a Greek-influenced formation meaning "son of Naḥman"...

 discusses an intensely spiritual existence on Earth, where spirituality and physicality are merged. Both agree that life after death is as Maimonides describes the "End of Days." This existence entails an extremely heightened understanding of and connection to the Divine Presence. This view is shared by all classic rabbinic scholars.

Although Judaism concentrates on the importance of the Earthly world, all of classical Judaism posits an afterlife. Jewish tradition affirms that the human soul is immortal and thus survives the physical death of the body. Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 maintains the tenet of the bodily resurrection of the dead, including traditional references to it in the liturgy. Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 has generally retained the tenet of the bodily resurrection of the dead, including traditional references to it in the liturgy. However, many Conservative Jews interpret the tenet metaphorically rather than literally. Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism have altered traditional references to the resurrection of the dead ("who gives life to the dead") to refer to "who gives life to all". Conservative Judaism has retained the traditional language although some interpret it non-literally.

Christian view


Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 has taught Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 as a place of eternal life
Eternal life (Christianity)
In Christianity the term eternal life traditionally refers to continued life after death, rather than immortality. While scholars such as John H. Leith assert that...

, in that it is a shared plane to be attained by all the elect (rather than an abstract experience related to individual concepts of the ideal). Different denominations and groups within Christianity have been divided over how people gain this eternal life. From the 16th to the late 19th century, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 was divided between the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 view, the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 view, the Coptic view, the Jacobite
Syriac Orthodox Church
The Syriac Orthodox Church; is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean, with members spread throughout the world. The Syriac Orthodox Church claims to derive its origin from one of the first Christian communities, established in Antioch by the Apostle St....

 view, the Abyssinian
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the predominant Oriental Orthodox Christian church in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Church was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All...

 view and Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 views.

Roman Catholics believe that entering Purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 (a period of purification and suffering until one's nature is perfected) cleanses one of sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

 and through enduring this agony makes one acceptable to enter Heaven, the state in which one's soul is divinized
Theosis
In Christian theology, divinization, deification, making divine or theosis is the transforming effect of divine grace. This concept of salvation is historical and fundamental for Christian understanding that is prominent in the Eastern Orthodox Church and also in the Catholic Church, and is a...

 by a participation in the beatific vision
Beatific vision
The beatific vision - in Christian theology is the ultimate direct self communication of God to the individual person, when she or he reaches, as a member of redeemed humanity in the communion of saints, perfect salvation in its entirety, i.e. heaven...

 of the Godhead
Godhead (Christianity)
Godhead is a Middle English variant of the word godhood, and denotes the Divine Nature or Substance of the Christian God, or the Trinity. Within some traditions such as Mormonism, the term is used as a nontrinitarian substitute for the term Trinity, denoting the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit not as...

. This purification in Purgatory is valid for venial sin
Venial sin
According to Roman Catholicism, a venial sin is a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell...

 only, as mortal sin
Mortal sin
Mortal sins are in the theology of some, but not all Christian denominations wrongful acts that condemn a person to Hell after death. These sins are considered "mortal" because they constitute a rupture in a person's link to God's saving grace: the person's soul becomes "dead", not merely weakened...

s can be forgiven only through the act of reconciliation and repentance while on earth. Some within the Anglican Communion
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, notably Anglo-Catholics, also hold to this belief, despite their separate history. However, in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches, it is only God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 who has the final say on who enters heaven. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, heaven is understood as union (Theosis
Theosis
In Christian theology, divinization, deification, making divine or theosis is the transforming effect of divine grace. This concept of salvation is historical and fundamental for Christian understanding that is prominent in the Eastern Orthodox Church and also in the Catholic Church, and is a...

) and communion with the Triune God (reunion of Father and Son through love).

Protestants
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 believe that receiving eternal life depends upon the sinner receiving God's grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 (unearned and undeserved blessing stemming from God's love) through faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 in Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

' death for their sins, see atonement, his resurrection as the Christ, and accepting his Lordship (authority and guidance) over their lives. Some Protestant sects also teach that a physical baptism, or obligatory process of transformation or experience of spiritual rebirth, is further required. Also, Protestantism is divided into groups who believe in the doctrine of eternal security (once a person becomes a Christian, s/he remains one forever, also referred to by the slogan "once saved, always saved") and those who believe that a person who sins continually without any repentance or penitence was never saved in the first place. Some sects do believe that those who continually sin can lose their salvation, though it is generally believed that it shows that the individual was not fully committed in the first place.

Gehenna, Hell




Jewish view


Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 has a tradition of describing Gehenna (Hebrew: Gehinnom), but it is not Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

. It is rather a sort of purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 where one is judged based on his or her life's deeds, or rather, where one becomes fully aware of one's own shortcomings and negative actions during one's life. In both Rabbinical Jewish and Christian writing, Gehenna, as a destination of the wicked, is different from Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

, or Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

.

Gehenna is a term derived from a geographical site in Jerusalem known as the Valley of Hinnom. The site was initially where apostate Israelites and followers of various Ba'als and false gods, including Moloch
Moloch
Moloch — also rendered as Molech, Molekh, Molok, Molek, Molock, or Moloc — is the name of an ancient Semitic god...

, sacrificed their children by fire . In time it became deemed to be accursed and an image of the place of destruction in Jewish folklore.

Eventually the Hebrew term Gehinnom became a figurative name for the place of spiritual purification for the wicked dead in Judaism, a site at the greatest possible distance from heaven. According to most Jewish sources, the period of purification or punishment is limited to only 12 months and every shabbath day is excluded from punishment. After this the soul will ascend to Olam Ha-Ba, the world to come, or will be destroyed if it is severely wicked.

Daniel 12:2 proclaims "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt." The Book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

 does not mention Gehenna by name, but the "burning place" in which the Assyrian army are to be destroyed, may be read "Topheth", and the final verse of Isaiah which concerns the corpses of the same or a similar battle, , "where their worm does not die" is cited by Jesus in reference to Gehenna in .

The picture of Gehenna as the place of punishment or destruction of the wicked occurs frequently in the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 in Kiddushin4.14, Avot1.5; 5.19, 20, Tosefta
Tosefta
The Tosefta is a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah.-Overview:...

 t.Bereshith 6.15, and Babylonian Talmud b.Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

 16b:7a; b.Bereshith 28b. Gehenna is considered a Purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

-like place where the wicked go to suffer until they have atoned for their sins. It is stated that the maximum amount of time a sinner can spend in Gehenna is one year, with the exception of five people who are there for all of eternity Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin (Talmud)
Sanhedrin is one of ten tractates of Seder Nezikin . It originally formed one tractate with Makkot, which also deals with criminal law...

 7.

The Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 explains it as a "waiting room" (commonly translated as an "entry way") for all souls (not just the wicked). The overwhelming majority of rabbinic thought maintains that people are not in Gehenna
Gehenna
Gehenna , Gehinnom and Yiddish Gehinnam, are terms derived from a place outside ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ; one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City.In the Hebrew Bible, the site was initially where apostate Israelites and...

 forever; the longest that one can be there is said to be 11 months, however there has been the occasional noted exception.

According to Jewish teachings, hell is not entirely physical; rather, it can be compared to a very intense feeling of shame. People are ashamed of their misdeeds and this constitutes suffering which makes up for the bad deeds. In addition, Subbotniks and Messianic Judaism believe in Gehenna, but Samaritans probably believe in a separation of the wicked in a shadowy existence, Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

, and the righteous in heaven.

Christian view



Gehenna, or Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

, is cited in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 and in early Christian writing to represent the final place where the wicked will be punished or destroyed after resurrection.

Hell, in Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 beliefs, is a place or a state in which the souls of the unsaved will suffer the consequences of sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

. The Christian doctrine of Hell derives from the teaching of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, where Hell is typically described using the Greek words Gehenna
Gehenna
Gehenna , Gehinnom and Yiddish Gehinnam, are terms derived from a place outside ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ; one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City.In the Hebrew Bible, the site was initially where apostate Israelites and...

or Tartarus
Tartarus
In classic mythology, below Uranus , Gaia , and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros . It is a deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld. In the Gorgias, Plato In classic mythology, below Uranus (sky), Gaia (earth), and Pontus...

. Unlike Hades
Hades in Christianity
According to various Christian faiths, Hades is "the place or state of departed spirits".-Hades in the Old Testament:In the Septuagint , the Greek term "ᾅδης" is used to translate the Hebrew term "שׁאול" in, for example,...

, Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

, or Purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 it is considered an ultimate destination for the soul, and those damned to Hell are without hope. In the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, it is described as the place or state of punishment
Punishment
Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group....

 after death or last judgment
Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

 for those who have rejected Jesus. In many classical and popular depictions it is also the abode of Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

 and of Demons.

Hell is generally defined as the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners after this life. Hell's character is inferred from biblical teaching, which has often been understood literally. Souls are said to pass into Hell by God's irrevocable judgment, either immediately after death (particular judgment
Particular judgment
Particular judgment, according to Christian eschatology, is the judgment given by God that a departed person undergoes immediately after death, in contradistinction to the General judgment of all people at the end of the world....

) or in the general judgment
General judgment
General judgment is the Christian theological concept of a judgment of the dead by nation and as a whole. It is related closely to Judgment day and often is just another phrase for the Last judgment, but is not necessarily part of any eschatology...

. Modern theologians generally describe Hell as the logical consequence of the soul using its free will to reject the will of God. It is considered compatible with God's justice and mercy because God will not interfere with the soul's free choice.

In the synoptic gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 Jesus uses the word Gehenna 11 times to describe the opposite to life in the promised, coming Kingdom . It is a place where both soul and body could be destroyed in "unquenchable fire" .

Only in the King James Version of the bible is the word "Hell" used to translate certain words, such as Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

(Hebrew) and both Hades
Hades in Christianity
According to various Christian faiths, Hades is "the place or state of departed spirits".-Hades in the Old Testament:In the Septuagint , the Greek term "ᾅδης" is used to translate the Hebrew term "שׁאול" in, for example,...

and Gehenna
Gehenna
Gehenna , Gehinnom and Yiddish Gehinnam, are terms derived from a place outside ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ; one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City.In the Hebrew Bible, the site was initially where apostate Israelites and...

(Greek). All other translations reserve Hell only for use when Gehenna
Gehenna
Gehenna , Gehinnom and Yiddish Gehinnam, are terms derived from a place outside ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ; one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City.In the Hebrew Bible, the site was initially where apostate Israelites and...

 is mentioned. It is generally agreed that both sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

 and hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

 do not typically refer to the place of eternal punishment, but to the underworld
Underworld
The Underworld is a region which is thought to be under the surface of the earth in some religions and in mythologies. It could be a place where the souls of the recently departed go, and in some traditions it is identified with Hell or the realm of death...

 or temporary abode of the dead. Hades is portrayed as a different place from the final judgement of the damned in Gehenna. The Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

 describes Hades being cast into the Lake of Fire
Lake of Fire
A lake of fire appears, in both ancient Egyptian and Christian religion, as a place of after-death punishment of the wicked. The phrase is used in four verses of the Book of Revelation. The image was also used by the Early Christian Hippolytus of Rome in about the year 200 and has continued to be...

 (Gehenna) . Hades the temporary place of the dead is said to be removed for ever and cast into the Lake of Fire commonly understood to be synonymous with Gehenna or the final Hell of the unsaved.

Many modern Christians understand Gehenna to be a place of eternal punishment called hell. On the other hand, annihilationists understand Gehenna to be a place where sinners are utterly destroyed, not tormented forever.

Angels


Most descriptions of angels in the Bible describe them in military terms. For example in terms such as encampment (Gen.32:1-2), command structure (Ps.91:11-12; Matt.13:41; Rev.7:2), and combat (Jdg.5:20; Job 19:12; Rev.12:7).

Cherubim



Cherubim are depicted as accompanying God's chariot-throne (Ps.80:1). refers to two Cherub statues placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant, the two cherubim are usually interpreted as guarding the throne of God. Other guard-like duties include being posted in locations such as the gates of Eden (Gen.3:24). Cherubim were mythological winged bulls or other beasts that were part of ancient Near Eastern traditions.

Archangels



This angelic designation might be given to angels of various ranks. An example would be Raphael
Raphael (archangel)
Raphael is an archangel of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, who in the Judeo-Christian tradition performs all manners of healing....

 who is ranked variously as a Seraph, Cherub, and Archangel. This is usually a result of conflicting schemes of hierarchies of angels.

See also

  • Allegorical interpretations of Genesis
    Allegorical interpretations of Genesis
    An allegorical interpretation of Genesis is a reading of the biblical Book of Genesis that treats elements of the narrative as symbols or types. For example, Genesis 3 introduces a talking serpent, which many Christians understand to be Satan in disguise. This symbolism is accepted even by...

  • Babylonian astronomy
  • Cosmogony
    Cosmogony
    Cosmogony, or cosmogeny, is any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence or origin of the universe, or about how reality came to be. The word comes from the Greek κοσμογονία , from κόσμος "cosmos, the world", and the root of γίνομαι / γέγονα "to be born, come about"...

  • Cosmological argument
    Cosmological argument
    The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause to the universe, and by extension is often used as an argument for the existence of an "unconditioned" or "supreme" being, usually then identified as God...

  • Creationist cosmologies
    Creationist cosmologies
    Creationist cosmologies encompass a variety of theories of Young Earth creationists that are designed to support the religious belief that the universe is only a few thousand years old, in line with a literal reading of Genesis...

  • Genesis creation narrative
  • History of astronomy
    History of astronomy
    Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences, dating back to antiquity, with its origins in the religious, mythological, and astrological practices of pre-history: vestiges of these are still found in astrology, a discipline long interwoven with public and governmental astronomy, and not...

  • Modern geocentrism
    Modern geocentrism
    Modern geocentrism is the belief held by some extant groups that Earth is the center of the universe as described by classical geocentric models. This belief is often based on Biblical verses...

  • Religious cosmology
    Religious cosmology
    A Religious cosmology is a way of explaining the origin, the history and the evolution of the universe based on the religious mythology of a specific tradition...

  • Science and the Bible
    Science and the Bible
    Some of the various books of the Hebrew Bible contain descriptions of the physical world. These descriptions can be part of developing a history of science during Levant's Iron Age....

  • Scientific foreknowledge in sacred texts