Part III: Dead/Salt Sea
From the story of Lot’s wife (Idit), we learned that a covenant of salt is a covenant of the flesh that is meant to purify both the body and the heart of each man and woman. This fact is important because Sanctifying grace was no longer available to fallen man. For a more in-depth explanation of why that is so, read my article explaining why the mystery of evil is present in creation here. The Holy Spirit had not yet been given to disordered/fallen mankind (John 7:39). As such, man could not be purified/sanctified through an indwelling of the Spirit. It was necessary for man to be purified/sanctified from the outside in by means of what is called Actual/Gratuitous grace. Accomplishing this post-fall (but pre-redemption) purification is exactly the reason why God entered into a covenant of salt with man. We have also learned from previous parts of this blog series that a covenant of salt is a covenant of family relationships — a covenant of sacred bonding. This bonding is prompted by love. As written by Fr. Michael Champagne, “On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed — as Psuedo-Dionysius expresses it — that force ‘that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved’ [De divinis nominibus, IV, 13:PG 3, 712].”
What we will learn from Part III of this blog series is why a covenant of salt refers to, and directly involves, the flesh. This is what our examination of the Dead/Salt Sea will teach us. While the Salt Sea (aka Dead Sea) is mentioned several time in Scripture, it is generally limited to helping define geographical boundaries. However, there are two times that its existence is used to help us understand some profound theological truths; truths so deep, they could not be adequately explained, even if multiple volumes of books were written about them. That is why this particular blog post is longer than most others. My typical article/blog post is 3,000 to 4,000 words. This one will be a little over 7,000 words. Any less would be insufficient to convey an adequate understanding of this scriptural topic. I have also decided to postpone the discussion relative to Sodom and Gomorrah until a later blog series dealing with the Beast of Revelation.
The role of water and salt (DNA) in the human body, as symbolized by the Dead Sea, is, simply put, awe-inspiring. As St. Hildegard of Bingen (a Doctor of the Church) tells us (informed by direct revelation from God), man was made with “great glory” from the dust (aka salt) of the earth. It was also revealed to her that, “Of all the strengths of God's creation, Man's is most profound, made in a wondrous way with great glory from the dust of the earth and so entangled with the strengths of the rest of creation that he can never be separated from them [Emphasis mine].” This will be seen more clearly as we delve deeper into the symbolism of the Dead Sea.
The Symbolism of the Dead Sea
In my 20+ years of research, I have come to realize that too many people wrongly criticize Scripture, and God, as being anti-science ... that faith and reason are incompatible. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible, in fact, is the most advanced science book ever written. The mysteries contained within its pages are still being explored by scientists. Scripture is not, however, written in the form of a scientific textbook -- for a very good reason. God wrote the Bible for everyone. It is not meant to be read only by scientists and highly educated people. There is a reason why theology is often referred to as a developing science. Throughout the passage of time, the Holy Spirit reveals to us the deeper, more complete understanding of the passages contained within its pages. This is one of the reasons why he wrote Scripture as an applied sciences book, not as a textbook. This way, all of His children could understand, to varying degrees of depth, how it is that those scientific mysteries aid us in our effort to develop a deeper understanding of the creation of man, but doing so without the prerequisite need to understand the underlying sciences of biology, chemistry, geology, quantum physics, cosmology, etc. I am aware of, at least, thirty-four such scientific mysteries hidden in Scripture in this manner. All thirty-four directly relate to man’s being created in great glory from the dust of the earth, as revealed by Hildegard. Actually, I found many more than thirty-four scientific mysteries, but the linkage between the words of Scripture and the sciences they relate to, are not as clear-cut as I would prefer.
We, as believers in the Sacred Word of God, must not allow those science-related mischaracterizations of Scripture to go unchallenged. God is NOT anti-science. On the contrary, God is the Scientist-in-Chief. The Dead/Salt Sea is one of those applied science mysteries that God has hidden within the passages of the Bible, but hidden in plain sight for those who have eyes opened sufficiently to see them.
While the Dead/Salt Sea is referenced, either directly or indirectly, several times in Scripture, all but two of those times are primarily related to geography. However, there are two times when its inclusion plays a significant part in our developing an understanding of the deepness of certain theological truths. The first one teaches us about the beginning of covenants of salt existing between fallen man and God. The second teaches us about the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant of salt — the New and Eternal Covenant of Salt. It also helps us to understand that God did not have to go to Plan B when man fell. The establishment and fullfillment of a Covenant of Salt would have occurred, regardless of whether or not man had fallen.
The Geography of Salt / Dead Sea in Scripture
While the Dead/Salt Sea was not actually mentioned in Chapter 19 of Genesis (dealing with Lot’s wife's demise), it was, nevertheless, an important part of the story about Lot and Idit (Lot's wife). It is vital to our better understanding of covenants of salt. The location where Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt is of no small significance to this understanding. Lot’s escape route was from
(Gen. 19:1) to Zoar (Gen. 19:22-23). The entire trip kept them relatively close to the eastern and southern shores of the Dead Sea. (See map at: http://bibleatlas.org/full/sodom_and_gomorrah.htm). The ancient scholar Josephus, “identifies Segor with ‘Zoara of Arabia’ at the south end of the Dead Sea ("Bel. Jud.", IV, viii, 4; cf. "Ant. Jud.", I, xi, 4; XIII, xv, 4; XIV, i, 4).” A general consensus exists among several other ancient writers. The locations they convey are all within 3-6 miles of each other’s estimates. Sodom
Interestingly, both present day Sodom and Gomorrah are now underneath the very same Salt Sea that symbolized fallen man’s sinful nature. Both the Salt Sea and the Dead Sea refer to the same body of salt water, and both are identified with the story of Lot. In fact, “The present-day inhabitants of its vicinity call it Bahr Lut — the Sea of Lot.” “The Old Testament makes frequent reference to it under a variety of titles; once only, however, by its present one. ... [In the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA), Joshua 3:16] reads, "the sea of the wilderness (which now is called the Dead Sea).” It is also referred to as the Salt Sea, and the East Sea.
The Science of Both Biological Water and Biological Salt
Of all the molecules in the human body, 98-99% of them are water molecules. The average adult body is approximately 77% water by weight; about 66% of all the water in our body is contained within its cells. That being the case, it is important for us to understand a little bit about biological water.
Brief Primer on Biological Water
Let us now begin our exploration of the relationship between biological water and our salt/dust of DNA. So what’s so different about water in and around the cell, from any other type of water? First of all, we have to clarify the difference between biological water and other types of water. While water molecules can also, simultaneously, exist in a gaseous or solid state, we will concentrate on the state (liquid) that is germane to the discussion at hand. Water is given the molecular designation of H2O, i.e. two hydrogen atoms bound to one oxygen atom. The water one gets from the faucet is called tap water (in cell physiology terms, it’s often called bulk water because its molecules exhibit little or no organized structure). Figure 1 provides an idealized (i.e. analogous to drawing a stick-man to represent an actual man) graphic representation of bulk water.
Figure 1: This is a highly idealized drawing of water molecules in bulk (aka, tap) water configuration.
The next water state we are concerned with is called bound water. Imagine a string of beads bound together in such a fashion as to form a single layered sheet of beads. After putting a very tiny dab of glue on the bottom of each bead, position the beads on a table, thus gluing the sheet to the table’s surface. That would be roughly analogous to bound water. Each bead represents a single molecule of water. The glue represents the attraction of the two opposite electrical charges between the water molecule and the surface to which it is bound. The table represents the surface of a macromolecule, such as a biological protein or DNA.
The last state of water we will discuss is vicinal water. A graphical representation of vicinal (aka structured) water can be seen in Figure 2. Vicinal water is similar to bound water with a few distinctions; vicinal water consists of one layer of bound water together with multiple layers of additional water molecules stacked on top of the bound layer. Vicinal water can attain thicknesses of up to 100 layers of water molecules. Vicinal water produces greater hydrogen bonding, a lower density of water molecules, and greater viscosity (gel-like consistency).
Figure 2: This is a highly idealized drawing of the arrangement of water molecules in a ‘structured’ or ‘vicinal’ configuration. The dotted line represents the surface of any intracellular surface.
Now let’s begin to learn how this water structuring affects our biological function.
Biological Water and Protons
Our body is a liquid crystalline (stone/salt and water) organism (remember, our salt/dust of DNA is crystalline in structure). It is, in fact, quantum coherent. Think about that. Our body consists of trillions upon trillions of living cells functioning with lightning speed as one cohesive and coherent organism. According to researchers at the University of Washington, electronic devices, such as computers and iPads, work by sending and receiving information using electrons (hence the description: electronic devices). Humans, all biological life for that matter, use protons or ions to accomplish the same thing.
It is water, through the formation of a glass-like structure of water molecules, which coats the surface of a protein (creating a hydration shell), that affects the speed of protein communication — even to the point of stopping it — with other cells in the body. The effect of structured water on communication occurs both within the cell (intracellular) and between cells in other parts of the body (extracellular).
Research has now shown that protons moving within and between cells are not traveling independently of the changing structure of the water molecules coating the cell, its contents (e.g. proteins), and even the cell structure itself. The ever-changing three-dimensional hydration shell coating all the surfaces within the cell, including proteins, is shaped by the environment present within the cell. It is this water molecule topography (‘topography’ is not a term normally used in cell physiology, but I think it helps to visualize the 3-D process that is being described) that enslaves the migrating proton and guides it through the cell. You may be asking yourself: What is the significance of protons in the functioning of the body? According to Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, research indicates that protons are involved in regulating the function of enzymes (a protein that significantly speeds up chemical reaction within the cell). In other words, protons play a role in the speed (even to the point of stopping chemical reaction) with which proteins are able to do their job. Extrapolating from that, we can say that protons play a role in whether our biological water is either fresh/pure or salty. This will become clearer as we proceed further.
All living organisms are a liquid crystal mineral/dust/stone matrix. Research now points to the belief that the primary purpose of this cellular connectedness is to facilitate ultra-fast communication (expression in the context of STOSS) within the body, thus enabling the many trillions of cells that comprise the human body to function as a cohesive and coherent whole. How fast, you ask, does this communication occur? In a computer simulation of water molecules guiding protons through a nanotube tunnel, approximately seventeen water molecules traversed the nanotube every nanosecond (a nanosecond is one billionth of a second). Ho and associates believe that every cell in the entire human organism is linked via proton channels through which water molecules escort the proton; a single cell is not only linked locally, but also globally within the human body.
I want to tell you about a very recently discovered behavior of water which is astounding scientists — a behavior that is not even possible in the classical physical world. That behavior is this: water molecules (one oxygen ion and two protons) are able to behave as though they were a photons (i.e. light, quantum energy) when traveling through the ultra-confined nanotubes of the cell (a nanotube — only recently discovered through the use of light microscopy — is something like a cellular tunnel connecting one cell to adjacent cells. That means the physical laws of the classical world no longer apply to biological water when exiting or entering the cell; the water molecule becomes delocalized (non-local means the particle no longer exist within the confines of space and time). This “quantum tunneling”, as it’s called, means that the water molecule simply passes through the cell barrier/membrane without any energy consumption. This discovery is so new, scientists aren’t really sure what the full ramifications of this new understanding are going to be. This phenomenon has also been found to exist with protons traveling through the microscopic fissures within ice.
Biological Water and Genetic Function
Now that we have examined how structured water enables mind-boggling communication speed between the cells of our body, let us now examine the effect that structured water plays on the function of our DNA in general, and our individual genes in particular. The impact of structured water on our biological function can produce either good or bad consequences, depending on the overflow of our inner heart.
Water’s role in cell architecture and function
The structuring of water depends upon the environment existing within the cell, i.e. the energy state and ionic content of the cell. The entire molecule of DNA within every cell has a hydration shell of varying numbers of layers – up to around 100 layers thick. Furthermore, the numbers of layers can be affected by the presence of electromagnetic radiation, i.e. light, generated by the body itself. This is significant. Why? The thickness of the hydration shell itself will cause the DNA molecule to change its shape ... bending or straightening it. The consequences of this will be discussed shortly.
The living cell is in a state of continuous fluctuation of the structure of water molecules. These fluctuations maintain balance within the cell. Without this balance, the organism cannot function properly. According to biologist Vladimir Voeikov, there are increasing amounts of scientific evidence indicating that biological water, working together with the solid surfaces of, and within, the cell (e.g. proteins, DNA, and cell membranes), determine the organization of living organisms at all levels.
What does this mean? A protein surrounded by a stabilized structure of water (high hydrogen bonding) will be less likely to unfold (protein unfolding or failing to fold properly, results in either the cessation of the function of the protein or it causes the protein to malfunction) while a less stable water structure would allow for more protein flexibility and an increased possibility of unfolding. Scientific research is increasingly pointing to the notion that even major conversions of the shape of proteins are the result of structured water within the protein's environment. Why is protein shape important? Most often, when a protein is made by the genes within one cell, it is intended to deliver its instructions to a different cell. Depending on what type of cell it is, each cell in the body has ‘receptors’ outside the cell wall.
A protein and a receptor have a sort of lock and key relationship. The key is the protein and the lock is the receptor. If the shape of the key does not correspond with the shape of the lock, the door will not open and the instructions that the protein is carrying will not be delivered to the cell. When a protein is made, it folds into a particular shape so that it will fit into the receptor of the target cell, opening the door, so to speak. When the door is open to the target cell, it will receive and carry out the instructions it received from the protein. One example of a protein’s impact on the bodies’ sanctification, or lack thereof, is monoamine oxidase. Why is this protein important? It is a protein that degrades amine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (a major hormone involved in addictions ... lusts), norepinephrine (a stress hormone that is also involved in fight-or-flight response, and has a serious effect on the entire body), and serotonin (affects the function of most of our 40 million brain cells, including those associated with mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, and more). Studies have shown that conversions (shape changes) of minor populations of proteins can serve as the seed for shape changes of the entire population of the same kind of protein — creating a domino effect. I could go on, but I think this is sufficient to understand the significance of the symbolism of the Dead Sea ... salt and water.
Good Biological Water versus Bad Biological Water
In Part I of this blog series on covenants, I talked about our dust/stone of DNA being the computer hardware of our body, while the epigenome is the software that actually tells our computer what to do. I have come to understand it is generally true that, in the Bible, stone is used to represent the entire body of man – the complete set of DNA molecules within the body; dust is used to remind us of our humble origins ... that we shouldn’t be filled with pride as Satan was when he was created and saw how beautiful he was, and; the term salt is used to represent the results of the biological function of our genome (the bodies software) ; said function being respondent to environment and behavior via epigenetic plasticity.
In the OT, the bad connotations of the word salt generally, but with at least one exception, reference fallen man. This can be seen by recalling what God said to St. Hildegard. She was told that virtually all of Adam’s seed, up until the time of the first covenants with Abraham and Moses (and the giving of the Law), had been devoured by Satan. This is because the inner heart of fallen man — that which man’s scriptural mouth/body was designed by God to express — was dead and unfruitful.
The Apostle James adds another element to the biological symbolism of salt; one that is relevant to our discussion of the Dead Sea. He adds the element of water. He writes:
From the same mouth [emphasis SML] come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish [partially salty]? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom (James 3:10-13).
Jesus told us that the heart speaks through the mouth. It is written, “You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil” (Mt. 12:34-35). Are literal words from the literalistic biological mouth the only means by which good or evil are brought forth? What about burglary? Usually, there are no words exchanged between the thief and the victim, and yet, it is still an accurate expression of the overflow of the thief’s heart. What about rape or murder. Which biological component(s) are really doing the speaking during the commission of these horrendous acts of evil — the literalistic mouth or the entire body, including the human heart?
From what James writes, we can begin to see that there is a definite difference in connotations between good water and bad water in Scripture. Furthermore, these two classifications refers directly to fallen man versus redeemed man. In several passages (e.g. Dt. 29:23, Job 39:6, Ps. 107:34, Jer. 17:6) salt is used to describe a barren and lifeless wasteland. Scripture tells us how enemies, after capturing the land of its enemies, would sow salt upon the land so that nothing would grow (e.g. Judges 9:45). However, there is one salt that purifies salt water; that makes it become fresh, pure, and fruitful. In 2 Kings we read:
Now the men of the city said to Eli′sha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it, and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; henceforth neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word which Eli′sha spoke (2 Kgs. 2:19-22).
The new bowl signifies the newly resurrected and glorified body of Christ. The salt that was poured into the bad water is a type of the risen physical (not mortal, but glorified) body of Christ. Thus, we are able to see how the bad water is made good; more about that in Part IV of this blog series. All grace ... all living water enters into the world through the instrumentality of the humanity ... the flesh ... of the Son of God.
Furthermore, we can also see that the Dead/Salt Sea refers to fallen man’s biology by contrasting it to how Scripture identifies eschatological man, those who are resurrected into Eternal Life. Keep in mind, our bodies are composed of minerals (stones) that are crystalline in structure. As was said before, we are liquid crystalline organisms — water and salt. In fact, it was x-ray crystallography that allowed James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin to discover that the “B” form of DNA was in the shape of a double helix.
With that understanding, let’s look at some biblical characterizations of the flesh/body (composed of crystalline stones) of purified man:
1. By way of reminder, let us not forget that Lot’s wife became a pillar of crystalline salt on the very shores of the Dead Sea, as a direct result of her sinful and disobedient heart.
2. Ezekiel writes, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone [emphasis mine] was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and jasper, chrysolite, beryl, and onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald; and wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared” (Ez. 28:13). Keep in mind that man did not wear clothing in Eden. Adam and Eve had not yet sinned, nor were inclined to sin. The only covering they had was their perfectly good body;
3. In Revelations, we read, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more” (Rev. 21:1). Why is the sea singled out for exclusion? There’s no mention of lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. being excluded from the new earth. All seas, by definition, are salt water; some more salty than others. Scripture is referencing the fact that, after the resurrection, the bodies of the saved are pure. No longer is our salt of DNA acting as the mouth for the overflow of an impure heart. We are no longer salt water, but have become pure water — fresh water, water surrounding precious stones. Our DNA, our salt, i.e. mineral crystals, have been purified and become transparent gems, more precious than anything we can imagine;
4. In Revelations we read, “and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal” (Rev. 4:6). The geographical sea is a symbol of the functional ties between the biological salt and biological water of fallen man. The “sea” of glass is man resurrected into eternal Life. The reason v. 6 uses the words, "as it were", is to distinguish its meaning from other passages in which the geographical sea (especially the Dead/Salt Sea) is used as a symbol of fallen man’s spiritually dead, unfruitful body, and;
5. St. Teresa of Avila (a Doctor of the Church) was given a vision by God of a beautiful crystal globe containing seven rooms. She tells us this globe was in the shape of a castle. Teresa began to look upon the soul as a single diamond or of very clear crystal! She goes on to write, “All our interest is centered in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle — that is to say, in these bodies of ours.” The entire castle, including the walls, i.e. flesh, were pure crystal.
There is another scientific reason that points to the deeper meaning of transparent, precious stones and their symbolism in depicting purified man. Sodium is a common element of both organic (part of our biological make-up) and inorganic (geological) salt. According to Dr. Artem Oganov, all materials under sufficiently high pressure must turn into a metal. Even hydrogen, the most common element in the universe, will undergo metallization under such extreme pressures. What’s particularly interesting, however, is this: the element sodium (a significant part of our salt of DNA), which is an elemental metal, does just the opposite. Under sufficiently high pressure (2 million atmospheres), the metallic structure of sodium (normally a white metal) collapses and is replaced by a new non-metallic structure. Furthermore, the new sodium becomes transparent, just like glass.[50A] This chemical phenomenon was experimentally proven by Mikhail Eremets and was published in the March 12, 2014, edition of the journal Nature.[50B]
The biblical uses of crystal, transparent, glass-like, etc. mentioned above are partial symbols (man, resurrected into Life, will still have a purified liquid crystal body – glorified, but still physical) of man in a transformed state. The catalyst for this transformation is symbolized by a sort of crushing, but salvific, pressure. What biblical symbol is used to signify this intense and transforming pressure? The answer is: the wine-press. It is used by Jesus in the parable of the landlord and his tenants (Mt. 21:33, Mk. 12:1). Origen interprets the wine press as referring to the altar [upon which is offered to the Father the Passion and bodily death of our Savior on the cross (SML)].
agrees, identifying the wine-press as a symbol of a place of offering (i.e. the altar). Is this an accurate interpretation? St. Hildegard writes, “[Jesus] was placed on the wine-press, where wine was to be pressed out without the dregs of fermentation, because He the cornerstone fell upon the press and made such wine that it gave forth the greatest odor of sweetness.” This text is clearly equating the wine-press with Jesus’ passion and death on the cross. What happens at Mass? We are united with Jesus on his cross – the wine press (see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10006a.htm). Keep in mind, this scientific fact is symbolic of man resurrected into eternal life. It is not, however, meant to indicate how man is actually made spiritually transparent. St. Jerome
Biological Consequences of Original Sin
When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost supernatural grace, thus forfeiting perfect subjection of the body to the soul. Consequently, human DNA started to function in the same way that it does in any other animal — sensual appetites and all. In other words, their eyes were opened to the knowledge of good and evil. Sensual animal’s bodies’ function under the same guiding principle, i.e. what pleases the senses is good and what displeases the senses is bad. No longer subject to the dominion of the soul, which is oriented to, and seeks goodness in, the spiritual realm, the salt of DNA functions in such a way as to reward and encourage behavior/experiences that feel good, and to punish behavior/experiences that feel bad.
I believe Scripture references to salt water are actually a reference to biological water polluted by proteins, especially hormones, and other molecules which are produced by our salt of DNA in response to the presence of stimuli that lead to the triggering of one or more of the three lusts described by St. Paul, i.e. lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 Jn. 2:16). These lusts serve to addict (enslave) us to the biological attractions/appetites of the flesh.
In response to stimuli from the five senses of the body, the salt of DNA produces hormones (hormones are only one of very many types of proteins produced by genes within our DNA). Some proteins initiate a sensual appetite, then reward the behavior that satisfies the appetite. The hormone dopamine, for example, not only increases the sex drive in both sexes, but it also consolidates the neuronal connections responsible for the behavior. For example, giving in to lust causes physical changes to our brains. Those changes will create a very strong sensual appetite that is extremely difficult to resist. Dying to oneself is a good description of successfully resisting the sinful temptation. The desire to satisfy the appetite that hormones create can range all the way from mild cravings, to physical discomfort, or to out-and-out physical withdrawal symptoms if the appetite is not satisfied.
The body seeks a type of happiness which is pleasing to the physical senses. When satisfied, our salt produces sensual rewards so powerful they can be described as addictive. The body tries to bring the soul over to its way of thinking, so to speak, by offering hormonal rewards that can be very persuasive. Can we show a direct link between original sin and hormones? I believe we can. Let’s take a closer look at the role of hormones in concupiscence. The biological sciences tell us, unlike most other proteins, hormones are carried to their target cells primarily via the bloodstream. For your information, blood is composed of a little less than 80% water. Hildegard informs us that after Adam’s sin, blood carried within itself: 1) sweet, but deadly, poison; 2) shameful and turbulent acts, thus increasing the body’s appetite for those very crimes carried in the blood; and, 3) impure filth which changed Adam’s blood into a liquid of pollution.
Immediately after Adam and Eve’s disobedience, Scripture tells us of the first two outward signs of concupiscence: “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked … the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:7-8). The phrase, “the eyes of both were opened” is meant to convey that something sensually related is going to start happening which was not occurring before. In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope St. John Paul II tells us that everything residing in the intellect came to us first through the five senses. The opening of their eyes really means receiving input from the five senses, i.e. sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, but without the supernatural grace to modulate the responses to said knowledge gained from the sense-based input. In other words, our salt of DNA was now going to start responding to that sensual input in a manner in which the weakened soul could no longer control (cf. Rom. 7:14-25, Jn. 8:34).
We know that Adam and Eve experienced shame as a result of their nakedness (arguably, lust and stress were probably at play at the same time) and that they were afraid. All of the physical aspects of concupiscence described above are attributable to the production of hormones which would have been secreted into the bloodstream in response to sensual stimuli resulting from their “eyes being opened.” Both shame and stress are associated with, among others, the production of the hormone cortisol. Lust of the flesh or, what I call biological (so-called) ‘love’, which is completely different from spiritual love (a distinction greatly misunderstood in today’s culture), is associated with multiple hormones, e.g. dopamine, testosterone, oxytocin, and vasopressin. Fear is associated with the “fight or flight” hormone, adrenalin. Hunger is the result of the genetic expression of ghrelin.. I could elaborate further on the hormones associated with other physical consequences of concupiscence such as pain in childbirth, greed, avarice, etc., but I think the point has been adequately made.
Water and the Holy Spirit
In this section, we are going to discuss the relationship between the Holy Spirit and water (including biological water). It is undeniable that Scripture seems to indicate a very special relationship between water and the Holy Spirit. The manna that prefigured the body of Jesus in the Eucharist was brought to the Israelites by water in the form of dew (Ex. 16:13-14). In Scripture, dew and other forms of water (but not salt water) are associated with heaven (Gen. 27:39), freshness (Num. 19:17), newness (Deut. 32:2), life (Is. 26:19), and fruitfulness (Ez. 47:7-10). All of these suggest (through appropriation) a correlation between the Holy Spirit and water. This relationship is not simply symbolic; the Holy Spirit physically and visibly impacts water.
Often times, the Holy Spirit uses organic materials to affect physical/visible change. In Genesis 7:16-17, Moses turns the waters of the Nile into blood. At the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, turns water into wine (John 2:5-9). In the books of Exodus, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and Joshua, there are mentions of bodies of water being divided by the power of the Holy Spirit. Both Elijah and Elisha used a sheepskin mantle (the same mantle Elijah used to cover his face when, on the Holy Mountain, the glory of God manifested itself) to initiate the splitting of water.
Before Elijah is taken up in a chariot of fire, Elisha said, “I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit” (2 Kgs. 2:9). How was this prayer granted? Elijah is taken up and his mantle falls to the earth to be taken possession of by Elisha, who then “took up the mantle of Eli′jah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Eli′jah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Eli′jah?’ And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over” (2 Kgs. 2:14). We know that the mantle was an instrument of the Holy Spirit’s power because of what is written in the next verse. It reads, “When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him at a distance, they declared, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha’” (2 Kgs. 2:14-15).
It is important to note the material of the mantle. In this passage, Elijah possessed the power of the Holy Spirit, as symbolized by his possession of the mantle of sheepskin (cf. 1 Kgs 19:13, 19; 2 Kgs 2:8, 13-14). We should also note that God revealed to St. Hildegard that the flesh of fallen man was referred to as sheepskin. She writes, “In place of his luminous garment, Adam was given a sheepskin, and God substituted for Paradise a place of exile.”
I could go on with many other examples and explanations, but that would necessitate turning this blogpost into a book. The point that I am making is this: I believe that water is to the Holy Spirit, what Jesus’ humanity is to God. They are both means through which a covenant of salt is made and fulfilled. Both are instruments used by God to create man perfectly, and then sanctify man after the fall so that, after Redemption, man, through a covenant of salt, could be fully united with the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. This, by the way, is also what the Dead Sea and Ezekiel’s dream of the rebuilt temple teaches us about covenants.
Before I start, I want to make the following point very clear: What I am writing in this section is theological opinion relative to the instrumentality of water in the sacrament of Baptism. There are several opinions by theologians relative to this topic. This discussion can be explored more fully here. Theological debate about the instrumental causality of grace in the sacraments is still classified as an unsettled controversy. Consequently, “theologians are perfectly free to dispute and differ as to the manner of instrumental causality. Lis est adhuc sub judice [the dispute is still under the judge].” As I understand it, I believe my opinion would be consistent with, and supportive of, the Thomistic viewpoint.
Clay: Symbol of Plasticity of Dust/Salt via Water
I want to start by discussing the instrumentality of biological water through which the Holy Spirit re-molds our clay in order to purify man. This understanding can first be achieved by examining the Bible’s use of the substance, clay. God revealed to Hildegard, “Out of clay God so shaped humanity that through this tiny spark of the soul we become flesh and blood out of clay.”
The use of clay in Scripture is significant. Clay is composed of two primary substances: 1) dust that is even finer than silt, i.e. 2 microns (aka micrometer; is two-thousandths of a millimeter) or less; and, 2) water. Considering the size of our DNA (the nuclear volume of an entire sperm cell, containing an entire molecule of DNA, is only about 30 microns), the symbolism of clay, relative to man, in Scripture is most appropriate. How could it not be, it’s the Word of God. In order for clay to be moldable (the technical biological term is plastic), which is scripturally symbolic of a biologically and spiritually alive human person (e.g. Num. 5:17; Job 10:9, 27:16; Is. 64:8; Rom. 9:21), it must contain water within its mix. Without water, clay will not be moldable. Any attempt to reshape it will result in breakage. Water is essential to the re-molding of fallen man by God. According to biologist Vladimir Voeikov, there are increasing amounts of scientific evidence indicating that biological water, working together with the solid surfaces of, and within, the cell (e.g., proteins, DNA, and cell membranes), determine the organization and affect the function of living organisms at all levels. We have already provided some examples of this in the section, The Science of Both Biological Water and Biological Salt above.
Baptism: Purification of the Body by the Holy Spirit
All Sacraments of the Church are perfected through the use of both form and matter. In the case of Baptism, the matter used is water. In addition to many passages contained within the pages of Scripture, advances made in the scientific understanding of the role of water and light (electromagnetic radiation) in cellular function make it plausible to ponder the idea that the water is not only a sign of the effect of the Sacrament, i.e. purification, but also an instrumental cause of that purification. By the way, we already mentioned that electromagnetic energy (photons of light) affect biological water which, in turn, affects the function of the body at every level.
While we won’t go into any detail about this fact, it is germane to our subject at hand. So I just want to bring up this: our biological heart is the largest generator of light (electromagnetic energy) in the human body. This cardioelectromagnetic energy not only envelops every cell in the human body, but the magnetic field generated by the heart extends outward several feet, or more, in all directions from the body. The magnetic field produced by the heart is 5,000 times stronger than the field generated by the brain. I believe it is safe to say that our heart plays a significant role in the structure and function of our biological water.
Scripture provides us with at least one direct linkage between Baptism, biological water, and dust. In Scripture, we read:
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. ... “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay [recall the significance of clay] of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Silo′am" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing (Jn. 9:1-7).
The miracle of the healing of the blind man is different from most, if not all, other healings in Scripture. It is the first time, with the qualified exception of Mark 7:32-35 and 8:23-25, that Jesus used a “prop” that was external to his body to perform a miracle. Both passages from Mark contain the component of spit ... biological water ... to accomplish a physical and spiritual healing, but do not contain a direct linkage to Baptism. The probable reason this linkage to Baptism is included in John’s passages is this: As Dr. Scott Hahn tells us, “[During the Feast of the Tabernacles] the priests daily poured out water from the Pool of Siloam on the altar steps (part of the ritual purification) and kept the Temple courts illuminated twenty-four hours a day [for the seven days of the feast (Dt. 16:14)] in anticipation of the eschatological [end-time] prophesies [i.e. the final “harvest”] (see Ezek. 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:8). In the midst of this, Jesus claims himself to be the true source of water and light, and brings light to a blind man through the waters of Siloam, thus supporting his claim to be the true Temple.”
Before sending the blind man off to be washed in the pool of Siloam (a type of the New Covenant baptismal fount), Jesus combines the dust of the earth with spit from his mouth to make clay, which he then applies to the blind man’s eyes. All three elements of this miracle: 1) the pool of Siloam; 2) the dust of the earth; and, 3) the spit from the mouth of Jesus; were all signs of the means through which we become one Mystical Body with the NC Temple — the fulfillment of the New and everlasting Covenant of Salt. St. Peter tells us, “Come to him, to that living stone [emphasis SML], rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pt. 2:4-5). In other words, the members of the body of Christ, i.e. the Church, are also living stones (representing a covenant of salt).
The spiritual house we are built into is the
. We know this because offerings to God were made by priest in the Temple, and only in the Temple. All of this points to our partaking in the New and everlasting Covenant of Salt. All three were a symbolic part of the means by which the blind man would experience physical and spiritual healing/purification. The blind man's regained sight is associated with light — the light of Truth radiated through the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 3:19-21; Lk. 11:33). How did this sight come about? The answer is: 1) through the pool of Siloam, which symbolizes purification through Baptism; 2) through the dust of the earth with which Jesus made healing clay, representing the salt of his DNA; and 3) through the spit from Jesus mouth he made the dust into clay (cf. 2 Cor. 4:1-7; Rom. 9:21), which represents the biological water (including the biological water present in blood) that works in conjunction with his salt of DNA to express the light of Truth which is the Holy Spirit. Temple
There is further evidence showing that water plays an instrumental role in the healing and sanctification of man. According to revelations given to St. Hildegard by God, “The Son of God … surrendered to the waters and made them holy with his body [SML]” (cf. Mt 3:13; Mk. 1:9). This would seem to indicate that water, itself, has been changed – sanctified via the physical body of Jesus. Furthermore, there is evidence that the instrumental effectiveness of Holy Water was not conditional on the faith of the one on whom it was being used. Rather, the water alone worked cures without the “participation” of the creature. According to Henre Leclercq, “It is recorded that a man named Aphraates cured the horse of an emperor by having it drink water blessed by the local bishop, and by making the sign of the cross while it drank.”
Water & the Incorruptibles
I want to take this opportunity to offer up an example of the instrumentality of water in sending out the power of the Holy Spirit. This example relates to the phenomenon of incorruptibility of certain saints whose deceased bodies, either entirely or partially, have not decayed, even centuries after their death. I want to offer up, as a hypothesis, the component of biological water used as an instrument by the Holy Spirit to accomplish, vis–à–vis Gratuitous grace (cf. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2111.htm), the miracle of said incorruptibility of the body. Of course, the prime efficient cause of this phenomenon is the efficacious, sanctifying, intimate, and literal (although meta-sense-able) one-flesh relationship (covenant of salt) between Jesus and his saints — those whose hearts were especially inflamed with the holy desire of the Spirit for perfect and complete union with Jesus; a union accomplished by frequently partaking of the marriage banquet, i.e. the Eucharist. I am not aware of any deceased person made incorruptible during the times of the old covenant of salt (the Old Covenant). It has only occurred since the establishment of the new and eternal covenant of salt (the New Covenant) via Baptism and the Eucharist.
It is a property of biological water, in response to the environment within the cell, to form a high viscosity glass-like matrix of water molecules that can slow, or even stop, enzymatic chemical reactions within the cell, including metabolism. Research has shown that it is this glassy-state of cellular water that allows anhydrobiotic organisms (organisms resistant to dehydration, e.g. seeds, bacteria, spores) to live despite the absence of water replenishment. More precisely, anhydrobiotic organisms do not die from dehydration and do not undergo decay because the cytoplasm (the fluid, consisting mostly of water, between the cell nucleus and the cell membrane) within their cells does not dehydrate and, therefore, do not require replenishment. This resistance to dehydration is due to the glassy state of its water. It might also be interesting to note that cellular water in a glassy state cannot freeze, even at temperatures of minus 176° C (minus 285° F). This fact is how researchers discovered the role of water in dehydration resistant organisms. They were able to freeze the cytoplasm of cells from organisms that were not dehydration resistant, while they were not able to freeze the cytoplasm of cells that were dehydration tolerant. Without a doubt, there are fluids retained in the bodies of incorruptible saints. We know this because blood and clear oils (high viscosity water) have occasionally proceeded from some of their bodies.
How does this relate to incorrupt bodies? To answer that question we must first learn a little bit about the decaying process of a corpse. According to Dr. Arpad A. Vass, a professor of forensic anthropology at the University of Tennessee, decay starts with a sort of self-digestion process. Even though the body has died and a supply of oxygen is no longer available, the process of metabolism within the cells continues. A by-product of metabolism is carbon dioxide, which is acidic. As the acidity within the cell rises due to metabolism, it eventually causes the membrane of the cells to rupture. This causes the release of enzymes (a type of protein) that literally digest each cell from the inside out.
As we mentioned above, cellular water in a glassy state is able to stop metabolism. If metabolism is stopped, then carbon dioxide is not produced and the catalyst for “self-digestion” is taken out of the picture. As a result, the whole decay process is “nipped in the bud,” so to speak. Interestingly, examinations of tissue samples taken from the Eucharistic miracle at Sokolka, Poland (2008) detected none of the enzymes necessary for autolysis (cellular self-destruction) to occur.
St. Cyril of
declared that, “Even though the soul is not present, a virtue [indicating the unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit and, therefore, an absence of decay-SML] resides in the body of the saints, because of the righteous soul which has for so many years dwelt in it, and used it as its minister.” In 2 Kings, we see another example of the Holy Spirit’s continued instrumental use of the corpse of a holy person to exercise his power. It reads, “So Eli′sha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Eli′sha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Eli′sha, he revived, and stood on his feet.” (2 Kgs. 13:20-21). All resurrections are accomplished via the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember, Elisha was dead. His soul had long ago left his body. Since it was only Elisha’s bones that were present in the grave, we can conclude his death occurred a long time prior to the present events described in this Scripture passage. Remember, only Elisha’s salt of DNA was in the grave. The dead man that was dumped there came back to life only after touching Elisha’s bones. The soul of the dead man dumped into the grave was not present. Consequently, the question of faith and free will played no part in this miracle. I believe it is clear that the power of the Holy Spirit used Elisha’s salt of DNA as an instrument of His power. As I said, this is simply my hypothesis. Jerusalem
This concludes are discussion of the meaning of the Dead/Salt Sea relative to covenants and the big picture of Scripture. The next topic concerning covenants that we will cover will relate to the deeper meaning of Ezekiel’s dream of the rebuilt temple ... the temple Jesus promised to rebuild in three days after its destruction. This will be the example, par excellence, of the meaning of good water versus bad water; the old covenant of salt versus the New and Everlasting Covenant of Salt.
Too see a list of all bogs with descriptions and links, go here: https://www.stossbooks.com/header-image.php
Part I of IV of this blog series about covenants (The Big Picture of Scripture) can be found here.
Part II (Lot’s Wife Becoming a Pillar of Salt) can be found here.
Endnotes:. Champagne, Fr. Michael, “Priestly Dispositions of Jesus Crucified,” Retreat held at Lumen Christi Retreat Center, Community of Jesus Crucified, October 21-25, 2019.
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. Ibid., 257-258.
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