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What is "the universe"?

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On account of a debate in other threads, I developed the question:

 

What is meant by "the universe" in Scripture?

 

 

In looking for the Hebrew word translated as "universe," this site said that the word is olam.

 

Therefore, I searched for the meaning of olam, and I found this site:

 

http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/docs/39_brown-time.pdf

 

The eastern mind is not obsessed with time as the western mind is. Anyone who has lived and worked in the near or Middle East knows that they are event oriented rather than time oriented as we westerners. Their lives are not ruled by the clock. The tenses in Hebrew and Arabic and as well in the Greek are not primarily concerned with time but rather flow or type of action.

 

 

Needless to say, this opens the doors for questions and further study. But right now I'd just like to open the floor to anyone who has any input themselves to put into this.

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What is the Universe?

 

Great Question!!   I have no Idea :help:

 

I found this interesting....

 

(Ephesians 3:18) "May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;"

 

Looks like 3 Spatial Dimensions and Time.  Connection?  Absolute Speculation on my part.... found it interesting.

 

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Olam means universe, but it is also used in to refer to time.   It doesn't mean unending time.  But it is used when God tells the Children of Israel that they are to observe the Sabbath throughout their Generations, as a perpetual covenant, forever (olam). 

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Olam means universe, but it is also used in to refer to time.   It doesn't mean unending time.  But it is used when God tells the Children of Israel that they are to observe the Sabbath throughout their Generations, as a perpetual covenant, forever (olam). 

 

What does the word "universe" mean to the ancient Hebrews?

 

Do you agree or disagree with what the link I posted above has to say?

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I would say what we view of as the universe is a bit beyond the people of the time of the Ancient Jews.  The word that probably comes closest to what we mean by universe would be shamayim which is most often translated as "heavens".  This means the abode of the stars.   In Gen 1:1 God created the heavens (abode of the stars) and the earth.

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Olam means universe, but it is also used in to refer to time.   It doesn't mean unending time.  But it is used when God tells the Children of Israel that they are to observe the Sabbath throughout their Generations, as a perpetual covenant, forever (olam). 

 

What does the word "universe" mean to the ancient Hebrews?

 

Do you agree or disagree with what the link I posted above has to say?

 

I see nothing wrong in the link you posted, but it is not exactly accurate to apply a Hebraic manner of thought that developed over a long period of thousands of years to Moses who was not a product of that mode of thinking, nor were the original hearers.  

 

When you ask, what did the term, "universe" mean to the ancient Hebrews, I have to ask in response, "which ones?"   I mean, to think that Hebrew thought in the days of the Judges was the same as it was in the days of 2nd temple would simply be inaccurate.

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All I know is that if we are going to talk about the creation of "the universe" from the Bible, we need to be in agreement on what the Bible means by "universe" in that context.

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It is important to understand that the Bible doesn't use modern scientfic precision so you are not going to get a concept like "universe"  for olam in the sense that we use that word.   "Universe" is a tranlsation of olam, but it is a modern translation because modern Judaism adds meaning to existing Hebrew words so that they can communicate in a relevant way in Hebrew in our modern age. 

 

The biblical authors spoke in phenomenological terms.  They described how things looked from their perspective and not from the precision of scientific fact.   That is why they speak of the sun rising and setting.    The "universe" as we know it was not in the frame of reference of ancient Hebrews in the ancient near east.

 

They saw the heavens and the stars and they knew God made them.  They most likely didn't know anything about nebulae, pulsars, super novas, quasars, galaxies, black holes, etc.

 

I am not sure how this will affect how we view OEC vs. YECism.

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If you asked me what the Universe is, I'd say it's what separates mortality from immortality, everything within it mortal, everything without immortal. As far as the shape goes, I'd say a sphere (but that's just me).

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