Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Space – The Garden of Eden as a Metaphor
An explanation of the five elements:
“According to the five elements theory, everything in nature is made up of five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. This is intended as an explanation of the complexity of nature and all matter by breaking it down into simpler substances. It is said that understanding the theory behind these five elements of nature can help understand the laws of nature and to use this knowledge to achieve greater health and happiness.”
Similar passages regarding the five elements can be found online in a variation of different places. Most of us have heard of the four main elements, earth, water, fire wind and space..
so what relevance does this have to the Bible? Please allow me to explain:
The Old Testament – The Garden of Eden
In the Garden of Eden in the Old Testament we have 5 main elements:
Adam, Eve, Satan, God and the Garden of Eden.
I will now explain how these 5 elements in OT represent:
Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Space.
First of all, we have Adam.
A well-known Hebrew name, Adam means “son of the red Earth.”
Its meaning comes from the Hebrew word “adamah” meaning “earth”
From which Adam is said to be formed.
Earth is the thing from which all living things grow. Without earth, we would not have nature, and without nature, we would not have life. Earth is the foundation of many things, but it cannot function without water. Much like men.
Adam is the earth
Second, we have Eve
“Eve” in Hebrew is “Ḥawwāh” and is most commonly believed to mean “the living one” or “the source of life” as it is phonetically similar to “ḥāyâ”, “to live”, from the Semitic root ḥyw. source of life = water
Water is known to be the source of all life, the most important liquid in our ecosystem – all plants, insects and animals, including you, cannot survive without it. It is important that we are mindful of water’s power, and that we remember to care for this pure, sacred substance. Much like women.
Eve is the water
The Hebrew term śāṭān (Hebrew: שָׂטָן) is a generic noun meaning “accuser” or “adversary”, and is derived from a verb meaning primarily “to obstruct, oppose”
“Wind is air that is moving. Air is made out of tiny particles called molecules that we cannot see. Wind makes objects move because the molecules in the air hit objects and move them.”
When molecules in the air hit other objects within the air, they ‘obstruct’ and ‘oppose’ them.
“Wind is the messenger of divine intervention, and it is the vital breath of the universe. Wind often represents the fleeting and transient, the elusive and the intangible.”
Satan is the wind.
In hebrew, fire represents the presence of God as when Moses encountered God at the burning bush, and later when God appeared in a pillar of fire to lead his people in the wilderness (Exodus 3:2; 13:21).
God is also referred to as fire many times within Christian culture, and references to God as fire or appearing within fire also surface when looking into Christianity.
“Fire is viewed by Christians, the Chinese, and the Hebrews as being a symbol of divinity (Cooper, 1978). In Christianity, fire can also be symbolic of religious zeal and martyrdom. In Egypt it represents a sense of superiority and control. Many cultures view fire as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.”
God is fire.
So we have earth, water, wind and fire… that only leaves space to be accounted for.
Eden is the space from within which everything else flows.
The Garden of Eden not to be taken literally – it is a story about the five elements and how they all collaborate to form the universe. I will explain this metaphor more deeply in future posts.