Valley of Hinnom

Steve Hays writes:

A reader drew my attention to this post:

Jesus and Hell

Several fallacies in his argument:

i) Metaphors originate in a particular concrete phenomena, but acquire an abstract, analogical significance. The significance of the metaphor is not identical to the natural or historical exemplar. It develops a significance that goes beyond the exemplar, even in contrast to the exemplar.

Take Edenic motifs or Mt. Zion. These take on symbolic connotations that are no longer conterminous with a specific address and/or the geography of that particular locale. Or, in modern usage, take metaphors like “salt mines” or “Siberian exile”. These originate at a particular time or place, but they develop an emblematic significance that’s independent of the historical exemplar.

ii) Although the original context has interpretive resonance, the normative context for NT occurrences is how that’s used in the NT. What the metaphor means at that stage of theological elaboration.

iii) Moreover, it’s not confined to the meaning of a particular word, but how that’s combined with larger descriptions.

iv) Furthermore, Scripture uses a variety of metaphors to depict eschatological judgment. The concept of damnation isn’t confined to the figurative range of one particular metaphor, but how that’s built up on the basis of many figurative as well as literal descriptions.


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