Much of what I have written in the last couple weeks has been focused on the Buddhist beliefs I’ve found in books like Why Buddhism is True, by Robert Wright. However, my student’s mind was recently invigorated by my innate urge to study all religions. I was brought to read a bookmarked post on the U.S. Catholic blog where Christine Paintner discusses the knowledge that can be received from incorporating the four elements in Christianity through prayer.
Naturally this ideology echoes loudly within me, not only because of my affinity toward the four elements, but also because of my studious, religious upbringing. Living in the Bible Belt, it is not particularly easy to approach ideas of prayer, Christianity, or God, with anything other than what the preacher spoon-feeds you. This article is my endeavor to do just that.
Approaching ideas of religion, it feels right to disclaim that there is no information on this blog that is meant to sway anyone’s religious belief, and none of the ideas presented here are exclusive to any one religion. Elementalism is a universal perspective, a way of thinking, that can be applied to all walks of life. The goal is to focus on your consciousness, wellness, and being, through an understanding of the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire.
The Four Elements in Christianity: Scripture
“In the Christian scriptures, the four elements are represented in multiple ways. The Spirit comes as both wind and fire. The living water of baptism is a central symbol for our self-understanding as members of the Christian community. The communion feast springs from the gifts of bread and wine, earth’s nourishment.”Christine Valters Paintner: “Pray with the four elements to connect to God and the Earth” – 07/16/2019
Paintner asserts an immediate connection to each of the four elements in Christianity in various ways but the quote above struck me with the most force. It resonates with a passage in Isiah 42:5: “Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.” An elemental creation of reality, before we are even introduced to ideas of God’s identity, we are demonstrated the power of the four elements in Christianity as an extension of God’s will. He spread forth the earth, that which cometh out, water. Gives Breath to the people, air, and then places upon them spirit, fire. That pattern is the same as the one discussed in densities of consciousness: earth, water, air, then fire.
Immediately I’m called to remember Moses striking the earth to draw forth water, or Elijah calling down fire to consume water and flesh. The swallowing of the earth by water for forty days and forty nights. The burning bush, and the Earthen Carved Commandments, numerous examples popping up left and right. The elements are scattered throughout the christian scripture more than Christ himself as they are used as extensions of God’s transformative and creative energy.
Jesus’s message was to bring humanity closer to God, to show them their connection to a fatherly energy of creation. The elements are regular representations of that energy manifesting time and time again. Even Christ’s miracles themselves were demonstrations of God’s energy through these elements in Christianity: Walking on Water, feeding thousands of people twice, putting intellect and sound in a blind/dumb man, calming a raging storm, the list of over 37 miracles of Christ continues. Each miracle demonstrates an elemental shift performed through his connection to his God.
It’s important to note that Jesus never specifically acknowledged the four elements. Never once did he recognize them in the way the Buddha or eastern traditions would. Despite this, each biblical miracle is a clear display of the four elements in Christianity shifting at Jesus’s (or Moses’s, or Elijah’s, etc.) connection to that singular energy of God.
It’s important to realize that this is not a claim that the Elements are in any way gods, idols, or even images of God. They are all parts of one larger whole, that whole being the “one true God,” as most modern-day Christians understand him. We are told in the next two chapters that there is only one God, has never been, and will never be another:
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”Isaiah 43:10 & 44:6
“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
Yet, in Deuteronomy 6:14 it is written “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;”. Here God seems to acknowledge the existence of other gods.
Prior to Isiah, in Exodus 20:1-5 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,”. Demonstrating the nature of humans to create gods from the elements. Though they witness elemental influence, they shouldn’t make idols and gods out of these singularities, because they are not the “One God”
The God: I AM
In Isiah the one God is explaining that no other Gods can exist because he is the only one, but prior to this, in Exodus and Deuteronomy he had explained to Moses that his people should not accept other gods. How can God restrain the acknowledgement of other gods, yet claim there are no other gods. Could it be that all these “gods” of Moses day were simply separations of the one God’s divine energy?
Moses’ people had lived with other gods. They knew the power and realness of these other gods. There is no way they could have been convinced that these gods were not real because they had seen the miracles. Isiah, his story much younger, was more removed from these influences and could see these old “gods” for what they truly were. Misrepresentations of the singular God. Idolized parts, or energies, being mistakenly identified as their energetic whole, all energies and beings as one thing. There is only one God, because all gods are God. God is not human, because he is all things, including humanity. God is not the Earth, because he is all things including the Earth. God is not, because he simply is. Two verses solidify this idea:
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. “Exodus 3:14
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”Romans 11:36
Elementalism demonstrates parallel clearly here. Its key concept of seeing the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire, in all things, allows us to bring our perspective into that shared by God. The perspective of everything all at once. The perspective of I AM. When we look for the elements in all things, we strip away the organic, visible layers of it and leave it in elemental energetic nakedness, where only the energy of a singular kind, that “God” energy, can still exist. By seeing the elements in everything around us we almost accidentally stumble over this christian concept of God in the process. The elements are not God, because God is all things, including the elements. Through acknowledging and observing the four Elements in Christianity and all things has the ability to bring Christians closer to God by bringing consciousness closer to where that idea of God resides.