World religion classes at the college level are pretty much expected across the board. I was always struck by how many similarities religions have. It was, of course, later in life that it occurred to me that this was by design. God, who is the ultimate reality, has created this reality in which we live. Our first parents, in introducing sin into the world, ultimately lead us into a great disunity. God, in his Infinite Mercy; however, continues to pull all people to himself. In our greatest efforts to define ourselves independently, we are pulled to our points of “coincidence.”
“The number seven was considered sacred not only by all the cultured nations of antiquity and the East, but was held in the greatest reverence even by the later nations of the West. The astronomical origin of this number is established beyond any doubt. Man, feeling himself time out of mind dependent upon the heavenly powers, ever and everywhere made earth subject to heaven. The largest and brightest of the luminaries thus became in his sight the most important and highest of powers; such were the planets which the whole antiquity numbered as seven. In course of time these were transformed into seven deities. The Egyptians had seven original and higher gods; the Phœnicians seven kabiris; the Persians, seven sacred horses of Mithra; the Parsees, seven angels opposed by seven demons, and seven celestial abodes paralleled by seven lower regions. […] Whence, then, the mystery and sacredness of the number seven?”
I stumbled across this article looking for information relating numerological significance of the number seven to ancient religions. I was struck recently by a curious “sacred” understanding of the number seven in a non-JudeoChristian religion and it got me to thinking. Or researching, really. Why on earth would it be that a religion, in no way connected to Judaism or Christianity, have any special significance regarding the number seven. It’s a number!
“For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.” Romans 1:20
“God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word, provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities. And furthermore, wishing to open up the way to heavenly salvation – he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning. He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 54
Of course! Family, the domestic church, the microcosm of society, the most basic human necessity. Family is what we are and ultimately where we are headed. It makes perfect sense then that a covenantally significant number, such as seven, would be an area of commonality between religions.
The Holy Spirit is so awesome.