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Olamic eyes


I encountered the phrase ‘olamic eyes’ in a poem and had to drag out my dictionary to understand what it means. (The poem is: Digging for Now by Ruth Mowry)

Olam is a rarely used noun of Hebrew origin meaning ‘a vast period of time, an age of the universe.’ Olamic is the adjective.

A website about ancient Hebrew word meanings describes the meaning as being ‘in the far distance’ in the sense of being difficult to make out or so far away in time that it is difficult to know.

When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out. (Ecclesiastes 8:16–17 ESV)

In a sense, all Christians should look upon life with ‘olamic eyes’, searching out that which is barely discernible beyond the edge of this world and this time. Pondering this idea led me to a couple of conclusions to bear in mind when looking into the dim future or realms beyond this mortal coil:

Find a good lookout

When trying to interpret what is far off and indistinct, it helps to have a good vantage point – on the mountain tops rather than down in a valley of despair. If I am down in such a vale where my sight is even more restricted than usual, it is probably wise to be cautious in how I interpret what appears to be off in the past or future.

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (Colossians 2:18-19 ESV)

Avoid pollution

In Antartica, where the air is too cold to hold much water vapour and the pollution of the industrial world has only a minimal impact, it is possible to see much further than most of us are accustomed to. There are reports of explorers making navigational errors not realizing that distances are further than they appear due to the clarity of the atmosphere on that continent.

I too have become accustomed to breathing, living and looking through a polluted atmosphere. My vision of God is blurred and obscured by the smog of the world, confusing me when I think I can see clearly but actually cannot.

Images: Veer, Gordon Wiltsie