Posted by Anders on May 01, 2005
In Reply to: "Neither cold nor hot" posted by ESC on April 30, 2005
: : "...because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (The Bible)
: : Being a warm person is generally preferred to being a cold one. The quote above makes it clear that being lukewarm is worse than being cold. Since our moral standards are largely Biblical (Jew/Christian) in origin, I am curious if someone has any knowledge of how this quote has generally been interpreted. It seems to me that the quote, such as it stands, lends some legitimacy to being cold. And, our morals being ultimately a Biblical derivative, this is a surprise, as it conflicts with the general norm, which says that warm is good and cold is bad.
: : Cheers
: : Anders
: Revelation 3:15-16 (King James Version)
: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
: 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
: Most people want a drink to be hot or cold. Lukewarm or tepid is nasty. Bibletools.org explains the verses this way:
: Why does Christ want Christians to be either hot or cold? "Because if they were either cold or hot, they would be useful to Him. Lukewarm Christians send confusing messages. In this state, being useless to Him, He spews them out of His mouth. Metaphorically, what does lukewarmness signify here? To define it to this point, a rough definition might be 'that which gives no refreshment, or that which has neither the cleansing properties of hot water nor the refreshing properties of cold.'" Bibletools.org
Thank you, ESC. The quote you give from Bibletools.org gives me something to consider. Namely, that the metaphor may be drawn from food and drink (or similar). This makes the meaning you outline quite logical. However, as the Bible has been analysed and explained from just about any angle, I still wonder if someone has seen here a defence for being cold (cold hearted). To repeat, I am interested in this because it is at odds with the general take on "good" (pleasant) and "bad" (unpleasant) individuals. We know also that, according to the Bible, goodness resides in God only, not in man. I think even Jesus at some point declines being a source of good and refers it to His Father. If we stress this, we can consistently say that cold people are no worse than those who are warm. Being a pleasant individual does not count one bit in the Bible, as I see it, or if it counts towards anything, it's the sleek and Satanic. And yet again: "Do unto others..." suggests the exact opposite, viz. that the Bible works towards a warm and loving environment. Indeed, this is and has been the common interpretation, even if, in practical terms, it hasn't always worked out like that. On a final note, I am interested in all this from an undogmatic and literary/socio-cultural point of view.