The Wind and the Waves Biblical Theology in Protology and Eschatology -- By: David W. Baker

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 34:0 (NA 2002)
Article: The Wind and the Waves Biblical Theology in Protology and Eschatology
Author: David W. Baker

The Wind and the Waves
Biblical Theology in Protology and Eschatology

David W. Baker

David W. Baker (Ph.D. University of London) is Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at ATS. This paper was presented to the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research as their invited Old Testament lecture on July 4, 2000.


Wind and water are ambiguous forces in the biblical world, and in the Bible itself. Sometimes threatening and sometimes benign and beneficent, these elements bracket the Bible, from the watery deep overblown by the wind of the Spirit in Genesis through the vanishing sea in Revelation. This paper traces the development and use of the motif, highlighting the Old Testament occurrences, but also integrating later uses, especially Jesus’ sovereignty over these elements in Mark 4.


Chiasmus, also known as ring construction or concentric parallelism, is a well-recognized literary feature wherein “words, phrases, sentences and even longer texts are sequenced not linearly, but in a cross-pattern”1 in which the first and last element correspond, as do the second and second from last, and so on. Thus one ends where one began, having gone there and back again. These can run for small word plays such as the first man’s purported self-introduction to the first woman (“Madam, I’m Adam”, for which I have been unable to trace the biblical reference), to the suggestion that entire biblical books such as Galatians2 and Jeremiah3 are framed by this structural device.

Interest in the device has spread even beyond academia. Perhaps it is the delight in discovering at times hidden patterns of linguistic play which gives rise to more popular works such as one recently entitled Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You.4 This interest seems to be broader than linguistic, however, since basic human questions revolve around beginnings and endings. Whether innocent and naïve questions (“Where did I come from, Daddy?” “Where did Grandma go when she died, Mommy?”—questions not quickly answered even in their naïveté!), or more reasoned articulations of national origin (e.g. “My father was a wandering Aramaean, and he went

down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.” [Deut 26:5, NIV]; or “When in the Course of human even...

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